Mostly Monday ReadsPosted: October 24, 2022
Good Day Sky Dancers!
It’s a strange day in this country when I’m tweeting Bill Kristol quoting Liz Cheney. But here we are. Your vote really counts more than ever. Be sure you have a plan and means to do it!
This sticker is one of my favorites on my file cabinet of stickers by my desk. I have voted yet, but I will walk up Poland Avenue to the old fire station to vote as I usually do. The poll workers there know that I dedicate my vote to my Grandmothers, who could not vote until they were well into their 30s. I believe these wonderful ladies are there because they grew up when voting black meant Jim Crow laws stopped their parents and grandparents.
I’ve never felt closer to being disenfranchised as I do now. New Orleans has been a safe place to exercise all your rights, but Louisiana is quick to halt that. Nothing was more dismaying to me than passing the uptown Women’s Health Center closed down tight. We cannot take anything for granted anymore.
Vote like your life depends on it because it does!
And nothing says KKK-style voter suppression than this tweet from a Navy Veteran with his grandson asleep in the back seat.
Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk, sermon, and prayer and saving my life and yours …
This is from Bob Woodward and the Washington Post: “The Trump Tapes: 20 interviews that show why he is an unparalleled danger.” It’s about what’s at stake. I may not be able to listen to that sing-songy fountain of ignorance, but I will read the transcripts.
In more than 50 years of reporting, I have never disclosed the raw interviews or full transcripts of my work. But after listening again to the 20 interviews I conducted with President Donald Trump during his last year as chief executive, I have decided to take the unusual step of releasing them. I was struck by how Trump pounded in my ears in a way the printed page cannot capture.
In their totality, these interviews offer an unvarnished portrait of Trump. You hear Trump in his own words, in his own voice, during one of the most consequential years in American history: amid Trump’s first impeachment, the coronavirus pandemic and large racial justice protests.
Much has been written about that period, including by me. But “The Trump Tapes,” my forthcoming audiobook of our interviews, is central to understanding Trump as he is poised to seek the presidency again. We spoke in person in the Oval Office and at Mar-a-Lago, as well as on the phone at varying hours of the day. You cannot separate Trump from his voice.
In the summer of 2020, for example, when the pandemic had killed 140,000 people in the United States, Trump told me: “The virus came along. That’s not my fault. That’s China’s fault.”
Voting all the way down the ticket has never been more critical. My mother’s home state of Missouri shows why. This is from the Springfield News-Leader, written by Nurse Trudy Busch Valentine: “Missouri’s extreme abortion ban is un-American.”
As a nurse, I have helped care for people during the most difficult moments of their lives, including women who had just lost pregnancies. But no matter whose bedside I was at, I knew that every patient deserved the same fundamental thing: the freedom to make their own private health care decisions, including decisions about abortion and birth control.
Tragically, here in Missouri, women and families no longer have that freedom. Just six minutes after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Eric Schmitt became the country’s first attorney general to trigger a near-total abortion ban. Missouri’s law is so extreme that it mandates women and girls who become pregnant through rape or incest stay pregnant. That kind of government overreach is un-American and a violation of all Missourians’ right to privacy and freedom.
As a nurse, mother, and grandmother, I know no one chooses to terminate a pregnancy lightly. It is a heartbreaking and personal decision made with no good alternative: rape survivors recovering from trauma, women with pregnancies that could kill them, and families devastated with news that the fetus is not viable. These are people who deserve privacy and compassion during a gut-wrenching, emotional process. The last thing they and their doctors need is fewer choices, the threat of prosecution, and politicians mandating their health care options. And we must remember Schmitt’s extreme abortion ban especially hurts those among us who have the least — people who can’t afford to take off work and who don’t have resources to get to another state.
If politicians like Eric Schmitt can take away our basic freedom to control our own bodies, what right comes next? Do we want to live in a world where politicians can reach into our private lives and dictate our most private decisions?
Florida is another state where rights are disappearing daily. This is from The Daily Beast. “Florida Puts Raging MAGA Moms on Book-Banning Council.”
In the name of “curriculum transparency,” Florida’s Republican-controlled state government has appointed several anti-gay and anti-mask conspiracy theorists to take charge of a new effort at public schools: banning books.
This hastily assembled censorship council—tasked with retraining public school librarians to abide by new restrictions—is the latest ploy in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ crusade to upend the state’s education system.
But the council was also staffed under suspicious circumstances, with the state Education Department ignoring its own call for official candidates from local school districts and instead filling most of the slots with right-wing activists who have a history of proposing book bans. One was even nominated by a religious activist with close ties to the DeSantis administration a week before the department publicly called for candidates, according to government emails, hinting at secret coordination between them.
“It calls into question the process that the Florida State Board of Education is trying to implement. It raises significant transparency questions,” said Megan Uzzell at Democracy Forward, which obtained those government emails.
While the “parent workgroup” is only getting started, the Education Department’s recent meeting in Orlando last week revealed how the state is positioning itself to spread those controls from school libraries to teachers’ classrooms.
As the meeting ended, Clinton McCkracken, the head of the Orange County teachers union, made a comment to another parent: “I don’t know what to tell my teachers.”
The recent episode began with an Aug. 12 memo from Education Department senior chancellor Jacob Oliva. The memo called for local school districts to nominate “parents of students in K-12 schools for representation on a workgroup”—one charged with creating mandatory “training” that would guide librarians statewide on how to follow new library censorship rules signed into law by Gov. DeSantis earlier this year. School districts had a week to submit the names of qualified nominees.
The Education Department passed on nearly 100 potentially qualified applicants with relevant experience, records show. In Brevard County alone, it ignored the five submissions made by the bipartisan local school board, including the nomination of a former elementary school assistant principal, the director of Eastern Florida State College’s tutoring centers, and the administrator of a local scholarship fund.
One of the worst Republican Candidates in the country is undoubtedly Doug Mastriano “How did Doug Mastriano publish a PhD-earning thesis that critics allege is full of problems? Critics argue Doug Mastriano received a Ph.D. from the University of New Brunswick under questionable circumstances. The school recently opened an independent review, years after academics began flagging his doctorate-earning thesis; Johanna Chisholm investigates.”
The following two stories are from The Independent.
And it’s not just Mr Mastriano’s work as a historian that’s been called out for allegedly moulding narratives to fit his own personal – and political – persuasions. His pursuit of righting the academic history of Sgt York seemed to presage his own race for the Pennsylvania governor’s mansion.
In the months before and after announcing his candidacy for governor, the GOP hopeful has acted as a megaphone for spreading Donald Trump’s Big Lie, taken to social media to amplify QAnon conspiracy theories and dispersed misinformation about Covid-19 all while sitting as an elected official in Pennsylvania.
Should he win in the November midterms, the election-denying candidate has indicated he also plans to upset the very democratic process that made him a state senator.
You may follow live updates on the Trump Crime Organization Trial today. “Trump news – live: Trump Organization trial begins as ex-president rails against ‘puppet for China’ McConnell. Ex-president faces increasing legal pressure on multiple fronts.”
Donald Trump’s business, the Trump Organization, will face trial in New York today on allegations that it helped executives avoid income taxes on their pay. The trial is part of the same case that has ensnared the organization’s CFO, longtime Trump associate Allen Weisselberg.
The trial comes just after he was officially subpoenaed by the January 6 select committee. The former president has been given until 4 November to provide the committee with documents, and it is aiming to take “one or more days of deposition testimony” circa 14 November.
Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney has vowed she will not let him turn his testimony into a “circus”.
Meanwhile, Mr Trump has railed against his favourite target Mitch McConnell, calling the Senate minority leader “old crow” and accusing him of being a “puppet” for China.
I just want them all to go away! Trump needs to be locked up in a place for the criminally insane, along with most of his followers!
Just Vote them into obscurity!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?