Tag Archives: right-wing grift

The Republicans have an edge in branding

I’ve often thought Republicans have an advantage in the media because their brand is known to be “shitty, bigoted authoritarians.” Democrats, by contrast, are supposed to be decent people. When Republicans act like scum, there’s a sense of shrug; when Democrats do it, there’s a sense of shock. We’re supposed to govern well, and clean up the mess Republicans make when they have power.

Republicans want to discriminate against gay? Well, of course. But stories about Trump supporter Alan Dershowitz not getting invited to parties or liberals saying they won’t date conservatives? Then suddenly intolerance is a big issue. If anyone on a Biden task force had suggested letting the Trump virus flourish in red states for political gain, it would be front page news. That someone on Jared’s task force proposed it? Hey, they’re Republicans, what do you expect?

Columbia Journalism Review makes the same point discussing coverage of the Jan. 6 commission. Republicans refused to cooperate unless coup-supporters such as Jim Jordan and Jim Banks were on it. Pelosi wisely shut that down, which the media portrayed as a Dem failure: Pelosi has doomed the chance the commission will accomplish anything (as if having two anti-American extremists on the commission would fix that). The article concludes that “‘Republican bad faith… is just a feature of the landscape,’ whereas a given Democrat is ‘an actor with agency, and subject to scrutiny.'” Republicans gonna Republican, that’s just the way it is.

Likewise the right-wing would pillory any Democrat who didn’t Rah Team for our Olympic competitors. We won’t see the same outrage against the Newsmax host who’s happy America’s losing. No surprise: I remember during football season last year, a bunch of FB posts said we should tune out football so we didn’t have to see players supporting Black Lives Matter.

That said, let’s look at what the American Hating Party has been up to:

Pro-coup Sen. Josh Hawley, meanwhile, has introduced a bill that bans federal funding for schools that teach the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were “the product of white supremacy and racism.” Just because the Constitution said Congress couldn’t ban the slave trade until 1808 and introduced the three-fifths clause to preserve the slave power I can’t see any reason to think slavery played a role in our founding. Comrade Hawley, as I’ve said before, would have fit well in the old USSR.

Arizona State Senator Wendy Rogers wants us to know that “I like Indians and I like Redskins. I like Aunt Jemima and I like Uncle Ben. I like Robert E Lee and I like Stonewall Jackson. I don’t like traitors who hate America. Stand up for our culture!” Nothing says hating traitors like supporting the Confederacy — and she’s also a big supporter of stealing the White House from Biden.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is suing Pelosi because mask mandates are segregation. By amazing coincidence, the website her tweet links to is a fund-raiser for her. It’s part of the proud right-wing tradition of grift.

Rep. Elise Stefanik isn’t as batshit as Greene. But these days even mainstream Republicans blame Pelosi for Jan. 6.

And these days, Candace Owens is in the Republican mainstream by suing because Facebook fact-checked her Covid posts and said they were wrong.

If colleges provide medication abortions (which is currently legal), a Republican bill would strip their federal funding.

Trump wishes he’d lowered the flag for Ashli Babbitt, dead anti-American militant. Georgia Rep. Andrew Clyde says the Jan. 6 mob were just tourists. And Tucker Carlson, of course, thinks cops traumatized by the attack are just big babies.

Matt Gaetz’s fiancee’s sister says he’s creepy as hell.


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I got your doom-scrolling right here: links

Some people refused to believe in the Trump Virus even as they died from it. Now we have towns burning from climate change but the residents blame environmentalists. Meanwhile, in Miami, poor black and Haitian neighborhoods on high ground are facing gentrification due to rising sea levels. Much like Covid, the right will proclaim climate change something we just have to live with. Republican state governments are already limiting the power of health officials to impose quarantines and other health measures in the next catastrophe.

Similarly, this country will do anything to stop school shootings except practice gun control — for example, moving a cemetery.

Speaking of the Trump Virus, here’s lying racist Laura Ingraham claiming that criticizing red states for being anti-vaxx is an elitist attack on “the trucks they drive, they don’t like how many kids they have. So it’s not just vaccine hesitancy they’re sneering at. It’s their entire being. I want people to understand that.” As if spreading lies about the vaccine to viewers who trust you didn’t demonstrate contempt. Fox liar Brian Kilmeade has suddenly discovers that presidents shouldn’t have opinions about dealing with the pandemic. The Former Guy’s White House liar Sarah Huckabee Sanders says if she’s elected governor of Arkansas she’s follow DeSantis style and impose no restrictions.

Israel’s NSO cyber-tech company has sold Pegasus spyware around the world. It hacks into your phone, sometimes without the target having to click on anything (the name comes because it’s a Trojan horse that flies onto your phone). There’s evidence governments have used it to spy on activists and journalists; NSO denies allowing that, but as it doesn’t monitor usage, it has no way to know. Here’s one alleged case of abuse. And possibly India is spying on the Dalai Lama. Technical stuff about Pegasus in this piece. NSO has ties to the Israeli government and insists they’re about stopping the bad guys.

The solution to employees not wanting to come back to work? Prison labor.

The FBI heard warnings about pedophile doctor Larry Nassar for years and did nothing. Nor with accused attempted rapist Brett Kavanaugh.

The right-wing may disagree about a lot, but they’re united that teaching kids about racism is bad. And that government helping people is bad too.

Anti-semite Rick Wiles calls for civil war to stop the Biden agenda. Prior to Jan. 6, I’d have thought that was a very long shot, but now I’m not so sure. We’ll definitely see more terrorist plots like this.

The Texas house has approved a bill punishing cities that reduce their police budget.

Right-wingers are increasingly delivering threats to TV newspeople.

Yet another example (from some years back) of right-wingers making money by being shitty people. Here’s another right-wing scam, the Freedom Phone. And the digital currency Magacoin. And osteopath anti-vaxxer Joseph Mercola.

The Catholic Church first heard warnings that Gabriele Martinelli was a molester more than a decade ago. They made him a priest anyway.

Libraries have books about gays and about racism, so right-wingers want to take libraries over.

Some police are all too willing to taser senior citizens.

In some black counties in the South up to 25 percent of requests for FEMA disaster aid get rejected.

While seeing the QAnon cultists and others turn on their own is amusing, Slacktivist points out it also enforces rigid party discipline: deviate from the party line and be accused of being one of the pedophile cultists.

“Donald Trump incited a violent mob to attempt to block the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election, and, since Donald Trump remains the unchallenged leader of the Republican party, that means Republicans have to either enthusiastically support what Trump did, or, in the alternative, try to gaslight everyone with the claim that what happened didn’t happen. ”  — which is why Republicans oppose the Jan. 6 commission.

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Will grift bring America down?

“Who better suits a marketing strategy than a group that voluntarily organizes itself according to their most passionately shared beliefs? ” Rick Perlstein asks in The Long Con, an article he wrote almost a decade ago. While this works for liberals and conservatives — subscribers to Mother Jones or National Review are obvious targets for certain kinds of pitches — Perlstein shows how snake-oil salesmen have become a fundamental part of the right. Direct mail lists become the target of fund-raising lies (like this recent one from homophobe lawyer Matt Staver, or this Stover pitch); lists are sold to let more people milk the marks; and hucksters offering miracle cures (the secret ones the Deep State is hiding) bleed people for more money. “In this respect, it’s not really useful, or possible, to specify a break point where the money game ends and the ideological one begins.”

For example, Republican governors may sincerely want to get people off unemployment for principle — but some of them also want more people applying to work at businesses the various governors own.

Wayne LaPierre, for instance, may sincerely believe in the NRA’s stance the second amendment is sacred, using the NRA as a personal piggy bank gave him a vested interest in their mission. Donations and advertising from gun manufacturers makes up a lot of their financing; I’m sure having an extremist screaming at people to buy guns before the government makes it illegal kept the money spigot turned on.

Or consider Hank Kunneman, one of the many self-appointed prophets who declared Trump won in 2020. As I’ve mentioned before, he has books to sell, he has religious souvenirs to hawk, so despite being proven wrong he keeps insisting he’s a real prophet. He’s one in a long train of Christian hucksters from the medieval pardoners to Jim Bakker selling fake Trump Virus cures. Mike Warnke, for instance, had a long, lucrative career posing as a reformed Satanic high priest who’d gone from human  sacrifice to Praise Jesus!

Terpsichore Maras-Lindeman is raking in money from QAnon believers by claiming all elected officials from 2020 are illegitimate, therefore they can simply sue to take those officials’ places. It can’t miss! Of course someone probably claimed the same about replacing Congress and Biden with the Steward of Gondor.

A growing number of Republicans are approaching their roles as elected officials more as reality show stars than legislators. And at least 10 states divert TANF funding for needy families to finance anti-abortion groups.  Supporting forced-birth and abstinence-only education is a way to channel money to religious conservatives who loyally vote Republican.

Or consider Jesse Lee Peterson telling OAN viewers that the Tulsa race massacre was exaggerated to make whites look bad. Lies like that undoubtedly endear the black radio host to the white OAN audience (much as right-wingers love an antifeminist woman pundit). Or radio host, misogynist and right-wing minister E.W. Jackson accusing the Bidens of eating French food on Memorial Day instead of American food. It’s gibberish but some right-wing rageaholics will be happy to believe it so they can get their fix. And that’s money in the bank for Jackson.

Does this mean they don’t believe? Some, I’m sure, are complete manipulators (Bakker, for sure). Others fall on the borderline: I don’t doubt Staver’s hates gays just as Rick Wiles hates Jews. However neither one has any qualms using bigotry to raise money. Maybe that encourages them to get more outrageous: the uglier lies they tell about the Zionist/Gay Agenda, the more they can drive their fund-raising. Roy Edroso argues pundit Peggy Noonan blaming liberals for right-wing conspiracy theories may be a calculated career move: Republicans are solidly Trumpite now, so while she may disapprove, she wants them to know it’s Not Their Fault.

Then there are dudes like Paige Patterson. The misogyny he’s shown as head of the Southern Baptist Conference is certainly sincere, but he’s allegedly also a crook, stealing valuable art from the SBC for his own HQ (they kicked him out a while back) and also the donor list for fundraising — which he’s now using to channel money to his own organization.

Others, as Paul Campos says, may know specific claims are bullshit yet still believe in their truthiness. Sure, Sidney Powell and Maras-Lindeman are liars, there wasn’t any election fraud, but it’s still cheating for Democrats to win when Republicans are the only Real Americans. I suspect something similar is true of most of the marks for all this grift: they’re not so much fooled as choosing to believe. They want to believe their enemies are devils or that they’re virtuous, and fighting QAnon’s nonexistent Satanic pedophiles makes them feel so. Some of them may start off choosing and eventually convince themselves into absolute belief.

But regardless of their sincerity, they’re doing damage.  Prosecutors cited Warnke’s claims about Satanism in America to prove the Satanic Panic of 30 years ago was real. People went to jail in that witch-hunt, for years.

Believing the Trump Virus vaccines are the Mark of the Beast doesn’t make sense (how are the unvaccinated able to buy or sell when Antichrist only permits that from those who take the mark?) but it makes it harder to fight the virus.

Whipping up claims of election fraud and how audits are proving it is killing our democracy; they won’t remove Biden from office but a system in which every election result people don’t like has to be litigated is unworkable. Democracy, as others have pointed out, hinges on the belief that even if you lose, the government is legitimate. Without that, we’re screwed.


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