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"Semi-fascist" Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sent two planes full of mostly Venezuelan asylum seekers to Martha’s Vineyard this week, using families, including children, to score points with the increasingly extremist Republican base. The immigrants were lured onto the planes with promises of jobs and housing awaiting them. The grotesque political stunt is reminiscent of some of the worst moments of the Civil Rights era.

DeSantis is not the only Republican governor to pull a maneuver like this. In recent months, to protest the Biden administration’s immigration policies, Republican governors including Greg Abbott of Texas have been shipping migrants to cities with Democratic mayors. But DeSantis upped the ante by choosing an isolated resort area as the dropoff location.

Martha’s Vineyard is difficult to travel to and from, making it an impractical logistic choice. It does, however, have political significance as a hub for the rich and famous. DeSantis made a calculated decision to give a middle finger to liberal coastal elites at the expense of marginalized people. The move is also clearly a nod to the most bigoted, xenophobic elements within the Republican Party.

There is no justification for this kind of cruelty. But there is historical precedent. In the 1960s, Southern white segregationists engaged in similar antics, lying to Black Americans and shipping them into northern areas, including Cape Cod. These maneuvers were known as “reverse freedom rides.”

DeSantis' actions represent an extreme escalation in a long line of extreme escalations. The only appropriate response to what is effectively a crisis of American democracy itself is for the federal government to step in and bring rogue governors to heel.

Unfortunately, the judiciary has been stacked by Republican presidents with rightwing judges, groomed by the billionaire-backed Federalist Society. Many of these jurists are less interested in precedent and constitutional order as they are in seeing their ideological project fulfilled.

We are not going to both-sides this moment in history. One of America’s two major political parties is led by anti-democratic, authoritarian reactionaries. It is an extremely troubling reality that bodes poorly for the nation, especially the most vulnerable. This is a moment that calls for the federal government to use its full power to fight this fascist movement.

Your Independent News Roundup


Jeff Weaver argues in JACOBIN that DeSantis should be prosecuted for his stunt, transporting immigrants under false pretenses.

Ron DeSantis Should Be Prosecuted for His Treatment of Immigrants
Stop calling it a “political stunt.” Florida governor Ron DeSantis’s use of vulnerable immigrants as props is disgusting and criminal.
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FLORIDA PHOENIX, meanwhile, describes some of the fierce backlash DeSantis’ actions have generated among immigrants’ rights groups.

‘Authoritarian’: politicians, advocates react to FL’s transport of migrants to Mass. - Florida Phoenix
Gov. Ron DeSantis took his bows Thursday for airlifting some 50 asylum seekers to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts the day before. The move triggered a furious response from Florida Democrats, immigrant advocacy groups, and members of Florida’s Hispanic community, some of whom saw the move as auth…
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DOCUMENTED highlights how migrants sent by Texas to New York with no connections to the city are turning to the publication's WhatsApp community to find assistance.

Asylum Seekers Use WhatsApp to Reach Documented Journalists
Asylum seekers need info about how to settle into their new city – and many are coming to Documented journalists on WhatsApp to get answers.
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Stacked Judiciary

Also in JACOBIN, Luke Savage argues that the crisis of legitimacy facing an increasingly unpopular Supreme Court is the moment to bring the institution back in line through reform.

There’s Never Been a Better Moment to Disempower the Supreme Court
For the first time in living memory, the Supreme Court is facing a crisis of popular legitimacy. Let’s make the most of it.
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Farron Cousins of THE RING OF FIRE explains the latest revelations about Ginni Thomas’ political activities—specifically, her connections to a majority of the anti-abortion groups that filed amicus briefs in the Supreme Court’s recent Dobbs case, lobbying her husband, Justice Clarence Thomas, and other justices to overturn Roe v. Wade.

A new story in THE AMERICAN PROSPECT recaps and expands on reporting from THE LEVER about the big-money effort to stack the judiciary with rightwing judges.

Altercation: The Billion-Dollar Campaign for Right-Wing Extremist Judges
The man who reshaped the Supreme Court has just been handed $1.6 billion to degrade every other court.
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Did you read our latest climate-focused newsletter? OptOut Climate Editor Cristian Salazar rounds up the best independent reporting about climate change, energy, and the environment every other Wednesday.

Pakistan’s Catastrophic Flooding • Fossil-Fueled Beauty • COP27
All you need to know about climate from the OptOut independent media network.
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More Crazy

Some Florida families are suing the state after it banned coverage for gender-affirming care through Medicaid. LOUISIANA ILLUMINATOR has the story.

Families sue Florida for threatening health care for their transgender children - Louisiana Illuminator
A new state rule bans coverage for gender-affirming health care for transgender and non-binary Floridians through Medicaid
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DEFECTOR is out with a new story about a troubling new trend: Trump-supporting 2020 election deniers are flooding states with burdensome public records requests related to the voting, attempting to gum up the electoral system with time-consuming paperwork.

Oh Great, Now Conspiracy Theorists Are Abusing FOIA Laws | Defector
There are plenty of unspoken rules in life, and they are just as important as the spoken ones. Don’t be a jerk. Do your fair share of the group’s work. Don’t take advantage of people just because you can. Breaking these rules isn’t illegal, but you still shouldn’t, or should at least aspire to not […
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Railroad Strike?

WORKING PEOPLE interviewed freight workers about why they were on the verge of going on strike.

Freight workers explain why a national railroad strike is looming
Years of cost-cutting, profit-maximizing policies have pushed workers to a breaking point. Here’s what you need to know.
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Railroad companies and unions reached a tentative deal this week to avoid a worker strike, but the agreement is not final. LABOR NOTES breaks down the situation.

A contract rejection is still a very live possibility, based on discussions with members and leaders of various unions involved. So a strike (or lockout) is still on the table.
Joe Biden Thinks a Rail Strike has Been Averted. Do Rail Workers?
Just after 5 a.m. on Thursday, Marty Walsh tweeted that the railroad companies and the railroad unions had come to a tentative agreement, less than 19 hours from a potential shutdown: “Moments ago, following more than 20 consecutive hours of negotiations at [the Department of Labor], the rail compan…
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The Pandemic

Even as COVID-19 continues to kill thousands of Americans each week and more and more Americans suffer long COVID—7.5% of the population, according to the CDC—states are winding down their efforts to combat the virus. IOWA CAPITAL DISPATCH reports that the state’s health department is no longer reporting reinfections to federal health officials.

State health department is not reporting COVID-19 reinfections - Iowa Capital Dispatch
The new COVID-19 cases the state reports each week is an undercount because it doesn’t include people who are infected more than once.
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FACING SOUTH is accepting applications for its 2023 Julian Bond fellowship, a program that aims to promote emerging voices in Southern media and support early-career journalists and researchers seeking innovative approaches to promoting justice and democracy in the South. This a paid, full-time opportunity.

2023 Julian Bond Fellowship
The Julian Bond Fellowship program aims to promote emerging voices in Southern media and support early-career journalists and researchers seeking innovative approaches to promoting justice and democracy in the South.
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Thanks as always for keeping up with the great work of the 170 independent news outlets in the OptOut network! See you soon.

The OptOut Media Foundation (EIN: 85-2348079) is a nonprofit charity with a mission to educate the public about current events and help sustain a diverse media ecosystem by promoting and assisting independent news outlets and, in doing so, advance democracy and social justice.

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