Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Wednesday refused to meet with a Capitol Police officer who wanted to talk to him about the attack on Jan. 6.
"I just spoke with a very upset Officer Michael Fanone. It's #PoliceWeek and for weeks Ofc," tweeted Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA). "Fanone has made multiple requests to talk to @GOPLeader. He wants to show McCarthy what he experienced on 1/6. Today he was hung up on by McCarthy's staff. RT if Kevin should meet a hero."
I just spoke with a very upset Officer Michael Fanone. It’s #PoliceWeek and for weeks Ofc. Fanone has made multiple… https://t.co/uqE6z59kdT— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@Rep. Eric Swalwell) 1620848218.0
Michael Fanone was the Capitol Police officer who had a heart attack and concussion during the attack. In a conversation with CNN host Don Lemon, Fanone said that he has suffered serious post-traumatic stress disorder and thought that during the attack he was about to die.
Motorists frantically stocking up on gasoline caused more gas stations on the US east coast to close Wednesday, as the government rushed to free up supplies days after the country's main fuel pipeline was shut down by a cyber attack.
A dozen states ranging from Florida to Virginia declared a state of emergency, heightening the sense of panic among consumers who flocked to gas stations bearing fuel cans and even plastic trash bags to fill up.
A ransomware attack Friday on Colonial Pipeline forced the company to shut down its entire network, and it is not expected to be back online until the end of the week.
The company operates the largest US fuel conduit system in the United States, which sends gasoline and jet fuel from the Gulf Coast of Texas to the populous east coast through 5,500 miles (8,850 kilometers) of ducts that serve 50 million consumers.
The company said it is manually delivering fuel through some lateral lines, prioritizing delivery to areas least able to find alternative supplies.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Wednesday urged Americans to remain calm.
"We recognize the concern that is out there, and that's why we haven't wasted any time to get into action," he told reporters at the White House. "Hoarding does not make things better."
The Transportation Department and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have eased regulations on transporting fuel and temporarily waived clean air rules throughout the affected states to try to ease the supply crunch.
But panic buying was causing thousands of stations to run dry, according to gas price tracking site GasBuddy -- which itself was crashing under the volume of new users.
"It's crazy, but we got to deal with it," a customer who gave her name as Vanita told AFP as she filled up her car in Raleigh, North Carolina on Tuesday.
- Don't use trash bags -
Those few stations with fuel available on Wednesday saw long lines of cars waiting to fill up.
In Florida, 73 percent of stations in the Pensacola area were out of fuel, according to GasBuddy analyst Patrick De Haan.
In North Carolina's Raleigh-Durham area, seven out of 10 stations ran out of gas, as did six in 10 around Georgia's capital, Atlanta.
About 45 percent of stations in Virginia were empty and gasoline was also starting to become scarce in Washington DC, where 8 percent of stations had run out, according GasBuddy data.
"The public perception is: if it's so bad a situation that our governors have to declare a state of emergency, it must be really bad and I need to go fill up," said Andy Lipow, of consulting firm of Lipow Oil Associates.
"As a result we've seen demand at the service stations two and three times the normal which exacerbates the situation," he said.
US average gasoline prices rose to close to $3 a gallon for the first time since November 2014, according to the American Automobile Association.
And as shortages become more widespread, "Unfortunately it's going to get worse before it gets better," Lipow said.
Supplies are running low and Colonial Pipeline's competitor Plantation Pipeline has about one-third of the capacity.
Amid the panic, pictures emerged on social media of motorists filling buckets and even trash bags with gasoline and loading them into their cars.
Buttigieg joined the US Consumer Product Safety Commission in urging drivers to use caution.
"Now is the time to be safe and sensible," Buttigieg said, adding that "under no circumstances should gasoline ever be put into anything but a vehicle directly or an approved container."
CSPC on Twitter warn of potential "deadly consequences."
"Do not fill plastic bags with gasoline. We know this sounds simple, but when people get desperate they stop thinking clearly," the agency said.
© 2021 AFP
It's done. The Republicans in the United States House of Representatives voted this morning to oust Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney as chairwoman of the House GOP conference. I've been writing obliquely about this pending vote, as I've been trying to make other points. But let me be plain. Ousting one of their own for the sake of a losing president means the Republican Party is now officially anti-democracy.
Think about it. A pro-democracy party is one that would leave behind the losing president. It would look at his failure, which almost never happens, and reassess what the party must do to win more votes than the other party did. It would expand greatly its policy repertoire to attract a winning national coalition. It would reorganize and restructure to compete harder for a broader spectrum of voters. In brief, it would do something similar to what the Democratic Party did after Hillary Clinton's 2016 loss.
Instead, the Republicans are behaving in two anti-democratic ways. One, they are rigging elections with new laws disenfranchising wholes classes of people. Two, they are preparing to ignore election results if rigging fails. Going all-in for the losing president means the party doesn't care anymore about legitimately winning or losing. It does not care anymore about the very principle of legitimacy. It has effectively given up on democracy, because it keeps getting in the way of keeping its grip on power.
But it's worse than all this. Hillary Clinton dutifully accepted the results of the election as an expression of the people's sovereignty. (She did this, though by the standards of democracies around the world, she won by dint of winning more votes.) She did not lie. She did not cast doubt. She did not scheme with state-level Democrats to "find" a few thousand extra votes. She did not plan, organize and then incite the sacking and looting of the United States Capitol. She did not seek to violate the almost sacred tradition of the peaceful transfer of power. Treason was not the price of her vanity.
More importantly, the Democratic Party did not follow her. The Republicans, however, have been following Donald Trump wherever he leads, even when he palled around with a dictator (Vladimir Putin); apologized for a murderer (Mohammed bin Salman); neglected a once-every-100-years plague that will kill more than a million Americans in the end; tried defrauding the American people by way of extorting a foreign leader; and planned, organized and incited an insurrection against the United States. There was no crime, injustice or outrage they were not willing to sidestep, overlook or defend. The Democrats are more republican than the Republicans in the Republican Party. The GOP hasn't just given up on democracy. It's warring against democracy.
Despite all this, we can have faith. Most people most of the time have something better to do than pay attention to politics. But they do hear what leaders like Liz Cheney are saying, and the message is, I think, pretty simple. There is something profoundly rotten at the core of the Republican Party. There is something about the Republican Party that's against America itself. That must be the case given the party is booting from its leadership the daughter of towering Republican figure and a former vice president. She's a member of the United States Congress whom the Democrats normally hate. That's the impression left on normal people. Everything else is noise.
I have talked a lot about the importance of getting swing voters, which is to say, respectable white people, to side with patriotism over despotism. If there's anyone who looks, acts, talks and thinks like that great globular middle of American politics, it's Liz Cheney. During a floor speech last night, she said the GOP is going to war:
"I am a conservative Republican and the most conservative of conservative principles is reverence for the rule of law. The Electoral College has voted. More than 60 state and federal courts, including multiple judges he appointed, have rejected the former president's claims. The Department of Justice in his administration investigated the former president's claims of widespread fraud and found no evidence to support them. The election is over. That is the rule of law. That is our constitutional process. Those who refuse to accept the rulings of our courts are at war with the Constitution. … I will not participate in that. I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president's crusade to undermine our democracy.
Those who say Cheney should switch parties are mistaken. The moment she became a Democrat would be the moment she lost all influence over independent voters, many of whom are just like her, once loyal partisans alienated by the GOP's disloyalty to the United States. Indeed, Cheney is where she should be, for her own political reasons (she probably has presidential ambitions) and for reasons benefiting the rest of us.
As long as she's a Republican bucking the party line, she'll command the attention of the Washington press corps.5 That attention will in turn deepen the impression among normal people that something is seriously wrong with the Republican Party, so serious as to be dangerous. The more the GOP acts like an insurgency, the more normal people are going to respond politically. The patriots among us are getting woke.
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