#January #Hearings #Surprisingly #Worthwhile
The House select committee investigating January 6 put on a good show in its first public performance, teasing the major plot points Americans can expect to hear over the coming weeks and offering juicy glimpses of the evidence it has been gathering.
Most congressional committee hearings seem set up to give each member a few minutes of public grandstanding and that’s about it. They’re polemical. They tell rather than show. But last night’s (widely-televised and streamed) hearing of the House select committee on January 6 was different.
In lengthy opening remarks, Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney displayed a TV prosecutor’s command of narrative, weaving together video footage and commentary from January 6, 2021, with post-hoc video testimony and tidbits from key Trump administration players and GOP lawmakers, plus statements from people who partook in storming the Capitol. The result was a cohesive and disturbing view of the lead-up to the day’s events and their aftermath.
Cheney’s presentation “is specific and uses snippets of evidence very effectively to make the case,” suggested University of California, Irvine, law and political science professor Rick Hasen. “It is a strong opening argument short on invective. Showing not telling.”
Many photos and videos from January 6 depict people who were plausibly clueless—wandering the Capitol rotunda, gawking, taking selfies—or engaged in only the mildest of mischief. But footage aired during the committee hearing vividly presented the day’s much more sinister side.
The footage aired last night showed people rushing Capitol Police officers and fighting them, tearing down barricades, and throwing tear gas. We saw people vividly engaging in what appeared to be knowing, furious, and violent actions, as Capitol Police talked in terrified voices about being vastly overpowered and impotent.
Amid this footage we saw and heard from former President Donald Trump, doing things like riling up the pre-riot crowd with election fraud lies and demands that former Vice President Mike Pence refuse to certify the Electoral College results.
Told people had chanted “hang Mike Pence,” Trump allegedly said “maybe our supporters have the right idea. Maybe Mike Pence deserves it,” former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told the committee, according to Cheney.
And as the MAGA mob took the U.S. Capitol building by storm, Trump gave no order to deploy the National Guard.
Cheney: Trump “did not call his Sec. of Defense… He gave no order to deploy National Guard that day and made no effort to deploy law enforcement assets… Vice President Pence did each of those things.”
— Jacqueline Alemany (@JaxAlemany) June 10, 2022
Clips of some of Trump’s closest allies showed they weren’t on board with all this.
Former Attorney General Bill Barr thought Trump’s stolen election claims were “bullshit” and told the former president so, Barr told January 6 committee investigators in a deposition clip played during yesterday’s public hearing.
“I made it clear I did not agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen and putting out this stuff which I call the bullshit” – former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr during his #January6thCommitteeHearings deposition. Photo by Jonathan Ernst pic.twitter.com/OiSH5B8KPA
— corinne_perkins (@corinne_perkins) June 10, 2022
And Ivanka Trump “accepted what [Barr] said and what he was saying,” she told the committee.
Holy shit they got Ivanka to denounce the Big Lie?!?!
— Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp) June 10, 2022
Details like these breathed life into the narrative that we all know well by now—how Trump lobbied the Department of Justice and Pence to help him overturn the 2020 presidential election results, how he urged his supporters to descend on Washington, D.C., that day (“will be wild!”), and how slow he was to act when the rally turned into a dangerous riot.
Trump never directly told people to take over the Capitol or to commit acts of vandalism and violence. And yesterday’s hearing presented no smoking gun to this effect. But it did crystalize the case that Trump was “not just a rogue president but a would-be autocrat willing to shred the Constitution to hang onto power at all costs,” as Peter Baker at The New York Times put it.
The hearing also delved into some of the more personal damage done by rioters. We heard from Caroline Edwards, a Capitol Police officer who was knocked unconscious in fighting with folks who were trying to enter the Capitol. She described the scene as “an absolute war zone.”
“There were officers on the ground—they were bleeding, they were throwing up,” said Edwards. “I saw friends with blood all over their faces. I was slipping in people’s blood.”
She talked about watching fellow Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick—who would die the next day—turn white after being sprayed with something by one of the rioters.
So far, we may not have learned any bombshell news, and it’s unclear that we ever will. And Trump supporters aren’t likely to change their interpretations of January 6. But “the efficacy of the hearing will ultimately not be determined by Resistance/Never Trump types finding it compelling or MAGA types calling it a nothingburger or worse,” suggests the Washington Examiner‘s Jim Antle.
As someone who was skeptical going in that this hearing had any value, I’ve changed my mind about that.
I still don’t think we’re on the verge of democracy dying, or that we need a new war on domestic extremism or anything like that. But what went down was frightening, and many of those involved in spreading the lies that led to the riot and to whitewashing it afterward (including but certainly not limited to Trump) are still major political players. Having a measured, multifaceted, and comprehensive record of what happened seems important for the historical record and for jogging contemporary memories about just how bad this actually was and how differently things could have gone if Trump had been surrounded by slightly less defiant people.
In all the hoopla, hackery, hot takes, and hyperbole that surrounded the Capitol riot (and the Trump era generally), all the Justice Department overreach against people who merely trespassed, all the discourse, it’s been easy to look at January 6 through slightly rose-colored glasses to dismiss grave pronunciations as just so much melodrama. Last night’s hearing—and hopefully those to come—serves as a powerful antidote to this.
The committee’s next public hearing will be June 13.
Republicans and Democrats offer radically different visions of what antitrust bill would do. In discussing Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s (D–Minn.) antitrust bill—known as the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA)—Republicans and Democrats have (once again) displayed totally divergent ideas about what changing antitrust law would mean for Big Tech. See this thread from TechFreedom legal fellow Andy Jung for more.
At a rally yesterday, Democrats like Klobuchar and Rep. David Cicilline (D–R.I.) “were quick to…wave away concerns that AICOA would be used to attack content moderation,” notes Jung.
9/ Republicans see an opening and are upfront about how they envision using the bill. They probably wouldn’t be supporting the bill, at least as vocally, if they didn’t think the bill’s language provided the foothold.
— Andy Jung (@AndyJungTech) June 8, 2022
“There is nothing in this bill that would make it more difficult for platforms to have in place content moderation policies,” said Cicilline. “No one who has done an objective analysis…thinks that in any way platforms will not be able to do what they currently do to moderate content.”
Meanwhile, Republicans like Rep. Ken Buck and Sen. Ted Cruz have suggested that they support the bill precisely because it would change the way tech platforms must moderate content. For instance, during markup for the bill, Cruz said “it would provide protections to content providers, to businesses that are discriminated against because of the content of what they produce.”
No, capitalism is not to blame for the formula shortage:
I don’t understand how the formula crisis is about capitalism:
—The govt purchases half the product in a way that entrenches market power.
—The govt closed a major plant.
—The govt protects domestic companies from international trade with heavy regulations & tariffs. https://t.co/kjJfJIwTFb
— Jason Furman (@jasonfurman) June 9, 2022
• “The U.S. Justice Department is opening a sweeping civil rights investigation into the Louisiana State Police amid mounting evidence that the agency has a pattern of looking the other way in the face of beatings of mostly Black men,” reports the Associated Press.
• “Why aren’t we out of Yemen yet?” asks Bonnie Kristian.
• Title IX is now being used to go after eighth graders who won’t use a classmate’s preferred pronouns.
• Ben Dreyfuss explores why people are so mad about Tesla’s remote work policies. “The only way to justify such a huge reaction to such minor news is to invest a massive moral judgment in it,” writes Dreyfuss. “You have to make Elon Musk’s working from home policy really truly terrible.…I don’t know how you do that.”
• Someone tell Sen. Tom Cotton (R–Ark.) mandatory minimum sentences are always a bad idea:
Violent felons commit the vast majority of gun crimes and should be held accountable for their actions. Instead of releasing criminals onto the streets to commit more crime, our bill will establish mandatory minimum sentences for repeat offenders.https://t.co/Xuo61mz8Qj
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) June 9, 2022
• “The Defense Department has officially ended a 1980s-era policy that restricted HIV-positive service members from deploying overseas and being promoted into leadership and management positions,” notes NBC News.
• Drag queen drama continues.
Exclusive: The Most Conservative Court In 90 Years – TalkOfNews.com
#Conservative #Court #Years
“In 2018 just after he announced his retirement, Justice Anthony Kennedy, who sat at the ideological center of the court for much of his 30-year tenure, met with a groups of reporters. Was he worried that some of the precedents he helped establish–the right to abortion and LGBT rights, for instance–might now be in jeopardy? No, he replied. He was confident that constitutional rights, once established would remain in place,” NPR reports.
“It took just four years, and the addition of one more Trump appointee to the Supreme Court, to prove him wrong.”
FiveThirtyEight: “The data emphasizes that the court is deeply polarized along partisan lines — perhaps more than it’s ever been. There have always been ideological disagreements among the justices, and those have often pitted liberals against conservatives, but those divides weren’t consistently linked to the justice’s appointing party.”
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Exclusive: Sorry, Biden, Gas Stations Can't Just 'Bring Down the Price' – TalkOfNews.com
#Biden #Gas #Stations #Can039t #039Bring #Price039
Over the holiday weekend, President Joe Biden discovered a new scapegoat for persistently high gas prices: Americans who own and operate gas stations.
“My message to the companies running gas stations and setting prices at the pump is simple: this is a time of war and global peril,” Biden tweeted on Saturday. “Bring down the price you are charging at the pump to reflect the cost you’re paying for the product. And do it now.”
It arguably lacks the pomposity of former President Donald Trump’s memorable tweet that “hereby ordered” American companies to stop doing business in China, but the content is equally unhinged. Biden has been aggressive about using vague executive powers to shape the economy in recent months, but that doesn’t change the fact that an American president has no business whatsoever telling gas stations how much to charge at the pump.
If the tweet merely overstepped the limits of executive authority, though, it wouldn’t be as noteworthy—that sort of thing is almost an everyday occurrence. It’s also a telling example of just how little the Biden administration seems to know about what it believes it can design.
It would take no more than a few minutes of a White House adviser’s time to learn that the “companies running gas stations and setting prices at the pump” in most cases aren’t companies at all. More than half the gas stations in the country are single-store operations run by an individual or a family, according to the Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing (NACS), a trade association representing the stores that sell more than 80 percent of the gasoline American consumers use.
A “Shell” or “Exxon” logo on the canopy above a filling station doesn’t mean those oil companies own the gas station. All it means is that the station’s owners have contracted with that company for the right to advertise the well-known brand. It’s the same as having a neon “Coors Light” sign hanging in a bar—which doesn’t mean MillerCoors owns the establishment.
And those gas station owners aren’t raking in massive profits, either. Over the past five years, retailer gross margins have averaged 10.7 percent of the overall price of gas, according to NACS data. But most of those profits come from selling food, drinks, cigarettes, and the like.
The Hustle, a business and tech newsletter, put together a useful breakdown of the economics of gas stations last year. “Selling gas generally isn’t very profitable” due largely to intense price competition among retailers and the ease with which consumers can shop around (because they are literally in their cars). On fuel alone, gas stations have an average margin of 1.4 percent.
If gas stations sold fuel at cost, consumers might hardly notice the difference—but the small-time entrepreneurs running those stations would have a harder time making ends meet.
Biden’s ignorance about gas stations sounds like a replay of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D–Mass.) attempt at blaming higher food prices on greedy grocery store owners—despite the fact that they often operate on similarly tiny margins. It’s also a worrying sign when coupled with the fact that the White House has ordered the Department of Justice and FBI to investigate companies for earning “illicit profits” due to inflation. How can the Biden administration be trusted to police companies’ profits when it is demonstrating such economic illiteracy?
Biden’s gas station tweet is “either straight ahead misdirection or a deep misunderstanding of basic market dynamics,” tweeted Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, a man who knows a bit about what it takes to run a successful business. Meanwhile, the U.S. Oil and Gas Association, an industry group, recommended that the “WH intern who posted this tweet” sign up for a basic economics class.
Maybe Biden should take the class too.
Exclusive: Supreme Court Deals New Blow To Left’s Climate Agenda – Limits EPA Power To Regulate Greenhouse Gasses – TalkOfNews.com
#Supreme #Court #Deals #Blow #Lefts #Climate #Agenda #Limits #EPA #Power #Regulate #Greenhouse #Gasses
The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cannot circumvent Congress and pass sweeping regulations to control emissions at power plants.
The decision, described by CNN as a “major defeat” for the Biden administration’s climate change agenda, limits the power of the executive branch to implement environmental regulations on its own.
Chief Justice John Roberts, writing in the opinion, specifically goes after efforts to overhaul major industries through strict regulations without congressional approval.
“Capping carbon dioxide emissions at a level that will force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity may be a sensible ‘solution to the crisis of the day,’” Roberts explained.
But, he added, “A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body.”
BREAKING: Supreme Court rules against Biden Administration, Limits EPA’s Authority https://t.co/M8eAlV9aEY
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) June 30, 2022
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Liberals Aren’t Pleased With Supreme Court’s EPA Ruling
Like clockwork, Democrat lawmakers and liberal pundits responded to the Supreme Court’s EPA ruling with judicious, thoughtful, lucid, prudent, and sensible analysis.
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Just kidding, they went to the ol’ thesaurus and looked up synonyms for ‘extreme’ and ‘doom.’
MSNBC is treating today’s conservative Supreme Court decision reining in the EPA as the bureaucratic version of the Roe decision: “Dangerous,” “scary,” “extreme,” “a loss for the world.” pic.twitter.com/g2sytLH7hz
— Scott Whitlock (@ScottJW) June 30, 2022
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) called the ruling “catastrophic,” a term we know she had to look up because it has three syllables more than most words she uses.
She suggested ‘doing away’ with the Supreme Court “for the sake of the planet.”
Catastrophic. A filibuster carveout is not enough. We need to reform or do away with the whole thing, for the sake of the planet. https://t.co/if8PIbfs42
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 30, 2022
Honestly, we’re not certain why she’s so worried. According to her own calculations – in which she likely utilized a solar-powered calculator, an abacus, and all her fingers and little piggies – the world is going to end in 2031.
She’s not going to have to worry about the silly ol’ Supreme Court after that.
“Millennials and people, you know, Gen Z and all these folks that will come after us are looking up and we’re like: ‘The world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change and your biggest issue is how are we gonna pay for it?’” she said during an interview at an event in New York City in 2019.
Um, like, Yea. the world is going to end in 12 years pic.twitter.com/ywDEno69Wf
— Mike (@MikeDonaghy7) May 20, 2022
RELATED: Biden’s Abuse Of The Defense Production Act Will Drive Gas Prices Even Higher
The Planet is on🔥
Others swiftly followed suit by metaphorically lighting their hair on fire over the EPA ruling by the Supreme Court.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, who spent a good portion of her career claiming Native American status only to have to apologize after a DNA test, suggested the Court is illegitimate and referred to it as “extremist” and “radical.”
Warren also told followers that “the planet is on fire.”
Our planet is on fire, and this extremist Supreme Court has destroyed the federal government’s ability to fight back.
This radical Supreme Court is increasingly facing a legitimacy crisis, and we can’t let them have the last word.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) June 30, 2022
Now, if the planet is on fire, and low-information supporters believe that it’s the Supreme Court that lit the match, what do you expect to happen? Especially when there have been assassination attempts against at least one Justice.
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes described the Supreme Court as “a threat to the planet.”
Thoughts and prayers for you during this awful time. Off the football field, of course
— Jeremy “Ultra of Ultra MAGA” Frankel (@FrankelJeremy) June 30, 2022
Ah, the tears are strong with that one.
Speaking of liberal tears, does anyone remember the ProPublica report that profiled how hard it was for employees at the EPA to work under a Trump administration? Here’s an unintentionally hilarious excerpt.
At EPA headquarters, the mood remains dark. A longtime career communications employee said in a phone interview Tuesday that more than a few friends were “coming to work in tears” each morning as they grappled with balancing the practical need to keep their jobs with their concerns for the issues they work on.
Wonder how they’re feeling today knowing the Supreme Court curtailed the power of the EPA and delivered a significant victory for the coal mining and coal power industry.
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Exclusive: The Most Conservative Court In 90 Years – TalkOfNews.com
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