Lawyers representing former President Donald Trump in his challenge to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) retrieval of government documents from his Mar-a-Lago home are refusing to answer questions from special master Judge Raymond Dearie regarding the accuracy of a list of items found at the estate.
Last week, Dearie instructed Trump’s lawyers to respond to a generalized list of documents the DOJ found at the Palm Beach, Florida, estate, requesting that they state whether or not they believed it provided a truthful account of the materials that were removed.
Dearie’s demand required Trump’s lawyers to discuss in detail why they believed certain items, if any, were inaccurate, and if they believed items had been planted by FBI agents during the search — a claim that Trump has made publicly numerous times, though his lawyers have not introduced the idea in court hearings or briefs so far.
In a letter filed publicly on Wednesday by Trump’s legal team, the lawyers said they will not answer the question posed by Dearie, and claimed that federal Judge Aileen Cannon’s order establishing Dearie’s role as special master doesn’t require them to do so.
It’s unclear what will happen next, as Dearie hasn’t yet addressed the objection from Trump’s lawyers.
Trump has repeatedly asserted that the FBI may have planted evidence while conducting the search, though he has never provided any evidence whatsoever to back up those claims. In a Truth Social post just days after the search warrant was executed at Mar-a-Lago, Trump suggested that the FBI was potentially trying to frame him for a crime.
“Everyone was asked to leave the premises,” Trump wrote. “They wanted to be alone without any witnesses to see what they were doing, taking or, hopefully not, ‘planting.'”
The refusal by Trump’s legal team to discuss whether or not they believe the DOJ’s inventory list is accurate could delay the special master’s work, but it won’t impede at least part of the DOJ’s investigation into Trump’s mishandling of documents.
Originally, Cannon had ruled that Trump’s dubious privilege claims should be entertained while the special master did their work, and ordered the Justice Department to cease examination of more than 100 classified documents they had found at Mar-a-Lago in August. The DOJ sued in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, where a three-judge panel overturned that part of Cannon’s order, allowing the department to continue examining materials that had classified markings.
“[Trump] does not have a possessory interest in the documents at issue, so he does not suffer a cognizable harm if the United States reviews documents he neither owns nor has a personal interest in,” the appeals court said.
Additionally, the ruling from the circuit court stated that Cannon “abused [her] discretion in exercising jurisdiction … as it concerns the classified documents”
“We cannot discern why [Trump] would have an individual interest in or need for any of the one-hundred documents with classification markings,” the panel said.
Trump’s legal team has not yet indicated whether they plan to appeal the 11th Circuit Court’s ruling, either through an en banc decision involving all of the judges on that appellate court or by taking the matter directly to the Supreme Court to decide.
The Senate approved the interim spending bill, which must now pass the House before heading to President Biden for his signature. The government runs out of spending power on Friday night.
(Image credit: Anna Rose Layden/Getty Images)
As the economy unravels, "everyone is getting a bike," says one young resident. It's the cheapest way to get around. But the Taliban's conservative culture means women cyclists are not welcome.
(Image credit: Diaa Hadid)
Millions of Floridians are without power in the wake of Hurricane Ian, which now has its sights set on South Carolina. Here are some do's and don'ts of blackout safety.
(Image credit: Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)
After vetoing similar legislation last year and threatening to do so again last month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday signed Assembly Bill 2183 into law, making it easier for farmworkers in the state to participate in union elections.
The Democratic governor’s about-face on the measure represents a major victory for labor leaders. It follows a monthslong push by United Farm Workers of America (UFW) and the California Labor Federation (CLF) and comes in the wake of pressure from President Joe Biden and two high-ranking national Democrats with California ties — Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“This is an incredible victory,” said UFW president Teresa Romero. “Starting next year, farmworkers can participate in elections free from intimidation and deportations. ¡Sí se puede!”
A.B. 2183, which the CLF called “the most consequential private sector organizing bill in our state’s history,” gives farmworkers a streamlined way to unionize without having to cast a ballot at a polling place on or near growers’ property following a monthslong anti-union campaign.
— Eytan Wallace (@EytanWallace) September 28, 2022
Proponents say the newly enacted law, which contains several provisions aimed at preventing union-busting and was opposed by dozens of agriculture industry groups, will make it harder for bosses to subdue and retaliate against the workers who provide most of the nation’s fruits and vegetables, many of whom are undocumented and fearful of being deported.
When California’s Democratic-led Legislature approved the bill last month, Newsom’s office expressed opposition. The governor only signed it after his administration, the CLF, and UFW “reached a ‘supplemental agreement’ on provisions that will be introduced in the next legislative session,” the New York Times reported Wednesday.
According to the Associated Press: “The agreement includes a cap on the number of unionization petitions over the next five years and will allow state regulators to better protect worker confidentiality and safety, Newsom’s office said. It would do away with an option for workers to unionize through mail-in voting that is contained in the current language, but keeps a ‘card check’ election process.”
Under the revised law, farmworkers will still have the opportunity to “vote from home or anywhere else they feel comfortable,” reducing the likelihood of employer intimidation, UFW legislative and political director Giev Kashkooli told the news outlet.
As the CLF explains:
Majority sign-up, or “card check,” allows workers who want to join a union to sign a card authorizing the union to represent them in collective bargaining. If a majority of workers sign cards, the cards are submitted to the National Labor Relations Board (private sector) or the Public Employment Relations Board (public sector). If the Board finds that the majority of workers want a union, the union is entitled to recognition. In California, public sector employees already have the right to majority sign-up; all workers should be able to organize under this fair and democratic system.
In a video, Romero told those who led and supported the fight for free and fair union elections that “this is your victory.”
“Every one of you who struggled and donated your time and your energy to get this done,” said Romero. “Farmworkers organized and sacrificed to make their voices heard and to pass A.B. 2183.”
— United Farm Workers (@UFWupdates) September 28, 2022
Starting on August 3, as KCRA reported Wednesday, UFW members embarked on “a 24-day, 335-mile journey from Kern County, near Bakersfield, to the state capitol, a march that civil rights activist César Chávez first led in 1966.”
Although Newsom disappointed farmworkers by announcing near the end of their march that he “cannot support an untested mail-in election process,” labor organizers around the state — with an assist from Biden and other top Democrats — continued to hold rallies and eventually won important reforms.
On social media, the CLF wrote: “This victory belongs to every farmworker who marched and sacrificed. It is shared with the whole California labor movement, who mobilized and stood in historic solidarity with the United Farm Workers. The fight of farmworkers is the fight for all of labor.”
That message was echoed by Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, who said that “this is what happens when we organize with urgency. Together, we can win.”
— Sara Nelson (@FlyingWithSara) September 28, 2022
The effort to secure free and fair union elections follows “years of dwindling union membership among California farmworkers,” the Times noted. “There are more than 400,000 agricultural workers in the state,” but the percentage who are unionized is “statistically zero,” according to recent estimates based on data from a 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics survey.
Organizing agricultural workers was made more difficult last year when the U.S. Supreme Court’s far-right majority ruled that a California regulation granting union representatives access to farms amounted to an uncompensated government taking of farm owners’ private property.
“In this historic time when workers want a union more than ever before, everything we do — including legislatively — must be focused on organizing,” CLF chief officer Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher told the Times on Wednesday. “It’s natural that in California, our farmworkers will be leading the way.”
Also on Wednesday, Newsom signed A.B. 2530, which protects the healthcare benefits of striking workers. As Unite Here put it, the newly enacted law allows workers to “exercise their right to strike for better jobs without jeopardizing their families’ access to care.”
In a statement, Gonzalez Fletcher said, “Workers have the right to stand up to their boss and go on strike to improve wages, working conditions, and for a better life.”
Local government officials say the laws undermine their authority and cut their tax base, but it's a long-sought win for affordable housing advocates, who say such sites are ready-made for apartments.
(Image credit: Rich Pedroncelli/AP)
Images of the aftermath show a glimpse of the destruction caused by the powerful Category 4 hurricane: homes washed out, boats yanked from their moorings, and decimated neighborhoods.
(Image credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
The Biden administration has quietly changed its guidance to disqualify borrowers who have privately-held FFEL and Perkins loans.
(Image credit: Evan Vucci/AP)
Forty million people rely on the river. ProPublica's Abrahm Lustgarten says that water scarcity in the West hasn't been recognized as the national emergency that it is.
President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration in Florida on Thursday morning as Hurricane Ian, now downgraded to a tropical storm, swept through the state in a record storm surge, leaving homes destroyed and millions without power.
The storm surge was record-breaking in some areas of Southwest Florida, causing flooding and up to 155 mph wind gusts. Just shy of a Category 5 storm, Ian hit Florida as a Category 4 storm, one of the strongest to hit the southwestern part of the state. It raged through the central part of Florida on Wednesday and Thursday, hammering the central and eastern parts of the state with floods even as it was downgraded to a tropical storm early Thursday morning.
The death toll of the hurricane is unknown, though the county sheriff for Florida’s Lee County, one of the worst-hit areas, predicts that the death toll could be in the hundreds, and said that there are thousands of people waiting to be rescued — many of them stranded and unable to evacuate. According to Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell, there are nine hospitals in Lee County that didn’t have water as of Thursday morning.
Biden’s emergency declaration unlocks funding and federal resources for provisions like temporary housing and property loss in nine counties. The White House may approve an emergency declaration for more areas of the state as the storm continues on its path north into Georgia and the Carolinas.
The National Hurricane Center is expecting Ian to restrengthen into a Category 1 hurricane on Thursday and into Friday. The governors of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia have all preemptively declared a state of emergency over the storm.
Ian was likely worsened by effects of the climate crisis. Warmer water temperatures in the Atlantic “turbocharged” the storm, as The Associated Press wrote, allowing the storm to gain more strength at a faster pace than if the waters hadn’t been warmed by greenhouse gas effects. Such conditions have almost certainly been causing storms like Ian to be stronger, and for strong storms to hit more often, climate experts say.
Indeed, storm hunters and experts have noted that Ian has been remarkable in many ways. One hurricane hunter, Nick Underwood, noted remarkable amounts of lightning around the eye of the storm, which had cycled and rapidly and severely intensified the storm on Tuesday night as it approached Florida.
*RARE* first person view of storm surge. This camera is 6 feet off the ground on Estero Blvd in Fort Myers Beach, FL. Not sure how much longer it keeps working. You’ll see it live only on @weatherchannel #Ian pic.twitter.com/WwHtvgVxjY
— Mike Bettes (@mikebettes) September 28, 2022
According to PowerOutage.us, about 2.6 million customers in Florida were without power as of Thursday morning, largely concentrated in southwestern parts of the state but spreading to the eastern coast as well. Many people have lost access to water or are under boil advisories.
Racial inequities are emerging in the vaccination and treatment of monkeypox, just as we saw with COVID. In recent weeks, roughly 25 percent of new monkeypox cases have occurred among white patients. Yet more than 33 percent of monkeypox vaccines have gone to white patients (as of September 27).
Financial and logistical barriers to monkeypox care can disproportionately affect patients of color. In New York City, appointments for monkeypox treatment and vaccination, distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, have disproportionately gone to wealthy, white individuals who have better access to the health care system. The first vaccines were doled out in Chelsea, a mostly white neighborhood, during the middle of the workday on Thursday. Even when vaccines began to be distributed in Harlem (a neighborhood that is 82 percent non-white), appointments appeared to go largely to white residents from outside the community, leaving community members frustrated.
Such disparities mirror larger trends in society. Across specialties, physicians disproportionately spend their time seeing white patients, despite patients of color, on average, having higher medical needs. Due to the legacy of slavery, Indigenous genocide, xenophobic immigration regulations and centuries of racist economic policies, patients of color are more likely to be under- or uninsured, and in general, have lower incomes. Patients of color are also more likely to experience difficulties accessing transportation, or taking paid time off work to access appointments. The latter is particularly important for individuals with monkeypox, which requires prolonged isolation, and whose painful lesions can inhibit the ability to work.
We need explicitly anti-racist policies to repair these harms. Medicare for All would eliminate financial barriers to health care, and in doing so, help address the racial inequities highlighted by the monkeypox pandemic.
Medicare for All would establish a “single-payer” system, in which all U.S. residents would receive health insurance. All U.S. residents would have access to medications, doctor appointments and hospitalizations with low or no copayments. Undocumented individuals could be covered under the current House bill, as to be determined by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Studies show that Medicare for All would have saved 340,000 lives so far during the COVID pandemic, primarily by eliminating financial barriers to care, while saving billions of dollars annually. It’s a rare “free lunch” in economic policy, because savings under a single-payer system far outstrip the costs of expanding coverage. The U.S. spends nearly a third of all health care dollars on administration, approximately $800 billion annually, primarily coming in the form of private health insurance company overhead and profits. Medicare’s fee-for-service plan, in contrast, has 2.4 percent overhead.
Medicare for All could address racial disparities in monkeypox access by making all services free of charge, disproportionately benefiting racial and ethnic minorities. Most Americans would see their incomes rise, not only because premiums and copayments would fall to near zero, but because for the majority of Americans with employer-sponsored insurance, the potential salary that is currently tied up in insurance subsidies would be freed up.
Taken together, these financial boons could disproportionately benefit people of color who are more likely to delay health care because of cost. It’s notable that in the Veterans Health Administration, a single-payer health care system, many racial disparities in health outcomes are mitigated or absent.
When diseases like monkeypox disproportionately affect communities of color, the financial impact on hospital systems is not equal, reproducing structural racism. In general, hospitals primarily serving patients of color earn fewer profits, since these patients are disproportionately uninsured or covered by public insurance, which reimburses less than private insurance. This codifies a perverse financial system in which white lives are more valued than the lives of people of color.
Over the past few decades, this has also led to an arms race among health care systems, which invest in lucrative projects to attract privately insured (disproportionately white) patients, driving up the cost of care for all in the process. Meanwhile, clinics that serve people of color remain underfunded.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Medicare for All would establish a financing system called “global budgeting” that could allocate resources based on need, similar to how we currently finance fire departments. It’s a common-sense approach that aligns dollars with need. Safety net and rural hospitals, which are currently closing at record rates, would see boosts in revenue, and unnecessary or wasteful spending would be curtailed. This would be a boon for clinics which focus on lower reimbursing areas, like primary care, mental health, and yes, infectious diseases.
The early days of the monkeypox pandemic have been plagued by supply chain and logistical challenges. Vaccines remain scarce and maldistributed. Contact tracing and testing have been challenging. Medicare for All wouldn’t, in and of itself, fix all of these problems, but it would enable a national electronic medical record, mitigating logistical hurdles that result from our byzantine, multi-payer health system.
For example, in 2020, Taiwan’s lauded initial response to COVID would not have been possible without its single-payer system and national health insurance database, which streamlined contact tracing and communication.
There will be more pandemics after monkeypox and COVID-19. Narrow, disease-specific measures, such as those passed in 2020 making COVID hospitalizations free, expire with time, serving only as Band-Aids. Other incremental reforms are politically attractive, but mathematically infeasible, as they do not come with the administrative savings of a single-payer system.
There is a saying in medicine that the United States does not have a “health care system,” we have a “sick care” system. Among wealthy nations, the U.S. stands out for its uniquely reactive, profit-driven system which is disinterested in prevention. The monkeypox pandemic makes this all the more clear, and also sheds a light on structural racism in our health care system. By advocating for Medicare for All, we can build a better system, fundamentally reoriented to justice and public health, one that prioritizes people over profits and takes a necessary step toward confronting racial inequities in our society.
Abnormally hot water in the Gulf of Mexico helped Hurricane Ian gain strength. Rapidly intensifying major hurricanes are more likely as the Earth gets hotter.
(Image credit: RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP via Getty Images)
As millions of Florida residents in the path of Hurricane Ian were ordered to evacuate, advocates pushed authorities to also evacuate what they say are as many as 176,000 people incarcerated in prisons, jails and immigrant detention centers. Now the storm has left millions without power and many without water. “We’re worried about the conditions in the days and weeks following, with no AC, lack of sanitation and water, lack of food, lack of appropriate staff and access to health,” says Angel D’Angelo, a member of Restorative Justice Coalition and Fight Toxic Prisons.TRANSCRIPT
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.
As millions of Florida residents in the path of Hurricane Ian were ordered to evacuate, advocates pushed authorities also evacuate of over what they say are as many as 176,000 prisoners. That’s right, people incarcerated in prisons, jails, immigrant detention centers. Some prisoners saw their units evacuated. Others were put on lockdown with minimal staff. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office said they declined to evacuate people from the 457-bed Fort Myers Jail, even though the county map shows the jail is in the mandatory evacuation zone. This morning on Good Morning America, the Lee County sheriff confirmed fatalities were in the hundreds in the region.
When Hurricane Ida devastated southern Louisiana last year, many people were in prisons and jails that did not evacuate. In the weeks following the storm, they faced limited access to drinking water, food, electricity and medicine. Many also remember how people held in the Orleans Parish Prison, after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, were deserted in their locked cells as sewage-tainted water rose up to their chests.
For more, we’re joined in Tampa by Angel D’Angelo. He is with the Restorative Justice Coalition, as well as the Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons.
Welcome to Democracy Now!, Angel. Just tell us what you’ve learned, I mean, and this latest news out of Lee County, that they refused to evacuate the jail, even though it was in the evacuation zone.
ANGEL D’ANGELO: Good morning, and thank you for having us here.
We’re very, very concerned about the conditions in Lee County, as well as throughout the entire zone of where Ian has landed. We haven’t gotten full updates on the status of people who are incarcerated, but we know from — as you mentioned earlier, from past incidences that jails, prisons, immigration centers and juvenile halls can be dangerous places during storms, especially with long-term power outages. So, it’s not just the windfall we’re worried about. We’re worried about the conditions in the days and weeks following, with no AC, lack of sanitation and water, lack of food, lack of appropriate staff and access to health.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: And yesterday, Angel, the Florida Department of Corrections issued a press release outlining some of the safety measures they’ve put in place, saying approximately 2,500 inmates had been evacuated. Could you, please, put that in context, how many inmates there are in Florida — we mentioned a little in our introduction — in prisons, in jails and in detention centers? Two thousand five hundred have been evacuated.
ANGEL D’ANGELO: I don’t know the number offhand, including all of the jails, prisons, federal jails, state levels, juvenile centers and in immigration centers, but I know that Florida is a large state as far as our mass incarceration. The United States, of course, being the holder of 25% of inmates in the world, Florida being one of the top in the United States, so the amount that they’ve evacuated certainly doesn’t scratch the surface.
I know there’s been some evacuations. For example, in Hillsborough County, Florida, we have two jails. And thanks to the Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons, they evacuated individuals from Orient Road Jail and moved them to Falkenburg Jail, which at least is not in an evacuation zone. So, that’s one example of an evacuation that did happen, completely, to removing all inmates from that jail to prioritize their safety. And we’re not sure why Lee County and Charlotte County, who were in danger zones, did not take those actions.
AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about what authorities say when you demand that these prisons be evacuated. Where do they get evacuated to?
ANGEL D’ANGELO: Absolutely. So, in Charlotte County, for example, a member of Fight Toxic Prisons contacted Charlotte County Jail, as one example, and was told that the jail itself serves as a shelter and that the building is sturdy. And we hear “the building is sturdy” as quite a common line from prison and jail authorities.
And whether or not that’s true — I mean, it may even be true — it’s not just the windfall that we’re worried about, or the sturdiness of the building, but rather the after-effects for a group of forgotten people who really no one’s checking on. We’ve heard stories of flooding, for example, during Hurricane Michael in 2018. Florida prisons in the Panhandle had roof damage, floods, shortages of staff and access to healthcare. So it’s not just about what’s happening during the windfall, but the days and sometimes weeks after the storm. So, the authorities also, on top of that, to consider — the authorities are also considering risking the lives of their own paid staff, as well as the people who are forced to stay there during incarceration.
AMY GOODMAN: Just to give some numbers, Florida has the third greatest number of prisoners. California is — Texas is number one, with close to 136,000. California is two, with more than 97,000 prisoners. And Florida is number three, with over 81,000 prisoners. And this is from 2020. As you say, the issues are also issues like contamination of water and everything inside the prisons. Are you speaking to people inside? Do you have access? One of the biggest problems now is people having access, let alone prisoners having access to outside world at a time like this.
ANGEL D’ANGELO: Yes, actually, that is a huge concern, obviously, around the clock, but especially during an emergency. A member of Fight Toxic Prisons did speak with someone who was incarcerated who had some concerns. I also can tell you that I spoke personally with someone in Pasco County Jail. Pasco is not necessarily in a serious threat area, but, of course, all of Florida was under a state of emergency.
My friend in Pasco County Jail has been subject to abuse for the last several weeks and forced into solitary confinement for unrelated reasons, finally was able to call me after two weeks of no contact, and barely even seemed aware that there was a storm, certainly was not aware of the intensity of the storm. When I asked questions about, you know, of course, his situation in general, I had to throw in about the storm. And he said that he felt that the building was safe as far as the exterior, but he identified to me that he has not heard about any extra safety protocols, and even said to me that a correctional office told him, “We don’t care about y’all in here.”
AMY GOODMAN: Well, Angel D’Angelo, we thank you for bringing attention to this very critical issue, and we will continue to cover it. Angel is with the Restorative Justice Coalition, as well as the Fight Toxic Prisons group. He’s speaking to us from Tampa, Florida.
Next up, as Russia announces it’s formally going to annex four occupied areas of Ukraine, we’ll speak to a prominent Ukrainian journalist who’s just back from an area that has just been retaken by Ukraine, investigating potential war crimes. Stay with us.
AMY GOODMAN: “Fantastic Voyage” by Coolio. The 59-year-old Grammy-winning rapper died on Wednesday.
A new report from the University of Chicago highlights that millions of Americans believe it is justified to commit acts of violence in former President Donald Trump’s name.
The university’s Chicago Project on Security and Threats (CPOST) conducted a survey in collaboration with the National Opinion Research Center between the dates of September 9-12. Respondents were asked to share their views on myriad issues relating to political violence and events in the recent past.
One of the questions the poll posed was whether or not the 2020 presidential election was legitimate. More than one-fifth of those surveyed (22 percent) agreed with the errant notion that the election was “stolen” from Trump, and that Biden is not the rightful president, while 59 percent of respondents disagreed. The poll also asked about respondents’ views of the people who attacked the Capitol on January 6, finding that 1 in 10 Americans agreed with describing them as “patriots,” while 64 percent disagreed.
Thirteen percent of respondents — or more than one in eight Americans — said that the use of force by citizens “is sometimes necessary to achieve political goals that I support.”
The poll also found that 5 percent of adults in the U.S. believe that violence, in order to reinstate Trump to the White House, would be justified. That rate is equal to 1 in 20 American adults, or around 13 million Americans overall.
The same rate answered affirmatively to the question when a caveat was added that such a coup would result in some people being injured or killed.
When the poll asked if the use of violence would be justified to prevent the Department of Justice from charging Trump over his mishandling of government documents, 7 percent of respondents said that it would be, representing around 15 million adults in the U.S.
The poll also found that an alarming number of Americans believe in conspiracy theories pushed by far right white nationalists. More than one in five Americans (21 percent) believe that Democrats are trying to flood the electorate with “more obedient voters from the Third World,” and 18 percent of adults in the U.S. think that non-white Americans “will eventually have more rights” than white people — ideas that are propagated by the “Great Replacement Theory,” a fabrication pushed by white nationalists purporting that global elites are trying to lessen white populations in countries where the majority has historically been white.
Adherents of the “Great Replacement Theory” have frequently engaged in violence. The bogus theory was cited by participants at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, when right-wing extremists engaged in violence against counterprotesters, culminating in the murder of anti-racist activist Heather Heyer. The tenets of the “Great Replacement Theory” were also cited by a mass shooter who murdered 10 Black people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, earlier this year.
Robert Pape, the director of CPOST, discussed the survey’s results and the meaning of the data earlier this month on CBS’s “Face the Nation” program.
“We have not just a political threat to our democracy, we have a violent threat to our democracy,” he said. “Today, there are millions of individuals who don’t just think the election was stolen in 2020; they support violence to restore Donald Trump to the White House.”
Others have noted that Trump loyalists have warned that there will be violence if he’s ever arrested.
“If there is a prosecution of Donald Trump for mishandling classified information…there will be riots in the street,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said late last month.
“The rhetoric [from Graham] seemed to straddle the line between warning and threat,” Steve Benen, a producer and blogger for MSNBC, wrote in response. “‘Let Trump get away with crimes,’ the senator seemed to suggest, ‘or his followers will turn violent.'”
Frontline climate leaders just secured a huge win by stopping West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s pipeline bill from weaseling into the Senate’s key funding bill. In the face of fierce opposition, conservative Democrat Manchin asked Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) to remove this “permitting reform” bill from the continuing resolution just hours before they voted on its fate.
The importance of this national victory being accomplished by frontline organizers cannot be understated. Frontline leaders joined forces together to lobby and call their representatives, tell their stories, and rally in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere, with the support of “Big Green” environmentalists. This was made possible by years of relationship building amongst frontline organizations and, notably, efforts to repair the relationships between grassroots organizations and Big Greens. On the latter, there is still a lot to be done, but this was a significant step where big organizations followed the lead of the grassroots and uplifted their voices, even after grassroots voices were left out of conversations about the Inflation Reduction Act that many of these Big Greens trumpeted as a win.
Manchin’s bill threatened to fast-track the pipeline I spent my days fighting to stop. Prior to my time fighting the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), I was a national climate organizer with 350.org and before that I was a global climate advocate with the World Resources Institute. I have seen many wins and losses in the climate movement and this one strikes me as particularly special.
Before the news broke that Manchin had side-swept his side deal, I tried not to think about what would happen if this bill passed because it threatened to overturn the core objective of my work: stopping the Mountain Valley Pipeline. But late one night after a long day of work, I sat down in my living room and let myself consider what was at stake. From my perspective in the MVP fight, what came to mind was the near-decade fight to stop this pipeline from steamrolling through Appalachia. I saw the faces of all the people I fight alongside who have been in this from the start and who have dedicated their life to stopping this pipeline. These people have set aside their lives as outdoor adventurers, farmers and coffee baristas to prevent this pipeline from destroying what they love most: their people and mountains. At that moment, the audacity of Sen. Joe Manchin to sacrifice his own constituents to fast-track an unnecessary pipeline during a climate crisis in order to get more money from a dying industry filled me with rage. Then despair — and I broke down into tears.
My partner, sitting next to me, was surprised. “You’re usually so realistic. You usually say, ‘I don’t know if we’ll win but the one thing I can do is try.’” And it’s true. As a queer person of color from the Global South, I’m used to seeing communities like mine put in losing positions, so I stay prepared for that. But I felt like I had been carrying an insurmountable weight for weeks that I hadn’t let myself acknowledge, and acknowledging it felt earth-shattering.
I joined the Mountain Valley Pipeline fight in part because the people in West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina that this pipeline is targeting are continually sacrificed for political and financial gain and I have seen the same thing done to my communities over centuries. I have fostered life-long friendships in this moment and with the land that the pipeline threatens. The moment I burst into tears in my living room was also the moment I acknowledged how much this frontline fight meant to me.
The reason I am in the climate movement is to make sure that voices like mine from communities like mine are listened to. This fight against Manchin’s dirty deal felt like a moment where they finally were. In early September, I helped organize a rally in D.C. to stop this deal and that rally featured Appalachian, Indigenous, Black and working-class organizers on the front lines of environmental injustice fights. Seeing them on the stage with a crowd of 600 people and representing hundreds of thousands of people from across the country felt historic. It’s not often that people like me and the folks I work with get to see ourselves and our power represented in Washington, D.C., but those leaders traveled across the country to make sure we were heard, and many Congresspeople joined our opposition, helping us secure this win.
The climate movement is stronger coming out of this win and that is because we followed those on the front lines. In order to avoid the worst of the climate crisis and ensure a livable future, we must keep that up.