Sunday Afternoon Reads: Of Idiots and Bigots…and where the two meet.Posted: April 10, 2016
Today we look at the two types of people who seem hell bent on “Taking America Back” or “Making America Great Again” or whatever the shit stain/dog whistle/bigoted bastard slogan is this time around.
The pictures are from this post via vintage everyday: 30 Amazing Kodachrome Snapshots of Beaches in the U.S in the 1950s-60s
And although the pictures are great to see, please note the whiteness of the beach sands…remembering these are images of 50-60s America, and how hard the GOP is trying to bring us back…in every way.
I don’t know where to begin. I think I’ll start with the latest in the rash of anti-transgender bills sweeping the nation. Oh they are more than just bills designed to discriminate against transgender people, the fuckers in Mississippi that passed the latest legislation in their state have made it possible for asshole bigots to refuse service for “interracial” couples, if it goes against someones…cough…religious freedom. You are surely aware of the bill in North Carolina, that made Bruce Springsteen take a stand…in which he cancelled his performances and concerts in that state.
The best way to get the ball rolling on this is with the video from a recent episode of The Daily Show.
Jessica Williams speaks with members of the trans community to find out how transphobia affects their everyday lives. (8:04)
You need to watch the video, and if you need to read a few reviews of the clip:
It is something else, especially the bit where the bigoted champion of the Right needs to change into his “alter ego” to feel more comfortable in the interview to quote from his bible. Seriously, check it out.
There are many other states with similar “religious freedom” laws on the books, waiting for their final go signatures. But in Tennessee, the law goes further than that. This deals with doctors, and as you will later see in the post, the GOP is not beyond itself interfering with a doctor’s care of their patient…if it means the Republican Agenda will further expand its reach:
Tennessee’s House of Representatives just passed a bill that would allow therapists who believe homosexuality is the mark of Satan to refuse to treat gay clients. More precisely, the bill allows mental-health counselors to deny treatment to anyone who seeks help with “goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with the sincerely held principles of the counselors or therapist.” If the bill makes it into law, Tennessee would be the first state to allow therapists to pick what kind of clients they’re willing to serve.
From a certain angle, the law may appear more significant on a symbolic level than a practical one: If you’re a gay teenager looking for someone to counsel you through your first same-sex relationship, it’s probably in your interest to see someone who doesn’t think that relationship will bring you eternal hellfire. But what’s really at stake in the legislation is what the ethical code for licensed mental-health professionals in the United States will entail. The bill was drafted in reaction to the American Counseling Association’s 2014 code of ethics, which warned counselors not to impose their personal values onto their clients. Tennessee’s bill would allow the state’s mental-health professionals to reject clients — for failing to conform to their beliefs — without losing their licenses. The bill’s opponents argue that allowing therapists such a prerogative would endanger the lives of vulnerable people.
You can take a look at the links above for the info on that mess.
I’m so very sick of it all, that I will just bring up this older article from the Guardian. I may have highlighted it previously but it fits the topic again.
How did it get to Trump?
To put it in Trump terms: you could say it started with a deal. Or more precisely, a big deal with various side deals attached, all of it amounting to one grand, dark bargain whose payment may be coming due at last. If one was inclined to reach for metaphor, you could say it was a deal with the devil. Or you could say it started with this, a plank adopted by the Democratic national convention of 1948:
The Democratic party commits itself to continuing efforts to eradicate all racial, religious, and economic discrimination.
That was enough to bring the devil howling out of his hole, that foot-on-the-neck-of-the-black-man devil of the Jim Crow, hookworm, lynch-prone south – “the solid south” that reliably delivered its votes to the Democratic party every four years.
Please give that a read, I know that Dak has written about it repeatedly…
The year 1948 was a flash that led to a slow burn, a simmering fuse that wouldn’t erupt again for 16 years. The flash was the breakaway States’ Rights Democratic party, aka the Dixiecrats (motto: “segregation forever”), who recoiled from the regular Democrats’ spasm of conscience and put forward their own candidate for president, South Carolina governor Strom Thurmond. Thurmond campaigned on a platform that decried civil rights as “infamous and iniquitous”, “totalitarian” and an attempt by the federal government to impose “a police nation” on the land of the free. That fall, the Dixiecrats took four deep south states and 39 electoral votes from Harry Truman, a rippling of racist muscle that kept the Democratic party’s egalitarian impulse in check throughout the 1950s.
That decade was the slow burn, but it was coming. Occasional aberrations aside, the south stayed solid for the Democrats after Truman, though the devil felt the cracks under his feet, roamed uneasy over the land. Brown v Board of Education was a tremblor. Montgomery, Little Rock, more tremblors. At the Democrats’ 1960 convention, African American delegates walked out in protest over John F Kennedy’s concessions to the southern segs, this at a time when the Republican party, the party of Lincoln and emancipation – and thus a 90lb weakling in most of the south – was welcoming civil rights advocates to its convention. Devil stamped his feet, sniffed the air.
As this monumental fuck-a-thon also know as the 2016 presidential primaries continues to rattle on, keep the following few paragraphs in mind…remembering the racist sexist bigoted bullshit spewing from certain politician mouths. (And they do not necessarily need to be GOP origin these days.)
Across the south people were marching and sometimes dying for civil rights, though you didn’t have to march or even reach the age of majority to qualify for murder, as shown by the 1963 bombing deaths of four young African American girls, at church, in Birmingham. After Kennedy’s assassination, Lyndon Johnson, Democrat of Texas and a son of the hardscrabble south, seized JFK’s cautious civil rights agenda and turned it into a juggernaut. “If you get in my way I’m going to run you down,” he told his old Senate mentor, Richard Russell of Georgia, and it’s surely one of the great mysteries not just of American politics but of human nature in general that Lyndon Johnson, a man born and formed in one of America’s most enduring tar pits of xenophobia, would be the crucial force multiplier for civil rights.
He knew better than anyone the political risk. “I think we just gave the south to the Republicans,” he told his staff after ramming the Civil Rights Act of 1964 through Congress. His aide Bill Moyers recalled the moment in more drastic terms: Johnson feared he had delivered the south to Republicans “for your lifetime and mine”, a prediction whose proof, while not yet conclusive – we are happy that Mr Moyers is still with us – has trended ever since toward prophecy. The first hard evidence came in the presidential election that fall, when Johnson’s landslide victory over Barry Goldwater saw only Arizona (Goldwater’s home state) and the old Dixiecrat states, plus Georgia, go Republican. Goldwater had been one of only a handful of Republican senators to vote against the Civil Rights Act, and his nominating convention turned into a raucous revolt against the party’s eastern establishment. Nelson Rockefeller, millionaire governor of New York and the avatar of what’s now known as a country club Republican, was roundly booed, hooted and dissed. Goldwater delegates berated and shook their fists at the press, and African American delegates were “shoved, pushed, spat on and cursed with a liberal sprinkling of racial epithets”. Something new and nasty was afoot; Republicanswere acting like a bunch of Dixiecrats. One black delegate had his suit jacket set on fire. The southern caucus at the convention named its hotel headquarters “Fort Sumter” after the starting point of the civil war. Jackie Robinson spent several “unbelievable hours” on the convention floor, and summed up his experience thus: “I now believe I know how it felt to be a Jew in Hitler’s Germany.”
I urge you to read the rest.
TODD ALLBAUGH: I’ve been a Republican for a long time. It was at that moment, Chris, in that room in the senate Republican caucus when I heard people, a Party I had fought for for over 30 years of my life, actually giddy and happy and talking about how we can take people’s Constitutional rights away, or at least impede them, in order to hang onto power.
Now, you have a group of people in the state legislature, particularly in the senate Republican caucus, who want to impede peoples’ voting rights. That’s the point where I said “I can’t do it anymore.” I can’t be a Republican, I can’t keep going to caucuses because this Party no longer represents me and what I believe in.
Republicans used to fight for voting rights, and here they were taking them away. So, yes, the point is, this was a poignant point in my life. I remember it clearly and certainly the point in that room that day was how do we do this quickly because there was a lot of recalls going on in Wisconsin at that time. How do we do it quickly so that we can make sure we hang onto power in the future.
“In a district that is majority African-American and that overwhelmingly voted for President Obama in the last two elections, any voter should be highly suspect of what has occurred,” said Georgia House Whip Carolyn Hugley in an emailed statement. “The district lines changed when a white Republican incumbent was challenged by a highly-qualified black Democratic candidate.”
Greene rejects accusations of voter suppression and emphasizes that he has long had minority support. “I’m not even going to comment on that,” Greene said when I asked about accusations that his residency challenge might suppress the black vote. “I’ve represented a minority district for 33 years.”
The controversy over District 151 comes as the country prepares for its first presidential election since the Supreme Court’s 2013 dismantling of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which required areas with histories of election discrimination to gain federal approval for all changes to election law. Alterations to state legislative lines would have fallen under the act’s “pre-clearance” requirement. “Even small district shifts for a jurisdiction covered under the pre-clearance provision would have had to be pre-cleared before they could lawfully go into effect,” Myrna Pérez, director of the Voting Rights and Elections Project at the Brennan Center, said in an email.
Since 2013, legislatures in many of the nine, mostly Southern states that had been covered under the act have enacted new restrictions on voting. This includes high-profile voter ID laws in Texas and Alabama that advocates say will negatively impact hundreds of thousands of residents. In the months following the Supreme Court decision, cities and counties around Georgia moved to close polling places—in some casesdramatic scale-back proposals that would leave only a single voting location left—and the city of Augusta took steps to move its election from November to July, which the Department of Justice had previously blocked. (Augusta’s black voter turnout tends to be proportionally lower during the summer months.)
Milwaukee native Anita Johnson, who works with VoteRiders and Citizen Action, twisted around from the drivers seat and explained that when she learned Barksdale and Helem needed help, she offered them a ride. She has spent the last few months helping about 100 people like Barksdale and Helem obtain IDs, but says she’s worried confusion around the law could disenfranchise thousands. She and other voting rights advocates point to the example of Texas, where half of the residents who said they didn’t vote in 2014 because they lacked a voter ID actually had an acceptable ID and didn’t know it.
Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed Wisconsin’s voter ID law in 2011, but it was tied up in court battles until 2015. While some federal judges held that the law unconstitutionally burdens low-income people of color like Helem and Barksdale, the Supreme Court eventually allowed the law to stand. Tuesday will be the first presidential election in the state’s history where a photo ID will be required at the polls.
Walker and other Wisconsin Republicans have asserted that the law is necessary because the state is “riddled” with voter fraud. Yet independent studies have found such fraud to be virtually non-existent in the state. The Brennan Center for Justice found just seven cases of voter fraud out of three million votes cast in Wisconsin during the 2004 election — a rate of 0.0002 percent. When voters challenged the ID law in court, Walker’s lawyers were unable to offer a single instance of known voter impersonation as evidence. After hearing the arguments for and against the law, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman wrote that “no rational person could be worried about” voter fraud, and held that the law presented an unconstitutional “denial or abridgment of the right to vote.”
After filling out a series of forms at Milwaukee’s DMV and posing for a picture, Barksdale was able to obtain a state ID he can use to vote on Tuesday. Helem was not, because she did not have a copy of her birth certificate. Though she presented her Social Security card, proof of residence, and Illinois State ID, the DMV staff said it would take them at least three weeks to find and verify her birth certificate.
As a tie-in with these stories, check this out: A photographer hung out with the KKK in Tennessee and Maryland. Here’s what he saw. – The Washington Post
The Ku Klux Klan is the oldest and most well-known hate group in the United States. At one point, during its heyday, the Klan boasted a membership of around 4 million. That number has greatly dwindled, with the Southern Poverty and Law Center putting current numbers between 8,000 and 10,000. Despite their fewer numbers, the KKK has seen some recent exposure in mainstream society, most notably during this campaign season.
In February, former Knights of the Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, and politician, David Duke expressed support for Donald Trump, telling listeners of his radio show they would “meet people who are going to have the same kind of mindset that you have” if they went to one of his rallies and that “voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage.” Trump came under heavy criticism for not immediately and consistently disavowing Duke. When CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Trump if he would disavow Duke, his response was, “I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists….So I don’t know. I don’t know — did he endorse me, or what’s going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke; I know nothing about white supremacists.” A few days later, Trump did reject Duke’s support, telling NBC: “I don’t mind disavowing anybody, and I disavowed David Duke. And I disavowed him the day before at a major news conference…. I have no problem disavowing groups, but I’d at least like to know who they are. It would be very unfair to disavow a group if the group shouldn’t be disavowed. I have to know who the groups are. But I disavowed David Duke.”
Photographer Peter van Agtmael, on assignment for a European magazine, in 2015, headed to Tennessee and Maryland, where he spent time with some members of today’s KKK. His pictures offer us a glimpse into a world that despite having been around for a long time in the United States, is still rarely seen by most Americans.
One more link for you on the nomination of a GOP candidate…or should I say, whoever the bigot may be: My Grandmother Voted for Hitler… But Then Hid Jews – The Daily Beast
This German granddaughter has always wondered how Hitler persuaded decent people like her grandmother to vote for him. Listening to Trump, now she knows.
I will say however, the methods are getting more ridiculous and even more fucking mad:
…one bill recently signed into law in Utah, SB 234, managed to encapsulate a number of troubling harms. SB 234 requires women, with only very narrow exceptions, to undergo anesthesia if they choose abortion care after the approximate midway point of pregnancy. While only asmall number of patients seek such care, at least one physician has noted that the law could also apply to women seeking to induce labor—an undoubtedly unintended consequence. And the women themselves may have to pay out-of-pocket for the anesthesia, which could cost them thousands of dollars.
To be clear, anesthesia is already sometimes used during abortion care for a variety of reasons, individualto the patient. But the type of anesthesia used is often local or regional, meaning the patient remains alert because only a portion of her body is affected. However, because of how the Utah law is written, physicians will likely be required to administer general anesthesia: the type that affects both a patient’s brain and total body, rendering the woman unconscious.
General anesthesia, while generally safe for much of the population, does not come without risk of complications, including stroke, heart attack, and even death. Previously, Utah required providers to tell a woman she had the option to undergo anesthesia when ending a pregnancy. Some women may very well choose anesthesia for their own reasons. But Utah’s new mandate forces women to put their health, and even lives, in harm’s way for no stated medical benefit to them.
State Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), the chairperson of the Senate Interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life, filed SR 1793 on March 30, which summons Mary Kogut, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, to appear before the state senate on April 18 to explain why she has not complied with a GOP-led subpoena.
Issued in November, the subpoena is part of Republican lawmakers’ ongoing investigation into Planned Parenthood’s operations, particularly around its fetal tissue donation practices. It demanded six years worth of documents about the St. Louis Planned Parenthood affiliate’s abortion care patients, including consent forms, according to the St. Louis Dispatch. The legal request came after Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, a Democratic gubernatorial hopeful, cleared the affiliate of wrongdoing in September.
And if that isn’t enough to go crazy:
The sweeping new restrictions would ban abortions based on “race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex; or a diagnosis or potential diagnosis” of a disability — provisions opposed by leading medical experts, disability rights advocates, and members of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus. This includes the Arc of Indiana, a disability rights group, and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
In addition, the law forces all abortion providers to have fetal tissue buried or cremated following a safe, legal abortion.
Just like people would expect, Planned Parenthood works with professional medical removal vendors to ensure fetal tissue is handled respectfully and safely, in accordance with state law. We talk with patients on a case-by-case basis to answer all of their questions about how fetal tissue is handled. This law, on the other hand, is the very definition of politicians interfering in a woman’s health care.
But this is not all, in South Dakota Doctors Required To Say They Can ‘Reverse’ Abortions | Care2 Causes
The doctor-patient relationship is one that should be characterized by two things: privacy and trust. Patients expect their doctors to give sound advice based on medical training and experience — and to offer the best possible care. They also trust their physicians to keep medical matters confidential.
The latest to take part is South Dakota, where doctors will be obligated to tell patients that they can “reverse” medication abortions before providing patients with necessary medications. This is demonstrably false – and could endanger patients.
The anti-choice lobby approaches its war on reproductive rights in a number of ways. When it comes to all aspects of reproductive choice — including birth control access, STI screenings and fertility treatments — lawmakers attempt to defund initiatives. They also create barriers for patients, such as not requiring insurance providers to cover fertility and pregnancy care.
I really can’t believe this shit.
State legislatures generally attack abortion rights with three common strategies: Targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws, term limits on abortion and attempts at telling doctors how to practice medicine — at times even endangering the physical or emotional welfare of patients.
TRAP laws affect the infrastructure physicians need. They often reclassify abortion clinics as ambulatory surgery centers, which requires them to meet different standards for construction and on-site facilities.
The laws may also enact requirements for physicians — insisting that they have admitting privileges at a hospital within a set radius of a clinic — in order to provide abortions. Term limits, like 21-week bans, restrict abortion after a certain point. Parental consent laws, meanwhile, restrict abortion access for minors.
But dictating the practice of medicine is particularly sinister. Most legislators are not physicians. Even fewer have gynecology experience, let alone experience in offering abortion care.
As for the TRAP laws:
More links on dickheads getting involved in women’s issues:
I will end the post with this prank caller that got the best out of the intended targets:
- Staff in Shawnee, OK, received prank call from ‘the fire dept’ on Thursday
- And employees in Coon Rapids, MN, got the same call on Friday
- The caller told Burger King staff the buildings were full of carbon monoxide
- To stop the place exploding, they said, they had to smash all windows
- Employees dutifully smashed everything, left $10,000-worth of damage
- But when they called fire dept to follow up, they found out it was a ‘joke’
I think the best thing to do with that article is to read it and then read the comments.
Enjoy your afternoon, this is an open thread.