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South Carolina Governor Signs Draconian Abortion Ban Behind Closed Doors

With Governor Henry McMaster’s signature, abortion access in the South has been effectively wiped out.

Sean Rayford/Getty Images

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed a bill Thursday banning abortion after six weeks, wiping out access to the procedure for the entire Southeast.

A similar ban had died in the legislature in late April after all of the female senators, who span the political spectrum, banded together to filibuster the measure. But McMaster called the lawmakers back for a special session to consider multiple measures, including a new abortion ban, which passed the legislature on Tuesday. He signed the bill behind closed doors, with no fanfare or warning to doctors who could be about to perform a newly illegal procedure.

“What we are doing today is not going to do away with illegal abortions. It is going to cause illegal abortions,” warned Republican Senator Sandy Senn during the final debate.

Addressing state residents directly, she said, “When … your teenagers end up dying because they went to get an illegal abortion because they didn’t know they were pregnant before six weeks, it is our fault!”

The new law bans abortion after six weeks, before many people even know they are pregnant. It includes exceptions for rape and incest up to 12 weeks, but health care providers are required to tell patients that they will report the assault to law enforcement. This could discourage people from seeking abortions because they don’t want to report the attack.

The measure also prohibits mental health from being considered a medical emergency, so even if someone is diagnosed as suicidal, they still cannot get an abortion. Doctors who break the law face fines and up to two years in prison.

While the law does require child support payments be made from the moment of conception, writer Jessica Valenti points out that this is less to help the pregnant person and more to establish that personhood begins at conception.

The South Carolina arm of Planned Parenthood Votes South Atlantic has already said it intends to try to block the law in the courts. There is a slim chance it will succeed: After Roe v. Wade was overturned, South Carolina enacted a six-week trigger ban, which the state Supreme Court blocked in January. The new law is an attempt to circumvent the ruling, and if it’s challenged in court, it’s possible the state’s high court will block it once more.

But until it is blocked, abortion access will be decimated in the South. After Florida and North Carolina codified new abortion restrictions in quick succession, South Carolina was one of the last states in the South to hold the line on access to the procedure. Now that it has fallen, it will be next to impossible for anyone in the region to get an abortion.

Unfortunately, Trump’s Trolling of Ron DeSantis’s Failed Twitter Launch Is Quite Good

Ron DiSaster has made it so, so easy.

Brian Lawless/PA Images/Getty Images Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Ron DeSantis’s long-delayed presidential announcement was a disaster. And Donald Trump is cheesing from cheek to cheek.

A Twitter Space with audio glitches, jarring feedback echoes, nervous whispers wondering whether the operation was even working. The DeSantis x Elon Musk x David Sacks collab even fully crashed at one point. The whole affair didn’t even begin until 30 minutes later. The content itself was just as embarrassing; a tinny-voiced DeSantis fielded questions from an entirely sympathetic rotating cast, all while sounding like he was reading off bullet points as quickly as possible, lest the whole Twitter Space chat room crash again before he got it all off his chest.

And Trump had a field day with it all.

He was quick to remind everyone how absurd it was that DeSantis was announcing in the manner he did at all:

Someone also helped Trump figure out A.I. voice impersonations, placing DeSantis in a fictional Twitter Space with a cast including the FBI, the Devil, and Hitler (Trump was also able to scratch a far-right itch by including George Soros in the mix):

And he poked fun at a key feature of Musk: Everything he touches soon blows up:

Of course, even if DeSantis somehow had the brain cells to host a “successful” campaign launch, there’s more at stake. Everything about his résumé exhibits a destructive man corrosive to social harmony, or society working at all.

But whether it’s the decisions of him or those around him, every choice DeSantis has made so far has been downright daffy. Waiting as long as he did to announce. Announcing in the most physically out-of-touch manner—not in his home state, nor even a swing state, but on a website famously eviscerated on the back end. Doing the announcement in a setting in which people can only hear his voice that some may argue is not fit for radio. And all those decisions come while he tries to outdo the twice-impeached, criminally indicted, and liable-for-sexual-abuse former president, while barely criticizing him for any of those faults.

There’s a satisfaction in watching the instantaneous collapse of someone as obscenely evil and dramatically uninterested in unity as DeSantis—even if it is prompted by his role model.

Think Ron Desantis’s Twitter Space Was Bad? What Came After Was Even Worse.

To say DeSantis’s presidential announcement did not go well is an understatement.

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Ron DeSantis somehow managed to follow his disastrous Twitter Space with an equally cringey Fox News interview.

The Florida governor formally announced he was running for president Wednesday night in a Twitter event with Elon Musk and David Sacks. To say things had gone poorly would be an understatement, with constant glitches and bad jokes derailing any sense of pomp or celebration. But DeSantis’s subsequent interview on Fox News didn’t really improve things.

When host Trey Gowdy asked how DeSantis would address the war in Ukraine, the Florida man launched into a rant about how the military is too “woke.” “First, I think what we need to do as a veteran is recognize that our military has become politicized,” DeSantis said. “You talk about gender ideology, you talk about things like global warming that they’re somehow concerned, and that’s not the military that I served in.”

He did not mention what he specifically would do about Ukraine. (Recall that DeSantis has previously faced blowback from Republicans for saying Ukraine is not a vital interest.)

Gowdy then asked about the government’s role in addressing climate change (which, props to him for semi-acknowledging that it’s real). DeSantis promptly responded that the weather has been subject to “politicization.”

Insisting that hurricanes have not gotten more intense in recent years, DeSantis instead said, apropos of nothing, “I think what we should be doing in the United States is focusing on being energy independent.”

It’s interesting how quick DeSantis was to denounce things being too politicized, considering all the things he has recently decided to politicize in his home state: bathrooms, drag queens, children’s books, and Disney World, to name a few.

The Ron DeSantis Twitter Campaign Launch Was a Disaster

The Florida governor’s attempt to kick off his presidential candidacy from deep within Elon Musk’s collapsing empire went exactly as well as you’d expect.

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Ron DeSantis’s presidential launch was supposed to be a rebranding moment. Faltering in the polls in recent weeks, the Florida governor had lost much of the heir-to-Trumpism sheen he had earned during his tenure in the Florida statehouse. If he once seemed like the future of the Republican Party, lately he’s just seemed, well, weird: Upon closer inspection—and put next to Donald Trump—he has been robotic, odd, and uncharismatic.

But DeSantis’s campaign launch on Wednesday was supposed to turn the page on all that. Rather than the usual pageantry—a rally in a hometown, flanked by family, broadcast on Fox News during prime time—DeSantis’s team decided to take a big risk. They would take the campaign to Donald Trump’s turf and launch it on Twitter, in a live interview with influencer David Sacks and Twitter CEO Elon Musk. DeSantis was coming for Trump’s core audience: the terminally online.

Well, you get what you pay for, I guess! Hundreds of thousands of users logged on to watch the campaign launch on Twitter Spaces only to overload the social network’s wheezing servers. Musk and Sacks could occasionally be heard mumbling in grainy audio. Mostly, though, there was just silence. It was glitchy, awkward, and strange—a metaphor for DeSantis’s own faltering presidential campaign. “You broke the internet,” Musk could be heard awkwardly mumbling at one point. It was a comment better directed at himself, given the current shambolic state of Twitter.

Thirty minutes after it was scheduled to start, the event finally got underway—with the expected array of awkward braying about “free speech” and dismissal of invocations of racism. DeSantis shrugged off a recent NAACP travel advisory: “Under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, the state of Florida has become hostile to Black Americans and in direct conflict with the democratic ideals that our union was founded upon,” NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said. Musk similarly dismissed criticisms that Twitter had become overloaded with Nazis, racists, and freaks under his leadership.

Wasn’t this supposed to be a campaign kickoff? If so, it could hardly be described as a success. A few hundred thousand viewers is impressive, but DeSantis probably could’ve gotten significantly more if he had launched on, say, a Fox News prime-time show. He would, at the very least, have gotten some level of broadcast professionalism (and substantially less hold music): The glitchy, awkward, audio-only format of Twitter Spaces hardly helped assuage concerns that DeSantis lacks the charisma and human touch most successful presidential campaigns require.

Still, DeSantis ultimately got the extremely online event he wanted: one aimed at Musk fanboys and other online weirdos. But that doesn’t mean it was a success. Much like a recent rocket, this can only be described as a classic failure to launch.

Entire House Laughs at Marjorie Taylor Greene After She Asks for Decorum

The irony of the far-right congresswoman talking about decorum

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The entire House laughed in Marjorie Taylor Greene’s face on Wednesday when she called for decorum in the chamber.

Speaking during a House session, the far-right congresswoman said, “Members are reminded to abide by decorum of the House.” Democrats erupted into laughter.

Greene’s not really one to talk about decorum. She has spread conspiracy theories, made racist comments about co-workers, encouraged violence against Democrats, and essentially called for sedition.

A Texas Bill That Would Have Banned Chinese People From Owning Property Has Failed

The bill would have also targeted citizens of three other countries.

Brandon Bell/Getty Images

A bill that would have banned people from China and three other countries from owning property in Texas failed to reach the House floor, with its death a huge relief to the state’s Asian American community.

The bill would have prohibited citizens from China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia from owning agricultural and oil leases. It passed the Senate in April with the support of all Republicans and one Democrat, and Governor Greg Abbott said he would sign it despite the measure being widely slammed as racist and xenophobic.

But the House never granted the bill a hearing. Speaker Dade Phelan canceled a planned session, killing dozens of bills, including the property ownership measure. There are a few long-shot measures that lawmakers can take to force the bill through, such as tacking it on to another measure, but they are unlikely to work.

“While our community has succeeded in stopping this terrible bill, it does not undo the racist and xenophobic rhetoric lobbed by elected officials,” the nonprofit Asian Texans for Justice said in a statement. “We will continue to stand up against discrimination and racism against the Asian American community.”

The property ownership bill had sparked multiple similar measures, including within Texas. State Republican lawmakers came under fire in March for a bill that would ban students from the same four countries from all public colleges and universities in the state. That bill never made it out of committees.

Louisiana is also pushing a package of bills that would ban “foreign adversaries,” including Chinese companies and citizens, from buying land in the state. Governor Ron DeSantis signed a law that would prohibit citizens of certain countries from buying homes and land in Florida. Chinese citizens are almost entirely banned, with few exceptions, while there are similar but slightly lighter restrictions on citizens of Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, Iran, Russia, and North Korea. A group of Chinese citizens who live and work in Florida are suing the state over the law.

All of these measures are painfully reminiscent of measures that have been implemented over the centuries to keep people of color out of the United States, ranging from the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 to former President Donald Trump’s travel ban that targeted North Koreans, Iranians, and several other Muslim-majority countries. Foreigners and their work are often subjected to racial and political scapegoating when people blame them for a host of issues in American society.

The Texas measures may have died, but the hostility toward immigrants is alive and well.

GOP Lawmaker Erases Maxwell Frost’s Valid Point on Student Debt From the Record

Representative Virginia Foxx, a top recipient of cash from student loan companies and for-profit colleges, acted offended by Frost’s comments on student debt relief.

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images Jemal Countess/Getty Images for People's Rally to Cancel Student Debt

Maxwell Frost deconstructed a central conservative talking point against relieving millions of people from student debt—and apparently offended an absurdly bought-out Republican representative while doing so.

“If we legislated using the logic that you bring to this issue today, women and Black folks wouldn’t have the right to vote because it would be unfair to those who never got to vote before them,” said Frost on the House floor Wednesday, speaking against a resolution to repeal President Biden’s student loan debt forgiveness plan. “If we legislated using your logic, that because there was an injustice, we can’t fix it because it’s unfair to those who never had it fixed, means we would never progress on any issue in this country.”

“Why do you bring that bigoted logic to this issue as it relates to students, but not any other issue?”

The “bigoted logic” remarks prompted Republican Representative Virginia Foxx, whom Frost was addressing, to apparently become offended.

“I demand his words be taken down,” Foxx said with a frown.

Frost agreed on his own part to withdraw the “offending words” and proceed onward.

“If we used this logic on every single issue, we would never have progress on anything,” he said. “And the truth of the matter is that young people and people don’t have student debt because we live beyond our means. We have student debt because we’ve been denied the means to live.”

Foxx’s bristling at Frost’s remarks are unsurprising. In numerous election cycles, the almost two-decade North Carolina representative has been the leading recipient of donations from the for-profit education industry and from student loan companies, according to OpenSecrets.

Recall, these figures are out of 435 House members.

In total, Foxx has received over $665,000 from the for-profit education industry and another $86,000 from student loan companies.

The cozy relationship began in 2006—her first reelection cycle—when she was one of the leading House recipients of cash from student loan companies, raking in over $10,000 from the industry. From 2014 through 2022, she remained in the top 10 recipients from the industry; in 2016 and 2018, she was the leading recipient.

And in the for-profit education industry, the figures are even more staggering. From 2016 to 2022, Foxx was the number one recipient of cash from the industry, collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars each cycle. In 2014, she was the number-two leading recipient; in 2012, the seventh-leading one.

For-profit schools are infamous for defrauding students and charging them exorbitant amounts of money, making false promises of what kind of education they offer, and deceptively targeting marginalized communities and veterans.

All this cash has left Foxx a longtime proponent of leaving students with crippling debt—impairing the economic and social prosperity they could gain by not being held down by such a burden.

“I have very little tolerance for people who tell me that they graduate with $200,000 of debt or even $80,000 of debt because there’s no reason for that,” Foxx once said on a radio show, further complaining that students want success “dumped in their lap.”


Florida Man Known for Threatening Teachers and Gay Kids Thinks He Can Be President

Ron DeSantis has officially declared his run for president

Ron DeSantis makes a weird face (he's trying to smile)
Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

A 44-year-old Florida native known for attacking LGBTQ people and local schools has formally launched his candidacy to become the Republican nominee for president of the United States.

Ron DeSantis comes to the race with a résumé some may even call too polished for the Republican Party.

He led the passage of a “Don’t Say Gay” bill that bans discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. He forced the College Board to strip down its A.P. African American studies curriculum. He gave advice on how to torture Guantánamo Bay detainees. He pushed for a six-week abortion ban. He delicensed businesses for hosting drag shows. He made it legal for people to carry concealed loaded guns without any permits, training, or background checks. He voted to roll back regulations that could have stopped the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. He pushed a bill banning anyone from having an undocumented person in their car or home. He directed the personal data collection of anyone seeking gender-affirming treatment on college campuses and the banning of such treatment for anyone under 18. He quietly packed the Florida Board of Medicine and New College Board of Trustees with campaign donors and friends who are already reshaping health care and education for the worse.

And now, after filing his paperwork Wednesday afternoon, DeSantis has finally launched his bid to try to beat Donald Trump, the first-rate corrupt, racist, and hateful archetype he has looked up to for so long.

And of course, he plans to kick off his run during a Twitter Spaces conversation Wednesday evening with another renowned racist elite, Elon Musk.

Other than Trump, DeSantis joins an increasingly crowded field that includes former South Carolina governor and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, multimillionaire executive and contrarian-by-hobby Vivek Ramaswamy, and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson.

DeSantis enters a Republican primary that will likely become one of a few things. It could soon be a race to the bottom, in which candidates try to out-racist and out-hate each other in order to appear as far right as possible (a high standard, given Trump’s presence). It could become a race to see who can become the consensus “Never Trump” candidate in the hope that all of the opposition, plus perhaps some number of Trump voters, can be enough to tank the leading Republican. Or this may just be a race to see who can outmaneuver the others in being the most Trump-friendly, in the hopes that they will either replace Trump (and even earn his blessing) if he is taken down by one of his many criminal investigations, or just become his running mate.

Regardless of how it takes shape, the ensuing Republican primary will confirm what most of the country already knows: Whoever comes out alive should be as far away from power as possible.

Democratic Congressman Drags GOP: At Least Gas Stoves Are Safe if Country Defaults

The Republican Party is holding a hearing on gas stoves, as we hurtle toward a national debt default.

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Representative Jared Moskowitz

Democratic Representative Jared Moskowitz roasted his Republican colleagues for prioritizing small culture wars over major social issues.

As the country hurtles toward a national default, the House Oversight and Accountability subcommittee held a hearing Wednesday on … gas stoves. The Energy Department’s Consumer Product Safety Commission had announced in December that it was considering health regulations on gas stoves for the first time ever, following a report that gas ranges were responsible for almost 13 percent of childhood asthma cases.

Health officials have been adamant that the regulations would not ban gas stoves, but Republicans are steamed over the idea of regulations and insist that such policies would infringe on their freedoms.

“I got it, I get the bravado. We can pry your gas stoves from your cold, dead hands,” Moskowitz deadpanned during the hearing. “I have a six-burner, double-oven range. It sits on legs. I mean, I miss her, right now, as we’re talking about it.”

“I want to apologize on behalf of the Democratic Party that we have decided to put kids—kids’ safety in their neighborhoods, from getting gunned down in movie theaters or grocery stores or school churches or synagogues—we as Democrats have clearly lost our way,” he said.

Moskowitz also sarcastically pointed out that even if the United States defaults on its debt, which it is just weeks away from doing thanks to Republican stonewalling, at least gas stoves will still be there.

The U.S. is on track to have a record-high number of mass shootings in 2023. Meanwhile, the country’s economy teeters on the brink, as Republicans apparently refuse to negotiate on the debt ceiling. How useful will those gas stoves be when no one can afford the gas to power them?

Kevin McCarthy’s Go-To Line When Asked Any Questions About Debt Default

The House speaker repeated it over and over again when faced with questions during a press conference.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Republicans are refusing to raise the debt ceiling—something they did three times under twice-impeached criminally indicted and liable-for-sexual-abuse former President Donald Trump—unless Democrats agree to cut programs that millions of Americans benefit from.

And Kevin McCarthy—leader of the party threatening it all—pumps his arms, kicks the ground, and insists: “It’s not my fault.”

In total, McCarthy said the phrase “not my fault” five times during a 13-minute press conference on Wednesday.

In exchange for preventing the nation’s economy from hitting a disastrous default, Republicans want to instate work requirements for Medicaid and food stamps, reduce newly introduced funding for the IRS that has already led to massively faster call times for Americans, repeal green energy programs (that have given most of their new jobs to Republican districts), and block Biden from relieving 43 million Americans from crippling student debt.

In simple terms: Republicans want to make working people’s lives harder, rich people’s lives easier, and the planet’s survival less likely—all under the guise of “fiscal responsibility.”

And conservatives refuse to entertain any other methods of pursuing that “responsibility,” like taxing the rich at a fairer rate, closing rampant loopholes that elites relentlessly exploit, or even slightly decreasing America’s monstrous military budget.

Altogether, Republican intransigence threatens to lead America to default, which risks a catastrophic recession.