Saturday, May 29, 2021

the rise of the Republican Reich


A Florida Keys Democrat amigo emailed re yesterday's look at the cloning Donald Trump is doing in Congress and across America


Me to amigo last night:

Been mulling your adjectives and think they do not fit. They are afraid and they are enraged, they are zealots and they are quite dangerous. They view the left as the Devil's own and would be pleased to see them all gone. 

Me to amigo this morning, after dreaming all night that yesterday's post was much too weak:

What is happening in today's Republican Party is what happened in Hitler's Germany, where there became only one political party and any who opposed it, such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, were killed. 

Bonhoeffer is well known for his book, The Cost of Discipleship, which speaks of cheap vs. real salvation through Christ, and for saying, "“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

The Washington Post's mantra is "Democracy Dies in Darkness".

Here's the text of recent WP article that tells it like it is. Republicans who do not speak out against what the Republican Party has become, are complicit. They may not believe that, or care, but when they leave this life, they will believe it and the consequences.

Opinion: The really scary reason Republicans don’t want to face the truth about Jan. 6
Supporters of then-President Donald Trump enter the U.S. 

Opinion by 
Karen Tumulty
May 28, 2021 at 4:51 p.m. CDT

You’ve got to at least give Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) some credit for candor.

In pressing Senate Republicans to kill the idea of an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump, McConnell did not bother to disguise the fact that he was making a cravenly political calculation.

Anything that looks back to the final ugly spasms of the Trump presidency, as opposed to pressing the case against the current occupant of the White House and his party, would hurt the Republicans’ chances for gaining back control of Congress, McConnell acknowledged to reporters on Tuesday.

Senate Republicans block bill to create Jan. 6 commission
Senate Republicans blocked a motion to invoke cloture on legislation to create a Jan. 6 Capitol attack commission 54-35 on May 28. (U.S. Senate)

That was another way of saying that he would prefer that voters not be reminded of Trump’s own culpability for inciting his supporters to smash their way into the Capitol two weeks before he was due to be evicted from the White House — and for doing little to stop a rampaging mob that Trump subsequently described as “very special” people.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) bluntly and fairly criticized McConnell’s rationale as “a decision for the short-term political gain at the expense of understanding and acknowledging what was in front of us on Jan. 6. I think we need to look at that critically. Is that really what this is about … one election cycle after another?”

Apparently, yes. It is what this is about for Republican leaders in Congress.

Despite the fact that Democrats had given them just about everything they had claimed to want — including a power-sharing arrangement under which the GOP would have equal representation on the 10-member panel, as well as a say in any subpoenas it might issue— McConnell mustered enough votes among his members to effectively kill the proposal for a commission.

The vote in favor of allowing debate to proceed was 54 to 35, which was six votes shy of the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster. Only six Republicans broke ranks: Murkowski, Bill Cassidy (La.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Mitt Romney (Utah), Ben Sasse (Neb.) and Susan Collins (Maine).

Notably, 11 senators — nine Republicans and two Democrats — were absent for the vote. However, given the positions that most of them had staked out in advance, there is no reason to believe their presence would have changed the outcome.

On its face, quashing the proposed commission, which would have been structured on the model of the one set up after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, is yet more evidence of the hold that Trump still has on his party.

After nearly three dozen GOP members joined Democrats in the House last week to approve the proposed commission, the former president issued a statement blasting those “35 wayward Republicans” and warning of “consequences to being ineffective and weak.”

Their counterparts in the Senate got the message. Republicans quake at the thought of doing anything that might cause Mt. Trump to erupt.

But there is an even darker reason to explain why they appear less concerned about paying a price for failing to reckon with what happened on Jan. 6, which was also an assault on the integrity of this country’s democratic processes.

The more dangerous truth is that a not-insignificant portion of the GOP’s Trumpian base actually appears to believe that the violent mob was justified in its effort to disrupt Congress as it conducted its pro forma tally of the electoral votes that made Joe Biden the 46th president.

Schumer: ‘Trump’s big lie has now fully enveloped the Republican Party’
Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) on May 28 slammed Republicans for blocking a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. (U.S. Senate)

These are the people who have bought into Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him, and who share at least some of the unhinged theories that fuel the QAnon movement.

A new poll released by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute and the Interfaith Youth Core shows that these dangerous and conspiratorial beliefs are not confined to the country’s dank backwaters.

Fully 20 percent of more than 5,500 adults questioned in all 50 states — and 28 percent of Republicans among them — said they agreed with the statement that “there is a storm coming soon that will sweep away the elites in power and restore the rightful leaders.”

Even more worrisome were the 15 percent overall — and, again, 28 percent of Republicans — who were of the opinion that because “things have gotten so off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country.”

What Republicans made clear with their vote on Friday is that they would rather allow this thinking to fester within their base, and hope that it works to their electoral advantage, than to stand up to it.

McConnell may be right that dodging and delaying accountability for what happened on Jan. 6 could help Republicans win back power in Congress. But by standing in the way of a reckoning with the poisonous forces that are growing within the ranks of their own party, they are doing a disservice to the country — one for which democracy itself will ultimately pay a price.

And this from me to amigo this morning:

CCN piece, see my cryptic probably rhetorical question at very end.

Judge says Trump's 'steady drumbeat' of the Big Lie could continue to inspire his supporters to take up arms
By Katelyn Polantz, CNN
Updated 12:07 AM ET, Thu May 27, 2021

(CNN)A federal judge on Wednesday wrote that Donald Trump's "Big Lie" that the 2020 election was stolen from him could still inspire some of the former President's supporters to take up arms, as they did in January during the deadly US Capitol insurrection.
The judge's blunt assessment of the current, charged political climate came in a legal decision about a defendant who was drawn to Washington, DC, in January. And it adds to a growing chorus of warnings from the officials most closely weighing the aftermath of the Capitol riot about what the threat level still might be.
"The steady drumbeat that inspired defendant to take up arms has not faded away; six months later, the canard that the election was stolen is being repeated daily on major news outlets and from the corridors of power in state and federal government, not to mention in the near-daily fulminations of the former President," Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the DC District Court wrote in an opinion to keep defendant Cleveland Meredith Jr. in jail because he could endanger the public if released.
Meredith allegedly had texted that he wanted to shoot House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, on live TV and had hauled a trailer of guns and ammo to Washington in January. He has pleaded not guilty.
Federal judges have for weeks been warning that the continued push of Trump's baseless claim that the election was "stolen" -- sometimes called "the Big Lie" -- from right-wing media, Republicans and the ex-President himself may be keeping alive the same grassroots zeal that led to the insurrection in January. Because of this, some of the alleged rioters are still considered potentially dangerous. Judges have had to make decisions case by case on keeping the defendants in jail.
The Justice Department, as it argues to keep them in jail, has noted that Trump supporters -- especially when they're affiliated with extremist groups like the Proud Boys -- could attempt another insurrection.
The lawyer for one defendant, Anthony Antonio, has spoken about what he calls "Foxitis," saying his client became convinced of the lie that Trump was robbed of reelection.
And another judge, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, kept another man -- a Vietnam veteran who allegedly parked a cooler full of Mason jar bombs on Capitol Hill on January 6 and was inspired by the same election lies that Republicans still push -- in jail this week.
The man, Lonnie Coffman, had tried to reach Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, in December and looked for contact info for Sean Hannity and others, prosecutors said. One of Cruz's staffers told police that Coffman seemed "to be coming from the 'friend' angle in wanting to ... help with the election fraud he saw."
Other judges in Washington handling the Capitol riot cases have previously noted how much members of the far right continue to reject the results of the election, and how self-described revolutionaries could want to act again. But politics alone wouldn't be enough to keep riot defendants in jail pending trial.
"The Court is not convinced that dissatisfaction and concern about the legitimacy of the election results has dissipated for all Americans. Former President Donald J. Trump continues to make forceful public comments about the 'stolen election,' chastising individuals who did not reject the supposedly illegitimate results that put the current administration in place," Judge Emmet Sullivan wrote in April, keeping a man accused of dragging and beating police officers in jail.
Judge Paul Friedman, in considering whether to release a man who had driven cross-country with guns then allegedly assaulted police at the Capitol, considered prosecutors' assertion that defendant Nathaniel DeGrave could still be a threat because even after the riot, he idolized Trump and believed lies about election fraud.
"Of course, Mr. DeGrave has a First Amendment right to express his views on politics, the 2020 election, and the government. The Court need not consider Mr. DeGrave's political preferences to conclude that he poses a serious risk of committing acts of violence in the future. His conduct speaks for itself," Friedman wrote. "Mr. DeGrave was not carried away in the excitement of the moment; rather, his statements show that he planned to confront and perpetrate violence at the Capitol."
Jackson, in another Capitol riot defendant's case, noted in April in the case of Joshua Black that he had claimed he had been called upon by God to enter the chamber and had said he would take up arms in a revolution if needed.
"It's not as if the effort by some political leaders and media figures to stoke this sort of anger has abated in any way," Jackson said at a court hearing for Black. "Isn't it fair to say that the same political issues and the same political concerns are being pumped out into the airways on a daily basis?"
She released Black, before warning him that even if he felt called back to Washington by a higher power, he could not violate the court's orders without consequence.
{Did she really think Black cared what she thought or said?]

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