Wednesday, April 14, 2021

CAN YOU IMAGINE THE RIGHT-WING FREAKOUT IF THE CAPITOL POLICE HAD DONE THEIR JOB?

The New York Times reports:
The Capitol Police had clearer advance warnings about the Jan. 6 attack than were previously known, including the potential for violence in which “Congress itself is the target.” But officers were instructed by their leaders not to use their most aggressive tactics to hold off the mob, according to a scathing new report by the agency’s internal investigator.

In a 104-page document, the inspector general, Michael A. Bolton, ... found that the agency’s leaders failed to adequately prepare despite explicit warnings that pro-Trump extremists posed a threat to law enforcement and civilians and that the police used defective protective equipment. He also found that the leaders ordered their Civil Disturbance Unit to refrain from using its most powerful crowd-control tools — like stun grenades — to put down the onslaught....

“Heavier, less-lethal weapons,” including stun grenades, “were not used that day because of orders from leadership,” Mr. Bolton wrote. Officials on duty on Jan. 6 told him that such equipment could have helped the police to “push back the rioters.”
I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, the report says that the Capitol Police had adequate warning of what was coming and should been able to prevent the Capitol from being breached. On the other hand, do we trust any police agency right now to find the sweet spot where order is maintained without the use of excessive force?

Even if the Capitol Police had used an appropriate amount of force, if that included stun grenades, can you imagine the right-wing reaction -- not just at the time, but even now, and for the foreseeable future? Can you imagine this being done ... not to evil BLM/Antifa commies, but to Real Americans?



We'd have never heard the end of it. We'd have been told that all the rioters we saw on the real January 6 were as meek as lambs and wouldn't have dreamed of destroying property, attacking cops, or threatening to hang the vice president and members of Congress. The cops would be "Nancy Pelosi's fascist goons" now. Every protester who was even slightly injured would be a right-wing media star. And on this alternate January 6, it's likely that more rather than fewer Republicans would have voted to challenge the results of the election. Maybe they all would have, because the suppression of the riot would have become their equivalent of the death of George Floyd, a moment that proved their systematic oppression conclusively.

If you think Republicans feel "canceled" now, imagine if the cops on January 6 had canceled their riot. Even the ones who deigned to acknowledge before January 6 that Biden won the election would be desribing it as one of the great acts of totalitarianism in American history.

CEOs AND CORPORATIONS WON'T SAVE VOTING RIGHTS

Wow! Amazing!
Amazon, BlackRock, Google, Warren Buffett and hundreds of other companies and executives signed on to a new statement released on Wednesday opposing “any discriminatory legislation” that would make it harder for people to vote.

... the new statement, which was also signed by General Motors, Netflix and Starbucks, represented the broadest coalition yet to weigh in on the issue.

“It should be clear that there is overwhelming support in corporate America for the principle of voting rights,” [former American Express CEO Kenneth] Chenault said.
But:
The statement does not address specific election legislation in states, among them Texas, Arizona and Michigan, and Mr. Chenault said there was no expectation for companies to oppose individual bills.

“We are not being prescriptive,” he said. “There is no one answer.”
And:
Coca-Cola and Delta, which condemned the Georgia law after it was passed, declined to add their names, according to people familiar with the matter. Home Depot also declined, even though its co-founder Arthur Blank said in a call with other business executives on Saturday that he supported voting rights. Another Home Depot co-founder, Ken Langone, is a vocal supporter of Mr. Trump.
And:
JPMorgan Chase also declined to sign the statement despite a personal request from senior Black business leaders to the chief executive, Jamie Dimon, according to people briefed on the matter.
I'm with Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times -- I don't believe this represents a commitment to voting rights that will be sustained. Hiltzik notes how quickly corporate pledges to withhold money from supporters of Trump's attempted election theft are breaking down:
JetBlue, which said in January that it would “temporarily pause all contributions as we review the political landscape,” was the first company to donate directly to an election objector. The airline made a $1,000 contribution to Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.), according to a company campaign finance filing on April 5 first reported by Bloomberg....

Other companies have circumvented their own doubts about contributing to election objectors by donating to political committees. That’s how AT&T rationalized its $5,000 donation to the House Conservatives Fund, which is chaired by Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.), another election objector. Every single one of the fund’s 10 “priority members” also voted against certifying the vote.
And so on. Hiltzik also notes that previous pledges of corporate virtue were mostly talk:
The fate of the 2019 pledge by 187 big-business CEOs to serve all corporate stakeholders — employees, suppliers, customers and communities — not just shareholders provides another data point to help analyze the value of high-profile corporate promises. The pledge was viewed as a possible sea change in how companies were managed. A “watershed,” even.

One year later, however, the promise was revealed as empty. As we reported, a few companies raised their minimum wages, but typically either in compliance with or anticipation of government mandates to do so. Some consumer companies offered frontline workers “hero” bonuses for their work during the pandemic, but withdrew them even before the pandemic ebbed.

The first CEO to abandon his pledge to dump the shareholder-value model was Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. After Bezos signed the pledge, his company cut health benefits for part-time employees at Whole Foods, which Amazon had acquired.

Business groups, including the Business Roundtable, which sponsored the 2019 pledge, continued to lobby to roll back environmental laws and make it harder for ordinary people to have a voice in corporate decision-making. Why, just a day or two after the big Zoom meeting of CEOs, the Business Roundtable unveiled its new ad campaign: Opposing the corporate tax increase being considered by the Biden administration.
The corporations are generating publicity that might last through this weekiend, when the Sunday talk shows sum up the events of the week. But after that, we'll never hear about it again, and the same companies and individuals will be donating to vote suppressors by midsummer.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

RIGHT-WING SITES LAUNCH PRO-VACCINE ATTACKS ON BIDEN, BUT THEIR READERS ARE STILL ANTI-VAXX

The Biden administration has paused distribution of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine after a small number of recipients (fewer than one in a million) developed blood clots -- and because a Democratic president is temporarily withholding this vaccine, the conservative media is suddenly very, very pro-vaxx.

Gateway Pundit:
President Donald Trump blasted the Biden administration and the FDA over the ‘pause’ in the Johnson and Johnson vaccine for the COVID-19 China coronavirus announced Tuesday morning.... Trump warned the pause would hurt vaccination efforts and questioned whether the FDA was working with rival Pfizer on the vaccine ‘pause’.
Breitbart:
Trump defended the “extraordinary” results of the vaccine but lamented the company’s vaccine would never recover its reputation after the pause was announced by federal regulators.
Fox News:
Media members across the political spectrum have come together in agreement to bash the decision by the FDA and CDC to recommend a pause in the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after six instances of severe blood clots in recipients.

"6 cases. Not 6,000 cases. Not 600 cases. Not 60 cases. 6 cases out of more than 4 million shots delivered. Our public health experts continue to fail us," conservative Marc Thiessen wrote.

FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver called the decision "a disaster" that is "going to get people killed" and create more vaccine hesitancy. Media Research Center vice president Dan Gainor quoted Silver’s tweet, adding "I can't disagree with this."
But their readers are unpersuaded. From the Gateway Pundit comments:
I don't care if President Trump turns water into wine...

Not taking an untested, unapproved shot.

****

even if it was tested AND approved I wouldn't take it

****

Same here. Also, I don't like this road trump has been going down. He needs to stop promoting these vaccines. I'v said this for a while. I'm also disappointed he hasn't said jack crap about passports. I'v been watching this vaccine crap for over a decade and these issues are huge for me.

****

I agree! These vaccines are going to be a disaster! Its only been 4 months since they started giving these vaccines and already people having really bad side effects compared to vaccines that have been in studies for 10 years. Trump needs to stay away from promoting any of these and do more to question forcing people to get the vaccine or you can't travel.

****

Same here. Anyone who promotes vaxxines is either a sellout globalist stooge or a moron. The drug companies can't be held liable for the damage they cause, as planned by the eugenicist owners.

****

... the majority of those getting the vaccine are sheep to western medicine which is based on the occult. Meaning, way more left of center folks will suffer or die than those on the right. Consider it like Noah's Ark; a cleansing, if you will, of the world's population.
And at Breitbart:
Sorry DJT. Not even you can convince me to take the vaccine.

****

Yep...I'll never take it and neither will my wife, a pharmacist licensed in multiple states.

We don't get Vaxxed for a 99.98% survivable disease and less than an year of trials.

****

At a function Friday night, a black lady (a definite democrat) asked me if I had gotten the vaccine. Then, she proceeded to scold me that I would harm other people if I didn't get the vaccine....to which I replied:

You and your ilk warned everyone who would listen that the "Trump vaccine" was dangerous and they could die if they took it. The vaccine hasn't changed---it's the same vaccine that was created under the Trump administration. Now you want me to take that very dangerous vaccine ONLY because Biden was elected....No thanks----you can't have it both ways. Call it the Trump vaccine if you want...but I'll never take it.

****

Similar case here too. ONLY democrats ask me if we have had our Shots.

Conservatives figure it's none of their business. We like them. A lot.
And at Fox:
... not taking any of these vaccines is not, "insanity", it is our right as Americans to take a vaccine or not take it. Second, those who are amazed they would pull a vaccine over 6 incidents out of 4 million should remember we destroyed an economy and the lives and livelihoods of many people over a virus with a 98.2% survival rate. That should surprise no one....
****

what do you want to wager that there were more than just 6 cases? Realize that this is a very rare condition, but currently don't have that much faith in CDC.

****

HAHA Nothing says "we have no idea what we're doing" than demanding everyone get vaccinated, then admitting those vaccines could be harmful.
There are also Fox commenters who think this is happening because evil Democrats who want to exercise total control over everything and everyone are losing their stranglehold on Our Freedoms:
Well, they are immunizing a virus that has an average of 98.6% survival rate, that they used as a political weapon to scare people, for power and control. They also want to maintain that power and control, and by immunizing people they are LOSING that power and control , so they come up with this. See the game now. If you don't, there are no words!

****

Exactly that’s why they want you masked up and not socializing even after your vaccinated.. biggest scamdemic to ever happen SO FAR....
I'm seeing a lot of that as well in the comments to a Twitchy post that also favorably quotes Nate Silver criticizing the pause:
My take: Public Health Officials (ex: Fauci) are going to see their stock wane as vaccinations increase....so they found a straw to grasp to keep the panic levels elevated.

****

... Power is why. These bureaucrats will lose power if everything continues at the current rate. Likely by early July at that. And well power corrupts and those who possess it almost universally seek more. It makes more sense from all angles if looked at like that.

****

I think the same thing. They need to extend their power grab and, halting vaccinations will help that. Yes, this is "only" the J&J vaccine but the distrust will extend to the other ones

****

Kind of makes you wonder just how accidental it was that 15 million doses of the J&J vaccine were spoiled at the factory a couple weeks ago. They wouldn't want to exceed Biden's target by too much - gotta slow things down to keep the plandemic going.
So the right-wing media says: Trump's mighty vaccines are good and Biden is screwing them up. Right-wing readers say: The pandemic is a hoax, the vaccines are a hoax, the pause is a hoax.

They get you coming and going.

ALL-POWERFUL DEMOCRATS!

Imagine if Democrats were as powerful as Republicans think we are. Here's something Donald Trump said in his speech over the weekend:
The former president reserved much of his venom for McConnell, who he called a “stone cold loser” and criticized for not blocking the Senate’s certification of the 2020 election results.

“If that were Schumer instead of this dumb son of a bitch Mitch McConnell they would never allow it to happen. They would have fought it,” Trump said, according to the Washington Post.
Right. Remember how Democrats got the presidential election results successfully overturned in 2000, 2004, and 2016? They were relentless!

Trump followed up yesterday:
Former President Trump said late Monday that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is “helpless” against considerations by President Biden to expand the number of Supreme Court justices serving on the bench.

"With leaders like Mitch McConnell, they are helpless to fight. He didn’t fight for the Presidency, and he won’t fight for the Court," Trump said in a statement released by the Save America PAC. "If and when this happens, I hope the Justices remember the day they didn’t have courage to do what they should have done for America."
Joe Manchin oppoes Supreme Court expansion. Kyrsten Sinema opposes Supreme Court expansion. Mark Kelly and Jon Ossoff have rejected expansion. But, sure, the unstoppable, all-powerful Democrats will just ram this through.

It's not just Trump. It's also Tucker Carlson, who said last week:
“The Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate of the voters now casting ballots with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World.”
"Obedient"!
... in the 2020 election, ... returns from overwhelmingly Hispanic — and, heretofore, overwhelmingly Democratic — precincts showed the incumbent president making massive gains with a demographic he’d spent five years disparaging.

... all across the country, areas with large Hispanic populations moved sharply right in 2020, even as the broader electorate moved left.
Of course, the Democratic Party, as described by Republicans, is also powerful enough to steal the 2020 presidential election using multiple form of election manipulation ... which, for some reason, were not applied to Senate races in Maine, North Carolina, Iowa, Texas, or South Carolina.

The real Democratic Party isn't doing badly right now, but it would certainly be more fun to belong to the fantasy Democratic Party described by Republicans.

Monday, April 12, 2021

"BIDEN ISN'T REALLY PRESIDENT" IS THE NEW "OBAMA ISN'T REALLY AMERICAN"

In the heyday of birtherism, some of the people who advanced the notion that Barack Obama wasn't born in America and was secretly a Muslim did it with a certain degree of deniability. Sure, there were pure birthers like Orly Taitz (and Donald Trump), but there were also people like House Speaker John Boehner -- now positioning himself as a foe of GOP conspiratorialism -- who didn't exactly say that Obama's origin story was a lie, but didn't repudiate it very forcefully:
On Meet The Press ... Boehner couldn't even bring himself to dismiss the idea:
MR. GREGORY: As the speaker of the House, as a leader, do you not think it's your responsibility to stand up to that kind of ignorance?

SPEAKER BOEHNER: David, it's not my job to tell the American people what to think. Our job in Washington is to listen to the American people. Having said that, the state of Hawaii has said that he was born there. That's good enough for me. The president says he's a Christian. I accept him at his word.
Taking the president "at his word" that he's not a secret MOOZLEM is the favored formulation of Obama's political opponents for avoiding a direct question about his faith.... Boehner's statement is the exact same one Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made ..., that "The president says he's a Christian. I take him at his word."
Nobody doubts that Joe Biden was born in America. The right's favorite conspiracy theory about Biden is that he's so mentally impaired that he can't possibly be the real president. Hardcore mental-impairment truthers openly use words like "senile" and "dementia" in reference to Biden.



"Respectable" Republicans feel they can't do that -- but they can tiptoe around the issue, the way Senator John Cornyn does:



If you ask Cornyn point-blank whether he's implying that Biden has a mental impairment, I'm sure he'll angrily insist that you're putting words in his mouth. He's just asking questions about Biden's ... sense of engagement with the job. After all, belligerent tweets are practically mandatory for a president, aren't they? (They actually do seem to be mandatory for GOP officeholders.) Cornyn is just asking questions.

I'm sure this is a trial balloon. On behalf of the party mainstream, Cornyn, I assume, is testing how far a Republican can push this talking point without seeming to push it. Others will follow.

IF THIS WERE AN ELABORATE CONSPIRACY, HOW WOULD IT LOOK DIFFERENT?

I'm very skeptical about this:
More than 100 chief executives and corporate leaders gathered online Saturday to discuss taking new action to combat the controversial state voting bills being considered across the country, including the one recently signed into law in Georgia.

Executives from major airlines, retailers and manufacturers — plus at least one NFL owner — talked about potential ways to show they opposed the legislation, including by halting donations to politicians who support the bills and even delaying investments in states that pass the restrictive measures, according to four people who were on the call, including one of the organizers, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a Yale management professor.
Remember when some corporations very publicly announced that they wouldn't give money to Republicans in Congress who'd back Donald Trump's efforts to steal the 2020 election? Very soon afterward, we learned that the money was beginning to flow again. Next year, when most of these Republicans are up for reelection, I expect very few January 6-related donation bans to still be in place. Democrats want to raise taxes on the rich and corporations. Republicans don't. So corporations will be giving to the GOP again.

I expect this new campaign to be similarly evanescent, assuming it ever amounts to anything beyond this carefully crafted leak to the media. And while I don't want to fall for conspiracy theories, this almost seems calibrated to work in Republicans' favor.

Think about it. Republicans are now selling themselves as the "working-class party," the party that hates "elites." Your right-wing relatives are already easily enraged by phrases such as "woke capitalism"c and "corporate communism."

None of this changes GOP officeholders' preference for giving more and more money to corporations and the rich. But this battle makes Republicans seem like the champions of ordinary people.

So corporations make what are likely to be mostly empty gestures in response to these bills. Some liberals will be fooled and will think better of these corporations, which will help the companies' bottom line. Right-wing voters won't manage to mount serious boycotts -- they'll still drink Coke.

So the companies aren't taking big risks. Maybe they'll get one or two bills tabled or modified. And then, having pocketed liberals' goodwill, they'll go right back to giving money to Republicans, who, in turn, will have enhanced their image as the anti-"elite" party.

I don't really believe that the companies are coordinating this with the GOP, but they're not really working at cross purposes.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

THEY DON'T EVEN WANT THE SHOWMANSHIP, JUST THE ABUSE

So I'm reading the latest Ron DeSantis puff piece, this one in The New York Times ...
Now, with Florida defying many of the gloomy projections of early 2020 and feeling closer to normal as the pandemic continues to dictate daily life in many other big states, Mr. DeSantis, 42, has positioned himself as the head of “the free state of Florida” and as a political heir to former President Donald J. Trump....

Mr. DeSantis’s political maneuvering and extensive national donor network have allowed him to emerge as a top Republican candidate to succeed Mr. Trump on the ballot in 2024 if the former president does not run again. The governor’s brand of libertarianism — or “competent Trumpism,” as one ally called it — is on the ascent.
... and eventually I get to the passage that appears in every puff piece about DeSantis:
Mr. DeSantis has raised his profile despite lacking the gregarious personality that might be associated with an aspiring Trump successor. Unlike the former president, no one would describe the publicly unemotional and not especially eloquent Mr. DeSantis as a showman.
In a long love note to DeSantis published by Politico last month, the version of that passage was this:
Newly ascendant though he might be, the “future of the party” is just as standoffish and uncharismatic as he’s always been.
The Politico story, by Michael Kruse, included a lengthy chronicle of the author's struggles to get face time with DeSantis; Patricia Mazzei, the autrhor of the Times story, tells us that DeSantis wouldn't agree to an interview with her.

So why is the media so taken with DeSantis? We know that some in the media crave the caffeine jolt of Trump's daily Twitter abuse.



But they're not getting that from DeSantis. So what are they getting?

In the Times, Mazzei writes:
... the governor’s favorite foes are the “corporate media,” against whom he has scored political points....

[A recent] “60 Minutes” [story] focused on how Publix supermarket pharmacies received [COVID vaccine] doses and left out relevant details, including an extended response from the governor at a news conference.

On Wednesday, in Mr. DeSantis’s words, he “hit them back right between the eyes,” accusing “60 Minutes” of pursuing a malicious narrative.

He left without taking questions.
They don't even care if the next Trump is boring -- they just want him to be nasty. They want someone who (a) is seen as presidential timber and (b) will abuse them.

(The abuse has to be from the right, of course. When President Biden didn't hold a press conference for a couple of months, they were livid, not besotted.)

They could get the abuse they want from any number of Trumpian lunatics who appear to want to be president -- Donald Trump Jr., Rand Paul, Ted Cruz. But DeSantis is a guy who's liked by both Trump voters and the members of the old-guard GOP establishment, people who, we're told, have been secretly whispering their disdain for Trump for the past five years. So he has across-the-board appeal (among Republicans, who are the only real Americans) and he hates the mainstream media. No wonder the MSM thinks he's dreamy.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

ADD TWO LETTERS, INDUCE OUTRAGE


Here's the headline of a Reuters story:



Now here's the headline of a New York Post story based on the Reuters story:



Notice the key difference? Reuters says the Biden administration is considering payments to "Central America." The Post says the payments are going to "Central Americans."

The main difference in the wording is two letters. The difference in right-wing outrage is incalculable.

The Reuters story says:
The United States is considering a conditional cash transfer program to help address economic woes that lead migrants from certain Central American countries to trek north, as well as sending COVID-19 vaccines to those countries, a senior White House official told Reuters on Friday.

The potential program would be targeted at people in the Northern Triangle region of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, Roberta Jacobson, the White House’s southern border coordinator, told Reuters in an interview, without saying who exactly would receive cash....

“The one thing I can promise you is the U.S. government isn’t going to be handing out money or checks to people,” Jacobson said....

Biden, who took office on Jan. 20, has called for $4 billion in development aid to Central America over four years to address underlying causes of migration. On Friday, the White House requested $861 million from Congress for that effort in Biden’s first annual budget proposal. That would be a sharp increase from the roughly $500 million in aid this year.
In other words, this is the kind of response you have to an immigration problem if you're grown-ups: You attempt to use the wealth of the United States to help solve problems and improve conditions in countries from which people are fleeing in order to get to the United States.

I've added emphasis to point out specifically what won't happen. But the Post cynically tweaks the Reuters headline, knowing that anti-immigrant rage addicts will barely read past the new headline and conclude that giving cash to individual immigrants is precisely what the Biden administration intends to do.

Here's how the Post story begins:
It’s pay to stay away.

The Biden administration is considering sending cash payments to Central Americans in a bid to prevent them from making the trek north as the US grapples with the worst immigration crisis seen in 20 years, Reuters reported Friday.

The potential cash transfer program would be targeted at residents of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, which account for the overwhelming majority of migrants illegally crossing the border, Roberta Jacobson, the White House’s southern border coordinator, told the outlet.
So the payments are "targeted at residents," according to the Post. Six paragraphs later, near the end of the story, we're told:
Jacobson, who announced Friday she is stepping down, couldn’t explain to Reuters how the program would work but did say she can “promise” “the U.S. government isn’t going to be handing out money or checks to people.”
So the payments aren't "targeted at residents"? Which is it? But by this time it's assumed that the reader's blood is already boiling at the prospect of American checks going to individual brown foreigners.

Thought leaders on the right are now promoting the Post's version of the Reuters story:



This is how they do it. This is how they've done it for years -- big lies are useful sometimes, but tiny adjustments to the truth can pack an outrage wallop, and most people won't even notice that they're lies.

Friday, April 09, 2021

NEW YORK TIMES: THE PARTY OF FREEDOM FRIES AND BIRTHERISM HAS ABANDONED ISSUE-ORIENTED POLITICS!

Really, New York Times?
Republican lawmakers are passing voting restrictions to pacify right-wing activists still gripped by former President Donald J. Trump’s lie that a largely favorable election was rigged against them. G.O.P. leaders are lashing out in Trumpian fashion at businesses, baseball and the news media to appeal to many of the same conservatives and voters. And debates over the size and scope of government have been overshadowed by the sort of culture war clashes that the tabloid king relished....

[Trump's] preference for engaging in red-meat political fights rather than governing and policymaking have left party leaders in a state of confusion over what they stand for....

Having, quite literally, abandoned their traditional party platform last year to accommodate Mr. Trump, Republicans have organized themselves around opposition to the perceived excesses of the left and borrowed his scorched-earth tactics as they do battle.
Right -- the GOP that's fixated on culture-war talk today is totally different from the GOP that attacked John Kerry for speaking French (at a time when right-wingers loathed the Iraq-war-skeptical French government and cheered the rebranding of French fries in congressional dining halls as "freedom fries"). It's totally different from the GOP that was obsessed with Barack Obama's birth certificate, or Bill Clinton's sex life, or Hillary Clinton's health.
It’s a strikingly different approach from the last time Democrats had full control of government, in 2009 and 2010, when conservatives harnessed the Great Recession to stoke anger about President Barack Obama and federal spending on their way to sweeping midterm gains.
Yes, the anger at Obama was strictly fiscal.

The fight against Obamacare seemed like a policy fight, but in retrospect it was obviously a "You want to give free stuff to Those People" fight. Is the Times still unable to acknowledge that?

The party that hates voting rights now is the party that hated ACORN in the Obama years. The party that hates "cancel culture" now is the party that once hated...


I'm stating the obvious, though I wish it were obvious to the Times.

THE RIGHT'S VOTER-FRAUD PARANOIA AND IMMIGRATION PARANOIA ARE BASICALLY THE SAME THING

America's most prominent racist said this yesterday:


... Now, I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term "replacement." If you suggest that the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots with new people, more obedient voters from the third world. They become hysterical because that's what's happening actually. Lets just say it that's true.

...

If you change the population, you dilute the political power of the people who live there. So every time they import a new voter, I become disenfranchised as a current voter. So I don't understand why -- everyone wants to make a racial issue out of it. You know the white replacement theory? No, no, this is a voting right question. I have less political power because they are importing a brand new electorate. Why should I sit back and take that? The power that I have as an American guaranteed at birth is one man, one vote. They are diluting it. No, they are not allowed to do it. Why are we putting up with this?
The Biden administration wants an eight-year path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in America, but Carlson is talking here as if immigrants cross the border unlawfully, establish a toehold in America -- and then begin voting immediately.

If you believe that's happening, it's because you think our elections are riddled with corruption, all of it favoring Democrats. I don't know why Republicans win so many elections in America if that's the case, but Republicans seem to take it as a given that voting here can't be trusted. And why shouldn't they believe that? Since the Bush era, they've been told by the right-wing media, Republican politicians, and conservative advocacy groups that pro-Democratic cheating is widespread.

They think mail ballots are fraudulent and voting machines flip votes to Democrats and, for all I know, they think Biden votes were beamed in from Alpha Centauri last November. But they also believe that undocumented immigrants vote in large numbers -- just after he was inaugurated, Donald Trump reportedly told congressional leaders that 3 to 5 million undocumented immigrants voted against him. Trump's first press secretary, Sean Spicer, claimed that a study demonstrated that 14% of the votes in the 2016 election were cast by non-citizens.

This is what your right-wing relatives believe: that border crossers today will be Democratic voters tomorrow -- literally.

Thursday, April 08, 2021

THE WORST PEOPLE

This development in Gaetz-ghazi is just too perfect:
Joel Greenberg, the former Seminole County Tax Collector at the center of a sprawling criminal probe into everything from stalking to wire fraud to sex trafficking, used taxpayer money to pay $7,500 in legal fees to state Rep. Anthony Sabatini, records show.

While still serving as tax collector, Greenberg gave Sabatini a $3,000-a-month “legal counsel” contract in September 2019 — five days after Sabatini was admitted to the Florida Bar. Greenberg canceled the contract a little more than two months later, citing “extreme budget constraints.”

It’s not clear what Sabatini, a Republican from Howey-in-the-Hills who casts himself as a crusader against “wasteful” government spending, did for the $7,500.

Emails provided Monday by the Tax Collector’s Office show that Sabatini was asked to help with litigation involving a software contractor and with a trio of disputes involving former employees. But the emails didn’t show any work Sabatini produced, and records compiled as part of a Seminole County audit into Greenberg’s office spending show officials were “not sure” what exactly Sabatini worked on.
Anthony Sabatini? That would be this guy:

Of course this guy is running for Congress -- and he might be handed a seat by the Florida legislature:
Sabatini has tried to emulate Gaetz’s bombastic and confrontational style in politics and has already announced plans to run for Congress himself in 2022.

Incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster, who currently represents Lake County, criticized Sabatini for potentially challenging him. But Gaetz has expressed tacit support for Sabatini’s decision to run because Florida lawmakers may draw a new Congressional seat in the area when they redo legislative boundaries next year.
THe word "kakistocracy" means "government by the worst people." It would seem to apply in this case. Maybe the Gaetz/Greenberg scandal will keep Sabatini out of Congress -- but I doubt it.


(Via Betty Cracker.)

HOW IT STARTED/HOW IT'S GOING

Townhall's Kurt Schlichter loved capitalism...



Until ...



Kurt writes:
Old habits die hard, and now it’s time for the GOP’s habitual support of big business to die, and to die hard.

Look around – the corporations have decided it’s a great time to use their power against us. There used to be a kind of gentleman’s agreement – they stay out of our business and we stay out of theirs.

But they broke that agreement. They decided to go all in. And it’s no coincidence that the political positions they have taken conform exactly to those of the Democrat Party. So, the hell with them.
(Stops reading, looks up corporate political action committees.)
... The companies were never with us culturally – they wanted fewer regs, lower taxes, open borders, and docile workers. They didn’t care about social issues. They stayed out of it. But a few decades ago, when those icky evangelicals and others who actually worshipped something besides the almighty dollar showed up, the corporate types got restless. After all, it made for awkward convos at the country club when you were allied with the Jesus gun people from out there in Americaland. So, today, they have intervened in favor of our enemies, but they expect us to sit back and pretend it’s 1987.

Why did they go with the liberal establishment? Because that’s who the multinational bigwigs are, and always have been. It’s always about class, and the class these robber barons circulated within looks down on regular Americans
Back in 1987, did Schlichter somehow overlook the fact that "multinational bigwigs" tend not to be churchgoing gun owners living in shotgun shacks in rural Texas? Was this information concealed from him as part of a sinister plot to deceive him about the nature of capitalism?

No. He always knew, and he had no problem with it. He mocked other people who thought capitalists had too much power. Let them have whatever they want! They're capitalists! They've earned it!

Until the moment when they started using their power to do stuff he doesn't like. Then it suddenly became time to smash The System.

I sometimes see Schlichter on social media complaining about "crony capitalism," which is a term that has an actual meaning, but not the way Schlichter applies it. To Schlichter, "crony capitalism" is "capitalism acting in the interests of people I don't like."

Sorry that the superficial but occasionally consequential interest in social responsibility on the part of large corporations upsets you, Kurt. But you should have seen the potential for this in 1987.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

ANDREW GIULIANI IS BEING CALLED A SERIOUS CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR, BECAUSE AMERICA IS A BANANA REPUBLIC

Washington Examiner hack Paul Bedard publishes a press release disguised as a scoop:
Andrew Giuliani, a former top aide to President Donald Trump and son of “America’s Mayor,” is “heavily considering” a bid for governor of New York in 2022, potentially setting up an epic clash between the two biggest political families in recent New York history.

“I plan to run,” Giuliani told Secrets.
Yes, Andrew Giuliani, the overgrown boy who, at 35, has apparently held precisely two full-time jobs as an adult -- unsuccessful golf pro and presidential aide who, as Wikipedia put it, "helped arrange sports teams’ visits to the White House, and interfaces between the White House and a number of business, nonprofit, and other groups" (for a salary that topped out at $95,000 a year) -- now considers himself qualified to run the fourth most populous state in the union. Hey, why work your way up? (Say what you will about the man Giuliani hopes to defeat, fellow scion Andrew Cuomo, but he at least took a few lower-tier jobs before running for governor.)

Here's more of Bedard's hackwork:
A Giuliani-Cuomo race would be a Titanic battle of New York families, a liberal-conservative fight that the state hasn’t seen in years....

Giuliani is the son of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and worked in the Trump White House as a director of the Office of Public Liaison. While he has no elected experience, he has been part of his family’s political business for years, a training that has produced several successful candidates, notably former President George W. Bush, a former Texas governor.
Oh, that's hilarious. Do you know when Rudy Giuliani last won an election? It was 1997. Do you know how old Andrew Giuliani was at the time? He was eleven. Compared to Andrew Giuliani, Dubya was a grizzled political veteran by the time he ran for governor.

Parts of this read like what you put on a résumé when you have no relevant work experience:
Political strategist and communicator Boris Epshteyn, who served as special assistant to Trump, said, “Andrew worked tirelessly for President Trump in the White House while still having a smile on his face every day." ...

While only 35 years old, the former golf executive has been described as unusually smart and diplomatic.
Is he a self-starter, too?

Bedard quotes Giuliani saying, “Outside of anybody named Trump, I think I have the best chance to win and take the state back" -- which is hilarious because Trump lost the state in November 61%-38%. You'd think Republicans would want to run someone against Cuomo who doesn't lean into his Trump connections the way Young Andrew and Bedard do.
Giuliani said he considers Trump an “uncle,” since the families have known each other for decades. The two often golfed together during Trump's four years in office.

A former Trump aide told Secrets that Trump and the Make America Great Again movement will back Giuliani.
And I haven't even discussed Young Andrew's father, who was once a highly respected angry blowhard in this state but is now regarded, outside Trump circles, as a doddering crackpot.

I probably shouldn't be dismissive -- at first I didn't believe Donald Trump could win the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, then I believed the pollsters who told me he couldn't win the general election. Media outlets outside the right-o-sphere (Vanity Fair, New York magazine, Axios) are taking this very seriously, presumably because they desperately hope that politics can be more like reality TV again.

I worry that Andrew Cuomo will hang on, run for reelection, and be beatable. I hope he doesn't run. I hope he leaves office soon, voluntarily or otherwise.

But a callow Trump bootlicker with no relevant experience seems as if he might be a weakened Cuomo's dream opponent.

NO, WE DON'T HAVE THEM ON THE RUN YET

This seems like good news:
In Gallup polling throughout the first quarter of 2021, an average of 49% of U.S. adults identified with the Democratic Party or said they are independents who lean toward the Democratic Party. That compares with 40% who identified as Republicans or Republican leaners. The nine-percentage-point Democratic advantage is the largest Gallup has measured since the fourth quarter of 2012.
This gap is larger than normal, but not by much:
In recent years, Democratic advantages have typically been between four and six percentage points.
You can see that on the graph:



And you can see that previous gaps of this size haven't endured. Democrats had a 49%-40% advantage in 2012, for instance, but two years later Republicans scored a big win in the midterms, increasing their advantage in the House and taking the Senate. Democrats had an even greater affiliation advantage in 1992 and 1998, only to lose elections in 1994 and 2000. And while a persistent pro-Democratic gap in Bush's second term led to big Democratic wins in 2006 and 2008, Republicans came roaring back in 2010.

What's disheartening is that Republicans' current decline is normal. After January 6, the GOP should be in severe decline. The party should be far less popular than it's been in the past thirty years. But it's at a typical low. America doesn't believe that Republicans are beyond the pale.

And how do we square these numbers with the polling recently cited by CNN's Harry Enten?
One of the best ways to judge the political environment is through the generic congressional ballot. The generic ballot asks respondents some form of the following question: "If the elections for Congress were held today, would you vote for the Democratic or Republican Party?"

Democrats are ahead on that measure by about 4 points in the average poll taken since the beginning of Biden's administration. That lead is about the same as the final margin in the 2020 presidential race (Biden +4.5 points) and the 2020 House popular vote (Democrats +3.1 points)....

Remember too that the 2020 polls tended to underestimate the Republican position. This means Republicans are actually doing better on the generic ballot now than they were heading into the 2020 election.
Enten thinks Republicans are in excellent position to retake Congress in 2022. The party that isn't in the White House usually has a very good year in a president's first midterms. That shouldn't be the case now -- the party of January 6 and Marjorie Taylor Greene and no votes on the COVID relief bill should be the exception to that rule. What the GOP is doing now should be political suicide. But that appears not to be the case.

I'd love to believe that Republicans are in deep trouble. Howerver, they easily survived Trump's attempted election theft and second impeachment. Democrats still won't say that the main impediment to change is the Republican Party, while Republicans and the right-wing media blame Democrats and liberals for every evil in the world. Republicans are in fine shape. They shouldn't be.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

SORE WINNERS

Over the weekend, Florida governor Ron DeSantis was the subject of a very harsh story on 60 Minutes. DeSantis responded with fury -- and Axios's Zachary Basu and Mike Allen treated the governor's response as important political news:
DeSantis milks "60 Minutes" spat

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Trump ally with his eyes on the White House, is dialing up a dispute with "60 Minutes" — seizing on a juicy chance to ingratiate himself with the GOP base by bashing the media.

Why it matters: It's a political gift akin to all the Fox fodder that Sen. Tom Cotton gobbled up after the N.Y. Times revolt over his op-ed.
It's obvious what Basu and Allen are saying: They, like all savvy political insiders, believe DeSantis has an excellent chance of being the next president of the United States, quite possibly after the 2024 election, and they've gotten on the Ron Train early. They're describing this as a lucky break for him, an opportunity he's grabbing with both hands, given his political astuteness and eye for the main chance. (It's dispiriting that a winner of the 2024 "media primary" can already be declared three years before the Iowa caucuses, but that's how our press operates.)

However, our friends on the right have either failed reading comprehension or believe that being angry when you win is just as lib-owning as being angry when you lose. They've concluded -- or at least are proclaiming -- that this story is bad for DeSantis. In fact, it's a moral outrage!

At National Review, Charles C.W. Cooke writes:
That’s the story, is it? That DeSantis is “seizing” on CBS’s world-class dishonesty? The issue here is his reaction to being so brazenly lied about? The need-to-know précis is that he’s annoyed by the press’s penchant for deliberately spreading baseless conspiracy theories? That he might “bash” those who did it? That he’s been accorded a “juicy chance” to highlight bad behavior?
Hot Air's Ed Morrissey writes:
Wow — DeSantis responded to a hatchet job that tried to smear him as corrupt by “seizing” it, and then “milks” it to, er … defend himself against a yellow-journalism political hit piece. That’s what the guild calls “circling the wagons,” no?
Twitchy's Sarah D. writes:
“60 Minutes” very deliberately assassinated the character of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in their recent piece on his handling of the COVID19 pandemic in his state.

But according to Axios, that’s not the story.

No, the real story, the real scandal, is Ron DeSantis’ reaction to being defamed....
Folks, Basu and Allen are describing this as a "juicy chance" for DeSantis because this is all sport to them, and they think he's having a career year, the kind of year when even luck goes your way. They're taking it as a given that 60 Minutes gave him an opening to complain -- they're not circling the wagons on behalf of CBS at all. This is a good story for DeSantis. Why so grumpy?

I DON'T THINK THE MOTIVATION FOR THOSE DINER SAFARIS IS PARTICULARLY MYSTERIOUS

In The Washington Post, Daniel Drezner considers the media's lack of interest in the opinions of Biden voters.
Four years ago the mainstream media was awash in stories about Rust Belt diners teeming with Trump voters. These stories depicted salt-of-the-earth Americans who were sick and tired of business as usual in Washington, D.C. (Whether they were actually salt-of-the-earth is subject to debate.) ...

As a close follower of political news, I have observed no parallel surge of stories about any crucial Biden demographic since his election. This is legitimately odd....
Is there an obvious explanation? Drezner doesn't think so.
When I asked about this contrast on social media, I got some fair and reasonable responses from the Fourth Estate. Trump’s 2016 win was surprising, whereas Biden’s was expected — if anything, the election night surprise in 2020 was that it was closer than expected. Furthermore, traditional factors explain Biden’s victory. Trump governed badly, leaving the country in worse shape than when he was inaugurated. It is not surprising that Biden won.

The hard-working staff here at Spoiler Alerts find these reasons partially, but not entirely, persuasive. It’s not like 2017 was the first time that the news media was ever interested in a key voting demographic. I am old enough to remember lots of talk about “security moms,” and before that “soccer moms,” and before that “Reagan Democrats.” Covering swing demographics has been a journalistic tradition for some time now.

Furthermore, this lack of interest in Biden voters comes at the same time the news media still seems super-interested in Trump voters. What do they think about the Jan. 6 insurrection? Do they like Biden’s infrastructure bill?
Right -- the press is still going on diner safaris to learn the innermost thoughts of Trump voters. Journalists can no longer saythat they're seeking to explain a surprise win because Trump didn't win this time.

Is this happening because the press believes it already gives too much coverage to Biden's demographic base?
Why the lack of Biden voter interest? Perhaps the very demographic that swung the election to Biden is also the slice of America that already receives a disproportionate share of media coverage: college-educated White suburbanites. According to voter analyst David Shor, this is the group that shifted the most in voting between 2016 and 2020.
Yes, but in 2004, as Drezner notes, the press was fascinated by "soccer moms" who'd become "security moms" -- and who tended to be upscale white suburbanites. The candidate favored by "security moms" wasn't a surprise winner -- it was George W. Bush in 2004, who won reelection as most incumbent presidents do.
The biggest driver for the lack of Biden voter coverage, however, might be that the reportage of Trump voters came from a different motivation. In 2017, the interest was in how Trump voters felt about a president who was beclowning the executive branch on a daily basis. The tenor of that coverage was a befuddled national press corps venturing into parts unknown to discover how these voters felt about a president acting unlike any other president in history.
So why are these same reporters still fascinated by Trump voters' opinions on the Biden presidency, which is not clown-like or dysfunctional?

If journalists don't want to interview white suburban Biden voters, they can interview non-white Biden voters -- maybe they could ask them how they feel about Republican (and centrist Democratic) stonewalling of important legislation (on, say, the minimum wage or gun violence). But the press doesn't seem to care.

The press doesn't even seem interested in the Black and Hispanic voters who swung to Trump in 2020. You'd expect a lot of coverage of these voters, whose preferences in 2020 surprised many of us. But the media appears uninterested.

The media neglects white Biden voters out of what appears to be group self-hate. The media is still fascinated by white Trump voters, romanticizing them as manly Real Americans. And the media doesn't seem interested in non-white Biden or Trump voters, apparently for the simple reason that they're non-white. I don't think it's any more complicated than that.

Monday, April 05, 2021

FAKE VACCINE IDs: THE NEXT FRONT IN THE CULTURE WARS?

The lead item at Gateway Pundit right now is this:
FBI Sends Out Warning Advising Against Buying, Making or Misrepresenting a Vaccine Card Which May Be “Breaking the Law”
This is in response to an FBI public service announcement:
If You Make or Buy a Fake COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card, You Endanger Yourself and Those Around You, and You Are Breaking the Law

The Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) and the FBI are advising the public to be aware of individuals selling fake COVID-19 vaccination record cards and encouraging others to print fake cards at home. Fake vaccination record cards have been advertised on social media websites, as well as e-commerce platforms and blogs.

Vaccination record cards are intended to provide recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine with information about the type of vaccine they received, and when they may be able to receive a second dose of the vaccine. If you did not receive the vaccine, do not buy fake vaccine cards, do not make your own vaccine cards, and do not fill-in blank vaccination record cards with false information. By misrepresenting yourself as vaccinated when entering schools, mass transit, workplaces, gyms, or places of worship, you put yourself and others around you at risk of contracting COVID-19. Additionally, the unauthorized use of an official government agency's seal (such as HHS or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)) is a crime, and may be punishable under Title 18 United States Code, Section 1017, and other applicable laws.
THe FBI PSA goes on to warn people not to post images of their vaccine cards on social media -- "your personal information could be stolen to commit fraud."

I've been dreading this moment, which I knew was coming. It's been obvious for months that right-wingers would resist the vaccines and be offended that vaccination had privileges to which they would not be entitled. I've assumed that they'd create, or at least obtain, fake vaccination records as an act of defiance against liberal fascism or cancel culture or the Fauci/Soros/Gates One World Government or however the hell they define their enemies. It also appeared inevitable that apolitical operators would see fake vaccine IDs as a clever way to make a dishonest dollar. It seemed like a huge mistake to make the initial vaccine cards out of simple cardboard. You can get your card laminated (I actually did that at Staples), but it doesn't exactly make the thing seem like a secure ID.

And now fake vaccine cards are being made -- and Gateway Pundit thinks the real villains are the folks at the FBI who are trying to do something about it. GP's post is accompanied by this oh-so-subtle 2016-vintage Photoshop:



The post reads in part:
The FBI is now in the pandemic business. They were part of illegal activities in the Russian sham. They ignored massive corruption in the 2020 election, but now find their purpose pushing vaccinations cards to Americans.
The post approvingly quotes some conspiratorial nonsense from a lunatic in Minnesota.
One response to the FBI’s ignorance of personal freedom was to refer to the Gates Foundation:


I don't expect the rest of the right to go quite that far -- but I can easily imagine blue cities in red states trying to crack down on creators of phony vaccine cards and being constrained by their state legislatures and governors, who'll limit the penalties for vaccine-card fakery to tiny fines, or ban prosecutions altogether. They'll certainly rally around anyone accused of this who's facing serious time.

Gateway Pundit is part of the lunatic fringe, but I think fake ID card makers are likely to replace bar and gym owners who open their doors in defiance of lockdowns as the new wingnut heroes. The right has never taken the pandemic seriously. Why start now?

DEFEATING THE COVID BILL WASN'T AS IMPORTANT TO REPUBLICANS AS DISCREDITING IT

Earlier this year, commentators were surprised at the relative lack of Republican resistance to the Democrats' COVID relief bill. Jonathan Chait wrote:
The Democratic Party is on the verge of passing an economic-rescue bill twice the size of the one they enacted under Barack Obama. And yet the Republican opposition, which could block any bill by turning just one senator, has invested shockingly little energy in its opposition. While no Republicans seem likely to vote in favor, they have responded with resignation, rather than the paroxysms of outrage they mustered against previous Democratic administrations (and over far more limited measures).
After the bill passed, some Republicans in Congress even boasted about aid coming to their constituents from this bill they'd voted against.

But I never believed that this was a politcal failure on the Republicans' part. They seem to have decided that fighting hard to defeat the bill would have been an exercise in futility and a waste of political capital. So they settled on an alternate plan: Let it pass, but lay the groundwork for a campaign to discredit it afterward. They seemed to believe that they'd get more political benefit out of allowing it to become law and then demonizing it than they would from fighting it.

The plan seems to be working, at least with the Republican base. A story in The Washington Post tells us that Republican voters are parroting the party's messaging on the COVID bill.
A lifelong railroad aficionado, 74-year-old retiree Tony Benz has volunteered for nearly two decades helping passengers at the Amtrak station in the St. Louis suburb of Kirkwood, Mo.

He believes the federal government has a role in funding infrastructure, and outside the station last week, Benz listed reasons the government should subsidize train travel....

[But] to Benz — a self-identified Republican-leaning independent who voted for President Donald Trump — the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill that Biden signed into law last month, delivering $1,400 stimulus checks to Benz and tens of millions of other Americans, was simply “overexorbitant.”

“They need to look at who these people are, who gets it and who shouldn’t get it, and refine it,” he said....

The owner of a Mexican restaurant in Chesterfield, a St. Louis suburb of more than 45,000, Roseann Espino, 57, benefited from a Paycheck Protection Program loan earlier this year — a program created under the bipartisan Cares Act and renewed multiple times since. But she said she received no other government assistance and viewed the Democratic follow-up to Cares, the American Rescue Plan, as a waste.

“What do we need $1.9 trillion for? To buy more masks for people? I mean what are we doing?” she said, backing local GOP Rep. Ann Wagner’s decision to oppose the bill.
They firmly believe that unemployment benefits make people less inclined to work.
Like other conservative business owners interviewed last week, [Espino] believed the generous unemployment benefits had hurt the recovery by making labor scarce — workers were better off cashing more-generous unemployment checks than taking paying jobs. She said one of her suppliers delivered food recently because so many of its drivers had called out after receiving stimulus checks....

“There is no hotel or restaurant in Charleston County not looking for people,” said Hank Holliday, who presided over a hospitality empire until selling most of his Charleston holdings in December. “Chefs, owners and managers can’t even get people to show up for interviews. They’ll respond to a want ad, but then don’t even show up. Why? They want to put on their unemployment application that they tried to get a job at Peninsula Grill. I’ve seen signs in windows downtown: ‘Due to stimulus checks and bonus unemployment, we are understaffed. Please bear with us if service is slow.’”
The COVID bill didn't raise taxes on the rich, so Republican officeholders didn't have a principled objection to it. (The infrastructure bill does raise taxes on the wealthy, so Republicans seem to be fighting it much harder.) But Republicans worked their talking points on the stimulus bill into the debate, knowing that once the bill passed they'd simply continue to make those arguments. They didn't care whether they changed the bill. All they cared about was influencing the narrative. They think they have the narrative where they want it.

Sure, the polls show that the COVID bill was popular -- but it's less popular among Republicans, and the campaign to discredit it is ongoing. Most House Republicans don't need to worry about winning non-Republican votes, and most Senate Republicans are in red states, or in states where they can use sky-is-falling rhetoric and a bit of Democratic vote suppression to eke out a win. So the GOP just needs to turn its base against the stimulus, and against future Biden bills, and then it doesn't matter what the rest of us think.

With regard to these Democratic bills, Republicans don't care if the outcome is good, as long as the narrative, at least in their bubble, seems bad.

Sunday, April 04, 2021

RIGHT-WINGERS LOVE STORIES ABOUT MYSTERIOUS VEHICLES TRANSPORTING PEOPLE FOR SINISTER (LIBERAL) REASONS

Tomi Lahren, a Fox News commentator who's now a host at the streaming service Fox Nation, tweeted the following last night:

There are a couple of reasons why this is obvioudly nonsense. First, no vaccine is approved by U.S. authorities for children. Second, even if there were a sinister plan to prioritize the vaccination of "illegal kids" before American adults, why wouldn't the perpetrators simply ship the vaccine to the kids instead of the other way around?

But right-wingers love stories about mystery vehicles doing sinister things on behalf of their evil enemies. Years ago, many of the rumors involved voter registration and voting. True the Vote, a Texas-based, Tea Party-affiliated organization that complained loudly during the Obama years about mistreatment from the IRS, and recently was sued by a wealthy donor because he felt he didn't get any return for the $2.5 million he donated to the group in the hopes of backing Donald Trump's election challenge, used to tell many stories about buses full of election fraudsters, as The New York Times noted, with great skepticism, in 2012:
It might as well be Harry Potter’s invisible Knight Bus, because no one can prove it exists.

The bus has been repeatedly cited by True the Vote, a national group focused on voter fraud. Catherine Engelbrecht, the group’s leader, told a gathering in July about buses carrying dozens of voters showing up at polling places during the recent Wisconsin recall election.

“Magically, all of them needed to register and vote at the same time,” Ms. Engelbrecht said. “Do you think maybe they registered falsely under false pretenses? Probably so.”

Weeks later, another True the Vote representative told a meeting of conservative women about a bus seen at a San Diego polling place in 2010 offloading people “who did not appear to be from this country.”

Officials in both San Diego and Wisconsin said they had no evidence that the buses were real. “It’s so stealthy that no one is ever able to get a picture and no one is able to get a license plate,” said Reid Magney, a spokesman for the Wisconsin agency that oversees elections. In some versions the bus is from an Indian reservation; in others it is full of voters from Chicago or Detroit. “Pick your minority group,” he said.
A few months before that Times story appeared, an earlier version of Fox Nation -- a Free Republic-style message board overseen by Fox News -- reported on a phantom bus said to be ferrying voters from Michigan to Wisconsin to vote for the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in the Wisconsin recall election, which then-governor Scott Walker survived.
On WMAL’s The Chris Plante Show today a Michigan resident by the name of "Mike" called in to discuss how he had infiltrated a Michigan Union's organized bus convoy, en-route to vote in the Wisconsin recall election for Democrats.

The caller claimed that Michigan’s “Democrat Unions” had organized a convoy of 4 buses, filled with Michigan Democrats, with the intention of voting for Tom Barrett in the Wisconsin recall election.

Caller “Mike” describes “Greyhound size buses, filled to capacity” with a good amount of “freebies” available, “They treated me to lunch!”
It's not clear why "Mike" -- allegedly riding on a bus from Michigan to Wisconsin -- called in to a right-wing radio show based in Washington, D.C. (the caller's explanation: "I drive [a] tractor trailer and I know your number. I'm always in DC, Virginia..."). "Mike" claimed that he, personally, wasn't going to vote for the Democrat -- though he was planning to vote illegally in a state where he didn't live.
PLANTE:

You're on a bus full of people going from Michigan to Wisconsin and you believe that most of the people on the bus..other than yourself..you believe that ALL of the people other than yourself are going there to vote for Tom Barrett

CALLER MIKE:

Most of them are Democrat..it's a Democratic union..its actually a Democratic union organized by Democrats. But I'm not goin on there to vote for the Democrat. I'm going on there to vote for Scott Walker. Once I heard about it I- I was thinking, hey..this is an opportunity to sabotage what they always do to Republicans.
At the end of the call, Plante asked for "Mike's" number, but -- funny thing -- Mike never provided it. So this totally legitimate story couldn't be verified. What a shame!

This is one of the right's favorite narrative structures. I have no idea why.

Saturday, April 03, 2021

"CORPORATE COMMUNISM": ANOTHER RIGHT-WING EXPRESSION MEANING "HOW DARE YOU CONSIDER THE FEELINGS OF ANYONE OTHER THAN US!"


A few days ago, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene posted this on Twitter:



She was widely mocked for this. Vixen Strangely wrote:
Okay, I get where the Mark of the Beast thing is coming from, because the government-industrial-Big Tech Mammon is just about always trying to put bar codes or RFID chips or masks on people and from there it is just one stripper-ride pole to the Devil if you know what I mean, but the more I think about the words "corporate communism", the less I believe that there is anything going on in Marjorie Taylor Green's mind other than a game of "Mad Libs" where the rules are 1) Be mad at libs and 2) say words.
But Greene thinks she has a winner in "corporate communism." Here it is again this morning, in response to the news that Major League Baseball is moving its all-star game from Atlanta in response to the new Georgia vote-suppression law.



Dylan Ratigan, the onetime MSNBC host, tried to make "corporate communism" a catchphrase in the aftermath of the 2008 economic crash. He wrote an opinion piece for Business Insider in 2009 called "Corporate Communism Is Killing Us," then followed it up with a bestselling book titled Greedy Bastards: How We Can Stop Corporate Communists, Banksters, and Other Vampires from Sucking America Dry. In the opinion piece, he wrote:
Lately I have been using the phrase "Corporate Communism" on my television show. I think it is an especially fitting term when discussing the current landscape in both our banking and health care systems....

Lack of choice, lazy, unresponsive customer service, a culture of exploitation and a small powerbase formed by cronyism and nepotism are the hallmarks of a communist system that steals from its citizenry and a major reason why America spent half a century fighting a Cold War with the U.S.S.R.

And yet today we find ourselves as a country in two distinctly different categories: those who are forced to compete tooth and nail each day to provide value to society in return for income for ourselves and our families and those who would instead use our lawmaking apparatus to help themselves to our tax money and/or to protect themselves from true competition.
He's talking about the way big, mature industries use massive lobbying budgets to protect and enhance their profits, and to force their losses onto the rest of us. I wouldn't call that "communism" -- it's how big-money capitalism always works in the real world. On can catch glimpses in the real world of the theoretical capitalism in which companies compete perpetually and in an honorable fashion to provide the best goods and services at fair prices, but it inevitably breaks down once the cats reach a certain level of fatness.

In a January 2021 opinion piece, Chery Chumley of The Washington Times claimed to see "the corporate communism that’s coming to America" in a report from the World Economic Forum that called for a commitment to "stakeholder capitalism." Chumley wrote:
Stakeholder capitalism is the emerging beast....

It’s the kind of capitalism that says corporations shouldn’t be concerned simply with making a buck, but also serving as a “social organism” to society. Companies, in other words, should be motivated more by do-goodism than money.

It’s really the way the left gets its hands on Wall Street to drive forth policies, politics and agendas that don’t pass the smell test of Congress and the people. The Senate won’t ratify a U.N. climate change treaty? No worries; politicians will just pressure private businesses to “voluntarily” adopt clean energy standards and sustainable development practices instead. The end game is essentially the same. Congress won’t pass so-called common sense gun controls? No worries; new “great reset” standards will ensure private companies restrict firearms’ sales, and banks restrict funds to companies selling firearms, and businesses boot all gun-carriers from their businesses. Second Amendment, whoosh. Gone. The possibilities for control are endless.
But, of course, what Chumley is describing is not communism at all. What she's describing is the corporate world responding to social pressures from people who aren't right-wingers. To Chumley -- and to Marjorie Taylor Greene -- that's what "corporate communism" is.

Will Wilkinson published a very good Substack post this week about right-wing resistance to vaccine passports; in his post title, he refers to "the categorical impermissibility of inconveniencing Republicans." See also the bill recently passed by the Texas Senate that would make it a crime to ban Texans from large social media sites for any reason apart from connection to criminal activity or incitement to violence; as I read the law, Twitter and Facebook wouldn't even be allowed to deplatform a Texan for backing Nazism, as long as there was no call to violence.

But it's hard to see how Major League Baseball's move of the all-star game to another city even inconveniences most conservatives. It will take place outside Georgia and fans all over the country will watch it on TV, the same way they would have if it took place in Georgia.

So I think we're talking about the categorical impermissibility of merely upsetting Republicans. And that's what Marjorie Taylor Greene means by "corporate communism."