Christian nationalist assault on democracy still trying to be unnoticed

In April 2018, researcher Frederick Clarkson exposed the existence of Project Blitz, a secretive Christian nationalist “bill mill” operating below the radar to shape and enact legislation in dozens of states, using a network of state “prayer caucuses,” many of which had unsuspecting Democratic members. Its plan was to start with innocent-seeming bills, such as requiring public schools to display the national motto, “In God We Trust,” and to culminate with laying the foundations for a “Handmaid’s Tale”-style theocracy, enshrining bigotry in law under the guise of “religious freedom.”

Salon was the first to report and build on Clarkson’s findings, as well as subsequent progressive organizing efforts which eventually drove Project Blitz back underground, following a high-profile USA Today exposé (Salon follow-up here.) Now, three years later, Clarkson, a senior research analyst at Political Research Associates, has unearthed the playbooks Project Blitz has used since going dark, and discussed their implications with Salon in an exclusive interview.

Clarkson told Salon, “While most people to the left of the Christian right view the Project Blitz playbook with revulsion, I see it as a gift to democracy. The playbook and their accompanying briefings and events laid bare their intentions and their game plan.” Because of that, he continued, “We were handed a vital tool for the defense of democratic values and, arguably, the wider defense of democracy itself. The things that happened in response, I think, are underappreciated, even by some of those who should be taking great pride in their victories.”

RTFA. Explains more than a few weird happenstances in our own state of New Mexico. Already had one recent effort to have “in god we trust” emblazoned on every public building in the state. Except this ain’t the bible belt. Yet.

Fox News is turning the Republican Party into a suicide cult — A reasonable goal for Trump voters

Tucker Carlson really wants his audience to die. The notorious Fox News host and primary mainstreamer of white nationalist views was at it again on Monday night, presenting the coronavirus vaccine as some kind of evil conspiracy and discouraging his audience from getting it…

“How effective is this coronavirus vaccine?” How necessary is it to take the vaccine?” Carlson asked, with his usual feigned expression of skepticism.

He went on to defend the honor of “anti-vaxxers” and lambast social media sites for kicking off people who spread misinformation, claiming, falsely, “there are things we don’t know about the effects of this vaccine and all vaccines by the way.” This is typical Carlson rhetoric. He doesn’t exactly come right out and tell people that vaccines are a nefarious plot. He simply claims he’s “asking questions,” allowing the audience to believe they are practicing critical thinking when what they’re doing is the opposite: rejecting evidence in favor of outrageous conspiracy theories…

What’s weird about this situation, as many people have pointed out, is that Carlson, Ingraham, etc. are actively trying to get their own audiences killed. Nearly 2% of people who test positive for COVID-19 die of it. For Fox News viewers, who tend to lean older, the risk of death is much higher. Nearly half of male GOP voters say they won’t get the vaccine, and it’s a certainty that many of them will die because of it. It’s usually not considered particularly smart business practice to get your own customers killed, but that’s exactly what Carlson and his fellow travelers are doing.

You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes
Well, you might find
You get what you need…

(Apologies to The Rolling Stones)

Extremists in Blue spark “concern” in folks politically deaf-and-blind

The John Birch Society was founded in 1958. Committed to racism, reactionary politics, bigotry and inequality…their organizers went forth as this fascist club grew into thousands. And a critical part of the American body politic they targeted was police departments.

The third, most recent generation of the KKK was founded in the 1950’s not only as a terrorist organization opposing the struggle for civil rights in the GOUSA…their terror was as likely to focus on white supporters of civil rights and equal opportunity for all non-white Americans…as Black and Brown activists leading those struggles. A critical part of their organizing tactics was inside police departments, North and South.

Reporters, editors, liberal politicians, conservative politicians…who say they had no idea this was going on…either had their heads up their butts or they are lying to you.

You didn’t have to play a leadership role in civil rights activism to know who was working to recruit cops. And soldiers, too, BTW. But, American cops are always the first rank of suppression to be brought into action against any kind of insurgency in this land. What would have been surprising would be fascist-minded gangs of racist thugs skipping over fertile soil to grow their poison.

This ain’t sanitized high school civics. This ain’t Officer Jimmy guiding schoolkids across a busy intersection on the way home from grammar school. And I’m not saying they’ve succeeded in reworking local PD’s into a Gestapo. But, they’d love to try…and succeed. Stepping back and gasping in shock and amazement is absurd.

Now, here’s a link to the article. Read what made it into the pantywaist press!

FACEBOOK ain’t cracking down on their favorite rightwing bigots

Several data scientists have quit their jobs at Facebook following the presidential election over frustration at the company’s unwillingness to crack down on hate speech and misinformation coming from right-leaning pages. In a goodbye note they wrote and shared companywide, as seen by BuzzFeed News, the departing employees specifically said their extensive efforts to put out flames have been meaningless because of Facebook’s, “very apparent interest in propping up actors who are fanning the flames of the very fire we are trying to put out.”

They concluded that, while Facebook has continued developing its automated tools and been successful at reducing violence reports through targeted interventions, it’s never going to be enough so long as the company continues turning a blind eye to hateful content shared by the likes of Trump and right-leaning pages…

Surprise, surprise. Smoke and mirrors are generally sufficient to ease consciences for advertisers…and Zuckerberg. Time will tell if the unruly horde of users will act up and reduce FB profits.

Texas’ official says grandparents are ready to die for US economy — and they must!

The lieutenant governor of Texas argued in an interview on Fox News Monday night that the United States should go back to work, saying grandparents like him don’t want to sacrifice the country’s economy during the coronavirus crisis.

Patrick claimed after speaking to over a hundred people over the phone that there’s a consensus that they don’t want to “lose our whole country” over the current public health crisis and face an economic collapse

Health experts have made clear the coronavirus poses a particular danger for older patients – 60 years old and older – who face the highest risk of serious illness or death from the rapid spread of COVID-19.

This rightwing asshat calls 100 “experts” who agree that sending folks back to work rather than sheltering in place – halting quarantine from a highly-infectious disease – makes economic sense in his distorted understanding of what the result could be.

Aside from his obvious failing at essential humanity, Patrick’s ignorance of cause-and-effect in the firestorm of a plague is downright criminal. First, he thinks the death of thousands [or millions] is OK if it returns our economy to profitability. Second, the man is a fool if he thinks this coronavirus plague will not infect a critical mass of people of all ages if turning your back on public health standards of conduct and sanity is allowed to prevail. Crushing the US economy.

No doubt his “experts” qualify as such because they donate to political campaigns for cretins – candidate and voters alike.

Next goal for reactionaries – mandate funding for religious schools

Conservatives have spent the past decade warning of the evils of government mandates, how they reduce freedom and damage liberty. But the conservative majority on the Supreme Court is poised to take the cues of far-right legal interests and mandate that states send thousands of taxpayer dollars per pupil to religious schools…

The case, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, seeks to overturn a Montana Supreme Court ruling that prohibited money from a voucher program to be put toward private religious schools, consistent with the state’s nearly five-decade ban on state aid for religious purposes. Thirty-seven other states have similar “no aid” provisions. But the plaintiffs, bankrolled by a right-wing organization called the Institute of Justice, are not simply trying to allow public voucher funding for religious institutions; they want to require it.

The case will be heard on Wednesday, January 22.

Keep your eyes and ears open, folks. With the short-focus attention span of American media we’re not likely to hear about anything other than the pantywaist impeachment trial of our Fake President – for the next couple of months. Regardless of the likely rigged verdict promised by Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party.

Austrian government falls as rightwing party boss caught trying to sell contracts

❝ The far-right Freedom Party’s Heinz-Christian Strache resigned as vice chancellor and party leader after the video was released by two German news organizations. He acknowledged that the video was “catastrophic” but denied breaking the law.

Chancellor Kurz, a conservative who formed a coalition with the Freedom Party a year and a half ago, said the apparent video sting, in which Strache discusses contracts in return for financial or political favors, was the last straw in the relationship…

❝ “These are shameful images and no one should be ashamed for Austria,” he said of the video. “We need in this sense to rebuild confidence anew. This rebuilding can in this case only happen with a snap election.”

Last we heard, Trump was asking the DOJ if he can pardon crooks in Austria.