The Forest and the Trees
Plus: No, Bill Stepien, You Weren’t On “Team Normal.” You Were On “Team Coup.”
Recently at The Bulwark:
CATHY YOUNG: Department of Whataboutery
JVL: Herschel Walker Lied About Being a Cop and It Won't Matter 🔐
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BILL KRISTOL: The Forest and the Trees.
There are many ways to try to make clear the shape of the present forest—but this is the simplest I’ve been able to come up with:
Trump conspired to overturn the election.
The committee will show how Trump propagated the lie that he hadn’t lost; how Trump pressured state legislators to overturn their states’ results based on lies; how Trump pressured senior officials at the Department of Justice to support this effort; how Trump pressured his vice president to join the conspiracy to overturn the results; and how Trump summoned the mob to Washington and encouraged them to storm the Capitol in a last ditch effort to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.
So the heart of the matter is that Donald Trump was the head of a criminal conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election.
THOMAS LECAQUE: Patriot Front and the Next Stage of the Culture War.
The 20 million people who tuned in to the prime-time January 6 Committee hearing last week saw proof that right-wing extremist groups played an essential role in planning and executing the attack—specifically, the Oath Keepers, who entered the Capitol in two “stacks” wearing full tactical gear, and the Proud Boys, whose preparations for violence were recorded by documentary filmmaker Nick Quested. Days before the hearing, the Department of Justice indicted former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and four other members of the group on charges of seditious conspiracy and other offenses, while members of the Oath Keepers, including leader Stewart Rhodes, were arrested on similar charges earlier in the year.
As has been the case at other times in history when political instability has drawn extremist groups into open street-fighting—a Proud Boys calling card—these groups represent the sharp end of the ax that the far right is driving into American society. On Jan. 6, 2021, their goal was to overturn the results of the recent presidential election. In June 2022, however, their goals have shifted. The arrest of dozens of members of extremist group Patriot Front over the weekend shines a light on the new agenda for the militant factions of the far right. Their energies are now being focused on another goal: prosecuting a renewed culture war against sexual minorities.
Ready or not, the 2024 election is right around the corner. Donald Trump is set up to run again, and the official line in the White House is that Joe Biden is running. What do our focus groups think of that redux, and who they think their other options are. National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar (at last) joins Sarah to hash out their Twitter disagreement over Trump’s grip on the GOP and to take a look into the future.
Washington is a city run on secrets, and between WWII and the end of the Cold War, no secret was more deadly to a political career than homosexuality. Jamie Kirchick joins guest host Tim Miller to discuss his book, “Secret City.” Plus — gay bigotry’s past in today’s politics.
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TIM MILLER: No, Bill Stepien, You Weren’t On “Team Normal.” You Were On “Team Coup.”
Donald Trump’s campaign manager is convinced he was one of the normal ones.
Day two of the January 6th Committee’s public hearings focused on demonstrating that Trump and his inner circle knew that they were perpetrating a fraud on the public. They proved that not only was there no evidence to back up the claims undergirding the Big Lie, but that Trump and his team knew there was no evidence, but proceeded forward in their attempt to overturn the election result anyway.
During this testimony an internal division emerged within the Trump team. Group A—we’ll call them the Ultra-Coup crowd—was led by an “apparently inebriated” Rudy Giuliani (redundant?) and his crack(en) team of legal eagles and pillow profiteers. Much ink has already been spilled in these pages about those traitorous twits.
But today’s testimony came from Group B, which was made-up of the actual political and legal professionals around Trump who knew full well that he had lost, told him as much, and then tried to slowly back away from the runaway dumpster fire to the extent that was practicable.
CATHY YOUNG: Do Ohio Republicans Really Want to Use Genital Exams to Ban Trans Athletes?
While transgender inclusion in women’s sports has been a contentious issue on the professional and Olympic levels, that debate has been shaped by the stringent requirements an athlete must meet to qualify. Scholastic sports are different, especially in K-12. As of 2019, 17 states allowed high school students to participate in sports in accordance with their gender identity without undergoing any medical procedures—surgical or hormonal—related to what is often called “sex reassignment” or “gender reassignment.” One of those states is Connecticut, where Andraya Yearwood won the state championships in the girls’ 100- and 200-meter sprints in 2017 without either puberty blockers or hormone therapy. Then, in 2018 and 2019, Yearwood and another transgender sprinter, Terry Miller, won first and second places in several state track championship events two years in a row. (By then, both were undergoing hormone treatments, but for a much shorter period of time than it would normally take for the biological male advantage to be substantially mitigated.) Amid controversy, several female runners backed by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a conservative legal group, filed a complaint seeking to block the participation of trans athletes in girls’ sports as fundamentally unfair. The lawsuit was dismissed in April 2021 on procedural grounds: Since the transgender students whom the plaintiffs named had already graduated and the plaintiffs could identify no other trans athletes they would personally have to compete against, the question was moot.
The question of fairness in the Connecticut lawsuit was fiercely debated. ADF counsel Christiana Kiefer spoke of the plaintiffs’ “demoralizing experiences of losing to male runners.” Supporters of the trans athletes pointed out that one of the plaintiffs, Chelsea Mitchell, had beaten Miller in two state championship races just two days after the lawsuit was filed, a counterpoint to claims that biologically female athletes are hopelessly disadvantaged against transgender competitors.
NOhio…At least not yet. As we were packing up the car Saturday to head to Cleveland to visit with family, turns out the virus had struck, and the family trip to Ohio was no more. All are well and recovering, minus me: I haven’t gotten it yet (not that I am trying.)
But considering the hectic past two weeks we’ve had (family trip to Saint Louis), plus this current week: It’s sort of the closest thing to a non-pandemic normal hectic summer as I am used to. Still, the virus gets a vote! Remember: Your local library (or other government entities) usually offers free COVID tests, and you can still get the N-95s at CVS.
Speaking of road trips… It only took a shade under two weeks to get my 35mm film back from our trip, courtesy of my Holga camera (that inspired Instagram) and shocker: the lo-fi camera that my twins dropped and repeatedly took photos with (despite not knowing anything about film) did generate a few good pictures, including this one, which suffered some of Holga’s infamous light leak flaws making for cool looking pictures:
I’ve had my Holga for 15+ years, before it was really “in.” I guess that makes me a hipster? I hadn’t used it until our trip to Saint Louis, doing some house cleaning, so I packed it up along with two rolls of film. It’s probably been 5 years since I’ve used it, and I discovered a few things:
1.) Film isn’t as cheap as it once was, which makes sense. It’s not produced or developed to the degree that it was when I was younger. 2.) Getting digital copies is a pain in the rear. My house has zero computers with a CD drive. How am I supposed to get these now? Answer: 3.) USB-powered CD drives can be delivered to your house in one day, but two rolls of 35mm film have to be shipped halfway across the country and take 7-15 days.
You’d think it’d be easier to use the cloud or mail me back a flash drive… But, as much as I enjoy the process of film, I think I might just get one of these for my next road trip.
Just for Show… Matt Labash on our unreality show life.
The Salt Lake disaster. What is going on in the West, and why it’s not good.
Did you miss today’s January 6 hearing? Catch up with our friends at Lawfare.
Rudy’s not the only Giuliani in the news today… His son is still running for Gov., but can’t attend the debates. Guess why!
A look at how quickly and how far people on the right can move the goalposts once facts stop caring about their feelings. Coeur d'Alene edition.
Signs people missed about our financial bubble. Well, not all of us. JVL was pretty good at identifying them!
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