On Tuesday, writing for the Glens Falls Post-Star, columnist Gretta Hochsprung tore into Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the upstate New York lawmaker recently elected House GOP Conference chair, for spreading what she termed a "pro-COVID agenda" by inciting anger and opposition to public health measures.
Hochsprung took particular aim at Stefanik's tweet earlier in the week, in which she proclaimed, "No vaccine mandates for teachers No vaccine mandates for students. No mandates for anyone. And unmask our kids!"
Stefanik gained national attention in 2019 for her intense defense of then-President Donald Trump during his first impeachment.
"Children entering school in New York are required to have had seven vaccines, and middle and high school students must have a couple more. You can get an exemption if you have a medical condition that qualifies. No other sort of exemption, not for religious, cultural or 'it's a free country' reasons is granted," wrote Hochsprung. "We assume Stefanik is referring to the COVID-19 vaccines, although she doesn't say that. But what makes the COVID-19 vaccine any different from the hepatitis B vaccine or the chickenpox vaccine? Hepatitis B and chickenpox did not kill more than half a million people over the course of the past year, and that is because most of us were vaccinated for those viruses when we were kids."
Allowing unvaccinated students and teachers to spread COVID-19 at schools unchecked, Hochsprung warned, would have dire consequences, as the highly infectious Delta variant continues to explode.
"We don't know why, as a federal representative, Stefanik is expending her energy on public school policy, which is the purview of the states," wrote Hochsprung. "Like everyone else, we are weary of dealing with COVID-19. Being weary or angry or rebellious doesn't make the virus go away, however, while vaccinations and mask-wearing do."
You can read more here.
After over four months and millions of dollars spent, AZCentral columnist Laurie Roberts scorched her state's Republican leadership for allowing the audit of the 2020 presidential ballots in Maricopa County to keep marching on in a desperate attempt to find evidence that Donald Trump had the election stolen from him.
Just hours after Jack Sellers, the head of the Republican-run Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, wrote to the GOP state senators who demanded the audit and told them, "The board has real work to do and little time to entertain this adventure in never-never land. Please finish whatever it is you are doing and release whatever it is you are going to release. I am confident that our staff and volunteers ran the election as prescribed by federal and state law," Roberts concurred saying it is time for Senate President Karen Fann (R) to call it a day and move on.
With some Republican supporters of the audit already throwing in the towel -- such as Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R) admitting, "Sadly, it's now become clear that the audit has been botched. The total lack of competence by (Fann) over the last 5 months has deprived the voters of Arizona a comprehensive accounting of the 2020 election" Roberts lamented that Fann will likely soldier on because her political future depends on it.
Under the biting headline that reads "It's time for Sen. Fann and her ninja auditors to release the Kraken and show us the fraud," Roberts wrote, "Her conspiracy-minded auditors have amassed quite a track record for making bogus accusations, arising from not knowing what the heck they are doing," before adding, "Still, don't look for Fann to back down. From the start, she has run with the conspiracy crowd within her 16-member Republican caucus – not, I suspect, because she buys their wild theories but because she needs their support to continue as Senate president."
"Fann and Judiciary Chairman Warren Petersen slog on. We are now into Month Five of what was supposed to be a 60-day audit, looking for something, anything to prove fraud," Roberts reported before mocking the proceedings bt writing, "The ballots have been 5G photographed and UV lit. They've been weighed and measured and microscopically tested for bamboo. The county's tabulation machinery has been in a back room at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, where the ninjas have done God-knows-what to the equipment."
Calling the audit a "continued coast-to-coast exercise in embarrassment," the columnist said it is time to pull the plug, writing, "Fann and her auditors have had four months to find all of the promised evidence that the election was stolen. It's time now to put up or … you know."
You can read the whole piece here (subscription required).
REVEALED: Big-money GOP groups pushing Arizona's election 'audit' have 'dangerous' plans for the future
The Arizona election "audit" has been widely mocked, but an investigative reporter warned that the wealthy contributors backing the effort to undo Donald Trump's election loss posed a grave threat to democracy.
The New Yorker's Jane Mayer appeared Tuesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" to discuss the findings in her new report, showing that rich and powerful conservative groups were deeply committed to gathering power to undo future election losses by Republican candidates.
"The Cyber Ninjas have a tiny amount of money that's coming from the state Senate in Arizona, but the vast proportion of it, something like over $5 million, comes from contributors who are basically national conspiracy theorists who are aligned with former president Trump," Mayer said. "So you've got that group. You have Patrick Byrne, the person who started Overstock.com, is one of the big ones. Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell, those people are involved in funding the specific audit, but the audit itself, which people think of as a clown show, as you said, is actually not that funny when you look at it closely, because what it's trying to do is overturn a certified American presidential election, and the forces that are pushing that, and this is what I was looking at, include a number of -- a whole array of very prominent national conservative groups, people that you don't ordinarily think of as involved in sort of flaky conspiracy theories."
"You have the Heritage Foundation in there, you have the American Legislative Exchange Council, backed by big corporations," she added. "You have got the Bradley Foundation of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which is one of the biggest conservative foundations, it has $850 million in its treasury to spend on these kinds of adventurous things, and what they are doing is funding people who are spreading doubt about the security of American elections. Why are they doing it? Because it works for them. I'm not sure how many of them believe it, but what it's done is, they're exploiting this distrust of American elections in order to push through laws that crack down on voting rights and keep the people they don't want from the polls, basically, and they're also laying the foundation, many people told me, for potentially a lot of distrust about the 2022 elections and the 2024 elections, so it's a kind of dangerous precedent that's going on there."
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