Republican liars

The sheer embarrassment that is Madison Cawthorn

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This little before and after tells you all you need to know:

"Get ready, the fate of a nation rests on our shoulders, yours and mine. Let’s show Washington that our backbones are made of steel and titanium. It’s time to fight."

“I don't feel I had any responsibility for them attacking the Capitol,” Cawthorn said. “It was despicable. They are thugs.”

This guy is so deeply, madly in love with himself he needs to get a room. With a strong lock on it:

Fact-checking in a post-fact GOP fantasy world

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Might just be a wasted effort:

Add North Carolina’s governor to the list of politicians accused of hiding from the public. During campaign season, Republicans on several occasions accused Democrats of hiding in their basements amid the coronavirus pandemic. That trend continued the Sunday after Christmas, when the North Carolina GOP tweeted about Gov. Roy Cooper.

“Democrat Governor @RoyCooperNC has not left the Governor's Mansion since the start of the #COVID19 crisis,” the party tweeted on Dec. 27.

Okay, this is more extensive than what I posted yesterday, but I wasn't really fact-checking something that was so obviously incorrect. I just wanted to use their own evidence against them (prior Tweet). But since Paul went to the effort:

A desperate Trump is relying on fringe fraudsters to make his (non) case

Scraping a hole in the bottom of the barrel:

Powell told courts that the witness is an expert who could show that overseas corporations helped shift votes to President-elect Joe Biden. The witness’s identity must be concealed from the public, Powell has said, to protect her “reputation, professional career and personal safety.”

The Washington Post identified the witness by determining that portions of her affidavit match, sometimes verbatim, a blog post that the pro-Trump podcaster Terpsichore Maras-Lindeman published in November 2019. In an interview, Maras-Lindeman confirmed that she wrote the affidavit and said she viewed it as her contribution to a fight against the theft of the election.

This "expert" is a real piece of work. Not only has she (continuously) vastly inflated whatever academic credentials she may actually have, she has taken Stolen Valor to a whole new level:

UNC alum Sidney Powell has lost her mind

If she hasn't been disbarred yet, that needs to happen post haste:

At the Nov. 19 news conference, before a national television audience, she asserted that “communist money,” the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez and a manipulated computer algorithm were all connected in a secret plot that had altered potentially millions of ballots and stolen the election from Trump.

In an interview two days later with the conservative outlet Newsmax, she said she had been given evidence — which she said she could not disclose — that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican and an ally of the president, had taken bribes and conspired to orchestrate Trump’s defeat.

Yeah, I mean, no. I don't trust Brian Kemp as far as I can throw his limousine, he pretty much stole his own election from Stacey Abrams. But if anything, he would have helped Trump cheat in Georgia. But it's a bunch of BS anyway, apparently part of Powell's very own grift campaign:

Trump and his followers are "Fake News" champions

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When you can't find the smoking gun you're looking for, just make shit up:

"We have breaking news of how the mob, reportedly at this point, has helped Joe Biden get thousands and thousands and thousands of fraudulent votes," he said during a Facebook Live video. "You cannot make this stuff up, ladies and gentlemen." Actually, you can — the claim is baseless.

Herrell’s video was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. It has more than 176,000 views.

We've been seeing a lot of these in the last week or so. Apparently broad yet entirely baseless claims are not having the desired effect, so it's time for some Pizzagate nonsense. Naming specific individuals creates the perfect conspiracy theory loop; denials and evidence refuting the theory merely means the conspiracy is "farther reaching" than they thought it was. And this jackass is leading the charge:

Trump's legal challenges crash into an impenetrable wall of evidence

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Our legal system has many flaws, but fantasy isn't one of them:

During a Pennsylvania court hearing this week on one of the many election lawsuits brought by President Donald Trump, a judge asked a campaign lawyer whether he had found any signs of fraud from among the 592 ballots challenged. The answer was no.

Trump has not been so cautious, insisting without evidence that the election was stolen from him even when election officials nationwide from both parties say there has been no conspiracy.

One of the most ironic aspects of this is how many Republicans, who won their elections, are backing up Trump's baseless election fraud claims. Truth be told, most of them know it's bullshit. But they're still afraid of him. They're still afraid of his crazy Q followers. So they're playing along, and making the problem much worse by doing so. It's the height of irresponsibility, but they don't really care about any ill effects it may cause:

Trump campaign is really worried about North Carolina

Because huge voter turnout is frightening, apparently:

Internally, the Trump campaign is increasingly worried that the president's chances of winning North Carolina, a state the team has heavily invested in and views as essential for Trump's path to victory, has all but evaporated. The campaign had viewed the state as "super safe" as recently as just a few weeks ago, sources told ABC News.

Advisers now fear that, because the state counts and reports both day-of and mail-in votes together on election night, losing North Carolina could be a clear white flag.

In other words, counting all the votes is a bad sign for them. As the stink of desperation settles over the Trump family, they are showing up in NC daily. Donald Jr today, Ivanka tomorrow, and the Orange Satan himself on Wednesday:

Dan Forest and the post-truth coalition

Orwell would be impressed:

Truth and Prosperity is now Dogwood Coalition, and at least one ad attacking Gov. Roy Cooper is running in North Carolina with the new disclaimer: Paid for by Dogwood Coalition.

William Gupton, Truth and Prosperity's treasurer as of its last required state filing in July, said in an email Wednesday that this will be "a new organization with new individuals involved and with a different mission." Dogwood Coalition won't simply be an independent expenditure committee, but "will be involved in activities that do not involve express advocacy to support or oppose candidates." Gupton did not elaborate.

Bolding mine, because lying through your teeth seems to be a (really) popular activity by Republicans these days. At least they took the word "Truth" out of their name, but they didn't do it as an admission of a prevaricative nature, they did it to distance themselves (and Dandy) from convicted felon Greg Lindberg. But that connection runs too deep for a simple name-change to wash him clean:

The erosion and mischaracterization of the term "Antifa"

The truth of the term has been lost in ad hominem hysteria:

Lindsay Ayling, a 32-year-old doctoral student at the University of North Carolina's flagship Chapel Hill campus, is a fixture at counterprotests against neo-Confederates and other far-right group members. They often call her "antifa," a label she accepts "in the sense that I oppose fascism and I am willing to go and confront fascists on the streets."

"The thing that's so dangerous about labeling anyone who is antifascist as a terrorist is that it's criminalizing thought," she said. "Not just thought, but it's criminalizing active resistance to fascism."

Before we get into the details of this transformation, let's talk about "branding." About fashioning catchy terms that roll off the tongue nicely, are easy to remember, short enough they can be written in bold letters on a protest sign, etc. Works good in advertising products, but not always so good in social messaging. In this case, we left the negative (anti) completely intact, but shortened the villain (fascist) to only the first two letters. Derrida would not be impressed, nor would he be surprised the term is so misunderstood by many. And by chopping the word "fascist" into a nice little two-letter bite, we've also lost an opportunity to educate those who don't understand what fascism means, those who would be forced to Google the term:

Exploring the impact of misinformation on the general public

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It is everywhere, but is it working?

Professors at Duke University gathered for a panel on digital disinformation and so called "fake news," addressing the various challenges it poses to society and how it might be addressed. Bill Adair, a professor of journalism at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy, said that digital misinformation has begun to spread throughout every facet of the world.

"We just see in every corner of the world, in every corner of our lives ... there is just so much misinformation," he said. "It pops up in such insidious ways. It’s really scary.”

It is scary. But possibly the scariest aspect of this issue is the inevitable trend for people to (eventually) disbelieve everything they read, regardless of the bonafides of the source. Sowing distrust is a major goal of many of the players (Russia in particular), and it will be hard as hell to track the responsibility for that back to the original sources of misinformation. But at least one Duke researcher doesn't believe it's having much impact on opinions:

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