GASLIT NATION WITH ANDREA CHALUPA AND SARAH KENDZIOR
It’s been a busy week for nazis, neo-confederates, and crimelords – and for the people fighting them! We start out this week by discussing the ProPublica article on corrupt SCOTUS justice Clarence Thomas and his Hitler swag loving backer, Harlan Crow. Sarah gives a lot of background into their relationship, including 1) allegations of sex trafficking by Crow’s brother and his ties to a client of Jeffrey Epstein 2) Thomas’s ties to GOP sex trafficking and blackmail cases in the 1980s including the Franklin Scandal 3) the combination of bribes and blackmail GOP elites use to keep their judges and reps in line 4) and how the media exposed Thomas’s corrupt relationships long ago, but officials refused to act!
Then we discuss the heartening news out of Tennessee, where representatives Justin Jones and Justin Pearson refused to accept their expulsion on baseless grounds, shone a light into the Tennessee legislature’s corruption, gave fuel to a national protest movement, and got reinstated into office with a global platform. We discuss the protests and large voter turnouts in gerrymandered hostage states like Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Michigan, and how this may indicate a bigger anti-authoritarian movement in America to come.
Then Andrea details what was in those classified documents found on a Minecraft Discord server (seriously), what they mean for Russia’s war on Ukraine, and what Ukraine still needs to win the war: the global democratic alliance must make up its mind if it wants Ukraine to win the war, then give Ukraine what it keeps asking for to win the war: ATACMS (long range missiles) and F-16s.
Heather Cox Richardson | Letters from an American | April 3
I spent all day writing only to emerge tonight to a flood of news.
Some of it is tragic but seems random: a man apparently drove a car into a barricade near the White House, injuring two Capitol Police officers before hitting the barrier. He got out of the car with a knife, and police officers shot him when he did not respond to their commands. He died. So did one of the Capitol Police officers, an 18-year veteran of the force, Officer William “Billy” Evans. The assailant has been identified as 25-year-old Noah Green of Indiana, and he appears to have feared that the CIA and the FBI were targeting him with mind control.
Other news seems to be about rebuilding the nation from the troubles of the previous administration: President Joe Biden had a 30-40 minute phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in which Biden reaffirmed U.S. support for Ukraine’s burgeoning democracy as Russia builds up troops in the region. Former president Trump soured the U.S. relationship with Ukraine when he tried to get Zelenskyy to announce an investigation into Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son, to discredit the man he expected—correctly—to be his main rival in the 2020 presidential election, before Trump would release money Ukraine needed to defend itself against Russia.
Heather Cox Richardson | Letters from an American | March 17
Today the House of Representatives approved awarding Congressional Gold Medals to members of the Capitol Police for their defense of the Capitol on January 6. Four hundred and thirteen members voted in favor, and 12 Republicans opposed the measure. A number of party members took offense at the language in the bill, which referred to the Capitol as “the temple of our American Democracy” and called the rioters “a mob of insurrectionists.”
Part of their objection comes from their eagerness to downplay what happened on January 6 and to redefine it as a much less important event than it was.
Last week, six top Republican senators expressed dismay to the acting chief of the Capitol Police, Yogananda Pittman, over the continued presence of nearly 2300 National Guardsmen and a fence topped with razor wire around the Capitol. While security experts are concerned about ongoing threats, especially around the time of Biden’s expected address to a joint session of Congress, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says the security is “overdone.” In a letter to Pittman, the five say it is “entirely unclear” why the fencing remains. They say it “sends a terrible message to American citizens, as well as to our allies and adversaries.”
The fencing reminds Americans of what happened on January 6 and the Republicans’ complicity in that attack, refusing, as they did, to hold Trump accountable for inciting the insurrection. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) did not sign the letter to Pittman, but he told a right-wing talk radio host that he was not frightened by the rioters on January 6 because they were “people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law.” In contrast, though, he said he would have been worried if the rioters were “Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters.”
Heather Cox Richardson | Letters from an American | March 16
Today, I’m watching some stories that have immediate significance, but also indicate larger trends.
First, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has asked the Justice Department, now overseen by Attorney General Merrick Garland, to look into the unusual circumstances through which Brett Kavanaugh’s large debts disappeared before his nomination to the Supreme Court. While this question is important to understanding Kavanaugh’s position on our Supreme Court, it is more than that: it is part of a larger investigation into the role of big money in our justice system.
Last May, Whitehouse, along with Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), released a report titled “Captured Courts: The GOP’s Big Money Assault On The Constitution, Our Independent Judiciary, And The Rule of Law.” It outlined how the “Conservative Legal Movement has rewritten federal law to favor the rich and powerful,” how the Federalist Society and special-interest money control our courts, and how the system benefits the big-money donors behind the Republicans