CNN … The New Fox In Town 🦊

Many, myself included, were appalled by the news that CNN would give Donald Trump more than an hour on prime time to spew his lies and hatred, which was exactly what he did.  For many years, CNN has been considered a reliable news source, but that all began to change last year with a change in ownership and management.  What started the network’s decline that culminated this week with their hosting of the wanna-be dictator?  Robert Reich gives us the lowdown on what happened … and is continuing to happen … over at CNN.


After last night, anyone still trust CNN?

Chris Licht is full of BS

Robert Reich

11 May 2023

 

Why in hell did CNN give Donald Trump a full hour of primetime television before an audience of ardent supporters who applauded every lie and laughed at every sexist insult?

The germ of an answer could be found last August, when Chris Licht, CNN’s new chairman and CEO, canceled Brian Stelter’s Sunday show, “Reliable Sources,” which had been a reliable source of intelligent criticism of Fox News, rightwing media in general, Trumpism, and the increasingly authoritarian lurch of the Republican party.

Licht also fired Stelter and his staff.

The show had been commercially successful. It was doing better than several of CNN’s primetime shows.

Around the same time, Licht told CNN staff they should stop referring to Donald Trump’s “big lie” because the phrase sounded like a Democratic party talking point. Licht also told the staff he wanted more “straight news reporting,” along with more conservative guests.

Why?

Follow the money. CNN’s new corporate overseer is Warner Brothers Discovery Inc, whose CEO is David Zaslav.

Zaslav has been pushing Licht to reposition CNN to be a network preferred by “everybody … Republicans, Democrats.”

But CNN was never going to be the network preferred by Republicans. Fox News has that sewn up.

Besides, facts, data and logic are no longer relevant to the Republican base.

The anti-democracy movement in America is among the biggest issues confronting America today. Is reporting on it considered “straight news” or “opinion?” Wouldn’t failing to report on it in a way that sounded alarms be a gross dereliction of duty?

How is it possible to report on Trump and not speak of the big lie, or say they’ve broken norms if not laws?

So, what’s motivating Zaslav? Keep following the money.

The leading shareholder in Warner Brothers Discovery is John Malone, a multibillionaire cable magnate. (Malone was a chief architect in the merger of Discovery and CNN.)

Malone describes himself as a “libertarian” although he travels in rightwing Republican circles. In 2005, he held 32% of the shares of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. He is on the board of directors of the Cato Institute. In 2017, he donated $250,000 to Trump’s inauguration.

Malone has said he wants CNN to be more like Fox News because, in his view, Fox News has “actual journalism”. Malone also wants the “news” portion of CNN to be “more centrist.”

It’s unlikely that Malone instructed Zaslav to tell Licht to fire Stelter. Power isn’t exercised that clumsily in large corporate media bureaucracies.

It’s more likely that Licht knew what Zaslav wanted, and Zaslav knew what Malone wanted. A source told Deadline’s Dominic Patten and Ted Johnson that even if Malone didn’t order Stelter’s ouster, “it sure represents his thinking.”

When you follow the money behind deeply irresponsible decisions at the power centers of America today, the road often leads to rightwing billionaires.

Last year, Stelter wrote in his newsletter that Malone’s comments about CNN “stoked fears that Discovery might stifle CNN journalists and steer away from calling out indecency and injustice.”

Last August, on his last show, Stelter said:

“It’s not partisan to stand up for decency and democracy and dialogue. It’s not partisan to stand up to demagogues. It’s required. It’s patriotic. We must make sure we don’t give platforms to those who are lying to our faces.”

Precisely.

Sadly, there are still many in America – and not just billionaires like Malone – who believe that holding Trump accountable for what he has done (and continues to do) to this country is a form of partisanship, and that such partisanship has no place in so-called “balanced journalism”.

This belief is itself dangerous.

After I first criticized Licht for the direction he was pushing CNN, he phoned me. He was angry that I doubted his motives, and said he took the top job at CNN because he “believes in journalism.”

When I mentioned the particularly challenging time American journalism now finds itself — with Trump, most of the Republican Party, and most Republican candidates for office denying that the 2020 election was won by Joe Biden, thereby on the way to undermining America democracy – Licht agreed that it’s challenging. He said, emphatically, that this was why he is so deeply committed to restoring CNN’s credibility as an “unbiased” source of news that “people can feel they can trust.”

Well, Chris, after what you did last night, you can forget the public’s trust in CNN.

Republicans Are The Monster Hiding Under The Bed

… Hiding under the bed in plain sight for any whose eyes are actually open.  When even Mitch McConnell is fed up, you know it’s gone from bad to worse … just as we knew it would.  There was a time that politicians at least pretended to serve the nation and its people, but that time has passed for the Republican Party.


Kevin McCarthy joins the insurrection

By Dana Milbank

10 March 2023

Not since the Know-Nothing Party disappeared in the 1850s has a public figure boasted about his ignorance with as much gusto as Kevin McCarthy does.

It doesn’t seem to matter what you ask the speaker of the House. He hasn’t read it, seen it or heard about it.

The explosive documents from the Dominion case showing Fox News hosts privately said Donald Trump’s election lies were hokum but promoted the lies on air anyway?

“I didn’t read all that. I didn’t see all that,” McCarthy told The Post.

The way Fox News’s Tucker Carlson (predictably) manipulated the Jan. 6, 2021, security footage McCarthy (foolishly) gave the propagandist, giving the false appearance that the bloody insurrection was “mostly peaceful”?

“I didn’t see what was aired,” McCarthy asserted.

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, in an implicit rebuke of McCarthy, blasting the Carlson propaganda while holding up a statement from the Capitol Police chief denouncing Fox News’s “outrageous,” “false” and “offensive” portrayal of the insurrection?

You guessed it. McCarthy “didn’t see” McConnell do that.

The benighted McCarthy has been amassing this impressive body of obtuseness for some time. If ignorance is bliss, the California Republican has been in nirvana for years now.

How about Trump’s speech on the Ellipse on Jan. 6, 2021, provoking the sacking of the Capitol?

“I didn’t watch it,” McCarthy said.

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) calling the insurrectionists’ rampage a “normal tourist visit”?

“I don’t know what Congressman Clyde said,” quoth McCarthy, and “I didn’t see it.

When his own designated negotiator reached a bipartisan agreement to form a commission to probe the Jan. 6 attack (a commission McCarthy ultimately killed)?

I haven’t read through it.”

Trump, in a recorded phone call, demanding Georgia’s secretary of state “find” enough votes to overturn the election results?

I have to hear it first.”

Trump telling four congresswomen of color (three of them U.S.-born) to “go back” where they came from, prompting chants of “send her back” among his rallygoers?

I didn’t get to see the rally.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) harassing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) with shouts and slander just off the House floor?

I didn’t see that. I don’t know what happened.”

Trump’s ludicrous allegation that former GOP congressman and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough may have murdered a staffer?

“I don’t quite know about the subject itself. I don’t know this subject well.”

Trump’s scandalous claim that Democrats inflated the death toll from a hurricane in Puerto Rico to “make me look as bad as possible”?

“I haven’t read it yet,” McCarthy pleaded.

At best, McCarthy’s willful cluelessness is just a dodge. But this week, McCarthy’s see-no-evil approach was just plain evil.

After Carlson aired his phony portrayal of the insurrection, several Republicans finally spoke up about Fox News’s lies: “Inexcusable and bull—-” (Sen. Thom Tillis, N.C.), “whitewashing” (Sen. Lindsey Graham, S.C.), “dangerous and disgusting” (Sen. Mitt Romney, Utah).

Then there was McCarthy, questioned by reporters just outside the speaker’s office, which the supposedly “peaceful” insurrectionists had ransacked that terrible day.

“Do you regret giving him this footage so he could whitewash the events of that day?” asked CNN’s Manu Raju.

“No,” McCarthy replied, adding some gibberish about “transparency” (which is the very opposite of Carlson’s fabrication).

“Do you agree with his portrayal of what happened that day?” Raju pressed.

“Look,” McCarthy said. “Each person can come up with their own conclusion.”

Talk about dangerous and disgusting. Given a choice between fact and fiction, between law and anarchy, between democracy and thuggery, the speaker of the House proclaimed his agnosticism. In doing so, he threw the power of the speakership behind the insurrectionists and against the constitutional order he swore to uphold. McCarthy’s leadership team even endorsed Carlson’s fakery, promoting a link to the segment from the House GOP conference’s official Twitter account with four alarm emojis and a “MUST WATCH” recommendation.

Of course, were McCarthy to turn against Fox News, the speaker, weakened by the promises he made to secure the speakership, would be swiftly replaced by the likes of GOP caucus chair Elise Stefanik of New York (who claimed Carlson’s propaganda “demolished” the “Democrats’ dishonest narrative” about Jan. 6), or Rep. Tom Massie (R-Ky.), who went on Carlson’s show to congratulate him on his deception.

So McCarthy sells out democracy to preserve his title. He gave the security footage to Carlson in the first place because he promised that to the far-right Republicans denying him the speakership during his 15-ballot quinceañera in January.

Even Fox Corp.’s chairman, Rupert Murdoch, has expressed some regret over the network’s role in perpetrating Trump’s “big lie,” saying it should have been “stronger in denouncing it.” The internal documents exposed in the Dominion lawsuit show beyond any doubt that Fox News hosts knew the truth about the 2020 election and yet encouraged viewers night after night to believe Trump’s lies.

Those hosts continue to deceive and manipulate viewers nightly. The same day Carlson aired his Jan. 6 fabrication, Trump said on Sean Hannity’s radio show that he would have been willing to let Vladimir Putin “take over” parts of Ukraine. But when Hannity played excerpts of the interview on Fox News, the network edited out Trump’s proposed surrender.

The latest Fox News lies have proven too much for the Senate GOP leader. Though McConnell has enabled Trump at crucial moments, he said at a news conference this week that it was “a mistake” for Fox News to portray the insurrection “in a way that’s completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official here in the Capitol thinks.”

Yet McCarthy continues to put himself before his country. In just two months on the job, McCarthy “already … has done more than any party leader in Congress to enable the spread of Donald Trump’s Big Lie,” the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, charged on the Senate floor this week. The speaker, he said, “has made our democracy weaker.”

And McCarthy isn’t finished with his depredations. Greene, given a position of influence and respectability by the speaker, is launching a probe, complete with a field trip to a D.C. jail, into the “inhumane treatment” allegedly suffered by the accused insurrectionists awaiting trial. McCarthy has also given the green light to a new probe designed to challenge the conclusions of the Jan. 6 committee. The man who will lead that panel, Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), declared this week that Americans “didn’t see the other side” of the insurrection.

“I think the truth is going to be somewhere between the violent videos and the supposedly peaceful actions there,” he said.

No. The only truth is that Jan. 6 was a violent attack on the seat of American democracy. There was nothing peaceful about an armed insurrection attempting to overturn an election — even if some people there that day weren’t themselves violent.

But that truth — and this democracy — are threatened by a dangerously weak speaker of the House, who has concluded that the only way to preserve his own power is to support Fox News in its sabotage of this country.

Lies, Lies, And Still More Lies

Yesterday came big news … now hold onto your hats, ‘cause this is going to shock you … ready?

Fox ‘News’ Lies!!!

An excerpt from Heather Cox Richardson’s nightly newsletter explains …

Dominion Voting Systems is suing FNC for defamation after FNC personalities repeatedly claimed that the company’s voting machines had corrupted the final tallies in the 2020 election. The filing today shows that those same personalities didn’t believe what they were telling their viewers, and suggests that they made those groundless accusations because they worried their viewers were abandoning them to go to channels that told them what they wanted to hear: that Trump had won the election.

The quotes in the filing are eye-popping:

On November 10, 2020, Trump advisor Steven Bannon wrote to FNC personality Maria Bartiromo: “71 million voters will never accept Biden. This process is to destroy his presidency before it even starts; IF it even starts….  We either close on Trumps [sic] victory or del[e]gitimize Biden…. THE PLAN.”

FNC’s internal fact checks on November 13 and November 20 called accusations of irregularities in the voting “Incorrect” and said there was “not evidence of widespread fraud.”

On November 15, Laura Ingraham wrote to Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity: “Sidney Power is a bit nuts. Sorry, but she is.”

On November 16, Carlson wrote to his producer, Alex Pfeiffer, “Sidney Powell is lying.”

On November 19, FNC chair Rupert Murdoch wrote: “Really crazy stuff.”

Hannity later testified: “[T]hat whole narrative that Sidney was pushing. I did not believe it for one second.”

Fox Politics Editor Chris Stirewalt later testified, “[N]o reasonable person would have thought that,” when asked if it was true that Dominion rigged the election.

The filing claims that FNC peddled a false narrative of election fraud to its viewers because its pro-Trump audience had jumped ship after the network had been the first to call Arizona for Biden, and its ratings were plummeting as Trump loyalists jumped to Newsmax. “I’ve never seen a reaction like this, to any media company,” Carlson wrote to Suzanne Scott, chief executive officer of Fox News, on November 9. “Kills me to watch it.” On November 12, Hannity told Carlson and Ingraham, “In one week and one debate they destroyed a brand that took 25 years to build and the damage is incalculable.”

They went to “war footing” to “protect the brand.” For example, when FNC reporter Jacqui Heinrich accurately fact checked a Trump tweet, correcting him by saying that “top election infrastructure officials” said that “[t]here is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised,” Carlson told Hannity: “Please get her fired. Seriously…. What the f*ck? I’m actually shocked…. It needs to stop immediately, like tonight. It’s measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke.”

Heinrich deleted her tweet. 

The filing says that not a single witness from FNC testified they believed any of the allegations they were making about Dominion. An FNC spokesperson today said, “Dominion has mischaracterized the record, cherry-picked quotes stripped of key context and spilled considerable ink on facts that are irrelevant under black-letter principles of defamation law.”

I have never considered Fox to be a legitimate news venue, which is why I write it as Fox ‘News’ when I refer to them, but this gives us all the evidence we need that their focus is not on accurately reporting the news, but providing entertainment in whatever form gains them the most viewers.  That, my friends, is a damn shame, but the bigger shame is that Fox is the most viewed cable ‘news’ channel in the country!  It is my hope that these latest revelations about Fox’ dereliction of duty to provide accurate, fact-based news will drive viewers back to legitimate news channels, but I’m not holding my breath.

Here is a link to a video clip from PBS Newshour with David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart talking about this.  I fully agree with Brooks’ first remarks about how every journalist will sometimes make mistakes in their reporting, but that the majority of them try to get it right.  Fox wasn’t even trying to get it right … they KNEW they were lying to the public and were only trying to hold onto their bottom line.

Members Of Congress Walk Free

While I was pleased to see the January 6th committee issue recommendations on four counts of criminality for Donald Trump (see Keith’s post for an excellent summation), I must admit to being a bit disappointed on one front.  The committee did make recommendations that four members of Congress should be investigated by the House Ethics Committee, not for their roles in the January 6th attempted coup, but for refusing to testify before the committee.  Numerous members of Congress did, in fact, participate in the attempts to overturn the election and silence the voices of the majority, and personally I consider it a slap in the face to We the People that they are to be allowed to keep their seats in Congress with no accountability for their actions.  Philip Bump, writing for The Washington Post, summed it up well …


Trump’s Jan. 6 enablers in Congress can now exhale

Philip Bump

20 December 2022

The House select committee investigating the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, concluded its work on Monday, releasing part of its report on its findings and a clutch of referrals to the Justice Department for possible criminal investigation. It also released a less explosive set of recommendations: that four members of Congress should be investigated by the House Ethics Committee for failing to comply with the committee’s inquiry.

With that, the door apparently closed on one of the most titillating aspects of the riot, that members of Congress might have been somehow directly involved in the day’s violence. But the door also seems to have closed on another aspect of the post-election period: accountability for members of Congress who eagerly worked to assist Donald Trump’s effort to retain power despite his election loss.

That group had already sidestepped one mechanism for accountability. As The Washington Post reported last week, nearly every member of the House who voted in opposition to recognizing electors from Arizona or Pennsylvania in the hours after the riot — trying to effect through their votes what the mob had been trying to achieve through force — were reelected in last month’s midterm elections. In fact, there’s no obvious evidence that they suffered any political effect for their participation in the effort to block those electors.

But not all of those members of Congress were equivalently invested in preserving Trump’s power. A smaller group, generally closer to the caucus’s rightmost fringe, worked directly with outside groups on promoting the idea that the 2020 election had been stolen and worked with the White House on boosting Trump’s bid to derail his election loss.

Reporting from Talking Points Memo indicates that more than 30 Republican members of Congress communicated with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to offer moral or structural support for Trump’s effort. They passed along unfounded claims of fraud, sent messages of encouragement to the president or, at times, called for a more forceful response to block Joe Biden’s inauguration. In many cases, those legislators were also amplifying false claims about the election to their supporters.

On Nov. 4, 2020, the day after the election, the Twitter account of Rep.-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) was flagged 19 times for sharing false or baseless claims about the election results. She continued to make similar claims in the months that followed; she continues to do so to this day. Greene also participated in a briefing at the White House about the election results (despite not yet serving in Congress) on Dec. 21, 2020, along with a number of other House Republicans including Reps. Mo Brooks (Ala.), Brian Babin (Tex.), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Paul A. Gosar (Ariz.), Andy Harris (Md.), Jody Hice (Ga.), Scott Perry (Pa.) and Jim Jordan (Ohio).

Organizers had planned a series of events centered on Jan. 6 in the weeks before the Capitol riot. One, scheduled for Capitol Hill just as the counting of electoral votes began on that day, was put together by fringe activists working under the “Stop the Steal” banner. The lead organizer, Ali Alexander, identified Greene as a friend who was engaged in trying to prevent Biden’s inauguration.

He also claimed that Biggs, Brooks and Gosar had been involved in planning his event. Alexander is not a trustworthy source of information, and the Capitol Hill rally never materialized as planned. (Greene denied involvement in planning an event, as did Biggs and Brooks. Gosar has not addressed the claim.) A potential lineup of speakers submitted with the group’s permit application, though, lists Greene, Gosar, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) and others as speakers. Another organizer of the combined event program for the day (including Trump’s speech) offered a similar list of elected officials as having participated in the discussions: Biggs, Boebert, Brooks, Gosar and Rep.-elect Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.).

(In the immediate aftermath of the Capitol riot, there was an enormous amount of attention paid to tours of the Capitol complex given by Republican legislators in the days before the riot. There’s no evidence that this was nefarious; it appears to have been primarily a function of unlucky timing.)

These details, though, distract from the broader effort to bolster Trump’s rhetoric. The post-election period offered Republican leaders a choice: build political capital with right-wing voters by siding with Trump’s obviously false and baseless claims of fraud or challenge the sitting president’s rhetoric — including by refusing to amplify it. The elected officials listed above had no qualms about sharing misinformation about the election. In fact, their messages to Meadows often indicate that they may actually have believed the quickly debunked claims they were spreading. Even on Jan. 6 itself, Greene and at least one other elected Republican tried to blame the riot on the political left.

While we talk about the House select committee as being focused on the Capitol riot, the committee’s work covered much of the post-election effort by Trump to retain power. The preliminary report released on Monday explores not only the immediate triggers for the riot but also other parallel efforts by Trump and his allies to keep him in office.

Which makes the committee’s limited condemnations of other elected officials more notable. Despite those legislators having been actively involved in the broader effort and serving in positions that require an oath of fealty to the Constitution, the committee offered only formal objections over the failure of four legislators — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Biggs, Jordan and Perry — to comply with the committee’s requests for information. Instead of doing so, several of them were explicit in casting the committee as illegitimate or partisan, intentionally weakening the potency of the committee’s work.

It’s unlikely that the Ethics Committee will offer much of a slap on the wrist, if any, particularly since that bipartisan committee will soon be chaired by a Republican. Those members of the House who amplified Trump’s false claims, worked to assist with his efforts to retain power, voted to block electors from Arizona and Pennsylvania and then blocked or minimized the investigation undertaken by their colleagues will simply continue to serve in Congress.

On Jan. 3, they will once again take a sworn oath to defend the Constitution, as they did on the same day two years prior.

Second Civil War

Blogging friend Brosephus doesn’t speak often, but when he does, his words have meaning. Today, he asks a relevant question: When does democracy begin to defend itself? Some food for thought here, folks …

The Mind of Brosephus

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the second American Civil War. If you haven’t already realized it, we’ve been living through a war since December 2008. War has not been officially declared, however I’ll suggest that the moment the GOP decided to go full obstruction as opposed to actually governing in the best interest of America was the day the war began.

I can already hear the questions and see the puzzled looks. “What war?” you ask. “Isn’t war supposed to be violent and deadly?” Well, the Cold War between the US and Russia was fought for decades without direct battle. Likewise, the second civil war thus far has not been fought as a traditional war.

This is a war against the Constitution itself, and the fight became visible on January 6, 2021. Since that time, we’ve had numerous people convicted for their actions that day on charges that include seditious…

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“Have You No Sense Of Decency?”

My grandfather fought in WWI, my father fought in WWII … both would be absolutely horrified to see what has happened in this nation in the past decade. People whose ancestors sacrificed time, money, and self for a greater good, have now become whining, petulant adults who cannot see past the tip of their nose, and don’t bother to try.

It was 1954 when attorney Joseph Nye Welch faced then-Senator Joseph McCarthy and uttered the words that would live forever in the annals of history …

“Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness…. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

I pose the same words today to the likes of Representatives Kevin McCarthy, Marge Greene, Lauren Boebert, Andy Biggs, Louis Gohmert, Matt Gaetz … to candidates Herschel Walker, Kari Lake, Blake Masters, Mehmet Oz, Doug Mastriano and J.D. Vance and others … HAVE YOU NO SENSE OF DECENCY???

I’ve done some thinking over the past few days, and perhaps the best thing would be for all the aforementioned people, people without a clue how to govern “for, of, and by the people”, to actually get elected next week.  Let them show their followers, their rabid base, just how inept they are, how unqualified and inexperienced they are.  Let them make a bloody shambles of this country, and then perhaps in 2024, the ignorant will have been enlightened, the proverbial light bulbs will have come on over the heads of those who fell for the lies and rhetoric.  Perhaps then … people will have learned and will elect qualified people, whether Republican or Democrat, to office to repair the damage and clean up the mess left by McCarthy and his band of merry thugs.

Meanwhile, though, how many of us will lose our life’s savings?  How badly damaged will our relations with those we now call allies have become?  How much worse will the ravages of climate change be in two years if the Republicans have their way in rolling back all environmental regulations?  How many of us will be dead … because we couldn’t afford the insulin and other medications we require to stay alive?  How many children will have died of starvation, or seniors because their Social Security was cut, or women because they died of an ectopic pregnancy because removing the non-viable fetus would be rendered ‘murder’ in her state?  And how many asylum seekers … human beings … will have died because the U.S. refused to consider them as … human beings?

Sometimes lessons can only be learned the hard way.  Sometimes the child will only believe that the stove burner is dangerously hot after he places his hand on it and lands in the emergency room for 2nd degree burn treatments.  And sometimes, maybe you have to destroy something, burn it to the ground, before you can rebuild it from the ground up.

So, pull up a chair, bring popcorn, and watch the destruction of a nation that our ancestors once fought for.

Democracy Can’t Afford a Governor Kari Lake

There are so many truly horrible candidates on the ballot this November that I’ve lost count. However, a few stand out in my mind … Oz, Vance, Walker, Mastriano, and Lake for starters. Kari Lake is the most unconscionable woman I can imagine … she has none. My writing partner Jeff over at On the Fence Voters has done a good job of showing us just what Ms. Lake is and I hope Arizona voters are wise enough to keep her OUT of the governor’s mansion! Thanks, Jeff!!!

On The Fence Voters

Kari Lake has a charismatic personality that reflects her years as an Arizona media personality. She talks rapidly, much like carnival barkers Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz in the House of Representatives. And much like the Congressmen above, she lies with impunity. And she does it with self-confidence that ranks right up there with her hero, the disgraced 45th President of the United States.

And, if things do not change fast, Kari Lake will be the new governor of Arizona.

If you care about democracy, and I’m not sure how many Americans do at this point, Kari Lake must be defeated in the November election. If Arizona falls for this demagogue, the rest of us will have to pick up the pieces of what might be left of a democracy in tatters.

Kari Lake is an election denier and blind sycophant to Donald Trump. He’s proudly campaigned for…

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Where Democracy Goes To Die

Jim Marchant is running in the midterms as the Republican candidate for secretary of state in Nevada.  Now, most people don’t pay a lot of attention to state and local candidates or elections – it is the ones at the federal level that grab the bulk of our attention.  But secretary of state is, perhaps, the most important position of all, for it has oversight responsibilities for elections in the state.  Secretaries of state act as the top election officials, and as such can shape how federal elections, including presidential ones, are conducted. Remember how Trump called Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, telling him he wanted him to find 11,780 more votes for Trump?  Fortunately, Raffensperger is an honest man and refused. But back to candidate Marchant …

Marchant said he had investigated what he described as the “rigged election” and had discovered “horrifying” irregularities. He provided no details – an official review of the 2020 count in Nevada, which Joe Biden won by 34,000 votes, found no evidence of mass fraud.  Okay, no surprise there, for we’ve heard that song played over and over again by Republican candidates and we’re frankly a bit tired of hearing it.  But Marchant took it a few steps further …

“When I’m secretary of state of Nevada, we are going to fix it, and when my coalition of secretary of state candidates around the country get elected we’re going to fix the whole country, and President Trump is going to be president again in 2024.”

I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds like a direct threat to rig the election, to do whatever it takes to ensure that Donald Trump wins in two years.  THAT, my friends, is as illegal as anything else I can imagine.  It is … he is basically telling the people of Nevada that their votes will not count after this election, that he and he alone will decide who wins the state of Nevada, or in his words, the “whole country.”

Marchant pushed for fake Trump electors to be sent from Nevada to Congress to try and subvert the 2020 results. In January, he was asked whether he might try to do the same in 2024, and replied: “That is very possible, yes.”

WHY are these election deniers, and especially Marchant, who has already said he will break the law, even on the ballot???  Are there truly no values, no rules, that would demand a bit of integrity from those running for offices that could affect the lives of every person in this nation?  I don’t know about you guys, but I am furious!  This is a slap in the face to We the People, to the taxpayers who give their hard-earned money to pay the salaries of these criminals!  I wonder how Marchant will manage to take his oath of office, to pledge to uphold the Constitution, when he is already plotting to destroy it?  Perhaps it’s easier for these people who have no conscience to begin with.  We can only hope that the people of Nevada are as appalled as I am by his words and that they care enough for the democratic foundations of this country that they send Mr. Marchant packing.

But he is not alone.  At a rally held Saturday before last, October 8th, Marchant named several other candidates for secretaries of state, such as Mark Finchem (Arizona), Kristina Karamo (Michigan), and Audrey Trujillo (New Mexico).  He said, “If we get all of our secretaries of state elected around the country like this, we take our country back.”

Finchem, by the way, participated in the insurrection on the Capitol on January 6th, 2021, as did several candidates running for congressional seats.  In my book, THAT should be absolutely against the law!  Anyone who participated in an attempted coup against the United States government, against We the People, should NEVER have the privilege of sitting in Congress.  Period.  Though we cannot rely heavily on polls, the latest polls show both Marchant and Finchem on a path to win their bids.

I don’t know if the quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin was actually uttered by him, but it’s an apt quote, either way:

“It’s a democracy.  If you can keep it.”

Can we?  Will we?  It’s up to us, my friends.  Up to us.

Post-democracy politics

I had not planned another post today … I typically like to stick to my schedule of two posts plus a music post … but then I came across this post from Brosephus and … every word struck a chord. He is 100% spot on with all he says here and I hope everyone realizes it. Many thanks, Bro!

The Mind of Brosephus

Creator: Ben@bengray.com | Credit: Ben Gray Copyright: Ben Gray

Today starts the early voting period here in Georgia. We’ll hear the usual, “this is the most important election in our lifetime” speech over and over until November. While it gets old, this election is truly important and not just for the residents of Georgia.

Across the country, there are many candidates for office who are election deniers. The majority of GOP candidates on the ballot for November espouse the belief that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. Think of the cognitive dissonance required to believe that Trump lost on the same election where hundreds of Republicans won.

Yet, here we are in 2022 staring at the ballot and there’s a chance that many elections in 2024 will be run by people who believe that very thing. Democracy itself is officially on the ballot and maybe even on life support. Welcome to the world…

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The Facts, Ma’am — Just The Facts

I happened across an article in this morning’s news saying that Kellyanne Conway (remember her, the head bootlicker for a time and inventor of the phrase “alternative facts”) says Trump isn’t lying as much these days.  Yeah, right Kelly … go peddle your own lies somewhere else, for I’m immune to them.  Robert Reich’s column today, however, deals with the lies the Republican Party is relying on to rile the masses and give their candidates a boost on November 8th.  And these are in addition to the Big Lie!!!  Seems to me that if they need so many lies in order to win, their candidates must not be of very high quality.  (Yeah, I know, the understatement of the century 🙄)


The 3 biggest GOP lies of the midterms (in addition to the Big Lie)

Know the truth and spread it.

Robert Reich

17 October 2022

It’s not just the Big Lie. Republicans are telling three other lies they hope will swing the midterms.

They involve crime, inflation, and taxes. 

Here are the GOP’s claims, followed by the facts.

  1. They claim crime is rising because Democrats have been “soft” on crime.

Rubbish. Rising crime rates are due to the proliferation of guns, which Republicans refuse to control.

While violent crime rose 28 percent from 2019 to 2020, gun homicides rose 35 percentStates that have weakened gun laws have seen gun crime surge. Clearly, a major driver of the national increase in violence is the easy availability of guns.

The violence can’t be explained by any of the Republican talking points about “soft on crime” Democrats.

Lack of police funding? No. On average, all cities — whether run by Democrats or Republicans — saw an increase in police funding in 2022.

Criminal justice reforms? No. Wherever bail reforms have been implemented, re-arrest rates remain stable. Data shows no connection between the policies of progressive prosecutors and changes in crime rates.

In fact, crime is rising faster in Republican, Trump-supporting states. In 2020, per capita murder rates were 40 percent higher in states won by Trump than in those won by Joe Biden.

Republican policies have made it easier for people to get and carry guns. Republicans are lying about the real cause of rising crime to protect some of their biggest supporters, big gun manufacturers and the NRA.

  1. Republicans claim that inflation is due to Biden’s spending, and wage increases.

Baloney. Biden’s spending can’t be causing our current inflation because inflation has broken out everywhere around the world, often at much higher rates than in the US. 

Besides, heavy spending by the US government began in 2020, before the Biden administration, in order to protect Americans and the economy from the ravages of COVID-19 — and it was necessary.

Wages can’t be pushing inflation because wages have been increasing at a slower pace than prices — leaving most workers worse off.  

The major cause of the current inflation is the global post-pandemic shortage of all sorts of things, coupled with Putin’s war in Ukraine and China’s lockdowns.

The biggest domestic culprit for America’s current inflation is big corporations that are using inflation as an excuse for raising prices above their own cost increases, resulting in the highest profit margins since 1950 — while consumers are paying through the nose.

The biggest domestic cause of inflation is corporate power. Republicans are lying about this to protect their big corporate patrons.

  1. Republicans say Democrats voted to hire an army of IRS agents who will audit and harass the middle class.

Wrong. The IRS won’t be going after the middle class. It will be going after ultra-wealthy tax cheats.

The Inflation Reduction Act, passed in July, provides funding to begin to get IRS staffing back to what it was before 2010, after which Republicans cut staff by roughly 30 percent, despite increases since then in the number of Americans filing tax returns.

The extra staff are needed to prevent high-end tax evasion, which is more difficult to root out (the ultra-wealthy hire squads of accountants and tax attorneys to hide their taxable incomes). It’s estimated that the richest 1 percent are hiding more than 20 percent of their earnings from the IRS.

The Treasury Department and the IRS have made it clear that audit rates for households earning $400,000 or under will remain same.

Republicans are lying about what the IRS will do with the new funding to protect their ultra-wealthy patrons.

None of these three lies is as brazen and damaging as Trump’s Big Lie. But they’re all being used by Republican candidates in these last weeks before the midterms. 

Know the truth and share it.