Skip Navigation
Breaking News
Breaking News
from Washington and beyond

The Israeli Protests Show the Political Power of Unions

A historic strike from unions across the country made the Israel prime minister delay his plan to overhaul the country’s judiciary system.

Ilia Yefimovich/Picture Alliance/Getty Images
Israeli protesters take to the streets after Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the dismissal of Defence Minister Yoav Galant, March 26.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is relenting, for now, on his planned judicial overhaul. After months of mass protest culminating in a general strike on Monday, the far-right plans to seize the nation’s judicial system will be tabled until the next legislative session. In an unlikely collaboration between big business and labor, Israel’s people have shown the power of protest—and the potential for what more they could accomplish, if they so chose to.

Hundreds of thousands of people had already been protesting for weeks against what has become an even more authoritarian Israeli government. The opposition has centered around Netanyahu’s push to give the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) more power over the judiciary. Such changes would grant the ruling party the power to influence how judges are appointed and even overturn court decisions. Netanyahu himself may be aiming to use such powers to weasel out of his own corruption charges. One poll suggests nearly 1.5 million people may have participated in the ongoing protests against Netanyahu’s attempts to seize and cripple the judiciary.

The tensions came to a new peak on Sunday, after Netanyahu fired Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who, one day earlier, called for the government to stop its plan to overhaul the judicial system. Gallant argued that the plan had begun to create rifts in society and within the Israel Defense Forces that could risk Israel’s stability and national security. He was the first member of Netanyahu’s Cabinet to oppose the judicial overhaul.

After his firing, the already active protests ballooned into one of the largest mass actions in Israel’s history. Massive, spontaneous protests took place throughout Tel Aviv on Sunday evening, with people blocking the main highway as well as several streets and bridges. And in unprecedented fashion, Israel’s unions, in accordance with the business community, launched a general strike on Monday. The strike was initiated by a massive umbrella group that represents over 700,000 workers in health care, transit, and banking. An array of universities—not just students but the schools themselves—joined the call as well.

Israeli embassies from Dublin to Washington, D.C., shuttered their doors on Monday in tandem with government workers protesting within Israel. Israel’s consul general in New York, Asaf Zamir, also resigned. Zamir called Netanyahu’s firing of Gallant a “dangerous decision” in his resignation letter, adding that he had “become increasingly concerned with the policies of the new government.”

The protests have become so ubiquitous that even Israeli President Isaac Herzog has called on Netanyahu to suspend the judicial overhaul. “The eyes of all the people of Israel are on you. The eyes of all the Jewish people are on you,” Herzog said in a Facebook post Monday. “The eyes of the whole world are on you. For the sake of the unity of Israelis, for the sake of committed responsibility I call on you to halt the legislative procedure immediately.”

Of course, as the snowballing protests are part of a larger movement that has stood for weeks and months against Netanyahu’s increasingly extremist governance, they also serve as a reminder that calls for “protecting democracy” have not been as loud when it has come to the occupation of Palestine. What’s unfortunate about this otherwise exciting popular rise against extremism is that the movement would do well to actively include Palestinian participation in standing against not just Netanyahu but the apartheid system that has led to such a moment. But some Israeli activists have not been allowed to bring even a Palestinian flag to demonstrations. Some officials involved in the increasingly large protest coalition have also refused to appear on stage alongside people sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.

So while Israeli officials frame this mass protest as an effort to preserve Israel’s democracy, it would be prudent to note how short it still is from actually being one, even if the masses can stop Netanyahu; just as well, how readily they could become a true democracy, if they really want to.

Free Speech Absolutist Elon Musk Gets Shown Up by a Free Speech Enthusiast

An internet user named "FreeSpeechEnthusiast" leaked parts of Twitter’s closely guarded source code online.

Elon Musk walks out of a building, as a bodyguard stands nearby
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Self-described “free speech absolutist” Elon Musk has been shown up by an internet user named FreeSpeechEnthusiast, who leaked some of Twitter’s closely guarded source code online.

Parts of Twitter’s source code, the computer code that runs the platform, had been leaked on the online software developer collaboration platform GitHub. It’s unclear how long the code was up, but The New York Times said it appeared to have been publicly available for at least several months. GitHub complied Friday with a request from Twitter to take the code down.

Musk appeared unbothered on Twitter as the leaked code debacle went down, alternating between sharing pseudo-intellectual musings and weird memes, and begging people to sign up for Twitter Blue, the platform’s paid subscription plan. But internally, he admitted there are serious issues. In an email sent to Twitter employees on Friday, Musk said the company is now worth $20 billion, less than half of what he paid for it in October.

Companies guard their source code jealously to prevent potential hackers or competitors from getting insight into how a platform operates. According to the Times, Twitter has begun investigating who might have leaked the code and suspect it was someone who left the company last year, citing two people familiar with the probe.

Even though the code has been removed from GitHub, it isn’t really gone. Remember when your parents told you that what you put on the internet stays there forever?  Well, “once this is leaked, it cannot be put back in the bottle entirely,” cybersecurity researcher and consultant Lukasz Olejnik told The Washington Post, pointing out it’s impossible to know how many people accessed the code before it was taken down.

“Whether an exploitable vulnerability can be spotted and utilized is difficult to gauge immediately.”

The code was shared by a user named FreeSpeechEnthusiast, who joined GitHub on January 3. That same day, FreeSpeechEnthusiast made their only contribution to the platform (presumably Twitter’s code). Their username is an obvious and excellent troll of Musk, who has described himself as a “free speech absolutist”—which apparently means letting Nazis and the Taliban run rampant on Twitter.

Ironically, Musk had announced plans earlier this month to make parts of Twitter’s code public. The goal was to essentially make it open for peer review, so people could check for and report flaws. Clearly, FreeSpeechEnthusiast beat him to the punch.

Since taking the reins, Musk has embarked on a ruthless cost-cutting mission, firing almost 75 percent of Twitter’s staff, auctioning off everything in the company’s San Francisco headquarters, and just not paying rent. But with advertisers leaving the platform in droves due to his lax content moderation policies, it’s clearly not enough.

Workers of Color Made Up 100% of Union Growth in 2022

Another reminder that “kitchen table issues” and “social” issues are one and the same.

Los Angeles public school support staff, teachers, and supporters rally outside of the school district headquarters on the first day of a three-day strike on March 21.

As thousands of workers went on strike this week, evidence continues to build that the labor movement is back on an upswing in America. But how we engage with the details of this development will determine whether the swing remains a momentary uptick, or becomes part of something larger.

Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the number of unionized workers in the United States increased by 200,000 from 2021 to 2022. And that growth came entirely from workers of color. There was an increase in 231,000 unionized workers of color last year, while white unionized workers actually decreased by 31,000. Further, of all racial and ethnic groups, Black workers have continued leading unionization rates, at 12.8 percent, higher than the figure of total unionized workers.

While the total share of workers represented by a union still floats at just above 11 percent—much less than where things stood decades ago—union election petitions last year increased by 53 percent, the highest amount since 2016.

According to BLS data, industries that saw the largest increases in unionization were state government; durable goods manufacturing; arts, entertainment, and recreation; and transportation and warehousing. And states with the largest increases in unionization? California, Texas, Ohio, Maryland, and Alabama.

All this to say, monolithic conventions on who constitutes the “working class” need a final upending.

Indeed, the diversity in the movement can be seen in the nature of labor action these past few months. This week, workers at over 100 Starbucks locations nationwide went on strike to protest the company’s alleged union-busting schemes. Another union representing 30,000 Los Angeles school staff workers—including custodians, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, special education assistants, and more—conducted a three-day strike, and the 35,000-strong United Teachers Los Angeles union joined in solidarity. At the beginning of the year, 7,000 nurses went on strike in New York City, protesting poor pay and working conditions brought on by chronic understaffing. All this does not include the some 100,000 rail workers nationwide who almost went on strike last year, until the government itself imposed a contract upon them.

Conservatives—both Republican and Democrat alike—often opine on the need to focus on “kitchen table issues” instead of getting wrapped up in “social” ones. The latter, of course, being another way to say issues surrounding identity and race (much like the term “woke,” but perhaps less likely to incite outrage). But the union data reveals once more that issues of identity and workers’ rights are deeply intertwined. After all, unionization and labor struggles are direct mechanisms to better accomplish racial and social equality; the ability for people to afford to live happy and dignified lives is inherently tied to their ability to enjoy fundamental social and civil rights within those lives, too.

On moral grounds, every politician and journalist should recognize these facts. And for any politico concerned solely with electability, the good news is the results follow the morals anyhow.

In November, several Democrats who refused to pin the economic against the social, even in battleground states, went on to win. That includes people like Governor Josh Shapiro and Senator John Fetterman in Pennsylvania, Senator Raphael Warnock in Georgia, and Governor Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan. And for examples of how these political successes turn to policy successes, look no further than the sacred and often pontificated on Midwest.

In 2018, Governor Whitmer promised to repeal the anti-worker “right-to-work” law. And after voters re-elected her with wide margins—and delivered her majorities in both state chambers for the first time in decades—she delivered on Friday, signing a bill to repeal the anti-union legislation. Just a week earlier, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed a bill that guaranteed free breakfast and lunch for all public school students, geared especially for food insecure families, many of whom are marginalized and people of color (perhaps a more direct connection between social and so-called “kitchen table” issues).

As more people become better acquainted with the contradictions of capitalism—from noxious train derailments, to immediately aided collapsing financial institutions (all of which is borne from corporate-bought deregulation)—we may be at another moment in the long history of labor for which a resurgence is possible. But such a moment will not be helped by a media and political apparatus that seeks to flatten the labor movement, rather than embrace it for the vast and diverse coalition it actually is.

Michigan Becomes First State in 58 Years to Repeal Anti-Union “Right-to-Work” Law

The Democratic legislature and governor are delivering on their victory.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer claps while holding a folder. Other people clap behind her.
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Michigan is delivering on its first Democratic trifecta in decades. On Friday, it became the first state in 58 years to repeal anti-worker so-called “right-to-work” laws.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the legislation Friday after the legislature sent it to her desk earlier this week.

The bill marks a huge tide shift for the labor movement. Indiana was the last state to repeal such a law in 1965, only for it to be reinstated by Republicans in 2012. That same year was when Michigan passed its anti-union right-to-work law, and since then, the state has lost some 40,000 union members.

Michigan’s repeal comes amid a resurgence of the labor movement, as union membership is increasing across the country along with labor actions like strikes. That may bode well for organizers in other states looking to roll back the anti-worker law. Twenty-six other states have right-to-work laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Right-to-work laws erode union power by allowing workers to forgo paying dues for union membership while still reaping the benefits. The laws, backed heavily by Republicans and their corporate lobby friends, consequently weaken union membership, treasuries, and overall organizing capabilities. Conservatives often frame it as a pro-business argument: that companies will choose to go where the laws are enacted, which stimulates economic growth. Implicit in that calculation is why companies would do that: to be able to more easily exploit their workers at the behest of their bottom line.

“‘Right to work’ is a lie designed to weaken workers’ rights and lower wages,” said Sean M. O’Brien, the general president of Teamsters. “Today, Michigan’s elected officials honored their state’s proud labor history by rejecting this dangerous and deceptive anti-union legislation.”

Whitmer promised in 2018 to repeal the anti-worker law. And after voters reelected her with wide margins in November and gave her party majorities to match, she now delivers on the promise.

“Now that workers’ rights have been restored, Michigan is once again leading the way for the country in showing what is possible when working families are put first,” said Janella James, executive director of the Michigan Nurses Association. “We want to thank Governor Whitmer and the Legislature for listening to workers and setting our state on a better path. Today marks the beginning of a new chapter in Michigan’s history.”

Kentucky Governor Vetoes Extreme Anti-Trans Bill Pushed by Republicans

Democratic Governor Andy Beshear vetoed the bill, saying it will lead to an increase in suicide among Kentucky youth.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear

Governor Andy Beshear on Friday vetoed a massive bill targeting transgender rights in Kentucky, one of the most extreme measures in the country.

The bill passed both the state House and Senate last week in a record sprint, mainly along party lines. The Senate voted 30–7 for the measure, a veto-proof majority, and so could override Beshear’s move as soon as next week.

If it becomes law, Senate Bill 150 would ban all gender-affirming care for trans minors in Kentucky and would force doctors to detransition any minors in their care. It would prohibit discussing sexual orientation or gender identity in public schools at any level, prevent trans students from using the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity, and would allow teachers to refuse to use a student’s preferred pronouns.

“Senate Bill 150 allows too much government interference in personal health care issues and rips away the freedom of parents to make medical decisions for their children,” Beshear said in a statement.

“I am also vetoing Senate Bill 150 because my faith teaches me that all children are children of God and Senate Bill 150 will endanger the children of Kentucky,” he continued, citing studies that showed a connection between receiving gender-affirming care and lowered levels of depression and suicidal thoughts in LGBTQ children. “Senate Bill 150 will cause an increase in suicide among Kentucky’s youth.”

The ACLU of Kentucky described the bill when it passed as “the worst anti-trans bill in the country.”

“This dangerous bill and others like it across the country are nothing more than a desperate attempt to score political points by targeting people who simply want to live their lives,” interim executive director Amber Duke said in a statement. “True democracy requires meaningful and informed debate and engagement from the public. The shameful process on display in the Kentucky House undermines the public trust in government.”

The bill was rushed through the House and Senate in a record daylong sprint. A different omnibus anti-trans measure had looked dead in the water last Wednesday night. But the next morning, Republicans resurrected and expanded the text, forcing it through despite long and often emotional arguments against it from Democrats and trans rights activists.

Kentucky is just the latest state to have lawmakers try to curtail LGBTQ rights. This week alone, Florida advanced an anti-trans bill so broad and extreme it could also prevent people from getting breast cancer treatment. Georgia, meanwhile, passed a bill banning gender-affirming care for minors and criminalizing medical workers who provide that care.

House Republicans Pass “Parents Bill of Rights” That Actually Just Polices Schools and Students

The bill is another Republican attack on education, this time on the national level.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The Republican-led House on Friday passed its so-called “Parents Bill of Rights,” 213-208. Framed as a positive piece of legislation, the bill actually aims to police teachers and school staff and thus obstruct the independent flow of education for students.

The radical bill calls for school districts to post curriculum information and provide parents with lists of reading materials available in school libraries. Such practices have already been test-run in places like Florida. Teachers there have been forced to empty classroom libraries, cover them up, or even catalog each book into a central system to check for compliance with their districts’ restrictive standards.

The legislation also (incorrectly) implies that parents are never listened to in schools. It calls for school districts to consider community feedback when making decisions, allow parents to address school boards, and notify parents of violent activity happening on school grounds. By including already standard practices in the bill, Republicans are couching their more radical demands in what seems like a reasonable bill.

If anything, the bill’s nod toward school board meetings appears to be implicit approval of attacks school staff have already endured. School boards and teachers across the country have expressed concerns surrounding classroom freedom, and even for their own lives. Whipped up by Republican officials, a loud minority has targeted schools and protested everything from Covid-19 safety precautions to classroom material.

In 2021, the National School Boards Association sent a letter to the Biden administration asking for an investigation into violent threats against school board members. They described the threats as potentially “equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.” After receiving the letter, Attorney General Merrick Garland directed the Justice Department to carry out an inquiry. House Republicans have since aimed to discredit the letter and the inquiry.

It’s unlikely the “Parents Bill of Rights” will make it pass Biden’s desk, but by passing the radical legislation, House Republicans are escalating animus toward already overworked and underappreciated teachers. They moreover are further nationalizing the attack on academic freedom that has already been taking place from Florida and Texas to Michigan and South Carolina.

Trump Threatens “Death & Destruction” If He’s Charged

Trump argued that filing charges against him would lead to major violence.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

In the wee small hours of the morning, one Manhattan man found himself confronting the harsh realities of what it would mean for him to actually be arrested.

Early Friday, twice-impeached former President Donald Trump, who is the subject of numerous criminal inquiries, posted on Truth Social warning that “death & destruction” could come if he is charged for paying hush money to porn actress Stormy Daniels—a scheme allegedly done in order to cover up the pair’s affair occurring just months after Trump’s wife Melania had given birth to their child, Barron.

“What kind of person can charge another person, in this case a former President of the United States, who got more votes than any sitting President in history, and leading candidate (by far!) for the Republican Party nomination, with a Crime …,” Trump began in his run-on rant, “when it is known by all that NO Crime has been committed, & Also known that potential death & destruction in such a false charge could be catastrophic for our Country?”

“Why & who would do such a thing? Only a degenerate psychopath that truely hates the USA!”

Trump’s menacing posts follow an ongoing right-wing campaign to discredit the Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, tasked with investigating Trump’s role in the hush-money payment. Even members as high up as Kevin McCarthy and Elise Stefanik spread antisemitic conspiracy theories, insinuating Bragg is a puppet of George Soros for pursuing the investigation. Now the attacks have escalated to Trump calling Bragg a “degenerate psychopath” and a “Soros backed animal.”

While earlier Trump-beckoned protests brought out just a paltry handful of loyalists, the latest calls from Trump display a concerningly desperate escalation, especially given his track record in inciting violence.

The Wildest Things Members of Congress Said During the TikTok Hearing

“Does TikTok access the home Wi-Fi network?”

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testifies before a mic. He raises his right hand.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on March 23.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday to answer questions about the app’s data privacy policies.

The Biden administration has ordered TikTok to sell its American operations to a U.S.-based firm or face being banned nationwide, citing national security concerns. TikTok and the broader issue of U.S.-China relations is one of the few topics on which both parties seem united.

Chew fielded—but was rarely given time to answer—questions from Democrats and Republicans alike about data privacy, content moderation, child safety, and potential ties to the Chinese Communist Party. But he was also asked a lot of weirder questions too.

Here are some of the wildest things members of Congress said during the five-and-a-half-hour hearing.

1. North Carolina Representative Richard Hudson asked, “Does TikTok access the home Wi-Fi network?”

“Only if the user turns on the Wi-Fi,” Chew replied, visibly confused. “I’m sorry, I may not understand the—”

Hudson: “So if I have [the] TikTok app on my phone, and my phone is on my home Wi-Fi network, does TikTok access that network?”

Chew: “You will have to access the network to get connections to the internet.”

2. Texas Representative Randy Weber said, “TikTok is indoctrinating our children with divisive, woke, and pro-CCP propaganda.”

That’s the whole sentence, yes.

3. Representative Buddy Carter did not understand facial filters.

Carter asked if TikTok used phone cameras to identify body or face data, to which Chew replied that the app does not collect such information. The only facial data TikTok does use is to identify where users’ eyes are if they use a filter to appear if they are wearing sunglasses, he said. That data is stored only on the user’s device and is deleted after they stop using the filter.

“Why do you need to know where the eyes are?” Carter asked.

4. Representative Kat Cammack asked about a video only one TikTok user commented on.

Cammack shared a clip of a TikTok video in which the user implied they wanted to attack the committee meeting. The Florida Republican said the video had been up for 41 days, before the hearing date was made public, and demanded to know why it hadn’t been taken down despite violating TikTok’s content policies.

The video had very low engagement and only one comment, meaning it would have taken TikTok moderators longer to find and flag it. It actually started to get more attention online after Cammack shared it. Within minutes, as the hearing was ongoing, the account was banned.

5. Multiple Texas representatives complained about the name “Project Texas.”

TikTok has already announced a plan it calls Project Texas to move all of its U.S. data to servers in Texas. The social media company says that doing so will protect U.S. data from any national security threats.

But multiple Texas representatives took issue with the name. “Please rename your project,” August Pfluger said. “Texas is not the appropriate name. We stand for freedom and transparency, and we don’t want your project.”

While this was not the main issue of the hearing, Pfluger’s comments are ironic considering Texas has made several moves in recent weeks to restrict its residents’ ability to control their own bodies and access information online.

Republicans Want to Remove Endangered Species Protections for the Gray Wolf and Grizzly Bear

After we worked so hard to try to save them

Representatives Matt Rosendale and Lauren Boebert seated beside each other
Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Representatives Matt Rosendale and Lauren Boebert

Not to be outdone by their push to target the lives of human beings, Republicans want to remove endangered species protections for the gray wolf and the grizzly bear too.

During a House hearing Thursday, Representative Lauren Boebert discussed her bill to remove protections for the gray wolf, claiming the animal is “fully recovered.” In reality, last year, a district court judge ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or FWS, acted improperly when it delisted the gray wolf from the endangered species list under Trump.

Boebert moved on to argue that the Endangered Species Act has been “weaponized by extremist environmentalists to obstruct commonsense, multiple-use activities that they disagree with.” Meanwhile, her push to remove protections for the gray wolf has been applauded by organizations including the National Rifle Association and hunting advocacy groups.

Boebert also decided the hearing was the right time to show images of human fetuses, asking colleagues whether they would “put babies on the endangered species list.” Boebert’s analogy was numerically fraught, regardless of one’s personal views on abortion: There are over 330 million people in the country.

For states that have maneuvered around protections, hunters have gone ahead and razed away at the still recovering species. In 2021, Idaho and Montana passed laws to bypass restrictions on wolf hunting; as of February 2022, at least over 500 wolves had been killed since the laws passed, out of a total population of around 2,600. The alarming uptick has also interrupted research into how wolves help shape ecosystems.

Meanwhile, Republican Representative Matt Rosendale has been lobbying the FWS to delist the grizzly bear from the endangered species list too—something the FWS is now doing. Similar to the gray wolf, the grizzly bear has only recently begun to spring back, and certainly not to the same extent as before human-caused overhunting and habitat loss. Grizzly bears are currently classified as “threatened” with extinction.

“Representative Boebert and Representative Rosendale are demonstrating how out of touch House Republicans have become by pushing these cruel, extreme anti-wolf and anti-grizzly bear bills that the vast majority of Americans oppose,” said Stephanie Kurose, a senior policy specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Representative Boebert continues to thumb her nose at Colorado voters, who’ve made it clear they want wolves to return to their state. Meanwhile Representative Rosendale was seen posing with neo-Nazis. They shouldn’t be taken seriously on any subject, let alone the future of two of America’s most iconic wildlife species.”

Rosendale has also introduced a bill to undermine wildlife protections in national forests by enabling the Agriculture and Interior Departments not to revisit land management plans when new information is made available, for example when a species or habitat is designated endangered, or if climate change-induced conditions introduce cause for concern.

“Days after the U.N. climate report’s stark warning about the disastrous path humanity is on, Republicans can’t even muster the slightest effort to conceal their pro–clear cutting agenda,” said Randi Spivak, public lands director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Instead of these nonserious bills, they should be focused on protecting our remaining mature and old-growth forests, which are one of our most underutilized tools in pulling carbon dioxide out of the air.”

Concert Attendees Randomly Arrested During Cop City Protests Are Being Denied Bond

Welcome to America’s justice system.

Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis/Getty Images

The vicious absurdity of America’s “justice” system is on full display.

Earlier this month, at least 35 people were indiscriminately detained at a music festival organized by the people protesting Cop City, an under-construction gargantuan police training facility that would raze the Weelaunee Forest in Atlanta. Twenty-three of them were charged with domestic terrorism.

The arrested protesters are accused of participating in vandalism and arson at a construction site over a mile away from where the music festival was held. While all were charged with domestic terrorism, there has been no proof they were involved in illegal activity.

On Thursday, Georgia’s DeKalb Court held the second bond hearing for the arrested individuals. Out of the 10 defendants in Thursday’s hearing, eight people were outright denied bond, and two were “granted” a $25,000 bond with numerous conditions. Twelve others had received consent bonds prior to the hearing. The reasons people were denied bond were shocking, according to Hannah Riley, communications director at the Southern Center for Human Rights, who was monitoring the hearing.

One person, the sole caretaker of her aging uncle afflicted with dementia, was denied bond on the grounds that they are from New York and are therefore a flight risk, Riley reported. Another was denied bond on the basis that, though there was no evidence of them being anywhere near the site, they were “part of the team” because they were wearing black.

Other reasons used to deny bond included that they were muddy and wet (they were all in a forest, and it had rained) and had the jail support number on them (common practice during protests).

Another individual was a law student arrested at a food truck who would have been forced to withdraw from law school if they weren’t given bond. Because there was a lack of evidence, the individual was released with a $25,000 bond and ordered to wear an ankle monitor, refuse to join future protests, avoid contact with other defendants, and surrender their passport.

While Republicans make faulty comparisons of “if they can arrest a former president for using a shell company to pay hush money to a porn actress, imagine what they can do to you,” they, alongside much of the Democratic Party, are signing off on a militarized police state recklessly arresting protesters (and even plausible bystanders) and sentencing them to inordinate bond payments and even jail time.

Democrats promised a “New Civil Rights Act” and efforts to guarantee due process, human rights protections, and civil equality—so long as voters would give them the Senate majority. Still, there hasn’t been much word from the party on what happened at Cop City. Democratic Georgia Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock have had markedly little to say about the violent police action, nor even about the police murder of activist Manuel Esteban Paez Terán (also known as Tortuguita), the first known forest defender ever killed by the police.