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Tag: thomas massie

'Third-Rate Grandstander': Even Trump Wanted Massie Tossed Out Of The GOP

Some days, it’s the little things, the small absurdities in the news that make a person wonder if there’s any real hope for American democracy.

Consider, for example, the Christmas greeting sent out by Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, featuring the Republican congressman’s entire family—husband, wife, two daughters, and three sons—brandishing semi-automatic rifles and grinning into the camera like some latter-day Bonnie and Clyde. Or “Y’all Qaeda” as somebody derisively dubbed the happy family on Twitter.

There’s a Christmas tree in the background, and a cheery holiday message: "Merry Christmas!, ps. Santa, please bring ammo."

Ho, ho, ho!

This only a few days after a disturbed 15 year-old in Michigan murdered four high school classmates with a semi-automatic handgun that his parents gave him as an early Christmas gift.

Oh yeah, this too: Rep. Massie himself appears to be fondling an actual machine gun, presumably to let everybody know who’s the head honcho of this hardy brood of crackpots. None of whom, you can bet your own personal Colt .45, has ever heard a shot fired in anger, nor—prayerfully—ever will.

Somebody who has experienced actual combat, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), an Iraq War veteran, put it this way: "I'm pro second amendment, but this isn't supporting the right to keep and bear arms, this is a gun fetish."

My sentiments exactly. Current right-wing idolatry of firearms as totemic objects, it seems to me, signifies arrested development in those like Rep. Massie who make a spectacle of brandishing them. You can’t hunt or go target-shooting with a heavy-caliber automatic weapon. They’re useless for self-defense or for anything other than military purposes. In civilian hands, they’re essentially masturbatory. Basically codpieces.

Speaking of arrested development, you may not be astonished to learn that Rep. Massie’s Facebook page identifies him as a “Libertarian,” that is, as somebody whose intellectual development stalled at the “You’re not the boss of me” stage of early adolescence. The congressman, whose district stretches along the Ohio River in rural northern Kentucky, has made rather a specialty of solitary grandstanding.

Back in 2013, Massie was the only congressman to vote against the “Undetectable Firearms Act,” a bill to prevent non-metallic weapons from being smuggled aboard airplanes. (Or the U.S. Capitol, for that matter.) His was the only vote against the “Stolen Valor Act” punishing people falsely posing as war heroes. In 2017, he cast the lone vote against sanctioning North Korea. He’s also provided solitary votes against helping to build Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile defense system; and supporting Hong Kong’s democracy.

Trained as a mechanical engineer at MIT—just to show you—he derides climatology as “pseudoscience” and rejects all efforts to do anything about it. Regarding the Covid plague, he has argued fiercely against mask mandates. He and Marjorie Taylor Greene, to give readers an idea of the company he keeps, have sued Speaker Nancy Pelosi after being fined for refusing to wear masks on the House floor.

Like Greene, he has compared vaccination mandates to the Holocaust, trivializing the gravest crime in living memory. “There is no authority in the Constitution that authorizes the government to stick a needle in you against your will, [or] force you to wear a face mask,” he once tweeted. “Can you imagine the signers of the Declaration of Independence submitting to any of these things?!”

Better-informed critics quickly cited Constitutional Law 101: "Congress shall have power to…provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States." Others noted that in 1776, Gen. George Washington ordered his army inoculated against smallpox at Valley Forge, no exceptions. Putting down the epidemic proved decisive in the Revolutionary War.

Me, I wondered if Rep. Massie thinks laws requiring him to wear pants constitute government tyranny? Indeed, no less an authority than Donald J. Trump, irritated by a Massie ploy in June 2021, in which he demanded an in-person floor vote delaying a Covid relief bill that had passed 96-0 in the Senate, called him “a third-rate grandstander” who should be drummed out of the Republican Party. Former Sen. John Kerry commented that Massie had "tested positive for being an a**hole."

And yet, the five-term congressman endures, an experienced vaudeville performer and firm fixture in the GOP Clown Caucus, along with such worthies as Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and noted cartoon assassin Paul Gosar (R-AZ.). Me, I’m just glad he’s not from Arkansas, where I live, although we have a couple of districts where his slack-jawed comedy stylings—filing bills to abolish the U.S. Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agency, for example—would definitely play.

He’d have to make up with Trump, however, although abject flattery is all that’s really necessary to win the great man’s favor.

You’d like to think Massie’s grotesque parody of a Christmas card would finish him politically. But then you’d like to think a lot of things.

Republicans Downplay Delta Variant Dangers — And Discourage Vaccination

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Republicans are dismissing concerns that deadly coronavirus variants might bring new spikes as fear-mongering. But they are also discouraging the vaccines that could protect their constituents.

"No one cares about the Delta Variant or any other variant. They are over covid & there is no amount of fear based screaming from the media that will ever force Americans to shut down again," tweeted Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on Monday. "Forced masks and vaccines will cause Dems to lose big. All voters are over covid."

Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie tweeted charts to suggest that the Delta variant, which fueled major case spikes in India and is rapidly becoming the dominant strain of the coronavirus in the United States, is not all that scary.

"Don't let the fearmongers win," demanded Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. "New public England study of delta variant shows 44 deaths out of 53,822 (.08%) in unvaccinated group. Hmmm."

Though less than half of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated and children under age 12 are not yet able to get any coronavirus inoculation, GOP lawmakers have pushed to lift all safety measures.

"Fully vaccinated Americans should be able to return to normal," wroteTennessee Rep. Diane Harshbarger last Monday, urging an end to mask requirements on airplanes.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz agreed, bragging that he had backed legislation to lift the requirement and complaining that "every Dem" on the Commerce Committee voted against it.

"I joined my colleagues in calling on the Biden administration to end mask mandates for vaccinated Americans on planes and public transportation," wrote Wyoming Sen. Cynthia Lummis on Friday. "There'='s simply no science backing up this mandate. Wyoming citizens are ready to get back to life as normal."

After Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top epidemiologist, suggested he would wear a mask in areas with low vaccination rates as an extra precaution, Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas claimed that his "flip-flop is what causes low vaccination rates — Americans feel like they're being lied to."

"I agree w/ @CDCgov, the vaccine is effective against Delta Variant," he added. "Masks not warranted if you're vaccinated."

But while vaccines have drastically reduced coronavirus cases and severity for those who actually get them, they are not 100 percent effective. In Israel, the health ministry reported Sunday that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine was about 64 percent at preventing infection in June — as the Delta variant became increasingly common there.

Contrary to Greene's suggestion that the nation no longer cares about the COVID-19 pandemic, a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released Wednesday found 73 percent of Americans believe "more people need to get the vaccine to help stop the spread" of the virus. Just 22% believe community spread "is so low that there is no need for more people to get the vaccine."

But many Americans are still refusing to get vaccinated — and the divide appears to mirror political leanings. Of the 20 states that met President Joe Biden's target of having 70 percent of their adults at least partially vaccinated by July 4, every one was a state that voted for the Democrat in the 2020 presidential election. The states with the lowest vaccination rates nearly all voted for the Republican.

Making matters worse, some Republican legislators have actively discouraged people from getting vaccinated.

Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin held a news conference last Monday to warn against the very rare side effects of the coronavirus vaccines by highlighting a handful of people who say they were harmed by them.

"But instead of encouraging more people to get vaccinated so we can be rid of this plague once and for all, Johnson has chosen to use his taxpayer-financed megaphone to draw attention to a vanishingly small number of people who believe they suffered a serious side effect," the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's editorial board wrote last Wednesday.

They called him the "most irresponsible representative of Wisconsin citizens since the infamous Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy in the 1950s."

Massie and several of his fellow House Republicans have also opposed efforts to vaccinate all members of the military.

"I've been contacted by members of our voluntary military who say they will quit if the COVID vaccine is mandated," he tweeted Saturday. "I introduced HR 3860 to prohibit any mandatory requirement that a member of the Armed Forces receive a vaccination against COVID-19."

Service members are not allowed to abandon their jobs — doing so during their contract is a crime punishable by up to five years of confinement.

This is not the first time Republicans have minimized the threat of the virus and attacked those trying to curb its spread. Then-President Donald Trump admitted in February 2020 that he knew the coronavirus was deadly and that he mislead the nation intentionally because he "wanted to always play it down."

While the number of daily cases and deaths has dropped significantly since Trump left office, the pandemic is not over. More than 11,000 Americans tested positive for the virus on Monday; almost 200 died.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Far-Right Republicans Introduce Fringe Bill To Fire Fauci

Washington (AFP) - Several Republican lawmakers, eager to blame a US government official for the response to the coronavirus pandemic, introduced a bill Tuesday to fire Anthony Fauci, the face of American efforts to combat Covid-19. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene led a handful of colleagues in announcing the so-called Fire Fauci Act, which would reduce the famed infectious disease expert's government salary to zero and require the Senate to confirm someone to fill his position. Fauci, who has advised seven US presidents, had become a trusted figure in the government's Covid-19 response, ...

Twelve House Republicans Vote Against Honoring Police Who Defended Capitol

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

The House of Representatives easily passed a bill on Tuesday evening to honor the Capitol Police and others who defended the Capitol during the violent assault by a Trumpist mob by awarding them Congressional gold medals. Despite passing with overwhelming bipartisan support, however, the vote was not universal: A dozen Republican members of the House actually voted against the bill.

Those 12 emerge from this vote as a rogues gallery of Congress' worst-of-the-worst. Because, though several hurried out excuses for voting against a bill that did nothing but acknowledge the contributions of police on January 6, the result of the vote was clear: These are people who place the concerns of the insurgents over those of the women and men who were killed or injured defending the nation against an unprecedented assault.

When it came down to it, these 12 Republicans sided with the murderous mob rather than the Capitol Police. So much so that they could not accept a motion of praise for the people who may have saved their lives.

The names of the 12 no-voters are familiar enough that they might as well be called the usual suspects: Andy Biggs, Michael Cloud, Andrew Clyde, Matt Gaetz, Louie Gohmert, Bob Good, Lance Gooden, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Andy Harris, Thomas Massie, John Rose, and Greg Steube.

Some of the 12 came forward with statements that "clarified" their vote. For example, Gohmert didn't like the fact that the the bill honoring the police accurately described the people smashing their way into the Capitol as "armed insurgents." Gohmert did not make it clear whether the objection is that the guns, tasers, bear spray, bats, and spears carried by those invading the Capitol building didn't have enough magazine capacity to really count as weapons, or whether seeking to hang public officials in order to overthrow the government shouldn't count as insurrection. But one way or another, Gohmert was worried that the collection of hostage-seeking jackasses might get their feelings hurt.

Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie expanded on this point. As the Cincinnati Enquirer reports, the Kentucky congressman claimed he was concerned that using the term "insurrection" gave it too much "weight," and this term "could show up in a prosecution." He did not make it clear if this meant he wanted insurgents treated with kid gloves, or if he was concerned that he might be named in such a prosecution.

Calling an insurrection an insurrection was also apparently a line too far for insurrection supporter Andy Harris. He tweeted that he could not support "partisan charged language found in this bill." Language so partisan that the bill had 333 sponsors—over three quarters of the House membership, Republicans included. But then, those others aren't as sensitive as Harris.

And of course, Marjorie Taylor Greene, the new leader of congressional Republicans, could be counted on to provide insight. First, she objected to a phrase describing the Capitol as "a temple of democracy" because … temple. "This Capitol is not a temple," wrote Greene in a Facebook post. "I will not give that a stamp of my approval." Greene will have to wrestle that one out with Thomas Jefferson, who used the phrase after suggesting the Capitol be modeled after the Pantheon in Rome. Then Greene went on to complain that the bill "calls every single person that entered the capitol on Jan. 6 an insurrectionist" (it doesn't, though it could) and fails to call "Antifa or BLM" insurrectionists simply because they didn't invade the Capitol and attempt to overthrow the government.

All of the 12 protested that they would have supported an alternate bill from Gohmert that had language more to their liking. However, as The Washington Post reports, that version did more than omit the "sacrilegious" use of temple and defend the delicate sensibility of white supremacist insurgents; it actually didn't mention the events of January 6 at all.

So these 12 Republicans are perfectly willing to praise the police … theoretically. So long as it doesn't involve the police actually doing anything to their people.

Even Republicans Are Growing Frustrated With Rep. Greene’s Pointless Antics

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) attempted again on Wednesday to send the entire House of Representatives home without legislating. But unlike the two times she tried the legislative maneuver last week, she now appears to have ticked off a number of her GOP colleagues.

At about 9:30 in the morning — before the House could complete consideration of the For the People Act of 2021, a package of voting and election reforms, or the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021 — Greene made a motion to adjourn the House for the day.

The first-term representative said this was "in objection to the Democrats' radical agenda" and done "to let them think about the consequences of their actions."

The roll call vote on her unsuccessful motion wasted about an hour, disrupting the day's deliberations and committee hearings.

Last week, she used the same delay tactic twice to try to adjourn the House during consideration of LGBTQ rights legislation. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) scolded her at the time for "trying to get out of work early." Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-CA) noted that Greene's tactics had impeded a Committee on Foreign Relations markup session and a classified briefing.

House GOP leaders encouraged their members to vote with Greene on Wednesday, according to Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).

But unlike last week, when every House Republican backed her firstmotion to adjourn and all but two voted for her second, 18 Republicans joined a unanimous Democratic caucus to defeat her motion on Wednesday. Those GOP dissenters included Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the embattled House Republican Conference chair.

And based on Greene's angry tweets, a number of GOP members complained to her about disrupting the day's work. "Some GOP members complained to me that I messed up their schedule," she wrote. "I'm not sorry for interrupting fundraising calls & breakfast. GOP voters are tired weak Rs."

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) rejected Greene's arguments, tweeting, "Most of us are able to think about things like legislation without having to stop doing our jobs for the day."

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) also expressed his frustration, tweeting at Greene: "You are so mighty! You must feel powerful making random motions to adjourn that waste taxpayer funds and money."

He mocked the fact that she had all of her committee assignments stripped over her racist, Islamophobic, and antisemitic conduct last month, writing, "Did you know you can also make random motions to adjourn when you are in House Committee hearings? Oh wait..."

But Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), who earned even Donald Trump's enmity last year for his parliamentary obstruction, endorsed Greene's tactics on Wednesday, and suggested that they are her way of retaliating for her punishment.

"Some congressmen are upset they had to interrupt their fundraisers this morning to vote on this," he tweeted. "Maybe they shouldn't have voted to strip her of all committee assignments?"

After losing her committee positions, Greene defiantly said serving on House committees would be "wasting" her time, bragging, "Now I have a lot of free time on my hands so that I can talk to more people and build a huge amount of support."

Instead of doing that, she apparently is just trying to stop anyone else from getting work done.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation

Republicans Put Each Other On Blast As Party Erupts Over Trump

While the 117th Congress began its first working day, every member of the Republican caucus in both houses confronted a moral quandary: Promote Trump and my own ambitions, or defend the Constitution I swore to protect.

The day began with former House Speaker Paul Ryan blasting the efforts of some of his fellow Republicans to overturn a free and fair election.

In a blistering statement, Ryan:

"Efforts to reject the votes of the Electoral College and sow doubt about Joe Biden's victory strike at the foundation of our republic. It is difficult to conceive of a more anti-democratic and anti-conservative act than a federal intervention to overturn the results of state-certified elections and disenfranchise millions of Americans. The Trump campaign had ample opportunity to challenge election results, and those efforts failed from lack of evidence. The legal process was exhausted, and the results were decisively confirmed. The Department of Justice, too, found no basis for overturning the result. If states wish to reform their processes for future elections, that is their prerogative. But Joe Biden's victory is entirely legitimate."
Ryan, who served as Speaker during the first two years of Trump's term, has largely avoided commenting on the news since leaving office, though he did urge soon to be ex-President Trump to accept the results of the election in March, according to The Hill. That was only be the start of a long day that revealed a deepening GOP divide.

Rep. Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican, released a joint statement revealing his concern over some of his colleagues planning to overturn the election on January 6 in a vote that is supposed to be ceremonial.

"We, like most Americans, are outraged at the significant abuses in our election system resulting from the reckless adoption of mail-in ballots and the lack of safeguards maintained to guarantee that only legitimate votes are cast and counted," read Massie's statement, released jointly with several colleges including two who signed the amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to throw out votes in states Trump lost.

"But only states have authority to appoint electors," the letter continued. "Our job on January 6 is to determine whether these are the electors the states sent us, not whether these are the electors the states should have sent us," wrote Massie and his colleagues.




Rep. Chip Roy, a Republican from Texas, signed Massie's statement but took his displeasure at the effort to overturn the election a step further -- by releasing his own statement shredding the hypocrisy of many swing-state colleagues. He made a symbolic but strong statement opposing their seating in the new Congress.

"After all, those representatives [who oppose confirming the electoral vote] were elected through the very same systems -- with the same ballot procedures, with the same signature validations, with the same broadly applied decisions of executive and judicial branch officials-- as were the electors chosen for the President of the United States under the laws of those states, which have become the subject of national controversy," Roy's letter read.



Civil War Erupts Over Trump Inside House GOP Conference

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) demanded that Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) resign from her role as chair of the House Republican Conference, accusing her of not being loyal enough to Donald Trump.

"Liz Cheney has worked behind the scenes (and now in public) against @realDonaldTrump and his agenda. House Republicans deserve better as our Conference Chair. Liz Cheney should step down or be removed," Gaetz tweeted on Tuesday.

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