April 14, 2019

Your Tax Dollars At Work

By Array

Array

A short list of people Republican members of Congress have brought to testify on the Hill as expert witnesses, at the American taxpayer’s expense:

I tweeted this list out earlier this week, and it went viral. Because that day Candace Owens was appearing as the minority witness in a Congressional hearing on hate speech and white nationalism. But also because the list itself it ridiculous. Multiple people messaged me sure that I was wrong and Jim Hoft AKA Gateway Pundit hadn’t actually testified at a Congressional hearing. I don’t blame them for questioning it. The notion should be unthinkable but it happened. This is what Republicans in Congress consider doing the people’s business now.

When Democrats won back the House last November one of the things I was looking forward to was better Congressional hearings. House Judiciary Committee Chairperson Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat, immediately signaled that things would be different on his watch and that hate crimes, online toxicity, and the threat of white nationalism would be on the committee’s agenda. I knew that Republican members would bring witnesses who were skeptical that white nationalism or hate crimes are a problem but given that Tuesday’s hearing came just after the New Zealand Mosque Shootings I didn’t even consider the possibility that they would turn the hearing into a circus. Because after all this time I’m still naive.

Owens’ only qualification is that she was recently name-checked in the New Zealand Mosque shooter’s so-called manifesto as one of his influences. Well that and she made headlines earlier this year for defending Adolf Hitler. The gambit worked fairly well, though Owens had stiff competition on YouTube where comments on the various livestreams had to be shut down because there was so much hate speech and the white nationalist channel Red Ice used the hearing to raise money for itself via YouTube’s own donation system.

How do you make democracy work when the entire GOP caucus will do everything they can to grind things to a halt? When their ideology is driven by the conspiracy theories they believe as much as their extreme political views? It’s not just that Republican electeds are ignoring the problem, they’re ensuring that Americans can’t even get useful information about the threat that hate crimes and white nationalist terrorism poses to them and their families.

This week has also caused me to reexamine how I cover these hearings both on Twitter and in this newsletter. I don’t want to become another amplifier for Candace Owens or anyone else the GOP calls in as a witness. So I’m going to end this by linking to the prepared testimony from the other witnesses who participated. I’d encourage you to read them and get an idea of the public hearing Rep. Nadler had originally planned:

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© Photo courtesy of Flickr user Jon Evans.


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