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Fox's Laura Ingraham whines authorities are doing too much to keep DC safe after pro-Trump insurrection

Even by the sub-standards of Fox News, it was fairly amazing Wednesday night when host and evil sorceress Laura Ingraham bemoaned the fact that authorities are doing too much to keep Washington, D.C. safe for next week's presidential inauguration.

Ingraham hosted retired Gen. Robert Spalding, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank. This is how she introduced the segment:

"After resisting Trump's calls for the National Guard last summer, the Left is now fine with militarizing every aspect of the People's House," Ingraham whined. "Fox News reporting that officials will now increase the number of National Guard members who will be deployed in Washington during the presidential inauguration from 15,000 to 20,000 on Wednesday, about three times the number of U.S. troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan combined. So, is this all necessary?"

Spaulding doesn't think so.

"You know, it's absolutely -- I think it's a travesty" he told Ingraham. "It's politicizing the military more than any I've ever seen. I know there's been a lot of discussion about the president politicizing the military but when you have a capital filled with 20,000 troops in anticipation, I'm not sure what they are anticipating. You know, the hordes coming across the Potomac River, I'm not sure why this is necessary. I think for the most part it's done for show and that's the great travesty here of this episode."

Conveniently omitted from this enlightening conversation were two details: One, "the Left" objected to the use of the National Guard to attack protesters, not over it having protected anyone. And more importantly, two, that security for the inauguration is in the hands of the Secret Service, which is not customarily confused with "the Left."

Here' how the Washington Post described security plans Tuesday for the inauguration:

"The Secret Service and federal law enforcement agencies are spending the final days of the Trump administration bracing for a possible violent assault against the Jan. 20 inauguration, launching a security mobilization that will be unlike any in modern U.S. history.

"On Wednesday, the Secret Service will take command of security preparations at the U.S. Capitol and other federal buildings, backed by as many as 15,000 National Guard troops, thousands of police and tactical officers, and layers of eight-foot steel fencing.

"The high-alert security posture is starting six days earlier than planned to coordinate roles for the FBI, National Guard, U.S. Marshals Service and a host of other federal agencies that will fall under Secret Service command.

"Everyone can just rest assured they are throwing the kitchen sink at this event," said one Secret Service official involved in protective planning who was not authorized to speak to reporters."

It's not altogether clear why Ingraham takes offense at any of that. But here's her interview with Spaulding:


Republicans lay out the case for impeaching Trump in explaining why they didn't

Republican members of Congress are displaying some impressive verbal gymnastic skill in rationalizing how they didn't have the courage to vote against Double-Impeachee Donald Trump today.

In a joint statement explaining why they wouldn't stoop to impeaching Trump in a hurry, Republicans Reps. Dan Crenshaw and Chip Roy, TX, Nancy Mace, SC and John Curtis, UT, prefaced their indignation by eloquently laying out the case for impeaching Trump:

"President Trump publicly pressured Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress to accept the demonstrably unconstitutional idea that the Vice President has unilateral authority to ignore the sole slate of electors sent to Congress from each of the states and to declare who would be president. He did so leading up to, and during, a massively attended rally which he called for and encouraged. Moreover, the event was deliberately scheduled to take place at the precise moment at which members of Congress were meeting to carry out our Constitutional duty to count those very electoral votes.

"This pressure campaign whipped many of those present into a frenzy that contributed in part to the assault on the Capitol resulting in the deaths of several American citizens, including at least one Capitol Hill police officer. Therefore, we condemn the President for his words and actions which contributed to these events and encourage every member of Congress to similarly condemn."

"While we do not make legal judgment of the President's intent regarding Wednesday's demonstration, his actions were reckless. No President should ever, among other things, promote clearly unconstitutional theories that risk the stability of our nation and, in particular, do so to the detriment of the peaceful transition of power."

Then the four members of Congress proceeded to say why there wasn't enough of a "sober review of the facts" to justify impeachment. That rather belies the litany of impeachable conduct they laid out in their preamble, one that should even be compelling after a "drunk review of the facts."

Should the members really have it both ways? If there wasn't enough evidence to impeach Trump, then where do they get off accusing him of pressuring his vice president and themselves to conduct themselves unconstitutionally? On the basis of what non-evidence would they accuse him of calling for a massive demonstration--timed to coincide with their vote-counting--and then of having "whipped many of those present into a frenzy," an action they claim "resulted in" the violence that ensued?

If these facts needed further study and hearings and the like, then shouldn't they have refrained from making such inflammatory accusations about Trump's conduct? They accused him of all they could ever need and more to impeach a president and then claim not to have enough information to go through with it.

Some profile in courage.

In Missouri, Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) similarly concluded there had not been "the appropriate investigations and a complete airing of the facts so our vote can be fully informed."

But in the very same statement, she said:

"That does not mean, however, that President Trump should escape accountability for his role in the violence that took place January 6th. I support censuring the President for his rhetoric to ensure that his behavior is not deemed acceptable to future leaders, or to our adversaries around the globe."

Wagner also concluded that Trump's statements after the Capitol riot, "were antithetical to the leadership our nation desperately needed in a time of crisis."

Presumably, then, Wagner must have been willing to censure the president without the benefit of evidence. Except his on-camera statements, she quoted that we all saw with our lying eyes. You know, the ones based upon which she couldn't be "fully informed."

In still another instance, Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, apparently saw enough to conclude "I believe the President bears responsibility, and that is why I urged him personally to call off those who were violently storming the Capitol last week. I wish he had spoken up sooner, but he did not."

But she didn't enough to justify impeachment without "collecting evidence, conducting committee hearings, and having preliminary votes."

After all, it's not like the people for whose actions the president bore "responsibility" are talking about storming the Capitol--and the ones in all 50 states--before next weekend. Well, maybe the Secret Service and FBI think so, but what do they know? Besides, what's the rush?

Who would suggest that Trump was responsible or deserved condemnation or should be held accountable for what happened last week in Washington D.C.? Oh right, these members of Congress, the ones who couldn't bring themselves to impeach Trump today.

Never mind.

Cop union head faces resignation calls for equating Capitol terrorism with Black Lives Matter

A growing chorus of officials in Seattle is demanding the resignation of Mike Solan, president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild. Eight of the nine members of the City Council issued that call today.

Last Thursday, Solan tweeted that police were "caught in the middle between factions vying for political control" in retweeting a post from far-right Portland blogger Andy Ngo that claimed a BLM activist from Utah was part of the siege of the Capitol building. Here's the tweet:

Solan's resume includes having presiding over the union last June as it was kicked out (https://bit.ly/39m6FOS) out of Seattle's top labor group -- the King County Labor Council -- in the wake of the George Floyd killing. The group said then it was reaffirming its commitment to an "anti-racist union movement."The City Council members' demand were just the most recent calls for Solan's head. Here's how the Seattle Times reported it:

"Mayor Jenny Durkan called last week for Solan to retract his words and apologize, or resign. The Martin Luther King Jr. County Labor Council, which expelled the police union from its ranks in June amid the mass protests against police brutality, called for Solan's resignation. So did Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County. And the Black Law Enforcement Association of Washington.

"The union's contract expired at the end of 2020 and the acrimony comes as negotiations with the city over a new contract are set to begin.

"'Mr. Solan's remarks and their implications are reprehensible and untrue,' Councilmember Alex Pedersen said at a Monday morning City Council briefing. Pedersen has been one of two council members who have consistently opposed efforts to defund the police department by up to 50%.

"'It's time for Mr. Solan to hand this important position over,' Pedersen said. "We must have a partner who has truly embraced that we cannot go back to the way things were. The current president of the police union has, in my view, disqualified himself to be a fair partner in negotiating the contract."

Also calling for Solan's resignation as union president Monday were Seattle City Councilmembers M. Lorena González, Lisa Herbold, Andrew Lewis, Tammy Morales, Teresa Mosqueda, Kshama Sawant and Dan Strauss."

Ngo, the blogger extolled by Solan, isn't backing down from the preposterous effort at real-time revisionist history for the insurrection by making it a both-sides issue. Today, this is what he posted on Twitter:

Sullivan, the man cited by Ngo, was indeed inside the Capitol Building. But as the Utah Deseret-News reports, what he was doing there remains unclear. The newspaper reported that Sullivan "claims he attended a pro-Trump rally that turned into a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol in order to see "the truth" about the protests for himself and the organization he represents.

"For me, it's important from the group and the people around me to see that side of things, to see the truth," John Sullivan said Wednesday night. "I don't care, like what side you're on, you should just see it raw."

Sullivan, who is the founder of Insurgence USA, a social justice group that calls itself anti-fascist and protests police brutality, was detained by Washington police for about an hour and a half Thursday night, a day after he talked to local and national media about what he witnessed Wednesday.

He was handcuffed the entire time, and said police questioned him about being inside the Capitol and witnessing the shooting death of one of the protesters. He was not arrested.

Sullivan said he also intended to "support the Black community" with his attendance, but also feels it was "important to understand" those who were protesting in support of President Donald Trump.

"But some of the 40-minute video he posted to his social media sites contradicts his assertion that he and another woman were "only filming" the actions and not participating as he can be heard in the video encouraging people to join them as they push their way through police barricades."

As far as folks in Seattle are concerned, their problem is Solan, not Sullivan, no matter what the Utah activist was doing. And this part of the Seattle Times reporting suggests why:

"Solan, a Seattle police officer since 1999, was elected president of the department's rank and file union last year with more than 70% of the vote. He ran as a hard-line candidate, arguing that police were "under unreasonable levels of scrutiny." A campaign video for Solan praised him for speaking at the scene of a police shooting, "supporting officers' actions and quickly capturing the narrative."

"Over the summer, he emerged as a frequent guest on conservative media, condemning protesters and Seattle's elected leaders."



Here's why Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley are truly in danger of getting booted from the US Senate

Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz should be afraid. Very afraid. There's a very real possibility that they might soon find themselves on the business end of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Hawley and Cruz -- likely in that order -- are truly in danger of getting booted from the U.S. Senate by their fellow senators.

As historian Michael Beschloss and others have noted, the legal basis is clear, dating back to the post-Civil War amendment ratified during Reconstruction in 1868. Amendment XIV Section 3 states definitively that "no person shall hold any office" if as a member of Congress they "shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof."

It's never good news to get caught helping out in a civil war when you're holding a job with qualifications that read "hasn't helped out in a civil war."

Well, that's what Hawley and Cruz just did: The organized insurrectionists incited and directed by Donald Trump to attack the Capitol were doing so in the name of a borderless civil war. (The fact that Trump continues to shun any expression of sympathy for fallen Capitol police officers confirms he regards them as enemy casualties).

Not long after these heavily armed insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol for the expressed purpose of preventing Congress' certification of the 2020 election -- keyword, "after" -- Hawley moved to give their seditious cause "aid and comfort" by challenging the election results of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Cruz had done the same before the insurrection with respect to the state of Arizona.

Both were among senators who voted to reject Pennsylvania's electors. If you're looking for clues as to why the whole enterprise might have been not-so-kosher by this point in time, Hawley yielded his five minutes of time, his first shunning of a microphone or camera in 41 years on the planet. Hawley knew who he was helping and why and wasn't about to add to the record.

But while the conduct of Hawley and Cruz affronted the Constitution's language, the remedy is purely political. That, too, lies in the Constitution: Article 1 Section reserves solely to each chamber of Congress the power to "determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member."

So it comes down to this: Would 17 Republicans join 50 Democrats and independents in taking a patriotic stand against the sedition of Hawley and Cruz?

For the blue team, it's not a tough vote, because January 6 will forever remain on a shortlist of tragic days in American history. Doing nothing shouldn't be an option with regard to members of Congress who actively abetted it.

For both parties, however, almost all political questions come down to three criteria: 1) Is this in our political self-interest?' 2) Is this in our political self-interest, and 3) Is this in our political self-interest?

Normally, that would be that -- as it was during Trump's impeachment -- and the prospect of finding 17 Republicans to vote against him would be impossible. That might remain the case here. But the big problem for Hawley and Cruz is that this wasn't just any domestic terrorist event: It was one that jeopardized the lives of all members of Congress and their staffs, across party lines. Many found themselves quaking under desks making farewell calls to loved ones. And lots of stuff got messed up.

Let's not mince words: They are pissed off and are likely to stay pissed off at Trump and anyone who gave him and his terrorist minions an iota of aid and comfort, especially after the attack occurred. This one literally hit home to them.

This brings us back to the politics. What would be the consequence, in terms of angering the Trump base, to punishing Hawley and Cruz for supporting his cause? And even if Hawley and Cruz can wrap themselves in MAGA flags now, will that matter two or four years from now? Further, would a defanged and de-platformed Trump himself matter by then, especially if he's off making license plates somewhere?

Unhelpful to both senators are the low esteem with which they are held by colleagues, even on their own side of the aisle. Cruz has long held the "most hated man in the Senate" without much competition, pretty much by acclamation. Compare him to a snake and the reptile lobby will go nuts on you.

Hawley might not quite be living on Cruz Island, but he's not far from it.

Consider this from the New York Times Friday:

"The day after Josh Hawley became the first Republican senator to say he would indulge President Trump's demand that lawmakers try to overturn the election, a reporter asked if he thought the gambit would make him unpopular with his colleagues."

"'More than I already am?' he retorted."

Such a lovable guy. But getting back to the original question about political self-interest, there's a factor that weighs against Hawley more than Cruz: Removing him would mean replacing him, with near certainty, with another Republican. And it would probably do a favor to Senator Roy Blunt, a highly regarded member of the party's Senate leadership, who has potential primary concerns of his own as he faces reelection in 2022.

Missouri is one of the Trumpiest states in America, having favored him by 15 percentage points this year and 19 percent in the 2016 election. Were Hawley ejected from the Senate, his replacement would be chosen by Republican Governor Mike Parson--one of the most pro-Trump governors in the nation -- and that person who would stand for a special election alongside Blunt in 2022.

Missouri in 2022 would host a rare dual-senator election like Georgia did in 2020, but with a far higher likelihood of success for the Republicans. Blunt would benefit from running alongside a teammate. Parson would benefit because he could break a logjam of statewide Republican officeholders looking for higher office, including his (Parson is term-limited out in 2024). Hawley has been disowned by his erstwhile patron saint, former Senator Jack Danforth, and two of the state's most influential and wealthy GOP political donors.

So the Republican Party writ large would be glad to be rid of Hawley, who is almost certainly damaged goods for the long term. Even if the party decides it needs a Trump acolyte to carry its banner in 2024, there's a long list of people with last names like Trump, Pompeo, and Haley standing ahead of him in that regard.

For Cruz, the politics are a bit foggier. Unlike Hawley, he has been around quite a while and has more of a natural base of his own. But far more important, Texas is growing more purple by the day. The Republican Party runs a real risk of losing a seat if it jettisons Cruz as it would open the possibility of a Democrat winning the seat in 2022. Cruz isn't up until 2024.

Plus, Cruz didn't inadvertently pose for an iconic fist-pump-to-the-seditionists photo like Hawley did on his way to the Capitol. (That one will help every bit as much smiling from a tank helped not-President Michael Dukakis in 1988.) And Cruz isn't continuing to act in as bellicose a fashion as Hawley, who is continuing to spout "I will never apologize!" and claiming ludicrously that Simon and Schuster abridged his First Amendment rights by dumping his book deal.

Still, Cruz did offer aid and comfort to Donald Trump's cause and, by implication, his little army. And given that so much champagne would flow so freely among so many senators across the aisle were Cruz kicked to the curb, it cannot be ruled out that they'd gleefully kick him to the curb over sedition.

Now if you're thinking none of this could possibly be real, look no further back than a quarter of a century, when longtime Senator Bob Packwood of Oregon was facing expulsion. Over a period of a few years, a sordid history had emerged of Packwood having sexually harassed female aides and other women. Plus he had altered diaries to cover it up.

Packwood resigned in disgrace in 1995, but only after the Senate Ethics Committee voted unanimously -- under Chairman Mitch McConnell, of all people -- to have him expelled from the Senate. Kicking out a senator hasn't happened often, but it's not out of the question.

Long before the Me Too movement, Republican senators were ready to boot a senator for sexually harassing people in the Capitol building. So might they do the same for a senator who offered aid and comfort for people who stormed that very building with guns blazing?

We'll all have to wait on the edge of our seats to learn the answer to that one. You can rest assured that Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz are.

'More unstable than what?' Critics wonder what Mike Pence is waiting for

Some prominent figures are reacting rather strongly to a report from CNN's Jim Acosta that Vice President might invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Donald Trump's power should he become "more unstable."

Mary Trump, the president's niece and most prominent psychologist analyst, weighed in, "'More unstable' is the equivalent of having an amp that goes to 11."

Writer Tom Nichols had a pretty good take: "More unstable. How bad does it have to get? Nixon has some drinks and rails about enemies in the residence, and GOP senators are calling SECDEF to secure the nukes. Trump goes completely bye-bye and VP is like: Let's see if he thinks he's Gilgamesh before we do anything rash."

And actress Morgan Fairchild asked Pence, "More unstable than what? He almost got you killed last time."

Rep. Eric Swalwell tweeted incredulously, "More unstable? Seriously?

Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor, asked, "More unstable? How much more? What more does Trump need to do to demonstrate he's become too unstable."

The hashtag #MOREUNSTABLE is obviously trending, with an endless parade of tweeters outdoing one another in working off the "more unstable" set up line. Here are some of the best so far, including some bank shots at Pence:










Man who plowed car into BLM protest gets a free pass -- but not the protesters

Even in a nation in which "criminal justice" is an oxymoron it doesn't get much worse than what has happened in the wake of an Iowa City racial justice protest from last summer.

As Time Magazine reports, "A white man who deliberately sped his car through a crowd of racial injustice protesters in Iowa City, striking several, will avoid prison and have the incident erased from his record if he stays out of trouble for three years."

What's more, Michael Ray Stepanek, 45, "who told police he drove his Toyota Camry through the crowd in August because the protesters needed "an attitude adjustment," will receive a nice adjustment of his own: A $1,025 civil fine was suspended by Judge Paul Miller, along with the prospect of expungement of his record.

As if that gentle touch on the wrist wasn't galling enough, in turns out that no such kindness will be forthcoming to many of the protesters who were on the business end of the wingnut's speeding car. For them, prosecutors are intent on bringing down the full weight of the law.

In one of the larger understatements in recent history, Time reported this:

"The Johnson County Attorney's Office, which agreed to Stepanek's plea deal, could face accusations of double standards as it continues to pursue charges against some Black Lives Matter protesters involved in the demonstrations last summer.

"Prosecutors are pursuing 15 counts, including nine felonies, against a protest leader charged with shining a laser beam light in police officers' eyes in August.

"A 20-year-old Black protester who carried an assault rifle through an Iowa City crowd in June has been indicted on a federal charge of illegally possessing a gun while using marijuana. The man, who faces up to 10 years in prison, had already been prosecuted by Johnson County on related charges after the gun was found during a traffic stop following the protest.

"Stepanek's violence came during a downtown Iowa City protest organized by the Iowa Freedom Riders, whose members have been pushing for changes to policing for months. Police fired tear gas on them in June, outraging city leaders.

"Police say Stepanek became enraged when he was stopped behind other vehicles after protesters blocked an intersection. He honked his horn then made a U-turn, squealing his tires to turn around.

"Then, he shut off his lights, drove around the block, and turned onto a downtown street where there were no vehicles between him and the protesters, police say. Video shows his car striking multiple protesters, dragging one on his hood, before speeding off."

It is highly unlikely any of the Black protesters will be treated to a public explanation that sounds anything like Stepanek received for his joy ride through a crowd of people.

"Stepanek's attorney John Bruzek said his client was influenced by social media and political rhetoric characterizing the protesters as dangerous criminals," Time reported. "Stepanek initially believed he was legally justified but has come to see he was wrong and apologized, Bruzek said.

"Michael understands how his conduct could have resulted in a much more serious and harmful situation," he said.

So the Iowa judge graciously allowed "Michael" to plead to a charge less than a "forcible felony," allowing him to skate from a state law prohibiting deferred judgments for violent felons. He did have no prior criminal record and spent 76 days in jail awaiting trial.

That probably is of little solace to one of the people Stepanek hit with his car. Here's Time's report on that:

"A 21-year-old protest organizer said she had a sore leg after she was mowed down and that the incident opened her eyes to the "hatred of people in this community."

"It was extremely jarring to have some stranger take it upon himself to punish a group of young unarmed people for inconvenience and/or political dissidence," the University of Iowa student wrote in a victim impact statement. She said the crime made her wary of cars and "paranoid about violence."

Car drives through protesters in Iowa City www.youtube.com

Sarah Palin strangely uses the insurrection to attack the media

None other than Sarah Palin has jumped into the fray for a little counterprogramming on behalf of the insurrectionists unleashed today by Donald Trump.

A large headline at Townhall.com blared: "'Knock It Off': What Has Sarah Palin Peeved About How Media Are Reporting DC Protesters"

Here's how it was reported at the wacko right-wing website:

"With the nation's capitol in chaos on Wednesday as protesters stormed the Capitol Building, Sarah Palin had a message for the media about how they ought to be reporting.

"Sharing a photo of a bare-chested man wearing horns standing with other individuals inside the building, the former Alaska governor said they need to be identified before labeling them.

"Media: quit labeling DC protestors 'Conservatives, Republicans, Tea Partiers, Trump Supporters, etc' LOOK IN TO (sic) WHO THESE PEOPLE ARE who'd choose an apparent leaderless insane swarm to create a perception of condoned violence. KNOCK IT OFF," she tweeted. "And to any insincere, fake DC "patriots" used as PLANTS - you will be found out."




Supporting Mama Grizzly's strange read on the situation, Town Hall offered this insight:

"Jay Richards, research assistant professor at The Catholic University of America, questioned who would benefit most from such a situation.

"One question: Who are the greatest beneficiaries from a crowd identified with MAGA and Trump storming the US Capitol, and footage of it being broadcast around the country and the world?" he asked. Richards pointed out vast numbers of Trump supporters were outside not engaged in a confrontation with Capitol Police to storm the building.

"The reality is, we don't know at this point who exactly is storming the Capitol. We do know there are hundreds of thousands of pro-Trump people outside not doing so," he said. "So maybe it would be prudent to suspend judgment on who is doing what until we know more."

Alternately, maybe it would be prudent not to get one's information from TownHall.com.

Immediately after Trump's mob stormed the Capitol, here's how the website had reported the terrorism:

"They've Had Enough: Trump Supporters Bust Inside Capitol; UPDATE: Shots Fired Inside Capitol"

That was right around the time the similarly cranked information providers at TheGatewayPundit.com offered this:

"BREAKING: Patriots Have Made Their Way INSIDE THE CAPITOL — Pence Evacuated, Lawmakers Sheltering in Place" the Gateway Pundit trumpeted. Its story, such as it was, began "Patriots have now made their way past the police and into the Capitol building."

New GOP congresswoman basks in right-wing glory by packing her glock

With thousands of armed zealots descending upon Washington D.C. spewing threats of violence in pursuit of a coup, it's reasonable enough that Congresswoman Lauren Boebert is talking about the need to protect herself.

Unfortunately, she's one of them.

Boebert, a newly elected Republican from Colorado, is basking in media glory before she even gets to work in Congress because of how she's coming to work in Congress: proudly packing her Glock. It was reported here in November that she had been asking around about carrying her gun on Capitol grounds.

But this week, she struck wing-nut gold: After garnering support through a letter from fellow Republicans -- who, let's face it, will sign anything if it's creepy enough -- Boebert is now enjoying a full-throttle media joy ride. Fox News, desperate to crawl out of Trumper Time Out, greeted her with a hero's welcome.

Boebert has gone viral with a 3-minute video and accompanying tweet that might best be described as having a QAnon Amazon Chic motif. It begins with her loading her weapon dramatically and then venturing out into the dangerous "liberal" streets of Washington D.C. (Boebert previously expressed support for QAnon, but now says she's not so sure.)

In any event, her ad doesn't seem to suggest that you'd want her as your Congresswoman next door. Here it is:


Fox commentators heaped praise on Boebert for "exercising her Second Amendment rights." And sure enough, she got lots of Republican lawmakers to sign onto to a letter supporting that noble cause. Looking at many of them, it's probably the only exercise they'd endorse.

Here's how Fox News reported her triumph:

"The advertisement comes after Boebert wrote a letter to House leadership Friday, urging them to keep a 1967 rule that exempts lawmakers from a ban on firearms inside the Capitol building.

The letter, which was signed by 82 other current and incoming GOP Congress members -- including Dan Crenshaw, Mo Brooks, Louie Gohmert, and Matt Gaetz -- came three days after 21 Democratic lawmakers asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to change the 53-year-old rule to keep Boebert from carrying her gun into work.

On Saturday, Boebert appeared to score a victory, as new rules unveiled by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not appear to include a proposed ban on firearms in the Capitol."

There is another side of this, however. As Business Insider reports, the local police are not all that impressed:

"The police chief of Washington, DC, said on Monday that the Metropolitan Police Department intended to contact newly elected GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert after she talked about carrying a handgun around the city.

"'We plan to reach out to the congresswoman's office to make sure that she is aware of what the laws of the District of Columbia are, what the restrictions are," police Chief Robert Contee III said during a news conference.

"The freshman lawmaker will be 'subjected to the same penalties for everyone else that's caught on the District of Columbia street carrying a firearm unlawfully,'" Contee added.

Win, lose, or draw -- especially "draw," -- Boebert really can't lose. If she's prevented from carrying her weaponry, she'll be canonized by the National Rifle Association and every right-wing media outlet in the nation. If she's allowed to pack heat in the chamber, she'll probably be treated with extra civility. Her central mission is, after all, to defend herself.

Normal members of Congress of either party or others in the nation might be inclined to ask this longer-term question: Who's going to protect us from Lauren Boebert?

These 9 red states should have their results thrown out based on GOP 'fraud' claims

Everyone knows Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be sworn in January 20. Donald Trump will leave by that day, one way or another.

Before that happens, however, a sizeable number of Republicans will challenge the integrity of U.S. elections to curry favor with Trump's angry political base. It is perhaps the most ironic of Trump's legacies that the subject of election reform will long outlast his tenure. It indeed cries out for attention, just not for the bogus reasons he claims. Voter suppression and the need to make the franchise more accessible to more Americans do require immediate attention.

When Trump realized many months ago that he was likely to get beaten by Biden, he resorted to the same undemocratic tactic he had employed as a 2016 presidential candidate during both the primary and general elections. Trump convinced his followers of a binary choice. Either he would win, or the election surely had been rigged against him.

In 2020, faced with the COVID-19 pandemic he was so desperate to deny, Trump's choice of bogeymen for this purpose was easy: Any measures taken to make voting easier -- something Republicans instinctively resist -- would be the source of fraud against him. And the low-hanging fruit was to claim falsely that mail-in balloting was inherently corrupt, with the likes of drop-off ballot sites and relaxed submission deadlines not far behind.

There is no evidence to support Trump's nonsensical claims, but that's hardly deterred him from the repeating his lies thousands of times for the purpose of rendering them truthful to millions. So the nation will be hearing from a handful of lean and hungry politicians this week -- led by Missouri Senator Josh Hawley -- who will essentially argue that the effectiveness of Trump's demagoguery is reason enough to doubt a legitimate election. Lacking any evidence, the arguments will default to taking issue with the basic notion of making voting safer and more accessible.

While the nation humors that -- and even after Congress' certification of the election for Biden and Harris -- it should be noted that among the more suspects in Hawley's illogic are nine red states that gave their electoral votes to Trump. In all nine instances, these Republican-run states adopted measures designed to promote safer and easier ballot access during the pandemic.

Here are the states that Hawley should thus be trying to disqualify Wednesday in Congress: Utah; Ohio; North Carolina; Kentucky; Iowa; Kansas; West Virginia; North Dakota; and Nebraska.

The 69 electoral votes of these states surely were "tainted" by a combination of mail-in balloting, drop off boxes, lack of signature requirements, acceptance of ballots beyond the election day and a variety of relaxed rules to accommodate the special circumstances of the pandemic.

The source is a state-by-state scoreboard of pandemic voting measures compiled by the Brookings Institute, published in October and last updated Election Day. Brookings researchers graded states on the basis of how well they accommodated mail-in voting and the like, on a scale from A to F. Trump supporters would reverse the grades.

Here's the premise of the research:

"Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many have wondered if the U.S. can conduct a safe election in November. What we know is this: The safest and most secure way to vote in a pandemic is vote-by-mail. During the 2020 primaries, coronavirus severely disrupted elections. State voting systems were overwhelmed by long lines, an influx of absentee ballot requests, and technology issues. Considering this, we have chosen to assess the ease of mail voting in each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., on dimensions such as requesting, completing, and submitting a mail-in ballot. This scorecard does not attempt to gauge overall voter experiences or cover all aspects of the voting system. It is a forward-looking and evolving analysis of what states are doing now to expand access and improve the process of voting by absentee ballot or via a universal vote-by-mail system, thereby improving voting in a pandemic."

Brookings gave A's to eight states, including the five that already had laws requiring that ballots be sent to all voters: Utah, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii. None of them had been accused before of fraudulent behavior before 2020. One of them, Utah, is a red state.

Conversely, eight states were also given F's and D's for poor voter access, including Hawley's Missouri. Of the eight, Virginia and New Hampshire were blue states.

Here's a breakdown of the nine red states that received either an A or B from Brookings, meaning they were highly suspect of terrible behavior by the Republicans' new definition, complete with a list of their offenses:

Utah:

Voters automatically receive a ballot

Ballot does not require a witness signature

Ballot is accepted if postmarked by election day and received beyond 5 or more days from election day

Drop-off boxes, mail, and in-person channels are available

Ohio:

All registered voters receive an application

Ballot does not require a witness signature

Ballot is accepted if postmarked by election day and received beyond 5 or more days from election day

Drop-off boxes, mail, and in-person channels are available

Voters can submit an application for an absentee ballot via three or more channels

North Carolina:

All registered voters receive an application

Ballot is accepted if postmarked by election day and received within 5 days from election day

Mail and in-person channels are available.

Voters can submit an application for an absentee ballot via three or more channels

Kentucky:

COVID-19 concerns are permitted to request an application

Ballot does not require a witness signature

Ballot is accepted if postmarked by election day and received beyond 5 or more day

Drop-off boxes, mail, and in-person channels are available

Voters can submit an application for an absentee ballot via three or more channels

Iowa:

All registered voters receive an application

Ballot does not require a witness signature

Ballot is accepted if postmarked by election day and received within 5 days from election day

Mail and in-person channels are available

Voters can submit an application for an absentee ballot via three or more channels

Kansas:

No excuse is required for an application

Ballot does not require a witness signature

Ballot is accepted if postmarked by election day and received within 5 days from election day

Mail and in-person channels are available

Voters can submit an application for an absentee ballot via three or more channels




West Virginia:

No excuse is required for an application

Ballot does not require a witness signature

Ballot is accepted if postmarked by election day and received beyond 5 or more days from election day

Mail and in-person channels are available

Voters can submit an application for an absentee ballot via three or more channels

North Dakota:

No excuse is required for an application

Ballot does not require a witness signature

Ballot is accepted if postmarked by election day and received beyond 5 or more days from election day

Mail and in-person channels are available

Voters can submit an application for an absentee ballot via three or more channels

Nebraska:

All registered voters receive an application

Ballot does not require a witness signature

Drop-off boxes, mail, and in-person channels are available

Voters can submit an application for an absentee ballot via three or more channels

Republicans will use Trump's bogus election claims to push for more voter suppression in 2021


Long after Donald Trump is extracted from the White House, voter suppression will live on more zealously than ever in states across the nation. Increased stifling of democracy will rank as one of Trump's more noxious legacies, which is saying something.

An ABC News report Thursday that in at least five key battleground states, "Republican state lawmakers are taking the baseless claims of fraud and lack of election integrity often promoted by the president and repeated by their constituents, into the 2021 session as arguments for changing election law."

Those states are Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Arizona and Texas. ABC reported that "Republicans across the country are still using fraud claims as justification for proposed legislation that would undo some provisions, some implemented during the coronavirus, such as the use of ballot drop boxes and no-excuse absentee voting."

Sylvia Albert, director of voting and elections at the nonpartisan voting rights group Common Cause, expressed concern.

"Obviously we saw record turnout everywhere and part of that was because access to the ballot was expanded. And obviously nothing is perfect," she told ABC News. "We would want improvements and improvements should be made, with consultation with election officials and election security experts and advocates in the community, but that's not what we're seeing.

"What we're seeing is legislatures adopting the president's lies about there being problems with the election," Albert added, referring to unsubstantiated claims about voting machines changing votes, fraudulent signature matching processes and other baseless claims promoted by the president."

Georgia Senate Republican Whip Steve Gooch had this to say for the efforts to "crack down" on such presumed horrors as ballot drop boxes and no-excuse absentee balloting (in use since 2005):

"We have totally lost confidence in our election system this year," said during a committee hearing about the election. "I'm here on behalf of those citizens. I have a duty to let you know that this issue isn't going to go away unless we make some changes."

You can read the full report here: https://abcn.ws/3hzt52C

ABC News is not alone in observing the efforts in Georgia. Last month, Savannah Morning News editorial page editor Adam Van Brimmer noted that Republicans are facing a crossroads with Democrats now threatening the stranglehold they've held on state politics for the past two decades. Here's part of his December 12 column:

"The GOP (has) two options to stem the blue wave: Sell their ideas or make voting more difficult. Electioneering is always easier, at least when you have the power of the majority. And that's what the Legislature's Republicans intend to do in the 2021 session by pushing measures that would limit absentee balloting, complicate the voting process and perhaps even move toward making the state's top election official, the secretary of state, a post chosen by them instead of the voters. To borrow a silly slogan, 'stop the steal.'"

Another bizarre pro-Trump election lawsuit bites the dust

Loony Louie Gohmert just had his zany lawsuit against Vice President Mike Pence tossed on the sad heap of Krakens. Gohmert and some other Republicans were trying to get the courts to require Pence to abuse his position as U.S. Senate presiding officer to make his own call about which electors counted on January 6.

Once again, the nonsense of the Republicans' legal clown car was rejected by a Republican judge appointed to his post by Donald Trump. This time it was Judge Jeremy Kernodle hammering one more nail in the judicial coffin.

LawandCrime.com had this report tonight:

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed against Vice President Mike Pence by Rep. Louie Gohmert and fake pro-Trump electors on Friday, finding that plaintiffs lacked standing.

"The problem for Plaintiffs here is that they lack standing. Plaintiff Louie Gohmert, the United States Representative for Texas's First Congressional District, alleges at most an institutional injury to the House of Representatives. Under well- settled Supreme Court authority, that is insufficient to support standing," U.S. District Judge Jeremy Kernodle wrote, echoing the Department of Justice's argument that plaintiffs sued the wrong defendant.

"The other Plaintiffs, the slate of Republican Presidential Electors for the State of Arizona (the 'Nominee-Electors'), allege an injury that is not fairly traceable to the Defendant, the Vice President of the United States, and is unlikely to be redressed by the requested relief."

Perhaps the most hilarious part of the story came earlier today when Gohmert's crack legal team argued in vain against Trump's own Justice Department:

"They say that the Vice President, the glorified envelope-opener in chief, has no authority to preside over anything else or to decide anything of substance or to even count the votes in those weighty envelopes. He is only the envelope-opener."

Incredibly, those words were in a filed legal pleading in federal court. As opposed, say, being contained in the transcript of two drunks arguing in an alley.

Pence, apparently hoping for future employment opportunities more glorious than envelope opening, had pushed backed strongly against getting drawn into the nonsense. His attorneys argued that the plaintiffs' complaint was with Congress, not him.

As NPR had reported recently, "In some key battleground states, groups of Republicans have baselessly declared themselves to be 'alternate electors,' claiming to represent the true wishes of the voters. Gohmert and the other plaintiffs — including a group of proclaimed electors from Arizona — argue that when confronted with competing slates of electors, the Constitution gives Pence the power to choose which electors to certify.

Kernodle let Pence off the hook for now. But Pence might have less luck ducking from public view January 6, when the world's cameras are trained upon his hapless announcement that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been officially certified President and Vice President by Congress.

Josh Hawley's Electoral College stunt is a hopeless distraction -- this is what he is really up to

Missouri Senator's Josh Hawley announced plan to fight for Donald Trump's attempted coup next Wednesday in Congress has everything to do with Hawley. And nothing to do with Trump.

Hawley did what he does best -- receive major headlines -- with his announcement that he'll contest the presidential election results in Congress next week. He's doing Trump's bidding for one reason, and one reason alone: He's running for the 2024 Republican nomination for president. Esquire Magazine didn't dub him the "Thirstiest Man in Washington D.C." for nothing.

The announcement was a brilliant political move. Hawley elbowed several of his top challengers for 2024, including Vice President Mike Pence (who had to be praying no senator would allow the circus to proceed), and some fellow Republican senators including, but not limited to, Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott. In a recent Chicago Tribune piece, Hawley was alone among that group in having publicly pledged to support Trump should he run again.

That's vintage Hawley. Most observers agree that the odds of another Trump candidacy are slim to none, so why not support the return of King Lear? In the same vein, Hawley well knows this is a hopeless quest. All that's required for failure is for a majority of either chamber to reject challenges to states' certification of electors. There's virtually a 100 percent chance of that happening: The Democratic controlled House of Representatives will deny any objection if the sun comes up in the east on January 6.

But for Hawley, this has nothing to do with winning in Congress. By being willing to fall on the sword and make the pro-forma effort to please Trump, he wins with the prized base when he loses.

It's a political clinic. And it shows why Hawley has emerged as the preeminent master of smoke-and-mirrors on the national stage.

Consider this: Josh Hawley has only held public office for four years. In 2016, he made his first (and successful) run for office at 36, becoming Missouri attorney general as nothing more an associate law professor at the University of Missouri. He hadn't spent a moment in public office. He didn't come from a successful business career. He wasn't even a full professor.

Hawley's two years as attorney general were unremarkable, He joined the Republicans' national legal assault on Obamacare. He jumped on the pile investigating Missouri's corrupt, now-former Governor Eric Greitens and -- tellingly -- he took a swipe at Big Tech, his signature issue today.

That was no coincidence. Hawley used his fleeting moments as attorney general to run for the next office, almost from the start. With the help of some big-money donors, Hawley took on Senator Claire McCaskill, who, despite a centrist voting record, had widely been sent as vulnerable in a state Trump had won in 2016 by almost 19 percentage points.

In 2018, the Kansas City Star reported that his office wasn't merely influenced by his national aspirations. It was basically run by his consultants.

"Josh Hawley pledged to Missouri voters in 2016 that he was not the kind of career politician who would use "one office to get to another. But within weeks of Hawley's swearing in as the state's top law enforcement official, the high-powered political team that would go on to run his U.S. Senate campaign had stepped in to help direct the office of the Missouri attorney general — and raise his national profile.

"Out-of-state political consultants gave direct guidance and tasks to his taxpayer-funded staff, and followed up to ensure the tasks were completed, according to emails, text messages and other records" obtained by The Kansas City Star."

Hawley would go on to an upset win over McCaskill. He became the U.S. Senate's most junior member, but one of the loudest.

As Esquire writer Charles Pierce observed, "In a town full of thirsty people, Josh Hawley is a man crawling across the Kalahari. And this is the thing that I know for certain. The most dangerous place to stand in Washington D.C. is any place between Senator Josh Hawley and a live microphone."

So the story continues. There's literally nothing one can take at face value about Hawley. He grew up comfortably in rural Missouri as a banker's son yet spins wonderful tales about his upbringing on a farm. He was educated in private schools and at elite institutions like Stanford and Yale universities, but since his maiden Senate speech in 2017, has been railing about cosmopolitan elites. That angle that drew condemnation by the Anti-Defamation League and rave reviews on Nazi websites.

Hawley bemoans the evils of money in politics but is one of the most shrewd and effective fundraisers on the national scene. He ran in 2018 as an admirer of Trump's tax cuts and pounded McCaskill for having opposed them, but his favorite populist-rhetoric schtick is to attack the evil Wall Street power brokers who benefitted from Trump's largesse.

Hawley has adroitly used social-media platforms to build a formidable national political base by trashing social-media platforms. So it's hardly a shock that he's now crusading for Trump as a loyal Republican by forcing a vote that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others fear as toxic to holding the Senate in 2022 and maybe in the short run.

On the day after the election, Hawley staked out his turf as a potential leader of Republicans by acting like he wasn't one of them:



Josh Hawley should never be underestimated, even when embarking on what appear an impossible dream, such as the present political errand for Trump. What a perfect guy to call out fraud. He is one.

Rev. Warnock attacks Kelly Loeffler's fear-mongering in latest ad billed as his closing message

As the Georgia U.S. Senate races heads into its final week, Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock has not shied from making it personal.

Here's what the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting as the campaign's "closing message" in an ad released Tuesday:

"Kelly Loeffler spends tens of millions of dollars to scare you. She's attacked my church, attacked my faith. She's even attacked my family. She's trying to make you afraid of me because she's afraid of you," Warnock said, walking down an empty street as he speaks directly to the camera.

"Afraid that you understand how she's used her position in the Senate to enrich herself and others like her. Afraid that you'll realize that we can do better."

The newspaper reported the ad campaign as a response to "a steady barrage of attacks aimed at Warnock's past sermons and stances." More than $500 million has been spent or reserved on advertising for the two pivotal races, one pitting Warnock and Senator Kelly Loeffler, the other between John Ossoff and Senator David Perdue.

Both Republicans have had to defend against charges that they've used their positions for personal enrichment. In Loeffler's case, she has tried to change the subject.

"Loeffler's campaign and her allies have rejected accusations that she leveraged her position and have relentlessly accused Warnock, the pastor of Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church and a first-time candidate, of being too liberal for Georgia," reports the Journal-Constitution.

"Republicans have also emphasized comments from Warnock in defense of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright when his sermons became a flashpoint in Barack Obama's 2008 bid for president. Warnock has pushed back on attempts to tie him to Wright's controversial remarks.

In a TV messaging pivot, Loeffler also recently debuted an ad focusing on her rural roots, which included images of braces she once wore on her legs and an eye patch to fix a childhood vision problem."

In the new ad, Warnock counters -- and closes -- with his personal narrative:

"I'm Raphael Warnock, and if you elect me to the Senate, I'll wake up everyday, guided by the values of hard work and passion instilled in me by my parents and inspired by the words of Dr. King who said that "Life's most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others?" Even in these crazy times, I still think it's possible to work together to improve the lives of Georgians. All Georgians. That's exactly what I'll do in Washington. I approve this message and humbly ask for your vote."

Watch the ad below:


Even if it's fake news -- you gotta love Space Force trending

Space Force. The final frontier of fake news. These are the voyages of the Starship Trump. It's a 5-minute mission: to explore strange new hoaxes. To seek out new scams and new suckers. To boldly go where no corrupt politician has ever gone before.

in a nation that has turned its lonely eyes to social media in the collective second-by-second countdown until the end of 2020, we now have the likes of #SpaceForce and #Starship Troopers trending. It's all about unconfirmed new designs for the Guardians of Space Force. It might be fake news. But who cares?

It is important to understand that any discussion of Space Force has a high probability of preposterousness as long as the asteroid Donald Trump hovers over America. Ever the master brander, Trump has slapped his name on the program like an old casino purchased on the auction block.

The Space Force program actually began under President Ronald Reagan, although its 1982 origins are known mostly to Americans who have bookmarked https://www.spaceforce.mil, the agency's official website. There you'll find a futuristic logo and a catchy name -- Space Force Guardians -- but to date, at least, there are no cool uniform designs to see.

Don't tell that to the good people and bots on Twitter. Today, the platform is enjoying a meteor shower of tweets unveiling --and mercilessly ridiculing -- new uniform designs that may well have originated over a good bong somewhere.

Twitter has greeted it all with annoying solemnity:

"Military spokesperson says the viral mock-ups of US Space Force uniforms that are being compared Starship Troopers and Spaceballs costumes are not real

The uniform graphic being shared on social media is not an official US Space Force uniform design concept," Maj. Nick Mercurio said in an email to Military.com. "The Space Force service dress uniform is still in development."

Who cares?

An earlier disclaimer for #Starship Troopers was less definitive: "People are comparing some unofficial US Space Force uniform concepts to those seen in 1997's Starship Troopers and 1987's Spaceballs. The military has not yet confirmed what uniform concepts will actually go into production."

Never have disclaimers mattered less. Whoever came up with the new designs that have turned Twitter a virtual military-fashion runway deserves all the likes and retweets they get.

With the caveat that some tweets might have disappeared by the time you read this, what follows are some of the finer descriptions of what the Guardians might be styling. One of the earlier posters was Travis Akers, veteran Navy military officer and social-media sensation and activist.

And who doesn't love a good Spaceballs reference?


No less a fashion expert than the distinguished never-Trumper Bill Kristol weighed in:

Others came up with their own designs:




The latest posts are greeted increasingly with the warning from some website called taskandpurpose.com: "No these Space Force uniform concepts aren't real. Would you like to know more?"

Here are my two responses: I don't care. And no. With all the depressing real news raining upon the world like a meteor shower, we could all do worse than have a robust debate about Space Guardian garb in detoxing from 2020 and Donald Trump.

Trump supporters short-circuit after the New York Post tells him to 'stop the insanity'

When you lose the New York Post, you've lost the padded room.

Loyalists of Donald Trump have short-circuited over the Post's betrayal of him in Monday's cover-story editorial calling for him to accept his loss to President-elect Joe Biden. It was a bridge too far for an army of followers that knows a little something about buying bridges.

Newsmax star and oddcast host Greg Kelly was having none of it for his 280k Twitter followers:



And wacko former New York Police Commissioner is so upset that he lost control of his grammar:



This account with 68k followers even played the Christie card in anger:



Another account with more than 40k followers summed it up with the "T" word:



Still another made short use of the "F" word:



A Trump loyalist who now has "Kraken" as her middle name is standing firm:




And business isn't booming in the subscription department:




Finally, this one sums up that so much of the Republican world is to blame:



Of course, there were others from the Dark Side that rather enjoyed the moment. Here are two of the better examples:





Still, at the end of the day, no recounting of the reactions to Trump's betrayal by the Post would be complete without a trip down memory lane to the archives of his erstwhile favorite newspaper. While many in the Trump base have relied upon the Post for its deep and analytical insights, at the end of the day, it's all about the headlines.

Today's "STOP THE INSANITY" wasn't bad, but the New York Post has done better. Here, from the source itself, is where you can find some of its best work with The Donald: https://nypost.com/2017/01/20/donald-trump-in-new-york-post-covers/#1

Stay tuned for more.