Friday Reads: So much Outrage so little Time

Georg Tappert. Carnival, 1930

Good Day Sky Dancers!

The headlines today are so outrageous that I had trouble reading even one of them for awhile.  We have to get rid of Mitch McConnell. This greeted me from Salon and I had to go lie down in bed for awhile to pet the dog. Petting my cats and dogs is getting to be such a comfort ritual for me they all take turns jumping up to see if I’m okay.

“Mitch McConnell rams through six Trump judges in 30 hours after blocking coronavirus aid for months. Planned Parenthood warned that “many” of the judges have “hostile records” toward human rights and abortion.”  Republicans are beholden to White Male Supremacy and a very narrow view of Christianity and the rest of us are held hostage.  This was written by Igor Derysh

The Republican-led Senate confirmed six of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees to lifetime appointments over two days this week, even though it has delayed crucial coronavirus relief since May.

The Senate filled four federal vacancies in California and two in Illinois, Bloomberg Law reported. It is also expected to confirm two additional Illinois judges in short order.

“The Senate has confirmed six of Trump’s judicial nominees in the past 30 hours,” tweeted Vanita Gupta, the president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “These are lifetime appointments that McConnell’s pushing through instead of the HEROES Act & other crucial legislation.”

Three of the judges were appointed to seats covering Los Angeles, while another was appointed to a seat covering San Diego. There are 11 additional nominees to California courts awaiting Senate confirmation.

The Senate additionally confirmed David Dugan and Stephen McGlynn to the Eastern District of Illinois while ending the debate on the nominations of Iain Johnston to the Northern District. The upper chamber is also expected to end debate on the nomination of Franklin Ulyses Valderrama to the Northern District of Illinois.

Three of the judges were appointed to seats covering Los Angeles, while another was appointed to a seat covering San Diego. There are 11 additional nominees to California courts awaiting Senate confirmation.

The Senate additionally confirmed David Dugan and Stephen McGlynn to the Eastern District of Illinois while ending the debate on the nominations of Iain Johnston to the Northern District. The upper chamber is also expected to end debate on the nomination of Franklin Ulyses Valderrama to the Northern District of Illinois.

Advocacy groups sounded the alarm over the confirmations of Dugan and McGlynn, who received support from anti-abortion organizations and signaled their opposition to abortion rights.

“Today’s vote should never have even happened. People are calling on their senators to provide relief from the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recession and the rampant anti-Black violence occurring around the country,” Anisha Singh, the director of judiciary affairs at Planned Parenthood, said in a statement. “And yet, the Senate majority continues to prioritize confirming judges for lifetime appointments — many with hostile records on reproductive and civil rights, including abortion.”

Singh called on the Senate to “immediately halt” upcoming votes, noting that the two judges’ “records demonstrate they are more likely to be threats to people’s health, rights and bodily autonomy.”

Georg Tappert. Creole, 1911

Today’s Republican Party is a pantheon of anti-democratic values. These judges they appoint are the same kinds of goose steppers you’d expect to find in any Banana Republic. From Vox and Ian Millhiser:  “Chief Justice Roberts’s lifelong crusade against voting rights, explained. He has fought to undermine voting rights his entire career.”

John Roberts was 26 years old, and he was outraged that he’d just been outmaneuvered by older and much more experienced political hands.

It was 1981. Roberts had just completed a prestigious clerkship with Justice William Rehnquist — then the most conservative judge to serve on the Supreme Court in decades — and, as an aide to Attorney General William French Smith, Roberts was tasked with making the case against one of the most consequential voting rights laws in the nation’s history.

The House had recently passed legislation extending the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — a seminal civil rights bill that dismantled much of Jim Crow — and shoring up one of its key provisions after a 1980 Supreme Court decision had severely weakened the law. Meanwhile, a filibuster-proof majority of the Senate had co-sponsored the same bill.

Roberts was distraught.

“Something must be done to educate the Senators on the seriousness of this problem,” Roberts wrote his boss, Smith, just a few days before Christmas. In a subsequent memo, he argued that the rapidly advancing bill — which now forms much of the backbone of American voting rights law — was “not only constitutionally suspect, but also contrary to the most fundamental tenants [sic]of the legislative process on which the laws of this country are based.”

Roberts’s early crusade against voting rights ended in failure. Though President Reagan preferred a weaker voting rights law — he once described the Voting Rights Act as “humiliating to the South” — the conservative president eventually bowed to political pressure and signed the legislation Roberts deemed contrary to many of our nation’s “most fundamental” tenets.

But time was on Roberts’s side. He rose within government and within the legal profession until President George W. Bush made him chief justice of the United States in 2005. Roberts is now the most powerful judge in the country. As Congress has grown more and more dysfunctional, the Supreme Court is increasingly the locus of policymaking within the United States.

Georg Tappert. Fest, 1925

What follows in this long read is a good explanation of what Conservative (sic) Republicans have against voting rights even though the last time it passed it had overwhelming bipartisan support and was signed into law by Dubya. But, then came Shelby.

Justice Antonin Scalia gave voice to this frustration during oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder (2013), the Roberts Court case that quashed preclearance. The Voting Rights Act, Scalia claimed, was a “perpetuation of racial entitlement,” and “whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes.”

“I don’t think there is anything to be gained by any Senator to vote against continuation of this act,” Scalia continued. “And I am fairly confident it will be reenacted in perpetuity unless — unless a court can say it does not comport with the Constitution.”

Scalia had just turned 76 when his Court heard Shelby County, and he’d watched his fellow Republicans bow over and over again to liberals. That, in Scalia’s mind, was a failure of democracy. His side had won the presidency and, in some cases, control of Congress. And yet the victor did not collect the spoils.

And so the Supreme Court’s Republican majority stepped up to cure this perceived injustice. Chief Justice Roberts led the charge.

There are more whistle blowers coming forward than ever before, including a few in the Justice Department that are testifying in front of Congress.  Here is FBI Director Christopher Wray warning of Russian Interference Redux.

Plus, there’s this: “The FBI director also broke with Trump’s claim that antifa is a terrorist organization.”  from Politico

FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday described “very active efforts” by Russia to interfere in the 2020 election, primarily by working to damage former Vice President and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Wray said Russians have been using social media, as well as “proxies, state media, online journals” and other vehicles to hurt Biden and what it views as anti-Russian factions in U.S. politics.

Wray’s assessment affirms the findings of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which last month described Russia’s efforts to damage Biden and specifically identified Andriy Derkach, a pro-Russian Ukrainian lawmaker who has met with President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, as an agent of Russia’s influence operations.

Wray’s testimony to the House Homeland Security Committee affirmed that Russia is continuing to take an active role in the 2020 campaign with less than 50 days until Election Day. He offered no new specifics in the early-going of the hearing, but emphasized that the intelligence community has not seen evidence that Russia is reprising its 2016 attempt to target election infrastructure, such as voter databases.

In testimony to the Homeland Security Committee, Wray also diverged from Trump’s claim that “antifa” is a terrorist organization. Rather, Wray said antifa is “more of an ideology or a movement than an organization” and though there has been violence by some who self-identify as antifa, it has not appeared to be part of a central organization.

“Antifa is a real thing,” Wray said. “But it’s not an organization or a structure.”

Under questioning from Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), Wray indicated that white supremacist violence is the largest portion of what he described as the most significant domestic terrorism threat in the country: “racially motivated violent extremism.”

Oh, look, two groups looking to overthrow the US’s form of government are basically the Trump Base and Trump’s Handler Putin. Which brings to me to the music accompanying my art theme today which is, again, German expressionists painting life during the rise of Hitler.

1917 Max Beckmann Autoportrait au foulard rouge

So, the most stunning thing to me this week is that our Attorney General and Head of Federal Law Enforcement has decided to not even hide his fascist and theocratic tendencies. BB had an entire list of Barr’s crazy notions in yesterday’s post. Grinding through them yesterday was one of the most depressing things I have ever done.  The man should be tossed in a padded cell.

And so, after reading all that, this headline made a lot of sense to me. It’s from WAPO: ” The United States is backsliding into autocracy under Trump, scholars warn.  The weakening of democratic values — a path that’s difficult to reverse — has accelerated, according to hundreds of indicators assessed each year.”  This is by Christopher Ingraham.

Three years into the Trump administration, American democracy has eroded to a point that more often than not leads to full-blown autocracy, according to a project that tracks the health of representative government in nations around the world.

The project, called V-Dem, or Varieties of Democracy, is an effort to precisely quantify global democracy at the country level based on hundreds indicators assessed annually by thousands of individual experts. It’s one of several ongoing projects by political scientists that have registered a weakening of democratic values in the United States in recent years.

V-Dem’s findings are bracing: The United States is undergoing “substantial autocratization” — defined as the loss of democratic traits — that has accelerated precipitously under President Trump. This is particularly alarming in light of what the group’s historic data show: Only 1 in 5 democracies that start down this path are able to reverse the damage before succumbing to full-blown autocracy.

Each year, the V-Dem project asks its experts to rate their respective nations on hundreds of measures of democracy, such as the presence of legislative checks on executive power, freedom of personal expression, the civility of political discourse, free and open elections, and executive branch corruption, among others.

The United States is backsliding on all of those measures. “Executive respect for the Constitution is now at the lowest level since 1865,” said Michael Coppedge, a Notre Dame political scientist and one of the project’s chief investigators. “Corruption in the executive branch is basically the worst since Harding.”

Warren G. Harding, whose administration was tainted by corruption and scandal, is routinely ranked among the nation’s worst chief executives

1914 Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Couple de danseur

Keep reading the article. The list is horrifying.

I’m pretty sure Mitchie is off doing his dirty work because already seated judges are busy overturning all kinds of Trumpist things at the state level.  Today, a judge banned a Michigan law making it illegal to drive people to polls which is something churches routinely do for their elderly and homebound down here.  Yesterday, a judge ordered the Post Office to stop and reverse everything it was doing to slow down the mail. 

A federal judge on Thursday blocked controversial changes to the United States postal service, saying they were “a politically motivated attack” that had slowed the nation’s mail and likely would slow the delivery of ballots in the upcoming presidential election.

And, of course we’re back to the time where we just might possibly be purposefully sterilizing women of color in ICE Detention.  This story grows more horrifying by the day too. “AP Exclusive: More migrant women say they didn’t OK surgery”  reported b

Sitting across from her lawyer at an immigration detention center in rural Georgia, Mileidy Cardentey Fernandez unbuttoned her jail jumpsuit to show the scars on her abdomen. There were three small, circular marks.

The 39-year-old woman from Cuba was told only that she would undergo an operation to treat her ovarian cysts, but a month later, she’s still not sure what procedure she got. After Cardentey repeatedly requested her medical records to find out, Irwin County Detention Center gave her more than 100 pages showing a diagnosis of cysts but nothing from the day of the surgery.

“The only thing they told me was: ‘You’re going to go to sleep and when you wake up, we will have finished,’” Cardentey said this week in a phone interview.

Cardentey kept her hospital bracelet. It has the date, Aug. 14, and part of the doctor’s name, Dr. Mahendra Amin, a gynecologist linked this week to allegations of unwanted hysterectomies and other procedures done on detained immigrant women that jeopardize their ability to have children.

An Associated Press review of medical records for four women and interviews with lawyers revealed growing allegations that Amin performed surgeries and other procedures on detained immigrants that they never sought or didn’t fully understand. Although some procedures could be justified based on problems documented in the records, the women’s lack of consent or knowledge raises severe legal and ethical issues, lawyers and medical experts said.

Amin has performed surgery or other gynecological treatment on at least eight women detained at Irwin County Detention Center since 2017, including one hysterectomy, said Andrew Free, an immigration and civil rights lawyer working with other attorneys to investigate medical treatment at the jail. Doctors are helping the attorneys examine new records and more women are coming forward to report their treatment by Amin, Free said.

“The indication is there’s a systemic lack of truly informed and legally valid consent to perform procedures that could ultimately result — intentionally or unintentionally — in sterilization,” he said.

1920 Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Malade dans la nuit

Is this just limited to this one doctor so it is likely fraud of some kind or is it systemic ?

Well, yesterday and today’s news is that the CDC was forced to publish Covid-19 testing guidelines against scientists complaints that were written by the Trumpist Regime and inserted on the site against every one’s advice.  And TWICE now.

The guidance said it was not necessary to test people without symptoms of Covid-19 even if they had been exposed to the virus. It came at a time when public health experts were pushing for more testing rather than less, and administration officials told The Times that the document was a C.D.C. product and had been revised with input from the agency’s director, Dr. Robert Redfield.

But officials told The Times this week that the Department of Health and Human Services did the rewriting and then “dropped” it into the C.D.C.’s public website, flouting the agency’s strict scientific review process.

“That was a doc that came from the top down, from the H.H.S. and the task force,” said a federal official with knowledge of the matter, referring to the White House task force on the coronavirus. “That policy does not reflect what many people at the C.D.C. feel should be the policy.”

And we have Dan Coates and more Generals sounding an alarm..

So with that,  I feel I need to leave you with this:

So, you know the routine!  Be safe!  Be kind and gentle to yourself and others!  Stay home as much as you can!  Check in with us so we know you’re okay!!  We care about you!!!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


29 Comments on “Friday Reads: So much Outrage so little Time”

  1. dakinikat says:

    i don’t even know what to say about this one so I’ll leave it here for you to help me make sense of why we need this? Shouldn’t we just have civics classes like we used to?

    • NW Luna says:

      I posted yesterday about the WaPo article on this. Everyone, get ready for indoctrination classes.

      • dakinikat says:

        The essence of Trump’s Patriotic Education: America is the New Jerusalem of white Protestant Evangelicals and was founded to realize their political dreams as a theocracy; slavery wasn’t such a bad thing after all, maybe we should reinstate it. Donald Trump has been ridiculed over plans for a “patriotic education” commission for American schools, with critics comparing the proposals to Nazi Germany’s Hitler Youth programme. Speaking at what was dubbed the White House Conference on American History, the US president said children had undergone “decades of leftwing indoctrination”, as he set out plans for a “patriotic education” programme. “We’re launching a new pro-American lesson plan for students called [the] 1776 Commission,” he told an audience. “We’re going to teach our children the truth about America.” Twitter users soon mocked the president, with one person comparing his speech at the National Archives to “straight up Nazi rhetoric”.

        from Scott Horton on

        https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-us-education-nazi-germany-hitler-youth-programme-b482696.html

    • NW Luna says:

      Alexandra Petri:

      Good morning, class! Welcome to Patriotic Education! We are going to learn only the things about America that are worth knowing, then stop.

      The country officially kicked off in 1775 … when a group of heroic men sent a letter to the manager of the establishment where they were, complaining about being charged too much for tea.

      From then on, it was smooth sailing. Washington served two terms, which we used to think was the perfect number of terms to serve, but actually it might be okay to serve for life. In 1812, the British came back over to perform some much-needed remodeling on the White House, then left again.

      Four score and five years after the founding, 11 states suddenly came up with a much better flag they thought we should use instead, and so they decided they had to leave the nation immediately. There was no other reason as far as we know, but we have not looked very hard. Some people still think they were right about the flag; you can see it today being flown as many places as possible, even on barns in states that won the war to take it down.

      Abraham Lincoln was the president then, and he did something that was very important to do, and especially at that time, but not quite as much as Donald Trump. Then he sadly lost his life to an assassin’s bullet. This was bittersweet because he knew, as all patriots do, that Second Amendment rights are the most important ones to exercise. Some amendments were passed after the war, including one ending slavery, which was weird because it, again, did not exist in the first place — hence why Mississippi only got around to ratifying the amendment in 2013.

      America continued to be wonderful, as it never wasn’t, until World War I, in which it did a great job under the keen eye of Woodrow Wilson, a man about whom no one need ever be ashamed. Then we had a Depression, which was Great and which we are trying to see if we can have again. Then we entered World War II, the much-awaited sequel to World War I, where we did everything right except electing Franklin D. Roosevelt, who tried his best to fill this nation with socialism. After winning the war, we continued to win, and we have not stopped winning to this day.

  2. dakinikat says:

  3. dakinikat says:

    BREAKING: The White House is preparing a shortlist of candidates to replace Christopher Wray as FBI Director.

  4. Mary Brown says:

    I can’t even. It’s so bad that this summer I’ve enjoyed getting away in the woods without phone service or WIFI. Except now everywhere is filled with toxic smoke or it’s burning and crazy people still deny climate change. Where are we going and what are we doing in this handbasket?

    • dakinikat says:

      I have no idea … reallly, I’m just trying to figure out how so many people got taken in by this nut case and why they think he’s not fucking their lives up.

    • dakinikat says:

      It’s like the country is more full of Darlas than we ever imagined

    • NW Luna says:

      I’ve frustrated at not leaving the house due to Unhealthy, Very Unhealthy, or Hazardous Air Quality. Can’t walk outside in the city or in the backcountry due to the toxic smoke. Daily headaches.

      And this about the state of our country, which only validates my fears: Only 1 in 5 democracies that start down this path are able to reverse the damage before succumbing to full-blown autocracy.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    This Vanity Fair article about how Jared Kushner f’d up the coronavirus response is wild!

    “That’s Their Problem”: How Jared Kushner Let the Markets Decide America’s COVID-19 Fate

    First-person accounts of a tense meeting at the White House in late March suggest that President Trump’s son-in-law resisted taking federal action to alleviate shortages and help Democratic-led New York. Instead, he enlisted a former roommate to lead a Consultant State to take on the Deep State, with results ranging from the Eastman Kodak fiasco to a mysterious deal to send ventilators to Russia.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Kushner, seated at the head of the conference table, in a chair taller than all the others, was quick to strike a confrontational tone. “The federal government is not going to lead this response,” he announced. “It’s up to the states to figure out what they want to do.”

      One attendee explained to Kushner that due to the finite supply of PPE, Americans were bidding against each other and driving prices up. To solve that, businesses eager to help were looking to the federal government for leadership and direction.

      “Free markets will solve this,” Kushner said dismissively. “That is not the role of government.”

      The same attendee explained that although he believed in open markets, he feared that the system was breaking. As evidence, he pointed to a CNN report about New York governor Andrew Cuomo and his desperate call for supplies.

      “That’s the CNN bullshit,” Kushner snapped. “They lie.”

      According to another attendee, Kushner then began to rail against the governor: “Cuomo didn’t pound the phones hard enough to get PPE for his state…. His people are going to suffer and that’s their problem.”

  6. NW Luna says:

    We know that asymptomatic people are high risk to spread the infection.

    Update: CDC reverses controversial guidance, saying tests are for anyone who contacts someone with covid-19

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday reversed a heavily criticized guidance it issued last month about who should be tested for the novel coronavirus.

    The agency updated its recommendation to call for testing anyone — including people without symptoms — who has been in close contact with someone diagnosed with covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.

  7. dakinikat says:

  8. dakinikat says:

  9. bostonboomer says:

    We’re screwed. Ruth Bader Ginzburg has died.