Sunday, October 31, 2021

Last Call For Getting It In Gear

As Steve M. notes, Democrats have completely failed to turn things around on the perceptions of the infrastructure bill, of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and of their 2022 chances.

The last two Democratic presidents also found themselves in the weeds in their first two years in office. Both watched their parties suffer bloodbaths in their first midterms. But both presidents won reelection, right? So we're not doomed, are we?

Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were immensely talented politicians at the top of their game. They were young, vigorous, and charismatic. They were great speakers.

Joe Biden is ... Joe Biden. He's not vigorous, charismatic, or a great speaker. If he's losing the confidence of Americans, does he have the ability to persuade them that he's a steady hand who can steer the country out of trouble?

And does he understand that he should start trying to do that soon?

This moment is reminding me of the fall of 1988, when Michael Dukakis, the Democratic presidential nominee, blew a 17-point post-convention lead in the polls under relentless attacks from the GOP. Dukakis lost that race because he didn't punch back and he didn't find a way to change the subject when the GOP attacks dominated the news cycle. Joe Biden doesn't seem to know how to make news in a way that helps him. Vice President Harris doesn't seem to have that skill either, or she's not trying because it's believed that she shouldn't upstage the president, or it's been decided that she should keep a low profile because she's not sufficiently well liked, although maybe she'd be liked if some effort were made to change the way the public sees her. Or maybe everyone in the Democratic Party thinks things are going as well as they possibly could.

I don't believed we're doomed -- but we're doomed if Democrats keep doing what they're doing while expecting change to just happen. Democrats need to fight back. They need to fight as hard to win news cycles as Republicans do -- no, harder, because the right-wing media will always amplify Republican propaganda, and the mainstream media prefers right-wing messaging whenever Democrats are actually trying to govern. Democrats have to understand that they're in a more difficult struggle than they were during the Trump years, because the press likes Democrats when they're out of power and Republicans have clearly failed, but the press despises Democrats when they're in power. That sucks, but it's reality, and Democrats need to start acting as if they recognize reality.

Both Clinton and Obama learned to play the game, but only after both suffered catastrophic midterm losses (and Obama suffered them twice, with 2014 being the lowest turnout in my lifetime.)

Both the Virginia race and the vote on Biden's Build Back Better plan happen on Tuesday.

We need to pull off both.

Insurrection Investigation, Con't

So it turns out that the Trump team was counting on the insurrectionist mob they created to "convince" VP Mike Pence to refuse to certify the election for Joe Biden, and if the mob killed Pence, well, he had it coming.
As Vice President Mike Pence hid from a marauding mob during the Jan. 6 invasion of the Capitol, an attorney for President Donald Trump emailed a top Pence aide to say that Pence had caused the violence by refusing to block certification of Trump’s election loss.

The attorney, John C. Eastman, also continued to press for Pence to act even after Trump’s supporters had trampled through the Capitol — an attack the Pence aide, Greg Jacob, had described as a “siege” in their email exchange.

“The ‘siege’ is because YOU and your boss did not do what was necessary to allow this to be aired in a public way so that the American people can see for themselves what happened,” Eastman wrote to Jacob, referring to Trump’s claims of voter fraud.

Eastman sent the email as Pence, who had been presiding in the Senate, was under guard with Jacob and other advisers in a secure area. Rioters were tearing through the Capitol complex, some of them calling for Pence to be executed.

Jacob, Pence’s chief counsel, included Eastman’s emailed remarks in a draft opinion article about Trump’s outside legal team that he wrote later in January but ultimately chose not to publish. The Washington Post obtained a copy of the draft. Jacob wrote that by sending the email at that moment, Eastman “displayed a shocking lack of awareness of how those practical implications were playing out in real time.”

Jacob’s draft article, Eastman’s emails and accounts of other previously undisclosed actions by Eastman offer new insight into the mind-sets of figures at the center of an episode that pushed American democracy to the brink. They show that Eastman’s efforts to persuade Pence to block Trump’s defeat were more extensive than has been reported previously, and that the Pence team was subjected to what Jacob at the time called “a barrage of bankrupt legal theories.”

Eastman confirmed the emails in interviews with The Post but denied that he was blaming Pence for the violence. He defended his actions, saying that Trump’s team was right to exhaust “every legal means” to challenge a result that it argued was plagued by widespread fraud and irregularities.

“Are you supposed to not do anything about that?” Eastman said.

He stood by legal advice he gave Pence to halt Congress’s certification on Jan. 6 to allow Republican state lawmakers to investigate the unfounded fraud claims, which multiple legal scholars have said Pence was not authorized to do
As Josh Marshall reminds us, this is basically the biggest piece of evidence yet in the "Trump regime soft coup" column.

These exchanges capture something we suspect and know in some way. But here we’re getting the details, the documentary evidence. Eastman didn’t recoil when the President’s rally escalated to violence. He clearly saw the inside coup plot and the insurrectionists on the street as part of the same effort. This isn’t surprising to most of us. The insurrectionists were laying siege to Pence in the Capitol because Pence wasn’t going along with the plan. And the answer was to go along with the plan. Eastman recognized the insurrection as the paramilitary wing of the coup plot he was part of and as the Capitol was under siege used it as a cudgel to force Pence’s hand.

Again, this won’t come to a shock to many of us. But here we’re getting the receipts. At least the first of them. To date the actions of Eastman, the President, his various coconspirators – during the hours of the assault on the Capitol – have largely been a black box even as we’ve learned more and more granular detail of the ransacking of the Capitol itself. We’ve had brief glimpses in reported accounts. There was the notorious phone call between Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Trump in which McCarthy demanded Trump call off his insurrectionists. Trump notoriously responded, “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.”

In real time, Trump’s message was the same as Eastman’s. You brought it on yourself and they’re my guys. The way to lift the siege is to do the right thing and support the coup. They both recognized the insurrectionists as their foot soldiers and expressed as much in real time to the members of Congress under siege. And of course they did since they were their foot soldiers.

It’s hardly surprising that both Trump and Eastman were cheering on the assault on the Capitol in real time or seeing it in the same terms. They were part of the same war room. They were leading it. Directly or indirectly McCarthy was the source of those quotes from the conversation with the President. It was reportedly anger and expletive filled. Of course he later fell in line. Much of the resistance to the investigation was his effort not to be placed under oath to reveal what happened on that day and the fact that he resisted it.
Finally, the Washington Post has the law enforcement timeline as January 6th terrorists set off every intelligence alarm in the country with their impending attack.

The head of intelligence at D.C.’s homeland security office was growing desperate. For days, Donell Harvin and his team had spotted increasing signs that supporters of President Donald Trump were planning violence when Congress met to formalize the electoral college vote, but federal law enforcement agencies did not seem to share his sense of urgency. On Saturday, Jan. 2, he picked up the phone and called his counterpart in San Francisco, waking Mike Sena before dawn.

Sena listened with alarm. The Northern California intelligence office he commanded had also been inundated with political threats flagged by social media companies, several involving plans to disrupt the joint session or hurt lawmakers on Jan. 6.

He organized an unusual call for all of the nation’s regional homeland security offices — known as fusion centers — to find out what others were seeing. Sena expected a couple dozen people to get on the line that Monday. But then the number of callers hit 100. Then 200. Then nearly 300. Officials from nearly all 80 regions, from New York to Guam, logged on.

In the 20 years since the country had created fusion centers in response to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Sena couldn’t remember a moment like this. For the first time, from coast to coast, the centers were blinking red. The hour, date and location of concern was the same: 1 p.m., the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 6.

Harvin asked his counterparts to share what they were seeing. Within minutes, an avalanche of new tips began streaming in. Self-styled militias and other extremist groups in the Northeast were circulating radio frequencies to use near the Capitol. In the Midwest, men with violent criminal histories were discussing plans to travel to Washington with weapons.

Forty-eight hours before the attack, Harvin began pressing every alarm button he could. He invited the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, military intelligence services and other agencies to see the information in real time as his team collected it. He took another extreme step: He asked the city’s health department to convene a call of D.C.-area hospitals and urged them to prepare for a mass casualty event. Empty your emergency rooms, he said, and stock up your blood banks.

Harvin was one of numerous people inside and outside of government who alerted authorities to the growing likelihood of deadly violence on Jan. 6, according to a Washington Post investigation, which found a cascade of previously undisclosed warnings preceded the attack on the Capitol. Alerts were raised by local officials, FBI informants, social media companies, former national security officials, researchers, lawmakers and tipsters, new documents and firsthand accounts show.

This investigation is based on interviews with more than 230 people and thousands of pages of court documents and internal law enforcement reports, along with hundreds of videos, photographs and audio recordings. Some of those who were interviewed spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private discussions or sensitive information.

While the public may have been surprised by what happened on Jan. 6, the makings of the insurrection had been spotted at every level, from one side of the country to the other. The red flags were everywhere.
In the last week, we've learned that the Trump regime was openly recruiting insurrectionists and working with them, hosting White House meetings along with Republican members of Congress, all for January 6th. Now we know that the plan all along was to pressure Pence to go along with the plan in order to stop the riot.
A terrorist insurrection was planned, authorized, and facilitated by Donald Trump while he was in the White House, for the express purpose of him remaining in power.
I don't really care how bad you think the Democrats are, this was a goddamn armed terrorist coup and it almost worked.

We only still have a country because Mike Pence was a coward.

There's your scary story for Halloween.


Sunday Long Read: Hate The Sinners

This week's Sunday Long Read comes from Becca Andrews and Mother Jones, telling us the story of how student victims of sexual abuse at Chicago's Moody Bible Institute became the guilty parties of tempting the "pure and good" fellow students who abused them.

Megan Wohlers thought she had done all she needed to do. And even if she had missed something, she thought, she was on a Christian campus, full of other believers—someone would certainly intervene.

It was the fall of 2016 when the sophomore at Moody Bible Institute, one of the country’s most prestigious evangelical colleges, started the process of getting help. She was afraid for her own safety, and the safety of those closest to her. Her ex-boyfriend seemed undeterred by her pleas for him to move on. So, she tried to be systematic: She spoke with the public safety department at the school, and she wrote a letter to her ex, demanding that he leave her, her family, and her friends alone. She gave copies of the letter to a professor, the Title IX office, and Dean of Students Timothy Arens, as well as her parents, for documentation’s sake. The dean also promised to speak separately with the boy and tell him to back off. Surely, it would be enough.

It wasn’t.

Now, five years later, Wohlers, the once-starry-eyed teenager who’d dreamed of going to Moody since she was 10, whose father was an alumnus, whose ambition was to go to Central Africa to spread the gospel, is one of 11 women who have decided to make public their experiences with sexual abuse at the college. “The school encourages transparency and vulnerability with each other,” Wohlers tells me, “but the truth of the matter is people don’t open up to other people about what’s going on in their lives, and then when you do open up to administration, you get shamed and blamed.”

It is time, they’ve decided, for others to witness what they see as a systemic failure to address sexual misconduct at the school that describes itself as “the world’s most influential Bible college,” the place “where God transforms the world through you.” It is time to expose the people who were tasked with protecting them—under the laws of the country, under the laws of God—who at best looked the other way, at worst blamed them for the violence perpetrated against them.

And finally, it is time, they argue, to move beyond the purity culture that has defined and infected Moody—and imperiled women on campus—for far too long. “All the responsibilities are on the girls to be pure,” says Anna Schutte, who graduated from Moody in 2020. “You know, if a guy has a porn addiction and a sex addiction, you should pray for him. But if a girl gets assaulted, it’s her fault.”
As I've said before on multiple occasions, my parents are people of deep spiritual conviction and faith, and I envy them. Me, I've seen religion used too many times to justify the worst in humanity and not the best.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Last Call For Actually Being Silenced

Three University of Florida professors have been barred from assisting plaintiffs in a lawsuit to overturn the state’s new law restricting voting rights, lawyers said in a federal court filing on Friday. The ban is an extraordinary limit on speech that raises questions of academic freedom and First Amendment rights.

University officials told the three that because the school was a state institution, participating in a lawsuit against the state “is adverse to U.F.’s interests” and could not be permitted. In their filing, the lawyers sought to question Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, on whether he was involved in the decision.

Mr. DeSantis has resisted questioning, arguing that all of his communications about the law are protected from disclosure because discussions about legislation are privileged. In their filing on Friday, lawyers for the plaintiffs said the federal questions in the case — including whether the law discriminates against minority groups — override any state protections.

Two university representatives said they could not comment on pending litigation. Mr. DeSantis’s office did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The university’s refusal to allow the professors to testify was a marked turnabout for the University of Florida. Like schools nationwide, the university has routinely allowed academic experts to offer expert testimony in lawsuits, even when they oppose the interests of the political party in power.

Leading experts on academic freedom said they knew of no similar restrictions on professors’ speech and testimony and said the action was probably unconstitutional.

One of the professors in the latest filing, Daniel A. Smith, testified with the University of Florida’s permission in two voting rights lawsuits against Florida’s Republican-led government in 2018. One suit forced the state to provide Spanish-language ballots for Hispanic voters. The other overturned a state-imposed ban on early-voting polling places on Florida university campuses.

But university officials reversed course after a coalition of advocacy and voting rights groups sued in May to block restrictions on voting enacted this year by the Republican-controlled State Legislature. Among other provisions, the new law sharply limits the use of ballot drop boxes, makes it harder to obtain absentee ballots and places new requirements on voter registration drives.

Among other claims, the plaintiffs argue that the law disproportionately limits the ability of Black and Hispanic voters to cast ballots.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs sought to hire three University of Florida political scientists as expert witnesses: Dr. Smith, the chair of the university’s political science department; Michael McDonald, a nationally recognized elections scholar; and Sharon Wright Austin, who studies African American political behavior.

In rejecting Dr. Smith’s request, the dean of the university’s college of arts and sciences, David E. Richardson, wrote that “outside activities that may pose a conflict of interest to the executive branch of the state of Florida create a conflict for the University of Florida.” A university vice president overseeing conflicts of interest issued the other two rejections.

One lawyer for the plaintiffs in the case, Kira Romero-Craft, said that reasoning “goes against the core of what the University of Florida should stand for in terms of academic freedom.”

“It seems reasonable for us to understand whether the executive office of the governor had any role in participating in that decision,” she said.
If you don't think Ron DeSantis's office told the University of Florida to bar the testimony or face more cuts and punishment, you're living in a dream world. Either implicitly or explicitly, these professors were stopped from providing expert testimony.

That's The Sound Of...No Police?

Remember when angry Trump cultists nearly ran a Biden bus off the road in Texas last year without a police car in sight? Turns out the police told Biden campaign officials on the bus to handle the road rage problem themselves, because the police weren't going to lift a finger to stop the attack from potentially killing people.
As supporters of then-President Donald Trump surrounded and harassed a Joe Biden campaign bus on a Central Texas highway last year, San Marcos police officials and 911 dispatchers fielded multiple requests for assistance from Democratic campaigners and bus passengers who said they feared for their safety from a pack of motorists, known as a “Trump Train,” allegedly driving in dangerously aggressive ways.

“San Marcos refused to help,” an amended federal lawsuit over the 2020 freeway skirmish claims.

Transcribed 911 audio recordings and documents that reveal behind-the-scenes communications among law enforcement and dispatchers were included in the amended lawsuit, filed late Friday.

The transcribed recordings were filed in an attempt to show that San Marcos law enforcement leaders chose not to provide the bus with a police escort multiple times, even though police departments in other nearby cities did. In one transcribed recording, Matthew Daenzer, a San Marcos police corporal on duty the day of the incident, refused to provide an escort when recommended by another jurisdiction.

“No, we’re not going to do it,” Daenzer told a 911 dispatcher, according to the amended filing. “We will ‘close patrol’ that, but we’re not going to escort a bus.”

The amended filing also states that in those audio recordings, law enforcement officers “privately laughed” and “joked about the victims and their distress.”

Former state Sen. Wendy Davis, who was running for Congress at the time, is among the four plaintiffs in the lawsuit. The new complaint also expands the number of people and entities being sued to include Daenzer, San Marcos assistant police chief Brandon Winkenwerder and the city itself. A spokesperson for the city did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Friday. Daenzer and Winkenwerder could not immediately be reached.


And without the police escort, the bus was attacked and nearly forced off the highway.  I don't expect Texas courts to do much of anything, but remember, if 911 dispatchers and police can openly refuse to serve you because of your political affiliation, you live in an authoritarian state.

The Vax Of Life, Con't

More and more employers are now requiring employees to take the COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of incoming federal mandates being fought over in the nation's courts.

The latest Gallup COVID-19 tracking survey finds 36% of U.S. employees saying their employer is requiring all its workers without a medical exemption to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The percentage has steadily increased each of the last three months, rising from 9% in July.

In addition to those saying their employer is mandating vaccination, the Oct. 18-24 survey finds 39% of U.S. workers saying their employer is encouraging but not requiring them. This percentage has declined from 62% in July as those who say their employer requires vaccines has risen.

Meanwhile, 25% of U.S. workers say their employer has not indicated a vaccine policy, a proportion that has been relatively steady since Gallup first asked the question in May.

More U.S. employees say they favor mandates (56%) than are opposed to them (37%). The percentage in favor has grown from 46% in May, while there has been little change in the percentage opposed. Fewer today than in May (7% vs. 15%, respectively) say they neither favor nor oppose vaccination requirements.

Most U.S. workers hold strong opinions on vaccination requirements. A combined 75% either strongly favor (45%) or strongly oppose (30%) them. In May, 60% of workers had strong opinions in either direction. Back then, those with strong opinions were equally likely to favor as to oppose vaccine requirements, 29% to 30%. The growth since May, then, has come in the percentage who are strongly in favor.

A key concern for employers is whether vaccine requirements will cause employees to leave their organization to find a job with a COVID-19 vaccination policy that matches their personal preferences.

Nearly one in three U.S. workers are poised to look for a new job if their employer sets a policy on COVID-19 vaccinations with which they disagree. This includes 16% who are strongly opposed to vaccination requirements and 15% who are strongly in favor of them, determined as follows:

Thirty percent of all U.S. workers are strongly opposed to employer vaccine requirements, and of these, 52% -- equivalent to 16% of all U.S. workers -- say they would be "extremely likely" to look for a job with a different organization if they disagreed with their employer's policy on vaccine mandates.

Forty-five percent of U.S. workers strongly favor employer vaccine requirements, and 33% of this group says they are extremely likely to look for a different job over disagreements about employer vaccine policy. That translates to 15% of all U.S. workers.

Those figures are likely upper bounds of potential job losses tied to COVID-19 vaccine policy, as many will find themselves in sync with their employers' stance -- or not follow through and leave their job even if they disagree. For example, some workers strongly opposed to vaccination requirements may ultimately decide to get vaccinated in order to keep their job. Also, some workers concerned about COVID-19 transmission at work may decide to stay at their job even if their employer does not mandate vaccinations for all workers there.
The two big takeaways are that most Americans now support vaccine mandates by employers, and that the percentage of Americans opposed to vaccines remains steady at 30%.

As more and more of the unvaccinated get sick and die though, we're seeing more surviving Americans become more sold on vaccines and mandates for them as a good idea.

Still, 70-75% vaccinated is most likely the best we'll get as a nation right now.

Finally, the vaccine is better than "natural immunity" and significantly so.


Earlier this month, the conservative radio host Dennis Prager announced he had contracted the coronavirus. This was, as far as he was concerned, good news. The unvaccinated Prager had hoped to protect himself against COVID-19 the old-fashioned way: by getting sick.

“It is infinitely preferable to have natural immunity than vaccine immunity,” Prager said, echoing an anti-vaccine argument echoed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and other pro-Trump figures who have turned coronavirus vaccination into a culture war that, public health officials say, could prolong the pandemic for everyone.

Prager is wrong, suggests a new study published on Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that finds that natural immunity offers far weaker protection than does a vaccine. The new study finds that people who had natural immunity from having recently fought off COVID-19 and who were not vaccinated were 5.49 times more likely to experience another COVID-19 infection than were vaccinated people who had not previously been infected.

“The data demonstrate that vaccination can provide a higher, more robust, and more consistent level of immunity to protect people from hospitalization for COVID-19 than infection alone for at least 6 months,” a CDC press release said.


Five and a half times less likely to contract COVID again, but my idiot GOP Congressman continues to lie to his constituents about this

Massie of course staunchly refuses the vaccine and is spreading disinformation on purpose while Kentuckians die from the virus.

But that's what he wants: dead constituents don't use federal government resources, and he hates that more than anything.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Last Call For These Disunited States, Con't

I've been talking about the biggest single threat from the Robert/Trump court being the elimination of nearly all federal agencies by declaring them unconstitutional, and now the Supremes have the case they can use to render agencies like the EPA, CFPB, OSHA, FDA and the regulations they use to protect us completely null and void.

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate power plant emissions, in a case that legal scholars say could undermine Congress’s constitutional authority to delegate power to federal agencies. Some argue that such regulation — not just by the EPA, but in President Biden’s vaccine mandate as well — is unconstitutional because of a somewhat arcane legal doctrine called the “nondelegation doctrine.” This theory holds that Congress cannot delegate broad policymaking authority to government agencies.

Why does this argument matter? Our research finds that if the Supreme Court were to invalidate either the EPA’s authority or the vaccine mandate under this doctrine, it might unravel nearly every major law Congress has passed since World War II. Nearly every one of these laws involves delegating authority to U.S. agencies.

Let’s look at this more closely. The nondelegation doctrine was an approach the Supreme Court sometimes relied on to strike down laws until the 1930s. According to this constitutional doctrine, Congress can delegate powers to government agencies only if it also gives those agencies clear, specific directions about what actions to take. Because legal commentators regularly say the Supreme Court has not used this doctrine to strike down any policies since the 1930s, they usually describe it as “moribund.”

But did it ever exist? Recent research shows, in fact, that the Supreme Court did not often use this doctrine before the 1930s — and that the Founders themselves often delegated authority to executive agencies, indicating they believed delegation was consistent with the Constitution.

Nevertheless, as legal scholar Nicholas Bagley has pointed out, U.S. state and federal courts are increasingly relying on this doctrine to challenge and strike down laws. What’s more, several members of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, have signaled that they’re open to striking down laws based on this doctrine. In fact, the court’s majority mentioned concerns about delegation when it struck down the Centers for Disease Control’s eviction moratorium.

Their next opportunity to use it might come with the EPA case or when opponents challenge the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate after regulations are issued, since in both cases some opponents are relying explicitly on the doctrine. Or they could use it when, as expected, they hear Kelley v. Becerra, the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act, which is making its way through the courts and close observers expect to succeed in the U.S. District Court.

So what would a reinvigorated nondelegation doctrine do to the U.S. government? Justice Elena Kagan wrote in her minority opinion in Gundy v. United States that if the Court starts striking down congressional delegations of authority, “then most of Government is unconstitutional.


It would mean the end of every major law passed since World War II, folks.  The Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act,  the Fair Housing Act, the Affordable Care Act, nearly 75 years of robust federal action would come to an end.

Red state Americans, us Black and Brown folks out here in Trump country? We would truly be at the mercy of the states.  We'd have no protections at all. We'd be well on our way to permanent fascism, with Jim Crow and second-class status the law of the land for millions who would never be allowed to leave.

And this is where we are headed, and have been for years.

The 2022 Money Game

Axios's Lachlan Markay gives us the GOP Super PAC plan for 2022, and it's all about very, very rich people buying targeted digital advertising for the candidates they want to win.

Republicans are increasingly rethinking how to use one of the most potent political tools of the modern era, the super PAC, GOP operatives tell Axios.

Why it matters: Super PACs are generally thought of as vehicles for massive political ad buys. But Republicans are employing them in more targeted efforts to build the party and its candidates a more robust grassroots fundraising operation.

What's happening: The trend is evident in Ohio, where Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance enjoys the backing of super PAC Protect Ohio Values. It's largely financed with $10 million from billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel. 

POV hasn't spent a dime of that massive war chest on TV or radio advertising, even as groups backing Vance's primary rivals spend huge sums on broadcast ads attacking him. Instead, POV's direct pro-Vance advocacy has come in the form of digital ads and text messages. It's spent hundreds of thousands more on data modeling, polling and research — activities traditionally housed in a campaign itself.

The result is a primed list of donors and supporters that Vance's campaign itself can tap for financial backing.  It started doing so last week, when the campaign began sending fundraising emails to the Protect Ohio Values email list — a perfectly legal maneuver, as long as the campaign paid fair market value to rent it.

What they're saying: “Having substantial early support lets us do innovative things we wouldn’t otherwise have the time to do, and helps us act as a force-multiplier over the course of a race,” POV executive director Luke Thompson told Axios.

The big picture: Republican super PACs have outspent their Democratic counterparts in five of the six election cycles since the Supreme Court's "Citizens United" decision, according to OpenSecrets data.

But there are fewer restrictions on money raised by campaigns directly, and they pay lower rates for broadcast advertising. In general, that makes each campaign dollar more valuable than each super PAC dollar. Republicans want to translate more of their independent groups' huge "soft" money support into "hard" dollars for their candidates and party committees.

So Super PACs are covering the digital ad game on Facebook and Google, and campaign dollars go to traditional ad buys.

But of course, that means basically unlimited money for wealthy donors to buy ads for candidates like Vance, who belong in a comic book rogue's gallery more than Congress.

Sour Virginia, Con't

Considering how badly state polling did in 2020 in underestimating statewide races in general, I have a very bad feeling about Tuesday's gubernatorial race in Virginia.

Virginia’s race for governor is a toss-up as Tuesday’s election draws near, with 49 percent of likely voters favoring Democrat Terry McAuliffe and 48 percent favoring Republican Glenn Youngkin, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll.

The result is little changed from last month, when a Post-Schar School poll measured the race at 50 percent McAuliffe-47 percent Youngkin — although the Democrat’s six percentage-point edge among all registered voters in September has narrowed to three points in the new poll, at 47 percent for McAuliffe to 44 percent for Youngkin.

Youngkin is fueled by an 18-point advantage among independent likely voters, up from an eight-point advantage last month — a significant swing in a group that could determine the election’s outcome. While Virginia does not register voters by party, 33 percent of voters in the poll identified themselves as independents. That compares with 34 percent who said they consider themselves Democrats and 27 percent who said they are Republicans.

The Post-Schar School poll, which was conducted Oct. 20-26, finds a larger share of voters saying education is the top issue in their vote compared with the September poll, with fewer citing the coronavirus as the biggest factor in their decision. The survey interviewed 918 likely voters reached by professional interviewers on cellphones and landlines, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Third-party candidate Princess Blanding accounts for 1 percent support among likely voters, which in a tight race could make a difference. Blanding, who is campaigning on racial justice as a member of the newly formed Liberation Party, is most likely to draw votes from McAuliffe.

The election also features contests for lieutenant governor and attorney general, as well as all 100 seats in the House of Delegates. Democrats are defending a 55-45 advantage in the House, with Republicans targeting several suburban swing districts — and a few close rural races — that could tip the balance of power.

Early voting ends Saturday, with polls open Tuesday from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.
If Youngkin is able to mobilize enough cultists on Tuesday, he wins. The polls in general have seen a major shift in his favor in the last two weeks.  Five Thirty Eight has the race tied thanks to a FOX News poll that has Youngkin up by a whopping eight points.

The problem is the race will be close enough for Youngkin to scream ELECTION FRAUD11!!1 should McAuliffe's early voting lead stand up,  and Trump and the rest of the GOP cultists will pile on. The potential for Tuesday's results to be a powerkeg in search of a spark is ruinously high. We've already seen deadly political violence in Virginia four years ago, hell the trial of Trump's "very fine people" in Charlottesville is going on as we speak.
I just have a tremendously bad feeling about next week.


Thursday, October 28, 2021

Last Call For Operation Hawkeye

As with Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky here in the the Midwest, Iowa Democrats are about to get redistricted out of the state for the next decade.

They're ba-aaaack.

For the second time this month, the Iowa Legislature is convening for a special session to consider a set of proposed new boundaries for congressional and legislative districts.

Senate Republicans voted to reject the first redistricting proposal when lawmakers met Oct. 5. That sent the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency back to the drawing board for a second attempt.

The agency released the second set of maps last week. The maps' nonpartisan authors cannot take political factors such as voter registration or incumbents' addresses into account when drawing the maps, but the second proposal appears more favorable to Republicans — who hold majorities in the Iowa House and Senate — than the first.

One analyst, Dave Wasserman with the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, called it "a dream Republican map."

Some Republican lawmakers also want to use the special session to pass legislation pushing back against proposed COVID-19 vaccine requirements from the federal government.

House and Senate Republicans each plan to meet privately Thursday morning to discuss how they plan to vote. Privately, Republicans have raised fewer alarms about the current proposed set of maps, compared to the first plan.

"Just as we did with map 1, we will do our due diligence to review this set of maps to ensure it's fair for the people of Iowa," House Speaker Pat Grassley, R-New Hartford, said in a statement the day the second proposal was released.

Democrats in each chamber have already met and are expected to largely, if not unanimously, support the maps.

"As with the first map, I’m going to put politics aside and vote for this fair, nonpartisan map," said House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst, D-Windsor Heights. "Republican lawmakers need to stay focused on redistricting and approve this nonpartisan map." 
What would the new political maps do if approved?

At the congressional level, approving the new redistricting maps could set up a 2022 battle between Democratic U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne and Republican U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks. That's because the proposed 3rd District would include Miller-Meeks' home in Wapello County in addition to Axne's Polk County home.

Among the other geographic changes in the second map: Linn and Johnson counties would be split once again between Iowa's 1st and 2nd Districts, as they are in Iowa's current congressional map. The previous proposal would have grouped the two Democratic strongholds together in Iowa's 1st District. 
Voter registration in each of the four congressional districts would remain largely the same as under the current set of maps, enacted in 2011.

Former President Donald Trump, a Republican, would have won each of the state's districts in 2020 under the proposed lines with 50.4% of the vote in the 1st District, 51.1% in the 2nd, 49.1% in the 3rd and 62.1% in the 4th. Those are similar margins to what he received in Iowa's current set of maps. Under the first proposed set of maps released this year, Democratic President Joe Biden would have won two of the four districts.

Iowa Republicans say they will pass the maps next week, almost certainly resulting in four Republican seats in 2022. Republican gerrymandering could result in more than 20 GOP gains next year nationwide, and odds are it's going to be more than that.

Democrats will need to be ready and to have something powerful to show to voters next fall.

The Vax Of Life, Con't

The COVID-19 pandemic for the meatpacking industry was far, far worse than either the industry or the Trump regime let on, with figures presented to the House COVID Subcommittee this week showing that the pandemic was more than three times as worse as reported.

Workers at the leading U.S. meatpacking plants experienced cases and death from COVID-19 that were up to three times previous estimates, according to a report by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis seen by Reuters.

The U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee surveyed major meatpackers Tyson Foods (TSN.N), JBS USA (JBS.UL), Cargill (CARG.UL), National Beef (NBEEF.UL) and Smithfield Foods (SFII.UL), which together control over 80% of the beef market and 60% of the pork market in the United States.

At those companies’ plants, worker cases of COVID-19 totaled 59,147 and deaths totaled 269, based on counts through January of this year, according to the report which was released on Wednesday ahead of the subcommittee hearing on the pandemic's impact on meatpacking workers.

That is far higher than a previous estimate by the Food and Environment Reporting Network (FERN), which had been used by government agencies and media throughout the pandemic, according to the report. FERN had counted 22,694 cases and 88 deaths among workers at the five companies as of Sept. 8, primarily drawing on data from news reports and public health agencies.

"Until now, we have not had a full sense of how hard meatpacking workers were hit," U.S. Representative James Clyburn, chairman of the subcommittee, said in his opening statement at the hearing.

The meatpacking industry was especially hard hit by COVID-19 in part because its workers tend to be in close proximity for long hours in often messy conditions.

The new data comes from company calculations of worker cases primarily based on testing done within company facilities, meaning some infections identified through other health providers could have been excluded.

Cases were especially high at certain plants, including JBS’s Hyrum, Utah, beef plant and Tyson’s Amarillo, Texas, beef plant, where around 50% of workers contracted the virus, according to the report.

The subcommittee's findings also included new details of lax safety protocols at some of the plants.

In May 2020 at Tyson's Amarillo plant, for instance, workers wore masks “saturated” with fluids, were not socially distanced, and were separated by “plastic bags on frames” instead of CDC-compliant barriers, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) memo obtained by the subcommittee.

Both Tyson and JBS said in statements on Wednesday that they have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on COVID-19 health and safety efforts.

Cargill said in a statement that it was "saddened by the tragic impacts of this virus on our colleagues and the communities in which we operate."

Smithfield said in a statement that it implemented safety measures to protect employees and tested its workers frequently, uncovering asymptomatic cases.

Officials from National Beef were not immediately available for comment.

The subcommittee report also suggested that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had not done enough to protect workers in the meat industry from the virus.

OSHA staff told the subcommittee that under former President Donald Trump, the agency’s leadership made a political decision not to issue an emergency temporary standard (ETS) that would have required meatpackers to take certain safety precautions, the report said.

“Without being held to any specific standard, meatpacking companies were left with largely unchecked discretion to determine how to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, to the detriment of meatpacking workers,” the report said.


The industry looked the other way, the Trump regime let them, and infection rates at some plants topped 50% of workers.

Let me spell that out for you: half of workers got COVID in some of these plants. Half of them. And that's with these companies spending "millions" of dollars on health and safety.

Which of course they are lying about, hence the House subcommittee.

In the end, Republicans make everyone else suffer.

The Good Package, Con't

President Biden is expected to announce where Democrats are going on the Build Back Better plan, but there's no guarantee the package has enough votes at all.

President Biden plans to announce Thursday a revised framework for his social spending plan that he expects will gain the support of all Democrats, according to multiple people with knowledge of the situation, marking a potential breakthrough after months of lengthy negotiations and stalled talks.

The White House plans to detail specific policies it expects to pass Congress after weeks of whittling down Biden’s agenda, according to one of the people. Democrats on Capitol Hill were preparing written details of the revamped proposal for release on Thursday, according to the second person.

The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the plans on the record. The White House declined to comment.

Biden will address House Democrats Thursday morning before delivering remarks from the White House about the plan. The announcement comes ahead of his planned trip to Rome later in the day to begin a pair of international summits.

“The President will speak to the House Democratic Caucus this morning to provide an update about the Build Back Better agenda and the bipartisan infrastructure deal,” the White House said in a brief statement Thursday morning. “Before departing for his foreign trip, he will return to the White House and speak to the American people about the path forward for his economic agenda and the next steps to getting it done.”

Build Back Better is Biden’s name for his wide-ranging plan that covers an array of education, health care, climate and other priorities. A breakthrough in the talks could clear the way for passage of a companion infrastructure measure.

The specifics of what the president would announce Thursday were not immediately clear, nor was it clear whether he would be prepared to announce the support of key Democratic holdouts. But Biden recently told congressional Democrats that he thought he could secure a deal for a spending plan between $1.75 trillion and $1.9 trillion.

Biden and congressional leaders for weeks have said they are working on a revised package to bring the top-line spending total down from the initial $3.5 trillion package they proposed earlier this year. The point of the negotiations has been to win the votes of key Democratic centrists concerned about runaway spending, without alienating liberals whose support is also crucial.

The centrists have also voiced concerns about imposing new taxes that would be used to pay for the plan. Democrats were still trying Wednesday to hash out a tax structure that could be approved by their narrow majorities. Republicans have united against the Democratic plan, and no GOP lawmakers are expected to vote for it.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Wednesday that the House Rules Committee would hold a key procedural hearing on Thursday, a move that would allow lawmakers to eventually bring the measure to the chamber floor.

A breakthrough in the talks could clear the way for passage of a companion measure to invest in the nation’s roads, bridges and other public works. That bipartisan infrastructure bill has already passed the Senate and is awaiting a vote in the House.

But liberal House members have vowed not to sign off until they have a satisfactory agreement on the social spending plan. It was not immediately clear whether Biden’s forthcoming announcement would clinch enough liberal support to pave the way for quick passage of the infrastructure plan.

“We have to have the full legislative text and the vote,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said earlier this week, adding that “dozens” of her members would vote against infrastructure if the House tries to move the two proposals independently. “What I want is the two bills moving together at the same time.” 
If what I think is happening is truly the case, this is Joe Biden calling everyone to the table and saying "Time's up for games, children. We're moving forward with a deal, legislation, and a vote."

On a conference call with reporters Thursday morning, the White House announced the rough outlines of a framework on President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda.

However, there were still so many unknowns that it’s still not clear whether there’s an actual deal with holdouts such as Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) on key details.

We do have new information. We learned that the White House has given up on keeping paid family and medical leave in the deal, and the billionaires’ tax appears to be gone. The White House acknowledged that the provision allowing the government to negotiate prescription drug prices doesn’t have enough support.

Those are tough losses. But there’s a lot of good in the emerging framework. First of all, the White House committed to a set of revenue raisers that could help combat inequality and reorient our political economy. And a lot of good climate provisions remain in the bill.
Now, how well that will work is anybody's guess. My gut instinct tells me the chance for this being a fatal miscalculation on Biden's part remains extremely high.

You see, there are a number of Democrats who have gone on record saying they will burn the entire Good Package™ down because their perfect is the enemy of Biden's good: Manchin, Sinema, on occasion Mark Warner and Bernie Sanders, and on the House side, Jayapal, the Squad, and the Blue Dog caucus. All it will take is one senator or four House members and we get nothing whatsoever.
There's no deal yet, but there's now a path to the deal, and President Biden is reminding Manchin and Sinema that he's the guy in the White House and not them.
It's about damn time.

Remember most of all this though: as angry as I am at the Dems, remember that the GOP will vote this down without hesitation, even the "moderate" ones like Adam Kinzinger.

There are no good Republicans.


Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Last Call For Ban 'Em, Burn 'Em, Texas Style

Never forget that Republicans are white supremacists at their core, and that means a war on infomation more than anything else. Of course to protect kids from the evils of Critical Race Theory, Texas Republicans are now "reviewing library materials" in the state for these subversive texts.

The chairman of a Texas state House committee tasked with conducting investigations is launching a probe into books that school librarians keep on their shelves in the wake of a measure the legislature passed earlier this year to bar teaching of critical race theory in public schools.

In a letter to the Texas Education Agency and unnamed school superintendents, state Rep. Matt Krause (R) asked school leaders to identify the number of copies of hundreds of specific books they have sitting on library shelves, and how much money the districts paid to purchase those books.

Krause cited five Texas school districts that have recently removed some books from their libraries or classrooms after objections from parents and students. Krause asked the districts to provide information about books that deal with sexuality, sexually transmitted disease, AIDS and HIV and “material that might make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex.”

The specific books Krause is looking for, attached in a 16-page list first reported by the Texas Tribune, date back to 1968. Many deal with abortion, teen pregnancy, sex education or the life experience of young LGBT people. Others deal with the Black Lives Matter movement or the concepts of anti-racism.

Also on the list are some more popular works, including:

— The Confessions of Nat Turner, a 1967 novel by William Styron written as a first-person narrative of an 1831 slave revolt in Virginia.

— The Cider House Rules, John Irving’s 1985 novel about a protagonist whose childhood mentor is an obstetrician who performs abortions.

— V for Vendetta, the 1982 graphic novel about a dystopian, post-pandemic England ruled by a fascist regime, written by Alan Moore that became a hit movie in 2005.

— The Handmaid’s Tale, another dystopian novel written by Margaret Atwood about a post-revolution United States in which women are subjected by a ruling class of men. Krause specifically asks about a graphic novel form of the book.

— We Were Eight Years in Power and Between the World and Me, two memoirs by the author and essayist Ta-Nehisi Coates.

The letter went to school districts without a vote from the full committee on investigations. State Rep. Victoria Neave (D), the vice chair of the committee, called the letter “politically motivated.”

In a statement, the Texas State Teachers Association called the letter a “political overreach” and a “witch hunt.”

This is an obvious attack on diversity and an attempt to score political points at the expense of our children’s education,” TSTA president Ovidia Molina said. “What will Rep. Krause propose next? Burning books he and a handful of parents find objectionable?
The answer, as American history has made clear time and again, is "yes".  Expect those books and more to be removed from school libraries and public libraries in Texas and in other states.

The Big Lie, Con't

It's only a matter of time before more Democratic election officials are hurt or killed by lunatic Trump cultists.

"I am a hunter -- and I think you should be hunted," a woman can be heard saying in a voicemail left for Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs in September. "You will never be safe in Arizona again." 
Or there's the man who spit, "Die you bitch, die! Die you bitch, die!" repeatedly into the phone, in another of several dozen threatening and angry voicemails directed at the Democratic secretary of state and shared exclusively with CNN by her office. 
Officials and aides in secretary of state offices in Arizona and other states targeted by former President Donald Trump in his attack on last year's election results told CNN about living in constant terror -- nervously watching the people around them at events, checking in their rearview mirrors for cars following them home and sitting up at night wondering what might happen next. 
Law enforcement has never had to think much about protecting secretaries of state, let alone allocating hundreds of thousands of dollars in security, tracking and follow-up. Their jobs used to be mundane, unexciting, bureaucratic. These are small offices in a handful of states with enormous power in administering elections, from mailing ballots to overseeing voting machines to keeping track of counted votes. 
None were prepared to be publicly attacked. They don't have the budgets to monitor threats, and certainly not to suddenly protect officials who never had to be protected before. No systems were in place on the state or federal level to back them up, and the Department of Justice admits that the federal government doesn't yet have the infrastructure to handle the situation. 
Staff members in the offices say they're dealing with long-term emotional and psychological trauma after a year of constant threats -- in person and virtually -- to the secretaries and to themselves. 
"Bullet," read one tweet reply to Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, in September. "That is a six letter word for you." 
An email sent to her office over the summer read: "I'm really jonzing to see your purple face after you've been hanged." 
Asked by CNN last week if she feels safe in her job and going about her days, Griswold paused for nearly 30 seconds before answering. 
"I take these threats very seriously," she finally said, choosing her words carefully. "It's absolutely getting worse," she added. 
The threats come in from their home states and across the country. Few appear to be coordinated or organized, and are instead often driven by momentary, angry reactions to a news story or social media post. But some get very specific, citing details and specifics that leave the secretaries and their staff rushing to report them to authorities. 
Most anticipate the threats will increase going into next year, with Republicans around the country making election doubt conspiracies a central plank of their campaigns, and with many of these secretaries of state up for reelection themselves in races that are already generating more attention than ever before, with expectations that they will be the frontlines of potentially trying to overturn the next presidential election. 
But Griswold's problem was, ironically, summed up in one of the tweets her office has tracked: "Your security detail is far too thin and incompetent to protect you. This world is unpredictable these days... anything can happen to anyone." It ended with a shrug emoji. Griswold's vulnerability is greater than that person imagined: for now, she's had to contract private security, and only for official events, squeezing the money out of her small office budget. With all that's been coming at her, that's what she has.
The point is to drive good people out of politics like Jena Griswold and Katie Hobbs and replace them with Trump Cultists. The point is to make sure Democrats can't find candidates to field because they fear for their lives. The point is to terrorize Democrats into not running, not voting, and not registering. The Trump Cultists win by default if there are no other candidates.

It's working, too.

Climate Of Disaster, Con't

Decades of "Al Gore is fat!" jokes has given us an electorate that has no relation to reality when it comes to climate change. Even in 2021, the story is now "climate change is real but humans don't cause it" for nearly half of Americans.

Nearly half of Americans still don’t think climate change is caused by human activities, but Democrats were far less likely than Republicans to hold those views, a new VICE News and Guardian poll has found.

This year was marked by several unprecedented natural disasters, including a “heat dome” marked by sweltering temperatures of up to 113 F that plagued the Pacific Northwest, killing hundreds, and record-breaking wildfire seasons that razed entire towns and displaced thousands. Experts linked the string of natural disasters to the climate crisis, and yet, many Americans are still struggling to understand whether and why the generation-defining crisis is happening.

The poll, which surveyed 1,000 Americans on behalf of VICE News, the Guardian, and Covering Climate Now, by YouGov, comes less than a week before leaders and delegates from around the world meet in Glasgow, Scotland, for COP26, the United Nations’ climate change conference. The data shows that climate change is a top voter issue in the U.S., behind health care and social programs. For college grads and Democrats, climate change jumped to top spot (for Democrats it was tied with health care).

But while 69.5 percent of respondents believe global warming is happening, they were divided on what’s causing it. Forty-five percent don’t think humans are mostly to blame for global warming, opting instead to blame “natural changes in the environment” or “other,” and 8.3 percent denied global warming is happening altogether.

That’s mostly due to Republicans (55.4 percent) and independents (33 percent) though, who were far more likely than Democrats (17.2 percent) to believe “natural causes” have led to global warming. Young people and educated folks too were significantly more likely to believe humans are to blame for climate change.

A significant group of people also believe scientists don’t see eye to eye. Many respondents (30.5 percent) think there's a raging scientific debate over the cause of climate change when there really isn't. Globally, there is consensus among scientists—97 percent or more—that global warming is happening because of human activities, according to NASA and international science societies.
The same anti-science narrative that is currently killing thousands daily in the US from COVID started with the anti-science narrative on climate change 25 years ago. You can draw a direct line from there to here. 

Even in 2021, only a quarter of Republicans believe in human-caused climate change. The vast majority believe it;s natural (55%) and 15% don't believe it's happening at all.

You want to know why nothing gets done on climate change?

Because for a quarter of a century, Americans have been lied to, and they believe the lies they've been taught.


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Last Call For Sour Virginia

The Virginia gubernatorial race is effectively tied and has been for two months now according to Five Thirty Eight's averages. Former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe's lead has gone from six points to two since August and in October alone Republican Glenn "I'm Not Trump, But..." Youngkin has been within three points for the whole month.

Steve M. sheds some light on what the heck is going on over there, and the answer is that the news on the Right is vastly different from that on the Left and the Left remains unaware, thus unable to fight back in Virginia.
We all know that right-wingers often won't acknowledge the same basic set of facts as the rest of us. But the right doesn't just look at major news stories and disagree on the facts -- it also has a separate set of top stories that are unknown to the rest of us but are, to the right, harbingers of the end of civilization as we know it. Right now, several such stories are arousing anger on the right. They are:
Right-wingers think the existence of a provocateur on January 6 exonerates all the arrested participants (even though the participants were adults with free will who, if the story is accurate, were encouraged but not forced to become a rioting mob). They think the experiments partly funded by money from the National Institutes of Health are among the many signs of Dr. Fauci's limitless depravity (even though when Snopes looked into an earlier version of the story in August, it could find no evidence that Fauci had any personal involvement in the approval of the experiments, and even though it could find no evidence of animal cruelty.) They think the Loudoun school bathroom policy is linked to the assault even though it's unclear whether the assailant was actually a "skirt-wearing male student." (No one claims the assailant was dressed in a "genderfluid" was for the second incident, which took place despite the fact that the alleged assailant was wearing an ankle monitor.)

These are huge stories on the right. If right-wing voters turn out in big numbers for Glenn Youngkin in the Virginia governor's race or donate large amounts of money to Trumpist, Fauci-averse candidates, these stories are among the reasons why. And yet if you get your news from the mainstream media, you probably aren't aware of them at all -- which means that virtually all the available information on the stories is slanted or distorted in a way that favors the right.

A long time ago ago, in the early years of the last Democratic president's time in office, there were voices in the mainstream media arguing that the MSM should pay more attention to what the right-wing press was talking about. Many people on the left were repulsed by that idea, saying that the mainstream press shouldn't make bad-faith right-leaning media voices their "assignment editors." Some of that criticism makes sense -- the mainstream press shouldn't cover stories from the right-wing fever swamp the way the right-wing media covers them -- but it's still good for the mainstream media to be an honest counterbalance on stories that are being successfully turned into propaganda reaching a large portion of the country. If right-wing media sources identify someone they believe was a January 6 provocateur working with the FBI to sabotage the MAGA movement and that's not the case, wouldn't it be best if the mainstream media acknowledged the story's existence and debunked the right's reporting? If right-wingers and animal lovers think Anthony Fauci is sadistically okaying cruel treatment of animals and he isn't, wouldn't it be beneficial for that to be disproved? 

The problem is, every time the news tries it, it only further "proves" that the disinformation is correct and hardens the position of the right. Tens of millions of people refusing vaccinations alone are proof of the flaws with that theory.

But yes, these are the stories getting massive play in Virginia right now, along with the usual election period "Caravan of illegals!" story.

The entire right-wing noise machine has been improved and perfected over the last 25 years. The actual news can't compete anymore, and Virginia being even moderately close is the result.

Related Posts with Thumbnails