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Right Before the Election, Stephen Crowder Says “Peaceful Transfer of Power” Is Overrated

The right-wing media figure is tacitly endorsing violence

Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Protesters storm the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Steven Crowder thinks that a peaceful transfer of power is overrated.

The right-wing media figure made the remark on the eve of the first national elections to follow the January 6 riots attempting to overturn the 2020 election.

“The idea that the peaceful transfer of power is inherently our most valued tradition—it’s not. Our original tradition is rebellion, violent rebellion,” Crowder said on his show.

“I’m not suggesting any kind of violent upheaval over the election, that’s not what I’m suggesting,” Crowder hedged, before proceeding to describe rebellion as uniquely America’s “original tradition.” Canada and other countries  had a “slavery basis” that America apparently didn’t have after its valiant freedom-bringing revolution, according to Crowder.

Historical revisionism aside, Crowder’s remarks are part of a continual effort by the right to not only excuse the January 6 rioters, but justify and glorify them. On the eve of the midterm elections, it can also be seen as priming voters to reject Democratic victories by violent means if necessary.

“We actually, as a nation, became a nation because we pulled off the completely unpeaceful transfer of power,” Crowder glowed about the American Revolution.

While Crowder may throw in a line saying that he’s not calling for violence, his larger dialogue connects violent rebellion to nation-creation—at a time when the right-wing perennially focuses on “making America great again” or “bringing America back.”

Crowder’s project is certainly no secret. His show has faced numerous suspensions from YouTube, the latest involving a two-week suspension that prevents Crowder from posting more content until after the midterm elections. Crowder’s channel had been suspended and demonetized in the past for pushing forth false claims about the 2020 presidential election and for using racist and homophobic slurs.

Elon Musk Posted a Nazi Picture, and Then Called for People to Vote for Republicans

The world's richest man and new Twitter CEO made his views clear.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

As if Mondays weren’t bad enough, Elon Musk shared a photo of a Nazi soldier and then encouraged “independent-minded voters” to follow his lead and vote Republican in the midterm elections.

The Tesla founder posted a photo of a Nazi soldier with a crate of carrier pigeons on his back, with an unread notifications badge photoshopped onto the cage.

If Musk was looking for a photo of carrier pigeons to make a point about his new role as CEO as Twitter, he didn’t have to pick one of a Nazi soldier.

Less than an hour later, he tweeted a message to “independent-minded voters”:

Despite promising that Twitter would not become a “free-for-all hellscape” under his rule, the platform is already devolving into chaos, with Musk seemingly leading the charge.

Musk is entering his third week of ownership, and already, Twitter has been awash with hate speech. The social media research group National Contagion Research Institute said that in the 12 hours since Musk bought Twitter, use of the n-word increased almost 500 percent.

The self-described “free speech absolutist”—except, apparently, when it comes to jokes at his expense—has promised to roll back content moderation on Twitter. He has shared conspiracy theories about the attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband and allowed election deniers back on the platform.

His decisions have led advertisers to leave Twitter in droves. Musk complained they were being pressured by activists, but his claim was community fact-checked as Twitter users said it lacked context.

“I will say that if you’re trying to assuage the fears of the advertisers fleeing the platform you just [spent] billions on, you might want to have someone on your payroll spend five seconds looking at whether a meme you’re about to post has any link to the Nazis,” tweeted writer and QAnon expert Mike Rothschild. “But that’s just me.”

Nikki Haley Says Raphael Warnock Should Be Deported. But... to Where?

The Indian American, who has registered as white and said America is “not racist,” says we should deport a Black American citizen.

Nikkie Haley speaks at a podium that reads "Herschel for Senate." She is pointing her right finger to emphasize a point.
Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley thinks that America should deport Senator Raphael Warnock. It’s not clear where exactly she wants to deport him to, given that he was born in Savannah, Georgia.

Haley called for the deportation of Georgia’s first Black senator at a rally in Hiram, Georgia on Sunday, as she stumped for Warnock’s Republican challenger, Herschel Walker.

“Legal immigrants are more patriotic than the leftists these days,” she said. “They worked to come into America and they love America. They want the laws followed in America. So the only person we need to make sure we deport is Warnock.”

Haley and Republicans have used Walker’s candidacy against Warnock as proof that the GOP is not marred by racism. They’ve argued that suggestions of American racism are actually what is hurting America, rather than the racism itself.

“The biggest threat we have is happening inside our country: all of these people who are saying America is bad, and America is racist, and America is oppressed,” Haley said at the rally. “If America was racist, I wouldn’t have been elected the first female minority governor in the country.”

Figures like Haley and Walker serve as tokens to both excuse America’s racism and further reinforce it. A race between two Black men is still absolutely a race about race when one candidate is openly concerned about racial inequality, and the other is deployed by a party apparatus to fictionalize that it doesn’t exist.

Last month, Lindsey Graham described perfectly what Walker does for Republicans. “He changes the entire narrative of the left: we’re a party of racists,” Graham said. “Well, what happens when the Republican party elects and nominates Herschel Walker, an African American, Black Heisman trophy winner? …It destroys the whole narrative.”

Haley herself is no stranger to oscillating between the purveyor and object of the Republicans’ race-blind strategy.

Haley, born Nimrata Randhawa, is the daughter of Indian immigrants, but she registered herself as “white” on her 2001 voter registration card.  She invoked her Indian roots to back Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential bid, claiming “America is not a racist country,” in the same breath that she recounted discrimination her family has faced upon immigrating to America.

It’s a shame how long Haley has played the game—and how long she’s allowed herself to be played too.

Elon Musk Has No Idea How To Manage Twitter and the Kathy Griffin Ban Is Proof

Musk keeps changing Twitter policies, with little notice to its users or its staff.

Elon Musk appears on a video screen wearing a gray suit (slightly pixelated)
Christopher Pike/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Don’t worry everyone, Elon Musk totally knows what he’s doing at the helm of Twitter.

In the past few days, the Tesla founder has implemented a new policy, delayed another, and even reversed some of the mass layoffs that he previously touted as necessary.

Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended,” Musk tweeted Sunday evening. “Previously, we issued a warning before suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning.”

The hasty policy change follows a slew of prominent accounts getting unceremoniously suspended over the weekend, after all of them changed their Twitter names (but not their handles) and profile pictures to mock Musk—proving if nothing else, America truly runs on dunkin’.

Comedian Kathy Griffin was one of the first to be suspended after she changed her name and profile to match Musk’s and tweeted, “After much spirited discussion with the females in my life. I’ve decided that voting blue for their choice is only right (They’re also sexy females, btw.) #VoteBlueToProtectWomen.”

Actor Rich Sommer was also on the chopping block after he tweeted, “okay, time to employ plan b, since they’re MAKING me keep twitter. Does anyone know any advertisers who are, like, kind of ‘into racism.’ NOT ACTUAL RACISTS!! Just ad ppl who are, y’know, curious about what it’s all about (racism).”

Musk explained that the new suspension-without-warnings system “will be clearly identified as a condition for signing up to Twitter Blue,” his $8-a-month subscription plan for verified users.

The plan was supposed to get rolled out Monday—which experts warn would have unleashed utter disinformation chaos on the midterm elections—but has now been postponed until Wednesday. Twitter has not given an official explanation for the delay.

The plan would allow anyone who pays the subscription fee to get a blue verification check mark on their account, making it impossible to actually verify who anyone is on Twitter anymore.

Musk—a self-described “free speech absolutist,” except, apparently, when it comes to jokes at his expense—has promised to roll back content moderation on the platform and fired half of Twitter’s staff, including its misinformation-fighting team.

Except…maybe not. After firing nearly 3,700 employees last week, Twitter has now asked dozens of them to come back, claiming they were fired “by mistake,” Bloomberg reported Monday.

Musk said the layoffs and subscription plan were necessary to produce revenue, complaining Friday that the platform had seen “massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers.”

Over the weekend, Twitter added a disclaimer to his tweet saying “readers added context” to his claims. The disclaimer linked to several articles reporting that companies were pulling ads from Twitter over concerns about the platform’s direction, particularly regarding content management.

Democrats Historically Suffer Down-Ballot Losses. That’s Really Dangerous This Year.

Abortion access, the climate, and basic democratic integrity are on the ballot this election.

Voters cast their ballots at Desert Vista Community Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the foreground to the right, an older white man wearing blue shorts, a white tshirt, and a black cap points at a paper on the table in front of him. In the background to the left, a woman with strawberry blonde hair wearing jeans and a black hoodie looks at a ballot. The booth panel has a sticker that reads "Clark County, Nevada."
David Becker/Getty Images
Voters cast their ballots at Desert Vista Community Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

New research shows just how bad Democrats can be at voting down-ballot.

Analysis from the Sister District Project on ten battleground state legislatures reveals that Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to vote for their candidates at the top of the ticket, and then neglect to vote for down-ballot races. In contested races, Democrats failed to vote down-ballot 79.41 percent of the time, while Republicans only failed to vote 37.25 percent of the time.

Amid a midterm election where election denialists are running across the country, and as the future of abortion access and climate change will be decided in state legislatures and gubernatorial offices, Democrats’ failure to vote down-ballot is especially troubling.

Researcher Gaby Goldstein is especially worried about what this could mean in swing states like Nevada, where Democrats might be too comfortable.

“Nevada could be this year’s Virginia if Democrats don’t pay attention,” Goldstein said, referring to the Republican gubernatorial victory last year.

Nevada’s state Senate is divided with 12 Democrats and nine Republicans; its Assembly divided 26 Democrats to 16 Republicans. Democratic incumbent Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto is in a dead heat with Republican challenger Adam Laxalt, while incumbent Governor Steve Sisolak is similarly neck-and-neck with Republican Joe Lombardo.

Goldstein fears that Republicans’ strong performances at the top of the ticket, like the Senate race, will carry all the way down to the state legislature.

Wisconsin is another state to keep a close eye on, as state legislators have already blocked the Democratic governor’s efforts to expand early voting, adjust public benefit programs, and guarantee the right to an abortion.

“We are in a moment of ascendancy, where states are growing in power,” Goldstein said, describing it as a consequence of strategic power-building on the right. “We desperately need a compelling and intellectually-consistent project around the idea of progressive federalism—and the need to build state power, not just as a reaction to the terrible activities of Republicans in our states, but as an important project in and of itself.”

Read more at Sister District Project.

Twitter Is Descending Into Misinformation Chaos, Right Before the Midterm Elections

Twitter plans to unveil paid verified badges one day before the election.

Elon Musk's Twitter account on a phone, with the Twitter logo (a blue bird) and the words "WHAT IS HAPPENING" on a screen behind it

Twitter is falling into chaos days away from midterm elections that are already rife with disinformation.

On Monday—just one day before the election—Elon Musk’s Twitter is set to unveil its subscription plan allowing anyone to become verified if they pay $8 a month. Internal company documents suggest that users would not even need to actually authenticate their identity to get the verification badge.

That is going to make it harder to find out what is real, and what’s isn’t, come Election Day.

“The website is built on sticks, and it might fall apart,” NBC reporter Ben Collins warned Friday about the rapid changes happening at Twitter under the Musk regime.

If verification has nothing to do with actually verifying who someone is, that is a formula for disaster for a place like Twitter, where politicians speak to the public, election officials report results, and news outlets keep track of it all. Twitter is also a major source of news on Election Day, as journalists track results.

There are nearly 80 million Twitter users in the U.S. As in, nearly 80 million people—plus their friends and families, plus the audiences of news outlets who report on what happens on Twitter—are now at risk of being duped by people who may try impersonating politicians and elected officials.

Meanwhile, hundreds of election denialists are running across the country, Republicans are already priming voters to reject Democratic victories, and our government is still adjudicating an attack on the Capitol sprung up by election conspiracy.

To make matters worse, it seems like the company is even less equipped than ever to handle any misinformation or inflammatory content as Musk has begun mass layoffs, including reportedly, members of the curation team responsible for tackling misinformation. (Musk is now dealing with an employee-led lawsuit for violating California labor laws.)

The consequences of Musk’s layoffs are already underway. Twitter users are reporting that antisemitic and incendiary posts are very quickly being marked as having “no violations.”

Musk, of course, claims “nothing had changed with content moderation.”

What makes the Musk era of Twitter so disturbing is that there don’t appear to be clear mechanisms of accountability or support. Technology reporter Davey Alba said Twitter was the most responsive platform in 2020, helpful in quelling misinformation. Now, the communications department appears “dark,” unclear what staff are even left.

Meanwhile, any customer support Musk directly offers involves reinstating the accounts of conspiracy theorists and election denialists.

Billionaires Have Spent $881 Million This Election (Mostly on Republicans)

This is the most expensive midterms ever.

Ken Griffin
PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

American billionaires have spent a record $881 million on the crucial 2022 midterms, a new report found, with most of that money going to Republican candidates and causes.

The mindboggling amount is 44 percent higher than billionaires’ total spending during the 2018 midterm cycle and could easily reach $1 billion by next week, according to a report published Thursday by the group Americans for Tax Fairness.

The influx of cash from billionaires has made this the most expensive midterms ever.

A separate report from Open Secrets found that midterm spending at both the state and federal levels is expected to exceed $16.7 billion this year.

That is the most that has ever been spent on midterm elections at both levels, the group’s director Sheila Krumholz said.

The biggest individual billionaire donor this election was George Soros, who gave $128 million to the liberal super PAC Democracy II. But his total contribution was edged out by the combined total of donations from the second- and third-place donors, Richard Uihlein and Ken Griffin, who gave $67.3 million and $66.1 million respectively to several Republican super PACs and candidates.

Overall, Republicans received 59 percent of the donations, while Democrats received only 39 percent. Considering billionaires make up a tiny fraction of the U.S. population, their contributions risk “distorting our democracy by drowning out the voices of regular Americans,” Americans for Tax Fairness warned.

The 2022 midterms haven’t even happened yet, but they’re already proving to be some of the most contentious and crucial elections in recent history. Democrats are struggling to maintain their razor-thin hold on Congress, while Republicans have promised a raft of petty repercussions should they take control, such as impeaching President Joe Biden.

Many GOP members are already sowing disinformation about the elections online and are priming voters to reject tight Democratic victories.

So it’s no surprise that people in general, especially billionaires, are pouring money into the elections to try and influence the outcome in their favor.

Of Course Elon Musk Is Being Sued for the Way He’s Mass Firing Twitter Employees

What did the "Chief Twit" think was going to happen?

Elon Musk laughing and holding a mic
CARINA JOHANSEN/NTB/AFP via Getty Images

Just when he thought he’d escaped one Twitter-related lawsuit by buying the platform, Elon Musk finds himself at the center of another.

A group of former and current Twitter employees filed suit against the company Thursday night, alleging that they were not provided enough notice of their layoffs, in violation of both federal and California state law.

In the suit, the group said that one member was fired effective immediately, instead of receiving the required 60-days notice. Three others were locked out of their Twitter accounts before they had been formally notified of a layoff or given advance notice.

The billionaire, who definitely bought Twitter because he “loves humanity,” clearly thought he was above the federal law prohibiting mass layoffs without at least 60 days advance notice. His week-long reign has been nothing short of shambolic.

Musk bought Twitter last Friday for $44 billion, after a court ordered him to complete the deal when he tried to back out of it. He promptly fired most of the top executives and the entire board of directors.

He also announced plans to lay off about 3,700 people, roughly half of the company’s staff. Many employees are not told of his decisions directly and instead have to follow him on Twitter to see what’s going to happen next.

Twitter gets 90 percent of its revenue from advertising, but since Musk took over, advertisers have been fleeing Twitter in droves. General Motors has suspended ads on the platform. Earlier this week, advertising behemoth IPG recommended its clients—which include Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, and Spotify—do the same.

Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists,” Musk tweeted Friday morning. “Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America.”

Musk has been scrambling to come up with new ways to produce revenue, including a plan to charge verified accounts $8 per month that has been widely met with scathing criticism, including from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Lmao at a billionaire earnestly trying to sell people on the idea that ‘free speech’ is actually a $8/mo subscription plan,” she tweeted Tuesday.

Kyrie Irving’s Week-Long Journey Towards (Sort-of) Apologizing

After the Nets suspended Irving for five games, Irving has finally kind of apologized.

Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

All it took for Kyrie Irving to say the words “I apologize” was a five-game suspension.

Last week, the NBA and Brooklyn Nets star posted a tweet and an Instagram story boosting Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America, a movie based on a book of the same name.

The film, filled with antisemetic tropes, depicts a global Satanic conspiracy. It invites viewers to “find out what Islam, Judaism and Christianity have covered up for centuries.” Among other things, the film promotes antisemitic tropes of Jewish power and greed and calls the death toll of the Holocaust one of “five major falsehoods.”

Two days later, Irving pushed back against public backlash, saying he was an “omnist”—someone who respects all religions.

Irving was later confronted by ESPN reporter Nick Friedell about Irving’s promotion of the film. “Stop calling it promotion,” Irving said, accusing the reporter of “dehumanizing” him. “I put it out there, just like you put stuff out there,” Irving said.

By Tuesday, Irving was not made available to the media. “We don’t want to cause more fuss right now…Let’s let him simmer down,” said Nets general manager Sean Marks. The following day, Irving, the Nets, and the Anti-Defamation League released a joint statement saying Irving and the Nets would each donate $500,000 towards organizations working “to eradicate hate and intolerance in our communities.”

On Thursday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who is Jewish, expressed disappointment that Irving hadn’t offered “an unqualified apology.” That afternoon, Irving conceded the film “may have had some falsehoods in it,” but stopped short of a straightforward apology. “I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from,” he said.

That evening, the Nets suspended Irving for a minimum of five games. “Such failure to disavow antisemitism when given a clear opportunity to do so is deeply disturbing…Accordingly, we are of the view that he is currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets,” the team wrote.

On Thursday evening, Irving published an apology on Instagram, writing “To All Jewish families and Communities that are hurt and affected from my post, I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize:”

Still, the apology was strange, as Irving referred to himself as a “seeker of truth and knowledge” and he apologized for “posting the documentary without context.” 

In some ways, Kyrie has actually embodied “free thinking” in speaking out on behalf of Palestinians, Indigenous peoples, and even animal rights. But his conspiratorial promotion—from his anti-vaccine stance to dangerous antisemitic content—will stain his legacy.

Trump’s Deadline To Hand Over Subpoenaed Documents to the January 6 Committee Is Here

It's still unclear if the former president will comply with the deadline.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

It’s the deadline for former President Donald Trump to turn a slew of subpoenaed documents over to the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, but there’s no word on whether he’ll actually comply.

The committee had given Trump until Friday to hand over electronic messages, call logs, photos, videos, and even handwritten notes going back as far as September 2020.

It’s unclear whether Trump will meet the deadline, although committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney has said that the investigators are in contact with his legal team.

This is not a situation where the committee is going to put itself at the mercy of Donald Trump in terms of his efforts to create a circus,” she told PBS reporter Judy Woodruff on Tuesday during an event at Cleveland State University.

“He has a legal obligation to testify, but that doesn’t always carry weight with Donald Trump,” Cheney noted.

In the subpoena, issued on October 21, the committee asked for call logs, text and encrypted message records, photos, videos, and any notes about those conversations. In particular, the panel requested any conversations with the extremist groups the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers that may have taken place since September 2020.

The committee also requested communications with former Trump advisors Roger Stone, Stephen Bannon, and Michael Flynn, as well as lawyers John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani.

It is unclear what the panel will do if Trump does not comply—Cheney declined to say—but Bannon was recently sentenced to four months in prison for failing to comply with another of the committee’s subpoenas.

In addition to the House committee, Trump is under fire on multiple fronts, facing two lawsuits in New York, where he has been charged with business fraud and his organization accused of tax fraud. The FBI is also investigating his storing sensitive government documents at Mar-a-Lago after leaving office.

He spent Friday morning trashing the New York attorney general Letitia James, as well as presiding Judge Arthur Engoron, who on Thursday ruled that given the “persistent misrepresentations throughout every one of Mr. Trump’s [financial statements] between 2011 and 2021, the Court finds that the appointment of an independent monitor is the most prudent and narrowly tailored mechanism to ensure there is no further fraud or illegality.”

“The New York State Court System is being ridiculed all over the World!” Trump said on his Truth Social platform. “You have a Corrupt, Racist, Weak on Crime Attorney General.”

“Then you have a highly political, biased Judge, who is totally controlled by my worst enemies. His rulings and manner are SICK.”