They Just Lie…and Lie…and Lie
Republicans weaponize political misinformation through a right wing echo chamber. When it’s debunked, some damage filters through.
Here we go again. The Big Lie has been given some oxygen in the Arizona desert.
At former president Donald Trump’s urging, the Arizona State Senate recently hired a private firm with no elections background, named the Cyber Ninjas, to audit the ballots in Democrat-rich Maricopa County.
This rogue recount was planned to be a secret operation with no independent monitoring in which these Cyber Ninjas would deploy UV Rays and other crazy QAnon-inspired technology to inspect the ballots. The firm’s CEO Doug Logan has repeatedly spouted conspiracy theories about the “stolen” 2020 election.
Last Thursday, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs managed to convince a federal judge to send in actual election experts to observe these Cyber Ninjas…to audit the auditors. Hobbs is also trying to get permission to involve justice department. In a speech at his Florida club, Trump vowed to inspire similar audits in “contested” states that have Republican legislatures.
The Big Lie
You see what this is. Donald Trump is making a brazen attempt to vaporize our democracy by sowing doubt in the integrity of our elections. The Big Lie is simply a scam to enable Donald Trump to once again be the center of the world’s attention. That is the entire mission. The man has no yearning to govern.
Perhaps you believed this election matter was settled. In terms of recounts, three were made between election day and Biden’s inauguration. The state of Georgia held two recounts that both reaffirmed Biden’s narrow victory. Wisconsin held one recount that produced the same result.
Election Lawsuits Batting Average: One for 62
In fact, during that litigious time between election and inauguration days, the Trump campaign filed 62 lawsuits in state and federal courts, all seeking to overturn election results in states Trump lost. Of the 62 challenges, 61 failed (a Pennsylvania court ruled favorably on an inconsequential matter of the spacing of election monitors). All court decisions were issued by both Democratic-appointed and Republican-appointed judges, including some appointed by Trump.
The Trump campaign even managed to bring two lawsuits to the US Supreme Court, which refused to hear either case. At what point is enough enough? The answer is, that’s not the point.
Denying the Assault on Our Capitol
Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson remarked on whether he feared the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrectionists:
I knew these were people who love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, who would never do anything to break the law so I wasn’t concerned.
Now, had the tables turned…and President Trump had won the election, and tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and Antifa [invaded the Capitol], I would have been a little concerned.Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)
That seems to be the talking point among Republicans. After about a week of introspection about carnage that took place in the halls of Congress, Trump and Republican leaders are now spreading a false narrative that Jan. 6 was a “peaceful” event in which the rioters, in Trump’s words, were “hugging and kissing the police and the guards.”
The Uncomfortable Truth
Never mind the uncomfortable truth: one Capitol police officer killed, 137 officers injured and two other officers dead by suicide after the assault. Even former Republican House Speaker John Boehner wrote in his new book: Trump “incited” it “for nothing more than selfish reasons, perpetuating the bullshit he’d been shoveling since he lost a fair election the previous November.”
Abandoning accountability for Jan. 6 is perilous for American democracy, according to guest opinion writer Ruth Ben-Ghiat of CNN: “History shows the burying violence creates the conditions for its repetition…the GOP will take that as a green light for them to try other lawless maneuvers in the future in order to return to power…and stay there. The time to set the record straight is now.”
The New York Post article about the current vice president delighted conservatives looking for a cudgel against President Biden’s immigration policies. The article in the Rupert Murdoch-owned Post claimed that copies of a children’s book written by Vice President Kamala Harris were distributed at taxpayers’ expense as a “welcome Kit” for unaccompanied migrant children at a shelter in Long Beach, California.
Not exactly an impeachable offense but highly inappropriate, the echo chamber giggled. Except that it wasn’t true. A single copy of the book showed up as part of a neighborhood book and toy drive for migrant children. Fair game for an alert cameraman.
Reporter Resigns in Disgust
Even after the article was outed and the reporter resigned in disgust, the Post kept repeating the falsehood in follow-up articles, claiming thousands of copies had been distributed.
The author of the piece, a veteran and respected reporter of New York’s courts named Laura Italiano, wrote on Twitter that the Harris article “was an incorrect story I was ordered to write and which I failed to push back hard enough against…I’m sad to leave.”
Climate Change Action Promotes Burger Ban?
Republican lies are often birthed according to the old chestnut, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” This certainly qualifies.
On Earth Day, Apr. 22, President Biden hosted a virtual climate summit with world leaders. The president advanced a vision in which the US would cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half by the year 2030.
Now it is a fact that raising livestock for edible meat is responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. It is also worth noting that Biden’s plan did not address restricting meat consumption. He made no mention of it.
Conservatives On the Attack
Based on a conservative British tabloid that jokingly suggested that the White House could limit Americans “to just one burger a MONTH,” the echo chamber gleefully responded. One headline trumpeted, “Bye bye Burgers Under Biden’s Climate Plan.” Larry Kudlow, a Fox News personality who used to chair Trump’s National Economic Council, remarked to Fox Business, “To meet Biden’s Green New Deal targets, America has to, get this, America has to stop eating meat. No burgers on the 4th of July, no steaks on the barbeque.”
You see the bullshit metastasizing? President Biden doesn’t even support the Green New Deal.
Kevin McCarthy Gets In on the Action
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy just couldn’t resist. Licking his chops and trying hard to tamp down the utter thrill of “owning the libs,” McCarthy told Fox’s Sean Hannity, “It just continues, [Biden] wants to control your life,” McCarthy said. “He’s going to control how much meat you can eat. Can you imagine that?”
Two days after the story was totally debunked, McCarthy wouldn’t let up. The man who expects to be Speaker of the House next year was still saying to anyone who would listen that Joe Biden wants to “control how much meat” Americans can eat.
Perhaps Kevin McCarthy is yapping about meat deprivation because he has a real dilemma coming up concerning his House Republican leadership team. When Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) voted in favor of Trump’s second impeachment for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection, there was a movement afoot in the caucus to demote her from her position as Republican Conference Chair…the number three position in leadership.
McCarthy managed to cool things off and Cheney survived by a vote of 145-61. McCarthy voted in her favor.
Well, as Bob Dylan wrote, things have changed. McCarthy has already signaled that his mind is changed. In an opinion essay in today’s New York Times, Thomas L. Friedman quoted political podcaster Gautam Mukunda: “Denying the legitimacy of our last election is becoming a prerequisite for being elected as a Republican in 2022.”
He goes on: “This is creating a filter that over time will block out anyone willing to tell the truth about the election.” It will leave us…”with a Republican Party where being willing to help steal an election is literally a job requirement.”
Friedman: “There is simply nothing more dangerous for a two-party democracy than to have one party declare that no election where it loses is legitimate, and therefore if it loses, it will just lie about the results and change the rules.”