EDITORS’ BLOG

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DeSantis Copycat?

We have another mystery on our hands. Someone bused more than a dozen migrants from El Paso into New Mexico and then put them on a private jet which flew them to Sacramento. They were then dropped off in front of a Catholic church with no pre-arrangement or warning. Like the the DeSantis/Martha’s Vineyard stunt last year the migrants were apparently lured or tricked into getting on the plane. California authorities are now trying to get to the bottom of who was behind it.

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Where Things Stand: McCarthy Was Scolded For Showing GOP’s Hand On Benghazi. Today’s GOP Shows Its Hand And No One Cares.

Back in another lifetime, now-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy upset a bunch of his Republican colleagues when he just straight-up announced on Fox News that the Select Committee on Benghazi was making then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton look bad, and suggested that, hey, that was probably just the goal all along??? 🙃🙃

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Noted

“The stage was decorated with a swastika and a picture of Hitler. The speakers started ranting. There were only 15 of us, but we went into action. We … threw some of them out the windows … Most of the Nazis panicked and ran out. We chased them and beat them up … We wanted to show them that Jews would not always sit back and accept insults.”

— Meyer Lansky, gangster, remembering breaking up meetings of the pro-Nazi German-American Bund in Yorkville on New York’s Upper East Side in the 1930s.

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SCOTUS, ‘Color Blindness’ and the Invented Past

This morning I was reading this Slate article by Rick Hasen and Dahlia Lithwick on newly released papers which seem to show the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist held on to his segregationist views well into his time as chief justice. (For background, as a SCOTUS clerk in 1952, Rehnquist wrote a memo explicitly defending the constitutionality of Plessy v Ferguson and the segregationist system that was built up on it. He later played a key role in organized voter suppression efforts in Arizona in the 1960s.) Hasen and Lithwick tie Rehnquist to the current Court majority’s view that the 14th Amendment is essentially a warrant for color blindness in the law.

The 14th Amendment particularly has implications which were very much by design that go beyond the fate of post-war ex-slaves. It essentially creates a thing we now take for granted, the status of citizen of the United States. It also has implications beyond things the architects of the amendment could have conceived of. But there are certainly concrete things that are totally clear about it and the other Civil War amendments if you spend even some basic time understanding why they were created, what they mean and what they meant to accomplish. Reading Hasen’s and Lithwick’s piece was helpful, reminding me of this by showing the bust-up collision between the actual Civil War amendments and the theoretical latticework that gets promoted in Federalist Society world and in some ways (albeit often in a much more benign form) in law schools generally. In the latter case, there’s nothing wrong with theory. It has its place. It’s necessary if your aim is not simply historical understanding of the amendments but some level of application to present-day realities.

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And Now the Pay-off

Today Marjorie Taylor Greene announced on Twitter that at her request Speaker Kevin McCarthy is providing unrestricted access to Jan. 6 surveillance tapes to discredited journalist John Solomon, a Jan. 6 conspiracy theorist named Julie Kelly and another unnamed party.

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Where Things Stand: Save This Clip For Next Time They Pretend They Don’t Wanna Cut Soc Security, Medicare

This is your TPM evening briefing.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is seemingly trying to get a handful of far-right members of the Freedom Caucus to chill out and stop threatening to redo the speakership election. They’re not likely to successfully depose him, but no one is eager for a redo of the January spectacle as a few loud members seek to reassert their authority. And, so, in what is seemingly a half-hearted effort to throw them a bone, McCarthy went on Fox News and promised to create some vague “commission” that’ll review further cuts to next year’s budget.

The speaker then took it a step further. Instead of just promising that “this isn’t the end” and proposing some sort of additional amorphous cuts to quell a hardliner uprising, McCarthy doubled down, raising the possibility that this next step commission could look into gutting Social Security and Medicare. Music, in theory, to the ears of a salivating Freedom Caucus.

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The Secret History of ‘Debt Ceiling,’ the Original Movie

As we analyze and try to make sense of how this debt ceiling drama has worked out, there’s one important difference with the original crisis 12 years ago to keep in mind. Back in 2011, President Obama was very much bought into the idea of deficit reduction and “the grand bargain.” Some of this of course is the distinct matter of inoculating against Republican fiscal politics — nods to fiscal probity, deficit reduction and so forth. To really understand politics it’s critical to distinguish between true agendas and reactive, positioning politics of that sort. But, to a degree, he was actually bought into it.

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The Diehards Fold

Yesterday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (F-FL) said that a bright line Kevin McCarthy couldn’t go past without triggering a “motion to vacate” would be having a majority of the GOP caucus vote against his debt ceiling/budget deal with Joe Biden. This gives away the game. They might as well say that they’ll end McCarthy’s speakership the second he announces he’s identifying as non-binary. The couple dozen Freedom Caucus diehards are now setting the bar comically high because it’s suddenly clear the cudgel they’re allegedly holding over McCarthy has been vastly overstated.

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Where’s It Coming From? None of the big reveals about the MAL evidence from the last few weeks bear much sign of having come from Smith, the FBI, or DOJ more broadly.

Is This The Week? The core investigative work of Special Counsel Jack Smith and his team has appeared from the outside at least to have been done for some time. Now we have the steady stream of leaks about the evidence, and a few other signals that indictments may be forthcoming.

No More Screen Time For You! Secret Service agents missed the intruder entering and leaving the DC home of Biden National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in part because they were distracted by their personal phones, CNN reports.

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The Josh marshall podcast

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Capitol Hill Staffer Is A Prominent Follower Of Neo-Nazi Nick Fuentes

Evidence shows Congressman Paul Gosar’s digital director is behind an online persona that Fuentes called one of his “strongest soldiers.”

Nick Fuentes was under attack. 

On May 6, 2022, two high-ranking members of Fuentes’ white-supremacist “Groyper” movement had defected from his organization and gone on a rival far-right streaming show to criticize Fuentes and air their grievances about the group. Fuentes responded five days later on his own stream, “America First.” After denouncing his “enemies,” Fuentes raised his hand and made a demand from his remaining followers. 

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