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crickets's Journal
crickets's Journal
December 22, 2021

"a revived tax-credit push led by Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah"

That's what woke up Collins: a fellow Republican talking about a Republican tax plan.


Romney released his plan early this year before Democrats passed their package. It would provide a larger benefit of $4,200 annually to young children and pay for itself by phasing out other tax programs and cash assistance for low-income families under the state-run Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Even with those changes, it would go slightly further than the Biden plan in eliminating deep poverty, according to a Niskanen Center analysis.

The plan attracted little support across the political spectrum as Democrats went after their wider spending bill and two top Republicans derided it and other child allowance proposals as “welfare assistance.” While Romney is trying to revive it now as the cliff looms, that calls into question whether it could get the 60 votes needed in the Senate to pass by itself.

Unless it's for the rich folks, there are no handouts. Gotta rob Peter to pay Paul.

What the heck is the Niskanen Center? Has anyone heard of them or know anything about them? A quick web search is giving off mixed messages.
December 21, 2021

One of the hallmarks of stochastic terrorism is on full display.


When President Trump tweeted a video of himself body-slamming the CNN logo in 2017, most ­people took it as a stupid joke. For Cesar Sayoc, it may have been a call to arms: Last October the avowed Trump fan allegedly mailed a pipe bomb to CNN headquarters.

No one told Sayoc to do it, but the fact that it happened was really no surprise. In 2011, after the shooting of US representative Gabby Giffords, a Daily Kos blog warned of a new threat the writer called stochastic terrorism: the use of mass media to incite attacks by random nut jobs—acts that are “statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.” The writer had in mind right-wing radio and TV agitators, but in 2016, Rolling Stone accused then-candidate Trump of using the same playbook when he joked that “Second Amendment people” might “do” something if Hillary Clinton won the election.

Of course, Trump’s people later said he meant they might … “vote.” That’s how it works: Stochastic terrorism lets bullies operate in the open with full deniability, since the random element erases any provable causation.

Tellingly, the word stochastic comes from the Greek stochastikos, meaning “proceeding by guesswork” and “skillful in aiming.” Both are apt here. It takes a master demagogue to weaponize unstable individuals and aim them at political enemies.
December 18, 2021

Well, the Flynns certainly made some interesting public comments.


The detailed recommendation from Magistrate Judge Sarah Cave (which District Judge Gregory Woods will now consider) came in Flynn v. CNN (S.D.N.Y.) ... the Magistrate Judge ultimately concluded that they couldn't show that the statements were substantially false: [see also pdf linked below]

As to the third dictionary definition, "one that imitates another," both Flynns' Twitter feeds include instances in which they retweeted or liked posts featuring "Q" or "QAnon" in the Twitter handle or the text of the post itself. Further, the Flynns do not dispute that they said the phrase, "where we go one we go all." Although they contend that their use was innocuous, the connection between the phrase and QAnon is a matter of public record, with at least one federal court recognizing the "association of this phrase with QAnon." United States v. Languerand, No. 21 Crim. 353 (JDB), 2021 WL 3674731, at *3 n.8 (D.D.C. Aug. 19, 2021) (citing Will Rahn & Dan Patterson, What is the QAnon conspiracy theory?, CBS NEWS (Mar. 29, 2021, 3:36 PM), https:/www.cbsnews.com/news/whatis-the-qanon-conspiracy-theory/). Indeed, the August 21, 2020 tweet that the Flynns include in the AC shows an image of the letter "Q" over the phrase "where we go one we go all," as to which Jack then commented, "this works for me."

Because the Flynns' Twitter feeds contradict their allegation that "Jack did not use QAnon slogans or code language or retweet users because they had a 'Q' in their handle," the Court need not credit this allegation in determining the plausibility of their claims. Applying at least two of the dictionary definitions of follower, then, the Flynns' own statements show that they followed the opinions of and imitated QAnon such that CNN's statement that they were QAnon followers was substantially true and not defamatory. Having said, in their own words, that QAnon's principles "work for" them, the Flynns cannot turn around and characterize CNN's making the same statement as defamatory.

In opposition to the Motion [to Dismiss], the Flynns cite several cases for the proposition "that words or conduct falsely implying an association or connection between the plaintiff and a violent extremist group, like QAnon, is defamatory." The Court agrees that falsely implying a connection to a violent extremist group can be defamatory — but as set forth above, CNN's statement connecting the Flynns to QAnon is not substantially false. By their own statements, both in the AC and in the Twitter feeds that the Flynns invited the Court to consider, the Flynns connected themselves to QAnon, and therefore, cannot plausibly allege that CNN's statements were substantially false.

Original Flynn v. CNN quote here:
https://storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.nysd.556958/gov.uscourts.nysd.556958.38.0.pdf - page 31

How District Judge Gregory Woods has come to a different conclusion from Magistrate Judge Sarah Cave is a bit of a mystery. In the end, it sounds like the Flynns would have been better off to let the matter drop. Those who missed this the first time around (*raises hand*) will have a harder time missing it now.
December 17, 2021

edit - Here's what happened when a Georgia lawmaker scrutinized

the Trump campaign’s list of allegedly illegal votes - DEC 10, 2020


On Thursday, when a data analyst who compiled the list told a panel of state lawmakers that it proved thousands of voters cast ballots in Georgia who should not have, Nguyen was ready. [snip]

Nguyen’s 10-minute dissection of the data offered a rare real-time fact check of the unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud that the president’s allies have promoted in state hearings around the country, largely before friendly Republican audiences.

“If you are going to take the names of voters in the state of Georgia and publish their first, middle and last name, their home address, and accuse them of committing a felony, at the very minimum there should have been an attempt to contact these voters,” she said in an interview after the hearing. “There was no such attempt.” [snip]

The episode shows how quickly the allegations by Trump and his supporters have fallen apart under scrutiny, particularly in the courts, which have consistently rejected assertions that rampant irregularities tainted the vote.


Bee Nguyen (born July 18, 1981) is an American non-profit executive and politician serving as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives from the 89th district. A member of the Democratic Party, she was elected during a special election in December 2017 to fill the seat vacated following Stacey Abrams' resignation in August 2017 to focus on her run for governor. Nguyen is the first Vietnamese-American elected to the Georgia House of Representatives.[1]

Nguyen sounds like a great candidate! GA needs a Secretary of State this on the ball.
December 17, 2021

Parscale may have more involvement than people think.

From the Daily Beast article linked above:

Despite his distance from the campaign after the election, Parscale admitted in a Fox News interview last December that he had long known about a Trump campaign plan to stoke unfounded fears about “rampant voter fraud” in the 2020 election. In fact, Parscale said, he was a founding architect of the scheme, which he claimed was a well-funded public relations and legal operation with the Republican National Committee, involving “lawyers everywhere.”

“In April of 2019, I sat down with my team, and I said, let’s come up with the biggest Election Day operation ever, because voter fraud is going to be rampant,” he said in the interview, adding that “if it’s not going to be rampant, everyone’s going to think it’s rampant. Or they’re going to game it.”

Trump’s former data guru told Fox that the proposal was the “largest budget ever of Election Day operations, in partnership with the RNC.” They would “have lawyers everywhere, file suits beforehand, protect beforehand,” Parscale said. He continued that the plan “fell apart” between last July, when he left, and Election Day. “And that’s a question. I don’t know exactly what the answer is. But, from everything I’m hearing, it did not occur,” Parscale claimed.

There is, of course, ample evidence that a stunningly similar plan did occur.

Not exactly plans for an insurrection, but it sounds a lot like the Big Lie. And he talked about this in a press interview last December? Whoopsie.
December 16, 2021

Boom. Good for you, Hillary!

Caught this tidbit in the thread:


Mueller, She Wrote
I asked Pete Strzok how the FBI investigation into Hillary’s emails started. He said it was a referral from the ICIG having gone through material she produced for congress’ Benghazi committee.

That means the ICIG is likely going through everything produced to the 1/6 committee
10:58 PM · Dec 15, 2021

Since I had to look it up, I'll share to save others the time:

ICIG = https://www.dni.gov/index.php/who-we-are/organizations/icig/icig-who-we-are

The 2010 Intelligence Authorization Act formally established the Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

In accordance with Title 50 U.S.C.A. Section 3033, the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community (ICIG) conducts independent and objective audits, investigations, inspections, and reviews to promote economy, efficiency, effectiveness, and integration across the Intelligence Community.

December 16, 2021

It sounds like Boebert is dogwhistling hard. Hateful woman.

Trans people and others who don't identify as cisgendered ask to be called by their preferred pronouns. Some web sites (e.g. Ravelry.com) provide a specific data field for members to post their preference as part of their profile. Straight allies often provide theirs as well to normalize the practice. Twitter and Instagram recently joined in providing for this.

I am one of the straight people who fills in the field when it's provided. This is my understanding of how it works, but if I got it wrong or used the wrong language, I apologize and hope someone will correct me.



Because it’s not about simple acceptance or even standing in solidarity; it’s about making an effort to have our identification part of a regular lifestyle. It’s about allowing people to love who they are because society finally won’t second-guess them. [snip]

Changing pronouns is a step towards stopping these assumptions. It begins to create a space that allows people to, instead of correct you, inform you from the outset. If everyone begins stating how they identify, then everyone can feel slightly more comfortable in picking the answer they want. This option goes against the norm of being stuck with the answer they were given. [snip]

I wrote this article because a couple of weeks ago, I saw this guy complaining on Twitter that people who put their pronouns in their bio, just want attention. He went on to say they were unnecessary, and it was a stupid trend for people attempting to be different. [snip]

Many people stood up and commented against this angry, misinformed tweeter. They went on to state that they put their pronouns in their bio, not to feel special, but so that people who needed to identify themselves wouldn’t feel singled out.

There is no cost to creating this space for people, so why aren’t we doing it?

December 15, 2021

Feel free to get a booster.

J&J Booster

You might want to consider a mix and match approach.


“But, Dr. Fauci, the panel was also looking at new data that suggest J&J recipients may be better off getting a booster shot from the more effective Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Is that a better solution?" Raddatz asked.

“That is true, the data you refer to, that if you boost people who have originally received J&J with either Moderna or Pfizer, the level of antibodies that you induce in them is much higher than if you boost them with the original J&J,” Fauci said.


All the combinations boosted antibody levels higher, though Pfizer’s and Moderna’s boosters appeared to work best. People who received a booster dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines had a higher increase in their antibody responses more often than those who received an extra dose of J&J, according to the study.

The study showed recipients of Moderna or Pfizer’s original vaccines could easily swap third doses; the results were about the same. Volunteers who originally received the J&J vaccine appear to have gotten a better immune response if they got a booster made by Pfizer or Moderna. [snip]

J&J’s one-dose vaccine uses an adenovirus, while Pfizer’s and Moderna’s two-dose vaccines use mRNA technology. The thought by scientists is that by “mixing and matching” vaccines that use different platforms, people may be able to get broader protection against the coronavirus and its new variants.

Good luck with whatever you decide.
December 15, 2021

Making persuasive, well-reasoned noise about it is phase one.

The groundswell for change has already begun. May it continue to grow. From earlier in the year:

Senator Markey, House Democrats propose bill to expand number of Supreme Court justices to 13 - APR 2021

Markey cited McConnell’s refusal to allow a vote on former president Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, who is now the attorney general, in order to hold the seat open for a new president nominate a justice, and and the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat despite Ginsburg’s death taking place weeks before the 2020 presidential election. Barrett’s confirmation prevented the American people from having a say in the court’s ideological leaning by allowing Trump to fill Ginsburg’s seat instead of allowing the next president to nominate a new justice, Markey said. [snip]

Markey was joined at the press conference by Representative Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, co-sponsors of the legislation Representatives Hank Johnson of Georgia and Mondaire Jones of New York, and activists from progressive organizations.

Thirteen justices “will enable us to do justice as to rectify the great injustice that was done in packing the court,” Nadler, who is also a co-sponsor of the bill, said at the press conference. He added that while the Constitution established the Supreme Court, Congress has the power to determine its size. [snip]

When asked about Pelosi’s opposition to the measure at the conference, Nadler said the speaker is a “very good judge of events and history,” and he believes as the Supreme Court continues to administer decisions Democrats find unfavorable, “Speaker Pelosi and others will come along.”

Keep up the pressure, Dems. Run hard like never before in 2022 to get the numbers needed.
December 12, 2021

True, tfg has inspired many to say and do things that were unthinkable

to say out loud or actually follow through on before he came along. Newt Gingrich wins the prize for rampaging through Congressional norms and civility years before tfg, however. Newt got the ball rolling, but he just couldn't capture the public the way tfg managed to do. He lacked the charm (and the perception of wealth) needed to get people to follow him all the way off the cliff.

Like tfg, he's a complete nutbar and entirely too pleased with himself.


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