Archives for category: Propaganda

I was thinking of titling this post “Libertarian Crackpots Take Charge of School Funding in New Hampshire” but decided to bite my tongue.

Garry Rayno, a writer for InDepthNH.org, reports that the Koch-funded plan to defund public schools in New Hampshire is a “success.” Not because most parents want to put their children in private or religious schools, but because the overwhelming majority of students using the new education freedom accounts are already enrolled in nonpublic schools. Thus, public funds are now underwriting private education. At some point, the public schools will shrink to be just one among many choices even though the people of New Hampshire never voted to abandon their community public schools. This is a theft of public dollars for private use.

By GARRY RAYNO, InDepthNH.org 

The new education freedom account program is a success judging by the number of students participating in the first year.

More students are expected to participate in the second year and state education officials predict it will continue to grow into the future.

One of the most expansive school choice programs in the country, it was sold as a way for students and parents to find the best educational avenues to fit their student’s individual learning needs.

That would be wonderful and would fulfill the education department’s long-standing goal of individualized student pathways, but that is not what happened for a majority of students.

Instead the program has increased the state’s education spending while few students changed their learning environment.

The vast majority of students — around 85 percent — participating in the first year, did not attend public schools the year before. Instead they were in private or religious schools, or home schooled, or too young for school.

That does not change the learning environment for that 85 percent of students.

What did change under the program was the parents’ financial obligations, which were reduced thanks to the influx of state taxpayers’ money.

Department of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut, a program advocate, told lawmakers the first year of freedom accounts would cost the state’s Education Trust Fund about $300,000 and the second year about $3.2 million. Instead the cost was close to $9 million this year.

Why the increase? Edelblut’s estimates were for students leaving traditional public schools to participate in alternative programs, not for those already in other programs applying for state help to cover the costs of private and religious schools, or home schooling.

Essentially most of the state money flowed through the parents to private and religious schools and for homeschooling costs all previously paid for by the parents or religious institutions.

When the program was first debated this term, the nonpartisan Legislative Budget Assistant’s office estimated the state’s exposure could be as high as $70 million if all the students in private or religious schools applied for grants.

The program provides grants to parents of students who earn no more than 300 percent of the federal poverty level or about $80,000 a year for a family of four.

You only have to qualify once, so if the next year your family makes $125,000, you still qualify and if you double that the next year, you still qualify.

Grants range from about $4,500 to $8,000 per student with the average the first year a little under $5,000 per student.

The money can be spent in any number of ways, for tuition, books and instructional programs, supplies, computers, individual instruction on a musical instrument, etc.

The money to pay for the freedom accounts comes from the Education Trust Fund established more than 20 years ago when the state overhauled its funding system after the Claremont II Supreme Court decision saying the then current system of relying on local property taxes with widely varying rates to pay for public education was unconstitutional because it violated the proportional and reasonable clause of the state constitution.

For most of its early years, the trust fund ran a deficit and state general fund money had to be added to meet the state’s education aid obligations.

In recent years the fund has had a surplus including this biennium. The state budget passed last year estimates a $54.4 million surplus at the end of last fiscal year June 30 and a $21 million surplus at the end of the 2023 fiscal year.

The surplus at the end of last fiscal year is much larger than that as the overall state revenue surplus is more than $400 million, but most of that has already been spent through legislation this year such as the $100 million settlement fund for the children abused at the Youth Detention Center.

The law establishing the freedom accounts has a provision if the education fund does not have enough money to cover the cost of the grants, the needed money will be withdrawn from general fund revenue without any action needed from the legislature or the governor.

Such a provision is extremely rare as lawmakers like to be able to determine how general funds are spent.

The number of students participating in the program the first year would probably not be so large if not for the American for Prosperity, an “education organization” funded by the Koch network and other like thinking libertarians who have longed advocated that public education tax money also pay for private and religious schools, homeschooling and charter schools.

The New Hampshire affiliate had a campaign ready to go when the freedom account legislation passed as part of the budget package last year. The group helped parents enroll their students in the program, many who were in private or religious schools or home schooled.

Last week the same organization held an “education fair” for parents to meet representatives of some of the organizations and groups approved to other alternative education programs under the freedom account program.

The fair was promoted by Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut who tweeted a photo from the fair, and the department had a booth there to promote its 603 Moment campaign on social media.

Others touting the fair included members of the House freedom caucus and others in the free state/libertarian wing of the GOP.

The fair is intended to help grow the program, meaning more state money will be drawn from the Education Trust Fund and ultimately the state’s general fund.

This is a well planned operation that only required the state to agree to a school choice program with few guardrails to begin taking the state down the road to greater educational “freedom” and less traditional public education.

The Koch network has recently developed a proposal to “reform” public education with one of its officials calling public education the “low hanging fruit.”

The reform would look a lot like what the freedom account program looks like and would shift resources as it does away from traditional public education to alternative pathways.

As the freedom account program grows, observers of the legislature know what will happen eventually.

As more and more education trust fund money is allocated, there will be pressure to reduce the amount of money going to traditional public education and, depending on which party is in control, to charter schools.

That is how public education becomes the low hanging fruit.

The education commissioner and others talk about the achievement gap between students from well off areas and minority students and those from low-income families.

Edelblut maintains that gap has not changed in 50 years despite numerous efforts on the federal and state level and says that is why education needs to change.

He downplays what the recent education funding commission made the centerpiece of its work, that the achievement gap is due to the resources available to students.

Students from property poor communities perform below students from property wealthy communities.

The economic disparity gap between students from property wealthy and property poor communities is larger now than it was when the Claremont lawsuit was filed 30 years ago.

Proponents of alternative education programs say it is not about spending more money, and the education funding commission said the same thing.

But the commission said the resources needed to be distributed differently, while the advocates for freedom accounts say it is about finding the right fit for a student.

Those advocates are saying the issue is not economic disparity.

Ultimately their goal is to make government smaller and they can accomplish that by disrupting traditional public education with lower cost, less regulated alternative programs.

Eventually traditional education will be small enough to be just one more alternative pathway for students among many.

That is why public education is the low-hanging fruit and freedom accounts are just the beginning.

At a meeting in Tampa recently, the organization of far-right agitators called “Moms for Liberty” took aim at public schools, teachers, and curriculum. They believe their children are indoctrinated in public schools, which is utter nonsense. What is clear is that they want to indoctrinate all children into their racist, bigoted worldview.

The so-called “Moms” are terrified by teaching about racism and gender. They want the power to censor books they don’t like. They want to stifle teachers who teach the truth about American history.

Their first national conference was addressed by Fovernor Ron DeSantis, Senator Rick Scott, and Betsy DeVos, all of whom are contemptuous of public schools.

Who are the Moms for Liberty? They are the female version of the John Birch Society. The latter spied Communists everywhere. The Moms are terrified that someone might teach children that racism was and is a blight on our country.

Known largely for speaking out against mask mandates in the pandemic, demanding access to school curricula, rooting out offensive or explicit content in literature and voicing their suspicions about the pervasiveness of “woke ideology” at school board meetings across the country, members of Moms For Liberty said they now hope to expand their political influence and the scope of parental rights laws, which exist in about one third of states.

Please watch this fascinating series (part one and part two) by Australian television on the rank cynicism of Rupert Murdoch and FOX News.

Under his leadership, FOX turned into a propaganda machine for Trump. Its leading correspondents (Sean Hannity and Judge Jeanine) joined his rallies, urged people to vote for him. They ceased to be journalists.

The two parts are gripping and well worth watching. There are pending lawsuits against FOX, Rudy Guiliani, and Sidney Powell for slandering Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic, another voting machine used only in Los Angeles.

Powell and Guiliani both said numerous times that the voting systems were used to hack the vote and steal the election. Powell has since said that her claims were so ridiculous that no one took them seriously.

A must watch.

As the Russian war on Ukraine grinds on, the Kremlin propaganda machine has turned its attention to the nation’s schools, making sure that every Russian students has the “correct” view of the war and sees Putin has a heroic figure.

Starting in first grade, students across Russia will soon sit through weekly classes featuring war movies and virtual tours through Crimea. They will be given a steady dose of lectures on topics like “the geopolitical situation” and “traditional values.” In addition to a regular flag-raising ceremony, they will be introduced to lessons celebrating Russia’s “rebirth” under President Vladimir V. Putin.

And, according to legislation signed into law by Mr. Putin on Thursday, all Russian children will be encouraged to join a new patriotic youth movement in the likeness of the Soviet Union’s red-cravatted “Pioneers” — presided over by the president himself.

Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian government’s attempts at imparting a state ideology to schoolchildren have proven unsuccessful, a senior Kremlin bureaucrat, Sergei Novikov, recently told thousands of Russian schoolteachers in an online workshop. But now, amid the war in Ukraine, Mr. Putin has made it clear that this needed to change, he said.

“We need to know how to infect them with our ideology,” Mr. Novikov said. “Our ideological work is aimed at changing consciousness.”

As the war in Ukraine approaches the five-month mark, the vast ambitions of his plans for the home front are coming into focus: a wholesale reprogramming of Russian society to end 30 years of openness to the West.

The Kremlin has already jailed or forced into exile just about all activists speaking out against the war; it has criminalized what remained of Russia’s independent journalism; it has cracked down on academics, bloggers and even a hockey player with suspect loyalties.

But nowhere are these ambitions clearer than in the Kremlin’s race to overhaul how children are taught at Russia’s 40,000 public schools.

The nationwide education initiatives, which start in September, are part of the Russian government’s scramble to indoctrinate children with Mr. Putin’s militarized and anti-Western version of patriotism, illustrating the reach of his campaign to use the war to further mobilize Russian society and eliminate any potential dissent.

While some experts are skeptical that the Kremlin’s grand plans will quickly bear fruit, even ahead of the new school year the potency of its propaganda in changing the minds of impressionable youngsters was already becoming apparent.

Putin sees his future as hero of the USSR in a new Cold War. How sad.

He started the war against Ukraine to stop NATO expansion, and the result so far has been a dramatic expansion of NATO, since Finland and Sweden asked to join NATO. They were spurred to do so by Putin’s aggression.

Putin claimed his profound love for Ukraine, which he wanted to restore to its rightful place in the Russian orbit, but he has spent five months obliterating Ukrainian cities, towns, villages, people, and cultural landmarks. He is creating a wasteland.

Negotiations are the only answer, say outside observers. But Putin has never shown any willingness to negotiate. None. He plans to spend Russian lives and treasure proving that he can destroy Ukraine.

I will be a participant in a summer school program on Critical Race Theory. You are invited to sign up. I am part of the panel on July 20.

Greetings Friends and Colleagues, 

The African American Policy Forum is so excited to be Teaching Truth to Power this year at Critical Race Theory Summer School! It is crucial that we prepare racial justice advocates to defend the right to teach truth in classrooms. This powerful and urgent program runs July 18 to July 22, 2022. 

Seats are limited, so register here today! Events will be held daily between 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET throughout the week. Be sure to sign up for our listserv so that you don’t miss any updates. 

CRT Summer School 2022 will include a variety of plenaries, breakout sessions, and networking opportunities aimed to inform, activate, and inspire. We’re inviting parents, educators, students, social workers, legal practitioners, media professionals and concerned community members from all walks of life, because there is something for anyone to learn from the sheer breadth of options available this year! 

Daily Plenary Sessions

July 18 – Everyday CRT: A Commonsense Framework for Racial Liberation

July 19 – Public Schools, Private Agendas: How the Assault on Racial Justice Undermines Education

July 20 – Strange Bedfellows: The Left/Right Convergence that Enabled the Normalization of White Nationalism

July 21 – Define, Do Not Defend: How to Resist the Disinformation Campaign Against CRT

July 22 – Transforming a Moment to a Movement: Building A New Coalition to Secure our Multiracial Democracy

Discounts and Purchase Orders

Group sales (registration in increments of ten and five) are available and yield a 25% discount. For Purchase Orders please contact crt@aapf.org for more information.

Individual recipients of this email are eligible for a 10% discount using the following code during check-out: TSICAF-992000-IWANJ.

Full and partial scholarships are available. For more information visit our website: www.aapf.org/crtsummerschool.

On Demand Content

Great news! This year, all CRT Summer School content will be available to all registrants after the close of the event until Labor Day. You can watch anything you missed or revisit your favorites to ensure that you are a prepared racial justice advocate ready to defend the right to teach truth in schools.

We hope to see you at CRT-SS 2022! Please also share this email with your network – friends, colleagues, and constituents.

Onward,

African American Policy Forum

#TruthBeTold

Katherine Stewart is an expert on Christian Nationalism who has researched its history, attends their conferences, and writes about their determination to destroy our freedoms. Read her recent book “The Power Worshippers.”

Her latest article in The New York Times reports on their recent dramatic gains.

She writes:

The shape of the Christian nationalist movement in the post-Roe future is coming into view, and it should terrify anyone concerned for the future of constitutional democracy.

The Supreme Court’s decision to rescind the reproductive rights that American women have enjoyed over the past half-century will not lead America’s homegrown religious authoritarians to retire from the culture wars and enjoy a sweet moment of triumph. On the contrary, movement leaders are already preparing for a new and more brutal phase of their assault on individual rights and democratic self-governance. Breaking American democracy isn’t an unintended side effect of Christian nationalism. It is the point of the project.

A good place to gauge the spirit and intentions of the movement that brought us the radical majority on the Supreme Court is the annual Road to Majority Policy Conference. At this year’s event, which took place last month in Nashville, three clear trends were in evidence. First, the rhetoric of violence among movement leaders appeared to have increased significantly from the already alarming levels I had observed in previous years. Second, the theology of dominionism — that is, the belief that “right-thinking” Christians have a biblically derived mandate to take control of all aspects of government and society — is now explicitly embraced. And third, the movement’s key strategists were giddy about the legal arsenal that the Supreme Court had laid at their feet as they anticipated the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

They intend to use that arsenal — together with additional weaponry collected in cases like Carson v. Makin, which requires state funding of religious schools if private, secular schools are also being funded; and Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, which licenses religious proselytizing by public school officials — to prosecute a war on individual rights, not merely in so-called red state legislatures but throughout the nation.

Although metaphors of battle are common enough in political gatherings, this year’s rhetoric appeared more violent, more graphic and more tightly focused on fellow Americans, rather than on geopolitical foes.

“The greatest danger to America is not our enemies from the outside, as powerful as they may be,” said former President Donald Trump, who delivered the keynote address at the event. “The greatest danger to America is the destruction of our nation from the people from within. And you know the people I’m talking about.”

Speakers at the conference vied to outdo one another in their denigration of the people that Mr. Trump was evidently talking about. Democrats, they said, are “evil,” “tyrannical” and “the enemy within,” engaged in “a war against the truth.”

“The backlash is coming,” warned Senator Rick Scott of Florida. “Just mount up and ride to the sounds of the guns, and they are all over this country. It is time to take this country back.”

Citing the fight against Nazi Germany during the Battle of the Bulge, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson of North Carolina said, “We find ourselves in a pitched battle to literally save this nation.” Referencing a passage from Ephesians that Christian nationalists often use to signal their militancy, he added, “I don’t know about you, but I got my pack on, I got my boots on, I got my helmet on, I’ve got on the whole armor.”

It is not a stretch to link this rise in verbal aggression to the disinformation campaign to indoctrinate the Christian nationalist base in the lie that the 2020 election was stolen, along with what we’re learning from the Jan. 6 hearings. The movement is preparing “patriots” for the continuation of the assault on democracy in 2022 and 2024.

The intensification of verbal warfare is connected to shifts in the Christian nationalist movement’s messaging and outreach, which were very much in evidence at the Nashville conference. Seven Mountains Dominionism — the belief that “biblical” Christians should seek to dominate the seven key “mountains” or “molders” of American society, including the government — was once considered a fringe doctrine, even among representatives of the religious right. At last year’s Road to Majority conference, however, there was a breakout session devoted to the topic. This year, there were two sessions, and the once arcane language of the Seven Mountains creed was on multiple speakers’ lips.

The hunger for dominion that appears to motivate the leadership of the movement is the essential context for making sense of its strategy and intentions in the post-Roe world. The end of abortion rights is the beginning of a new and much more personal attack on individual rights.

And indeed it is personal. Much of the rhetoric on the right invokes visions of vigilante justice. This is about “good guys with guns” — or neighbors with good eavesdropping skills — heroically taking on the pernicious behavior of their fellow citizens. Among the principal battlefields will be the fallopian tubes and uteruses of women.

At a breakout session called “Life Is on the Line: What Does the Future of the Pro-Life Movement Look Like From Here?” Chelsey Youman, the Texas state director and national legislative adviser to Human Coalition Action, a Texas-based anti-abortion organization with a national strategic focus, described the connection between vigilantes and abortion rights.

Instead of the state regulating abortion providers, she explained, “You and me as citizens of Texas or this country or wherever we can pass this bill, can instead sue the abortion provider.” Mrs. Youman, as it happens, played a role in promoting the Texas law Senate Bill 8, which passed in May 2021 and allows private citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion. She was exultant over the likely passage of similar laws across the nation. “We have legislation ready to roll out for every single state you live in to protect life regardless of the Supreme Court, regardless of your circuit court.” To be sure, Christian nationalists are also pushing for a federal ban. But the struggle for the present will center on state-level enforcement mechanisms.

Movement leaders have also made it clear that the target of their ongoing offensive is not just in-state abortion providers, but what they call “abortion trafficking” — that is, women crossing state lines to access legal abortions, along with people who provide those women with services or support, like cars and taxis. Mrs. Youman hailed the development of a new “long-arm jurisdiction” bill that offers a mechanism for targeting out-of-state abortion providers. “It creates a wrongful death cause of action,” she said, “so we’re excited about that.”

The National Right to Life Committee’s model legislation for the post-Roe era includes broad criminal enforcement as well as civil enforcement mechanisms. “The model law also reaches well beyond the actual performance of an illegal abortion,” according to text on the organization’s website. It also includes “aiding or abetting an illegal abortion,” targeting people who provide “instructions over the telephone, the internet, or any other medium of communication.”

Mrs. Youman further made clear that Christian nationalists will target the pills used for medication abortions. “Our next big bill is going to make the Heartbeat Act look tame, you guys; they’re going to freak out!” she said. “It’s designed specifically to siphon off these illegal pills.”

Americans who stand outside the movement have consistently underestimated its radicalism. But this movement has been explicitly antidemocratic and anti-American for a long time.

It is also a mistake to imagine that Christian nationalism is a social movement arising from the grassroots and aiming to satisfy the real needs of its base. It isn’t. This is a leader-driven movement. The leaders set the agenda, and their main goals are power and access to public money. They aren’t serving the interests of their base; they are exploiting their base as a means of exploiting the rest of us.

Christian nationalism isn’t a route to the future. Its purpose is to hollow out democracy until nothing is left but a thin cover for rule by a supposedly right-thinking elite, bubble-wrapped in sanctimony and insulated from any real democratic check on its power.

Georgia educator Anthony Downer announced a call for sponsors for a rally on July 23.

Hi y’all,

As we gather and reflect on this complicated holiday weekend, I think about how my students are processing their world. Like many of you, I’m motivated by my ancestors’ struggles. I wonder how we’re preparing our young scholar-leaders to fight for equality and liberty, for equity and liberation. The recent education laws in Georgia hinder educators like me from doing just this. So we must continue to organize.

Georgia Educators for Equity and Justice and other education organizations are planning a Rally for Education (name TBA) on Saturday 7/23 at a school in metro Atlanta (location and time TBA). The goal is to highlight the voices of educators as we prepare for the implementation of new education laws during the 2022-2023 school year. Educators from across the state will speak to the negative effects of these laws on our schools and scholars. As we know, while politicians limited public comment and signed into law their draconian restrictions on education, educators were performing their primary duties. Now that we have more time, we have more to say. See below the initial details.

When? Saturday 7/23, time TBA – Please complete this form to share your opinions.

Where? At a school, ground-zero for the implementation and impact of the new education laws

Who? Everyone who opposes the attacks on public education in Georgia – This is an opportunity for our communities to rally to protect educators and students’ education. If you are an educator who is interested in speaking OR would like to sponsor the rally, please complete this form.

We will meet on Wednesday, July 13 at 4 PM. More details about this meeting and the event to follow over the next week. As we continue planning, we are eager to include as many voices and encourage as much participation as possible. This rally belongs to all of us. Once again, if you plan on attending, want to speak, want to sponsor, or have some ideas and opinions, please complete this form. Spread the word to your comrades and communities and we will follow up with additional details. Onward!

Best,

Anthony Downer

I wrote about the purchase of the Texas State Board of Education by the chairman of the board of Hillsdale in a previous post.

The state board rejected an application for a Hillsdale charter school, and the rejection was supported by three Republicans on the board.

In retaliation, the chairman of the Hillsdale College board contributed $250,000 to a PAC to punish the errant Republicans. The PAC replaced two of them with privatizers, and the third was redistricted out of his seat.

Now, it’s smooth sailing for the theocratic, 1776-themed Hillsdale charters, which cater to white students.

The Hillsdale website lists its current charter schools.

What it does not mention is that the Hillsdale Classical Academies have collected millions of dollars in federal funding from the federal Charter Schools Program.

Here is a sampling of Hillsdale-Barney charter schools that have applied for and received federal funding:

Ascent Classical Academy of Northern Colorado $671,000

Treasure Valley Classical Academy Idaho  $1.25 million

Ivywood Classical Academy Michigan 1 million and managed by a for-profit

Seven Oaks Classical School, Indiana $899,962

St. Johns Classical Academy, Florida $513,000

Pineapple Cove Classical Academy at West Melbourne Florida  $612,363.00

Golden View Classical Academy Colorado $215,000

Atlanta Classical Academy $650,000

Estancia Valley Classical, New Mexico, $647,349

Doesn’t it make you furious to know that our tax dollars are supporting this Trump -Christian charter chain?

We know now that the extreme crazies are determined to create “universal distrust” in public schools, as far-right extremist Chris Rufo said in his infamous Hillsdale speech. We have seen how they insult dedicated, hard-working teachers as greedy, lazy, even implying or saying that some are “grooming” children for sexual perversions.

The gutter snipes of the extreme right never rest, so they quickly leapt on a statement by President Biden praising outstanding teachers. The haters cleverly deleted one important word from his statement to turn his praise into a claim that the state “owns” the children.

Wonder what that one word was? Open Peter Greene’s commentary for a demonstration of how the omission of one word was used to promote demagoguery and deception.

Robert Hubbell is a blogger who writes consistently insightful, common sense commentaries. In this one, he makes an important point. What happened to outrage?

I recall when presidential candidate Senator Gary Hart of Colorado dropped out of the race after the press got photos of him on a boat with a woman who was not his wife. Imagine that! I remember when a president (Nixon) was forced to resign his office because he lied about his role in burgling the offices of the Democratic National Committee. At least official Washington had public standards of behavior. Republican Senator Howard Baker of Tennessee was as appalled by Nixon’s behavior as members of the other party. Yet Lamar Alexander, who claimed Baker as his role model, twice refused to vote to impeach Trump for violating his oath of office and for actions far more dangerous than anything Nixon did, even though Alexander was retiring.

Hubbell wrote this before the Uvalde school massacre. Watch the process: Americans are outraged. The media are outraged. What happens next? Our attention shifts. Uvalde fades, as Sandy Hook faded, as Parkland faded, as Buffalo will fade.

The capacity for outrage—in the political class, in the media, and in the public— seems to have vanished.

Hubbell writes:

“The apparent death of outrage is one factor driving many Americans to distraction, if not despair. Stories that would have shaken the foundations of democracy a decade ago barely reverberate for a single news cycle today. Quick! Answer this question: What was the biggest story of last Friday (as in two days ago)? It is that the wife of a sitting Supreme Court justice actively encouraged Arizona legislators to overthrow the Constitution by appointing fraudulent electors. The January 6th Committee previously discovered that Ginni Thomas forwarded emails from other election deniers to members of the Trump administration, but the most recent revelation clarifies that Ginni Thomas was a direct participant in the plot to subvert democracy. But by Sunday evening, the story has dropped from the pages of every major newspaper in America.

And, of course, Justice Clarence Thomas reviewed Mark Meadows’ request to block the disclosure of emails and texts from Ginni Thomas about the attempted coup. Before the endless stream of Trump scandals killed outrage, those facts would have prompted Justice Thomas to submit his resignation and spend the remainder of his life in solitude and shame. Instead, Thomas is on a revenge tour at the Antonin Scalia School of Law, where he is scolding women for protesting an impending decision that will grant state governments control over their reproductive choices.

Over the weekend, Senator Rick Scott couldn’t find the decency to say that leaders of the GOP should condemn white supremacy. Talking Points Memo, Scott Deflects On Whether GOPers Should Condemn White Nationalism. Scott agreed that racism was bad and that “all Americans” should condemn “any hate” and “any white supremacy,” but repeatedly dodged the question of whether Republican leaders had a responsibility to do so. Instead, he volunteered that “We have to stop asking people on government forms for their skin color” and “every Senate candidate on both sides is going to decide what is important to them”—evasions that leave room for his Republican colleagues to wink-and-nod to white supremacists on the campaign trail.

Also over the weekend, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held its annual meeting in Hungary so that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán could lecture aspiring American autocrats on how to subvert “illiberal democracy.” The panel of speakers included Trump, Tucker Carlson, and a Hungarian journalist infamous for writing that Jews are stinking excrement,” that Roma are “animals,” and that Black people are [unprintable]. See Times of Israel, Hungarian journalist who called Jews’ stinking excrement’ addresses CPAC conference. Do either Trump or Carlson feel any need to distance themselves from the reprehensible views of their co-presenter? Ha! It was not worth the electrons to type that rhetorical question on my laptop.

On Friday of last week, Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy attempted to explain away the high maternal mortality rates in his state. Cassidy made the following repugnant statement:

About a third of our population is African American; African Americans have a higher incidence of maternal mortality. So, if you correct our population for race, we’re not as much of an outlier as it’d otherwise appear.

See Business Insider, Maternal death rate isn’t as bad if you don’t count Black women, GOP senator says. Cassidy’s statements were so offensive it is difficult to know where to begin. To be clear, Louisiana’s maternal death rate among Black women is worse than the maternal death rate for Black women in other states, so Cassidy’s racist statistics are wrong. But what does Cassidy mean, “if you correct our population for race?” By “correcting” for race, Cassidy clearly implies that the “correct” race in Louisiana is white. But Cassidy’s comments have been largely ignored by the mainstream media.

And then there is Dr. Oz, who went out of his way on election night thank Fox News personality Sean Hannity for helping his campaign. That would be the same Sean Hannity who was busy trashing one of Dr. Oz’s opponents in the primary (the late-surging Kathy Barnette) as Hannity acting as a a “behind the scenes advisor” to Oz. See Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner in Steady, Crossing the Line. Rather and Kirschner write that Fox News “is a functional arm of the Party of Trump.” Does anyone care? As Rather astutely observes,

Needless to say, if a reporter at a news organization other than Fox supported a candidate with half as much complicity as Hannity did Dr. Oz, it would be grounds for immediate termination. Not surprisingly, at Fox News, Hannity’s actions don’t even earn a slap on the wrist.

And therein lies the problem: The capacity for outrage is becoming a one-way street. Hannity can break all rules of journalistic independence, and no one cares. Senator Cassidy can suggest that Blacks are not part of Louisiana’s “correct” race, and no major mainstream sources bother to report on the comments. The wife of a Supreme Court justice can encourage insurrection, and the justice goes on the attack against “liberals.” But . . . If any of those situations were reversed such that a liberal journalist, Democratic Senator, or liberal justice was involved, the outrage from the right would be unending, unforgiving, and shrill.

We must not lose our capacity for outrage. We cannot allow insurrection to be normalized. We cannot allow the sheer volume and velocity of GOP scandals to overwhelm and exhaust us. Indeed, we must recognize that conservatives try to turn outrage to their benefit by making more of it—to provoke “outrage fatigue.”

The wife of a supreme court justice participated in an attempted coup. That fact is outrageous and should matter to every American and should remain on the front pages of every newspaper in America until the justice resigns or recuses himself from all election-related cases.

More one-sided reporting in WaPo.

The Washington Post is running a story in its Monday edition, Democrats See Headwinds in Georgia, and Everywhere Else. The subheader says that Democratic candidates will “be running against President Biden’s low ratings as well as their G.O.P. rivals.” The article accurately reports on the challenges facing Democrats but does not acknowledge that Republicans are led by a twice-impeached failed coup-plotter who insists on absolute allegiance to a disproven conspiracy theory and has led the effort to deny women the right to control their reproductive choices.

About two-thirds of the way through the story, the author makes a nod to the difficulties faced by the GOP—but only by describing comments from a Republican voter:

[Democrats] need to do more to communicate clearly with voters that they are a steady hand at the wheel of getting the economy back on track for people.” Ms. Bourdeaux said. But she, too, saw a chance to draw a sharp contrast with what she described as ascendant far-right Republicans. “The other side, candidly, has lost its mind,” she said, pointing to efforts to restrict voting rights and abortion rights.

Hmm . . . if a Democratic voter had said that the Democratic Party “has lost its mind,” that would be the headline in the article. Oh, and here is the clincher: The author concedes near the end of the article that “Most polling shows a close race for [Georgia] governor and Senate, with a slight Republican advantage.”

Got that? The races for Governor and Senator in Georgia are “close,” but the story focuses on “headwinds” faced by Democrats because of the economy and Biden, with almost no mention of the challenges for the GOP created by an out-of-control Trump, reversal of Roe v. Wade, and unrestrained concealed carry of handguns by June.

More accurate headlines for the article could include, “One reporter’s attempt to trash the Democrats by rehashing the economy and Biden’s favorability ratings” or “According to one Republican voter, ‘The GOP has lost its mind.’” I will let you choose your favorite headline or suggest alternatives in the Comments section or by reply email to me.

Concluding Thoughts.

There is an old joke that goes like this: “I just flew into Las Vegas and, boy, are my arms tired.” My wife and I just spent forty-eight hours taking care of one granddaughter while simultaneously pinch-hitting with a second granddaughter for eight hours on Saturday, and boy, are my arms tired! It was tough writing the newsletter tonight because I could not get the words of the literary classic Good Dog Carl Visits the Zoo out of my mind. (Reading a book out-loud dozens of times over the course of forty-eight hours will do that to you.) A sign of my desperation is that I was delighted to take a mental break by watching The Little Mermaid after failed multiple failed attempts to get our granddaughter to take a nap. Let me say that The Little Mermaid is an underappreciated classic that deserves a place alongside The Godfather and Citizen Kane (at least that’s how I feel tonight).

In lieu of my own closing thoughts (which are often the most challenging part of the newsletter to write), I include a list of Democratic candidates to support, supplied by Ellie Kona. Many of you may know Ellie as a frequent commenter on Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter on Substack, Letters from an American. Per Ellie, “Here is a handy-dandy list of Dems to support, along with their Twitter handles (courtesy of Nick Knudsen):

PA Gov: @JoshShapiroPA

PA Sen: @JohnFetterman

PA Lt Gov: @AustinDavisPA

NC Sen: @CheriBeasleyNC

NC-01: @DonDavisNC

NC-13: @wileynickel

OR Gov: @TinaKotek

OR-04: @ValHoyle

OR-06: @AndreaRSalinas

Provided by NickKnudsen at DemCast