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Officials: Some packages possibly from Florida

Investigators believe some of the suspicious packages might have originated in Florida, according to a law enforcement official. CNN's Pamela Brown reports.

Posted: Oct 26, 2018 11:42 AM
Updated: Oct 26, 2018 12:16 PM

Campaign politics tends to be a lowest-common-denominator business. If something works -- no matter how loathsome or even untrue -- then it gets used. The end always justifies the means -- and the end is always and only winning.

And yet, even by that incredibly low bar, what some right-wing pundits have done in the wake of 10 mail pipe bombs being sent to prominent prominent Trump critics, Democratic politicians, party donors and CNN's New York office is astonishing. In short: They have suggested -- with zero evidence -- that is all one big hoax designed to help Democrats in the 2018 midterms, a classic "false flag" operation.

While talk radio host Rush Limbaugh was far from the only conservative to toy with this idea, he explained it best:

"[Democrats] have thrown every trick at Republicans. Their media acolytes are doing their tough lifting for them — and none of it, none of it, none of it has worked. So what would you do? Democrat operative, best way to turn all of that around? How about a day like this? How about a day like this where you create a scenario where it looks like the mobs are on both sides.

"It looks like the Republicans have a mob, too, or at least an 'insaniac.' There's some Republican out there sending bombs to decent, good Democrats and media people — former Democrat presidents and the harmless people at CNN. Wouldn't it serve your ... up here if you're a Democrat operative to make it look like the Republicans are a bunch of insane lunatics and have some mobsters on their side as well? The very same people the media says Republicans hate the most! Isn't this interesting?"

This is both hugely cynical and incredibly logistically difficult. The cynical part is self-explanatory. But consider what Limbaugh and his ilk are suggesting -- from a purely logistical perspective. Here's what would have had to happen for the events of Wednesday to be a false flag:

1. Someone or someones who wanted to help Democrats -- and the media, I guess, somehow? -- would send a series of pipe bombs to prominent Democrats around the country.

2. Then Democrats or the media or, again, someone, would have to have coordinated with the state and local police -- not to mention federal authorities -- so that law enforcement said that these were functional bombs (even though, again, according to this theory, they weren't).

Which, um, is not what happened. As any reasonable person -- regardless of your political affiliation -- can recognize that that sort of broad conspiracy not only stretches the bounds of the possible but snaps them in two.

The problem, of course, is that Limbaugh -- and people like fellow talk radio host Michael Savage and Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs -- are playing to an audience that already believes some mysterious "they" are working to pursue a secret liberal/socialist agenda that aims to countermand the will of the broader public.

That way of thinking isn't new. It's the same ridiculousness that led some to label the murders of 20 6-and-7-year-olds at Sandy Hook Elementary School a "false flag" operation aimed at creating a more sympathetic national environment in which to pass new restrictions on gun owners. And to insist that the man who came to Washington and fired an assault rifle at a local pizzeria where he believed there to be a pedophilia ring being run by Hillary Clinton was all just a grand bit of theater to throw people off the scent that there really IS a pedophilia ring at that spot (To be clear: THERE ISN'T).

The natural reaction here is to dismiss all of this out of hand. But, to not engage with this sort of conspiracy crap is to let it fester. These "false flag" claims are like a college bar: They don't hold up when you shine a little bit of light in/on them. Let's shine that light.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 13260

Reported Deaths: 625
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds89324
Lauderdale67855
Madison65421
Scott58910
Neshoba51231
Forrest48034
Jones46713
DeSoto4616
Leake38410
Holmes36523
Rankin3496
Jackson29613
Copiah2784
Attala27014
Lincoln24320
Monroe24224
Leflore24025
Harrison2346
Newton2243
Lamar2194
Yazoo2152
Pearl River20327
Pike19611
Adams18615
Lowndes1607
Noxubee1586
Washington1535
Warren1506
Bolivar14010
Jasper1393
Oktibbeha13410
Smith13110
Covington1271
Chickasaw12612
Clarke12616
Kemper12510
Lafayette1233
Carroll11310
Wayne1090
Marion1088
Lee1045
Clay993
Winston981
Coahoma983
Lawrence901
Hancock8711
Simpson850
Itawamba857
Yalobusha824
Wilkinson829
Montgomery781
Sunflower773
Grenada752
Jefferson Davis712
Union715
Tippah7011
Marshall693
Panola622
Calhoun604
Tate591
Claiborne581
Humphreys537
Amite521
Walthall510
Tunica483
Perry462
Jefferson400
Prentiss383
Stone300
Choctaw292
Webster271
Pontotoc263
Franklin252
Tishomingo250
Quitman240
Tallahatchie241
George191
Alcorn151
Benton140
Greene71
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 14478

Reported Deaths: 551
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile1996109
Jefferson161488
Montgomery118630
Marshall6499
Tuscaloosa50512
Lee49832
Franklin4476
Shelby43319
Tallapoosa39662
Butler34411
Chambers33623
Madison2964
Baldwin2749
Elmore2637
Etowah23610
DeKalb2213
Coffee2001
Walker1981
Dallas1973
Sumter1916
Lowndes18610
Houston1644
Morgan1621
Autauga1593
Calhoun1413
Choctaw1414
Pike1360
Colbert1362
Marengo1336
Hale1293
Russell1280
Lauderdale1282
Randolph1257
Wilcox1187
Marion11310
Bullock1111
Barbour1101
Clarke1022
St. Clair1021
Pickens934
Talladega912
Greene894
Chilton871
Dale830
Cullman760
Limestone740
Jackson692
Covington651
Washington645
Winston620
Macon602
Bibb591
Crenshaw582
Henry562
Blount491
Escambia433
Lawrence420
Coosa331
Geneva330
Cherokee332
Perry310
Monroe282
Clay272
Conecuh251
Lamar200
Cleburne131
Fayette110
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 72°
Columbus
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 69°
Oxford
Few Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 68°
Starkville
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 64°
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