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Monday, December 09, 2019

Tag: tommy tuberville

As Midterm Tightens, Republicans Revert To Racist Rhetoric (Because It Works)

It’s no surprise that fear of the other — of what they want and what they might do to you and yours — is on the ballot in November.

Former President George H.W. Bush’s success in making Willie Horton the figurative running mate of his Democratic opponent, Michael Dukakis, has nothing on race-baiting, the 2022 edition. In a close midterm election cycle, attack ads and accusations aimed at Black candidates, or any candidate that might be interested in restorative justice, are front and center, as Republicans running for office have returned to the playbook, one that unfortunately has worked time and again.

To many, Black people are viewed with suspicion straight out of the womb, and I’m only slightly exaggerating. Data backs me up. Just look at the greater percentage of Black boys and girls suspended or arrested for school infractions that earn white peers a lecture or visit to the principal’s office. Take note of the litany of unarmed Black people shot or choked by trained police officers who “feared for their lives,” with no benefit of the doubt to save them.

Even when the Black person under the microscope is educated and accomplished and has reached the highest of heights, the “othering” doesn’t go away. If the person can’t be tagged a criminal, he or she must be sympathetic to criminals. Guilt by historical association, you might say, because the tactic can be traced back hundreds of years, when dehumanizing Black people, connecting them to violence and crime, was the best way to justify murder, rape and lynching.

As Margaret A. Burnham, a law professor who founded the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project at Northeastern University, points out in her book By Hands Now Known: Jim Crow’s Legal Executioners, throughout American history it was whites — bus drivers, store owners, ordinary people — who perpetrated random terror against Black people without consequence.

For the best example of predominantly white mob violence in the past few years, you need look no further than the videos and other evidence of windows and doors smashed, American institutions defiled, and law enforcement beaten and attacked on January 6, 2021. The goal was lawlessness, the overturning of a free and fair election.

I might add that it was left to mostly minority government employees to clean up the literal mess.

But stubborn facts won’t get in the way when there is political hay to be made.

At its most base level, there are attack ads that darken the skin of Black candidates such as Stacey Abrams, running against Republican incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp in Georgia, and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, taking on GOP Sen. Ron Johnson in Wisconsin. In their recent debate, Johnson accused Barnes of turning “against America” — and that was when he was asked to say something positive about his opponent. Not only are Black folks criminals, apparently, they are somehow not even American, a charge repeatedly faced by former President Barack Obama, whose relatively scandal-free eight years in office compares quite favorably to his successor, whose most recent reported grift was bilking American taxpayers by inflating charges at Trump hotels for members of the Secret Service.

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio accuses his Democratic challenger, Rep. Val B. Demings (D-FL), of wanting to defund the police, to which the former Orlando police chief can answer, “I am the police.”

But, you might ask, what about Herschel Walker, the Republican candidate giving incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock a run for his money in Georgia? Doesn’t that prove Republicans have no problem with Black men, considering how many top leaders are defending the former football star?

When I see the GOP backing a man with Walker’s political, ethical, and personal failings, someone who has trouble with the truth as well as maintaining relationships with his many children and their mothers, I can’t help but think this is the kind of Black man his party is comfortable with, one that fits every negative stereotype, one who will follow their lead. Imagine the attacks on a Black Democratic candidate with that résumé.

When Walker stands with senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Rick Scott of Florida, he looks as much a prop as the badge he flashed at his only debate with Warnock.

I witness that tableau and feel pretty angry for my late father, a quintessential American, who worked hard and did whatever he had to do to care for the wife and five children he adored. We would kid him that in his ideal world, we would all get married, have kids, and return home so he could be close — and he did not disagree. Dad, a Lincoln Republican, would not recognize what and whom his party elevates.

It would disgust him to hear Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, the perfect GOP example of the playbook for this year’s midterms. Tuberville traveled all the way to Nevada for a Donald Trump rally to make the claim that Democrats are “pro-crime.” To make his racist intent clear, he threw in a reparations reference, adding, “They want crime because they want to take over what you got. They want to control what you have. They want reparations because they think the people that do the crime are owed that,” ending with a profanity for emphasis.

Reparations, of course, means compensation for the labor of the men, women and children who helped build this country under the most cruel conditions. It’s most galling when you remember the former football coach made his fortune and reputation on the backs of many young, unpaid Black men.

Yet Tuberville felt free to demonize Black people because there was no cost, no condemnation from others in his party, no drop in the polls for the GOP candidates he was stumping for — nothing. Some in his party even defended him.

And that’s the troubling thing. This kind of racist rhetoric, which has served as inspiration for young white men before attacks at a Charleston church and a Buffalo supermarket, is ramping up, and it will not end until enough people call it out — until it no longer works.

Former Iowa Rep. Steve King must be wishing he had only waited a few years before cozying up to white nationalism, endorsing “great replacement” conspiracy and tagging “the other” as criminals intent on destroying America.

Where once he was punished by his Republican Party, at this moment he and his brand would fit perfectly.

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. She is host of the CQ Roll Call “Equal Time with Mary C. Curtis” podcast. Follow her on Twitter @mcurtisnc3.

Reprinted with permission from Roll Call.

Washington Post Urges Jan. 6 Subpoenas For Ivanka And Kushner

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The Washington Post editorial board is calling on the Democrats' January 6 select committee to subpoena Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

"Top of the list is precisely what then-President Donald Trump did before, during and after the attack," they wrote in a Tuesday op-ed. "How did he prepare his speech preceding the insurrection, in which he told the crowd to fight? What did he anticipate his audience's reaction would be? When did he know the pro-Trump mob was threatening the Capitol?"

The board added: "Answering such questions calls for subpoenaing former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows; Mr. Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner; and other White House aides with useful information."

According to a recent book by Washington Post journalists Carol D. Leonnig and Philip Rucker, Ivanka Trump attempted to calm the former president down on the day of January 6, encouraging him to call off the violent riot – a request Trump repeatedly rebuffed.

"I'm going down to my dad. This has to stop," she reportedly told her aides while spending "several hours walking back and forth" from the Oval Office in an effort to defuse the situation.

The Post's editorial board also called on the select committee to investigate a number of top Trump allies in Congress, including Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Jim Jordan (R-OH), and Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), all of whom, the Post reports, may have interacted with Trump on the day of the insurrection. McCarthy, who voted in favor of overturning the 2020 election, has been adamantly opposed to the Democratic-backed select committee and has often downplayed Trump's role in the insurgency. However, back in February, just a month after the riot, CNN reported that Trump and McCarthy had gotten into a "shouting match" over the former president's refusal to tell the rioters to stand down.

"Well, Kevin," Trump told McCarthy over the phone. "I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are."

"Who the f--k do you think you are talking to?" the lawmaker responded.

CNN also reported that Rep. Tuberville spoke with Trump on the day of the riot, calling the former president via phone to announce that Mike Pence, the former vice president, had been evacuated in time to avoid the violent horde.

The phone call has since come under scrutiny in the light of Trump's tweet attacking Pence less than ten minutes after the call.

It's not clear whether Rep. Brooks spoke with Trump on the day of the riot. However, the Alabama lawmaker did deliver a White House-approved speech during the "Stop the Steal" rally just outside the Capitol building, where he bandied Trump's election lies and told Trump's supporters: "Today is the day American patriots start taking down names."

Brooks has since personally disavowed the riot.

The Post editorial board also argued that lawmakers should put the leaders of far-right extremist groups on the stand – particularly leaders "at the center of the violence" – as well as Justice Department and Capitol Police officials who "failed to anticipate the riot."

Months after the riot, it was reported in various media that the Pentagon had denied multiple requests to deploy the National Guard, even as the chaos was unfolding. Capitol Police also reportedly had extensive intelligence that there would be violence on January 6, but the former Capitol Police chief dismissed the concerns as alarmist.

WATCH: Hilarious Video Of Confused Sen. Tuberville Talking Taxes And Regulations

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) argued on Tuesday that taxes on corporations cannot be increased because "we can't put laws on private companies." Increasing the corporate tax rate to fund social services, Tuberville said, would also cause companies to leave the United States.

Tuberville made his comments during an appearance on Fox Business' Mornings with Maria to promote his Prohibiting TSP Investment in China Act, which would prohibit the federal Thrift Savings Plan pension fund from investing "in any security of an entity based in China or in a subsidiary that is owned or operated by a Chinese company," as he said in an opinion piece published by the Wall Street Journal on May 17.

While arguing that "something has to be done" about the investments, Tuberville said, "The one thing that can't be done is we can't raise the corporate income tax."

"We raise that, surely, we're going to lose them to other countries, not just China," he added.

The Biden administration has proposed an increase in corporate taxes to pay for infrastructure and jobs.

Tuberville said, "We can't tax them to death, because if we do they're going to leave."

"We can't put laws on private companies," he noted, before continuing to discuss his proposed law regulating investments in private companies.

From the May 18 edition of Fox Business' "Mornings with Maria":

TOMMY TUBERVILLE: Now private companies, something has to be done with that, but the one thing that can't be done is we can't raise the corporate income tax. We raise that, surely, we're going to lose them to other countries, not just China.
But we've got to take care of our own companies in the United States. We've got to keep their headquarters here, we can't use the inversion process, we've got to keep them here, we've got to make sure we take care of them, but we can't tax them to death, because if we do they're going to leave. And you can't blame them.
But we can't put laws on private companies. We just need to let them understand what they're doing, how it's going to affect them in the future. The bottom line today might not be the bottom line tomorrow in some of these corporations if we continue to invest in China.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Why Sen. Tuberville’s Revelations Are Vital To Impeachment Case

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

On Friday, former President Donald Trump's lawyers wrapped up their brief arguments in defense of their client in less than four of the 16 hours they had available to them. In that time, they skirted over many of the arguments the impeachment managers have made for conviction; they instead tried to deflect blame for Trump's alleged "incitement of insurrection" on January 6 by pointing to Democrats who used similar language, even though that came in contexts where no such similar violence was unleashed.

Trump's lawyers largely skipped over a key part of the managers' case: the former president's attacks on former Vice President Mike Pence and the peril he was under. This feature of the case because particularly relevant this week after the House impeachment managers' arguments on Wednesday, because Alabama Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville revealed a new and surprising detail about his communication with the then-president that could shed light on Trump's state of mind during the January 6 attack.

Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah had already explained that he had received a phone call from Trump during the attack while in the Senate chamber. That call came a little after 2 p.m. Trump hadn't meant to call Lee, but instead wanted to talk to newly elected Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama. So Lee gave his phone to Tuberville.

It's not entirely clear what they discussed, though Rudy Giuliani was later recorded leaving a message that he thought was for Tuberville pleading with the senator to delay the count of the Electoral College votes. But on Wednesday, after a minor dispute about the events, Tuberville told reporters how the phone call ended.

"I said, 'Mr. President, they just took the vice president out, I've got to go,'" Tuberville said.

This is significant. According to the Washington Post's construction of the timeline, Pence was removed from the Senate chamber at 2:13 p.m. So we can infer that that's about the time when Tuberville told Trump that Pence had been evacuated.

It was just about 10 minutes later, at 2:24 p.m., when Trump tweeted the following:

Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!

Many, including the impeachment managers, have pointed to this tweet as a part of Trump's incitement. Even after his mob of supporters had breached the Capitol, Trump was still fueling their rage and attacking Pence as a traitor for not helping him and his movement overturn the election.

But Tuberville's information introduces a new detail from the side of events that we know least about: Trump's perspective during the attack. It's reasonable to assume, and reporting indicates, that Trump was watching the news coverage of the events. But Tuberville's revelation confirms that Trump's targeted attack on Pence — one that was read aloud and championed by the rioters — was sent directly after the time he had already been informed of the vice president's evacuation from the chamber due to the danger posed by the mob. Pence was under direct threat, Trump had been informed of the threat, and yet the president kept up the attacks. The managers even showed clips of protesters reading Trump's 2:24 p.m. tweet aloud during the riot, further providing evidence that the insurrectionists were, indeed, incited by his words.

On Friday, Trump's lawyers largely wanted to skip over mentioning the direct attack on Pence.

A Democratic senator had noted that he was stunned by the attack in the moment.

Trial Spotlights Moment When Trump Tried To Get Pence Killed

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Over the course of their presentation, House impeachment managers showed how Donald Trump groomed his supporters to be outraged, repeatedly encouraged violence, and finally directed them to carry out their assault on the Capitol building in order to interrupt the counting of electoral college votes. The day was full of shocking moments and previously unseen images. The number of moments when enraged insurgents intent on murder came within feet of members of Congress should have been sobering—if not terrifying—to everyone watching in the Senate.

One other thing that came up during the day was a repeated theme of praise for the way that Mike Pence did his job on Jan. 6. That may seem like a strange approach for a Democratic team to take in dealing with the impeachment of a Republican president. But pointing out how Pence stood up to Trump in saying he would certify the results of the count serves two purposes: First, it allows the House managers to showcase that a Republican can, in fact, oppose Trump, providing Pence as a role model for any Republican senators who might think of stepping out of Trump's fear-shadow.

But the other thing it does is point the finger straight at what might be the most chilling moment of January 6—one that showcases Trump's absolute malice and depravity.

The complete story of that moment was split across two presentations on Wednesday. First, as Rep. Stacey Plaskett reviewed the events of that afternoon, there was the footage and diagrams showing just how close the insurrectionists came to capturing Pence. Second, a presentation from Rep. Joaquin Castro showed how Trump's tweets about Pence came even as people were begging him to stop his supporters. When it's all put together, it looks like this.

2:10 PM

Lee recounts phone call involving Mike Pence.

As insurgents smash their way through the Capitol windows and doors, Donald Trump ignores the violence being seen on every network and tries to make a call to Sen. Tommy Tuberville. Instead, he dials Sen. Mike Lee. At the end of the day on Wednesday, Lee objected to this information and asked that a statement attributed to him be stricken from the record. However, these are the only statements made by Lee that were mentioned anywhere in the House presentation.

Conversation between Trump and Mike Lee.

Thanks to Lee's objection, Sen. Tuberville was questioned about the phone call on Wednesday afternoon and told reporters from Politico that he ended the phone call by saying this: "I said 'Mr. President, they just took the vice president out, I've got to go.'"

2:15 PM

Pence is removed from the Senate chamber.

Thanks to Tuberville's statement, there's a definitive time stamp on the call. Because Pence was quickly removed from the Senate chamber and taken to another location as the Secret Service and Capitol Police worked to secure an exit route.

2:24 PM

This means that the moment he hung up with Tuberville, Trump knew both that his supporters had entered the Capitol, and that Mike Pence was in danger. Trump's next action may be his most incredibly depraved of the entire day. Because what he did next was to pull out his phone and enter a tweet that aimed his supporters straight at the fleeing Pence.

Trump's tweet about Pence.

At the Capitol, Trump's tweet was read in real time by the enraged mob, with one of Trump's supporters even blasting out the tweet over a bullhorn just seconds after it appeared. In response, the crowd takes up a chant of "Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!"

Insurgents read Trump

2:26 PM

Two minutes after Trump's tweet appears, officers take advantage of the distraction provided by Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman to direct Pence and his family down a flight of stairs and out of the building.

Pence is led away, with insurgents just a few feet down a hallway.

No one can say that Donald Trump didn't take action during those hours following the invasion of the Capitol. Because, on learning that Mike Pence was in peril, Trump acted instantly and decisively … to aim the threat at Pence and his family. Trump went for what he saw as both a chance of revenge at Pence for his refusal to participate in an unconstitutional scheme to "send the votes back" to states, and Trump saw an opportunity to do what he had just tried to gain from Tuberville—a delay in counting the votes. After all, what better way to delay than to have Mike Pence hanging from a gallows on the Capitol lawn?

Gallows erected outside Capitol by Trump supporters.

Thanks to Lee's objection, Tuberville nailed down the timing of Trump's call. And thanks to Tuberville, we now know the full sequence of events. And thanks to that sequence we know this: Donald Trump acted quickly and deliberately in an attempt to harm or even kill Mike Pence.

#EndorseThis: "Hello, Douchebags" Is How Bill Maher Greets Up-And-Coming Wing-Nuts

Bill Maher, host of Real Time on HBO, loves to say "farewell, douchebags" at the end of an election cycle.It's his traditional way of seeing off all the losing lunatics (otherwise generally known as Republicans). But the far right is producing these nut-jobs faster than ever.

So even as we're enjoying the exit of Rudy Giuliani, Mike Pence, and the orange man who shall not be named, there's a whole new crop of "douchebags" swarming over the capital -- and Maher feels he must introduce them to us, with appropriate burns.

You will recognize most of them. And you will laugh, uproariously.

New Rule: Hello, Douchebags! | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO) www.youtube.com

Alabama’s Ignorant New Senator May Disrupt 2021 Transition

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Donald Trump may have found the senator he needs to challenge the election results in Congress—and it's the guy who can't name the three branches of government. Alabama Sen.-elect Tommy Tuberville said Thursday he might join with some far-right members of the House to challenge the results as Congress certifies the results of the Electoral College. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is not going to like this, having already warned Senate Republicans that it would be a "terrible vote," forcing them to look anti-Trump by voting to uphold the election results.

But Tuberville's plan to try to help overturn the election results had the intended effect: a barrage of glowing tweets from Trump. Tuberville is "a great champion and man of courage. More Republican Senators should follow his lead," according to one tweet. "We had a landslide victory, and then it was swindled away from the Republican Party - but we caught them. Do something!" Every part of this is false, of course.

Less than an hour later: "Tommy will be more popular than ever before - a hero!" And "Thank you!" And then a barrage of retweets of Trump supporters exulting in Tuberville's plan. A little later, "I am very disappointed in the United States Supreme Court, and so is our great country!" The man was really in a desperate false hope/grief/rage/denial spiral Thursday evening.

Around the same time Trump went off on this tear, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany put on her campaign hat and lied about the election, insisting that the results had been suspicious in ways they simply were not and holding out hope to supporters that "litigation is ongoing"—despite those multiple rejections from the Supreme Court and dozens of rejections from lower courts.

Tuberville can definitely complicate the vote certification process in Congress, making it take hours longer and creating kind of a mess. He can't stop Joe Biden from becoming president, given McConnell's refusal to go along. But Trump's refusal to acknowledge reality is getting new fuel, priming the country for weeks more ugliness and for Trump's supporters to continue digging in in the belief that Biden's presidency will not be legitimate. The only good that can come out of this is if Trump's base turns against congressional Republicans who vote to uphold the will of the voters, and even that is not what you'd call a good outcome.

Alabama Republicans Rebut The Myth Of White Superiority

By way of introduction: Tommy Tuberville is the new Republican U.S. senator from Alabama.

He was previously a successful college football coach at the University of Mississippi, Texas Tech, Cincinnati and Auburn — where his team six times defeated their powerful in-state rival, the University of Alabama. Tuberville — with the strong endorsement of President Donald J. Trump and after a campaign in which, after first announcing he would meet his rivals in public debates, he refused to debate either his primary or general election opponents and did not hold open press conferences or announce his scheduled campaign appearances to press or to the public — still won 60 percent of the vote in November to defeat the Democratic incumbent Doug Jones.

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