Republican hopes of reclaiming control on the Senate is being imperiled by a battle among Ohio Republicans over who will be the nominee to that will run for the seat that is being vacated by Sen. Rob Portman (R).
The Senate is currently deadlocked at 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans -- with Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaking vote -- every seat up for grabs in 2022 is now more important than ever with Democrats also holding the House and the White House.
That will make Ohio the center of attention, reports the New York Times.
According to the report, Democrats in the state are optimistic in part because Republicans in the state are not sure which direction to turn in a post-Donald Trump era that saw now-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) lose his grip on power.
"Had Mr. Portman run for re-election, this would have been a far less weighty question in Ohio. He and Gov. Mike DeWine, another establishment-aligned and well-known incumbent, would have campaigned on their own political brands, never confronting Mr. Trump but also never embracing him, either," the report states adding that one of the leading contenders is already closely allied with Trump.
"Josh Mandel, a former state treasurer who twice ran against Mr. Brown before withdrawing from the 2018 race and disappearing from public view, has resurfaced as an ardent MAGA man," the report continues, explaining that may set up a battle with another Trump loyalist, Jane Timken, who would have received an endorsement from Trump already until his aides intervened.
Those two candidates have some Ohio Republicans worried as they watch the suburbs turn increasingly Democratic, which could open the door for the eventual Democratic nominee as the two leading Republican contenders try to out-embrace Trump in their battle for the nomination.
You can read more here.
According to a report from the Sun News, Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC) took to Facebook late Friday to slam Republican Party officials in Horry County after they endorsed ivermectin -- an anti-parasitic drug -- for the treatment of Covid-19 symptoms.
The report notes that, at a Monday meeting in Myrtle Beach, officials from the Horry County Republican Party shared a video of member Tracy Diaz speaking with a nurse about possible Covid -19 preventative treatments that included the drug usually prescribed for animals except in special cases.
According to the Sun News, "During the interview, Diaz said her young son had contracted COVID-19 and that she believed her family's daily routine of nasal sprays and mouthwash gargles, plus taking ivermectin, helped prevent others in her family from getting sick.
"Doing that ... along with a prophylactic post-exposure dose of ivermectin on day one of my son's symptomatic infection and 48 hours later prevented me and my entire family ... from contracting COVID-19 from my son," Diaz reportedly said.
Hearing about the event, Rice responded on Facebook and lashed out at party members for being irresponsible.
"That the leaders of the Horry County Republican Party believe it is appropriate to advocate for medical treatment for any illness is simply insane. Especially in the middle of a plague, and in opposition to the guidance of the Center for Disease Control, the National Institute of Health, and 95% of the Physicians in the country. Folks, talk to your doctor if you want medical advice," he wrote.
"This is not about politics. I know too many people that have died from this disease. Every doctor I know says get vaccinated," he added.
You can see his Facebook post below:
During my undergrad years at U Mass Dartmouth I had the great privilege of being mentored by Dr Juli Parker, who was director of the Women's center, now called the Center for Women, Gender, and Sexuality. It was there, more than 20 years ago, that I was shown a small piece of what so many women face in this country. As the only football player volunteer at the center, I observed two very different worlds. The football locker room, with men saying some pretty awful things, and Dr Parker explaining the truth around sexual assault, abortion rights and the regular fight for equality that women face every day.
This article first appeared in Salon.
I felt a strong calling to ministry and I attended seminary, which, oddly enough, was an environment that sounded a little like the football locker room. I was hoping to change minds within the evangelical church. I failed, and 20 years later the evangelical church is stronger and more committed to prohibiting women the most basic right to decide what happens to their own bodies.
Evangelicals won a great and terrible victory with the recent Texas abortion law, but the plan was started more than 50 years ago. Millions if not billions of dollars have spent, and hundreds if not thousands of Republican politicians have come along as supporters, and the goal has been achieved: Tearing down Roe v. Wade. The plan was basic enough: Pack the Supreme court with enough judges who would be willing to ignore the rights of women. To do this, the evangelical church needed to support any politician who was willing to condemn abortion as murder, and willing to promise they would appoint anti-abortion judges.
And when I say evangelicals were willing to support anyone who said those things, I mean anyone. That means Clarence Thomas, a man credibly accused of sexual harassment. It means Brett Kavanaugh, a man credibly accused of attempted rape, as well as of being too unstable for a post on the Supreme Court. It means supporting Donald Trump, a pig who has been accused of sexual assault by numerous women. Nothing could stop evangelical support for Republican politicians, as long as they were willing to attack Roe v. Wade.
Defending things like the rights of the poor, welcoming the foreigner, healing the sick and promoting peace were all ignored for this one purpose. Now the evangelicals have won what I hope is a temporary victory, but a terrible victory nonetheless. In the words of Christ, "You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!" These modern-day hypocrites have won a victory for themselves while ignoring everything it means to be a follower of Christ. I am disgusted. If Christ did return, it would be these evangelicals who would hang him on the cross again. They are the evil that Christ warned his followers about long ago.
Their unhealthy teachings have hurt this country's progress towards equality and manipulated generations of Christians. Their influence has been harmful all along, but this is different. The law has changed, and I can promise you that in church after church, congregations are gathering to celebrate this "victory" on abortion rights in Texas. And Texas is just the beginning. More states will follow this blueprint, and the Supreme Court appears willing to turn a blind eye to the rights of women.
Evangelicals are celebrating with no concern for the lives this law will affect or the message it communicates. This isn't just Trump saying another stupid thing, or an offensive proposal, or another display of ignorance on display. This is an enacted law denying the rights of women to control their own bodies — and it was dreamed up and strategized by the evangelical church. Without evangelical theology this entire thing would be a non-issue.
Evangelical churches certainly aren't fighting to make their believers take the COVID vaccine. Pastors are adamant that this is a free country and we can all determine what happens to our own bodies. Unless, of course, you are a woman, in which case the church stops talking about fundamental American rights.
Whether I watch Fox News or CNN, everyone agrees that the Taliban's severe crackdown on the rights of women in Afghanistan is a terrible thing. The U.S. promotes itself as a democracy not a theocracy like the Taliban regime. I understand that evangelicals will see this comparison as unfair, but it is still a matter of people of faith using that faith to limit the rights of a group of people, using the strong arm of government.
I have no words of affirmation as I would normally when discussing other political and religious issues. These evangelicals have simply gone too far. I feel compelled to encourage those outside the evangelical church to stay away from it. If you are caught up in that mess, get out. Leaders of the evangelical church are blind guides leading you into the devil's trap. I thank God for a guide like Dr. Parker and her years of commitment to the fights that need to fought. I try to honor the time she spent with me by doing what I can to change some minds, and through them perhaps some. Politics is not my expertise, but my advice to President Biden is simple: Pack the court! Never mind precedent and tradition, or how it looks to your enemies. Just do the work to protect your nation's citizens.
WASHINGTON — With officials warning Washington D.C. to brace for potential violence this weekend, all attention turns to a pro-Trump rally slated to occur on the grounds of the United States Capitol Saturday dubbed "Justice for J6," organized by a little-known former Trump campaign aide.
This article first appeared on Salon.
The organizer of the Saturday rally, which is intended to spotlight those who are serving time for participating in the failed insurrection on Jan. 6, is a former Trump campaign aide by the name of Matt Braynard. He also leads the right-wing nonprofit, "Look Ahead America."
A few weeks back, while the rally was in its earlier stages, Braynard told Salon that the event has "a permit," just as two previous events he held in Washington did. Both "occurred without incident," he said.
Braynard furthermore said the goal of the Saturday's event following the deadly Capitol riot is to "raise the profile of the abuse of the non-violent political prisoners" and "demand equal treatment of the 500 plus protestors who are being politically persecuted." He also said he plans to promote the conspiracy theory that the FBI was involved in the planning of Jan. 6.
And though Braynard's ties to Trump are well-publicized, in mid-August he added the rally "is not about the election, about any candidates, about any outside organizations (other than LAA). We are asking everyone who comes to not wear or bring anything with any organization/candidate/party logos. Just the American flag/patriotic symbolism and signs that are on message with the abuse of these political prisoners."
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Despite these assurances, over the past week almost all TrumpWorld royalty has made a point to call on their own followers not to attend the rally in D.C. and distance themselves from the event.
"Do not attend the FBI rally in DC on the 18th," Ron Wakins, the former administrator of 8chan who has long been rumored to be behind the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory, wrote on Telegram. Earlier this week, longtime GOP operative Roger Stone also urged all Trump supporters of good faith to stay away from the Saturday rally in D.C. "I don't know a single person in the MAGA movement who's going. It's a setup," he said. "No, patriots, stay away from Washington!"
Even Trump himself called the event a "setup" in an interview with The Federalist Thursday.
"On Saturday, that's a setup," Trump said. "If people don't show up they'll say, 'Oh, it's a lack of spirit.' And if people do show up they'll be harassed."
Though he did signal support for the march's overarching theme in a later statement.
"Our hearts and minds are with the people being persecuted so unfairly relating to the January 6th protest concerning the Rigged Presidential Election," Trump wrote in a press release. "In addition to everything else, it has proven conclusively that we are a two-tiered system of justice. In the end, however, JUSTICE WILL PREVAIL!"
Jared Holt, a resident fellow at the Atlantic Council's DFR Lab, who researches and tracks right-wing social media posts and conversations told Salon in a phone interview there isn't any evidence to suggest that the Saturday rally will be a Jan. 6 repeat.
"The fact of the matter is, the Capital Police response to this event has elevated it into something important, regardless of what ends up happening on the ground Saturday," Holt said. "From our analysis, we are not seeing any of the usual tale telltale signs of a mass mobilization towards the Washington D.C. area. We have seen a few passing comments or individual remarks that do suggest that there may be some bad actors that show up to DC, but certainly nothing that even holds a candle to Jan. 6."
That said, The Department of Homeland Security said that there had been a "small number of recent online threats of violence" stemming from the event.
Asked about the remarks made by Stone and others who are not going anywhere near the rally, Holt said it's not in their best interest to aid in such an effort following Jan. 6.
"I think a lot of these groups don't have an interest in coming to DC for this kind of event — that they're willing to put themselves on the line, and particularly in regards to figures like Roger Stone and The Proud Boys, because their name has come up so many times in conversations about Jan. 6."
Holt believes that those pro-Trump figures that have been caught up and/or connected to the Jan. 6 Capitol siege might be seeking to get out ahead of the rally this time around. "I think they have a little bit of extra motivation to try to get out ahead of it, and put some public distance between whatever does happen on Saturday and themselves," he added.
Despite there being little evidence of a massive rally on the horizon, Capitol Police are taking precautionary measures to ensure things don't get out of hand, including re-assembling fencing around the perimeter of the building. "The decision to put fencing back up around the U.S. Capitol strikes me as perhaps even overly cautious, but I certainly understand where Capitol police are coming from," Holt said.
"They do not want to give the perception or any leeway to suggestions that they are underprepared for this event," he added. "So it strikes me as kind of a better safe than sorry decision."
In a Monday statement, the US Capitol Police outlined that they have been tracking "online chatter about a demonstration planned for September 18," adding that "the Capitol Police Board approved a plan to temporarily put up a fence around the Capitol Building. When the inner-perimeter fence was taken down in July, USCP leaders noted that from time to time, they may exercise the ability to enhance security around the Capitol Complex."
As for Braynard himself, Holt said the former Trump campaign aide lacks credibility in pro-Trump circles, and that turning out a substantial crowd for the event will be a struggle due to a lackluster network of allies.
"Above all, Matt Braynard is a low-rent propagandist. And as far as organizing goes, he simply doesn't have the kind of network on his own that he would need to pull off a really massive event by himself," Holt said. "He's the kind of guy that has to rely on the people that he does have in his network, which includes people like Steve Bannon, to try to get a lot of that work done for him."
On Friday morning, during an appearance on C-SPAN, Braynard argued that there is a lot of "misinformation out there" about the rally and that his organization "condemn[s] all violence," despite advocating on behalf of individuals who committed violence on Jan 6.
A robust and noteworthy police presence and countless dump trucks — acting as barricades — were on scene early Saturday morning in the district. As of an hour before the event, it appeared there were more journalists than attendees present.
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