July 12, 2021

Posted by orrinj at 4:06 PM


GOP Senate candidate cozied up to QAnon believers -- now they're accusing him of Satanism and child trafficking (Bob Brigham, July 12, 2021, Raw Story)

"Lahmeyer has made attacking the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election a centerpiece of his campaign, repeatedly vowing that if he is elected to Congress, he will make it his mission to hold those who supposedly stole the election from former President Donald Trump accountable for treason," Right Wing Watch reports.

The conspiracy theory that Trump won the election is not the only delusion Lahmeyer has embraced.

"Lahmeyer has focused heavily on winning support from right-wing QAnon conspiracy theorists like Lin Wood and Michael Flynn, both of whom have endorsed his campaign. Lahmeyer has also been a regular participant at the 'Restore America' rallies organized by right-wing conspiracy theorist Clay Clark, where he has been proudly posting photos of himself hanging out with the various election, COVID-19, and QAnon conspiracy theorist speakers at such events.

"Interestingly, Lahmeyer's flirtations with QAnon have not prevented him from becoming the target of smears from QAnon conspiracy theorists who have reportedly accused him of pedophilia and child sex trafficking after he posted a photo of his young daughter wearing red shoes," Right Wing Watch explained. "As QAnon conspiracy theorist Liz Crokin once explained, many QAnon believers are convinced that 'there is symbolism for red shoes in the occult and it's also tied to satanic ritualistic abuse and the trafficking of children.'"

Posted by orrinj at 4:01 PM


Adviser to Turning Point USA sends newsletter "so racist" it could "make a Ku Klux Klansman blush" (ALEX HENDERSON, JULY 12, 2021, AlterNet.

Pro-Trump Republicans often engage in subliminal racism or "dog whistle" attacks -- that is, code words that they will insist aren't racist. But when Florida resident Rip McIntosh, an adviser to far-right Trumpista Charlie Kirk's Turning Point USA, sent out a fundraising newsletter on April 29, there was nothing subtle or subliminal about the racism in the newsletter. 

In the newsletter, Talking Points Memo's Nick R. Martin reports, someone going by the pen name E.P. Unum wrote that Blacks have "become socially incompatible with other races" and that "American Black culture has evolved into an unfixable and crime-ridden mess." Martin described Unum's rant as being "so racist it might make a ku klux klansman blush."

According to Martin, the newsletter that McIntosh e-mailed, "also said White people aren't racist but 'just exhausted' with Black people. It portrayed post-Civil War America as a 150-year-long 'experiment' to see whether Black people could be 'taken from the jungles of Africa,' enslaved, and then integrated into a majority-White society. It said that experiment had failed."

Posted by orrinj at 3:59 PM


Biden Fave 'Unaware' She Was Talking to Notorious Iran Group (Justin Rohrlich, Jul. 12, 2021, daily Beast)

An Obama-era Pentagon official who was at one point under consideration to be President Joe Biden's secretary of defense called for "internal regime change" in Iran at an event held by a shadowy group designated a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. government until 2012. But she claims she didn't know anything about the group's notorious past when she agreed to appear.

Former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michèle Flournoy, who heads up a consulting firm upon which the Biden administration has drawn heavily to fill top White House positions, appeared virtually on Sunday at the "Free Iran World Summit 2021." The confab was put on by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the diplomatic wing of the People's Mojahedin of Iran, or Mojahedin-e Khalq. Known commonly by its Farsi acronym, MEK, the dissident group was put on the U.S. terror list in 1997--only to be removed from the list 15 years later with support from disgraced former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.


Posted by orrinj at 2:18 PM


Who's Afraid Of Critical Race Theory? (Tim Sommers, 7/12/21, 3 Quarks)

Critical Race Theory came out of a law school movement called Critical Legal Studies in the late 70s and early 80s. The key ideas that connected CRT to CLS were that (i) the law is much less coherent and much more indeterminate than scholars, judges, and lawyers like to admit. (ii) This indeterminacy both obscures and abets the laws' real purpose, which is to protect the interests of those who created and enforce it. (iii) The law is racist, therefore, but how it is racist is not always obvious, and that's the most important question. And so (iv) we should be more concerned with systematic, institutional racism than the fact that individual people hold racist beliefs or attitudes. [...]

The problem is that the debate about CRT has little or nothing to do with CRT. A think-tank political operative name Christopher Rufo encountered the phrase "Critical Race Theory" and decided it was the perfect label for everything anti-anti-racists wanted to go after. Why? The label is obscure, a little pretentious, it also sounds intimidatingly technical - like something a superior-acting liberal might say. Most importantly, since almost no one had ever heard of it outside of law or graduate school, you could get away with claiming it meant whatever you wanted it to mean. It was a convenient label to slap on everything related to race that worried more conservative Americans - and it narrowed everything down to just one thing to be against. If you think I am being unfair to Rufo, I can assure you Rufo himself admits that's what he meant to do - though it's clear that, even at this late date, he still does not know what CRT actually is.

But, if that's so, and here we get to the question we started with, why are people going after CRT so ferociously?

Here's why. The majority of Americans say that they are not personally racist, and agree that institutional racism was, and is still, a problem in America. Yet, there's a big gap between what kinds of actions and policies white Americans, as opposed to people-of-color, endorse to address racism. How does that play out politically?

Well, here are some strategies you could employ if you favor policies likely to be, or to be perceived as, racist. You could just be racist and endorse racism. For the most part, I don't think that's a winner politically at this point (see, Lee Atwater on "the Southern Strategy").

Instead, you could, as Atwater suggested and arguably the  Republican party has done for the last 40 years, justify policies that had disparate racial effects on other grounds and dismiss any signs of overt racism in your ranks as an aberration. Especially, since our last president supercharged the issue, that approach is becoming less tenable. So, you could do this.

Be an anti-anti-racist. Offense not defense. Of course, we're not racists, we just oppose the excesses of anti-racism. But not one at a time, like "whac a mole". Let's count it all as one thing. Name it after something that sounds scary and banal at the same time. Then we can argue against that.

Instead of focusing on racial disparity in wealth or police shooting people of color - let's focus on the claim that grade school children are being taught that white people are evil and/or that they should chant to cannibalistic Aztec gods. (I wish I was making that last one up.)

we conservatives recall the anti-anti-coomunists with the same amusement we watch these anti-anti-racists.  
Posted by orrinj at 2:11 PM


Tucker Carlson is 'furious' at Fox News executives for not supporting his NSA spying claims, sources say (Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy, 7/11/21, CNN Business)

Tucker Carlson is furious with Fox News executives for not vigorously defending him amid his evidence-free claims that the National Security Agency spied on him in a conspiracy to destroy his TV show, according to people familiar with the matter. [...]

Fox pointedly has not covered his claims on its newscasts, even though such an intrusion would normally be a significant news story. Fox has not shown any outward signs of investigating Carlson's claims, either.

Posted by orrinj at 2:08 PM


Trumpworld wants distance from QAnon even as the ex-president winks at it (TINA NGUYEN and MERIDITH MCGRAW, 07/12/2021, Politico)

This past weekend, two promoters of QAnon conspiracy theories were given press credentials to Donald Trump's MAGA rally in Sarasota, Fla.

The men took selfies with their badges, taunted journalists covering the event as "fake news," showed off their wristbands printed with the movement's slogan -- "#WWG1WGA" -- and generally reveled in the access they'd scored.

Not everyone was happy to see them there.

Trump's press team said the two men, Jeffrey Pedersen and his podcast co-host Shannon Shadygroove:, were not welcome, and had registered for the rally with "Red State Talk Radio," a network that has sent people who, a Trump aide said, "appear to be legitimate" to events before.

Pederson and Grooove were later identified as QAnon followers by Alex Kaplan of progressive watchdog group Media Matters, after which Trump's team said they are considering a new policy to verify reporters ahead of events to prevent people like the two men from gaining access. 

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


We Already Know Who Killed Ashli Babbitt (Jul. 12th, 2021, New Republic)

Ashli Babbitt should be alive right now. A Capitol Police officer shot and killed the 35-year-old woman on January 6 outside the House chamber as she and other pro-Trump rioters besieged it. Babbitt was one of five people who died during or shortly after the insurrection, along with three other Trump supporters and Officer Brian Sicknick. Two other officers died by suicide in the weeks that followed.

Among those seven deaths, former President Donald Trump and other MAGA adherents have taken a particular interest in Babbitt. He sent out a tweet-like statement last week that simply read, "Who shot Ashli Babbitt?" Then he suggested at a rally on Wednesday that the unidentified officer's actions weren't justified. "The person that shot Ashli Babbitt--boom, right through the head," he told the crowd. "Just, boom. There was no reason for that. And why isn't that person being opened up, and why isn't that being studied? They've already written it off. They said that case is closed. If that were the opposite, that case would be going on for years and years, and it would not be pretty." His allies have followed suit: Earlier this week, Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar published a press release titled, "Who killed Ashli Babbitt?"

The rush to turn Babbitt into a martyr is part of a broader effort among conservatives and Trump loyalists to rewrite the history of January 6--to recast it as a peaceful protest with a few bad apples, rather than a mob of thousands who overwhelmed law enforcement and rampaged through the halls of Congress. But "Who killed Ashli Babbitt?" is actually a pretty easy question to answer: She was killed by the people who keep asking the question.

You pays your money and you take your chances. 

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Never leading by example: why do England struggle after scoring first?England have a far worse record than other big sides at holding on to a lead. Can Gareth Southgate fix an endemic problem? (Jonathan Liew,  3 Jun 2021, The Guardian)

Trent Alexander-Arnold clears his lines. And as Austria gingerly gather possession and work the ball backwards, you can see Harry Kane rushing up to start the press, waving the rest of the England team forward to join the charge, which they do. After a series of tentative passes in their own half, Austria's goalkeeper, Daniel Bachmann, is hastily forced to clear to touch, pursued by a swarm of white shirts. An hour has been played at the Riverside Stadium, and England have just gone 1-0 up.

In the alternative history of Wednesday night's game, this is the point at which England, energised by Bukayo Saka's fine goal and the exhortations of their captain, seize the moment and with it control of the game. With Austria forced to commit numbers forward in search of an equaliser, England feast on the open spaces, tear into the middling Austrians and run out comfortable winners in front of a rocking Teesside crowd.

In the actual history, this is the point at which Gareth Southgate decides to make a quadruple substitution that has clearly been planned in advance. Off to a warm round of applause come Declan Rice and Tyrone Mings, as well as Kane and Jesse Lingard, two of the front four who managed to press Austria so effectively in their own half.

And so for the last half-hour a disorganised new-look England get increasingly sketchy. Ben Godfrey almost passes the ball into his own net. Dominic Calvert-Lewin almost gets himself sent off. Jordan Pickford tips the ball over the bar. Ben White clears off the line. Michael Gregoritsch puts two extremely scoreable headers wide. In the end, it's hard to disagree with the Austria defender Aleksandar Dragović when he claims that they "deserved a draw".

Southgate seemed largely unconcerned afterwards, putting England's "disjointed" last half-hour down to conditioning and the volume of substitutions. But Austria also made six changes in the last half-hour and ended up looking by far the fresher and more fluent team. And perhaps you can read too much into a slightly artificial scenario in a pre-tournament friendly. Then again, this is actually part of a much longer-term trend: something strange seems to happen to England when they take the lead.

Austria weren't quite good enough to capitalise. But you don't have to search very hard to find examples of games where England have gone ahead, taken off the handbrake, and been severely punished. It's happened nine times in the Southgate era alone: twice at the hands of Spain (at Wembley in 2016 and 2018), against Scotland at Hampden Park, against France and Italy in friendlies, against Colombia and Croatia at the last World Cup, against the Netherlands at the 2019 Nations League and the Czech Republic in a qualifying game.

In fact, England have taken the lead in each of their past five tournament knockout games and won only once (against Sweden in 2018). And in case you suspected this was purely a recent phenomenon, then think back to Russia at Euro 2016, USA at the 2010 World Cup, France and Portugal at Euro 2004, Brazil in 2002. Since the start of the century, England have won only 13 out of 26 games when scoring first at a tournament. It's by far the worst record of any major nation. This isn't a statistical fluke. It's a serial pattern of behaviour.

It's not just NFL fans who despair over shifting to the Prevent. 

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Fox News runs disclaimer across the screen while Trump lies about 2020 election in CPAC speech (Sarah K. Burris, July 11, 2021, Raw Story)

Former President Donald Trump continued to spread his 2020 election lies in this CPAC speech Sunday. But one thing was notably different: Fox News ran a disclaimer that he was lying.

All comedy is conservative. 

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


What Arizona's 2010 Ban on Ethnic Studies Could Mean for the Fight Over Critical Race Theory (HANK STEPHENSON, 07/11/2021, Politico)

In 2006, Tucson Unified School District's Mexican American studies curriculum was relatively unknown. The program -- a series of middle and high school classes highlighting Mexican American contributions to U.S. history and culture -- had shown promise in lifting Latino students out of lower test score brackets and boosting graduation rates. Only a handful of detractors had shown up at school board meetings to grouse about the curriculum's race-focused teachings.

Then, Jonathan Paton, a Republican lawmaker representing Tucson at the time, got ahold of a recording of labor organizer and Chicano rights icon Dolores Huerta telling an auditorium of Tucson High School students, "Republicans hate Latinos." Suddenly, GOP lawmakers in Phoenix were decrying "Raza Studies," as the program was known, as a plot to indoctrinate children with ideas about white people as racists and people of color as their victims. [...]

Proponents of the program saw it as a way not only to engage students but to ensure that past wrongs against marginalized communities wouldn't be repeated. "At one time in the history of our nation, part of our 'American values' were the enslavement of other human beings," Linda Lopez, a Democratic representative, shot back. "It was through dissent and through the revolution of the minds of the people of this country that we were able to do away with those kinds of American values."

The contours of Arizona's Mexican American studies debate a decade ago will sound familiar to anyone following the current sparring over the teaching of concepts lumped together as "critical race theory" -- which some two dozen states have introduced legislation to ban. Republicans back then saw teachers indoctrinating children to do the left's political bidding, building a Marxist youth program to fight the power and the white man. Educators and their Democratic backers saw an opportunity to inspire underperforming Latino students by overhauling the way American history is taught. The focus today is on the teaching of slavery and the history of discrimination toward Black, rather than Latino, Americans, but the language and the politics have clear echoes.

Yet, when Arizona lawmakers turned their eyes toward their own "critical race theory" ban this past spring, few seemed to remember how the previous attempt to prohibit race-related studies in schools had turned out here. In 2010, Gov. Jan Brewer signed a law banning Tucson's Mexican American studies program. But today, 15 years after the curriculum first caught the attention of Republican lawmakers and a decade after they outlawed it, the courses -- or at least a version of them -- live on, thanks to a court-appointed monitor overseeing TUSD'S longstanding federal desegregation order, a dark reminder of the district's own discriminatory past. A federal court later ruled that the 2010 ban violated students' constitutional rights. Today, the program is larger than it's ever been.

This is what Rufo and Co. characterize as making students sacrifice whites to Aztec gods.