ILYA SHAPIRO: The voter suppression lie. The voting wars have flared up again, though they’ve never really been far from the national political debate since Donald Trump was elected in 2016, or the Supreme Court decided Shelby County v. Holder in 2013 — or really Bush v. Gore in 2000.
Sorting out fact from fiction is not only important for this particular law, the fallout from which has already reached Major League Baseball and some Hollywood productions, but to understand the general debate over election regulation in America.
The Georgia law limits ballot drop boxes to places they can’t be tampered with (such as early voting sites), standardizes weekend voting hours, and asks people to write a driver’s license or Social Security number on absentee ballot envelopes.
SB 202 does indeed improve voting access for most Georgians, entrenching the new opportunities to vote early and absentee (by mail and drop-off) introduced during the pandemic. For example, during a generous, at least compared to blue states such as New York and the president’s own home state of Delaware, 17 days of in-person early voting, voting locations have to be open at least eight hours, with county officials given leeway to adjust the times to suit their constituents. Election Day voting hours are even longer. The window for requesting absentee ballots, which can be done online, is reduced to a “mere” 67 days, starting 11 weeks and closing 11 days before an election, to allow time for the ballot to be mailed out and returned. . . .
Attempts by progressive groups and Democratic politicians to tie SB 202 to the era of segregation and systemic racial disenfranchisement are thus remarkably dishonest. Even the bizarre attack on the provision purportedly limiting the distribution of water to voters waiting in line is all wet. Many states have similar anti-electioneering (or anti-vote-buying) rules, which, as colorfully detailed by Dan McLaughlin in National Review, make it illegal to send “people in National Rifle Association t-shirts and MAGA hats to hand out free Koch-brothers-financed, Federalist Society-branded pizza to voters.” To again pick on the Empire State, New York explicitly prohibits giving voters “meat, drink, tobacco, refreshment or provision” unless the sustenance is worth less than a dollar and the person providing it isn’t identified. To be perfectly clear, under the new Georgia law, poll workers can still provide water to voters, and anyone can donate food and drink for election workers to set out for those waiting in line.
As for voter ID, SB 202 simply adds a requirement that voters provide the number of their driver’s license or (free) state identification card to apply for a ballot, the same as California, New Jersey, and Virginia, and one of those (or the last four digits of a Social Security number) when returning it. Surely, applying a numerical voter-verification requirement to absentee or mailed ballots is better than the inexact science (to say the least) of signature-matching. Colorado, now a solidly blue state that votes entirely by mail, rejected 29,000 ballots last fall (about 1 in 112) because the mailed signatures didn’t match those on file. That doesn’t count the 11,000 who were allowed to “cure” the issue by texting in a picture of a — gasp — photo ID. Illustrating the point further, the Tampa Bay Times just came out with an amusing article about how Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s signature has changed over the years, apparently leading to his ballot being tossed in a 2016 primary.
Voter ID more generally is hugely popular, including among Democrats.
Washington Examiner: A top GOP senator is demanding to know why the U.S. Capitol Police claimed Officer Brian Sicknick suffered mortal injuries while on duty and after clashing with protesters during the Capitol riot in light of the District of Columbia’s chief medical examiner’s ruling that Sicknick died of natural causes.
Someone allegedly with the police gave the NY Times the false narrative about his death. When the fire extinguisher story was extinguished someone with the police said he was attacked with “bear spray” That story was not true either. I get the impression that there was political pressure on the police to concoct a story that would play into their narrative about the rioters being violent in attacks on police. Johnson is right to try to discover who was behind these bogus reports.
No, Officer Sicknick didn’t die from a fire extinguisher to the head, thrown by Trump supporters on January 6th. Nor did he die from an allergic reaction to bear spray wielded by those same protestors. Here’s the actual story as announced by the medical examiner – which conforms to what for quite some time has seemed the most likely cause of his death to anyone paying attention to the facts:
Francisco Diaz, the chief medical examiner for Washington, D.C., told the Washington Post that Sicknick died on Jan. 7 after suffering two strokes and that he did not suffer an allergic reaction to any chemical irritants.
The medical examiner’s office told the Washington Examiner that Sicknick’s “cause of death” was “acute brainstem and cerebellar infarcts due to acute basilar artery thrombosis” — a stroke — and the “manner of death” was “natural.” The office said Sicknick was sprayed with a chemical substance around 2:20 p.m. on Jan. 6, collapsed at the Capitol around 10 p.m. that evening, and was transported by emergency services to a local hospital. He died around 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 7, the office added.
But the political damage was done by the Times reporting the lies about Sicknick’s death, and those lies almost immediately getting halfway around the world. I bet a lot of people will never read Officer Sicknick’s actual cause of death, and will instead continue to believe the lies.
And that’s the purpose of the lies in the first place.
The WaPo story from yesterday that announced Diaz’s findings also says this:
The ruling, released Monday, likely will make it difficult for prosecutors to pursue homicide charges in the officer’s death.
Yes indeed, it’s often “difficult to pursue homicide charges” when no homicide has occurred. But where there’s a will, there’s a way – as we’ve seen in the Chauvin trial, for example.
[NOTE: Glenn Greenwald, who has written a lot about the Sicknick case, has an excellent article about yesterday’s announcement, in which he states this:
It was crucial for liberal sectors of the media to invent and disseminate a harrowing lie about how Officer Brian Sicknick died. That is because he is the only one they could claim was killed by pro-Trump protesters at the January 6 riot at the Capitol…
…[C]able outlets and other media platforms repeated this lie over and over in the most emotionally manipulative way possible…
As I detailed over and over when examining this story, there were so many reasons to doubt this storyline from the start. Nobody on the record claimed it happened. The autopsy found no blunt trauma to the head. Sicknick’s own family kept urging the press to stop spreading this story because he called them the night of January 6 and told them he was fine — obviously inconsistent with the media’s claim that he died by having his skull bashed in — and his own mother kept saying that she believed he died of a stroke.
But the gruesome story of Sicknick’s “murder” was too valuable to allow any questioning. It was weaponized over and over to depict the pro-Trump mob not as just violent but barbaric and murderous, because if Sicknick weren’t murdered by them, then nobody was.
Much more at the link, including the fact that Greenwald had been derisively labeled by MSM reporters as a “Sicknick truther.” They will not be saying any mea culpas about that, either, nor about the other lies they promulgated. They will just move on to the next one.]
Yesterday, a Columbus police officer shot and killed a teenage girl who was in the process of attacking another girl with a knife. The police department rushed out the bodycam footage and presented it at a press conference.
Typical of the media coverage of the incident was this Washington Post story: Ohio police fatally shoot Black teenage girl just before Chauvin verdict:
Police said at a late news conference on Tuesday that the girl had threatened two others with a knife before the shooting, playing segments of body camera video that showed the victim lunging toward someone in a driveway before an officer fired four shots. A knife is visible in the driveway next to the girl as police perform CPR on her.
You would never know from reading the story that the girl had the knife in her hand and was in the process of attacking the girl in pink when she was shot. But that is clearly what happened if you watch the video.
That story is not an isolated example.
Why would a newspaper not report the clear evidence that the girl was attacking another girl with a knife that was visible in her hand for all the world to see? Why would newspaper headlines make this about race?
Donald Trump poisoned media criticism; even when the media misbehaved, calling it out always fed into a narrative that protected an administration fueled by lies.
But it’s time to call this what it is: media malpractice. This intense hyperfocus on race is spurring a moral panic, causing presumably otherwise rational people to jump to conclusions and trumpet them far and wide.
So far online the reactions I am seeing include:
- The police should never kill anyone under any circumstances.
- Why not shoot her in the leg, ar only shoot once? Or shoot the knife out of her hand?
- Knife fights with girls happen; what’s the big deal?
The widespread insanity inherent in these reactions, to me, is the kind of thing you see in a moral panic. And the media is stoking it by constantly playing up the racial angle, and failing to give statistics that might provide context to what we are seeing (such as noting the disproportionate number of police killed by black shooters, a fact that would contextualize the disproportionate number of blacks killed by police; or noting the currently uncovered examples of police shootings of white people). It’s malpractice and it’s creating a frenzy.
Something has to give.
They never cared in the slightest about Officer Brian Sicknick. They had just spent months glorifying a protest movement whose core view is that police officers are inherently racist and abusive. He had just become their toy, to be played with and exploited in order to depict the January 6 protest as a murderous orgy carried out by savages so primitive and inhuman that they were willing to fatally bash in the skull of a helpless person or spray them with deadly gases until they choked to death on their own lung fluids.
He’s right of course. If you support BLM then you necessarily support the routine verbal abuse of police officers as racists akin to the Klan. So it was very curious that a police officer would suddenly become the hero of this same group of progressives apart from the politics of doing so. In fact, you may recall people were simultaneously claiming Sicknick was a victim of the mob and that the same Capitol Hill police had treated BLM protesters unfairly. He was both a victim (where needed) and a perpetrator.
[The lack of transparency is what makes suppression work.] I’ve been warning for years about how social media suppresses views that aren’t popular in Silicon Valley. Until recently, though, I hadn’t found myself on the receiving end of its power.
Let’s start with the Hunter Biden laptop story.
I know. You’re probably already scoffing. Certainly my mostly liberal (and even some conservative) friends are convinced the whole thing is bogus, of interest only to denizens of the Trump fever swamp. They remember that the laptop was never verified, that it was widely suspected of being a product of Russian hacking and disinformation, and even if true, that it was simply a wallow in Hunter Biden’s many personal failings that told us nothing about his father’s fitness for office.
Most of those widespread views are wrong. They are contradicted by a long and detailed story in the UK’s Daily Mail. The “Russian disinformation” claim never stood up to much scrutiny, consisting as it did mainly of assertions that faking a laptop was the kind of thing the Russians would do. Now, however, the Daily Mail has validated the laptop and its contents, both obtaining a former FBI agent’s forensic judgment and conducting a detailed examination of the laptop’s contents. The sheer volume of material makes it highly unlikely that the laptop itself was a fabrication. There are 103,000 text messages, including many intimate (and heart-breaking) father-son exchanges, 154,000 emails, and over 2,000 photos, including numerous nude or sexual pictures of Biden and others. (That leaves open the possibility that someone, perhaps even Russian intelligence, might have added a few fake documents to the real ones – a possibility that would seem to call for detailed examination of the laptop’s contents, something no mainstream media outlet has deigned to conduct.)
As for its relevance to President Biden’s fitness, earlier reporting disclosed correspondence suggesting that Hunter’s unsavory businesses exploited or even benefited his father. And the Daily Mail claims that Hunter was getting some form of Secret Service protection long after the agency claimed to have ended its work for the Biden family. Maybe these stories will fall apart on examination, but there can be little doubt that they deserve investigation. And little doubt that such an investigation could have influenced the 2020 election campaign, when the laptop first surfaced.
What the laptop story got was the opposite of examination. Relying on the unsupported “Russian hacking” conspiracy theory, Twitter blocked the New York Post article. Indeed it blocked the New York Post’s Twitter account for weeks because the Post refused to retract its original tweet about the story. Facebook also limited distribution of the story. The threat was clear enough. Even an established media outlet could lose reach and ad revenue if it reported on the story. And the threat worked; no mainstream publication followed up on the Post article, except for a New York Times article that put the knife in by reporting on controversy over the story’s publication in the Post newsroom. When the story came up during the Presidential debates, candidate Biden was able to dismiss it unchallenged as “a Russian plan [and] a bunch of garbage.”
To my mind, this treatment of the Biden laptop story tells us a lot about the role that Silicon Valley intends to play in future elections. Companies like Twitter were so fearful of a second Trump victory that they seized on a dubious hacking claim to suppress the story. That act of censorship may well have changed the outcome of the election. So when the Daily Mail showed that the hacking excuse for suppressing the story was specious, I posted a link to the Daily Mail story on Twitter and Linkedin, with this introduction:
“The social media giants that won’t let you say the 2020 election was rigged are the people who did their best to rig it: Hunter Biden laptop was genuine and scandalous—Daily Mail”
Linkedin (but not Twitter) decided that I couldn’t say that.
I hadn’t been bullied by such a clueless authoritarian since high school. So instead of moving on to some less fraught topic I doubled down, posting five variants of my original post. The idea was to see exactly what it was about my original post that triggered Linkedin’s antibodies. I began by simply posting “The straight news version: The Hunter Biden laptop was genuine and scandalous, according to the Daily Mail.” Then I added a link to the Daily Mail story. Then I added commentary: “Social media suppressed the Hunter Biden laptop story in the middle of the 2020 election campaign. Now we know that the story they suppressed was true.” In the fifth post, I was more pointed: “Social media won’t let you talk about election interference in 2020. Maybe that’s because it was social media that interfered in the election by suppressing a true story that would have hurt Joe Biden.” And, finally, I reposted the original, which said the same thing as the fifth, but talked about “rigging” rather than “interfering with” the election.
I thought there was a real possibility that Linkedin would deplatform me for the same reason the vice principal used to discipline me in high school – my palpable lack of respect for authority. But it was a risk I was willing to take in the name of science – trying to figure out exactly what triggered Linkedin’s content suppression machinery. To cut to the chase, Linkedin left up all of my posts except the one that repeated the original post. That came down, and I again was warned about Linkedin’s professional standards.
Yes, some Instapundit readers will have a stroke, but others understand that there are a few honest liberals out there (Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi) who will call balls and strikes in a fair way. Add Ken Silverstein to the list. This guy was one of the first to expose the race-hustle racket that is the SPLC:
“Today, the SPLC spends most of its time–and money–on a relentless fund-raising campaign, peddling memberships in the church of tolerance with all the zeal of a circuit rider passing the collection plate. “He’s the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker of the civil rights movement,” renowned anti-death-penalty lawyer Millard Farmer says of Dees, his former associate, “though I don’t mean to malign Jim and Tammy Faye.”
The guy can write like a house afire:
“President Joe Biden’s signed a $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill and while the usual pigs slopped up most of that at the national feeding trough, some money did go to us plebes. Sure, mega-rich dickhead Tom Brady got a government loan (under Trump) of just south of $1 million for his fraudulent “health and wellness” company. But why be bitter towards Brady — or the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or various Trump associates and family members who cashed in on Covid aid.”
And you have to love the honesty of a publication whose motto is “Shocking True Stories and Political Sleaze.” We should be so lucky if The New York Times were so self-aware. Many of the stories in Washington Babylon will anger you. I say “good.”
Here is a link to the archive of Andrew Branca’s commentary and analysis of the Derek Chauvin trial
Lots of useful information there, which will somehow be missed by the “news” media.
A couple of years ago, I gave a speech before a conservative, predominantly white audience. I couldn’t help but notice a tall, heavyset black man, arms folded, standing in the back. From time to time, I would look at him, only to see him frown and shake his head, I assumed disapprovingly, when I made what I considered important points.
After the speech, he came up to me. “I am angry,” he said. “Not at you—at myself. I thought I was well-informed. I read the news. I watch the news. I now see I’ve been manipulated by the party that I voted for all my life.”
He then ticked off some of the points I made in my speech that he said surprised or even shocked him.
He said he had no idea that (according to a 2004 Thomas B. Fordham Institute study) 44% of Philadelphia public school teachers send their own school-age kids to private school. Yet the Democratic Party adamantly opposes school vouchers, which would give K-12 children of urban parents a chance at a better school.
CBS’s “60 Minutes” deceptively edited an exchange that left-wing reporter Sharyn Alfonsi had with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) two weeks ago about the way the Sunshine State has rolled out its vaccination program.
In the clip, Alfonsi suggested that Publix, the largest grocery store chain in Florida, had engaged in a pay-to-play scheme with DeSantis where they donated money to his campaign in exchange for him awarding a contract to the grocery store chain to host vaccinations.
CBS edited the interaction that DeSantis had with Alfonsi when she showed up to a press conference a few weeks ago and repeatedly shouted at the governor. The network cut out a lengthy portion of DeSantis’ response in which he explains what happened and how decisions were made.
Transcript of the interaction is featured below (All words appearing in bold were cut out by CBS News):
Sharyn Alfonsi: Publix, as you know, donated $100,000 to your campaign, and then you rewarded them with the exclusive rights to distribute the vaccination in Palm Beach—
Ron DeSantis: So, first of all, that — what you’re saying is wrong. That’s—
Sharyn Alfonsi: How is that not pay-to-play?
Ron DeSantis: —that, that’s a fake narrative. So, first of all, when we did, the first pharmacies that had it were CVS and Walgreens. And they had a long term care mission. So they were going to the long term care facilities. They got vaccine in the middle of December, they started going to the long term care facilities the third week of December to do LTCs. So that was their mission. That was very important. And we trusted them to do that. As we got into January, we wanted to expand the distribution points. So yes, you had the counties, you had some drive through sites, you had hospitals that were doing a lot, but we wanted to get it into communities more. So we reached out to other retail pharmacies — Publix, Walmart — obviously CVS and Walgreens had to finish that mission. And we said, we’re going to use you as soon as you’re done with that. For the Publix, they were the first one to raise their hand, say they were ready to go. And you know what, we did it on a trial basis. I had three counties. I actually showed up that weekend and talked to seniors across four different Publix. How was the experience? Is this good? Should you think this is a way to go? And it was 100% positive. So we expanded it, and then folks liked it. And I can tell you, if you look at a place like Palm Beach County, they were kind of struggling at first in terms of the senior numbers. I went, I met with the county mayor. I met with the administrator. I met with all the folks in Palm Beach County, and I said, “Here’s some of the options: we can do more drive-through sites, we can give more to hospitals, we can do the Publix, we can do this.” They calculated that 90% of their seniors live within a mile and a half of a Publix. And they said, “We think that would be the easiest thing for our residents.” So, we did that, and what ended up happening was, you had 65 Publix in Palm Beach. Palm Beach is one of the biggest counties, one of the most elderly counties, we’ve done almost 75% of the seniors in Palm Beach, and the reason is because you have the strong retail footprint. So our way has been multifaceted. It has worked. And we’re also now very much expanding CVS and Walgreens, now that they’ve completed the long term care mission.
Sharyn Alfonsi: The criticism is that it’s pay-to-play, governor.
Ron DeSantis: And it’s wrong. It’s wrong. It’s a fake narrative. I just disabused you of the narrative. And you don’t care about the facts. Because, obviously, I laid it out for you in a way that is irrefutable.