This was a big week for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is poised to announce his 2024 candidacy for president.
For months, DeSantis has been priming the pump, antagonizing liberals and serving up red meat to Republican base voters, no matter how unconstitutional or cruel the policies.
This week, for example, NEW REPUBLIC reported on two pieces of legislation DeSantis signed targeting LGBTQIA+ Americans. One law is aimed at drag performances. The language is incredibly broad, making it a misdemeanor for government entities or employees to issue permits to groups that might hold “adult live performances” in the presence of children. The new law has already resulted in the cancelation of a Pride event.
The other allowed the state to take transgender children away from their parents.
DeSantis also signed legislation expanding his notorious "Don't Say Gay" bill. For more on Florida's legislative war on LGBTQIA+ Americans, check out this segment from HUMANIST REPORT.
These legislative gambits appear to be paying off, at least for now. As THE FLORIDA PHOENIX reported, DeSantis’ GOP support is rock solid within his own state.
But DeSantis' posturing constitutes an assault on the First Amendment and human rights. Thus far, this assault has gone unanswered by the federal government. Should inaction remain the approach to rogue governors like DeSantis, it will surely further embolden such demagoguery. OptOut will continue to monitor the situation in Florida with great concern.
With that, please enjoy these other stories you may have missed this week from OptOut’s participating outlets!
In case you missed it, this was a big week for OptOut. Together with IMPORTANT CONTEXT we broke a big story about indicted Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui. We reported that operatives working on behalf of Guo were secretly recruiting prominent conservatives to byline pieces painting him as a persecuted dissident. Those pieces were then published by high-traffic conservative outlets.
Check out the story.
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THE AMERICAN PROSPECT had an important piece last week about how Punchbowl News is helping GOP House Speaker Kevin McCarthy normalize Republican brinkmanship in the debt ceiling fight to secure spending caps and other measures to limit government spending.
FAIR published an article documenting the media’s treatment of slain New York subway rider Jordan Neely, noting how it had been dehumanizing.
Debt Ceiling Woes
Last week, Republicans held firm, demanding steep spending cuts in ongoing debt ceiling negotiations. They were met with opposition of uncertain strength from the Biden administration, which caved to GOP demands to expel Senate and House Democratic leaders from the negotiating table. Failure to reach a deal could result in a catastrophic default by the U.S. on its debts, undermining the nation’s credibility and credit.
THE INTERCEPT offered up a solid breakdown of the debt ceiling tradition.
STATES NEWSROOM published an explainer of the consequences of a default by the U.S.
Meanwhile, progressives have been calling on the administration to take bolder action for the sake of the country. IN THESE TIMES published a compelling argument for the U.S. Treasury to mint a $1 trillion coin as a potential path out of the debacle.
Another potential out for the administration would be invoking the 14th Amendment, which states that "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned." THE AMERICAN PROSPECT wrote about how this tactic to declare the debt ceiling unconstitutional is already being fought in court, but not in a way that will deliver results in a timely manner.
Little noticed last week were the GOP-controlled House efforts to defund poultry regulations opposed by a Republican mega-donor. SLUDGE reported the story.
NEW REPUBLIC, meanwhile, published a must-read piece warning about the devastating impact of neoliberal policies.
Writers On Strike
The Writers Guild of America strike continued last week, gaining public support. Studios, however, aren’t willing to meet their demands. AI presents a challenge for the union. JACOBIN had a good rundown.
DISCONNECT also wrote about how Hollywood was weaponizing the “digital transition” against workers.
COUNTERPUNCH published a solid explainer about why you should care about the WGU strike.
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