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Wisconsin Governor Increases School Funding for 400 Years in Brilliant Use of Veto Power

Peak chaotic good

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers stands in front of a school bus
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Wednesday partially vetoed the new state budget—a move that actually guarantees funding increases for public schools for the next four centuries.

The Republican-controlled state legislature had passed a budget bill that included a funding increase of $325 per student for the 2023–2024 and 2024–2025 school years. It also implemented a $3.5 billion tax cut that would primarily provide relief to the wealthiest Wisconsinites.

But Evers, a Democrat and a former public school educator, used his line-item veto power to make about four dozen changes before signing the bill into law. First up, he struck out a hyphen and the “20” in the reference to the 2024–25 school year. As a result, Wisconsin public schools will now get an annual funding increase of $325 per student until 2425.

The bump of $325 per student is the highest single-year increase in revenue limits in state history, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The paper said that Evers’s move will create a permanent annual revenue stream for public schools, as well as potentially end a major debate between Democrats and Republicans during budget writing.

Evers also slashed the proposed tax relief. Wisconsin has four income tax brackets, the lower three of which have seen tax rate reductions in recent years. The budget pill would have condensed the brackets down to three and cut rates for all of them.

With Evers’s partial veto, the four brackets remain, and the top two brackets will not see a rate reduction. The budget now only accounts for $175 million in tax cuts.

Evers’s move to secure public school funding is welcome news, particularly as Republicans nationwide seem bent on kneecapping public education. State governments are gutting what can be taught and read and banning discussions of gender and sexuality and books about racism.

In June, Republicans on Capitol Hill proposed eliminating universal free school meals.

UPS Workers Could Soon Deliver One of the Biggest Strikes in U.S. History

Contract negotiations between UPS and its unionized workers broke down, and workers have already authorized a strike.

UPS truck
Ron Wurzer/Getty Images

UPS workers may be on their way to delivering the largest labor strike in America since the 1950s.

On Wednesday morning, the Teamsters union announced that contract negotiations between workers and the company broke down, after “UPS walked away from the bargaining table after presenting an unacceptable offer to the Teamsters that did not address members’ needs. The UPS Teamsters National Negotiating Committee unanimously rejected the package.”

UPS, meanwhile, blamed Teamsters for rejecting the offer and walking away from the table.

Either way, the UPS Teamsters contract is set to expire in just over three weeks, with no additional negotiations on the calendar. There are over 340,000 workers covered by the contract.

And just weeks ago, an overwhelming 97 percent of workers voted to authorize a strike if a contract was not agreed upon.

“This vote shows that hundreds of thousands of Teamsters are united and determined to get the best contract in our history at UPS. If this multibillion-dollar corporation fails to deliver on the contract that our hardworking members deserve, UPS will be striking itself,” said Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien. “The strongest leverage our members have is their labor and they are prepared to withhold it to ensure UPS acts accordingly.”

Both full- and part-time workers have been vying for a contract guaranteeing higher wages, more full-time jobs, an end to forced overtime and harassment from management (like surveillance cameras on trucks), the elimination of a two-tier wage system, and protections from hazards like dangerous heat.

Hundreds of delivery workers have been known to have fallen sick and even hospitalized from heat exposure while on the job. Last year, a UPS driver collapsed to his death one day after his twenty-fourth birthday; his family believes he died of heat stroke.

Days ago, UPS did agree to some of the demands, including ending the two-tier wage system, establishing Martin Luther King Day as a paid holiday, and ending forced overtime on unscheduled workdays. Last month, UPS made the brave commitment to install air conditioning and fans in most trucks.

“But make no mistake—we are not done,” O’Brien still said after those demands were met. “UPS knows we must reach full agreement on other economic issues, including higher wages, within the next few days.”

And it seems UPS was not willing to budge any further.

While there are still a few weeks left, and some demands have been met, the pressure is on for the shipping giant to ensure it will take care of its hundreds of thousands of well-recognized workers. If not, the company may cede massive ground to competitors, all while dramatically upending the U.S. economy.

“Is Barbie Communist?” How One Scene Dragged the Barbie Movie Into Controversy

She’s a Communist. He’s just Ken.


Is Barbie a Communist? According to Republicans, the answer seems to be, “Most likely.”

A growing number of voices on the right are accusing the upcoming Barbie movie of pushing Chinese propaganda. The film, which comes out July 21, stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken, who leave Barbie Land to explore the real world. In one scene before they leave, a rough, hand-drawn map of the world can be seen in the background. The map includes the so-called nine-dash line, a much-disputed division of territory in the South China Sea.

“I guess Barbie is made in China …” Ted Cruz tweeted Monday.

The next day, a spokesperson for the Texas senator told the Daily Mail, “China wants to control what Americans see, hear, and ultimately think, and they leverage their massive film markets to coerce American companies into pushing [Chinese Communist Party] propaganda—just like the way the Barbie film seems to have done with the map.”

Fox News anchor Rachel Campos-Duffy, while covering Cruz’s reaction, mused on air, “Is Barbie Communist?”

“Maybe!” her colleague replied.

China has used the nine-dash line to mark its controversial territorial claims in the South China Sea. Over the years, Beijing has tried to claim sovereignty over 90 percent of the region. Even though The Hague ruled in 2016 that China has no legal basis for its claims, the country has pressed on, building military installations on otherwise uninhabited islands in the sea.

Vietnam has already banned the Barbie movie for its inclusion of the nine-dash line. Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Brunei all say the marker violates their sovereignty.

The Philippines is also considering banning the film. “If the invalidated nine-dash line was indeed depicted in the movie Barbie, then it is incumbent upon the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board of the Philippines to ban the same as it denigrates Philippine sovereignty,” Filipino Senator Francis Tolentino told CNN Philippines on Tuesday.

For those wondering, this is the shot in question of the nine-dash line:

Republicans Are Already Blaming Trans People for the Philadelphia Shooting

There is no evidence that the mass shooter was trans, but that isn’t stopping the far right.

Kyle Mazza/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Officials from the Crime Scene Unit investigate the mass shooting in Philadelphia on July 3.

Republicans are spreading false information about one of Philadelphia’s deadliest mass shootings in order to push their own transphobic agenda.

A shooter opened fire on a neighborhood Monday night, killing five people including a 15-year-old boy. It is the deadliest attack in Philly since 2000. The alleged gunman has been identified as Kimbrady Carriker, and it is not yet known what his motive was.

Before police had even officially identified Carriker, the far right seized on a few pictures posted on his now-deleted Facebook account that show him wearing a stereotypically feminine outfit, with his hair in long braids. Despite there being no other evidence, Republicans are now claiming Carriker was transgender and are blaming the LGBTQ community, and trans people specifically, for the violence.

“Another trans shooter,” tweeted Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, linking to an article from the far-right conspiracy blog the Post Millennial.

Libs of TikTok founder Chaya Raichik and director turned right-wing activist Robby Starbuck also shared the false claim on Twitter. Right-wing influencer Rogan O’Handley insisted it was time to “start having a national dialogue on Trans mass shooters that target children.”

This isn’t the first time that Republicans have sickeningly used a tragedy—one with very obvious political implications—to push their own prejudiced agenda. In March, a shooter opened fire at a private Christian elementary school in Nashville, killing at least three children and three adults. Police have identified the attacker as Audrey Hale, a former student. Officials said they believed Hale was trans, but they didn’t know if that played a role in the attack.

Republicans immediately seized on Hale’s identity, insisting that the real problem in the United States is the existence of trans people, not the state of gun regulation. Many falsely claimed that there has been a rise in trans shooters in recent years. In reality, the vast majority of mass shootings are carried out by cisgender white men.

Now Republicans are similarly ignoring the fact that Carriker repeatedly posted online about his support for the Second Amendment and former President Donald Trump (who is under investigation for allegedly encouraging violence from his followers to overturn the election).

Meanwhile, the real problem is—as always—the lack of gun control. “It is disgusting, the lack of proper gun legislation that we have in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said during a press conference Tuesday. “It is time for everybody in our legislature, including the ones who would like to walk around with an AR-15 lapel pin, it is time for every one of them to face the voters. And if they’re not going to do something, then the voters are going to have to vote them out.

“Because that’s what that lapel pin means, it means ‘Vote me out. I am against you, and I am against your safety.’”

Josh Hawley Quotes White Nationalist Magazine to Celebrate 4th of July

The Republican senator claimed the quote came from Founding Father Patrick Henry.

Senator Josh Hawley
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Senator Josh Hawley

On the Fourth of July, Senator Josh Hawley decided to celebrate America by posting a fake quote from a Founding Father. Even a minute of critical thinking should have stopped him from doing so.

Beyond Hawley using his Independence Day message as a vessel to rear for Christian nationalism, he also attributed the quote to Founding Father Patrick Henry.

Henry, known for declaring at the Second Virginia Convention, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” passed away in June 1799. This was famously before America had built any history of affording “asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship” to anyone. Nevertheless, Hawley seems to think that it made sense for Henry to hail America for somehow doing all that just years after the nation was founded.

The quote Hawley tweeted is actually from an article written almost 200 years after the revolutionary war, a 1956 piece from the viciously antisemitic and white nationalist magazine The Virginian.

The article was responding to what it calls an “insidious campaign of false propaganda being waged today, to the effect that our country is not a Christian country but a religious one—that it was not founded on Christianity but on freedom of religion.” The author cited Henry’s will, in which he wrote about how he wishes he could also give his family “the Christian Religion,” as apparent proof of this notion.

As Seth Cotlar, a professor of U.S. history at Willamette University, pointed out, The Virginian is certainly not the kind of magazine you’d want to be citing from. Beyond its yearning for America to be a Christian nation, it has decried “race mixing in [the] army” and made a donation pitch to readers by whipping up fears about “the conspiracy to mongrelize white America [that] lies in the powerful, wealthy Jewish organizations.”

Besides either the stupidity or malice behind the tweet, the core message is not an aberration for Hawley. Just two weeks ago, he appeared at a religious-right activist conference where he asserted that Christianity had “formed the soul of this country” and cried that “the time for Christians to rise is now.”

Either Hawley (or his staff) didn’t know that Henry never actually said the quote (and they didn’t bother to think more than five seconds about the basic logic behind it), or Hawley willfully misquoted Henry and even knew where the quote came from and was happy to do so.

North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Calls for Lifting Taboo on Quoting Hitler

Mark Robinson made the declaration at the far-right Moms for Liberty summit.

Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images
North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson

North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson thinks it’s not bad to quote Hitler because history textbooks do it.

Robinson spoke Sunday during the second annual summit for Moms for Liberty, a far-right “parental rights” organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center recently categorized as an extremist group. Other speakers at the weekend-long Philadelphia event included 2024 presidential candidates Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, Nikki Haley, and Asa Hutchinson.

A clip of Robinson’s talk went viral on Wednesday. During his speech, Robinson seems to imply that quoting Hitler isn’t actually a sign of espousing what he stood for. “Because you quoted Hitler, you support Hitler. I guess every history book in America supports Hitler now. They all quote him,” he says.

“And here’s the thing,” Robinson says. “Whether you’re talking about Adolf Hitler; whether you’re talking about Chairman Mao; whether you’re talking about Stalin; whether you’re talking about Pol Pot; whether you’re talking about Castro in Cuba; or whether you’re talking about a dozen other despots all around the globe; it is time for us to get back and start reading some of those quotes.”

But the originally shared clip cuts off what Robinson says next. “It’s time for us to start teaching our children about the dirty, despicable, awful things that those communist and socialist despots did in our history,” he continues.

It makes sense that Robinson would condemn leftist revolutionaries such as Mao, Stalin, Castro, and Pol Pot. But you would be forgiven for thinking that maybe he really did suggest giving Hitler another look. Robinson, who took office in 2021, has a long history of spreading aggressively antisemitic, anti-Black, and homophobic rhetoric online. A deep dive by Talking Points Memo into the past seven years of Robinson’s Facebook activity also found that he shared conspiracy theories, 2020 election falsehoods, and even Holocaust denialism. He also previously said that communism is a greater threat to the world than Nazism was.

Still, despite Robinson’s explanation, it’s pretty hard to justify quoting Hitler in anything other than historical context. For an example, look no further than Moms for Liberty. An Indiana chapter of the organization got in trouble two weeks ago when it quoted Hitler in its newsletter. The Hamilton County, Indiana, chapter didn’t even try to hide that it was a Hitler quotation, citing the Nazi leader just under the text. The group apologized and first tried to add context to justify using the quotation. But when the blowback grew, they quietly removed the quote altogether.

This piece was updated to note additional context about Robinson’s speech.

Mondaire Jones Is Pitching a Comeback

The former Democratic congressman from New York wants to win back his seat—after the former DCCC chair essentially bullied him out and then lost the race to a Republican.

Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Take Back the Court Action Fund
Mondaire Jones

A year after being pushed out of his district by losing Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Sean Patrick Maloney, Mondaire Jones is pitching a comeback to Congress.

The former New York congressman announced his bid to take back his seat on Wednesday morning:

Jones is running for New York’s 17th congressional district, one he used to represent before a messy redistricting process pushed him out. With redrawn congressional maps prompted by former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s stacked conservative state court, DCCC chair Maloney decided to run in Jones’s district, essentially bullying Jones out. Maloney then got egg on his face by losing to Republican Mike Lawler in a redistricted map that would have voted for Biden by 10 percentage points.

In his video announcement Wednesday, Jones focused especially on gun violence, his role in increasing police funding, and his specific roots to Rockland County.

“Gun violence is a uniquely American problem, and it’s frightening to be a parent and know that I could send my kid off to school and never see them again,” parent Beth Davidson says in the video. “Mondaire has been a champion for keeping people safe.”

Jones also brought out Dave Ryan of the Hudson Valley Police to express his support for Jones because he “funded the police.” While the New York suburbs are actually among the safest communities in the country, they are also home to many of the officers who police New York City. Lawler, among other successful New York Republicans from the last election cycle, peddled fears around crime despite those facts. Many other New York Republicans who secured surprising victories, like Lawler, enjoyed the support of the likes of then-president of the New York City police union Patrick Lynch. Jones seems eager to head off that dynamic—not by pointing out the contradiction but instead by placating those interests.

And given the shaky precedent of Jones being pushed out, then being forced to run in a district he had less connection with, all to come back and run in his old (now slightly modified by redistricting) district, Jones is paying special focus on highlighting his roots to the area.

“I was lucky to grow up in Rockland County,” Jones said in his video. “Raised by a young single mom, who like so many incredible women throughout this district, still had to work multiple jobs to make ends meet.”

In the last election, when all was said and done, Jones was in part victim to the series of dramas that helped Democrats narrowly lose the House majority, setting course for what the day-to-day activity of Congress would look like until 2024.

In November, Maloney became the first party chair to lose an election in four decades. Jones didn’t even make it out of the crowded primary he then ran in, losing to wealthy and massively self-funded Daniel Goldman (who also benefited from a New York Times endorsement, having connections with Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger).

The crowded primary pitted Jones against other progressives, including Yuh-Line Niou, who took second, and Carlina Rivera, who came in fourth behind Jones. Their combined vote totals far outpaced Goldman’s.

Now Jones will be vying to take on Lawler, the vulnerable Republican who beat Maloney. But first he must win a primary that already perhaps feels somewhat resonant of his previous primary. Among others, Jones will be facing off against Liz Geregthy Whitmer, sister to Michigan governor and rising Democratic star Gretchen Whitmer.

Pro-Trump Lawyer Cowardly Quits Rather Than Face Disbarment Trial

MAGA lawyer Lin Wood is facing disciplinary proceedings for his role in trying to overthrow the 2020 election.

Mondaire Jones
Apu Gomes/Getty Images

A pro-Trump lawyer has requested to permanently retire from practicing rather than face disciplinary proceedings that would have likely resulted in his disbarment.

Lin Wood was one of the first to promote the falsehood that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen. He was part of Donald Trump’s legal team that unsuccessfully tried to overthrow the election. Since then, he has been embroiled in legal drama, after former colleagues sued him for breach of contract and a former QAnon ally sued him for defamation. The Georgia Bar held a trial for Wood in May to determine whether to disbar him, and Wood was sanctioned in Michigan for misconduct over the election fraud lawsuits.

On Tuesday, Wood sent a letter to the Georgia state bar requesting to be “permitted to transfer to Retired Status effective immediately.” He can only transfer if the general counsel’s office grants him permission because there are two disciplinary proceedings currently against him.

“I further understand and acknowledge that if granted Retired Status I am prohibited from practicing law in this State and in any other state or jurisdiction and that I may not apply for readmission,” Wood wrote in the letter.

Wood is the latest Trump lawyer to fall. John Eastman, who also worked on the election fraud cases, is facing disbarment in California. Jenna Ellis was censured by the Colorado Bar for making false statements about the 2020 election. Sidney Powell is also facing disbarment, and was sanctioned in Michigan for alleging election fraud, the same case that saw Wood sanctioned.

Longtime Trump lawyer and ally Rudi Giuliani had his law license suspended for his efforts to overturn the election. He and Powell have been sued by voting machine companies Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic for falsely claiming the machines were involved in election rigging.

Giuliani also recently testified for about eight hours in front of special counsel Jack Smith, who has indicted Trump for mishandling classified documents and is still investigating the former president for his efforts to overturn the election. Giuliani answered questions about Trump, the January 6 attack, and Powell.

North Carolina Republicans Are Trying to Disenfranchise Democrats Again

Days after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of voting rights groups in the state, North Carolina Republicans are pushing two new voter suppression rules.

Photo by Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty Images

While voting rights advocates celebrated the Supreme Court’s rejection of North Carolina Republicans’ illegally gerrymandered electoral map, the state’s GOP is not tapping the brakes at all on its efforts to subvert democracy and disenfranchise voters.

Republican House Speaker Tim Moore—whose name was on the rejected Supreme Court case—is leading his colleagues to pass an array of other bills that would erode voting rights and unfairly favor Republicans in state elections. Their efforts have been buttressed after obtaining a veto-proof majority in the House in April—thanks to the defection of a Democrat. Last year, the state’s Supreme Court swung from a 4–3 liberal majority to a 5–2 conservative one. Now Moore is considering two bills aimed at disenfranchising voters that recently passed the state’s Senate.

One, Senate Bill 747, would essentially get rid of same-day voter registration, leaving voters instead to have to cast provisional ballots and then follow up and verify their identities later. It would also remove a three-day grace period for votes sent by mail, requiring mail-in ballots to be received by Election Day.

Another, Senate Bill 749, would remove Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s ability to appoint board members to state and county boards of elections, giving it to the state legislature instead. Republicans have proposed a board with eight members—four Republicans and four Democrats—that would all but guarantee gridlock. Five years ago, the state Supreme Court ruled that a similar effort to prevent the governor from managing the state board impinged “upon the Governor’s ability to faithfully execute the laws.”  

More on the state Supreme Court: After conservatives secured control, they reversed the court’s prior ruling rejecting Republicans’ gerrymandered map. In the new map approved by the Supreme Court, an evenly divided vote would produce 10 House seats for Republicans and only four to Democrats. North Carolina currently has seven Republican representatives and seven Democratic ones—a reasonable split given that the state narrowly voted for Donald Trump in 2020.

The court also reversed a prior decision surrounding a photo ID requirement. In a case (once again with Moore’s name on it), the court declared such a requirement unconstitutional; but now, a requirement demonstrably targeting minority voters is also set to be on the books, right alongside the gerrymander and aforementioned anti-democratic bills.

Right-wing election deniers like lawyer Cleta Mitchell, who supported Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, have been working with North Carolina Republicans to try and make all this magic happen.

No Labels Could Hand the 2024 Election to Donald Trump

The self-described “nonpartisan” and “centrist” group is doing Donald Trump and the GOP a huge favor.

Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

The self-described “nonpartisan” group No Labels is hell-bent on running a third presidential candidate for 2024—and in doing so could hand the election to Donald Trump.

No Labels claims its goal is to create a space for centrists who are fed up with partisan politics and want solutions that appeal to both the right and the left. In reality, it has taken money from Republican billionaire megadonor Harlan Crow—best known for the lavish gifts and vacations he has given to Clarence Thomas—and backed the immensely unpopular former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory. Even the group’s former allies say No Labels is “dangerous.”

The group insists that voters want someone other than Trump or Joe Biden, so it’s preparing for a third-party campaign—despite enormous pushback from political strategists.

“It is a spectacular combination of hubris and irresponsibility at a level that I have trouble even believing,” Rick Wilson, co-founder of the anti-Trump group the Lincoln Project, told The Wall Street Journal. “They’ve made a financial and personal decision to destroy Joe Biden.” (Wilson should be pretty familiar with this: The Lincoln Project is another group with lofty goals but questionable follow-through.)

If No Labels persists, it could end up giving Trump an easy win. Historically, third-party candidates have performed poorly in presidential elections, typically receiving (at best) a sliver of the electorate. The exceptions (Theodore Roosevelt in 1912; Ross Perot in 1992) prove the rule. But a third-party candidate could peel critical votes away from Biden while Trump cruises to victory on the support of his energized fans.

Another outcome could be that a third candidate prevents anyone from getting 270 electoral votes, meaning that state delegations in the House of Representatives pick the winner. Since the House is currently in Republican hands, it would almost certainly swing for Trump.

No Labels has pledged to back out if Trump does not get the GOP nomination. The current runner-up is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has signed some of the most extreme laws in the country, targeting women, people of color, and LGBTQ people. DeSantis also criticized the debt ceiling deal, which No Labels praised.