Moderate House Dems Shoot Down AOC’s Intel Oversight Amendment

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On 12/9/21 Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(D-NY) introduced an amendment(Amendment 148 to H.R. 5314–Protect Our Democracy Act), that would have restored the oversight powers Congress always intended the Government Accountability Office(GAO) to have, including over our intelligence agencies. Our intelligence agencies, as everyone knows, are notoriously impervious to any Congressional oversight, and often hide behind a vague 1988 Department of Justice opinion to justify their need for secrecy. Rep Ocasio-Cortez’s amendment would have taken away that cover, ensuring much-needed transparency from our intelligence agencies. Surprisingly, 23 Centrist Democrats voted with House Republicans to kill her amendment.

As Rep Ocasio-Cortez correctly pointed out on the House floor, given the kinds of abuses we’ve witnessed during Trump’s presidency, it is only prudent that we restore GAO’s oversight powers over all federal agencies, including our intelligence agencies. Any reasonable person would agree, that it is foolhardy to assume that former President Trump abused all other federal agencies for his selfish political interests, except our intelligence apparatus, the easiest ones to abuse given the secrecy with which they are allowed to operate.

Rep Ocasio-Cortez said on the House floor: “Since it’s creation in 1921, the Government Accountability Office(GAO) has had the purview to conduct oversight of all federal agencies with the goal of reducing waste, fraud and abuse, and holding accountable bad actors. However and unfortunately, most of our intelligence agencies today are not fully cooperative with the GAO, pointing to an outdated and vague 1988 Department of Justice opinion. Our amendment would allow the GAO to act as a check on this behavior, not creating new powers, but restoring the power Congress always intended the GAO to have. This amendment is welcomed by many in the intelligence community, who want to protect their important work and resources from abuse, particularly after the last presidency we just endured. We drafted this amendment in partnership with the community and I’m proud to have the support of Representative Adam Schiff who serves as the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. In fact many of my colleagues have already taken a stand in support of this legislation because in 2010, the House passed a virtually identical amendment.”

The amendment failed with a final tally of 233 nays, 196 yeas, with 4 members not voting. Among the 233 nays were 23 Centrist Democrats who Yours Truly is compelled to name. The nay Dems included Reps Cynthia Axne(IA), Cheri Bustos(IL), Matt Cartwright(PA), Angie Craig(MN), Antonio Delgado(NY), Val Demings(FL), Jared Golden(ME), Josh Gottheimer(NJ), Chrissy Houlahan(PA), Conor Lamb(PA), Susie Lee(NV), Elaine Luria(VA), Tom O’Halleran(AZ), Chris Pappas(NH), Kurt Schrader(OR), Kim Schrier(WA), Terri Sewell(AL), Mikie Sherrill(NJ), Abigail Spanberger(VA), David Trone(MD), Filemon Vela(TX), Jennifer Wexton(VA), Susan Wild(PA).

Ever since the Patriot Act was enacted after the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001, there have been growing calls from civil libertarians and others, for there to be some checks on the almost absolute powers we granted our intelligence agencies after the 9/11 attacks. The reasoning behind this is pretty simple–power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Fast forward to the Trump administration and the abuses we witnessed occurring across all federal agencies–(DOJ being used for the Big Lie, Military on Black Lives Matter protesters in DC, numerous abuses of DHS, “failure” by our intel agencies to anticipate Jan 6th insurrection)– and the need to look into our intel agencies becomes an absolute necessity. It’s against this backdrop that Rep Ocasio-Cortez, with the support of many in the intel community, are pushing for more transparency. One would assume given these set of circumstances, that more oversight would be a no-brainer for Democrats, but apparently not.

Concerns about possible abuses of our intel agencies run the gamut, from the mundane warrantless snooping of our electronic communications (emails, texts, voicemails, etc), to much more serious allegations that if proven, constitute serious violations of our commitments under the United Nations Conventions Against Torture(CAT). These include allegations of 24/7 organized stalking, non-consensual for-profit human experimentation on people entered on terrorism watchlists by weapons manufacturers and others in Big Tech(remote neuromonitoring), militarized attacks on civilians(usually watchlisted) with directed energy weapons, manufactured terrorism cases, etc. These are serious human rights violations that can only come to light through proper oversight. It also bears pointing out that similar egregious abuses have in the past been attributed to our intel agencies, a recent good example being the non-consensual experimentation on U.S. civilians using radiation. President Clinton in 1995, did the just and moral thing by not only exposing this inhumane conduct, but also making whole the surviving victims. The same can be done today.

Bottom line folks, Rep Ocasio-Cortez deserves a lot of praise for pushing for reform on a topic most politicians, and quite frankly the mainstream media, have been terrified to venture into. One only hopes that she musters the courage to push on with it, despite the recent setback on the House floor. Simply put, time has come for our intel agencies to be subjected to some real oversight.

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Rep Jim Jordan’s Shifty Answers About His Convos With Trump On January 6th

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CNN’s Brianna Keilar did an interesting segment on her New Day show (10/21/2021), where she explored Rep Jim Jordan’s very shifty answers to questions about his conversations with then President Trump on January 6th 2021. It appears Rep Jim Jordan’s accounts of his conversations with Trump on that fateful day appear to be changing with every subsequent interview, meaning he may be hiding, or attempting to hide some details about his interactions with Trump on that day.

After stating categorically in previous interviews that he spoke to Trump on January 6th, but only after the insurrection, the Ohio Congressman appears to be changing his tune lately, suggesting that he spoke to Trump on January 6th, but he doesn’t know “when those conversations happened.” Basically, he now doesn’t remember whether he spoke to Trump before or after the insurrection.

Any reasonable person presented with Rep Jim Jordan’s conflicting statements as to whether he spoke to Trump before or after the January 6th insurrection will arrive at the same conclusion, and that is, Rep Jim Jordan is attempting to hide details of his January 6th conversations with Trump from the public. Rep Jordan’s phone records on January 6th can solve this mystery instantly.

Bottom line folks, one doesn’t have to be an experienced investigator to deduce from the CNN segment that Rep Jordan should be a person of interest for the January 6th Commission. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll remember the exact time he spoke to Trump on January 6th, if he is forced to testify under oath.

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GOP Congressman Introduced DOJ Official Who Tried To Overturn Georgia’s Election Results To Trump

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Rep Scott Perry(R-PA) With Trump At A MAGA Rally

CNN Political Correspondent Sara Murray reported on New Day (10/13/2021) that Rep Scott Perry (R-PA) is facing renewed scrutiny over his role in the January 6th DC insurrection, because he is the one who introduced Jeffrey Clark to then President Donald Trump. Jeffrey Clark is the former senior Department of Justice(DOJ) official who went as far as drafting a letter that was supposed to be sent to the Georgia legislature, informing them that the 2020 election results were under DOJ investigation, thereby giving the Republican-controlled legislature an excuse for not certifying the 2020 election results. Jeffrey Clark’s attempts to grossly abuse DOJ powers to keep Trump in office, has naturally raised questions as to why Rep Perry introduced him to Trump in the first place.

New Day host Brianna Keilar:“Okay[Rep]Perry introduced Trump to Jeffrey Clark. How did Perry know Jeffrey Clark?

Sara Murray:“This is a big outstanding mystery. We’ve asked Perry’s office multiple times, they’ve not responded to our questions. Even in these reports, these DOJ officials say it was never clear how this Congressman from Pennsylvania had this relationship with Jeffrey Clark, how he came to facilitate introductions to President Trump, and even an Oval Office meeting with Trump and Clark in it.”

It also bears pointing out that Rep Perry was one of the most vocal House Republicans parroting Trump’s false claims that the 2020 elections had somehow been rigged against him–“the big lie”. This raises more questions as to why Rep Perry introduced Jeffrey Clark to Trump. Was Rep Perry also involved in drafting the letter that was intended for the Republican-controlled Georgia legislature?

Bottom line folks, Rep Scott Perry is definitely someone who needs to testify before the January 6th Commission. Reasonable people will agree that a sitting member of Congress who not only actively pushed Trump’s “big lie”, but also enlisted a corrupt DOJ official to abuse his position in furtherance of the same “big lie”, should be thoroughly grilled by the January 6th Commission.

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Rep McCaul Says The Taliban Are Holding Americans Hostage At An Airport In Afghanistan

Rep Michael McCaul(R-TX), the top Republican in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, appeared on Fox News Sunday(09/05/2021), where he made the bombshell claim that the Taliban are holding Americans, already seated in planes and awaiting departure, hostage at the Mazar-i-Sharif Airport in Afghanistan.

Rep McCaul’s full interview on Fox News Sunday is available here, but the relevant clip is below

Rep McCaul told host Chris Wallace: “We have six airplanes at Mazar-i-Sharif Airport, six airplanes, with American citizens on them as I speak, also with these interpreters, and the Taliban is holding them hostage for demands right now. State[Department] has cleared these flights, and the Taliban will not let them leave the airport…And that’s my concern…they[Taliban] are going to demand more and more, whether it be cash, or legitimacy as the government of Afghanistan…This is really turning into a hostage situation, where they are not going to allow American citizens to leave until they get full recognition from the United States of America.”

Needless to say, Americans being held hostage in a hostile foreign nation, will always be a big deal, or as TeamBiden would say, a “bfd”. It will be interesting to see how the Biden administration addresses this bombshell claim by the ranking Republican in the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

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AOC And Fellow House Democrats Want Annual Refugee Cap Raised To 200K

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(D-NY) appeared on MSNBC’s ReidOut show(08/26/2021) to discuss the ongoing evacuation crisis in Afghanistan, and the plight of Afghan refugees currently trickling into the United States. Rep Ocasio-Cortez told host Joy Reid that she’s joining hands with about 70 other House Democrats, in urging the Biden administration to raise the annual refugee cap from the paltry 15,000 under former President Trump, to at least 200,000.

Rep Ocasio-Cortez told host Joy Reid:“When it comes to the devastation that we have seen in Afghanistan, the United States plays a role. We have a responsibility, and in order to… make good on the role that we have played in this violence, we have a responsibility to make a home for the people whose lives have been upended by interventionist U.S. foreign policy. And so, as a result, I’m proud to have co-written a letter with Rep Barbara Lee[D-CA], to ask and urge the Biden administration to, as they set their refugee quota, to make it no less that 200,000 in the upcoming year.”

You’ll remember the Trump administration dropped the annual refugee cap from 85,000 under President Obama, way down to a paltry 15,000.

Bottom line folks, as Rep Ocasio-Cortez correctly stated on ReidOut, we have a moral obligation to fulfill the promises we made to Afghans, whose help we enlisted in the fight against terrorism, and whose lives have been upended by the current state of affairs under Taliban rule. The least we can do, is raise our paltry annual refugee cap to at least 200,000, so that we can admit into the United States, as many of our Afghan allies as is possible. It’s also the moral thing to do, and one sincerely hopes the Biden administration will grant Rep Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow House Democrats, their noble request.

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Texas State Rep Exposes The Real Deal Behind GOP’s Voter Suppression Laws

Texas State Rep Jasmine Crockett On MSNBC’s Cross Connection show on 08/14/2021

Texas State Rep Jasmine Crockett, one of the Texas Democrats currently “in exile” in Washington DC, appeared on MSNBC’s Cross Connection show(08/14/2021), where she exposed the real deal behind Texas GOP’s voter suppression laws. Rep Crockett basically exposed what Texas residents have known all along, but is rarely mentioned in the national mainstream media, and that is, Texas is quickly becoming majority-minority state, and Texas Republicans, who are heavily dependent on the White vote, are freaking out. This, she correctly points out, is the real reason behind the Lone Star State’s voter suppression laws.

The full Cross Connection segment is available here, but the relevant clip is below.

Rep Crockett told host Tiffany Cross:“We have the real deal numbers[from the census], and it shows that over the last ten years, 95% of the growth in the state of Texas has been people of color…that’s absolutely true. When we look at Trump and Biden, he only lost Texas by five percentage points. That’s what scary. So they[TexasGOP]are saying wait a minute…we only added 180,000 Anglos in the last ten years, whereas Asian-Americans grew over half a million, Black-Americans grew over half a million, Latino-Americans grew over two million. So they are saying wait a minute, if we don’t do something now, then that floor[Texas Legislature]is going to start to look like what the state looks like. The state is a majority-minority state, and they don’t want that.”

Folks, if you miss everything else in the fight for voting rights currently playing out in Texas, do not miss what Texas Rep Jasmine Crockett said on the Cross Connection show. GOP’s freak-out over the dwindling White population in Texas is right at the heart of their voter suppression effort. The restrictive voting laws Texas Republicans are currently pushing, have zero to do with the integrity/security of the vote. It’s all an effort to keep as many Blacks and Browns as possible, from voting.

Bottom line folks, Democrats need to bring a lot of pressure to bear on Senators Joe Manchin(VA) and Kyrsten Sinema(AZ) who are still reluctant to get rid of the filibuster, despite it’s racist roots. They need to be told in no uncertain terms, that racism is at the center of GOP’s voter suppression efforts in Texas and other Republican states, and that by insisting on keeping the filibuster, they are complicit in GOP’s racism. Plain and simple!!

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“Being A.O.C”: A CNN Special Featuring Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

CNN’s Dana Bash interviewing Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)

CNN’s Dana Bash did an hour-long special on Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(D-NY) titled “BEING A.O.C”, which aired on 08/09/2021. As expected, “BEING A.O.C” ended up being quite an interesting and informative hour of television where viewers leaned a lot about AOC the young Latina, versus AOC the Congresswoman we are accustomed to seeing on TV. Yours Truly would have loved to drop the entire hour-long show here for your consumption, but because of copyright issues(the boatload of commercials), all Yours Truly can manage is chopping up the special and serving you the various segments, beginning with whether she plans to primary incumbent Dem Senator Schumer in 2022, and run for president in 2024.

AOC on why Fox News is so obsessed with her

AOC on the power of femininity

AOC on being misunderstood and hated by right wingers

AOC on striking a balance between her congressional duties and her desire to raise a family

AOC on being insulted by a Republican Congressman

AOC on taking down a powerful and loved Dem incumbent, and how this led to her cold reception by fellow Dems in Congress

Bottom line folks, AOC, like Trump(admit it libs), almost always makes for great TV, and Dana Bash’s special did not disappoint. Yours Truly gives Dana Bash an A+ grade(95%) instead of a full blown 100% grade because of this slight “ding”: She left out AOC’s stay in West Africa, where she reportedly even picked up the local language. I think viewers would have loved to hear about her experiences in Africa, and how they have affected who she is today.

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AOC Says States Have Only Doled Out $3B Of The $46B Congress Provided For Eviction Relief

Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(D-NY) appeared on CNN’s State Of The Union(SOTU) show (08/01/2021), where she discussed among other things, the failure by her fellow House Democrats to extend the federal eviction moratorium before leaving Washington for the August recess. Rep Ocasio-Cortez made a startling revelation at the interview, saying that out of the $46 billion Congress allocated to the states for eviction relief, only $3 billion has actually been doled out to assist struggling renters, adding that some Governors, presumably Republican, are “slow-walking” the process. The full CNN interview is available here, but the relevant clip is below.

Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez told host Jake Tapper:“This money was handed over by Congress and federal government to states and local municipalities to dole out. What that means then, is that each individual Governor is responsible for establishing these programs. I think that in some states, Governors and state administrations might be slow-walking this process to get it out, in other states it’s the administrative burden of setting it up, but there are states and municipalities that have been getting it right…but we cannot kick people out of their homes when our end of the bargain has not been fulfilled. Out of the $46 billion that has been allocated, only $3 billion has gone out to help renters and small mom and pop landlords.”

Think about that. As it currently stands, more than 90% of the funds Congress allocated to the states to assist families with their housing needs, are just laying around unused, as the intended recipients remain stressed out over eviction. This is either the height of cruelty, or incompetence by the state governments, or both.

Bottom line folks, there is zero excuse for a Governor, Democrat or Republican, to sit on federal eviction relief funds, knowing full well that we are staring at a potential mass eviction crisis, the likes of which we have never seen before. Even more troubling is the fact that the very same Rep Ocasio-Cortez, was way back in October 2020, sounding the very same mass eviction alarm. Simply put, any Governor needlessly sitting on the much-needed federal eviction dollars while struggling renters suffer, needs to be called out to the fullest.

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GOP MoCs Voted Not To Impeach Trump Out Of Fear For Their Safety

A bombshell audio of Rep Liz Cheney(R-WY) obtained by CNN from an Axe Files podcast interview, confirms what many have feared all along, and that is, some Republican members of Congress voted not to impeach former President Trump after the January 6th DC insurrection because they were afraid for their personal safety and that of their families. Questions about Republican members of Congress operating under duress under the Trump administration, have been floated by authoritarianism scholars like Sarah Kendzior, among others, but received with much skepticism by the mainstream media. The fact that Rep Liz Cheney, a sitting member of Congress, is now publicly confirming such claims, should be a source of great concern for every democracy-loving American.

The full CNN segment is available here, but the relevant clip is below

In the audio, Rep Cheney is heard saying, “I’ve had a number of members[of Congress]say to me things like, you know, we would have voted to impeach, but we were concerned about our security…I think that’s a very important point to pause and contemplate, that you have members of the United States House of Representatives for whom security, their personal security or their family’s security, their concerns about that affected the way they felt they could vote, That’s a really significant thing to say about the current state of our politics.”

Bottom line folks, it is one thing when liberal anti-Trumpers level blackmail accusations against Trump sycophants, but when such accusations are being stated publicly by a sitting member of Congress(Rep Cheney), who says her colleagues have personally expressed such fears to her, then this is an issue that deserves greater scrutiny. Simply put, no member of Congress should be making decisions that affect the lives of their constituents, based on fear for their personal safety, or that of their family. This is patently un-American.

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Rep Gaetz Says Republicans Have An Obligation To Use Second Amendment For An Armed Rebellion

Just four months after the horrific January 6th insurrection in Washington DC by violent Trump supporters, Congressman Matt Gaetz(R-FL) was in Dalton, Georgia (5/27/21) telling a crowd of supporters that the second amendment was meant for armed rebellion and importantly, that they(Republicans), “have an obligation to use it”. If this is not a direct incitement to violent insurrection by the sitting Congressman, I don’t know what is.

In the clip which was played on CNN’s NewDay with Brianna Keilar, Rep Gaetz can be heard telling the crowd, “We have a second amendment in this country, and I think we have an obligation to use it…The second amendment is not about hunting, it’s not about recreation, it’s not about sports. The second amendment is about maintaining within the citizenry, the ability to maintain an armed rebellion against the government if that becomes necessary.” There’s absolutely no other way any reasonable person can interpret this, other than a direct incitement to an armed rebellion against the government by Rep Gaetz.

This is a very serious issue, and must be treated as such by the powers that be, given the fact that it comes only four months after DC insurrection, an armed rebellion that came shockingly close to success. Rep Gaetz’s comments also deserve further scrutiny because unlike many other Republicans who initially distanced themselves from former President Trump after DC insurrection, he and Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene, in whose district Gaetz was speaking, fully embraced Trump even after the incident, and have since projected themselves as Trump’s trusted lieutenants nationally. As a result, Trump’s supporters regard public statements by Reps Gaetz and Greene as direct messages from the former President–a call to action if you will.

Any reasonable person looking at the GOP’s reaction to the events that transpired on January 6th, and since then, is left with a very troubling picture as to where the party, and quite frankly the country, is headed. Trump’s lies about election fraud led to an armed insurrection on Jan 6th. Congressional Republicans chose not to impeach him for that. Trump is still pushing the same dangerous lies. Some Republican members of Congress have since conjured up revisionist theories as to what really happened on January 6th(just a bunch of tourists etc), to excuse their continued support for Trump.

Republican-controlled state legislatures have embarked on voter suppression laws targeting areas/voters they deem anti-Trump and importantly, made it possible for state legislatures to overturn elections in case of unfavorable outcomes. All this is being done against the backdrop of Trump teasing another run for President in 2024, meaning the said state legislatures are setting the stage for overturning the elections in case Trump loses. The sham election recount in Arizona is also setting the stage to overturn future election results that don’t go in Trump’s favor. States like Texas are passing reckless gun laws that make it possible for just about anybody to bear arms. Hmm, coincidence? How does this fit into Rep Gaetz’s rebellion rhetoric? Remember, Texas Governor Greg Abbott is a super Trumper too.

Republican Senators, at the urging of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell(KY), are today(05/28/21) set to kill an effort to establish a bipartisan commission to look into what led to the January 6th DC insurrection, and coming up with ways to prevent it from ever happening again. Is Senator McConnell afraid that the commission will show that DC insurrection was not as “fringe” as establishment Republicans want the public to believe? Was he personally involved behind the scenes? These are questions the public needs to start asking, and asking loudly, because something is off-kilter with the current GOP, and it’s continued dalliance with insurrectionist Trump. Simply put, “fringe” Reps Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene may not be that fringe after all, as CNN host Brianna Keilar pointed out.

Bottom line folks, we must never forget the fact that we simply got lucky on January 6th. Everything that has happened with Trump’s GOP since January 6th, leads any reasonable person to conclude that Jan 6th was just a trial run, and if we don’t remain vigilant, we are definitely headed towards another one, this time, successful .

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