Monday Reads: And the Beat Goes On …

Good Day Sky Dancers!

I’ve been staring at this white page on my computer screen for several hours now. I’m going back and forth between Twitter and Memeorandum, sorting out the headlines we’ve lived with for over a year. It’s just a riff on the days and months before.

The news on the Insurrectionists continues to be grim, with yet another Republican refusing to testify before a committee. This time it’s Gym Jordan who swears he knows nothing, nothing! This is from Steve Benen, writing for MSNBC.

It was nearly three weeks ago when the bipartisan panel first reached out to Jordan, not with a subpoena, but with a written request for information. The far-right congressman soon after appeared on Fox News, saying he was unlikely to cooperate. “I got real concerns about any committee that will take a document and alter it and present it to the American people — completely mislead the American people like they did last week,” he argued.

In reality, the committee did not actually mislead anyone and Jordan’s complaint was difficult to take seriously.

Yesterday, Jordan moved on to a new list of concerns, claiming in a written response that the request from investigators “is far outside the bounds of any legitimate inquiry, violates core constitutional principles and would serve to further erode legislative norms.”

So much for “if they call me, I got nothing to hide.”

In case this isn’t obvious, the Republican is in a unique position to help shed light on the events surrounding last year’s political violence. The New York Times recently reported, for example, that Jordan attended crisis meetings at Trump campaign headquarters as early as Nov. 9, just two days after Joe Biden became president-elect.

Nicolas Wu reports this bit of breaking news today in Politico. As we all know, Trump was a very busy boy trying to dump election results. Now, we are beginning to see the extent of it.

.

The public focus of Congress’ Jan. 6 investigation, so far, is what happened in Washington, D.C. Behind the scenes, the probe’s state-level work is kicking into overdrive.

The House committee investigating the Capitol attack has gathered thousands of records from state officials and interviewed a slate of witnesses as it attempts to retrace former President Donald Trump’s attempts to subvert the 2020 election, particularly in four key states that swung the presidency to Joe Biden. They’re getting ready to take their work public, possibly as soon as the spring.

“We want to let the public see and hear from those individuals who conducted elections in those states,” select panel chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said in an interview. He described those witnesses as particularly important given their mandates to keep elections “fair and impartial” while hailing from one political party.

The voluminous documents state election officials have sent the Jan. 6 committee, obtained by POLITICO through open records requests, underscore the depth of Trump’s pressure campaign directed at the typically lower-level administrators of presidential balloting. The emails, texts and phone recordings also add consequential context to previously reported incidents, such as Trump’s call to Georgia’s top elections investigator and Mark Meadows’ outreach to Georgia election officials.

Trump really mistook all those state public servants as foot soldiers in his campaign to be President-for-Life. It shows how urgent the situation will be if any more Trumpzies get into the office at any level.

The Washington Post has a most exciting database and analysis of ng “Who owned Slaves in Congress.” As a descendent of 6 signers of the Declaration of Independence and two signers of The US Constitution, I continually deal with the idea that my family–at one point–owned people. All of my greats that fought in the Civil War were on the Union side; still, farther back, were everything from prominent plantation families from Virginia and South Carolina to small farmers owning a couple and their children. It’s still something I try to wrap my head around.More than 1,700 congressmen once enslaved Black people. This is who they were and how they shaped the nation”. The Washington Post has compiled the first database of slaveholding members of Congress by examining thousands of pages of census records and historical documents.” This is also how my mother dug up our family history.

The biggest shock came for me after the murder of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who I realized was most likely a family member. He was murdered in 2015 by a white supremacist along with other parishioners. Mother always was a little weird when explaining the relationship between the signers of the Constitution from South Carolina. She would always point out that the Governor was just a great Uncle while our “direct” ancestor was the other. I’ve known this since high school but only delved deeper into that history after that horrible massacre in the Mother Emanuel AME church. I found that great Uncle Charles Pinckney helped write the Fugitive Slave Act. This haunts me and the knowledge that every black American with that name has ties to that family plantation. It grounds me in history in a significant way. The interactive database is quite interesting.

The country is still grappling with the legacy of their embrace of slavery. The link between race and political power in early America echoes in complicated ways, from the racial inequities that persist to this day to the polarizing fights over voting rights and the way history is taught in schools.

The Washington Post created a database that shows enslavers in Congressrepresented 37 states, including not just the South but every state in New England, much of the Midwest, and many Western states.

While teachers are now discouraged from teaching actual history including our roots in slavery and the slaughter and displacement of Indigenous peoples, one GOP State Senator from Indiana has a really abhorrent policy suggestion. “An Indiana GOP state senator said teachers’ need to be impartial’ during lessons about Nazism and fascism” I’m thrilled my father didn’t live to see this coming out of the Republican Party.

On Wednesday, during an Indiana state Senate committee hearing about a proposed bill that would ban “divisive concepts” in school classrooms, Republican Sen. Scott Baldwin said teachers’ lessons about fascism and Nazismshould be impartial.

“Marxism, Nazism, fascism … I have no problem with the education system providing instruction on the existence of those ‘isms,’ ” said Baldwin, who co-wrote the bill. “I believe that we’ve gone too far when we take a position. … We need to be impartial.”

Baldwin backtracked those comments Thursday following criticism. In an email to the Indianapolis Star, Baldwin said he was focused on the “big picture” of preventing teachers fromtelling students “what to think about politics.”

“Nazism, Marxism and fascism are a stain on our world history and should be regarded as such, and I failed to adequately articulate that in my comments during the meeting,” Baldwin said. “I believe that kids should learn about these horrible events in history so that we don’t experience them again in humanity.”

These are the same people that insist their take on Christianity be forced on everyone, including other Christians. They’re still continuing to try to kill public education.

Here’s why they hate anyone who teaches critical thinking skills like yours truly. (via Eudhanna). This is from the New Daily of Australia. “Conspiracy theorists lack critical thinking skills: New study.” It was initially published last July by John Elder.

The French researchers ran two studies, where they assessed the critical thinking skills of 338 undergraduate students using a French version of a teaching and testing tool known as the Ennis-Weir Critical Thinking Essay Test.

They then scored the students’ tendencies towards conspiracy beliefs and their personal assessment of their critical thinking skills.

Critical thinking is the objective analysis and evaluation of a situation – and requires a number of cognitive skills.

These include the ability to think systematically, see other perspectives, change your mind when new evidence arises, identify relevant versus irrelevant information, identify and discard logical fallacies, be aware of biases and avoid them, and look beyond the obvious.

None of this is particularly easy.

What the researchers found was a strong association between lower critical thinking skills and an increased tendency toward believing conspiracy theories.

This isn’t a new idea – instead, it persuasively builds on previous research.

Meanwhile, the pandemic continues unabated.

.Caitlin Owens–writing for Axiosbelieves that “The Biden administration has a COVID credibility crisis.”

A series of messaging missteps is threatening the credibility of federal health agencies, and critics say the White House isn’t doing enough to manage the fallout.

Why it matters: While much of the unvaccinated population is unlikely to be persuaded by any messenger, large swaths of the public are still receptive to expert guidance, but federal health agencies, particularly the CDC, may be squandering their credibility with this population.

  • “The administration in general has lost the confidence of people who would be their natural supporters,” said Celine Gounder, an infectious disease expert and former Biden administration advisory board member.

State of play: Months of convoluted guidance hit a breaking point over the winter holiday, when the CDC became a viral internet meme amongst frustrated Americans who could no longer take the agency’s guidance seriously.

  • The CDC’s new guidance on how long COVID patients should remain in isolation was mocked by thousands of internet meme-makers. The CDC responded by saying the changing guidelines are motivated by “fast-moving science.”
  • “It’s never good to be the butt of jokes,” former CDC director Tom Frieden said in an interview.

Context: The CDC and the FDA also waited months to make booster shots available to all American adults. Those shots have proven especially important against Omicron, and many states, pharmacies and individual patients ignored the CDC’s more limited initial recommendations.

  • Recommendations about masking have fallen flat for months.

What they’re saying: “The CDC is facing a real crisis of trust,” said Leana Wen, a physician and professor at George Washington University.

  • And some experts say CDC director Rochelle Walensky should shoulder much of the blame for the administration’s messaging mess.
  • “The primary problem is the policy and how insular Walensky has been in setting it,” Wen said. “She and the others are great communicators but no one can communicate a bad policy.”

The next part of the piece is basically a rebuttal if you want to read the counterpoints.

So, you can always take the Q-Anon/Anti-Vaxxer’s take on things, including taking horse pills and drinking piss. This is from the Daily Beast. “Anti-Vax Leader Urges Followers to Drink Their Own Urine to Fight COVID.”

Anti-COVID-19 “Vaccine Police” leader Christopher Key has a new quarter-baked conspiracy theory for his anti-vax followers to use to cure themselves of COVID-19: Drink their own urine. “The antidote that we have seen now, and we have tons and tons of research, is urine therapy. OK, and I know to a lot of you this sounds crazy, but guys, God’s given us everything we need,” Key said in a video posted over the weekend on his Telegram account after being released from jail over a trespassing charge. “This has been around for centuries,” he added. “When I tell you this, please take it with a grain of salt,” the anti-vaccine advocate warned while saying people might now think he is “cray cray.” “Now drink urine!” he continued. “This vaccine is the worst bioweapon I have ever seen,” he concluded. “I drink my own urine!” Reached for comment by The Daily Beast on Sunday night, Key doubled down on what he calls “urine therapy” and railed against “foolish” people who took the COVID-19 vaccine, which is safe and effective.

No critical thinking skills here at all, I’d say!

So, the last thing I want to mention is the Bronx fire that has killed 17 people, including children.

And with that, I leave you.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Monday Reads: As the Insurrection Turns

The Magpie, Claude Monet,1868–1869

Happy New Year Sky Dancers!!

It’s the first Monday of the year!  The country is stilled mired by Covid-19 and the ongoing insurrection.   The Trumps and the pandemic dominate the news so far.

Jim McGovern–writing for The Boston Globe— has this Op-Ed headline: “The coup is still underway. Make no mistake — an aspiring dictator, egged on by his allies in Congress, failed to hold on to power this time. But those very same people haven’t given up.”

But a year later, a fundamental question remains: Will the Jan. 6 insurrection be swept under the rug, or seen for what it could be — the beginning of the end of American democracy as we know it.

Many of the people who failed to overturn the election are now using the levers of power at the state level to rig future campaigns.

They’ve introduced more than 440 bills across 49 states designed to hijack the election process and suppress the right to vote. This represents a dagger to the heart of the American experiment: that the people get to decide who is in charge. Chillingly, 34 of those bills have become law in 19 states.

Those who manufactured the crusade to steal the 2020 election know how and why they failed. They are laying the groundwork to overturn the next election successfully. The coup is still underway.

Make no mistake — an aspiring dictator, egged on by his allies in Congress, failed to hold on to power this time. But those very same people haven’t given up — they are analyzing their failures and will continue their brazen attempts to seize power by any means necessary. This is not some academic debate: In future elections, they might succeed in the unthinkable.

The Fox Hunt, Winslow Homer., 1893

Another Op-Ed in The Philladelphia Inquirer–written by Will Bunch–has this lede: “Is the ‘smoking gun’ in Trump’s Jan. 6 attempted coup hiding in plain sight? Trump insider Bernie Kerik claims ex-president drafted a letter to involve the Insurrection Act on Jan. 6. The American people need to see this.”

Thanks to a somewhat surprising source — the disgraced former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik, a Team Trump insider — we now know the name of a document with the potential to become a “smoking gun.” Just its title suggests Trump was planning an unprecedented abuse of presidential power — to use the Big Lie of nonexistent 2020 election fraud to undo the results of a free and fair vote.

On the eve of the one-year anniversary of the insurrection that disrupted Congress and left five people dead or dying, the question that looms large over 2022 is whether the American people will ever get to see this proof, or the other evidence of the 45th president’s involvement in election tampering, in inciting those who violently rioted on Capitol Hill — and whether the endgame was an autocoup to seize power and deny Joe Biden the White House.

According to a letter from Kerik’s attorney, the document is called “DRAFT LETTER FROM POTUS TO SEIZE EVIDENCE IN THE INTEREST OF NATIONAL SECURITY FOR THE 2020 ELECTIONS” — and it’s believed to have been written on Dec. 17, 2020. That was a critical time for the Trump insiders who were accelerating their schemes to deny the presidency to Biden, even after the Democrat won 7 million more popular votes and the Electoral College by a 306-232 margin.

Here’s the catch: While Kerik, a longtime close associate of Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph Giuliani, last week turned over some election-related materials to the House Select Committee tasked with getting to the bottom of Jan. 6, the draft letter from Trump is on a list of records that Kerik is refusing to turn over — claiming that the document is shielded as “attorney work product.” While some legal experts are already throwing cold water on that claim, the reality is that Team Trump has been remarkably successful for months in stonewalling — in keeping both key records and important witnesses out of investigators’ reach. In an echo of Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal, the future of democracy may hinge on Trump’s ability to thwart the probe.

Understanding why the 12/17/20 document could be a “smoking gun” means understanding where the concept of a national emergency and “seizing evidence,” which could include paper ballots or voting machines from the 2020 election, fits into the growing body of data showing both that an attempted Trump coup was afoot — and why it failed.

Many Republicans still believe the ‘big lie’, disregard the nature of the insurrection, as well as cling angrily to a huge set of lies about Covid-19.  What can you do when so many people live in alternative reality? This is from the NPR Tweet above.

Fewer than half of Republicans say they are willing to accept the results of the 2020 election — a number that has remained virtually unchanged since we asked the same question last January.

“There is really a sort of dual reality through which partisans are approaching not only what happened a year ago on Jan. 6, but also generally with our presidential election and our democracy,” said Mallory Newall, a vice president at Ipsos, which conducted the poll.

“It is Republicans that are driving this belief that there was major fraudulent voting and it changed the results in the election,” Newall said.

Nearly two-thirds of poll respondents agree that U.S. democracy is “more at risk” now than it was a year ago. Among Republicans, that number climbs to 4 in 5.

Overall, 70% of poll respondents agree that the country is in crisis and at risk of failing.

The country can’t even decide what to call the assault on the Capitol. Only 6% of poll respondents say it was “a reasonable protest” — but there is little agreement on a better description. More than half of Democrats say the Jan. 6 assault was an “attempted coup or insurrection,” while Republicans are more likely to describe it as a “riot that got out of control.”

Americans are bitterly divided over the events that led to Jan. 6, as well.

Breton Village in the Snow by Paul Gauguin, 1894

Politico‘s Kyle Cheney asks “Could Jan. 6 happen again? The Capitol Police has made progress under a new chief. But many on the Hill don’t have an easy answer.”

But the political blight that contributed to the attack has only worsened, inside and outside the Capitol. So while leaders feel readier today than they did on Jan. 5, no one is rushing to declare the threat has passed.

“The last thing that I want to do is say, ‘this could never happen again’ and have it sound like a challenge to those people,” said Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger, who took over the department in August after his predecessor’s ouster following the siege. “I’m not trying to be overconfident. We are much better prepared.”

The story of that preparation is only partially written, though. Capitol Police officers remain overtaxed and exhausted, logging crushing amounts of overtime as they grapple with a depleted force. Threats against members of Congress are still spiking. A Sept. 18 rally to support certain insurrectionists drew an overwhelming police presence that dwarfed the smattering of demonstrators, raising questions about an overcorrection and quality of intelligence.

And with the atmosphere under the dome as personally corrosive as ever, it’s tough to say the Capitol has moved forward from Jan. 6. Many of those who fled from or responded to the violence are indelibly scarred.

“My concern about the Capitol Police is that we’re making them work too hard and too long,” Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, the top Republican on the Senate committee that oversees Capitol security, told reporters recently. “And we need to figure out a way to shift some of those responsibilities … or to figure out a way to recruit more people.”

January by Grant Wood.1940

The wheels of justice are moving albeit slowly.  Here are so updates.  This is from The New York Times: “New York A.G. Seeks to Question Trump Children in Fraud Inquiry. The attorney general, Letitia James, has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump as part of a civil investigation.”

The New York State attorney general’s office, which last month subpoenaed Donald J. Trump as part of a civil investigation into his business practices, is also seeking to question two of his adult children as part of the inquiry.

The involvement of the children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, was disclosed in a court document filed on Monday as the Trump Organization sought to block lawyers for the attorney general, Letitia James, from questioning the former president and his children.

The subpoenas for the former president and two of his children were served on Dec. 1, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. Eric Trump, another of Mr. Trump’s sons, was already questioned by Ms. James’s office in October 2020.

The attorney general’s effort to interview Mr. Trump under oath became public last month, but it was not previously known that her office, which has been conducting a civil investigation into the former president’s business practices for almost three years, was also looking to question Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump.

Winter Landscape by Edvard Munch (1915)

Lisa Mascaro of the Associated Press reports: “Schumer: Senate to vote on filibuster change on voting bill.”

Days before the anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced the Senate will vote on filibuster rules changes to advance stalled voting legislation that Democrats say is needed to protect democracy.

In a letter Monday to colleagues, Schumer, D-N.Y., said the Senate “must evolve” and will “debate and consider” the rules changes by Jan. 17, on or before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, as the Democrats seek to overcome Republican opposition to their elections law package.

“Let me be clear: January 6th was a symptom of a broader illness — an effort to delegitimize our election process,” Schumer wrote, “and the Senate must advance systemic democracy reforms to repair our republic or else the events of that day will not be an aberration — they will be the new norm.”

The election and voting rights package has been stalled in the evenly-split 50-50 Senate, blocked by a Republican-led filibuster and leaving Democrats unable to mount the 60-vote threshold needed to advance it toward passage.

Democrats have been unable to agree among themselves over potential changes to the Senate rules to reduce the 60-vote hurdle, despite months of private negotiations.

The breaking news on this is pretty intensive,  This is from the NPR tweet above. “Schumer tees up vote on rules change if voting rights legislation is blocked.”  It’s a new year and a new dawn.

“Much like the violent insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol nearly one year ago, Republican officials in states across the country have seized on the former president’s ‘Big Lie’ about widespread voter fraud to enact anti-democratic legislation and seize control of typically non-partisan election administration functions,” Schumer wrote in the letter.

Democrats say last year’s insurrection was propelled by former President Trump’s false claims that the election was stolen from him and that election fraud was rampant, allegations that spurred Republican state legislatures to implement new voting restrictions.

Democrats argue passing The Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which would, among other things, ensure that states have early voting, make Election Day a public holiday and secure the availability of mail-in voting, are necessary measures to combat the actions taken by somestate legislatures.

The GOP is expected to once again reject the bills, arguing they’re a form of federal overreach. In a 50-50 Senate, Democrats need 10 Republicans to join them to advance the legislation because of the 60-vote threshold required under Senate rules. But uniform Republican oppositionhas led voting rights advocates to urge Senate Democrats to abolish the filibuster, or carve out an exception for voting rights legislation.

In order for that to happen, all Democrats need to be on board. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have repeatedly defended the filibuster and may not be open toamending it, despite supporting the voting legislation itself.

Manchintook part in a series of meetings on potential rules changes with other Democratic senators during December, which continued through the holidays.

Senators have been discussing two different approaches to altering Senate rules: either setting up a “talking filibuster” that would give the minority the ability to block action on legislation or creating a carve out that would provide a path for Democrats to pass voting rights legislation with a simple majority, according to a source familiar with the discussions.

I’ll try to post updates as we get them.  Meanwhile, what’s your reading and blogging list?


Finally Friday Reads: Lock the Big Lie Enablers Up!

Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!

We’re six months past a soft coup d’etat that investigations show was way worse than we thought. It came after months of careful, planning, changes in staffing at DOJ and the Pentagon, and many attempts to manipulate state officials.  The brutality to Capitol Hill Officers during the insurrection was terrifying. However, there was a clear, cynical lead-up for planners in the White House–clearly led and encouraged by Trump–as shown by a Senate Committee investigation.  This post follows up on BB’s post yesterday as more information becomes available.

Peasant Couple,
Maqbool Fida Husain ,1950

From CNN: “Senate Judiciary Committee issues sweeping report detailing how Trump and a top DOJ lawyer attempted to overturn 2020 election”.  Trump “relentlessly” sought to overturn the election.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday released a sweeping report about how former President Donald Trump and a top lawyer in the Justice Department attempted to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Trump directly asked the Justice Department nine times to undermine the election result, and his chief of staff Mark Meadows broke administration policy by pressuring a Justice Department lawyer to investigate claims of election fraud, according to the report, which is based on witness interviews of top former Justice Department officials.

The Democratic-led committee also revealed that White House counsel Pat Cipollone threatened to quit in early January as Trump considered replacing then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen with Jeffrey Clark, a DOJ lawyer who supported election fraud conspiracies.

After the eight-month investigation, the findings highlight the relentlessness of Trump and some of his top advisers as they fixated on using the Justice Department to prop up false conspiracies of election fraud. The committee report, the most comprehensive account so far of Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, described his conduct as an abuse of presidential power.

The massive plot to overturn the election that eventually led to the January 6 soft coup is laid out bare at the CNN link.  You may watch the coverage and continue reading there. This intersects nicely with the 1/6 Commission’s work.  They’ve issued subpoenas and Donald Trump has asked four big players to ignore them. From The Independent: “Four of Mr Trump’s associates were sent subpoenas by House select committee investigating 6 January”

Confirming that Mr would not be cooperating, The Washington Post reported the text of a letter from Mr Bannon’s lawyer to the committee citing the former president’s executive privilege.

“It is therefore clear to us that since the executive privileges belong to President Trump and he has, through his counsel, announced his intention to assert those privileges … we must accept his direction and honour his invocation of executive privilege,” attorney Robert Costello wrote.

Mr Bannon’s response was also confirmed by another source who told CNN that a second of Mr Trump’s inner circle asked to cooperate with the investigation, former chief of staff Mark Meadows, has responded, but it is as yet unknown whether he will or will not cooperate.

Four of Mr Trump’s associates were sent subpoenas by the House select committee. It is not yet known if the other two, Karsh Patel and Dan Scavino, have responded.

Lawyers working for the former president sent letters to the four men on Wednesday saying that Mr Trump viewed the subpoenas as an infringement of executive privilege and that they should not cooperate.

Trump continues to push the false narrative that he has some kind of blanket executive privilege after office.  He clearly does not as witnessed by the flurry of documents released to both committees by the real President.

Susan B Glasser has penned this for The New Yorker: “The Battle of January 6th Has Just Begun. Nine months after the storming of the Capitol, Trump is more popular with the G.O.P. and his Big Lie is more widely believed.”

But look at where our politics are, nine months after the insurrection, and they tell a radically different story. Trump is, per Pew and other recent polls, both the overwhelming favorite among Republicans for 2024 and their continuing spiritual leader. (Two-thirds of the Republicans and Republican-leaning independents that Pew surveyed wanted Trump to continue to be a major national figure, a total that’s gone up by ten points since January. Yes, that’s not a typo—it’s gone up.) Just as important, he has succeeded in selling his party on his Big Lie about the 2020 election, on January 6th revisionism, and on taking a series of specific actions—from changing how states certify elections to purging state Republican officials who did not go along with his 2020 coup attempt—that will affect American democracy for years to come, whether or not Trump runs again.

Consider one metric I’ve been obsessed with: the increase in the percentage of Republicans who believe Trump’s falsehoods about the election. In January, a CNN poll found that seventy-five per cent of Republicans said that Biden was not legitimately elected President. In April, that number declined to seventy per cent, but now, according to the most recent CNN survey, it has risen to seventy-eight per cent. Yes, more Republicans believe that the 2020 election was stolen now than did when the pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.

On January 7th, it was still possible to anticipate a different outcome. But, on October 7th, we have to acknowledge that this didn’t happen. Nine months ago, in the immediate aftermath of the insurrection, enough Republican leaders and Trump White House officials viewed the Trump-inspired attack on the democratic transition of power as an event of such horrifying excess that it was difficult to imagine them normalizing, justifying, and rationalizing it as they had the Trumpian excesses of the previous four years. Yet that is exactly what has taken place in the intervening months. “Republicans initially started down the road to a post-Trump party, as opposed to a Trump party . . . and they backed up in record time,” Larry Sabato, the director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, told me, on Thursday. “They have missed the historic opportunity to put Trump in the past.” The result is that the political crisis today is worse than it was, not better. The unacceptable has been accepted by a shockingly large part of the population and its political leadership.

Krishen Khanna, News of Gandhiji’s Death (1948). Oil on canvas.

This long form analysis is shocking, indeed!  But this viewpoint is very on point!

The survey, which is worth reading in its entirety, shows that this is not a problem of ideology or policy or the other markers of conventional American politics. It is something much deeper and more intractable: two parties whose members now hate one another with a fierce, anti-democratic, Constitution-threatening passion. Eighty-four per cent of Trump voters said that Democratic officials are a “clear and present danger” to society; seventy-eight per cent of Trump voters also said that Americans who strongly support Democrats are a “clear and present danger.” This level of antipathy is fully reciprocated by Democrats; eighty per cent of Biden voters surveyed said that Republican officials represent a “clear and present danger,” and seventy-five per cent of them said the same about Americans who strongly support Republicans. Things are so bad that fifty-two per cent of Trump voters and forty-one per cent of Biden voters said that they would favor seceding from America. January 6th may not have been the end of Trump so much as the beginning of something even worse.

Which is time to discuss today’s events.

Let’s dive deeper into that.  From HuffPo and Sara Boboltz: “Trump Told 4 Officials To Ignore Jan. 6 Committee Subpoena: Report. The House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol wants to hear from Mark Meadows, Steve Bannon, Dan Scavino, and Kash Patel.”

Select Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) wrote in each of his Sept. 23 letters to the witnesses that the panel is “investigating the facts, circumstances, and causes of the January 6th attack and issues relating to the peaceful transfer of power, in order to identify and evaluate lessons learned and to recommend to the House and its relevant committees corrective laws, policies, procedures, rules, or regulations.”

Thompson’s committee has already taken steps to get its hands on communications from the Trump White House relating to the attack. In August, it sent a sweeping records request to the National Archives, which handles presidential records, and to several federal agencies asking for documentation.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki indicated last month that President Joe Biden was unlikely to block any Trump-era records from making their way onto committee members’ desks, but the administration later issued a clarification saying it would evaluate such requests individually.

Krishen Khanna. 
The Game 1, the early 1980s

Thompson additionally made comments to press on this matter and has indicated that all options are on the table. He did say that Criminal Referrals will be issued on October 1st. Today is basically the first day that contempt of congress charges are applicable.  Newsweek reports this information.

Patel issued a statement to The Washington Post on Thursday before the deadline, pointing to his website where he is seeking to raise $250,000 “to fund a top-notch legal team.”

“I will continue to tell the American people the truth about January 6, and I am putting our country and freedoms first through my Fight with Kash initiative,” he told the newspaper.

The committee had been unable to physically locate Scavino in order to serve him with a subpoena as of Thursday.

It’s not entirely clear what steps the select committee will take if the four former aides refuse to cooperate, but Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin, who sits on the committee, suggested on Thursday that they could face contempt charges.

“I believe this is a matter of the utmost seriousness and we need to consider the full panoply of enforcement sanctions available to us, and that means criminal contempt citations, civil contempt citations and the use of Congress‘s own inherent contempt powers,” Raskin said.

I’m willing to give the Congressman the benefit of the weekend.  And, do have a good weekend!!!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?