Chex: Last week, I wrote in this space about Arizona GOP Rep. Mark Finchem, one of our favorite lawmaker-insurrectionists.

Campaign Action

You may recall that Finchem was both

  • One of the participants in the violent events in DC on Jan. 6 (he denies sacking the actual Capitol, but he did post a photo of the crowd in the process of invading the building on the Capitol steps), and
  • One of the most outspoken Republican state representatives pushing for his legislature to overturn the election results and hand the state’s electors to Trump.

Last week, we learned that the Trump campaign apparently paid Finchem for his trouble.

  • The Trump campaign paid Finchem-owned “Mrk Finchem PLLC” over $6,000 in December for “recount: legal consulting.”

But it turns out that wasn’t nearly enough money to cover the expenses Finchem incurred on Trump’s behalf as he encouraged his colleagues to steal the election.

  • On Nov. 30, Finchem hosted a so-called “election integrity” “hearing” (it was not an actual legislative hearing) at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Phoenix.
    • Rudy Giuliani attended this “hearing” (it was a glorified press conference), where they and other Trump supporters aired lies and conspiracy theories about Biden supposedly “stealing” Arizona (he didn’t).

But hotels don’t make a habit of letting people use their space and stuff for free.

  • According to Finchem, the event cost $15,500—a bit north of the $6,000 the Trump campaign paid him in December.
    • So Finchem has turned to Trump supporters online to cover the cost of his fantasy “hearing.”
      • Via Telegram and Gab, Finchem is asking supporters to donate to his “Make Arizona Safe Again” PAC via PayPal and Venmo.
  • Finchem claims that he raised more than $12,000 as of Feb. 16.
    • … which, if you factor in the $6,000 already paid to him by the Trump campaign, means that his seditious and anti-democratic lies are already making him a tidy little profit.

Meanwhile, GOP lawmakers across the country who participated in the Jan. 6 violence at the Capitol continue to face almost no consequences.

Feedback Loops: I’ve written quite a lot in recent weeks about the nation-spanning effort by GOP lawmakers to target the voters and voting methods that helped Joe Biden win the presidency last fall.

And they keep doing it, so I’ll write more:

  • In Kansas, Republicans are pushing legislation that would make it a goddamn FELONY to return an absentee ballot that’s not your own (unless you’re a family member or caregiver).
    • The measure will make it harder for people of color, people with disabilities, and older voters to cast ballots and will have the greatest impact on nonprofits, churches, and community groups that traditionally provide this helpful service.

Remember, Republicans lawmakers in the Sunflower State are still mad that a Democrat had the temerity to get herself elected governor a few years back.

  • In Iowa, Republican lawmakers are ramming through bills that would
    • Slash the early voting window by 11 days (from 29 days to 18),
    • Reduce the absentee ballot request window from 120 days to just 70,
    • Create new criminal charges for any county election officials who take steps to make voting easier in unforeseeable circumstances (like many did during the pandemic) without getting the okay from state officials or the legislature, and
    • Make it illegal for anyone outside of your immediate family or household to return your absentee ballot.

Fun fact! The early voting period in Iowa was 40 days until the GOP hacked it down to just 29 back in 2017

  • In Tennessee, GOP lawmakers have introduced bills to completely abolish early voting and to require all voters be fingerprinted.
  • In Georgia, Republicans have introduced an anti-democratic omnibus bill that would
    • Prohibit early voting on Sundays (targeting “Souls to the Polls” events organized by many Black churches),
    • Create a new photo ID requirement for absentee ballots
    • Shrink the window for voters requesting an absentee ballot and limiting the time frame during which county officials can mail them out
    • Limit the number of secure ballot drop boxes and limit the days and times they can be used to the days and times early voting takes place (which kind of defeats the point, which is … well, the point)
    • … and more!

This omnibus consolidates a lot of the bills already floating through the Georgia legislature, conveniently wrapping them up in a tidy package for the GOP-controlled legislature to pass and the GOP governor to sign.

  • But what’s worse than just a GOP-controlled state here or there restricting voting?
    • GOP-controlled states replicating as many voting restrictions as they can all across the country in a coordinated way.

And the Republican State Leadership Committee is stepping up to help make this nightmare a reality.

  • The RLSC, which happens to be the umbrella org for the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee and the Republican Secretaries of State Committee, announced the launch of a so-called “Commission on Election Integrity” this week, and, well, it’s just as Orwellian as it sounds.
    • The Commission plans to convene GOP legislative leaders to “share and discuss” so-called reforms designed to “restore the American people’s confidence in the integrity of their free and fair elections.”

Yes, the RSLC is explicitly promulgating the Big Lie of a fraud-riddled and stolen election to promote its efforts to systematically enact new voter suppression laws across the country.

  • The Commission’s “key principles” are a laundry list of GOP voter-suppression fantasies:
    • “Empowering States” is a clear preemptive strike against the landmark H.R. 1 making its way through Congress, which would make it easier to vote in federal elections, end congressional gerrymandering, overhaul federal campaign finance laws, increase safeguards against foreign interference, strengthen government ethics rules, and more.
      • Obviously, GOP state lawmakers prefer to retain their current power at the state level to rig election laws in their favor.
  • “Ensuring Voter Roll Accuracy” is simply a Republican euphemism for purging voter rolls.
  • “Securing Absentee/Mail-in Voting” is Orwellian newspeak for the myriad new restrictions on absentee and mail-in voting we’re already seeing in many legislatures (a few are described above).
  • “Increasing Transparency for In-person Voting” is a spit-shined way of saying that Republicans want to increase the opportunity for voter intimidation. 
  • “Streamlining the Canvassing Process” is just another way for Republicans to say “VOTES COUNTED AFTER ELECTION DAY ARE FRAUDULENT WHICH MEANS DEMOCRATS STOLE THE 2020 ELECTION.”

Anyway, yeah, this shit is fucked up enough happening piecemeal across the country. A coordinated effort promoting legislative voter suppression will, in fact, be worse.

Honey Bunches of Zygotes: But lest you think Republican lawmakers are focused on voter suppression to the exclusion of other terrible legislation, I’m here to dump cold milk on that notion.

  • Now that a conservative-dominated, Roe-hostile U.S. Supreme Court has gone from a GOP wet dream to a very real horror, Republican lawmakers are amped to renew their assault on reproductive freedom.
    • In South Carolina, the GOP-controlled legislature rammed through (and the governor quickly signed) a bill that would effectively ban abortions at about six weeks into a pregnancy, or when cardiac activity can first be detected in a fetus (but before many women even know they’re pregnant).
      • But despite this clear win for conservatives, one fucking baby Republican lawmaker threw a bona fide tantrum when he wasn’t allowed to introduce amendments making the measure even more prohibitive, flinging his stack of amendments to the floor and storming out.
    • Texas will likely soon pass a similar bill.
      • “Trigger” measures are also being considered by the legislature—so called because they would “trigger” an automatic absolute ban on abortion in the state if Roe v. Wade were ever overturned.
      • Another proposal would appoint a goddamn attorney to represent the fetus when minors go before a judge to get permission to obtain an abortion without their parents’ consent.
    • A measure being considered in Utah would require a woman seeking an abortion to complete an online course, in which she’ll be forced to see “medically accurate” images of the procedure, hear audio of a fetal heartbeat, see ultrasounds from six different stages of pregnancy, and then attest under penalty of perjury that she completed the course from start to finish, no skipping or fast-forwarding.
    • A slew of anti-reproductive freedom bills are also making their way through the Montana legislature, including measures outlawing abortions after the twentieth week of a pregnancy and establishing a 24-hour waiting period.

Welp, that’s about all the ire I have in me this week. I should go about accumulating more, though. It helps keep me warm.

Stay safe out there, dear readers. Not every cereal box has a cool prize in it, and sometimes you find yourself munching on some All-Bran without noticing the fiber content (which is somewhere around DEFCON 2)

please don’t make me spell out the DEF part of this joke here

But whether you eat breakfast or not, take care of yourself. Be your own Lucky Charm and the Apple Jack of your own eye, do what you need to to Cheerios yourself up.

Because remember: You’re gr-r-reat!





Source link