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Joe Biden-- Let Alone McCarthy Or McConnell-- Is Incapable Of Protecting Us From Fascism

Mark Meadows apparently really hates Kevin McCarthy-- maybe not as much as Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney do-- but enough to get on a local Bakersfield radio show to bad-mouth the likely next speaker. The Punch Bowl crew reported yesterday that Meadows, who had-- on the verge offing indicted-- just supposedly agreed to cooperate with the select committee investigating the attempted 1/6 coup-- went on KNZR with Hate Talk host Terry Maxwell. They wrote that "the former White House chief of staff dumped all over the GOP congressional leadership in D.C. This was ostensibly part of Meadows’ effort to sell books; Meadows’ new book is out next week. But Bakersfield, of course, is McCarthy’s hometown. They provided us with 3 quotes:

"I think probably the biggest thing is, is that a lot of times we legislate to the middle and we think that we've got to go to our least common denominator and and appease the most moderate Republican member in the House … What I've often said is, ‘Listen, let's start with who we are as conservatives and as constitutional lovers of freedom. And let's start there and then we work towards the middle.’”
We fight as if we are … in the minority each and every day. But it does take leadership, sometimes it takes boldness, other times, it takes a willingness to go home [and] do what your constituents want you to do.” Meadows was referring to the GOP’s stint in the majority from 2010 to 2018, a period during which McCarthy was the House majority leader and Meadows was his chief irritant.
Maxwell said he’s a supporter of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) or Meadows becoming speaker of the House. Maxwell reminded Meadows that the next speaker does not have to be a member of Congress. Meadows said: “I don't see that happening. I think generally, the politics are really tilted towards somebody who's actually serving in Congress." Neither Maxwell nor Meadows said a word about McCarthy becoming speaker if Republicans win in 2022.

That headline above comes from the Dallas Morning News. No one had to put the word "Republican" in it. That's because behavior like that defines the Republican Party in recent years-- violent, insurrectionist, deeply unpatriotic or anti-patriotic. Mark Middleton-- and his crackpot wife, Jalise-- are facing 9 federal charges for assaulting police officers during the coup attempt. Mark is primarying a very conservative-- but non-fascist-- Republican, David Spiller (R). HD-68. The immense state House district is rural and biggest than 8 states (Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. As far as I can tell, it is the most unvaccinated district in Texas. Here's the county breakdown. Remember-- Texas is 55% vaccinated (and 52.1% voted for Trump in 2020)

  • King Co.- 17% fully vaccinated (95.0% Trump)

  • Motley Co.- 25% fully vaccinated (92.6% Trump)

  • Wheeler Co.- 37% fully vaccinated (92.4% Trump)

  • Jack Co.- 36% fully vaccinated (90.4% Trump)

  • Throckmorton Co.- 39% fully vaccinated (90.2% Trump)

  • Kent Co.- 35% fully vaccinated (89.0% Trump)

  • Montague Co.- 33% fully vaccinated (87.7% Trump)

  • Dickens Co.- % fully vaccinated (86.3% Trump)

  • Young Co.- 39% fully vaccinated (86.3% Trump)

  • Collinsworth Co.- 29% fully vaccinated (86.0% Trump)

  • Garza Co.- 48% fully vaccinated (85.5% Trump)

  • Childress Co.- 46% fully vaccinated (85.3% Trump)

  • Hall Co.- 40% fully vaccinated (85.1% Trump)

  • Hardeman Co.- 43% fully vaccinated (84.2% Trump)

  • Stonewall Co.- 41% fully vaccinated (83.6% Trump)

  • Haskell Co.- 34% fully vaccinated (83.1% Trump)

  • Cooke Co.- 35% fully vaccinated (82.0% Trump)

  • Cottle Co.- 36% fully vaccinated (81.6% Trump)

  • Fisher Co.- 35% fully vaccinated (79.3% Trump)

  • Wilbarger Co.- 48% fully vaccinated (77.9% Trump)

  • Floyd Co.- 41% fully vaccinated (77.7% Trump)

  • Crosby Co.- 42% fully vaccinated (71.5% Trump)

The dumbest-- and least fit for survival-- place in America. Every county voted far more for Trump than Texas statewide and every county is far less vaccinated than Texas statewide. There are no cities or big towns. It's just a willfully ignorant hellhole-- perfect for Mark Middleton to run for office. Will his campaign be that he was at the coup beating up police while Spiller was sitting around just passing anti-Choice legislation? His website indicates that his campaign issues are Texas sovereignty ("it is past time Texans start seriously exploring our exit from the Union"); border security; gun rights; abolishing property taxes and replacing them with consumption taxes; medical freedom (anti-mandates); rights of the unborn ("The Texas Legislature should enact legislation to completely stop the murder of unborn children and should ignore and refuse to enforce any and all federal statutes, executive orders, and court rulings that would deprive an unborn child of the right to life")...

Spiller, who will have to face Middleton in the March 1 primary, graduated college and law school. Middleton flunked out of high school. The FBI has footage of both Middletons hitting two police officers. They were identified after they bragged on Facebook about their participation in the insurrection. Jalise, when asked by a Facebook follower why they were beating on police, responded "To get in the Capitol to send them bastards a clear message that this won't be tolerated."

Yesterday, one of my favorite interviewers, Salon's Chauncey DeVega, interviewed Dave Neiwert, an old friend and an expert on right-wing extremism. Dave is very pessimistic about the state of the country: "Normal is gone-- and it's not coming back." DeVega wrote that Democrats are being encircled by a radicalized Republican Party increasingly committed to fascism. Instead of organizing their forces and launching a coordinated counterattack, the Democrats are fighting many battles at once-- and losing most of them... Fascist militias and other right-wing paramilitaries are growing in strength and numbers. Domestic terrorism experts are warning that the U.S. may experience a prolonged violent right-wing insurgency. Some observers have suggested that such right-wing extremist violence could even escalate into a second American civil war. Republicans are systematically restricting Black and brown people's right to vote, with the apparent goal of creating a new apartheid Jim Crow-style system where the Democrats will effectively never win 'free and fair' elections. This plot against democracy involves voter exclusion, voter suppression, extreme gerrymandering, the Big Lie and intimidation of election officials on the local level. Republicans are also deploying their street thugs and other foot soldiers to disrupt civil society, targeting school board meetings, library oversight boards and other ground-level government bodies. These attacks involve both violent intimidation and a proactive strategy to infiltrate local government and weaponize it in service to the Republican fascist movement. The Republican fascists and larger 'conservative' movement are continuing their 'culture war' attacks. Their newest weapon is the right-wing moral panic about 'critical race theory,' against which Democrats have been largely defenseless... Instead of leading a counterattack and rallying his supporters, Joe Biden has sought consensus... Biden and the Democratic leadership have not fully committed to defending American democracy against the fascist insurgency, and unless they do that, all their grand ideas and transformative legislation will come to nothing. As shown by their behavior and language, Republicans and their supporters are prepared to fight a life-and-death battle to end multiracial democracy in America. In response, Democrats are giving stern lectures about proper comportment and the importance of so-called democratic institutions. It would be laughable if it were not tragic."

What is the Rittenhouse verdict an example of?
DN:The larger context really has me concerned. If you spend much time online monitoring right-wing extremists, like I do, then you would be acutely aware that the main topic of conversation for the past year and longer has been civil war.
These right-wing extremists have waited for a chance to start shooting "leftists" and "communists" and "liberals" and Black Lives Matter, antifa or other groups they target as the "enemy." These right-wing extremists do not see a difference between Joe Biden and antifa. For the right-wing extremists, any and all of these individuals and groups are all the same, something evil. The unifying and most important thing is a yearning for civil war.

A few weeks ago in Idaho, a young man stood up at a Charlie Kirk event and said, "When do we get to use the guns?" and "How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?" That video went viral and faded pretty quickly. There was an Idaho legislator who responded to that question as though it was something reasonable.
This desire for a civil war and other political violence is not just coming from the open white nationalists and neo-Nazis and racists. It is also coming from what I would call the "Patriot" right. These are the Trumpians-- the people who believe that the 2020 election was stolen, the people who believe COVID is a Chinese hoax.
This isn't an unusual conversation in these circles. Unfortunately, not enough people are paying attention to what is happening among these people. They are all polishing their guns and getting ready.
The Rittenhouse verdict is going to be a big green light and beacon for the right-wing extremists, and especially the Patriot right. It's just a big signal: You can do this and get away with it. You can gun down leftists at these protests.
The white right and other neofascists are celebrating the verdict. They are full of joy about what it represents.
DN: The verdict is confirmation that they were right all along. The Rittenhouse verdict has given them permission to do what they've been craving to do for a long time. The situation is going to become very fraught, very soon. Any time there is a protest, I believe there are going to be guns out. It is going to be dangerous.
Too many among the Democrats, liberals and progressives are eager to mock the right-wing militias and similar groups. The mainstream media does that too, with its tone of dismissiveness. These right-wing paramilitaries and fascist street thugs are killing people. Law enforcement continues to disrupt their plans for mass-casualty attacks. How can we warn the public about this extreme danger?
DN: The local level is where they are very active right now. The radical right, particularly the neofascist elements such as the Proud Boys and Three Percenters, the street-brawling thugs and militiamen who show up in body armor and with weapons, are doing exactly what Kyle Rittenhouse did, but on a larger scale.
These groups, for the most part, do not live in the cities where protests are taking place. They travel to these cities and organize acts of thuggery against the residents who live there. There is a perfect storm here in America where the corporate news media does not do accurate reporting on these events and instead engages in both-sides-ism.
How do the Republican fascists and other parts of the right-wing echo chamber see the world? What is their narrative?
DN: Liberals and progressives do a poor job of understanding their enemy. Liberals and progressives are up against forces that are very formidable, and not to be dismissed or laughed at.
There is this caricature where the average militia member is this potbellied oaf who runs around and spouts all sorts of nonsense. Obviously that caricature has a basis in reality. But in this case, the caricature is based upon the hapless foot soldiers. By comparison, the leaders of these right-wing militias and adjacent or allied groups are very skilled and sophisticated. Yes, most of them are scam artists-- but these are scam artists who actually believe their propaganda and other narratives.
These are the folks who are out there radicalizing a large segment of the population. It is my opinion that people who live in cities have a really hard time understanding just how deep and widespread the "Patriot" and "constitutionalist" militia beliefs have become out there in rural America. Such thinking is deep and widespread.
All of these years, we've been getting interviews with Trump voters in rural cafés. We're way overdue for some stories talking about the liberal Biden voters who are trying to survive in these red rural areas where the hostility is just incredibly intense. There we see these huge, modified pickup trucks flying giant flags that say, "Fuck Biden." That's what the reality is for people in rural America right now.
I was recently in Boise, Idaho, which isn't that rural. I saw multiple "Fuck Biden" flags, and of course they were flying alongside the Trump flag. I also saw the black American flag, which basically signals that they're prepared for civil war and have no intention of showing mercy.
How do we convince the American people that the threat from these neofascists is real and not to be minimized or downplayed?
DN: Let's be clear. Many of these people are one, incompetent, and two, totally incapable of ever pulling off what they're talking about doing. Moreover, such people are cowards who mostly like to bluster and threaten and intimidate, but when push comes to shove they are going to shrivel up and do nothing.
But the reality is also that there is a percentage of those people out there who are armed and who are competent, who have military training in many cases and sometimes law enforcement training. These more serious ones are also capable of handling deadly weapons. Those people are the real threat. When they feel that they have been pushed too far they are going to respond.
We do not know what will trigger the response. It could be any number of things. For example, consider the guy who attacked the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. He was triggered by Fox News and Donald Trump and their obsession with the migrant "caravans." All that fear-mongering about Hispanics, and then blaming the whole situation on George Soros, which has an antisemitic component to it. Instead of being explicitly antisemitic, the right wing's language is to call Jewish people "globalists."
When one looks at the whole spectrum of these various elements, on one end there are the neo-Nazi terrorists who are out there plotting, currently being arrested by the FBI for plotting acts of terrorism. They want to escalate the level of chaos and then to replace liberal democratic society with an authoritarian one. The American people need to wake the hell up-- and that includes all these journalists who do not understand the real state of the crisis.
...These are some of the worst people on the planet, and dealing with them is incredibly ugly business. It is actually soul-scouring. Having to think about such people is not something many of us really want to do, and that includes the Democratic Party. The American people are in for a really difficult road ahead.

"Dixie's Revenge" by Nancy Phanian

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