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GOP Suffers Major Setback In Quest To Control House

Between President Joe Biden’s weak approval ratings, gerrymandering, and voter suppression, many pundits have been predicting that Republicans will retake the U.S. House of Representatives in November. But that remains to be seen, and Republican gerrymandering was dealt a blow in the Midwest this week when the Ohio Supreme Court — including Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor — struck down the congressional map that Ohio Republicans had in mind for the Buckeye State.

On top of that, Rep. John Katko of upstate New York has announced that he won’t be seeking reelection — which is more bad news for the GOP. Katko is one of the Republicans who is moderate enough to fare well among centrist Democrats and swing voters in his state. Neither of these problems is necessarily decisive for control of the House, but if 2022 ends up being close, a few seats on the margin could make all the difference.

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled, 4-3, that the map violated the state’s constitution by drawing the districts to unfairly favor one party over another. Columbus Dispatch reporters Jessie Balmert and Laura A. Bischoff note that the map “could have given Republicans as much as a 12-3 advantage in a state that voted for President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump twice.”

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Michael Donnelly, who was part of the majority opinion, argued, “When the dealer stacks the deck in advance, the house usually wins.”

Article reprinted with permission from Alternet

'Deficit Hawk’ Greene Profits From U.S. Debt — And Budget Brinksmanship

During her year in Congress, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia has tried to paint herself as a hardcore fiscal conservative — angrily slamming President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for increasing the United States’ federal deficit even though she never had a problem with former President Donald Trump doing that. But according to the Daily Beast’s Roger Sollenberger, the far-right MAGA Republican has found a way to profit from the government debt she complains about.

“Last September, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) called for a shutdown to stop government spending,” Sollenberger explains. “Four days later, she lent the government money. Financial disclosures show that on September 21, the anti-government conspiracy theorist bought between $250,000 and $500,000 in U.S. Treasury bills — low-yield financial instruments that help the government fund the debt and pay expenses such as salaries.”

In May 2021, Greene was among the Republicans who co-sponsored a bill introduced by Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona: the Recognizing the National Debt as a Threat to National Security Act.

Sollenberger comments, “Greene must not think it’s much of a threat: The T-bill purchase was her largest transaction of the year, and it’s not even close. Greene, who is a multimillionaire, has traded heavily in securities since she joined Congress a year ago, executing 76 purchases and 14 sales. Of those 90 transactions, the second-largest purchase range behind the T-bill buy was between $15,001 and $50,000 — a difference of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Congressional disclosures only give dollar amounts in ranges.”

Liberal economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman predicted that when Biden was sworn in as president, Republicans who had no problem with the federal deficit when Trump was president would magically rediscover fiscal conservatism — and sure enough, Republicans are now worried about government debt once again. One of them is unwavering Trump sycophant Greene.

“In her short time in Congress,” Sollenberger observes, “Greene has endorsed multiple government shutdowns over Democratic spending packages…. Last month Greene was back at it, calling to ‘shut it down’ over the $29 trillion national debt she had just supported with her own money.”

Article reprinted with permission from Alternet

Supreme Court Abortion Ruling May Threaten DeSantis Reelection Prospects

When Palm Beach County District Attorney Dave Aronberg appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Thursday, January 13, the South Florida Democrat wasn’t bullish on his party’s chances of unseating Gov. Ron DeSantis in Florida’s 2022 gubernatorial election. But there was a major caveat: Aronberg believes that if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade this summer, that could derail DeSantis’ chances of winning a second term.

“He is in great shape to win his reelection because he is going to have like $100 million in campaign funds,” the prosecutor told Morning Joe hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. “He has become a national MAGA figure, and he is getting tons of money from outside the state. And we have three Democrats running for governor right now, and they’re not raising nearly the money DeSantis is. But in the end, Florida is somewhat of a swing state.”

Aronberg, a frequent critic of Florida’s far-right governor, added that how the high court rules on Roe v. Wade could pull the rug out from under DeSantis. If Roe v. Wade is overturned later this year, Aronberg argued, DeSantis’ anti-abortion views could work against him in November and fire up pro-choice voters in the Sunshine State — which, Aronberg stressed, is not a deep red state like Mississippi.

“If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, they’ll do so in the summer right before his reelection,” Aronberg told Scarborough and Brzezinski. “DeSantis just came out and said he would support a Mississippi-style abortion bill. Well, that may work in Mississippi and other southern states, but Florida is different. That’s the kind of thing that shows he’s out of touch with Floridians and could jeopardize, what seems to many, a certain reelection.”

Conservative strategist Rick Wilson, a Florida-based Never Trumper, has described Florida as a swing state where Democrats “struggle” in statewide elections and have a hard time getting past the finish line.

When DeSantis defeated former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a liberal/progressive Democrat, in Florida’s 2018 gubernatorial election, he did so by less than one percent. Then in 2020, now-President Joe Biden lost Florida to then-President Donald Trump by around three percent (compared to 26 percent in Alabama or 16 percent in Mississippi). ‘

Article reprinted with permission from Alternet

Ultra-Right Trump Appointee Remains On Federal Holocaust Memorial Panel

In 2018, far-right MAGA conspiracy theorist Darren Beattie was fired from a position as a Trump White House speechwriter because of the revelation that in 2016, he had appeared on a panel with Peter Brimelow, founder of the anti-immigrant hate site VDare. But in November 2020, then-President Donald Trump gave Beattie a three-year appointment to the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad — and Beattie remains in that position even though his critics want President Joe Biden to fire him.

Beattie, according to Business Insider’s Tom Porter, “gained new prominence in recent weeks promoting conspiracy theories about the Capitol riot, earning public praise from Trump.”

“Both Beattie and a spokesperson [for] the commission confirmed that he continues to serve on the body,” Porter reports. “His term is due to end on February 27, beyond which, he can continue to serve if he chooses.”

Beattie has been promoting the baseless conspiracy theory that FBI agents were behind the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol Building.

When Beattie, who is Jewish, was appointed to the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad in November 2020, the Anti-Defamation League slammed Trump for appointing him. ADL Director Jonathan Greenblatt stated, “It is absolutely outrageous that someone who has consorted with racists would even be considered for a position on a commission devoted to preserving Holocaust memorials in Europe. We urge the (Trump) Administration to rescind his appointment immediately.”

Now, almost a year into Biden’s presidency, the ADL is still speaking out against Beattie’s presence on the Commission.

ADL spokesman Jake Hyman told Business Insider, “Since Beattie's appointment to the Commission in November 2020, he has continued to spread outrageous and deeply harmful falsehoods and misinformation, including about the January 6 insurrection, that are at odds with serving in such positions of official responsibility. We retain our view that Beattie, who once attended an event with white supremacists and participated in a panel discussion with White nationalist Peter Brimelow, should have no place on a commission that plays a special role preserving Jewish heritage sites from before the Holocaust.”

Vanderbilt University’s David Eric Lewis and Stanford Law School Professor Anne O'Connell both told Business Insider that Biden has the power to fire Beattie if he chooses.

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet


Prominent QAnon Anti-Vaxxer Who Called For Fauci 'To Be Hung' Dies Of Covid

QAnon supporter Cirsten Weldon was among the far-right anti-vaxxers and coronavirus truthers who railed against COVID-19 vaccines in 2021 — and on Thursday, January 6, according to The Daily Beast, she died of COVID-19.

Weldon, who called for Dr. Anthony Fauci — President Joe Biden’s top White House medical adviser — to be executed, was known for posting videos of herself berating people who were waiting in line to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Weldon falsely claimed that COVID-19 vaccines were dangerous, and she said that Fauci “needs to be hung from a rope.”

The Daily Beast’s Will Sommer reports, “Cirsten Weldon had amassed tens of thousands of followers across right-wing social media networks by promoting the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy under the screenname CirstenW.’ She was prominent enough to become a sort of QAnon interpreter for comedian conspiracy theorist Roseanne Barr and started recording videos about QAnon with her.”

In one of her videos, Sommer notes, Weldon can be seen yelling at people who were waiting to get vaccinated for COVID-19 — saying, “The vaccines kill, don’t get it! This is how gullible these idiots are. They’re all getting (the) vaccine!”

Weldon became ill in December, describing her symptoms in her videos and saying that she had “bacterial pneumonia.” But she continued to oppose COVID-19 vaccines.

In a December 27, 2021 video posted on Facebook, Weldon told viewers, “I didn't think I was going to make it. I'm sorry. I'm exhausted, and I have no — I'm very, very weak. I have no strength. I haven't eaten in four days.” Weldon described having “fever, chills, sweats.”

According to Sommer, Weldon posted her final video on December 28, 2021 and was “hospitalized in Camarillo, California” three days later.

Sommer points out that Weldon is “just the latest instance of a far-right personality who opposed vaccination being killed by the virus.” Others have included radio host Douglas Kuzma, who died on January 3 — only three days before Weldon — and QAnon supporter Robert David Steele, who described COVID-19 as a “hoax” before dying from it in August 2021. QAnon supporter Veronica Wolski, another anti-vaxxer, died of COVID-19 the following month.

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

'There Could Be Peril': Graham Advised Trump To Ditch January 6 Press Event

Former President Donald Trump planned to hold a press conference in Florida, his adopted state, on the one-year anniversary of the January 6, 2021 insurrection. But Trump, according to Associated Press reporter Jill Colvin, canceled that event and will instead “be discussing his grievances” at a rally in Arizona in mid-January.

“Trump continues to falsely insist the election was ‘stolen’ and that the ‘real’ insurrection was on Election Day, November 3, 2020, the day Democrat Joe Biden won the votes that led to his 306-232 Electoral College victory,” Colvin notes. “Federal and state election officials, Trump’s own attorney general and numerous judges — including some he appointed — have all said repeatedly that the election was fair and that there is no credible evidence of serious fraud.”

In an official statement released on Tuesday night, January 4, Trump wrote, “In light of the total bias and dishonesty of the January 6th Unselect Committee of Democrats, two failed Republicans, and the Fake News Media, I am canceling the January 6th Press Conference at Mar-a-Lago on Thursday, and instead will discuss many of those important topics at my rally on Saturday, January 15th, in Arizona.”

One Republican ally who urged Trump to cancel the press conference he had in mind for January 6 was Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. The conservative senator told Axios he advised Trump that “there could be peril in doing a news conference” and that it was “best to focus on election reform instead.”

Axios’ Jonathan Swan notes that Fox News’ Laura Ingraham also advised Trump against going forward with a January 6 event.

Swan reports, “House and Senate leaders had no involvement in planning Trump's event — which they viewed as a political headache. They were quietly relieved when they saw his statement Tuesday evening announcing he was canceling the press conference. The withdrawal leaves Steve Bannon and Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) as perhaps the only high-profile Trump allies willing to go on the offense through media appearances Thursday.”

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Karl Rove Has A Blistering Message For Defenders Of January 6

When the one-year anniversary of the January 6, 2021 assault on the U.S. Capitol Building was approaching, many Republicans were downplaying the insurrectionist violence that occurred — and Fox News’ Tucker Carlson has even defended the rioters. But veteran GOP strategist Karl Rove forcefully condemned the attack in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published the day before the anniversary. And Election Law Blog’s Ned Foley is applauding Rove’s willingness to ask Republicans how they would have responded if the rioters had been Democrats rather than supporters of former President Donald Trump.

“Karl Rove’s column yesterday is noteworthy for its strong condemnation of his fellow Republicans who refuse to condemn the attempt at election subversion perpetrated last January 6,” Foley observes his Election Law Blog post. “It is especially valuable for its invocation of a device that is essential when any of us, given our own partisan feelings and affiliations, strive to determine what fair electoral competition requires from an impartial perspective: what if the shoe were on the other foot, so to speak, and roles were reversed?”

Some far-right conspiracy theorists have been claiming that the militant leftist movement Antifa was behind the January 6, 2021 insurrection — something there is absolutely zero evidence of. It was a MAGA crowd, not leftists, who attacked the U.S. Capitol Building in the hope of preventing Congress from certifying now-President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over Trump.

Rove didn’t sugarcoat the truth in his Journal op-ed, and he had enough intellectual honesty to say that Republicans wouldn’t be giving Democrats a pass if they had attacked the Capitol.

“On this anniversary, here’s a simple thought experiment: What if the other side had done it?” Rove wrote. “What if, in early January 2017, Democrats similarly attired and armed had stormed the Capitol and attempted to keep Congress from receiving the Electoral College results for the 2016 presidential election? What if Democrats claimed that Donald Trump’s razor-thin victories in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin resulted from extensive voter fraud and should be rejected, despite having failed to establish in a single court that extensive fraud had actually occurred?”

Rove continued, “What if some of these Democrats breached the Capitol defenses and threatened violence against the Republican speaker, Paul Ryan, and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell? What if they insisted that in his role as Senate president, then-Vice President Joe Biden had sole authority to seat Hillary Clinton’s electors from any contested states and thereby hand her the presidency? If this happened, would some of my fellow Republicans have accepted it as merely a protest? Would they have called patriots those charged with violent acts against our country, its laws and Constitution? Would they have accepted such extralegal means to change the outcome of a presidential election? No, they would not. I’m certain of that.”

According to Rove, “If Democrats had done what some Trump supporters did on that violent January 6, Republicans would have criticized them mercilessly and been right to do so.”

“Kudos to Rove for saying this,” Foley emphasizes. “In the days, weeks, and months ahead, every incumbent Republican should be measured by whether they can meet Rove’s test.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Trial Reveals GOP 'Lies' And 'Secret Maps' In North Carolina Redistricting Process

In North Carolina, a civil trial has found Republicans and Democrats at odds over 2021’s redistricting process for congressional districts in the state. Democrats, in a lawsuit, have accused North Carolina Republicans of partisan gerrymandering, while Republicans are insisting that their new congressional maps are quite fair. And this week, the Raleigh News & Observer’s Will Doran reported that State Rep. Destin C. Hall — a Republican who oversaw GOP redistricting in North Carolina in 2021— testified that he had used secret maps in the process.

Doran reports, “A political trial that has mostly been dominated by math and academic research erupted in drama late Wednesday, when a top Republican redistricting leader said on the witness stand that he had used secret maps, drawn by someone else, to guide his work. That statement, made under oath, appears to directly contradict what he told Democratic lawmakers at the legislature in November, shortly before the Republican-led legislature passed those maps into law over Democrats’ objections.”

The 34-year-old Hall, who was first elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives in 2016 and is now serving his third term, described the maps as “non-consequential.”

“In the 2021 redistricting process,” Doran reports, “GOP lawmakers drew new maps of the political districts for North Carolina’s state legislature and U.S. House of Representatives seats, which will be used in every election from 2022 through 2030 — unless they are overturned in court, which is what this week’s trial has been about.”

Doran adds, “Republicans have defended their work as the most transparent redistricting process in history, and devoid of any political data that could have helped them tweak the maps to make them as favorable as possible to GOP candidates in the future. But on Wednesday, Hall — a Lenoir Republican who leads the House redistricting committee — said that he would sometimes refer to ‘concept maps’ that his top aide, Dylan Reel, had brought to him…. The liberal challengers in the lawsuit asked if they could see those concept maps — to analyze them, potentially for signs that they used a process that violated the rules the legislature was supposed to be following. But the legislature says those maps no longer exist.”

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, according to Doran, “accused North Carolina Republicans” of “withholding evidence,” implying that they knew the “concept maps” would be destroyed and should have saved them.

According to Doran, “Democratic Rep. Zack Hawkins, a member of the House redistricting committee, testified after Hall did on Wednesday and said he feels lied to. Hawkins also said he thought Hall, as the leader of the committee, could and should have done more at the time to ensure that outside materials with political data didn’t make their way into the process.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Powerful Ad Reminds Republican Leaders What They Said About January 6

After the January 6, 2021 assault on the U.S. Capitol, Never Trump conservatives were hoping that the Republican Party would abandon then-President Donald Trump. But that didn’t happen; Trump’s stranglehold on the GOP is as strong as ever. And an ad by the Republican Accountability Project, released almost a year after the Capitol insurrection, slams some prominent Republicans who criticized Trump following the attack but went back to groveling before him.

The ad from RAP (formerly Republican Voters Against Trump) opens by asking, “Remember what Republicans leaders said after January 6?” And it goes on to show what House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin (not to be confused with right-wing radio host Mike Gallagher) and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas had to say. Never Trump conservative Bill Kristol tweeted the ad on January 4:

McCarthy, in the ad, is seen telling fellow members of Congress, on January 7, 2021, “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress” — followed by McConnell, on February 13, 2021, saying, “President Trump is responsible for provoking the events.” Cruz, in a January 7, 2021 clip, declares, “The president’s language and rhetoric crossed a line, and it was reckless” — and a clip from that same day shows Graham saying, “The president needs to understand that his actions were the problem, not the solution.”

After the clips, text from RAP reads, “They told the truth then. Why won’t they now?”

Indeed, McCarthy, Graham, and Cruz — after initially criticizing Trump following the Capitol insurrection — flip-flopped and went back to being obsequious Trump sycophants. Unlike them, McConnell doesn’t go out of his way to fawn over Trump; rather, the Senate minority leader simply avoids talking about him. But the bad blood between Trump and McConnell is obvious, and Trump has been waging a campaign to oust McConnell from his GOP leadership role in the Senate — so far, without much success.

Article reprinted with permission from Alternet

Republicans Attended MyPillow  Guy's 'Cyber Symposium' On Taxpayers' Dime

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

When MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell held his three-day “Cyber Symposium” in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in August 2021, three of the far-right MAGA Republicans who attended were lawmakers from Washington State — and according to Seattle Times reporter Jim Brunner, they did so at the expense of Washington taxpayers.

Lindell, a far-right conspiracy theorist, has been falsely claiming, with zero evidence, that former President Donald Trump was the real winner of the 2020 election — and he claimed that his “Cyber Symposium” would offer “irrefutable” proof that the election was stolen from Trump. But the claims of widespread voter fraud that Lindell made at his event were aggressively debunked by elections experts. The “Cyber Symposium” was a joke, offering no proof that now-President Joe Biden didn’t defeat Trump by more than 7 million votes in 2020.

Brunner reports, “On hand at the symposium in Sioux Falls were dozens of state legislators from around the country, who have parroted Trump and Lindell’s false fraud narrative, demanding audits of the long-settled election. Among them were three Republicans from Washington, whose trips to the Lindell event were paid for with taxpayer dollars. Public records released to the Seattle Times last week show State Reps. Robert Sutherland (R-Granite Falls), Vicki Kraft, (R-Vancouver), and Brad Klippert (R-Kennewick) requested and received expense reimbursements from the Legislature for the symposium.”

According to Brunner, taxpayers in Washington State paid a total of $4,361 for their flights to Sioux Falls and their hotel costs.

Brunner notes that Sutherland, Kraft, and Klippert “have stoked doubts about the 2020 election, claiming widespread fraud and irregularities around the nation and in Washington — even as they touted their own reelection wins last fall.”

Austin Evers, director of American Oversight, resents the fact that taxpayers in Washington State paid for Sutherland, Kraft, and Klippert to attend Lindell’s “Cyber Symposium.”

Brunner quotes Evers as saying, “The Mike Lindell symposium was, on its face, a conspiracy theory designed to undermine faith in American democracy. It should not have been funded in any way by taxpayer dollars, and no one in public office should have been attending it.”

Article reprinted with permission from Alternet

Anti-Vax Republican Who Campaigned Against Vaccines Dies From Covid

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

In Orange County, California south of Los Angeles, Kelly Ernby — a GOP activist known for her opposition to vaccine mandates — has died of COVID-19 at the age of 46, according to the Daily Pilot.

Ernby, who spent a decade as a deputy district attorney in Orange County, ran for a seat in the California State Assembly in 2020 and competed with Newport Beach Mayor Diane Dixon for the Republican nomination. Dixon narrowly defeated Ernby in that primary before losing to the incumbent Democrat, Cottie Petrie-Norris, in the general election.

Ernby’s opposition to vaccine mandates preceded the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, Ernby opposed a California law that created stricter immunization rules for schoolchildren, saying, “I don’t think that the government should be involved in mandating what vaccines people are taking. I think that’s a decision between doctors and their patients…. If the government is going to mandate vaccines, what else are they going to mandate?”


After losing in the California Assembly race in 2020, Ernby — who continued to speak out against vaccine mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic — was elected to the Orange County GOP’s central committee.

Back when California was still a red state, Orange County was known for being a hotbed of conservative Republican politics. Democrats in Los Angeles County, during the 1970s and 1980s, jokingly referred to Orange County as “behind the Orange Curtain.” But Orange County, like many other areas of California, has become increasingly Democratic in recent decades — and the last Republican candidate to carry California in a presidential election was George H.W. Bush in 1988.

Ernby reiterated her opposition to vaccine mandates during a December 4, 2021 rally outside of Irvine City Hall. According to the Daily Pilot, she planned to run for the California Assembly again.

Article reprinted with permission from Alternet

Indicted Russian Tech Mogul May Know Secrets Of Kremlin Election Meddling

In December 18, Russian tech millionaire Vladislav Klyushin was extradited from Switzerland to the United States — where he is facing insider trading charges. And according to Bloomberg News reporters Henry Meyer, Irina Reznik and Hugo Miller, U.S. authorities consider Klyushin a “Kremlin insider” who “works with the Russian government’s top echelons” and may have valuable information on Russian interference in the United States’ 2016 presidential election.

“Just 18 months earlier,” the Bloomberg reporters explain, “Klyushin received a medal of honor from Russian President Vladimir Putin…. Klyushin’s cybersecurity work and Kremlin ties could make him a useful source of information for U.S. officials, according to several people familiar with Russian intelligence matters. Most critically, these people said, if he chooses to cooperate, he could provide Americans with their closest view yet of 2016 election manipulation.”

Meyer, Reznik and Miller report that according to sources, Klyushin’s “transfer to the U.S. represents a serious intelligence blow to the Kremlin” that “would deepen if Klyushin decides to seek leniency from U.S. prosecutors by providing information about Moscow’s inner workings.” The Bloomberg reporters note that although Switzerland granted the United States’ extradition request for Klyushin, it denied one from the Russian government.

“Indications of Klyushin’s vantage point are peppered throughout U.S. filings,” Meyer, Reznik and Miller report. “His IT firm, M-13, worked for the Russian presidency, government and ministries, according to his insider trading indictment. Among his subordinates was a former military intelligence official named Ivan Yermakov, who is charged alongside Klyushin in the indictment. Yermakov is also a defendant in a 2018 indictment from U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team that accuses him and 11 other Russians of hacking into Democrats’ computers systems.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

'Dumbest Thing' Is Far Right's Latest Attack On AOC For Miami Vacation

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Almost three years after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City was first sworn into Congress, far-right Republicans continue to be obsessed with the progressive Democratic congresswoman — and many of their attacks on her fall painfully flat. A case in point: Republicans playing “gotcha!” in response to a new photo of a maskless AOC drinking outside during a visit to Miami.

People who aren’t regular consumers of right-wing media, upon seeing the photo that’s supposed to inspire outrage, are likely to respond, “So what?” A New York Post tweet reads, “AOC pictured dining maskless in Miami Beach as Omicron cases soar.”

The implication, evidently, is that Ocasio-Cortez isn’t practicing COVID-19 safety even though she has been an outspoken proponent of vaccines, masks and social distancing precautions. But AOC, in that photo, is outside in the open air and several feet apart from the person she was dining or drinking with. AOC never called for 24/7 isolation and ceasing all human contact in response to the pandemic.

The Washington Post’s David Weigel found the right-wing non-issue puzzling, and The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson found it to be just plain “dumb.”


Far-right Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' office posted:

AOC responded:

Here are some more responses to the far-right’s latest anti-AOC attack:




Retired General Urges Military Preparation Against Another Coup Attempt In 2024

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

In a sobering op-ed published by the Washington Post on December 17, three retired U.S. Army generals — Paul D. Eaton, Antonio M. Taguba and Steven M. Anderson — warned that that if Republicans make another coup attempt following the 2024 presidential election, there could be a “potential for lethal chaos inside our military, which would put all Americans at severe risk.” Eaton discussed his worries with National Public Radio’s Mary Louise Kelly in an interview aired in late December.

Kelly reports, “As the anniversary of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol approaches, three retired U.S. generals have warned that another insurrection could occur after the 2024 presidential election, and the military could instigate it.” The retired generals, in their Post op-ed, wrote, “We are chilled to our bones at the thought of a coup succeeding next time.” And Eaton didn’t sound any less worried when he spoke to Kelly for NPR.

Kelly asked Eaton how a “coup” could “play out in 2024,” to which he responded, “The real question is, does everybody understand who the duly elected president is? If that is not a clear-cut understanding, that can infect the rank and file or at any level in the U.S. military. And we saw it when 124 retired generals and admirals signed a letter contesting the 2020 election. We're concerned about that. And we're interested in seeing mitigating measures applied to make sure that our military is better prepared for a contested election, should that happen in 2024.”

Eaton went on to say that in the military, there is “a lot of war-gaming” in order to prepare for various “scenarios” and “ferret out what might happen.” One possible scenario to be concerned about in 2024, Eaton told Kelly, is “a U.S. military compromised” — and the U.S., according to Eaton, is in trouble when “39% of the Republican Party” is “refusing to accept President Biden as president.”

The retired general told Kelly, “We advocate that that particular scenario needs to be addressed in a future war game held well in advance of 2024…. I just don't want the doubt that has compromised or infected the greater population of the United States to infect our military."

In addition to “war-gaming” a possible coup attempt in 2024, Eaton recommends that military recruits be thoroughly educated about the U.S. Constitution.

“I had a conversation with somebody about my age, and we were talking about civics lessons, liberal arts education, and the development of the philosophical underpinnings of the U.S. Constitution,” Eaton told Kelly. “And I believe that bears a re-teach to make sure that each and every 18-year-old American truly understands the Constitution of the United States, how we got there, how we developed it and what our forefathers wanted us to understand years down the road. That's an important bit of education that I think that we need to re-address.”

Eaton continued, “I believe that we need to wargame the possibility of a problem and what we are going to do. The fact that we were caught completely unprepared — militarily, and from a policing function — on January 6, is incomprehensible to me. Civilian control of the military is sacrosanct in the U.S., and that is a position that we need to reinforce…. If there is any doubt in the loyalty and the willingness to follow the Oath of the United States, the support and defend part of the U.S. Constitution, then those folks need to be identified and addressed in some capacity.”

Article reprinted with permission from Alternet

Trump's Crazy Voter Fraud Lies Yielded A Surprising Benefit

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

With voting rights legislation and the Build Back Better Act stalled in the Senate, some liberals and progressives are complaining that President Joe Biden hasn’t been getting enough done. But journalist S.V. Dáte , in an article published by HuffPost on December 29, stresses that Biden has been a major success in terms of getting “progressive judges” on the federal bench — and Date argues that former President Donald Trump played a role in Biden’s achievement, even though that wasn’t his intention.

Dáte explains, “The former president’s sabotage of two Georgia Senate runoffs in early January with his endless lies about ‘massive fraud’ having cost him reelection almost certainly cost the two Republican incumbents their seats, giving Democrats control of the chamber and the ability to push through judicial nominations without a single GOP vote.”

A year ago, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was still Senate majority leader. But that changed when, in Georgia, Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff were elected to the Senate — giving Democrats a narrow majority. Trump’s message to GOP voters in Georgia was that since Democrats rigged those Senate races, it was pointless for Republicans to vote. And that message did not serve the GOP well.

Of course, there was nothing “rigged” about those two runoffs. Democrats did a better job getting out the vote in Georgia, whereas Trump’s nonsense claims about widespread voter fraud discouraged Republican turnout.

Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor in Virginia, agrees that Trump’s actions in Georgia ultimately gave Biden a chance to get more federal judges confirmed — something they wouldn’t have been able to do had Republicans maintained control of the Senate.

"Trump handed it to them,” Tobias told HuffPost. “They just wouldn’t have had the votes. I don’t know what they would have done.”

Dáte notes that “of the 40 Biden judges confirmed so far — 35 more are already in the pipeline — a full 80 percent are women.”

“Those nominees would have faced a much tougher path in a Senate run by Mitch McConnell with a 52-48 Republican majority, which appeared as if it would be the outcome in November 2020 after the votes were counted in Georgia with no candidate in either of the two Senate races receiving over 50 perecent,” Dáte observes.

Tobias said of Biden’s federal judicial nominees, “I think very few of those people would have been confirmed. Biden would have pulled back and.… chosen more moderates, picked more people who were less ideologically liberal.”

HuffPost also interviewed the American Enterprise Institute’s Norman Ornstein, who agrees that had McConnell remained Senate majority leader, Biden would have had a much harder time getting his judicial nominees confirmed.

Ornstein told HuffPost, “If Biden were able to get a half dozen judges through — most likely, only district courts — in a McConnell-led Senate, that would be because Mitch was feeling especially generous. And Mitch does not feel generous.”

Article reprinted with permission from Alternet

WATCH: GOP Senator Schooled By Fox News Host On Child Tax Credit

When Republican senators appear on Fox News or Fox Business and rail against the Build Back Better Act — including the child tax credit — they can usually expect the host to agree with their talking points. Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, however, got a surprise during a December 26 appearance on Fox News Sunday (formerly hosted by Chris Wallace) when guest host Mike Emanuel demonstrated that the child tax credit reduces poverty.

Blunt told Emanuel, “We doubled the child tax credit just a handful of years ago, and we need to look at that if that is no longer meeting the need of moving kids out of poverty. But families that make $150,000, for instance, aren’t in poverty in Missouri. I don’t think they’re in poverty almost anywhere in the United States.”

But Emanuel had plenty of data in support of the child tax credit, telling Blunt, “According to the Urban Institute, continuing the benefit could have a significant impact on child poverty, reducing child poverty to about 8.4 percent from 14.2 percent, a fall of roughly 40 percent. Is that a compelling argument to extend it?”

Emanuel also told the Missouri Republican, “Another argument for the child tax credit is it would bolster financial security and spur economic growth in Missouri by reducing taxes on the middle class and those striving to break into it. How do you respond?”

Blunt, however, never really answered Emanuel’s question, slamming the Build Back Better Act as “Build Back Broker” and describing Democrats’ support of the child tax credit as a “gimmick.”

Although the Build Back Better Act has passed in the House, it has been stalled in the Senate — and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, during a Fox News Sunday appearance on December 19, declared that he is still a “no” vote on the BBB Act. It remains to be seen whether or not President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress will be able to come up with a new, altered version of BBB that Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, another centrist Democrat and key swing vote, will agree to support — and what a new version of the bill will propose with the child tax credit.

Watch The Entire Interview Below:

Article reprinted with permission from Alternet