Frosty Friday Reads: Arctic and Political Blasts

Winter Landscape by Edvard Munch (1915)

Good Day Sky Dancers!

There’s an arctic blast over the country, bringing snow and freezing temps to levels that create hardships!  I hope you and yours can stay warm, fed, and inside this weekend! I spent time winterizing the Kathouse to prepare for at least 4 days of below 30 degrees Fahrenheit weather!  I’m a hothouse flower after nearly 30 years in tropical New Orleans.

The January 6th Committee’s final report was released last night if you’re in the mood to read a killer thriller over the winter weeks ahead. Analysis can be found at all media outlets all around the world. Here are some highlights from Just Security.

What follows are highlights of the January 6th Select Committee’s final report from our initial review. Our discussion includes but is not limited to the report’s findings and treatment of issues including:

  • Criminal misconduct in efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
  • Racism as a driver of efforts to overturn the popular vote in different parts of the country and in fueling some of the organized groups and individuals who attacked the Capitol.
  • The apparent intelligence and law enforcement failure and the Committee’s perspective on it.
  • The pressure campaign on state election officials to deviate from their legal obligations, and
  • The role of social media in propagating false claims about the election and serving as a mechanism to plan acts of violence.

With so much at stake for American democracy, the January 6th Report provides the public an opportunity to reflect on persistent threats to the rule of law, elections, racial justice, and freedom from political violence.

The Magpie by Claude Monet (1868-69)

This is an excellent place to figure out where to start reading the report.  The section on the role of extremists and racists is frightening and compelling.  The section on social media made me think about what it would have been like with the current ownership structure of Twitter.

Ronald Brownstein from The Atlantic wrote this. “The Biggest Takeaway from the January 6 Report: Rather than conducting a large-scale dragnet, the committee zeroed in on the former president.”

The congressional committee investigating the January 6 insurrection delivered a comprehensive and compelling case for the criminal prosecution of Donald Trump and his closest allies for their attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

But the committee zoomed in so tightly on the culpability of Trump and his inner circle that it largely cropped out the dozens of other state and federal Republican officials who supported or enabled the president’s multifaceted, months-long plot. The committee downplayed the involvement of the legion of local Republican officials who enlisted as fake electors and said almost nothing about the dozens of congressional Republicans who supported Trump’s efforts—even to the point, in one case, of urging him to declare “Marshall Law” to overturn the result.

With these choices, the committee likely increased the odds that Trump and his allies will face personal accountability—but diminished the prospect of a complete reckoning within the GOP.

The Sea of Ice, 1823–1824, by Caspar David Friedrich.

Politico goes straight for role of extremists in the J6 Insurrection. “Extremists at the vanguard of a siege: The Jan. 6 panel’s last word. The voluminous final report from the Capitol attack committee dug deep into the unspoken alliance between Trump allies and far-right groups that showed up to riot”  The bylines here go to Nicholas Wu and Kyle Cheney.

Far-right extremists who believed they were answering Donald Trump’s call to stop the transfer of presidential power didn’t just join the Jan. 6 mob — they led it.

The first wave of rioters to enter the Capitol during the siege, according to the Jan. 6 select committee’s final report released Thursday night, was disproportionately comprised of members of the Proud Boys, Three Percenters, QAnon fanatics and so-called Groypers loyal to Nick Fuentes, the former president’s racist and antisemitic recent Mar-a-Lago dinner guest.

Among the central findings of the select panel’s report: Trump’s incendiary lies about the 2020 election activated an extraordinary coalition of far-right militants and conspiracy theorists who not only joined the mob but were its vanguard smashing through police lines. Those extremists chose Jan. 6, the report outlines, in large part because Trump told them to in a now-infamous tweet: “Be there. Will be wild.”

“The January 6th attack has often been described as a riot — and that is partly true. Some of those who trespassed on the Capitol’s grounds or entered the building did not plan to do so beforehand,” the committee found. “But it is also true that extremists, conspiracy theorists and others were prepared to fight. That is an insurrection.”

Indeed.

Other suggested reads are listed below.

 

Winter Landscape by Wassily Kandinsky (1911)

In other news, Politico reports that the “House prepares for passage of $1.7T spending bill.  Roughly 40 percent of the chamber has voted by proxy this week, and still more members are expected to do so during Friday’s pre-holiday vote.

The House is on track for Friday approval of a colossal $1.7 trillion government funding package, as party leaders dash to avoid a shutdown and an intensifying winter storm — hours before Christmas.

The spending bill, which includes a pile of high-profile year-end priorities from Ukraine aid to an election law overhaul, will be Democrats’ final legislative act before surrendering their House majority to Republicans in January. And with their post-midterm leverage boost, GOP leaders successfully negotiated huge hikes to the bill’s military spending, adding billions of dollars beyond what President Joe Biden sought, to the consternation of many progressives.

Democrats, meanwhile, touted the funding measure’s highest-ever level for domestic spending — $800 billion, or a 9.3 percent increase from last year’s levels

“These investments support our communities with the urgency they need,” House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) told members of the chamber’s Rules panel on Thursday night.

Like anything in this bitterly divided Congress, the path to passage of the spending package has been winding and slow. Resistance from conservatives held it up for days in the Senate, though Majority Leader Chuck Schumer ultimately reached a time agreement on Thursday that will prevent weekend House votes.

Kandinsky – Winter Landscape, 1911

Mitch McConnell is flexing his political muscle and rhetoric at Trump. Sahil Kapur of NBC News has this report.  “McConnell calls out ‘diminished’ Trump, vows not to bow to his candidates in 2024. Exclusive: The Senate GOP leader says in an interview that Trump hurt the party in the 2022 elections by making swing voters see Republicans as “nasty” and attracted to “chaos.””

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell deferred to former President Donald Trump’s handpicked candidates in competitive midterm races, culminating in jarring defeats and a larger Democratic majority that bucked the odds.

He promises not to let that happen again, insisting he will “actively look for quality candidates” to promote in the 2024 primaries.

In a rare and pointed criticism of the former president, who’s seeking a comeback in two years, McConnell said Trump’s power is on the wane and called on him to back off Senate primaries.

“Here’s what I think has changed: I think the former president’s political clout has diminished,” McConnell told NBC News on Wednesday in a wide-ranging interview in his Capitol Hill office.

The diminished standing has made McConnell — and by extension his allies, like the deep-pocketed Senate Leadership Fund super PAC — “less inclined to accept cards that may be dealt to us,” he said.

“We can do a better job with less potential interference,” he said. “The former president may have other things to do.”

McConnell also blamed Trump for tarnishing the party’s image among crucial independent and swing voters, who rejected GOP Senate contenders in the states that decided the majority. He said that the party underperformed in “every state” — including the red state of Ohio, which Republicans narrowly won — and that its performance was “fatal” in Arizona, New Hampshire and Georgia.

“We lost support that we needed among independents and moderate Republicans, primarily related to the view they had of us as a party — largely made by the former president — that we were sort of nasty and tended toward chaos,” McConnell said. “And oddly enough, even though that subset of voters did not approve of President Biden, they didn’t have enough confidence in us in several instances to give us the majority we needed.”

So that’s it for me today.  I’ll be back on Monday when it starts to warm up again!!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

Note Betty Garrett singing with Red Skelton.  She was my mother’s cousin from St Joe, Missouri.


12 Comments on “Frosty Friday Reads: Arctic and Political Blasts”

  1. dakinikat says:

    If Kevin McCarthy because speaker, he’s likely to be the worst ever.

      • NW Luna says:

        The measure boosts defense spending by about 10 percent — satisfying a key GOP demand — while delivering a pay increase for military service members along with funds for new weapons, aircraft and warships. The omnibus also increases spending on some federal health, education, labor and economic programs, as sought by Democrats, even though some of the funds are at lower levels than party lawmakers would have liked. That includes new money to help heighten enforcement at a key labor rights watchdog, improve veterans’ medical care and address issues at the Food and Drug Administration following a baby formula shortage this year.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2022/12/23/omnibus-bill-house/

        That’s a questionable increase in $$$ for defense, seeing as how Russia is so much weaker than we thought last year at this time. Increasing pay for servicemembers make sense, since they’re not paid much for putting their lives on the line and getting moved so frequently.

  2. NW Luna says:

    McConnell “blamed Trump for tarnishing the party’s image”
    That’s putting it mildly! I am surprised that he said as much.

    As far as going after Trump vs casting a wider net — Perhaps they decided it was more expedient to focus on Trump to get their main objective finished prior to the changeover from a Dem-majority House instead of to take longer and get all the medium- and larger-sized insurrectionists.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I heard that Liz Cheney insisted on a focus on Trump and leaving Gini Thomas alone.

      • dakinikat says:

        Yup. She sounds like she moved a lot of mountains… her role is being fleshed out by Alex tight now.

      • NW Luna says:

        I think Trump was the one to go after first. He’s the most egregious traitor, and could have stopped the rest of the insurrectionists.

        • bostonboomer says:

          I agree. It’s better that they made him a focus. I think Cheney made a huge contribution to the committee’s work.

  3. John MacGibbon says:

    That’s not Red Skelton. It’s Ricardo Montalban.

    • dakinikat says:

      Hey! Watch the video when it’s shifts to Skelton and Garrett and the roles reverse where she’s singing the Montalban role. It’s comedic genius.

      • John MacGibbon says:

        Oops! I recognized Ricardo right away and wrote to express my outrage without watching the whole clip. Shame on me! BTW, Red Skelton is from my native Indiana and I used to watch his variety show when I was a kid. He was funny but a minor talent compared to Montalban.