Documentaries

'Gullible suckers' who buy Dinesh D’Souza’s election 'mockumentary' will keep him 'laughing all the way to the bank': conservative

In his new documentary “2000 Mules,” far-right pundit Dinesh D’Souza claims to offer proof that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump. D’Souza’s critics — a combination of liberals, progressives, centrist Democrats and right-wing Never Trump conservatives — have been slamming “2000 Mules” as a sloppy, embarrassing joke. On the right, one of those critics is Never Trumper Amanda Carpenter.

In a scathing article published by the conservative website The Bulwark on May 17, Carpenter slams “2000 Mules” as a total embarrassment and a cynical “cash grab” on D’Souza’s part.

“Dinesh D’Souza’s ‘2000 Mules’ is ‘Plandemic’ for election truthers,” Carpenter observes. “For the non-insane, it’s a hilarious mockumentary. Not that D’Souza cares what the non-insane think: He has discovered that there are enough suckers out there to keep him laughing all the way to the bank.”


Carpenter goes on to describe some ways in which “2000 Mules” is badly done.

“Here’s the elevator pitch for ‘2000 Mules’: D’Souza’s buddies at True the Vote spent $2 million on cell phone geotracking data — which he describes as ‘digital DNA’ — that they say proves ‘mules” were paid to illegally ‘traffic’ thousands of ballots from non-profit ‘stash houses’ into drop-off ballot boxes,” Carpenter explains. “All D’Souza really has — if the cell phone data is real and is really what he represents it as being — is some evidence that some people made frequent trips in areas around ballot drop-off boxes which, by design, were usually placed in heavily-traveled areas for convenience.”

Carpenter continues, “Putting that aside, who are these mules? Who paid them? Where is the evidence of people making repeated trips to illegally stuff dropboxes with ballots? What non-profits were involved? These questions are not even asked, let alone answered, in the movie.”

According to Carpenter, D’Souza’s documentary “doesn’t survive the most basic fact-checks to support its most important claims.”

Carpenter writes, “It’s better to view the film as a performance piece, a comedic triumph where the joke is on the rubes gullible enough to give D’Souza their money…. True the Vote’s tall tales are too dumb even for its biggest supporters to go along with anymore. D’Souza, however, is happy to scrape up the bullshit and repackage it for the direct-to-consumer market.”

Oil companies are profiting from illegal spills -- and California is letting them

In May 2019, workers in California’s Central Valley struggled to seal a broken oil well. It was one of thousands of aging wells that crowd the dusty foothills three hours from the coast, where Chevron and other companies inject steam at high pressure to loosen up heavy crude. Suddenly, oil shot out of the bare ground nearby.

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'I’m ready to help': George Takei throws support to Lincoln Project's new get out the vote Facebook 'army'

Progressive activist and actor George Takei on Thursday informally offered his support for a new organization being started by The Lincoln Project, the growing group of never-Trump Republicans who have unleashed devastating ads attacking President Donald Trump. The group is unveiling a "grassroots Facebook Army" called The Lincoln Project Digital Coalition.

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Before Kamala Harris, there was Charlotta Bass: Remembering the first black woman to run for VP in 1952

Senator Kamala Harris is the first Indian American and first Black woman to be nominated for vice president on a major party ticket, but, as many historians have noted, Harris is not the first Black woman to run for vice president. That distinction belongs to the journalist and political activist Charlotta Bass, who was the editor of The California Eagle for nearly 30 years, one of the country’s oldest Black newspapers, which covered women’s suffrage, police brutality, the Klu Klux Klan, and discriminatory hiring and housing practices. Bass joined the Progressive Party ticket in 1952 on an antiracist platform that called for fair housing and equal access to healthcare. Bass’s exclusion from the public narrative signals a tendency to “sideline Black radical politics,” says author and historian Keisha Blain.

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Trump would be losing this race in a big way even if there were no pandemic

If you're hoping that a decisive win against Donald Trump and GOP candidates down the ballot would force a reckoning for the Republican Party, you'd likely be disappointed if that outcome comes to pass in November. His base, conspiratorial crackpots and white nationalists, would tell themselves that he was done in by the Deep State and a flood of illegal votes by undocumented immigrants. But more mainstream Republicans would also blame a big loss on factors other than Trump's corruption, bigotry and narcissism. The conventional wisdom would likely coalesce around the idea that the Covid-19 pandemic, and its ensuing economic meltdown, doomed Trump's otherwise strong chances of re-election.

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As Biden mulls VP pick, pundits vie for most substance-free forecast

As presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s search for a running mate drags on, press coverage hasn’t failed to disappoint.

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Historian outlines a terrifying scenario that could happen if Trump loses

It looks like Biden will beat Trump badly and the Republicans will suffer disastrous losses across the country in November. Although the polls have just been inching toward the Democrats, suddenly articles about what Trump might do if he loses are multiplying, herehere, and here.

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Conservatives fear Lindsey Graham's plan to help Trump's re-election will blow up in his face

According to a report at the Daily Beast, some Republicans, as well as advisors to Donald Trump, are questioning Sen. Lindsey Graham's decision to relitigate the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into the Trump administration's connections to Russia so close to the election saying it could come back to haunt both the president and Graham himself.

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'Roy Cohn' filmmaker on her new HBO doc about Trump's mentor -- and the man who killed her grandparents Julius and Ethel Rosenberg

Filmmaker Ivy Meeropol has already made a documentary about her family connection to history. As anyone acquainted with 20th-century radical history will already recognize, she is the granddaughter of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, the supposed "atom spies" executed by the federal government in 1953. Meeropol's 2004 HBO film "Heir to an Execution" provides a moving, intimate study of that event and its personal and political legacy — although it does not and could not settle the question of the Rosenbergs' guilt or the fairness of their sentence, which remains contested to this day.

(Full disclosure, although I don't think it's relevant to this story: Both my mother and stepfather were American Communists, and my stepfather, Mel Fiske, knew Abel and Anne Meeropol, who adopted the Rosenbergs' children, including Ivy Meeropol's father, after their parents were electrocuted. So, yeah, if you want an entirely neutral account of these events, go elsewhere.)

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Can Lindsey Graham win reelection as a Trump enabler?

The most significant long-term story in American politics these days is the realignment that is occurring in a few traditionally red states in the South like Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and possibly even Texas. One state at the heart of the Confederacy that isn’t feeling that transition is South Carolina. No one doubts that Donald Trump will win there in 2020, even if his margin is lower than his 14 point win against Clinton in 2016.

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How the religious right's war against abortion is built on lies, grifting and bullying

On Tuesday, both the pro- and anti-choice world were rocked by a revelation that undermines literal decades of religious right nonsense. Norma McCorvey, the "Jane Roe" of the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion nationwide in 1973, claimed before her 2017 death that her famous "conversion" to anti-abortion activism was a con job.

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Stealing America’s democracy -- one vote at a time

In two previous posts, Bill Moyers, journalist David Daley, and others featured in the new documentary, Slay the Dragon, explained how gerrymandering has traditionally worked and what changed in 2010. Republican legislators used redistricting to essentially guarantee victory in both the state house and the US House of Representatives in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Michigan.

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'On Putin's payroll': What the corrupt move to drop the case against Michael Flynn really means

In a major step toward establishing a Trump dictatorship, the Justice Department moved Thursday to drop the criminal case against confessed felon Michael Flynn, the retired Army general and secret foreign agent who was Trump’s first national security adviser.

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Mitch McConnell accelerating plan to place at least one more justice on Supreme Court before the election: report

According to a report from Politico, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his fellow Republicans in the Senate are setting the stage to rush through a nomination to the Supreme Court as quickly as possible should a seat become open before the November election.

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'Pure baloney': Zoologist debunks Trump’s COVID-19 origin theory -- explains how animal-human transmission works

With the largest one-day death toll in the U.S. yet — 2,400 in just 24 hours — President Trump is trying to deflect attention from his handling of the pandemic by waging a war on public health experts and science, threatening to cut World Health Organization funding and fueling a theory that the coronavirus came from a lab in Wuhan, China. We speak to a zoologist who has been sounding the alarm about a coming pandemic for years. “The idea that this virus escaped from a lab is just pure baloney,” says Peter Daszak, disease ecologist and the president of EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit that works globally to identify and study our vulnerabilities to emerging infectious disease. “These pandemic viruses that emerge originate in wildlife.”

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Psychology experts explain how to stop touching your face to minimize spread of coronavirus and other germs

Public health officials consistently promote hand-washing as a way for people to protect themselves from the COVID-19 coronavirus. However, this virus can live on metal and plastic for days, so simply adjusting your eyeglasses with unwashed hands may be enough to infect yourself. Thus, the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionand the World Health Organizationhave been telling people to stop touching their faces.We are experts in psychological science and public health. Brian Labusis an expert in communicable diseases who knows what people should do to avoid becoming infected. Stephen Benn...

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Stuck at home without sports? Here are the 25 best '30 for 30' documentaries streaming on ESPN Plus.

Rather than go cold turkey on sports, you’re probably looking for programming to stream.We’re here to help.We mined the ESPN Plus subscription service’s library of documentaries, primarily consisting of its “30 for 30” series along with the “ESPN Films Presents” and “Nine for IX” brand extensions.Some very good mini-documentaries are under the “30 for 30” aegis, such as quick histories of the high-five, the Arnold Palmer drink, scapegoat Richard Jewell and how Alex Rodriguez almost joined the Red Sox.But the focus here is on the 25 best long-form documentaries in this group, which should keep ...

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'Single point of failure': The CDC's past successes with an FDA process set the table for coronavirus testing debacle

SEATTLE — In late April 2009, Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, then the Food and Drug Administration’s principal deputy commissioner, received an urgent weekend phone call from the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Dr. Rich Besser told Sharfstein that the CDC — and by, extension, public health departments nationwide — faced a serious problem.Less than two weeks earlier, the CDC had identified a virulent new strain of swine flu in a 10-year-old patient in California. Within days, the novel strain cropped up in another California child, two patients in Texas, a cluster in Mexico a...

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Trump is trying to break a 2016 promise about the social safety net

Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security are among the most popular federal programs out there. A 2019 Pew Research poll showed majorities across all parties and demographics opposing cuts to Social Security. A Public Policy Polling survey that same year found broad opposition to slashing Medicaid or Medicare.The programs are so popular that Donald Trump himself, back in his 2016 campaign, promised to keep his hands off of them. And in his State of the Union address on Feb. 4, he reiterated what he called “an ironclad pledge to American families” to “always protect your Medicare and your Social ...

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BBC whitewashes US refusal to bomb Auschwitz

The new BBC documentary about the question of bombing Auschwitz deserves an award—for creative fiction. Through omissions, distortions, and “re-enactments” of conversations with imaginary dialogue inserted for effect, the BBC has made a shambles of the historical record concerning this important issue.

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Why prison should include a college education

What is prison for? Should it include a college education?

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