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Nevilledog's Journal
Nevilledog's Journal
April 17, 2024

Secret Russian foreign policy document urges action to weaken the U.S.


No paywall link

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has been drawing up plans to try to weaken its Western adversaries, including the United States, and leverage the Ukraine war to forge a global order free from what it sees as American dominance, according to a secret Foreign Ministry document.

In a classified addendum to Russia’s official — and public — “Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation,” the ministry calls for an “offensive information campaign” and other measures spanning “the military-political, economic and trade and informational psychological spheres” against a “coalition of unfriendly countries” led by the United States.

“We need to continue adjusting our approach to relations with unfriendly states,” states the 2023 document, which was provided to The Washington Post by a European intelligence service. “It’s important to create a mechanism for finding the vulnerable points of their external and internal policies with the aim of developing practical steps to weaken Russia’s opponents.”

The document for the first time provides official confirmation and codification of what many in the Moscow elite say has become a hybrid war against the West. Russia is seeking to subvert Western support for Ukraine and disrupt the domestic politics of the United States and European countries, through propaganda campaigns supporting isolationist and extremist policies, according to Kremlin documents previously reported on by The Post. It is also seeking to refashion geopolitics, drawing closer to China, Iran and North Korea in an attempt to shift the current balance of power.

April 2, 2024

Texas Company Paid Extremist Group $20 Million for Operation Lone Star Busing


A cache of documents related to Texas’ Operation Lone Star reveals that state contractor Wynne Transportation, LLC, paid over $20 million to an antigovernment extremist group to bus migrants in “inhumane” conditions. The documents also reveal the tangled web of limited liability companies that Texas pays to bus immigrants from its border with Mexico.

A contractor for the state of Texas appears to have paid millions for busing immigrants and asylum seekers to antigovernment extremist organization Mayhem Solutions Group, according to public records and hundreds of invoices Hatewatch obtained. The documents also shed light on the muddled world of state contractors.

Texas awarded Wynne Transportation, LLC, a contract for “transportation management services” that started on Aug. 21, 2020, and ends on Dec. 31, 2024. Texas has spent over $124 million on transporting migrants to sanctuary cities, The Hill reported on Feb. 3. Most of these payments went to Wynne Transportation, LLC, according to a review of the records, which Hatewatch obtained through an information request.

The busing program is part of Gov. Greg Abbott’s “Operation Lone Star,” aimed at slowing down border crossings. Operation Lone Star is steeped in controversy. Wynne Transportation began busing immigrants through MSG in April 2022 and ended its relationship with MSG in April 2023, after Texas required Wynne to reduce costs. MSG did not respond to a request for comment.

April 2, 2024

Trump's Promise to Free Jan. 6 Inmates in DC Jail -- Almost All of Them Assaulted Law Enforcement Officers


Former President Donald Trump has made the January 6th defendants central to his campaign. It is “most likely,” Trump has said, that he would pardon “a large portion of them.” One of his “first acts” in office, Trump wrote last month, would be to “Free the January 6 Hostages being wrongly imprisoned!”

It can be difficult for journalists and the public to isolate which January 6th defendants Trump has in mind. However, Trump has taken a particular interest in the January 6th defendants held in Washington, D.C.

On Mar. 22, Trump posted on Truth Social a flier advertising a nightly vigil for the inmates held by the D.C. Department of Corrections. “Stand in solidarity with our January 6th Political Prisoners in the DC jail as we honor their bravery,” the flier reads. “At 9:00pm, everyone stops what they are doing to stand in solidarity as we all sing the National Anthem together.” Trump captioned the flier with his own announcement of the vigil.

The vigil is organized by Micki Witthoeft, the mother of Ashli Babbitt, a Trump supporter and QAnon adherent who was shot and killed by a U.S. Capitol Police officer on Jan. 6, 2021. Babbitt was attempting to climb through a broken window in a door leading to the Speaker’s Lobby of the U.S. Capitol at the time. Rioters broke the glass and pounded on the doors as members of Congress were evacuating just feet away.

March 28, 2024

The Little-Remembered Supreme Court Precedent That Could Protect IVF -- and Abortion


Last month, the Alabama Supreme Court stunned the nation by holding that extrauterine embryos frozen for in vitro fertilization procedures are “embryonic children.” The court’s theory is that life begins at fertilization regardless of where conception occurred or whether the “child” is located in a cryogenic tube or a human uterus. By that logic, IVF clinics could be liable for the destruction of frozen embryos under the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act.

The Alabama ruling set off a firestorm of conservative backtracking on the ruling, which was the inevitable fallout of the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of abortion rights in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The reasons for this reaction run deep: The Alabama ruling pits the conservative ideal of promoting the traditional family unit against the ideology of protecting unborn human life at conception irrespective of the pregnant mother’s competing interests.

The Alabama Legislature passed a law to restore access to IVF two weeks later. But because Dobbs muddied the waters on whether a fetus is entitled to the same protections as a human adult or born child, the underlying controversies will continue to percolate. Louisiana already has an embryo destruction ban, and more states are considering them.

If a challenge were to make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, a little-remembered case from the early 20th century could prove consequential to both sides. In fact, if harnessed by proponents of abortion rights, the case would provide a precedent that could shift the terms of the IVF-versus-abortion debate away from the line of reasoning enshrined in Roe v. Wade to a new one that carves out family life as existing beyond the reach of government interference.

March 23, 2024

Americans struggle to tell the difference between fact and opinion: Study


Knowing the difference between fact and opinion seems simple, but respondents in a survey published earlier this month were largely unable to correctly identify either.

Two researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign recently published a study on how well American adults can tell the difference between a factual statement and a statement of opinion.

The study appeared in the Harvard Kennedy School of Misinformation Review earlier this month.

As part of the study, the pair sent 12 statements to 2,498 adults via a YouGov poll in 2019 and asked them to correctly identify whether the statements were fact or opinion.

All the statements were related to current events, and many touched on hot-button topics like abortion, immigration, healthcare costs and the role of diversity in America.

March 20, 2024

Banning abortion was the first step, not the last


When the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion smugly declared that “nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.” Alito mocked the dissent’s concern that getting rid of abortion would ultimately imperil things like access to contraception, saying the dissent was “designed to stoke unfounded fear that our decision will imperil those other rights.”

But as anti-choice politicians and activists are now deploying Dobbs to try to roll back decades of law about bodily autonomy, it’s clear the dissent’s fears were quite well-founded.

Conservatives are not going to stop at unwinding the constitutional right to privacy, which underpins things like the right to obtain birth control and the right of same-sex couples to marry. After they destroy the agency of half the population by imposing so-called “fetal personhood” laws, they’re coming for the modern welfare state.

The blueprint

Over at the hard-right Washington Examiner, Conn Carroll, a former comms person for both the Heritage Foundation and Utah Sen. Mike Lee, has a lengthy list of laws he’d like to get rid of — everything from Medicaid to Head Start to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Those laws, he argues, “penalize marriage and encourage alternative family formation.” Carroll’s goals therefore dovetail not only with forced-birth conservatives but also with forced-marriage conservatives.

At its core, what reproductive freedom promises is that people who can get pregnant will be able to fully participate in society rather than being limited in their ambitions. As the liberal justices wrote in their Dobbs dissent, “[y]esterday, the Constitution guaranteed that a woman confronted with an unplanned pregnancy could (within reasonable limits) make her own decision about whether to bear a child, with all the life-transforming consequences that act involves … but no longer.” The dissent also quoted an earlier abortion case, 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey, where the Court had held that protecting reproductive freedom also protected "[t]he ability of women to participate equally in (this Nation's] economic and social life." Being forced to carry an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy, the dissenters said, ultimately results in the pregnant person “losing control of their lives.”

March 15, 2024

Trump Is Flat-Out Lying About Having the 'Most Secure Border in History' as President


No paywall link

Donald Trump and the Republican Party head into the 2024 election running essentially as single-issue candidates, and that issue is the border and “migrant crime.”

With economic growth, the stock market, unemployment, wage growth, and inflation all trending positively for many months, they have pushed all their chips into the middle of the table on the border issue. The central premise of their argument is that Trump had the “most secure border in history,” where everyone was kept out—and the few who were able to evade Border Patrol officers were quickly deported. That premise is a lie.

Before getting into the numbers, we can start with Trump’s own words about the border when he was president, which stands in sharp contrast with the mythology that he peddles now. Trump has attempted to rewrite the history of his administration in a number of areas in order to blame Joe Biden—the Afghanistan withdrawal, the pandemic, the economy, the 2020 election, and Jan 6.

But there is perhaps no topic where he lies more comprehensively than the border.

What makes the problem even worse is that, while Democrats are always eager and willing to push back on the other topics, they are generally unwilling to discuss the border—even to refute Trump’s lies. I wrote an article about that called, “Democrats Don’t Want to Talk About the Border, So I’ll Start.”

March 15, 2024

Trump's Cabinet of Horrors


No paywall link

Christopher Rufo, the U.S. Secretary of Education, watched the hearing with delight. It was early November 2025, almost exactly a year since Donald Trump had won his second term to the White House. Already, the nation had changed under his watch, with today’s hearing on educational indoctrination only the latest evidence of the transformation at work.

Michelle Obama had not been president of Harvard University for six months, and if this grilling before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions stayed on track (and it would, because the staff of each Republican senator on the committee had been coached by White House director of legislative affairs Madison Cawthorn on which questions to ask, when, and how; the afternoon producers on Fox News had been similarly prepped), she was going to make her predecessor Claudine Gay look like a long-termer.

It was delicious stuff, watching the former first lady squirm. Having already landed a couple of haymakers during the first round of questioning, the committee’s chairman, Ohio Republican Senator J.D. Vance—President Trump’s favorite bulldog on Capitol Hill and already a 2028 presidential favorite—was now launching a stemwinder about “rooting out the cancer of wokeness.” Fox News turned its camera on Michelle, who looked as if she might kill Vance—or, if this continued, herself.

Secretary Rufo muted the television and rose. He was still getting used to his office, a plain room in a concrete building on Maryland Avenue, nothing like the sumptuous quarters overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue that Attorney General Laura Ingraham crowed about every time he saw her in one of the Old Ebbitt Grill back rooms, drinking what she claimed was a club soda, gossiping with special assistant to the president Chaya Raichik—better known as Libs of TikTok—about the latest West Wing intrigue. She really needed to get her ass in gear, Rufo thought. There was no time to waste. President Trump’s second term was flying by, and even if he managed to extend that term by a year or two—White House counsel Kimberly Guilfoyle was just polishing up her memorandum on how to postpone the 2028 election—there was too much work left for foot-dragging.

March 9, 2024

North Carolina's public voucher dollars are funding Christian Nationalist indoctrination in schools


Shortly after he took over as North Carolina’s Lieutenant Governor in 2021, current Republican candidate for governor Mark Robinson launched a task force to root out indoctrination in our public schools.

Robinson claimed indoctrination was a widespread problem and set up an online portal to solicit complaints about educators from the public. The majority of the submissions Robinson received were from people who took issue with his politically-motivated witch hunt and saw an opportunity to roast him over it.

As for the actual complaints about educators, Robinson published those online without substantiating a single one and didn’t bother to redact names of educators or worksites. Those complaints were dominated by white racial resentment (remember, this was at the height of the fake outrage over critical race theory) and included suggestions such as canceling Black History Month and not talking so much about slavery because it’s “getting old.”

In terms of actual indoctrination unearthed, Robinson’s witch hunt was a complete nothing burger.

Fast forward a couple of years to North Carolina’s Republican-controlled General Assembly flipping a legislator, stealing a supermajority, then tripling funding for school vouchers.


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