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Tag: ron johnson

'Self-Serving Millionaire' Johnson Targets Medicare And Social Security

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has suggested that he believes federal programs like Medicare and Social Security should be included in annual budget discussions; an initiative that could ultimately threaten to impact the lives of millions of benefit recipients.

On Tuesday, August 2, the Republican lawmaker made his remarks during an appearance on "The Regular Joe Show." During the discussion, show host Joe Giganti asked Johnson about the PACT Act — which was passed to provide aid for veterans who suffered from exposure to toxic burn pits — as well as the debates surrounding discretionary and mandatory spending.

The Wisconsin lawmaker, who is currently campaigning for a third Senate term, admitted that he seeks to shift the full federal budget toward discretionary spending. The proposed change would include Social Security and Medicare, programs he believes need to be re-evaluated and restructured.

"Defense spending has always been discretionary," Johnson said. "VA spending is discretionary. What's mandatory are things like Social Security and Medicare. If you qualify for the entitlement you just get it no matter what the cost. And our problem in this country is that more than 70 percent of our federal budget, of our federal spending, is all mandatory spending. It's on automatic pilot. It never ... you just don't do proper oversight. You don't get in there and fix the programs going bankrupt. It's just on automatic pilot.

"What we ought to be doing is we ought to turn everything into discretionary spending so that it's all evaluated so that we can fix problems or fix programs that are broken that are going to be going bankrupt," he said.

Johnson also insisted that "as long as things are on automatic pilot we just continue to pile up debt, mortgage our kids' future, this massive debt burden, combined with this massive deficit spending that sparked this inflation that's wiping out people's wage gains, making it impossible for them to make ends meet. Again, this didn't just happen."

"The fact that you're struggling economically it's because of Democrat governance and Democrat policies in the federal government that is spending way more money than it should and doing things that never was even envisioned by our founding fathers to be doing."

However, Johnson's Democratic election opponent, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D), argues otherwise. In a new statement, he pushed back against Johnson's remarks criticizing him for his stance.

“Self-serving, multimillionaire senator Ron Johnson wants to strip working people of the Social Security and Medicare they’ve earned. Wisconsinites pay into Social Security through a lifetime of hard work, and they’re counting on this program and Medicare – but Ron Johnson just doesn't care,” Barnes said in a statement.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also offered her perspective via Twitter. "While [POTUS] and congressional Democrats fight for the Inflation Reduction Act, which would let Medicare negotiate lower drug prices, congressional Republicans like @SenRonJohnson want to put Medicare on the chopping block. That would devastate families."

Despite his remarks, Johnson's spokesperson Alexa Henning has also responded to the backlash insisting the Republican lawmaker seeks to keep both programs financially stable.

"The Senator’s point was that without fiscal discipline and oversight typically found with discretionary spending, Congress has allowed the guaranteed benefits for programs like Social Security and Medicare to be threatened," Henning said in a statement.

"This must be addressed by Congress taking its responsibilities seriously to ensure that seniors don’t need to question whether the programs they depend on remain solvent. As he said, we need a process to save these programs and no one is doing anything to save them long-term. We just continue piling up debt, mortgaging our children's future, and putting these programs at risk."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

GOP Fears Its Mediocre Senate Candidates Will Ruin Midterm Campaign

After months of sharpening their knives in anticipation of the midterms, Republicans' glee has turned gloomy as the election cycle's contours shift.

That is particularly true in the Senate, where a several-point post-Roe bump for Democrats in the generic ballot is perhaps the least of Republicans' worries. The main problem is that Republicans are saddled with subpar, Trumpian candidates in the most critical Senate races at a time when Donald Trump's star appears to be falling.

On background, one GOP strategist warned of "massive problems on the candidate front.” On the record, veteran GOP operative Kevin Madden offered a more tempered view: “There are warning signs that some of these candidates are not as strong as they could be given the opportunity at hand."

Take Trump's hand-picked candidate in Georgia, the verbally challenged former football star Herschel Walker, where the National Republican Senatorial Committee is already trying to perform an intervention, according to The Washington Post.

The Senate GOP campaign arm recently installed several trusted Republican operatives to help right Walker's ship, including veteran strategist Gail Gitcho as a senior adviser, Chip Lake as a consultant, and Brett O’Donnell, the party’s "most celebrated debate prep strategist," according to the Post.

O'Donnell's in for a treat with Walker, who is making a strong bid for the most consistently incoherent candidate on the trail in modern memory.

Walker's latest triumph was dumbing down the climate change debate by 'splaining how America is cleaning up China's air quality.

"Since we don’t control the air, our good air decide to float over to China bad air. So when China get our good air, their bad air gotta move. So, it moves over to our good air space. And now, we gotta clean that back up," Walker clarified. Got that?

It doesn't help that Walker's staff was reportedly blindsided by the discovery that the candidate fathered three children he had never publicly acknowledged. But Walker's biggest deficit appears to be that his campaign doesn’t trust him to ... well ... talk.

When Georgia conservative radio host Erick Erickson invited Walker on his show for a one-on-one, hour-long chat, the campaign declined because aides didn't want him going "free form" for an entire hour, per the Post.

“I don’t know anyone who has confidence in the campaign including people on the campaign. He doesn’t have standard candidate discipline,” Erickson said. “He just doesn’t have a deep grasp of the issues nor really the desire to learn those issues."

Senate Republicans are also haunted by flashbacks from the 2010 and 2012 cycles, when wackadoodle GOP candidates doomed their chances of regaining control of the upper chamber.

In Ohio, Trump-backed GOP Senate nominee J.D. Vance has compared abortion to slavery, saying they had both "distorted" American society.

“There’s something comparable between abortion and slavery, and that while the people who obviously suffer the most are those subjected to it, I think it has this morally distorting effect on the entire society,” Vance said in an interview with the Catholic Current last October. “I think that’s one of the underappreciated facts about abortion," Vance added.

Vance's Democratic challenger, Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, called the comparison "absolutely disgusting" in a tweet about the remarks.

“We cannot let him anywhere near the Senate," added Ryan, who has pledged to end the filibuster in order to codify abortion protections into federal law. On Friday, the Ryan campaign announced that it hauled in an eye-popping $9.1 million in the second quarter.

In Pennsylvania, TV huckster Dr. Mehmet Oz quickly fell behind the Democratic Senate nominee, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who has been recovering from a stroke he suffered in mid-May. Early polling last month showed Fetterman leading Oz by 9 points.

Fetterman is expected to return to the campaign trail within weeks. In the meantime, Fetterman has been pounding Oz for being a carpetbagger from New Jersey.

Even GOP incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin isn’t exactly on a glide path to reelection this fall.

Though some election analysts have just begun to recalibrate their predictions in this post-Roe environment, Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg doesn't view abortion as the only driving force favoring Democrats.

For the past two cycles, he says, nothing and no one have galvanized a coalition of voters to vote against Republicans more than Trump and the MAGA movement have. Rosenberg expects November to follow in similar fashion.

“The question is, are there forces in the election more powerful than the disappointment in Biden?” posited Rosenberg. “The answer is yes, and that is opposition and fear for MAGA, which is the thing that has driven the last two elections.”

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Ron Johnson Comically Flubs Attempt To Smear Biden (VIDEO)

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), whose involvement in former President Donald Trump's coup to overthrow the federal government and ensuing insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, 2021 has recently come to light, appeared on the right-wing media network Real America's Voice on Thursday and pushed conspiracy theories about President Joe Biden.

Stumbling over his words, Johnson accused Biden of facilitating purported behaviors and activities for his son Hunter, whom Republicans frequently invoke when they need a distraction. Johnson then suggested that Biden had concurrently run a global human trafficking network during last year's military withdrawal from Afghanistan.

"I'm highly concerned that Joe Biden is comprised," Johnson stammered (presumably meaning to say 'compromised'). "The fact that he might have funded his son's use of, potentially, escorts in part of a sex scandal – a global sex scandal, sex, uh, operation – is also troubling."

Watch below via Ron Filipkowski:

The rumors proffered by Johnson, which have also been peddled by Donald Trump Junior, are false, and have been debunked by reputable fact-checkers.

Johnson's remarks ignited social media, where observers were dumbfounded.

Johnson's struggle to make his case was telling, users noted.

Johnson is currently vying for a third term in the Senate. Recent polls indicate that while he leads a handful of GOP challengers, he is trailing Democratic candidates who want to flip his seat. One of them is Wisconsin's incumbent Democratic Governor Tony Evers.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Ron Johnson Has Opposed Every Gun Safety Measure

Voters might not know it from Sen. Ron Johnson's congressional or campaign issue webpages, but the Wisconsin Republican has spent his two terms in the Senate opposing virtually every gun safety proposal that has been introduced. Last month, he even opposed the bipartisan compromise gun bill that passed in the wake of the mass shooting in May at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Johnson was one of 34 Republican senators who voted against even debating the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a compromise package designed to improve background checks on would-be gun purchasers under age 21, prevent convicted domestic abusers from acquiring firearms, and provide funding for states that opt to adopt red flag laws to temporarily disarm people judged to be a danger to themselves or others. The bill became law over their objections.

It won support from every Democratic senator and even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. But Johnson denounced it as "flawed gun legislation."

"The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is a classic example of Washington dysfunction," he said in a June 23 press release explaining his vote in opposition. "Negotiated by a 'gang' with no committee process and no ability to offer amendments, billions in spending with a phantom pay for, and provisions that ignore constitutional rights."

Despite promising not to seek a third term in the Senate, Johnson is currently doing so anyway. Polls show Johnson faces an uphill battle, with among the lowest approval ratings of any incumbent senator in the country. The Democratic primary will be held Aug. 9 and will determine his general election opponent out of a field of eight candidates.

The issues pages on Johnson's Senate and campaign websites omit any mention of his positions on gun violence. His spokespersons did not respond to an inquiry for this story, but a review of his past comments and votes makes clear he has opposed virtually every proposed measure to curb gun violence.

Johnson has opposed multiple efforts to make sure that everyone goes through a background check before obtaining a firearm.

In a May 5 ABC News interview, he argued that there was no need to have universal background checks because some gun purchases already require them. "We have background checks. What we ought to do is enforce the laws that are on the books," he said, seemingly contradicting his own longstanding efforts to roll back existing state gun restrictions.

In September 2019, he told constituents that background checks could criminalize people who disobey them, and some people might ignore them. "My reluctance is: I don't want to turn into a criminal some guy up in northern Wisconsin who transfers a gun to a friend," Johnson said. "You can pass all the background checks. It's not going to solve this. It probably won't even stop one of these."

"It doesn't take a whole lot of imagination to realize if someone is going to break the law and slaughter a fellow human being, they're not going to have a whole lot of problem violating gun laws either. We have 400 million guns. People are going to be able to get them," he added.

He voted against a 2013 proposal by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA), which would have required a background check prior to any online or gun show firearms purchases, even though their compromise proposal explicitly exempted transfers between family and friends.

Johnson also voted in 2017 to block a federal rule to stop gun purchases by people adjudicated to be mentally unable to handle their own finances.

In August 2019, Johnson told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that legislation to stop sales of semi-automatic assault weapons was also unnecessary. After questioning whether semi-automatic rifles are even assault weapons, he said he was against banning them because "You can create a lot of carnage with not using a gun. People attack crowds with trucks." (Truck drivers typically are required to obtain a license.)

Johnson voted against proposals in 2013 to ban the sale of those assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

During a 2012 interview, he told Fox News that he believes large ammunition-feeding devices are a constitutional right. According to a HuffPost report at the time, Johnson told the network, "People will talk about unusually lethal weapons, that could be potentially a discussion you could have. But the fact of the matter is there are 30-round magazines that are just common all over the place. You simply can't keep these weapons out of the hands of sick, demented individuals who want to do harm. And when you try and do it, you restrict our freedom."

In 1996, an amendment proposed by then-Rep. Jay Dickey (R-AR) was included in the appropriations bill for the following year that stipulated "none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control." A 2012 appropriations law similarly prohibited the National Institutes of Health from researching ways to curb gun violence. In practice, this meant that for years the federal agencies were blocked from studying how to prevent the tens of thousands of gun deaths each year in the United States.

Dickey, who lost his seat in the 2000 election, told NPR in 2015 that he regretted that result of his amendment and that more research was needed.

But when Congress finally lifted the prohibition in December 2019, as part of a broader budget agreement, Johnson was one of just 23 senators to vote no on the bipartisan package. He complained in a press release that "the price for funding necessary programs was simply too high to obtain my overall support."

In April 2019, during a discussion with high school students in Columbus, Wisconsin, Johnson was asked why he did not support modernizing gun laws as other countries have successfully done to curb gun deaths.

"Australia and Japan took away gun rights and gun violence in those countries went way down," a student said.

Johnson responded, "Those are different cultures. I support our rights to have guns and defend ourselves."

During his 2010 and 2016 campaigns, the National Rifle Association endorsed Johnson and gave him its highest ratings. In the later race, the group praised his "proven record of support for our Second Amendment freedoms." Its endorsement release noted his agreement with the group on basically every issue: opposing "anti-gun Supreme Court justices" and "anti-gun bureaucrats," supporting "right-to-carry," and opposing background checks.

With its endorsement, the group also invested heavily in his campaigns. In addition to giving him at least $13,400 in political action committee contributions, the NRA spent more than $1 million in dark money to support him and attack his Democratic opponent.

The anti-gun violence group Giffords filed sued two NRA affiliates and a number of campaign committees in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in November 2021, charging: "Over the past seven years, the National Rifle Association ("the NRA") has engaged in an ongoing scheme to evade campaign finance regulations by using a series of shell corporations to illegally but surreptitiously coordinate advertising with at least seven candidates for federal office." The suit is still working its way through the courts. An NRA spokesperson dismissed the suit, telling NPR it was a "misguided" attack and a "premeditated abuse of the public by our adversaries."

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Johnson Is America's Most Unpopular Senator (Except For McConnell)

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) is deeply unpopular among his own constituents, according to a new poll released Monday. In fact, the only current senator with a lower approval rating is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has infamously blocked hundreds of popular pieces of legislation.

According to a Morning Consult Political Intelligence survey of all 50 states, just 37 percent of registered Wisconsin voters approve of Johnson, while 51 percent disapprove. The remaining 12 percent said they did not know or had no opinion.

This made him the second-most unpopular senator out of the 100 currently serving, after only McConnell; Kentucky voters disapprove of him by a 60 percent -- 33 percent margin.

Though Johnson's 37 percent approval rating in the poll is dismal, it is actually slightly higher than in other recent polling. Some recent surveys put his approval at 35 percent, while a March Marquette University Law School poll found him at just 33 percent support.

The Republican is currently seeking reelection to a third term, breaking a promise to serve no more than two.

He has refused to take responsibility for his unpopularity, claiming in January that it is all the news media's fault. "First of all, I'm not a polarizing figure. It's just that people in the legacy media call me one and all of a sudden, you become one. I'm not a polarizing figure at all. I'm just trying to convey the truth. I've done a really good job as Wisconsin's United States senator," he told Milwaukee television station WISN.

But in fact, he has been quite polarizing.

Johnson has come under fire in recent months for his votes to cut taxes for himself and his very rich donors while backing "most of" National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Rick Scott's 11-point "Rescue America" proposal — which includes a large tax hike for more than 100 million lower-income and retired Americans — and fighting against efforts to make child care more affordable. In October, Johnson said that the top 1% of earners already pay "pretty close to a fair share."

He also has angered Wisconsin workers by refusing to even try to bring home good jobs. He backed a decision by Oshkosh Defense — a large Wisconsin-based manufacturing company and one of his largest campaign funders — to locate over 1,000 jobs in Spartanburg, South Carolina, instead of his state. Johnson said it was not his "job is not to micromanage a private company" and that putting the jobs in a different state would actually "benefit Wisconsin, Oshkosh, and Oshkosh workers."

"It's not like we don't have enough jobs here in Wisconsin," he told reporters in February. "I think when using federal tax dollars, you want to spend those in the most efficient way, and if it's more efficient, more effective to spend those in other states, I don't have a real problem with that."

Johnson has also refused to fight to locate jobs in the United States instead of abroad. Last month, he opposed federal funds to help the American microchip industry compete against China, indicating that he did not want to "have government picking the winners and losers."

President Joe Biden narrowly carried Wisconsin in the 2020 election. The Cook Political Report lists the 2022 Senate race as a toss-up.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Sen. Ron Johnson's Solution For Child Care Crisis Is Predictably Awful

Sen. Ron Johnson thinks he has a solution to the labor crisis in child care. Typically of Johnson, his proposed solution craps in equal measure on child care workers, women receiving public assistance, and Wisconsin state law.

“When you have mothers on different kinds of public assistance, to me, an elegant solution would be, why don’t we have them help staff child care for other mothers?” Johnson asked on a recent telephone town hall. “I think there’s an imaginative solution here.”

It’s not that imaginative. Women taking care of other people’s children, formally or informally, as a way to earn a little income while caring for their own children at the same time, is not a new idea or practice, and Wisconsin banned state subsidy payments from going to child care providers where employees’ children received care in 2009, because it’s not always a good idea. (Though it can be! It’s just complicated and there need to be guardrails.) Johnson even acknowledged some of the possible problems, saying, “I understand, you know, having a mother in charge of a bunch of kids plus her own kids, she may not provide the care to the other kids.” But he still wanted to be “imaginative” about a thing that’s been done basically every way you could imagine.

Beyond Johnson’s lack of imagination, there are big problems on both sides of the equation here. Children in daycare deserve better than people who have been forced into the job without training or motivation. Early childhood education is a job that involves knowledge and training and skill, and being a mother does not automatically equip a person to care for multiple children who are not your own. Unless Johnson is envisioning a major early childhood education training system to equip women on welfare to be skilled, high-quality caregivers for young children (he’s not), he’s suggesting the creation of really inadequate care environments.

On the other side, women on welfare deserve better than to be shoved into a demanding, low-paid profession simply because they are in need of that type of service for their own kids. Many are unemployed for very good reasons beyond having children. Work requirements more generally have been shown not to reduce poverty. And giving employers essentially a pool of semi-forced labor is going to make jobs worse for everyone.

A Johnson spokesperson insisted that he was just suggesting something that already kinda-sorta happens. “His suggestion was to look at Wisconsin’s law that prevents a child care provider from receiving funds if an employee’s child receives care,” Alexa Hennings said. “He said he understood why that law is in place but suggested we reevaluate it to see if there’s some way to create a win for children and parents. Why should child care centers be different than schools that allow teachers to teach at government-funded schools where their children attend?”

So many reasons. Most child care centers are much smaller than most K-12 schools, increasing the likelihood that a child will be cared for by its own mother. He is not talking about pushing anyone into K-12 teaching for the purposes of getting schooling for their children. Kids attend schools where their parents teach usually when their parents teach in the local school, rather than there being a system set up to put parents and children into the same schools or even classrooms. It’s a blisteringly stupid comparison.

Two of Johnson’s Democratic Senate challengers responded sharply to his idea. “We have a full-blown child care crisis and a record number of moms getting knocked out of the workforce,” said state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski. “There are common-sense solutions to these problems, but Ron Johnson’s ‘imaginative’ idea would punish moms and drag us back to the 1950s. I have news for this guy: We’re not going back.”

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes said, “The pandemic has effectively set women’s participation in the workforce back a generation, and Ron Johnson’s solution to the child care crisis—on Equal Pay Day no less—is to add to their burden.”

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Ron Johnson Scheming To Repeal Obamacare In 2023

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said Monday that if his party regains control of Congress in Washington, D.C., it will again push to take away health insurance from tens of millions of Americans.

In an interview with the right-wing website Breitbart — first flagged by the progressive research group American Bridge 21st Century — Johnson was asked what Republicans would do if they win back the majority in the November 2022 midterms.

The second-term Republican replied by noting that as long as President Joe Biden is in the White House, they will be unable to pass much legislation — but could use the next two years "to stop any further slouching toward Gomorrah," a reference to the late extreme right-wing jurist Robert Bork's 1996 book blaming the decline of America on liberalism, and "any future slide toward socialism."

Johnson then noted that if Republicans can win back the White House in 2024 and maintain control of Congress, they need to have a plan in place to "make good on what we established as our priorities."

He specifically cited getting rid of the Affordable Care Act, enacted in 2010 and commonly known as Obamacare, saying, "For example, if we were going to repeal and replace Obamacare — OK, I think we still need to fix our health care system — we need to have the plan ahead of time so that once we get in office, we can implement it immediately, not knock around like we did last time and fail."

Like many other Republicans first elected in the 2010 tea party wave, Johnson ran originally on a promise that he would "repeal and replace" Obamacare.

"Ron will vote to repeal the Health Care Bill and replace it with market-based solutions that will include: portability, malpractice reform, mandate reduction, insurance purchase across state lines, lower costs, and a safety net for those with pre-existing conditions," the issues section of his 2010 campaign site noted.

Donald Trump ran for president in 2016 on an explicit but vague promise to "immediately" replace Obamacare with something "terrific" that would guarantee health insurance coverage to every single American.

Without any actual plan to do that, Trump in 2017 signed on to a congressional GOP health care plan that the Congressional Budget Office said would have kicked 23 million people off of their insurance. Johnson repeatedly backed Trump's proposals, but the Republican majority in the Senate could not muster the needed 51 votes for any of multiple attempts to repeal Obamacare.

Johnson vowed in 2017 that he would not give up on finding a way to get rid of Obamacare. But by 2018, the once-unpopular law had become significantly more favorably viewed by the American public, and Republicans began to scrub their websites of any repeal-and-replace language.

Johnson's own campaign issues page no longer mentions Obamacare at all, and his old "Real Reforms for Health Care" page is now gone.

As of last summer, Department of Health and Human Services data showed that about 31 million Americans now receive health insurance coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation's tracking poll, as of October the law enjoyed 58% public approval and only 41% disapproval.

But Obamacare's success and popularity have not deterred Johnson, whose own approval ratings are in the mid- to low 30s, from his quest to get rid of it.

Johnson's latest comments come just weeks after he said that he did not think affordable child care was society's problem.

The Wisconsin Republican, who in 2018 had an estimated net worth of more than $39 million, told a reporter in January, "People decide to have families and become parents. That's something they need to consider when they make that choice. I've never really felt it was society's responsibility to take care of other people's children."

"If you're proposing that the federal government incur even more deficit spending to provide child care for parents? I mean, I don't see how that's a solution at all," he added.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Ron Johnson Compares Anti-Vax Convoy To Holocaust Victims

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) on Monday compared a convoy of anti-vaccine truckers in Canada to those exterminated by the Nazis during the Holocaust and falsely claimed that the self-named "Freedom Convoy" had acted lawfully to stand up to "tyrants."

In a Wisconsin conservative radio show appearance, Johnson told host Vicki McKenna that "very peaceful" protests are the best way to fight COVID-19 safety measures, and said that that was "the hallmark of what happened in Canada."

He claimed that his wife had seen a report that the truckers "were honking their horns, it was kinda disturbing the peace, [and so] they stopped honking their horns. Don't do anything unlawful." In reality, it took a court order to get hundreds of angry truckers to stop blaring their horns as they intentionally blocked traffic in the nation's capital city of Ottawa.

"I thought the conduct of the truckers, the Canadians up there, was just exemplary," Johnson continued. "That's what you need to keep doing. Again, it's not gonna go away. I'm hearing a truck convoy in the U.S. — we'll see what comes of that. We'll see how the tyrants react to it."

He then suggested that the Canadian government's attempts to disburse the convoy were analogous to the genocide of millions of people under Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime:

I recently downloaded Martin Niemöller's famous quote: "First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak [out] because I was not a socialist" — and you know how it goes on — and "then they came for the trade unionists" and "I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me." I think I heard one of the Canadian protesters paraphrase that. People are noticing. People are awakening.

The group of truck drivers upset about a variety of Canada's rules aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 — including a rule that unvaccinated truckers quarantine for a few days after reentering the country following travel in the United States — formed a convoy to block highways, bridges, and border crossings in Ottawa and other parts of Canada.

Contrary to Johnson's claims that the group's behavior has been "exemplary" and lawful, its weeks-long protests were anything but.

Indeed police arrested 11 protesters last Monday blocking a border crossing in Alberta, seizing a "cache of firearms with a large quantity of ammunition," apparently for use in a possible confrontation with law enforcement.

Other convoy members forced small businesses to shut down, caused damage to government vehicles, tried to make an Ottawa homeless shelter feed them, impeded the nation's supply chain and economy, waved Nazi flags, and even desecrated Canada's National War Memorial.

Even Conservative officials in Canada criticized the unpopular demonstrations and urged the convoys to go home. But Johnson and other Republicans in the United States have been cheering them on and even egging on anti-vaccine extremists at home to follow the Canadian truckers' example and shut down American supply chains and businesses.

Johnson is but the latest in a growing string of GOP politicians comparing public health efforts to address a pandemic that has killed more than 920,000 Americans with the Holocaust.

Last summer, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene attacked face mask and vaccine requirements as similar to "Nazi practices." After widespread criticism, she apologized for her "offensive" and "hurtful" analogy — and then three weeks later likened President Joe Biden's efforts to make vaccines available door-to-door for those who wanted them to Nazi "Brownshirts."

Around the same time, Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert belittled public health workers offering free in-home vaccination as "Needle Nazis."

In January, Ohio Rep. Warren Davidson had to apologize for comparing a vaccination requirement for Washington, D.C., bars, and restaurants to a "Gesundheitspass." German for "health pass," Nazis used the term as part of its "racial hygiene" requirement.

The Auschwitz Memorial in Poland condemned analogies of this type in December, writing, "Exploiting of the tragedy of all people who between 1933-45 suffered, were humiliated, tortured & murdered by the totalitarian regime of Nazi Germany to argue against vaccination that saves human lives is a sad symptom of moral and intellectual decay."

In a separate interview on Monday, Johnson told Family Research Council President Tony Perkins that by continuing to treat the pandemic as a public health emergency — even as the coronavirus kills about 2,000 Americans each day — Biden is keeping the American people in a "perpetual state of fear."

Johnson claimed that the federal government, pharmaceutical industry, news media, and tech companies are all part of a nefarious "COVID cartel" that has "cost hundreds of thousands of people their lives" by not embracing unproven treatments.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent