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Many years after Oklahoma City bombing, the GOP still hasn’t learned to reject extremism

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Twenty-nine years after killing 168 people in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City — the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history — Timothy McVeigh is dead and buried.

But the extremism that fueled his hate on April 19, 1995, is alive and unencumbered in today’s conservative movement.

But the extremism that fueled his hate on April 19, 1995, is alive and unencumbered in today’s conservative movement.

In many ways, McVeigh embodied the threats of political violence and radicalization presently gripping conservatives — and thus, the rest of the U.S., too. I think of McVeigh as connecting the eras of white domestic terrorism that characterized the 20th century and the more recent strain of extremism infecting the MAGA movement.

In 2018, for example, historian Kathleen Belew wrote that the Oklahoma City bombing ought not be seen as the act of a “lone wolf” but, rather, in its proper context:

McVeigh, who was executed in 2001, wasn’t a lone wolf. He was one among a pack. And his death appears only to have spawned other extremists.

An ABC News report in 2020 cited FBI records showing that several people who’d been arrested in the three years prior for suspected links to domestic terrorism or violent white supremacy had been known to make references to McVeigh.

In 2017, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported on a disturbing trend of “McVeigh worship” playing out in extremist circles.

And during a Democratic-led House hearing two years ago on the trend of veterans embracing violent extremism — as was the case during the Jan. 6 insurrection — the Oklahoma City bombing’s toxic influence as a source of inspiration came up, as well. (McVeigh was a decorated veteran of the Persian Gulf War.)

Even in Oklahoma, where one would hope that the memory of the 1995 bombing would deter potential copycats, the threat of other attacks seems to loom large.

Last summer, after right-wing activist Chaya Raichik’s popular social media account shared a video targeting a school librarian, a Tulsa-area school district was targeted with bomb threats for six days straight.

The video was promoted by Oklahoma’s schools superintendent, Ryan Walters, who in January awarded Raichik with a job as an adviser who will have a say in what content is deemed appropriate for school libraries.

And I think that’s a perfect example of how intractable the problem of far-right extremism has become in this country.

Nearly 30 years after McVeigh’s deadly bombing, Republicans — even those in Oklahoma — seem to have learned the wrong lessons. Instead of rejecting violent extremism and rooting it out of their ranks, they’ve just devised ways to use it to their advantage.

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rlauzon
65 days ago
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Why can't I train NewBlur to block this woke propaganda?

The US is going to restart its free at-home covid test kit program

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A pattern of light blue face masks against a purple background.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

The US government will again offer free at-home covid tests starting September 25th, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on Wednesday. The kits are intended for use through the end of 2023; as with previous versions of the free test program, the kits will include four tests along with instructions for verifying extended expiration dates.

The government ended its most recent free test kit program on May 31st as cases and hospitalizations dwindled, but hospitalizations have been steadily rising since July, according to The New York Timescovid tracker.

According to the HHS release, the White House has invested $600 million for the new round of free kits, which it will purchase from 12 US manufacturers. The department writes that this is enough to cover 200 million over-the-counter tests.

The Times reports that if demand pushes high enough, manufacturers could sell those tests straight to retailers before the government. The article notes that despite their rise, hospitalizations are still low compared to previous phases of the covid pandemic when weekly covid-related deaths numbered in the tens of thousands.

New monovalent formulations of both Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines are now available following the FDA’s approval earlier this month. The new boosters were made based on omicron variants of the virus instead of the original strain. The CDC currently recommends the shot for anyone over the age of six months who has received as many as three mRNA shots previously.

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rlauzon
277 days ago
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Interesting how COVID has the same cycle as our elections.
cosmotic
277 days ago
It's like elections are in November and so is the cold weather
rlauzon
277 days ago
But November happens every year, and COVID only happens every 4 years.

Newsmax Staffers Hit With Subpoenas in 2020 Election Defamation Suit – Rolling Stone

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Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit against Fox News laid bare how the network communicated behind the scenes about broadcasting 2020 election misinformation, ultimately leading the network to fork over a massive settlement. Newsmax could be next, as voting technology company Smartmatic has subpoenaed several of the right-wing cable network’s current and former employees for work and personal correspondence.

Several Newsmax insiders, who spoke with Rolling Stone under a condition of anonymity due to a fear of reprisal, said that roughly three weeks ago they were told to hand over “mirror images of their personal cell phone, personal email, and iCloud” as Smartmatic’s lawsuit against the network moves forward.

Smartmaric’s attorney J. Erik Connolly, Managing Chair of the Litigation Practice Group, at Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff, LLC tells Rolling Stone: “Smartmatic intends to pursue discovery from the current and former Newsmax employees who participated in the egregious disinformation campaign against the company. Some of the discovery has come, and will come, from the company.  Smartmatic is pursuing these individuals to get the rest.  Our complaint does not numerically specify the amount of damages we have suffered.”

Smartmatic claims in their lawsuit that Newsmax knowingly pushed falsehoods about the company following the 2020 presidential election. “Newsmax published and/or republished false statements and implications during news broadcasts, in online reports, and on social media that ‘Smartmatic participated in a criminal conspiracy’ to fix, rig, and steal the Election,” the defamation suit alleges. 

Newsmax, which did not return Rolling Stone’s request for comment, initially pushed back on the Smartmatic defamation suit with a countersuit claiming it was an intimidation tactic. However, in February 2023 Smartmatic’s case was permitted to proceed, and Newsmax staffers are now being asked to hand over pertinent material.

Dominion earlier this year submitted multiple court filings with pertinent communications from Fox News executives and talent, revealing with damning detail how major players at the network knew they were pushing lies about the election. Rupert Murdoch testified that hosts “endorsed” the false idea that the election was stolen. Tucker Carlson texted that Trump allies were “lying” and that the network’s viewers “believed” it. Suzanne Scott, Fox News’ CEO, emailed about how fact-checking bogus fraud claims was “bad for business.”

The filings backed Fox News into a corner ahead of a highly anticipated trial during which key network figures were expected to testify. The network opted to settle with Dominion on the eve of the trial, paying the company $787 million to avoid more public embarrassment. Carlson was ousted from the network days later, with his departure reportedly being set in motion by a racist text message collected as part of Dominion’s lawsuit.

The Newsmax staffers who have been slapped with subpoenas for their texts and emails are not happy, telling Rolling Stone that the company has threatened to fire them if they don’t comply with the subpoenas. “Originally, when Newsmax asked us to do this, they said it wasn’t compulsory, but now due to the subpoena if we don’t comply they have threatened our jobs,” one employee laments. “They basically said that if we don’t hand it over it prevents them from sufficiently being able to defend themselves in court, which in turn could be seen as hurting the company which is grounds for potential termination.”

“This is a civil lawsuit between two corporations,” the employee added. “At no point should our personal data come into play. This goes beyond a violation of privacy. It is an invasion.”

It’s a common sentiment among the network’s staff. “Many of us don’t believe it’s right to give our employer access to all of our personal privacy when we had nothing to do with the decision making process,” says another staffer. “It’s a major violation of privacy.”

But one network insider, who confirmed the Smartmatic subpoenas were given to several Newsmax staffers, rebuffed the frustrations of some employees. “It’s no secret Smartmatic would issue subpoenas for all of those communications,” they said. “A court order is a court order, and Newsmax would be in no position to tell employees ‘no, you don’t have to comply.’  They must comply if they’ve been subpoenaed. Newsmax would have no choice but to fire them if they don’t comply with a court order.”

Attorney Jasmine Rand, a counsel for the Baez Law Firm in Florida who manages the firm’s civil division and practices employment discrimination law, agrees that Newsmax employees do not have much of a choice but to turn over the requested items subpoenaed by Smartmatic.  “If Newsmax is compelling employees to produce mirror images of their personal emails and cell phones in response to a subpoena or court order, and threatening to fire them unless they comply, unfortunately employees have little recourse but to challenge the underlying subpoena.”

Smartmatic’s lawsuit is one of several defamation suits filed against purveyors of the false idea that the 2020 election was rigged against Trump. The media entities and individuals allied with Trump needed to blame someone for what they alleged was a plot to subvert the democratic process, and voting machine companies were a common culprit. Smartmatic was fingered by election deniers even though the company only provided services in Los Angeles County, and the company has Fox News and OANN in addition to Newsmax.

Dominion provided services in contested states, and has sued Fox News, Newsmax, and OANN, former Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, and conspiracy theorizing pillow salesman Mike Lindell. The company’s settlement with Fox News was a landmark victory in the effort to hold misinformation peddlers accountable, exposing the extent to which the network knew it was lying to its millions of viewers.

Newsmax staffers are understandably nervous that their texts, emails, and other correspondence may, too, become part of the public record. There may not be much they can do about it.

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rlauzon
365 days ago
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I see that Dominion is still trying to push the misinformation about the "security" of its voting system.

Titan sub CEO dismissed safety warnings as 'baseless cries', emails show - BBC News

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rlauzon
367 days ago
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Never put your life in a Woke company. They demand diversity - not competence.
bta3
366 days ago
yes that is the issue at hand

catchymemes:

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catchymemes:

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rlauzon
427 days ago
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There's a BIG difference between being forced to "share" your property and choosing to share your property.
cosmotic
427 days ago
The wealthy never chose to share, and the wealthy almost always figure out how to evade the forced sharing.
rlauzon
427 days ago
Spoken like a true worthless elitist. People like you always want the gov't to take because you are incapable of earning it for yourself.
cosmotic
427 days ago
People taking instead of earning sure sounds a lot like the wealthy elite. I'm okay with the government taking from me; it helps pay for all the public services I and my community receive.
rlauzon
427 days ago
It only sounds that way to you because you've never worked or earned anything in your life. Ignorant Elitists like you are just a bunch of useless parasites on society.
bta3
426 days ago
I admire your bravery for making up shit about people you know nothing about. really incredible.
rlauzon
426 days ago
Your words expose you for what you are.

America's FDA Wants to Update Its Definition of 'Healthy'. The Food Industry Doesn't

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America's public health-protecting Food and Drug Administration wants to update its definition of "healthy" for purposes of product labeling. But the Washington Post reports dozens of food manufacturers are now "claiming the new standards are draconian and will result in most current food products not making the cut, or in unappealing product reformulations." Under the proposal, manufacturers can label their products "healthy" only if they contain a meaningful amount of food from at least one of the main food groups such as fruit, vegetable or dairy, as recommended by federal dietary guidelines. They must also adhere to specific limits for certain nutrients, such as saturated fat, sodium and added sugars. It's the added sugar limit that has been the sticking point for many food executives. The FDA's previous rules put limits around saturated fat and sodium but did not include limits on added sugars. The Consumer Brands Association, which represents 1,700 major food companies from General Mills to Pepsi, wrote a 54-page comment to the FDA in which it stated the proposed rule was overly restrictive and would result in a framework that would automatically disqualify a vast majority of packaged foods.... The proposed rule, if finalized, they said, would violate the First Amendment rights of food companies and could harm both consumers and manufacturers. The Sugar Association has an issue with the added sugar limit; Campbell Soup is more focused on that sodium.... Virtually every part of the food industry appeared disgruntled (here are the 402 comments about the proposed rule). Baby food company Happy Family Organics said the proposed rule probably would lead to an unintended exclusion of some nutrient-rich products. And the American Cheese Society took a more philosophical approach, saying the word "healthy" isn't that helpful on a label and should be used in a complete diet or lifestyle context rather than in a nutrient or single food-focused context. The FDA estimates that up to just 0.4% of people who try to follow their guidelines would be swayed by the word "healthy" in their long-term food-purchasing decisions, according to the article. It's a position supported by a research paper in the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing analyzing hundreds of international studies on the effectiveness of front-of-package nutrition labeling. "The authors found that the most effective means of conveying nutrition information is a graphic warning label, as has been adopted in Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Mexico and Israel. In Chile, black warning labels shaped like stop signs are required for packaged food and drinks that exceed, per 100 grams: 275 calories, 400 milligrams of sodium, 10 grams of sugar or four grams of saturated fats."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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rlauzon
476 days ago
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Neither group has our best interests at heart.
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