Sunday, February 14, 2021

Last Call For I Can't Seem To Recall Gavin, Con't

Republicans trying to get rid of California GOP Gov. Gavin Newsom say they already have the 1.5 million signatures they need to force a recall ballot initiative this year, meaning Newsom is now in the fight of his political life.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom faces a possible recall election as the nation's most populous state struggles to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.

Organizers for "Recall Gavin 2020" said Friday they have surpassed the 1.5 million signatures required to place the proposal on this year’s ballot. The signatures still need to be verified. Once verified and approved, the recall election would happen sometime over the summer.

Earlier this week, President Joe Biden said he opposes the effort to recall Governor Gavin Newsom. In a tweet, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki noted that Biden and Newsom share interests in addressing the climate crisis and the coronavirus pandemic.

Recall adviser Randy Economy says interest is higher since it was revealed Newsom dined with friends at an opulent restaurant while telling state residents to stay home and not socialize.

Several previous attempts to recall the governor faded, but the current effort has been gaining momentum with more Californians upset over health orders that have closed school campuses and businesses.

Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer responded on Twitter. "Gavin Newsom won’t listen to our struggles, so he will have to deal with our signatures, all 1.5 million of them. A recall is on the verge of happening, and better days are coming" Faulconer said.

The California Republican Party is giving $125,000 to the campaign aimed at recalling Governor Newsom. The funds will go toward hiring workers to gather signatures. So far, that work has fallen largely on volunteers.

Expect Democrats to have to spend a lot of money to defend Newsom here, which is exactly what California Republicans want heading into 2022. It's arguably the best weapon they have to get control of the Governor's mansion back, as well as to gain US House seats.

Keep an eye on this fight heading into the summer.  It's going to be an ugly one, especially if vaccination in California runs into trouble. It'll also put tremendous pressure on Newsom to reopen schools and businesses early, which could be catastrophic.

I have a bad feeling about this.

Graham, Crackers, Con't

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham is making it clear that Democrats refusing to call his bluff involving Trump impeachment trial witnesses on Saturday means he's now raising the stakes for future threats against Democrats.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Sunday said that he expects Republicans to impeach Vice President Kamala Harris if the party takes control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Graham told host Chris Wallace that former President Donald Trump is ready to "move on" and rebuild the Republican Party after his impeachment trial.

"I thought the impeachment trial was not only unconstitutional, I condemn what happened on Jan. 6, but the process they used to impeach this president was an affront to rule of law," Graham opined. "We've opened Pandora's Box to future presidents."

"And if you use this model, I don't know how Kamala Harris doesn't get impeached if the Republicans take over the House," he added. "Because she actually bailed out rioters and one of the rioters went back to the streets and broke somebody's head open. So we've opened Pandora's Box here and I'm sad for the country?"

"Does Donald Trump bear any responsibility for the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6th?" Wallace asked.

"Uh, no," Graham replied. "In terms of the law, no. He bears responsibility of pushing narratives about the election that I think are not sound and not true. But this was politically protected speech. The speech on Jan. 6th was not an incitement of violence."

Before ending the interview Graham insisted that Trump and his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, are the "future" of the Republican Party. 
It's sad, but Graham won this round, as he has several others. Dems caved on impeachment witnesses, and Republicans acquitted Trump. He'll keep upping the stakes until he's stopped, and it's clear that the voters of South Carolina have no intention of doing so. White supremacy won this weekend, and it will keep on winning like it has for 400 years.

One of two things has to happen, either Dems have to get rid of the filibuster, or get 60 seats in the Senate, and it doesn't look like either one will be happening anytime soon.

Having said that, Graham only makes good on this threat if Democratic voters give Republicans the House.

Remember that.

Sunday Long Read: What's On Deprogram?

Millions of Americans have been taken in by QAnon conspiracy theories, some so badly warped by their immersion on the cult that they will need deprogramming. Just another ugly by-product of the Trump regime, America now has a growing need for mental health services like this, and families across the country are struggling with bringing their loved ones back from disaster.

Shortly before Joe Biden was inaugurated, Sam’s mother began stocking up on food in a panic. He didn’t know why, but he knew it probably had something to do with QAnon.

The 19-year-old started to notice changes in his mother’s behavior around the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. She had always been a nervous woman: She stopped flying after 9/11 and had hovered closely to Sam and his two younger siblings for their entire lives. But during the COVID-19 crisis, his mom’s paranoia spiraled from quirky to deranged. It has turned her into someone he hardly recognizes.

Though she didn’t used to be very political, she now fears the president is a pedophile who stole the election. She’s scared of radiation from the 5G towers in her neighborhood and, as a white woman, she told her son, she’s afraid of being harmed by Black Lives Matter protesters — a movement she once supported. She worries that Sam’s brother and sister are being “indoctrinated” at their public high school and wants to move them to a Catholic one. She’s also refusing to get them immunized against COVID-19 as false rumors swirl that the vaccine contains a secret location-tracking microchip. (She was initially terrified of the virus but now considers the lockdowns an affront to her freedoms.)

“She wasn’t always like this,” Sam said. “It just keeps getting worse.”

Sam moved back into his mom’s Michigan home last March when his college campus shut down. His dad, who’d been divorced from his mother for many years, had recently died, and it was nice to be back around family. But Sam quickly noticed his mom was spending almost all of her time online. For hours into the night she’d be on Facebook and, later, Parler, obsessing over articles from obscure, ultraconservative websites that traffic in fake news. She’d send posts to Sam pushing political claims that were risibly false, and they’d get into furious arguments over dinner as he tried to debunk them.

As his mom grew increasingly irritable and combative, Sam spent more time hiding out in his bedroom. It was disturbing to hear his mother rattling off such brazen and hateful falsehoods, unwilling to listen to reason. She seemed angry all the time and was suddenly gravely concerned about things like pedophilia. So a few months ago, Sam decided to look into #SaveTheChildren, a hashtag she’d been using a lot on social media. It led him straight to QAnon. And at once, things started to make sense.

QAnon, as Sam learned, is a far-right conspiracy theory movement centered on the idea that Donald Trump is championing a shadow war against a “deep-state” cabal of liberal elites who rule the world and run a global child sex trafficking ring. QAnon adherents are convinced that anyone and everyone is out to get them: the government, the media, Big Tech and Big Pharma — no one can be trusted save for Trump and “Q,” their anonymous online leader (and supposed government insider) who has fed them coded “intel” via the message board 8kun. They’re endlessly waiting for a prophesied day of reckoning known as “The Storm,” during which all the evildoers will be rounded up and executed.

Sam’s mom had found a community that not only validated her fear, but also encouraged her anger. “It’s hard. I don’t know what to do,” he said. “I do feel like I’m losing her.”

The teen often feels alone, but he’s far from it. Although there’s limited data on the issue, researchers believe QAnon has ensnared millions of Americans and is especially popular among baby boomers who are struggling with digital literacy. The formerly fringe movement gained explosive traction in 2020 by seizing on fear and confusion stemming from the pandemic and exploiting political tensions surrounding the election and nationwide racial justice protests. It played a major role in inciting the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 through its months-long deluge of propaganda amplifying and embellishing Trump’s false claim that the election was fraudulent.

The result is a disinformation crisis of unprecedented scale with countless fraying families on the frontlines, blindly trying to pry their loved ones from a cult.

HuffPost spoke to nine children of QAnon believers in seven states, ranging in age from 19 to 46. Some are desperately trying to deradicalize their moms and dads — an agonizing process that can feel maddening, heartbreaking and futile. Others believe their parents are already too far gone and have given up trying to help them. A few have made the painful decision to cut off contact entirely, for the sake of their own mental health. (Unless otherwise noted, each person in this article is identified by a pseudonym to protect their family’s privacy.) All are sharing their stories in hopes of providing comfort to the myriad others experiencing the same heartache behind the scenes.

I can only imagine going through this kind of hell, to lose a parent or loved one to these monsters. America is going to have to reckon with this for decades, and many of us will never be the same again. 

The New Boss Isn't The Old Boss

Biden admin deputy press secretary T.J. Ducklo has resigned after telling a WH reporter that he would "destroy" her over revealing Ducklo's relationship with a former WH journalist.

White House Deputy Press Secretary TJ Ducklo resigned Saturday amid allegations he threatened a reporter who was investigating his relationship with another journalist.

Ducklo’s departure came after Vanity Fair reported Friday that he used misogynistic language as he tried to talk a Politico reporter out of writing about his relationship with an Axios reporter. He was initially given a one-week suspension as his boss, Press Secretary Jen Psaki, defended him. But by Saturday, the situation became untenable.

“We accepted the resignation of TJ Ducklo after a discussion with him this evening,” Psaki said in a statement. “We are committed to striving every day to meet the standard set by the president in treating others with dignity and respect, with civility and with a value for others through our words and our actions.”

President Joe Biden has long made clear he doesn’t accept disrespectful treatment of others by his staff. On Inauguration Day, as he swore in hundreds of political appointees, Biden laid out a zero-tolerance policy for misbehavior.

“I’m not joking when I say this: If you ever work with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I will fire you on the spot. No ifs, ands, or buts,” Biden said.

After word of Ducklo’s suspension, Biden aides expressed frustration that he’d been treated too leniently, according to three people familiar with the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a personnel matter. Given the nature of his comments to the reporter and Biden’s recent warning, they believed he should have been fired immediately.

Ducklo, 32, warned a female Politico reporter against publishing a story about his relationship with Alexi McCammond of Axios, who’d covered the Biden campaign, according to the Vanity Fair report. He told the Politico reporter “I will destroy you,” and spoke in sexually explicit terms as he worked to kill the story, according to the magazine.

There's so, so much wrong here with this story that I can't begin to describe it, Ducklo's entitled behavior, having a relationship with a member of the press when you're deputy WH press secretary, the intial decision to suspend Ducklo for a week, and most of all, Ducklo's problem is that he thought the White House still worked like it did under Trump.

He was wrong.

Joe Biden is president now, and he keeps his promises. 

Here's hoping that all the White House staff, from WH Press Secretary Jen Psaki and Chief of Staff Ron Klain on down, all understand that things don't work like they used to.

We need a higher standard, and shitcanning Ducklo's ass is absolutely part of it.

And you know what? If there are others in the White House that need to be taught this lesson?

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