Newsletter: An anti-government plot in Michigan

Six people are accused of planning to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and seven more with plotting to target police and attack the Michigan Capitol.


The threat from far-right extremists comes into focus, as 13 are charged in plots to kidnap Michigan’s governor and attack the state Capitol.


An Anti-Government Plot in Michigan

A plot to storm the Michigan state Capitol, kidnap the governor and put her on trial for “uncontrolled power” reveals how brazen far-right armed extremist groups have become.

For the record:

10:57 p.m. Oct. 11, 2020An item in the Oct. 9 edition of the Today’s Headlines newsletter misspelled Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s first name as Diane.


The elaborate plan, uncovered by Federal Bureau of Investigation and state agents, feeds into already growing fears among government and civil rights groups about extremists preparing to incite violence ahead of the presidential election and, as Michigan’s attorney general described it, “instigate a civil war.”

Six men were named in federal court in a conspiracy to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, according to a complaint. Group members were reportedly angry over restrictions the governor put in place to control the coronavirus outbreak. Additionally, seven members of a group known as the Wolverine Watchmen were separately named in state court in connection with the kidnapping plans, violating Michigan’s anti-terrorism laws, targeting law enforcement and attempting to instigate a war “leading to societal collapse,” according to an affidavit.

The state and federal charges do not indicate that those charged were inspired by President Trump, whom Whitmer has blamed. Trump has spoken encouragingly about anti-government groups and in April tweeted to “liberate” Michigan, as coronavirus cases were rising across the country and governments instituted strict shutdowns,

Debates in Limbo

Further presidential debates this fall entered a state of limbo after Trump rejected a virtual format next week designed to protect people from his COVID-19 illness and former Vice President Joe Biden refused to postpone the third debate until days before the Nov. 3 election.

The impasse could cost Trump a crucial last chance to close the gap with Biden, who surged in polls after the president’s vitriolic performance in their first debate last week. But the president’s doctor, Sean P. Conley, gave him a boost Thursday afternoon, saying that Trump could safely return “to public engagements” on Saturday, 10 days after the president first tested positive for coronavirus.

Trump has refused to isolate himself since returning to the White House, and his campaign said he would hold a rally rather than participate in a debate where he and Biden were in different locations. His resistance is an extension of his months-long disdain for coronavirus safety precautions, and the virus now has infected multiple officials in his White House and campaign. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he has refused to visit the White House since Aug. 6.

More Politics

— Biden would not say whether he supported increasing the size of the Supreme Court, staying mum on an idea gaining currency among Democrats who believe court vacancies have been unfairly filled by Trump to solidify a conservative majority.


— How will working-class white women vote? Some recent polls show they still support Trump by small margins, but others show Biden winning this demographic group in certain states.

— The vice presidential debate drew 57.9 million viewers on Wednesday, making it the second most watched matchup of running mates in history.

Showing Their Solidarity

Thousands of Armenians have taken to the streets of Los Angeles to protest the hostilities in a tiny separatist region on the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Southern California — home to the largest Armenian population in the United States — has also become a central staging area for relief efforts. The region has long been at the center of efforts to commemorate the Armenian genocide, and many believe the stakes are now very high for the future of their homeland. The fighting in the contested region touches many Armenian Americans on a personal level.

So much so, that some are joining the battle lines in their homeland.


Looking to the Past for the Future

For the annual L.A. Pride, this year should have been one to celebrate — half a century. Instead, the COVID-19 pandemic turned it into a virtual observance.

When it returns to being an in-person event, whenever that may be, it will look different. For starters, it’s leaving its longtime home of West Hollywood and heading off for parts unknown.

“While organizers figure out what L.A. Pride’s next chapter might bring, they would do well to look to the celebration’s past: to the painful events that led to that first foray down Hollywood Boulevard; to the men and women who were there 50 years ago, whose numbers are dwindling fast; to a time when politics and partying were in better balance,” writes reporter Maria L. La Ganga. “To the summer of 1970.”


On Oct. 9, 1936, electricity generated by the Hoover Dam first lit up Los Angeles. The city celebrated with floodlights and a nighttime parade, festivities covered with dramatic flair by The Times.

A story in the next day’s paper began, “Astride the power of 115,000 horses, with burning plumes outspread, the Giant of Hoover Dam Electricity rode into Los Angeles last night, casting a heretofore unseen and magnificent glare on more than 1,000,000 persons who crowded the downtown district from end to end.” Spectators watched eagerly as officials flipped a switch to start the generators at the dam and met the light with cheers.

Oct. 9, 1936: Crowds on Spring Street next to Los Angeles City Hall during celebration of opening of Hoover Dam.
(Paul Calvert / Los Angeles Times)

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— The magical new Chinese Garden at the Huntington is the getaway you need right now. It opens Oct. 9.

— Still waiting on a cruise refund? Here’s what to try next.

— Need some mayo? Here are the best brands you can buy. You can also make your own.

No haunted houses, no problem. Visit these spooky destinations instead.



— After a steady slide in the statewide number of new coronavirus infections at skilled nursing homes, facilities in Santa Cruz and Shasta Counties are grappling with severe outbreaks.

— Federal authorities have charged eight people in what they described as a drug distribution network that shipped bulk quantities of cocaine from Compton to Alaska.

— Rapper Tory Lanez was charged with assaulting Megan Thee Stallion in a July incident in which the female recording artist reported she was shot in the foot.

— David Starr Jordan High School in Watts has been renamed Jordan High, as the school community cuts ties with a promoter of the racist practice of eugenics. It’s one of dozens of schools across California reevaluating the legacies behind their names.

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— The United Nations’ World Food Program was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday in recognition of its efforts to fight hunger across the globe.


Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings start next week, bringing new pressure for California Democratic senators Diane Feinstein and Kamala Harris, who forged their political brands in past hearings. But for South Carolina’s Sen. Lindsey Graham, the hearings are a political lifeline as he fights to hold onto his seat.

— Jacob Blake, the 29-year-old Black man left paralyzed after he was shot in the back by a Kenosha police officer in August, was discharged from a Milwaukee hospital. He’s now undergoing treatment at an Illinois rehabilitation clinic.

Elliott Broidy, a fundraiser for Trump and the Republican Party, has been charged in an illicit lobbying campaign aimed at getting the Trump administration to drop an investigation into the multibillion-dollar of a Malaysian state investment fund.

— As the coronavirus again surges in Europe, officials are looking to localized disease-fighting restrictions because there’s little political appetite for national lockdowns such as those in the spring.


— Filmmaker Alex Gibney spent months putting together a documentary on the U.S.’s handling of the pandemic. As soon as he finished, life handed him a new plot twist: Trump’s diagnosis.

Disney is betting on spooky short films sponsored by brands, a new twist on product placement in the streaming era. Will viewers bite?


“Possessor Uncut,” a sci-fi horror tale about an assassin who hacks into strangers’ brains, isn’t for everyone. Here’s how a film too extreme for the MPAA was made.

— A&M Records cofounder Jerry Moss and his wife, Tina, have given $25 million to the Music Center for free concerts, the largest gift earmarked for programming in the organization’s history.


— The first lab-grown meat for sale could come from a Singapore startup that’s re-creating shrimp, no live crustaceans needed.

— If you’ve called for an Uber ride in California recently, you may have felt like you were being asked for more than just your money. The ride-hailing app served users with an aggressive pop-up campaign seeking support for Proposition 22, a ballot measure backed by Uber and Lyft.


— The Dodgers won their National League Division Series against the San Diego Padres. Next up: the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series.

LeBron James is one win away from the NBA title and the respect of Lakers fans.


— Did Anaheim get a fair price for the Angel Stadium property? Even after the city made a deal with a buyer, controversy remains over the sale price.

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— The CDC finally admits that the coronavirus can linger in the air, writes editorial board member Karin Klein. What took them so long?

— Filling out your ballot this weekend? Here’s the complete list of L.A. Times’ endorsements in the November election.


— The antibody cocktail that Trump received for COVID-19 was developed using cells derived from aborted fetal tissue, a practice the White House and anti-abortion rights groups oppose. (CBS News)

— How the “right stuff” to be an astronaut has changed over the years. (National Geographic)


Long before Google Street View was invented, artist Ed Ruscha began capturing Sunset Boulevard in thousands of photographs. “I looked at Sunset Boulevard like a 22-mile-long canvas, with an evolving history,” Ruscha said. “It had fluid motion, fluid stories, one long horizontal ribbon, and I always thought about it. It just asked to be documented.” Now, thanks to an interactive database, you can time travel with him, over 42 years, along the full length of Sunset from downtown L.A. to the beach.


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