Little Dumpster Fires Everywhere: Right-Wing Gaslighting, Lies and Videotape
This episode of democracy-ish marks Danielle and Toure’s triumphant return after “vacationing” last week and leaving the show vulnerable to a MAGA takeover by a couple of “maniacs” who call themselves Josh and Brittany, says Toure. “We’ll see if they can ever return.”
The GOP continues to outdo itself. The very congressional members who were victims of the Capitol insurrection are fighting to prevent an investigation. WTF?
New York Attorney General Tish James has Trump in her crosshairs. Her civil investigation is apparently now criminal. Will we see the ex-president in handcuffs?
The conflict between Israel and Palestine is nothing new, but it’s gotten much worse over the last few weeks. America (and Americans) are staunch allies of Israel, but can we criticize its government’s actions –– without being anti-semitic?
Toure can understand why right-wingers like Josh and Brittany might be running scared from the podcast mic. It looks like Donald Trump is one step away from being indicted, “wearing the bracelets and the orange jumpsuit,” he says.
“Keep singing that song, Toure!” Danielle replies.
It’s true: The venerable Tish James, who has been investigating the Trump organization for years, is ramping up her efforts. The New York Attorney General ‘s inquiry is “no longer purely civil in nature,” according to a spokesperson for James.
Meanwhile, the GOP is fighting against an investigation into the January 6 Capitol insurrection, wearing masks even if members of their caucus are not vaccinated, and perpetuating disinformation about the vaccine at every turn.
In other news, the Israeli government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is killing civilians, including scores of children, in attacks on Palestine –– the bloodiest conflict in decades.
Plus, noted racist Mark McCloskey of Missouri is running for the state Senate, an encounter at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Florida takes a turn for the absolute worst, and the optimism/pessimism pendulum swings unexpectedly on our hosts’ predictions for what to expect if (when?) Trump gets indicted.
Episode Highlights –– The GOP Is Trash
What insurrectionists? They were just ‘tourists’
America was attacked by its own citizens on January 6 –– and our elected officials almost lost their lives, “including Team Red,” says Toure.
“It wasn't just an attack on Team Blue. They were looking to hang Mike Pence. They would’ve done it to any elected official, Republican or Democrat, who they got their hands on. So why are Republicans standing behind them and protecting them? I have no idea.”
According to representative Andrew Clyde, it’s because “we can’t believe our lying eyes,” says Danielle.
“But believe the words coming out of my mouth,” she says. “This man had the audacity to go on Zoom for a committee hearing to tell us: It wasn't terrorists who went into the Capitol on January 6. I was just a tour group.”
However, viral videos show otherwise, making clear that Clyde –– “that motherfucker –– was barricading himself along with other members on the floor of the House,” Danielle adds. “Another shot shows him cowering behind a Capitol Police officer who has his gun drawn.”
So Danielle wonders: “Why was he acting that way if it was just a regular tour at Disneyland?”
So, there’s this thing called the internet
The GOP's gaslighting and outright lying to Americans continues, says Toure.
“And they are detached from reality. Politicians are supposed to be effective messengers. The way they talk about things is supposed to be sharp, incisive –– meant to turn you in their favor,” he adds.
But instead, they’re telling us that “reality didn't happen,” Toure argues. “We have videotape. We have photographs. We have records. We know what happened.”
Danielle says that it's as if they think that we are living in an earlier era, when we didn’t have access to the internet.
“We're at the point where Republicans are so fucking crazy, I believe their mental stability needs to be tested.”
After all, Andrew Clyde’s remarks were aimed at the very people who endured the insurrection alongside him.
“Who are you fooling? Who are you lying to?” Danielle asks. “We have you on tape –– scared to death, sir.”
The unmasked and unhinged caucus
To make matters worse, the ‘Pubs staged a maskless protest on the floor of the House. They “ripped off their masks in protest of Nancy Pelosi not wanting people to be killed –– who are pretty much the average age of a septuagenarian,” Danielle says.
But those House members won't get vaccinated, even just to follow the rules. If they did, everyone could just go back to business as usual. But Pelosi is following the science, so “she’s like, we can't go back to business as usual because y'all motherfuckers won't allow us to,” says Danielle.
The motherfuckers in question “either won't get vaccinated or won't wear a mask,” she adds.
“My favorite representative, Jamie Raskin, said: John Lewis would just be so proud. You're like a Freedom Rider.”
When it’s put that way, she wonders: What’s it like to despise the people you work with?
Toure can't imagine that.
“There's no freedom, no revolution, no liberty in saying I refuse to wear a mask,” he says. “Your rights are not being constrained. You're being asked to do something very small –– to take care of the other people around you. It's like being asked to wear a seatbelt. And if you can't do that sort of basic thing, to help maintain the social fabric in a global pandemic, I don't understand what's wrong with you.”
‘My body, my choice’
But the right lives in some kind of alternate reality. “Their thesis is that COVID doesn't exist and the pandemic was somehow manufactured to sink Trump,” says Toure. That seems to be why his party acts like it doesn't exist.
“Don’t they know anyone in their districts who suffered or died?”
It’s inconceivable –– so to perpetuate their other Big Lie, Republicans are saying the push for vaccinations is somehow suspect.
But the reality is that America could look like India in the next couple of months if we don’t vaccinate the majority of adults, says Danielle.
One of the unfortunate things we’ve learned this year is that variants don't stay in the country of origin. They spread around the world. But dozens of prominent members of Congress refuse to take the vaccine. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who was stripped of her committee assignments after expressing support for assassinating Nancy Pelosi, was among a group of Republicans who staged a protest against masks on Tuesday.
“That bitch has voting rights but Eleanor Holmes Norton doesn’t,” Danielle adds.
Toure notes that the anti-vax contingent isn’t just wingnuts on the right. Plenty of liberals “talk themselves into thinking they’re justified” in not taking it, based on “anti-intellectual, anti-scientific” rationale.
“I love when they say my body, my choice,” he says. “That’s not really relevant. Yes, it's your body and your choice, but the choice you're making is to put yourself –– and more importantly, others –– at risk to contract something that’s highly contagious, which has killed many people. It’s just an inhumane and incredibly selfish thing.”
So this is how the Covid movie ends?
Unfortunately, the majority of the country –– about 60% of eligible adults –– is making the choice to forgo vaccination, Toure points out.
“It's quite confounding to me: We get to the end of the Covid movie and most people are like, yeah, I know that was really bad, but I’ll take my chances.”
Danielle notes that nearly 200 million shots have been administered in the U.S. so far, and “no one has died from it. But do you know how many people have died from fucking Covid around the globe? Millions at this point.”
There’s a “massive mountain of evidence of what the vaccine does and what it doesn't do,” Toure adds. “It doesn't change your DNA. It doesn't implant a tiny chip.”
“The microchip I have is only a little bit itchy,” says Danielle. “Other than that, it's fine. It doesn't short-circuit my phone when I try to use it.”
On that note, Toure loves to see posts by folks who say I don't want a microchip implanted in my body so they can track me –– while tweeting from an iPhone.
There’s no such thing as ‘self-defense’ if you’re Black
File under more bad news: In Tampa, Florida, a 77-year old-white man, a regular at a local Dunkin Donuts, was dissatisfied with the service he received at the drive-thru window and “came into the restaurant to tell the minimum wage workers about themselves,” says Toure.
Apparently, Corey Pujols, a 27-year-old Black employee, was the focus of his ire. The unidentified man called him a nigger –– and Corey gave him a warning: Say it again.
“The old man obliged and he said it again,” Toure says. “Corey punched him in the face. Old man fell back, hit his head on the ground of the Dunkin and died. And you know what?”
“Corey is going to jail,” says Danielle.
“But if there was justice in this country, he would not be,” Toure argues.
“Well, there would only be justice in this country if Corey were white and then he would claim self-defense,” Danielle replies.
“When you use the n-word, I am not responsible for what happens after that. It's not like there's a whole bunch of words,” says Toure. “There's a lot of violence and oppression wrapped into that word. And if white people are not afraid of violence happening to them after saying that, we all have a problem.”
While he wishes the man didn’t die, “people should take it as a cautionary tale,” he adds. “Just don't go there, and there won't be a problem.”
There’s no LGBTQ in the GOP
In the grand tradition of white male privilege, Mark McCloskey is running for Senate in Missouri. Yes, that guy: “the lawyer who pulled his big gun on BLM protesters who were walking by his house,” says Toure. “This white man's sole claim to fame is he pulled a gun on peaceful protesters who were not there to attack him. They were going to the home of an elected official who lived down the street.”
Danielle is pissed that Toure even brought it up. She’s trying to revel in the joy of Tish James possibly taking down Trump.
“It’s so disgusting to me that you can be charged with a crime, but as long as you are rich and white, you think your recourse is to run for office,” she says. “Damn, why did you tell me that? I didn't need to hear that today!”
She’s worried he will actually win.
Toure doesn’t know about that.
“I don't know if Caitlyn Jenner is gonna win, either. But the GOP––”
“Don't bring up that bitch's name,” Danielle interjects.
“Oh my God, why?” Toure asks. “She's not enough of an LGBTQ activist for you?”
“Let me tell you something,” says Danielle. “Caitlyn Jenner still likes to pretend she has privileges she no longer does –– and believes that somehow if she spews this bigoted bullshit, her old cronies are gonna embrace her. Because she's just as vile as they are. You’re in the wrong body, friend, for that to fucking happen. They do not see you as a full and complete person, let alone somebody who they're going to fucking vote for.”
Trauma in the Middle East
On the other side of the world, the conflict between Israel and Palestine just gets worse every day. It’s not anything new, but “for some reason, this time has been different, at least in America, in that we finally seem to be able to criticize Israel without it being deemed anti-semitic.”
Americans usually don't hear about it or think about it, he adds. But the government of Israel –– one of our closest allies –– “is committing atrocities against the people of Palestine,” he argues.
“I'm part Jewish so I can say this. I have no problem with the desire and the need to have a place on the globe. But the way that Israel is treating Palestine now and historically is completely unacceptable.”
Danielle agrees. She traveled to Israel and Palestine on a journalist's cohort trip in 2015 and found it “traumatic” to see the realities on the ground. She hates the way the current crisis is being covered in the media –– a “both sides” narrative. But “there are 58,000 Palestinians who are now displaced because of the bombings Israel is doing in Gaza,” she says.
“Hundreds of Palestinians have been murdered, mostly women and children. But America continues to fund this. And then we want to talk about a fucking ceasefire? How about you cease using my tax dollars to kill people?”
If you see yourself as aligned with oppressed people around the world, it’s important to be critical of a government that oppresses, says Toure.
“We can do it without being anti-semitic or anti-Zionist,” he adds. “We're talking about treating these people in Palestine with dignity.”
Nobody is above the law –– right?
It’s been so nice to not see, hear or think about Donald Trump lately. But he’s back in the news –– and this time, maybe it’s a good thing. That is, if you want to see him trade in his ill-fitting Brioni suits for an ill-fitting orange jumpsuit.
“Do you really think that this country is going to put an ex-president in prison?” Toure asks. “I don't think that's going to happen.”
Danielle, usually a pessimist about such matters, disagrees.
“I think we have to come to understand that if we are going to be a country governed by laws, where we continue to say that no one is above the law… if Donald Trump is found guilty, are we going to let him off with a fine?”
It’s important to understand, she adds, “that they want to run this motherfucker in 2024. He has to go to jail in order to save our democracy. He has to go to jail in order for people to stop worshipping at his fucking feet.”
We say no one is above the law, Toure argues –– but “obviously, there is a class of people who are. The notion that Trump going to prison would then cure the GOP of their Trump sickness –– it could go in a completely opposite direction. It could turn him into the ultimate martyr.”
As much as Toure hates Trump, “I would hope he would be convicted because he broke the law, not because the left wants to prevent him from running for office again,” he says.
“I want to prevent him from running for office because he's a fucking criminal,” says Danielle.
So, “as the country slowly falls apart and dumpster fires line the streets,” says Toure, our hosts sign off.
“You used to be a lot more helpful than that,” says Danielle. “I'm telling you folks, hang the fuck on.”
Toure is uncharacteristically grim about that.
“There's all sorts of bullshit going on. What are we hanging on for?”
Check out the frustration, rage and absurdity that was the 2020 election on democracy-ish as Danielle Moodie and Toure discuss the current state of the political climate and our country from a Black perspective.