Lawsuit Exposes Internal Feuds And Inner Workings Of Stew Peters’ Extremist Media Empire

A dispute raging inside the “Stew Peters Network” ended up in a federal court in Florida last month. The ongoing case has exposed drama between a group of far right media personalities, complete with alleged text messages and emails that show the inner workings of a company that has peddled conspiracy theories, anti-gay hate speech, racism, and antisemitism, while still maintaining connections with more mainstream Republicans. 

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Benny Gantz is a Follower, Lacks Moral Courage

Let me add a few thoughts on the issues we were discussing yesterday about Israel and Israel’s government. For several years, former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz has loomed over Israeli politics as a potential successor to Benjamin Netanyahu. This is an established dynamic in Israeli politics wherein the IDF is far and away the most respected institution. Former chiefs of staff almost always get discussed as potential prime ministers, though only two of them have actually done it, and many of them become government ministers. Gantz has run as the leader of a party he created which has existed under a few labels. He’s won more seats, then fewer seats. Through the war he’s been the public’s top choice in polls for the next prime minister.

What I say now is based on no inside information or even reporting and it may seem audacious to say about someone who’s had such a career of accomplishment. But it seems clear to me that the man is a follower and has some fundamental lack of moral courage.

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Today In History: SCOTUS Rules On Brown v. Board Of Education

On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court delivered a unanimous ruling in the Brown v. Board of Education case. It was a landmark decision that declared the segregation of public schools to be a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and therefore unconstitutional. At the heart of this case was a class action lawsuit brought by local families against the Topeka Board of Education for forcing black and white students to attend separate schools. Among the plaintiffs was the Brown family — specifically Linda Brown, who became the face of the movement to desegregate schools. This case is considered to be a watershed moment in the Civil Rights Movement, setting the stage for legislative action in the 1960s.

A Response to TPM Reader JB

TPM Reader JS responds to TPM Reader JB’s note from last night. As I said with JB, I don’t agree with all of the points. But the overall argument hits at what I do believe JB leaves out, which is that the U.S. is still the great power in the region. And the situation in Gaza is umbilically tied to three or four other major regional tension points. To my mind the real issue is that we cannot bring this episode to a close because of Netanyahu’s intransigence which is one part ideology and one part the need to keep his coalition intact which, in turn, keeps him out of jail. That’s a tough reason for a great power to be consumed by an issue.

JB is a classic dot disconnecter. His assertion that Israel is taking too much bandwidth from Ukraine, for example, completely misses the point. I’m going to pretend the assertion that Bibi was trying to suck us into a war with Iran was hyperbole, because it’s ridiculous, bordering on the conspiratorial (Bibi approved the killing of the Iranian general knowing they would shoot 300 drones at Israel and this bank shot would bring the US in against Iran? Lol, lmao even.)

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Ohio SoS Announces Expanded Effort To Deal With An Election Problem That Does Not Exist

Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose joined MAGA Republicans and Trump allies in sounding the non-citizen voting alarms ahead of 2024, announcing a new initiative to remove non-citizens from the voter rolls in Ohio — a solution to a Republican manufactured problem.

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The Insurrectionists In Our Midst

A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo. Sign up for the email version.

Blame It On The Wife

Though we certainly didn’t need it, yesterday was a reminder that convicting, defeating, and incarcerating Donald Trump won’t by itself rid us of the lawless insurrectionists that now populate the Republican Party, Congress, and the Supreme Court.

In a breathtaking report from the NYT’s relentless Jodi Kantor, neighbors of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito provided evidence that the American flag was flying upside down outside his Alexandria, Virginia home in the run-up to Jan. 20, 2021 inauguration of Joe Biden – an unmistakeable emblem of protest heavily adopted by the Big Lie/Stop the Steal crowd in the weeks after the 2020 election.

Remarkably, Alito admitted to the NYT via email that the incident had happened but blamed his wife for it, claiming she had been personally offended by a neighbor posting what we are led to believe was a “Fuck Trump” sign or similarly blunt message in their own yard:

I had no involvement whatsoever in the flying of the flag. It was briefly placed by Mrs. Alito in response to a neighbor’s use of objectionable and personally insulting language on yard signs.

Given how thin-skinned, peevish, and quick to offend Alito himself is, I suppose it would be no surprise if his wife were similarly small-minded. Note how Alito’s statement, while it blames his wife, also obliquely defends her – “objectionable and personally insulting”! – and does nothing to disavow what she did, the message it sent, or the way it undermined his already-compromised position on the high court.

Alito spends much of his time harnessing perceived personal slights to high principle and running around tilting at windmills. I don’t know anything of his spouse, and she has little public profile – so we are left to wonder if they are kindred spirits in that regard. But even the kind of people who get in fights with their neighbors and hold themselves in such high regard that they conflate their own wounded egos with foundational principles don’t usually find themselves defending or touting insurrections.

As things now stand, the wives of two of the Supreme Court justices – Virginia Thomas and Martha-Ann Alito – have either publicly organized, backed, or expressed support for the effort to subvert the results of the 2020 election.

My only gripe with the NYT story is that it quickly shifts from the facts of what happened to an analysis of the ethical implications for a sitting Supreme Court justice, including whether the Supreme Court’s own rules apply to the justice themselves, whether they should be subject to the standards of everyone else in the federal judiciary, and the whys and wherefores of judges not doing anything to appear overtly partisan.

Please. It’s all so precious. The more time we spend splitting hairs over the ethical niceties of this or that particular episode, the harder it is to see the big picture.

This wasn’t merely a matter of the household of a sitting Supreme Court justice improperly demonstrating a partisan preference in a public way. This was a bold declaration of affinity for and alignment with the smoldering insurrection led by a president of the same party that had just been put down but which still loomed as a threat to civic order, the peaceful transfer of power (which at that point had still not yet happened), and the rule of law.

All Alito can muster in response is to blame his wife.

Stand Back And Standby

While Justice Alito was dancing around the issue, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was saying the quiet part out loud. He posted a photo of himself standing behind Donald Trump at the courthouse in Manhattan where his hush money trial is being held and echoed Trump’s own famous line to the Proud Boys from the 2020 presidential debate stage:

Many of the leaders of the Proud Boys, who led the attack on the Capitol, are now in jail after being convicted on seditious conspiracy charges.

The message to Gaetz’s 2.5 million followers on X/Twitter was clear: He stands with the Proud Boys and whether it’s the next election or the current trial, he and the MAGA hoards are prepared to tear it all down – or at least posture about planning to do so.

Tell me again how the insurrection was quashed, nothing really happened, and it’s now over.

Abbott Pardons Gunman Who Killed BLM Protester

The third example from yesterday is not directly related to Jan. 6, and yet it’s unmistakably connected.

As he has long promised, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) pardoned the gunman who was convicted of shooting and killing an armed Black Lives Matter protester in Austin in the summer of 2020.

The BLM protests and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol are inextricably intertwined in the Republican mind. Jan. 6 was their BLM protest. Why are all the Jan. 6 rioters being prosecuted while Biden lets the BLM thugs walk free, they argue disingenuously. Abbott was sending his own message about the relative value of the lives of the gunman and the protester, about which side Abbott himself is on, and what his real values are.

So there you have it in a nutshell. From top to bottom, the Republican Party has become the insurrectionist party. It extends from the executive to the legislative to the judicial. It’s all encompassing and unapologetic. There is value in such clarity, if we choose to see it.

More Of What’s To Come In Trump II

WSJ: Trump Allies Draw Up Plans for Unprecedented Immigration Crackdown

Everything Is Perfectly Normal

The House Oversight Committee held a markup last evening of the bogus effort to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt and it devolved into a screaming match of a kind seldom seen on the Hill. It turned deeply personal and vindictive: “fake eyelashes” + “bleach blonde, bad built, butch body” + “you don’t have enough intelligence”:

Menendez Jurors Get To See The Gold Bars

Great lede: “With the corruption trial of Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey underway on Thursday, a prosecutor handed a juror in the first row of the jury box a plastic bag containing an object at the heart of the government’s case: a gold bar that glinted under the courtroom lights.”

My WhatsApp Group Chats Don’t Look Like This

WaPo: Business titans privately urged NYC mayor to use police on Columbia protesters, chats show

Have A Great Weekend!

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Not Our Problem

I debated for a bit how to explain why I was publishing this note from TPM Reader JB. I happily publish notes I agree with and others I don’t. In this case though, I disagree with quite a few individual assertions but found myself overall saying yes. That’s pretty much it. That’s a not-terribly-clear reaction. But I found it worth sharing with you.

There is a story told about Franklin Roosevelt, who spent most of the Wilson administration as an active Assistant Secretary of the Navy.  Decades later as President, he was hours into a meeting on military spending with his Army Chief of Staff, George Marshall, before Pearl Harbor, when the services’ needs were great and money was scarce.  Wearily, Gen. Marshall acknowledged the history, but asked Roosevelt, “Mr. President, could you at least stop referring to the Navy as ‘we’ and the Army as ‘they’?”

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Trump Defends Noem, Suggests She Maybe Didn’t Read Her Book ‘Carefully.’ She Did.

Donald Trump has weighed in on the Kristi Noem dog-shooting drama, offering the South Dakota governor, who was long considered on the short list to be Trump’s running mate until the past few weeks, plenty of bizarre cover for revealing she killed a dog and may have lied about a meeting with Kim Jong Un.

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