EDITORS' BLOG
This is Must Read
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I hope you’ll take a moment to read this amazing piece by Josh Kovensky. In short, the Oath Keepers – the group at the center of the insurrection whose leaders were just charged with seditious conspiracy – got the idea for storming the Capitol from a Serbian scientist living in Europe who said that Trumpers could use the model of the ouster of Slobodan Milosevic to overturn the election of Joe Biden. It came in the form of a viral video and the Oath Keepers went from there.

Certainly the Oath Keepers didn’t need a lot of encouragement to get violent on behalf of Trump. But the viral veto encouraging Trumpers to drive Biden from power like Milosevic seemed to coalesce their thinking into a plan of action and gave them a historical antecedent that showed the good guys winning. The Serbian scientist, Aleksandar Savic, relocated to Texas not long after Joe Biden’s inauguration and Josh Kovensky tracked him down for a conversation. Read it here.

Where Things Stand: Hundreds Of Schools Defy Virginia’s New GOP Guv

School district officials who oversee hundreds of schools in Virginia are actively defying their new Republican governor’s efforts to tamp down COVID-19 mitigation measures in the state.

The backlash is similar to what we saw play out in Texas and Florida when Republican Govs. Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis enacted similar executive orders late last year, attempting to block individual schools and municipalities from creating their own policies for combatting the pandemic.

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Make A Note of It
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Make a note of this for future reference. Axios’s Sara Fischer notes that Al Jazeera seems to be sidelining or perhaps even shuttering “Rightly”. What’s that? It’s yet another right-leaning niche publication, launched in February of last year to “provide fresh voices that are too often left out of the mainstream media space.”

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Fast And Furious
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New York City was one of the first parts of the United States hit by the Omicron variant. The trajectory of the city’s surge now appears remarkably similar to the pattern we saw earlier in South Africa and other countries.

Data out of South Africa showed a roughly four week interval between the start of the Omicron surge and its peak. “Peak in four weeks and precipitous decline in another two,” said Fareed Abdullah of the South African Medical Research Council. “It was a flash flood more than a wave.”

New York City numbers appear to match this pattern almost exactly.

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COVID Notes #9 (Special Antigen Test Edition)
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So many people are getting COVID, trying to figure out whether they have COVID or trying to figure out how long to isolate whether they have COVID or suspect they might. So I wanted to share with you some examples of positive and negative antigen tests. There’s nothing surprising or groundbreaking about what I’m going to show you. But it can just help to see some examples if you’re trying to make sense of this stuff in your own home, workplace or family.

These are six tests from a COVID infection that was antigen positive for 9 days.

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Where Things Stand: Biden Deploys The Military To Fight COVID As SCOTUS Helps Pandemic Linger

The White House’s latest COVID-19 mitigation efforts are a contrast to the Supreme Court’s ruling today.

President Biden announced Thursday that his administration would double its previous promise to hand out free at-home COVID-19 tests, with plans to send out one billion to Americans’ homes. Along with that, the Biden administration will distribute N95 masks to the public as the country faces an unprecedented spike in COVID infections.

Biden is also deploying more military personnel to hospitals. Speaking from the White House the President said that next week he will send 1,000 military medics to hospitals across the country that have become overrun with patients dangerously sick with the coronavirus. The spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant has left the nation’s hospitals overburdened and short-staffed in recent weeks.

Biden didn’t mince his words in his address announcing the drastic moves.

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A Telling Sign
Prime Membership Required

Notwithstanding Sen. Sinema’s speechlet this afternoon I certainly hope they will still force a vote on the rules change itself. But another point occurs to me, one we’ve discussed before: there will never be another Democrat elected to the Senate who supports the current filibuster. This is obvious for a number of reasons. But I was reminded of it when I got a fundraising email from Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) who’s running for the open Ohio Senate seat. Like you, I get a million of these. Ryan’s just one. But here’s how the email starts …

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Listen To This: Looking to the Court

A new episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast is live! This week, with the Senate all but paralyzed, Josh and Kate discuss the Supreme Court’s posture on the Biden administration’s use of agency power.

You can listen to the new episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast here.

This Is Why You Call the Vote
Prime Membership Required

Newsflash: perfidious silly person Kysten Sinema has now told a friendly reporter at Politico that she’s “weighing” or “considering” or some other chin-scratch-full but meaningless gerund that she may go to the floor of the Senate and give a speech denouncing any changes to Senate rules that will allow Democrats thin majority to do anything. This as President Biden goes to the Senate to press his case for a rule change that will allow democracy-protecting legislation to come to a vote.

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McCarthy Refuses to Testify About Trump’s Confession
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Kevin McCarthy has now refused to appear voluntarily before the select committee investigating the January 6th insurrection. What’s important about this is that McCarthy is likely one of the few people with direct knowledge of Trump’s efforts to assist the insurrectionists as they were ransacking the Capitol building. According to numerous published reports, the ultimate source of which is almost certainly McCarthy himself, Trump told McCarthy in real time that he was barring the US military from stopping the insurrection in order to give his violent supporters time to ransack the Capitol and bring the official vote tabulation to a halt.

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| Muckraker

Civil cases brought against former President Trump over the Capitol insurrection are testing a startling point: that Trump’s actions on Jan. 6 may fall under presidential immunity.

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| Five Points

When Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced in March last year that he would be sending hundreds of Texas National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, he spurred a wave of posturing from Republican governors over “securing” the border. Following Texas’ lead, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sent Florida state law enforcement officers and National Guard troops to Texas. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem sent her state’s troops as well — funded by a Tennessee auto scrap billionaire

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| News

New district maps for Pennsylvania’s state legislature have received preliminary approval from a state commission — and prompted outrage from Pennsylvania House Republicans, for whom the maps are not red enough.

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| News

The Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down new legislative maps from the state’s Republican-dominated redistricting commission, saying that the maps for state House and Senate favored the GOP to such an extent that they violated the state’s constitution. 

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| News

Republicans’ attacks on the democratic process didn’t end on Jan. 6 — they’ve just changed form. Throughout 2021 and now continuing into 2022, GOP leaders have pursued endless “audits,” “investigations” and “reviews” of the 2020 election results that stage hunts for non-existent evidence of widespread voter fraud and keep former president Trump’s lie of a stolen election alive. 

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| Muckraker

The same people who organized Trump’s fateful rally on the Ellipse had something else in store on Jan. 6: a separate, previously unreported rally planned in front of the Supreme Court.

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| News

While the stretch between late December and the beginning of January is usually marked by slow news days patched over with pre-written, reflective stories to fill the front pages, there’s been no such lull in the redistricting corner. 

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| News

Republican Senate leaders have suddenly expressed some openness to changing the law that Donald Trump tried to use to steal a second term in office, leading to two obvious questions: Huh? Why?

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| Muckraker

In the earliest days, Steve Bannon projected uncertainty.

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| News

News outlets trot out the term every time Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) make headlines: “moderates.” 

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| News

After listening to every single episode of conservative election lawyer Cleta Mitchell’s podcast, “Who’s Counting?” a simple truth emerges: This isn’t about Donald Trump. 

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| News

September 2021: A blonde white woman takes the podium at a school board meeting for Lake Travis Independent School District, west of Austin, Texas. She claims that instead of speaking about a need for a second high school — the subject of the meeting — she had been “sidetracked” by something she read in a young adult novel that’s available in middle schools in the area. She was here to talk about that instead.

The parent, named Kara Bell, begins to read.

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| News

Gutfeld! is Fox News’ weekday late night show hosted by Greg Gutfeld that promises to “look at the news of the day through a satiric lens fused with pop culture” and “feature refreshing, light-hearted takes on the day’s top headlines” from various guests. The show debuted in April, and it’s been an undeniable success since then, rising above almost all other late night comedy programs in the ratings, according to Nielsen. It was also among the ten top rated cable news shows in November (all the other programs with higher ratings were also Fox shows, reinforcing the right-wing outlet’s status as the country’s most-watched TV network).

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