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Why Did Major Newspapers Chase Hunter Biden And Airbrush Jared Kushner?

Several of the nation’s leading newspapers failed to thoroughly scrutinize a potentially major scandal involving a president’s close family member using influence in the White House to establish lucrative international business deals.

In this case, the person trying to enrich himself s is none other than former President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, whose multibillion-dollar sweetheart deal with Saudi Arabia has gotten just a fraction of the attention devoted to baseless stories about Hunter Biden.

The contrast could not be clearer. President Joe Biden’s son Hunter never held any official role in the Obama or Biden administrations, but Republicans and their media allies are investigating his business dealings — including those conducted during a period in which it appeared as if his father had permanently retired from politics.

Jared Kushner, on the other hand, had an “unrealistically broad policy portfolio” in his father-in-law’s administration, ranging from health care to foreign policy. Kushner, who served as one of Trump’s closest White House advisers, even reportedly led the administration to its early determination to ignore the COVID-19 pandemic in Democratic-leaning states. And, contrary to Hunter Biden’s private sector work, Kushner’s current business ventures are happening as his father-in-law tries to lay the groundwork for a political comeback in 2024.

Saudi Arabia’s $2 Billion Investment In Kushner’s Firm Raises Serious Questions

Last Sunday, The New York Times reported that, just six months after leaving the White House in 2021, Kushner had secured a $2 billion investment from the Saudi Arabian government to capitalize his newly formed private equity firm Affinity Partners. In addition to comprising the majority of the firm’s initial portfolio, the deal will also pay $25 million in annual fees to Affinity.

Professional Saudi investment analysts had internally questioned the decision to inject capital into the Kushner-led venture, citing Kushner’s inexperience in private equity and the financial risks involved — only for the fund’s board headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the despotic heir apparent in Riyadh and a political ally of Kushner and Trump, to order that the deal should go ahead.

Documents also show Saudi investment fund staff explaining that the deal was made “to form a strategic relationship” with Kushner, rather than on the basis of its financial merit — an outright admission of a political relationship.

During the Trump administration, Kushner helped broker $110 billion in arms sales to the Saudi government, to assist in the ruthless Saudi military intervention in Yemen, while he also provided political cover to the regime after the brutal murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Times reported that ethics experts argue the deal “creates the appearance of potential payback for Mr. Kushner’s actions in the White House — or of a bid for future favor if Mr. Trump seeks and wins another presidential term in 2024.”

USA Today Rewrites Recent History To Scandalize Biden Family

By an eerie coincidence, USA Today also published last Sunday a profile of Valerie Biden Owens, the president’s sister, which appeared on the front page of Monday’s print edition under the headline “President's sister defends 'Joey,' Hunter.”

“Not since John F. Kennedy has a president been surrounded by such a large and close-knit clan, one that has been a source of both emotional support and political trouble for the commander in chief,” wrote the paper’s Washington bureau chief Susan Page. She further asserted, without a hint of irony, “For years, Donald Trump has hammered Joe Biden with accusations of corruption involving multimillion-dollar contracts that son Hunter and brother James won in China and Ukraine when Biden was vice president.”

Even if the Times hadn’t just published the story about Kushner’s deal with the Saudi regime, it would be simply astonishing that Page could write such dramatic statements about the perception of impropriety in the Biden family without acknowledging the well-known history of Trump’s children making millions in overseas business deals during his presidency.

Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner worked in the White House with direct access to sweeping policy portfolios, and Trump’s adult sons were involved with his political campaign while also ostensibly managing his business as his proxies. And, of course, Trump himself used the presidency to routinely patronize his hotels and resorts at government expense, siphoning millions in taxpayer dollars through his properties in Florida, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and even Scotland.

If Page wanted to tell a story about the president’s family serving as a source of “political trouble for the commander in chief,” her fixation on President Biden’s sister is a perplexing choice.

In the past five days, USA Today still has not published anything in its print edition about Kushner’s deal with the Saudi government.

Washington Post Pushes Republican Talking Points About Hunter Biden

Also last Sunday, The Washington Post’s print edition ran a story about Republican accusations against Hunter Biden, titled “Unraveling the tale of Hunter Biden and $3.5 million from Russia.” The story, which first appeared online two days earlier, made the mistake of prioritizing the misleading Republican attacks over explaining the truth of the matter.

For example, after opening with two accusatory quotes from Trump and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who had every reason to launder their political smear through the press, the article waited until seven paragraphs later to actually declare, “We found no evidence that Hunter Biden was part of those transactions.” So, what exactly was the news value of reprinting these Republican lies?

Two articles the Post published in response to the Times story about Kushner’s actual deal with the Saudis could have been useful counterweights to the Republican smear campaign currently targeting the president’s son.

Post staff writer Aaron Blake wrote an article titled, “After Trump’s contentious courtship of the Saudis, $2B for Jared Kushner,” which detailed how Kushner may have secured his financial backers through political favors. Furthermore, national correspondent Philip Bump also wrote a piece titled “You say a president’s relative is part of iffy international deals?” which confronted the right-wing fixation with Hunter Biden by juxtaposing it with the seemingly obvious corruption inherent in Kushner’s investment firm.

But, unfortunately, these articles appeared only online and not in the paper’s print edition, where prime real estate was reserved for rehashing attacks on Biden.

The Wall Street Journal Hammers “Hunter’s Laptop,” But Remains Silent On Jared

The Wall Street Journal, the quasi-respectable news operation of the Murdoch media empire, has not run any articles on Kushner’s business deals. However, opinion writer Holman W. Jenkins Jr. ran a column in Thursday’s print edition titled “Media Bias and Hunter’s Laptop,” with the somewhat ironic declaration, “The press won’t claw back its credibility until it admits why it buried the story.”

In the past, the Journal’s news side actually helped to debunk Republican accusations against Joe Biden regarding his son’s business deals, during the controversy over Trump’s attempted extortion of the Ukrainian government in an effort to create political dirt against the Biden family. However, the opinion side summarily ignored it at the time.

Methodology

Media Matters searched articles in the Factiva database for The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and USA Today for the term “Kushner” and any of the terms “Saudi,” “crown prince,” “Salman,” “billion,” or “fund” within the headline or lead paragraph from April 8, 2022, through April 13, 2022. We also searched articles in the Factiva database for the same newspapers for the term “Hunter” in the headline or lead paragraph during the same time period.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters. Research contributions from Rob Savillo.

Who Cares If Anti-Vaxxers Quit Their Jobs?

Reprinted with permission from PressRun

Wringing its hands at the sight of workers walking away from jobs when faced with simple vaccine mandates, the Wall Street Journal over the weekend became the latest national news outlet to shower attention on the topic.

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Remember When DeSantis 'Won The Pandemic'?

Reprinted with permission from Press Run

Florida has become a Covid-19 debacle, again.

Now accounting for one-in-every five new cases nationwide, the Sunshine State under Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has emerged as a beacon of irresponsibility. Not that he seems to care.

Off visiting Texas recently to take part in more GOP photo-ops at the border, DeSantis often brushes off the pandemic bad news. "It's a seasonal virus and this is the seasonal pattern it follows in the Sun Belt states," he said this week. (He blamed "quote-unquote 'experts'" for criticizing the unvaccinated.) The governor is busy though, selling anti-vaccine merchandise, like "Don't Fauci My Florida" t-shirts.

Question: Does the Beltway press care about the state's drastic Covid U-turn? This spring, journalists lionized DeSantis' supposed virus leadership— it was Politico that announced, "How Ron DeSantis Won the Pandemic." This, after 30,000 Floridians had already died from the virus.

This is the same DeSantis who spent last year trying to silence scientists, covering up data, rescinding mask ordinances, playing down the virus' threat, fighting with the Florida press, and portraying himself as a maverick under attack. He even foolishly placed one million orders of hydroxychloroquine in tribute to Trump.

The irony is that DeSantis is now facing a Covid crisis specifically because his supporters — Republicans — aren't getting vaccinated at the same rate as others in the state. If they were, Florida, and the rest of the country, would be approaching herd immunity. Instead, the proudly unvaccinated MAGA's are driving the Florida meltdown, with some counties reporting that new cases are coming 100 percent from those who refused to get the shot. Still, DeSantis won't act. He won't lead.

The Orlando Sentinel editorial page recently read the governor the riot act over his dereliction of duty:

At the moment, it's as if DeSantis has washed his hands of the matter and moved on to elections, borders, critical race theory, mocking Fauci or whatever else will get him a headline.
And every few days, nearly as many people are dying from COVID as died in the recent collapse of a condominium in South Florida.
Please, governor, we're begging you, handle the COVID problem. Be a leader.

How bad is Florida?

• New Covid cases are up nearly 200 percent over the past two weeks.

• Florida is third in the nation in per capita increases, accounting for nearly 20 perecent of the entire nation's new infections.

•The rate of positive tests is now well above 10 percent.

• Florida now boasts the fourth-highest rate of hospitalizations and the nation's highest average for daily deaths.

•The state's vaccination rate, 57 percent, remains a mediocre embarrassment.

• The Sunshine State has the second lowest rate of vaccinated nursing home workers in the country.

All of this makes the media's torrent of DeSantis valentines earlier this year look inexcusable. Beltway scribes lined up to tell the same story over and over: Democratic critics were wrong about DeSantis, Covid, and Florida, and now he's riding high within the GOP. They eagerly held him up as a rare Republican Covid star, pushing GOP talking points about how DeSantis had steered the Sunshine State into "boom" times.

"After a year of criticism by health experts, mockery from comedians and blistering critiques from political rivals, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is standing unabashedly tall among the nation's governors on the front lines of the coronavirus fight," CNN cheered, adding that DeSantis remained "defiant and combative."

"Vindication for Ron DeSantis," the Wall Street Journal announced.

Politico applauded the "wonky" Florida governor and his Covid-fueled rise in Republican politics: "Conservatives are relishing the contrast and holding up DeSantis as an example of effective governance." In a report about Florida's supposed Covid success story, the New York Times quoted DeSantis bragging, "If you look at South Florida right now, this place is booming." (No Democratic officials were quoted in the Times piece to offer a counter perspective.)

I understand why DeSantis' communications teams wanted to get those stories placed in the national press — he clearly has his eyes on a White House run. But why did Beltway journalists play along and type up a series of extended press releases, pretending that DeSantis alone had figured out how to defeat a global pandemic by battling health officials urging caution and common sense?

As the Delta variant runs wild, will journalists who lauded DeSantis in the spring admit they got the story wrong, and tell the truth about the Covid disaster that Florida has become?

Right-Wing Media Using Texas Disaster To Discredit Clean Energy

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Extreme winter storms wreaked havoc across the United States over the weekend, causing widespread power outages in Texas. As many people are wondering why the largest energy-producing state in the country is facing widespread power failures amid below-freezing temperatures, Fox News' answer is to blame the state's reliance on wind energy. But while renewable energy sources such as wind are a familiar and convenient scapegoat for Fox -- allowing the network to feed fears about clean energy and the Green New Deal that it has long nurtured -- this narrative is flat wrong.

Fox's Big "Frozen Windmill" Lie

On the February 15 edition of Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight, the host not only suggested that the freezing temperatures that hit Texas bring into question the very existence of global warming, but he also claimed that the state's inability to keep the lights on was due to its "reckless reliance on windmills," which he even acknowledged account for only "a quarter of the energy" makeup in Texas (with the majority of power coming from natural gas and coal). To discuss the outages, host Tucker Carlson invited climate denier and frequent Fox guest Marc Morano, who once claimed CO2 is not pollution because we exhale it.

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Fox's morning opinion- and so-called "news"-side shows picked up on Carlson's misleading narrative -- pinning the Texas outages exclusively on wind energy while largely failing to acknowledge that the state is overwhelmingly reliant on fossil fuels.

Coverage of the outages during the February 16 edition of Fox & Friends First ran under the chyron "Texas Power Issues Blamed on Frozen Wind Turbines." Fox & Friends framed discussion of the outages around the question of whether this is "what America would look like under the Green New Deal" and enlisted climate skeptic Bjorn Lomborg to respond. Lomborg, who is part of the Koch network and has long been a proponent of fossil fuels, spewed outdated and false information about the reliability of renewable energy.

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America's Newsroom anchor Dana Perino similarly framed a discussion of the outages with Fox contributor and Wall Street Journal columnist Bill McGurn around "raising questions about the Lone Star State's increasing reliance on renewable energy." Perino went on to read extensively from the Journal's February 16 editorial, which similarly blamed the outages on green energy and baselessly fearmongered that "the Biden Administration's plan to banish fossil fuels is a greater existential threat to Americans than climate change."

On The Faulkner Focus, anchor Harris Faulkner explicitly tied the outages to President Joe Biden's climate proposal, claiming, "Texas, for example, is shifting toward renewables and being called into question along with the Biden administration's climate plan." Faulkner's segment on the outages also leaned on the misleading and agenda-driven arguments of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board and Tucker Carlson.

Long-standing issues with Texas' energy grid, not frozen wind turbines, are the main culprits behind the state's wave of power outages

In addition to his February 15 segment, Carlson penned an opinion piece for the Fox New website framed around the easily disprovable statement: "The Green New Deal has come, believe it or not, to the state of Texas." Carlson asserted in the piece that the state's power grid failed because "the windmills froze," a claim that has been repeated and amplified by Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and fringe elements of the right-wing media echosphere.

But what really happened in Texas was easily foreseeable by those who follow the state's energy sector and has been discussed at length by local news outlets and public officials, including Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

The historic, devastating winter storm did freeze wind turbine blades, but as Bloomberg noted, "the region's grid operator made clear that power plants -- across all resources -- had tripped offline. And in fact, data from the grid operator shows generation from wind farms has actually been exceeding the agency's forecasts in recent days." The Washington Post's Energy 202 blog reported that Carlson and the Wall Street Journal editorial board's blaming wind energy for the grid's failure "is misleading," adding: "While Texas's capacity to generate energy from the wind is down with some turbines seized up, most of the power generation offline during the cold spell was supposed to come from traditional thermal plants, Texas's grid operator said Monday."

Local Texas energy experts were even more vociferous in their criticism of the state's grid failure, placing most of the blame on the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). As an energy fellow at the University of Houston told the Houston Chronicle, the grid "limped along on underinvestment and neglect until it finally broke under predictable circumstances."

This criticism was echoed by David Tuttle, a research associate at University of Texas at Austin's Energy Institute. Tuttle noted that Texas' electric generating plants never winterized, despite recommendations from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation that were issued following an investigation of the blackouts that occurred during a devastating ice storm in 2011. By never mandating these winterization recommendations, Texas public officials increased the likelihood of this unfortunate history repeating itself.

Summarizing the problems faced by the power grid in Texas during the winter storm and the way forward in its wake, TechCrunch author Jonathan Shieber wrote:

The current blackouts have nothing to do with renewables and everything to do with cold weather slowing down natural gas production because of freeze-offs and spiking demand for heating at the same time.
As Dr. Emily Grubert, an assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and, by courtesy, of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology, noted, the problem is more of a total systems issue than one associated with renewable power.
"Let us be absolutely clear: if there are grid failures today, it shows the existing (largely fossil-based) system cannot handle these conditions either," Grubert wrote on Twitter. "These are scary, climate change-affected conditions that pose extreme challenges to the grid. We are likely to continue to see situations like this where our existing system cannot easily handle them. Any electricity system needs to make massive adaptive improvements.

The Inconvenient Truth

The outages in Texas highlight how the changing climate is poised to test our power sector and the assumptions that underpin it -- both in Texas and throughout the rest of the country.

While it's true that human-caused climate change is making extreme cold events less likely overall, it is also increasing average air temperatures and thus the amount of moisture the air can hold, which means prolonged cold can yield even greater snowfall. And as Climate Signals notes, "Climate change is also linked to the destabilization of the jet stream, which can lead to outbreaks of Arctic air."

CBS This Morning's meteorologist and climate specialist Jeff Berardelli explained this relationship between climate change and the Texas storm on the program this morning.

But right-wing media and their political allies would be remiss if they let the truth interfere with their efforts to propagate a lie against green energy and climate policies.

In its coverage of the Texas power outages, Fox is deliberately attempting to steer the conversation away from climate change and the shortcomings of our reliance on fossil fuels -- in this case, it's using a well-worn and bogus script against renewable energy to erode support for the Biden administration's plan to transition to a clean energy economy. These efforts to ignore our climate reality are especially dangerous as science predicts more frequent and devastating aberrant and extreme weather events are yet to come.

Biden Is Already Uniting America -- His Agenda Is Wildly Popular

Reprinted with permission from Press Run

As Democrats maneuver to pass a $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill to rescue the U.S. economy, journalists are using the fact that most Republicans oppose the emergency legislation to to raise doubts about President Joe Biden's ability to "unify" the country. Instead of marveling at the fact that the GOP stands poised to reject a bill that is highly popular with voters and would send generous payments to tens of millions of American families, the press keeps its focus on Democrats, while missing the larger story.

Echoing the Republican narrative that Biden is supposed to surrender this agenda to the party out of power days after being sworn into office (that's not how elections work), journalists are misreading the "unity" story. At a White House press briefing during Biden's first week as president, a reporter demanded to know, "When are we going to see one of those substantial outreaches that says, 'This is something the Republicans want to do, too'?"

The press insists that Biden's welcome call for unity, following a bloody insurrection inside the U.S. Capitol last month, now means that any policy push by him is divisive because Republicans oppose it.

The focus on the Beltway political process misses the more meaningful story that continues to unfold in the early weeks of the Biden presidency — he is "unifying" the country because his agenda is wildly popular. Unlike the divisive and unpopular agenda that Trump pushed, and the way he governed by caring only about his Republican base, Biden's first weeks in office have been marked by polling that shows deep public support for his domestic and foreign initiatives. That's key because being a leader who can "unify" the country is more important that being a leader who can pick up some Republican votes in Congress.

The dirty little secret the press doesn't like to dwell on, as it excitedly plays up the "unify" theme? Republicans are committed to opposing Biden, period. Just as they were committed to opposing President Barack Obama. The party's radical obstruction has become so normalized over the last decade that journalists no longer recognize it. Instead, they start legislative conversations from a mythical starting point, assuming there are lots of open-minded Republicans who are willing to support Democratic legislation if the Democratic president would properly court them. (Barack Obama criticized for not knowing how to schmooze his opponents, as if that were the reason they wouldn't budge.)

Following the Republicans' radical obstruction of a Democratic-sponsored gun law in the wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre in Connecticut in 2012, a bill that enjoyed 90 percent public support, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) admitted that most of his Republican colleagues refused to allow a vote in favor because they didn't want a Democratic president to get a 'win.' "There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it," said Toomey.

That GOP partisanship has only hardened today. Yet the press' focus remains fixed on how Democrats can achieve two-party cooperation in the name of unifying the country.

Biden's already doing that. He began his presidency 25 points more popular than Trump, and then began signing a flurry of executive orders designed to eradicate his predecessor's most divisive policies. While Republicans whined about the moves not "uniting" the country, polling show that many of Biden's executive orders enjoy overwhelming public support. They include banning workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation (83 percent support), requiring masks be worn on federal property (75 percent), overturning the ban on transgender people being able to serve in the military (71 percent), restarting the federal DACA program to protect undocumented "Dreamer" children (65 percent), rejoining the World Health Organization (62 percent), and rejoining the Paris climate according (59 percent).

The list goes on and on as Biden forges a path with policy markers that unify the country.

That includes the proposed Covid relief bill. Depicted in the press as being a deeply partisan and divisive issue, simply because the Republican Party stands opposed to the Democratic legislation, the bill enjoys sweeping support nationwide. Nearly 80 percent of Americans support sending $1,400 checks, 79 percent support federal assistance for state and local governments, and 73 percent are in favor of extending unemployment benefits. Even among Republican voters, the Democrats' $1.9 trillion relief bill gets higher approval marks than does Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

Politically, the bill represents a home run for Democrats, but the Associated Press depicts it as a "dilemma" for them because Republicans oppose it. (Why isn't it a "dilemma" for the GOP?) And The Wall Street Journal stressed that Biden faced a "big decision" whether to pass the bill even if all Republicans objected. (Spoiler: He does not.)

Meanwhile, Biden continues to garner high marks for his leadership on fighting the pandemic, the most pressing issue facing the country.

Biden is already helping to unify the country, even if Republicans and the press don't want to acknowledge it.


Wall Street Journal ‘Sanitizes’ Rep. Greene’s Bloodthirsty Behavior

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The Wall Street Journal editorial board says Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's endorsement of assassinating the Speaker of the House, a former U.S. president, and two former U.S. secretaries of state is merely "nutty," and "cuckoo rhetoric."

"On Thursday, under pressure from all sides, Ms. Greene disavowed her past cuckoo rhetoric," the WSJ editorial says.

"Everyone agrees Ms. Greene's past social-media posts were nutty. But it's a troubling precedent for the House majority party to overrule the committee assignments of the minority, based on a politician's words before taking office," the editorial reads.

Really? Not everyone. Most believe they are far worse than "nutty" or "cuckoo."

Are they unaware of all of the QAnon Congresswoman's offenses?

Rep. Greene is a "backer of the violent and absurd 'Frazzledrip' conspiracy theory, which is linked to QAnon and Pizzagate," Media Matters reports, "and essentially claims that Hillary Clinton and former aide Huma Abedin sexually assaulted a child, filleted her face, wore her face like a mask, and then drank her blood as part of a satanic ritual to ingest something called adrenochrome."

To the Journal editorial board, that's apparently not as big deal, and not deserving of stripping a member of Congress from their committee assignments.

"Greene also liked a meme that was posted to her Facebook page in June 2018 claiming that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Clinton, former President Barack 'Obama and their Democrat friends … can't have Trump repeal DACA as it would show DACA was used by them … for human trafficking pedophilia in high places and organ harvesting,'" Media Matters also reported.

Again, no big deal to the WSJ editorial board.

Those are just a few of the many vile and offensive beliefs Greene has promoted.

The sub-head of the editorial board's editorial reads: "House Republicans fail to oblige the Democratic desire for GOP civil war."

That is what the Journal, part of Rupert Murdoch's vast right wing propaganda machine, including Fox News (now facing a $2.7 billion lawsuit) is worried about.

CNN's Andrew Kaczynski, who has co-authored several investigative articles about Rep. Greene, says the WSJ is "sanitizing" the QAnon Congresswoman:

Karl Rove Signals GOP Donors To Push Rewrite Of Election Laws

This article was produced by Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute

Hours after President Biden declared that "democracy has prevailed" during his inaugural address, longtime Republican strategist Karl Rove urged Republicans to pressure GOP election officials to create "a model election code" and change the two voting options that led to the 2020 presidential election's record turnout.

"Republicans should...encourage GOP secretaries of state and state lawmakers to develop a model election code," Rove wrote in a January 20 commentary for the Wall Street Journal titled "The Republican Future Starts Now."

"The job of proposing electoral reforms shouldn't be based on the unsupported claims of widespread fraud peddled by Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell," Rove continued. "Instead, the goal should be to suggest measures that restore public confidence in our democracy. How do states with extensive mail-in and early voting like Florida and Texas get it right?"

Rove's commentary comes as Republican-majority legislatures in battleground states such as Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Arizona have proposed bills or convened hearings to review the laws that allowed people to vote early in person or with mailed-out ballots in 2020.

"Whenever Karl Rove writes a piece in the Wall Street Journal, the history of it suggests that Democrats should pay careful attention," said David Daley, author of Unrigged: How Americans are Battling Back to Save Democracy. "Because the Wall Street Journal is where Republicans can signal to their donor class their key projects."

In March 2010, Rove penned a Journal commentary openly discussing the GOP's REDMAP project, which targeted 107 state legislative seats that "would give them control of drawing district lines for nearly 190 congressional seats." REDMAP succeeded, creating GOP majority legislatures and congressional delegations in the otherwise purple states of Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Alabama.

The website of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which drafts model bills for social conservatives and economic libertarians, has not yet promoted election reforms on its website. However, ALEC linked to the Conservative Action project, which posted a defense of the GOP lawmakers who opposed certifying the Electoral College slates from Arizona and Pennsylvania. The expanded use of voting via mailed-out ballots and early voting must be examined, it said.

"The 2020 election was conducted in an unprecedented manner: largely by mail, and in a way that overwhelmed the capacities of many states. It is not at all unreasonable to review the manner in which votes were counted," said the Conservative Action Project memo, which was signed by more than 100 activists and organizations. "Indeed, if the goal is to restore faith in future elections, then a comprehensive review and analysis to determine what went wrong, what went right, and what is in need of reform should be a critical next step."

Daley, whose prior book, Ratf*cked, profiled REDMAP and its impacts on the past decade's political battles and extreme politics, said Rove's commentary was a warning sign.

"Whenever Rove writes in the Wall Street Journal, it not to be a public intellectual but to put ideas in front of the Republican donor class," he said. "It fits perfectly with much of the Republican strategy on voter suppression."

"So much of it sounds reasonable," Daley continued, referring to the suggestion that a model election code be developed and embraced. "How can you be opposed to a blue-ribbon bipartisan commission that is going to step back and ensure that our elections are free, fair, and secure? Except, that's not actually their intention, because we just had an election that was free, fair, and secure. And [Sens.] Hawley and Cruz and 130-plus Republicans in the House voted to decertify [the popular vote results and Electoral College slates from] Pennsylvania and Arizona—even after a Republican governor [in Arizona] signed off on certification."

Already, Republican legislators in 2020 battleground states held hearings where they are badgering statewide election officials —some elected Democrats, some career civil servants — about decisions they took last fall that made it easier to vote with absentee ballots.

For example, on Thursday in Pennsylvania, Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, a Democrat, was pressed by Republican representatives for advising county election officials to count the returned mailed-out ballots of people who forgot to put their ballots in a secrecy sleeve. The state's Supreme Court subsequently ruled that the "naked" ballots should be disqualified.

"You disagree with the decision that was rendered by the Supreme Court?" Rep. Ryan McKenzie, a Republican, asked Boockvar.

"It doesn't matter whether I disagree with a decision rendered by the Supreme Court, because the Supreme Court's rule governs," she replied. "But what I would say is, and maybe this is part of your question, do I think that is the right approach for voters for making sure that every eligible voter's vote counts? No, I'd love to see the legislature change that law and say, 'Look, if a voter makes a mistake that does not have anything to do with their eligibility or their qualifications, such as a naked ballot, that vote should still count."

The Thursday legislative hearing was one of 14 that are slated in Pennsylvania to review voting laws and administrative rules that were in effect during the 2020 election. A separate GOP-sponsored proposal would create districts for electing state Supreme Court judges. If put into effect, it could become a judicial gerrymander to recast Pennsylvania's appellate courts—including the Supreme Court.

Steven Rosenfeld is the editor and chief correspondent of Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He has reported for National Public Radio, Marketplace, and Christian Science Monitor Radio, as well as a wide range of progressive publications including Salon, AlterNet, The American Prospect, and many others.

Wall Street Journal Editorial Rebukes Trump For ‘Embarrassing’ Ploy To Overturn Election

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

It may seem as if President Donald Trump has done everything he possibly could to overturn the results of the presidential election but his most "embarrassing" ploy is likely yet to come, according to the Wall Street Journal editorial board.

According to an editorial published Wednesday night, Trump's worst attempt to invalidate President-elect Joe Biden's win will likely come on January 6 during the Congressional hearing to formally record the Electoral College votes affirmed on Dec. 14.

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