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babylonsister's Journal
babylonsister's Journal
December 31, 2021

FOX News is On a Crusade Against the Women of MSNBC: This Time It's Nicolle Wallace


FOX News is On a Crusade Against the Women of MSNBC: This Time It's Nicolle Wallace
News Corpse
Community (This content is not subject to review by Daily Kos staff prior to publication.)
Thursday December 30, 2021 · 8:43 PM EST

Fox News is apparently ending the year with a full court press against the women hosting programs on MSNBC. It wasn't enough for them to have spent the year fluffing Donald Trump, by lying about the violent January 6th insurrection, and spreading deadly disinformation about the COVID pandemic.

On this last week of 2021 Fox News has already produced a hit piece on Joy Reid that was seething with hostility because she accurately reported that Fox is killing off their own audience. Then a few days later Fox posted a story attacking Rachel Maddow for being right about COVID vaccines. Both of these stories were glaringly biased and packed with ultra-conservative perspectives and flagrant lies.


"MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace was roasted this week after referring to herself as a 'Fauci groupie,' in reference to her adoration of White House Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci."

Oh my heavens! Wallace had the audacity to express respect for America's foremost infectious disease expert who has been working tirelessly to save lives. He was doing this even while Fox News hacks were comparing him to the sadistic Nazi Josef Mengele, and deploying grotesquely murderous metaphors urging people to "ambush" him in public and "go in with the kill shot."

The article by Fox News portrayed Wallace as being the object of widespread mockery for her comments. But in reality, it was only confirmed right-wing partisans who were hurling insults at her. Every single person cited in Fox's hit piece was an unabashed wingnut. They included right-wing pundit, Ben McDonald; NewsBusters editor Tim Graham; conservative troll, Drew Holden; Daily Caller columnist, David Hookstead; conservative writer, Mark Hemingway; and right-wing actor, Nick Searcy.

It cannot be mere coincidence that Fox News has hammered out these assaults on three of MSNBC's most prominent female personalities, all within the space of less than a week. Clearly the folks at Fox feel threatened by smart, engaging women who are effective communicators. So they are lashing out frantically to malign these intelligent, accomplished professionals. And considering the talentless hacks that litter the Fox News schedule, they are also likely writhing in jealousy. Or at least they should be.

December 31, 2021

Eric Swalwell Asked Twitter to Help ID Tucker Carlson Fan Who Wanted Him Shot


Eric Swalwell Asked Twitter to Help ID Tucker Carlson Fan Who Wanted Him Shot
Corbin Bolies
Breaking News Intern
Published Dec. 31, 2021 12:53AM ET

A far-right Canadian man sent a direct message to Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) on Instagram and said he should be shot. So, to bring the man to justice, Swalwell tweeted for his followers’ help identifying him. In an eight-tweet thread Thursday, Swalwell shared screenshots of his conversation with the man, in which the user apologized to Swalwell once the congressman began to inquire about him (“to share it with law enforcement”) and said he didn’t mean what he’d said. The user—who shared his Instagram handle, name, job, and city, all of which Swalwell published—pointed to outlets like Fox News’ coverage of Swalwell’s relationship with a suspected Chinese spy as clouding his judgment. Swalwell said the exchange demonstrated Fox News’—in particular, Tucker Carlson’s—potential for worldwide brainwashing. “The lies from Tucker and others are radicalizing people across not just America but the world,” Swalwell wrote. “The lies are inspiring people to make threats of violence against lawmakers. Tucker & Co. know this. And that’s why they tell their lies. They want to incite the mob.”

December 31, 2021

Fox News is killing its own viewers--and the Murdoch family is fine with that


Fox News is killing its own viewers—and the Murdoch family is fine with that
Daily Kos Staff
Thursday December 30, 2021 · 2:33 PM EST


That was then, this is now, and if anything, Lachlan Murdoch's statements have suggested that he, personally, thinks that promoting fake propaganda to incite white nationalist or pro-fascist violence is a bit of a hoot. Tucker's been given free rein to demonize public health experts tasked with ending the pandemic, vaccine developers and manufacturers, and political figures willing to abide by previously uncontroversial pandemic safety plans like "you should obviously wear a mask to protect against an airborne disease, you brickheaded assholes."

The important context here, of course, is that the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States has morphed solidly into a pandemic that is most severe in Republican-voting, Republican-governed regions of the country. That doesn't mean non-Republicans aren't getting sick and dying, but the vast majority of deaths are among the unvaccinated in places where vaccination rates are low and safety measures are often ignored.

The Americans who are dying in droves, in other words, are Fox News viewers. There's no guess as to when or if this will ever cut into Fox's own bottom line—having shed most of its advertisers, the network is more reliant than ever on "carriage fees" it charges to cable and satellite companies that feel compelled to offer it to their subscribers—but so far, network hosts are going pedal to the floor with an approach that maximizes viewer outrage towards pandemic restrictions while minimizing viewer willingness to have, you know, basic human decency.

That's an approach that both Lachlan and the Fox News board have given a stamp of approval to, even if the horrific amorality of leading your own viewers into mass death has caused several of the network's top "straight news" stars to leave the network rather than share airwaves with Tucker and his ilk.

But here's the data, in any event. When Lachlan Murdoch claims his hosts aren't promoting pandemic misinformation or making false claims about the vaccines that offer the best (only?) path towards the pandemic's eventual end, he's lying. Straight-up lying, and he knows it. Fox News may not be paying attention to what their own broadcasts are claiming, but other people are. And those other people have the goods, Lachlan.
December 30, 2021

Eric Boehlert: How the NY Times covered white, male VP's before Kamala Harris

How the NY Times covered white, male VP’s before Kamala Harris
Something changed
Eric Boehlert

For anyone not convinced that the Beltway press is using a new double standard to cover Vice President Kamala Harris, and has subjected her to an unprecedented level of scrutiny, the proof is in the print.

Here are a sample of New York Times headlines from the daily’s coverage of white, male VPs, taken from their first year in office:

• “The Education of Dan Quayle”

• “Cheney Ever More Powerful As Crucial Link to Congress”

• “Speaking Freely, Biden Finds Influential Role”

• “Amid White House Tumult, Pence Offers Trump a Steady Hand”

And then there’s the Times’ recent Harris entry: “Kamala Harris’s Allies Express Concern: Is She an Afterthought?”

In the Times’ view, the white, male VP’s were “steady hands” with “influential” roles who were busy getting an “education” and “speaking freely.” Impressive, right? Harris, the first woman VP and first person of color in that historic role, might be an “afterthought” who, according to the Times article, is “falling short” and “struggling to define herself.”

There’s nothing subtle happening here, folks.

The Times’ recent take-down of Harris was the latest from the genre, as the press piles on. The Beltway media aggressively agrees there’s something wrong with the vice president, even though she’s fulfilling her duties exactly as she’s been asked to, and has represented the United States honorably on the global stage.


December 30, 2021

'Please Don't Call 911': 30% of New York's EMS Out Sick as COVID Calls Double


‘Please Don’t Call 911’: 30% of New York’s EMS Out Sick as COVID Calls Double
Corbin Bolies
Breaking News Intern
Published Dec. 29, 2021 8:18PM ET

The number of 911 calls for fever and cough in New York City has nearly doubled since the start of December—and the city’s emergency medical services is facing a massive staffing shortfall. The city had 767 911 calls related to the COVID-19 symptoms on Sunday, nearly double November’s roughly 400 calls. Meanwhile, 30 percent of the city’s 4,400 EMS workers were out sick Wednesday, an FDNY spokesman told Gothamist. “Our resources are impacted right now because of this, and we’re trying to make sure we prioritize those resources for folks who are really in a bad way and need our help,” spokesman Frank Dwyer said. “If it’s not a true emergency, please don’t call 911.” Vincent Variele, the head of the FDNY’s EMS union, reiterated the stress the Omicron variant has placed on the workforce. “It’s taking a toll on them,” Variele said. “They’re drained and burnt out.”
December 30, 2021

David Corn: This May Be the Worst GOP Fundraising Letter Ever


14 hours ago
This May Be the Worst GOP Fundraising Letter Ever
A special shout out to Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy.
David Corn
Washington, DC, Bureau ChiefBio | Follow


There’s nothing new about this. The far-right began pioneering this scare-’em-and-shake’em-down tactic with direct-mail fundraising in the 1960s that grew out of Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign. In the 1970s, Richard Viguerie, who had become the right’s direct-mail king, was raising millions of dollars a year for an assortment of New Right organizations by developing massive mailing lists and targeting small-donor conservatives with fundraising letters delivered through the postal service. (He’s still at it today.) As Terry Dolan, the founder of the National Conservative Political Action Committee and a key New Right player, observed in the late 1970s, “The shriller you are, the better it is to raise money.” The solicitations Viguerie zapped out for NCPAC and other groups, Dolan noted, were aimed to “make them angry” and “stir up hostilities.” Howard Phillips, a former Nixon administration official who became a key figure in the New Right, described the approach succinctly: “Organize discontent. That is our strategy.”


Hmmm, I thought, I wonder where this will lead? The answer? Nowhere, actually. The email began, “I have hope for my Liberal friends…jellyfish have survived for more than 165 million years without a brain, so there is hope for a few of them.” And…that was the pitch. There was no (phony) argument over any issue. Nothing like the liberals are ruining our schools and want to outlaw hamburgers! Or now they’re trying to cancel Mr. Potato Head and Dr. Seuss. Nor was there a reference to anything in the news: Not inflation, vaccine mandates, or supply chain problems. The only thing this missive contained was a playground taunt: liberals are really stupid. “If you are on my team,” Kennedy wrote, “and have a brain, unlike the DC Radicals, then I’m asking for a quick donation to get us situated for this month.”


Kennedy’s “jellyfish” email doesn’t bother presenting a cogent case. You hate liberals. I am a US Senator and will call them names. You will give me money. Rinse, repeat. It hardly gets more infantile and tribal than that and embodies lots that’s terrible about today’s Trumpified GOP. After all, Kennedy is a stalwart member of the slash-burn-and-insult club. You might recall that last month during a Senate confirmation hearing for Saule Omarova, President Joe Biden’s Soviet-born pick to be comptroller of the currency, Kennedy snidely said, “I don’t know whether to call you professor or comrade.”

But let’s return to jellyfish. It is true they have no centralized nerve center that can be called a brain. Instead, they possess two nervous systems. One network controls swimming; the other is in charge of everything else. “Jellies are like the original computer networks, with little servers all along the margin of their body that they use cooperatively,” Rebecca Helm, a researcher at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, told PBS’ Nature. “They have a net of cooperative nerve bundles that talk to each other.” Given that jellyfish have been around for more than an estimated 500 million years—pre-dating dinosaurs by about 250 million years—they certainly show that you don’t need a sophisticated and well-developed brain to succeed. And if you were adopting the fundraising tactics of Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana, you might say the same of him.
December 29, 2021

The Rude Pundit: The Year of Unmagical Thinking


The Rude Pundit
Proudly lowering the level of political discourse
The Year of Unmagical Thinking


I've talked to many, many people who find themselves or people close to them suddenly upset or anxious, who feel trapped or despondent, who no longer enjoy things like they used to, who don't accomplish as much as they once did, and who beat themselves up over feeling any or all of that. "Maybe it's because we're dealing all this," I'll say, gesturing at, well, everything, primarily meaning the pandemic, but all the damage that has been done because of it. I don't mean that as a diagnosis or anything. I mean it as an observation, that we have been living through trauma and damn if that's not going to have an effect on, well, everything in our daily lives. That's what collective trauma does.

And how could it not be traumatic? At this point, we're certainly not far removed from people who have died from Covid. All of us know someone who has had it or we've had it ourselves. Again, it's not just the disease. It's being forced to learn how to interact in the world in a new way (and resistance to that is its own kind of demonstration of trauma), from how we work to how we shop to how we go to school to how we gather to how we breathe. It can be relatively minor. For instance, for years, I knew to check before leaving: Keys, wallet, phone. Now I have to add "mask." Or it can be more severe, like the fact that I've barely taught in person for nearly two years and didn't see members of my family for extended periods. It's the involuntary nature of it that gets to us. We didn't choose this, like moving to a new house or getting a new job. It was done to us.

And, for lack of a more concise way of putting it, it's fucked us up. Badly. And extensively. The world was one way and now, in the blink of an eye, really, it's another.


Just to be clear, though: No, I don't forgive the willingly unvaccinated, especially those who refuse to get their children vaccinated. I'm only human, after all, so I won't forgive those I blame for putting us in this terrible time and those who are keeping us in it.

But this last year has been one where I had to remind myself that, despite however many meds I suck down to keep me from going on a five-state killing spree, of course I'm going to be upset, irritated, angry, even. I've been in mourning for nearly two full years. Now, though, I'm not mourning for what's past. I'm mourning for what is. And I'm trying to push myself through dread for the future.

I want next year to be better. Truly. I'm not despairing yet. Hell, I keep writing and sending stuff out. That's gotta mean I believe in a future. I know we've got a big fight waiting for us politically in 2022, and I wanna fight it. Hell, I'm planning trips, buying tickets to concerts and shows, and looking forward to seeing friends. Hell, I'm heading to a bar now to meet up with people. See? Hope. And whiskey.

I'm filthy with hope, but I'm exhausted by this last year spent hoping. I'm exhausted because I know it's not enough, but it's what we've got.

In the back of my head, though, I know we're one slight push from it all being swept away.

And I forgive myself for thinking that.
December 29, 2021

The House of Representatives has a serious ethics problem


The House of Representatives has a serious ethics problem
Joan McCarter
Daily Kos Staff
Wednesday December 29, 2021 · 1:19 PM EST

This is not a shocking story, considering the Republicans we're dealing with now.

When member of Congress go rogue, the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) is supposed to step in. It’s an independent and non-partisan panel established by the House in 2009, tasked with investigating misconduct and making referrals to the House Ethics Committee. When lawmakers cooperate, that is. And increasingly, they’re not.

In 2021, 14 House lawmakers were referred to the OCE for investigation. Six of those 14 absolutely refused to cooperate with the investigation, a rate of 43%, which has never happened before. In its first year, the 111th session of Congress in 2009-10, it carried out 68 investigations and just three members refused to cooperate. This fall, OCE was investigating improper financial conduct in four separate cases, and two of the members—both Republicans—flatly refused to meet with the investigators or provide any requested documents. That’s how it works these days, apparently.


Omar Ashmawy, the staff director of the OCE, told the Times that they were seeing increased resistance by members to cooperate, but that “It has never prevented us from being able to gather the facts and determine what happened and whether or not the subject was culpable.” He also said that he thought the higher rate of resistance is because the OCE is taking on fewer, but more serious, cases. In the less serious cases, lawmakers have been anxious to clear up any problems. Not so with the real wrong-doing that’s been alleged in the cases before them now—cases that could have real consequences.


Outside observers see a breakdown of the norms and rules which has governed Congress. “There’s a trend towards not taking ethics rules seriously and also more resistance to cooperating in ethics investigations or, frankly, even acknowledging the legitimacy or authority of ethics investigation,” said Bryson B. Morgan, a lawyer at the firm Caplin & Drysdale in Washington, and a former investigative counsel for the OCE. “I think there’s been a bit of a backsliding on ethics.”


Yes, the rules should be tougher and there should be more serious consequences, particularly when you’ve got the likes of Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Green, and Jim Jordan running around the place. It’s that whole slippery slope idea: you get used to members using their insider knowledge to make some money on the stock market and turn a blind eye to it, you end up with members letting violent mobs know where to gain access to attack the Capitol and the people in it.
December 29, 2021

'Where Is Ron DeSantis Now?': Florida Mayor Blasts Guv Over COVID


‘Where Is Ron DeSantis Now?’: Florida Mayor Blasts Guv Over COVID
Corbin Bolies
Breaking News Intern
Updated Dec. 29, 2021 12:17AM ET /
Published Dec. 29, 2021 12:10AM ET
Joe Raedle/Getty

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis hasn’t held any public briefings on COVID-19 since Dec. 17, and one mayor has had enough. “We have not received any assistance from the state of Florida at our testing sites,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, who oversees Orlando, at a Tuesday press conference. “Our residents, all Florida residents, should be outraged and they should ask the question, ‘Where is our state? Where is our governor? Where is Ron DeSantis now?’ When is the last time you saw the governor do a press briefing on COVID-19?” Florida has begun setting new daily records for COVID-19 cases again, counting more than 32,000 on Christmas Day. Demings announced the opening of a third county-run testing site to meet the overwhelming need, but the mayor’s local health official said it won’t meet demand. “If we opened five sites, the five sites would be full and have two-hour waiting times,” Dr. Raul Pino said, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
December 29, 2021

A Tribute To Harry Reid's Legendary Kindness


A Tribute To Harry Reid's Legendary Kindness
A lovely tribute to the former Senate majority leader.
By Susie Madrak — December 29, 2021

Natalie Ravitz, a former political staffer, wrote a lovely tribute to the late Harry Reid last night on Twitter:

Please bear with the thread, but Harry Reid meant a lot to me and I want to share a short story about why. In 2002, I was press secretary for Senator Paul Wellstone’s re-election campaign in Minnesota.

On Oct 25, 2002, Paul, his wife Sheila, daughter Marcia, my colleagues Tom, Mary and Will, and two pilots were killed in a plane crash. Harry Reid was one of the first of Paul’s colleagues to fly in. Still in shock, I spent all day taking him around to events and sorting politics.

At the end of the day, I took him back to the airport. I was driving Will’s car. The same big black SUV that Will drove Paul and me in to most campaign events.

Someone must have told Reid that Will was my boyfriend. And that at one point in the schedule, I was meant to be on the plane with Paul. It was a fluke I wasn’t that day.

When we went to say goodbye, he asked if he could speak to me alone. He then walked me out to his private plane - a casino jet they had chartered- and asked me to come sit inside with him.

I hesitated. He said: I know what you lost and I know whose car you drove today. And I don’t want you to be afraid to get on a plane for the rest of your life. So let’s just go sit together for a little while.

And so we got on the plane and had a cup of coffee. We shared stories about Paul - how brave he was voting against the war in Iraq. He showed me the fancy gadgets on the plane, crazy to him, having grown up so poor. And I told him about Will, and our plan to move back to DC.

He said he knew I had lost my home and my job, but I had one with him whenever I was ready. The empathy and emotional fortitude he showed that day has stuck with me always. And it wasn’t just that day; he followed up to reiterate his offer two more times.

When I joined @BarbaraBoxer a few months later he said “she’s the best! But I’m still here if you need me.” I spent 7 years with Boxer, working closely with Reid’s team and Democratic leadership. He always had a joke or a kind word for me.

The night we passed the Affordable Care Act, we were working through an impasse over women’s health services with Reid keeping Senators Boxer and Ben Nelson in different rooms. It was Christmas Eve, snowing and everyone was exhausted.

We had no food and everything was closed: we ate a tin of holiday nuts and cookies sent by constituents and lobbyists. Reid needled Schumer for stealing all the cashews. We tried and failed to light the fireplace. And we finally got a deal as the snow really came down.

Together, with all of us in the room, Reid called President Obama from on speaker- I think it was a flip phone- and said we have a deal and we’re headed to the floor. We cheered and the President thanked us all.

Harry Reid played a defining role in two bookends of my Senate career. He was powerful and strategic, but also wry and soulful. I’m grateful to have known him, for what he gave this country, and for what he gave me sitting together quietly on a plane in Minnesota. RIP.

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