Archives for category: Fascism

Now that Republican state legislatures have had their way imposing their personal views on what may or may not be taught in the public schools, they are taking aim at what may be taught in state universities. In Wyoming, the legislature wants to defund gender studies.

Legislation to defund gender and women’s studies at the University of Wyoming has stoked faculty fears about how far lawmakers will go to stop public colleges from teaching courses they don’t like.

The Wyoming Senate voted on Friday to pass a budget amendment that would prevent the university from using state money for its gender and women’s studies program and courses, a move that would effectively eliminate them. While a version of the amendment died in the state’s House and its future is unclear, the mere possibility of its passage has left some Wyoming professors shaken by what they see as an infringement on their academic freedom.

This is censorship, plain and simple. Will they next come after science professors who teach about evolution? Or legal scholars who study critical race theory?

Vladimir Tismaneanu writes in American Purpose to denounce Putin’s claim that he is anti-Nazi. He is the author of “Putin’s Totalitarian Democracy.”

“Taming” Vladimir Putin is an impossible task, based on wishful thinking. Western democracies are procedural, contractual, constitutional arrangements. The FSB-controlled Russia is none of those things. Last month I watched the 2021 movie Munich: The Edge of War; Jeremy Irons plays Neville Chamberlain. I thought about the folly of putting trust in gangsters: A gentleman’s agreement with Putka the Bully is a stillborn project, a dead end.

Putka is a godfather, not a gentleman. To understand his “worldview” and modi operandi, read Mario Puzo and a history of the KGB, plus Karen Dawisha’s illuminating anatomy of Putin’s system as an authoritarian kleptocracy. For Putin, the legal person doesn’t exist. More, it should not exist.

In Putin’s Totalitarian Democracy (2020), which I wrote with Kate C. Langdon, we try to understand the origins and dynamics of Putinist political culture—its basic assumptions, conscious and subliminal goals, aspirations, apprehensions, affinities, and ambitions. Putin’s political hero is the late Yuri Andropov, who was the Soviet ambassador to Budapest when the Soviet Union crushed the Hungarian Revolution in November 1956. Later, in 1968, Andropov was KGB chairman when Warsaw Pact tanks smashed the Prague Spring.

Putin, when in his early twenties, identified himself with the fictional Soviet spy Max Otto von Stierlitz played by the charismatic Vyacheslav Tikhonov in the legendary 1973 TV series, Seventeen Moments of Spring. Stierlitz was a master of deceit, self-control, and logical deduction. This is most likely how Putin sees himself. But in what the dissident writer Vladimir Voinovich aptly called the “anti-Soviet Soviet Union,” there are many Stierlitz jokes.

Another source of Putin’s worldview can be found in Nikolay Shpanov’s propaganda novels, published in the early 1950s. Shpanov, an immensely popular author of military thrillers, endorsed and enhanced the narrative of World War II’s being the result of a Western conspiracy to destroy the USSR. This political myth endured, espoused by successive generations of party, Komsomol, army, and KGB cadres. For the ultra-nationalists, whenever Russia or the USSR lost a war, it was the result of a “stab in the back.”

Putin claims that he is an anti-fascist. That is absolutely false. I come from an anti-fascist family. My parents fought in the International Brigades. We lost close family members in the Holocaust. To call Volodymyr Zelensky and his supporters “Nazis” is not just moronic but nauseating. We know who the real fascist is—the KGB thug in the Kremlin with his militaristic delirium, Slavophile delusions, and imperial obsessions.

Years ago, I wrote in the journal Orbis about the Pamyat’s “patriotic society.” Putinism is the updated version of the Pamyat’s phobias, neuroses, and hatreds.

My father was born in Soroca, which was then in the Russian Empire, on February 26, 1912. During the Spanish Civil War, he joined the International Brigades. He lost his right arm in a battle on the River Ebro in 1938. His older brother, Abram, his wife, and his two children died, burned alive, in the Odessa massacre, which was ordered, planned, and perpetrated by Nazi Germany’s ally, the Romanian government of dictator Ion Antonescu. When Putin maintains that the invasion of democratic Ukraine is meant to “de-Nazify” a country whose president is a Ukrainian Jew, he commits an obscene infamy. He offends the memory of the Holocaust victims, including members of Zelensky’s family. I take personal offense at this ignominy. The scoundrel Putin is an assassin of memory.

Please open the link to read the rest of this interesting article.

The following is an excerpt from historian Heather Cox Richardson’s blog. The rest of the post is about the January 6 Commission’s efforts to get to the bottom of Trump’s role in the insurrection.

On July 27, 2016, even before the Republican National Committee changed the party’s platform to weaken the U.S. stance in favor of Ukraine in its struggle to fight off Russia’s 2014 invasion, U.S. News & World Report senior politics writer David Catanese noted that senior security officials were deeply concerned about then-candidate Trump’s ties to Russia.

July 27 was the day Trump referred at a news conference to his opponent and then–secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s emails that were not turned over for public disclosure from her private server and said: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing, I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” (We know now that Russian hackers did, in fact, begin to target her accounts on or around that day.)

Former secretary of defense Leon Panetta, who served under nine presidents, told Catanese that Trump was “a threat to national security,” not only because of his call for help from Russia, but because of his suggestion that he would abandon the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) if he were elected and, as Catanese put it, “his coziness toward Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

Former National Security Advisor Thomas E. Donilon also expressed concern over the hack of the Democratic National Committee by Russian operatives, and said that such an attack mirrored similar attacks in Estonia, Georgia, and, most prominently, Ukraine. He called on officials to confront Russian leaders publicly.

Cybersecurity expert Alan Silberberg told Catanese that Trump looked like an ally of Putin. “The Twitter trail, if you dig into it over the last year, the Russian media is mirroring him, putting out the same tweets at almost the same time,” Silberberg said.

“You get the sense that people think it’s a joke,” Panetta said. “The fact is what he has said has already represented a threat to our national security.”

Putin’s attempt to destroy democracy in Ukraine militarily has invited a reexamination of the cyberattacks, disinformation, division, attacks on opponents, and installation of puppet leaders he used to gain control of Ukraine before finally turning to bombs. This reexamination, in turn, has led journalists to note that those same techniques have poisoned politics in countries other than Ukraine.

Over the weekend, British investigative journalist Carol Cadwalladr warned that we are 8 years into “The first Great Information War,” a war sparked by Putin’s fury at the removal of his puppet Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 from the presidency of Ukraine. Putin set out to warp reality to confuse both Ukrainians & the world. The “meddling” we saw in the 2016 election was not an attempt to elect Trump simply so he would end the sanctions former president Barack Obama had imposed on Russia in 2014 after it invaded Ukraine. It was an attempt to destabilize democracy. “And it’s absolutely crucial that we now understand that Putin’s attack on Ukraine & the West was a JOINT attack on both,” she wrote.

Today in The Guardian, political and cultural observer Rebecca Solnit wrote a piece titled “It’s time to confront the Trump-Putin network.”

Republicans and Democrats joined in a rare bipartisan vote to censure extremist Rep. Wendy Rogers. Rogers, a MAGA zealot, took part by video in a white nationalist conference where she called for “public hangings” of high-level officials and used anti-Semitic slurs.

During the conference, speakers made racist remarks and cheered on Russian President Vladimir Putin, comparing the Russian leader favorably to Adolf Hitler.

Rogers, in her remarks, praised Fuentes — an outspoken racist who has said he does not believe women should have the right to vote — as “the most persecuted man in America.”

Republican leaders joined Democrats in voting to censure Rogers.

Thirteen Democrats and 11 Republicans voted for the censure language read on the Senate floor. It was the first time in three decades senators publicly censured one of their own members, and the move was applauded by Gov. Doug Ducey — who just days ago was criticized for his support of Rogers.

Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts commented on the hypocrisy of Governor Doug Ducey, who first defended Rogers, then praised her censure. Ducey raised $500,000 to elect Rogers.

Well, it took a while – far, far too long, in fact – but the unmasking of state Sen. Wendy Rogers has finally begun and what a sight it is to behold.

At long last, a few Republican leaders are beginning to speak out about the far right rock star from Flagstaff, a first-term state legislator who has built a national following as she rants about election conspiracies and George Soros and the cabal of Jews, journalists, political elites and other nefarious characters who plot to create a New World Order.

The Senate on Tuesday actually voted 24-3 to censure her for inciting violence at a white nationalist conference on Friday and conduct unbecoming a senator … or any decent human being.

Gov. Doug Ducey isn’t speaking out, of course. Oh, he issued a statement after the censure vote, saying that “antisemitic and hateful language has no place in Arizona.”

Since Ducey’s comment, Rogers has gone on to speak to white nationalists at the America First Political Action Conference where she heaped praise on conference organizer Nick Fuentes, a Holcaust denier who has warned that America needs to protect its “white demographic core” and on Friday noted that people are comparing Russian President Vladimir Putin to Adolph Hitler, “as if that isn’t a good thing…”

During her pre-recorded speech, Rogers lauded the white nationalists as “patriots” and complained that the country is “forcibly vaccinating people with a bioweapon.” She followed that up with a call for public hangings.

“When we do take back our God-given rights, we will bring these criminals to justice,” she said. “We need to build more gallows. If we try some of these high-level criminals, convict them, and use a newly built set of gallows, it’ll make an example for these traitors who have betrayed our country. They have yet to be justly punished for the crimes they have committed.”

She was just getting started.

Over the weekend, Rogers took to Twitter to fire off post after post of antisemitic and just plain unhinged tripe, decrying the West’s treatment of Russia and calling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy “a globalist puppet for Soros and the Clintons”. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arder, she said, “all report to the same Satanic masters.”

I stand with the Christians worldwide not the global bankers who are shoving godlessness and degeneracy in our face,” Rogers wrote.

No matter what Rogers said, no matter how foul, Ducey remained silent.

FYI, Trump has endorsed Ducey’s opponent, because Ducey was in sufficiently loyal to him.

Kate McGee of the Texas Tribune writes that Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has threatened to kill tenure in Texas universities to compel compliance with his wish to stop any teaching about race or racism, which he calls “critical race theory.”

Dan Patrick is a phony Texan. He wears boots, but he was born and raised in Baltimore. His birth name was Dannie Scott Goeb. He was the little Rush Limbaugh of Texas until he entered politics. He has never abandoned the politics of hatred and division that have made him successful. He has advocated for teaching creationism in the schools and backed legislation last year to prevent public schools from requiring that students read writings by prominent civil rights figures, such as Susan B. Anthony, Cesar Chavez, and Martin Luther King Jr., when covering women’s suffrage and the civil rights movement in social studies classes.” He is a 21st century Know-Nothing.

McGee writes:

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Friday that he will push to end professor tenure for all new hires at Texas public universities and colleges in an effort to combat faculty members who he says “indoctrinate” students with teachings about critical race theory.

“Go to a private school, let them raise their own funds to teach, but we’re not going to fund them,” said Patrick, who is running for reelection. “I’m not going to pay for that nonsense.”

Patrick, whose position overseeing the Senate allows him to drive the state’s legislative agenda, also proposed a change to state law that could make teaching critical race theory grounds for revoking tenure for professors who already have it. His announcement tees up the next major fight at the Texas Capitol over how college students learn about the history of race and racism in the United States.

Tenure is an indefinite appointment for university faculty that can only be terminated under extraordinary circumstances. Academics said Friday that tenure is intended to protect faculty and academic freedom from exactly the kind of politicization being waged by Patrick.

“This kind of attack is precisely why we have faculty tenure,” said Michael Harris, a professor at Southern Methodist University studying higher education, who likened tenure to lifetime appointments given to federal judges. “The political winds are going to blow at different times, and we want faculty to follow the best data and theory to try to understand what’s happening in our world.”

Patrick on Friday also proposed making tenure review an annual occurrence instead of something that takes place every six years. At the press conference, he said his proposals already have the support of state Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, who chairs the Senate Higher Education Committee…

Patrick’s plan drew swift condemnation from the American Association of University Professors, the body that helped develop the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure that has been adopted by universities and colleges nationwide.

“There’s always been attempts to interfere in higher education, but I have never seen anything as egregious as this attack,” said Irene Mulvey, president of the AAUP. “This is an attempt to have government control of scholarship and teaching. That is a complete disaster. I’ve never seen anything this bad…”

Patrick said his latest priority is in response to the UT-Austin Faculty Council after it passed a nonbinding resolution Monday to reaffirm instructors’ academic freedom to teach on issues of racial justice and critical race theory.

“Legislative proposals and enactments seek to prohibit academic discussions of racism and related issues if the discussion would be ‘divisive’ or suggest ‘blame’ or cause ‘psychological distress,’” the resolution stated. “But fail to recognize that these criteria … chill the capacity of educators to exercise their academic freedom and use their expertise to make determinations regarding content and discussions that will serve educational purposes.”

One day after the resolution passed, Patrick signaled on Twitter that he would continue the fight against teaching the discipline in the next legislative session.

“I will not stand by and let looney Marxist UT professors poison the minds of young students with Critical Race Theory,” Patrick wrote on Twitter. “We banned it in publicly funded K-12 and we will ban it in publicly funded higher ed. That’s why we created the Liberty Institute at UT.…”

The proposal to end tenure would fundamentally change the way Texas universities operate in terms of hiring, teaching and research. Faculty members warn it’s likely to impose major challenges for Texas universities to recruit and retain researchers and scholars from across the country…

Harris said even the headlines to propose ending tenure could hurt Texas universities that are hiring faculty members for next year who might think twice about whether to take a job at a public university.

A few strategic phone calls from public university presidents to their alumni in the state legislature could shut down Dan Patrick mighty quick. He is an embarrassment to the state of Texas.

Jim Sleeper is a lecturer in political science at Yale and an author. He wrote the following post in 2018, when the horrors of the Trump regime were fresh. It is still relevant.

Donald J. Trump isn’t a Nazi, although his father came close. It’s true that historical analogies between Trump’s policies and Hitler’s are often facile, and sometimes dangerously misleading. But here’s one that I’m not inclined to shrug off.

During a long stay in Berlin in 2009, I went often to the Grunewald railway station to have my coffee. It’s a picturesque little station, built in the 1899, fronted by a cobblestone square and surrounded by splendid, well-preserved villas of that period.

It’s also the point from which more than 50,000 Berlin Jews were shipped to concentration camps, a few hundred a week, from 1942 to 1945. At the station’s Track 17, a steel strip along the platform edge records, in raised letters, each week’s shipment of several hundred “Juden” to Theresienstadt, Minsk, Riga, Kaunas, Łódź and, later, directly to Auschwitz and other death camps.

It’s hard for most Americans, especially those of us whose parents fought in World War II, to imagine that people who boarded the trains had no idea of what lay ahead. Yet, although Jews had been vilified and some attacked on the streets since 1938, some things remained unthinkable to Berlin Jews, most of whom had been middle-class, law-abiding citizens since birth. They showed up at station on the appointed dates, children and luggage in tow, for what they’d been told would be deportation to resettlement and work centers. At worst, they expected something like what Japanese-Americans experienced in internment camps on our own West Coast during the same war.

Under the watchful eyes of German police, they took their seats in ordinary passenger coaches for many of these departures. Only later, far beyond Berlin, were they transferred to box cars. Some time after that, postcards they hadn’t written were sent to relatives or acquaintances whom they’d listed with the authorities, assuring them that all was well in their new locations.

One day in April of 2009, as I sipped my coffee at the Grunewald station alongside retirees in their 70s and near a beer-garden where younger Germans also overlooked the square, three police cars swept in and officers leapt out, commanding us, “Don’t Move.” Then approximately 45 young military officers in formal parade dress descended from a tourist bus. Their uniforms were attractive, but alien—clearly not German. As they milled about, one of the men seated near me asked a police officer, “Was is das?”

“Israelischen,” he answered. They were Israeli army officers.

A silence descended upon the square like nothing I’d ever felt, so thick you could have cut it with a knife. Not another word was spoken, but I thought that I sensed three dimensions in the quiet all around me. The first was straight out of Close Encounters of the Third Kind: “They’re here. They’ve come.” The second was of admiration, or at least respect, for these vibrant young officers, stunning negations of the image of “Juden” that some of these older men must have remembered from their infancy. The third dimension, I sensed from the tightened body language around me, carried a flicker of resentment at having to be reminded, instead of being left to sip one’s coffee in peace.

A black car with tinted windows ascended a ramp toward Track 17. The Israeli officers fell into formation and followed. They’d come to lay a wreath on Track 17 on Yom Ha’Shoah—Holocaust Remembrance Day. Ironically, I hadn’t remembered the day myself.

I recount this now because some Americans remind me of Berlin Jews who didn’t think the unthinkable when they should have. After watching the Trump administration tear apart weeping parents and children—on the initiative of its senior policy adviser, Stephen Miller, who’s Jewish—I’m thinking that although Trump has now found it politically expedient to halt the practice, more than a few of my fellow Americans were thinking, “Well, they deserve it, unlike me, a law-abiding citizen, and a veteran.”

Those Berlin Jews had been law-abiding citizens, too, at least until 1935, and more than a few were military veterans: Some 12,000 of the Jews who had served in the German military had fallen in World War I. In an irony beyond ironies, it was a Jewish lieutenant, Hugo Gutmann, who secured an Iron Cross, First Class, for a 29-year-old corporal under his command, Adolph Hitler.

We now know that German veterans of that war, Jews and non-Jews alike, were lied to and sent into harm’s way for no good reason. So were soldiers in the Nazi Wehrmacht 25 years later, whom my father, a corporal in the U.S. Army Combat Engineers, was ordered to supervise as prisoners as his 277th battalion clanked across northern Germany, because he spoke Yiddish, which is closely related to German.

He did it with mix of grief and revulsion. One day, when his battalion commandeered a Nazi-friendly baron’s estate in the town of Hohne, my father and others scouted a cottage behind the mansion and found a white-haired, well-spoken man who said he was a caretaker but whom the G.I.’s suspected was closer to the missing baron. As some of them prodded him down the hill toward the mansion, jabbing him roughly with their rifle barrels, my father said, suddenly, almost instinctively, “Cut that out.”

“Why? You should enjoy this Sleeper, you’re a Jew.”

“Cut it out, I said.” He had no illusions about Nazism. But he was a young American, emancipated from his ancestors’ European hell, and he thought he was fighting for a world better than one in which the tables of unjust power are merely turned, a world where justice—dare one say, “due process”?—is stronger than revenge.

Watching the fires that Trump is stoking week in, week out, I wonder when his supporters and enablers will see that the unthinkable could happen to them. I’m not inclined to alarmism, but what if, a couple of years from now, veterans who say they fought for an America where people are free to speak their minds decide to speak their own minds in ways Trump doesn’t like? How far might this admirer of Vladimir Putin go against Americans he thinks are his enemies? He’s already said that he wants to tighten libel laws; his ICE agents have developed arrest-and-detention tactics that a craven Congress would let him expand with the stroke of a pen; municipal police forces are more militarized than ever before.

Yes, historical analogies are risky. But, sipping coffee overlooking the Grunewald station’s charming cobblestone square, you’d never imagine what happened there if you hadn’t been told.

Governor Youngkin invited parents to report the names of teachers who are violating the state’s vague and ill-defined law banning the teaching of “divisive concepts,” critical race theory, and anything else any parents object to.

Peter Greene describes the creative responses of respondents. Responses to an email address can come from anywhere, not just Virginia. You too can write to Youngkin’s Stasi.

Anyone can send their reports to the tip line email:

helpeducation@governor.virginia.gov

Greene writes:

But of course you know what else happened next. The tip line has apparently been hit with a variety of reports, like a complaint that Albus Dumbledor “was teaching that full blooded wizards discriminated against mudbloods.” Some of this has been goaded on Twitter by folks like human rights lawyer Qasim Rasgid. And John Legend correctly pointed out that under the guidelines of the decree, Black parents could legitimately complain about Black history being silenced (because, as sometimes escapes the notice of anti-CRT warriors, some parents are Black). Ditto for LGBTQ parents.

Greene also includes a useful list of questions to answer if you write the Governor: like, “who was your favorite teacher and what did they teach?”

Glenn Youngkin’s campaign for Governor of Virginia was fueled in large part by attacks on public schools. Youngkin said that the state’s public schools were indoctrinating students with critical race theory. He pledged to put an end to it. After he took office, he continued his rant against CRT; he even set up an email site where parents can complain about teachers. And to add to his rightwing cred, he banned mask mandates. A number of school districts are suing him to preserve their mask mandates.

Dana Milbank wrote about the elite private schools where Youngkin sent his own children. They very explicitly teach critical race theory. Youngkin knew what was going on: he was a member of the board.

Milbank wrote:

Not only is Virginia’s new Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin banning the fictional menace of critical race theory from public schools, but he’s also turning the commonwealth into a little Stasi State. He’s setting up a tip line so parents can report to the government any school official they consider to be teaching something “divisive.”

“We’re asking for folks to send us reports,” he told a conservative radio host Monday, The Post reported. “We’re going to make sure we catalogue it all,” he added, “to make sure we’re rooting it out.”

The state’s deputizing of residents to act as informants will have the obvious effect of deterring even mentions of slavery or race, which means Youngkin has imposed a de facto “memory law” whitewashing Virginia’s, and the country’s, deep and ongoing history of white supremacy…

The public schools of Virginia do not teach critical race theory.

But do you know which schools do teach “divisive” concepts, including something resembling critical race theory? The private D.C. schools Youngkin had his children attend. And you know who was on the board of governors of one of those schools while it was beefing up its anti-racism policies? Glenn Youngkin.

Youngkin, a professed fan of public school parents’ rights, exercised his own parental rights not to send his children to Virginia public schools but rather to National Cathedral School and St. Albans School, twin private all-girl and all-boy schools in D.C. under the auspices of the Episcopal Church.
National Cathedral’s website listed Youngkin as a member of its governing board from 2016 through 2019, and he was chair of its finance committee. To their credit, both National Cathedral and St. Albans were, during that time, leaders in developing anti-racism teachings, even before the murder of George Floyd heightened national awareness of systemic racism. Youngkin’s spokeswoman, Macaulay Porter, said that Youngkin “stepped off the board after 2019” and that both schools “changed a lot over the years.”

DEI — Diversity, Equity and Inclusion — has been a priority at National Cathedral for many years. The school has an extensive staff devoted to the initiative, as well as programming that includes affinity groups such as diversity forums, an equity board, an intersectionality council and a student diversity leadership conference. A National Cathedral strategic plan approved by the board in 2018 — during Youngkin’s tenure — “includes the mandate to ‘Advance an Inclusive Educational Environment,’ ” which involved “integrating related action steps into the fabric of everything we are and do as a school community.”

Among the other things National Cathedral has done: made time in the school schedule for “critical conversations around topics of race, anti-racism, social justice, and inclusion”; added courses such as “Black Lives in Literature” and “Courageous Dialogues”; developed new hiring protocols “as a result of our anti-bias work” and required diversity training for all staff members; and included in the school’s summer reading list books such as Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism….”

St. Albans has undertaken similar anti-racism initiatives. Among the books promoted on the school’s website are “White Fragility,” “Critical Race Theory: An Introduction,” Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s “Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy and the Rise of Jim Crow,” and Ibram X. Kendi’s “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.”
St. Albans also directed faculty to read Kendi’s “How to Be an Antiracist.” Fox News and other conservative outlets this past fall blasted a St. Albans’s “anti-bias” policy draft.

Youngkin’s own children were lucky to have attended schools that make its students grapple with uncomfortable and, yes, “divisive” issues. So why is he now using the powers of the state to intimidate teachers who would give Virginia’s public school students the same advantage?

Peter Greene tells the ignominious story of the Spottsylvania, Virginia, school board. One of the school board members, Kirk Twigg, is a conservative Christian who is very fearful of books that might have any sexual content. He wants them burned. He was recently elected chairman of the school board and promised to fire the superintendent. Which he did.

Greene writes:

You may recall the story about Spotsylvania school district in Virginia, where books were being protested and pulled and two board members thought maybe the books should be burned.

Well, one of those guys is now the board chairman, and things are blowing up in a hurry.

The board is a 4-3 board (though those who didn’t want to burn the books were supportive of banning them), and the 4-person conservative majority installed Kirk Twigg as the president.

Scott Baker has been with district in various capacities for years before becoming superintendent in 2012; he won some awards for his superintendenting prowess, but there’s a portion of the local populace that are not fans. There’s a whole blog devoted to laying outhis many alleged sins, but not being hard enough on dirty books has drawn the most criticism in the recent past, along with agitation over school closings.

Baker was on his way out, with departure negotiated for the end of this school year. That was not fast enough for Twigg, who has been vocal in his opposition to various books. The ban was centered on “sexually explicit” books, but Twigg, besides expressing his interest in burning objectionable material also added that he would like to broaden the criteria for rooting through the school libraries, saying, “There are some bad, evil-related material that we have to be careful of and look at.”

Twigg promised that, if elected chair of the board, his first action would be to fire Baker effective immediately. Last Monday night, in a meeting characterized as chaotic and contentious, he did just that. He called an unscheduled closed session during the meeting, then came back to announce that Baker had been terminated–before being reminded that the board had to take an actual vote.

No reason has been given for the firing, but it’s Virginia, a right to work state, and no reason has to be given.

Keep your eyes on Spotsylvania, where one day soon there might be a public book burning.

Peter Navarro was Trump’s Trade Advisor. He recently published a book about his time in the Trump administration. The most fascinating part of his book, according to those who have read advance copies, is his story about the plan to overturn the 2020 election and keep Trump as president. He has done several media interviews. This account in Rolling Stone relies on this one that appeared in The Daily Beast.

Navarro says that he and Steve Bannon orchestrated a plan called the Green Bay Sweep.

Rolling Stone writer Tim Dickinson writes:

The plot sought to keep Trump in office by exerting maximum pressure on Vice President Mike Pence to block the certification of the Electoral College votes from pivotal swing states, by drawing out the proceedings on national television for as long as 24 hours. “It was a perfect plan,” Navarro told the Daily Beast. “We had over 100 congressmen committed to it

Navarro is a Harvard-educated economist whom Trump tapped, originally, to escalate his trade war with China. But as coronavirus struck, Navarro’s role at the White House expanded to include pandemic response, in which he pushed the quack treatment of hydroxychloroquine. By the bitter end, Navarro was compiling cockeyed dossiers of (now-exhaustively-debunked) allegations of election fraud — “receipts” Navarro believed justified tin-pot measures to keep Trump in the White House.

So what was the Green Bay Sweep? The plot, Navarro writes, was named after a famous football play designed by storied 1960’s NFL coach Vince Lombardi, in which a Packers running back would pound into the end zone behind a “phalanx of blockers.”

For the 2021 Green Bay Sweep, Navarro writes, Bannon played the role of Lombardi. The plan was to have members of the House and Senate raise challenges to the counts of Electoral College votes from six pivotal battleground states.

“The political and legal beauty of the strategy,” Navarro writes, is that the challenges would force up to two hours of debate per state, in each chamber of Congress. “That would add up to as much as 24 hours of nationally televised hearings,” Navarro writes. The hearings would enable Republicans to “short-circuit the crushing censorship of the anti-Trump media,” Navarro hoped, and broadcast their Big Lie that Democrats had stolen the election “directly to the American people.”

The goal was not to get the election overturned on Jan. 6. Instead, they aimed to create such a spectacle that Pence would be forced to exercise his authority as president of the Senate to “put the certification of the election on ice for at least another several weeks” while Congress and the state legislatures pursued the “fraud” allegations. The dark particulars for how Trump would remain in office after that are not spelled out, and Navarro did not immediately answer an email seeking clarification. But he writes that the Green Bay Sweep was the “last, best chance to snatch a stolen election from the Democrats’ jaws of deceit.”

The problem with the plot was that its success hinged on “Quarterback Mike” — and Pence wasn’t solidly on board. Navarro writes that he tried, with Trump’s backing, to brief Pence on his claims of election irregularities, but that Pence was kept off-limits by his chief of staff, Marc Short. (Navarro seethes that Short was part of the Koch brothers wing of the GOP, having previously worked for a nonprofit backed by the Kochs. When Short came to work for the vice president, Navarro writes, “it was like the Soviet Union taking over Eastern Europe. As an Iron Koch Curtain fell over the vice president, the only way you could speak to VPOTUS was to go through Short.”)

Regardless, Jan. 6 began auspiciously — to Navarro’s view of things. He told the Daily Beast that Trump was “on board with the strategy,” which he writes also had the backing of “more than 100” members of Congress. Navarro elaborated that the plan started off “perfectly” as Congress opened the proceedings to count Electoral College votes. Rep. Paul Gosar objected to results from his home state of Arizona, seconded by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas — an action that received standing applause from GOP colleagues in the chamber.

Navarro insist that the violence at the Capitol disrupted the Green Bay Sweep by putting pressure on Congress to conclude the certification. Apparently he forgot to tell Trump to keep his mob away from the U.S. Capitol, because Trump urged them to march to the Capitol, told them that they had ”to fight” or they would lose their country, and egged them on to do what they did: Storm and ransack the Capitol. some were chanting ”Hang Mike Pence,” which may have stiffened his spine.

Two things are clear: Mike Pence didn’t deliver for Trump, Bannon, and Navarro, and Trump was too dumb to remember that he was not supposed to send his mob to disrupt the Congressional proceedings.