House Select Committee

Cancel Culture, Crayons, Lincoln & Lemonade


Cancel Culture

It’s about shutting down, shutting up and shutting off opponents.

The power of authoritarians lies in the absolute, unthinking enforcement of their desires and taboos by absolute, unthinking followers who are otherwise average people. We’ve watched this dynamic in constant replay through all the Trump years, as people did and do unpatriotic things just because Trump wanted them to – and they’ve believed their actions were patriotic. All such things require is a nod from the authoritarian and people will do destructive, even self-destructive things. And nobody will push back against the authoritarian for fear of being persecuted and even expelled from the group at any time and for any reason.

For example, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) was a Trump sycophant. He regularly carried water for Trump and even talked insurrectionist trash at the rally on the Ellipse on January 6. But he got on the wrong side of Trump and has been kicked to the side by Trump and his followers. Brooks has been cancelled.

That’s cancel culture.

The funny thing is that Trump suck-ups point their sinister, threatening fingers at Democrats, accusing them of cancel culture whenever Dems decry bad behavior, like cops killing unarmed Black men. Then these same Trump wannabees proceed to cancel gays, lesbians, Blacks, teachers, doctors and more using legislation to shut them down, up and off. And they seek to end our democracy and our Constitution, which these cancelers falsely claim they are protecting.

The armies of the authoritarians charge ahead without so much as a single critical thought in their heads. That’s how Hitler got millions of ordinary and otherwise peaceful Germans to do the most despicable things. Threats and intimidation are all it takes. As Lord Tarkin said in Star Wars – Episode IV, “Fear will keep the local systems in line.” And so it does.

Republicans used to be strong advocates for law and order and for the rule of law. Yet on April 6 all but two Republicans voted not to hold Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino in contempt of Congress for having obviously and publicly refused to comply with lawful subpoenas issued to them by the January 6 Committee. Plainly, these guys broke the law. You would be in jail in a heartbeat if you did such a thing, but 203 Republican representatives voted to let these guys skate.

This happened because the House Select Committee is getting ever closer to Trump’s involvement in the insurrection, so Trump wants to stymie the committee. His unthinking and absolutist sycophants in the House did his unpatriotic bidding by voting against the contempt resolutions for fear of being persecuted and perhaps expelled from the Trump cult, like Mo Brooks. Ask Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney if you need further explanation.

Obeying Trump is more important to most Republicans than obeying the law.
So, they used their NO votes to cancel the rule of law.
.

That’s cancel culture.

Here’s a reminder from the New York TimesBret Stevens. Read these words as the marching orders for today’s Republicans.

.  .  .  we recall the words of Otter, one of the frat house characters from “National Lampoon’s Animal House”: “I think this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part.”

Canceling the rule of law is really stupid. Our job is to make sure that effort is futile. We have to cancel the cancelers.

Crayons

I don’t know where I found the graphic to the right – at the bottom it says, “Your Tango.” Feel free to explore.

Meanwhile, this is so simple – and frightening – that it could be written in crayon. If I had crayons.

Somehow, I managed to get to this point in life without having read George Orwell’s 1984. While walking the dog recently I came to a house with a Little Free Library in the front yard by the sidewalk. There I found a copy of 1984 and took it home.

Couldn’t resist

Within minutes of starting to read the book I was startled to find a plain description of Trump rallies, the January 6 insurrection and the mindless public recitations of demonstrably and obviously false claims. Here’s just a bit of the description of a Big Brother Two Minutes Hate session.

“The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretense was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic.”

” .  .  .  the entire group of people broke into a deep, slow, rhythmical chant of ‘B-B! .  .  .  B-B! .  .  .  B-B!” over and over again, very slowly, with a long pause between the first “B” and the second – a heavy, murmurous sound, somehow curiously savage, in the background of which one seemed to hear the stamp of naked feet and the throbbing of tom-toms.  .  .  it was an act of self-hypnosis, a deliberate drowning of consciousness by means of rhythmic noise.”

There is a mob mentality that is alive and murderous in our country. From “Lock her up!” to “Beat the hell out of protesters” to “Can we use the guns now?” we are awash in angry people who deny reality and recite the lies and rage they have been taught to chant by the authoritarian. They are ravenous for power and do not care who or what gets trampled by their stampede, even those things that allow them to rage.

Sometimes, their violence is thinly veiled. Sometimes, they make death threats and they menace voters and school boards. Sometimes, they shoot people.

Would that Orwell were wrong.

Abraham Lincoln and You

No, that isn’t the title of Heather Cox-Richardson’s April 15 post, but it could be.

She begins her post with this: “Early in the morning of April 15, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln breathed his last.” With him could have gone the glue holding the states together and our very democracy, even as the Civil War was all but over.

But it wasn’t over – not really – and we see it being waged today in sneaky, dishonest ways. Except for slavery itself, all the divides of those awful years are with us and they are as threatening and corrupt today as they were then. Richardson’s post is a must-read – here’s a link.

Lemonade

Friday night I found the flyer you see at the right stuffed into my mailbox. The next day I stopped by to find that 3 first grade girls, 7 years old, had created the flyer and had set up a lemonade stand, complete with cookies, surprise packages and bags of dog treats. They and several of their friends flagged down cars, sold their goodies and were devastatingly cute.

“Just a kid thing,” you might say. But when that cold spring day was over these kids had raised almost $800 to send to an outfit doing humanitarian work for Ukrainians.

And the kids had learned a lesson about helping those who need help. They’re a great example for all of us.

Girls, YOU ROCK!

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The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

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JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

What We Need From the House Select Committee


Ed. note: Read through to the end and click the link for a stunning piece you must read.

The House Select Committee has a tough job. They are tasked with getting to the bottom of the traitorous terrorist insurrection that has come to be known simply as January 6. Notable is that this committee is operating in the presence of a well coordinated campaign of denial, obfuscation, fraud and attempts to discredit the committee itself and everything it does, and that’s just from elected members of Congress. In addition are the blabbers, bloggers and blowhards in the hot air media bubble hoping to defeat democracy.

Did you hear the gut wrenching testimony of the four police officers who presented to the committee on the 27th? Their testimony stands as both declaration of their own experience and as a placeholder for the horrific ordeals of so many Capitol and DC Metro Police officers that day. Here’s the thing to bear in mind:

These cops were protecting the Capitol Building and all those within it. As they were being beaten, maimed, tortured, race-hated and killed, there were insurrectionists proudly and hypocritically parading both inside and outside the Capitol Building with Blue Lives Matter flags.

That, of course, pairs perfectly with the hypocrites who carried various versions of American flags as they broke American laws, disrupted the proceedings of The Congress of the United States and attempted to kill Nancy Pelosi, Mike Pence and any other members of Congress they could get their hands on. These people smeared excrement in the Capitol Building and vandalized whatever they got their hands on. They declared they were the true patriots, as they attempted to destroy democracy, but these people are today’s Nazis.

The Washington Post had this take on questions the House Select Committee should answer:

Top of the list is precisely what then-President Donald Trump did before, during and after the attack. How did he prepare his speech preceding the insurrection, in which he told the crowd to fight? What did he anticipate his audience’s reaction would be? When did he know the pro-Trump mob was threatening the Capitol? Why did he offer only mild statements long after the danger was clear? Did Trump-affiliated rally organizers coordinate with extremist groups?

Investigators should hear from extremist-group leaders at the center of the violence. How did they prepare? What was their goal? The committee should hear also from Justice Department and Capitol Police officials who failed to anticipate the riot. Why did intelligence officials across the government seem unaware of warnings that were all over social media? To what extent did law enforcement discount or ignore warning signs about right-wing extremists because federal and local officers did not want to cross Mr. Trump and other Republicans? Why did the National Guard take so long to arrive?

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) sits on the House Select Committee and did so with tears in his eyes listening to the words of the four cops who gave testimony. Here’s what he wants the committee to answer:

“How did this happen? Why? Who spurred this effort? Was it organized? When did our government leaders know of the impending attacks and what were their responses? What level of preparation or warnings did our law enforcement have? Was there coordination between the rioters and any members of Congress, or with staff?

“We need answers and we need accountability, and the only way to get that is a full investigation and understanding of what happened to ensure nothing like this ever happens again. Such an investigation should include a serious look at the misinformation campaigns and their origins, the lies being perpetuated by leaders — including by former President Donald Trump — and what impact such false narratives had on the events leading up to and following Jan. 6. We need to be fearless about understanding the motivations of our fellow Americans, even if it makes us uncomfortable about the truth of who they are and the truth of who played what role in inspiring them.”

There are many people to be held to account; however, people at the top commonly get away with their wrongdoing. Think: Ronald Reagan and his Iran-Contra crimes, even as some of his underlings went to prison; and Richard Nixon and his Watergate cover up, even as his underlings went to prison. The underlings must be held to account, to be sure, and it’s imperative that we hold accountable everyone at the top, too. If we fail to do that we will be inviting the next insurrection fueled by lies and an atmosphere of impunity.

Here’s what Liz Cheney (R-WY) had to say to start the committee’s work:

“Until January 6th, we were proof positive for the world that a nation conceived in liberty could long endure. But now, January 6th threatens our most sacred legacy. The question for every one of us who serves in Congress, for every elected official across this great nation, indeed, for every American is this: Will we adhere to the rule of law? Will we respect the rulings of our courts? Will we preserve the peaceful transition of power? Or will we be so blinded by partisanship that we throw away the miracle of America? Do we hate our political adversaries more than we love our country and revere our Constitution?”

This committee is about identifying whether we will adhere to the rule of law and whether “we hate our political adversaries more than we love our country and revere our Constitution.” That’s why we must have answers to our questions, especially in the face of the maddening, lying opposition to truth and to democracy.

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Notable and Quotable

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) spoke to the mob at the Ellipse shortly before the terrorists headed up Constitution Avenue to ransack the Capitol Building and kill whomever they found there, saying,

“[W]e are not going to let the Socialists rip the heart out of our country. We are not going to let them continue to corrupt our elections, and steal from us our God-given right to control our nation’s destiny.”

“Today Republican Senators and Congressmen will either vote to turn America into a godless, amoral, dictatorial, oppressed, and socialist nation on the decline or they will join us and they will fight and vote against voter fraud and election theft, and vote for keeping America great.”

“[T]oday is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass!” He asked if they were willing to give their lives to preserve “an America that is the greatest nation in world history.”

“Will you fight for America?”

That’s the quotable part. Here’s the notable part.

First & second paragraphs: Absolutely everything he said or implied is false. A lie. All of it. That’s been the through line of Republican speech for decades. They hurl such a flood of fecal matter that it’s next to impossible to refute it. Plus, this is incitement to riot.

Third & fourth paragraphs: This is both an incitement to riot and a direct, blatant call to mob violence. Can’t wait to see the dance Brooks does before the House Select Committee and also when he attempts to defend himself in the lawsuit brought by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA).

What are we to do about such people? In the words of Aaron Sorkin from the movie The American President:

.

It’s time to speak up.

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Congratulations to the 55,373 new cases and 266 deaths from Covid on Thursday, nearly all of whom were NOT VACCINATED.

Click me – and read the comments

Be sure to watch the walk of the defiantly maskless Congressional representatives who had just been instructed to mask up because of the horrifically increasing number of cases of Delta variant Covid. They were on their way to infect the Senate. Click the pic to the right.

I long held the belief that as people became older they matured and stopped acting like playground brats. I was wrong.

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Late Addition

Attorney Joseph Welch put the first nail into the coffin of Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s reign of cruelty and abuse. Perhaps the siblings of a cruel and dishonest member of Congress can do the same. This is a must read. Many thanks to MZ for the pointer.

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And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  4. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

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