Pro-insurrection in Washington, anti-anti-anti-semitism at Rutgers

Choose your flavour of authoritarianism.

Remember the few days after January 6, when even Republicans professed to be outraged about an attempt to overthrow the 2020 Presidential results by storming the U.S. Capitol building? Fun times.

The bipartisan push to launch an independent and nonpartisan investigation of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol suffered a fatal blow Friday, after nearly all Senate Republicans banded together in opposition.

The 54-to-35 outcome, six votes shy of the 60 needed to circumvent a procedural filibuster, followed hours of overnight chaos as lawmakers haggled over unrelated legislation. The vote stood as a blunt rejection by Republicans of an emotional last-minute appeal from the family of a Capitol Police officer who died after responding to the insurrection, as well as an 11th-hour bid by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) to save the measure by introducing changes intended to address her party’s principal objections.

In its wake, many senators who had supported the commission were openly angry, as even the Democrats’ most moderate senator blamed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for killing a bill in order to score political points, instead of doing what was right.

Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) told reporters that there were “an awful lot of other Republicans that would have supported” the commission “if it hadn’t been for his intervention,” guessing that but for McConnell’s whipping, “13 or 14” GOP senators might have voted for the bill.


Former president Donald Trump, whose most zealous supporters carried out the attack, has cast a long shadow over the GOP as lawmakers have wrestled with the proposal to establish a 10-person panel of nongovernment experts charged with finding answers — and accountability. The proposal called for five members, including the chair, to be appointed by Democrats and five, including the vice chair, to be appointed by Republicans. The commission would have had the power to issue subpoenas on a bipartisan basis, which some Democrats warned — and many Republicans worried — could have been used to force the former president and his allies in Congress to testify under oath.

I was going to use the term “anti-anti-insurrection” to describe Republicans so cowardly that they won’t even agree to a commission to investigate the Beer Belly Putsch, but that’s letting them off too easily. Some have gone even further and turned Ashli Babbitt, killed by police while trying to force her way into the Senate chamber, into their Horst Wessel:

Here’s the thing: I do feel sorry for Ashli Babbit, in the same way I feel sorry for the people who drank the Flavor-Aid at Jonestown, refused to abandon Davod Koresh at Waco, or find themselves locked in “the hole” at Gold Base. It’s easy to mock people who get sucked into destructive cults, but it can happen to anyone.

Compare what Republicans once said about their own cult leader before he secured the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, and what they say about him now.

The Democratic Party isn’t nearly as far gone as the GOP, but the “all lives matter” approach many Dems have taken in response to a wave of antisemitic hate crimes is a bad sign.

At Rutgers University in New Jersey, they’ve taken it to another level:

The chancellor of Rutgers University-New Brunswick apologized Thursday after sending a university-wide announcement condemning the recent spike in anti-Semitic attacks around the country.

Dr. Christopher J. Molloy, chancellor of the university, and Dr. Francine Conway, provost and executive vice chancellor for research and academic affairs, originally sent a message to their students on Wednesday that spoke out against the widely reported increase in hate crimes against Jews.

“Recent incidents of hate directed toward Jewish members of our community again remind us of what history has to teach us. Tragically, in the last century alone, acts of prejudice and hatred left unaddressed have served as the foundation for many atrocities against targeted groups around the world,” the email said.

“If you have been adversely impacted by anti-Semitic or any other discriminatory incidents in our community, please do not hesitate to reach out to our counseling and other support services on campus. Our behavioral health team stands ready to support you through these challenging times,” the email, obtained by the Daily Caller, said.


A day later, Molloy and Conway sent a second email to their students titled “An Apology,” which appears to have come in response to an Instagram post from the university’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter, leading campus organizers of the Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) movement against Israel, which took issue with their condemnations of anti-Semitism.

You can be anti-Zionist without being antisemitic, or expressing concern about antisemitism in America deflects attention from the real crisis in Palestine.

Pick one.

Here in my city, Halifax Pride is severing all ties to the public library system because of one doublepludungood book on the shelves:

In recent weeks, Halifax Pride was made aware of a petition asking the Halifax Public Library to remove a newly acquired book that jeopardizes the safety of trans youth, through unsupported medical claims and the transphobic assertion that trans identities are a choice. 

We want to thank the individuals who took the time to create and bring this petition to our attention. We recognize their work and emotional labour in holding their own discussions with the library.  

We reached out to the library to understand their acquisition process and urge them to take corrective action to remove the book and review their Collection Development Policy. We hoped that they would understand that the book’s misleading health advice put local trans youth in immediate harm. We expected feedback from trans individuals and a queer community partner to result in further reflection and a new course of action.

Yesterday, representatives of the library communicated to members of our community, and to us, that they have decided to keep the book in their collection without further review of their policies.

Halifax Pride has decided to end our partnership with the Halifax Public Library, including events planned for the 2021 festival, and will refrain from booking library spaces until this issue is addressed with some combination of internal review, policy change, and training.

They don’t name the book in their statement, but I presume they’re referring to this one, which now has 62 people waiting to read it. The Streisand Effect always wins.

Is the book any good? Beats me. I’m a bit skeptical of any book about this thorny issue featuring blurbs from noted sexologists Dennis Prager and Ben Shapiro. But I also know that some militant transgender activists are not immune from blatantly lying about their critics, as Jesse Singal could tell you.

It’s almost like I’d have to read it myself to make up my mind.

For now, Halifax Public Libraries is holding the line:

Free access to information and ideas is a democratic right of every citizen. Public libraries ensure this right by providing the public with opportunities to participate fully in a changing society through access to a wide range of humanity's thoughts, ideas, information and expressions of the creative imagination.

Since March 2021, the Library has received two community petitions and requests to withdraw the book Irreversible Damage by Abigail Shrier from the Library’s collection. We have assessed the book against Halifax Public Libraries’ Collection Development Policy and the Canadian Federation of Library Associations’ Statement on Intellectual Freedom, opens a new window and have made the decision to not censor the book.

In response to community concerns, we hosted conversations with community members and groups. We believe in the power of community conversations and collaboration—they allow us to find new and innovative ways to use our Library platform for positive change. Through our consultation and conversation with community members regarding this title, we have come to understand more deeply the trauma that is disproportionately experienced by the trans community and to appreciate the community’s resilience in the face of transphobia.

I wish I had more confidence that they won’t back down.