Sunday, May 2, 2021

The Big Lie, Con't

Kansas GOP Sen. Roger Marshall is one of the Republican Party's chief insurrectionists, and told CNN's Pamela Brown on Saturday that the country is "so ready to move on" from January 6th. Of course, that's a complete lie, as the Kansas City Star takes Marshall to task for.

All Roger Marshall wants is for Americans to put his role in that little insurrection thing in the rearview mirror.

On Saturday, CNN’s Pamela Brown pressed the freshman U.S. senator from Kansas about his vote to toss out millions of Americans’ ballots in Arizona and Pennsylvania, and about his joining Texas’ lawsuit to invalidate President Joe Biden’s decisive victory. Marshall was one of only six GOP senators who voted against certifying the Electoral College results on Jan. 6, just hours after a berserk mob invaded the U.S. Capitol, killing at least five people, including one police officer. (Marshall had company in the vote with his Missouri neighbor, Sen. Josh Hawley, natch.)

So does he have any regrets, or concerns that his actions contributed to the fact that fully 70% of Republican voters think the election was illegitimate, Brown asked?

Of course not. “Look, Pamela, it’s, we’re just so ready to move on,” he said, beaming his TV smile. “I made a decision based upon the facts that I knew at that point in time. … But it’s time to move on. It’s time for this country to heal. It’s time for a spirit of forgiveness to be happening.”

Normally, saying “I’m sorry” precedes the expectation of forgiveness.

And he isn’t sorry, since he still didn’t back down from his vague claims about nonexistent voter fraud. “I was concerned then,” he told Brown, “and still am today,” that the election wasn’t aboveboard. (Just the presidential part of it, of course — he’s raised no objection to Republicans’ strong down-ballot showing around the country.)

This isn’t the first time Marshall has urged America to “move on.” In late January, he insisted that a second impeachment trial for Donald Trump would divide us too much, and that “this country has to heal.”

That’s an odd prescription from a doctor-turned-politician who makes it a regular practice to pick at the country’s culture war wounds. His Twitter feed and official press releases often read like a MAGA “Mad Libs.”

Biden’s address last week was “the lowest energy speech I have ever personally heard on the House floor,” he said. “Dem Senators” want to “enact their radical agenda & tip the scales of power in their favor,” he tweeted. He joined fellow firebrand Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa introducing the eye-rollingly named TASTEE Act, or Telling Agencies to Stop Tweaking What Employees Eat Act of 2021, “pushing back against the Left’s ‘War on Meat’ and ‘Meatless Mondays.’”

Marshall certainly has meat on his mind — red meat for his Breitbart sound bite base. But if he really thinks it’s “time for this country to work together and focus on the goals that we can solve together,” as he said to Brown, he could start by apologizing for being one of the leading proponents of the Big Lie about the election.
 
Of course no Republican is going to do this, because there are no good Republicans. Arizona's "election audit" farce continues with actual January 6th terrorists participating in the vote recounting and CNN found 70% of Republicans still believing that the election was stolen.
To believe Marshall's additional lie about the GOP wanting to move on is even more harmful than believing the Big Lie he helped to spread 100 days ago, because it clearly shows that Marshall doesn't want to be linked to the inevitable violence he knows is coming.
Also, someone should ask Sen. Marshall about the murder of Aviva Okeson-Haberman, a 24-year-old KC radio journalist who was killed last week in her apartment. She covered social justice for NPR station KCUR.
Someone needs to hold Marshall and his fellow insurrectionists accountable, because otherwise the Big Lie is here to stay.

Debra Ell, a Republican organizer in Michigan and fervent supporter of former president Donald Trump, said she has good reason to believe the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

“I think I speak for many people in that Trump has never actually been wrong, and so we’ve learned to trust when he says something, that he’s not just going to spew something out there that’s wrong and not verified,” she said, referring to Trump’s baseless claims that widespread electoral fraud caused his loss to President Biden in November.

In fact, there is no evidence to support Trump’s false assertions, which culminated in a deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. But Ell, a Republican precinct delegate in her state, said the 2020 election is one of the reasons she’s working to censure and remove Jason Roe from his role as the Michigan Republican Party’s executive director — specifically that Roe accepted the 2020 results, telling Politico that “the election wasn’t stolen” and that “there is no one to blame but Trump.”

“He said the election was not rigged, as Donald Trump had said, so we didn’t agree with that, and then he didn’t blame the Democrats for any election fraud,” said Ell, explaining her frustration with Roe. “He said there was no fraud — again, that’s something that doesn’t line up with what we think really happened — and then he said it’s all Donald Trump’s fault.”

Nearly six months after Trump lost to Biden, rejection of the 2020 election results — dubbed the “Big Lie” by many Democrats — has increasingly become an unofficial litmus test for acceptance in the Republican Party. In January, 147 GOP lawmakers — eight senators and 139 House members — voted in support of objections to the election results, and since then, Republicans from Congress to statehouses to local party organizations have fervently embraced the falsehood.

In Washington, normally chatty senators scramble to skirt the question, and internal feuding over who is to blame for the Jan. 6 insurrection has riven the House Republican leadership, with tensions between House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3 House Republican, spilling into public view. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is facing a Trump-aligned primary challenger in her 2022 race, inspired by her call for Trump to resign after the Jan. 6 attack and her later vote to convict him over his role in inciting the insurrection.

Local officials, too, are facing censure and threats — in states from Iowa to Michigan to Missouri — for publicly accepting the election results. And in Arizona’s largest county, a hand recount of 2.1 million votes cast in November is underway by Republicans who dispute the results, in yet another effort to overturn the results of the November contest.

The issue also could reverberate through the 2022 midterms and the 2024 election, with Trump already slamming Republicans who did not resist the election results. For Republicans, fealty to the falsehood could pull the party further to the right during the primaries, providing challenges during the general election when wooing more moderate voters is crucial. And for Democrats, the continued existence of the claim threatens to undermine Biden’s agenda.
 
The longer this goes on, the more another deadly insurrectionist terrorist attack -- or worse -- becomes likely, if not inevitable.

Sunday Long Read: A Plain Story About Being Black

The CBC's Omarya Issa and Ify Chiwetelu explore not just being Black in Canada, but being Black in the Prairie provinces and the history, culture, and future of being Black in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba in this week's Sunday Long Read.
 
What does it mean to be Black in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba? It is impossible to limit more than 200 years of recorded Black presence on the Prairies to a single definition.

The CBC project Black on the Prairies began with a conversation among colleagues in the spring of 2020. The Prairies, like the rest of the country, were gripped by the rallying cry of “Black Lives Matter.”

That conversation revealed a mutual desire to share the fullness of Black life on the Prairies. These stories are vital and urgent, especially during what the United Nations has labelled the International Decade for People of African Descent.

This project does not position the Prairies as Black ancestral territory or homelands. To be Black on the Prairies is to be part of a colonial legacy that begins on the ancestral lands of the First Nations and M├ętis people of this region. We aim to recognize Black and Indigenous peoples’ shared histories and affirm our ongoing relationships.

Through five themes — Migration, Putting in Work, Black and Indigenous Relations, Politics and Resistance, and Black to the Future — this project places Black people's experiences at the centre of the Prairie narrative.

These stories explore the richness, complexity, depth and multiplicity of Black Prairie life — past, present and future. They highlight achievements and histories that affirm the influence of Black life on the Prairies and challenge assumptions about its newness.

Bringing this project to life involved contributions from a 10-person community advisory board. They shared insights, curiosities and perspectives, ensuring that Black on the Prairies authentically represents a diversity of experiences and histories. To them, we are incredibly grateful.

In this project, you will find personal essays, articles, audio stories, images and more. We invite you to enter through any door.

Welcome to Black on the Prairies.


Having been born in a Great Plains state myself, I discovered a lot of similarities and some important differences in this journey, but it's definitely a history lesson worth taking in here.

Pull up a chair, as this is a good one.

It's About Suppression, Con't

Trump wants an army of "poll watchers" to discredit elections, and GOP state legislatures are delivering in nearly 20 states.
 
Voting rights activists are sounding alarms about Republican efforts in key states to empower partisan poll watchers and expand voter challenges – arguing it could lead to voter intimidation that recalls dark chapters in US history.

Bills in several states would grant new authority to poll watchers – who work on behalf of candidates and political parties – to observe voters and election workers. Critics say it could lead to conflict and chaos at polling places and an improper targeting of voters of color.

In Texas, a measure under consideration by the Republican-controlled legislature would grant partisan poll watchers the right to videotape voters as they receive assistance casting their ballots.

And in Florida, a sweeping election bill passed Thursday by Republicans in the state legislature specifies that partisan observers must be able see the ballots as canvassing boards work to authenticate voters’ signatures on absentee ballots. There are no limits on how many ballots poll watchers can challenge. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has indicated he will sign the law.

Meanwhile, in Georgia, the state’s controversial new voting law makes it explicit that any Georgian can challenge the qualifications of an unlimited number of their fellow voters. The new law comes after a Texas group, True the Vote, teamed up with Georgia activists last year to question the qualifications of more than 360,000 voters ahead of two Senate runoff elections.

Most counties dismissed True the Vote’s challenges, but Georgia’s new statute requires local election administrators to consider these challenges, threatening them with state sanctions if they don’t.

“If you believe that these challenges aren’t going to be racially targeted, then you are crazy,” said Marc Elias, a leading Democratic election lawyer who has sued on behalf of voting rights groups to stop the Georgia law from taking effect. “This is going to become a tool of voter suppression by Republicans in the state of Georgia.”

The moves to empower partisan actors come after record numbers of voters turned out in 2020. States relaxed election rules to allow more voting by mail and the use of drop boxes to avoid spreading Covid-19. That turnout surge in states such as Georgia helped Democrats seize the White House and the majority in the US Senate.

As part of their failed efforts to overturn the election results, former President Donald Trump and his allies repeatedly argued fraud could have occurred because Trump-aligned poll watchers lacked sufficient access to the voting and counting process in several states. There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election.

Around the country, Republican legislators have responded with measures that grant more authority to poll watchers. A new analysis by the liberal-leaning Brennan Center for Justice found that, as of April 15, lawmakers in 20 states had introduced at least 40 bills to expand poll watchers’ powers.

 

There is a long, brutally racist history of "poll watchers" challenging Black voters in this nation, and we're headed back to an era where every vote cast by a Black person is challenged and disenfranchised. It won't be pretty.

And that's the point.

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