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Tag: lauren boebert

Stefanik Invokes Racist ‘Great Replacement’ Theory In Campaign Ads

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, the third-ranked Republican in the House, began running a series of campaign ads on Facebook on Wednesday invoking a racist conspiracy theory that falsely alleges that immigrants are being invited to the United States to replace white voters.

The campaign for Stefanik, who is up for reelection in November 2022 for New York's 22nd Congressional District, is promoting ads that read:" Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and Nancy Pelosi are attempting to flood our voter roles with 11 MILLION NEW VOTERS by giving illegal immigrants amnesty."

The ads link to a fundraising page featuring similar copy, which alleges, "Democrats want citizenship for 11 MILLION illegal immigrants… so they can stuff the ballot box for socialism."

Stefanik's ads make reference to efforts made by Democrats, including President Joe Biden, to create a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 10.3 million undocumented immigrants currently residing in the United States.

The ads also invoke the conspiracy theory known as "the great replacement," which the Anti-Defamation League has defined as "the hateful notion that the white race is in danger of being 'replaced' by a rising tide of non-whites."

Messages that promote the theory have become increasingly common among Republican elected officials and in conservative media.

In 2016, as he was running for office, former President Donald Trump said, "I think this will be the last election that the Republicans have a chance of winning because you're going to have people flowing across the border, you're going to have illegal immigrants coming in and they're going to be legalized and they're going to be able to vote and once that all happens you can forget it."

Fox News has also latched on to the message and many of its on-air personalities have spent the ensuing years repeating and amplifying the racist smear.

The most prominent advocate on the network has been host Tucker Carlson, who has invoked the idea on numerous occasions.

"I have less political power because they are importing a brand new electorate. Why should I sit back and take that?" Carlson said on the April 8 edition of his program.

In an April 9 letter to Fox News executives, Anti-Defamation League CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt called on Fox News to fire Carlson for using the trope.

"It is dangerous race-baiting, extreme rhetoric. And yet, unfortunately, it is the culmination of a pattern of increasingly divisive rhetoric used by Carlson over the past few years," the letter read.

But Carlson was undeterred. On April 12, Carlson said on his program, "Demographic change is the key to the Democratic Party's political ambitions." And on April 21, Carlson told his audience, "You're being replaced, and there's nothing you can do about it."

Other Fox News hosts, including Laura Ingraham, Brian Kilmeade, and Jesse Watters, have also promoted the same racist "replacement" trope.

And Republicans in Congress have followed suit.

In a campaign video released on April 11, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) falsely claimed that Democrats "want borders wide open," alleging that this "helped Democrats take over the entire state of California" in the past.

During a congressional hearing on April 14, Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) claimed, "We're replacing national-born American — native-born Americans to permanently transform the political landscape of this very nation."

Two days later, on April 16, while appearing on Fox Business, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) attacked Democrats on immigration, asking, "Is it really they want to remake the demographics of America, to ensure their — that they stay in power forever? Is that what's happening here?"

The theory has had deadly real-world implications. It was cited in a manifesto left behind by the white supremacist who shot and killed 51 people and injured 40 in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019. The idea was also invoked by neo-Nazis who protested in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, using the slogan, "Jews will not replace us."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Looking Right Through Kevin McCarthy

Of all the Republican politicians who have ascended to leadership in Congress during the past few decades, none is a duller and more obvious hack than Rep. Kevin McCarthy. The House minority leader possesses none of the villainous charisma of Newt Gingrich or the ruthless greed of Tom DeLay, the ideological fervor of Paul Ryan or the puppyish desire to please of Eric Cantor, the louche cynicism of John Boehner or the predatory criminality of Dennis "Coach" Hastert.

Nobody expects the transparently empty McCarthy to stand up for principle of any kind. It is giving him a lot to call him a small-minded partisan, an assiduous corporate fundraiser, and a mediocre climber for whom ideas and ideals are so much grist for the Fox News mill. His far-right rivals in the GOP caucus, such as Rep. Jim Jordan, allow him to hold power because they can manipulate him so easily. His theme song should be "Mr. Cellophane" from the musical Chicago.

Weak in both intellect and character, McCarthy embodies the most banal defects of his predecessors — and so it is that he presides over the final stages of Republican decay, as the party formed to preserve the Union and democracy degenerates into an instrument of fascist insurrection.

As a perfectly hollow hack who first rose under Boehner's tutelage, McCarthy makes the hack Boehner now seem like a big man. McCarthy was against Trump's big lie before he was for it. After denouncing Trump, he ran with his tail between his legs to Mar-a-Lago, parroted the big lie and backed a lawsuit to overturn the election results in two states. Then he denied supporting Trump's claims of election fraud and grudgingly admitted that President Joe Biden had won. And then, within hours after the January 6 attack on the Capitol that clearly terrified him, he nevertheless voted against certifying the Democratic victory in two states — after he had told a reporter that he knew Biden was the legitimate victor.

McCarthy has continued this ridiculous dance — both accepting and not accepting Biden's legitimacy — while he obviously covers up the seditious conduct of his extremist members, from Reps. Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene to. Matt Gaetz and Madison Cawthorn.

But since his attempts to block any investigation of the conspiracies that led to the Capitol takeover on January 6, have failed, McCarthy has become an even more desperate performer. This week he sought to obstruct the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack by absurdly pretending to be a mob boss, as he made an unconvincing threat against telecom companies if they comply with lawful requests from that panel. Though he didn't specify any consequences, he warned that Republicans "will not forget" when they regain the majority.

Rarely has a politician so obviously exposed such blatant consciousness of guilt. Opening himself to an ethics complaint, which has now been filed against him, McCarthy continues his bad acting, showing his fear that the suspicions and speculations about the gang of loony Republicans in the days before that insurrection are true.

McCarthy led the expulsion of Rep. Liz Cheney from her position as the chair of the House Republican Conference to satisfy his insurrectionist caucus. But there's another reason he purged her. She's got his number. And now she's the vice chair of the January 6 investigative committee. McCarthy has reason to engage in his silly threats, his obvious obstruction of Congress, his false bravado. He's scared. But the more he dances, the more everybody sees right through him.

I tell ya Cellophane, Mr. Cellophane shoulda been my name,

Mr. Cellophane 'cause you can look right through me ...

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com

Boebert Pushed Energy Bills That Could Benefit Husband’s Firm

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) has proposed energy legislation and attacked green energy initiatives over the past several months without disclosing that her husband has been earning hundreds of thousands for consulting on energy issues.

According to financial disclosures that were revealed on Thursday, first flagged by the Associated Press, Jayson Boebert has been working as a consultant for an energy firm listed only as "Terra Energy Productions." The disclosures revealed that in 2019, he earned $460,000 from the firm and in 2020 he earned $478,000.

The first-term congresswoman did not disclose the income during her successful 2020 congressional campaign.

The Associated Press noted that there is no company with that name registered in Colorado, but that a company named Terra Energy Partners "has a heavy presence in Boebert's district."

On its website, Terra Energy Partners describes itself as "one of the largest producers of natural gas in Colorado and one of the largest privately-held natural gas producers in the United States." A report in the Colorado-based Post Independent noted that Terra "oversees hundreds of oil and gas wells in northwest Colorado's Piceance Basin."

In a September 2020 Instagram post from the congresswoman, Jayson Boebert can be seen wearing a helmet with the same logo as Terra Energy Partners. In the caption, Boebert wrote, "Pro-Energy."

Officials from Boebert's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story. Attempts to reach Terra Energy Partners were unsuccessful.

Since taking office in January, Boebert has offered up pro-fossil fuel legislation and other similar bills while attacking energy-related initiatives from the Biden administration and congressional Democrats, without indicating that her family's income or work could be positively impacted.

Successful passage of some of that legislation would likely be a boon to the oil and gas industries.

In January, the congresswoman introduced the "Paris Agreement Constitutional Treaty Act" which would prevent the United States from reentering the Paris Climate Accords. In February, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to rejoin the accords, reversing a decision from the Trump administration.

The Paris agreement calls for a cut in greenhouse gas emissions, a byproduct of the oil and and natural gas industries.

In February, Boebert proposed the "Protecting American Energy Jobs Act" which would undo Biden's executive orders on several energy-related topics. The act would end a ban on new oil and gas leasing on federal lands, reverse the decision to cancel the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, and prevent the Interior Department from halting oil and gas drilling.

A 2018 report noted that Terra was petitioning the government for the ability to drill on federal lands.

In April, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) reintroduced the Green New Deal resolution with the goal of addressing climate change.

Boebert attacked the legislation in an April 2021 statement, describing it as an attempt to "appease environmental extremists" and claiming it would throw the country into "a literal energy dark age."

The congresswoman serves in the minority on the House Natural Resources Committee. In May she praised herself for an "energy victory" after successfully adding two amendments to pending legislation regarding energy concerns.

A month later, Boebert joined with other House Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, in signing a letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland criticizing a moratorium on energy leases.

Boebert claimed the moratorium was "illegal" and was "punishing energy workers to appease the Green New Deal radical leftists."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Under Trump, Republicans Favored Swift Afghan Withdrawal — And So Did He

Several Republican lawmakers who praised former President Donald Trump's February 2020 announcement that he had struck a deal with the Taliban to end the 20-year-long United States presence in Afghanistan are now placing blame for the country's collapse on President Joe Biden.

That month, Trump signed an agreement with the Taliban which stated that the United States would withdraw around 5,000 troops from Afghanistan.

The Trump administration planned for the withdrawal to be completed by May 1, 2021.

As recently as this past April, Trump suggested the United States should withdraw from the country even earlier than President Joe Biden's timeline, which aimed for a Sept. 11 completion date.

"Getting out of Afghanistan is a wonderful and positive thing to do," Trump said in a statement. "I planned to withdraw on May 1st, and we should keep as close to that schedule as possible."

He added, "I made early withdraw possible by already pulling much of our billions of dollars and equipment out and, more importantly, reducing our military presence to less than 2,000 troops from the 16,000 level that was there."

At the time of his February 2020 announcement, some Republicans lauded the former president for his decision and suggested he had made the right call after decades of U.S. intervention.

In a press release posted to the Republican National Committee's website, the group praised Trump for signing "a historic peace agreement with the Taliban in Afghanistan, which would end America's longest war."

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) said in February 2020 that Trump's agreement with the Taliban to remove American troops was "a sign of progress, & a step toward being able to bring our troops home."

Not every Republican was on board: Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw criticized the swift withdrawal, claiming in November that the plan "might make some people feel better, but it won't be good for American security."

Still, other high profile Republicans issued praise for the president's deal, including some in his Cabinet.

Then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was involved in negotiating the agreement, tweeted in September 2020, "Met with Taliban Political Deputy Mullah Beradar to welcome the launch of Afghan peace negotiations. The Taliban must seize this opportunity to forge a political settlement & reach a comprehensive & permanent ceasefire to end 40 years of war."

He added, "This effort must be Afghan led."

And in February this year, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) tweeted criticism of Biden's plan to extend the Trump administration's withdrawal timeline to September, amid a spike in violence in the region. "We've been in Afghanistan for more than half my life. We need to end the endless wars," she wrote.

Since then, many of those same Republicans have changed their tune.

Over the weekend, Taliban forces retook several key cities, including the capital city of Kabul, ousting the U.S. and western-backed government there. As the Washington Post noted, the militants faced little resistance from Afghan forces, prompting civilians to flee en masse to the nearby airport, hoping to be evacuated on U.S. military planes.

On Monday, the RNC, which had once boasted of Trump's deal to withdraw swiftly from the country, tweeted, "With the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, America is now less safe. This is the latest real world, horrific consequence of Biden's weak foreign policy."

On Sunday, Boebert tweeted, "Joe Biden was in the Senate when America pulled out of Saigon in 1975. He didn't learn."

And in an interview with Fox News on Sunday, Ernst claimed that the country's collapse "is all on President Biden's shoulders."

For his part, Pompeo, who negotiated withdrawal with the Taliban himself, called the group "butchers" after its militants successfully took over the Afghan government, suggesting Biden was to blame for the chaos.

"We demanded a set of conditions and made clear the costs we would impose if they failed to deliver. They haven't," he tweeted. "The deterrence we achieved held during our time. This administration has failed."

Trump himself weighed in on Sunday saying in a statement that Biden should "resign in disgrace for what he has allowed to happen in Afghanistan."

In the wake of the Taliban's takeover, humanitarian groups have been forced to hurriedly organize evacuation plans for Afghan civilians, urging governments to facilitate swift passage for them.

"The Taliban have a long record of abusing or killing civilians they deem 'enemies,'" Patricia Grossman, associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. "Whether from inside or outside of Afghanistan, governments and UN offices should provide protection and assistance to at-risk Afghans and make processing travel documents and transportation a priority."

The group recommended that deportations be suspended in light of the current situation.

This story was updated to correct the date on Rep. Lauren Boebert's February tweet.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

The Sedition Caucus, Under Oath

It is an indisputable fact that House Republicans, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, were at the very heart of former President Donald Trump's coup plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election. While more than hints and clues have pointed to their involvement ever since the January 6 insurrection, their central role emerged this past week when notes of a December 27, 2020, conversation between Trump and the acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen were disclosed.

Informed by Rosen that the Department of Justice could not and would not reverse President Joe Biden's election victory, Trump urged him to "just say the election was corrupt [and] leave the rest to me and the [Republican] congressmen." Moments later, Trump referred specifically to Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, founder of the Freedom Caucus and close associate of Mark Meadows, the former Freedom Caucus chair who left Congress to become Trump's White House chief of staff.

Jordan is so far unwilling to say whether he will testify about the insurrection if he is summoned, just as he refused years ago to assist official inquiries into hundreds of sexual assaults on the Ohio State wrestling team in which he was suspected of complicity or worse. But this time, if the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol requests his appearance, either voluntarily or by subpoena, he will have to show up or face legal consequences. So will several other members of the Capitol Hill "sedition caucus" who sought to invalidate Biden's election, including McCarthy and Arizona Reps. Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs, Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, and Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, to name a few of the most prominent.

And so will their longtime confederate Meadows, who has already been subpoenaed by the House Oversight Committee in the Rosen matter and "may face significant criminal exposure," according to the Just Security website published by New York University School of Law.

Each of these Republican myrmidons has serious questions to answer. Brooks, donning a flak jacket when he addressed the pre-riot Trumpist rally at the Ellipse on January 6 calling for "kicking ass," has claimed immunity, a justification denied by the DOJ. Boebert allegedly gave a tour through the Capitol with unknown persons later identified as insurrectionists in December and January. "Stop the Steal" organizer Ali Alexander boasted of concocting a plan to intimidate Congress from certifying the election with Gosar, Biggs, and Brooks.

Jordan was implicated in the coup effort very early, even before Election Day, when he publicly accused Democrats of planning to corrupt the balloting. In the weeks leading up to the insurrection, he plotted with Meadows and Trump at the White House; in the days afterward, he was given the Medal of Freedom by Trump in a closed ceremony there. It is undoubtedly the first time that high honor has been awarded for seditious conspiracy against the Republic.

As the Lincoln historian and former presidential adviser Sidney Blumenthal pointed out in a recent Guardian column, members of Congress possess no immunity against a subpoena from a House investigating committee. Moreover, as Blumenthal also noted, there is richly ironic precedent to summon all of these characters, voluntarily or otherwise, in the official Senate probe of John Brown's infamous Harpers Ferry raid on the eve of the Civil War. Leading that investigation was none other than Mississippi Sen. Jefferson Davis, the traitor who later served as president of the Confederacy (whose battle flag soiled the Capitol hallways on January 6.)

Harper's Ferry was the last domestic insurrection to come under congressional scrutiny — until now. Among the witnesses called to testify about the events leading up to Brown's attack were two antislavery Republican senators suspected by Davis of knowing or aiding him. And it is safe to say that Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat, Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, and other Democrats on the committee are aware of that precedent.

Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, one of two Republicans named to the committee by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has suggested that Jordan and McCarthy, both of whom spoke with Trump on January 6, should be called — and a very large and rapt television audience awaits her questioning of them.

Meadows, who spent that day and the days preceding the insurrection with Trump in the White House and knows what the former president did and didn't do, will have to face the music. It will not be the last time he's been caught in a coup. In January 2013, when he conspired with Jordan to overthrow Republican House Speaker John Boehner, he was exposed in the failed attempt. He later came to the speaker's office, according to Boehner, got down on his knees, and pleaded, "Will you please forgive me?" Meadows will undoubtedly have another opportunity to get on his knees soon.

These ultra-right Republicans are the face of an authoritarian and frankly nihilist insurgency that began its takeover of the Grand Old Party back when their model Newt Gingrich rose to power as speaker. It is no surprise that this miscreant crew now surrounds their would-be dictator Trump like a praetorian guard, or that they spearheaded his attempt to destroy democracy. But the time is rapidly approaching when they will have to answer for those actions under oath. Of course, Jordan and Meadows and Brooks and Boebert and the other members of the gang can always plead the Fifth Amendment.

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com

The Capitol Riot Aftermath Bodes Ill For Democracy

Someday, the past year or so may be remembered as a bout of temporary insanity among a large share of the American people. This group refused to take basic precautions against a devastating pandemic, swallowed the lies of a president who had lost an election, and excused a violent mob that attacked the Capitol to prevent Congress from doing its constitutional duty.

Or maybe not. Maybe it will come to seem perfectly normal. Maybe this period will be known as the time when we lost our bearings for good, dooming us to a catastrophic national unravelling.

The rise in insanity is hard to overstate. A recent poll found that 20 percent of Americans — including half of those who are unvaccinated against COVID-19 — believe the inoculation implants a microchip that the government can use to track them. Nearly half of Republicans don't plan to get vaccinated.

Even as the Delta variant fuels a surge in infection, governors in some red states have rejected mask requirements in public schools, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis vowing to "provide protections for parents and kids who just want to breathe freely."

Right-wing politicians and their media allies have spread the preposterous claim that massive fraud deprived Donald Trump of reelection. A May Reuters-Ipsos poll showed that 61 percent of Republicans believe it. An April Reuters-Ipsos poll found that a majority of them agree that "the January 6 riot at the Capitol was led by violent left-wing protestors trying to make Trump look bad."

It gets worse. A poll sponsored by the Public Religion Research Institute found that the lunatic QAnon movement has gained a significant following, with 23 percent of Republicans affirming that "the government, media and financial worlds in the U.S. are controlled by a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex trafficking operation." GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado have praised QAnon.

This week's hearings on the Capitol insurrection were another reminder of the alarming radicalization of the Republican Party, something exploited and encouraged by Trump.

The mob set up a gallows, chanted "Hang Mike Pence," forced both Republican and Democratic members to flee for their lives and savagely beat police officers. But congressional Republicans now want to move on, treating it as a minor incident grossly exaggerated by Democrats and the media — rather than an extremist effort to block a legitimate transfer of power.

GOP senators blocked the creation of an independent commission to investigate the attack. House Republicans tried in vain to stock a House committee with Trump henchmen who could be counted on to disrupt the inquiry.

Many Republican politicians are too infatuated with Trump — or too afraid of him — to admit the terrifying scope of the danger the insurrection represents. The party's elected officials have become a coalition of crazies and cowards.

It fell to a lonely pair of GOP conservatives, Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, to join the House investigative committee and decry the events of January 6 as a horrific attack on the nation and the Constitution.

Kinzinger did something else, debunking the pernicious claim that the Capitol attack was not as bad as the riots that erupted in cities last summer over the police murder of George Floyd.

"I was called on to serve during the summer riots as an Air National Guardsman," he said. "I condemned those riots and the destruction of property that resulted. But not once did I ever feel that the future of self-government was threatened like I did on January 6. There is a difference between breaking the law and rejecting the rule of law, between a crime — even grave crimes — and a coup."

In Tuesday's hearing, Kinzinger struck a hopeful note: "Democracies are not defined by our bad days. We're defined by how we come back from bad days."

But the response of Republicans to the attack is even more ominous than the attack itself. The aftermath offered a moment for them to confront the cancer that has embedded itself in the party and act to cut it out. They refused.

The majority of GOP voters have insisted on rationalizing or defending the insurrection while staying loyal to the defeated president who did so much to incite it. By indulging them, Republican leaders are inviting more of the same — and worse.

What kind of democracy is defined by its bad days? A dying one.

Follow Steve Chapman on Twitter @SteveChapman13 or at https://www.facebook.com/stevechapman13. To find out more about Steve Chapman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com

As Virus Surges, Republicans Throw ’Temper Tantrum’ On House Floor

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Republican lawmakers repeatedly tried to adjourn the House of Representatives on Wednesday, preferring to head home rather than comply with new coronavirus safety measures.

On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that "masks will be once again be required in the Hall of the House," for all members and staff, except while members are recognized to speak.

The change came due to an order from Dr. Brian Monahan, Congress' attending physician, deeming masks necessary to keep members and their employees safe.

It followed new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on Tuesday warning that the delta variant can be caught and transmitted by some fully vaccinated people and urging some face mask use in indoor public places, even among those who have been inoculated.

At 11:26 a.m., Texas Rep. Chip Roy made the first motion to adjourn. He had just completed an angry floor speech in which he argued that the "institution is a sham and we should adjourn and shut this place down," because the Democratic majority had reinstituted a mask requirement in response to the spread of the delta variant.

Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, a staunch opponent of COVID-19 safety measures, who reportedly threw a face mask at a House staffer who had urged her to comply with the rule earlier in the day, tweeted, "If the threat of the Biden Border variant is truly so dangerous in the U.S. House of Representatives, we should adjourn."

After 38 minutes of voting, Roy's motion failed — but 197 House Republicans backed his attempt to leave work for the rest of the day and head home.

At 1:31 p.m., Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) proceeded to the floor and made another motion to adjourn. After a 34-minute vote, his motion too was defeated, 174-216.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) described the motions in a tweet as a "mass temper tantrum over Covid guidance."

In total, more than an hour was wasted on the two motions, on a busy day when the House was considering funding bills for several branches of the federal government.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) slammed the stunts, tweeting that the Republicans "want to go home instead of working for the people," and noting that "anyone else trying to leave work in the middle of [the] work day would be fired."

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) mocked his GOP colleagues for throwing a "temper tantrum" just because representatives "were asked to do what the rest of the country has been asked to do: wear a mask."

The attempts to adjourn, rather than comply with COVID-19 safety requirements, are at odd with Republican leaders who accused the Democratic majority over a year ago of dereliction of duty for opting to let some members work from home, rather than coming to the Capitol during a pandemic.

"Across our nation, Americans of all stripes are making sacrifices and doing their part to defeat this virus — and they expect Washington to do the same," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois — the ranking member of the Committee on House Administration — and Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, the ranking member of the Committee on Rules, wrote in a May 2020 joint statement.

"Unfortunately, far from being 'captains of this ship' as Speaker Pelosi recently proclaimed, the Democrats' proposal calls for the House of Representatives to abandon ship — potentially for the remainder of the session," they claimed at the time.

In just the past 10 days, two House Republicans have announced that they have tested positive for COVID-19.

Florida Rep. Vern Buchanan said last Monday that he contracted the virus despite being fully vaccinated. Louisiana Rep. Clay Higgins revealed Sunday that he and his family also have COVID-19, even though they had it previously.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

CPAC’s Insane Extremism Is A Warning For 2022

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Many Never Trump conservatives were hoping that when now-President Joe Biden won the 2020 election, Republicans would abandon Trumpism. Instead, they doubled down on it, and the recent 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas was a celebration of Trumpian extremism — from anti-vaxxer paranoia to the Big Lie about the 2020 election to praising the January 6 insurrectionists as heroic. According to liberal Washington Post opinion columnist Greg Sargent, CPAC 2021 should serve as a wake-up call for Democrats and encourage them to do everything imaginable to prevent a red wave in the 2022 midterms.

SargeNT explains, "Back in the dark ages of the last century, the right-wing culture war was often described with a reference to the three Gs: God, guns and gays. These days, the right-wing culture war is perhaps better described with three Vs: vaccine derangement, validation of White racial innocence, and valorization of insurrectionists. Over the weekend, the Conservative Political Action Conference treated the nation to a parade of such obsessions."

The lineup at CPAC 2021 in Dallas ranged from former President Donald Trump to Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas to a QAnon supporter: Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado.

"We were told the large percentage of Americans who remain unvaccinated against COVID-19 is a cause for ecstatic celebration," Sargent notes. "We were told 'Marxist' Democrats want to indoctrinate your children to be ashamed of their whiteness. And, of course, we were told that the election was stolen from Donald Trump. This zombie lie was delivered to CPAC by the former president himself, who previewed this by telling Fox News that the January 6 rioters were 'peaceful people' and that they are this current moment's true victims of injustice. If there's one thing that all this lunacy confirmed, it's that such culture-warring will be central to GOP efforts in 2022."

Sargent notes that the 2010 and 2014 midterms — back when Barack Obama was president — far-right Republicans successfully used culture war fear-mongering to rally their base.

"Today's vaccine denial and valorization of insurrectionists carry serious echoes of the Tea Party during the Barack Obama presidency," Sargent recalls. "In 2010, protesters confronted Democratic lawmakers with vile slurs, and Republicans told endless lies about 'death panels.' In 2014, the GOP went all-in on the lie that Obama would allow terrorists to import Ebola across our border. Republicans were in no way penalized for any of this. Instead, they won two smashing midterm victories."

Sargent wraps up his column by urging Democrats to put Republicans "on the defensive" in the 2022 midterms.

"This might include asking anti-critical race theory Republicans why they think our cadets are such snowflakes that they must be shielded from hard truths about their country's past," Sargent writes. "Or asking why Republicans are doing far too little to encourage GOP voters to endure a little pinprick to protect their friends, relatives, and neighbors from dying of a deadly disease. Or why they're trying to bury the truth about their own party's complicity in an effort to sack the U.S. government with mob violence."

The columnist adds, "Ask yourself this: Why is it that Democrats spend far more time denying lies — that they want to indoctrinate your children with White shame and send jackbooted government thugs to kick down your doors and force vaccines on you — than Republicans spend denying any of those charges against them, which are true?"