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crickets's Journal
crickets's Journal
January 30, 2022

The Ethics & Public Policy Center is an arm of the Koch Propaganda machine.

First of three in the thread:


The Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC, "is one of several [organizations] devoted to improving public appreciation of the role of business in what it terms a 'moral society.' It was founded by Ernest Lefever, who expressed his concern that 'U.S. domestic and multinational firms find themselves increasingly under siege at home and abroad. They are accused of producing shoddy and unsafe products, fouling the environment, robbing future generations, wielding enormous power, repressing peoples in the third world, and generally being insensitive to human needs. We as a small and ethnically oriented center are in a position to respond more directly to ideological critics who insist the corporation is fundamentally unjust.'"[1]

According to the EPPC website the organisation was "established in 1976 to clarify and reinforce the bond between the Judeo-Christian moral tradition and the public debate over domestic and foreign policy issues." [2] [snip]

Charles Koch is the right-wing billionaire owner of Koch Industries. As one of the richest people in the world, he is a key funder of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN).

As to why the Atlantic is giving Whelan a voice, that's a very good question. I thought better of them. It's disappointing to see this level of blatant dreck coming from the Atlantic.
January 29, 2022

A Tennessee school board has banned a Pulitzer prize-winning novel from its classrooms

over eight curse words and an illustration of a naked cartoon mouse.


The graphic novel, Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by New Yorker Art Spiegelman, uses hand-drawn illustrations of mice and cats to depict how the author’s parents survived Auschwitz during the Holocaust.

'Maus' author reacts to his book being pulled from curriculum

January 29, 2022

For Six Hours, Barry Manilow Was Punk Rock.

The news that Barry Manilow wasn't really leaving Spotify was disappointing. I've been around long enough to remember when Barry was at the top of the charts with "Mandy" and other ballads he wrote that all the cool kids claimed to hate ...while his records flew off the shelves. I wasn't a huge fan, but I've always liked the guy. He's a likeable person, and on the one hand I'm thinking, "Go on, Barry. Do it anyway." And on the other, I'm thinking, "How dare somebody try to back him into this? Why did somebody pick on Barry Manilow of all people?"

Tim Grierson does a great job of capturing the moment, all while being utterly fair to Manilow. Barry Manilow is a nice guy. He's just never nominated himself for badass of the day. Disappointing, but there is nothing wrong with that.


Barry Manilow has never been cool. In an age when every popular but unhip musician is receiving a critical reappraisal — even Kenny G — it’s somewhat remarkable that the 78-year-old entertainer seems impervious to cultural reconsideration. It used to be worse, of course: At the height of his fame in the 1970s, he was mocked for his pretty tunes and sentimental lyrics, his corny love songs and his ersatz disco smash “Copacabana (At the Copa).” A former jingle writer, Manilow was a joke, inspiring legendary magazine writer Bill Zehme to lead off his 1990 Rolling Stone profile of Manilow with, “When your name is a punchline, you live in hell. Barry Manilow lives in hell.”

The world isn’t so cruel about Manilow anymore — and let’s not forget that a lot of that scorn probably was tied to homophobia, which prompted him to deny he was gay most of his life, finally coming out in 2017. But it’s not like you see a lot of “Actually, Barry Manilow Slaps” think-pieces, either. And yet, for a short time on Friday, Manilow seemed pretty awesome. It only lasted about six hours, and he actually had nothing to do with it. But it was a fun moment nonetheless. [snip]

To be clear, Manilow is not a “bad person” by any stretch, but a similar phenomenon occurs in pop culture whenever artists we write off as “lame” end up being cooler than we expect. Neil Young has made a career out of flipping off people in power, but nobody expects Manilow, whose brand is comfort and warmth, to protest Spotify’s support of a noxious anti-vaxxer who should never, ever talk about race. And yet, for six hours, it seemed like that was the case. It was easy to feel heartened. If someone as milquetoast as Barry Manilow, who has about 2.8 million monthly listeners on the service, was willing to speak out, it only underlined how dangerous it is for major media entities to spread misinformation on their platforms. Whether it’s Mitt Romney or Barry Manilow, the feeling is the same: If this guy gets it, why doesn’t everybody else? [snip]

But I also felt kinda bad for Manilow. For most of his very successful, highly lucrative career, he’s given uncomplicated pleasure to millions of listeners, never rocking the boat or, frankly, rocking at all. But for six hours on Friday, he was a rebel, an advocate, a man of principle. (Just imagine what all those 1970 punk bands who detested what he represented would have thought about that.) [more]

January 25, 2022

Should also be reminded that Biden's comment pales compared to how tfg treated Yamiche Alcindor.

She was demeaned and dismissed on more than one occasion for asking pertinent, intelligent questions.


But the most charged moment of the press conference was when Yamiche Alcindor, the White House correspondent for PBS Newshour and a former reporter for The New York Times, asked the president why he had recently said that some state governors might not need as much medical equipment as they had requested from the federal government to fight the frighteningly rapid spread of COVID-19. [snip]

"Come on, come on," said Trump said, cutting her off again. "You know, why don't you people act — why don't you act in a little more positive — it's always trying to getcha, getcha."

Alcindor tried to ask the question again, but the president continued, "And you know what, that's why nobody trusts the media anymore." He added: "Look, let me tell you something. Be nice. Don't be threatening."

As Alcindor continue to press the president, he turned toward another reporter and a White House aide came over to Alcindor and snatched the microphone from her hand.


President Donald Trump attempted to silence then angrily demeaned Yamiche Alcindor, a Black female reporter, on Friday when she pressed him on rising unemployment figures for Black and Asian workers.

The put-down occurred after Trump crowed in a Rose Garden statement about a better-than-expected 13.3% unemployment figure for the nation in May. The president shockingly claimed that it was a “great day” for George Floyd — the Black man a white police officer killed last month in Minneapolis — because he would be pleased “looking down” at the jobs stats. [snip]

When Alcindor, who works for PBS, asked the president to explain how he plans to address systemic racism in the country, he held a finger to his lips, then seconds later said: “A strong economy.”

When she asked how worsening jobless figures for Asians and Blacks were “a victory,” as Trump had claimed, he shook his head angrily and told her: “You are something else.”

Good grief, it's such a relief that he's gone.
January 23, 2022

Yep. No one else in that crowd had the organizational skills to put together a decent picnic,

much less an insurrection. While the military as a whole held against the coup thanks to Milley and others, tfg had already poisoned the barrel with more than one bad apple. Most of us likely have read all of these articles, but I'm sticking them here for context to save people searching through their bookmarks. (With sincere apologies to Nevilledog for the side ramble.)

Never Forget That Trump Purged the Pentagon Leadership Between the Election and January 6

Trump purges Pentagon leadership, 'something that should alarm all Americans'

Army now acknowledges the brother of Michael Flynn was a part of Army response to Capitol riot

U.S. military leaders worried Trump might attempt a coup to stay in power, new book claims

Defense secretaries' letter warning Trump was signed by all in only 2 days

And the latest bombshell, reported eons ago and now coming back into focus after the voting machine memo:

On an evening in December of 2020, Patrick Byrne (former Overstock CEO & BF of Maria Butina), Michael Flynn, and Sidney Powell manage to sail past WH security by blind luck, then end up in the Oval Office having screaming matches with other WH staff/lawyers about forcibly overturning elections in six states.

Former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne describes bluffing his way into Trump’s White House

Anderson Cooper and George Conway talk about it here:

The Flynn/Byrne/Powell meeting is discussed starting around the five minute mark, followed by the interview with George Conway regarding this and the voting machine seizure memo.


January 23, 2022

So many people involved, so intricately connected.

The likes of Rudy G. and the tangerine toddler did not plan this in a million years. Someone with logistical knowledge and training had to put all of the pieces of this interlocking beast together. There's a ton here and exhaustion means reading it in depth won't happen until tomorrow, but thanks for the heads up on this. Wow.

Noticed mention in the twitter thread of Jericho March, Eagle Forum (🙄 ) and Ginni T. She didn't organize or fund buses directly, but Ginni T. was involved somehow. Her name just keeps popping up.

Small town pizza lawyer
@freerangebrain Replying to @freerangebrain and @TheOddPost
I never noticed before, but Eagle Forum supported/funded STS and Jericho marches. Both Ali and Bannon spoke to Eagle Forum on 9/21/19. Ginni Thomas was awarded the Eagle Award [2017] and Justice Thomas accompanied her to give a speech.


https://phyllisschlafly.com/liberalism-and-conservatism/grassroots-activism/thorner-phyllis-schlaflys-movement-continues-at-48th-annual-conference-in-st-louis/ [brief description of Bannon's speech downpage]

Jericho March and Stop the Steal Announce the December 12 “Let the Church ROAR!” National Prayer...
Thousands of Religious Americans and Patriots Will Flock to Washington D.C. on December 12th to Protest Election Fraud and Corruption; Do Jericho Marches Around the U.S. Capitol, Supreme Court, and…

6:43 PM · Jan 22, 2022

There are other interesting comments from Small town pizza lawyer, not included for space reasons.
January 22, 2022

"I won't celebrate death and suffering."

Thank you, Sympthsical. As furious as I am with the anti-vax nonsense and all of the needless suffering it causes all of us, I can't celebrate the deaths. It's an ugly thing to do. We can and should try to be better than that.

January 22, 2022

Oh, this man's got to go.


A social conservative and devout Catholic, Severino has often been criticized for being anti-LGBT.[7][4][5] The Human Rights Campaign has described Severino as a "radical anti-LGBTQ activist."[8] In 2018, Severino called the Obama administration's expansion of sex to include gender identity "radical gender ideology."[9][10] In an op-ed co-written by former U.S. Senator Jim DeMint, Severino said that "transgender rights supporters see sex as 'merely a placeholder’ assigned at birth."[11] [snip]

As director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights, Severino was instrumental in the removal of nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people established in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The removal of the provision will allow healthcare providers to deny care based on a patient's sexuality or gender identity.[13][14]

He's a Heritage Foundation and Federalist Society darling, naturally:

A Trump Holdover Sued Biden for Firing Him. Is His Lawsuit a Joke or a Trap?

Since taking office, President Joe Biden has prioritized rooting out Trump holdovers who were installed to sabotage government agencies. On Tuesday, he continued to clean house. He demanded the resignations of four people whom Donald Trump appointed to the council of the Administrative Conference of the United States, a little-known but influential federal agency. One council member, Vice Chair Jennifer Dickey, resigned in accordance with the president’s request. Three others—Andrew Kloster, Roger Severino, and Daniel Z. Epstein—refused to resign, so Biden fired them on Wednesday. All four members were far-right partisan activists who worked in another position within the Trump administration before joining ACUS. Severino, who previously led Trump’s campaign to legalize anti-LGBTQ discrimination in health care, sued Biden on Wednesday evening. He alleges that Biden had no authority to fire him and demands that he be reinstated immediately.

Severino’s lawsuit betrays a foundational principle of the modern conservative legal movement. Right-wing scholars have long argued the president is “unitary executive” with constitutional power to fire officials within the executive branch. It is possible that Severino is simply a hypocrite who will abandon his beliefs to claw back his old job and accuse Biden of abandoning “unity.” But the choice to take his fight to the courts could also be an attempt to tank precedent protecting the independence of certain executive branch officials. The reality is that Biden had the authority to remove Severino, along with Dickey, Kloster, and Epstein—not because of the “unitary executive,” but because a federal statute gives him that right. Severino’s lawsuit may well be a bomb intended for the administrative state. His lawsuit, however, seems more likely to blow up in his face. [snip]

Under Trump’s appointees, those recommendations seemed designed to obstruct regulations and push partisan right-wing priorities. “The projects it selects to undertake are very much right out of the Federalist Society’s playbook,” an individual who works closely with ACUS told me. (The individual asked to remain anonymous because he frequently works with ACUS assembly members.) Republicans have discovered that they can “launder conservative ideas through this government agency,” he added, giving these ideas “a nonpartisan, government-approved sheen” that they don’t deserve. James Goodwin—a senior policy analyst at the Center for Progressive Reform who has worked with ACUS co-sponsoring events, participating in public meetings, and commenting on draft reports—agrees. “Industry folks launder their ideas through ACUS,” Goodwin told me. Under Trump, ACUS became “a useful accomplice for the right wing.”
January 19, 2022

Good point, but I don't have to watch Fox News (or even read about it on DU)

to hear about some Fox News story or other on any given day. It's everywhere, from Twitter to Facebook, in conversations and shared clips all over the web. Sadly, there are news stories about Fox News and/or its talking heads on a regular basis.

Actually watching it isn't required in order to constantly be exposed to the nonsense. It's insidious.

January 19, 2022

Beau of the Fifth Column: Why do you identify with the bad guy?

Companion to this post in GD: https://democraticunderground.com/100216261139#post7

"Let's talk about history and an oppressor narrative...."

"Let's talk about identifying with the bad guy a little more...."

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