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Gender: Female
Home country: USA
Current location: Charlotte, NC
Member since: Fri Sep 14, 2012, 12:15 AM
Number of posts: 13,679

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Charles Koch's Big Bet on Barrett - Charles Koch's decades long quest for control of SC

Charles Koch has activated his political network to support Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination, and to tip the scales on her nomination battle in the U.S. Senate. While much of the commentary about Judge Barrett’s nomination has focused on the real prospect that Roe v. Wade may be undermined or overturned, Mr. Koch has other concerns. Judge Barrett’s nomination is the latest battleground in his decades-long war to reshape American society in a way that ensures that corporations can operate with untrammeled freedom. It may be a pivotal one.

Since the early 1970s, Mr. Koch has sought to dismantle most federal regulatory institutions, and the federal courts have been central to that battle. In 1974, Mr. Koch gave a blistering speech to a libertarian think tank, called the Institute for Humane Studies, in which he outlined his vision of the American regulatory state, and the strategy he would employ over the ensuing decades to realize that vision. On the list of government interventions he condemned were “confiscatory taxation, wage and price controls, commodity allocations programs, trade barriers, restrictions on foreign investments, so-called equal opportunity requirements, safety and health regulations, land use controls, licensing laws, outright government ownership of businesses and industries.” As if that list were not exhaustive enough, he added, “… and many more interventions.” In short, Charles Koch believes that an unregulated free market is the only sustainable structure for human society.

To achieve his goal, Mr. Koch has built an influence network with three arms: a phalanx of lobbyists; a constellation of think tanks and university programs; and Americans for Prosperity, a grass-roots army of political activists. And shaping the U.S. judiciary has been part of Mr. Koch’s strategy from the beginning. In that 1974 speech, he recommended a strategy of “strategically planned litigation” to test the regulatory authority of government agencies. Such lawsuits could make their way to the Supreme Court, where justices could set precedent. In the 1990s, he focused on lower-level judges, funding a legal institute that paid for judges to attend junkets at a Utah ski resort and Florida beachfront properties; the judges attended seminars on the importance of market forces in society and were warned against consideration of “junk science” — like specific methods to measure the effects of pollution — that plaintiffs used to prove corporate malfeasance.

Mr. Koch also sought to influence the judiciary at the federal level. Between 1997 and 2017, the Koch brothers gave more than $6 million to the Federalist Society, a nonprofit institute that recruits libertarian and conservative judges for the federal judiciary, according to a tally by the activist group Greenpeace. Now, Americans for Prosperity is doing the same for Judge Barrett. A.F.P. activists are pressuring U.S. senators in several states, with a particular eye toward vulnerable Democrats like West Virginia’s Joe Manchin. The group is also working in Alaska, where Republican Lisa Murkowski has given mixed signals about whether she is willing to vote on Judge Barrett’s nomination before the next president is elected.


This is the main reason Republican politicians chant judges, judges, judges all the time.

Another pro-Trump ad uses footage from Russia

A new pro-Trump super PAC ad uses stock footage from Russia and Belarus in a major ad buy that’s airing in three swing states. It’s the fourth time in three months that an ad promoting President Donald Trump’s reelection has used footage from Russia.

America First Action last Thursday launched an ad called “Pandemic Tax” in Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as part of a $10 million ad campaign slamming Joe Biden for supporting bad trade deals and arguing that he would raise taxes on “all of us.” But some of the people featured in the ad were actors in stock footage from Russia and Belarus.

At about 14 seconds in, the ad features a shot of new parents in dark silhouettes holding up their baby in front of a window as the phrase “HIGHER TAXES ON EVERY INCOME GROUP” appears on the screen. That specific footage, titled “Man And Woman Playing With Baby Near The Window,” is available for sale for $65 on stock footage website Pond5 by a user who goes by Kmikidov.

The same footage is available on Shutterstock by a user of the same name, whose profile links to the Facebook page of Konstantin Mikidov, which lists his location as the Russian city of Novosibirsk in Siberia. He didn’t respond to requests for comment sent through his Pond5 and Facebook accounts.


Tommy Vietor thinks it's past time for a "Both Sides" museum in DC


It's long past time to break ground on a Both Sides museum in Washington, DC. This comparison of the President of the United States to Keith Olbermann MUST be preserved for future generations.

New research explores authoritarian mind-set of Trump's core supporters

A new book by a psychology professor and a former lawyer in the Nixon White House argues that Trump has tapped into a current of authoritarianism in the American electorate, one that’s bubbled just below the surface for years. In “Authoritarian Nightmare,” Bob Altemeyer and John W. Dean marshal data from a previously unpublished nationwide survey showing a striking desire for strong authoritarian leadership among Republican voters.

They also find shockingly high levels of anti-democratic beliefs and prejudicial attitudes among Trump backers, especially those who support the president strongly. And regardless of what happens in 2020, the authors say, Trump supporters will be a potent pro-authoritarian voting bloc in the years to come.

Altemeyer and Dean define authoritarianism as what happens “when followers submit too much to the authorities in their lives.” They measure it using a tool Altemeyer developed in the early 1980s, called the right-wing authoritarian (RWA) scale.

The “right-wing” label refers not to left and right political leanings as they’re popularly understood today, they write, but rather to a more legalistic sense of “lawful, proper, and correct.” It’s used to identify authoritarian tendencies among people of any political persuasion — supporters of the Communist Party in the former Soviet Union, for instance, would have scored high on the scale despite having decidedly leftist economic and political views. The scale remains one of the most widely used measures of authoritarianism to this day.


Right Wing Authoritarianism Scale https://www.monmouth.edu/polling-institute/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/08/AuthSurveyKeyScales_8-25-2020-Link.pdf

Here's the link to Professor Altemeyer's book The Authoritarians. It's worth a read. https://theauthoritarians.org/Downloads/TheAuthoritarians.pdf

Michelle Obama, LeBron James team to help boost early voting

WASHINGTON (AP) — A voter initiative led by Michelle Obama is partnering with a similar group founded by NBA star LeBron James and other prominent Black athletes and entertainers to sponsor events in major U.S. cities starting next week to generate excitement about voting early for the Nov. 3 election.

Mrs. Obama’s When We All Vote and James’ More Than A Vote are teaming to provide information, transportation, food, music, personal protective equipment and other support at early voting sites around the country Oct. 18-31.

“Millions of Americans have already cast their ballot and with only 21 days until Election Day, making your plan to vote early is critical,” Mrs. Obama said Tuesday in a statement to The Associated Press. “It’s now up to us to do everything in our power to get our friends and family ready to vote early and safely together. We can’t leave anyone behind.”

In-person events are planned for Atlanta; Charlotte, North Carolina; Detroit; Los Angeles; Milwaukee; Orlando, Florida; and Philadelphia. They will be held within walking distance of early voting sites and include free food from the nonprofit World Central Kitchen, founded by celebrity chef Jose Andres, and other providers.


Wow, this video of Doug Jones is powerful!


Huge group of fundamentalist anti-maskers in front of the courthouse in Nashville



UK documentary on the dangerous levels of contamination on US meat


Tweet thread by Channel 4 Dispatches:

Now we’ve left the EU, the government is trying to do a trade deal with the US. @Dispatches can exclusively reveal dangerous levels of contamination in American meat that could soon be stocked in UK supermarkets. 1/

Between 12 & 14% of the pork & poultry samples tested have Salmonella, that’s about 6 times higher than levels in UK pork. According to preliminary results from Professor Lance Price who is in the middle of a 5year study looking at bacterial contamination in US retail meat. 2/

More than 60% of the pork products tested had E. coli on them, as did around 70% of beef products, 80% of chicken products, and more than 90% of turkey products. E. coli indicates faecal contamination. 3/

We can also reveal preliminary results from Professor Price’s study that shows that 45% of the bacteria they found on American retail meat is resistant to at least one antibiotic. 4/

In the US the rate of antibiotics given to livestock is 5 times higher per kilo than in the UK. Scientists are concerned that this will cause a rise in antibiotic resistant bacteria, which could prevent our life-saving medicines from working. 5/

US meat producers use 6 antibiotics that are classed by the World Health Organisation as “critically important” to human medicine. 6/

US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue declined to be interviewed but has previously said that the US is doing a much better job in ensuring that antibiotics are not overused & that most poultry is now antibiotic free & many other animals are only given them when they are sick 7/

The UK Government have insisted that if the UK were to do a trade deal with the US, that they’re not going to lower UK food standards. 8/

WATCH: Dirty Secrets of American Food: Coming to a Supermarket Near You? Monday at 8pm on @Channel4

Pete Buttigieg nicely skewers the illogic of "originalism" as articulated by right wing Justices


Tweet thread by Seth Cotlar:

Pete nicely skewers the illogic of "originalism" as articulated by many contemporary conservative jurists.

He's right that many people in the founding generation (like Jefferson and Paine) understood that constitutions would evolve as the societies to which they applied changed. It should go without saying that "loose constructionists" like Hamilton thought the same thing.

There are few ironies more delicious than the fact that many of the best arguments against originalism can be found in the writings of the founders.

The founders disagreed with each other about almost everything. The Constitution was the product of many compromises and authored by committee. The idea that there is even a singular "original intent" to be discerned, let alone definitively nailed down, seems absurd to me.

"Judicial activism" is just a scare term one uses to denigrate a "judicial interpretation" that you disagree with but don't want to argue against, or can't plausibly argue against.

There is zero evidence that the founders intended the Constitution to serve as a document that 5 Supreme Court justices could use to repeatedly nullify attempts to bring the nation's policies and laws into alignment with a changing society.

You'd be hard pressed to find more than a handful of historians of the founding era who see any merit in Scalia-style originalism. Which is ironic, given that Scalia claims to be channeling the spirit and intent of the founding era.

Pete is spot on when he says that "originalism" is conservative judicial activism cloaked in the garb of humility. "It's not me, Scalia, saying this, it's Madison and Hamilton speaking THROUGH me." Such a claim is 100% BS.

QAnon has taken root in Germany and other countries (thread)


The backdrop to QAnon’s arrival in Europe is the pandemic, which has supercharged conspiracy theories everywhere. Local Q groups have sprung up from the Netherlands to the Balkans. In Britain, QAnon-themed protests have taken place in more than 20 cities and towns. 2/8

Officials were baffled that a wacky conspiracy theory about Trump taking on a “deep state” of Satanists and pedophiles has resonated in places like Germany, which has handled the pandemic well. But as one official put it, QAnon’s mythology “falls on fertile ground.” 3/8

In Germany, as in the US, far-right activists were the first to latch on. QAnon's language - from claims of ritual child murder to revenge fantasies against liberal elites - conjure anti-Semitic tropes and putsch fantasies that have long animated Germany’s far-right fringe. 4/8

“It’s the 21-century version of blood libel,” said @DittrichMiro. “The idea of a global conspiracy of elites is deeply anti-Semitic. ‘Globalists’ is code for Jews.” 5/8

At its root QAnon is a fascist movement, some say. "It doesn’t openly fly the colors of fascism, it sells it as secret code,” one intelligence official said. “It's jumped from the virtual world into the real world. If the U.S. is anything to go by, it’s going to gain speed.” 6/8

Even those on the far right who do not buy into the conspiracy theory see QAnon as a strategic way to grow. A far-right magazine editor in Germany told me that the image of pedophile elites was a useful “allegory” for corrupt and decadent elites. 7/8

“Q is a completely novel attempt to structure political opposition in the era of social media,” the editor said. After the pandemic, “the far right will reconstitute itself differently. Q could play a role in this.” End

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