Friday Round Up! 05/05/2023
The dismantling of the regulatory state, bully lawyers, and why history matters.
I’m writing this week from Vermont, where I am enjoying the above view, the mild weather, and my third (fourth?) cup of coffee. Vermont is my happy place — we got this place several years ago as a getaway for the winters since we are a family of skiers, but it turned out to be a godsend during COVID, since the state was one of the first to completely get its act together. So that first COVID summer of 2020 we actually had some relative normalcy. It’s convenient because this is also going to be my first stop as I flee to Canada if Trump wins again in 2024. (If you need a stop too, let me know.)
Anyway, on to this week’s news. In our podcast this week, Renato and I discussed a case that SCOTUS will be hearing that hasn’t gotten a lot of coverage. It’s not super sexy, as it involves the National Marine Fisheries Service and the underpinnings of administrative law, which may seem like a snoozefest. But this case has the potential to significantly impact the operation and efficiency of our federal government, so it’s worth paying attention to. Renato also gave his thoughts on the Trump team’s lawyering skills in the E. Jean Carroll lawsuit (you will be shocked to know that Renato was not impressed). We also discussed sports (for real!)). You can check out our conversation here:
My pieces this week:
This analysis for Just Security of the charges brought by the Justice Department against three Russian nationals and four U.S. citizens for ongoing active measures operations in Florida, including funding a candidate for local office — a story which has gotten shockingly little attention in the press. If you want to understand the full historical context and how this fits into Russia’s current attacks on our democracy, enroll in my course, Democracy in the (Dis)Information Age. You can check out the first class, for free, here!
To enroll in “Democracy in the (Dis)Information Age,” become a paid subscriber.
I typically don’t include my Substack pieces in my round up (hopefully you have subscribed and are receiving them already!), but this week I feel like it worth reupping a few given what is in the news:
First, test scores in students’ knowledge of history and civics are falling and textbooks are being censored and rewritten (see Additional Articles Worth Reading, below). I wrote this week about how this is another reiteration of a century-old project begun after the Civil War
It looks like Hunter Biden may be indicted by the Justice Department soon. You may be surprised to know that it has nothing to do with his phantom laptop. What is Hunter Biden’s laptop about? And where does the actual Justice Department investigation fit in? I explained it all, here (best read with a strong beverage)
Finally, in honor of King Charles III’s coronation, my piece on what Prince Harry and Megan Markle can teach us about information warfare
My clips from this week:
I had a great discussion about information warfare on thepodcast with Jay McKenzie and Griff Sombke
I was featured on the May 4 episode of ABC’s Nightline, about the conviction of several defendants in the Proud Boys’ trial, including Enrique Tarrio, for seditious conspiracy (stay tuned for some exciting news on the TV front, btw!)
Additional articles worth reading:
Apropos to my Erasing Memory piece, this New York Times piece about plunging history scores among 8th graders nationwide. Civic and historical literacy are critical for creating resilience against disinformation, so this is a very bad trend
Also in this vein, an opinion piece by The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent on how the memory battle has infected even the liberal Bernard's Township in New Jersey
NEW! Zoom Office Hours, Wednesday, May 17 at 9 a.m. Zoom link will be sent to paid subscribers at 6 a.m.
Guest speaker Andrew McCabe, Wednesday, May 31 at 1 p.m. Zoom link will be sent to paid subscribers at 10 a.m. and a recording will be posted on Thursday
Wine & Fries Happy Hour with Elie Mystal, author of Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution (date/time TBA — sorry we are having scheduling difficulties with the end of the school year!)
NEW! June/July Wine & Fries members event: Introduction to the Enneagram (date/time TBA): Did you know that I am a trained and accredited instructor in the Enneagram? I began studying it before it became cool. Learn about this great tool for understanding yourself and the people around you!
“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” - George Orwell, 1984
Huge one, followed by eight, with five close behind!