10,000 on ignore, Book 163: The Days of Reckoning, Part 22.....

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Doug Mastriano, a Republican state senator from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and parts of neighboring counties, was a little-known figure in state politics before the coronavirus pandemic. But, in the past year, he has led rallies against mask mandates and other public-health protocols, which he has characterized as “the governor’s autocratic control over our lives.” He has become a leader of the Stop the Steal campaign, and claims that he spoke to Donald Trump at least fifteen times between the 2020 election and the insurrection at the Capitol, on January 6th. He urged his followers to attend the rally at the Capitol that led to the riots, saying, “I’m really praying that God will pour His Spirit upon Washington, D.C., like we’ve never seen before.”

Throughout this time, he has cast the fight against both lockdowns and Trump’s electoral loss as a religious battle against the forces of evil. He has come to embody a set of beliefs characterized as Christian nationalism, which center on the idea that God intended America to be a Christian nation, and which, when mingled with conspiracy theory and white nationalism, helped to fuel the insurrection. “Violence has always been a part of Christian nationalism,” Andrew Whitehead, a sociologist and co-author of “Taking America Back for God,” told me. “It’s just that the nature of the enemy has changed.”..........
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ten Thousan Marbles

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FAA cracks down with hefty fines on passengers who refuse to wear masks on commercial flights
Dartagnan

Since the beginning of 2021 there has been an alarming uptick in incidents involving unruly passengers on commercial air flights. In a Jan.13 statement (which can be viewed here on YouTube) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) administrator Steven Dickson cited two specific causes of this phenomenon: the obstinate refusal by some air passengers to wear masks in flight, and obnoxious and disruptive behavior spawned or inspired by the insurrection at the U.S. capitol on Jan. 6.

In the statement, Dickson announced that the problem had become so acute that FAA would be implementing a “zero tolerance” policy in handling such passengers, going forward. Those who decide to demonstrate their contempt for the health and safety of others by refusing to wear masks or otherwise disrupt the activities of flight crews on commercial planes would now face hefty fines of up to $35,000, and possibly imprisonment. In April, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reiterated its policy requiring that air travel passengers wear masks during flights and at airports, and extended the requirement through mid-September.
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As reported by Neil Vigdor for the New York Times, it’s become apparent over the past few months that some people still haven’t gotten the message.


Four people are facing nearly $70,000 in civil fines for clashing with airline crews over mask requirements and other safety instructions on recent flights, part of what the Federal Aviation Administration called a “disturbing increase” in the number of unruly passengers who have returned to the skies with the easing of pandemic restrictions.

Even after implementing “zero tolerance,” the FAA has received over 1300 reports from airlines about unruly passengers, a number roughly equivalent to the number of persons who had enforcement actions taken against them over the entire previous decade.

Vigdor cites several examples, including one woman throwing an empty liquor bottle at a flight attendant and striking one of them to emphasize her displeasure, resulting in the plane returning to its point of origin in the Dominican Republic. That incident prompted the FAA to recommend a fine of $32,500.

The single common thread for most of these incidents has been the requirement of wearing a mask in flight.

As part of the latest round of fines recommended by the F.A.A., the agency said that a male passenger aboard a Southwest Airlines flight from Chicago to Sacramento on Jan. 26 refused to comply with a flight attendant’s instructions to wear a mask over his nose and mouth. The man became combative and used offensive language when a second flight attendant told him he was required to wear a mask, according to the F.A.A., which said that the passenger hit one of the flight attendants with his bags when he was ordered to leave the plane. Officials recommended a $16,500 fine for the man.

In addition to these fines as imposed by the FAA, the major airlines have also instituted “no-fly” lists as a means of dealing with such people. As reported by the Los Angeles Times:

Delta Air Lines appears to lead all U.S. carriers by putting on its internal no-fly list about 1,200 passengers who refused to wear a mask or became unruly on a plane. It is followed by Frontier Airlines with more than 830, United Airlines with about 750 and Alaska Airlines with 542. American Airlines and Southwest Airlines declined to disclose how many passengers they have banned.

In the wake of the latest high-profile example of this behavior, in which Republican Alaska state senator Lora Reinbold was suspended from flying on Air Alaska for refusing to comply with that airline’s mask policy, Sara Nelson, the president of the Flight Attendant’s Association authored an opinion piece, published on NBCnews.com:

It’s a disappointing and all-too-predictable symptom of how the previous administration made the pandemic response a matter of politics, relatively than mobilizing the general public in shared purpose to take on the biggest disaster relief effort needed in over 100 years.
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Flight attendants will never tell you that “putting on the oxygen mask is a matter of personal choice.” We understand that clear air turbulence can really throw you up against the ceiling without warning, so we’re not saying, “Some people think seat belts won’t keep you safe, so it’s up to you to decide. wear one.”

While the names of these offenders are usually not provided, it’s clear that they all exhibit the same sense of personal entitlement that prompt so many to obstinately refuse to wear masks in less stringently regulated private settings such as grocery stores and restaurants. They seem to be under the impression that air travel offers a similar opportunity for them to publicly advertise their disregard of the COVID-19 pandemic, the same blithe disregard that was cultivated and encouraged for nearly a year by Donald Trump.

So now that they’re finding themselves stuck with exorbitant fines or even imprisoned for these antics, perhaps they should ask him to bail them out.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Biden administration restores protections for LGBTQ folks in health care settings
Marissa Higgins

When Donald Trump was in office, we know he and his administration pushed numerous harms onto the nation, including the most marginalized communities. As Daily Kos covered, we saw enormous steps backward in terms of immigration, COVID-19 response, and transgender rights and equality, among countless others. Because Trump left the nation in such shambles, much of President Joe Biden’s early days in office have focused on fixing the mess Trump left. In this case, the Biden administration just announced its reversal of a hateful Trump-era policy that is sure to give LGBTQ people a breath of relief.

On Monday, the Biden administration affirmed it is reversing the discriminatory Trump-era policy that tried to minimize legal rights for LGBTQ people receiving health care, as reported by the Associated Press. What does this mean in simple, practical terms? Already existing federal laws that protect people from health care discrimination on the basis of sex do also apply to LGBTQ people, including transgender folks. Basically, Biden is bringing us all the way back to the Obama years, and in terms of LGBTQ health care protections, that’s a very good thing. Hospitals and other medical entities that violate the law can also face government sanctions.
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In a statement, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra explained that people may forgo medical care because they fear discrimination. Becerra stressed that “Everyone — including LGBTQ people — should be able to access health care, free from discrimination or interference, period.” Becerra is correct: Studies show that LGBTQ people do report discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and that it can contribute to people not seeking care. For example, as reported by the American Independent, a national CAP survey found 8% of LGBTQ respondents said a physician refused to treat them because of their perceived sexual orientation, while 9% said a physician used abusive language while treating them, and 7% said a physician refused to recognize their family, such as a same-sex partner.

If you can imagine it, the outlook can feel even more dire when it comes specifically to the transgender community. For example, as found in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, nearly 30% of respondents said they delayed medical care when hurt or sick because they feared discrimination. Sadly, this fear isn’t totally outside the realm of reality as nearly 30% of people also said they had survived harassment in medical settings. About 19% said they had been refused care because they were transgender or gender nonconforming.

So, all in all, this change by the Biden administration is an important one. As Becerra pointed out, it will also bring the HHS up to speed with the Supreme Court ruling protecting LGBTQ folks from employment discrimination on the basis of sex. “Now it’s clear, there’s no ambiguity,” Becerra said, as reported by Reuters. “You cannot discriminate against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”

That said, we know these changes are not enough. For example, state lawmakers are pushing a truly overwhelming number of anti-trans bills, most focused on health care, girls' sports, and birth certificates. Some of these bills have been signed into law—including by Republican governors who claim they’re not even priorities—and some have failed in various state committees. Every failure is a relief, but just the fact that Republicans are pushing this anti-trans hysteria so strongly and getting it out into the public dialogue is concerning. The national effort can cement the notion that these ideas are actually popular, and that they are reasonable and deserving of a platform. So we need to take steps forward with joy, but also not hesitate in the fight to protect the most vulnerable among us.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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McConnell dark money group thanks Sinema for her filibuster help, which is a big problem
Joan McCarter

The Senate Rules Committee, chaired by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, began work Tuesday on S. 1, the groundbreaking voting rights bill known as the "For the People Act." It's the companion bill to H.R. 1, which passed the House back in early March. The legislation would counter the rash of voter suppression laws that states have rushed to pass this year, and would tackle elections integrity on three fronts: removing barriers to ballot access for all voters; fighting the influence of dark money by requiring organizations to disclose large donors and creating a matching system for small campaign donations; and banning congressional gerrymandering by requiring that every state create a nonpartisan redistricting commission subject to nonpartisan redistricting criteria.

Of course the response of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and his vast dark money network is to pour nearly $2 million of that dark money into an ad campaign to defeat the reforms. Another one of the supposed nonprofits tied to McConnell, One Nation, is running radio and TV ads in states that Republicans are targeting for 2022—New Hampshire, Arizona, Nevada—and where Democratic senators are already giving the GOP an assist, namely Arizona and West Virginia.

In fact, the ad running in Arizona actually applauds Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema for helping the Republicans.



"We think this week's markup in the Senate Rules Committee will be an important inflection point in senators' understanding of the issue, in public awareness of S. 1," Steven Law, the president of One Nation and former chief of staff to McConnell, told Politico. "This advocacy blitz, which starts on Tuesday, is designed to amplify all of that." He promises that this is just the beginning of his group's efforts to swamp the Senate. They are also not the only group doing so, with the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Heritage Action running ads around the country.

Meanwhile, West Virgina Sen. Manchin and Sinema are not backing away from their position that preserving the Jim Crow-era filibuster is more important than preserving the foundational idea of 232 years of constitutional rule in the U.S. (with evolution and amendments): one person, one vote. Manchin, who obviously is no scholar of history or current events, defends his opposition to restoring and expanding voting rights by saying "How in the world could you, with the tension we have right now, allow a voting bill to restructure the voting of America on a partisan line?"

Because nothing that's happening in Republican states has restructured voting in America on partisan lines? The Republican legislature in Texas didn't just make voting harder for people of color because of partisanship? Keeping probably Democratic voters out of the polls wasn't behind the legislation Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed last week—live ON FOX NEWS?

Manchin further insists upon giving credence to Trump's Big Lie, insisting that the fact that maybe 25% of the voting public is so gullible or so venal as to say the 2020 election was stolen from Republicans means that Democrats can't save democracy. "January 6 changed me. I never thought in my life, I never read in history books to where our form of government had been attacked, at our seat of government, which is Washington, D.C., at our Capitol, by our own people," Manchin told CNN.

But the lesson he got from that was not that we have to combat the ability of a Republican Party intent on propagating the Big Lie that fueled that violence. "So, something told me, 'Wait a minute. Pause. Hit the pause button.' Something's wrong. You can't have this many people split to where they want to go to war with each other." His response is to hand power to the people who stoked that war. Really, this guy has not spent a whole lot of time thinking this out.

This is who he (and Sinema) are abetting in their refusal to reform the filibuster, because they say it's only through working together that the Senate can take substantive action for the country. Seriously, listen to this exchange between Maine's Independent Sen. Angus King and McConnell, as McConnell defends gridlock in the Federal Elections Commission—gridlock caused by him.



"The whole notion that failure to act is dysfunctional when we're talking about fundamental, First Amendment free speech rights, I don't think there's any dysfunction at all," he said. The fact that the FEC hasn't been able to appoint a general counsel because they can't agree on a hire, King responded, "strikes me as not a very functional organization." McConnell's response: "They can't agree on it and that is a decision. […] A failure to reach across the aisle and reach an agreement is a decision not to go forward." Will Manchin accept that as McConnell's rationale for refusing to work with Senate Democrats to fix our elections?

McConnell also said this: "Our democracy is not in crisis, and we’re not going to let one party take over our democracy under the false pretense of saving it." He said that without a single shred of embarrassment. He said this, too: "The Democratic Party wants to rewrite the ground rules of American politics for partisan benefit." As if his packed Supreme Court did not exist.

That this is what Manchin and Sinema are enabling, what they're elevating above restoring every American’s right to vote to and to make sure that our elections are free and fair and that President Biden's agenda for the country can be achieved. They're being used, and they're fine with that.

After those performances, here's another to give you a palate cleanser. Listen to Sen. Jon Ossoff, whose election so roiled Georgia Republicans that they've banned people from giving water to people standing in line to vote:

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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‘You are entirely and completely incorrect’—Dr. Fauci educates Rand Paul on medical research
Walter Einenkel

Sen. Rand Paul has made a career of being a somehow less liked, more worthless bratty rich kid than Donald Trump. At least Trump’s vanity hair is something everyone can have a good laugh about. Paul’s most recent uselessness has been to promote the racist side of anti-vaxxer, anti-government COVID-19 conspiracy theories. Paul’s scientific credentials span the fact that he was a certified ophthalmologist up until around 2011.

As a result of Sen. Paul’s need to stay white supremacist relevant, Dr. Anthony Fauci has had to sit in hearings where Paul spouts lie after lie after lie about COVID-19, the CDC, and our government’s public health recommendations. Unlike most conservatives, Dr. Fauci isn’t a wilting bigoted flower, and has made it clear that he is not going to a part of Sen. Paul’s conspiracy bullshit. On Tuesday, the two clashed again during another COVID-19 Senate hearing. The Kentucky senator started by going into a completely fabricated set of facts about what is and is not known about COVID-19 and research done in Wuhan, China.

Dr. Fauci was not having any of it.
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Sen. Paul spoke for about one minute, promoting the conspiracy theory that, under Dr. Fauci’s guidance, the U.S. government, through work done by virologist Dr. Ralph Barrett, had potentially created the 2019 novel coronavirus. After all of this pomposity and feckless use of gossip and rumor, Fauci adjusted the microphone in front of him and explained that “Senator Paul, in all due respect, you are entirely and completely incorrect.”



Dr. Fauci explained that the NIH has not funded any gain of function research. That’s not a real thing. And the funding that Barrett received is not for such work. "Dr. Barrett does not do gain of function research, and if it is, it is according to the guidelines and is being conducted in North Carolina." Sen. Paul argued that “200 scientists signed a statement from the Cambridge Working Group, that it is gain of function.” Not sure where this “statement is” and if he’s talking about something the Cambridge Working Group may have signed back in 2014. Either way, it’s not a real piece of evidence. “If you look at the grant and you look at the progress reports, it is not gain of function—despite the fact that people tweet that.”

Sen. Paul’s insistence that Dr. Fauci is some well-known virus-warfare warrior, leaves him shaking his head and repeating in the nicest way possible, that Sen. Rand Paul is a liar who is lying. “I do not support gain of function research in China. You are saying things that are not correct.”



If you want to read about all of the various ways that Sen. Rand Paul is full of it you can read my colleague David Neiwert’s piece on how bananas cuckoo the tin foil conspiracy theory is here.

Thankfully, there are time limits on senators, and when Rand’s time was up, Democratic Sen. Tina Smith of Minnesota asked Dr. Fauci what he believed was the impact on the public of “conspiracy theories” like the one Rand Paul was pushing. “Well, conspiracy theories are certainly are not helpful.”

And here’s some fun.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ted Cruz spends his day congressional committee-hopping, leaves trail of lies and soundbites
Aldous J Pennyfarthing

Apparently, most congressional committees are as boring as Texas during a devastating winter storm, because Ted Cruz doesn’t want to stick around for any of them. He just wants to be caught on camera pretending to care.

If you want to draw Cruz like a fly to your picnic, you don’t need to set out a blended strawberry margarita. Just give him a chance to spew out-of-context lies in front of what will eventually become a rapt Fox News audience.

Cruz—who is not the Zodiac killer; stop ****ing saying that already—has been playing ding-dong-ditch at various congressional committees, leaving flaming bags of poo before running off to let his colleagues clean up his fragrant pyrotech-shits.
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Exhibit 1: Cruz hijacks a gun violence hearing to spew irrelevant distortions about two of President Joe Biden’s nominees … both women of color.



Shorter Blumenthal: “Sir, this is a Wendy’s.”

Regarding the substance of Cruz’s claims, one could plausibly say that Gupta, for instance, flip-flopped on some of her positions with respect to “defunding”—not abolishing—the police, but Cruz elides the fact that “defunding the police” actually refers to shifting resources toward social programs while redefining police officers’ roles, as explained in this Washington Post fact check:

Under this concept, some police officers would be replaced with trained social workers or specialized response teams in an effort to let police focus on violent crime, not drug overdoses or homelessness. The theory is that police would be better positioned to deal with rapes and murders if they were not required to deal with other social ills that sometimes lead to community confrontations with police.

Exhibit 2: Cruz tells us all how Republicans would behave if they had more control over elections.



Oh, nice to know that Republicans are looking for every possible loophole they can find to cheat and undermine confidence in our elections. Who could have guessed?

It’s hard to know exactly what Cruz is talking about here, given that he appears congenitally incapable of saying anything without brutally distorting reality, but it’s clear that Republicans have been lying about the For the People Act for some time now. Why would Cruz be any different?

Exhibit 3: Cruz lies (don’t be too shocked now) about undocumented immigrants. (If you don’t do Twitter, hit this link to unroll the thread.)






Ah, “facts.” Whatever. Who cares about facts anymore when you have an ex-president who continues to regurgitate pureed pabulum to an eager audience of hungry pups? No one in the Republican Party cares about facts. As Cruz amply proves in his Tuesday Cruzday adventures, they care about fact-adjacent morsels of easily disproven (if you take the time to parse them, that is) merde.

But then merde has always been Cruz’s animating force, as Chris Hayes points out in this post-Cancun Cruz clip:



Honestly, Ted’s Cancun trip—and the fact that he tried to blame the debacle on his daughters—is all you really need to know about him. As Hayes notes in the above clip, Cruz is basically “Rush Limbaugh with a Senate office.” He simply doesn't care about governing. He wants to “performatively troll the libs,” as Hayes quips.

Yeah, that pretty well sums it up.

Cruz is supplying sound bites that can be run in advance of the inevitable Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity interviews he will do on these very same subjects. Right-wingers will then giddily note how Cruz destroyed those feckless snowflakes while deliberately ignoring all that dull legislative minutiae.

Of course, Cruz isn’t alone. He’s the modern GOP writ large. And now that the lead circus clown has left the tent, Cruz is taking his floppy-shoes tour to every corner of Washington.

I can only hope that our democracy holds longer than those bulging veins on Cruz’s neck.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Mississippi Republicans explicitly define 'normal wage levels' as below a living wage
Laura Clawson

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves followed the lead of his Republican counterparts in Montana and South Carolina by announcing the state will refuse expanded federal unemployment benefits, costing unemployed Mississippians $300 a week in an effort to force them into low-wage jobs—despite a lot of data showing that Republican claims about the effects of the federal unemployment aid boost are simply false.

President Joe Biden pushed back on some of those claims in Monday remarks on the economy, saying “we don’t see much evidence” that people are staying home because of high unemployment benefits, and pointing out: “We still have 8 million fewer jobs than we did when the pandemic started.” At the same time, Biden emphasized that “anyone collecting unemployment who is offered a suitable job must take the job or lose their unemployment benefits.”
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Tuesday, May 11, 2021 · 3:39:56 PM EDT · Laura Clawson
And Missouri joins the list.
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In Mississippi, businesses “report that they cannot get employees to return to work because they can earn more from combined federal and state unemployment benefits than their normal wages … These businesses are no longer suffering from a lack of demand due to COVID-19,” Mississippi state House Speaker Philip Gunn wrote in a letter to Reeves. “Rather, they are suffering from a labor shortage caused by unemployment benefits that exceed normal wage levels for productive work.”


Mississippi’s maximum unemployment benefit without the added $300 a week is $235, so the benefits that “exceed normal wage levels for productive work” end up at $13.38 an hour, just under the $13.43 an hour that the MIT Living Wage Calculator says is a living wage for one adult with no children in Mississippi.

Contrary to Republican claims that people are staying home because they don’t want to work, Ashton Pittman reports that Mississippi’s labor force participation rate is back to pre-pandemic levels. People are either working or looking for work, in other words. And nationally, the April jobs data suggests “the exact opposite” of the claim that people aren’t looking for work because they can get more money from unemployment benefits, as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen recently noted. That’s because the highest job growth has been in low-wage industries like hospitality and food service, where unemployment benefits can outstrip wages.

Mississippi Republicans are trying to force people back into low-wage jobs in the state with the lowest vaccination rate in the country—just 41.5% of adults have had one vaccine dose. But they’re part of a broader effort to normalize low wages in any working environment. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently called for an end to the unemployment benefits supplement. Many restaurant owners have been on an extended whine campaign—with help from the media—about how they can’t get people to work the exact schedules they want on the low wages they want to pay to deal with often unmasked, belligerent customers.

Other factors like lower numbers of seasonal immigrants or the sudden rush of restaurants trying to staff back up, creating more competition for workers, are less often mentioned.

When reporters focus on what bosses say (which is very much the same as what Republican politicians say), they get a lot of, “When people can make more staying at home than going to work, they will stay at home,” as one McDonald’s franchisee group recently wrote in a letter to its members. But when they talk to workers, they hear, “You couldn't pay me $20 an hour to work in food for the conditions we had to endure there,” as a former Chipotle worker told Business Insider. Or, “Everybody is honestly so tired of being so mistreated, still,” in the words of a Starbucks worker.

”We literally felt abandoned,” one restaurant worker told Washington City Paper. “It left us feeling like if this happened again, we can’t trust that we would be taken care of.”

”We are so sick and tired of [restaurant owners] assuming we want a handout,” another Washington, D.C. area restaurant worker told Eater. “We want to work, but we also want to be treated like human beings. We haven’t been for way too long.”

Republicans don’t want that.
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Tuesday, May 11, 2021 · 10:46:13 AM EDT · Laura Clawson

And Iowa joins the “take any crappy job or else” train.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Powell and Giuliani didn't invent the Big Lie. The kraken was cooked up in a big-money scam
Mark Sumner

In the beginning, the Big Lie was simple. When Rudy Giuliani first stepped up to talk about his supposed “proof” of election fraud in the hours and days following the election, his position was ridiculous, but always the same. There was, said Giuliani, “a plan” to plant fake ballots at polling stations. That plan was “specifically focused on big cities, and specifically focused on, as you would imagine, big cities controlled by Democrats.”

So Giuliani’s basic accusation was that in “big cities controlled by Democrats,” Democrats turned out a lot of votes. Imagine that. Still, Giuliani said, "I know crimes, I can smell them.” And to Rudy, half a million or so Pennsylvania votes were stinky. As utterly unfounded, unsupportable, and unbelievable as it was, Giuliani’s basic version of the Big Lie was at least something that could be explained in a sentence: There was a grand plan to plant fake ballots in big cities across the country. Or, as this readily translates to Donald Trump’s core audience, Black people took away your president.

It wasn’t until Sidney Powell joined in at a press conference on Nov. 19, 2020 that the Big Lie became a theory that was so wild, Trump actually had Giuliani issue a statement distancing him from Powell’s claims. Then, over a surprisingly short time, Powell’s utterly ludicrous concoction—one that involved long-dead Venezuelan dictators and a conspiracy involving hundreds of
Republican officials who threw the race to Joe Biden—became the official position of the never-ending Trump campaign.

There’s a reason. The Kraken didn’t emerge fully grown from Powell’s glistening forehead. It had been growing among Republican ranks for years, carefully nurtured and drip-fed. It started with presentations in a secret airplane hangar, and went door to door on visits with Republican donors.

And what it told them was exactly what they wanted to hear.

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As The Washington Post reports, the origin story of Powell’s mythology doesn’t start with Giuliani, Powell, or anyone else who made an appearance at Four Seasons Landscaping. The man at the back of the story is a longtime Republican hustler named Russell Ramsland who has bounced among wildly different jobs in his effort to find “the next big thing.” That includes raising cattle on South Pacific islands, selling Tex-Mex cuisine in London, and growing crystals in space.

But in 2018, Ramsland was hooking into a real growth market, because that’s when he began selling Republicans on the idea that there was a vast conspiracy to steal elections using electronic voting machines. The 2018 midterm elections had just handed the House over to Democrats and left Republicans with aching losses at the state level in areas they thought were safely red. This is the point where parties traditionally do a post-mortem of the past election and resolve to make changes to improve their performance in the next round.

Only Republicans—especially state- and county-level Republicans in places like Texas—already seemed convinced that Trump was supported by 101% of the American people, making the results of the election incomprehensible. They didn’t go looking for, “How can we do better?” They went looking for, “How did we get cheated?” And Ramsland was there, with top secret hearings conducted in an out of the way airplane hanger under strict “no electronic devices” protection.

At those hearings, hundreds of Republicans “learned” what the rest of the nation would have to wait two years to see blurted out while hair dye poured down Giuliani’s face: Republicans had actually won all those races they thought they lost in 2018, only electronic voting machines were changing the results in favor of Democrats. All voting machines, according to Ramsland, were actually based on the same code—code written by the company “Smartmatic.” That common code base meant that all the machines were “wide open,” filled with “backdoors,” and ripe for fraud.

None of this is, of course, true. Well before the hangar sessions, Ramsland had been trying to break into what he saw as the lucrative new field of selling Republicans bog-foolish conspiracy theories. That included claims that the deaths of U.S. diplomats in Benghazi were actually an intentional move by the “deep state,” and a supervillain origin story for George Soros that included Prescott Bush and the Muslim Brotherhood. But Ramsland saw his opportunity when met an Austin city council candidate who lost her race by a 30-point margin (after, among other things, talking about 9/11 being an inside job). That candidate “knew in her heart that she had won” and was waving around audit logs of voting machines in Austin that she claimed backed up her “heart.”

When the candidate took her case to court, she lost. And appealed. And not only lost, but was slapped with a fine for bringing a frivolous suit. Even so, Ramsland knew a good story when he saw one. The “evidence” that the failed candidate presented in her failed court case became a core part of Ramsland’s initial pitch to frustrated Republicans; a pitch that said even someone who lost by 30 points might really be the winner if it wasn’t for the crooked machines.

Ramsland cooked it up good. Not only were the meetings held at a secret location in a windowless hangar, and not only where the attendees required to leave all electronic devices outside—once his flock of GOP sheep arrived, they were greeted a “white hat hacker” who identified himself using only a code name. That hacker then spread out a tale that told Republicans
they were all winners. They couldn’t fail. They could only be cheated.

Soon enough Ramsland’s company, Allied Security Operations Group, took the show on the road for big money Republican donors. And Ramsland finally had what he couldn’t find selling burritos on Fleet Street or pitching machines to purify blood with light: a winning investment. Allied Security Operations Group panhandled from Republicans eager to believe that every loss was a conspiracy, and gained the support of such brilliant GOP luminaries as Rep. Louie Gohmert.

And when 2020 came around, Ramsland found that he had a candidate on his hands who was absolutely perfect: desperate, willing to believe anything that said he was a winner, and able to lay his hands on unlimited campaign funds.


And a hardworking con man finally had his ultimate pigeon.
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Students for Trump founder pretended to be a lawyer, but for the next 13 months, he’ll be an inmate
Walter Einenkel

ScreenShot2021-05-11at12.08.14PM.png


A little over two years ago, Tennessee’s own John Lambert, 23 at the time, was charged with being a fraud and pretending he was a veteran lawyer. Like most modern day frauds, Lambert was working his darndest for the Republican cause, organizing “Students for Trump.” Lambert started the group along with fellow Campbell University student Ryan Fournier, shortly after Trump’s nomination in 2016.

On Tuesday, Lambert who “pretended to be as Eric Pope, of the Manhattan-based firm Pope & Dunn,” amongst other things, was sentenced to 13 months in prison. According to the Daily News, the judge called him a “cold blooded fraudster” before sentencing the MAGA-inspired liar. It seems that Lambert pulled in tens of thousands of dollars from people seeking legal advice by lying to them about who he was and the level of experience he had. “He falsely claimed to be a graduate of NYU Law School with a finance degree from University of Pennsylvania and 15 years of experience in corporate and patent law.” Sounds like he would have fit right in to the last administration.
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Lambert, from Tennessee, was living in North Carolina, and had been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud by the U.S. Attorneys Office of the Southern District of New York. He had plead guilty to the charges shortly after they were announced, and clearly hoped the plea deal would lead to a much shorter than the potential 20 years maximum in prison the charges he faced.

According to reports Lambert, who is now 25, ran his scam between 2016-2018, and took people’s money while pretending he would help them with credit issues they were facing. Before sentencing, Lambert told the court, “I lost focus on who I was. My ignorance was a disrespect to the law and my country. My life will be forever marked by this poor choice at a young age.” I wonder what his opinions on younger people of color making mistakes is? My guess is that his opinions are still 100% racist.

According to a 2019 profile in Politico, Lambert’s bio back during his Students for Trump days included:

“At a young age his parents taught values of morality and deep fiscal responsibility to him,” according to the bio that was originally posted on the Students for Trump website. “He comes from a family of multigenerational business owners who helped to build the infrastructure of America.”

He also seems to have been a big fan of the lead character in The Wolf of Wall Street, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. The character is a monumental fraudster. Anywhos, remember Lambert’s co-founder in his “Students for Trump” thing, Ryan Fournier? He was totally involved but made a deal with the feds before Lambert could. He has his own brand now and it’s very Hitler Youth-seeming adjacent.

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That Bible reference in his Twitter bio? Ephesians 4:32, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Let’s just say that The RFAngle Fournier is promoting there isn’t filled with lots of stories of “forgiving each other,” and Jesus and such. It’s a lot of James O’Keefe and Parler news.


 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
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MyPillow Guy's election fraud crusade is now in the Joe Piscopo rapping phase
Aldous J Pennyfarthing

It’s been a while since I weighed in on Mike Lindell’s social media platform, Frankspeech, and his increasingly deranged efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, which Donald Trump lost like the losingest loser in Losertown, Loser Province, Loservania.

To Lindell, it’s simply not possible that the nice, well-spoken, boundlessly compassionate man who’s pretending to be president right now could have gotten more votes than the anthropomorphic ass polyp we surgically removed and vaulted into space on Jan. 20. Something fishy must have gone down on Nov. 3.

Proving that resilience and determination are only virtues if your head is filled with gray matter instead of lumpy shredded pillow detritus, Lindell hosted a sparsely attended “rally” at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. It was a kickoff for Lindell’s Frankspeech platform, which he’s promised will rival Twitter and YouTube in sheer awesome online platforminess. It’s an odd time for a launch party since Frankspeech has been up and “running” (like undercooked egg yolks) since April 19—more than three weeks ago.
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Also, Frankspeech.com still isn’t working as envisioned … unless you’re talking about how I envisioned it, which was as a weird paella of loony Lindell clips and Diamond & Silk columns that prove exactly nothing other than how amateurish this whole enterprise has been.

Monday’s event, held in a venue that seats roughly 3,200, drew just 1,500 ardent fans.



It was a truly underwhelming “crowd.”



Never mind any of that, because I’ve buried the lede—bigly. While no new evidence about election fraud surfaced, attendees were treated to a rap by Saturday Night Live alum and Lindell friend Joe Piscopo.

It went just as you might imagine.



And … scene.

Of course, that doesn’t make me question the legitimate results of our free and fair election, but it does make me wonder why God would destroy Sodom and Gomorrah after a few dudes rubbed one out to other dudes, and yet He won’t do shit about a washed-up comedian coming up with his own Soul Man outtakes.

All Piscopo rap jokes aside, Lindell still thinks the “evidence” he’s compiled will compel the Supreme Court to vote 9-0 to “pull down” this election.



Lindell’s 15 minutes have long been up, but maybe someone can do a recount and give him another five or 10. What he does with his extra time is his business. But I can tell you right now, it won’t ****ing matter.
 
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