• Josh Hawley, Caught Running Away From the Jan. 6 Mob, Says He Won’t Run From Liberal Critics

    Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP

    Sen. Josh Hawley, the Missouri Republican who infamously pumped his fist at the pre-riot Capitol crowd on the morning of January 6, said in an appearance at a conservative conference Friday night that he didn’t regret his actions—and that he wouldn’t “run” from a fight with his political foes. It was an unusual choice of words for a man who, in a primetime hearing just a day earlier, was revealed to have run away from the very mob that he had helped incite.

    “And I just want to say to all of those liberals out there and the liberal media, just in case you haven’t gotten the message yet: I do not regret it. And I am not backing down,” Hawley told a cheering crowd at Turning Point USA’s Student Action Summit in Tampa, Florida. “I’m not gonna apologize, I’m not gonna cower, I’m not gonna run from you, I’m not gonna bend the knee.”

    In case you’ve forgotten, here’s Hawley’s January 6 highlight reel: 

    And as my colleague Tim Murphy wrote on Thursday:

    That broken form is the gait of a man finally reaping what he sowed. Was all of this a little gratuitous? I mean, sure. The committee has shown a knack for getting in a few extra punches on occasion. But it’s also sort of perfect—a postscript to the earlier image that completes the little parable: The Republican Party, or most of it anyway championed a dangerous movement it never truly controlled. Even those who are delusional enough to think they might some day lead it have been running from its wrath all along.

  • Fearing for Their Lives, Pence Security Team Called Family Members to Say Goodbye

    As Donald Trump watched live coverage of the attack on the US Capitol, Secret Service agents protecting Mike Pence on January 6 feared for their lives and called family members to say goodbye.

    The dramatic new details—revealed by an anonymous security official and aired during Thursday’s prime-time hearing— underscore the serious threat posed by the pro-Trump mob, as the former president refused to call off the violence. The committee on Thursday also presented chilling radio chatter of Pence’s security detail from that day, as they panicked over the vanishing window to escape the violence as the rioters advanced.

    “If we lose any more time, we may lose the ability to leave,” an agent is heard saying. “If we are going to leave, we need to do it now.”

    Earlier in the hearing, the committee presented testimony from then-White House counsel Pat Cipollone that he had repeatedly urged Trump to make a forceful statement condemning the rioters as the violence escalated. The damning accounts add to the mountain of evidence that Trump delayed stepping in, putting Pence—and Secret Service members—under serious threat of being killed.

  • Almost Every House Republican Just Voted Against Protecting the Right to Contraception

    AP

    Following the leak of the Supreme Court’s draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade, most Republicans stayed quiet. Others were quick to dismiss the “catastrophizing” that after Roe’s fall, other privacy rights long popular with the American public—including gay marriage and access to contraception—would soon be at risk. Well, lo and behold, it turns out those fears were justified; a bill seeking to codify the right to contraception, one of the most “morally acceptable issues” in the country, was almost unanimously rejected by Republicans in the House today. 

    Take a look at the 228-195 vote. Only eight Republicans joined Democrats in favor of the Right to Contraception Act, which seeks to enshrine the right to birth control without government restriction. The bill now goes to the Senate where it’s unlikely to get the support of the 10 Republicans needed in order to overcome the filibuster. Together, the measure and its all-but-certain demise stand as further confirmation that Roe’s end is just the beginning of the GOP’s extremist agenda.

    Such efforts to create an unequal society and destroy cherished rights shouldn’t come as any surprise. Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the majority opinion striking down Roe, has authored numerous opinions going after these rights. And recently, as my colleague Pema Levy explained, Justice Clarence Thomas outlined two strategies for ending marriage equality:

    Thomas has laid out two paths to achieve his social agenda. One, as the public quickly took note of, is to boldly overturn the cases that recognized the constitutional right to same-sex marriage and struck down bans on sodomy and contraception. This would allow state legislatures to prohibit these things outright. Thomas’ other strategy is more subtle, but it, too, would erode some of the rights we take for granted today, particularly marriage equality. Importantly, Thomas is not making an either/or proposition here; it’s clear that he wants to pursue both paths.

    The GOP’s goals to radically change American life have been in motion for some time now. Votes like today just make it official.

  • 16 Lawmakers, Including AOC, Arrested in SCOTUS Abortion Protest

    Tom Williams/Getty

    Nearly a month after Roe was overturned, House Democrats finally gave us the type of civil disobedience that such a crisis warrants.

    Today, 16 Democratic members of Congress—including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Andy Levin (Mich.), and Alma Adams (N.C.)—were arrested for blocking traffic during an abortion rights protest in front of the Supreme Court.

    Acts of civil disobedience are, by definition, attempts to gain attention. They can also be cathartic. Finally, we’re seeing legislators as outraged as many felt on the day of the Dobbs decision. 

    Conservatives, though, have already begun nitpicking the legislators’ performances, including accusing Ocasio-Cortez of pretending to be handcuffed. A video shows the congresswoman being escorted away from the protest by police. She holds her hands behind her back before raising her right fist in a gesture of political resistance. How can the New York Post proclaim that “AOC fakes being handcuffed” when she makes a deliberate gesture showing that she is not?

    Ultimately, AOC and her colleagues likely expected the derision from the right. And they got want they wanted in the end: widespread publicity of the symbolic shackling of reproductive rights by a rogue Supreme Court. Good.

  • How Many of Joe Manchin’s “Energy Sector” Donors Does It Take to Screw In an Apocalypse?

    Tom Williams/Congressional Quarterly via ZUMA Press

    On Friday, reports emerged that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-Wv.) torpedoed another climate change proposal and nixed Democrats’ plan to tax the rich. It’s the end of months of negotiations and the final death knell for the Biden agenda. Even centrists like Jonathan Chait in New York have said that Biden’s agenda has now, officially, failed

    After, I found myself reading a Politico summation of the Senator slash coal magnate‘s donors. It’s a lot of companies from the “energy sector.” That includes “donations from executives at Georgia Power, including the utility’s CFO Aaron Abramovitz, and from Dominion Energy CEO Robert Blue”; a maximum donation from “Energy services firm Concord Energy CEO Matthew Flavingave”; maximum donations from Southern Company Gas CEO Kim Greene and Harvest Midstream CEO Jason Rebrook”; a few thousand from “Southern Company’s chair and CEO Chris Cummiskey” and “three other company executives.” It goes on from there: thousands and thousands from gas, oil, energy types.

    Remeber: Sixty-five percent of Americans support increased climate change action by the government; sixty-four percent of Americans want to tax the very rich, including a majority of Republicans.

    After looking at the donations I happened to read a bit of political theorist Sheldon Wolin. He has a theory of “inverted totalitarianism.” Wolin’s theory posits that we’re turning into a  thinly veiled, autocratic “managed democracy,” in which people hold less and less power, as elite individuals and institutions gain more and more.

    Wolin’s argument is wide-ranging and comprehensive but as I was skimming through an essay he wrote on it, I found a couple of fun passages:

    Inverted totalitarianism, in contrast, while exploiting the authority and resources of the state, gains its dynamic by combining with other forms of power, such as evangelical religions, and most notably by encouraging a symbiotic relationship between traditional government and the system of ‘private’ governance represented by the modern business corporation. The result is not a system of codetermination by equal partners who retain their distinctive identities but rather a system that represents the political coming-of-age of corporate power.

    Fascinating. This too:

    Thee emergence of the corporation marked the presence of private power on a scale and in numbers hitherto unknown, the concentration of private power unconnected to a citizen body.

    Similarly, from our friend Wolin:

    At the same time that [World War II] halted the momentum of political and social democracy, it enlarged the scale of an increasingly open cohabitation between the corporation and the state. That partnership became ever closer during the era of the Cold War (l947-1993). Corporate economic power became the basis of power on which the state relied, as its own ambitions, like those of giant corporations, became more expansive, more global, and, at intervals, more bellicose. Together the state and corporation became the main sponsors and coordinators of the powers represented by science and technology.

    Check it all out here in full, if you have time. 

    Anyway, that’s my morning reading. Feels like there’s overlap, but I might just be projecting.

  • The House Just Passed Two Bills to Protect Access to Abortion

    Abortion rights demonstrators gather near the Washington Monument during a nationwide rally in support of abortion rights in Washington, D.C., on May 14, 2022. Yasin Ozturk/Getty

    Exactly three weeks after the Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, the House of Representatives passed two bills aimed at protecting the right to abortion in the United States. Neither of the bills advanced on Friday is likely to succeed in the Senate.

    One of the bills, the Women’s Health Protection Act, passed 219 to 210 with one Texas Democrat, Rep. Henry Cuellar, voting with all House Republicans against the measure. The bill, which would legally grant medical professionals the ability to provide abortions to patients, passed in the House in September, but has been blocked in the Senate.

    The other measure, the Ensuring Access to Abortion Act, passed 223 to 205, would allow residents to cross state lines to seek an abortion. Three Republican House members—Reps. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, and Fred Upton of Michigan—voted with Democrats in favor of the bill. 

    Although both bills appear doomed in the split Senate, they come at a time that marks just the beginning of a long battle ahead for many pro-choice health care workers, lawyers, and activists in the US. For a full breakdown of the future of abortion, don’t miss our recent reporting package in partnership with Rewire News Group: “Where Do We Go From Here?

  • Republicans Respond to 10-Year-Old’s Abortion Case By Targeting Immigrants

    Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee.J. Scott Applewhite/AP

    A 10-year-old-girl was raped and became pregnant as a result of that violence. That child, six weeks and three days into an unwanted pregnancy, then had to travel from Ohio to neighboring Indiana to receive abortion care after a six-week ban went into effect in her state following the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Two weeks after the story made headlines, a Columbus man, who is reportedly undocumented, was arrested and charged with the girl’s rape. Meanwhile, the Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita threatened the doctor who provided the abortion with criminal charges, even though it has since come to light that she complied with required reporting to the state. 

    It’s hard to think of a case that better encapsulates—and warns about—the devastating impact of doing away with a constitutional right to abortion and restricting access to reproductive care. But Republicans took a different perspective, eagerly running with claims that a very real, very sad story was a fabricated lie. And when that didn’t hold water, they switched to a favorite form of demagoguery: hating on immigrants. 

    The Columbus police arrested 27-year-old local resident Gershon Fuentes after he confessed to raping the child on at least two occasions, according to the Columbus Dispatch. As I wrote earlier this week:

    The case was first reported by the Indianapolis Star in a July 1 article quoting Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an Indianapolis obstetrician-gynecologist. She said she had learned from a colleague in Ohio about a 10-year-old who was six weeks and three days pregnant. Ohio’s law bans abortions after six weeks with no exceptions for rape or incest.

    The story immediately went viral. And it led to appalling responses. South Dakota’s Governor Kristi Noem suggested a child in a similar situation in her state might be forced to carry the baby to term.

    The Wall Street Journal‘s editorial board cast doubt on the existence of the girl. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said it was “likely that this is a fabrication,” only to issue a statement after news of the arrest broke saying “we rejoice anytime a child rapist is taken off the streets.” 

    Rep. Jim Jordan was quick to refer to the case as “another lie,” but by Wednesday he had deleted the post and declared that Fuentes “should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”  When asked about the deleted tweet, Jordan said he had done so because “we learned that this illegal alien did this heinous crime.” Asserting that he had never doubted the girl, Jordan went on to say: “I doubted Joe Biden, which is usually a smart thing to do.” 

    Jordan wasn’t alone in trying to weaponize the apparent immigration status of the suspected rapist as a way to divert attention from the searing child tragedy at hand. “Where’s the conversation about an illegal person doing this?” Rep. Roger Williams of Texas said. “How do you defend this? How do you defend this guy who came over illegally, and we’ve got 5 million of them over here?” 

    One of the most extreme responses came from Jim Bopp, an Indiana lawyer and general counsel for the National Right to Life who crafted model legislation ahead of the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade and paving the way for stricter abortion bans. “She would have had the baby, and as many women who have had babies as a result of rape, we would hope that she would understand the reason and ultimately the benefit of having the child,” Bopp told Politico. “The bill does propose exceptions for rape and incest, in my model, because that is a pro-life position, but it’s not our ideal position. We don’t think, as heart-wrenching as those circumstances are, we don’t think we should devalue the life of the baby because of the sins of the father.”

    Other Republicans, however, appear to be less sure about how they feel or even surprised that a 10-year-old could, biologically, get pregnant. “I’m amazed a 10-year-old got pregnant. … You really wrestle with that,” said Rep. Bob Gibbs of Ohio, according to NBC News. “That’s a tough one.” Arizona’s Rep. Debbie Lesko said, “I don’t think I was even able to have children when I was 10 years old” and acknowledged that she struggled with the “moral question” of the case.

  • Republicans Doubted a 10-Year-Old Had to Travel for an Abortion. A Man Has Just Been Charged With Her Rape.

    Abortion rights advocates gather and march outside the Hamilton County Courthouse in Cincinnati, Ohio.Jason Whitman/NurPhoto/AP

    An Ohio man has been charged with the rape of a 10-year-old girl whose story became international news after she had to travel to Indiana to receive an abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning of Roe v. Wade. The news reaffirms the tragic consequences of what happens when states, like Ohio, enact strict abortion bans.

    The police arrested 27-year-old Columbus resident Gershon Fuentes on Tuesday after he confessed to raping the child at least on two occasions, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Fuentes is being held in the Franklin County jail on a $2 million bond.

    The case was first reported by the Indianapolis Star in a July 1 article quoting Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an Indianapolis obstetrician-gynecologist. She said she had learned from a colleague in Ohio about a 10-year-old who was six weeks and three days pregnant. Ohio’s law bans abortions after six weeks with no exceptions for rape or incest. 

    The story immediately went viral. And it led to appalling responses. South Dakota’s Governor Kristi Noem suggested a child in a similar situation in her state might be forced to carry the baby to term. The Wall Street Journal‘s editorial board cast doubt on the existence of the girl.

    Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said it was “likely that this is a fabrication,” only to issue a statement after news of the arrest broke saying “we rejoice anytime a child rapist is taken off the streets.” 

    Last week, President Joe Biden mentioned the case when signing an executive order to protect abortion rights. “She was forced to have to travel out of the state to Indiana to seek to terminate the pregnancy and maybe save her life,” Biden said. “Ten years old—10 years old—raped, six weeks pregnant, already traumatized, was forced to travel to another state.” A 10-year-old girl, he added, shouldn’t “be forced to give birth to a rapist’s child.”

    The Columbus Dispatch reports that the Franklin County Children Services referred the girl’s case to the Columbus police on June 22 and that DNA material obtained at the Indianapolis clinic where she underwent the abortion on June 30 is being tested against samples from Fuentes.

  • How Likely Is It John Bolton Helped Do These Coups?

    John Bolton, in 2006, when he was U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.Kathy Willens/AP

    During CNN’s coverage of the January 6 hearings last night, John Bolton—the former national security adviser to Donald Trump and forever war hawk—casually revealed that he has helped the United States stage a coup. Why did he admit it? For the same reason, it seems, Bolton and fellow neo-cons do many things: to insist they are smarter than you.

    The moment came during a sloppy attempt to bigfoot host Jake Tapper, who had argued that one doesn’t necessarily have to be supremely intelligent in order to plan a coup. That prompted swift resistance from Bolton:

    As somebody who has helped plan coups d’etat—not here but you know [in] other places—it takes a lot of work. And that’s not what he [Trump] did.

    There’s been much debate over whether to call Trump’s actions related to the January 6 attack on the US Capitol a coup. (You can read some of that here and here.) So, it’s fascinating to see Bolton jump in with his identity politics-adjacent argument about it. (“As someone who has done a coup, I think…”)

    But, personally, I think a lot of the policing around the word “coup”—and whether Trump’s exceedingly dumb actions fit the definition—belie the fact that something can be both evil and lacking prestige. That a coup does not have to be planned by Harvard graduates and McKinsey consultants, even if that’s how America usually does these sorts of things. Hey, expanding our definition might even allow us to see the ways we are headed for illiberalism now.

    Later in the interview, Bolton clarified that he was referring to the 2019 American-led attempt to oust Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. (At the time, as the Washington Post points out, Bolton denied that overthrowing Maduro was a coup, telling reporters, “This is clearly not a coup.”)

    Still, Bolton’s admission begs the obvious question: What other coups do you think Bolton helped plan?

    After all, Bolton has been within the orbit of Republican politics, and generally the apparatus of our state’s foreign policy missions, since the 1980s. He has served in the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush. 

     

    I think a simple test will suffice to look into this: When did America do (or help do) a coup? And where was John Bolton during said coup?

    Iran

    When did America coup?

    In 1953, the CIA provided support to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq.

    Where was John Bolton? 

    Probably in Baltimore, where he grew up. Bolton was about six years old.

    Likelihood Bolton helped coup?

    Low. But he would later write about trying to get us to “bomb Iran” in the New York Times. (This is a kink by the way. He went to the Wall Street Journal to make the “legal case” for bombing North Korea.)

    Guatemala

    When did America coup?

    In 1954, according to Foreign Policy, the relationship between Guatemalan President Jacobo Árbenz and the US “soured” because land reforms potentially would harm a US-backed fruit company. As FP reported: The Navy blocked the coast while rebels the US helped arm ousted the president.

    Where was John Bolton?

    Still a child. Still, probably, in Baltimore.

    Likelihood Bolton helped coup?

    Low.

    Syria

    When did America coup?

    This was one wasn’t successful. But in 1956, and 1957, according to undiscovered documents the Guardian reported on in 2003, the US and other Western powers attempted to topple the Syrian government. In August 1957, Syrian forces surrounded the US embassy, saying they’d discovered a plot to get rid of the regime. At the time, President Eisenhower called it a conspiracy. Looks like it was real.

    Where was John Bolton?

    Still in Baltimore. Still not ten.

    Likelihood Bolton helped coup?

    Low, but he’s getting to his angsty teen years soon.

    Cuba

    When did America coup?

    After backing the dictatorial regime of Fulgencio Batista, the United States was more than a little miffed by the Communist victory of Fidel Castro in 1959. Throughout the Cold War, the CIA attempted to topple the new government. There were too many attempts to kill Castro by covert forces to even count. A blockade was imposed in 1962 to economically cripple and force regime change.

    Where was John Bolton?

    Still Baltimore. Becoming a teen.

    Likelihood Bolton helped coup?

    Still low. He’s just getting into high school in the 1960s. Would’ve been a hell of an extra-curricular! It is worth mentioning that in the early 2000s Bolton tried to say Cuba, like Iraq, had nukes. Also, in a famous speech called “Beyond the Axis of Evil,” Bolton wanted to include Cuba, Libya, and Syria as other nations worthy of Axis status. (You can read the speech here.)

    Congo

    When did America coup?

    In the early to mid 1960s, the United States was involved in covert actions within the Congo after it gained independence. Notably, in 1960, the nationalist and democratically elected president fell to a pro-Western military leader who, it was later discovered, was helped by the CIA. In the 1970s, the Church Commission revealed the extent to which the CIA was operating in the nation. The activities continued last until at least 1965.

    Where was John Bolton?

    Baltimore. He was in high school, running the Students for Goldwater campaign.

    Likelihood Bolton helped coup?

    Low.

    Vietnam

    When did America coup?

    In 1964, Congress passes the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. The United States will go to war in Vietnam. We’d been involved since the mid-1950s, but the tipping point allowed a full scale attack to fight Communist forces in the country.

    Where was John Bolton?

    Yale. Bolton is over eighteen and draft eligible. But, despite supporting the war, he avoided fighting by enlisting in the Maryland National Guard. He said he had “no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy.”

    Likelihood Bolton helped coup?

    In words? Kind of. In actions? No.

    Chile

    When did America coup?

    In 1973, General Augusto Pinochet overthrew Chilean president Salvador Allende via coup. The United States had a “long history of engaging in covert actions in Chile,” according to a US Senate report. But the government said there is “little evidence” that it was directly involved in the Pinochet coup. Many others still think of the “other 9/11” as firmly US-backed.

    Where was John Bolton?

    Yale. Bolton went there for both college and law school. In 1972, he was an aide to Vice President Spiro Agnew

    Likelihood Bolton helped coup?

    We’re getting closer!

    Nicaragua

    When did America coup?

    After the Sandinistas came to power, the CIA and the Reagan administration secretly worked to overthrow the regime throughout the 1980s. They supported the Contras. By the mid-1980s, as we have written in the past, “it had become abundantly clear that US policy was drowning Nicaragua in blood.”

    Where was John Bolton?

    In the 1980s, Bolton hopped between law firms and working for the United States government. He worked briefly in the Reagan administration. Later, Bolton would work on investigating the Iran-Contra affair—which was about giving money to the Contras from selling weapons to Iran.

    Likelihood Bolton helped coup?

    We don’t have direct connections or anything. But, yeah, he’s in the mix now.

    Panama

    When did America coup?

    During the administration of George H.W. Bush, the United States invaded Panama to overthrow dictator Manuel Noriega. The US had helped put him into power during the Cold War to fight Communism.

    Where was John Bolton?

    Bolton was Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs from 1989 to 1993.

    Likelihood Bolton helped coup?

    Hmm. Maybe!?

    Iraq

    When did America coup?

    In 1991, the United States invaded Iraq. This was a response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, and is generally called the first Gulf War.

    Where was John Bolton?

    Still at the State Department.

    Likelihood Bolton helped coup?

    He certainly would’ve been in some meetings at the time, right? He should be embarrassed if he wasn’t giving a war-monger presentation in there. In the 1990s, as the Atlantic reported, Bolton did advocate for Bill Clinton to send troops into Iraq again to get rid of Saddam Hussein.

    Afghanistan

    When did America coup?

    In October 2001, the United States begins military operations in Afghanistan. The war lasted until August 2021.

    Where was John Bolton?

    During the Bush administration, Bolton would serve as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control.

    Likelihood Bolton helped coup?

    Yeah, I would think he’d be involved in these conversations. (Plus, he was arguing last year that Biden should not have pulled out of Afghanistan—or at least I read it that way—in op-ed pages.)

    Iraq, another time

    When did America coup?

    In 2003, the United States invaded Iraq. Here is a lie by lie timeline of how we got there.

    Where was John Bolton?

    At the vanguard of the neo-con movement and a figure within the Bush administration. As an admin official, he was in charge of stoping the spread of WMDs. And he believed Iraq had them—and said so.

    Likelihood Bolton helped coup?

    He argued publicly Saddam had WMDs. He was ambassador to the United Nations from 2005 to 2006. And he was a core part of the neo-conservative milieu that went for these wars under the Bush administration. So, I dare to say yes.

    Libya

    When did America coup?

    In 2011, the United States and other Western powers intervened in Libya to overthrow leader Muammar Gaddafi.

    Where was John Bolton?

    Not in the administration.

    Likelihood Bolton helped coup?

    I guess ideologically, but this one goes out to Barack Obama who called it the “worst mistake” of his presidency.

    Venezuela

    When did America coup?

    In 2019, like Bolton admitted, he tried to oust Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

    Where was John Bolton?

    In power.

    Likelihood Bolton helped coup?

    High.

  • Trump Will Say Literally Anything—Except “Vaccines”

    Sarah Palin and Donald Trump shake hands at a 2016 rally.Mary Altaffer, File/AP

    “Vaccine” is not a four-letter word, but don’t expect it to escape Trump’s lips anytime soon.

    The former president tiptoed around the word last night at an Alaska rally in support of right-wing Republican candidates, including former Gov. Sarah Palin, who is running for the state’s lone House seat. Trump attempted to take credit for the speed of vaccine development while taking a not-so-subtle dig at his base.

    “We did so much in terms of therapeutics and a word that I’m not allowed to mention,” he said, “But I’m still proud of that word, because we did that in nine months, and it was supposed to take five years to 12 years. Nobody else could have done it, but I’m not mentioning it in front of my people.”

    About 63 percent of Alaskans are fully vaccinated, but the percent of Republicans fully vaccinated is likely lower; nationwide, counties that voted for Trump in 2020 tend to have lower vaccination rates than those that voted for Biden. Trump might have been avoiding butting heads with Palin, who has said that she would get a Covid vaccine “over my dead body.”

    Trump didn’t extend that same cautiousness to the rest of his speech. He called Leon—no, Elon—Musk a “bullshit artist.” He called Sen. Lisa Murkowski—a moderate Alaska Republican who voted to convict him in his second impeachment trial—a “RINO” and “worse than a Democrat.” And in a rant about ISIS, he uttered a rare f-bomb, saying that he would “hit them in the fucking center.”

    Trump may not actually care about whether his supporters are protected from Covid, but he suggested that one day, they might come around to see the greatness of his accomplishments. On the vaccine issue, he said, “Someday, we’re gonna have to all sit down and have a little talk.”

  • DOJ Sues Arizona Over “Textbook Violation” of Election Law

    Ross D. Franklin/File/AP

    The Department of Justice filed a suit yesterday against an Arizona law that will require people to provide proof of citizenship to vote by mail or in federal elections. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke called the law a “textbook violation of the National Voter Registration Act.”

    Ever since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013—and even before—state legislatures across the country have found creative ways to roll back the right to vote, from instituting voter ID requirements to limiting mail voting to passing rigged election maps.

    Arizona has been at the forefront of one part of that movement: a push to require proof of citizenship to participate in elections—an onerous obligation that could prevent many Americans from casting their ballots. In 2004, it passed a ballot initiative that required prospective voters to provide documentary proof of citizenship in addition to completing the federal voter registration form. As Nina Perales of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund told NPR at the time, the proof of citizenship law sent voter registration plummeting 44 percent in the state’s most populous county—and 80 percent of people whose registrations were denied were non-Hispanic whites.

    In 2013, a Supreme Court decision written by Justice Antonin Scalia struck down that Arizona law. (Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented.) That decision basically said that a state could not supersede the federal voter registration form—which requires only that prospective voters attest to their citizenship under penalty of perjury—by imposing additional requirements on people who wanted to vote in federal elections. States could, however, create their own requirements for participation in state-level elections. This created a class of federal-only voters who registered to vote in Arizona but did not provide documentary proof of citizenship by submitting documents like birth certificates or passports.

    But the Supreme Court’s decision didn’t stop Arizona from passing a law in March that requires people who want to vote in federal elections, or by mail, to prove their citizenship.

    And the Republican lawmakers who instituted this citizenship requirement knew it was unconstitutional. According to the DOJ filing:

    When voting to approve the bill in Committee, Vice-Chair of the Arizona House Rules Committee and House Speaker Pro Tempore Travis Grantham acknowledged that Congress and the Supreme Court had invalidated the State’s past efforts to impose DPOC on federal-only voters, but stated that trying again “is a fight worth having.”

    That doesn’t bode well for the law holding up in court. State Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who is running against a slew of other Republicans for the chance to take down incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly in the general election, claimed that DOJ’s lawsuit was an attempt to allow undocumented immigrants to vote. This almost never actually happens.

  • It’s Not 2016

    This is a continuing investigation from the Mother Jones newsroom to determine whether it is the year 2016.

    Good morning. Despite disturbing recent reports that, for some, grievances from the Democratic primary for president from six years ago are the central vehicle to understand our modern political problems, we can confirm: It is not 2016. The year is 2022. You don’t have to tweet about Susan Sarandon.

    Yep, I’ll double-check. One moment…

    Sorry, unfortunately, it’s still not 2016.

    Apologies for any confusion about that. Just want to be clear. I checked. It’s not 2016.

    Hmm. Let me phrase it like this…

    According to a Mother Jones investigation, we can reveal it is not the year 2016.

    Our analysis found that is in fact the year 2022. While the primary debates of that year still feature prominently in the minds of some, experts agree: It’s not the best way to understand our current moment. It will turn your mind into mush-mush to narrow your view of American political history into a never-ending crusade about a single primary.

    Damn it.

    Hey, everybody, it’s not 2016!!

    I promise.

    I swear.

    Oh Jesus fucking Christ.

    If you notice signs that it seems like it is 2016 but think it is not, please let us know as we continue this investigation.

  • San Antonio’s Migrant Tragedy Shows There’s No Limit to GOP Opportunism

    Makeshift memorial at the site where officials found dozens of people dead in an abandoned semitrailer.Eric Gay/AP

    On Monday, at least 46 bodies were found inside a tractor-trailer near the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, and another 16 people were hospitalized in what authorities have characterized as the deadliest migrant-smuggling operation in US history. By Wednesday, the death toll had reached 51. “They were suffering from heat stroke and exhaustion,” San Antonio’s Fire Chief Charles Hood said about the victims, who were migrants from Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. Three people were taken into custody in connection with the incident and Homeland Security Investigations is leading the probe into the case.

    “Exploiting vulnerable individuals for profit is shameful, as is political grandstanding around tragedy,” President Biden said in a statement about the migrant deaths, “and my administration will continue to do everything possible to stop human smugglers and traffickers from taking advantage of people who are seeking to enter the United States between ports of entry.” 

    But that hasn’t stopped Republican politicians and anti-immigration demagogues from seizing on the dreadful event to blame the loss of lives on President Joe Biden’s immigration policies, which they describe, inaccurately, as “open borders.” It was, in fact, another inevitable consequence of the deadly and ineffective legacy of decades of both Republican and Democrat policies of “prevention through deterrence” and militarized borders. Nonetheless, Stephen Miller, Donald Trump’s former senior adviser and a heartless anti-immigrant crusader who fostered the infamous zero-tolerance policy that separated families at the border, attributed the “incomprehensible tragedy” to “vile, monstrous and utterly depraved” open border policies that, according to his twisted reasoning, are somehow “pro-smuggling, pro-cartel.” It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: this line of reasoning makes no sense.

    As Mother Jones has previously reported, strict border policies such as the Trump-era Title 42 health order sealing the border for most migrants and asylum seekers forced people to take increasingly dangerous and riskier routes and have fueled smuggling activities. Albeit belatedly, the Biden administration has tried to end the harmful policy implemented by Trump at the outset of the pandemic, but court challenges have forced the government to keep it in place. According to Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, policy director at the American Immigration Council, 2022 already has been the deadliest year at the border:

    Still, the chorus of Republicans exploiting this event included a number of those whose very policies and anti-immigrant stance have contributed to a deadlier border. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, for instance, who has repeatedly targeted immigrants, including by busing them to Washington, DC, in various stunts that backfired, and who funded a failed operation to “secure” the border, said, “These deaths are on Biden.” Meanwhile, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, no friend of immigrants who has introduced legislation to transfer migrants from Texas to places “where Democrat elites host their cocktail parties,” asked, “How many more people have to die before Dems give a damn?”

    Not to be outdone, Sen. Marco Rubio from Florida tweeted “There is nothing compassionate about Biden’s open border policies that encourage human trafficking.” Fox News also focused on compassion as if the network’s programming didn’t rely on the dehumanization of immigrants on a regular basis. The Border Patrol Union, whose president recently spread conspiracy theories surrounding the racist idea of “great replacement,” also jumped on the outraged bandwagon.

     

    “Loud anti-immigrants who peddle false info about the border share responsibility for this tragedy,” Monika Langarica, a staff attorney with UCLA’s Center for Immigration Law and Policy, wrote. “So do the Republican states that brought the case that blocked the end of Title 42, which has closed safe pathways to the asylum system, and funneled people into deadly non-choices.” 

    To be clear: closed borders are causing people to die. That has been the case for decades as violence and death as a means to prevent migration have been factored into policies that have largely failed to manage migration flows in the long run, but have succeeded in producing casualties. As long as anti-immigrant hardliners and different administrations continue to advocate for tough-on-border policies and further militarization, the same outcome will repeat itself. As Jean Guerrero wrote in the Los Angeles Times, “The border has become a mass grave and a testament to the decades-long inhumanity and irrationality of US border and immigration policies.” 

  • It Looks Like Two More Years of Lauren Boebert in Congress

    Tom Williams/Congressional Quarterly/Zuma

    Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, Colorado’s gun-toting representative, is likely to serve another term after winning her district’s Republican primary last night.

    Boebert handily defeated challenger Don Coram, a moderate Republican with friends on both sides of the aisle in the state House but nowhere near Boebert’s name recognition. Her win comes despite seemingly endless controversy. Earlier this year, former employees of Boebert’s Rifle, Colorado, restaurant told me that the congresswoman routinely failed to pay them on time. Colorado is set to investigate her over misuse of campaign funds. Her latest faux pas came this weekend when she declared, “I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk.”

    But none of that is likely to keep Boebert out of Congress. Thanks to redistricting, her district leans even more strongly Republican this year than it did in 2020. Boebert will face off against Democrat Adam Frisch in the general election.

  • Don’t Boo, Work for a Fortune 500 Company

    ZUMA

    On Friday, with the fall of Roe official, a parade of companies emerged with similar announcements: we hear you, we see you, and we will fund your abortion travel and assistance. Dick’s Sporting Goods, Target, JP Morgan Chase, Disney, and others all introduced these policies either after the leak of the decision or in recent days.

    At first blush, it could seem comforting. But as with many corporate acts of activism before it, a closer inspection gives way to the sinking feeling that something is deeply warped; that this pantomime of corporate responsibility has been spit out of a shiny branding machine and processed in a scrambled effort that neatly smooths over cracks of hypocrisy, complicated human resources questions, and the alarming consequences of turning to business while the government in power sits on its hands.

    In the case of Starbucks—where a promise to cover abortion in health care plans and cover abortion travel expenses could not be promised to employees at unionized stores—it’s devolved into explicitly anti-union tactics. “What we can say for sure, is that Starbucks will always bargain in good faith,” Sara Kelly, acting executive vice president of Starbucks, explained.

    Though I don’t doubt Kelly’s sincerity in mourning Roe, the certitude with which she promises Starbucks will bargain in good faith does not track with the company’s increasingly brazen, union-busting efforts.

    Imagine the worker at a newly unionized location, who may one day be in a position to seek to terminate a pregnancy, receiving this news. Doesn’t it suddenly seem attractive, downright reasonable, to jump to a non-unionized Starbucks? Here, Starbucks’ refusal to guarantee abortion assistance to unionized workers boils down to an anti-union carrot stick intended to exert what the company wants most of all: control.

    The potential exclusion of unionized workers misses a critical point in our post-Roe landscape: that society’s most vulnerable—those who benefit from labor protections offered by unions—will be most affected by the loss of Roe, and would thus benefit the most from any reimbursement plan. And if helping them does not fit a company’s other interests. Well, oh well.

    None of this is to say that companies should decline to take action. Nor is it to dismiss the fact that some seeking abortions may truly benefit from employer-backed abortion assistance. But intense scrutiny must be paid when capitalist forces are stepping in where the state has failed, especially when we’re living through the backlash to progress in real-time; when the same streaming giants that celebrate gay pride allegedly retaliate against their trans workers; when Meta offers travel assistance for abortions while silencing internal discussion of the extremist ruling that prompted that very assistance; when companies that staunchly oppose classifying most of its workforce as “employees” will include abortion in healthcare plans; when so many of these corporate giants have had outsized roles in bankrolling state abortion bans around the country.

    But the problems extend far beyond hypocrisy. Serious questions over what corporate-sponsored abortion support will look like in practice have also emerged, particularly in regards to employee privacy. After all, employer-backed abortion assistance will not be anonymous; funds and reimbursement will presumably be directed into an account attached to an identity. CEOs could promise privacy now, but what happens to abortion data when companies change hands? Will it be monetized? What’s missing in many of these corporate announcements is what steps are being taken in order to protect healthcare records from outside forces, whether that be the newly emboldened anti-abortion movement, everyday hackers, or law enforcement officials in states increasingly weaponizing digital trails in order to prosecute abortions and miscarriages. Now, zoom out once more and you’ll see that this entire ad-hoc system requires the worker to place a herculean level of trust in their bosses—the very people, who, no matter how benevolent, cannot be trusted, during an experience where many are often unable to trust their most intimate personal relations.

    The impulse to get on the right side of history may be well-intentioned. Yet, capitalism subbing in for the constitutional right to an abortion smacks of opportunism; corporate America knows it will profit from fundamentally good social policy. After all, corporate knows that it feels good for a worker to believe that they work for the right type of company, one willing to stand up to at least some of the neverending supply of cruelty we’ve witnessed over the past few years. Companies might be breeding armies of asshole managers, but, hey, at least the narcissist on top did something after the fall of Roe.

    For so many, Roe afforded women the same basic rights to personhood as men. But with corporate-funded abortions, pregnant people will be forced to surrender their autonomy to another person, their boss. That’s never going to be freedom.

  • Half of Americans Say Trump Tried to Stay In Office Illegally and Should Be Charged

    Trump speaks at the Road to Majority conference, in Nashville, Tenn., earlier this month.Mark Humphrey/AP

    Are the blockbuster revelations from the January 6 Committee hearings cutting through? Changing hearts and minds?

    A new CBS News/YouGov poll released today found that, from what they’ve seen so far, half of the country thinks former President Donald Trump tried to stay in power “through illegal means”, and nearly half think he should be charged with crimes as a result.

    Game. Set. Match. Right? Book him! Not so fast. As with all public opinion in the United States, the consensus evaporates as soon as you look at party affiliation. According to the poll, 70 percent of Republicans still say Biden didn’t legitimately win the 2020 election, and that Trump didn’t plan to seize power illegally. Half of Republicans view the insurrection as “patriotic”—a number that has remained relatively unchanged since the attack, according to the pollsters.

    And democracy lovers, brace yourselves. There’s another disturbing finding in the poll today: The majority of Americans now think it’s at least “somewhat likely” that election officials will refuse to certify results in the future for political reasons.

    The new poll also contained some grim news for President Biden: The lowest ever approval rating of his presidency, at 41 percent.

    It has been difficult to gauge the overall impact of the hearings as they happen. Lots of people seem to be paying at least some attention and ratings have been good. But a poll released earlier this week by Quinnipiac showed that the number of Americans who believe that Trump committed a crime in his attempts to steal the 2020 election remained “essentially unchanged” from an April poll asking the same question; 46 percent say he did commit a crime, and 47 percent saying he did not.

    Read more detailed results from today’s CBS News poll here.

  • After The End of Roe, These States Are Announcing They’ve Triggered Abortion Bans

    Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt poses for a photo with the bill he signed in April, making it a felony to perform an abortion, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.Sue Ogrocki/AP

    Now that the Supreme Court has officially overturned Roe v. Wade, near-total abortion bans are springing into effect across the nation in the form of “trigger laws.” 

    Oklahoma—which didn’t even wait for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe—has already banned abortion. Immediate abortion bans have also come into effect in Kentucky, Louisiana, and South Dakota, according to the Guttmacher Institute.  The trigger laws in Idaho, Tennessee, and Texas will take 30 days to come into effect. If you have an abortion scheduled in one of these states, you still have a very limited amount of time to undergo the procedure.

    @motherjonesmag

    Welp. #BBPlayDate #ShowYourJOWO #supremecourt #politics #reproductiverights

    ♬ Le Calin – 斌杨Remix

    Meanwhile, trigger laws in Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming require an extra step to come into effect—typically certification by an attorney general—which could take place at any second.

    Oklahoma also has a trigger law pending certification on the books, which could soon overlap the six-week civil ban already in effect.

    Here’s what has been announced by state officials so far.

    Arkansas

    Arkansas requires the attorney general to take actions to certify that abortion law has changed to enact the trigger law. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has announced in a press release she will do so at a ceremony this afternoon.

    Idaho

    Idaho’s abortion ban will come into effect in 30 days. 

    Kentucky

    Kentucky’s trigger law has come into effect.

    Louisiana

    Louisiana’s trigger law has come into effect. 

    Mississippi

    Mississippi requires the attorney general to take actions to certify that abortion law has changed to enact the trigger law. At the time of publication, no announcement has been made.

    Missouri

    Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has already certified the ban in his state, enshrining it into law.

    North Dakota

    North Dakota’s abortion ban will come into effect soon. First, the attorney general has to reaffirm to the legislative council that a ban is now constitutional. Then the legislative council has to certify that recommendation. At the time of publication, no announcement has been made.

    Oklahoma

    Oklahoma passed a law banning abortion after six weeks before the Dobbs decision was handed down. An additional ban requires certification from the Attorney General. Shortly after Roe was overturned, Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor wrote that he wanted “to thank the Supreme Court for returning decision-making power to the people,” calling today a day for “celebration and thanksgiving.” However, at the time of publication, no announcement has been made.

    Tennessee

    Tennessee’s abortion ban will come into effect in 30 days. 

    Texas

    Texas’s abortion ban will come into effect in 30 days. 

    South Dakota

    South Dakota’s abortion ban has come into effect. 

    Utah

    Utah’s abortion ban comes into effect when the legislative counsel certifies the legislature’s ability to ban abortion. At the time of publication, no announcement has been made.

    Wyoming

    Wyoming’s abortion ban requires the certification of the attorney general and then the governor. After certification, the ban will come into effect in five days.

    This is a breaking news post, and things are changing rapidly. We’ll update with more information as it becomes available. 

  • Ivanka Trump Wanted Dad to Pursue Every Unhinged Challenge to the Election as Possible

    Tom Williams/Zuma

    Ivanka Trump’s piss poor relationship with the truth—one of the most enduring storylines of the Trump era—has once again come into focus after the New York Times got a glimpse of the former first daughter, a month after the November presidential election, privately telling a film crew that her father should “continue to fight” the election results “until every legal remedy is exhausted.”

    In the same interview, Ivanka was also reportedly recorded questioning the “sanctity of our elections”—a more polished version of the same unhinged, baseless claims about a stolen election that flowed through the former president’s inner circle.

    The remarks, as they seem to always do, fly in the face of Ivanka’s testimony before the January 6 committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol, during which she told investigators that she had accepted Bill Barr’s assessment that no fraud had taken place during the election. They also contradict the narrative that she and her husband, Jared Kushner, knew that Dad was a loser before it became official, and eagerly absconded to Miami while Trump marinaded in increasingly desperate conspiracy theories.

    Ivanka’s coup-friendly remarks are now in the hands of the committee after it subpoenaed Alex Holder, the British filmmaker who had sought to create a “legacy project” for the Trump presidency. To that end, it does seem as though Holder successfully captured one prominent theme of the Trump White House: Ivanka’s ruthless self-interest.

  • Uvalde Police Response Was an “Abject Failure,” Texas Public Safety Director Says

    Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw points to a photo of the Robb Elementary School door during a Texas state Senate hearing Tuesday.Bob Daemmrich/Zuma

    One month after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, damning new details about the police response continue to emerge. Based on reporting from the Texas Tribune and testimony from Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw in a hearing before the state Senate, we now know that police armed with rifles were at the scene just three minutes after the shooter entered the building. Police never attempted to open the door to the classroom where the shooter had been “barricaded”—at least until the final moments before killing him, more than an hour after officers first arrived on the scene. In fact, it’s yet to be settled whether the door was even locked.

    As details continue to be contested and new information emerges, it’s clear that a tragic confluence of factors—from faulty door locks to a disjointed police response—allowed the shooter’s rampage to continue for 77 minutes. Here’s a list of some of the things that went wrong, based on what we know so far.

    • An apparently faulty lock on a school door allowed the shooter to enter the building with ease. While it was previously reported that a teacher had propped the door open, officials have since explained that the teacher shut the door when she saw the gunman approaching the school. As McCraw pointed out during his testimony today, even if the door had been locked, the shooter would have been able to enter the school by shooting through an adjacent glass panel, reaching inside, and pulling the door open.
    • The classroom apparently could only be locked from the outside, and there is no indication that the door was ever locked. The Texas Tribune reports that the shooter easily entered and exited the classroom at least three times. Surveillance footage does not show police attempting to open the door to the classroom. Even if the door had been locked, police appear to have had the means to open it: Just eight minutes after the shooter entered the building, an officer reported that police had a Halligan bar, a firefighting tool used to break down doors, according to AP. Instead of trying the door, Uvalde schools police chief Pete Arredondo waited to obtain a master key he might not have even needed.
    • Arredondo did not bring his police radio into the school. Furthermore, police radios tended not to function inside the school, according to Arredondo.
    • Some of the diagrams of the school that the police were using were incorrect, according to McCraw.
    • Officers had access to ballistic shields 58 minutes before authorities stormed the classroom. The only thing preventing them from entering the classroom, according to McCraw, was Chief Arredondo. 

    McCraw summed up the tragedy like this:

    Three minutes after the subject entered the west building, there was sufficient number of armed officers wearing body armor to isolate, distract, and neutralize this subject. The only thing stopping the hallway of dedicated officers from entering room 111 and room 112 was the on-scene commander, who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children. The officers had weapons. The children had none. The officers had body armor. The children had none. The officers had training. The subject had none. One hour, 14 minutes, and eight seconds. That’s how long the children waited and the teachers waited…to be rescued. And while they waited, the on-scene commander waited for a radio and rifles. Then he waited for shields. Then he waited for SWAT. Lastly, he waited for a key that was never needed. The post-Columbine doctrine is clear and compelling and unambiguous: Stop the killing, the stop the dying. You can’t do the latter unless you do the former.

    “There is compelling evidence that the law enforcement response to the attack at Robb Elementary was an abject failure,” he said, “and antithetical to everything we’ve learned over the last two decades since the Columbine massacre.”

    This article first appeared in the Mother Jones Daily, our newsletter that cuts through the noise to help you make sense of the most important stories of the day. Sign up for free here!