Daily Archives: November 18, 2020

White Noise Director on Alt-Right: As Long as Trump Refuses to Concede, This Stuff Is Just Going to Fester – Variety

Posted: November 18, 2020 at 6:53 pm

White Noise director Daniel Lombrosos interest in the alt-right started in 2016, five months before Donalds Trumps election. Working as a reporter for The Atlantic magazine, he spent three years in the field, starting his research on Reddit and 4chan before gaining the trust of three of the movements brightest stars: Richard Spencer, organizer of the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville; social media personality Mike Cernovich; and Canadian activist Lauren Southern.

It was a slow process, says Lombroso. People had this idea that Trump had radical supporters, but no one had defined it. I was 23 years old at the time and I saw people my age [that were] really energized by this candidate that no one expected to win. I started with the profile of Richard Spencer and caught a room full of people doing Nazi salutes [at a conference in Washington], which went viral. It clarified that it was fundamentally a white nationalism movement.

Many reporters want a quick soundbite and then they leave, he continues, but I wanted to understand why they believe what they believe. And how their ideas work on other people, even though I find them completely abhorrent, dangerous and repulsive. I am Jewish and yet I spent hundreds and hundreds of hours with them, having lunch, dinner, taking flights. I was willing to spend 30 hours off the record to get 10 amazing seconds.

Such moments include Lauren Southern allegedly being propositioned by [Proud Boys founder] Gavin McInnes, Cernovich opening up about his insecurity, and Spencers breakdown in front of the camera after his speech at the Michigan State University resulted in protests. When I brought back these rushes everyone went: This is a crazy fucking scene, Lombroso recalls. Spencer is pacing around in his double-breasted suit, listening to Depeche Mode. Hes obviously scared, as his brand has already been damaged, but in a weird, sadistic way maybe that was the great performance he always wanted. [Was he] dreaming of becoming an avant-garde theater director?

One of the biggest takeaways from the film is that they built a powerful movement, but the leaders are broken people, he says. They are lost, and they created a community of lost followers. The goal was to demystify their public image by showing them in private. Mike Cernovich epitomizes it the mosthe is this avatar of alpha masculinity, and yet most of his money comes from alimony from his first wife.

That said, its Southern who embodies the most absurd contradictions, Lambroso says, calling her the most important character in the film. She embodies the feminist ideal, even through she is fighting against it! Shes like Phyllis Schlafly, he says, referring to the recent FX show Mrs. America. You cant talk about the alt-right without mentioning misogyny, as it came from mens rights activism and pick-up blogging. Having a family can be wonderful, but this is much more insidiousthis idea that we need to have babies to preserve the white race. Lauren is propagating anti-feminism, and then it comes back to bite her.

Although his film is, as he says, an unsympathetic eulogy to the alt-right, even as his protagonists continue to self-destruct, he accepts the fact that their ideas are already embedded in the mainstream. Its a terrible habit, but I continue to check on them, he admits. I will always be fascinated by extremismmy grandparents were Holocaust survivors. But the digital world has now become physical. Trump tweets something and thousands show up, although he claims there were millions. We see attacks by incels [involuntary celibates] and all these weird fringe communities coming alive. I think that will stay with us.

Even though Biden won, people wanted a decisive victory against Trumpism and that didnt come. His more radical base, which has now evolved into [internet conspiracy] QAnon, for example, is not going anywhere. In the past, if you were interested in white nationalism, you would meet a bunch of weirdos at a Home Depot parking lot and pass around pamphlets. Now you can sit in your room, and when you stumble upon someone like Lauren its easy to believe that you found the truth. Its called being red-pilled in this movement. As long as social media algorithms push people in that direction, as long as Trump refuses to concede, this stuff is just going to fester.

After White Noise, Lombroso has already started developing new projects, both dealing with themes that are, he says, at the core of his work: citizenship, ethnicity and what it means to belong. That includes a coming-of-age story about an Indian-American girl making sense of the unexpected death of her father and another film based on his pen-pal relationship with a Russian spy, currently serving a 15-year prison sentence. I will probably stick to documentary for now, he says, but eventually I hope to become a hybrid director.

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White Noise Director on Alt-Right: As Long as Trump Refuses to Concede, This Stuff Is Just Going to Fester - Variety

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Alt-right homophobe plots to infiltrate gay bar and deliberately infect LGBT+ community with COVID-19 – PinkNews

Posted: at 6:53 pm

The alt-right homophobe intended to infect "10 to 20" LGBT+ people with COVID-19. (GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty)

An alt-right homophobe in New Zealand is being investigated for a plot to deliberately infect the LGBT+ community and people of colour with COVID-19.

According to the queer New Zealand publication Express, the man posted on an alt-right website claiming that he had contracted woohoo flu, andwrote that he had a really sore throat and was unable to stop coughing.

He then explained that he wanted to target the LGBT+ community and communities of colour by spreading the virus at a gay bar in Auckland and at a church.

The anonymous homophobe said he was aiming to infect 10 to 20 people at the bar, and asked for advice on how to fit in without risking getting hit on.

He also said he planned to visit multiple churches with congregations of colour, and in a separate post asked if it would be too suspicious to travel to the churches as the one closest to him was predominantly white.

Police have been notified, and told the publication that they were taking the threats extremely seriously.

A police spokesperson said authorities were continuing to make enquiries into an anonymous post made on an online forum.

They said: The nature of this anonymous post is concerning, and Police take these sorts of matters extremely seriously.

Police are limited in further comment at this stage as our enquiries are ongoing.

New Zealand minister for health responded to the investigation: The ministry supports the police as being the appropriate agency to look into this incident as they will be best placed to find out whats happened and determine what further actions are required.

The country has reduced its new daily COVID-19 cases to single figures under prime minister Jacinda Arden who, after Octobers election, will now lead a parliament with the highest proportion of LGBT+ MPs in the world.

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Alt-right homophobe plots to infiltrate gay bar and deliberately infect LGBT+ community with COVID-19 - PinkNews

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CAMP: Stand up to your racist family – University of Virginia The Cavalier Daily

Posted: at 6:53 pm

As the holidays approach, the typical jokes about family political fights will no doubt abound especially with a contentious presidential election marred by conspiracy theories, misinformation and threats of violence. While Bidens win signals a return to basic decency at the presidential level, the nation remains very much divided. Worse, misinformation on the legitimacy of the election is spreading rapidly, further driving conspiratorial thinking and other alt-right messages to the fore of current political discourse. Thus, behind the jokes and the family feuds which inspire them are very real consequences for millions of people in the United States something the recent election made incredibly clear. As such, this holiday season, white progressives need to remain consistent with their supposed commitment to social justice they need to stand up to their racist loved ones.

While the results of the election spurred celebration across the country, white progressives must not be complacent. Yes, a proto-facist leader has been defeated, but the hateful rhetoric, conspiratorial thinking and virulent racism, xenophobia and sexism he espoused during his tenure remain deeply entrenched in American political discourse. Thus, not only is the fight for the rights of marginalized communities ongoing, but our new president while better in a myriad of ways must also be held accountable and face demands to execute a progressive agenda. While there are many ways white progressives can help in this mission, a necessary component of this involves debunking misinformation and combatting hateful rhetoric within their own families.

Privileged progressives must make good on their moral commitment to social justice not only in our public actions, but in our personal ones. While white progressives may attend protests, hold phone banking sessions or donate to mutual aid funds, none of this serves as adequate allyship if they are unable to stand up to those closest to them. Thus, if white progressives truly care about the causes they so often and so publicly claim to support, it follows that they must stand up to their families, friends and anyone else in their social circles who espouse hateful views, conspiracy theories or other misrepresentations of facts.

This holiday season, white progressives should not continue to favor their own comfort and familial peace over the tangible suffering of vulnerable people. In failing to stand up to their families and friends whether their statements are meant well or not white liberals show a distinct complacency with white supremacy, sexism, xenophobia and the countless other ways in which bigotry rears its ugly head. Thus, when we sit silent over our uncles QAnon rants or our high school friends xenophobic comments, it shows that we value our own comfort over what we know to be our ethical duty. Further, if your allyship consists primarily of posting prettily curated Instagram slideshows, then it isn't an allyship its a performance. Conflict particularly when it is with people we love can be hard, but this does not mean we get an ethical opt-out.

To be clear, this article is not intended to argue that you are obligated to put yourself in a physically or financially dangerous situation in order to argue against your familys beliefs. If confronting your family and friends could cause violence or abuse, you should obviously protect your safety. Further, arguing against racist family members beliefs is not the beginning and end of good allyship. Rather, it is a necessary component in a long and complex process. Good allyship is an ongoing process that requires constant listening, learning and action. Ultimately, as a white woman, I dont think my job can or should be to tell you how to be an ally to marginalized people with experiences far different from my own. However, what I do know is that continuing to do nothing to the individual people we are most likely to persuade is unacceptable.

Ultimately, telling your family members that their bigotry is wrong is not activism. However, it is still an incredibly important way not only to show that your moral principles and the individuals and communities whose lives and livelihoods are in the crosshairs of these conversations are more important to you than your relationship with racists. Will having hard and likely contentious conversations with your family work to persuade them? Maybe, maybe not. The reason to stand up against your loved ones bigotry is not just to be persuasive clearly and decisively showing your family that their bigoted beliefs do not have a compliant audience is also a valuable action. No matter the outcome, standing up for your principles disrupts the presumption of agreement so often assumed by bigots. Hateful beliefs may continue but at the very least you can make it clear that they are not welcome to at least one person at the dinner table.

Emma Camp is an Opinion Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at opinion@cavalierdaily.com.

The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Cavalier Daily. Columns represent the views of the authors alone.

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Can the right thrive on Parler? – New Statesman

Posted: at 6:53 pm

In the days following the US election, hard-right politicians, commentators and social media stars were lacking a platform on which their conspiracy theories could go viral. Both Twitter and Facebook were flaggingtheir endless stream of posts suggesting the election had been stolen, warning they were misleading or contained false information. The right needed a place to regroup; the platforms that had served as megaphones were slipping from their grasp. So, in what perhaps felt like a last shot, they encouraged each other to go to Parler: the free speech platform, heralded bycorners of the right as their last social media hope.

Parler is a relatively newplatform, which encourages themindset that the only rule is there are no rules. It brands itself as a foil to mainstream platforms the place users can go to say what they cant say elsewhere. After launching in August 2018, it surged in users the following May, when Politico reported that Donald Trumps then-campaign manager Brad Parscale was considering making the president an account amid free speech concerns onTwitter. He didnt;but he did set upan accountfor the Team Trump campaign, which is still active. Parler enjoyed greater popularity among right-wingers as a result. In the UK, there was a similar pullto the platform inJune when a user created an account that pretended to be Katie Hopkins who hadrecently been banned from Twitter and managed to raise $500 for legal fees before anyone realised it was a hoax. This saw British commentators and Conservative MPs sign up to the site, proof of Parlers free speech USP.

After a quiet few months, Parler crept back into the news in October, ahead of the3 November election. It became a hotbed of QAnon, Pizzagateand Hunter Biden conspiracy theories. In the week after the election, it was top of the American app store charts, listed as the most downloaded product on both Apple and Android devices.

With the endorsement of countless right-wing celebrities and politicians, it has swelled to ten million users worldwide up from 2.8 million users in July. Right-wing personalities across the globe are now encouraging users to commit to Parler and to quit Twitter for good. And that user growth, coupled with the support of so manymainstream political voices,makes the platform different from its predecessors. If its biggest stars quit other platforms outright, there would be an even bigger draw for theaverage user to keep coming back.

But can Parler really thrive on the right? Can it become a household name? What does the right get out of social media likeParler a platform where, perhaps for the first time, its own mainstreampolitical echo chamber has been created?


Parler is not the only place the right is, or has ever, gathered online with little to no left-wing influence. 4chan, Gaband messaging service Telegram have become popular with the alt-right at different points over the last 15 years. However, the vast majority of these platforms have gained reputations as being toxic, and have become synonymous with the worst of the internet. Milo Yiannopoulos, an early far-right British starlet who was banned from Twitter in 2016, infamouslyposted on Telegramlast year: I cant put food on the table this way.

Parler, on the other hand, has been able to style itself as more mainstream, more sanitised in the short time its been live. But,despite its more palatable public face, it still allows most of what you would find on more notorious alt-right sites. After a blip this summer,CEO John Matzewarned the platform would not allow obscene words in usernames, repeated harassment in the comments, or pornographic images (all of which are allowed on Twitter), but misinformation and abuse are still rife on the site.Parlers cleanappearance therefore allows politicians, for example, toparticipate on the site, even though familiarly insidious content lurks underneath. This is the key to Parlers success as a right-wing social media platform.

[See also:What is Parler? Inside the pro-Trump unbiased platform]

One of its biggest drawbacks, however, is the same complaint many on the right make about Twitter: it really is an echo chamber. As a user, you are metwith the same set of opinions,shared in different word formations on different accounts. There is no incentive for anyone on the left to join. And so Parler posts tend to fall flat: intrigue and controversy are impossible when everyone is inagreement.

Already, you can sense users tiring. Right-wing social media posters who are active elsewhere have barely touched Parler since joining. Fox News host Tucker Carlson has only posted twice since joining at the end of 2018 and Donald Trump Jrs partner, Kimberly Guilfoyle, has also posted infrequently since she joined in July. Texas Senator Ted Cruz, one of thepoliticians who very enthusiastically joined Parlerin June,has even started sharing non-political memes clearly ripped from Facebook pages. All three of these conservative personalities still post regularly on Twitter and many others who claimed to be leaving Twitter for good have already begun to trickle back.

The only people who appearto use Parler as their main social media outlet are those who have been banned from all other mainstream platforms. Alex Jones, of InfoWars fame, who was banned from YouTube, Twitterand Facebook last year, posts multiple times a day to his account; Yiannopoulos has also begun posting aggressively on Parler. However, both Jones and Yiannopoulos have only drawn about a tenth of the audience they had on more mainstream platforms over the last ten years, and have subsequently faded into relative obscurity. They may be prolific on Parler, but their importance in advancing the cause ofthe right is very limited.

Audience isnt only a problem for those who have nowhere else to go. Parler is, of course, already inherently smaller, before factoring in the work it takes to grow audiences on Twitter and Facebook over the course of years. Whats the point of posting on Parler alone, when you could tweet and get upwards of 20 times the engagement? Parlers loudest advocates would arguethis is the early price users must pay to fully divorce themselves from mainstream tech platforms. But any long-term benefits to the cause will not tempt those who have become brand names in and of themselves.

However, enthusiasm for Parler is still high, even if its long-term prospects are less promising. In the two weeks since election day, new users haveincluded longstanding political personalities and swathes of newly elected politicians. Fresh, right-wing faces in the Senate, the Houseand smaller state legislatures have flockedto the site. They join their senior counterparts in advocating for this new digital future for the right.

But its hard to envision a reality in which Parlers influence extends all that far. In the past, each waveof new Parler users has abated after a few days or weeks of hype. Users get bored, and its biggest names become less vocal. Enthusiasm only lasts if effectiveness does too.

[See also:How QAnon conspiracy theorists entered the US Congress]

Ultimately, for any ideology to thrive, you cant survive on a single-minded platform made for public consumption. 4Chan thrives for two reasons: because there really are no rules, and because users eventually water down their ideas and disseminate themon more mainstream sites. For platforms that have high mainstream salience, the pay-off is created by the back and forth between two opposing sides.

Parler, by trying to create the best of all of them, creates the worst of both worlds. It maintains a more restrictive platform than 4Chan without any of the political tension other platforms offer. The joy for many politically active social media users is criticising the other side. But you cant "own" the liberalsif there are no liberals around to "own". In an effort to create the first mainstream echo chamber, Parler proves why its theory doesnt work in practice: theres no ground to be gained by repeating what everyone else is already thinking.

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The crackpot factor: Why the GOP is worried about turning out the vote after Trump – Salon

Posted: at 6:53 pm

Donald Trump's attempts to steal the election are fruitless. His legal theater is going nowhere, and it's becoming apparent that this is more about shaking down credulous supporters for cash than about actually overturning the election results. Michigan pounded another nail in Trump's coffin Tuesday, when two Republicans who were blocking the vote certification in Wayne County, which includes Detroit, relented in the face of public outrage. It's all over but the grifting, which will likely continue as long as Trump keeps getting people to give him money for his "legal defense" money that is being funneled through a PAC and likely straight into Trump's pocket.

Yet the Republican establishment is still tiptoeing around Trump, coddling his fragile ego by refusing to admit he lost the election. Some are going a step further, such as South Carolina's Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has been exerting pressure on state officials to toss out legally-cast ballots. Why are all these Republicans so afraid of Trump, who will no longer be president in 63 days?

The main reason appears to be that Republicans really are worried about their electoral prospects after Trump. The record Democratic turnout in the 2020 election President-elect Joe Biden turned out 14 million more voters than Hillary Clinton in 2016 caused many Republicans down-ballot from Trumpto sweat their re-election prospects. Luckily for them, however,Trump also turned out an eye-popping 10 million new voters, which was enough to save the skins of many GOP candidates, even as Trump lost by slender margins in swing states.

Trump is a turnout machine for Republicans, who have been desperately casting around for years now for a way to save their party despite demographic changes that make the Democrats more popular among voters. The question of whether there will beTrumpism after Trump nowdogsboth Republicans who want to replicate their electoral successes under the reality TV president and Democrats who dearly hopethis whole disaster was an anomaly.

"[S]ome conservative opinion leaders are already looking forward to a post-Trump future where the viable things about the 45th president can be neatly separated from his troublesome persona," Ed Kilgore writes for New York.

He cites "a representative fantasy" by right-wing writer Kristin Tate at The Hill, wholongs for a "Republican with the political positions of Trump, but without decades of tabloid fodder," proposing that candidate might avoid "the bandwagon effect of suburban voters eager to show their public disapproval of his latest action."

Kilgore explores the various hopes that Republicans have for a "new Trump."Will it be Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, a Bible-thumper straight out of "The Handmaid's Tale" who has some crossover appeal for his occasional swipes at corporate America (though mostly for itsperceived degeneracy)? Or Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who brings the racism and militant neofascism of Trump, but without the gleeful sleaze of a shameless sexual assailant?

These choices expose whyRepublicans fear that there maybe no way to haveTrumpism without Trump. Those guys and other contenders areall missing the secret sauce that helped Trump recruit so heavily among non-voters and infrequent voters. And no, it's not his so-called charisma.

What Trump really has going for him is what I call the "crackpot factor."Trump speaks to voters who share the racism and sexism of typical GOP voters, but who often don't vote because they think politics is boring and areawash in conspiracy theories about how the system is "rigged."Those voters saw a kindred spirit in Trump, a man who speaks fluent conspiracy theory and who got his start in politics by promoting claims that Barack Obama wasn't a native-born U.S. citizen.

Before the 2020 election, the team at FiveThirtyEight took a deep dive on the views of people who vote infrequently or not at all. There's a lot of reasons for non-voting, such as a belief it doesn't matter orthe obstacles that make voting difficult, but oneimportant factor was a lack of trust in the system. For some voters, especially nonwhite voters or liberal-leaning voters, this is unfortunately a realistic assessment of the situation, where social progress often feels glacial and voting doesn't seem to make much difference.

But for right-leaning voters, I suspect a lot of this distrust flows from a conspiratorial mindset, born from a steady diet of misinformationthat has been made all too readily available bythe internet. These are the types that populate the audience forJoe Rogan and Alex Jones. These are people whohate Democrats but also feel alienated bythe religiosity and elitism of mainstream Republicans, and turn to "alternative" sources of information that are thick with paranoid conspiracy theories. Trump, who indulged the same"alternative facts" that they enjoy,stirred something in them that other Republicans simply couldn't.

In 2014, Pew Research, using extensive data, developed a political typology that sorted Americans into sixgroups. Two of the Republican-leaning ones are incredibly familiar topolitical observers, the "steadfast conservatives" and "business conservatives,"or, respectively,the religious right and the rich folks whoare in itfor the tax cuts.

But they also detected an emerging group, which they deemed "young outsiders," who "do not have a strong allegiance to the Republican Party" and, in fact, "tend to dislikebothpolitical parties."These voters registered as "socially liberal,"insofar as they don't support bans on abortion or gay marriage and, importantly, aren't especiallyreligious.

But the "young outsiders" doshare the racism of traditional conservatives. They are easily riled up by thedemonization of social spending programs like Obamacare or food stamps They approve of programs, like Medicare, that are viewed as benefiting white people. They're in favorlegal marijuana butoppose gun control. And they vote farless often than other conservatives.

I personally believe that the Pew research failed to capturehow sexist this group is. The usual proxy questions to measure sexism, such as attitudes towards abortion, simply aren't adequate in this context. I suspect this group, while not as opposed to abortion as otherconservatives, is angry about other feminist concernssuch as the #MeToo movement, where men's privilegeto mistreat women are being attacked.

These are, I suspect, the Gamergaters and the alt-right types who flocked to Trump in the years after this survey. They gobble down internet conspiracy theories like QAnon, which creates engagement with right-wingpolitics for those who aren't religious conservatives or business elites. They like to imagine that embracing more authoritarian attitudes is an "edgy" revolt against liberalism. They are overwhelmingly white (though 14% are Hispanic), and under 50 years old. While more than half of those defined as"strong liberals" are college graduates, three-quarters of the "young outsiders"don't havecollege diplomas.

Trump gota whole lot of those people who don't usually vote to do so, turningout more non-college-educated white voters in 2016, for example, than Mitt Romney did in 2012. These votersoverlooked his alliance withthe religious right and were instead fixated on his playboy persona, his over-the-top sexism and racismand, of course, his sweeping embrace of nutbar conspiracy theories of all kinds.

Over the past four years, everything that Trump's opponents hate about him his grossness, his cruelty to women and people of color, his rejection of the polite norms of D.C. politicsand, of course, his conspiracy theories likely generated even more enthusiasm from this subset of voters that other Republicans have had trouble capturing or motivating.

That's why it's reasonable to be skeptical aboutthe likely success of the current crop of wannabe Trumps. Hawley's religiosity and culture-war rigiditywon't play well with these Trump Republicans whoare just fine with premarital sex and legal weed, even if they're not fond of women having the right to file sexual harassment complaints. Cotton may roll out fascist fantasies that appeal to the QAnoners and the alt-right, but he's a stiff and, I suspect, won'tappeal to those who enjoy Trump's wrestling-heel gift forinsulting and degrading people. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who also wants to be the next Trump, has intense weenie energy that makes it hard for him to win these people over.

Trump speaks to the great American crackpot, especially the younger set that was otherwise more interested in perusing conspiracy theory websites or "pick-up artist" forums than in voting. These folks won't be moved by Hawley's promise ofa handmaid in every bed or Cotton's promise of stormtroopers on the streets. In the face of the growing Democratic majority, Republicans need this subset ofcrank voters, who don't care about old-school culture-war fights over abortion or evolution, but sure do love QAnon. Without Trump's demented tweeting and his willingness to leave empirical reality behind, it's not clear how the GOP cankeep the crank vote going.


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The List: Ranking the candidates Trump could back for Ohio governor in 2022 – Columbus Alive

Posted: at 6:53 pm

The current, soon-to-be-former president took a clear Twitter shot at Republican Gov. Mike DeWine when he predicted the state's next gubernatorial race 'will be hotly contested'

Since the coronavirus reached Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine has tried to execute a difficult dance, acknowledging and sometimes following the advice of health experts, particularly departed health director Amy Acton in the early months of the pandemic, while at the same time trying to pacify a Republican president who has repeatedly pushed to open state economies despite the dangers of COVID-19.

It hasnt always been pretty, either. Following some early successes in holding back the virus, DeWine shifted toward opening the state for business, and he was slow to issue a mask mandate as the virus took hold and cases climbed. And, in the end, the tip-toeing didnt even matter. Over the weekend, following an interview in which DeWine acknowledged Joe Biden as president-elect, Trump fired off a tweet aimed squarely at the Ohio co-chair of his re-election campaign, writing, Who will be running for Governor of the Great State of Ohio? Will be hotly contested!

With that in mind, we thought wed take a crack at ranking the candidates we could see Trump backing in 2022.

12. Josh Mandel

Mandel, Alives 2018 pick for worst politician, has been quiet in the two years since he unexpectedly dropped out of a run for the U.S. Senate to attend to a family health issue. A comeback feels inevitable, though, and Mandels past use of anti-Muslim campaign ads, his willing embrace of the alt-right and a passive relationship with the truth all feel very Trumpian in nature. Plus, he still has an active federal campaign account.

11. Jim Renacci

The former congressman, who lost his 2018 Senate run, operates a Twitter account filled with the kind of scare-tactic rhetoric that riles up the base (If socialism prevails, America will cease to exist) and his pinned tweet is a photo taken alongside Trump.

10. The Ohio anti-masker who keeps turning up in viral videos where she refuses to comply with public health orders

If a Gadsden flag learned how to operate a smartphone and had a penchant for ginning up faux outrage, this would be the result.

9. Nino Vitale

A member of the Ohio House of Representatives whose inflammatory, questionably sourced social media posts make it clear he badly wants to be a part of the public conversation.

8. TownHall owner Bobby George

Like Trump, George has a contentious relationship with the media and an apparent aversion to masking up.

7. Larry Householder

The former Speaker of the House won his recent election in a landslide despite his July arrest on a corruption charge, so the skys the limit.

6. Ken Blackwell

The former Ohio State Treasurer and current conservative columnist has proudly picked up the sad Stop the Steal banner, taking to Twitter to share conspiracy theories and outright falsehoods supporting Trumps continuing refusal to concede.

5. That viral photo of the open Ohio protesters

This era-defining image from Dispatch photographer Joshua A. Bickel arguably captures the point at which DeWine softened his stance on COVID, which leaves the photo incredibly well-positioned to outflank the governor from the right.

4. Candice Keller

A run for the office feels sadly inevitable. Fortunately, so does a loss.

3. Any of these 15 breeds of canine ranked as the best lap dogs

Complete fealty is what Trump wants from his followers, which brings us to...

2. Jim Jordan

The Ohio congressman and former OSU wrestling coach, who six former athletes claim knew about the sexual conduct complaints brought against a team doctor and did nothing to act, has emerged as one of Trumps most outspoken sycophants. We imagine Trump would repay that loyalty in kind with a full-throated primary endorsement. That is unless...

1. Donald Trump

You know he wants to.

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Right-wing media dismiss efforts to save thousands of lives as a "War on Thanksgiving" – Media Matters for America

Posted: at 6:53 pm

Setting aside the fact that these guidelines are completely optional, its worth remembering that one of the reasons were still struggling to control the virus more than eight months into the pandemic is that both the larger public and our elected officials didnt take necessary action early on. This inaction often drew cheers from conservative media outlets and commentators, who spent significant portions of the year trying to undermine public health guidelines while downplaying the danger presented by the virus.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Fox News has been a major source of COVID-19 misinformation and a consistent critic of measures to slow the spread of the virus. Whether it was promoting the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine despite a total lack of evidence for its effectiveness as a coronavirus treatment or playing host to anti-mask advocate and Covid Contrarian Alex Berenson, Fox has been an unfortunately influential voice in the national discussion around the pandemic, downplaying the deadliness of the disease, criticizing states for enacting restrictions on public gatherings, and bashing the idea of lockdowns. While its impossible to know exactly how different the impact of the pandemic would be if Foxs advice had been ignored by the president and his loyal supporters, months of preaching defiance in the face of science hasnt helped matters. If not for Foxs destructive monthslong assault on public health, its within the realm of possibilities that we could be enjoying something closer to a normal holiday season.

This isnt going to be a relatively normal holiday season, however, and Fox News isnt taking that news particularly well. On Tuesdays edition of Fox & Friends, Fox Business host Charles Payne referred to COVID-related restrictions implemented by Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a push for separation of families, invoking the Trump administrations zero tolerance policy targeting children of undocumented immigrants. On Monday, White House Coronavirus Task Force adviser Dr. Scott Atlas went on Fox News to criticize the idea that elderly Americans who are most at risk from the virus shouldnt take part in large family celebrations, fatalistically adding that for many people this is their final Thanksgiving.

Fox News host Sean Hannity, who has been one of the biggest sources of destructive COVID-19 coverage, has posted at least a dozen tweets about Thanksgiving. On Monday, he hyped appearances by right-wing commentator Dave Rubin and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) on his show by claiming that the Left was waging a war on Thanksgiving. After Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio curtailed the annual Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade, Hannity called him the Worlds Worst Mayor.

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Right-wing media dismiss efforts to save thousands of lives as a "War on Thanksgiving" - Media Matters for America

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Citizens Disunited: The End of the Transatlantic Trumpist Alliance – Byline Times

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Peter Jukes looks at the rise and fall of the dark money and online culture war strategies that put Donald Trump in the White House and pushed Britain out of the EUExporting Polarisation

For most of the last 40 years, British domestic politics has been out of synch with the United States. Though Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher composed a formidable Cold War alliance and promoted the Anglo Saxon model of privatisation and deregulation, the reality of every day cultural life around politics in the US was very different from the UK at the time.

I lived in Boston as an exchange student at an American high school in the early 80s and, compared to the Punk-era Britain I had left behind, the political scene was much more consensual and polite. My teachers were a mix of small c conservatives and former Vietnam War protestors, but discussions were fluid and, unpredictably, likely to arrive at an agreement. Among the pupils, few would think of not dating someone because of political allegiance. This was echoed in the broader political culture. In Congress at that time, politicians would cross the floor and vote across party lines. There was still a belief in bipartisanship in contrast to the grim, grey UK I returned to.

Under the cosh of Thatcherism, nuclear re-armament and radical industrial restructuring, there was no way you could snog someone for long as a British student in the 80s without ending up asking the question: whose side are you on?The dirty war in Northern Ireland, the miners strike, the Conservative Party Brighton bombing, Murdochs Wapping dispute, CND women at Greenham Common, City of Londons Big Bang, Harry Enfields Loadsamoney, Yuppies, Sloane Rangers and the Looney Left during that decade it was almost impossible to chat with a London cabbie or have a family Sunday lunch without an unpalatable political argument.

Twenty years later, all that had reversed. When I returned to live and work in the United States again in the early noughties, the polarisation of Britains Thatcher years seemed to have been exported there.

Issues like gay marriage, abortion, gun control, religion they were intractable discussions for Americans, which you avoided raising at the diner or a bar, for fear of ostracism and permanent estrangement. American political culture had polarised and cocooned, with Democrats telling me theyd never date a Republican, and vice versa.

Meanwhile, in Britain, under the premierships of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and even heir to Blair David Cameron, the idea of a culture war over matters of sexual orientation, religious observance, or the role of socialised healthcare and gun control seemed unlikely and vaguely absurd. Even the right-wing tabloid the Sun used a Barack Obama lookalike poster for David Camerons 2010 election campaign with the slogan Yes, we Cam!

I remember remarking to an American friend around that time that I was glad our Conservative Party wasnt infected by the atavistic, vote-suppressing extreme politics of the American Conservative right.

How blind I was about what was to happen.

The key moment for the unleashing of hard-right US Conservatism into UK politics was the US Supreme Court Ruling: Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission in 2010.

Citizens United was an activist group chaired by David Bossie, who went on to be Donald Trumps deputy campaign manager in 2016 (hes still working for him now trying to overturn the recent election result). In 2010, Bossie managed to revise a law which prohibited for-profit and not-for-profit corporations from advertising or broadcasting political messages during elections or primaries. The legal judgment was based on the constitutional first amendment right of free speech and the Supreme Court effectively ruled that these corporations were people and had the same rights to political self-expression as individuals.

Whatever the metaphysical import of this ruling, the practical effect was to unleash unlimited spending on political campaigns by American corporations and rich individuals in vehicles such as SuperPacs and that wave of money soon hit the UK and jolted British politics to the right.

The networks to receive this influx of cash were already in place. Sir Anthony Fisher, an Eton-educated businessman, having made his money from US-style intensive chicken farming and the founder of the Institute of Economic Affairs in London in 1955, set up the Atlas Economic Research Foundation in the US in 1981. Funded by the oil industry giants, big tobacco, and other right-wing not-for-profits like the Koch Brothers Foundation, it acted as a transatlantic umbrella for a range of libertarian and free-market think tanks.

The Atlas networks role in pushing for Britain to leave the EU was apparent when leading Brexiter and former MEP Daniel Hannan delivered its Toast to Freedom in New York in 2018 and celebrated the factory-farmed broiler chicken as a symbol of liberty. The lowering of food hygiene and factory farming standards to US levels has been touted as one of the main benefits of Brexit at least to those in the food industry.

But the Citizens United overspill, and its emphasis on free speech, went much further than these obvious commercial and lobbying networks in the UK, and had a toxic effect on the culture of British politics.

One hidden channel for right-wing US thinking and practice was the Young Britons Foundation (YBF), a self-described Conservative madrasa and a UK offshoot of the Young Americas Foundation (YAF), which was funded by the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer.

For 12 years, until it was closed down over allegations of bullying after the suicide of a young Conservative activist in 2015, the YBF hosted some of the key figures who led Britain to Brexit.

Hannan was the YBF president. Matt Richardson, who went on to be the secretary of Nigel Farages UKIP, was the executive director. Matthew Elliot, of the TaxPayers Alliance at 55 Tufton Street and destined to become executive director of Boris Johnsons Vote Leave campaign, hosted talks and panels.

Apart from the potential channels for US dark money, the striking thing is the change of tone ushered into Conservative politics through the Young Britons Foundation.

A key moment was its 10th anniversary conference at Churchill College, Cambridge in 2013. Steve Bannon, who was then the managing director of the Alt-right website Breitbart, was a major presence, discussing the role of online campaigning with the Guido Fawkes political editor Harry Cole, and recruiting their fellow panellist Raheem Kassam to run his London branch.

Bannon had also just co-founded the notorious digital campaigning company Cambridge Analytica which would target individuals based on their fears and paranoias. Bannon called this combination of news and psychometric targeting his weapons which he would use, in the UK too it would seem, to flood the zone with sh*t.

Also billed to appear that weekend was Douglas Murray, associate director the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), to talk about Jihad, Islamism, Israel, the War on Terror and Neo-Conservatism. The founder of the HJS, Dr Alan Mendoza, was also a regular attendee.

According to a founding director and former associate director of the HJS, it began to become around this time a far-right, deeply anti-Muslim racist organisation. As Nafeez Ahmed has reported in Byline Times, the HJS was also a recipient of dark money from key donors in the US who began to back Donald Trump.

If youre wondering why British political discourse began to degrade, look no further than the arrival of American right-wing conservatism via both the funding of activists and new media outlets which propagated their message.

It is no accident that the UKs culture wars were also triggered by a US Supreme Court ruling over free speech. Free speech was the wedge by which formerly marginal expressions of xenophobic nationalism, racism, and Islamophobia could become central in Britains public debate.

It didnt matter if many of the voices expressing these opinions online were paid for by multiple accounts, boosted by dark digital analytics, or indeed often outright replicants run by troll farms hosted and funded by hostile foreign countries. If the Supreme Court had ruled that corporations were people, why not networks of bots and troll armies?

And we fell for it. Millions of Brits and Americans read and believed opinions and facts effectively generated by robots. The pioneer of computing, Alan Turing, once suggested that artificial intelligence would arrive when, during a conversation, we failed to spot the difference between a computer and a person. We failed the Turing test, politically, in 2016.

The media of the 20th Century was once described by the philosopher Noam Chomsky as manufacturing consent. By the time of Britains EU Referendum and Donald Trumps election in 2016, with most people receiving their news and opinions through algorithms devised by social media giants like Facebook and YouTube, this was effectively replaced by the automation of consent.

Some people seek to minimise this, pointing to the existing racial and economic fissures in British and American society that made them both ripe for populism, particularly after the financial crash of 2008. But just one in 50 of the votes cast in the EU Referendum, or 70,000 votes in the US Rust Belt states in the 2016 Presidential Election, won the twin shock victories either side of the Atlantic.Did the intervention of these dark-money-funded culture war interventions make enough of a difference to tip things over the edge?

The protagonists certainly thought so. Nigel Farage raised a pint after the EU Referendum victory to thank Bannon and Breitbart we couldnt have done it without you while Trump declared: Im Mr Brexit plus plus plus.

The failure of Donald Trump to secure a second term is a severe setback to that transatlantic Alt-right alliance of libertarians and neo-nationalists.

The prospect of a US/UK trade deal with Joe Biden as President, though it was never going to be that favourable to Britain, is even more problematic given different priorities in the White House, and Congresss demonstrable objection to anything that would undermine the internationally-binding Good Friday Agreement.

Boris Johnsons Internal Market Bill, currently being debated in Parliament, threatens to break more international treaties and, if not directly punished, will undermine the prestige and reliability of Britain in any other future negotiations.

On a personal level, Johnson has many fences to mend with the President-elect, because of his perceived proximity to Bannon and Trump, and his frankly racist remarks about Barack Obamas attitude about Brexit stemming from his antipathy to Britain because of his part-Kenyan ancestry. Biden has called Johnson the physical and emotional clone of Donald Trump.

More profoundly, the media and lobbying networks around MAGA and Brexit are going to have much less influence in Washington, where they matter. Steve Bannon is currently indicted for fraud and, with a Biden nominee leading the Department of Justice, an unredacted version ofSpecial Counsel Robert Muellers report on Russian interference could reveal more transatlantic connections with Vladimir Putins Russia.

Other ongoing FBI investigations into campaign finance and counter-intelligence will expose more about Trumps various business dealings with hostile foreign powers and those could entrammel some key Brexiters.

Many on the UK right, and not just Farage and his Brexit Party outriders, were heavily invested in a Trump second term. We could soon discover why.

But beyond any criminal or intelligence liability, the simultaneous arrival of Biden and Brexit in January next year will make the UK even more irrelevant to the global considerations of a new US Government.

As a result, British think tanks will be of less interest to US for-profit and not-for-profit corporations. With no place at the EU table and with a declining economy, hit by the dual shock of leaving the Single Market and the worst Coronavirus impact of the G7 nations, were just not in crude financial terms such a key asset. And right-wing British activists will receive fewer remittances of dark money as a result.

The US culture wars were always designed to create wedge issues around guns, religion, education, race and class to get working-class Americans, particularly in the South, to vote against their economic interests and for tax cuts for a wealthy elite because, at least, they shared the same nominal values.

This Southern Strategy was echoed by Johnson and Dominic Cummings in the 2019 General Election and the apparent collapse of the Labour Red Wall in north-eastern constituencies. It led to a stunning tactical victory, but the long-term strategic consequences are still moot. Trumps Rust Belt defence collapsed after one term. This does not bode well for the Conservative Partys current rhetoric pitting working-class voters against metropolitan elites.

When it comes to Britains role in American culture wars, as Steve Bannon identified early on, the UK was a bridgehead in the battle for the populist right. With its reputation (at least in the US) for prudence, propriety and stiff upper lip sobriety as Bannon told his head of research at Cambridge Analytica Chris Wylie in 2014 Britain is an exemplar. If the UK fell for Bannons brand of nationalist populism, the US would be likely to follow and the EU collapse: Brexit would be a lesson to everyone.

Well, Brexit was a lesson to everyone a bad one dont, whatever you do, follow. The countrys reputation for transparency and reasonableness is permanently tarnished: both its economy and soft power influence are badly trashed. The disparate nations of the United Kingdom are more in danger of breaking up than they have been for decades and their people are restive, divided and destined to continue the Alt-right battles about wokeness and cultural Marxism long after they have lost any wider resonance.

In that way, the transatlantic alliance of dark money and polarisation is over. We are on our own. Britain served its role as part of a larger offensive but it is now abandoned like a rusting aircraft carrier waiting to be sold for scrap. We may remain as a rump Trumpocracy, and our think tanks will still receive dribbles of cash from the US Conservative right. But we will be increasingly irrelevant and rapidly ignored, and then will finally have to confront our own demons without blaming or relying on monsters from abroad.


Citizens Disunited: The End of the Transatlantic Trumpist Alliance - Byline Times

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The Boys Have the Last Word on Twitters Latest Meme | CBR – CBR – Comic Book Resources

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Satirizing the recent trend of fake fact-checking warnings on Twitter, The Boys shared an anti-supes one using the colorful rhetoric of Billy Butcher.

The Boyshas jumpedin on social media'slatest meme trendof producing fake Twitter warnings with a statement that, in typical The Boys fashion, reminds fans that superheroes are more problematic than whattheir PR campaigns suggest.

At first, thetweet offered a seemingly innocuous and uplifting message: "The world needs more Supes!" However, in what feels like a direct rebuttal from Billy Butcher himself, that quotewas followed up by a more "truthful" disclaimer: "This claim is a load of fucking horse shit. Fuck Supes and fuck Vought."

RELATED:The Boys Are Confused by Pro-Trump Group's Use of Homelander

Some Twitter userswere unable to read the faux-warning due to its bolded font, however. One user posted an image of thetweet with its lower half redacted and replaced with rectangles,writing, "what a fantastic tweet, if only I could see it though." In response, The Boysposted an image of the original, fully uncensored post below, reassuring that user, "We got you, mate."

This jab at Twitter's warning labels -- atrend thatarose out of mockery towards the disclaimers put on DonaldTrump's false claims aboutelection fraud in the 2020 Presidential election --feels on-brand with howThe Boys regularly satirizesmodern pop cultureobsessions likesuperhero fandom and social media. The latter was heavily featured in Season 2as a toolused by Stormfront to generate support for her alt-right/literal Nazi crusade, winning over millions of devoted followers through memes and livestreams to the initial annoyance, and later admiration, of Homelander. It also pokes fun at how Vought -- a pharmaceutical mega-corporation with departments for running the variousmedia campaigns whichpaintthe Seven and other supes as altruistic figures -- works against the purposeof Twitter warnings calling out suchfalse statements.

Amazon Studios' The Boys stars Karl Urban as Billy Butcher, Jack Quaid as Hughie, Laz Alonso as Mother's Milk, Tomer Kapon as Frenchie, Karen Fukuhara as Kimiko, Erin Moriarty as Annie January, Chace Crawford as the Deep, Antony Starr as Homelander and Aya Cash as Stormfront. Seasons 1 and 2 are currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

KEEP READING:The Boys: Why Season 3 Will Be the Show's Most Political Outing Yet

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Ben Wasserman is a graduate of NYU's M.A. Cinema Studies Program at the Tisch School of the Arts. He's previously written for the pop culture websites ComicsVerse and mxdwn Movies- as well as mxdwn's film editor from 2019-2020- and currently writes reviews for the website Film-Forward. Ben loves all things film, television, gaming and comic-related, especially when it comes to Marvel.

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The Boys Have the Last Word on Twitters Latest Meme | CBR - CBR - Comic Book Resources

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Conservatives Are (Unsurprisingly) Wrong About Eastern Men, Masculinity, And Dresses – Junkee

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When Candice Owens prominent conservative commentator and poster girl for the alt-right attacked Harry Styles for wearing a dress on the cover of Vogue, she also implied that Eastern men are manly because they dont wear dresses.

There is no society that can survive without strong men. The East knows this. In the west, the steady feminization of our men at the same time that Marxism is being taught to our children is not a coincidence. It is an outright attack.

Bring back manly men.

Unfortunately for Owens, Eastern men have been wearing dresses for centuries and continue to do so while being just as manly or unmanly as they wish to be. And that includes the big man himself, Jesus Christ.

Men all around the world, at all points in history have rocked dresses and skirts. Some of the arguably most manly men, from gladiators, to kings and emperors, sultans, to warriors. Today, while the West has largely abandoned wearing skirts, probably due to men riding horses while women staying home riding horses is very uncomfortable in a dress, not that Ive done it. Because it was mostly men who needed to wear pants, they slowly became masculine while dresses and skirts became feminine.

It wasnt actually until the 19th century these ways of dressing up within the gender binary became set in stone.

A man named Beau Brummel, the 19th century equivalent of a male fashion influencer, embraced menswear as we now know it, and everyone else followed. Menswear became simple, structured, made of military fabrics, and monochromatic. This left behind European mens previous obsession with flamboyant clothing made of silky fabrics and laces, also abandoning the makeup and wigs they had once loved these all became feminine things.

But the same did not happen in the East.

While men in the East have embraced the masculine look, its not so much because its masculine, but because of Western and often colonial influence. Still, tradition remains strong across the East. Men in South Asia continue wear kurtas, in Japan men wear kimonos and haoris, in East Africa men wear kanzus, and in the Middle East even the King of Saudi Arabia wears the thawb.

Elijah Wood sums it up right. Masculinity does not make a man. And neither does wearing pants.

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Conservatives Are (Unsurprisingly) Wrong About Eastern Men, Masculinity, And Dresses - Junkee

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