This week, Republican senators expressed their continued commitment to fantasy and sedition during hearings on the January 6 attack on the Capitol. These senators, including U.S. Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma, are sowing disinformation just as insurrectionists appear to be preparing another coup attempt.
During Tuesday’s hearing, in which security officials testified about what they knew leading up to the attack, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin chose to read a column by J. Michael Waller alleging that a fifth column of antifa activists was at the center of the attack, misleading all of those well-meaning terrorists into a violent attempted overthrow of the federal government.
“These apparent agents-provocateurs placed hundreds of unsuspecting supporters of the president in physical danger,” Johnson said, reading Waller’s column.
by George Lang, opinion writer for Free Press
Waller is employed by the Center for Security Policy, which sounds like a serious, sober organization that is here to help, but is a hate-based conspiracy mill started by Islamophobic former Reagan Administration official and frequent Newsmax contributor Frank Gaffney. His organization provides source material for bad-faith arguments aimed at scapegoating minority populations, so it only makes sense that Johnson’s heart would start to flutter when reading Waller’s nonsense.
Johnson was never the brightest bulb in the box, but since he and an all-GOP group of Senators decided to spend July 4, 2018, the 242’s birthday of our nation, in Moscow, Russia, Johnson has worked assiduously against anything smacking of reality regarding our nation’s internal or external security.
After returning from Moscow, Johnson rejected U.S. intelligence assessments by calling Russian interference in the 2016 elections “overblown.”
Johnson spewed unsubstantiated garbage during Tuesday’s hearing, but he was not the only member of the dumb guy caucus on display. Lankford, who never misses an opportunity to draw extremely false equivalencies, tried to bolster Johnson by bringing up the violence between Portland, Oregon police and Black Lives Matter protests.
Lankford tried to frame the protests as analogous to the Capitol attack, but there is almost no commonality.
“Well, the challenge is we all watched this summer — in fact, this committee at Homeland Security had a hearing on the assaults on a federal courthouse in Portland,” Lankford said on Tuesday at the hearing. “Individuals just attacked that courthouse, day after day after day and we saw the techniques that were used. Some of those same techniques were used by individuals that came in — I am not saying it was the same individuals, but some of those same techniques: of trying to be able to work to the fence, to be able to find it, to be able to find a way to be able to attack officers.”
Lankford threw in a disclaimer — “I’m not saying it was the same individuals” — but this was a standard prosecutorial trick to get those words in front of the committee and into the Congressional Record.
Lankford insinuated that antifa activists incited violence and the innocent little lambs from Qanon, the Three Percenters, the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys yelling the “n-word” at Capitol Police were just so easily led by fifth column liberal activists disguised as #MAGA terrorists. Sure.
Lankford and Johnson should be able to watch thousands of their people wearing #MAGA hats and waving Trump, Confederate and Gadsden flags while breaking into the Capitol without thinking, “Well, obviously this was antifa.” They should look at the same social media clues currently being scoured by the FBI. They should shave with Occam’s Razor once in a while.
But Lankford is a bad actor who spread the “Big Lie” about voting irregularities every time he spoke to the Fox Business or Newsmax audiences after the election. He is also misrepresenting the situation in Portland and why protests have been so heated in that community.
The Portland Police Association is widely regarded as one of the most toxic police unions in America. Since 2003, Portland police officers have killed 39 people of color, and whenever Portland residents speak out against the police, the Portland Police Association responds with jackboots and provocation.
In 2009, a Portland PD officer named Chris Humphreys shot a 12-year-old Black girl with a bean bag cannon and was suspended. In response to Humphreys’ suspension, 600 members of the Portland Police Association took to the streets, angrily chanting, “I am Chris Humphreys.”
According to Willamette Week, only one Portland police officer has faced charges for killing someone, and in that case, the victim was white. This has been going on for eight decades in Portland, but Lankford does not understand or care about people who do not vote for him. He just wants to weaponize their desperation.
By continuing to spread disinformation about the election and the January 6 attacks, Lankford and Johnson seem to be doing their level best to sprint into a buzzsaw. Qanon followers, having had their dreams of a Donald Trump-led kleptocratic theocracy dashed on January 20 with the inauguration of President Joe Biden, are now talking up March 4 as the day of true revolution.
The Anti-Defamation League reports that Qanon followers believe Trump will be inaugurated President of the United States on March 4, the day presidents were inaugurated before passage of the 20th Amendment, with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as his vice president.
By sowing false information about January 6, Lankford is fueling the next wave of insurrection. If the ADL is right and more violence is on the horizon, Senators must take a close look at Section 3 of the 14th Amendment and ask themselves whether it is in the best interest of the nation to have Senators Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson and James Lankford in office.
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