Warning: What follows is some bleak news coated in heavy, HEAVY cheese. But hey, it's the holiday season!

'Twas the week before Xmas and here at OptOut, we've sorted the news for you to check out. We've picked our top stories, the news of the day. Be warned it's not great for your holiday.

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With that, we begin: Here's a piece of our own. We exposed some dark money whose budget has grown. The Brownstone Institute peddles misinfo and fear, but that didn't stop the cashflow last year. Tax records reveal it brought in quite a haul from groups that keep donors secret from us all.

Fueled By Mystery Donors, COVID Conspiracy Group Grew Budget Last Year
The Brownstone Institute raked in sizable, untraceable donations.
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From there we can pivot to a video must-see. On the Majority Report was the good Naomi. She has a new book on her antivax doppleganger. She talks right-wing extremism, this interview was a banger.

Next up is States Newsroom with something we all should hear. A Census Bureau plan is causing much fear. Proposed question changes could undercount the disabled. With long-term implications if the scheme is not tabled.

Census Bureau’s proposed changes threaten to undercount people with disabilities, advocates say - Idaho Capital Sun
The U.S. Census Bureau has proposed changes to questions on its American Community Survey that advocates say will reduce the number of people who are counted as disabled.
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Following up, we've got Skipped History, to expose old Saint Nick and his checkered story.

Santa’s Not-So-Jolly Origin Story
A repost of my interview with Professor Stephen Nissenbaum
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But that's in the past, Santa's different today. So do not feel bad enjoying the holiday. But do not lose sight as schools let out, attacks on public education are all about. We go to the The Nation for a piece on the fight and the dark money "moms" on the far right.

Moms for Liberty Isn’t Going Anywhere
The more bitterness and resentment about public schools the group can generate, the easier it will be to privatize education—a long-standing goal for its deep-pocketed backers.
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The assault on institutions is not only for schools. Far right legal groups want to change rules. What The Lever reported is bad for our nation, they're sending judges on luxury vacation.

Billionaire-Backed Conservative Legal Groups Are Paying for Judges’ Luxury Vacations
Right-wing legal interests funded by the megawealthy are routinely feting lower-court judges and treating them to all-expenses-paid trips, which effectively function as a reward system for judges who espouse and maintain hard-line conservative legal views.
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Undermining the Dems is a goal of the right, so the House is preparing for an impeachment fight. The evidence is thin and we're all sure to tire. A New Republic piece says it might just backfire.

This Impeachment Will Do More to Reelect BidenThan Anything Biden Could Do Himself
Republicans plan to fritter away what advantages they could claim by letting their freak flag fly.
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Unfortunately now, we must look overseas, to the worst kind of horrors and catastrophes. CounterPunch had a warning for President Joe, rethink backing Bibi before voters say 'No.'

Both Biden and Bibi Could be Victims of the Israeli War Against Hamas
“Yes, there are too many civilian casualties in Gaza. And yes, we continue to urge the Israelis to be as careful and cautious as possible. But Israel is
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To cheerier matters, we cannot yet turn. COVID is surging, and we haven't learned.  There's blame to go 'round, but in WhoWhatWhy, is a good rundown of how so many have died.

COVID-19: Hard-Right Politics Drove Lies, Denial, and Deaths - WhoWhatWhy
Both the UK and the US governments subscribed to their own exceptionalism: Virus outbreaks happened elsewhere, not here.
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Knowing who to blame, is part of the equation. But we're still seeing rises in hospitalizations. Take a look at this piece, from Iowa Capital Dispatch. Realize  that SARS, you don't have to catch.

State officials: COVID-19 spread is ‘high’ in Iowa - Iowa Capital Dispatch
The weekly number of people admitted to Iowa hospitals who have COVID-19 recently reached its highest in nearly a year.
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With that we remind you, if you're going away; if you're to see your loved ones for the holiday. We have some advice to keep you safe and alive. It's really quite simple: HEPA filters, vaccines, and (K)N95s.  

Thank you for reading our Xmas newsletter. We hope by next year, things look a lot better.

The OptOut Media Foundation (EIN: 85-2348079) is a nonprofit charity with a mission to educate the public about current events and help sustain a diverse media ecosystem by promoting and assisting independent news outlets and, in doing so, advance democracy and social justice.

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