Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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THE TIME FOR POLITE DIALOGUE WITH THE POLITICAL RIGHT IS OVER: North Carolina’s Thom Tillis was typical when he stated, “The campaign is already underway. It is essential to the institution of the Senate and to the very health of our republic to not launch our nation into a partisan, divisive confirmation battle during the very same time the American people are casting their ballots to elect our next president.” Today — surprise! — they’re singing a radically different tune. The same men and women who blocked the Garland nomination are now ready to proceed with an absurdly rapid confirmation process for a Trump nominee — perhaps even in a post-election, lame duck session after Trump has lost the election. Meanwhile, as Tillis, Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell and other Republican senators pursue their unabashed perfidy in the glare of Washington klieg lights, another branch of the modern conservative movement has been toiling under the radar, pursuing similarly dishonest, if less-well-publicized work. This fact was on display last week with the remarkable revelation that a right-wing operative with ties to the national conservative establishment had tried to infiltrate multiple good government groups in North Carolina. What’s more, the tactic “Fortune” employed — attempting to deceptively ingratiate himself through the offering of financial contributions — is similar to that often used by Project Veritas, a notorious right-wing operation that has long used dishonest tactics in an effort to infiltrate progressive organizations and Democratic campaigns in hopes of catching them in (or prodding them into) some sort of unlawful activity. If there’s any fire left in the belly of the progressive movement, these incidents will serve as a final wake-up call — a last clear signal that the time for polite and civilized dialogue with the right has become all but impossible. Simply put: Now is the time for caring and thinking people to fight like hell to save our country from those who would lie, cheat and steal their way to power.
https://www.robesonian.com/opinion/columns/138094/the-time-for-polite-dialogue-with-the-political-ri...

Saturday News: No surprise, at all

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REPUBLICAN ELECTION BOARD MEMBERS WERE PRESSURED INTO RESIGNING: Those resignations, of board members Ken Raymond and David Black, came in the wake of several highly critical press releases from the state’s top Republican politicians. A party spokesman confirmed to The News & Observer that they also came after a phone call with the top lawyer for the state Republican Party to convey that the NC GOP was “very unhappy.” “They called and spoke with our counsel,” said Tim Wigginton, the N.C. Republican Party’s spokesman, referring to Chief Counsel Philip Thomas. “And afterward they put out their resignation letters.” On Facebook, Black’s wife wrote that his resignation was “not voluntary.” Deb Black’s Facebook comment read: “The GOP chairman neglected to mention that these resignations were not voluntary. They were told to resign. Sad times when republicans are firing intelligent and trustworthy republicans.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article246017110.html

Social media battleground: Disinformation is the game, chaos is the goal

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And the upcoming election is the perfect medium for it:

Intelligence officials have expressed concerns that Russian and other actors will have a major opening if mail-in ballots are slow to be counted, or there are charges and countercharges about the handling of mail-in ballots, which President Trump has already said are being used to “rig” the outcome.

During that time after the election, the two agencies said, hackers could amplify “disinformation that includes reports of voter suppression, cyberattacks targeting election infrastructure, voter or ballot fraud and other problems intended to convince the public of the elections’ illegitimacy.”

Bolding mine, because these are issues that are already of major concern to many on the left. They know we're worried about it, thus we have been preconditioned to help in the dissemination of that disinformation. But here's where it gets really complicated: Some of these stories might be true. Black voters may get harassed in Missouri, an election system may get hacked in Arizona. But sharing the hell out of that story on Facebook or Twitter may also discourage people from voting. And that would make said disinformation a success. Facebook is going after some low-hanging fruit right now:

Friday News: Daytime Emmy Awards

REPUBLICANS ARE APPARENTLY OUTRAGED OVER ELECTION SETTLEMENT: President Donald Trump's campaign and national Republican groups are trying to intervene in a North Carolina voting lawsuit after state GOP leaders denounced a proposed settlement. Republicans are accusing the Democratic-led State Board of Elections of colluding with national Democratic-affiliated groups to loosen the state's absentee voting rules, threatening election security. "They are suing to move Election Day even further out so they can harvest ballots after the polls close to steal the election for Joe Biden," Trump deputy campaign manager Justin Clark said in a statement. "The judge on this case has a choice to make: Side with collusion and rig this election, or uphold the rule of law and protect every North Carolinian’s right to vote." Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest fired off a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Thursday, asking for a federal investigation into "the collusive attack on the integrity of North Carolina's elections."
https://www.wral.com/trump-campaign-national-gop-seek-to-block-settlement-of-nc-absentee-voting-laws...

What's left to say?

Not long ago, I was fed up to my eyeballs with Thom Tillis and his anti-American behavior. The election wasn't in full swing, and Tillis was scrambling to position himself as some kind of bipartisan hero working for all our citizens. In the months that followed, up to this very day, Tillis has devolved into the ugliest and most vile of creatures imaginable.

The erosion and mischaracterization of the term "Antifa"

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

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

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

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

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