Guns Don’t Kill People Americans Kill People
The Roscommon County Commission Vote On The Ostergren Sponsored Gun Sanctuary Resolution
The vote was 3 to 2. Milborn and Sensor voted against it based on the wording saying “any law” as opposed to laws restricting guns rights.
Several spoke out against it. Chairperson Russo was the tie breaker, who later claimed it wasn’t a political issue. The people that spoke in favor of the resolution apparently have drunk the Faux News Koolaid, as the “facts” they mentioned were propaganda talking talks. There is a huge disconnect between what is reality and what people believe to be true.
Let’s not forget this vote. Pass the word to friends and family in our community and suggest that the call or email their commissioners thanks those who stood up for sensible gun reform and disappointment in those who voted for this politically motivated proposal.
You may want to write a short piece and submit it to the editor, Eric Hamp, at the Houghton Lake Resorter letting his readers in our community that we are not pleased with the decision made by the commission.
Thanks for your concern regarding this important issue in our society. Deaths due to gun violence is expanding and can potentially affect us all. In the esteemed opinion of 3 of our commissioners we need more than the 300,000,000 guns in our society than we do now. They haven’t made me safer. How about you?
Steve Martin -RCDP
Russia’s Gamble & Biden Protects Land Treasures
Heather Cox Richardson
As you know, I try to write this record of modern America from the perspective of what stories will matter in 150 years (about the span between the present and the Civil War).
So, for all the chop in the water about the former president facing indictments, the story that really seems uppermost to me today is the visit China’s president Xi Jinping made today to Moscow for a meeting with Russia’s president Vladimir Putin.
National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby told reporters today that China and Russia would both like “to see the rest of the world play by their rules rather than the ones that…are enshrined in the U.N. Charter and what everybody else is…following.” Kirby said the White House sees the relationship of Xi and Putin as a “marriage of convenience.” He explained:
“In President Putin and Russia, President Xi sees a counterweight to American influence and NATO influence certainly on the continent and elsewhere around the world. In President Xi, President Putin sees a potential backer.” Putin needs Xi’s support because of his misadventure in Ukraine. There, Kirby said, Putin is “blowing through inventory. He’s blowing through manpower. His military is getting embarrassed constantly. They’ve lost greater than 50 percent of the territory that they took in the first few months of this war. He needs help from President Xi, and that’s what this visit was all about.”
“Now,” he added, “whether it results in anything, we’ll see.”
When a reporter asked Kirby if Xi would provide lethal aid to Russia, Kirby answered, “We don’t think that China is taking it off the table, but they haven’t moved in that direction. We’ve seen no indication that they’re about to or — or fixing to provide lethal weapons.”
The Institute for the Study of War concluded that the outcome of the meeting was likely less than Putin wanted. It noted that Putin represented the meeting as showing the two countries working together against an adversarial West, while Xi only said the two countries were working together. This is a significant step down from the stance China took before Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, in which it declared it had a “no limits partnership” with Russia, suggesting China is not inclined to give Russia all the support it needs for that war.
Putin has been trying to rally states in Africa to his cause and likely hoped Xi would help that effort, but he did not.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Russia put out a statement deepening their cooperation, but Sam Greene, Director for Democratic Resilience at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) and Professor of Russian Politics at King’s College London, noted that the economic benefits of the statement all flowed from Russia to China, including Russia’s announcement that it will use yuan for foreign transactions with Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
“This summit…brings home exactly how much Putin has lost,” Greene wrote. “Prior to the war—even after 2014—Putin occupied a position of strategic maneuverability. He could arbitrage between east and west, reaping windfalls for his regime along the way. That’s all gone now. Putin tells his people he’s fighting for Russia’s sovereignty. In truth, he’s mortgaged the Kremlin to Beijing.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan met with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky today in a surprise trip to Ukraine at Zelensky’s invitation. It is the first visit of a Japanese prime minister to a country at war since World War II and demonstrates Japan’s growing international foreign policy presence. Last month, when Japan pledged $5.5 billion in humanitarian aid to Ukraine, Kishida said: “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is not just a European matter, but a challenge to the rules and principles of the entire international community.” Today, he confirmed Japan’s “solidarity and unwavering support for Ukraine.”
The next most important issue of the day, to my mind, was President Joe Biden’s designation of two new national monuments under the Antiquities Act of 1906: Avi Kwa Ame in Nevada and Castner Range in Texas. These are Biden’s second and third new monument designations. Last fall he created the Camp Hale–Continental Divide National Monument in Colorado, and in 2021 he restored the protections to Bears Ears, Grand Staircase–Escalante, and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monuments that Trump had removed. Both of the new monuments cover land sacred to Indigenous American tribes. Together, they protect nearly 514,000 acres.
Biden also directed Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to start the process of designating a marine sanctuary in the Pacific covering 777,000 square miles.
Biden is advancing his promise to conserve American lands, but he is also answering criticism of his administration’s approval of the controversial Alaska Willow oil drilling project on March 13. ConocoPhillips had existing leases for the project, and it has bipartisan support in Alaska, where locals expect it will bring jobs and income, so after debate, the administration let the project move forward. But environmentalists and those who recognize the immediate need to address climate change vehemently opposed the project, launched lawsuits immediately, and criticized the president.
“Our national wonders are literally the envy of the world,″ Biden said as he announced the new monuments. “They’ve always been and always will be central to our heritage as a people and essential to our identity as a nation.″
But while conservation groups and tribal members cheered the new designations, the new Republican governor of Nevada, Joe Lombardo, said that the federal government was confiscating Nevada land—a red-hot issue in the home state of the Bundy ranchers who have engaged in armed standoffs with law enforcement officers over public land—and said the new Nevada monument is “a historic mistake that will cost Nevadans for generations to come.”
The New Trump Tower
Our Dream Trump’s Nightmare
Climate Change Is Speeding Toward Catastrophe. The Next Decade Is Crucial, U.N. Panel Says.
A new report says it is still possible to hold global warming to relatively safe levels, but doing so will require global cooperation, billions of dollars and big changes.
By Brad Plumer
Published March 20, 2023Updated March 21, 2023, 12:05 p.m. ET
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Earth is likely to cross a critical threshold for global warming within the next decade, and nations will need to make an immediate and drastic shift away from fossil fuels to prevent the planet from overheating dangerously beyond that level, according to a major new report released on Monday.
The report, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of experts convened by the United Nations, offers the most comprehensive understanding to date of ways in which the planet is changing. It says that global average temperatures are estimated to rise 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels sometime around “the first half of the 2030s,” as humans continue to burn coal, oil and natural gas.
That number holds a special significance in global climate politics: Under the 2015 Paris climate agreement, virtually every nation agreed to “pursue efforts” to hold global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Beyond that point, scientists say, the impacts of catastrophic heat waves, flooding, drought, crop failures and species extinction become significantly harder for humanity to handle.
But Earth has already warmed an average of 1.1 degrees Celsius since the industrial age, and, with global fossil-fuel emissions setting records last year, that goal is quickly slipping out of reach.
There is still one last chance to shift course, the new report says. But it would require industrialized nations to join together immediately to slash greenhouse gases roughly in half by 2030 and then stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere altogether by the early 2050s. If those two steps were taken, the world would have about a 50 percent chance of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Delays of even a few years would most likely make that goal unattainable, guaranteeing a hotter, more perilous future.
“The pace and scale of what has been done so far and current plans are insufficient to tackle climate change,” said Hoesung Lee, the chair of the climate panel. “We are walking when we should be sprinting
The report comes as the world’s two biggest polluters, China and the United States, continue to approve new fossil fuel projects. Last year, China issued permits for 168 coal-fired power plants of various sizes, according to the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air in Finland. Last week, the Biden administration approved an enormous oil drilling project known as Willow that will take place on pristine federal land in Alaska
The report, which was approved by 195 governments, says that existing and currently planned fossil fuel infrastructure — coal-fired power plants, oil wells, factories, cars and trucks across the globe — will already produce enough carbon dioxide to warm the planet roughly 2 degrees Celsius this century. To keep warming below that level, many of those projects would need to be canceled, retired early or otherwise cleaned up.
“The 1.5 degree limit is achievable, but it will take a quantum leap in climate action,” António Guterres, the United Nations secretary general, said. In response to the report, Mr. Guterres called on countries to stop building new coal plants and to stop approving new oil and gas projects.
Many scientists have pointed out that surpassing the 1.5 degree threshold will not mean humanity is doomed. But every fraction of a degree of additional warming is expected to increase the severity of dangers that people around the world face, such as water scarcity, malnutrition and deadly heat waves.
The difference between 1.5 degrees of warming and 2 degrees might mean that tens of millions more people worldwide experience life-threatening heat waves, water shortages and coastal flooding. A 1.5-degree world might still have coral reefs and summer Arctic sea ice, while a 2-degree world most likely would not.
“It’s not that if we go past 1.5 degrees everything is lost,” said Joeri Rogelj, director of research at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College London. “But there’s clear evidence that 1.5 is better than 1.6, which is better than 1.7, and so on. The point is we need to do everything we can to keep warming as low as possible.”
Scientists say that warming will largely halt once humans stop adding heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere, a concept known as “net zero” emissions. How quickly nations reach net zero will determine how hot the planet ultimately becomes. Under the current policies of national governments, Earth is on pace to heat up by 2.1 to 2.9 degrees Celsius this century, analysts have estimated.
Both the United States and European Union have set goals of reaching net zero emissions by 2050, while China has set a 2060 goal and India is aiming for 2070. But in light of the report’s findings, Mr. Guterres said, all countries should move faster and wealthy countries should aim to reach net zero by 2040.
The new report is a synthesis of six previous landmark reports on climate change issued by the U.N. panel since 2018, each one compiled by hundreds of experts across the globe, approved by 195 countries and based on thousands of scientific studies. Taken together, the reports represent the most comprehensive look to date at the causes of global warming, the impacts that rising temperatures are having on people and ecosystems across the world and the strategies that countries can pursue to halt global warming.
The report makes clear that humanity’s actions today have the potential to fundamentally reshape the planet for thousands of years.
Many of the most dire climate scenarios once feared by scientists, such as those forecasting warming of 4 degrees Celsius or more, now look unlikely, as nations have invested more heavily in clean energy. At least 18 countries, including the United States, have managed to reduce their emissions for more than a decade, the report finds, while the costs of solar panels, wind turbines and lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles have plummeted.
At the same time, even relatively modest increases in global temperature are now expected to be more disruptive than previously thought, the report concludes.
At current levels of warming, for instance, food production is starting to come under strain. The world is still producing more food each year, thanks to improvements in farming and crop technology, but climate change has slowed the rate of growth, the report says. It’s an ominous trend that puts food security at risk as the world’s population soars past eight billion people.
Today, the world is seeing record-shattering storms in California and catastrophic drought in places like East Africa. But by the 2030s, as temperatures rise, climate hazards are expected to increase all over the globe as different countries face more crippling heat waves, worsening coastal flooding and crop failures, the report says. At the same time, mosquitoes carrying diseases like malaria and dengue will spread into new areas, it adds.
Nations have made some strides in preparing for the dangers of global warming, the report says, for instance by building coastal barriers against rising oceans or establishing early-warning systems for future storms. But many of those adaptation efforts are “incremental” and lack sufficient funding, particularly in poorer countries, the report finds.
And if temperatures keep rising, many parts of the world may soon face limits in how much they can adapt. Beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming, low-lying island nations and communities that depend on glaciers may face severe freshwater shortages.
To stave off a chaotic future, the report recommends that nations move away from the fossil fuels that have underpinned economies for more than 180 years.
Governments and companies would need to invest three to six times the roughly $600 billion they now spend annually on encouraging clean energy in order to hold global warming at 1.5 or 2 degrees, the report says. While there is currently enough global capital to do so, much of it is difficult for developing countries to acquire. The question of what wealthy, industrialized nations owe to poor, developing countries has been divisive at global climate negotiations.
A wide array of strategies are available for reducing fossil-fuel emissions, such as scaling up wind and solar power, shifting to electric vehicles and electric heat pumps in buildings, curbing methane emissions from oil and gas operations, and protecting forests.
But that may not be enough: Countries may also have to remove billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year, relying on technology that barely exists today.
The report acknowledges the enormous challenges ahead. Winding down coal, oil and gas projects would mean job losses and economic dislocation. Some climate solutions come with difficult trade-offs: Protecting forests, for instance, means less land for agriculture; manufacturing electric vehicles requires mining metals for use in their batteries.
And because nations have waited so long to cut emissions, they will have to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to adapt to climate risks that are now unavoidable.
The new report is expected to inform the next round of United Nations climate talks this December in Dubai, where world leaders will gather to assess their progress in tackling global warming. At last year’s climate talks in Sharm el Sheik, language calling for an end to fossil fuels was struck from the final agreement after pressure from several oil-producing nations.
“Without a radical shift away from fossil fuels over the next few years, the world is certain to blow past the 1.5 C goal.” said Ani Dasgupta, president of the World Resources Institute, an environmental group. “The I.P.C.C. makes plain that continuing to build new unabated fossil fuel power plants would seal that fate,” he added, using the abbreviation for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The American Petroleum Institute, an industry trade group, responded by saying that oil and gas companies were working on technologies to curb emissions such as carbon capture, but that policymakers “must also consider the importance of adequate, affordable and reliable energy to meet growing global needs,” said Christina Noel, a spokesperson for the institute.
While the next decade is almost certain to be hotter, scientists said the main takeaway from the report should be that nations still have enormous influence over the climate for the rest of the century.
The report “is quite clear that whatever future we end up with is within our control,” said Piers Forster, a climate scientist at the University of Leeds who helped write one of the panel’s earlier reports. “It is up to humanity,” he added, “to determine what we end up with.”
Brad Plumer is a climate reporter specializing in policy and technology efforts to cut carbon dioxide emissions. At The Times, he has also covered international climate talks and the changing energy landscape in the United States. @bradplumer
Lies and Conspiracy Theories Dominate Trump’s Efforts To Avoid Accountability and Many Republicans Have Cooperated With Him
Heather Cox Richardson
Rumors that he is about to be indicted in New York in connection with the $130,000 hush-money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels have prompted former president Donald Trump to pepper his alternative social media site with requests for money and to double down on the idea that any attack on him is an attack on the United States.
The picture of America in his posts reflects the extreme version of the virtual reality the Republicans have created since the 1980s. The United States is “THIRD WORLD & DYING,” he wrote. “THE AMERICAN DREAM IS DEAD.” He went on to describe a country held captive by “CRIMINALS & LEFTIST THUGS,” in which immigrants are “FLOODING THROUGH OUR OPEN BOARDERS [sic], MANY FROM PRISONS & MENTAL INSTITUTIONS,” and where the president is “SURROUNDED BY EVIL & SINISTER PEOPLE.” He told his supporters to “SAVE AMERICA” by protesting the arrest he—but no one else—says is coming on Tuesday.
Trump’s false and dystopian portrait of the nation takes to its logical conclusion the narrative Republicans have pushed since the 1980s. Since the days of Reagan, Republicans have argued that people who believe that the government should regulate business, provide a basic social safety net, protect civil rights, and promote infrastructure are destroying the country by trying to redistribute wealth from hardworking white Americans to undeserving minorities and women. Now Trump has taken that argument to its logical conclusion: the country has been destroyed by women, Black Americans, Indigenous people, and people of color, who have taken it over and are persecuting people like him.
This old Republican narrative created a false image of the nation and of its politics, an image pushed to a generation of Americans by right-wing media, a vision that MAGA Republicans have now absorbed as part of their identity. It reflects a manipulation of politics that Russian political theorists called “political technology.”
Russian “political technologists” developed a series of techniques to pervert democracy by creating a virtual political reality through modern media. They blackmailed opponents, abused state power to help favored candidates, sponsored “double” candidates with names similar to those of opponents in order to split their voters and thus open the way for their own candidates, created false parties to create opposition, and, finally, created a false narrative around an election or other event that enabled them to control public debate.
Essentially, they perverted democracy, turning it from the concept of voters choosing their leaders into the concept of voters rubber-stamping the leaders they had been manipulated into backing.
This system made sense in former Soviet republics, where it enabled leaders to avoid the censorship that voters would recoil from by instead creating a firehose of news until people became overwhelmed by the task of trying to figure out what was real and simply tuned out.
But it also fit nicely into American politics, where there is a long history of manipulating voters far beyond the usual political spin. As far back as 1972, Nixon’s operatives engaged in what they called “ratf*cking,” dirty tricks that amounted to political sabotage of their opponents. The different elements of that system became a fundamental part of Republican operations in the 1990s, especially the use of a false narrative spread through talk radio and right-wing television.
More recently, we have seen blackmail (former representative Madison Cawthorn [R-NC] blamed his own party for the release of compromising photos); the use of state power to help candidates (through investigations, for example); double candidates (a Florida Republican won a seat in the state legislature in 2020 after a sham candidate with the same name as the Democratic candidate siphoned voters); and the deliberate creation of a false political reality.
Indeed, David Klepper at AP Newsreported just yesterday that Russian social media accounts are up to their old tricks in the U.S., pushing the idea that federal authorities have been lying about the true impact of the East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment because they want to divert U.S. money from problems at home to Ukraine. “Biden offers food, water, medicine, shelter, payouts of pension and social services to Ukraine! Ohio first! Offer and deliver to Ohio!” one of those accounts posted.
So the United States has had its own version of political technology that overlaps with the Russian version, and it has led to the grim picture Trump is portraying in his attempt to rile up his supporters to protect him.
But here’s what I wonder: What happens when people who have embraced a virtual world begin to figure out it’s fake?
Russians are having to come to grips with their failing economy, world isolation, and rising death rates as President Vladimir Putin throws Russian soldiers into the maw of battle without training or equipment. Now they have to deal with the fact that the International Criminal Court has indicted their president for war crimes. Will they rally around their leader, slide away, or turn against him?
In the United States, MAGA Republicans have been faced with evidence released in the Dominion Voting Systems defamation case against the Fox News Corporation that shows Fox News Channel personalities lied to them. Now those who have cleaved to Trump have to face that he is asking them to risk their freedom to oppose his arrest for paying $130,000 to an adult film actress to keep quiet about their sexual encounter, hardly a noble cause. And the last time he asked people to defend him, more than 1,000 of them—so far—faced arrest and conviction, while he went back to playing golf and asking people for money.
Tonight, Erica Orden of Politico reported that Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg emailed his employees to say “we do not tolerate attempts to intimidate our office or threaten the rule of law in New York.” He told them: “Our law enforcement partners will ensure that any specific or credible threats against the office will be fully investigated and that the proper safeguards are in place so all 1,600 of us have a secure work environment.” He also noted, without mentioning specific cases, that his office has been coordinating with the New York Police Department and with the New York court system during certain ongoing investigations.
Some of Trump’s radical supporters have taken to social media to make a plan for surrounding Mar-a-Lago and protecting Trump with firearms, but others appear to be more eager for someone else to show up than to do so themselves.
Ali Alexander, who helped to organize “Stop the Steal” rallies to try to overturn the 2020 presidential election, wrote to his supporters today: “Previously, I had said if Trump was arrested or under the threat of a perp walk, 100,000 patriots should shut down all routes to Mar-a-Lago…. Now I’m retired. I’ll pray for him though!”
An URGENT Call to Action
Friends and neighbors in Roscommon County, this is an urgent Call to Action: On March 22 the Roscommon Board of Commissioners (BOC) will meet and on their agenda is a resolution titled RESOLUTION SUPPORTING AND AFFIRMING THE 2ND AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. You can read this resolution by clicking on following link and dropping down to page 27. http://www.roscommoncounty.net/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_03222023-433
Each of us have our own opinions about the US Constitution and its Amendments but this is a statement that creates what is known as an 2nd Amendment Sanctuary within Roscommon County. That is what it really is despite what is titled in the resolution. Each of us may have an opinion about this topic and we urge you to share those opinions with the BOC as a whole or individually with your District Commissioner. Included in this message is contact sheet that details each commissioner’s district and contact information that includes both email addresses and phone numbers.
This is a time sensitive Call to Action because after a member of the BOC made a presentation during their last work session it now has become an action item with little time for public comment on this issue. So please make your voices heard by attendance at the meeting next Wednesday at the County Commissioners meeting, or a phone call, a text message, or an email to any of the addresses provided.
Contact information for the Roscommon County Board of Commissioners (BOC)
District 1 David Russo-Chairman of the BOC Represents the Townships of Lake, Lyon, and Markey
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (989) 302-3003 (personal line)
District 2 Eric Ostergren Represents the Townships of Gerrish and Higgins
E-mail: email@example.com Phone: (989) 859-8791 (personal line)
District 3 Rex Wolfsen Represents the Townships of AuSable, Backus, Richfield, and part of Denton
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (989) 387-0068 (personal line)
District 4 Marc Milburn-Vice Chair of the BOC Represents the Townships of Nester and Roscommon
E-mail: email@example.com Phone: (989) 202-5020 (personal line)
District 5 Darlene Sensor Represents the Township of Denton
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (989) 366-7212 (work number)
A group email address for the BOC is email@example.com
The phone number for the BOC office is (989) 275-8021
Any questions, concerns, or thoughts feel free to share here or call the Roscommon County Democratic Party at (231) 818-8021 or (989) 302-0534.
Putin Indicted By International Criminal Court And Fascists Threatening Here In IS
Heather Cox Richardson
The International Criminal Court today issued an arrest warrant for Russian president Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, Putin’s commissioner for children’s rights, for war crimes: kidnapping Ukrainian children and transporting them to Russia. Russia does not recognize the ICC, which is established at The Hague—the government seat of the Netherlands—and for its part, the Russian government claims its deportation program is humanitarian and patriotic. The international assessment that Putin and one of his top officials have personally engaged in war crimes drives another wedge between Putin and the rest of the Russian people as over time his inability to interact successfully with the rest of the world will have growing consequences for the people at home,
The arrest warrant is unlikely to put Putin in custody any time soon. But an official charge of war crimes will make it harder for other leaders and countries to associate with the Russian regime. Chinese president Xi Jinping is scheduled to travel to Russia next week for his first visit since Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Suddenly, that visit, which was fraught enough to begin with, has become more complicated.
Russia promptly announced that Putin and Xi will sign accords ushering in a “new era” of ties, while China’s foreign ministry called the trip “a visit for peace.” But the trip, coming after recent evidence that China has been supplying Russia with war materials, means its involvement with Russia could lead to sanctions against China, a hit that its currently fragile economy can’t easily absorb.
That the warrant focuses on children is also significant. Of the 123 countries that are parties to the Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court, 33 are African, 19 are in the Asia-Pacific region, 18 are in Eastern Europe, 28 are in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 25 are in Western Europe and elsewhere. All nations care about children, but the trafficking of children to serve as soldiers, sex slaves, drug mules, and so on, is an especially sensitive issue for many of the parties to the Rome Statute.
The international assessment that Putin has engaged in war crimes is significant in the United States as well, even though the U.S. is not a signatory to the Rome Statute. The American right wing has held up Putin and his attack on the secular values of democracy as a model, saying that his rejection of LGBTQ rights, for example, and his alleged embrace of Christianity show how a modern nation can reclaim what they see as traditional virtue. Putin’s arrest warrant for war crimes, centered in crimes against children, will make it harder to spin his authoritarianism as a virtue, especially as they claim their policies are designed to protect children.
The right-wing rejection of democracy was on display at a meeting of the Federalist Society in early March. Politico’s Ian Ward covered the meeting. The Federalist Society organized in the 1980s to argue that the civil rights decisions of the past several decades corrupted democracy because liberal judges were “legislating from the bench” against the wishes of actual voters. The society’s members claimed to stand for judicial restraint.
But now that their judges are on the bench, they have changed their philosophy. Last summer, after a Supreme Court stacked with Federalist Society members overturned the right to abortion, voters have tried to protect that right in the states. Now, according to Ward, the Federalist Society appears to be shifting away from the idea of judicial restraint in the face of popular votes and toward the idea that judges should “interpret the Constitution” in ways right-wing Americans support. They are quick to claim that democracy is not the answer: it would result, they say, in the tyranny of the majority.
That abandonment of democracy is about more than just voting their folks into office. Right-wing figures frustrated by the secular values of democracy—religious freedom, companies that respond to markets without interference by the state, academic freedom, public schools, free speech, equality before the law—want to restore what they consider human virtue by using the state to enforce their values.
Because they think all aspects of the modern U.S. have been corrupted by liberal democracy, people on the far right are eager to destroy those institutions and replace them. When Trump said, as he did yesterday, that “the greatest threat to Western civilization today is not Russia,” he was echoing this ideology to mobilize his followers (even though his concerns are probably less to do with civilization than with his legal issues). His call for firing “deep staters” and reconstituting “the State Department, the defense bureaucracy, the intelligence services, and all of the rest” is an explicit call to radicalize our government.
Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security advisor, endorsed Trump’s worldview, saying “Trump is absolutely right, our greatest threat currently is right here at home. We must ‘fundamentally change’ by severely reforming the government deep state bureaucracy. They (among many parts of our USG[overnment]) represent a menace to our way of life.” (Flynn’s ties to Russia forced him out of office, and he pleaded guilty to lying about them to the FBI; Trump pardoned him.)
Flynn has been on a far-right road tour across America since shortly after Trump left office, recruiting an “Army of God” to put Christianity at the center of American life and institutions. “At this ReAwaken America Tour, Jesus is King [and] President Donald J. Trump is our president,” a co-organizer, Clay Clark, said.
Kiera Butler of Mother Jones today explained how Flynn and his conspiracy-minded supporters have leveled a hate campaign against Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Florida, accusing it of killing Covid patients by denying them the horse-deworming drug ivermectin. They have organized a group called The Hollow 2A to help “Americans gather to lawfully take back our country” with guns and activism at the local level. Along with two other groups, they are planning to swamp the hospital board meeting on Monday, acting as a groundswell of local activists protesting hospital malpractice when, in fact, they have joined forces to attack a hospital that adheres to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a government agency.
Today Ohio joined five other Republican-dominated states—Louisiana, Alabama, West Virginia, Missouri, and Florida—in leaving the Electronic Registration Information Center, a national data-sharing consortium that updates national voter rolls. Right-wing election deniers say that the bipartisan ERIC is controlled by left-wing groups that enable fraud. Those still belonging to ERIC deny all of the accusations and point out that getting rid of ERIC would get rid of one of the country’s most powerful tools for stopping individuals from voting multiple times, as a number of people from Florida’s The Villages did in 2020.
In a sworn affidavit today, the top lawyer for the Capitol Police said that neither he nor the police chief was informed that anyone other than House members would see the video footage from January 6, 2021, that House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) permitted Fox News Channel personality Tucker Carlson and his staff to review. Republicans also ignored the Capitol Police’s repeated requests to review and approve all of the footage that Carlson used on his show. Carlson tried to present the attack on the Capitol as a tourist visit as part of his narrative that the FBI and the Department of Justice are corrupt.
But the attempt to destroy the fabric of our government has not yet succeeded. Today, in one of her last rulings before stepping down, Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the D.C. District Court ordered Trump attorney Evan Corcoran to testify in the investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents. Howell agreed with Department of Justice prosecutors that discussions between Trump and Corcoran met the threshold for the crime-fraud exception, meaning that they are not covered by attorney-client privilege because they were part of a crime.
Meanwhile, CNN’s John Miller, as well as journalists from many other outlets, reports that sources in law enforcement are telling them that “senior staff members from the Manhattan district attorney’s office, the New York State Court Officers—who provide security at the state Supreme Court building in lower Manhattan—and the New York Police Department” have been meeting all week to prepare for a possible indictment of the former president, as early as next week.