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Nikki Haley is spreading myths for white people that cover up the truth of her own personal history

White fragility is real. Whatever else you think about educator Robin DiAngelo, she has correctly identified one of the most persistent and pernicious phenomena of 21st-century American life, the discomfort and defensiveness white people feel when they are exposed to information or discussions about racial inequality and injustice. It's a major threat to furthering racial progress. But I'm not sure she even realizes just how noxious the phenomenon is because like white supremacy, it doesn't only affect white people, even though it is almost always deployed in service of white people.

Take a recent exchange between former South Carolina Governor and Republican Nikki Haley, an Asian American, and Dennis Prager, a white American whose brainchild, something called Prager University, alludes to higher education but actually just dumbs things down and distorts history. In fact, Prager "university" is white fragility in its purest form. It is a safe space for mostly white people, though not exclusively, who'd rather hold fast to American creation myths than have to grapple with harsher truths. Haley was so proud of the exchange that she tweeted out a video of it under the heading "Critical race theory is harmful to a child's education."

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Pulitzer winner believes we should openly mock people who think vaccines are more dangerous than Covid

The arrival of effective Covid vaccines has revealed a grave failure in American education. Tens of millions of Americans, the ones who say they will never get vaccinated because there's no need or because they don't trust the vaccines somehow made it through years of mandatory schooling without learning numbers.

That they failed grammar school 'rithmetic is obvious if you ask two questions:

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The real reason right-wingers hate vaccines

"Go get vaccinated, America," the president urged the nation last Wednesday in his State of the Union address. Joe Biden had a lot of good news to report to the US Congress on the COVID vaccination effort: 220 million shots have been administered in his first 100 days in office, everyone over 16 is eligible and 90 percent of Americans now live within five miles of a vaccination site. Vaccine manufacturing is booming. Supply will soon no longer be a limiting factor. Yet even as eligibility has expanded, demand has plateaued across the country and vaccination rates have dipped from their peak.

Time is of the essence. More transmissible variants of the virus mean a higher percentage of the population must be immunized to reach herd immunity. We're in a race between the finest that human civilization has to offer and venal dumbassery.

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How the right wing uses language as a weapon

Right-wing operatives have recently mounted a campaign against the idea and practice of "wokeness." The word has the pretense of a neutral reference, but is increasingly used to debase and belittle the underlying meaning of anti-racism and anti-bigotry. Similar rhetorical tactics have a long history in conservatism, as they allow the GOP to obscure policy objectives, while simultaneously evoking negative and positive emotions. Overall, the GOP benefits from imprecise language soaked with connotation. Unfortunately, journalists and some liberals keep falling for it.

In the case of "woke" and "wokeness," conservatives are undermining a positive idea with derisive figurative language. Consider a converse example, in which the Republicans advanced an ugly principle through positive framing: waterboarding. It was described as "enhanced interrogation" by conservatives, and that was repeated by the press corps. However, if you actually describe what's involved in waterboarding—making a person temporarily experience drowning—Americans respond with repulsion. Conservatives knew this, so they chose to be evasive. "Enhanced interrogation" is more palatable than both "torture" and "simulated drowning."

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What Liz Cheney is really aiming for

United States Representative Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, must be banking on the notion that much can happen between now and 2022, and even more by 2024. Why else would she have gone out of her way last week to fist-bump President Joe Biden at the joint-session of Congress, an image that will return to haunt her in a Wyoming primary, where former president Donald Trump is working to defeat her?

Although Cheney says she can win that primary, in 2022, the numbers currently say no. "She wanted to be speaker," a conservative political consultant told me today. "And it's all going up in flames." But could Cheney be setting her sights higher than that?

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Hypocrite-in-chief McConnell reaches new heights with claim Biden commission will 'politicize' the Supreme Court

William Hazlitt: "The only vice which cannot be forgiven is hypocrisy. The repentance of a hypocrite is itself hypocrisy" That's why hypocrisy cavorts with notorious cousins: fraud and knavery. Rank stupidity (like Trump's) doesn't quite compete because world-class hypocrites thrive only when inventing plausible scenarios – and Trump's fraudulence quickly exposes itself: he is manifestly the same scurrilous person inside and out. No wonder Trump and Mitch McConnell can't stand each other: they honor different devils.

Thus emerges the reigning Hypocrite-in-chief: Senator Mitch McConnell. In April the most visible GOP leader -- and icon of special big business interests -- provided this farce: he was shocked, shocked to discover that wary corporations could not abide wholesale, Republican voter suppression in Georgia. Without missing a beat a week later he coughed up that Biden's modest, 36 member (!) Supreme Court Commission "fits squarely within liberals' years-long campaign to politicize the Court." Squarely? Liberals'? Years-long campaign? Politicize? Is this a new form of self-satire?

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The messy truth about America the right wing can't bear to admit

I got a second dose Saturday. I was bed-ridden Sunday. I'm feeling better today, but writing is hard labor. I won't do the usual dissection of recent events. I'll instead swing for the fences and see what happens. Even if I strike out, it might prove to be useful.

The president and the vice president were asked last week if Tim Scott is right. In a GOP response to the State of the Union address to the United States Congress, the United States Senator said America is not a racist country. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris agreed. America is not racist country. But, they said, there is work to do.

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Louis DeJoy strikes again: How our postal service helped Amazon win controversial Alabama union battle

After the failed union vote at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama, the critical postmortems ignored a reality that may result in another election: Amazon cheated.

And Louis DeJoy, the Trump-era holdover dismantling the U.S. Postal Service, helped.

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Psychiatrist says Trump's 'glaring psychological problems' were misinterpreted and led us to disaster

Dr. Bandy X. Lee was interviewed by Prof. Johanna Fernández, author of The Young Lords: A Radical History (UNC Press, 2020), a history of the Puerto Rican counterpart of the Black Panther Party. She is the editor of Writing on the Wall: Selected Prison Writings of Mumia Abu-Jamal (City Lights, 2015) and with Abu-Jamal a special issue of the journal Socialism and Democracy, titled The Roots of Mass Incarceration in the US: Locking Up Black Dissidents and Punishing the Poor(Routledge, 2014). She teaches 20th Century U.S. history and the history of social movements at Baruch College (CUNY) and hosts "A New Day" on WBAI. She interviewed Dr. Lee, forensic psychiatrist and author of Profile of a Nation, for her "Race, Class, and Revolution" class at MayDay Space in New York. This is a two-part series. The first part of the interview series can be read here.

Where does politics begin and psychiatry end in assessing social problems?

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Mama Grizzlies: Prominent women in the white power movement have long played protectors

With the political ascent of Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Rep. Lauren Boebert, two of the new members of Congress most closely aligned with QAnon and who most loudly amplified Donald Trump's false claim that the election was stolen, women have become the new face of the far right in national politics.

Greene (R-Ga.) and Boebert (R-Colo.) were both listed as "invited speakers and featured guests" at the Stop the Steal rally headlined by then-President Trump on Jan. 6, and voted against certifying the electoral vote for Joe Biden.

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'Just check the numbers': Claire McCaskill calls BS on Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz for claiming to turn down corporate PAC cash

Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz weren't fooling many people Thursday when they announced that they would be turning up their noses at corporate PAC donations.

They especially weren't fooling Claire McCaskill. The former senator and current MSNBC host didn't mince words in comments to Raw Story.

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The only thing keeping Republicans from electoral oblivion

United States Rep. Glenn Grothman was kind enough to send his thoughts on DC statehood in an e-newsletter last weekend, as he does for his constituents. If you haven't had the fortune to know the congressman from Wisconsin's Sixth, well, bless you. I first encountered him at a pancake breakfast, where he was picking fights with constituents. He has a long history of making ill-informed, inflammatory statements as a state senator and now as a member of the United States Congress.

Recently, Grothman found himself embroiled in controversy when he accused Black Lives Matter of disliking "the old-fashioned family." He defended that statement on-camera while wearing a jaunty hat he'd worn in a local St. Patrick's Day parade.

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Texas Capitol rioter arrested for 'proudest day' of his life has a bizarre version of Jan. 6 events

Sean David Watson thought he'd make a splash with co-workers by showing off cellphone videos from his participation in the January 6 Capitol riot. It turned out to be a bad day at the office, however: One of them tipped off the FBI.

Watson, of Alpine TX, was arrested Wednesday by the FBI with the help of that evidence. In its criminal complaint, the agents also quoted another witness as having heard Watson displaying his videography with the boast "I fucked shit up."

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Trump’s hypocrisy exposes Florida as the most blatant example of GOP voter suppression

The state of Georgia has drawn the most national attention as the hub of the Republican strategy to suppress the votes of people of color in particular, and Democratic constituencies in general.

But the trophies for hypocrisy and chutzpah go to Florida.

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Feds seize funds from white nationalist leader that may have been donated by mysterious now-dead French donor

Nick Fuentes, the 22-year-old white nationalist leader, says the government seized a significant amount of money from him, while complaining that he was placed on a no-fly list that prevented him from flying from Chicago to Florida to attend a press conference yesterday.

Fuentes, who hosts the nightly "America First" show, is an avid supporter of Donald Trump who attended the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. Following the public backlash against the violence at that event, Fuentes gravitated towards the optics-conscious wing of the fractured alt-right coalition, assembling a following known as the "Groypers" that have focused on radicalizing college Republicans to the white nationalist cause.

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'Lock and load': The top Virginia gubernatorial candidate has aligned herself with Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and other extremists

Amanda Chase, the Republican frontrunner in the party's nominating contest for governor of Virginia, has surrounded herself with armed volunteers and extremists bent on upending democracy since at least January 2020, when she joined a Second Amendment rally in Richmond that drew thousands of people wielding high-powered rifles.

With a handful of Proud Boys standing nearby, including national chairman Enrique Tarrio, who was clad in a bullet-proof vest, Chase vowed to launch a recall against Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, charging that "he has violated the very oath that he swore to uphold."

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How the Supreme Court just revealed the true face of American conservatism

In Friday's column, I said the Republicans seem to have frightened David Brooks, which suggests the party has frightened respectable white people, too. I consider the Times columnist to be representative of the conventional wisdom of that great globular middle of American politics. The more these people fear the Republicans, the better.

Today, I want to take this a step further. If I'm right in thinking that respectable white people are less willing to give the Republicans the benefit of the doubt, on account of most of them being okie-dokie with Donald Trump's attempt to overturn a free and fair presidential election, this is an ideal time to push them, by way of persuasion, to an important conclusion, to wit: conservatism has become a byword for barbarism.

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EXCLUSIVE: Matt Gaetz opponent wants media to focus on his victims rather than his 'political theater'

The Democrat who ran against Matt Gaetz for Congress in 2020 has an unusual request to the national media: Stop talking so much about my opponent and focus on who he has hurt.

Phil Ehr, a retired military veteran, says he's running again in 2022 for Gaetz's seat in Florida's heavily Republican 1st congressional district. But he says that he is preparing to participate in a special election, meaning he doesn't expect Gaetz to survive his current blizzard of scandals. And Ehr says that Gaetz shouldn't be rewarded with attention on himself in any event.

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Here’s some of the bizarre right-wing livestreaming drama that foreshadowed the pro-Trump insurrection

Among a set of virulently xenophobic and racist internet streamers who helped drum up support for a right-wing uprising to keep Donald Trump in power, interpersonal drama — contrived as often as not to sustain audience engagement — sometimes overshadows their shared anti-democratic aims.

The so-called Groyper movement — a subset of young men who push white nationalism under the guise of patriotism and Christianity — would play a role in the storming of Capitol. Christian Secor, a 22-year-old student at UCLA and president of the America First Bruins, carried the group's signature blue "America First" flag onto the Senate floor and sat in the chair designated for Vice President Mike Pence. Secor is charged with violent entry into the Capitol and assaulting, resisting or impeding officers, among other alleged federal offenses.

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All roads for Biden's infrastructure plan lead through West Virginia -- and not just to court Joe Manchin

Moderate Republicans announced yesterday, Earth Day, a counter-offer to the Biden administration's $2 trillion-plus infrastructure proposal.

Led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), the moderates put out a two-page glossy marketing blurb that significantly scales down Biden's package. It cuts critical infrastructure investment and has a price tag of $568 billion.

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Biden could deliver a serious blow to Trump and McConnell's legacy of a gridlocked FEC

Trump stuffed the Federal Election Commission with anti-regulation attorneys before he left office, but President Joe Biden could nominate at least two commissioners to the FEC, which spent much of the Presidential election year of 2020 not even able to meet because it didn't have enough commissioners.

The terms of Sean Cooksey, previously the general counsel for Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), and Steven Walther, an independent appointed by President George W. Bush, expire April 30. Presidents typically nominate commissioners in pairs, one Democrat and one Republican.

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How the right wing invented a fictional 'crisis' — and tricked us into believing it

Most people seem to have accepted the truth about the so-called war on drugs. By that, I mean it was never about drugs. Its true target was non-white people, especially Black people. Its goal was social control. Slavery gave way to Jim Crow, which gave way to the mass incarceration of "undesirables." Illegal drugs were merely a pretext. These days, states are legalizing drugs. Some are even releasing people convicted of drug crimes. In all, we seem to be experiencing a new age of drug enlightenment.

I hope it does not take most people as long with "border security." Like the "war on drugs," it's not about security. It's about social control. It's about having a legal reason to put non-white people in jail, kicking them out or just acting barbarously toward them. Drugs did not threaten the national interest until the government said they did. Same with the southern border. People used to pass freely, wherever the seasonal work took them. It did not threaten the national interest until the government said it did.

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'That sure sends a signal': Judge grants Proud Boys defendant 30-day extension to mull plea deal

A West Virginia Proud Boys leader who has been criminally charged with breaching the US Capitol and engaging in disorderly conduct has requested an additional 30 days to continue discussions with the government, potentially opening the door for a plea deal.

Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey granted the joint motion sought by Proud Boys member Jeffery Finley and the US government on Monday, writing that a continuance through May 14 would "provide the parties with additional time to engage in the discovery process and case discussions."

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Here's why Republicans are suddenly panicked by the free market they used to love

Did Mitch McConnell cancel the market? Answer: No. He was never a real fan.

For the past few decades, the GOP's interests aligned harmoniously with those of corporations. Businesses amassed wealth while staying out of social issues. The GOP, in turn, rewarded businesses with tax cuts. The status quo was fine.

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Here’s how to beat the billionaires who want to ruin America’s most popular government program

Out of sight from most Americans, powerful, organized, and determined moneyed interests have waged a more than three-decade-long, billionaire-funded campaign to dismantle Social Security. That campaign has enjoyed some success. And it is with us still.

It is not hard to see the successes of that campaign. Many Americans have been persuaded that Social Security is unaffordable, in crisis and must, at the very least, be scaled back. But while the campaign has succeeded in undermining confidence in the future of Social Security, it has failed to scale back Social Security's modest, but vital benefits, or, worse, radically transform Social Security, ending it as we know it. The good news is that over the last few years, the movement to expand, not cut, Social Security has been growing.

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