Republicans Try to Rewrite History

“You know, if you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from January the sixth, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.”

– Rep. Andrew Clyde (GA)

“Is this America? They beat police officers with Blue Lives Matter flags. They fought us, they had Confederate flags in the U.S. Capitol.”

– US Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn

“The truth is being censored and covered up, and as a result, the DOJ is harassing peaceful patriots across the country.”

– Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ)

“I just remember the anger I felt when I saw those images, busting windows, climbing the walls and stuff like that. It was an audible gasp in the room, seeing those images.”

– US Capitol Police Officer Byron Evans

“There have been things worse than people without any firearms coming into a building.”

– Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX)

“They called us traitors. They beat us. They dragged us.”

– US Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell

“Some of them went in and they’re hugging and kissing the police and the guards, they had great relationships.”

– Donald J. Trump, March 2021

 

Sanitizing an Insurrection

To listen to some members of Congress tell it, January 6th was practically a love-in. Which is not how Capitol police officers remember that day.

Officers saw a mob knock over barricades, scale the walls of the Capitol, smash windows… and assault fellow officers with flagpoles, bear spray, and anything else at hand. Officers were called “traitor,” “ni**er,” and other insults.

The halls of Congress were smeared with feces. Rioters broke into offices – including Speaker Pelosi’s office. They breached and ransacked the Senate chamber.

These are the “peaceful protestors” GOP officials defend. The “tourists” they claim did no harm. The cost of this “peaceful protest?” According to the Architect of the Capitol, $30 million in repairs and additional security.

That’s an awful lot of money for cleaning up a “peaceful protest.” And – according to Reuters – American taxpayers will be on the hook for the whole amount. Because Uncle Sam rarely carries insurance.

But – apparently – a small price to the GOP for backing their failed leader.

The Call to Defend Democracy

With all the voter suppression laws the GOP is forcing through, their strategy is pretty clear: Disenfranchise as many non-GOP voters as possible.

Which is why we have to mobilize all the voters we can. No matter how many hurdles the Republicans throw against us.

And why we have to wrest back control of local and state-wide offices.

Progressives clearly have the numbers. Just look at Biden’s overall victory. He won by millions of votes. And we can turn those votes into local and state victories. We just have to get folks out to vote.

Which means grassroots organizing. Overcoming roadblocks to minority voting. And ensuring that every qualified voter is properly registered.

Will it be easy? Probably not. But the alternative is authoritarian rule by the few… and the end of Democracy in America.

It’s Time for America to Wake Up!

Note: I completed the original version of this article yesterday, then went online to find Nancy Pelosi’s announcement.

The Trump administration is out of control. Every time they manage to circumvent the law, they rise to a higher level of contempt for our Democracy. It’s gotten so bad, they’re almost not even trying to hide it. Just look at Rudy Giuliani’s most recent turn on the Sunday talk shows.

On CNN, he denied pressuring Ukraine’s president to “investigate” Joe Biden and his son. (Hunter Biden had a business relationship with a Ukrainian gas company.) Just 30 seconds later, Giuliani admitted it was true.

Then he called the claim he’d applied pressure “ridiculous” – immediately followed by saying he was proud for doing it – and then said once again the claim was “ridiculous.”

Now, we may be used to this sort of insanity from Giuliani – the President’s personal lawyer. But is it normal? Is it sane? Not by a long shot.

But Giuliani’s insanity offers good cover for his boss’s “admission creep.”

No… Maybe… Yes, But Who Cares?

Donald Trump has a style for making admissions. First, he denies he did something. Next, he waffles. Then he makes a low-key admission… and finally harps about “who cares?” Deny, suggest, minimize.

It’s worked pretty well for Trump so far. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise he used this tactic when faced with claims about pressuring Ukraine’s newly elected president to dig up dirt on Trump’s leading foe in the 2020 election.

First, he didn’t bring up Biden. Then he did, but there was no pressure. Now we know he may have brought up the topic as many as eight times during a single call.

And when combined with the way he held up sorely needed aid to Ukraine… well, let’s just say it’s suspicious.

Because Trump appears to have held hundreds of millions of dollars hostage to his investigation demands.

And now his administration is doing all it can to prevent Congress from exercising its Constitutional oversight duty.

Another pattern we’ve seen over and over.

  • Trump allies stonewall Congressional committee investigations
  • Cabinet heads refuse to comply with laws requiring them to turn information over to Congress
  • Trump’s Justice Department refuses to prosecute those charged with contempt of Congress

The result is an Executive Branch that has effectively removed itself from any checks and balances on its whims. And this lawlessness is aided and abetted by “Moscow Mitch” McConnell and his Congressional cronies. Who back Trump’s actions… no matter how outrageous.

But this latest affront to our Democracy may be the last straw… or the last gasp.

Has Trump Finally Awakened the Sleeping Giant?

Yesterday (09/23/19), seven Democrats called out this latest Trump misadventure in an op-ed piece in the Washington Post. What makes this article stand out is this:

  • The authors are all freshmen members of Congress – usually a quiet bunch
  • None of them are members of “The Squad”
  • All of them have a background in the military, defense, or intelligence.

And they’ve plainly stated the allegations against Trump are an impeachable offense… the withholding of the whistleblower complaint from Congress is illegal… and that Congress must take immediate action.

But will it? Nancy Pelosi hasn’t been open to calling for impeachment. Maybe she thinks it will mobilize Trump’s base. Could she be facing a mutiny?

If she refuses to take Trump to account for his blatant flouting of the law, she should. Yes; she’d rather see him in prison… blah, blah, blah. But her only control is over the here and now in Congress. So, this is her one chance to act.

We can’t allow the corruption to continue. Congressional leadership must step up. The Trump administration’s assault on Democracy could do permanent damage. For goodness sake, the man “jokes” about staying in office beyond two terms.

And he’s openly stated he might question any election result that doesn’t put him on top. Is it any wonder he’s courted the favor of well-armed white supremacists?

Congress must act now. If they don’t treat this scandal as the last straw, it may become our Democracy’s last gasp.

Addendum: A Reason for Hope?

So much has happened since I began this article. Trump released the “transcript” of his call… The Senate unanimously called for the administration to release the whistleblower report to the appropriate committees… Nancy Pelosi had finally had enough and got the impeachment ball rolling.

Perhaps most heartening of all, there were darn few Republican lawmakers on the attack. Even Lindsey Graham seemed muted in his response.

Sure, Graham said the move to impeach is “insane,” but he didn’t have any of his usual swagger and righteous indignation. Instead he looked sweaty and tired. There was no conviction in his voice.

What Graham should keep in mind is that this isn’t the only reason to start impeachment proceedings. Just the one that broke the camel’s back.

Mueller outlined 10 times Trump likely obstructed justice during the Russia probe. There’s the sudden jump in Air Force personnel staying at his Turnberry golf resort… putting thousands into Trump’s personal coffers. There’s the influx of foreign dignitaries staying at Trump properties.

There’s the “unindicted co-conspirator” issue with paying off mistresses to remain silent. Don’t forget: His fixer went to jail over these illegal campaign contributions. And Trump was in the mess up to his neck.

And, of course, there are the other issues in the whistleblower complaint that we don’t even know yet.

If Congress is smart, they’ll charge Trump with everything applicable. Which could make letting him off the hook political suicide for his die-hard supporters in the Senate.

So, maybe – just maybe – we have reason for hope.

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Cisneros, G., et al, “Seven freshman Democrats: These allegations are a threat to all we have sworn to protect,” Washington Post. Sep 23, 2019.