Lies and threats

Dec 11, 2020 Travel News

Lies and threats

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Attempts by President Trump to reverse the election result are unlikely to succeed. Because of this, the effort can at times feel like a publicity stunt – an effort by Trump to raise funds and improve his image with his supporters.

And it just might be all of those things. But it is also a remarkable campaign against American democracy. It grew to include most Republican-led states, most Republican members of Congress, and many threats of violence. I want to use today’s newsletter to explain it.

The new centerpiece of the effort is a lawsuit that the state of Texas filed with the Supreme Court this week and which Trump is supporting. He says elections in four swing states – Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – suffered from “unconstitutional irregularities.”

The lawsuit is based on the same lies Trump told about voter fraud. In reality, there was no significant fraud, as local officials on both sides concluded. William Barr, Trump’s attorney general, came to the same conclusion.

Nonetheless, attorneys general in 17 states – including Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Indiana, Utah, Arizona and the Dakotas – supported the Texas lawsuit. Yesterday, more than half of Republicans in the House released a legal brief supporting it. “If they get to court (they won’t) they’ll break up the country,” wrote David French of The Dispatch, a conservative publication.

They do this, as my colleagues Jeremy Peters and Maggie Haberman have explained, in large part because they believe challenging Trump would hurt their standing with Republican voters. In doing so, politicians “inflame the public,” French noted, leading many voters to believe – wrongly – that a presidential election was unfair. And that belief is fueling an outbreak of violent threats against election officials, including:

  • Dozens of Trump supporters, some armed, came to the home of Jocelyn Benson, Democratic Secretary of State for Michigan, and started shouting obscenities.

  • On Twitter, Trump supporters posted photos of the home of Ann Jacobs, a Wisconsin official, and mentioned her children.

  • In Phoenix, about 100 Trump supporters, some armed, demonstrated outside the building where officials were counting votes.

  • In Vermont, officials received a voicemail threatening them with “execution by firing squad.”

  • Seth Bluestein, a Philadelphia official, received anti-Semitic and violent threats after Pam Bondi, a Trump ally, publicly mentioned them.

  • A Georgia poll worker went into hiding after a viral video falsely claimed he rejected ballots.

  • Brad Raffensperger, Republican Secretary of State for Georgia, and his wife have received death threats, including by text message, and caravans have surrounded their home.

  • Gabriel Sterling, another Georgian official, received a message wishing him a happy birthday and telling him it would be his last.

In a subsequent interview with Time magazine, Sterling argued that elected politicians can defuse threats by acknowledging the election was fair. “The leadership is supposed to look like the adults in the room saying, ‘I know you’re upset, but it’s reality,’ Sterling said.

A swing state responds: In a Supreme Court filing, Pennsylvania called the Texas lawsuit a “cacophony of false claims,” ​​”a seditious abuse of the judicial process” and “an affront to the principles of constitutional democracy.”

The virus

  • An FDA advisory committee voted in favor of Pfizer’s vaccine, clearing one of the final hurdles before the agency approves the drug. He probably will in a few days.

  • South Korea recorded 686 new cases on Wednesday, its highest daily total since February, and a health official there called it “our biggest coronavirus crisis in history.” Over the past week, 45 US states have averaged more daily cases.

  • New Hampshire House of Representatives Speaker Richard Hinch died suddenly from Covid-19 on Wednesday. Hinch, 71, recently attended an indoor meeting with his fellow Republicans where several members contracted the virus.

  • Ellen DeGeneres said she tested positive.


From the review: What does the future of the Republican Party look like? Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics chats with Jane Coaston of The Times and Ross Douthat, in Jane’s first episode as co-host of “The Argument” podcast.

Lives lived: As the nation’s first unionized lesbian columnist who wrote regularly about gay life, Deb Price has covered issues such as the gay debate in the military. But she has also written about same-sex couples in everyday domestic situations, believing that it would make it harder for society to deny them equal rights. Price has died at 62.

Support from subscribers makes Times journalism possible. If you haven’t already subscribed, consider becoming one today.

The American diet is incredibly diverse. But the list of American dietitians is less so: about 71% are non-Hispanic Caucasians. As a result, America’s largest organization’s recommendations for nutrition professionals often ignore non-Western foods.

A new wave of experts are trying to change this, as Priya Krishna writes in The Times.

Already, some dietitians have created their own resources. Hazel Ng prepared materials for cooking with Asian products, such as bitter melon and lychees. Ryan Bad Heart Bull offered healthy Native American food tips to cancer survivors trying to adjust their diets. Toronto dietitian Nazima Qureshi has herself published a guide to healthy fasting during Ramadan. And other organizations, like Diversify Dietetics, are addressing inequalities in the profession by providing mentorship and educational materials to students of color.

The national organization – the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – says it wants to improve. Kristen Gradney, a registered dietitian who spoke on behalf of the academy, said that while she “has really missed the mark” in preparing dietitians to deal with diverse populations, she is starting to make headway. Still, she said the “real change” would likely come from grassroots efforts.

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