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Tom Cotton Can't Decide Whether US Should Abandon Or Protect Afghan Refugees

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

In a Tuesday appearance on Fox News, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) slammed the U.S. military's effort to help Afghan refugees, complaining that service members are being used as "nannies and babysitters and daycare operators" while they "should be" focusing on military training.

In mid-July, the Department of Defense announced Operation Allies Refuge, an effort "to support the relocations of interested and eligible Afghan nationals and their immediate families who supported the U.S. Government and applied for a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV)."

The department said at the end of August that it was approved to help up to 50,000 people as part of that mission, "providing essential support at secure locations, where these Afghan citizens and their families can safely complete the necessary steps for residing in the United States."

Conservatives began attacking the operation as reports surfaced this weekend that military bases were preparing for thousands of refugees.

"I've been to the border earlier this year. We saw Border Patrol officers who signed up to be law enforcement actually having to work as nannies and babysitters and daycare operators, watching out for all of the children who are showing up at the border," Cotton said, prompted by Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade, who expressed opposition to the ongoing effort to help refugees. "Now we're impressing soldiers into doing the same thing, when you're right, they should be training."

Cotton also implied that the mission to help refugees is harming U.S. military preparedness. "They should be focusing on the mission of deterring our adversaries, to say nothing of the billions of dollars this is going to cost American taxpayers," he said.

But Cotton and other Republicans have simultaneously criticized Biden for not evacuating enough people. On Thursday, Cotton and other GOP senators sent a letter to the administration demanding accountability for those left behind in Afghanistan, noting, "Our immediate priority is the safety and well-being of American citizens, permanent residents, and allies who were left behind in Afghanistan."

They have also in recent days sought to frame Afghan refugees as potentially dangerous terrorist threats. However, several federal-level and local fficials have confirmed that refugees seeking resettlement in the United States will undergo background checks as well as health screenings.

American military bases have been used as temporary housing for refugees at several points in history. They were used to house anti-communist refugees from Hungary during the Cold War, as well as for over 100,000 Vietnamese who fled Vietnam at the end of the Vietnam War.

Members of the military have expressed their support for the current mission.

"It's an opportunity to make a difference in a situation where it really is necessary: working directly with displaced nationals, helping them settle, and keeping them safe," Lt. Col. Lisa Weaver of the Washington National Guard toldthe Army's official online publication.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Statues Come Down While Barriers To Truth Are Erected

Reprinted with permission from Roll Call

In Charlottesville, Va., where a Unite the Right gathering of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, Lost Cause devotees and other angry history deniers left destruction and death in their path in 2017, there was a different scene this past weekend.

The city removed statues of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, memorials to those who fought on the losing side of a Civil War to maintain the brutal and murderous institution of slavery. They were erected as monuments to white supremacy, not in the 1860s but the 1920s, a Jim Crow threat to Black citizens to "know their place."

Now, as then, there are those opposed to this bit of progress, with arguments that removing the stone idols would mean erasing history, which is ridiculous since that history will never disappear from books, museums and tall tales handed down by the "never forget" brigade.

Ironically, many of these same folks would be only too glad to forget what really happened, during that bloody Civil War and in the 100 years after — the ingenious laws and policies that continue to reverberate through everything from health care to housing.

As part of the plan, they've come up with a fear-based campaign to, you got it, erase any part of American history that deals with racism and the ways it was intentionally embedded in American institutions. And predictably, this battle in a war that has never ended is actually gaining momentum that Republican politicians hope to ride to electoral victory.

The Ultimate Snowflakes

They could not do it without the cooperation of aggrieved parents fighting against something they haven't even tried to understand.

I really wish that instead of tying themselves into contradictory knots, these troops standing in the way of the truth — the ultimate snowflakes trying to "cancel" facts — would come clean and just admit that it's not history they're opposed to, it's any reckoning that gets in the way of their myths.

The version of history they love is what's been spoon-fed to many generations until fairly recently — propaganda in the name of patriotism. The concern "for the children" expressed in tear-stained testimony at school board meetings from Loudoun County, Va., to Chandler, Ariz., only extends to certain kids, their own. It leaves out the Black, brown, Asian American and Native American children who have suffered through and been traumatized by a white-washed tableau that either villainizes or disappears American heroes who always have been stalwart fighters for an inclusive and welcoming society, also known as America as it supposedly aspires to be.

There is no more absurd example than in Tennessee, where parents from "Moms for Liberty" don't want children to learn about what six-year-old Ruby Bridges endured when she integrated her New Orleans elementary school in 1960. The image of young Ruby immortalized by quintessential American artist Norman Rockwell depicts her daily walk surrounded by federal marshals. To get an education, her body and soul had to survive angry white parents, faces twisted, who greeted her with jeers, who threatened to poison her, who, when a child her age should have been playing with baby dolls, held up a coffin carrying a Black one so Ruby could get the message.

So, white children of today are too fragile to merely read about the dangerous racism a 6-year-old faced not that long ago? Do their parents realize they are still trying to bar Ruby Bridges from school?

A complaint is that Ruby's story needs more whites in shining armor.

Well, there were a few, including Barbara Henry, a white teacher from Massachusetts, who did the job she was paid to do for the year Ruby was in a class all her own. And there are the parents who eventually sent their children back to get an education, in more ways than one.

The star of her story, though, is Ruby, someone any child should admire. She never cried or whimpered, said federal marshal Charles Burks. "She just marched along like a little soldier." A former first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, wrote her a letter.

An argument brought up again and again in these curriculum fights is that teaching stories like Ruby's causes children of color to think of themselves as victims. The opposite is true. Ruby, at 66, is still an activist, as well as a wife and mother. Ruby Bridges Goes to School: My True Story, her book that parents are so afraid of, teaches lessons of resilience and strength that transcend color. The message she continues to share: "I tell children to be kind to each other."

Oh, the horror!

Beyond The Classroom

Children wrongly taught that America was and has always been perfect, presumably grow into the fragile flowers that Sen. Tom Cotton believes need protecting when they enter the military. In the manner of the thought police in Russia or China, the Arkansas Republican is trying to get an instructor at the U.S. Air Force Academy fired for teaching about systemic racism that shaped all-American institutions, like the military.

Does Cotton not know that African Americans fought for the right to fight and die for a country that enslaved them, discriminated against them, segregated them into separate units until 1948?

Was Cotton not taught of the Japanese Americans who fought in World War II — including in one of the most decorated regiments in the country's history — while family members back home were herded into internment camps, suspect only because of their race and ethnicity?

That made their sacrifice more patriotic, with their numbers in service still strong. Though they lack representation at the top, about 43 percent of the 1.3 million men and women on active duty in the United States military are people of color.

People of color in America know, have always known about, injustice, just as six-year-old Ruby learned. Being clear-eyed about how the country falls short of its ideals only hardens the determination to right those wrongs.

And, in truth, it's not just students of color whose lives continue to be affected by systemic racism. In a Texas school, a white teacher gave white students permission to use the "N-word." In California, a high school basketball team had its title taken away for throwing tortillas at members of the opposing, predominantly Latino team at a postgame "celebration."

All children, as well as adults who should know better, have learned only too well lessons about the country's power divide, about who counts and who does not.

When you hide history, a price will be paid. Esther Bejarano knew. The Auschwitz survivor, who used the power of music to fight anti-Semitism and racism in postwar Germany, died recently at the age of 96. She used to tell the young people: "You're not guilty of what happened back then. But you become guilty if you refuse to listen to what happened."

When I study the pictures of those everyday Americans spewing hate at a 6-year-old and then the faces of angry parents and politicians, so insistent on burying the truth, my wish is that they listen, then look in a mirror.

Mary C. Curtis has worked at The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun, The Charlotte Observer, as national correspondent for Politics Daily, and is a senior facilitator with The OpEd Project. Follow her on Twitter @mcurtisnc3.

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?"

Koch Networks Using Dark Money To Kill Voting Rights Bills

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Earlier this year, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives took a stand against voter suppression when they passed House Resolution 1, a.k.a. the For the People Act — a comprehensive voting rights/election reform bill that now faces an uphill climb in the U.S. Senate under the rules of the filibuster, which requires 60 or more votes for most legislation. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and many other Senate Republicans are vehemently opposed to HR 1, and according to the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, "dark money" from "the Koch network" is helping to fuel that opposition.

In an article published on May 28, CREW's Meghan Faulkner and Miru Osuga explain, "There's a whole lot of dark money behind the opponents of democracy reform. The Koch network alone has spent tens of millions backing many of the senators who are opposing the For the People Act, which would overhaul campaign finance rules and enforcement and make it harder for dark money groups, like those in the Koch network, to secretly influence our elections."

Faulkner and Osuga note how much "the Koch network" has spent "backing" GOP opponents of the For the People Act, including $5.6 million spent on Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, $1.3 million on Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, $4.9 million on Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, $4.3 million on Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, $5.7 million on Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and $4.3 million on Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas.

"All told," Faulkner and Osuga note, "groups associated with the Koch network have spent over $100 million boosting the campaigns of current Republican senators, none of whom are supportive of comprehensive campaign finance reform. That total doesn't even include millions of dollars in additional dark money spending from these groups that was never reported to the Federal Election Commission."

KochPAC is a political action committee funded by employees of Koch Industries and their allies. Billionaire oligarch Charles Koch, the 85-year-old brother of the late David Koch, has been a major supporter of right-wing causes.

According to CREW, one of the things that troubles "the Koch network" is how "popular" the proposals of the For the People Act are. The bill comes at a time when Republicans in state legislatures all over the United States are aggressively pushing voter suppression bills.

"The Koch network and other dark money groups know exactly how popular this democracy reform is and how much it threatens the broken campaign finance system they depend on," Faulkner and Osuga stress. "That's why they're doing their best to defeat it quietly in Congress, aided by the senators whose campaigns they've boosted with millions of dollars of secret money."

Republicans Warn That Opposing Racism Is A ‘Communist’ Plot

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) claimed on Tuesday that advocating for dismantling systemic racism is propaganda in service to the Communist Party of China.

On Tuesday afternoon, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan wrote, "On the anniversary of George Floyd's murder, we reflect on the fact that dismantling systemic racism is also a national security priority. The fight for racial justice at home and abroad is foundational to our future & to how the world sees us."

"This tweet is approved by the Communist Party of China," Cotton tweeted in response just minutes later.

Republicans in Congress largely ignored the anniversary of George Floyd's murder. But they have been more vocal about the supposed communist threat of anti-racist policy and education.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Wednesday argued that "social justice" is "often code for social Marxism." Rep. Matt Gaetz said just days ago that "the real threat to our nation is the Marxism and Critical Race Theory that they [the Biden administration] embraces." And Rep. Mo Brooks wrote earlier in May that "Marxism stokes division by fanning the flames of class, race, and gender resentment."

Cotton has repeatedly lashed out at efforts to address systemic racism in America.

In February, he characterized efforts by the Biden administration to address racism as "anti-American" and racist itself.

A month later, Cotton said that acknowledging the existence of racial bias in the country was "slander" against America.

Other Republicans have similarly attacked the concept of systemic racism.

Thirty Republicans in the House banded together this month to push legislation that would prevent the government from addressing racism. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), has argued that "systemic socialism" is more of a "real" problem than racism.

International rivals of the United States have tried to exploit the racial animosity in the country to their own advantage. Citing campaigns by the Russian and Chinese governments to highlight and exploit America's racial divisions, the Center for a Just Security recently noted, "America's competitors view its social division, history of racism, and domestic anti-democratic movements as a vulnerability for the country."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Why McCarthy Is Suddenly Worried Over (Anti-Semitic) Hate Crimes

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

House and Senate Republicans announced legislation on Tuesday to prevent anti-semitic hate crimes. But just a few years ago, the GOP strongly fought against hate crimes protections for other groups.

The new bills, backed by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Tom Cotton of Arkansas in the Senate and by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Tennessee's David Kustoff in the House, would force the Justice Department to expedite review of hate crimes against Jewish people and raise the maximum sentence for repeat offenders.

It comes after a recent spike in reports of possible anti-semitic violence in the U.S. in the wake of deadly clashes between Israel's military and the Palestinian Islamic organization Hamas. The Anti-Defamation League noted a "drastic surge in anti-Jewish hate" in a May 20 statement.

The text of the new legislation notes that American Jews "have faced, and continue to face, false accusations of divided loyalty between the United States and Israel, false claims that they purchase political power with money, and false accusations about control of the financial system, along with other negative stereotypes."

Donald Trump perpetuated many of those anti-semitic stereotypes, claiming in August of 2019 that American Jews who voted for Democrats were being "being very disloyal to Jewish people and you're being very disloyal to Israel. And only weak people would say anything other than that."

McCarthy (CA) received widespread criticism in October 2018 for comments suggesting progressive donors of Jewish decent were trying to buy the midterm elections.

McCarthy and Kustoff both voted in February against stripping antisemitic Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) of her committee assignments after she spread conspiracy theories about a prominent Jewish banking family using secret space lasers to cause deadly wildfires in California.

In a statement on Tuesday, McConnell (KY) said the GOP bill "will support state and local law enforcement and ensure the bigoted thugs and criminals who are attacking Jewish Americans face the full force of American justice."

"In the face of rising anti-Semitism, we cannot turn a blind eye. Jewish Americans deserve not just rhetorical support, but legislative action ensuring that perpetrators of these vile attacks are prosecuted to the full extent of the law," said McCarthy.

But as Democrats and a few Republicans pushed for years for legislation to expand federal hate crimes protections to include other targeted groups, such as LGBTQ people, McCarthy and McConnell and most of their caucuses fiercely opposed it.

Legislation first introduced in 2001 as the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act was finally enacted in 2009 as the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Both McConnell and McCarthy voted repeatedly against the expansion of hate crimes protections.

Neither leader's office immediately responded to an inquiry for this story.

But as of Wednesday, McCarthy's website still includes a May 2007 press release opposing hate crimes laws of any kind.

In general, hate crimes legislation, including H.R. 1592 and H.R. 254, seeks to establish new offenses and special penalties for crimes motivated because of the victim's actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender. Such legislation has the potential to further perpetuate various racial, religious, and other social tensions, because of the perception of unequal punishment for committing the same crime. I believe we ought to punish all violent crime the same way, in a swift, tough and harsh manner.

McConnell fought the ultimately successful effort to pass the bill expanding protections against hate crimes to include LGBTQ people as part of a broader Defense bill, calling it "nongermane social policy."

After the 2016 mass shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, his office refused to say whether he regretted his opposition.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

New Washington Post Editor Left An Ethical Debacle At AP

Reprinted with permission from Press Run

Two weeks ago, the Washington Post announced with much fanfare that it was hiring Sally Buzbee to be the newspaper's new editor. Arguably the second most important newspaper in America, the top Post position carries with it enormous responsibility. Buzbee will soon join the Post in June after she finishes up her current position as senior vice president and executive editor at the Associated Press, the world's largest news outlet.

But suddenly Buzbee and the AP are facing a barrage of questions after the wire service fired a young reporter, Emily Wilder, last week. She became the target of a concerted right-wing smear campaign because of Pro-Palestinian tweets she had posted in college. (Wilder is Jewish.)

The episode is not only troubling for the AP, it's also a problem for the Post, as it prepares for Buzbee's arrival. The last thing the paper wanted during this key transition period, which followed an extensive, high-profile search for a new leader, was to be grappling with doubts about Buzbee's leadership. But after watching the Winter debacle unfold last week at the AP, it's impossible to not question the editor's newsroom guidance. Post reporters must be wondering how many of them will soon be thrown under the bus by management if GOP activists target them with bogus claims of "bias."

The stunning termination of Wilder came just 16 days after the Stanford University graduate was hired. Her AP bosses told her she had violated the company's social media policy, although they would not detail how. Her college tweets became newsworthy when conservative news outlets, including The Federalist, Washington Free Beacon, and Fox News, began highlighting them and accusing AP of having an anti-Israel bias. Note that the entry-level Wilder was working out of the AP's Arizona bureau and her journalism output had nothing to do with the Middle East.

Wilder was initially assured that her previous tweets were not a problem and that the AP would stand by her, but was subsequently fired. The move came just days after the AP's bureau in Gaza was bombed by the Israeli military as part of the May fighting that erupted in the Middle East. The Israeli government insisted the building housed Hamas operatives, but has not provided definitive proof in order to justify leveling the AP building. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) pointed to Wilder's employment and tweeted, "Not a surprise from a media organization that shared office space with Hamas." He also suggested the AP colluded with Hamas and allowed reporters to be used as "human shields."

It's clear the AP found itself in the middle of a contentious, international national standoff when the Wilder story, and the manufactured claims of bias, began to gain traction. Rather than defend its targeted reporter, AP caved to the right-wing mob, thereby encouraging to take aim at more journalists in the future.

"It feels like AP folded to the ridiculous demands and cheap bullying of organizations and individuals," Wilder said. "What future does it promise to aspiring reporters that an institution like The Associated Press would sacrifice those with the least power to the cruel trolling of a group of anonymous bullies?" she asked.

Added Columbia Journalism School professor, Emily Bell, "If news organizations cave in to pressure from bad faith campaigns, if they cancel workplace contracts on the basis of student activism or errors of judgment, then the field will miss out on some great reporters. Newsrooms are too often unprepared for this predictable onslaught."

The whole sordid chapter represents a black eye for the AP and raises real questions about its leadership.

Whether Buzbee directly ordered Wilder's firing is unclear. But Buzbee is a high-ranking executive of the news operation and everyone there must have known terminating Wilder would generate lots of news. More significantly, Buzbee has remained silent as the controversy has escalated and the AP has been widely denounced within journalism circles for giving in to disingenuous, right-wing trolls who aren't seeking fairness, but instead want media scalps as trophies.

It was clearly Wilder's college tweets that prompted AP's review of her online content. But in justifying her firing, the AP insists she was fired "for violations of AP's social media policy" for tweets posted this year.

None of this is believable and it all reflects poorly on the AP. If the Associated Press did have a problem with a new hire regarding a tweet or two, the normal course of action would be for an editor to counsel that person and warn them about the social media policy. It's completely irrational to fire someone hired just 16 days earlier because of a minor social media guidelines transgression.

It's obvious the AP did not want to defend Wilder and did not want to do battle with bogus GOP allegations, so the wire service took the cowardly way out.

And soon, the AP's executive editor will be taking over the Washington Post newsroom.

How The GOP Spent Millions To Make Right-Wing ‘Bestsellers’

Reprinted with permission from DailyKoa

The problem with having a base that isn't particularly interested in reading anything more than a headline is that it is hard to sell books to those folks. You couple that with holding and promoting wildly unpopular positions on health care, foreign policy, economics, race, and justice, and a proclivity to act morally hypocritical and you are creating the kinds of conditions most book publishers would shy away from. Add to that most of the things you say are factually incorrect, a potential lawsuit in the waiting for a publisher, and it is a wonder how any of these conservative jokes get publishing deals in the first place.

However, the conservative oligarchy-bubble has figured a way around promoting an unpopular product—buy the perception that it isn't popular. For some time news outlets have reported on the self-dealing, bulk-book buying tendencies of campaigns and Republican committees, that help propel books by people from people like Sens. Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, and Tom Cotton, Rep. Dan Crenshaw, and cosmic embarrassment Donald Trump Jr., access to national best-seller lists. Being on a best-seller list—especially from one of the Republican proclaimed fake news sites like the Washington Post or the New York Times, can boost your sales further being the premiere advertisement for literature and nonfiction in the United States.

The Washington Post did a report on the shady-quality of this practice, pointing out that "Four party-affiliated organizations, including the Republican National Committee, collectively spent more than $1 million during the past election cycle mass-purchasing books written by GOP candidates, elected officials and personalities, according to Federal Election Commission expenditure reports." The practice is not simply deceitful in promoting a false sense of popularity for unpopular ideas, but because authors of books make serious money if they can get on best-seller lists off of royalties from hundreds of thousands of dollars in book sales.

One of the more well-publicized self-dealings in recent months was Texas's answer to intelligence, Rep. Dan Crenshaw, whose book got a $400,000 boost in sales from the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). The NRCC defended its purchase of Crenshaw's book, saying that it had fundraised no less than three times the amount off of the book (signed copies, etc.), making it a legitimate purchase. But the Republican former Navy SEAL, who holds an elected office based almost entirely on the truly twisted Republican gerrymandering of a Texas district, was able to point to his best-seller status as proof of the popularity of his opinions.

Trump Jr., his dad the Donald, truly unpopular Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, unpopular China-phobe Sen. Tom Cotton, and Capitol insurgent supporter Sen. Josh Hawley all got lucky with bulk purchases of their books this past election cycle according to the Post. Hawley's big pre-buy got sidetracked when Simon & Schuster canceled the book deal with Hawley for his sweeping endorsements of anti-Democratic, fact-free election fraud charges—though he forgot to mention he likely kept some of the advance while he whined about freedom of speech.

Tom Cotton, best-known for being a slimmer, cleaner-shaven, and more hawkish version of Ted Cruz, seems to have received quite a bit of help from political action committee the Senate Conservatives Fund. According to the Post, they spent close to $90,000 buying Cotton's book—the title of which is something like Soldier Duty, Soldier soldier, duty duty, I hate China and Democracy. Coincidentally, this was the same PAC that threw $65,000 at "Regnery Publishing, [Ted] Cruz's publisher, for advance copies of Hawley's forthcoming book."

Last week, campaign finance watchdog Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint against Sen. Ted Cruz, with the Federal Election Commission and the Senate Ethics Committee. Highlighting Cruz's 15% royalty rate and his campaign's expenditure of around $18,000 on Facebook ads promoting his book, the complaint accuses Cruz of violating "the ban on the personal use of campaign funds at 52 U.S.C. § 30114(b)(1)." The complaint also reminds the two committees that the evidence they are presenting is just the Facebook advertisements and there might very well be Cruz campaign expenditures promoting his garbage tome on other platforms.

In the three months following the publication of Cruz's book, Ted Cruz for Senate paid third-party booksellers Books-A-Million and Barnes & Noble over $154,000 for "books." Other Facebook ads offered supporters a signed copy of the book in exchange for a contribution (while also urging viewers to "pre-order a copy today at Amazon or your local book retailer") and linked to a Ted Cruz for Senate fundraising page.

This isn't news for Ted Cruz, who has long bent, if not broke, the laws of campaigning and campaign finance. His interest in honesty has never existed and he has never shown the slightest of moral compunctions. And while Ted Cruz may technically be considered more intelligent than someone like Donald Trump Jr., the two men participate in identical cynical and corrupt behavior. In Junior's case, it's his actual daddy that helps pay for his lack of popularity, while in Ted Cruz's case, it's the Republican Party machine and his own campaign that he treats like a rich daddy.

Technically, the issue here is that Ted Cruz's campaign did not bulk buy directly through the publisher. The reason why this is important is that this issue has long been understood to be a thorny problem, and the FEC has made rulings on it dating back to 2014. Buying directly from the publisher, according to the FEC, allows the publisher to count those sales outside of the sales of books that they owe royalties to authors for. Cruz's campaign spent thousands directly through retailers. This makes it much more like that Cruz's royalty payouts got a direct personal bank account boost from his own campaign's funds. He's not the only one, as everybody's favorite know-nothing-at-all Dan Crenshaw's book got almost a quarter of a million in sales from a retail direct purchase by the NRCC.

Before you let that friend of yours that says chem-trails control the weather chime in, the Post explains that this level of bulk-buying, padding out the book sales, is largely a GOP "phenomenon."