“information regarding a tour you led through parts of the Capitol complex”
May 19, 2022 – by Heather Cox Richardson (substack.com), “Letters from An American“
Today, the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol sent a letter to Representative Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), asking for his voluntary cooperation in their investigation. The committee members believe he has “information regarding a tour you led through parts of the Capitol complex on January 5, 2021,” the day before the January 6 insurrection.
The letter goes on to say that there have been public reports of both individuals and groups gathering information about the layout of the U.S. Capitol before January 6. In response to those allegations, the committee’s letter says, “Republicans on the Committee on House Administration—of which you are a Member—claimed to have reviewed security footage from the days preceding January 6th and determined that ‘[t]here were no tours, no large groups, no one with MAGA hats on.’ However, the Select Committee’s review of evidence directly contradicts that denial.
Loudermilk and the ranking member (that is, the top Republican member) of the Committee on House Administration, Rodney Davis of Illinois, released an odd nondenial, saying,
“A constituent family with young children meeting with their Member of Congress in the House Office Buildings is not a suspicious group or ‘reconnaissance tour’….”
Notably, the committee did not use the words “reconnaissance tour.” As well, there is a rhetorical sleight of hand here: a hypothetical tour with a family and young children is presented here as innocuous…but the Republicans’ statement doesn’t say that’s actually what happened, although it seems clear that’s the conclusion the authors hope a reader will draw. It implies that Loudermilk simply gave a tour to a family with young children, without saying so. It’s a classic nondenial, a construction that makes Loudermilk look like a victim of an overzealous critic by deflecting attention from the central question.
The statement goes on to say that the committee is “pushing a verifiably false narrative that Republicans conducted reconnaissance tours on Jan[uary] 5th. The facts speak for themselves; no place that the family went on the 5th was breached on the 6th, the family did not enter the Capitol grounds on the 6th.”
So . . . Loudermilk did, in fact, take people around on January 5, despite denials from the Republicans on the Committee on House Administration, who claimed to have reviewed security footage, saying there were no tours? And despite the fact the Capitol complex was closed to the public because of the pandemic?
Lots of questions here, and it seems likely the January 6 committee will have new information when public hearings begin next month.
Meanwhile, the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC), the influential right-wing PAC of the American Conservative Union, is holding its first European event, convening today in Budapest, Hungary. Its leaders have chosen Hungary apparently because they see that country as a model for the society they would like to see in the U.S. under a strongman leader like rising authoritarian prime minister Viktor Orbán of Hungary.
Orbán is the architect of what he calls “illiberal democracy,” or “Christian democracy.” This form of government holds nominal elections, although their outcome is preordained because the government controls all the media and has silenced opposition. Illiberal democracy rejects modern liberal democracy because the equality it champions means an acceptance of immigrants, LGBTQ rights, and women’s rights and an end to traditionally patriarchal society. Orbán’s model of minority rule promises a return to a white-dominated, religiously based society, and he has pushed his vision by eliminating the independent press, cracking down on political opposition, getting rid of the rule of law, and dominating the economy with a group of crony oligarchs.
Led by personalities like Tucker Carlson, the American right wing embraces the Hungarian model, despite the corruption, lack of legal accountability, and attacks on the press that make Hungary the only member of the European Union no longer rated as “free” by democracy watchdog Freedom House. As if in illustration of Orbán’s policies, U.S. journalists were not allowed into CPAC today.
Orbán gave the keynote speech at the CPAC convention. In it, he embraced the “great replacement theory” that says white people are being replaced by immigrants of color. This is the myth that motivated the shooter in Buffalo, New York, last weekend, when he murdered ten people and wounded three others. It is the myth from which most Republicans have tried to distance themselves since the Buffalo killings.
And yet, when CPAC leader Matt Schlapp met U.S. journalists outside, he said that ending abortion rights would address the great replacement myth: “If you say there is a population problem in a country, but you’re killing millions of your own people through legalized abortion every year, if that were to be reduced, some of that problem is solved,” Schlapp said. “You have millions of people who can take many of these jobs. How come no one brings that up? If you’re worried about this quote-unquote replacement, why don’t we start there? Start with allowing our own people to live.”
Orbán told the attendees that the right wing in Europe and the United States must fight together to “reconquer” institutions in Brussels and Washington, D.C., before the 2024 election because those “liberals” who currently control them are destroying western civilization.
It is surprising to see folks who talk about American greatness take their inspiration from the leader of a small central European country of fewer than 10 million people, about the size of Michigan. Yale philosophy professor Jason Stanley commented:
“Oh come on US conservatives, stop embarrassing yourselves. Have some dignity and national pride.”
I know it is pointless to argue with someone who won’t say what his real objective or issue is, but really, how do babies born a few months from now fix any kind of population problem except the one they are unwilling to say out loud.
What kind of problem do we have with American voters that people who believe in these “issues” and are willing to commit violence to “correct” the problems are getting elected to Congress?
Oh no, Matt Schlapp does believe in abortion. Maybe even mandatory abortion for minorities, those people coming from those different than he is, or do not fit his image of what Americans should look like and including their backgrounds.
Matt thoroughly believed in making Obama a one term president and in blocking anything he did. McConnell was right there with him.
Need more white people so white Americans must reproduce to prevent the coming takeover by minorities in 2040. More and more, I am starting to believe what this is about.
why should they care about relative size of white versus black population since they don’t believe in elections in the first place?
i’m pretty sure it would take at least ten slaves per person (real person, since slaves are not persons, nor are illegal aliens or illegal combatants) to support them in the style they naturally deserve.
here are a couple of alleged facts.i don’t claim they are true or even relevant.
the “population problem” only makes sense if you are worried about there not being enogh workers (slaves?) to support the lifestyles of the people who matter (note: not matter to me, matter to those in power), or to support an army capable of projecting those rulers’ power with respect to smaller countries.
in any case, this would be a “long term” problem, but it’s never too early to start. or it’s just a meaningless soundbite meant to sound “logical” to the masses….including the “educated” masses.
“what kind of a problem do we have…?” same problem as “we” have always had throughout history. people are easily led. give them the idea that someone is trying to take away their freedom, or their rights, or their women, or their money, and they will eagerly go out and fight FOR the very people who are taking away their rights, their money, their freedom. not so sure about their wives, although in this country at least there is some evidence….at least people believe it… that “wives” as we know it, of knew it, are being taken away…along with all the other superstitions that people live by.
that said, i very much worry about the American Right. and the American Left’s utter cluelessness is how to fight them.
Coberly, how should the left fight them?
I’d say, give up the hate speech for starts. Don’t demand reparations. don’t knock down statues. be careful with rhetoric. don’t say the US is founded on racism. go into the small states and start talking about predatory banks and predatory big ag. Study R propaganda for the last fifty years and learn from it. instead of “Big Government” talk support for small farmers and workers, (unions)… someting like this. push medicare for all (by pointing out Big Med, Big Pharma, Big Insurance abuses.
I think Dems actually do a better job with the talking part of this than “progressives” but they never deliver..because they are beholden to the Big Money, and because they don’t win elections.
I can’t guarantee any of this will work very soon. the R’s have already won the propaganda war… though it must be pointed out the Biden, Obama, and Bill Clinton won elections by saying things people wanted to hear…unfortunately while selling out the poor behind their backs.
maybe take a look at Left rhetoric and try to imagine how you would react to it if you were a poorish with working class person. but really imagine..don’t just create a caricature of that person in your own mind.
and yes I am very willing to listen to people with better ideas… especially if they’d stop throwing hate bombs at me every time I try to tell them “that’s not working” or “there may be some unintended consequences there.”
and dont expect it to be easy. listen. don’t argue. but remember people don’d let go of their beliefs in well established ideas very easily.
or as Carl Rogers said, unconditional positive regard, listen, sincerely. To which all of his followers said, “yeah, sincerity is the key. if you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”
or, start here.
It’s pretty tricky. If one won’t address racism, which clearly does exist, and the structural results of racism, one will turn off Black voters who are needed for electoral success. Listening to and proposing solutions for rural voters is essential but their solutions can’t include racist behaviors.
My Dad, who was from rural New York, use to observe that farmers oppose subsidies and handouts” except for farmers. He also reported comments from his neighbors near his “gentleman’s farm” in northwestern Illinois as opposing the construction of I88 because they didn’t want “those people” coming out there.
Like I say, it’s tricky. The Electoral College and the structure of the Senate as well as gerrymandering, require appealing to rural and midwestern blue collar voters to at least cut their margins in elections but if you lose the base, you can’t ever win anything.
additionally, Democrats need to be forthright about their “majorities” being illusory and appealing for real majorities so that they can deliver on their agendas. You can’t do anything without the votes.
maybe not as tricky as all that. Structural racism was set back in 1965 and might have been set on the course to extinction if the D’s had not tried to go too far too fast. Might have helped if blacks could have remembered Martin Luther King more than a few minutes after he was dead. And I watched those Confederate statues for sixty years and they never hurt anyone. As for the electoral college, i wish people would look up who were the “small states” in 1800. They were not slave states. And the 3/5 clause did not define blacks as 3/5 of a person, but was a compromse to get the slave states into the Union and set slavery on the course to extinction.
Like I said, a little imagination. A beginning of the ability to see your own blind spots.
I can remember in this space a few years ago “progressives” crowing about whites becoming the minority in a few years. Did they think the whites were going to sit still for that. Do you think blacks and browns are any better or worse than whites when they get into power?
We have got to find a way to say “us”. Maybe even teach the Supreme Court to recognize that “privacy” is enshrined in the Rights assumed by Americans since before the Constitution, if not before the Revolution. It’s just possible (barely, but importantly) that we can win on “privacy”…the right to be left alone, even if we can’t win on “women’s health,” which now means “abortion.” because abortion is such an ugly word.
As for your farmer neighbors not liking strangers… yep! it’s in the jeans. surprisingly true in the cities too, except there you can’t do anything about it except triple lock your doors and hope the cops are still on your side.
and now i am going too far too fast.
Yup, too far, too fast. You’re asking the disadvantaged, Blacks in this case, to be more “reasonable” than their oppressors. MLK did advocate that but it was never achieved. No surprise. Getting to us is indeed the objective but it’s tough when part of the us doesn’t want to be it.
Redlining and union discrimination (I recall you favor those organizations) didn’t stop in 1965 and its effects certainly didn’t.
I’m afraid truth is truth no matter how painful.
Like you, I’m searching for ways to appeal to rural and blue collar voters but letting them discriminate is an unacceptable approach. West Virginia is probably out of reach but Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Missouri really should be possible if the agenda for all, as opposed to some, is made clear. Probably wouldn’t hurt to emphasize the Republican agenda of cutting off medicare and social security after five years as well. That might get even redneck attention.
oh my god. how do you come up with the idea that i favor letting them discriminate?
and did you mean i favor redlining?
i just watched some comment on “the damage report.” generally like those people, but they have no idea when they start taking their own propganda for “universal truth.”
i am mostly convinced that it is no longer possible to change the minds of either the
Right or the Left, mostly because of what I think I know about the way brains work. very simply, once you “begin” (it’s never a beginning but just a point called “begin” for convenience) the brain sends out signals to all associated neurons and they in turn activate other neurons, by the time you reach the “end” you have incorporated in what you think i said all the things you think “about” what your think i said. just a guess. a guess about why this never gets us anywhere and at some point you will decide I am the enemy. happens all the time. sorry about that.
I didn’t mean to suggest you favored any of that; rather, I was suggesting that you were ignoring it. Black and brown people politically won’t let us do that. We have to address their concerns at the same time we’re trying to get some people hostile to them on board. That’s why I said it’s tricky in my initial response. As you pointed out, it’s getting to “us” that’s critical but that can’t happen if a group being approached (Black and Brown people) have their concerns ignored while others are emphasized. Tricky.
Still tricky. But you don’t have to ignore their concerns. You have to show them there is a better way to address their concerns. Which I have utterly failed to do. As a result white country people think I am a hippy. Black people think I am a racist. “Christians” think I am damned. Atheists think I am a superstitious religious nutcase. “Scientistists”[sic] think I am an ignoramus,…and so it goes.Wouldn’t be so bad if it was just me, but they all think those things of each other. So I have to worry about Putin blowing up my city AND the FBI huling me in for “questioning.”
I am not feeling sorry for myself. Just thinking it’s time to get a new job.
I think you’re finding yourself where most of us are: frustrated that what ought to be simpler to deal with isn’t. Humans can be difficult to work with. Hang in there, Coberly, you’re not alone.
okay, you are being saner than i am.
let’s start with something simple: police brutality.
i had seen recently three pretty egregious examples of police brutality..all of them directed at (visited on) white people. What has surprised me is that just the other day I saw that two of these cases eventually got resolved by firing the cops and putting at least one of them in jail. and paying the victim damages.
i don’t like jails, even for people who deserve them or need them for my safety. But something must be going right if someone(s) out there are addressing them. I note that the cases i mentioned happened to white people, that could be a factor,
But I had been musing that maybe what we need is a One Phone Number to call when you see police abusing their power (that’s the phrase, but it means abusing people). the one phone number is needed because you cannot count on the local authorities, judges, district attorneys, defense attorneys, mayors… to not be part of the bad guy system. the phones would be answered by somone who can put you in touch with a case worker who knows the system and will at least at first take your side and help you get relief. They would also have to be able to sort out the cases that are trivial or neurotic..there are plenty of those…and at least give the people an honest listen and a referral to counseling if not legal relief. Then their job would be to bring the case to the nearest non-corrupt authority..or the local TV station..or whatever seems most likely to work. and etc.
it might be a case of racism, but the cases that started off this train of thought were not, but they mustnot be treated as “race” issues, but justice and human rights, and the dangers of unchecked police power.
in fact, i don’t know if one of the cases was resolved. the victim got no relief from the local judge, DA, or defense lawyer and as far as I know he is still in jail because the cops beat him up and then charged him with assaulting an officer.
this one-phone-call would give the victim a chance to get real help outside of the corrupt system. could be a Federal project, or just a private organization commited to ending the problem of police abuse….which is as far as i can tell out of control mostly. and somewhat more serious for whites as well as blacks than statues of confederate heroes.
instead of yelling racism when the cops kill a black person, they need to address the probem of police abuse and impunity for all of us.
instead of yelling racism because blacks are poor they need to recognize that white people are poor too and have unpleasant jobs and abusive bosses. white people need to learn that programs for the poor are not programs for blacks but for all of us who fall on hard times. Republicans need to recognize that Big Business requires Big Government to protect them from predatory businesses. Democrats need to recognize that Big Government is dangerous and often stupid. All of us need to recognize that predatory business and stupid government are inevitable consequences of human behavior and the situations they find themselves in. We can’t fix all of it, but we could fix the worst of it if we could find a way to manage our own supidity and hate. By no means easy. Tricky, even, but I have seen it done from time to time. And on the whole human beings are willing to try, when they are not stampeded by fears stoked by ambitious men. And that’s fairly reasonable too,. Most people don’t have the time, or want to spend their time worrying about politics, so they get taken by surprise when the politicians come up with a Really Bad Idea.
Maybe we need to start a Justice League, not with superpowers, but a high level of training in avoiding political traps while leading, very quietly, to saner behavior. Of course, first thing we’d all become insane ourselves intent on doing good by achieving absolute power and punishing evildoers.
Our tendency towards tribalism doesn’t help. Sometimes the idiot in the MAGA hat at a demonstration is remarkably open in one on one conversations. Not always, mind you, but sometimes.
Yes indeed. That’s project number two. I am not good at that. [i was watching a video…series of videos…of a Ukrainian reporter interviewing captured Russian soldiers. He started out kind and understanding, but always worked himself up into a near rage wanting the soldier, or his family (who they called in Russia) to see that what they did was wrong.
He did not seem to understand the situation the POW, and his family, was in, anything they said could be used against them by the powers in Russia, and everything they believed was shaped by those same powers. and of coure they were afraid of what the Ukranians would do to the prisoner if the didn’t like his answers. very hard situation to be in, I am more like the reporter when I talk to people who have ideas that drive me crazy. but i know there are people who do this kind of thing far far bettre than i do. another reason to look for people with the right talents to do this kind of work. buraucracies i have worked for do not encourage those talents.
Not enough time to discuss police brutality tonight. I’ll just comment that the person on the other end of that phone you’re proposing has to have some power. Groups like the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center can provide that because they have legal chops when they decide to get involved. They do, of course, focus on racial profiling. The federal courts are actually pretty effective in dealing with these issues when the cases are presented to them. Multi million dollar verdicts against the police departments in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles are common enough that the damages become issues for the budgets of those cities and contributors to the tax burdens on their citizens. On the racial vs. poverty in general issue, unfortunately, the police tend to shoot minority suspects more frequently than whites under similar circumstances and the communities notice that. Having said that, I agree that due process issues need to be addressed for everyone. Good night.
good morning, then, i suppose.
Knowing the system might be power enough. I am a little leery of power in general. It corrupts. As for the ACLU, by all means use them if that seems the best bet, but from where i sit they seem to have lost their political credibility or at least non-partisan credibility.
The problem may be being solved in big cities, though I have seen no sign of it. but it continues to exist in small towns where local sheriffs and judges are unrestrained by any checks whatsoever.
perhaps “most” victims are black. but “most” is an evil word if it is used to excuse abuses against “one.” and abuses aginst blacks will not stop until you convince white people that it could happen to them, and unless we work together no one is safe.
If Southern Poverty has the chops let them be the “one phone number.” as long as they are “southern” and not “black’s only.”
“when they decide to get involved” that’s why we need one phone number, so people know who to call.
By power I mean with the ability to do something. That’s why I mentioned the ACLU and SPLC. Both are competent about “doing something”. Of course they need working courts to be effective and that is very much up for grabs these days.
I’ll just conclude by agreeing with you that rural and blue collar (sometimes but not always the same) people need to have their concerns, insofar as they are legitimate, addressed. I do think that Democrats need to be more aggressive about attacking Republican policies and behavior than they have been along with providing clear statements of intended actions specific to their needs such as medical providers for example.
well, knowledge is power, so I think we said the same thing. of course doing nothing is no power at all. and “they should do something…” is no hope of power to do anything.
i do not think i have the answer, or even an answer. but i do have a step further suggestion. if anyone or anyone you know is in a position to get something started, try something like this.
meeting of interested people. someone who has enough talent to guide a meeting toward useful discussion. propose some problems important enough to work on, and small enough to hope for success. get some people to study the problem with emphasis on what can work, not what “ought to be done.” what can work will necessarily involve other people if you can find them, have access to them, trust them. etc. you will have better ideas than i have.
but i would start by studying the Constitution Convention, if you can find sources with enough detail to be useful. study how they came together and got started talking, how they managed the talk toward useful proposals and not useless rhetoric, how they were able to resolve differeces [by compromise, even if 200 years later ignorant people would accuse them of bad faith because the compromised with something that 200 years later some people would find offensive]. anyway, again, you will have better ideas than i have.
i read a little book by Michael Lewis “The Premonition” that describes how somethng like this happened with respect to controlling pandemics, succeeded and ultimately failed…not because their plan was bad, but because they were not able to overcome bureaucratic inertia. i recommend the book for its insights.
Great read – at least from JackD and Coberly in comments.
i added a comment directed at JackD. hope it helps.
I can’t resist pointing out that not everyone back then didn’t find slavery offensive. As you pointed out earlier the compromise was intended to lead toward abolition. Of course when abolition approached, the compromise was abandoned so one has to be careful with compromises.
of course there were people then who found slavery offensive. But they tended to be religious people, and nowadays people find religious people offensive, so they can’t admit that the Framers may have included people who found slavery offensive…and are left with the rhetoric that America was founded in racism by racists, which I find offensive..and useless, except to keep the hate going.
I don’t see how being careful with compromises [this compromise. probably best to be careful with compromises always.] could have helped the present situation. would we be better off, for example, having half the country we have today [which would not neessarily be slave free] with a large slave empire to our south happily willing to bargain with our enemies to our discomfort?
I should note that nowadays some people calling themselves religious ARE offensive. But for some odd reason these are the same people who favor slavery today..for themselves as well as for others.
But it’s nice to have some other reason to hate each other than racism. “Religion” was always good for a war or two, even if it had nothing to do with religion.
[problem with words here: i once knew a man who said christianity had nothing to do with religion. as far as i can tell by reading the new testament, he was right. but the word religion is used both to describe the ancient superstious paganism that some people call christianity, and to describe a rational concern with things that greatly affect our sanity and happiness, that some people feel requires “something” beyond “science” or at least beyond science-ism.
I think my friend was rejecting “religion” in both senses…popular superstion as well as my “intellectual” rationalism, having found a direct connection to that “something beyond science” i am blathering about.]
Don’t be embarrassed, if you are, by a belief in something beyond science. You’re in good company: Einstein.
well, Aaron Burr sold dollar shares in some property to working men so they would be”landowners” and could vote. This won New York for Jefferson. For his trouble he was called names by Hamilton, and Jefferson tried to hang him.
Burr also started a bank to rival the one owned by Hamilton’s relatives. Himilton didn’t like that either.
Burr also built a water system to give NYC clean water…technology limited by standards of the time. This gave later friends of Hamilton an excuse to say Burr used inferior materials. But the water system was still in use forty years later.
Jackson did not care for public investment. Henry Clay thought them wise. Lincoln agreed with Clay. So did Republicans until they found out they could win elections by crying crocodile tears about Big Government, Taxes, and The Crushing Deficit….because, you see, debt is always bad, unless you are a business.
only landowners (necessarily white and male at the time) could vote because only they “had skin in the game” [reference is to current R senator who embarassed his party by calling out loud for the things R want]
blacks and women had to work for their right to vote, but there is no evidence that it has changed anything. decency is in the eye of the beholder. better than a sharp stick. or as the landowner class has discovered: let them vote. we have an ap for that.
Debt is fine when Republicans are in power but not when they aren’t.
I don’t know if I “believe in” anything. But as to “anything beyond science,” real scientists will tell you that science has nothing to do with things it can’t “replicate”.
this is a point always missed by the science-lists. Nevertheless, “things” beyond science exist, and this is manifest…beyond “believing-in”. We assume and rely on them every day.
Scientists know that things beyond science exist; they keep trying to figure them out; and sometimes, they do.
to be sure. it’s the ones who claim that the things that they don’t know about don’t exist that worry me.
and the things they find out about tend to be things like the backside of the moon.
there are those who talk about things they don’t know about. Wittgenstein (I think) told them they shouldn’t do that, but he went on talking anyway.
Hard to say. When the South’s (as a slavery country) economy collapsed, as it was doing pre Civil War, it might well have wanted to combine with the North in order to prosper. Unnecessary speculation in any event. We are where we are and the residual effect of slavery and racism really can’t be denied much as Governors Abbot and Disantis would like to.
well, speculation is the sauce of debate…or even scientific inquiry. i speculate that the South would have dealt with its failing economy by expanding their slave empire to Mexico and the Caribbean, and eventually learned how to make better cannons themselves. there is no reason not to speculate that the North would not have helped them in this. After all, business is business.
And as I like to point out, what the slave-owners learned from the Civil War is that white is as good as black, and it’s cheaper to rent than to buy.
Cheaper unless you let them vote.
And that is the issue for White people is they will be in the minority and minorities in the majority. And they will vote in their best interests. Joel Garreau had an article up in 2006 “Three Hundred Million and Counting.” I am not so sure white Americans are ready to deal with being outnumbered by minorities. They are scrambling to retain control.
T’was ever thus. As the republic began, only white, male, landowners could vote because the “others” would tax them for luxuries like roads, hospitals, and schools. The question is what can be done in the face of all this to make the U.S. a more decent place?