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Elon Musk Hops Aboard the Tucker Carlson January 6 Conspiracy Train

The billionaire CEO is going further down the rabbit hole.

Elon Musk stands near a Tesla outside
Marlena Sloss/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Aside from not attending to the website he owned after most of its basic functionality failed, and conducting a lawyer-heart-attack-inducing layoff of a disabled person via tweet, Elon Musk has spent most of the past day sharing Tucker Carlson–inspired conspiracies about January 6.

Spurred by Carlson’s exclusive blaring of footage of the January 6 attack, Musk maintained incredulity throughout the last 24 hours, tweet after tweet showing in real time the supposedly political enigma going further and further down the rabbit hole.

“Wow,” Musk tweeted in response to a tweet of a clip from Carlson’s show in which Carlson casts doubt surrounding the death of Brian Sicknick, an officer who died hours after defending the Capitol from the rioters. Musk then retweeted a New York Post article about footage showing Sicknick appearing “uninjured.”

Musk then complained about the January 6 committee “misleading the public” and withholding evidence for “partisan political reasons that sent people to prison for far more serious crimes than they committed.”

“I keep forgetting which party he belongs to,” Musk quipped in response to Charlie Kirk tweeting a video of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell criticizing Carlson and Fox for the January 6 conspiracy-peddling.

Musk—the billionaire whose companies are under constant legal scrutiny for faults like destructive self-driving cars, who happily welcomed virulent antisemites and stochastic terrorists like Nick Fuentes back to Twitter, and has allegedly paid off a sexual harassment alleger $250,000 for her silence—called the committee’s attempts to hold domestic terrorists accountable “deeply wrong, legally and morally.”

Not for nothing, on Tuesday, Musk also responded to “@MuskUniversity,” who tweeted a supposed quote of Musk saying, “Many go woke for the moral cloak.”

“So many guys who got MeToo’ed went woke for the moral cloak,” Musk propounded. Apparently $250,000 can keep the moral cloak at bay.

The Tennessee House Just Passed a Bill Completely Gutting Marriage Equality

The bill could allow county clerks to deny marriage licenses to same-sex, interfaith, or interracial couples in Tennessee.

Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group/Getty Images
Tennessee state Capitol

The Tennessee House of Representatives has passed a bill that would allow people to refuse to perform a marriage if they disagree with it.

According to the bill, which passed Monday night, “a person shall not be required to solemnize a marriage.”*

The bill, which now moves to the state Senate, is the latest in an onslaught of measures that the Tennessee legislature has passed attacking LGBTQ rights. This bill could also apply to couples where at least one partner is transgender, or to mixed race couples.

Tennessee law already says that religious leaders do not have to officiate weddings they object to. Critics say the new bill goes beyond that and would empower county clerks to refuse to certify marriage licenses, meaning that LGBTQ, interfaith, or interracial couples could be unable to get married at all, rather than just needing to find a new officiant for their ceremony.

Marriage equality is technically the law of the land thanks to the Respect for Marriage Act, which President Joe Biden signed in December. But Tennessee’s bill exploits a major loophole in that law. Critics had long warned that the Respect for Marriage Act did not go far enough. The bill had been amended during the debate process to say that religious organizations do not have to marry same-sex couples, and the law also does not require states to actually issue same-sex marriage licenses.

This latest bill was passed alongside another measure that would require drag artists to obtain a permit from the government in order to perform. Both come just days after Governor Bill Lee signed two new laws, one banning drag performances in public and another banning gender-affirming care for minors.

The Human Rights Campaign slammed Tennessee’s ongoing “obsession with anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.”

“Instead of focusing on the issues that Tennesseans actually care about, radical politicians are wasting their time and using their power to target the LGBTQ+ community,” HRC legal director Sarah Warbelow said in a statement. “These bills are not about protecting children and they are not about religious freedom.”

“They are about stripping away the basic human rights that LGBTQ+ people have fought for over decades … and labeling us dangerous.”

Supporters of Tennessee’s bills, and dozens of similar ones moving through state legislatures across the country, say their main goal is protecting children. Trans people and drag performers have become a particular target for Republicans and right-wing extremist groups, who accuse them of being pedophiles. But all these bills do is vilify LGBTQ people, including children, and expose them to more violence.

* This article previously quoted the original bill text rather than the amendment that modified this section of the bill.

“It’s Bullshit”: Republican Lawmakers Bash Tucker Carlson’s Version of January 6

Even major Republicans want nothing to do with the way Tucker is spinning the attack on the Capitol.

Senator Thom Tillis closeup
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Senator Thom Tillis

After Tucker Carlson’s first clumsy attempt at his new series: Why the January 6 Riot Was Actually Just Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives: D.C., scores of Republicans have come out criticizing Carlson for running the segment, and Fox for hosting it.

The Monday-night segment came after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy gifted Fox host Tucker Carlson exclusive access to 41,000 hours of surveillance footage from the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

In the special, Carlson attempted to square a circle that led to him calling the invaders “protesters” but also just “orderly and meek sightseers.” He insisted they were not “insurrectionists,” but also chided skeptics for not understanding the invaders being “angry” in the face of a “grave betrayal.” But, Carlson assured, they also “believe in the system.”

It was so bad even Republicans have been unafraid to repudiate the display—if not on actual moral grounds, perhaps simply because Carlson did a bad job packaging something they wish he had done better. After all, as The Independent’s Eric Michael Garcia points out, none of the senators (other than Mitt Romney) voted to convict Donald Trump on an impeachment charge for inciting the insurrection. Either way, Republicans seem to be betting on it being better not to be on Carlson’s side this time.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took issue, saying Tuesday, “Clearly, the chief of the Capitol Police, in my view, correctly describes what most of us witnessed firsthand on January 6.” McConnell was referencing the comments of Officer Tom Manger, who criticized the “opinion program” for airing “commentary that was filled with offensive and misleading conclusions about the January 6 attack.”

“It was a mistake in my view for Fox to depict this in a way that’s completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official at the Capitol thinks,” McConnell finished, criticizing the network currently under legal fire for knowingly delivering conspiracy and lies more than news.

While Senator Thom Tillis called it “bullshit,” other Republican senators followed suit.

“To somehow put that in the same category as a permitted peaceful protest is just a lie,” said Kevin Cramer. “The best thing to do is to give it to every source at the same time and let everybody go through it and play it in its entirety,” he continued, when asked about McCarthy choosing to give Carlson exclusive access. Cramer also said that by giving to “all sources equally,” McCarthy could have avoided giving sole access to “one who is particularly good at conservative entertainment” (perhaps an admission of how much lies and conspiracy seem to entertain Carlson’s viewers).

Mitt Romney said it’s “really sad to see Tucker Carlson go off the rails like that,” calling Carlson part of the “range of shock jocks that are disappointing America and feeding falsehoods.”

“You can’t hide the truth by selectively picking a few minutes out of tapes and saying this is what went on. It’s so absurd. It’s nonsense,” Romney continued. “It’s a very dangerous thing to do, to suggest that attacking the Capitol of the United States is in any way acceptable and it’s anything other than a serious crime, against democracy and against our country,” Romney said. “Trying to normalize that behavior is dangerous and disgusting.”

Others, including Senators Mike Rounds, Lindsey Graham, and Chuck Grassley lobbed similar criticisms at Carlson and Fox.

Of course, let us not forget the still stubborn warriors, gripping on to Carlson’s coattails till their fingers turn blue.

“I’ve seen enough. Release all J6 political prisoners now,” proclaimed Representative Mike Collins on Twitter.

“In conclusion, God bless our troops.… Thank you, Tucker Carlson,” Representative Joe Wilson, famous for screaming, “You lie!” during President Obama’s State of the Union, finished in House remarks Tuesday.

Federal Judge Strikes Down Missouri’s “Second Amendment Preservation Act” as Unconstitutional

Missouri has one of the highest rates of gun deaths in the country.

Several handguns on a table
Jill Connelly/Bloomberg/Getty Images

On Tuesday, a U.S. federal judge ruled that a Missouri state law that made it more difficult for police to enforce federal gun laws is unconstitutional.

In Missouri, people can buy and own guns without a background check or license, they can conceal-carry them with no permit, guns don’t have to be securely stored away from young children, and domestic abusers can purchase and own firearms. There were 23.9 deaths from firearms per 100,000 Missouri residents in 2020, the most recent year where CDC data is available, making it the fourth-deadliest state in gun deaths in the nation.

Yet still, in 2021, almost every single Republican state House member voted for the “Second Amendment Preservation Act,” or SAPA, which invalidated federal gun laws and penalized officials who tried to uphold them. The bill subjected any official who would seek to uphold federal gun laws to penalties of “$50,000 per employee hired by the law enforcement agency.”

In February 2022, however, the Justice Department challenged the statute in court, noting that the “Missouri law uniquely discriminates against federal agencies and employees; impairs law enforcement efforts in Missouri; and contravenes the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution,” which states that federal laws hold precedence over conflicting state laws.

The suit argued that the bill interrupted prior collaboration between state and local law enforcement agencies with federal officers to keep residents safe. It also argued that, in addition to misleading and confusing state and local officers, the Missouri law was “purporting to nullify, interfere with, and discriminate against federal law.”

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Brian Wimes of the Western District of Missouri sided with the Justice Department and declared that the bill violated the supremacy clause of the Constitution.

“SAPA’s practical effects are counterintuitive to its stated purpose,” Wimes wrote. “While purporting to protect citizens, SAPA exposes citizens to greater harm by interfering with the Federal Government’s ability to enforce lawfully enacted firearms regulations designed by Congress for the purpose of protecting citizens within the limits of the Constitution.”

Florida Republicans Introduce Six-Week Abortion Ban That Is Expected to Become Law

Many people don’t even realize they’re pregnant at six weeks.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Florida Republicans introduced a bill banning abortion after six weeks on Tuesday during the opening of the 2023 legislative session.

Governor Ron DeSantis holds a Republican supermajority in the state legislature, and he is expected to face little opposition to attempts to push through his political priorities. DeSantis, who is reportedly considering a 2024 presidential run, has previously expressed support for a six-week abortion ban and made clear that he is clamping down on the rights of women and gender minorities in his state.

House Bill 7 prohibits abortion after six weeks, down from 15 weeks and before many people even know they are pregnant. It makes exceptions for rape, incest, fetal abnormalities, or to save the life of the pregnant person. However, the person “must provide a copy of a restraining order, police report, medical record, or other court order or documentation proving” they were the victim of rape or incest.

The measure requires that all abortions, whether through surgery or through medication, must be conducted in person. Doctors would not be allowed to dispense abortion pills via telemedicine, cutting off a crucial lifeline for marginalized people to access safe abortions.

Individuals, government agencies, and public education institutions would be banned from using state funds to help someone travel out of state for an abortion, unless it is medically necessary to save the pregnant person’s life, or unless those groups are already legally required to use federal funds for such aid.

The bill would also lower the amount of money that the state Department of Health is required to spend on pregnancy and parental support services to 85 percent, down from 90 percent. These services include pregnancy testing, counseling, prenatal classes, adoption education, and material aid such as diapers and formula. Abortion rights advocates regularly point out that states with some of the toughest abortion laws often fail to set up social welfare systems to support children after they are born.

The legislation is sure to have a ripple effect across the rest of the South, as many of Florida’s neighboring states outlaw abortion and criminalize those who seek the procedure, including South Carolina, Georgia, and Mississippi.

DeSantis has declared war on “woke” culture, and that apparently includes restricting the rights of women and gender minorities throughout Florida. He has already come under fire for a plan from the governing body for the state university school system to collect data on students who seek gender-affirming care on their college campuses.

Walgreens Refuses to Clarify Decision to Stop Selling Abortion Pill in States Where It’s Legal

Meanwhile, boycott threats are growing.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Walgreens is dodging questions about its plans to stop selling the abortion pill even in states where the procedure is still legal, after coming under fire for caving to pressure from anti-abortion Republican officials.

The pharmacy chain had said in January it would seek certification from the Food and Drug Administration to dispense mifepristone, one of the medications used to induce an abortion. But Walgreens changed course a month later, following intense pressure from almost two dozen Republican attorneys general. It tried to make its position clear Monday night … except the company’s statement was anything but.

“Walgreens plans to dispense Mifepristone in any jurisdiction where it is legally permissible to do so,” the pharmacy chain said in the statement. “Once we are certified by the FDA, we will dispense this medication consistent with federal and state laws.”

The statement failed to specifically address Walgreens’ earlier announcement that it would not dispense the abortion pill in 21 states where Republican attorneys general had threatened legal action. Abortion is still legal in more than half of those states. Of the group, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and West Virginia have banned the procedure.

Alaska, Indiana, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, and South Carolina currently allow abortion, either because the procedure is fully legalized or because a court has blocked an attempt to ban the procedure. Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Ohio, and Utah still allow abortion up to anywhere from six to 21 weeks into the pregnancy.

Walgreens’s promise not to sell mifepristone in Kansas is particularly egregious, as residents voted last summer to keep abortion protections in the state constitution but Republican lawmakers are currently working to override the will of the people.

Medication abortions make up more than half of all abortions in the United States, and are considered a crucial tool in maintaining access to the procedure since Roe v. Wade was overturned. Republican lawmakers are trying to make it harder to access abortion pills, such as in Texas, where an official introduced a bill last week that would compel internet providers in the state to block websites that sell or provide information on how to obtain the medication. Another lawmaker introduced a bill that would ban credit card companies from processing transactions for abortion pills.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said Monday that his state “won’t be doing business” with Walgreens because it “cowers to the extremists and puts women’s lives at risk.” Walgreen stock dropped sharply after his announcement.

Calls to boycott the pharmacy have been growing online, including from documentary maker and activist Michael Moore.

The fact that Walgreens caved to Republican pressure, though, may not be all that surprising. The pharmacy chain has made several donations to anti-abortion groups in recent years, according to Popular Information.

Walgreens has donated more than $80,000 to the Republican Attorneys General Association, or RAGA, since 2020. All of the attorneys general who pressured the company over mifepristone are RAGA members.

Walgreens also donated a total of $123,500 during the 2022 midterms to 39 different members of Congress who received a failing grade from NARAL Pro-Choice America. Among those lawmakers are 12 co-sponsors of the Heartbeat Protection Act, a 2021 bill that would have banned abortion nationwide at six weeks, before many people even know they are pregnant.

Tucker Carlson Uses January 6 Footage to Tell Fox News Viewers Exactly What They Want to Hear

The protesters did nothing wrong. They just believe in the system. That’s what the cherry-picked clips show, anyway.

Tucker Carlson laughs
Jason Koerner/Getty Images

Two weeks ago, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy gifted Fox host Tucker Carlson exclusive access to 41,000 hours of surveillance footage from the January 6 attack on the Capitol. And on Monday night, Carlson, who has admitted he and his Fox colleagues constantly lie to their viewers, embarked on a new attempt to not just sanitize but validate a coordinated right-wing attack on America’s Capitol.

Carlson’s main contention revolved around the idea that, because the public has not seen every single second of January 6 footage, the already released footage showing violent insurrection is somehow invalidated. “It turns out there’s quite a bit of video you haven’t seen,” Carlson said. “Taken as a whole, the video record does not support the claim that January 6 was an insurrection—in fact, it demolishes that claim.”

“The protesters were angry: They believed the election they had just voted in had been unfairly conducted, and they were right,” Carlson proselytized. “In retrospect, it is clear the 2020 election was a grave betrayal of American democracy.”

Carlson clumsily treads between calling the protesters angry and betrayed and simply admirers of American history and democracy. “They were orderly and meek. These were not insurrectionists, they were sightseers,” Carlson proposed. “Protesters queue up in neat little lines. They give each other tours outside the speaker’s office. They take cheerful selfies and they smile. They are not destroying the Capitol,” he narrated. “They obviously revere the Capitol. They’re there because the election was stolen from them. They believe in the system.”

So these people are “protesters,” but they are actually just “orderly and meek sightseers.” And they are not “insurrectionists,” but they are also “angry” in the face of a “grave betrayal.” But they also “believe in the system.”

Got it?

Carlson also hosted The Washington Times’ Charlie Hurt to help peddle the lie that insurrectionists weren’t armed. Investigations and footage have already confirmed the rioters were armed with knives, Tasers, batons, brass knuckles, and even firearms like AR-15s.

Carlson got as granular in his lying as trying to claim “there is dispute over how Chansley [the QAnon Shaman] got into the Capitol building,” despite footage Carlson aired earlier clearly showing Chansley entering with the rioters who kicked the door in:

As expected, Carlson is using the footage to try diluting the reality of how violent the riot was. Perhaps it all came out of a coordinated hedge by McCarthy and Fox, in case Trump indeed returns to lead the party, a sort of, “Look, we cleaned up some of the January 6 mess for you!”–type offering. Maybe it was just a way for McCarthy to buy some favor from the network, given how hard it’s already been for him to manage his slim majorities and the varying interests within it.

Or, more straightforwardly, this is all motivated by the right wing simply not believing in facing consequences for its own actions. Consequences would imply wrongdoing, and this party, despite its proclamations, is not one to actually hold itself personally responsible for any violence it incites—whether it be on the Capitol, on trans people, or communities poisoned by train derailments. Regardless, the exclusive collab between the most powerful member of the House and the biggest media corporation in America is already making room for members of Congress to embrace the proposition:

Biden Releases a Tax-the-Rich Medicare Plan, in Direct Challenge to GOP

Biden’s new budget proposal will force Republicans to make their stance on Medicare funding clear for all to see.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Joe Biden revealed plans to expand Medicare Tuesday, daring Republicans to renege on their promise during the State of the Union address not to cut funding for the program.

The president unveiled part of his budget, the full text of which is due out Thursday. Although his plan is not binding for Congress, it comes as lawmakers scramble to agree on a federal budget before the United States defaults on its debt in July.

Biden’s plan would extend Medicare into the 2050s, he explained in an op-ed in The New York Times. His budget would increase the Medicare tax rate to 5 percent from 3.8 percent on people who make more than $400,000 a year.

It would also let Medicare negotiate prices for a wider range of prescription drugs, an expansion of part of the Inflation Reduction Act. Negotiating drug prices would reduce the federal deficit by $200 billion, he said, which would then be invested back into the Medicare trust fund. Doing so would extend the program’s life by 25 years.

These are common-sense changes that I’m confident an overwhelming majority of Americans support,” Biden wrote in his op-ed.

But “if the MAGA Republicans get their way, seniors will pay higher out-of-pocket costs on prescription drugs and insulin, the deficit will be bigger, and Medicare will be weaker,” he warned. “The only winner under their plan will be Big Pharma.”

Republicans have long wanted—and tried—to cut social welfare programs. GOP lawmakers are currently threatening to hold the debt ceiling hostage until the federal budget is reduced, and Social Security and Medicare are on the chopping block.

Biden scored a big win during the State of the Union when he appeared to get Republicans to agree not to cut funding for Medicare or Social Security. Republicans have since tried to make it seem as if they never intended to gut the entitlements programs, despite widespread evidence to the contrary. His latest plan to expand the programs is a cheeky dare to the GOP.

But if the budget battle drags out too much longer, it will spell serious trouble for the United States. The government hit the debt ceiling in January, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned that if the cap isn’t increased, the U.S. will default on its debt by the summer.

If that happens, the U.S. government won’t be able to make payments to Medicare or Social Security, nor will it be able to pay military salaries. Defaulting on the debt could also shock the economy, both domestically and abroad.

D.C. City Council Withdraws New Crime Bill after Democrats Cave to Right-Wing Fearmongering

The Democratic Party has done it again.

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The Democratic Party’s moderate establishment has done it again. After it joined a right-wing fearmongering campaign against Washington, D.C.’s effort to update its over-100-year-old criminal codes, the D.C. City Council announced on Monday that it will withdraw the bill from consideration before it goes to the Senate.

In a letter addressed to Vice President Kamala Harris, who serves as chair of the Senate, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said that the Council will rework the criminal code legislation, an unprecedented move in the council’s history.

President Biden last week announced his desire to overturn the policy changes proposed by the D.C. City Council. He did so despite having called the “denial of self-governance” in D.C. “an affront to the democratic values on which our Nation was founded.” And Biden’s feeble decision opened up the door for even more Democrats to present themselves as equally cowardly:

“I’ll be voting the same way the president is,” said a senator elected to do more than just obediently follow marching orders—particularly ones that concede to misleading right-wing talking points. Citing “lowering penalties for carjackings,” Biden attempted to justify both supposedly supporting D.C. statehood and home rule while expressing to the world his willingness to subvert D.C. home rule.

“The death knell has been cast by the President’s indication that he would veto the bill,” Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.’s delegate to the House of Representatives, told The New Republic on Friday.

And Democratic operatives have been putting forth their best efforts to justify the ill-guided move. On Sunday, Lis Smith, former senior adviser for Pete Buttigieg’s campaign, asserted that Biden “judged [the bill] on its merits,” claiming that subverting the will of local officials presumably concerned with the welfare of their residents would allow “Democrats to show we take the issue of crime seriously.”

It’s surely reasonable for Smith to suggest that we should not ignore the real-life impacts of crime on people. But it is not quite fair to deem Biden’s decision entirely merit-based, nor to concede to right-wing fearmongering about what the bill sought to do: The D.C. criminal code reforms were not some flippant package that simply weakened criminal penalties.

As Mark Joseph Stern at Slate explained, the rejection of updating a 122-year-old criminal code may “make it harder for prosecutors to charge violent crimes,” as the code is full of ambiguous definitions of crime and irregular sentencing proportions associated with those definitions.

Moreover, the criminal code reforms did not—as the right wing has claimed and moderates have foolishly parroted—haphazardly reduce criminal sentences. The council tasked with updating the criminal code (staffed by legal experts, including representatives from the D.C. attorney general’s and U.S. attorney’s offices) used data from a decade’s worth of cases to align the code with the kinds of penalties judges were already sentencing people to.

“The criminal code actually raises the penalties on some crime, but it lowers the penalties on others. It’s very experiential,” said Norton. “It looks at what, in fact, has happened. Remember, it’s a 100-year revision.… Democrats defected on this bill.”

Stern described some of these revisions that have been misrepresented. For instance, the reforms take the current code’s single broad robbery statute, carrying a 15-year maximum penalty, and adds much more nuance to it—dividing the crime into armed and unarmed robbery and into degreed offenses, to avoid over-prosecuting smaller crimes while raising the threshold of violent, armed robbery to a 20-year maximum. For carjacking, Biden’s explicit concern, the code carries a ridiculous 40-year maximum. Judges are already not actually imposing such long sentences for this charge, so the code revises the threshold to be a 24-year maximum (still longer than most sentences actually doled out).

The bill also updated the court’s ability to stack offenses like building blocks. While maximum sentences for various stand-alone offenses might’ve gone down, the new codes would have defined many more offenses, and degrees of them, enabling courts to put together more proportional sentences relative to the hodgepodge of narrowly defined sentences they have now. For instance, in cases related to carjackings that also have a violent component, sentences would follow accordingly.

“Apparently, a large number didn’t want to look at this time like they were supporting a revised criminal code which actually lowered the penalties on some crimes, even though it raised the penalties on others,” said Norton.

The D.C. City Council itself voted unanimously in support of the bill—and voted 12–1 to override Mayor Muriel Bowser’s veto of it. Nevertheless, Republicans pounced on the bill last month, leading a vote to nullify the reforms. Moderate Democrats (like Representative Elissa Slotkin, the Democratic Party’s heir-apparent Senate candidate in blue-trifecta Michigan) joined the charade to subvert D.C.’s autonomy. Despite being overridden by her town council (democratically, unlike what Congress is now doing), Bowser has pleaded with Congress not to subvert D.C.’s autonomy.

The Senate vote is still scheduled for Wednesday, despite Mendelson’s letter, and the public will see in full view which Democrats will vote against the updated codes and which ones will still have the guts to not play along in the charade. Again, the codes did not even shift funding from policing toward community-based programming; all they did was dust off old criminal codes and make prosecution easier. Still, we wait with bated breath to see which members will have the stones not to entertain the farce.

The whole nonsensical affair comes amid a larger movement by the Democratic establishment to gin up crime concerns in the lead-up to 2024; perhaps to parry away any primary challenge to Biden.

Democratic political consultant James Carville has sprouted back up to tell the media why crime is the “front and center issue,” as if Democrats ever fail to focus disproportionately on it. “Look what happened in Chicago,” Carville said to NBC News, apparently referencing the ousting of incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Carville’s comments seem to give credence to tough-on-crime conservative candidate Paul Vallas, while completely erasing the other top candidate who beat Lightfoot: Brandon Johnson, a teacher who has made public safety a priority while rejecting the “so-called toughness that politicians or insiders have just been recycling over the past 40 years.”

Such brazen erasure is unsurprising from the man who amplified Republican attacks against Senator John Fetterman as a “silver spoon socialist”; suggested Nancy Pelosi should just pick the Democratic nominee for president instead of having a primary (this was just days after Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg led the Iowa primaries); and whose career record includes backing and helping lead the strategies for the losing presidential candidacies of John Kerry in 2004, Hillary Clinton in 2008, and Michael Bennet in 2020.

It is nearly three years since the murder of George Floyd spurred people of all backgrounds in this country into reflection, conversation, and even action. Democrats were given control of Congress and the White House just months after, as millions hoped for something, anything, that would indicate a genuine vision of public safety, of curtailing police brutality, and investing more directly in people.

But with the current leader of the party encouraging the rest of the Democrats to fall in line with a bad-faith Republican attack on D.C.’s autonomy, the conditions as they are now do not present a party willing to make that vision a reality.

Gavin Newsom Says California Is “Done” With Walgreens After Abortion Pill Stance

The California governor said the state will no longer be doing business with Walgreens.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced Monday that his state will no longer do business with Walgreens because the pharmacy chain decided not to dispense abortion pills.

Walgreens initially said in January that it would offer mifepristone, one of the medications used to induce an abortion. The Food and Drug Administration changed its rules to allow pharmacies in states that still allow abortion to dispense the drug. Pharmacies would need to get certified to do so because the FDA currently classifies mifepristone as a high-risk drug, despite the fact that there is no data backing that decision up.

Walgreens and CVS, two of the biggest U.S. pharmacy chains, said they would seek certification. But in February, Walgreens changed course following intense pressure from anti-abortion lawmakers and said it would no longer dispense mifepristone in 20 states with Republican attorneys general.

Newsom slammed the chain Monday, saying its decision “cowers to extremists and puts women’s lives at risk.”

Newsom did not say what he meant by ceasing to do business, for instance whether he would order all Walgreens locations in California to close. He also has yet to outline a plan for what happens after business with Walgreens stops, including making sure that the measure does not accidentally strand communities without an easily accessible pharmacy.

But Newsom is the first governor to take such a clear stance in favor of maintaining access to abortion, an important move as the right to the procedure is increasingly under attack.

Medication abortions make up more than half of all abortions in the United States and are considered a crucial tool in maintaining access to the procedure since Roe v. Wade was overturned.

Republican lawmakers are trying to make it harder to access abortion pills, for instance in Texas, where an official introduced a bill last week that would compel internet providers in the state to block websites that sell or provide information on how to obtain the medication. Another lawmaker introduced a bill that would ban credit card companies from processing transactions for abortion pills.

A federal judge will soon rule whether the FDA improperly approved mifepristone for sale, which could make it more difficult to purchase the medicine.