In an excerpt from his upcoming book, former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) came clean about the Republican Party he walked away from saying it went out of its mind when Barack Obama was elected and now is rapidly filling up with lawmakers who want to do nothing but "blow up Washington," raise money and get on Fox News.
Looking back on his days in Congress, Boehner said he tried to explain the nuances of getting legislation passed but found it was increasingly falling upon the deaf ears of newcomers who were only looking to raise their own profiles as back-bench bomb-throwers.
According to Boehner, "I was presiding over a large group of people who'd never sat in Congress, I felt I owed them a little tutorial on governing. I had to explain how to actually get things done. A lot of that went straight through the ears of most of them, especially the ones who didn't have brains that got in the way. Incrementalism? Compromise? That wasn't their thing. A lot of them wanted to blow up Washington. That's why they thought they were elected," adding, "Some of them, well, you could tell they weren't paying attention because they were just thinking of how to fundraise off of outrage or how they could get on Hannity that night."
The former senior Republican went on to explain that the change in newly-elected Republicans entering Congress can be tied to the rise of conservative Fox News and -- more directly to former head Roger Ailes -- who became the ringleader for paranoid attacks on Obama.
"At some point after the 2008 election, something changed with my friend Roger Ailes. I once met him in New York during the Obama years to plead with him to put a leash on some of the crazies he was putting on the air. It was making my job trying to accomplish anything conservative that much harder. I didn't expect this meeting to change anything, but I still thought it was bullshit, and I wanted Roger to know it," he wrote. "When I put it to him like that, he didn't have much to say. But he did go on and on about the terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, which he thought was part of a grand conspiracy that led back to Hillary Clinton. Then he outlined elaborate plots by which George Soros and the Clintons and Obama (and whoever else came to mind) were trying to destroy him."
Talking about Ailes paranoia, he added, "And it was clear that he believed all of this crazy stuff. I walked out of that meeting in a daze. I just didn't believe the entire federal government was so terrified of Roger Ailes that they'd break about a dozen laws to bring him down. I thought I could get him to control the crazies, and instead I found myself talking to the president of the club. One of us was crazy. Maybe it was me."
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Investigators suspect it was a metal bullet, not a blank, that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins
Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Juan Rios confirmed with Source New Mexico in a phone call after the news conference Wednesday that investigators suspect it was a real metal bullet that killed Halyna Hutchins, 42, last week on the set of “Rust."
Sheriff Adan Mendoza said there was “complacency" on the set of the New Mexico-filmed movie, and practices need to be improved in the film industry to prevent such a thing from happening again.
Hutchins, 42, was shot southwest of Santa Fe last week when star Alec Baldwin fired a revolver on set during rehearsal for a scene in the Western based in 1880s Kansas. Director Joel Souza was shot in the shoulder but survived.
Mendoza announced some findings of the investigation Wednesday at a news conference, fielding questions from dozens of local and national journalists. He said investigators suspect the gun Baldwin fired contained a “live round." District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said charges are still possible against those involved, including Baldwin, the film's armorer and an assistant director.
The sheriff also said deputies are still investigating how the live round was placed in the gun Baldwin used, but whatever the case, safety standards were not sufficient to ensure it was discovered before it was placed in the actor's hands.
“There was some complacency on this set," he said. “And I think there are some safety issues that need to be addressed by the industry, possibly by the state of New Mexico, but I'll leave that up to the industry and the state."
The sheriff did not specify what changes could be made to make the set safer, though a cast member told Source New Mexico the film's production schedule was too tight and the crew overworked, and that could have been a factor.
It's so far unclear whether the state will adopt any new movie safety laws in light of Hutchins' death. State lawmakers have not yet introduced proposed legislation for the upcoming legislative session.
At least two people came into contact with the gun before it was given to Baldwin for the scene, in which he pointed the gun at the camera.
“The people that inspected or handled the firearm when it was loaded before it got to Mr. Baldwin, we're interviewing," Mendoza said.
Mendoza said everyone questioned so far has cooperated with the investigation.
Evidence collected from the scene, including unspent ammunition, is being analyzed with the help of the FBI. About 500 rounds of ammo were collected.
Two other handguns on the scene that day were collected, but they appear to be disabled or used only as props, Mendoza said.
The sheriff did not indicate when his office might complete its investigation, saying the matter is complex and that much evidence is still being processed.
Source New Mexico is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Source New Mexico maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Marisa Demarco for questions: email@example.com. Follow Source New Mexico on Facebook and Twitter.
A California man was arrested by the FBI for allegedly fighting with police officers during the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
Kim Michael Sorgente was arrested in the city of Santa Ana after federal agents served a search warrant. He was later released and given a court date to appear.
Authorities say Sorgente was seen on security camera and body-cam footage attempting with other rioters to get inside the Capitol building as Congress and then-Vice President Mike Pence certified the results of the 2020 election.
"How dare you? How dare you, traitors?" a man identified as Sorgente screamed through a megaphone. "How dare you traitors?"
Sorgente was wearing a red "Make America Great Again" hat and a T shirt with the words "Deus Vult" (God wills it) on it, while carrying a white megaphone.
He helped rioters fight with police, officials allege, for about two hours. Agents say at one point Sorgente picked up a police riot shield and used it to push a man in front of him further into the police line.
Sorgente was apparently present as 34-year-old Rosanne Boyland was trampled to death just outside the tunnel entrance when a some of the mob was pushed out.
"Get her up. Get her up, please," Sorgente could be heard saying in video footage. "Save her life. Save her life."
The U.S. Attorney's Office charged Sorgente with one count each of obstructing police officers during a riot, entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct inside a restricted building.
He faces 15.5 years in prison if convicted.
Read more at the Los Angeles Daily News.
During the Joe Biden era, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona has been a frequent source of frustration to the more progressive Democrats — who often find themselves wondering what her end game is in stalling the Build Back Better agenda. But in an article published by Politico on October 27, Phoenix-based journalist Hank Stephenson (who co-founded the Arizona Agenda newsletter) emphasizes that Sinema isn't all that hard to figure out: She views herself as an "independent" and is pushing her own brand rather than a Democratic Party brand.
Stephenson explains, "Chaos isn't a bad way to describe her impact in Washington right now; she's not only holding up her own party's biggest national priority, but she's famously unclear about her reasons why. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), the other most-intransigent Democrat, can't stop talking about his motives. Sinema isn't even calling her friends. She's rocketed into the national zeitgeist as an enigma, one of the least understood politicians in Washington."
The journalist goes on to say that in Arizona, however, political figures who have known Sinema for a long time have a better understanding of her motives.
"Back home, some of her oldest allies — as well as critics — have an insight for the Democrats who are trying to corral her," Stephenson reports, "and it's not necessarily a comfortable one: Get used to it…. For them, Sinema is better understood in terms of pure ambition, and the constant triangulation needed to hold office in a purple state that fancies itself charting an independent course, whatever that requires in the moment. Sinema declined to comment for this report."
Sinema has made it abundantly clear that she believes the Build Back Better Act of 2021's $3.5 price tag is too high, and prominent Democrats — from President Joe Biden to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer — have been trying to figure out what cuts it will take to get her on board.
"Progressive activists are furious, with local groups already threatening to fund a primary challenge against (Sinema) in 2024," Stephenson notes. "Some of her old comrades say Sinema would be better off dropping the 'D' next to her name altogether and returning to her roots as an independent. But for those still perplexed about Sinema, her rise offers an object lesson in how to get ahead by flagrantly eschewing loyalty to one's own party."
According to Stephenson, it is "impossible to talk about Sinema without mentioning John McCain, the 'maverick' Republican who represented Arizona in the Senate for more than 30 years and was frequently at war with his own party."
Indeed, Sinema has often praised McCain as her political idol. And she is on very friendly terms with the late senator's daughter, conservative activist Meghan McCain.
Stephenson writes, "Sinema is said to be eager to inherit McCain's mantle as an Arizonan with an independent streak; whether intentionally or not, her ostentatious thumbs down on Democrats' minimum wage boost earlier this year instantly conjured memories of McCain's own rejection of the GOP Obamacare repeal bill…. (But) their temperaments couldn't be more different. Unlike Sinema, McCain would talk to the press for hours at a time. And Sinema doesn't have the fiery, confrontation-loving spirit that leads one to hold court with critics. Agree with him or not, McCain had a way of making people feel heard, even if not convinced. Sinema has always been a woman apart from her party."
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