How To Destroy A Government

Any lingering doubts about the good faith, patriotism or even sanity of the current Speaker of the House of Representatives can be put to rest. Mike Johnson is every bit as horrifying a culture warrior as many of us suspected. The fact that the Democrats stepped in on two occasions to save his Speakership was not evidence that they’d noticed some mitigating factors to his religious zealotry–it was, as many said at the time, an effort to keep government functioning at even its current minimal level.

Johnson has repaid that effort with a move that is unbelievably destructive–a move that is likely to destroy America’s intelligence capacity and erase any lingering trust our allies place in the United States.

I’ll let the Washington Post explain.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) on Wednesday appointed Reps. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) and Ronny Jackson (R-Tex.), two Trump loyalists who denied the results of the 2020 election, to the House Intelligence Committee, granting them oversight of the U.S. intelligence community and sensitive government material.

Seats on the committee are highly sought after in Congress and closely watched, as members have access to some of the nation’s most classified information and are charged with overseeing the spy agencies — including the intelligence gathering within the FBI — activities for which former president Donald Trump has routinely expressed disdain.

In case you’ve missed the “backstories” on these particular cult members, the Post has thoughtfully reminded readers.

First, Perry.

Perry, a hard-line Republican who previously served as the chair of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus, played a key role in promoting false claims of election fraud and pushed the Trump White House and Justice Department to investigate baseless claims and prevent the transfer of power to President Biden. The FBI seized Perry’s cellphone records in 2022 as part of the criminal investigation into Trump’s efforts to subvert the election, and Perry sought to block what the federal investigators would be able to access on his phone. In December 2023, a federal judge ordered that Perry disclose nearly 1,700 records from his cellphone to the investigation being conducted by special counsel Jack Smith. Perry’s lawyer has said that U.S. officials never described Perry as a target of their ongoing investigation in their discussions with the congressman, and he has not been charged.

Then, Jackson.

Jackson, a retired U.S. Navy officer who joined Congress in 2021, served as the physician to Presidents Barack Obama and Trump. He was demoted in rank from retired rear admiral to captain in July 2022 following a damaging Pentagon inspector general’s report that substantiated allegations about his inappropriate behavior as a White House physician. Jackson has denied the report’s allegations and claimed they were politically motivated.

Johnson isn’t even trying to hide what he intended to accomplish by appointing extremist goofballs and devoted MAGA cult members to this extremely sensitive panel. The appointments came one day after he threatened a “three-pronged approach” to retribution for Trump’s trial loss, and outlined his plan for allowing the Republican majority to “target the Justice Department, New York and other jurisdictions for investigating Trump — using, among other things, House oversight powers.”

As one House member was quoted,

“Neither of these two gentlemen is qualified for the intelligence committee. Neither should ever be near the intelligence committee. And it’s going to make cooperation between our counterintelligence operations and the intelligence services and the Congress much more complicated.”

Former Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger, who served on the House select committee that investigated the january 6th insurrection, called the appointments “insane.”

So here we are, incredible as it may seem.

A once-respectable center-right political party–a party that used to fly under a banner of patriotism and “law and order”– is willing to compromise the security of American citizens, tell our allies we’re unreliable, and signal to our enemies that we are no longer serious about defending our place in the global order, all to demonstrate its loyalty to a convicted felon who cares nothing about America, or about anything but himself and his need for vengeance.

I shudder to think of the damage these unqualified clowns can do between now and November–and even after, if Republicans continue to hold power in either house of Congress. Continued GOP control of either the House or Senate would take us further down the road to failed nationhood.

Even assuming we avoid the unthinkable disaster that would be a second Trump administration–continued “leadership” by members of this White Christian Nationalist cult would mean we can kiss goodby to the America most of us grew up in.


  1. We keep seeing and reading what Trump and his MAGAs are doing and saying. We NEED to be seeing and reading reminders of what President Joe Biden has done and said in less four years to undo what he can of Trump’s damage and has made progress you are ignoring or have forgotten. He has made progress for America and Americans, including Republicans, he has left his religion in his church and his home and dedicated his abilities to strengthening democracy, Rule of Law and the Constitution. Yes; he walks slow and appears unsteady, take it from me who suffers the same pain and difficulty walking, the problem is his hips not his mind that have slowed his walk but not his thinking. He is ignoring his constant pain and difficulty walking to stand up and walk to where he needs to go to perform his duties to the government and to all of us. President Franklin D. Roosevelt couldn’t even stand up without help; he gave his life to this country, President Joe Biden is dong the same but his unsteady walk and occasional speaking errors are all we see and hear about. Your lack of loyalty to him is lack of loyalty to what America has stood for, warts and all, for 250 years. No one is perfect but your support for the blatant criminal and lack of humanity displayed by Trump and his MAGAs will end the America which has been a global leader until now.

    Get off of the support of Trump with nothing but Trump and his MAGAs as the news and get on the President Joe Biden REELECTION CAMPAIGN, you are supporting Donald Trump with your negative updates almost hourly. The mute and idle sitting Democrats in the House and Senate are continuing their aiding and abetting of the criminal faction of Republicans who, with Mitch McConnell’s blatant refusal to perform his required duties, aided Trump’s loading of the judicial system, especially at the federal level, with Trump supporters who are supporting Trump’s ABOVE THE LAW position in this crucial election year and are handing Trump the presidency with both hands.

    You are working against yourselves by supporting the Trump News System and his control of all media outlets. Prepare yourselves for the coming Dictatorship and our staunchest allies will be Putin and Kim Jong Un.


  2. During the ‘90’s in the waning days of the Menghistu Regime Ethiopia, Tigre Rebels had seized control of the capital, Addis Ababa. They knew how to fight in the jungle not run the complexity of the governed. I served on a team to repatriate assets of a large non profit organization. Our liaisons were recognized authority of the shadow government. While militia commanders made obligatory noise, the shadow government continued sound practices to run the central government.

    In the USA, we have come to know ‘deep state’ in both civilian and military quarters. In the Biden Administration there is alignment because everyone is in fundamental agreement with parchment known as our Constitution.

    When extremists find their way to position of power, deep state ‘armors up’ behind closed quarters. Deep state has the law and aligned regulations and practices on their side.

    The Third World learned from us and now we will learn from them. Yes, we are ‘woke’. Our counter fight is with the trolls and felons of Sleepy Hollow led by Busted America’s Greatest Loser … BAGL … served with Trump’s Own Sour Grapes & Bitters.

  3. Powerful words, Joann and Linus.

    Personally I don’t think either of the new appointments to the Intelligence Committee can qualify for a security clearance. What that means is that CIA, NSA, DoD et. al. will not be able to make any top secret information available to the committee as a whole, without violating federal law.
    If you’re one of those people who aren’t yet paying attention, you had better get with it and vote these nut cases out! You may think it can’t get worse, but let me assure you it will get a lot worse if we don’t take action now.

  4. Sheila has added more information to a depressing situation I have been following closely. Perhaps we dems should have tried harder to keep the other incompetent MAGA around, McCarthy that is, as I’m not sure his danger quotient was up to that of Johnson, firmly in place now and until we can topple that “leadership” in November. Having said that, my attention was drawn to the comments by JoAnn Green decrying the constant coverage of trump (since he descended the escalator in 2015 to announce his candidacy in 2015, actually) which is non-stop still, while giving contrasting minimal coverage to Mr. Biden at the same time. The old saw if it bleeds it leads comes to mind here, as trump has never ceased “bleeding,” while the noble, even grand (most since FDR IMHO) actions of Biden go, by comparison, lightly reported, even on my source of choice, MSNBC. It is simply unavoidable I’m afraid, so even when MSNBC pointedly avoids playing clips of sordid trump lies, they still report them, and then analyze them, ad nauseum. But what is newsworthy? Can the “news” of trump’s continuing attacks on democracy be avoided, instead only covering the good stuff to balance the constant barrage of garbage that is trump? I wish, but that isn’t reasonable. The fires and deaths have to be covered because we have to know about them, but perhaps we could do a much better job of dwelling on the tremendously important accomplishments we are witnessing on a daily basis from the Biden administration. From reversing the many negative actions of the trump administration to pushing through legislation to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure – which many of those republicans who voted against all of it are taking credit for – Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been a shining light leading this country back to some modicum of normalcy. Let’s support those efforts over the next few months because if we don’t, as Sheila says, we can kiss goodbye to the America most of us grew up in.

  5. We kissed goodbye to the America most of us grew up in the day that 45 was sworn into office.

  6. I disagree with the reason Ds saved Johnson from Greene’s ouster motion. The Ds needed the military aid package and FISA authority for the Intel Community. They would make a deal with the devil to get both. As it turned out, Trump threw Greene and Gaetz under the bus and made a deal to save Johnson’s butt.

    If you’ve noticed, Congress has come together to pass several controversial bills—bills brought forth with lies and deceit. FISA authority and the TikTok ban were two bills passed that should have never gotten out of committee. I believe MTG’s motion was strictly performative for both parties. We shall see what the Ds get in return.

    Also, this from Sheila, “…signal to our enemies that we are no longer serious about defending our place in the global order.”

    We don’t have to signal to our enemies with gestures because our enemies and allies know our place in the global order is a joke. As global leaders, we once set up laws for the international community to follow—maintaining law and order. We didn’t even sign off on the laws we helped establish. We chose to follow the “rules-based order,” whereby we make the rules for everyone else to follow. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

    Calling the ICC an “illegitimate court” for holding the war criminals in Israel accountable was the death knell for US leadership. Threatening and sanctioning jurists and their families at the high court is one of the most embarrassing acts I have witnessed in Washington. The only countries that respect the US are vassal states that don’t want to end up sanctioned with economic warfare.

    And get this: the military who constructed a $320 million pier in Gaza lasted one whole week before it blew out to sea. None of the aid was delivered to those in need. This same military claims it can fight on three major fronts: Europe, the Middle East, and the South Pacific. Washington consists of delusional fools.

  7. Nancy. I forget who said “You can never step into the same river twice.” America is changing; everything changes. But it’s not all bad. The millions of descendants of Black people are not going to allow themselves to be enslaved. The millions of LGBT people are not going to meekly crawl back into the closet. The millions of immigrants and their descendants who came here to escape authoritarian rulers are not going to roll over for another dictator. We are all under threat, but we are still a democracy and most of us want to keep it that way.

  8. Peggy, “I don’t think either of the new appointments to the Intelligence Committee can qualify for a security clearance.”

    You, too, believe in the every disappearing “guardrails” of our democracy. I wouldn’t bet $5 on your assessment. Guardrails are not laws and the rich and powerful “workaround” them due their lack of moral fiber.

  9. Letting the camel start by putting its nose under the tent is an old parable with a predictable ending.

    We are now sleeping with a flea-infested, stinky, spitting camel, and we cannot wonder how it got there.

    We let it in because we didn’t stop the Murdochs at the door.

  10. Well, in Texas a gerbil could be elected to government if it had an “R” next to its name. Jackson comes close to that level of organization. Throw in his alcoholism and you have the perfect Texas Republican.

    That said, Mike Johnson is a very weak-minded ideologue who has no business anywhere near government. All these things stack up to justify how Republicans need to be voted out – everywhere – at every level of government.

    I agree that Biden’s tenure should be the first line in the narrative, but also what he plans for the future. That future vision will, hopefully, give impetus to giving him a Democratic Congress that is filibuster-proof – until they can overturn that idiotic rule. THEN, maybe, we can get the country back on track, “adjust” the SCOTUS by impeaching and removing Thomas and Alito (for starters) and return the rights of women to their proper place.

  11. Sharon, I hope that you are right, and that there is some way for these two newly anointed clowns to be kept from clearance. Johnson was part and parcel of tfg/BAGL’s attempt to steal the election, and his posed super-Xtian stance is BS.
    I’m thinking that he’s auditioning to be tfg’s VP pick. Whomever it will be will be a bona-fide dirtbag.

  12. Mitch D.,

    Too right. TFG couldn’t allow anyone with a brain, a conscience or a soul to show him up on the campaign trail. Maybe he’ll pick judge Cannon. LOL.

  13. Any questions on the Men of lawlessness or the sons of destruction?

    Okay, after that being said, the setup is coming into play. Sometimes, even imbeciles know when to stop pushing, to stop going to the same well over and over.

    I find it interesting talking about voting individuals out, but these individuals have gotten in office because of gerrymandering! And in addition, the electoral college prevents the popular vote from selecting qualified public servants. It allows the fringe a seat at the table of rationality.

    Lincoln basically said if you don’t like the government, it can be changed. So, the current president has the authority to do this very thing. And if this one doesn’t, the next one will. Suspend Congress suspend habeas corpus, arrest those who have been working against the laws this particular country is governed by. They’re definitely not perfect laws, and this government is far from perfect! The handwriting is on the wall for something really unprecedented to happen, but options are really really scarce, and the clock is ticking! The political realm is standing before an inflection point. It can be a positive experience, or it can be disastrous!

    The president has the ability to repair the damage done by political insurgency, or, The president can fail, and plunge not just this country, but the rest of this planet into perpetual darkness and brutality hence the dark ages! The only thing different, the population was much smaller during the dark ages, and, there were no fighter jets, space stations, and nuclear bombs. If there were, we wouldn’t be reading and writing right now.

    The inflection point is here right now, It can be steered by someone with a conscience controlled by empathy and compassion, or, it could be controlled by someone that sees opportunities to become a hegemonic charlatan ruler with brutality and chicanery!

  14. I lived in LA for 22 years. Glad I left, Johnson is not alone or without a multitude of others who think, believe and live just like him, I ran into entirely too many to remain there. Glad I left in 2003. You couldn’t pay my lesbian self to live there again. Once again, My rights nor anyone else’s are negotiable !! And I guess I’ll either have to leave the country or make sure the guns are loaded and at the ready, because I damn sure will take fools with me. No camps for me. and to think, my father supports djt-every damn thing due to his delusional belief that I am not his child after his stroke, seizures and manipulative second wife, a money hungry b****. His loss. Always a pleasure to visit the professor’s writings-

  15. The tip of the iceberg. It has been a long well charted journey. Citizens United created the atmosphere of public officials and their powers becoming fungible goods. For sale to the highest bidder foreign or domestic. Including a former President who kept top secret documents for which he had no practical reason accept one. That reason could not be anything short of something dire in nature and a threat to the security of the United States.

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