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by Jeffrey Lord

 

Recently, Wyoming “Republican” Rep. Liz Cheney published a piece in the Wall Street Journal with this amusing headline:

The Jan. 6 Committee Won’t Be Intimidated

We are focused on facts, not rhetoric, and will present them no matter what our critics say.

Facts are stubborn things, as President John Adams famously said.

He went on: “Whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

No, they can’t. But the disingenuous Cheney is giving it the old college try as she pursues her anti-Trump vendetta.

Adams’ wisdom comes to mind in reading Cheney’s Wall Street Journal article and comparing it to what she and her fellow “Republican” on the January 6 Committee, Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, have actually said and done on the subject. These stand in sharp contrast to Cheney’s claims of a “just the facts” investigation in her article.

Cheney begins by saying this:

I keep on my desk a copy of the oath my great-great-grandfather signed when he re-enlisted in the Union Army in 1863. Like the oath given by all those who serve in government and every member of our armed forces, Samuel Fletcher Cheney swore to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.”

One suspects Cheney’s great-great-grandfather is somewhere shaking his head at what a descendant of his, a sitting member of the United States Congress, has been up to. The true “facts” are that she’s really “focused” on involve aiding and abetting the seizure of the cellphone records of more than one hundred American citizens.

These records contain data on “tens of thousands of moms, children, clergy, reporters, and Republican and conservative influencers who were in touch with everyone from White House aides to prominent activists,” as my colleague Melissa Mackenzie reported in The American Spectator. She points out that “It is unconstitutional for any congressional body to pursue criminal investigations.”

She also notes the ill-disguised real purpose of the January 6 Committee:

The select committee’s stated purpose is to explore better ways to keep the Capitol building secure and create policies that do so. That’s not what Nancy Pelosi and her minions are doing. They’re conducting a massive data-gathering expedition to create a blacklist of Trump allies, and, if possible, set up criminal charges against them.”

That is not only decidedly unconstitutional but also the methodology of a police state and a vivid example of vendetta politics — and Cheney and Kinzinger have eagerly signed on for it.

Cheney, incredibly, also says this:

Those who do not wish the truth of Jan. 6 to come out have predictably resorted to attacking the process — claiming it is tainted and political. Our hearings will show this charge to be wrong. We are focused on facts, not rhetoric, and we will present those facts without exaggeration, no matter what criticism we face.

The January 6 Committee is “focused on facts”? Really?

Here’s a fact: House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy has the authority to appoint the Republican members of the committee. His appointments of Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana were refused by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who then usurped McCarthy’s authority and appointed Cheney and Kinzinger.

Why? Because she and her fellow Democrats hate Trump. This tactic is called “stacking the deck,” and Pelosi used it to make sure that the committee delivers an anti-Trump verdict.

This immediately established the committee as a Stalinesque show trial. The committee’s investigation is a decidedly un-American proceeding, and Cheney and Kinzinger are active participants.

The committee is curiously selective in the “facts” it decides to pursue. Republican Reps. Lauren Boebert, Andy Biggs, Mo Brooks, Madison Cawthorn, Matt Gaetz, Louie Gohmert, Paul Gosar, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Jody Hice, Jim Jordan, and Scott Perry all have been subpoenaed to “get the facts.” But, strangely, Pelosi has not been subpoenaed. Neither has House Administration Committee member and Democrat Rep. Jamie Raskin, who had responsibility, along with Pelosi, for security of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Cheney is not demanding the facts from either of them.

Cheney has presented herself and the January 6 Committee as an impartial group of fact-finders. But by her own frequent admissions, Cheney is not even close to having an impartial view of Donald Trump.

She has called Trump “unfit for office,” “dangerous,” a “threat,” and someone who “clearly can never be anywhere near the Oval Office ever again.” Those are hardly the words of an impartial, fact-finding investigator. Those are the words of a leader in a political lynch mob.

Cheney has also offered this biased view on Trump’s response to January 6: “We have a threat America has never seen before. A former president who provoked a violent attack on this Capitol in an effort to steal the election has resumed his aggressive effort to convince Americans that the election was stolen from him.”

To say Trump “provoked a violent attack” is a flat-out lie. I was not at the Capitol on January 6, but I had a literal front-row seat at the White House rally preceding the events at the Capitol. I personally heard the president urge the crowd to protest “peacefully and patriotically.” There was not a word provoking violence. And no one that I saw at the rally — and I have it on video — was urging violence. To the contrary, they were dancing to the rock music blaring from the loudspeakers.

Cheney says the fact that Trump told his supporters to “fight like hell” is an example of his violent rhetoric. Really? Politicians of all stripes use the word “fight” to describe their own political activities. Cheney herself has used the same language repeatedly. For example, in an interview with NBC’s Today Show, she said she was “in a fight to help to restore our party, in a fight to bring our party back to substance and principle and in a fight to make clear that we won’t participate in the really dangerous effort that’s underway.” Three times over she borrowed exactly from Trump. She is a walking example of one rule for thee, another for me.

Cheney’s hypocrisy is incredible. As mentioned above, she is interested in the private communications of all manner of American citizens, but she is curiously completely uninterested in the private communications of Pelosi and Raskin. Where is her demand that they, along with all the members of the committee — including herself and Kinzinger — turn over all their emails, texts, and phone records so that the public can see them? Nowhere.

And, of course, if you’re in the media and you oppose the committee, Cheney will make a point of reading your private emails aloud and into the public record — as she did to Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. So much for freedom of the press.

Cheney goes on in her Wall Street Journal piece to say this of Trump’s claims of election fraud, which, she argues, provoked the events at the Capitol:

He falsely claimed that the election was stolen from him because of widespread fraud. While some degree of fraud occurs in every election, there was no evidence of fraud on a scale that could have changed this one.

But how would she know how much fraud there was without investigating? As I’ve written, my own state of Pennsylvania has a long record of serious voter fraud. One need only investigate the Pennsylvania elections of 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012, or 2008, or go back even further to 1994, to find people have been indicted and convicted for running massive voter fraud operations.

In 1994, a federal judge even overturned a state Senate election because of a “massive scheme” (the judge’s words) by Democrats to steal the election. But Cheney is completely uninterested in the extensive list of documented facts about fraud in previous Pennsylvania elections, which helps explain why Trump believes that fraud may have influenced the 2020 election, as well.

Cheney ends her article with this unbelievable statement:

Those who do not wish the truth of Jan. 6 to come out have predictably resorted to attacking the process — claiming it is tainted and political. Our hearings will show this charge to be wrong. We are focused on facts, not rhetoric, and we will present those facts without exaggeration, no matter what criticism we face. My friend the late Charles Krauthammer once said: “The lesson of our history is that the task of merely maintaining strong and sturdy the structures of a constitutional order is unending, the continuing and ceaseless work of every generation.” Every generation of Americans has fulfilled its duty to support and defend the Constitution. That responsibility now falls to us.

Say what? Liz Cheney “will present those facts without exaggeration”? The all-too-obvious fact is that the January 6 Committee, with the full cooperation and assent of Cheney and Kinzinger, is nothing more than a vitriolic hit job on Trump and his supporters. They are in no way interested in facts that contradict their anti-Trump narrative.

The words of President Ronald Reagan about dealing with communists come to mind in looking at the words and actions of Cheney, Kinzinger, and their fellow January 6 Committee members as they go about their anti-Trump vendetta:

They … have openly and publicly declared that the only morality they recognize is what will further their cause, meaning they reserve unto themselves the right to commit any crime, to lie, to cheat.

Bingo.

– – –

Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at [email protected] His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.

 

 

 

Appeared at and reprinted from The American Spectator

News Source: tennesseestar.com

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How a serial killer set the stage for the modern GOP | Opinion

Last weekend Senator Pat Toomey went on Jake Tapper’s State of the Union to try to clean up Republican sabotage of a bill to provide healthcare to millions of veterans exposed to toxic burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. He didn’t do himself or his party any favors as he tried to weasel out of responsibility; America knows that after the bill was defeated Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley fist-bumped in celebration of screwing our vets.

How is it that Republicans can casually embrace such cruelty? Why have 12 GOP-controlled states refused to this day to expand Medicaid for their 30 million minimum-wage working people when the federal government covers 90 percent of the cost?

Why are Republicans so committed to destroying Medicare and Social Security? Why do they go so far as to use the disrespectful slur “democrat party” when there’s no such thing in America and never has been?

Why are Democratic members of Congress having to armor their own homes, having received over 9000 death threats so far this year, virtually all of them from domestic terrorists who Republicans refuse to repudiate? The FBI today is looking for a Matt Gaetz supporter who threatened to murder Gaetz’s Democratic opponent: why are these people attracted to the GOP?

It turns out this is not just politics; the roots of this brutal movement in today’s GOP run from a 1927 child murderer, through a greedy real-estate lobbying group, to Ronald Reagan putting both of their philosophies into actual practice and bringing morbidly rich right-wing billionaires into the GOP fold.

As a result, Republican policies over the past 40 years not only gutted America’s middle class and transferred $50 trillion from the middle class to the top 1 percent, but also led straight to the Trump presidency and the attack on the Capitol on January 6th that he led.

The Libertarians

Reporter Mark Ames documents how, back in the 1940s, a real estate lobbying group came up with the idea of creating a new political party to justify deregulating the real estate and finance industries so they could make more money.

This new “Libertarian Party” would give an ideological and political cover to their goal of becoming government-free, and they developed an elaborate pretense of governing philosophy around it.

Their principal argument was that if everybody acted separately and independently, in all cases with maximum selfishness, such behavior would actually benefit society. There would be no government needed beyond an army and a police force, and a court system to defend the rights of property owners. It was a bizarre twisting of Adam Smith’s reference to the “invisible hand” that regulated trade among nations.

In 1980, billionaire David Koch ran for vice president on the newly formed Libertarian Party ticket. His platform included calls to privatize the Post Office, end all public schools, give Medicare and Medicaid to big insurance companies, end all taxation of the morbidly rich, terminate food and housing support and all other forms of “welfare,” deregulate all corporate oversight while shutting down the EPA and FDA, and selling off much of the federal government’s land and other assets to billionaires and big corporations.

Reagan, who won that 1980 election, embraced this view in his inaugural address, saying, “[G]overnment is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” He then doubled down on the idea by beginning the systematic process of gutting and crippling governmental institutions that historically had supported working people and the middle class.

The child-killer who inspired a movement

Reagan wasn’t just echoing the Libertarian vision; he was also endorsing Ayn Rand’s “objectivist” view of the world, which traces its roots to a murderous sociopath in 1927.

Back in 2015, Donald Trump told USA Today’s Kirsten Powers that his favorite book was Ayn Rand’s raped-girl-decides-she-likes-it novel, “The Fountainhead.”

“It relates to business, beauty, life and inner emotions,” he told Powers. “That book relates to … everything.”

Ayn Rand’s novels have informed libertarian Republicans like former Speaker of the House of Representatives and current Fox News board member Paul Ryan, who required interns to read her books when they joined his staff.

Powers added, “He [Trump],” told her that he “identified with Howard Roark, the protagonist who designs skyscrapers and rages against the establishment.”

Rand’s hero Roark, in fact, “raged” so much in her novel that he blew up a public housing project with dynamite.

Rand, in her Journals, explained where she got her inspiration for Howard Roark and the leading male characters in so many of her other novels. She writes that the theme of The Fountainhead, for example, is, “One puts oneself above all and crushes everything in one’s way to get the best for oneself.”

On Trump’s hero Howard Roark, she wrote that he “has learned long ago, with his first consciousness, two things which dominate his entire attitude toward life: his own superiority and the utter worthlessness of the world. He knows what he wants and what he thinks. He needs no other reasons, standards or considerations. His complete selfishness is as natural to him as breathing.”

It turns out that Roark and many of her other characters were based on a real person. The man who so inspired Ayn Rand’s fictional heroes was named William Edward Hickman, and he lived in Los Angeles during the Roaring Twenties.

Ten days before Christmas in 1927, Hickman, a teenager with slicked dark hair and tiny, muted eyes, drove up to Mount Vernon Junior High School in Los Angeles and kidnapped Marion Parker — the daughter of a wealthy banker in town.

Hickman held the girl ransom, demanding $1,500 from her father — back then about a year’s salary. Supremely confident that he would elude capture, Hickman signed his name on the ransom notes, “The Fox.”

After two days, Marion’s father agreed to hand over the ransom in exchange for the safety of his daughter. What Perry Parker didn’t know is that Hickman never intended to live up to his end of the bargain.

The Pittsburgh Press detailed what Hickman, in his own words, did next.

“It was while I was fixing the blindfold that the urge to murder came upon me,” he said. “I just couldn’t help myself. I got a towel and stepped up behind Marion. Then, before she could move, I put it around her neck and twisted it tightly.”

Hickman didn’t hold back on any of these details: he was proud of his cold-bloodedness.

“I held on and she made no outcry except to gurgle. I held on for about two minutes, I guess, and then I let go. When I cut loose the fastenings, she fell to the floor. I knew she was dead.”

But Hickman wasn’t finished. “After she was dead I carried her body into the bathroom and undressed her, all but the underwear, and cut a hole in her throat with a pocket knife to let the blood out.”

Hickman then dismembered the child piece-by-piece, putting her limbs in a cabinet in his apartment, and then wrapped up the carved-up torso, powdered the lifeless face of Marion Parker, set what was left of her stump torso with the head sitting atop it in the passenger seat of his car, and drove to meet her father to collect the ransom money.

He even sewed open her eyelids to make it look like she was alive.

On the way, Hickman dumped body parts out of his car window, before rendezvousing with Marion Parker’s father.

Armed with a shotgun so her father wouldn’t come close enough to Hickman’s car to see that Marion was dead, Hickman collected his $1,500, then kicked open the door and tossed the rest of Marion Parker onto the road. As he sped off, her father fell to his knees, screaming.

Days later, the police caught up with a defiant and unrepentant Hickman in Oregon. His lawyers pleaded insanity, but the jury gave him the gallows.

To nearly everyone, Hickman was a monster. The year of the murder, the Los Angeles Times called it “the most horrible crime of the 1920s.” Hickman was America’s most despicable villain at the time.

Ayn Rand falls in love with a “superman”

But to Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum, a 21-year-old Russian political science student who’d arrived in America just two years earlier, Hickman was a hero.

Alissa was a squat five-foot-two with a flapper hairdo and wide, sunken dark eyes that gave her a haunting stare. Etched into those brooding eyes was burned the memory of a childhood backlit by the Russian Revolution.

She had just departed Leninist Russia where, almost a decade earlier, there was a harsh backlash against the Russian property owners by the Bolsheviks. Alissa’s own family was targeted, and at the age of 12 she watched as Bolshevik soldiers burst into her father’s pharmacy, looted the store, and plastered on her Dad’s doors the red emblem of the state, indicating that his private business now belonged to “the people.”

That incident left such a deep and burning wound in young Alissa’s mind that she went to college to study political science and vowed one day she’d become a famous writer to warn the world of the dangers of Bolshevism.

Starting afresh in Hollywood, she anglicized her name to Ayn Rand, and moved from prop-girl to screenwriter/novelist, basing the heroes of several of her stories on a man she was reading about in the newspapers at the time. A man she wrote effusively about in her diaries. A man she hero-worshipped.

William Edward Hickman was the most notorious man in American in 1928, having achieved the level of national fame that she craved.

Young Ayn Rand saw in Hickman the “ideal man” she based The Fountainhead on, and used to ground her philosophy and her life’s work. His greatest quality, she believed, was his unfeeling, pitiless selfishness.

Hickman’s words were carefully recounted by Rand in her Journals. His statement that, “I am like the state: what is good for me is right,” resonated deeply with her. It was the perfect articulation of her belief that if people pursued their own interests above all else — even above friends, family, or nation — the result would be utopian.

She wrote in her diary that those words of Hickman’s were, “the best and strongest expression of a real man’s psychology I ever heard.”

Hickman — the monster who boasted about how he had hacked up a 12-year-old girl — had Rand’s ear, as well as her heart. She saw a strongman archetype in him, the way that people wearing red MAGA hats see a strongman savior in Donald Trump.

As Hickman’s murder trial unfolded, Rand grew increasingly enraged at how the “mediocre” American masses had rushed to condemn her Superman.

“The first thing that impresses me about the case,” Rand wrote in reference to the Hickman trial in early notes for a book she was working on titled The Little Street, “is the ferocious rage of the whole society against one man.”

Astounded that Americans didn’t recognize the heroism Hickman showed when he proudly rose above simply conforming to society’s rules, Rand wrote, “It is not the crime alone that has raised the fury of public hatred. It is the case of a daring challenge to society. … It is the amazing picture of a man with no regard whatever for all that society holds sacred, with a consciousness all his own.”

Rand explained that when the masses are confronted with such a bold actor, they neither understood nor empathized with him. Thus, “a brilliant, unusual, exceptional boy [was] turned [by the media] into a purposeless monster.”

The protagonist of the book that Rand was writing around that time was a boy named Danny Renahan. In her notes for the book, she wrote, “The model for the boy [Renahan] is Hickman.” He would be her ideal man, and the archetype for a philosophical movement that would transform a nation.

“He is born with the spirit of Argon and the nature of a medieval feudal lord,” Rand wrote in her notes describing Renahan. “Imperious. Impatient. Uncompromising. Untamable. Intolerant. Unadaptable. Passionate. Intensely proud. Superior to the mob… an extreme ‘extremist.’ … No respect for anything or anyone.”

Rand wanted capitalism in its most raw form, uncheck by any government that could control the rules of the market or promote the benefits of society. Such good intentions had, after all, caused the hell she’d experienced in the Bolshevik Revolution.

Ayn Rand, like Hickman, found peace and justification in the extremes of her economic, political, and moral philosophy. Forget about democratic institutions, forget about regulating markets, and forget about pursuing any policies that benefit the majority at the expense of the very rich — the petty political rule-makers and rule-enforcers could never, ever do anything well or good.

Libertarianism and Ayn Rand set the stage for Trumpism

Only billionaires should rule the world, Trump has suggested.

And he tried to put it into place, installing a billionaire advocate of destroying public schools in charge of public schools, a coal lobbyist representing billionaires in charge of the EPA, an billionaire-funded oil lobbyist in charge of our public lands, and a billionaire described by Forbes as a “grifter” in charge of the Commerce Department. Trump’s chief of staff said that putting children in cages and billionaire-owned privatized concentration camps (where seven so far have died) would actually be a public good.

As Ayn Rand might say, “Don’t just ignore the rules; destroy them.”

Welfare and other social safety net programs were, as Rand saw it, “the glorification of mediocrity” in society. Providing a social safety net for the poor, disabled, or unemployed, she believed, were part of a way of thinking that promoted, “satisfaction instead of joy, contentment instead of happiness… a glow-worm instead of a fire.”

Sociopaths of the world, unite!

Rand, like Trump, lived a largely joyless life. She mercilessly manipulated people, particularly her husband and Alan Greenspan (who brought a dollar-sign-shaped floral arrangement to her funeral), and, like Trump, surrounded herself with cult-like followers who were only on the inside so long as they gave her total, unhesitating loyalty.

Like Trump, McConnell, Stefanik and their billionaire backers, Rand believed that a government working to help out working-class “looters,” instead of solely looking out for rich capitalist “producers,” was throwing its “best people” under the bus.

In Rand’s universe, the producers had no obligations to the looters. Providing welfare or sacrificing one nickel of your own money to help a “looter” on welfare, unemployment, or Social Security — particularly if it was “taken at the barrel of a gun” (taxes) — was morally reprehensible.

Like Trump saying, “My whole life I’ve been greedy,” for Rand looking out for numero uno was the singular name of the game — selfishness was next to godliness.

Later in Rand’s life, in 1959, as she gained more notoriety for the moral philosophy of selfishness that she named “Objectivism” and that is today at the core of libertarianism and the GOP, she sat down for an interview with CBS reporter Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes.

Suggesting that selfishness undermines most truly American values, Wallace bluntly challenged Rand.

“You are out to destroy almost every edifice in the contemporary American way of life,” Wallace said to Rand. “Our Judeo-Christian religion, our modified government-regulated capitalism, our rule by the majority will… you scorn churches, and the concept of God… are these accurate criticisms?”

As Wallace was reciting the public criticisms of Rand, the CBS television cameras zoomed in closely on her face, as her eyes darted back and forth between the ground and Wallace’s fingers. But the question, with its implied condemnation, didn’t faze her at all. Rand said with confidence in a matter-of-fact tone, “Yes.” (4:20 in the clip)


Ayn Rand Mike Wallace Interview (Part 1) 1959 www.youtube.com

“We’re taught to feel concern for our fellow man,” Wallace challenged, “to feel responsible for his welfare, to feel that we are, as religious people might put it, children under God and responsible one for the other — now why do you rebel?”

“That is what in fact makes man a sacrificial animal,” Rand answered. She added, “[Man’s] highest moral purpose is the achievement of his own happiness.”

Rand’s philosophy, though popular in high school and on college campuses, never did — in her lifetime — achieve the sort of mass appeal she had hoped. But today Ayn Rand’s philosophy is a central tenet of the Republican Party and grounds the moral code proudly cited and followed by high-profile billionaires and three former presidents of the United States.

Ironically, when she was finally beginning to be taken seriously, Ayn Rand became ill with lung cancer and went on Social Security and Medicare to make it through her last days. She died a “looter” in 1982, unaware that her promotion of William Edward Hickman’s sociopathic worldview would one day validate an entire political party’s embrace of a similarly sociopathic president.

The result so far is over a million dead Americans from Covid, an epidemic of homelessness, and the collapse of this nation’s working class.

While the ideas and policies promoted by the libertarian wing of the Republican Party have made CEOs and billionaire investors very, very rich in recent decades, it’s killing the rest of us.

A return to sanity

In the 1930s and 1940s, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Dwight Eisenhower put America back together after the Republican Great Depression and built the largest and wealthiest middle class in the history of the world at the time.

Today, 40 years of Ayn Rand’s ideas being put into practice by libertarian Republicans from Reagan to Bush to Trump have gutted the middle class, made a handful of oligarchs wealthier than any kings or Pharos in the history of the world, and brought a whole new generation of criminals, hustlers and grifters into the GOP.

Three men in America today own more wealth than the entire bottom 50 percent of the country, a level of inequality never before seen in the modern developed world.

When America was still coasting on FDR’s success in rebuilding our government and institutions, nobody took very seriously Rand’s or Koch’s misguided idealist efforts to tear it all down.

Now that libertarians and objectivists in the GOP have had 40 years to make their project work, we’re hitting peak libertarianism and it’s tearing our country apart, pitting Americans against each other, and literally killing people every day.

If America is to survive as a functioning democratic republic, we must repudiate the “greed is good” ideology of Ayn Rand and libertarianism, get billionaires and their money out of politics, and rebuild our civil institutions.

That starts with waking Americans up to the incredible damage that 40 years of Rand’s writings and libertarian “Reagan Republicans” have done to this country.

It will succeed if President Biden can overcome the cynicism and greed celebrated by McConnell, Cruz, and Hawley, reclaim the mantle of FDR, and put America back on the upward trajectory the middle class enjoyed before the Reagan Revolution.

Report typos and corrections to: [email protected] Who would you vote for in 2024 - Biden or DeSantis?

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