Tag: civil war
Right-Wing Media

Right-Wing Media Escalate 'Civil War' Threat Over Supreme Court's Border Decision

In response to a recent Supreme Court ruling allowing Border Patrol agents to cut razor wire Texas laid along the border with Mexico, right-wing pundits are claiming the Biden administration has sparked a second American Civil War. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Amy Coney Barrett, two members of the court’s conservative block, sided with the three liberal justices in ruling for the federal government.

The issue stems from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to stretch razor wire over dozens of miles along the state’s southern border, a cruel policy that has failed in its stated objective of deterring unauthorized border crossings. The Biden administration opposes the measures, and has ordered the Border Patrol to remove the barriers. The stand-off between Border Patrol and the Texas National Guard escalated earlier this month, with federal officials blaming Abbott for the deaths of a mother and her two children who drowned in the Rio Grande. (Texas authorities dispute this version of events.)

For his part, Gov. Abbott pledged that Texas will “continue to deploy this razor wire to repel illegal immigration.” Although it may appear that Abbott is in direct defiance of the Supreme Court, the American Immigration Council’s Aaron Reichlin-Melnick explained that the ruling overturned an “order saying Border Patrol COULDN’T remove Texas razor wire to process migrants. It didn’t affirmatively rule that the Border Patrol COULD remove Texas razor wire.” Or, as the New Republic's Matt Ford put it, the Supreme Court “lifted an injunction” on the Department of Homeland Security, so there's “nothing in this case for Texas to obey or defy at the moment.”

This simmering confrontation is the new backdrop for an old story. During election years, conservative media outlets generally ramp up their attacks on immigrants. Separately, over the last year, conservatives have become increasingly comfortable calling for, threatening, or warning about a coming civil war in the country. Responses to the recent court ruling have married these two trends.

As the news broke on January 22, conservative YouTube streamer Tim Pool said it “looks like a Fort Sumter-esque type scenario,” referencing the first battle of the Civil War, adding that “it does feel like it could be escalating to this federal versus state conflict.”

That evening, former Fox News star Tucker Carlson posted on X (formerly Twitter), asking: “Where are the men of Texas? Why aren’t they protecting their state and the nation?”

The same night, Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) wrote that “the feds are staging a civil war, and Texas should stand their ground.”

Then on January 23, former Trump adviser Steve Bannon appeared to favorably reference that post, saying “as Clay Higgins said” there is “kind of a civil war between the federal government and the state of Texas.”

Hours later, Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk fantasized about Gov. Abbott openly defying the court’s ruling at the barrel of a gun.

“So someone says right here, ‘Charlie, what would happen if Texas ignores the ruling? Will the government go to war with Texas?’” he asked.

“The federal government would come in, and some people would say, ‘Well, that's the seeds of a civil war.’ Is that what you want? Where does this end?” Kirk added moments later. “By the way, I'm all on board.”

“If we had an actual governor of Texas that was willing — 100% defy this,” Kirk continued, before advising Abbott on the logistics.

“If you're going to defy, here's how it works: press conference flanked by your most loyal Texas Rangers. ‘I am ignoring the Supreme Court's decision,’” Kirk said, adopting Abbott’s point of view. “‘I will enforce the border of Texas. If you're going to arrest me, you have to go through the Texas Rangers.’”

“If we had more governors on the border, it would be even more powerful,” he added, implicitly invoking the Confederacy. “Get every red state on board. Fly in every Republican governor.”

On Wednesday afternoon Abbott issued a statement invoking “Texas’s constitutional authority to defend and protect itself,” which he claimed is “the supreme law of the land.” Throughout the day, at least nine governors backed Abbott on X, even if they fell short of Kirk’s demand that they travel to the border. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp all posted their support for Texas, as did Speaker of the House Mike Johnson.

In the same episode, Kirk told his audience that they had “better buy weapons,” and “have a lot of guns at your disposal.”

That afternoon, The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh echoed Kirk. “Red state governors will need to ignore the Supreme Court and do what needs to be done to protect their citizens and the border,” Walsh said. He later added, “The last civil war was unimaginable until it wasn't.”

In the early evening, Bannon returned to the topic with guest Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA). “That Supreme Court decision that was made has now put the federal government at war with the state of Texas,” Greene said.

“If they fund a war in Ukraine when Zelensky is raising the white flag, asking for peace talks in Switzerland, and they weaken our border policy while the federal government is at war with Texas, that is truly, possibly the start of a civil war in this country,” she added.

Blaze TV’s Steve Deace also invoked the memory of the Civil War. “Basically, the Supreme Court has told Texas your choices are: be invaded or secede,” Deace said.

On January 25, Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade adopted the same framing on Fox & Friends.

“It feels like almost like a soft civil war,” Kilmeade said. “You’ve got all the Republicans saying, ‘Can we secure our borders?’ the Democrats saying, ‘I want this to go away’ and blaming Republicans, the President against the governor of Texas — the most independent state in the union. I mean, this is getting a little crazy.”

Fox News sounded little different than the fringe. “This is a constitutional crisis,” said conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, in a video titled: “Supreme Court Decision Provokes Civil War in Texas.”

The story was the same in the right-wing blogosphere, too, with conservative news site PJ Media asking, “Is Joe Biden Mounting a Civil War at the Border?”

Conservative influencer Jordan Peterson posted: “So is it the case that @TheDemocrats are truly ready to go to war with Texas?”

While right-wing media figures fantasize about a new civil war, their rhetoric has real implications for immigration policy. They are stoking xenophobia and nativism, and endorsing cruel policies that are already injuring and killing some of the most vulnerable people in the world.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Nikki Haley

What Nikki Haley's Neoconfederate Remarks On The Civil War Really Meant

Her name is Nikki Haley, and she has been featured in the news of late for the answer she gave at a political townhall in New Hampshire to this question: “What was the cause of the Civil War?”

Just listen to the way the former governor of South Carolina began her response: “I think the cause of the Civil War was basically how government was going to run, the freedoms and what people could and couldn’t do.”

This alleged candidate for the Republican presidential nomination comes from the state of South Carolina, in which the first shot of the Civil War was fired on a United States Army installation, Fort Sumter, in Charleston Harbor. But that ignominious fact does not capture the depth of shame South Carolina bears for the war that took more than 600,000 American lives.

South Carolina was the first state to declare its secession from the United States on December 20, 1860. As a former governor of the state, Nikki Haley should have these figures on her fingertips. In 1860, South Carolina had the largest percentage of enslaved people in the entire country, 58 percent Black slaves to 42 percent free Whites. Which raises the question, who was doing the work in the state of South Carolina?

South Carolina’s “Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union” spelled out the answer fairly succinctly: slaves. White slave owners were protecting, in the words of Nikki Haley, what they “could and couldn’t do” with their slaves. Here are a few choice lines from that hugely disgraceful 1860 document:

“Those [non-slave holding] States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.

For 25 years this agitation has been steadily increasing, until it has now secured to its aid the power of the common Government. Observing the forms of the Constitution, a sectional party has found within that Article establishing the Executive Department, the means of subverting the Constitution itself. A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that "Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free," and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.

This sectional combination for the submersion of the Constitution, has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens; and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy, hostile to the South, and destructive of its beliefs and safety.”

Isn’t that something? Way back in 1860, states in the South were all a-twitter about “books and pictures” that were “inciting” people and giving them terrible, threatening ideas.

What happened before the Civil War was the secession of the southern slave-holding states from the United States of America. Each of those states whined and complained about the man who was president, Abraham Lincoln, whined and complained that states in the north had refused to return people who had escaped slavery and had attained freedom and were thus, in the words of South Carolina and other southern states, “fugitives.”

After choking out an admission on a radio show that “of course the Civil War was about slavery,” Nikki Haley went on with her new explanation: “What it means to us today is about freedom — that’s what that was all about. It was about individual freedom. It was about economic freedom. It was about individual rights.”

Yep, it was, Nikki, you put your finger right on it. All those escaped slaves who belonged to slave owners in South Carolina had been awarded freedom and individual rights and had achieved economic freedom, and your state, and the rest of the Confederacy was angry enough about what the escaped slaves had done to secede from the United States and start a war over it.

The awful truth about this whole thing is that Nikki Haley’s state and the other states of the former Confederacy have been teaching the garbage that came out of her mouth for 158 years, that the Civil War was about states rights and individual freedom and economic freedom and what the government can tell you that you could and couldn’t do.

It’s a good thing that someone stood up at the town hall and asked her that question, because the answer she gave tells us what this election is really about. Listen to Nikki Haley and to Donald Trump and to every other Republican. Listen to what they say and what they leave out. We don’t count. They do. It’s about their freedom, and their individual rights, and their economic freedom. They mean it.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

Please consider subscribing to Lucian Truscott Newsletter, from which this is reprinted with permission.

Matt Maddock

Michigan Republican Threatens 'Civil War' Over Fake Elector Charges

Michigan Republican state Rep. Matt Maddock hosted a pool party fundraiser in August for the 16 fake electors who were recently charged by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel for signing fraudulent paperwork claiming Donald Trump won the 2020 election. Maddock’s wife, Meshawn Maddock, is one of the Trump supporters facing several felonies for her role in the scheme. In a speech to the pool party attendees that was recorded by someone at the event and later leaked toThe Messenger, Maddock told supporters people were getting angry about the prosecutions and violence was a likely outcome.

Maddock warned the crowd that “If the government continues to weaponize these departments against conservatives and the citizens that are then the taxpayers … Someone's going to get so pissed off, they're going to shoot someone. That's what's going to happen. Or we're going have a civil war or some sort of revolution. That's where this is, where this is going.” But Maddock frames this coming civil war as a violent event and added that pool party attendees, and conservatives in general, are “going to get squashed.”

The “Free The 16 Electors Poolside Party!” took place at the Maddock’s residence and was hosted by Grand New Party PAC, which was founded in 2022 by Republican Rep. Steve Carra (Three Rivers), who has accused Michigan Republican Party leaders as being “too passive,” and “too moderate.” Get it? The Grand New Party as opposed to the Grand Old Party. The PAC is being driven by the same kind of anger and total disarray we’ve seen inside of the Michigan Republican Party recently, including late-night bar fights among members.

In a November 2022 press conference announcing the new PAC, Carra said he hoped it would help encourage more Michigan conservatives to “go the Ron DeSantis route.” The same Ron DeSantis flaming out at record speed in the Republican primary? Sounds like an excellent plan! But you get the general tenor of their politics.

In the roughly four-minute audio recording published by The Messenger, Michigan state Rep. James DeSana can also be heard telling the audience he hopes to “get a resolution up to impeach Dana Nessel,” the state’s attorney general. The comment drew applause and DeSana laid out their half-witted plan to impeach Nessel. DeSana released a statement on Thursday saying he stood by his statement, while Maddock’s statement hid behind his “right to free speech.”

Maddock’s wife Meshawn, along with Kathy Berden, William “Hank” Choate, Amy Facchinello, Clifford Frost, Stanley Grot, John Haggard, Mari-Ann Henry, Timothy King, Michele Lundgren, James Renner, Mayra Rodriguez, Rose Rook, Marian Sheridan, Ken Thompson, and Kent Vanderwood were charged in July with a slew of felonies. The indictment alleges all 16 charged in the scheme met in the basement of the Michigan Republican Party headquarters and signed “multiple certificates stating they were the ‘duly elected and qualified electors for President and Vice President of the United States of America for the State of Michigan.’ These false documents were then transmitted to the United States Senate and National Archives in a coordinated effort to award the state’s electoral votes to the candidate of their choosing, in place of the candidates actually elected by the people of Michigan.”

Each defendant is facing:

  • One count of Conspiracy to Commit Forgery, a 14-year felony.
  • Two counts of Forgery, a 14-year felony.
  • One count of Conspiracy to Commit Uttering and Publishing, a 14-year felony.
  • One count of Uttering and Publishing, a 14-year felony.
  • One count of Conspiracy to Commit Election Law Forgery, a 5-year felony.
  • Two counts of Election Law Forgery, a 5-year felony.

Serious charges with serious consequences. It’s understandable why Maddock would be stressed out that Trump’s attempt to overturn the election results didn’t go as planned, and they are leaning into the violence that got them to this point in the first place.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Kari Lake

MAGA Conspiracy Loons Spark Civil War Among Arizona Republicans

If the Arizona Republicans of the 1980s and 1990s had been able to predict the future, they would have no doubt been shocked by the state's political environment of 2023. Arizona, in those days, was a deep red state, and its most influential Republicans were Sen. Barry Goldwater and the conservative who took over his U.S. Senate seat in January 1987, Vietnam veteran John McCain. Goldwater suffered a landslide defeat at the hands of Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964's presidential election; in Arizona, he was a conservative rock star, and McCain was proud to be called a "Goldwater Republican."

But in 2023, Arizona is as much of a swing state as Pennsylvania and Virginia and has a Democratic governor (Katie Hobbs), a Democratic U.S. senator (Mark Kelly), a Democratic state attorney general (Kris Mayes) and a once-Democratic U.S. senator who is now an independent (Kyrsten Sinema). Arizona is way more Democrat-friendly than it was 30 or 40 years ago, yet much of the Arizona Republican Party has moved to the extreme right. And MAGA Republicans like Kari Lake (the conspiracy theorist who Hobbs defeated in 2022) regard the late McCain and his admirers as RINOs (Republicans in Name Only).

In an article published by HuffPost on March 7, journalist Matt Shuham examines the divisions in the Arizona GOP and the disdain that MAGA conspiracy theorists have for more traditional conservatives.

"Since the 2020 elections," Shuham explains, "Arizona has been Ground Zero for wild conspiracy theories about supposed voter fraud leading to Joe Biden's victory. The claims gripped state Republicans to the point that nearly the entire slate of GOP midterm candidates for statewide office last year consisted of election deniers. To this day, Kari Lake, who lost the governor's race, maintains that she is actually Arizona’s governor now. Even after getting washed out in the midterms, state Republicans can't quit these outlandish theories. And now, it has thrown the party into chaos. For the past two weeks, Republicans have faced wild accusations of bribery, money laundering and election fixing — from their own supporters."

Two of Arizona's MAGA conspiracy theorists, according to Shuham, are attorney John Thaler and his ally Jacqueline Breger. During her testimony at an Arizona State Legislature hearing on February 23, Shuham notes, Breger 'accused everyone from state officeholders to judges, prosecutors and court-appointed medical health care advisers of accepting bribes from a criminal enterprise." And she "alleged that dozens of public officials were on the take, from judges to state officeholders and everyone in between."

Breger has accused fellow Arizona Republicans of being allies of Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel, whose infamous former leader, Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzman, is serving a life sentence in a Colorado prison and has been the subject of numerous narcocorridos (Mexican corridos about the drug trade). Thaler and Breger's conspiracy theories, according to Shuham, have "created" a "near-civil war…. within the Arizona GOP."

"Following Breger's appearance (at the February 23 hearing) — Thaler left the state months earlier due to fears about his safety, he says — the two became instant celebrities among election conspiracy theorists," Shuham observes. "And Republican politicians now find themselves, some for the first time, on the wrong end of unfounded conspiracy theories and angry right-wing social media mobs."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.