Discover more from The Bulwark
Two More Reasons We Need a 1/6 Commission Now, More Than Ever
Plus: How bad was Helsinki? Worse than you remember.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is why we need a January 6 Commission.
I. On her first day, the former president’s new spokesperson described the 1/6 insurrection as a “peaceful protest”.
“You had January 6,” declared Trump’s new flack, Liz Harrington, “they opened the door to the capitol… it’s not an easy building to get into...
“They opened the door and people walked through. …. Some people just walked in. And now they are being kept for misdemeanors in some political jail? What is happening here? What about the people who burned down St. John’s Church?”
BTW: At least five people died, dozens of police officers were seriously injured, and St. John’s Church was not burned down.
(And yes, Liz Harrington is hanging out with former Trump lawyer/fabulist Jenna Ellis.)
II. Perhaps more serious: Tucker’s deranged new conspiracy theory that the FBI may have orchestrated the whole thing.
TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): We know that the government is hiding the identity of many law enforcement officers present at the Capitol on January 6, not just the ones that killed Ashley Babbitt. According to the government's own court filings, those law enforcement officers participated in the riot, sometimes in violent ways. We know that because without fail, the government has thrown the book at most people who were present in the Capitol on January 6. There was a nation-wide dragnet to find them. Many of them are still in solitary confinement tonight.
But strangely, some of the key people who participated on January 6th have not been charged. Look at the documents, the government calls those people unindicted co-conspirators. What does that mean? Well, it means that potentially every single case they were FBI operatives. Really? In the Capitol on January 6th?
Really? Via the Daily Beast:
Taking his Jan. 6 denialism to another level on Tuesday night, Fox News host Tucker Carlson suggested the Capitol insurrection was a false flag orchestrated by the FBI in an effort to “suppress political dissent.”
Almost since the moment that former President Donald Trump incited thousands of MAGA supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol in order to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s election victory, Carlson has downplayed the violent riots, repeatedly insisting there was “no insurrection” and that it was nothing more than a “political protest that got out of hand.”
At the same time, the far-right Fox News star has rallied to the defense of the Capitol rioters, portraying them as largely peaceful protesters while raging against federal prosecutors for the hundreds of criminal charges filed in the wake of the insurrection. With more rioters still facing potential indictments, many have taken to cooperating with the feds to avoid or lessen jail time.
And according to Carlson, the reason why the government has “thrown the book” at some rioters and not others is because of a deep-state plot to control the political narrative.
Unfortunately, millions of people will believe this bullshit.
Exit take: Even as the GOP insists that it doesn’t want to relitigate the whole coup thing, the ret-conning of the insurrection is intensifying.
And this is why we need a bipartisan independent commission more than ever.
Bonus: Tucker also sides with Putin.
Liz isn’t having it.
How bad was Helsinki? Worse than you remembered.
As President Biden sits down with Vladimir Putin, it’s worth revisiting exactly what the former president said back in 2018.
[Jonathan Lemire] REPORTER, AP: President Trump, you first. Just now, President Putin denied having anything to do with the election interference in 2016. Every U.S. intelligence agency has concluded that Russia did. My first question for you sir is, who do you believe? My second question is would you now, with the whole world watching, tell President Putin, would you denounce what happened in 2016 and would you warn him to never do it again?
TRUMP: So let me just say that we have two thoughts. You have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the server. Why haven't they taken the server? Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the Democratic National Committee?
I've been wondering that. I've been asking that for months and months and I've been tweeting it out and calling it out on social media. Where is the server? I want to know where is the server and what is the server saying?
With that being said, all I can do is ask the question.
My people came to me, Dan Coates, came to me and some others they said they think it's Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it's not Russia.
I will say this: I don't see any reason why it would be. But I really do want to see the server but I have, I have confidence in both parties.
I really believe that this will probably go on for a while but I don't think it can go on without finding out what happened to the server. What happened to the servers of the Pakistani gentleman that worked on the DNC?
Where are those servers? They're missing. Where are they? What happened to Hillary Clinton's emails? 33,000 emails gone, just gone. I think in Russia they wouldn't be gone so easily.
I think it's a disgrace that we can't get Hillary Clinton's thirty three thousand e-mails.
I have great confidence in my intelligence people but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today and what he did is an incredible offer.
He offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators, with respect to the 12 people. I think that's an incredible offer. Ok? Thank you.
PUTIN: I'd like to add something to this. After all, I was an intelligence officer myself and I do know how dossiers are made up.
The Right Vs. Higher Wages.
Look, I get the concern that higher unemployment benefits may have discouraged some workers from returning. And I understand the problems this created for employers and the upward pressure this has placed on wages.
So I understand conservative uneasiness. But, the higher wages reflect market conditions: a tight labor market is forcing employers to pay more money. Supply meets demand. This is actually how capitalism is supposed to work.
So, the question is: are higher wages for workers really a bad thing?
Over at the Federalist, writer Kylee Zempel laments that “Chipotle broke my heart a little today…”
But wait. We’re talking about a 4 percent price hike. Four percent of $7.60 is… 30 cents. So, this whole article is about 30 cents.
Actually less. I checked out Chipotle’s website and it appears that Kylee’s burrito bowl will cost her an additional… 15 cents.
As Jonathan Chait notes, Kylee’s complaint is not a one-off. The GOP is officially quite indignant about the higher wages as well.
The Republican Party, it tells us, has become a workers’ party. The complicating detail is finding ways to lift incomes for low-wage workers that meet the party’s approval. Giving low-income workers money is bad because that creates a disincentive to work. Regulating a higher minimum wage is also no good because that kills jobs. Government-subsidized health insurance or child care is also problematic, and encouraging the formation of unions to give them more bargaining power is totally unacceptable.
That leaves just one Republican-friendly way to increase living standards for low-wage workers: a tight labor market that forces employers to bid up wages. And now, it turns out Republicans don’t like that method, either.
This week, Chipotle announced it would raise its prices by 4 percent to cover the cost of paying higher wages. The National Republican Congressional Committee pounced with a press release attacking the Democrats for having engineered this catastrophe. “Democrats’ socialist stimulus bill caused a labor shortage,” complained a GOP spokesman, “and now burrito lovers everywhere are footing the bill.”
“It turns out,” Chait writes, “some conservatives simply object to working-class employees making that much money.”
1. The War on Critical Race Theory: A Quagmire
In today’s Bulwark, Jim Swift writes that partisans have been itching for a new culture war. CRT might be just what they’re looking for.
Language in politics matters. Polling shows that Democrats are not helped by maximalist rhetoric like “Defund the Police.” Likewise, it’s hard to imagine that the GOP will benefit from “Make Teachers Wear Body Cams.” Turning a gauzy concept like Critical Race Theory into a concrete culture war by attacking the teaching of history—including America’s complicated treatment of nonwhite citizens—feels like a quagmire that will be incredibly difficult to get out of.
Yet Republicans are showing signs they’re willing to make a big CRT push because they believe it will benefit them at the polls.
Maybe they’re onto something; GOP voters have always been more easily motivated by culture war than marginal tax rates or free trade, so who knows? Maybe by this time next year, the GOP will be openly advocating body cameras recording teachers and rooms full of minors. Let’s see how well that polls.
2. Biden’s Military Proposal Isn’t Up to the China Challenge
In recent years, however, the United States has experienced a relative decline in its military superiority to Russia and China, and now it suffers from regional inferiority to both. While Biden seeks a smaller role for the military in the competition, Russia and China disagree, believing that what has always been true remains true: The most important element of great power competition will be hard power. Which is why they have been strengthening theirs for years and decades.
As the Biden administration forms its response to military challenges around the world, here are seven things to know about the Defense Department budget proposal….
Chris Buskirk, New York Times contributor.