Monday, September 13, 2021

Last Call For Gavin Versus The Big Lie

California Republicans, and national Republicans including The Former Guy™, are already claiming Gavin Newsom's recall victory tomorrow can only be the product of massive voter fraud, and are vowing not to accept the results, or to concede the race.

The results of the California recall election won’t be known until Tuesday night. But some Republicans are already predicting victory for the Democrat, Gov. Gavin Newsom, for a reason that should sound familiar.

Voter fraud.

Soon after the recall race was announced in early July, the embers of 2020 election denialism ignited into new false claims on right-wing news sites and social media channels. This vote, too, would supposedly be “stolen,” with malfeasance ranging from deceptively designed ballots to nefariousness by corrupt postal workers.

As a wave of recent polling indicated that Mr. Newsom was likely to brush off his Republican challengers, the baseless allegations accelerated. Larry Elder, a leading Republican candidate, said he was “concerned” about election fraud. The Fox News commentators Tomi Lahren and Tucker Carlson suggested that wrongdoing was the only way Mr. Newsom could win. And former President Donald J. Trump predicted that it would be “a rigged election.”

This swift embrace of false allegations of cheating in the California recall reflects a growing instinct on the right to argue that any lost election, or any ongoing race that might result in defeat, must be marred by fraud. The relentless falsehoods spread by Mr. Trump and his allies about the 2020 election have only fueled such fears.

“I very honestly believe there were irregularities and fraudulent activity,” Elena Johnson, 65, a teacher in Los Angeles County who was in the crowd at a rally for Mr. Elder last week in Ventura County, said of the presidential contest last year. “It was stolen.”

Because of her concerns about voter fraud in the 2020 election, Ms. Johnson said, she would be casting her ballot in person on Tuesday instead of by mail. She said she was supporting the Republican because she thought California, her adopted home after immigrating from the Philippines 40 years ago, was on the brink. “California is where I came, and California is where I want to stay,” she said.

Since the start of the recall, allegations of election fraud have been simmering on social media in California, with daily mentions in the low thousands, according to a review by Zignal Labs, a media tracking agency.

But singular claims or conspiracy theories, such as a selectively edited video purporting to show that people with a post office “master key” could steal ballots, have quickly ricocheted around the broader conservative ecosystem. The post office video surpassed one million views, amplified by high-profile Trump allies and members of the conservative news media.

Nationally, Republican candidates who deny the outcomes of their elections remain outliers. Hundreds of G.O.P. candidates up and down the ballot in 2020 accepted their defeats. But at the same time, many of them joined Mr. Trump in the assault on the presidential race’s outcome, and in other recent election cycles, candidates, their allies and the conservative news media have increasingly expressed doubts about the validity of the electoral process.

And while false claims of wrongdoing have long emerged in the days and weeks after elections, Republicans’ quick turn in advance of the California recall — a race that was always going to be a long shot for them in a deep-blue state — signals the growing normalization of crying fraud.

“This is baked into the playbook now,” said Michael Latner, an associate professor of political science at California Polytechnic Institute. As soon as the recall was official, he added, “you already started to see stories and individuals on social media claiming that, you know, they received five ballots or their uncle received five ballots.”


This is the GOP now. Every win is honest, every loss is a rigged election, even in a ridiculously blue state like California. The whole point of this is to justify the next round of violence. It worked on January 6th. It will work in other instances of political terrorism.

And why shouldn't Republicans claim voter fraud every single time? We refuse to give them a downside to doing so. There is no downside to claiming fraud for every single Republican loss, especially in states run by the GOP. And eventually in those states, elections where Democrats win are simply going to be overturned by Republicans in charge of states and elections.

I expect that in 2022, and I expect a lot of it, including entire state electoral slates, to simply be given to the Republican running in 2024.  You will see states throw out Democratic wins and replace them with Republicans, full stop.

That's where this is going, folks.

Our Little White Supremacist Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

Another day, another armed white supremacist domestic terrorist found lurking near Democratic lawmakers with the obvious intent to do harm.
A California man, who had a bayonet and machete with him, was arrested near Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, authorities said Monday.

Donald Craighead, a 44-year-old resident of Oceanside, was booked on suspicion of possession of prohibited weapons, U.S. Capitol Police said.

Craighead's Dodge Dakota pickup truck, decorated with a swastika and other white supremacist symbols, was spotted near DNC headquarters at around midnight, authorities said.

The truck did not have a license plate, but instead had the picture of an American flag where the plate should have been, officials said.

Capitol police pulled over the truck along the 500 block of South Capitol Street, SW.

“This is good police work plain and simple,” Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said in a statement. “We applaud the officers’ keen observation and the teamwork that resulted in this arrest.”

Officers spotted the bayonet and machete, which are illegal in Washington D.C., inside the truck, authorities said.

Craighead allegedly told police he was “on patrol” and expressed white supremacist ideology
At the very minimum he was casing the streets ahead of this weekend's Insurrection 2: White Supremacist Boogaloo mess. The Capitol Police say they are armed, ready, and not going to put up with any crap

“We are here to protect everyone’s First Amendment right to peacefully protest,” said Chief Tom Manger. “I urge anyone who is thinking about causing trouble to stay home. We will enforce the law and not tolerate violence.”

Today the Capitol Police Board approved a plan to temporarily put up a fence around the Capitol Building. When the inner-perimeter fence was taken down in July, USCP leaders noted that from time to time, they may exercise the ability to enhance security around the Capitol Complex.

Last week the Capitol Police Board issued an emergency declaration, which will go into effect about the time of the demonstration and allow the Department to deputize outside law enforcement officers as United States Capitol Police Special Officers.

“We want to reassure everyone these are temporary measures to ensure everyone’s safety,” said Chief Manger. “We are extremely grateful for the support we continue to receive from the local community and our Congressional stakeholders as we carry out our critical mission.”
So the fence is going back up, but you can count on the cultists being ready to throw down. What I'm afraid of is that they bring firearms anyway, and that people get truly and badly hurt or killed en masse.
We'll see.

The Vax Of Life, Con't

People are dying in ICUs, folks. They go there to die from Delta because they refused the vaccine. One such woman who is in an ICU in the Deep South is the aunt of Sports Illustrated college football writer Ross Dellenger, who absolutely believes his failure to convince his aunt to get vaccinated will kill her.

In normal times, the ICU is a dreadful place.

Sickness lingers like a fog. You can feel it, sense it, even hear it—the machinery pumping, the alarms ringing, the nurses scrambling.

In pandemic times, the ICU is chilling. Death lives here.

Medical staff members wear green biohazard suits, face shields, latex gloves and shoe coverings. Strips of red tape—“ISOLATION,” they read—mark the windows and doors of individual rooms.

Behind each is a patient who cannot breathe on their own, kept alive by a ventilation machine that is connected to an invasive tube running down their windpipe and into the lungs. Each room is almost identical: a person, some on their stomachs and others on their backs, sedated and paralyzed, roughly a dozen patches and pipes protruding from them, blankets hiding their naked bodies.

Most of them will not make it out of here, the nurse tells me. In fact, at this particular ICU on the Southern Gulf Coast, COVID-19 patients needing a ventilator have a fatality rate approaching 100%. Over the last year, hundreds of them spent time here. Seven of them survived.

“I wish people could walk in my shoes for a day,” the nurse muffles through a mask.

The nurse is nice, but blunt. She’s frustrated like so many in the medical community, she says. In this ICU, there are 25 patients battling COVID-19. She pauses before finishing the thought: 24 of them are unvaccinated.

That includes the patient before her, the one with braided red curls, pale skin, the one with rosaries draped over her bedside, lying flat on her stomach, her left ear and cheek exposed, a tube inserted in her mouth filling her lungs with oxygen.

She is in her 40s, a mother to a teenager. A wife to a husband. A daughter to an 81-year old mom. A sister to three older siblings. A friend to hundreds.

And an aunt, a godmother and a kindred spirit to one lucky nephew.


Normally, I write about college football for Sports Illustrated. As the son of a longtime high school football coach, I’ve always been passionate about sports. My stories usually include words like touchdown, field goal and kickoff—not ICU, illness and death.

This isn’t a story about a vaccine. It isn’t a story about a virus. And it isn’t a story about one single person. It is a story about them all.
It's a grim way to start the week, but as we observed the 20th anniversary of thousands of preventable deaths from 9/11/01, we have yet to discuss as a country the thousands of preventable deaths from 9/11/21 from COVID.
And 9/12.
And today. 

And in the weeks and months ahead.


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