The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag: marjorie taylor greene

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

Fearful GOP Extremists Threaten Telecom Companies, Cheney And Kinzinger Over Jan. 6 Probe

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

House Republicans who are being reviewed as part of a probe into the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol are up in arms, and now some are targeting their fellow GOP lawmakers.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) — who is among the nearly one dozen GOP lawmakers whose phone records the House select committee is seeking — called for two Republicans on the committee to be banished from the House Republican conference.

In a letter to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Biggs called the two GOP lawmakers — Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) — "spies for the Democrats" and said they should be expelled from the conference.

Biggs downplayed the severity of the January 6 attack and claims it is a "false narrative" to call the riot led by a Donald Trump-supporting mob hoping to stop the transition of power an "insurrection."

In the letter, first reported by CNN, Biggs wrote:

Republican Conference meetings are an opportunity for elected House Republicans to strategize the most effective path to push back on the radical policies of Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats. many of the coming discussions will likely revolve around our defense against the Democrats' perpetuation of the false narrative that January 6th was an insurrection and how to protect our own from their legally questionable investigative methods. ... We cannot trust these members to sit in our Republican Conference meetings while we plan our defense against the Democrats.

Biggs' letter follows a threat against telecommunication companies from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), whose phone records are also being sought as part of the probe.

Greene said on Tucker Carlson's Fox News program Tuesday night that, "These telecommunications companies, if they go along with this, they will be shut down. And that's a promise."

This all follows a similar threat from McCarthy himself, who falsely claimed that the House select committee was violating federal law by seeking the GOP lawmakers' phone records and warned that a future Republican majority "will not forget" if the companies turn those records over.

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) — who helped organize the effort to stop certification of Biden's Electoral College victory that helped spur the attack — said in an interview on Wednesday that there is no "probable cause" for the committee to get his records.

The House select committee said it's not deterred by the threats.

"The committee's efforts won't be deterred by those who want to whitewash or cover up the events of January 6th, or obstruct our investigation," the committee tweeted on Tuesday.

On Thursday, it announced that Cheney will be its vice chair.

Cheney said in a news release announcing her new role:

Every member of this committee is dedicated to conducting a non-partisan, professional, and thorough investigation of all the relevant facts regarding January 6th and the threat to our Constitution we faced that day. I have accepted the position of Vice Chair of the committee to assure that we achieve that goal. We owe it to the American people to investigate everything that led up to, and transpired on, January 6th. We will not be deterred by threats or attempted obstruction and we will not rest until our task is complete.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Democrats Blast McCarthy’s Obstruction Of Jan. 6 Investigation

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Legal experts and Democratic lawmakers are criticizing a statement issued on Twitter Tuesday night by the official account of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. McCarthy threatened retribution against telecommunication companies that comply with requests for phone records from the House select committee probing the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

The bipartisan committee on Monday asked telecommunication companies to preserve phone records from a number of Donald Trump-supporting GOP House members who spoke at the "Stop the Steal" rally that whipped up Trump supporters with lies about voter fraud before they marched to the Capitol on January 6 and rioted. It asked them to preserve records for Trump and his family members as well.

In the statement, McCarthy claimed, "If these companies comply with the Democrat order to turn over private information, they are in violation of federal law and subject to losing their ability to operate in the United States. If companies still choose to violate federal law, a Republican majority will not forget and will stand with Americans to hold them fully accountable under the law."

Elie Honig, a CNN legal analyst, tweeted in response to McCarthy's statement, "This is nonsense. A subpoena is not 'strong-arming' and there's no violation of federal law when companies comply."

"McCarthy's threat against telecom companies who lawfully produce documents is shocking," Norm Eisen, an ethics lawyer and fellow at the Brookings Institution, said. "It's like a gangster saying, 'Gee, nice telecom company you've got here. It would be a shame if anything happened to it.'"

MSNBC legal analyst Glenn Kirschner echoed those sentiments.

Kirschner tweeted, "And this is precisely what happens when our law enforcement authorities refuse to TIMELY hold criminal politicians accountable. It encourages further crime — like McCarthy criminally obstructing a congressional proceeding. Hey DOJ - start enforcing the d@mn law!"

Democratic lawmakers criticized McCarthy's threats as well.

"The House republican leader is openly calling on companies to obstruct justice to stop a probe of the January 6 attack on the Capitol," Rep. Bill Pascrell of New Jersey tweeted. "Obstruction of justice is a felony."

Rep. Ted Lieu of California tweeted, "18 U.S. Code § 1505: 'Whoever…by any threatening letter or communication…endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede…the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any…investigation is being had by either House…Shall be fined under this title, imprisoned… .'"

McCarthy wasn't the only GOP lawmaker to threaten telecommunication companies.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, one of the lawmakers whose phone records the committee is seeking, said during a Tuesday night appearance on Fox News host Tucker Carlson's show, "These telecommunications companies, if they go along with this, they will be shut down. And that's a promise."

The bipartisan committee to probe the Jan. 6 attack said in response to McCarthy's threat, "The committee's efforts won't be deterred by those who want to whitewash or cover up the events of January 6th, or obstruct our investigation."

McCarthy has been against the House committee since Democrats in the House announced they were forming it. They resorted to the select committee structure to probe the attack after House Republicans blocked the formation of a bipartisan independent outside body to investigate the insurrection.

This is not the first threat McCarthy has made regarding the committee.

In July, McCarthy threatened to punish any GOP lawmaker who accepted a spot on the committee from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) ignored McCarthy's threat and accepted Pelosi's invitation to serve.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Casualties Surged In Afghanistan Under Trump, But Nobody Urged Him To Resign

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Multiple Republican members of Congress have called on President Joe Biden to resign or be impeached after ISIS carried out a terror attack in Afghanistan on Thursday that killed 13 American troops and more than 150 Afghan citizens.

But Republican lawmakers never called on former President Donald Trump to resign or face impeachment for his record in Afghanistan, even with a dramatic increase in Afghan civilian deaths during his term and the deaths of 63 troops from 2017 to 2020, according to a count from the Defense Department.

The GOP lawmakers calling for Biden to face consequences for the attack are some of Trump's biggest supporters on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is circulating an article of impeachment against Biden, tweeting Friday morning: "Biden and all key decision makers are responsible for the deaths of 13 soldiers. The Taliban allowed the ISIS attacks. US officials gave them a kill list. And we have not retaliated? There should be harsh punishment against the Taliban and ISIS-K. And we must #ImpeachBiden!"

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) said he co-sponsored the article of impeachment against Biden that Greene is circulating, adding in a statement, "The President promised to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, but it is evident the President has failed to fulfill this charge."

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) also called for Biden's resignation, tweetingThursday afternoon, "To say that today's loss of American lives in Kabul is sickening does not begin to do justice to what has happened. It is enraging. And Joe Biden is responsible. It is now clear beyond all doubt that he has neither the capacity nor the will to lead. He must resign."

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) — who is running in a crowded GOP primary for Missouri's open Senate seat —called on Biden to resign over the attack as well.

"President Biden must resign," she tweeted Friday morning. "His standing in America, and the world, is forever diminished. It is time he realize this and acknowledge our recovery begins with his resignation as president. It is the right thing to do."

Hawley and Duncan had supported Trump's Afghanistan withdrawal plan and pushed Biden to follow through with it — only to now call on Biden to resign.

While Thursday was the deadliest single day of the war in Afghanistan since 2011, according to the New York Times, American troops have died in the conflict every year since it began nearly 20 years ago.

In 2020, for example, 11 American troops were killed in the war, while 23 died in 2019, according to Defense Department data.

Republicans never called on Trump to resign for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic either. By the time he left office, 400,000 people had died in the United States from COVID-19.

Biden expressed deep remorse for the deaths of the American troops who died trying to evacuate American citizens and Afghan allies who helped the United States during the 20-year conflict.

"These American service members who gave their lives — it's an overused word, but it's totally appropriate — they were heroes," Biden said in remarks from the White House Thursday evening. "Heroes who have been engaged in a dangerous, selfless mission to save the lives of others."

He vowed retribution against the terrorists whose attack killed the troops and Afghans who were trying to leave the country.

"To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay," Biden said. "I will defend our interests and our people with every measure at my command."

More than 110,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan since late July, according to a White House official. The vast majority — or 105,000 — have been evacuated since August 14.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Opposing Masks And Vaccines, Ghoulish Greene Chirps: ‘We Can’t Live Forever’

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) said on Wednesday in response to the recent surge in COVID-19 infections, "We're human, we can't live forever, we are going to catch all kinds of diseases and illnesses and other viruses and we get hurt sometimes."

Greene's comments came during an interview on the Real America's Voice network program The Water Cooler.

Greene also said, "I don't think the FDA should approve a vaccine that doesn't seem to be that effective ... yes, the waiting rooms get full, but guess what? The waiting rooms are full of all kinds of things. Not just COVID. You know, car accidents, trauma, other illnesses, cancer and so forth."

Multiple scientific studies have shown that the vaccines available against the coronavirus are effective in stopping its transmission.

And data provided by state medical offices has shown that hospital beds are increasingly being occupied by COVID patients, particularly by people who had not been vaccinated.

On Tuesday, Rep. Greene was once again suspended from Twitter after using her account to make false claims about COVID-19. In an August 9 tweet, Greene wrote, "These vaccines are failing & do not reduce the spread of the virus & neither do masks" in violation of Twitter's terms of service, which prohibit transmitting misinformation about topics like the outbreak.

It's the fourth time her account has been suspended.

From the Aug. 11 edition of Real America's Voice's The Water Cooler:

MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE: I don't think the FDA should approve a vaccine that doesn't seem to be that effective, especially with COVID-19 raging all over the country, at least that's what the media tells us every single day.

I talked to local hospitals here in my district and here in my state. Yes, the waiting rooms get full, but guess what? The waiting rooms are full of all kinds of things, not just COVID. You know, car accidents, trauma, other illnesses, cancer, and so forth.

But they're seeing about 30% of those numbers being COVID cases. So while the news tries to tell us the hospitals are slam-packed with COVID, that's just not the case. Everyone needs to get back down, back down to common sense and remember that, you know, we're human, we can't live forever, we are going to catch all kinds of diseases and illnesses and other viruses and we get hurt sometimes.

So I'm all for, let's be rational with this, let's be careful, let's be cautious, and let's not turn into an authoritarian regime that forces shots in arms of people that don't want it.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Republican Legislators Silent On New ‘Code Red’ UN Climate Report

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

A new report on Monday from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations group dedicated to climate science, warns that drastic and immediate effort is needed to slow climate change. Congressional Republicans are simply ignoring it.

A review of social media posts by House and Senate Republicans on Monday found zero mentions of the report or its findings. Only two lawmakers even mentioned the climate, mocking efforts to protect it.

The Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis report, the sixth assessment by the international body, relied on more than 14,000 studies. It reached the "unequivocal" conclusion that humans are inducing global warming and that it can "have profound consequences for the world's social, economic, and natural systems."

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres urged immediate action to limit warming in the face of a "code red for humanity."

"If we combine forces now, we can avert climate catastrophe," he predicted. "But, as today's report makes clear, there is no time for delay and no room for excuses."

Several Democratic lawmakers seized on the report to urge the U.S. to take immediate action.

"Today's new @IPCC_CH report makes clear that acting on climate can't wait," tweeted Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. "Democrats promised bold climate action—and we're making it a vital part of infrastructure legislation."

"Climate action is coming, because it must," agreed Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz.

"Today's IPCC report on climate change is an urgent call to action. We must take climate action now," wrote New Mexico Rep. Melanie Stansbury, adding that in her state, "we already know this urgency—it's time to act!"

Much of New Mexico is facing a dense layer of smoke from the massive wildfires currently burning in California — which experts say are being fueled by climate change.

But congressional Republicans — most of whom deny the science that humans are causing climate change — said nothing.

The lone GOP mentions of the climate on Monday came from Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Iowa Rep. Ashley Hinson. Both mentioned it in the context of opposing Democratic proposals to address the environment.

Hinson bashed "out of control spending by the far-left" that would fund "a civilian climate corps."

Greene warned that Democratic proposals to promote electric vehicles are really just a scheme to "enslave America to China."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

In Leaked Video, Greene Hints At Assassinating Vaccination Surveyors

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

QAnon Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene is at it again, as evidenced by a leaked video of the Georgia representative's appearance at a Republican women's event in Alabama. As per the video, Greene suggests that Alabama residents would shoot President Joe Biden's "police state friends" if they went door to door asking if residents had received their COVID-19 vaccinations and taking down their names, family names, address, cell phone number, and "probably" social security number, as reported by AL.com. So yes, it's her usual conspiracy theory hysteria—and then some.

"What they don't know is in the South, we all love our Second Amendment rights," Greene told the audience at the Alabama Federation of Republican Women event on July 23, who responded with cheers. "And we're not big on strangers showing up on our front door, are we? They might not like the welcome they get." Her framing for this bizarre and horrifying scenario rested on Alabama's concerningly low vaccination rate.

You can watch some of this leaked video here, as shared on Twitter.

"We all love our Second Amendment rights," Greene stated, as reported by the Alabama Political Reporter. "And we don't like the federal government coming on our property to tell us what to do. You have HIPAA rights and you do not have tell your medical information and you can tell them to get off your front porch and get off your front lawn."

Somehow, Greene's shocking statements did not end there. Greene discussed a range of opinions with the crowd including communism, Dr. Anthony Fauci, reproductive health, trans rights, and, of course, holding barbeques during the pandemic. She reminded the audience Biden "takes" his paycheck but that Donald Trump didn't.

In speaking to the crowd, Greene reminded the group she's a supporter of Trump and that she continues to believe he won the 2020 presidential election (Trump did not win, of course). She told the group "We have got to take out the trash in Washington," and mentioned firing Dr. Fauci, impeaching Biden, and expelling Rep. Maxine Waters.

Greene flung out conspiracy theories, including alleging that the coronavirus had not only been developed in a lab in Wuhan but that Fauci knew and concealed this information. "This man sent your dollars and my dollars to the Wuhan lab," Greene spewed, alleging that Democrats "protect" Fauci as people die all over the world. She painted a surreal picture of Fauci getting to watch the virus spread from a "front-row seat" and framed it as his "experiment."

Perhaps the scariest part? The crowd reacted with cheers and applause.

She also said parents should be able to choose whether or not their children wear masks or receive the vaccine, and suggested that Democrats wearing masks is mere virtue signaling.

Mind you, for the QAnon congresswoman, much of this isn't surprising. As Daily Kos has covered, Greene compared COVID-19 vaccinations to the Holocaust and to Nazi experiments. She's suggested vaccines are merely a "political tool" to control people. Greene has been booted from her House committee assignments after downplaying the insurrection on Jan. 6 and endlessly promoting the conspiracy theory that Trump actually won the election (again, he did not). She's also suggested the Sandy Hook and Parkland mass shootings were staged. Surprising absolutely no one at this point, she's even a 9/11 truther.

Greene is dangerous, and her rhetoric and conspiracy theories really might get someone harmed, if not killed. It's not just that Greene is a Republican, or that her views are abhorrent and non-inclusive, but her platform and message are legitimately concerning for the safety of people in general, and especially Democrats.

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