More to ignore, Book 2.....

Ten Thousan Marbles

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KyleRittenhouseTrumpAward.jpg
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
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WHUT? Rittenhouse Attorney Reveals that Fox News and Tucker Carlson Bankrolled the Defense Team
News Corpse

The acquittal of the teenage vigilante, Kyle Rittenhouse, revealed some painful truths about the American justice system. Apparently a minor crossing state lines with an unlawfully possessed weapon to confront people protesting racial injustice, and killing two of them, is self-defense and perfectly legal. Hmm. Good to know.

Right-wingers across the country are celebrating the pretend cop and medic, Rittenhouse, as a hero, despite his having murdered two unarmed men who were engaging in a lawful protest. Which is peculiar because when Ashli Babbitt was killed by an actual police officer while she was violently storming the Capitol, and threatening the lives of elected representatives and the Vice President, and trying to illegally prevent Congress from carrying out their constitutional duties, the same rightist politicians and pundits assailed it as an assassination.

However, an appearance on CNN by Rittenhouse's attorney, Mark Richards, revealed something else that should raise serious concerns. Without any public disclosure, Fox News had abandoned any sense of of impartiality (as if they ever had any) by embedding itself with the Rittenhouse team days before the verdict. Even worse was that the reason Richards gave for granting Fox News that unprecedented access was to finance Rittenhouse's defense. Richards made his remarks in the following exchange with CNN's Chris Cuomo (video below):

Cuomo: Word that you guys had a film crew embedded with you from Fox News, from Tucker Carlson. I want to know why that decision was made.
Richards: I did not approve of that. I threw them out of the room several times...and I'm not suggesting that Fox or some other network...I don't think a film crew is appropriate for something like this, but the people who were raising the money to pay for the experts and to pay for the attorneys were trying to raise money and that was part of it. So I think...I don't want to say evil, but a definite distraction was part of it. And I didn't approve of it, but I'm not always the boss.
Cuomo: Who were the people who were paying?
Richards: The people who were raising money. It was...this defense was crowd funded.
Cuomo: But who were the people making the calls about who got to have access to the process?
Richards: Kyle’s family and his adviser.

So while Tucker Carlson and the rest of the Fox News roster were lauding Rittenhouse as a paragon of White privileged, Second Amendment deliverance, they were also on the ground in Kenosha documenting their newfound protagonist and ratings magnet. And they were paying him for the privilege. Carlson began promoting his crocumentary within hours of the verdict, complete with Rittenhouse's first post-acquittal reactions. "They've been there for days," Carlson bragged, "putting together an installment of our Tucker Carlson Originals series on this case." And he also announced that he would be airing the first Rittenhouse interview on Monday. How much do you suppose he paid for that? Carlson's "Originals" was also responsible for his pro-insurrection propaganda piece, "Patriot Purge." Or as CNN's Jim Acosta called it, "Proud Boy Porn."

The revelations by Richards expose Fox News unethical participation in a propaganda campaign on behalf of an accused murderer while his trial was still in progress. And since the Rittenhouse family was getting paid by Fox, it's fair to assume that there was agreement on how the case would be presented. What's more, it raises additional questions about Judge Schroeder's decision to ban MSNBC, a Fox News competitor, from the courtroom. How convenient was that?

The verdict in this case is going to result in people being
"angry and concerned," as President Biden said in his statement that also called for people "to express their views peacefully." On the other hand we have Donald Trump telling Laura Ingraham on Fox News that...

"I don't know Kyle. I watched him testify, which was very unusual that somebody would testify. I thought it was brave. I thought it was great that he testified."

It's cute that Trump thinks it is "brave" to testify, something that he refuses to do, or permit any of his accomplices to do. He won't even allow the release of documents pertaining to his involvement in inciting the January 6th insurrection in Washington, D.C. The only thing we can conclude from that is that Trump is admitting that he's a coward.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Don't Use Violence, v2
Tailfish

A few years ago I wrote a diary called “Don’t Use Violence,” arguing against our protesters being the first to engage in violent acts. Many agreed with this concept, but there was some pushback from those who believe it’s okay to use violence against others on the basis of their speech (the “It’s okay to punch a Nazi” crowd), and those who would excuse certain violent acts, such as property destruction, as being in furtherance of protest goals.

Since then I’ve only become more convinced that our side should not be the first to engage in any violent act. This is because of three separate but related trends that have only been accelerating:

1. The legal trend toward allowing almost anyone to carry a gun with no training, or so-called “constitutional carry.”


2. The legal trend toward strengthening self-defense laws, including so-called “stand your ground” laws as well as the newer trend of shifting the burden of proof of self-defense from defendant to prosecutor.

3. The increasing number of right-wingers whose efforts and activity are highly focused on gun ownership and use and, for the more extreme ones, anticipation of a coming civil war.

It’s important to realize that none of these trends is likely to recede or reverse any time soon. The reason is simple: many on the right are effectively single-issue voters, with the single issue being gun ownership and its related sidekick of self-defense rights. Our side doesn’t have this. While there are many on the left who advocate for stronger gun control, very few consider this to be their single, or even most important, issue. Many on the left would say that while controlling gun violence is important, it is eclipsed by issues that are even more important such as climate change, income and healthcare inequality, or voting rights. I’ve included a poll below to evaluate whether this is true for our readers.

The Rittenhouse verdict demonstrated these trends in action. The jury was effectively not concerned that Rittenhouse possessed a military rifle at age 17, or that he chose to bring that rifle to a volatile situation. The jury also effectively adopted the position that any type of attack, such as chasing Rittenhouse or attempting to hit him with a skateboard, justifies the use of deadly force in self-defense. I don’t believe that the Rittenhouse verdict is a one-off aberration — it is the new norm.

When someone is shot, and the shooter is judged to have acted in self-defense, the embedded policy issues surrounding the shooting are effectively self-limited. One may argue strenuously on the Internet about why the shooting was unjustified or why gun control laws should be expanded, but none of these arguments is relevant to the facts that a person is dead and the shooter will not be held criminally liable. Once the jury rules, those facts become beyond debate. For those that are shot and killed, it is also the end of their participation in public discourse. They will never again express an opinion, carry a sign or cast a vote.

The goal for protesters, then, is to operate in the current gun and self-defense environment without being killed. To live to protest another day. The way to do this is simple: Don’t use violence. Protest peacefully. Don’t destroy private property. Don’t attack right wingers. Don’t surround and block cars driving down the street. In short, get the message out but don’t do anything that would give someone an excuse to start shooting.

And certainly, the answer is not for the left to arm itself and meet bullet with bullet. Doing so would be intentionally choosing to play on a field defined by the right wing. On that field, the left would be outnumbered and outgunned by a group of people that has spent the last couple of decades preparing for such an eventuality, and buying up all the ammo.

MLK, Gandhi and other leaders who advocated for non-violent resistance had the right idea. I can recall only one instance in recent years in which a right winger killed a protester who was simply protesting peacefully: the killing of Heather Heyer by James Fields during the Charlottesville protest. Fields is currently serving a life sentence.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Rittenhouse verdict celebrated on right-wing social media as green light for killing protesters
David Neiwert

The exultation on right-wing social media following Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal has been sickeningly predictable: Mainstream conservatives loudly valorize Rittenhouse as a “hero,” while more extremist voices, applying the same logic, demand that more Americans follow his footsteps—urging the likeminded to take to the street now to begin using guns to “be like Kyle.” They have even appropriated his name for their future plans, voiced in numerous celebratory threads: Any leftist protester shot by a right-wing “patriot” henceforth will have been “Rittenhoused.”

As we forecasted, the acquittal is now a beacon-like green light granting permission to violent right-wing extremists to openly wage the kind of “civil war” against “the left”—which ranges from liberal Democrats like Joe Biden to the “antifa” bogeyman they have concocted—that they have been fantasizing about for the past decade. In the words of Charlie Kirk’s interlocutor, it’s the signal that now they “get to use the guns.”
............
The bloodlust has been palpable. Online trolls celebrated that “it’s Open Season on pedo-commies” and boasted that the verdict means “there’s nothing you can do about it.” A neo-Nazi channel on Twitter urged readers to “let this win fuel your rage.” A fan of pseudo-journalist Andy Ngo commented in a retweet: “Every one of these anarchist criminal thugs should be shot in the street like the worthless dogs they are.”

Far-right maven Ann Coulter posted a meme showing a gantlet of comic-book superheroes bowing to Rittenhouse. On Facebook, Ben Shapiro framed any future violence as being left-wing: “The Left accepting the verdict in a peaceable manner remains the sizable elephant in the room.”

Coulter-RittenhouseMeme.jpeg


The white-nationalist site VDare also extolled Rittenhouse’s heroism:

This much is true: Kyle Rittenhouse is the hero we’ve been waiting for throughout the turbulent summer of 2020, where a Black Lives Matter/Antifa/Bolshevik revolution has our country on the brink of total chaos.

Matt Walsh of the Daily Wire blamed the media for there even having been a trial:

The verdict is right and just but Kyle Rittenhouse never should have been on trial at all. Now the media will go to work, like the demons they are, to ensure that Kenosha burns because they did not get their blood sacrifice.

Walsh then added:

I hope Rittenhouse bankrupts all of you dirtbags in media who smeared him as a white supremacist. I hope he ruins your life. I want you to suffer. It’s what you deserve. It’s justice.

Idaho legislator Tammy Nichols, a Republican, posted a meme featuring the Gadsden-flag “Don’t Tread On Me” design, but with a graphic of Rittenhouse firing from a seated position as he did in Kenosha.

The Gun Owners of America (GOA)—a gun-rights extremist group headed by far-right militia figure Larry Pratt—joined in the celebration by announcing it was giving Rittenhouse a new gun.

Alert: GOA will be awarding Kyle Rittenhouse with an AR-15 for his defense of gun rights in America. Join us in saying THANK YOU to Kyle Rittenhouse for being a warrior for gun rights and self defense rights across the country!

Other “Patriot” Movement extremists saw the verdict as vindication for vigilantism and militia organizing. The “Washougal Moms,” a militia-friendly group from eastern Washington state, opined:

Today the jury and legal system has reaffirmed our rights as citizens. The second amendment in all aspects, to form a well regulated militia, the right to bear arms in self defense, and against enemies both foreign and domestic!

Kurt Schlichter, taunted MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan, who had expressed concern about the double racial standard that the verdict reflects, on Twitter.

Your pain delights me. Kyle Rittenhouse killed two leftist catspaws and bisected the bicep of another and there’s nothing you can do about it.

A white-nationalist Twitter account called “Based Teutonic” celebrated the verdict by posting a fantasy that Rittenhouse would now embark on an action-hero-like mission—with the help of Judge Bruce Schroeder, who oversaw the trial in markedly biased fashion.

About to exit court room
Judge yells from behind:
Rittenhouse turns around
You forgot this
Tosses him his AR15

Credits roll, Eye of the Tiger plays

“Based Teutonic” wasn’t alone in celebrating Schroeder’s role in the verdict. On Telegram, a commenter in a Proud Boys channel observed:

Kyle’s case shows how important is to have your guys in power on a local level. One vaguely conservative boomer judge made all of the difference in a monumental trial.

Other Proud Boys were more focused on their long-anticipated civil war. "There's still a chance for this country," wrote one. Another wrote: "The left wont stop until their bodies get stacked up like cord wood."

The Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights monitored a number of far-right chat forums (particularly Telegram) following the verdict, and found an outpouring of extremist bile, much of it anticipating the ability to inflict lethal violence on “leftists,” as well as Black “parasites” and, of course, Jewish people. A user called The Western Chauvinist commented: “The parasites are planning multiple ‘protests’ across the United States.”

One user calling himself “Proud Boy To Fascist Pipeline” replied to one of these comments mocking Black leaders protesting the verdict as “parasites”: “Your 17 year olds are already armed and terrorizing our neighborhoods, n----er.”

Fittingly, Charlie Kirk fans—following the example of his Idaho audience member—were focused on the violence: “Arm up and tell them f**cking bring it!” one replied to predictions of leftist protests after the verdict. “Shoot these phukers,” commented another.

Nick Fuentes’ “Groypers” were also unbridled in their anticipation of gunning down their opponents. “The most American thing you can do is Killing Commies,” opined one on the white-nationalist forum Gab.

Another Gab user exulted with a meme showing Joaquin Phoenix as The Joker, dancing: “When you find out it’s officially Open Season on pedo-commies.” Mocking “wannabe street thugs upset with the verdict,” another Gab user replied, “you’re gonna get Rittenhouse’d. Bitch.”

Gab-OpenSeason.png


“Getting Rittenhoused” became a popular way of threatening leftists. After Ngo posted a handful of tweets from leftists angry about the verdict, hundreds of his fans piled on, making threats of violence against them. “Someone will Rittenhouse them too,” one responded. Another replied: “I came here to say that!”

Antisemitism also was a common theme. Right-wing troll Keith Woods, who has 23,500 followers on Twitter, declared after the verdict: “Huge L for the Jews.” His followers piled on; one responded with a GIF meme of Gollum and the text, “Curse you goyim.” Another replied, “hopefully they take an L in Charlottsville trial too. WHITE BOY WINTER!”

White nationalist Eric Striker was more explicitly antisemitic, as well as strategic, in his commentary:

Beating the Jews to the narrative as incidents unfold is more important than anything that happens in court.
Once you frame a story with the facts (and the facts have to be 100% accurate) and disseminate it with an effective propaganda network, Jews will struggle to challenge it once it’s cemented.

Notorious white nationalist and antisemite Mike “Enoch” Peinovich put out a statement through his National Justice Party: “This victory for Kyle Rittenhouse over the cosmopolitan elite forces that plague the nation isn’t only a victory for the young man himself, it’s a victory for justice and for all White people who take a stand,” Peinovich said.

On Telegram, a white nationalist commented: “The victory of Kyle Rittenhouse over the jewish forces that plague the nation isn’t just a victory for the man himself, it’s a victory for justice, and for the masses of disenfranchised White people which populate the globe.

The neo-Nazi group White Lives Matter had this advice for its white-supremacist followers:

Don’t let this one victory lull you back to sleep. That’s what they want. They know small “victories” can placate the angry masses more than anything else. Instead let this win fuel your rage. Never forget the simple fact that this clear-cut self-defense should never have gone to trial in the first place. Muslim, Hispanic, and African invaders have raped millions of our women, WHITE women. Their time of terrorizing our People with 0 consequences is coming to an end. The Rittenhouse verdict is a single tick in the scoreboard on our side. Our enemy doesn’t have a scoreboard big enough for their victories. Fight harder, stronger, fiercer, and with the same remorse they have shown us. None. Get going, White man.

"This might be interpreted across the far right as a type of permission slip to do this kind of thing or to seek out altercations in this way, believing that there is a potential that they won't face serious consequences for it," Jared Holt of the Digital Forensic Research Lab at the Atlantic Council told NPR. "I worry that that might end up being interpreted by some people as a proof of concept of this idea that you can actually go out and seek a 'self-defense situation,' and you'll be cheered as a hero for it."
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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BOO HOO: Trump Cries 'Witch Hunt' Over Probe of His 'Unprecedented and Incredible COVID Response'
News Corpse

Donald Trump, America's "most fabulous whiner" (in his own words) is wallowing in his own victimhood again. It's a character flaw that has been prominent throughout his public life. In his paranoid, narcissistic fog he truly believes that everyone is out to get him.

In a frantic Saturday afternoon tweet fraught with desperation (and posted by his Twitter ban defying spokes-shill), Trump whined petulantly that…

"The Communist Democrats are engaging in yet another Witch Hunt, this time going after my Administration’s unprecedented and incredible coronavirus response, despite the fact that, sadly, more Americans have died this year from Covid than in all of 2020.

You can always tell when Trump is triggered by the way he hurls absurd adjectives like "Communist" around as if he actually knows what they mean. But in this case he also correctly acknowledges that his response to the COVID pandemic was "unprecedented" (as in negligent and incompetent beyond anything that preceded it) and "incredible" (as in having no credibility whatsoever)

What's more, Trump reveals that he has absolutely no idea how pandemics work. The reason that fatalities have persisted through this year is precisely because of his malfeasance. He lied about its severity early on, then refused to advocate mitigating measures such as masks and vaccines. As a result, this is now a pandemic of the unvaccinated, who are predominantly Trump supporters and Fox News viewers. But he was just getting started...

"It is a Witch Hunt that’s been going on for years. Why don’t they investigate Crooked Hillary, when so much has now been proven about her and her campaign’s lies and dealings with Russia to smear me and spy on my campaign? I’m telling Peter Navarro to protect executive privilege and not let these unhinged Democrats discredit our great accomplishments. The Witch Hunts must end!"

Of course. It's a "Witch Hunt." And that makes it the perfect opportunity to deflect by bringing up preposterous and previously debunked allegations against Hillary Clinton. Then Trump finally gets around to what set him off. His sycophantic fan boy, Peter Navarro, has received a subpoena. According to Politico...

"A congressional committee investigating the Trump administration’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic issued a subpoena for former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Thursday for failing to respond to document requests. [...] The committee is probing whether former Trump administration officials mishandled the federal response to the pandemic, specifically whether it interfered with its own health agencies’ work and how it attempted to change its messaging to downplay the threats posed by the virus."

As usual, Trump is stonewalling an investigation that an innocent person would embrace as an opportunity to be exonerated. But Trump knows he's guilty, so he's attempting to invoke executive privilege, just as he has with Steve Bannon and his other partners in crime, despite the fact that he is no longer president and has no legal claim to it. The documents that Congress is seeking belong to the American people. So Navarro can look forward to a federal indictment should he choose to defy the subpoena.

As for Trump, his demand that the "Witch Hunt" end is going to go unheeded for a very good reason: It has been uncommonly successful at finding actual witches. His campaign and administration has accounted for far more federal indictments than any other president. And there are more to come. Including for Trump himself, the Warlock in chief.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Trump looks to be putting the screws to both McCarthy and McConnell
Kerry Eleveld

When House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was asked by a reporter this week when he last talked to Donald Trump, he paused for a millisecond before landing on what was probably the truth.

"Uhhh, this morning," McCarthy said on Thursday, the day after House Democrats censured GOP Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona over his violent tweet depicting the execution of New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Democrats also rightfully stripped Gosar of his committee assignments as McCarthy did the dirty work of shielding him from any backlash within the GOP caucus. Trump topped off the entire episode of GOP ignominy by endorsing Gosar.

The whole saga was a reminder of something everyone of us already knew: McCarthy is nothing more than Trump's stooge.
.......
As the week wore on, McCarthy’s antics began to have the whiff of desperation. His 8-hour pre-Build Back Better vote diatribe—perhaps most memorable for uncovering the baby carrot conspiracy—felt less like a Mel Gibson rallying cry in Braveheart than a Steve Carell non sequitur in The Office.

"@GOPLeader is bringing it on the floor right now!" enthused Florida man, Rep. Matt Gaetz, on the early side of McCarthy's harangue. But by Friday, Gaetz was denigrating McCarthy's speech as "a really long death rattle" and railing against House GOP leadership for starting “this march to socialism because they allowed 13 Turncoats to cross the line."

Gaetz is an interesting test case in the GOP caucus, since he's a primo Trump-wannabe hack whom McCarthy shielded from repercussions when it was revealed he was under federal investigation for having sex with a minor and potential sex trafficking. In other words, Gaetz is one of at least a handful of House Republicans to whom McCarthy has effectively given a free pass, in order to earn their vote for his speakership. But despite selling his soul, things don't seem to be going as planned for McCarthy.

In fact, two former GOP strategists and never-Trumpers, Stuart Stevens and Rick Wilson, think McCarthy's days at GOP leader are numbered, particularly if Republicans recapture the majority.

"His crazy caucus of radicals is going to put his head on a spike & elect Jim Jordan," Stevens tweeted Thursday night, calling McCarthy's speech the "desperate plea bargain of a man who knows he is done."

Wilson tweeted out a hypothetical Q&A scenario, with a question he apparently gets a lot: “Why don’t you pay more attention to Kevin McCarthy?”

"A: Because if the GOP retakes the House Jim Jordan will be Speaker," Wilson wrote.

Look, if Republicans win back the House, whoever takes over as Speaker will undoubtedly be nothing more than Trump's mouthpiece. But it does feel as though Trump is making a purity power play to eventually install his handpicked people as heads of both House and Senate Republicans. McCarthy simply won't do after he slipped up one fateful week in mid-January and dared to admit Trump "bears responsibility" for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

No amount of groveling or spinelessness is going to make up for that.

Which brings us to the Senate. In a little-noticed multi-page statement Wednesday, Trump upgraded Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell from the "Old Crow" to the "Broken Old Crow," charging that he missed his chance to jam President Joe Biden's agenda.

"He could have won it all using the Debt Ceiling—they were ready to fold. Now the Democrats have a big victory and the wind at their back," Trump wrote, referring to the infrastructure bill that McConnell keeps praising in his home state of Kentucky.

"It was extremely good for our state. I'm proud of my vote," McConnell reaffirmed Tuesday, after previously hailing the package as a "godsend" to Kentucky."

For a solid two weeks, Trump has been stewing about passage of the bipartisan measure that 32 congressional Republicans voted for and, let's face it, much like his 2020 loss, it will never be over for Trump. More than just about anything—including the ouster of McCarthy—Trump hopes to orchestrate McConnell's demise. In fact, Trump has been actively agitating "to depose" McConnell for months.

That's what made an Axios story about GOP donors being "furious" over passage of the bipartisan deal stand out. At the center of the story was Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, who reportedly informed his Senate counterparts this week that he had been fielding complaints from angry donors about congressional Republicans handing Biden a big win.

The reporting raised a bunch of provocative questions: Who leaked it, which donors complained, and how many? It's certainly not a story a Republican operative would leak to reflect positively on the Senate GOP conference—19 of whom voted for the bill. It also figured particularly poorly for McConnell, so it likely would have been leaked by a Trump ally trying to make a point.

If anyone is positioned to potentially oust McConnell as leader at some point, it's Rick Scott, who has buddied up to Trump (in contrast to McConnell) and was one of only eight GOP senators to vote against certification of the 2020 election. In that sense, Scott is a purist, while McConnell is a giant thorn in Trump's side.

Scott is also busy building his donor list as chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which would help him blunt one of McConnell's biggest leverage points as leader: his ability to dole out campaign funds to members via his massive fundraising network.

Rick Scott undoubtedly sees himself running for president one day. But if Trump runs in 2024, one could see him vying for Senate leader instead, to bide his time until the time is right for a presidential bid. For Trump, Scott sort of hits the sweet spot between someone like McConnell, an establishment Trump detractor, and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a Trump convert who is loathed by his colleagues.

If Trump were going to work to elevate anyone to that post, Scott would be a good pick—with the added benefit of distracting him from a 2024 presidential bid.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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MAGA Land Is Now Realizing That VA GOP Establishment Duped Them Into Voting For A RINO
poopdogcomedy
....
......

MAGAs furious Youngkin is moving to center
emptycross
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Glenn Youngkin is already being rebuked by right-wingers for insufficient loyalty to MAGA madness
Aldous J Pennyfarthing

Racism and bigotry were the jet fuel that launched Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin to his gubernatorial victory earlier this month. Somehow, he got the fuel mix right, adding just enough incendiary nonsense to his campaign speeches while keeping obvious, bona fide racists—such as our ex-president—at arm’s length. This cynical two-step allowed Youngkin to benefit from thinly veiled racism while also suppressing suburban voters’ all-too-fresh memories of Donald Trump’s infamous Hitler Goof rallies.

It worked, and I could not be more depressed that it did. In what ****ed-up world is a deadly virus that’s raged out of control for nearly two years—largely because of right-wing resistance to basic public health precautions—less frightening to parents than a course of study that’s pretty much only taught in graduate schools?

Of course, Youngkin’s deft—and deeply dishonest—straddling of two worlds may eventually prove unsustainable. How does one man in a fleece vest keep a fractious coalition of suburban mothers and fire-breathing MAGA mites together for the long haul? I doubt the glue that Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert huffs to keep himself awake during House committee meetings would do it.

And judging by early reactions to some of Youngkin’s more “moderate” decisions, the MAGA crowd looks ready to pillory the man.

.......
The Daily Beast reports that many MAGA conservatives who helped put Youngkin in office are already experiencing “buyer’s remorse.”

Over the past week, outrage has bubbled over among right-wingers and TrumpWorld allies alike, who are under the impression Youngkin has insufficient MAGA loyalty, citing his hiring of an LGBTQ staffer and his refusal to block COVID-related local mandates.

Oh, do tell.

The hits started pouring in against the fleece-clad governor-elect earlier this week after he declared he would not attempt to block local vaccine and mask mandates across the Old Dominion—a break from more hardcore Republican governors like Florida’s Ron DeSantis.

The death cult demands a sacrifice, Glenn. Did you really think you could govern as a Republican in the Year of Our Lord 2021 without genuflecting to fake phlegmy freedom?

Right-wing media figures almost immediately began publicly bashing the governor-elect. Judicial Watch founder Tom Fitton railed against Youngkin for refusing to stand up against “abusive” mask mandates, while right-wing outlet The Federalist tossed him under the bus for not being a “strong conservative governor.”

Ouch. Youngkin hasn’t even moved into the Executive Mansion yet and he’s being deemed a failure.

Another of the MAGA crowd’s leading lights has already accused Youngkin of being a dreaded RINO—a “Republican in Name Only.” Of course, these days that could mean anyone who thinks a teenager who bumble****s his way into a protest with an assault rifle and kills two people somehow isn’t evocative of a classic Greek hero.

John Fredericks, who hosts a radio show on Real America’s Voice (which also airs Steve Bannon’s War Room), recently stated, “Two weeks, post his election, here we go: Once again with another RINO alert.” It seems to me that someone who defers to local control vis-à-vis public health dictates would actually be a true Republican, but these folks stopped trying to make sense years ago.

But it isn’t just insufficient fealty to the novel coronavirus that’s got Republicans in a lather. It’s also the fact that Youngkin hired a staffer “with pronouns” who (gasp!) appears to identify with LGBTQ causes. Just look at this late-night Twitter thread obsessing over the staffer, Joshua Marin-Mora, from Claremont Institute fellow Pedro Gonzalez:



Gonzalez’s insomniac vitriol sparked further scrutiny of Marin-Mora.



As shocking/not shocking as Youngkin’s victory was, it may be tough for him to hold his fragile voting base together. And if right-wingers are this suspicious of him before he even takes office, maybe Youngkin’s double-sided shtick isn’t the magic way for Republicans to sway purple state voters in the future. After all, if Republican candidates can’t be trusted to be little Despicable Him minions, what good are they?
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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GOP War on Health Gets Worse: Some are Now Opposing ALL Vaccines
Dan K

There’s lots of reasons why the GOP and its right-wing allies (masters) have stirred up resistance to the Covid vaccine. Part of it has to do with Trump’s initial dismissal of Covid as “no worse than the flu” and his efforts to conceal his incompetence at handling the pandemic. It’s also another way to “own the libs” and push the anti-government narrative. It’s supremely hypocritical, of course; most of the loudest screamers warning of the “dangers” of the vaccine are themselves vaccinated. Still, from a purely pragmatic (and dogmatic) political perspective, the anti-covid-vaccine campaign makes a kind of perverse sense.

But it’s moving beyond that to something that makes no sense at all, from any political perspective:

GOP opposition to vaccine mandates extends far beyond Covid-19

(Stat published this story on the 17th; it just caught my attention now.)

Right-wing politicians’ resistance to vaccine mandates is extending far beyond Covid-19 immunizations, a startling new development that carries vast implications for the future of public health.
In Idaho, a lawmaker introduced a bill that would define vaccine mandates — of any kind — as a form of assault. In Florida, a prominent state senator has called for a review of all vaccine requirements, including those for immunizations that have enjoyed wide public acceptance for decades, like polio and the measles, mumps, and rubella shot. And in Montana, the Republican governor recently signed into law a new bill that forbids businesses, including hospitals, from enforcing any vaccination requirements as a condition of employment.

Holy shades of Louis Pasteur! What next? Will they stop hospitals from making doctors wash their hands between patients?

Other states are taking similar steps:

A Tennessee proposal banning employer vaccine mandates, for one, doesn’t specify which immunizations it would apply to, meaning it effectively would apply to any requirement. Alabama’s GOP governor recently signed a new law banning any new vaccine mandates in schools, beyond those that already exist — a measure clearly aimed at Covid but with a potential impact on future immunization efforts.

Some of this is political backlash manufactured to oppose anything Biden does, in this case a Covid vaccine mandate (which is really more “vaccine-or-test”). But this isn’t completely a product of Covid vaccine hysteria; anti-vaccination campaigns precede the pandemic, and already produced disastrous — predictably disastrous — results:

Even before Covid-19, some U.S. communities had begun to experience outbreaks of diseases that most of the country has largely eradicated. In two recent high-profile instances, a Somali-American community in Minnesota and a largely Orthodox Jewish town outside New York City experienced major measles clusters in 2017 and 2019, respectively. In both cases, the outbreaks were driven by lower-than-ideal vaccination rates, which in turn stemmed from active misinformation campaigns.

Public health officials, not at all surprisingly, are extremely alarmed:

“It’s the perfect storm, because there’s growing vaccine hesitancy, an anti-vax lobby growing more powerful, and this growing milieu of disinformation,” [Nahid] Bhadelia[, a physician-researcher who leads the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Policy and Research at Boston University] said. “There is a general societal movement here in the U.S. to undermine public health recommendations.”

It has already had an impact on this year’s flu vaccine program:

In 2020, one AP-NORC poll showed just a 4% gap between Democrats’ and Republicans’ desire to be immunized against the flu. Two surveys conducted in 2021, however, paint a grimmer picture: Now, Democrats are more enthusiastic than Republicans about flu vaccines by a 24% or 25% margin, according to Axios/Ipsos and Kaiser Family Foundation, respectively.

And that is also evidence of the politically-driven nature of the anti-vaccine program.

In a biblically just world, the Republicans would end up killing off their own base through diseases that had been a thing of the past. The problem is, diseases don’t make political distinctions. No vaccine is perfect (a point often misused by the anti-covid-vaccine mob), and our country’s health depends not just on vaccination but on widespread vaccination.

There may be some among the anti-vax crowd who think their genes (their tighty-whitey ones) are superior and will resist diseases without vaccines. Or that God will protect them, since in the Bible disease was a punishment for disobeying God. Or, even more cynically, they’ll get vaccinated on the sly (much as Trump did) while counting on the disinformation campaign to work on the poor, the minorities, the “undesirables” who shouldn’t be in the country in the first place. Call it internal emigration, if you will.

Whatever the calculation, public health doesn’t work that way. Democrats should be shouting this from the rooftops — the Republicans are seriously trying to get us all sick, or worse.
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
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Getting Joe Manchin's vote on BBB could come down to one of the weirdest situations of the century
Mark Sumner

The fate of the Build Back Better legislation, including the future of U.S. participation in attempts to limit the impact of the climate crisis, may depend on one of the weirdest phenomena of the modern world. It’s a trend that crosses an outdated technology from a dying market with a still-growing craze which baffles much of the public. And it all comes down to putting money in the pocket of one man.

The outdated industry is coal-powered electrical plants. The growing craze is cryptocurrency. And the man is, of course, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin.

Stitch that all together, and you get a Politico report on how the Grant Town power plant near Morgantown, West Virginia has put forward a proposal to turn itself into a giant, coal-powered, cryptocurrency “mine.” If that proposal moves forward, it could ensure that the lone contract that defines Manchin’s “coal brokerage firm” will continue to hand him over $500,000 a year for doing very close to nothing. Then maybe we can all have nice things. Or, if the crypto-plant proposal fails, Manchin could still hold the entire bill hostage to his personal interest in fossil fuels.

Not only does all of this represent a massive conflict of interest, the timing of events serves to showcase what may be the height of placing individual greed above the greater good.
..........

Cryptocurrency is a still a phenomenon that leaves many people scratching their heads. Whether it’s a Bitcoin or a Sol, cryptocurrency doesn’t exist as a block of gold in a vault, a physical coin in a drawer, or a promissory note backed by a government. It’s a series of numbers embedded in a blockchain, which is itself a kind of storage system for these numbers that makes it very difficult to falsify or alter information. The numbers can’t be guessed, and don’t follow a regular pattern. They can only be calculated using a laborious set of equations that can discover the next sequence in a process popularly called “mining.” Through mining, new “blocks” of verified transactions are added to the blockchain. Those blocks are owned by the miners.

In the early days, discovering these sequences was relatively easy and could even be done on generic desktop computers. But finding new crypto “coins” rapidly becomes more difficult, and the equations aren’t really optimized to work on the kind of generic microprocessors at the heart of most laptops and desktops. Systems expanded to allow many computers to work together in discovering a block. Then computer gamers and graphic artists found that the dedicated graphics cards they needed were simply unavailable, because cryptocurrency miners had discovered that the type of processors on these cards was much better suited to digging up that next coin. That’s still true today to some extent, but in large part, crypto mining has moved on to even more specialized hardware, designed expressly to deal with the particular equations involved in uncovering a new transaction. This dedicated hardware has taken crypto mining well beyond the limits of what many early adherents of Bitcoin or other currencies thought to be practical.

Over time, the real cost of mining a new block has become defined by one thing: power. Anyone trying to mine a Bitcoin at home these days is almost certain to spend more money on the power it costs to mine that coin than the coin is actually worth. At the other end of the mining spectrum, rooms full of specialized mining machines, all digging away at the blockchain, consume a lot of energy, but the cost of the power is still lower than the profit that can be returned—especially when the crypto market is surging.

Rather than the cost of power, the
availability of power has become a constraint on these high-end mining operations. There are systems out there that need more power than a mid-sized town to handle their ongoing search for that next transaction. So where do they get it? They buy a power plant.

There are some rather ingenious alternatives being put forward—including solar-powered EV charging stations that would use all solar power to mine for cryptocurrency using any excess energy—but all too often, the easiest form of power for the crypto-hungry to find can be defined in one word: coal.

Across the nation and in many parts of the world, coal power plants are closing for the simplest reason: They cost too much. The cost of operating a coal-powered plant is now so far above adding new power in the form of solar or wind, that systems are finding it cheaper to overbuild renewables and close down the aging coal plants. Some plants are being converted to burn natural gas instead. Others are just being shuttered.

A plant that’s about to be written off and remaindered is a great target for a crypto operation. Using that dedicated hardware, they can afford the higher cost of the coal-based power. That’s led to crypto miners buying up multiple plants in Pennsylvania and in New York. That New York plant had been used as a “peaker” plant, filling in when there was high demand on the grid. Its continuous use in powering crypto mining has reportedly made a nearby glacial lake used to cool the plant “feel like a bathtub.

In the case of the Grant Town plant in West Virginia, operating it for power no longer makes any sense. It’s a relatively small power plant, only 80 megawatts. It’s also the only plant in the state that still burns “waste coal.”

Coal mines often generate a spoil pile of mostly non-coal material that is picked off the conveyor belt, often by hand, and pitched aside. Before the coal is sent to the power plant, it is often sent through a “prep plant,” where the coal is crushed to a more uniform size and sent through a series of chemical baths in which the lighter coal floats, while heavier minerals—especially those rich in sulfur—sink. This leaves behind a second spoil pile of waste material.

Producing waste coal requires going back through the spoil piles for coal that was missed the first time. That coal is worse in almost every way than what was produced on the first pass. It contains more non-coal material, lowering the energy output and increasing the amount of ash. It also contains more sulfur and heavy metals, creating toxins that either go up the smokestack or into the coal slurry at the plant.

All coal is dirty, but waste coal is the dirtiest form of coal. Waste coal is what Joe Manchin sells.

Using waste coal made a tiny amount of sense in 2008, when the coal market was at its peak and supply was having a hard time keeping up with demand. It makes no sense now, when a majority of mines have been idled and there is still enormous overcapacity. But Manchin has a contract, and that contract has netted him over $5 million in the last decade.

The result of all this is that Grant Town isn’t just the dirtiest plant using the dirtiest fuel, it’s also the most expensive plant in the state, in terms of dollars per megawatt. That plant has lost $117 million in just the last five years while paying Manchin $500,000 a year—not even for the waste coal itself, but just to manage the contract that delivers the waste coal.


Joe Manchin is almost singularly responsible for removing $1.8 trillion in funding from the Build Back Better legislation. Thanks to Sen. Manchin’s refusal to support the bill as it was originally proposed, dozens of major programs have already been reduced in scope or eliminated completely. Some of the things that were removed—including two years of free community college—seemed like complete no-brainers which would have not only decreased the debt students now face upon emerging from college, but given the U.S. a competitive advantage by creating a more educated work force.

The funds for climate change included in the legislation that just passed the House are much smaller than those included in the original proposal that came from the White House. However, they do include over $500 billion in funds dedicated to expanding the use of renewable energy and electric vehicles. Funds for the creation of the Civilian Climate Corps are also still in there, which would create jobs dedicated to restoring and maintaining lost areas of forest and wetland.

Also still included is a program that will give utilities a bonus for the switching production to renewable power. As Popular Science explains, that program could be a massive game-changer when it comes to transitioning not just coal plants, but also natural gas-powered plants, to solar or wind. Manchin has specifically opposed that program, saying, “Why pay the utilities for something they're going to do anyway, because we're transitioning?”

This is why. Because the program supporting those increased payments is expected to speed the transition by 4% a year. And that adds up.

A 4 percent yearly increase would get the energy mix to about 70 to 80 percent in 2030, whereas business as usual would put Americans around 48 percent by the same date.

If the U.S. is even going to come close to meeting the goals that must be met to ward off the worst of the climate crisis, it needs Manchin to vote for inclusions of the Clean Energy Performance Program as part of Build Back Better.

And getting that vote may depend on whether or not the Grant Town plant gets turned into a dedicated crypto mining plant … all so that Joe Manchin can continue to sell the dirtiest coal, to the dirtiest plant, to line his pocket with the dirtiest money.