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dajoki's Journal
dajoki's Journal
March 2, 2021

What a mess -- Maureen Dowd lectures liberals about the press

What a mess — Maureen Dowd lectures liberals about the press

Anxious to engage in Both Sides whitewashing of journalism failures from the Trump era, some prominent journalists are lashing out at liberals for having the nerve to criticize news coverage of the Biden White House. Leading the defensive charge is New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who penned a condescending harangue https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/27/opinion/sunday/democrats-media-tanden.html#click=https://t.co/tg0lmEBTl5 over the weekend, claiming liberals are hypocrites for finding fault with the press when a Democrat is in the Oval Office.

Embracing a straw man argument that Democrats "lionized" the media during the Trump years because they detested him so much, Dowd insists the left is guilty of hypocrisy because they can't take it when the media's critical lens focuses on Democrats. "The truth is, many on the left don’t understand what a reporter is," Dowd lectured Times readers, most of whom know exactly what a reporter is.

Dowd's scolding was immediately picked up by other elite journalists on Twitter, who lent their voices to the idea that liberals don't understand how journalism works, and mocked Democrats for thinking the press should not hold their party accountable. (Spoiler: Zero Democrats actually think that.) By embracing that absurd claim, journalists feel free to dismiss criticism from the left, because they say it's not based in reality. That's a convenient dodge and it's also delusional.

First off, if Dowd thinks liberals spent four years lionizing the New York Times for its Trump coverage, then the Beltway bubble she lives in is even more impenetrable and remote than I thought. Progressives for years were rightly fuming over the Times' forced timidity when covering Trump — the paper's failure to call out his lies, its never-ending attempt to normalize his radical behavior, and the daily's relentless, fawning coverage of Trump voters, who were depicted as the true voice of authentic America — not the backbone for a looming insurrection.

Secondly, the idea that after four years of watching the Trump media circus, liberals think Beltway journalists are on their side, as Dowd claims, is beyond comical. Liberals understand perfectly well how this game is played and are under no illusions that the Times is doing the Democrats' bidding. In fact, quite the opposite.


March 2, 2021

McConnell asks the Supreme Court to obliterate the Voting Rights Act


There is an avalanche of new voting restrictions being imposed by Republican legislators across the country. When Popular Information covered this issue in February, the Brennan Center had identified 165 bills to restrict voting rights across 33 states. Less than a month later, the group has identified 253 bills to restrict voting rights in 43 states. These bills would impose a variety of measures to make voting harder, including reducing opportunities for early voting, limiting the use of mail-in ballots, eliminating drop boxes, and imposing new voter ID requirements.


On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear a new case that could dismantle what's left of the law. The case, Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, concerns an Arizona law passed in 2016. The law required that ballots cast in the wrong precinct be thrown out entirely — even if the votes for statewide candidates were perfectly valid. It also prohibited anyone other than an immediate family member or caretaker from helping someone return an absentee ballot.

The Democratic Party sued, arguing that the policies resulted in discrimination. Specifically, "Latino, Native American, and Black voters in Arizona have their ballots rejected for being out-of-precinct reason far more often than their white counterparts." The party argued this was "because poll locations were moved around very frequently in Arizona’s communities of color." The Democratic Party noted also noted that Native Americans residing on reservations needed more assistance returning their ballots because they "often reside far from polling places and have nontraditional addresses and limited mail access.


In an amicus brief submitted to the court, McConnell, Cruz, and eight other Republican Senators lay out a vision where states can restrict the time, place, and manner of voting in whatever way they want — regardless of the impact it has on minority communities.

Yet Respondents urge, and the Ninth Circuit below adopted, an interpretation of VRA §2 that jeopardizes legitimate voting laws across the country. The Ninth Circuit held that any neutral voting law “results” in an unequal “opportunity” to vote “on account of race or color” whenever a plaintiff identifies some minimal statistical racial disparity related to the law—and then points to completely separate, long past, invidious voting discrimination… Nevertheless, the Ninth Circuit’s VRA §2 interpretation would eviscerate scores of legitimate time, place, and manner voting laws that prevent and deter fraud.

In other words, McConnell and Cruz want to allow states to have free reign to change the "time, place, and manner" of voting, even if those changes have a disparate impact on minority voters. They claim that such changes "prevent and deter fraud" but, like Trump, present no evidence to justify that claim.

February 25, 2021

The Supreme Court Is Not Finished With Elections

The Supreme Court Is Not Finished With Elections
The justices are about to consider whether the Voting Rights Act applies to policies that restrict the vote.

When the Supreme Court on Monday rejected Pennsylvania Republicans’ after-the-fact effort to invalidate late-arriving mailed ballots, it was tempting to suppose that the country’s courthouse doors had finally closed on this most litigated of presidential elections.

If only it were that simple.


But the three justices who would have accepted the cases — Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch — issued dissenting opinions that provide both a road map and a rationale for the Supreme Court’s future intervention in the quintessentially state matter of how to conduct elections.

Remember Bush v. Gore, the case that decided the 2000 presidential election, in which five justices voted to overturn the Florida Supreme Court’s handling of a statewide recount? That decision was based on a theory of equal protection so wacky that the majority opinion insisted that “our consideration is limited to the present circumstances” — that is to say, don’t dare invoke this poor excuse for an opinion as a precedent.


He went on to warn that fraud was “more prevalent with mail-in ballots,” citing as evidence a 1994 Federal District Court case, an article in this newspaper from 2012 and the 2018 Republican ballot-harvesting fraud in North Carolina. Such occurrences, he said, raise “the likelihood that courts will be asked to adjudicate questions that go to the heart of election confidence.” This was the reason, he argued, that the Supreme Court should have taken and decided the Pennsylvania cases before the next election cycle.


We are fortunate that many of the cases we have seen alleged only improper rule changes, not fraud. But that observation provides only small comfort. An election free from strong evidence of systemic fraud is not alone sufficient for election confidence. Also important is the assurance that fraud will not go undetected.

In other words, Justice Thomas would have it both ways: If there was fraud, the court needed to intervene, and if there was no fraud, the court needed to intervene because the fraud might simply be undetected. Despite his disclaimer, the entire structure of his opinion, suggesting that something bad had happened even if no one could prove it, is fairly read as validating the essence of the Trump narrative.


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About dajoki

I love spending time with my grandchildren and gardening.
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