Opinion

Republicans have made it disturbingly clear: They will defend Trump's Big Lie at any cost

The assault on democracy that's taking place all around the country in various state legislatures has come boldly into focus in recent days and not a moment too soon. Democrats across the nation are begging the national government to step in and do something to protect our electoral system. And in a stunning irony, the Republican response is to use the federal government's most undemocratic institution's most undemocratic rule to prevent that from happening.

On Tuesday, Republicans invoked the filibuster to prevent the Senate from bringing S.1, the For the People Voting Rights Act, to the floor for debate, effectively killing the bill. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin had even cobbled together a compromise, giving Republicans a bunch of goodies they have wanted for a long time, including national voter ID and federal permission to purge the voter rolls, just trying to tempt them into even allowing a debate on the issue.

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A researcher on youth organizing presents her evidence for how critical race theory benefits students and society

Critical race theory – an academic framework that holds that racism is embedded in society – has become the subject of an intense debate about how issues of race should or shouldn't be taught in schools.

Largely missing in the debate is evidence of how exposure to critical race theory actually affects students.

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Experts beware: America is hurtling towards a Scopes moment as Republicans rage at critical race theory

In a recent debate over a law to ban the teaching of Critical Race Theory, Tennessee legislator Justin Lafferty (R) explained to his colleagues that the 3/5th Compromise of 1787, used to determine a state's representation in Congress by counting enslaved people as "three fifths of all other Persons," was designed with "the purpose of ending slavery." Lafferty had his facts spectacularly wrong, but that did nothing to derail the law's passage.

Anti-Critical Race Theory laws like the one passed in Tennessee – as well Texas, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Florida -- are not just aimed to push back against the heightened awareness of the nation's history of racial injustice in the wake of the popularity of the 1619 Project and last summer's massive protests over the murder of George Floyd. They are also attacks on educators -- and on expertise itself. As Christine Emba explained in a recent Washington Post article on conservatives' current obsession with Critical Race Theory, "disguising one's discomfort with racial reconsideration as an intellectual critique is still allowed." Not only is it allowed in these public debates, it is an effective strategy to curb movements for social change. It is also not new.

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Jan 6. was the blueprint: The GOP is now planning a state-by-state hostile takeover

On Sunday night, CNN aired a two-hour documentary called "Assault on Democracy" chronicling the evolution of the American right's most recent embrace of conspiracy theories and authoritarianism which led to the insurrection of January 6th. Unlike most of the recent TV examinations of this phenomenon, CNN didn't simply go back to the day Donald Trump descended the golden escalator in Trump Tower but traced the beginning of this latest lurch into right-wing lunacy to the election of Barack Obama and the furious backlash that ensued. (The seeds obviously go back much further, but this is a logical place to begin with the Tea Party's seamless transformation into MAGA.)

The program rightly attributes the massive growth in conspiracy theories to the rise in social media during that period and especially takes on Facebook for its algorithms that lead people deeper and deeper into insular rabbit holes. Crude profiteers such as Alex Jones and Breitbart are exposed as well as good old-fashioned talk radio and Fox News. There can be no denying the massive influence of those cynical propaganda outfits on the events that transpired over the past few years.

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Can neurology tell us how to deprogram our radicalized loved ones?

Yelling at them doesn't work. Appealing to their empathy doesn't work. Rebutting their disinformation and conspiracy theories not only doesn't work, it actually just makes them dig in their heels more deeply. So rather than continuing to bang our heads against the wall, or simply throwing up our hands in despairing futility of talking to our radicalized relatives and neighbors, is there anything that does work to change anybody else's mind? Can we even, for that matter, change our own?

This article originally appeared at Salon.

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The myths and martyrs of the January 6 insurrection

Tucker Carlson, whose nightly prime time show on Fox News draws millions of viewers, used his massive platform to preposterously claim he's being silenced. This time the "silencing" was over his recent floating of a flat-out silly conspiracy theory that the FBI was behind the January 6 insurrection.

This article originally appeared at Salon.

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Senate Dems face the ultimate test this week as Mitch McConnell stands firm

We get another peek on Tuesday at just what an upsidedown world the U.S. Senate represents with a test vote on voter rights legislation that is being washed twice, rinsed and hung out on a bipartisan clothesline just in time for Republicans to knock it down.

For weeks, we have watched Sen. Joe Manchin, (D-W.Va.) maneuver, delay, twist and turn to try to make the For the People Act appeal to a bipartisan coalition. Tomorrow, we will confirm two things:

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Donald Trump and the new Lost Cause

Lies are a denomination of power. The bigger the lie, the more power it represents. Right now in this country, we are being treated daily to the Big Lie that Donald Trump was the true winner of the presidential election of 2020, and the only reason he's not in the White House right now is because the election was stolen from him.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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Joe Manchin gets hoodwinked by the GOP — again: Why does he keep getting suckered?

On paper, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has produced an elegant solution to the voting rights problem that addresses both Democratic concerns about protecting fair elections and Republican concerns about voter fraud. For months now, Democrats have been touting twin bills — the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act — offering a broad array of democracy reforms, from reducing the impact of money in politics to standardizing ballot access across the country. Republicans, however, have opposed these bills at every turn, pretending to be fearful of "voter fraud," which is so rare as to not be anything even approaching a real problem in the U.S. But Manchin has sworn up and down that bills must be "bipartisan" to get his support, refusing to reform the Senate filibuster, even though Republicans use it to block every big bill Democrats want to bring to a vote. So this week Manchin offered what he touted as a compromise bill, a long list of items for legislation he would support.

This article originally appeared at Salon.

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A second insurrection: The real mission behind Republicans' absurd Arizona 'audit'

During the Trump years, it always felt as if the news cycle was running at 110 miles an hour and we were just hanging on for dear life. And it was true. There was always something terrible going on. Most people looked forward to the day that everything would slow down to a normal pace and we'd all be able to spend more time thinking about something other than the latest lunacy coming from the White House.

That time is now. The chaos has more or less, sort of, come to pass. The daily outrage meter has been turned down to eleven and it feels as if the whole government is operational instead of just the oval office and whichever corrupt Trump minion happens to be in the headlines. But there is still a whole lot going on, from foreign policy settling down into something vaguely recognizable as sane American participation in world affairs, to the Justice Department coming to terms with the wholesale corruption of the institution over the past four years to the gripping saga of the Democratic agenda wending its way through Congress. On Thursday, we even saw the Supreme Court once again uphold the Affordable Care Act, eliciting a huge sigh of relief from the 30 million people who had been waiting with bated breath to find out if they were going to have health insurance when they woke up this morning.The federal government is busy and for the most part, it's doing what Americans employ it to do. It's not always pretty but it seems to be cranking up and becoming at least somewhat functional.

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DOJ emails expose the 'pure insanity' of Democrats 'moving forward' without accountability for Trump

The Democratic leaders of the House Oversight Committee, at least, get it: Any effort to hold Donald Trump accountable for his many crimes and attacks on our democratic system will reap political rewards. Their ongoing investigation into Trump's attempted coup after the 2020 election, which culminated in Trump supporters storming the Capitol on January 6, is paying off dividends by getting new information to the public and keeping Trump's seditious, authoritarian behavior in the public view.

This article was originally published at Salon

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New evidence makes it clear that Trump's attempted coup is still playing out

There were so many terrible abuses of power that Donald Trump and the GOP succeeded at during the previous administration — from refusing to cooperate with investigations of wrong-doing to reappropriating funds to Trump's racist border wall — that we sometimes forget where they failed. The failures were often by sheer luck — or incompetence —and sometimes they were because someone in Trump's orbit chickened out and just wouldn't go that far.

This article was originally published at The Signorile Report

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The media is being duped by Republicans on the 'lab leak' theory

Last month, seemingly spurred on by this column from a controversial former science reporter for The New York Times, it became suddenly fashionable in some journalistic circles to scold the mainstream press for dismissing or ignoring something called the "lab leak theory" regarding the origins of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

This article was originally published at Salon

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