There are 535 seats in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, and another six non-voting seats for delegates. After Monday’s horrific mass shooting at a private Christian elementary school, where three nine-year olds and three adults were shot to death, very few Members appeared on-camera to talk with reporters about the tragedy.
The Democrats who did advocated for various gun control measures, including reinstating the federal assault weapons ban signed into law in 1994 by President Bill Clinton that Republican lawmakers and President George W. Bush refused to renew in 2004, after which mass shootings and gun violence skyrocketed.
The red line is when Republicans decided not to extend the assault weapons ban in 2005. pic.twitter.com/sK4K8K1dnt
— Anirvan Ghosh (@anirvanghosh) March 28, 2023
President Joe Biden this week repeatedly called on Congress to pass an assault weapons ban, a call he has made over and over again.
In addition to calling for an assault weapons ban, House and Senate Democrats responded to the mass shooting at Covenant Presbyterian Elementary in Nashville by calling for tighter gun control measures including implementing red flag laws.
The parents of the Nashville shooter have said their child had an emotional disorder and should not have had any firearms. Three were used in the assault and another four were found at the shooter’s home. Tennessee has no red flag law so police were not legally allowed to take the guns away.
After last year’s school mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two adults were shot to death, some states took action. Tennessee, where the Nashville school shooting became the nation’s 130th this year, did little.
“We’re not looking at gun restriction laws in my administration right now,” Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, a Republican, said after the tragedy. “Criminals don’t follow laws, criminals break laws. Whether they are a gun law, a drug law, criminals break laws.”
“We can’t control what they do.”
But in a sense, Governor Lee did control what they do.
Three years ago, Tennessee Governor @GovBillLee announced permitless open-carry of firearms.
Today, 6 people (including 3 children) were killed at a school. pic.twitter.com/vitt4c3ppX
— Shoshana Ungerleider, MD (@ShoshUMD) March 27, 2023
A Tennessee Republican U.S. Congressman, Tim Burchett this week repeatedly decreed there’s nothing that can be done.
Echoing almost word-for-word Governor Lee’s remarks from three years ago, in now-viral video, Rep. Burchett infamously on Monday declared, “We’re not gonna fix it. Criminals are going to be criminals.”
Rep. Tim Burchett R-TN sees no role for the Congress to stop future school shootings.
“We’re not going to fix it. Criminals are going to be criminals.”pic.twitter.com/nZ0QVTHDsD
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) March 28, 2023
He did, however, invoke religion, calling for a Christian revival, and declaring that was the answer to fixing mass shootings and gun violence.
On Tuesday Rep. Burchett was back in front of the cameras, furthering his call to do nothing.
“I don’t know what law we could pass,” he said. “Evil people are going to do evil things.”
Republican Tennessee Rep. Tim Burchett says any legislation Congress could pass in the wake of the Nashville school shooting is “not going to accomplish anything.”
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 28, 2023
U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) appeared on CNN this week and responded to the Nashville slaughter by defending his threat to President Biden to try to take his AR-15 away.
In a rare example of excellent journalism, CNN’s Phil Mattingly pressed Buck after the far-right Republican tried to change the topic.
“If Joe Biden is interested in reaching a resolution on the issue let him deal with the Southern border,” Buck defiantly declared, literally blaming President Biden’s border policies for gun violence.
He also tried to link the Nashville mass shooting to a mental health problem and then tried to link that to drug laws and a lack of funding for states for mental health services.
Rep. Buck last year voted against two mental health bills, and since 2019 has voted against the vast majority of 40 or so health care bills.
“What’s the burden on you?” Matttingly asked Buck.
Unyieldingly, Buck replied, “My burden is to follow the Constitution, and the Second Amendment protects – there are more than two million AR-15s.”
Following a shooting at a school in Nashville that killed six, Colorado Republican Rep. Ken Buck reacts to a video he made in 2020 challenging Joe Biden to take away his AR-15. pic.twitter.com/Zj5IWfbAjW
— CNN (@CNN) March 29, 2023
Republican U.S. Congressman Andy Ogles, who represents Nashville, Tennessee and came under fire again this week for his 2021 Christmas card showing him and his family, including young children, holding assault weapons, was asked about banning AR-15s.
Rep. Ogles’ response was to answer the question with another question: “Why not talk about the real issue facing this country?” which he declared, like Rep. Buck and others, is mental health. He then walked away.
GOP Congressman Andy Ogles, who represents the Nashville district where a school shooting claimed the lives of 3 adults and 3 children, said the real issue in the U.S. is mental health when asked about banning assault rifles. https://t.co/vYY5bQaq27 pic.twitter.com/c8iSYBMzRL
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) March 29, 2023
U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) took a different tact on the GOP’s do-nothing policy while supporting the GOP’s walk-away response.
He equated assault weapons with politics and emotions.
“If you’re gonna talk about the AR-15 you’re talking politics now,” he told CNN’s Manu Raju. “Let’s not get into politics. let’s not get into emotion, because emotion feels good, but emotion doesn’t solve problems.”
He then just walked away.
Rep. Byron Donalds tells CNN that talk of an AR-15 ban following the latest school shooting is just “politics” and “emotions”
“Emotion doesn’t solve problems,” he adds pic.twitter.com/VGCbY2gnU8
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 28, 2023
But perhaps the greatest example of the Republican response to gun violence and mass shootings came from House Republican’s leader, Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
On Tuesday, McCarthy stood in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall to pose for photos with some tourists.
CNN’s Manu Raju asked the Speaker about the “incredibly serious situation” in Nashville, suggesting it required a response from the Speaker of the House.
He refused to provide one, then walked away.
Speaker McCarthy continues to refuse to answer questions about Nashville shooting or whether there should be any legislative response. Says he’s not answering any questions.
Posed for photos with tourists, then went into his office pic.twitter.com/Bv58IsjwYo
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 28, 2023
Watch the videos above or at this link.
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‘We Need to Turn Mickey Mouse Into a Nazi’: How the Far Right Openly Plots to Attack the Left
“Mickey Mouse has to become a Nazi.”
That was the astounding clarion call by far-right host Michael Knowles at The Daily Wire on Wednesday.
We’ve entered the era of right-wing agitators, activists, influencers, and provocateurs setting the agenda for America’s national conversation. They’ve upstaged and supplanted the GOP politicians, political strategists, and pundits who conspire behind closed doors, or in smoke-filled back rooms, targeting their political opponents – like Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy, and Eric Cantor did on January 20, 2009, just hours after Barack Obama was sworn into office.
“On the night of Barack Obama’s inauguration, a group of top GOP luminaries quietly gathered in a Washington steakhouse to lick their wounds and ultimately create the outline of a plan for how to deal with the incoming administration,” PBS’s “Frontline” reported a decade ago, in 2013. “After three hours of strategizing, they decided they needed to fight Obama on everything. The new president had no idea what the Republicans were planning.”
Now, it’s being done out in the open. On camera. On social media. On right-wing websites. And they’re bragging about it.
Why does Mickey Mouse have to “become a Nazi”?
Mickey Mouse, of course, is the iconic, now 95-year old cartoon character, the beloved brainchild of animators Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks.
And a top influencer of America’s far-right, a “culture war” commentator who wrote the Ted Cruz-endorsed book, “Speechless: Controlling Words, Controlling Minds,” now wants his supporters to change the American public’s perception of the anthropomorphic mouse, from a playful, kind-hearted hero to a “Nazi.”
The description of Michael Knowles’ book reads: “A New Strategy: We Win, They Lose,” “The Culture War is over, and the culture lost,” and, “The Left’s assault on liberty, virtue, decency, the Republic of the Founders, and Western civilization has succeeded,” which may help explain why he wants Mickey Mouse turned into “a Nazi.”
“Mickey Mouse has to become a Nazi. He has to. Because Disney is a very, very evil corporation that wants to trans your kids and fill their heads with all sorts of crazy ideas, and Disney’s gotta go,” Knowles declared (video below) Wednesday, which Media Matters first reported. It was not just an attack on Disney, but on the left, LGBTQ people, and especially transgender people, who are now being used as a verb and a slur: “trans” and “transing.”
“Disney’s gotta go, guys. You heard all the Disney executives talking about their not-so-secret LGBTLMNOP agenda. You’ve seen what Disney has done in recent years, so much so that the governor of Florida had to take political action against them to stop Disney from trying to interfere in the democratic process in Florida to stop the libs from transing your kids. OK?” Knowles told his supporters.
Disney was legally (and pretty quietly) exercising its constitutional right to free speech by opposing Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay” law. The company is now suing the governor in a First Amendment lawsuit.
“Disney is really, really bad,” Knowles continued. “And so, one of the best things that we can do right now is make the Disney characters toxic. And coincidentally, call it providentially, whatever it is, the Disney character is now in the public domain.”
The original, 95-year old version of Mickey Mouse is now in the public domain and no longer protected by copyright.
“And what this means is we need to turn Mickey into a Nazi because Nazis are bad. We’re not gonna turn Mickey into a Nazi because the Nazis are good. You see, I’m quite anti-Nazi. I assume you are as well. In fact, being a Nazi is the worst thing you can possibly be today and for a very long time. So, we need to turn Disney into the worst thing it can possibly be, and it can be done.”
“In fact, I’m shocked that the mischievous people on places like 4chan and other internet boards haven’t done this already,” Knowles continued, in an apparent call to action. “Mickey Mouse has to become the most odious kind of symbol in the entire world. And we have the ability to do it, not using any major institutional power, just through the power of memes by pseudonymous accounts on random internet boards. That’s what’s gotta happen because Disney’s bad, and Disney’s gotta go down.”
This is, of course, merely the far-right’s latest attack on America, on American ideals of equality, dignity, kindness, and respect. Not to mention what turning Mickey Mouse into a “Nazi” would do to the countless innocent children who adore him.
It’s being done, out in the open, and it’s been done before.
Remember right-wing outrage at “CRT,” something most conservatives had little to no understanding of yet insisted it was evil, racist, and destroying America? Remember all the wild, sometimes violent, school board meetings, where parents claimed their kids were being taught “CRT,” and that being white is bad?
You may remember Christopher Rufo, the far-right activist who intentionally engineered Critical Race Theory (CRT), a college-level school of thought designed to examine social structures for systemic racism, into a fear-mongering right-wing nationwide panic. Rufo, a messaging maven and senior fellow at the conservative think tank the Manhattan Institute who’s been called an “avowed propagandist,” publicly schemed to create his CRT frenzy.
He’s proudly said he wants to “have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think ‘critical race theory,’” and “put all of the various cultural insanities under that brand category.”
For a while, it worked, until the frenzy wore down and conservatives turned their focus to other non-issue “issues,” like DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), drag queen story hours, “wokeness,” and LGBTQ children.
“Mr. Rufo has taken aim at opponents of a new Florida law that prohibits teachers in some grades from discussing L.G.B.T.Q. issues and that critics call ‘Don’t Say Gay,’” The New York Times reported in 2022. “He declared ‘moral war’ against the statute’s most prominent adversary, the Walt Disney Company. And he has used the same playbook that proved effective in his crusade on racial issues: a leak of insider documents.”
Rufo also bragged about being behind the movement to oust Harvard President Claudine Gay, the university’s first Black woman in that role. He openly admitted to Politico it was his “goal…to topple the president of Harvard University.”
And he openly discussed his plans on social media
We launched the Claudine Gay plagiarism story from the Right. The next step is to smuggle it into the media apparatus of the Left, legitimizing the narrative to center-left actors who have the power to topple her. Then squeeze.
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) December 19, 2023
He then bragged about his “playbook” to Politico.
“It shows a successful strategy for the political right,” Rufo told Politico’s Ian Ward. “How we have to work the media, how we have to exert pressure and how we have to sequence our campaigns in order to be successful.”
“I’ve stolen some of the earlier tactics from previous generations of the American left and weaponize them against the current regime,” Rufo continued, openly admitting and explaining how he “is teaching conservatives how to hack that system.”
Rufo openly bragged about this in his Wednesday op-ed at The Wall Street Journal, “How We Squeezed Harvard to Push Claudine Gay Out.”
This is now the far-right’s playbook: openly strategize on how to attack and “topple” American icons and institutions, liberal policies and beliefs, some of the very foundations of what makes modern-day America America. And they’re not just targeting programs designed to expose and combat racism, or programs designed to improve diversity, or university presidents, and not just iconic American institutions like Disney and Mickey Mouse.
They’re targeting truth itself.
Watch Knowles’ “Nazi” remarks below or at this link.
Daily Wire host plots to smear Disney: “We need to turn Mickey [Mouse] into a Nazi” pic.twitter.com/HbuUiUmNBK
— Jason S. Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) January 3, 2024
Jim Jordan, a ‘Significant Player’ in Trump’s Efforts to Overturn Election Results, Running for Speaker of the House
House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan unexpectedly announced Wednesday morning he will run for Speaker of the House after several far-right Republicans ousted Kevin McCarthy Tuesday. Jordan, a far-right Republican who supported McCarthy, reportedly was “deeply involved” with, and a “significant player” in Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Chairman Jordan, who created and also chairs the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, has used both platforms to further Republicans’ false claims on a wide range of issues.
Just two weeks ago, CNN reported, “Jordan made false claims in his opening remarks at a Wednesday hearing at which Jordan and other Republicans pressed Attorney General Merrick Garland about the Justice Department’s handling of investigations into former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden.”
In his Wednesday “Dear Colleague” letter announcing his run for the Speakership (below), Jordan made clear his positions, while claiming the Republican House “majority has had success in the first nine months of the 118th Congress. We should be proud of what we have achieved together in these divided times.”
According to Legiscan, which tracks all legislation across the country at the state and federal level, the Republican House this year has had just eight bills signed into law.
One suspended the debt ceiling for a specified period of time. One, passed and signed into law on Saturday, avoided a shutdown of the federal government.
Others, for example, “require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the 250th Anniversary of the United States Marine Corps,” and “establish a task force on improvements for notices to air missions.” One focused on “Trade between the United States of America and Taiwan.” One will “designate the clinic of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Indian River, Michigan, as the ‘Pfc. Justin T. Paton Department of Veterans Affairs Clinic,'” and one will “take certain land located in San Diego County, California, into trust for the benefit of the Pala Band of Mission Indians, and for other purposes.”
In his letter Jordan also railed against “Far-left progressive policies” which, he says, “are destroying our communities, our security, and our future,” followed by a list of regular GOP claims like “soaring crime across the country,” and “an administration with open-border policies.”
But if Jordan is elected, the nation would have as second in the line of succession to the presidency a Speaker who The New York Times has reported, “was deeply involved in President Donald J. Trump’s effort to challenge the 2020 election outcome.”
In May of last year, the Associated Press reported on Jordan’s efforts to help Trump overturn the election:
“Rioters who smashed their way into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, succeeded — at least temporarily — in delaying the certification of Joe Biden’s election to the White House,” the AP wrote. “Hours before, Rep. Jim Jordan had been trying to achieve the same thing.”
On January 6 of this year, exactly two years after the 2021 insurrection, David Corn at Mother Jones warned: “House Speaker Fight Shows Election Deniers Who Tried to Overthrow Democracy Still Control GOP.”
That Speaker fight ultimately ended with Kevin McCarthy being handed the gavel after fifteen attempts, and ended Tuesday afternoon when eight of his own House Republicans, led by Matt Gaetz, essentially fired him.
“Trump coup accomplices Jim Jordan and Scott Perry have become two of the GOP’s biggest powerbrokers,” Corn wrote, adding: “Perry and Jordan stand out for their significant participation in Trump’s anti-constitutional and arguably criminal caper.”
As Corn and others have noted, the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack deemed Jim Jordan “a significant player in President Trump’s efforts.”
Jordan, the January 6 Committee wrote, according to Mother Jones, “participated in numerous post-election meetings in which senior White House officials, Rudolph Giuliani, and others, discussed strategies for challenging the election, chief among them claims that the election had been tainted by fraud. On January 2, 2021, Representative Jordan led a conference call in which he, President Trump, and other Members of Congress discussed strategies for delaying the January 6th joint session. During that call, the group also discussed issuing social media posts encouraging President Trump’s supporters to ‘march to the Capitol’ on the 6th.”
In February of 2022 CNN reported, “Newly obtained records show Trump and Jim Jordan spoke at length on [the] morning of January 6.”
“Two sources who have reviewed the call records tell CNN that Trump spoke on the phone at the White House residence with Jordan for 10 minutes on the morning of January 6. That afternoon, Jordan took to the House floor to object to the certification of President Joe Biden’s Electoral College win, and pro-Trump supporters attacked the US Capitol.”
Jordan also refused to obey a subpoena lawfully-issued by the House January 6 Committee. He was unanimously referred to the House Ethics Committee in December of 2022, which Republicans gutted when the officially took the majority in January.
Read Jordan’s letter below or at this link.
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) October 4, 2023
‘I’m Broke’: One Day Before Shutdown and With No Plan McCarthy Says He Has ‘Nothing’ in His ‘Back Pocket’
Just 30 hours before his own Republican conference likely will have succeeded in shutting down the federal government of the United States, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy candidly admitted to reporters he’s run out of ideas.
Earlier Friday in an “embarrassing failure,” 21 House Republicans killed legislation from their own party, a short-term continuing resolution, that would have kept the federal government open.
Later on Friday afternoon, swarmed by reporters, McCarthy was asked if he was going to tell them what his plans are. He sarcastically replied, “No, I’m going to keep it all a secret.”
When pressed, he said he would “keep working, and make sure we solve this problem.”
“What’s in your back pocket, Speaker?” another reporter asked, pressing him for an answer.
“Nothing right now. I’m broke,” he admitted, apparently referring to options and ideas to avoid a shutdown.
But another reporter asked Speaker McCarthy the main question: Would he partner with House Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries to put the Senate’s bill before the House.
He refused to answer.
After Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) failed House vote to keep the federal government open…
Reporter: “What’s in your back pocket, Speaker?”
McCarthy: “Nothing right now. I’m broke.” pic.twitter.com/pB2SWhOSVr
— The Recount (@therecount) September 29, 2023
Just before 5 PM CNN’s Manu Raju reported on the ongoing House Republicans’ closed-door meeting with the Speaker, a meeting where the 21 Republicans who will likely be effectively responsible for the shutdown reportedly did not attend.
“McCarthy is telling [Republicans] now there aren’t many options to avoid a shutdown, according to sources in room. He says they can approve GOP’s stop-gap plan that failed, accept Senate plan, put a ‘clean’ stop-gap on floor to dare Democrats to block it — or shut down the government.”
He adds, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) largely responsible for the impending likely shutdown and the impending possible ouster of McCarthy said: “We will not pass a continuing resolution on terms that continue America’s decline.”
At midnight Saturday Republicans will likely have succeeded in furloughing 3.5 million million federal workers – two million of them service members in the U.S. Armed Forces – and countless contractors, while financially harming untold thousands of businesses that rely on income from all those workers to keep running – unless Speaker McCarthy puts a bipartisan continuing resolution approved by at least 75 U.S. Senators on the floor, legislation every House Democrat is likely to vote for.
Should he do so, many believe he will have also signed his own pink slip.
But whether or not the government shuts down, and whether or not McCarthy puts the Senate’s CR on the floor, according to The Washington Post the far right extremists in his party are already moving to oust him “as early as next week.”
The Biden campaign is making certain Americans realize the blame for the impending shutdown sits at McCarthy’s feet.
Here is Kevin McCarthy a few months ago praising the deal he made with President Biden to avert a government shutdown, which he is now reneging on pic.twitter.com/B4rVNzNXkZ
— Biden-Harris HQ (@BidenHQ) September 29, 2023
At 6:23 PM Friday evening, Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman wrote on social media: “HOUSE REPUBLICANS HAVE NO PLAN TO KEEP GOVERNMENT OPEN.”
Watch the videos above or at this link.
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