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Abbreviated Pundit Abstract: The anti-democracy Republicans campaigning for the coup uncovered

Greg Sargent / WaPo:

A GOP Senator's furious shame of Mitch McConnell demands more from the Democrats

In an extraordinary nine-minute session with reporters, Murkowski urged McConnell to suspend "short-term political gain" before dealing with what really happened on January 6th. At stake are the "principles of democracy, which are so close to our hearts," which must be assessed "beyond just one electoral cycle".

Of course it didn't work. The Senate Republicans have just successfully filibustered the commission. A few more Republicans voted in favor than expected, but virtually all of them voted against allowing even a debate on it.

Murkowski did a good job shedding light on the problem we are now facing. But here's the thing: in the end, only Democrats can begin to solve this problem.

It's crystal clear that the GOP only cares about power and absolutely nothing else.

A powerful account of Newsmax and Trump's dwindling influence. Trump's Tuesday interview was Newsmax's top-rated hour – with a total of 295,000 viewers. By comparison, Maddow drew 2.6 million and Hannity 2.3 million viewers in the same hour. Even Cuomo more than tripled Trump.

– Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) May 27, 2021

Susan B. Glasser / New Yorker:

American democracy is not dead yet, but it is arriving

Indeed, a country that cannot even consent to investigate an attack on its Capitol is in great trouble.

Before leaving town for their Memorial Day hiatus, Republicans successfully used the legislative filibuster for the first time in that session to block the proposed bipartisan body. Your arguments against a commission range from implausible to offensive; The real explanation is political cynicism in the extreme. Senate Minority Chairman Mitch McConnell, who has so far kept his promise to focus "one hundred percent" on blocking Biden's agenda, even claimed that an investigation would be pointless because it would "reveal no new fact." John Cornyn, a close ally of McConnell from Texas, at least more honestly admitted to Politico that the vote was about denying the Democrats a "political platform" from which to turn the 2022 midterm elections into a "referendum on the president." Trump, for his part, has spoken out that he will run for re-election in 2024 – and has welcomed polls showing that the majority of Republicans continue to believe in both his false claims of a fraudulent election and that Nothing unusual happened on January 6. Needless to say, these are not the signs of a healthy democracy ready to fight the autocratic tyrants of the world.

"It turns out that things are a lot worse than expected," Daniel Ziblatt, one of the writers of How Democracies Die, told me this week. He said he never imagined a scenario like what has played out among Republicans on Capitol Hill in recent months. How could he have? It is hard to imagine that even when How Democracies Die was published a year after Trump's tenure, anyone in America would seriously contemplate an American president who would spark a riot to steal an election he clearly lost – and then still in command of his party's support afterwards.

Time to give up on Marco Rubio who will never do the right thing when at risk Editorial https://t.co/Ln6bgE7I72 pic.twitter.com/xHHt61oXwi

– Orlando Sentinel (@orlandosentinel) May 27, 2021

Stephen Richer / National Review:

The madness of the Maricopa County Election Audit

I am a libertarian republican. I hate taxes. Especially the income tax. But I will pay all necessary taxes.

I suspect you pay your taxes too. And like most Americans, you probably aren't cheating or lying.

Because of this, while an IRS audit may be annoying and stressful, at some point you will find that you have nothing to worry about as long as the audit is done fairly and properly.

But you'd probably feel differently if the IRS outsourced the audit to someone who:

Did not have appropriate professional qualifications
Never had a tax audit before
Believed Hugo Chavez had viciously controlled your tax auditing software
Had publicly stated before examining your taxes that you were certain to have committed tax fraud

This is what happens in the elections in Maricopa County, Arizona – home to nearly two-thirds of the electorate in Arizona.

STEPHEN RICHER is the Maricopa County Recorder. He was elected a Republican in November 2020 and took office in January.

The cool thing about taxing the rich nationally is that you don't have to worry about leaving for a state with lower taxes (and no, they generally don't leave the country, lol).

– Daniel Marans (@danielmarans) May 28, 2021

Ronald Brownstein / CNN:

Is the extremist wing of the GOP now too big to fail?

Republicans of Congress crystallized a threatening question by rejecting the consequences for Donald Trump during the January 6 insurrection in his impeachment process and including Georgia conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene in their conference: Is the extremist wing of the GOP coalition too big become for the party to confront?

Republicans campaigning for the uprising are already calling for a 1/6 commission with an equal number of Dem and GOP candidates, supported by both parties in both houses. This is kind of biased and unfair, which suggests that they would lie about any report so just do it, bill or no.

– Nicholas Grossman (@ NGrossman81) May 28, 2021

Peter Hotez / Daily Beast:

The only way to resolve the Wuhan "laboratory leak" controversy

Increasingly, the long-standing consensus that the likely origin of human COVID-19 lies in an animal virus reservoir such as bats is coming under attack. In this scenario, which I still think is the most plausible, the emergence or circulation of the virus in bats may have been followed by an increase in human-bat interactions, possibly as a result of the expansion of human populations in forest areas. A similar scenario was likely responsible for the occurrence of Ebola virus infection in Africa. Many scientists believe it is more likely that the novel coronavirus jumped from bats to humans indirectly via an intermediate animal.

The main competing view during this pandemic was that the virus was artificially engineered through manipulation in the laboratory (particularly at the Wuhan Institute of Virology), that it was a naturally occurring virus that accidentally leaked from a laboratory, or both. While many have suggested that there might be so-called "smoking guns" for one hypothesis or another, in my opinion they are inconclusive at best. For example, finding unique RNA sequences in the COVID-19 virus, including what is known as a furin cleavage site, is viewed by some as evidence of virus manipulation in the laboratory or as "gain in function" research. The latter refers to cases where scientists are trying to make a virus more transmittable or contagious on purpose.

However, furin cleavage sites are known to be present in several naturally occurring coronaviruses, including the MERS coronavirus. Hence, it is not at all clear that such sites were developed by scientists working on SARS CoV-2.

It is truly remarkable that 6 Republican Senators joined the Democrats with one major bill. But instead of encouraging this to happen more often, the filibuster just prevents this type of bipartisanism from being a possibility at all.

– Steven White (@notstevenwhite) May 28, 2021

Gregory J Wallance / The Hill:

Marjorie Taylor Greene should be banned from Congress – but Republicans are too scared of Trump to do so

Greene should be expelled from Congress. Perhaps it was once tempting to dismiss her as a marginal figure with her past support for QAnon, her claim that the Parkland, Florida shootings were a false flag operation, and her suggestion that space lasers caused the California wildfires for the U.S. benefit under from an investment bank named after a prominent Jewish family. People realized that Greene was potentially dangerous when it was revealed that she had endorsed social media posts advocating violence against Democrats, which resulted in House Democrats and a handful of Republicans voting for theirs To withdraw committee seats.

Hours after the January 6 vote against the commission, Senator Hyde-Smith released a Memorial Day statement saying, "Those who died for us deserve to be honored every day." I asked her office and Wickers if they had met Gladys Sicknick. No Answer. https://t.co/iYcrYtvQ1x

– Ashton Pittman (@ashtonpittman) May 29, 2021

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