Thursday, May 20, 2021
BY SARAH LAZARUS & CROOKED MEDIA
** -Geraldo Rivera ([link removed]) , ([link removed]) in a sophisticated verbal duel with Dan Bongino
The GOP move to block a bipartisan January 6 commission has handed Democrats (Joe Manchin) what should be the simplest choice of their careers (as West Virginia senator): Do you want to keep the Senate filibuster, or do you want to keep democracy?
* A day after an overwhelming majority of House Republicans voted against a bill to establish an independent January 6 commission, the House narrowly passed ([link removed]) a $1.9 billion spending package to beef up Capitol security, with zero GOP votes. After all, if the rioters were just normal tourists, as this man pissing his pants in terror ([link removed]) later claimed, what’s the big emergency? On Thursday, Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) introduced resolutions to censure GOP members ([link removed]) for their lies about the insurrection.
* Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) told more such lies ([link removed]) on Fox News as he railed against the proposed commission on Wednesday, saying, “The fact of the matter is even calling it insurrection—it wasn’t.” Johnson suggested he was hard at work on his own investigation to “accurately recreate what happened,” so no need for anyone who wasn’t complicit to look into this. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer alluded to Johnson’s lies while re-upping his pledge ([link removed]) to quickly bring the bill to the Senate floor: “All of the shameful comments by Republicans reveal that a bipartisan commission is even more necessary than it once was.”
* They also reveal that Democrats will need to fight for it. The South Dakota Republicans who were open to establishing a commission earlier this week have fallen in line with party leadership. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), one of the seven Republicans who voted to convict Donald Trump back in February, has announced that he’ll oppose the commission ([link removed]) . Even Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) isn’t a solid yes ([link removed]) . Without 10 Republicans to break a filibuster, Democrats are back at the altar of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who on Thursday correctly (!) noted ([link removed]) that Democrats had already made plenty of concessions to Republicans, who have now reneged.
It’s hard to imagine a purer argument for nuking the filibuster than “the minority party is obstructing a bipartisan deal for a bipartisan investigation into a violent attack on Congress, with no hope of a bipartisan solution.”
* And that’s generously leaving out that party’s role in fomenting the attack, which it would desperately like everyone to forget. Republicans’ latest dishonest talking point for opposing the commission goes something like ([link removed]) , “it would be a waste of everyone’s time to relitigate the 2020 election,” as if the insurrection and events leading up to it are quaint artifacts of the past, and not the core values of the present Republican Party.
* Republicans across the country are still very much relitigating the 2020 election, and are empowered to do so because there hasn’t been a full accounting of the antidemocratic rot that Trump injected into mainstream politics (and also because their state senates—wait for it—don’t have the filibuster). The Arizona audit might be an absurd joke, but Trump allies have started looking at it as a blueprint ([link removed]) for potential audits in Georgia and other swing states. VICE News found that at least 19 GOP state chairs ([link removed]) , including most of the ones in key swing states, had pushed wild pro-Trump conspiracy theories.
It should come as no big surprise that the political party that’s gone to war with democracy would prefer to keep the full extent of that transformation hidden from the public. Nothing is stopping Democrats from exposing it, either by abolishing the filibuster or forming a Benghazi-style select committee—they just need to accept that there’s no other way forward.
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Israel and Hamas have agreed to a ceasefire ([link removed]) after 11 days of conflict with a heavy civilian toll. The ceasefire went into effect at 2 a.m. local time on Friday, under terms brokered by Egypt. President Biden had spoken with Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi ([link removed]) to discuss bringing about a ceasefire ahead of the agreement, a day after putting public pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to de-escalate the situation. It’s a tentative peace—Netanyahu’s office stressed that “the reality on the ground will determine any decision to resume the military campaign.” Earlier on Thursday, officials from Netanyahu’s Likud party told the Ma’ariv newspaper that Netanyahu was dragging out the fighting
([link removed]) in Gaza to prevent his centrist rival Yair Lapid from forming a government. While that (horrific) tactic may have secured his job through another election, some Israelis seem to be waking up ([link removed]) to how thoroughly Netanhyahu has alienated the (non-evangelical) American public during his time in office.
* The Trump Justice Department secretly obtained a CNN correspondent’s phone and email records ([link removed]) , in the latest disclosure of the Trump administration abusing its power to target journalists and online Devin Nunes critics.
* Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced a resolution to block an approved $735 million arms sale to Israel ([link removed]) , a day after progressives introduced a similar bill in the House.
* CNN host Chris Cuomo helped advise his brother Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) ([link removed]) on how to respond to the sexual-harassment allegations against him, which is offensive both from a journalistic standpoint, and for the “strategy” ([link removed]) they evidently landed on.
* The Senate Judiciary Committee has advanced Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ([link removed]) , along with four other judicial nominees.
* The clown-run Arizona audit has rendered Maricopa County’s voting machines unusable ([link removed]) , because no election officials had eyes on what Cyber Ninjas was doing with them.
* A Pittsburgh ice cream parlor raised its minimum wage to $15 ([link removed]) , and immediately received a flood of job applications. If only there were some sort of...larger lesson...to draw from this...
* The Associated Press fired a young reporter because Twitter conservatives feigned outrage ([link removed]) over the fact that she once called Ben Shapiro a “little turd,” a sacred right that all Americans must be able to exercise without fear of retribution. Let it ring from the mountaintops: Ben Shapiro is a little turd.
* The world’s largest iceberg has calved from Antarctica ([link removed]) . It is nearly 80 times the size of Manhattan. Scientists don’t think this one broke off as a result of climate change, just regular iceberg stuff, so go ahead and enjoy the Big ‘Berg guilt-free.
The Treasury Department has announced its plan to raise an additional $700 billion by targeting high-earning tax cheats ([link removed]) , one of the main sources of funding for President Biden’s infrastructure proposals. The plan would require banks and financial institutions to report account flows, to make it harder to wealthier taxpayers to misreport their income. The IRS would also gain more visibility into high-dollar cryptocurrency transfers and money flowing through foreign banks. Using a proposed $80 billion infusion for beefing up enforcement, the IRS would roughly double its workforce by 203—with the goal of increasing the audit rates for wealthy people, but not for taxpayers earning less than $400,000 a year.
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President Biden ([link removed]) has signed legislation aimed at combating anti-Asian hate crimes, both by making hate crimes easier to report, and boosting the federal response.
Vermont ([link removed]) has enacted the nation’s first statewide ban on the use of toxic “forever chemicals” in certain products.
Maryland and New York ([link removed]) have joined Ohio in announcing lotteries for people who get vaccinated, an incentive that’s already driven up Ohio vaccination rates by more than 28 percent.
In 19 states ([link removed]) , at least half of adults are now fully vaccinated.