There were actually two coup events. Jan. 6 was the second one. Time to do some House-cleaning.

The first one happened on Jan. 2nd, where, from their “command center” at the Willard Hotel, Trump and Giuliani spoke by conference call to 300 GOP state legislators, urging them to decertify” the election results based on alleged fraud. Trump assured them, “You are the real power. You’re the ones that are going to make the decision.” Dozens contacted Pence, urging him to delay certification of Biden’s victory for 10 days to allow “our respective bodies to meet, investigate, and as a body vote on certification or decertification of the election,” despite the continued court losses and lack of evidence. Jan. 2 was also the date of Trump’s mob-boss phone call to GA SOS Raffensberger

However, we in Democratic states have no power over these lickspittles. And for the second coup attempt on Jan. 6, we won’t be able to get rid of all 147 lawmakers who fed the Big Lie to their constituents. But recently testimony at the Jan. 6 select committee named federal lawmakers directly involved in the insurrection planning, confirming early reports. Rep. Gosar even dangled pre-emptive pardons for organizers. So let’s contact our own legislators and Nancy Pelosi and urge them to clean house.

Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I have been following the testimony from the Jan. 6 select committee. I want Rep. [___] to do whatever is necessary to expel every legislator implicated in the planning of the Jan. 6 insurrection, including Reps. Paul Gosar, Lauren Boebert, Mo Brooks, Madison Cawthorn, Andy Biggs, and Louie Gohmert. My tax dollars should not be wasted on seditionists.

Contact:

  • Rep. Julia Brownley (CA-26): email, DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
  • or Rep. Salud Carbajal (CA-24): email. DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
  • Who is my representative/senator?: https://whoismyrepresentative.com

Email Nancy Pelosi here: https://www.speaker.gov/contact

Deeper dive – Two days

Heather Cox Richardson, political historian has written two posts that cover our current situation.

October 24, 2021 (Sunday)

“I had planned to post a picture tonight, but this evening Rolling Stone dropped an exclusive, blockbuster story from reporter Hunter Walker that demands attention.

The story says that two sources who are talking to the January 6th committee about planning the January rallies in Washington, D.C., have talked to Rolling Stone as well. They say they worked with congressional lawmakers and White House officials to plan rallies both in Washington, D.C., and around the country. They deny that they intended to storm the Capitol and imply they got used, which points to the sources being from within Women for America First, the organization that sponsored a bus tour and rallies around the country before heading to Washington for January 6.

They allegedly named Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), and Louie Gohmert (R-TX), as people with whom they planned. They also claim that Gosar promised them a blanket presidential pardon, although they do not say for what.

From the White House team, they singled out then–chief of staff Mark Meadows. “Meadows was 100 percent made aware of what was going on,” one of the sources said.

Katrina Pierson was a key figure in both accounts. She was on Trump’s campaign teams in 2016 and 2020, and worked with the organizers of the rallies before the mob stormed the Capitol.

One of those talking to Rolling Stone said: “It’s clear that a lot of bad actors set out to cause chaos…. They made us all look like s**t.” This person included Trump on their list of bad actors and described feeling used by him and then abandoned. “I’m actually pretty pissed about it and I’m pissed at him.”

Nick Dyer, who is communications director for Greene, said the congresswoman was only involved in planning to refuse to accept certified ballots, nothing more. He tried to compare Greene’s actions with those of Democrats who objected to Donald Trump’s 2016 win, and said that no one cares about the events of January 6 amongst what he suggests is the disaster of the Biden presidency.

No other spokespeople for the lawmakers involved answered requests for comment.

Between this, and the stories that continue to drop about Facebook, and the infrastructure bill, and voting rights measures…it seems likely to be a big week in Washington.”

October 23, 2021 (Saturday)

There are three stories in the news today that seem to me to add up to a larger picture.

First is the story of money laundering, which seems suddenly to be all over the news. Today we learned that federal prosecutors in Detroit have broken into a massive money-laundering operation between the United States and the United Arab Emirates called “The Shadow Exchange.” They confiscated $12 million and suggest this is the tip of the iceberg.

This story comes just weeks after the release of the Pandora Papers, which detailed the ways in which the world’s wealthy hide money. The United States is one of the money-laundering capitals of the world, and the consequences of our lax financial legislation are coming home to roost. Experts say that because of the lack of transparency required in our financial transactions, hundreds of billions of dollars are laundered in the U.S. every year.

Another story from earlier in the month by Casey Michel in Politico reveals what happened to a small town in Illinois when a Ukrainian oligarch bought a factory there apparently in order to launder money. The townspeople believed they were looking at a new, prosperous future with new investment in the town, only to watch the abandoned factory decay. And then, miraculously, another investor appeared, but that man, too, seems to have been using the purchase simply to launder money. Now, the factory is decrepit and must be dismantled at great cost to the town, along with the townspeople’s dreams.

The second story that caught my attention today is the continuing news dropping from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen. Today we learned that a Facebook researcher created a profile that appeared to be of a political conservative North Carolina mother and that within five days, Facebook’s algorithm was steering the profile toward QAnon, a conspiracy theory touting then-president Trump as a secret warrior against a widespread pedophilia ring in the highest levels of government.

Although the fake profile did not follow those recommended groups, the profile was then inundated with groups and pages full of hate speech and disinformation. Other stories recently have emphasized that Facebook officials knew of the radicalization of users before the January 6 insurrection but declined to address the issue.

People often make the mistake of thinking that Facebook profits from the advertising it sells to users, but in fact the system works the opposite way. A media company profits from packaging users to sell to advertisers. Facebook has sliced and diced its users so that it can sell us with pinpoint accuracy to political interests eager to divide us or drive our votes. It appears we now have hard evidence that the company knew its algorithms were peddling disinformation to divide us, and it did not fix them.

Tonight’s third story is that former president Trump’s loyalists set up a “command center” in mid-December at Washington, D.C.’s famous Willard Hotel to try to overturn the election. Those meeting to come up with a scheme to overturn the will of the voters included John Eastman, who wrote the memo outlining how Vice President Mike Pence could refuse to count the electors for certain states and thus throw the election to Trump; Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani; adviser Stephen K. Bannon; former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik, a convicted felon pardoned by Trump; One America News reporter Christina Bobb; and Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn.

It is significant that as this story has hit the news, Eastman, the author of the infamous memo, is running from it. He went to the respected conservative magazine National Review to argue, quite preposterously, that his memo was simply a thought exercise that he did not endorse. The very choice of the Willard, rather than Trump’s own hotel, suggests an attempt to create distance from the president, but Kerik, who rented the rooms, billed the Trump campaign for the $55,000 hotel bill. (Those participating are likely to discover that campaign activity is not part of official duties and so cannot be covered by executive privilege.)

To me, these three stories are as illustrative of this moment as the three crucial stories in the January 1903 edition of McClure’s Magazine were of the corruption that led to the Progressive Era. In that famous 1903 magazine, investigative journalists Ray Stannard Baker, Lincoln Steffens, and Ida Tarbell exposed the political and corporate corruption that were silencing the voices of individuals in the United States and driving them into poverty.

The first two of today’s stories suggest the rise of global capital in our financial system and its power over us through the dominant influence of social media, a new technology most of us don’t understand particularly well. That power has led to the third story: the attempt of a president who has lost an election to turn to a Big Lie, spread through social media, that his victory has been stolen from him, and that his supporters must take matters into their own hands.

KIeptocrats, autocrats, and criminals are making a strong bid to control our country.Will they succeed? Maybe. But in a similar moment after 1903, the American people reasserted the rule of law.

(photo by Gage Skidmore, quote by Dean Obeidallah, CNN)

Sources

  • (rollingstone) EXCLUSIVE: Jan. 6 Protest Organizers Say They Participated in ‘Dozens’ of Planning Meetings With Members of Congress and White House Staff,” Rolling Stone, October 24, 2021
  • (cnn) “House votes to hold Trump ally Steve Bannon in criminal contempt for defying subpoena,” CNN, October 21, 2021
  • (hill) “Jan. 6 committee chair: ‘No question’ Capitol riot was a premeditated attack,” The Hill, October 25, 2021
  • (lawfare) “The 14th Amendment’s Disqualification Provision and the Events of Jan. 6,” Lawfare, January 19, 2021

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