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OPINION

Pompeo Engages in Huge Coronavirus Gaslighting: ‘Best Experts Think It Was Man-Made’ – Which Is False – Then Flip-Flops

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is engaging is a campaign of disinformation, conspiracy theories, and gaslighting in efforts to shore up President Donald Trump’s MAGA base while ramping up their attacks on China over the coronavirus that to date has killed more than 66,000 people in America.

On Sunday’s ABC News’ “This Week” (video below) Pompeo said the “best experts” think it was “manmade,” referring to the novel coronavirus, then immediately switched and said he believes and trusts the Intelligence Community which says it was not.

“We’ve said from the beginning this was a virus that originated in Wuhan, China,” Pompeo  told ABC’s Martha Radditz.  “We took a lot of grief for that from the outset but I think the whole world can see now.”

That’s also false. There was never any question that the virus that causes COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, China. (There was one Chinese official who suggested the coronavirus came from the U.S. but no one believed that lie.) The Trump administration took no “grief” for saying the virus came from China – they took tremendous grief for insisting on calling it the “Chinese virus,” and the “Chinese flu,” given the racist implications of those characterizations that have been causing harassment and attacks on those believed to be of Chinese origin.

“I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan,” Pompeo told ABC’s Martha Radditz.

There is no credible evidence to date that is true.

Radditz responded, asking Pompeo, “Do you believe it was man-made or genetically modified?”

“Look, the best experts so far seem to think it was man-made, I have no reason to disbelieve that at this point,” Pompeo replied.

Stunned, Radditz tried to challenge Pompeo.

“Your Office of the DNI says the consensus, the scientific consensus was ‘not man-made or genetically modified.'”

Pompeo doesn’t flinch, doesn’t say he misspoke, but he does gaslight: “That’s right. I agree with that. I’ve seen their analysis, I’ve seen the summary that you saw that was released publicly, I have no reason to doubt that that is accurate.”

Radditz, still grappling with Pompeo saying two entirely different things at the same time, pushes further, while giving him the benefit of the doubt, says: “Oh, OK, so just to be clear you do not think it was man-made or genetically modified?”

Pompeo does not say, “Correct,” or, “No, it was not man-made or genetically modified.”

Instead, Pompeo offers up this statement: “I’ve seen what the Intelligence Community has said, I have no reason to believe that they’ve got it wrong.”

News outlets, like Bloomberg, decided to report that “Pompeo stopped short of saying the virus was man-made.”

And yet, he began by saying, “the best experts so far seem to think it was man-made.”

But as Radditz noted, the U.S. government’s Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) issued a statement saying: “The Intelligence Community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified,” and added it “will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.”

So there is no official Intelligence Community finding that the coronavirus “came from that laboratory in Wuhan,” or is “man-made,” and yet Pompeo claims he is citing “experts” saying it was man-made.

Gaslighting, disinformation, and conspiracy-theory spreading at its best.

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OPINION

‘Never Forget’: Critics Blast ‘Senator Sedition Fist’ Josh Hawley on Anniversary of His Fox News Insurrection Threat

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U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), whose fist-in-the-sky photo taken in front of the Capitol January 6 became emblematic of Donald Trump’s insurrection, is being raked over the coals as Americans remember the threat he delivered in a Fox News interview just one year ago today.

Here he is, talking on January 4 last year with Fox News’ Bret Baier, who bluntly told him “Congress doesn’t have the right to overturn” the election.

Hawley then countered with a misreading of the Constitution, but his claim that Trump could remain president depending “on what happens on Wednesday,” January 6, is to many chilling:

That video, first posted one year ago today, has gone viral:

“Never forget exactly 1 year ago today, Josh Hawley was on Fox spreading the big lie for Trump,” wrote on social media user. “He’s as guilty as anyone when it comes to the insurrection & if we lose the house in ’22, people like this Hitler wannabee will be first in line to overthrow democracy.”

“Hard to believe Senator Sedition Fist, aka Josh Hawley, is still a sitting Senator after this,” said another.

Other responses include:

“Josh Hawley is a dangerous fascist and he needs to answer for his crimes from January 6th.”

“Raise your hand if Josh Hawley is a seditious traitor who should be expelled from Congress ASAP!”

“We don’t talk about it enough, but Josh Hawley attempted to stop the certification of a presidential election and incited the attack on the U.S. Capitol.”

“A year isn’t enough time to forget that Josh Hawley (along with Grassley, Cruz, and others) spread misinformation about the election and even made statements implying that they expected it to be overturned. All of them traitors!”

A few more:

 

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OPINION

Don Jr. Suggests Trump’s New Social Media Site Was Created to Help Republicans Win Elections

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Donald Trump, Jr. is appearing to suggest his father’s new social media platform, Truth Social, was created to help Republicans win elections.

Appearing on far right host Sebastian Gorka’s Newsmax show that aired Sunday, Trump Jr. was asked in a segment about the new social media site what his “specific message” is “to those who had just kind of given up on the idea of America and free and fair elections.”

Trump Jr. did not hesitate.

“Let’s stay in the game,” he replied, after discussing Truth Social for several minutes and urging viewers to join. “I mean, you know, these are all steps that we’re taking to make sure that we can level that playing field, the playing field has been so biased for so long, right?” he claimed.

“We’ve been playing T ball while the other side has been playing hardball and doing whatever it takes,” Trump Jr. said, despite some Republicans working to overturn the free and fair 2020 presidential election.

“You know, Donald Trump opened the door for conservatives to start pushing back, to play the game the way the other side has done it. We need to keep doing that, we need to stay in this game. They would love for us just to tuck tail to run to turn the other cheek to be dejected, to take our ball and go home. We can’t allow that to happen, we have to stay in the game we have to stay involved we have to be vocal and we have to be unafraid.”

And even though Facebook was formed in 2004, Twitter in 2006, Microsoft in 1980, and Apple in 1976,  he also seemed to suggest that “Big Tech” or social media platforms have been working against Republicans for 50 years.

“And if we do that and you look at what’s going on right now with the insanity of this administration and all of the leftist agenda, you realize, Americans are waking up. It’s about time, but they’re finally doing it and we’re actually able to put up a front against a huge, huge platform that has been working against us, for half a century.”

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OPINION

COVID Disinformation Purveyor Sen. Ron Johnson Urges FDA to Not Grant Full Approval to Coronavirus Vaccine

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Senator Ron Johnson has written a letter to the FDA criticizing the Biden Administration for “rushing the approval process” for political reasons, reports the conservative Washington Times.

Johnson has repeatedly earned his “Ron Anon” nickname throughout the pandemic as an opponent of vaccines (while denying he’s an anti-vaxxer) and other COVID-19 mitigation efforts. The most recent spike in cases and deaths caused by the Delta variant haven’t slowed his roll.

The Washington Times reported on the contents of his letter, which it said it had obtained exclusively:

“The Wisconsin Republican warned against the Food and Drug Administration’s pending approval of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, which is expected Monday.

“He said the fast-track decision appeared more political than scientific since it skipped the usual formal advisory committee meeting and did not fully account for the reports of deaths and disabilities suffered by people after being vaccinated.

“‘I see no need to rush the FDA approval process for any of the three COVID-19 vaccines. Expediting the process appears to only serve the political purpose of imposing and enforcing vaccine mandates.'”

In the letter, Johnson also charged that “over the last year and a half, the decisions of federal health agencies have dramatically affected the lives of all Americans. The impact of these decisions has been felt in Americans’ treatment options, employment, schools, housing and travel, and in countless other ways. The human toll of the social restrictions and economic devastation is incalculable.”

The Washington Times did report this from the Biden administration:

“U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy told “Fox News Sunday” that moving the Pfizer vaccine from “emergency” to “full approval” would make mandates more appealing.” There are universities and businesses that have been considering putting in vaccine requirements in order to create a safer, a workplace, a learning environment,” he said. “I think this announcement from the FDA would likely encourage them and make them feel more comfortable in putting some requirements in place.”

Johnson’s stature as a de facto spokesperson for the virus has long been documented. Last month, Washington Post fact checkers gave Johnson four Pinocchios for his campaign of vaccine misinformation. It quoted this bizarre claim from Johnson in a July 14 interview on Fox News’ “Hannity.”

The fact of the matter is it looks like natural immunity is as strong if not stronger than vaccinated immunity. … There is a risk to the vaccine. Again, it’s very small, but there are some pretty serious side effects, including death. We are already over 5,200 deaths reported on the VAERS system. That’s a CDC, FDA’s early warning system.”

“Johnson has emerged as the leading vaccine skeptic in Congress this year,” the Post reported. “For months, the senator has been peddling misinformation about coronavirus vaccines, undeterred by fact checkers, federal health agencies, medical experts and a growing body of scientific research. We previously dug into two Johnson claims that resurfaced in this interview on Fox News, a network whose right-wing personalities consistently bash the Biden administration’s vaccination efforts.

A month earlier, in June, there was this from CNN: “YouTube suspended Johnson’s account after it posted a video of the senator making dubious claims about treatments for the coronavirus. In the video, Johnson voiced support for using hydroxychloroquine against the virus, the same drug Donald Trump enthusiastically endorsed and used as a preventative treatment for coronavirus last year.”

It has all been part of a pandemic-long quest for Johnson to stoke support from the Trump base. Among his most notable strange moments, Johnson brought forth a parade of dubious doctors at a December Senate hearing on the pandemic for the purpose of “elevating fringe theories,” in the polite words of the New York Times. Johnson was so repulsive that he even bridged the partisan divide on the subject. Here’s more from newspaper:

“Mr. Johnson’s inflammatory public statements and his decision to give a platform to an assortment of contrarian doctors promoting alternative treatments have also irked some fellow Republicans, who have privately groused that he is acting irresponsibly.”

 

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