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 11:58 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.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 40163

Reported Deaths: 1528
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin12867789
Ramsey5066230
Dakota252494
Stearns244819
Anoka2328111
Nobles16766
Olmsted119617
Washington119040
Mower9722
Rice8628
Scott8034
Clay59838
Kandiyohi5841
Blue Earth5352
Wright5055
Carver4331
Todd4022
Sherburne3405
Lyon3312
Freeborn3020
Watonwan2420
Steele2401
Benton2283
St. Louis20316
Nicollet18712
Martin1715
Cottonwood1380
Goodhue1378
Winona13315
Le Sueur1171
Pine1110
Crow Wing10812
Chisago1031
Otter Tail1021
McLeod960
Dodge930
Carlton890
Polk863
Unassigned8438
Chippewa791
Isanti780
Waseca730
Itasca6812
Douglas670
Murray670
Pipestone664
Meeker621
Morrison611
Faribault600
Becker570
Jackson570
Sibley562
Pennington530
Beltrami410
Brown392
Renville372
Mille Lacs342
Wabasha340
Rock310
Yellow Medicine310
Fillmore300
Houston290
Swift251
Grant220
Norman210
Redwood210
Wilkin213
Cass192
Roseau190
Big Stone170
Koochiching171
Kanabec161
Wadena160
Aitkin150
Marshall120
Pope120
Lincoln110
Clearwater100
Mahnomen101
Hubbard80
Stevens80
Lake60
Traverse60
Lac qui Parle40
Red Lake40
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33162

Reported Deaths: 740
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk6990182
Woodbury328243
Black Hawk239759
Buena Vista172711
Johnson13848
Linn134183
Dallas133031
Marshall106819
Scott92610
Dubuque83422
Story8254
Pottawattamie78012
Wapello71231
Muscatine68344
Crawford6793
Sioux4930
Tama47829
Wright3891
Louisa36313
Plymouth3365
Jasper33217
Warren3001
Dickinson2853
Webster2844
Washington2489
Cerro Gordo2231
Hamilton1931
Boone1601
Clay1431
Clarke1403
Allamakee1354
Clinton1211
Mahaska11817
Shelby1180
Poweshiek1088
Carroll1041
Pocahontas1041
Bremer1027
Franklin990
Des Moines952
Emmet920
Henry903
Hardin880
Cedar851
Cherokee811
Taylor810
Monona770
Marion750
Floyd742
Benton721
Guthrie724
Jones680
Sac650
Osceola640
Iowa621
Jefferson620
Buchanan611
Butler602
Humboldt591
Calhoun582
Hancock571
Harrison560
Delaware541
Fayette540
Lee542
Madison512
Monroe517
Jackson480
Lyon480
Clayton473
Mills460
Palo Alto460
Mitchell430
Winneshiek430
Davis421
Grundy420
Kossuth390
Howard370
Union370
Lucas324
Winnebago310
Chickasaw290
Greene290
Cass270
Ida230
Unassigned220
Appanoose213
Van Buren210
Worth210
Keokuk201
Page200
Adair160
Audubon161
Ringgold151
Decatur120
Montgomery112
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Adams80
Fremont80
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