GOP Congress Veteran Retires, Blasts “Apocalyptic Cult” Of GOP “Lunacy”
GOP veteran Congressional staffer of 28 years,Â Mike Lofgren, who retired in June, just published a 6114 word attack on today’s Republican party, classifying them as “an apocalyptic cult” “full of lunatics.” Unsurprisingly, it’s gone viral. Included within Lofrgren’s 28 years in Congress is his “16 years as a professional staff member on the Republican side of both the House and Senate Budget Committees,” according to his bio.Â James Fallows, a Â national correspondent forÂ The Atlantic, calls Lofgren “a familiar and highly esteemed figure.” Lofgren likens today’s Republican Party to theÂ Reichstag of the Weimar Republic, and observes that “legislating has now become war minus the shooting, something one could have observed 80 years ago in the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic. As Hannah Arendt observed, a disciplined minority of totalitarians can use the instruments of democratic government to undermine democracy itself.”
Also unsurprisingly, Lofgren talks about the GOP’s attacks on same-sex marriage, several times.
And almost exactly like we at The New Civil Rights Movement have been doing,Â Lofgren particularly targetsÂ Steve King, Michele Bachman,Â Paul Broun,Â Virginia Foxx, Louie Gohmert, and Allen West. (Good to know we’re on the right track!)
In â€œGoodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult,”Â Lofgren, (who throws a few punches at Democrats too,) writing at Truth Out, says that “both parties are not rotten in quite the same way. The Democrats have their share of machine politicians, careerists, corporate bagmen, egomaniacs and kooks. Nothing, however, quite matches the modern GOP.”
To those millions of Americans who have finally begun paying attention to politics and watched with exasperation the tragicomedy of the debt ceiling extension, it may have come as a shock that the Republican Party is so full of lunatics. To be sure, the party, like any political party on earth, has always had its share of crackpots, like Robert K. Dornan or William E. Dannemeyer. But the crackpot outliers of two decades ago have become the vital center today: Steve King, Michele Bachman (now a leading presidential candidate as well), Paul Broun, Patrick McHenry, Virginia Foxx, Louie Gohmert, Allen West. The Congressional directory now reads like a casebook of lunacy.
It was this cast of characters and the pernicious ideas they represent that impelled me to end a nearly 30-year career as a professional staff member on Capitol Hill. A couple of months ago, I retired; but I could see as early as last November that the Republican Party would use the debt limit vote, an otherwise routine legislative procedure that has been used 87 times since the end of World War II, in order to concoct an entirely artificial fiscal crisis. Then, they would use that fiscal crisis to get what they wanted, by literally holding the US and global economies as hostages.
The debt ceiling extension is not the only example of this sort of political terrorism. Republicans were willing to lay off 4,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employees, 70,000 private construction workers and let FAA safety inspectors work without pay, in fact, forcing them to pay for their own work-related travel – how prudent is that? – in order to strong arm some union-busting provisions into the FAA reauthorization.
Steve Benen at The Washington Monthly reminds us “that this isnâ€™t the assessment of some wild-eyed lefty. The author is a long-time Republican aide, respected by those whoâ€™ve worked with him, whoâ€™s worked for nearly three decades with GOP policymakers,” and addsÂ that Lofgren is “convinced Republicans have succumbed to madness.”
Benen points to this line of Lofgren’s in particular: “Undermining Americansâ€™ belief in their own institutions of self-government remains a prime GOP electoral strategy,” and adds this:
There is one great overwhelming dilemma that dominates American politics in this early part of the 21st century. It is not the extent to which President Obama has failed to meet the expectations of the progressive base, though this matters. It is not the lazy, negligent, and incompetent establishment media, though this matters, too. The issue that should dominate the landscape is the radicalization of the modern Republican Party and the effects of having one of two major political parties descend into madness.
A few more key take aways, direct from Lofgren:
A couple of years ago, a Republican committee staff director told me candidly (and proudly) what the method was to all this obstruction and disruption. Should Republicans succeed in obstructing the Senate from doing its job, it would further lower Congress’s generic favorability rating among the American people. By sabotaging the reputation of an institution of government, the party that is programmatically against government would come out the relative winner.
Republicans are among the most shrill in self-righteously lecturing other countries about the wonders of democracy; exporting democracy (albeit at the barrel of a gun) to the Middle East was a signature policy of the Bush administration. But domestically, they don’t wantÂ those peopleÂ voting.
You can probably guess whoÂ those peopleÂ are. Above all, anyone not likely to vote Republican. As Sarah Palin would imply, the people who are not Real Americans. Racial minorities. Immigrants. Muslims. Gays. Intellectuals. Basically, anyone who doesn’t look, think, or talk like the GOP base.
But the faux-populist wing of the party, knowing the mental compartmentalization that occurs in most low-information voters, played on the fears of that same white working class to focus their anger on scapegoats that do no damage to corporations’ bottom lines: instead of raising the minimum wage, let’s build a wall on the Southern border (then hire a defense contractor to incompetently manage it). Instead of predatory bankers, it’s evil Muslims. Or evil gays. Or evil abortionists.
It would have been hard to find an uneducated farmer during the depression of the 1890s who did not have a very accurate idea about exactly which economic interests were shafting him. An unemployed worker in a breadline in 1932 would have felt little gratitude to the Rockefellers or the Mellons. But that is not the case in the present economic crisis. After a riot of unbridled greed such as the world has not seen since the conquistadors’ looting expeditions and after an unprecedented broad and rapid transfer of wealth upward by Wall Street and its corporate satellites, where is the popular anger directed, at least as depicted in the media? At “Washington spending” – which has increased primarily to provide unemployment compensation, food stamps and Medicaid to those economically damaged by the previous decade’s corporate saturnalia. Or the popular rage is harmlessly diverted against pseudo-issues: death panels, birtherism, gay marriage, abortion, and so on, none of which stands to dent the corporate bottom line in the slightest.
Lofgren says that “the Republican Party of 2011 believes in three principal tenets,” which are,
1. The GOP cares solely and exclusively about its rich contributors,Â 2. They worship at the altar of [the God of War] Mars, andÂ 3. Give me that old time religion.
Basically, everything you thought was true was just confirmed by a Republican Congressional staffer who spent 28 years inside the cult.
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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Fox News Anchor’s Bad Week: Slammed for ‘Complete Lie,’ Accused of Making Up Story During Primetime Guest Hosting Gig
After firing its star host, Tucker Carlson, Fox News has been scheduling its other anchors to fill in as guest hosts on a week-by-week basis, with some viewers, if not network brass, seeing these as auditions.
This week Harris Faulkner, host of the far-right network’s “The Faulkner Focus” and co-host of “Outnumbered,” filled in during what was once Carlson’s slot.
Reaction online has not been positive.
On Monday, Faulkner claimed she had been kicked out of a restaurant for praying, in what The Wrap called a “blistering, biblical monologue about the ongoing ‘attack’ on the Christian faith in America.”
“We know who we are. And we know who’s we are,” Faulkner told the dwindling Fox News audience. “For those of us who believe, we must be bold in our faith right now. When you gather in public spaces pray thankfully over your food, even when the server gives you the stink-eye, or tells the manager that your peaceful grace is triggering them. Had it happen to me. I’ve been asked to leave a restaurant for openly bowing my head in prayer hands. In America. It’s all good. They don’t deserve my money anyway.”
Faulkner: I’ve been asked to leave a restaurant for openly bowing my head in prayer hands.. in America pic.twitter.com/oRi9lP0MN6
— Acyn (@Acyn) June 6, 2023
Many demanded Faulkner name the restaurant, or provide proof. Among them, The Daily Beast’s senior media reporter Justin Baragona, who tweeted, Monday night, “I’m going to ask Fox News PR if Harris Faulkner can provide the name of the restaurant and date when this happened. Will update if I receive a response.”
READ MORE: Pence Presidential Launch Mocked for Suggesting Drag Queens Are Assaulting ‘American Values’ – With No Mention of Trump
Baragona has yet to state he’s received a response.
Another doubter is Republican former Congressman Adam Kinzinger, who wrote: “We need the name of this restaurant and when it happened. If true that’s awful. IF it’s not true… which seems most likely the case… then there needs to be accountability. Lies are not the tool of the Lord. And the USA isn’t his god.”
During that same monologue, as The Daily Beast noted, Faulkner told Fox News viewers: “Women and children are being redesigned by some sort of mad leftist science experiment.”
“It’s as though people on the left have more free time than anybody else. They want to acronym and pronoun us to death,” she said, apparently taking a swing at the LGBTQ community. “Well know this: the Lord has determined I am a woman, and my pronouns are U.S.A.”
Faulkner: The lord has determined I am a woman. My pronouns are U.S.A. pic.twitter.com/ysogoHrtK6
— Acyn (@Acyn) June 6, 2023
“We are in a spiritual fight for the soul of America,” she also claimed, “and if you think that’s not true, take a look around at what’s going on. The devil has gotten into some people. The worst part of experiencing our country ripping at the seams is that our enemies are massing, feasting on the tastiness of our weaknesses.”
Baragona pointed out, “In her first night on primetime filling in for Tucker’s old timeslot, Harris Faulkner drew 1.59 million total viewers and just 105,000 in the 25-54 advertising demographic, finishing behind CNN and MSNBC in the demo. Tucker averaged 3.26 million total viewers last quarter.”
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Former CNN media reporter Brian Stelter added, “And Jen Psaki was filling in at 8 on MSNBC,” suggesting MSNBC might have had fewer regular viewers during that time slot.
But the real outrage came on Tuesday, when Faulkner delivered what many deemed an outright “lie,” and served up proof of their accusations.
Faulker told Fox News viewers, “You know, we didn’t actually close schools in 1918, during the Spanish flu pandemic.”
That’s false. Provably false.
“And sometimes we make dangerously bad decisions, like pandemic lockdowns and keeping our own children home from schools when a virus was hurting them far less often than adults,” she said, ignoring the fact that family transmission often started with children (see below.) “You know, we didn’t actually close schools in 1918 during the Spanish flu pandemic. We didn’t even have penicillin back then. We did sacrifice. We suffered but then we pressed on. Our enemies hate us for surviving, but they would love to be like us.”
Faulkner: You know, we didn’t actually close schools in 1918, during the Spanish flu pandemic. We didn’t even have penicillin back then. We did sacrifice. We suffered, but then we pressed on. pic.twitter.com/mfGGvmXVRr
— Acyn (@Acyn) June 7, 2023
“This is blatantly untrue and takes about 3 seconds to fact check,” observed Media Matters for America’s Kat Abu.
And fact check many did.
Some noted that penicillin is an antibiotic, not an antiviral, and would have had no effect on the “Spanish flu,” an erroneous term (the first case identified was in the U.S.) for what is broadly known as the 1918 flu pandemic. The CDC says, “The 1918 H1N1 flu pandemic, sometimes referred to as the “Spanish flu,” killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide, including an estimated 675,000 people in the United States.”
READ MORE: Buttigieg: Republicans Are Targeting LGBTQ People Because They ‘Don’t Want to Talk About’ Their Own ‘Radical Positions’
Attorney Brad Moss, calling Faulkner’s claim a “complete lie,” also tweeted: “Utter and total falsity. You would think these fools would have some shame after paying Dominion hundreds of millions of dollars.”
And he came with receipts, including a screenshot of a New York Times article from October, 1918, noting the entire state of Pennsylvania had “indefinitely” shut down all schools, churches, theaters, and “all places of public assemblage.”
This is a complete lie by @HARRISFAULKNER. Utter and total falsity. You would think these fools would have some shame after paying Dominion hundreds of millions of dollars. https://t.co/7KVm3rWxUq pic.twitter.com/29q3GvJQod
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) June 7, 2023
Others pointed to a PBS article from 2020 that reads: “During the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic, when an estimated 675,000 people died in the United States alone, the majority of public schools were closed for weeks to months on end. But three major cities — New York City, Chicago, and New Haven — kept their schools open amid valid questions and concerns about safety.”
So false was Faulkner’s claim, a readers’ note was added to video of it. It points to a study that states: “During the 1918–19 influenza pandemic, many local authorities made the controversial decision to close schools.”
Others on social media pointed to an article published last week by the University of Minnesota: “More than 70% of US household COVID spread started with a child, study suggests.”
As for Faulkner’s claim that, “Our enemies hate us for surviving, but they would love to be like us,” the U.S. ranks 15th worst among all countries around the world in COVID deaths per capita.
Meanwhile, Baragona also weighed in, noting: “Throughout the height of the pandemic, Harris Faulkner would only broadcast her show from the safety of her house.”
Watch the videos above or at this link.
Pence Presidential Launch Mocked for Suggesting Drag Queens Are Assaulting ‘American Values’ – With No Mention of Trump
Former Trump vice president Mike Pence on Wednesday officially launched his 2024 campaign for the White House, in a lengthy, polished video carefully constructed to position himself as the torch-bearer of American values, including Christian nationalism, while conveniently all but ignoring his four-plus years spent in service to Donald Trump, who recently was held liable by a jury for sexual abuse, is currently under a 34-count state felony indictment, and expected to soon be facing a slew of federal and state charges amid several other investigations.
“I believe in the American people, and I have faith God is not done with America yet,” Pence tweeted atop his campaign video. “Together, we can bring this Country back, and the best days for the Greatest Nation on Earth are yet to come!”
The well-known presidential historian Michael Beschloss, author of ten books, noted that it will “not be easy for a VP to separate himself from the President he served for four years.”
READ MORE: Double Bombshell: Mark Meadows and Trump’s Secret Service Agents Have Testified, NYT Reports
And he made this critical observation: Pence’s “just-released announcement video cites ‘drag queens’ and Biden-Harris but not a single mention or image of You-Know-Who,” referring to Donald Trump.
In fact, in Pence’s video (below), he falsely claims, “President Joe Biden and the radical left have weakened America at home and abroad.”
“The American dream is being crushed under runaway inflation. Wages are dropping, recession is looming. Our southern border is under siege.”
“And the enemies of freedom are on the march around the world,” Pence continues.
READ MORE: Watch: Mike Pence Showed Up to Speak at the NRA Convention – It Didn’t Go Well
“And worse still, timeless American values are under assault as never before,” Pence cries.
As he says those words, the video shows three frames that appear to be clipped from TV news reports. One reads, “VA Parents Push Back Against Critical Race Theory,” one reads, “Controversy Over Female Trans Swimmer,” and the last one reads, “Drag Queens Storm Faith-Based Story Hour in AR.”
Journalist Grace Panetta offered a similar observation, tweeting, “Former VP Mike Pence’s presidential announcement video features faith imagery and headlines about trans athletes and drag queens, but no obvious references to abortion, to which he is staunchly opposed.”
Democratic strategist Sawyer Hackett, senior advisor to former Obama cabinet secretary Julián Castro, went one step further.
“In his announcement,” Hackett writes, “Mike Pence says ‘timeless American values are under assault’ as headlines about drag shows and trans athletes play. But nothing about the armed Trump mob who tried to hang him at the Capitol.”
Watch Pence’s video below or at this link.
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Fox News’ Sean Hannity Whines Charging Trump With ‘Obscure’ Obstruction Is Unfair
Fox News host Sean Hannity suggested on Tuesday’s edition of his radio show that the possibility of former President Donald Trump getting charged with obstruction of justice is unfair because President Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton never had their homes “raided” by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“So you know, and here’s the other problem, you know, with top secret classified documents. So what they’re doing here is they’re not going to go after what they thought was the crime. Because they didn’t raid Hillary Clinton’s residences. They didn’t raid Joe Biden’s four places where he had top secret classified information. No,” Hannity complained.
Both Clinton and Biden cooperated with federal investigators. Refusing to do so, or impeding their work, is considered obstruction, which is a felony.
READ MORE: Trump’s attorneys just walked into DOJ amid swelling indictment anticipation
“So they’ll look to something obscure,” Hannity continued. “‘Well, as a result of the investigation, it is alleged that Donald Trump obstructed justice’ — blah blah blah blah blah. Which, by the way, I would argue, legally, he doesn’t have any obligation to cooperate with, and nor can anyone give a real definition of whether or not, you know, exactly how one president is supposed to declassify the materials anyway.”
Trump has claimed that he declassified documents psychically and that they automatically had that status once he took them from the White House. Those statements are not just false — Trump was recorded acknowledging the limits to his power to declassify certain items, such as war plans for an attack on Iran.
Hannity then said that “it’s not going to have anything to do with the documents themselves, except it’ll be a process crime. That is my prediction.”
There are many indicators that Trump could facing an espionage charge (among a litant of others), as recently highlighted by experts.
READ MORE: ‘Nihilistic moron’ Trump heading for another indictment: George Conway
“They’re gonna go down the process crime route and they won’t apply the same standards to Joe, just like they didn’t apply the same standards to the Hillary, and whatever bone they throw you on Hunter is the low-hanging fruit that does not get to the heart of the family business with a multitude of countries that they were paid a fortune from,” Hannity added. “And we still haven’t gotten the final numbers, and clearly, Hunter Biden with no experience was leading up the effort and implicates his own father. They’re gonna stay as far away from the real crux of what legality would impact Joe Biden and just go after Donald Trump, to just continue their policies of politicizing or criminalizing political differences.”
Listen below via Media Matters for America or at this link.
READ MORE: Ex-DOJ official: Trump keeping ‘war plans’ makes it ‘inconceivable’ that he will escape indictment
Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license
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