Archives for category: Citizenship

This is a thrilling story, reported by The Intercept.

THE NATIONWIDE CAMPAIGN to stifle discussions of race and gender in public schools through misinformation and bullying suffered a reversal in Idaho on Monday, when a high school senior vocally opposed to book bans and smears against LGBTQ+ youth took a seat on the Boise school board.

The student, Shiva Rajbhandari, was elected to the position by voters in Idaho’s capital last week, defeating an incumbent board member who had refused to reject an endorsement from a local extremist group that has harassed students and pushed to censor local libraries.

Rajbhandari, who turned 18 days before the election, was already well-known in the school district as a student organizer on climate, environmental, voting rights, and gun control issues. But in the closing days of the campaign, his opponent, Steve Schmidt, wasendorsed by the far-right Idaho Liberty Dogs, which in response helped Rajbhandari win the endorsement of Boise’s leading newspaper, the Idaho Statesman.

Rajbhandari, a third-generation Idahoan whose father is from Nepal, was elected to a two-year term with 56 percent of the vote.

In an interview, Rajbhandari told The Intercept that although he had hoped people would vote for him rather than against his opponent — “My campaign was not against Steve Schmidt,” he said — he was nonetheless shocked that Schmidt did not immediately reject the far-right group’s endorsement. “I think that’s what the majority of voters took issue with,” Rajbhandari said.

The Idaho Liberty Dogs, which attacked Rajbhandari on Facebook for being “Pro Masks/Vaccines” and leading protests “which created traffic jams and costed [sic] tax payers money,” spent the summer agitating to have books removed from public libraries in Nampa and Meridian, two cities in the Boise metro area.

But, Rajbhandari said, “that’s the least of what they’ve done. Last year, there was a kid who brought a gun to Boise High, which is my school, and he got suspended and they organized an armed protest outside our school.”

Rajbhandari, who started leading Extinction Rebellion climate protests in Boise when he was 15, is familiar with the group’s tactics. “We used to have climate strikes, like back in ninth grade, and they would come with AR-15s,” he said, bringing rifles to intimidate “a bunch of kids protesting for a livable future.”

So when the Idaho Liberty Dogs called on Boise voters to support Schmidt — and a slate of other candidates for the school board who, ultimately, all lost — Rajbhandari told me he texted his rival to say, “You need to immediately disavow this.”

“This is a hate group,” Rajbhandari says he told Schmidt. “They intimidate teachers, they are a stain on our schools, and their involvement in this election is a stain on your candidacy.” Schmidt, however, refused to clearly reject the group, even after the Idaho Liberty Dogs lashed out at a local rabbi who criticized the endorsement by comparing the rabbi to Hitler and claiming that he harbored “an unrelenting hatred for white Christians.”

While the school board election was a hyperlocal one, Rajbhandari is aware that the forces he is battling operate at the state and national level. “Idaho is at the center of this out-of-state-funded far-right attack to try to undermine schools, with the end goal of actually abolishing public education,” Rajbhandari told me. “There’s a group, they’re called the Idaho Freedom Foundation, and they actually control a lot of the political discourse in our legislature. Their primary goal is to get rid of public education and disburse the money to charter schools or get rid of that funding entirely.”

For his courage and candor, he won the endorsement of The Idaho Statesman.

This is a remarkable young man with a bright future ahead of him. I am happy to add him to the honor roll of this blog.

Read the rest of the story by opening the link. Rajbhandari is a force to be reckoned with. He is a good omen of the bright, dedicated young people who stand up for their teachers and for environmental activism, who fight for gun control and against censorship. Best wishes to him!

John Merrow’s title is sarcastic. Of course he wants you to read banned books, and he is deeply concerned about the large number of eligible voters—especially young people—who don’t bother to vote.

When someone on Twitter posted a list of 25 popular books that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had supposedly banned from the state’s public schools, people went crazy. The list included Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” and Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time.”

Below is a screenshot of the list. How many of these books have you read? Have your children read most of them? What on earth is going on in Florida?

People familiar with DeSantis’s efforts to restrict classroom discussion of controversial topics had no trouble believing that he would try to prevent young people from reading controversial or challenging books. If DeSantis did draw up a list, these books might well be on it.

But the list is a fake, a clever satire.

Many people were fooled, including teacher union President Randi Weingarten and “Star Wars” actor Mark Hamill. Hamill’s screenshot of the list amassed more than 100,000 likes and 24,000 retweets.

(Add my name to the list of those who were taken in.)

Like all good satire, that fake list of banned books is rooted in truth, because book banning is real and growing. Florida school districts have banned around 200 books, according to a report published by PEN America, a nonprofit that tracks book banning in the U.S. Pen America ranks Florida third among US states for banning books, trailing only Texas and Pennsylvania.

We are in the midst of a pandemic of book banning, so it’s hard to imagine any title that would never be banned by some zealous or timid school board or ignorant legislator.

One way to stop this outbreak of censorship is to get active, vote, attend school board meetings, run for school board. Passivity and complaining is a losing strategy.

Time to turn back the rising tide of incipient fascism.

Filippa Mannerheim is a Swedish high school teacher and a critic of Sweden’s experiment in school privatization.

She writes.

Dear Sweden, let me tell you what a school is.

A school educates and dares and can demand effort. Sweden has forgotten what a school is. High school teacher Filippa Mannerheim gives a lesson to a country that has lost its grip.

Dear Sweden, since you seem to have completely lost your composure, here is a short, educational guide to help you along in your confused state.

Sweden, let me tell you what school is: A school is an academic place for knowledge and learning. A school is the nation’s most important educational institution with the aim of equipping the country’s young citizens with knowledge and abilities, so that they can develop into free and independent individuals, protect the country’s democratic foundations and with knowledge and skills contribute to the country’s continued prosperity – in times of peace as well as in troubled times .

A school is not a joint-stock company with profit as the main incentive. A school is a joint community building. A school has educated, subject-knowledgeable, qualified teachers with high status, good working conditions and great professional freedom. These teachers teach the country’s children in the country’s language.

A school has employed – not hired – resource staff: special teachers, school nurse, study and vocational guidance counselors, IT staff, janitors. A school does not have non-qualified persons behind the chair.

A school gives children who are falling behind extra support from trained special teachers. A school does not hand out digital tools or ineffective adaptations as substandard substitutes for extra support, just because it is cheaper.

A school has appropriate premises: adequately sized classrooms, an auditorium, a sports hall, a music hall, a home economics room with a kitchenette, crafts and lab rooms. A school has adequate equipment for theoretical and practical teaching, such as musical instruments, craft tools, laboratory equipment, teaching aids, working IT equipment and large amounts of fiction in class sets.

A school has a school library with trained librarians who keep an eye on the world, buy books, hold book talks and contribute with unique expertise in fiction and non-fiction, information search and source criticism. A school does not have a repository of some randomly selected books donated by parents and call this a “school library”. A school library is not “access to a public library”.

A school has a large school yard where children can jump rope, jump fence, play football, play marbles, play ghost ball, King and run around. A school yard is not a paved patch outside an apartment building.

A school is an architectural building – a proud landmark – adapted to a unique activity, namely teaching the country’s children. A school is not a bicycle cellar or an industrial premises where students get “theoretical skills” or a gym card at Sats, which is called “sports education” because it is cheaper.

A school is not a private playground for calculating corporate groups and corrupt ex-politicians who want to make a career in business. If you think so, you have seriously misunderstood what school is.

A school sells nothing because knowledge cannot be sold or bought. A school has a canteen that serves a well-planned lunch based on the Swedish Food Agency’s guidelines for a good and nutritious meal. A school does not send teenagers out to buy their daily lunch at a hamburger chain using a food stamp.

A school does not compete with other schools for school fees or easily taught students. A school has no incentive to set satisfaction ratings, as rating is a pressure-free exercise of authority – not a means of competition and a way to fish for new school customers.

A school educates and dares and can demand effort. A school is a community foundation, not a sandwich board for demanding parental customers. A school has an obvious consensus on what knowledge is and how it is taught using methods that rest on a scientific basis.

A school has teachers who conduct well-planned teaching, not teachers who send students home with work that parents are expected to help with in order for the school’s profit to be greater. A school has teachers who see themselves as academics and public servants, not marketers and influencers who hawk vacuum cleaners with the help of their students via Instagram accounts.

A school is an area where politicians strive for cooperation, long-termism, stability and the best interests of the citizens. A school is not allowed to become a bat in national political debates about cap issues or grades from year 4. The word “school” and “lobbyism” are never used in the same sense. A school system without a market is not a “communist government”.

We live in a country that has lost all understanding of what school is. We live in a country where the politicians have let go of the country’s own school system and are selling it off, piece by piece, to international companies.

We live in a country where students and parents get an image that school can be anything, however, anywhere and an image of themselves as school customers instead of parents and students. This is dangerous for the individual but even more dangerous for the nation at large.

Sweden, now you know what school is. What do you do with that knowledge?

By Filippa Mannerheim

Filippa Mannerheim is a high school teacher in Swedish and history, as well as a school debater. She attracted a lot of attention in the winter of 2020 with her open letter to Sweden’s Riksdag politicians on Expressen’s culture page, “Swedish school is a shame – you politicians have failed”.

Jennifer Hall Lee is a trustee of the public schools of the Pasadena Unified School District. She explains here why public schools are the foundation stone of democracy. All of us pay taxes for public schools even if we have no children; even if our children are no longer school-age; even if our children attend private or religious schools. Supporting public schools is a civic responsibility. Paying for other people’s private choices is not.

In the Superintendent’s Enrollment Committee for the Pasadena Unified School District, a group of us are reading and discussing a book entitled American Public Education and the Responsibility of its Citizens by Sarah Stitzlein.

The book is compelling because it explains why public schools are indispensable to our democracy and how we the people are part and parcel of its success.

I chose the book for the enrollment committee because we live in a time when the importance of public schools is being lost in the trends of privatizing education. Public schools have a dynamic history that seems to keep getting lost.

Why Public Schools

So why are public schools important? Here is my answer: Every child has a seat in a public school. It sounds simple but it is quite profound. No matter who the child is or from where they came, they belong here.

Public education has had its struggles in the United States to be sure. Now we fight the hyper capitalistic phenomenon of privatization (vouchers) in order to preserve the uniquely American institution of public education. At every turn, it seems there is a private company marketing to us to let us know that our child might be better off somewhere else besides a public school.

We live in a time when we are seeing ourselves as consumers rather than citizens.

It’s hard to wrap our heads around the complexity in the world today. The political theorist Benjamin Barber in 2017 suggested that we shift our thinking about the world from seeing nations and instead see our cities, where the majority of people live. It is in the cities, he said, “where we announce ourselves as citizens and participants as people with a right to write our own narratives.”

I understand his point as we are closest to the functions of government in our local communities. We are more apt to know who our city council members are and our librarians, our school board trustees, our mayors, and our county supervisors.

I would extend Barber’s idea to our public schools.

Personally, I think of myself as an Altadenan resident and a member of the PUSD.

For me, it’s easy to support and love my local school district. Simply standing in any one of our schools is a humbling experience because our schools have been through so much history — segregation, integration, and then, unfortunately, resegregation, and now privatization, low birth rates, and high housing costs.

Throughout it all, we succeed.

The PUSD is thought of as a leader throughout the state of California. Our ideas are followed by others in the state in terms of our graduate defense and our graduate profile. We have had many successes and here are just a few:

• We are competitive. In our community, we have the largest number of private schools per capita, yet we are competitive with private schools because of our teachers, principals, signature programs, curriculum, and our diverse student body. There are private school students who choose to come to our district.

• Our graduates attend Yale, Harvard, Vanderbilt, UCLA, Pasadena City College, Howard, Occidental, USC, UC Berkeley, Tulane, UC San Diego, Brown, UC Merced, and more.

• We have been entrusted with back-to-back federal magnet grants because we have shown success.

• We are successfully achieving socio-economic integration through open enrollment.

Public and Publics

When I say public school, I emphasize public.

Please open the link and read the rest of the article.

Allison Fine wrote a passionate column in defense of reproductive rights in which she quoted the civil rights icon Fannie Lou Hamer: “Nobody’s Free Until Everybody Is Free.”

No one is free in America today because millions of people have lost the national guarantee of the power to control if and when they have children.

But the barbaric treatment of pregnant people, and the ongoing harassment and death threats against clinicians, isn’t the end of our story, it is the beginning of a new chapter. Our job is to keep getting up, and to keep showing up, just like Fannie Lou.

Fine describes a growing ecosystem that is growing up to provide help to women who seek abortion services, including take health consultations and abortion pills by mail.

She writes that the nation is in a state of “legal chaos” as a result of the Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe V. Wade, reversing a Court-guaranteed right for the first time in US history.

I am raising this issue to emphasize that we are in a totally chaotic period legally right now. It is actually a really profound moment for our country in terms of national versus states’ rights. Can I mail abortion pills to Mississippi, a banned state, today? No one knows the answer. The State of Mississippi says no, but BioGenPro, one of the two U.S. manufacturers of mifepristone, the abortion medication, with the force of the FDA and national postal service behind it, says yes, and they brought suit against MississippI to force them to allow it. We need to watch how this suit unfolds very closely over the next few months.

Please remember that just because states are passing crazy-ass laws doesn’t mean those laws will stand. They will all be challenged in court.

Sadly, the Supreme Court is sure to overturn any laws that conflict with their Dobbs’ decision.

But think about reality. Can a state actually ban the mailing of abortion pills? Will they open every package delivered to every woman in their state? How can Mississippi or Texas or any other state stop women from receiving the pills?

William J. Mathis, Ph.D., has served as a school superintendent and vice-president of the Vermont state school board. He also served as Managing Director of the National Education Policy Center and is the president-elect of the Horace Mann League of America.


In the beginning, Kansas irregulars attacked Missouri. Missouri replied in kind. It was an unneighborly kind of war. Little mercy was asked and little was given. The Osceola raid, it was said,counted but one survivor. But with the rush of hot-blood, truth is often the victim. The partisans vowed righteous vengeance on each other, heated their rhetoric and twisted their courage for the oncoming civil war. It left 215,000 laying on the ground.

We fumble through our historical rolodex for comprehensible parallels to the insurrection ofJanuary 6; looking for something that explains, something that restores, something that fills the emptiness.

Such conflicts are not innocent unexpected surprises by play-pretend soldiers. Aggressive words lead to aggressive actions. People die.

Then, as now, crises were foreshadowed. Jayhawkers and Harper’s Ferry were not accidents. Our Constitution neglected the humanity of 4 million enslaved African Americans. Chief Justice Roger Taney, author of the Dred Scott decision, concluded that Blacks could not be citizens because they were not. Ranked the worst Supreme Court decision in history, this judicial miscarriage was influenced by President Buchanan who, until our times, was widely criticized as the nation’s worst president.Alienating both North and South, he could have prevented the Civil War – but he didn’t.

We have great accomplishments but we also have great fiascos. Benedict Arnold sold out when his ego was not stroked. Vice President Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel and launched a “filibuster” or invasion of Mexico. Acerbic Andrew Johnson got impeached and U. S. Grant’s administration is known for corruption. But Grant’sreal sin was the wink and nod he gave to the oppression of native Americans. After teaming up with red-baiting Senator Joe McCarthy, PresidentRichard Nixon resigned in disgrace.

These shames pale in comparison to Donald Trump’s behavior. What the former president has in common with this rogue’s gallery is a selfish disregard of people and an enormous regard for himself. His minions flatter their Emperor and compliment his new clothes while ignoring his buck nakedness. It took a 26 year-old woman’scourage to say the Emperor was dressed a little light for the weather.

Meanwhile, black-robed justices summoned older spirits, “’tis time! ‘tis time! Double, double toil and trouble.” In one infamous week of opinions they overturned laws on women’s health, religion in the schools, scuttled environmental protections and approved carrying a gun in a society suffering thesickness of repeated mass murders.

Compounding these benighted events, the worst inflation in forty years placed the greatest burdenon people of limited means. The more affluent saw their investment portfolios crash faster than their travel plans. Hit with covid, a cautious population isolated itself while Russia weaponizedoil. The blockade of Ukrainian food threatens the world food supply.

Will the Center hold? – We have survived many crises and in turn, been strengthened by them. But the past is not always the predictor of the future. Rather, the turn of the tale lies in our ability to cohere as a nation and as a society.

We speak of the “United States.” Is it? The East and West coasts are solidly blue while the South and the mid-West are red. The economic and migration patterns increase and sharpen the inflection points. Will we see “Bloody Kansas” again? What is this beast that slaughters people claiming protection of a Constitutional right?

The “greatest generation,” those who came of age in World War II, and gave us the baby boom are coming to the end of their lives. We see the fading of the institutions that for one small flash made the American Dream a reality for some. We promised equality and access to opportunities.Instead, the wealth and educational gaps are increasing while politicians gerrymander voting districts to freeze political power to their advantage. School privatization claims “freedom of choice’ but the least reflection shows the reality is segregation and inequalities. At the same time, the exploding costs of elite higher educationinstitutions, make them inaccessible to children on the wrong side of the wealth gap. People advantaged by this system want to keep it that way.

We have survived the litany of our devils and prospered by the actions of our saints. Yet, the purpose of a democratic society is to build and sustain a fair and just society. It is endangered. We face an election that will likely tell the tale. Our obligation is to select leaders based not on the thin chaff of election season but on the principles and wisdom by which the candidates havegoverned, their commitment to the strengtheningof the commonwealth, and their manifest compassion to embrace all citizens.

Will the center hold?


In case you misssed it, Heather Cox Richardson describes the highlights of the July 21 hearing of the Jan 6 Commission. The House GOP continues to ridicule the hearings as partisan, but so far almost everyone who testified is a Republican. The two who testified last night were working directly for Trump.

Highlight of the hearing: Senator Josh Hawley running to escape away from the mob he encouraged with his fist in the air. Sprinting, really. The hashtag that quickly appeared on Twitter: #JoshHawleyIsABitch. And this is the guy running on a “platform” of reviving masculinity.

When the chips are down, Josh Hawley runs away.

Then there is the fact that there are no White House logs that day; the White House photographer was told not to take pictures of the most important day of Trump’s term; the Secret Service deleted text messages.

Funniest moment of the hearings: Trump recording a video on January 7, stumbling over the words. Tells them to delete the word “yesterday.” It’s too hard for him.

Most inspiring: the two Republicans on the committee, Cheney and Kinzinger, willing to sacrifice their political careers for matters of principle and respect for the Constitution.

Dr. Charles Foster Johnson is hosting a conversation with Beto O’Rourke in Lubbock, Texas, on Zoom this Thursday.

4:30-6:00 pm CDT (central time).

They will discuss the future of public education in Texas.

The event is free.

In 2001, libertarian political scientist Jason Sorens proposed the creation of a “free state.” He appealed to other libertarians to cluster in one small state, where enough of them would be able to eliminate laws and authority and “live free.” That state was New Hampshire, and the libertarians have joined hands with Republicans to impose their agenda on others who don’t share it. Earlier this spring, Free Staters proposed that New Hampshire secede and became an independent nation, but that proposal failed overwhelmingly, in part because enough people realized it was nutty and/or they didn’t want to give up their Social Security.

Dan Barry wrote in The New York Times about an effort by Free Staters in Croydon, New Hampshire, to cut the town’s school budget in half.

As is typical in many towns and cities across the nation, not many people show up for local elections, or in this case, the town meeting. One of the members of the Croydon board of selectmen, Ian Underwood, proposed cutting the town budget for schools by more than half, from $1.7 million to $800,000.

In pamphlets he brought to the meeting, Mr. Underwood asserted that sports, music instruction and other typical school activities were not necessary to participate intelligently in a free government, and that using taxes to pay for them “crosses the boundary between public benefit and private charity.”

The pamphlet did not note that its author was a 1979 graduate of the public high school in Chesterton, Ind., where he starred on the tennis team, ran track, played intramural sports and joined extracurricular activities in math, creative writing, radio and student government. Also: National Honor Society member, National Merit finalist and valedictorian.

One person not completely gobsmacked by Mr. Underwood’s proposal was the school board chairwoman: his wife, Jody Underwood. The Underwoods, who do not have children, moved to Croydon from Pennsylvania in 2007 in part to join the Free State mission; they are now considered a Free State power couple.

Underwood’s radical proposal passed by 20-14. It was a victory for the Free Staters. As the Underwoods did media interviews, they gloated:

Mr. Underwood asked what for him appears to be a fundamental question — “Why is that guy paying for that guy’s kids to be educated?” — and denied that he and his wife were “in cahoots.”

Many people in Croydon were “livid.” They realized this radical act was the result of their indifference.

But they were also chastened. They hadn’t attended the town meeting. They hadn’t fulfilled their democratic obligation. They hadn’t kept informed about the Free State movement. To some observers, they had gotten what they deserved…

From this muddle of anger, confusion and regret, though, a movement was born. It came to be known as We Stand Up for Croydon Students.

Conservatives, liberals and those who shun labels — “an entirely nonpartisan group,” said Ms. Damon, one of the members — began meeting online and in living rooms to undo what they considered a devastating mistake. They researched right-to-know laws, sought advice from nonprofits and contacted the state attorney general’s office to see whether they had any legal options.

They did: Under New Hampshire law, citizens could petition for a special meeting where the budget cut could be overturned — if at least half the town’s voters were present and cast ballots.

Ms. Beaulieu, 44, a project manager for a kitchen and bath store, helped to gather enough signatures for the necessary petition. Once a date in May was set for the special meeting, she and other volunteers spread the word, knocking on doors, conducting phone banks and planting lawn signs…

The crisis in Croydon generated a curious democratic dynamic. Since the law required that at least half the town’s electorate participate in the special meeting’s vote for it to be binding, those trying to overturn the Underwood budget encouraged people to attend, while those hoping to retain it encouraged people to do just the opposite and stay home.

On the chilly Saturday morning of May 7, Croydon residents filed into a spacious building at the local YMCA camp for their special meeting. The We Stand Up contingent needed at least 283 voters.

The turnout: 379.

The vote in favor of overturning the Underwood budget: 377.

The vote against: 2.

The We Stand Up crowd cheered and hugged, leaving Mr. Underwood to vent online with posts titled “Your House Is My A.T.M.” and “Possibly Dumbest Thing I’ve Heard Someone Say, Ever,” and Dr. Underwood to frame the moment as both an impressive voter turnout and a victory for “mob rule.”

“It felt to me like a bunch of woke people came to Croydon,” she said.

What happened in Croydon is a lesson for us all.

Get out and vote.

Do not let the neo-fascists, neo-Confederates, racists, and conspiracy theorists take over.

Fight for democracy or lose it.

What is happening to the America that we swore allegiance to every day in public school? what happened to the America that was “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”? How did we get a rogue Supreme Court that recklessly demolishes women’s rights, the separation of church and state, gun control, public safety, and efforts by government to prevent climate disasters? Who kidnapped the conservative Republican Party that believed in stability and tradition? From whence came the people who scorn the commonweal and ridicule Constitutional norms?

Former state legislator Jeanne Dietsch has an answer. Connect the dots by looking at what has happened to New Hampshire. The coup failed in Washington, D.C. on January 6, she writes. But it is moving forward in New Hampshire, with many of the same characters and all of the same goals.

If you read one post today, read this.

She writes:

During the last few weeks, US House leaders documented the nearly successful January 6 coup piece by piece, before our eyes. That personal power grab failed. Meanwhile, the steps clinching takeover of our government by radical reactionaries have nearly triumphed. A plan decades in the making. A plan nearly invisible to the ordinary public.

I can barely believe myself how this story weaves from Kansas to Concord to DC to the fields of southern Michigan over the course of six decades. It starts in Witchita. Koch Industries is the largest privately held company in the US, with over $115 billion in revenues, mostly fossil-fuel related. For many years, two of the founders’ sons, Charles and David Koch, each owned 42% of the company.

The younger, David, studied in the engineering department of MIT for 5 years, simultaneous with young John H. Sununu. Both finished their Master’s degrees in 1963.


Seventeen years later, David Koch ran for Vice President of the US on the Libertarian ticket. The campaign was largely funded by Koch interests. The Libertarian platform of 1980, shown below, may look disturbingly familiar to those following news today.

Open her post to read the Koch Libertarian platform of 1980.

Libertarians demanded the abolition of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, public schools, aid to children, the Post Office, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, and more.

The infrastructure for achieving that platform was founded two years later. It was called the Federalist Society. It was a plan by a “small but influential group of law professors, lawyers, and judges.” Its goal?

To train members of their professions to believe in “originalism.” Originalists “strictly construe” the Constitution as they believed the Framers designed it way back in 1787. This matched David Koch’s 1980 platform. It would leave corporations free to do whatever profited them most without regard for social costs or regulations. Older Federalist Society members used their influence to advance their followers to higher judgeships.


Meanwhile, John Sununu became governor of New Hampshire, then Chief of Staff for President George W. Bush. In that role, John thwarted a plan for the US to join the international conference to address climate change in 1989. Actions like this, that benefitted Koch and the rest of the fossil-fuel industry, would become a hallmark of the Sununu family.

In 1993, an executive of Charles and David’s Koch Industries Michigan subsidiary, Guardian Industries, became a founding trustee of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy [JBC] in NH. Its mission was to advance many of the policies listed on David Koch’s platform of 1980. John Sununu, and later his son James, would chair the JBC board through today. Another of Sununu’s sons, Michael, would become a vocal climate denier and industry consultant. Still another, Senator John E. Sununu, would oppose the Climate Stewardship Act of 2003. But the Sununus were not coup leaders, just complicit.


But let’s jump back to the Federalist Society. Its mission was succeeding. They were stacking the lower courts.?..Those justices hired young lawyers as clerks. From 1996-97, Thomas employed a Federalist Society clerk named John Eastman.

Twenty-three years later, Eastman would meet secretly with President Donald Trump. He would convince him that Vice President Pence could refuse to accept electoral college ballots on January 6. But back in 1999, Eastman became a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute. “The mission of the Claremont Institute is to restore the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life.”

Now we’re almost at the secret clubhouse of the coup. The Claremont Institute was run by a fellow regressive named Larry Arnn.(Photo below) In late 1999, Arnn was in the process of replacing the president of Hillsdale College because of a scandal that made national news. Hillsdale promotes conservative family values. Yet its leader was having an affair with his daughter-in-law. She committed suicide. Hillsdale was the central hub for Libertarian radicals so they needed a strong leader to pull them out of the mud.

Please read the rest of this fascinating post. There is one blatant error: she refers to “Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer” as Koch justices, but Breyer was a liberal justice appointed by Clinton. She must have meant the crackpot Alito.