Wednesday Reads: “Shut the hell up.”Posted: May 3, 2023 Filed under: A thread for Ranting, abortion rights, birth control, children, democracy is threatened, morning reads, open thread, Political and Editorial Cartoons, Republican politics, the GOP, We are so F'd | Tags: Texas is fucked 15 Comments
I have to start with this:
From the link:
One Wednesday in mid-April, Harris removed her headphones and heard the younger women shouting through their cell doors. That in itself wasn’t unusual, but the conversation soon had Harris at her own door. They were giving advice about avoiding pregnancy—and all of their advice was wrong.
“You gotta let him in yo butthole before yo biscuit and be a toaster strudel, not a twinkie,” they shouted to a woman who was scheduled for release within a few months.
Translation: To avoid pregnancy, a woman should have anal sex before vaginal sex. She should also be sure that the man ejaculated on her, not inside her.
Harris had been a nurse before her incarceration. Alarmed at the egregiously wrong advice, she went to her door to make sure that the women were armed with facts rather than myths that would lead to unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.
So…Harris began to talk to the women, and set them straight:
She started with sex education, and then she moved on to talk about consent, trying to explain what it was—and what it wasn’t. She wasn’t as successful at that, she told The Nation. Many of the young women had already been sexually exploited by adult men in their short lives, she said, but because they had accepted favors or items, or because the person had not forced them into sex, they believed they had consented.
Then, a woman asked about so-called “partial birth abortion,” a nonmedical phrase the anti-abortion movement created to stigmatize later abortion care.
“There’s no such thing,” Harris told them. She explained that most abortions are now medication abortions, meaning that a person need not undergo a procedural abortion to terminate their pregnancy.
That was what drew the ire of the guard on duty—a young man in his early 20s whom Harris had never noticed before. But that day, he made his presence—and his views about abortion—known.
From her cell, Harris could see in only one direction. She did not see the man during the first part of her impromptu sex education discussion. But once she began dispelling myths about abortion, he stormed into view, yelling at her to shut up and threatening not only a disciplinary ticket for violating prison rules but even a new criminal charge, which could lead to additional prison time.
In response, the younger women cursed him out, even telling the officer that he was a “partial birth abortion.”
The officer took Harris’s identification card to write a disciplinary ticket and he threatened to file a new criminal charge against her, Harris said. After he stormed off, Harris began making phone calls from her prison-issued tablet to find out if the state had passed any post-Dobbs laws that might allow new charges to be brought against her.
“The legislature has not passed a law that criminalizes speaking about abortion,” Sara Ainsworth, the senior legal and policy director of If/When/How. Even Texas’s SB 8, which prohibits abortion after six weeks and allows individuals to file civil lawsuits against anyone who “aids and abets” an abortion, does not criminalize abortion itself or talking about abortion.
But, Ainsworth continued, “it’s not surprising that someone is misstating the law and using it to threaten someone else when so many people are confused.”
Can you fucking believe this shit?
From this Yahoo! / Jezebel Link:
To be clear, what Harris did is not illegal in any state. While some states like Texas and South Carolina have floated bills to criminalize “aiding and abetting abortion” and prohibit internet providers from hosting websites with information about self-managed abortion, no laws currently criminalize talking about it. Nonetheless, there’s an overarching culture of confusion surrounding abortion rights post-Roe, which has been exploited by anti-abortion activists—and now, apparently, prisons—to punish people and violate their rights. Local police departments have long exploited confusion and misinformation that equates self-managed abortion with feticide to criminalize pregnant people and those who help them.
Access to sexual health resources like abortion, and even information about these resources, has always been mired in barriers in prisons, where some states even continue to permit prisons to shackle pregnant incarcerated people. Even before Roe fell, one study showed about 70% of incarcerated people didn’t realize they still had a right to abortion. Despite having this right, most prisons made it impossible to access: A study showed the two-thirds of prisons that allow abortions require the pregnant person to pay for all associated costs—an impossible feat considering some prisons pay incarcerated people just $0.08 per hour for their labor.
Harris told The Nation she believes the prison is using her to send a message to other incarcerated people to “shut the hell up.” That sounds about right, to me.
In another newsworthy story from Texass…
No, that ain’t no fucking joke…
Read more details at the Vanity Fair article above.
And if that isn’t enough to make you think Texas is out of hand:
Now the cartoons, via Cagle:
Should have some media wolves in there as well.
This is an open thread.
Finally Friday Reads: A Neoconfederacy of Elephant-riding Corrupt DuncesPosted: April 14, 2023 Filed under: A thread for Ranting, abortion rights, American Fascists, Donald Trump, double-speak, fundamentalist Christians, Psychopaths in charge, Right Wing Angst, Uncle Clarence Thomas, War on Women, White Christian Nationalism, white nationalists 13 Comments
Good Day, Sky Dancers!
So what does a Florida-based Dotard Ex-President have in common with a Massachusetts-based Computer Geeky Junior Airman? They both have a need to share Top-Secret Documents to impress their friends.
The biggest difference is that the Geek was frog-marched into court and arrested for posting them on Discord. He was charged under the Espionage Act. The Dotard is still at large, and likely so are some Top Secret Documents. We know he flaunted them around The Donny Dotard Clubhouse, but what other things happened with them? There are so many questions about our classified documents processes now that we’re an international embarrassment.
There’s other news too. Ron DeSantis quietly–and in the dead of night– signed a six-week ban on abortion in Florida. Florida used to have abortion access making the South a death zone for fertile women. Attorney General Garland has asked the Supreme Court to block the order by the Texas Grand Inquisitor on the status of mifepristone. Regulatory chaos is likely to result in the FDA and could spread to other agencies, given the implications of the judge’s lunatic rationale. It’s the one day you can be happy there is such a thing as Big Pharma. The manufacturer of the pill has also filed for an immediate stay. We’re on Supreme Court Watch now. If they do nothing, the chaos will start at midnight with this decision and the conflicting one from Washington State. All of these restrictions are highly unpopular with voters.
Oh, and have I mentioned Uncle Clarence Thomas sold his mother’s house to his billionaire buddy without reporting it, so he broke the law? She still lives in the house, and her new landlord takes care of the place.
Welcome to the Neoconfederacy of Dunces or, as JJ mentioned yesterday, the Dawning of the Age of Idiocracy.
This one comes pretty directly out of some weirdo world. This is from Hans Nichols, writing for AXIOS. “Conservatives plot text warnings on “woke” products.” Yes, this does seem like a direct assault on the first amendment rights of businesses granted by Scalia et al. not that long ago.
A conservative group is offering a new service that texts “Woke Alerts” straight to the phones of grocery shoppers who want to know which brands are accused of taking political positions that are offensive to the right.
So, you can see that we have so much to write about this week that we’re torn between leaving something uncovered or quoting so much we run up the word counts. And, of course, JJ shows us that the political cartoon crowd has a lot of fodder.
So, there are a lot of links up top. Let me just highlight a few things.
Here is more detail on the Supreme Court Watch for the ruling on mifepristone. This is from NBC News.” The Justice Department and the drugmaker are asking the Supreme Court to block the abortion pill ruling. The Biden administration and Danco Laboratories want to freeze a court decision that curbs access to the abortion pill mifepristone.”
The Biden administration on Friday asked the Supreme Court to block part of a court decision that prevents pregnant women from obtaining the key abortion drug mifepristone by mail.
Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, representing the Food and Drug Administration, urged the court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, to put on hold the entirety of a decision issued by Texas-based U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk that handed a sweeping victory to abortion opponents.
“This application concerns unprecedented lower court orders countermanding FDA’s scientific judgment and unleashing regulatory chaos by suspending the existing FDA-approved conditions of use for mifepristone,” Prelogar wrote in court papers.
Danco Laboratories, which makes Mifeprex, the brand version of the pill, filed a similar request on Friday.
Danco said it would be “irreparably harmed” if the decision goes into effect because it “will be unable to both conduct its business nationwide and comply with its legal obligations.”
This is the latest set of witnesses to discuss Trump’s Classified Documents theft. This is from the New York Times. “Witnesses Asked About Trump’s Handling of Map With Classified Information. The map is just one element of the Justice Department’s inquiry into former President Donald Trump’s possession of sensitive documents and whether he obstructed justice in seeking to hold onto them.”
Federal investigators are asking witnesses whether former President Donald J. Trump showed off to aides and visitors a map he took with him when he left office that contains sensitive intelligence information, four people with knowledge of the matter said.
The map has been just one focus of the broad Justice Department investigation into Mr. Trump’s handling of classified documents after he departed the White House.
The nature of the map and the information it contained is not clear. But investigators have questioned a number of witnesses about it, according to the people with knowledge of the matter, as the special counsel overseeing the Justice Department’s Trump-focused inquiries, Jack Smith, examines the former president’s handling of classified material after leaving office and weighs charges that could include obstruction of justice.
One person briefed on the matter said investigators have asked about Mr. Trump showing the map while aboard a plane. Another said that, based on the questions they were asking, investigators appeared to believe that Mr. Trump showed the map to at least one adviser after leaving office.
A third person with knowledge of the investigation said the map might also have been shown to a journalist writing a book. The Washington Post has previously reported that investigators have asked about Mr. Trump showing classified material, including maps, to political donors.
The question of whether Mr. Trump was displaying sensitive material in his possession after he lost the presidency and left office is crucial as investigators try to reconstruct what Mr. Trump was doing with boxes of documents that went with him to his Florida residence and private club, Mar-a-Lago.
Among the topics investigators have been focused on is precisely when Mr. Trump was at the club last year. In particular, they were interested in whether he remained at Mar-a-Lago to look at boxes of material that were still stored there before Justice Department counterintelligence officials seeking their return came to visit in early June, according to two people familiar with the questions.
Hannah Knowles writes on “How DeSantis backed a six-week abortion ban — while barely talking about it. The Florida governor went from signing a 15-week ban last year to signing a six-week ban late at night on Thursday.”
The governor’s quiet embrace of the six-week ban reflects his team’s political calculations heading into 2024, as he gears up for a presidential primary where hard-line activists and voters wield influence. It underlines the continued pressure in the GOP for politicians to embrace tighter laws — even as numerous Republicans, including some DeSantis allies, worry that abortion bans have helped sink their candidates in critical general elections. And it highlights DeSantis’s longtime reluctance to make abortion a signature part of his public profile, though he has enacted major changes to laws on the procedure.
“The numbers show that Florida is a destination” for abortion, said Chad Davis, a candidate for the state House who worked for ex-state senator Kelli Stargel, the sponsor of the 15-week ban. “That’s an embarrassment to him.”
DeSantis has generally avoided talking about abortion, even as he tours the country touting other legislation he’s signed. Rather than roll out the six-week bill as a major agenda item, he gave vague endorsements: “I’m willing to sign great life legislation,” he told one reporter who put him on the spot. A six-week ban has proved divisive in his orbit, with some donors strongly opposed and other Republicans eager to simply move on.
President Biden has put out a statement on the arrest of the Leaker and his plans to review the classified documents processes. Not let’s see hin do something about getting White Christian Nationalists out of the Military.
I’ll leave you with this from the High Priestess of QAnon.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Sunday Reads: Maybe we should call it, Embryonic Cardiac Activity?Posted: July 24, 2022 Filed under: A thread for Ranting, abortion rights, birth control, Discrimination against women, Donald Trump, January 6 Committee Public Hearings, Joe Manchin, Journalism, legislation, morning reads, open thread, PLUB Pro-Life-Until-Birth, Political and Editorial Cartoons, Reproductive Health, Reproductive Justice, Reproductive Rights, Republican Code Words and Concepts, the GOP, War on Women, Women's Healthcare | Tags: Georgia Fetal Cardiac Activity Law 18 Comments
Hello…and good morning.
…as I’ve watched media coverage of abortion rights in America after the demise of Roe v. Wade, and as I’ve watched conservative politicians and interest groups pen anti-abortion legislation, it’s became clear that the American anti-abortion movement has been at the forefront of redefining reality — and that they’ve succeeded in radically reshaping our understanding of human life, pregnancy, and parenthood to be far outside of the bounds of scientific consensus, of common sense, and of anything human beings have believed for most of human history.
Read the rest of the thread at the link above…but here’s some more thoughts on the “heartbeat” laws. Here in Georgia, many Abortion Activists are referring to these draconian laws as “Fetal Cardiac Activity” Laws, but I think even that is a bit too friendly. It should be called out for what they are…Embryonic Cardiac Activity Laws! because embryos don’t have hearts.
…obstetricians say the term “fetal heartbeat” is misleading, and that this scientific misunderstanding, among countless others, may contribute to negative public opinion toward abortion.
To wit: though pulsing cells can be detected in embryos as early as six weeks, this rhythm — detected by a doctor, via ultrasound — cannot be called a “heartbeat,” because embryos don’t have hearts. What is detectable at or around six weeks can more accurately be called “cardiac activity,” says Robyn Schickler, OB/GYN and fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health. The difference between “cardiac activity” and “heartbeat” may seem linguistically minimal, but Schickler and others argue otherwise. At this stage, she says, what doctors can detect is essentially communication between a group of what will eventually become cardiac cells.
“From very early on, different cells are programmed to do different things for what is eventually a fully functioning human body,” says Jennifer Kerns, an OB/GYN and professor at the University of California in San Francisco. “These are cells that are programmed with electrical activity, which will eventually control the heart rate — they send a signal telling the heart to contract, once there is a heart.” It is this early activity which ultrasounds detect — not a heartbeat.
In fact, “fetus” isn’t technically accurate at six weeks of gestation either, says Kerns, since “embryo” is the scientific term for that stage of development. Obstetricians don’t usually start using the term “fetus” until at least eight weeks into the pregnancy.
But “fetus” may have an appeal that the word “embryo” does not, Kern says: “The term ‘fetus’ certainly evokes images of a well-formed baby, so it’s advantageous to use that term instead of ’embryo’ — which may not be as easy for the public to feel strongly about, since embryos don’t look like a baby,” she explains. “So those terms are very purposefully used [in these laws] — and are also misleading.”
“It is very common to use non-medical language to publicly talk about a medical procedure,” said David Cohen, professor of law at Drexel University’s Kline School of Law.“The law needs precision in order to know exactly what is being regulated,” Cohen said. “So in medicine it would be by using medical terminology.”
Cackovic, the fetal medicine specialist, said the current “heartbeat laws,” are based only on “our amazing technological advances” that allow detection of the earliest signs of embryonic cardiac activity, “and nothing else.”
On to the cartoons:
Yes, I know it is a bit heavy on Georgia stuff…
So this is the actual cover:
One last link, and yes it’s a Georgia one:
That’s all for today, this is an open thread.
US ‘Independence’ Day: This is not a drill. We have less Freedom Today than in 2016Posted: July 4, 2022 Filed under: 2016 elections, 2021 Insurrection, 2024 Elections, A thread for Ranting, abortion rights, academia, American Gun Fetish, Black Lives Matter, black women's reproductive health, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Climate change, Feminists, Hillary Clinton: Her Campaign for All of Us, History, January 6 Committe 29 Comments
Freedom’s Ring is faint and disappearing in the USA!
State after state is signing laws to criminalize abortion under all circumstances making women chattel of the state. Many women with ectopic pregnancies are left to suffer until death’s door is nearly open on the advice of lawyers. Republicans with federal appointments and offices are trying to make that a Total Abortion Ban Federal Law.
Guns have more rights in this country than women and children. The Supreme Court is rewriting law after law with little more justification than they were put there by the Federalist Society to get the job done, they now hold a supermajority and their misguided religious fervor will rule every decision. Police can overlook stating Miranda Rights. The EPA can’t oversee pollution releases in carbon-producing companies This is what the post-2016 election era has brought us. We are living in a Republican dystopia and it’s getting worse.
Every American officeholder should announce that they will never appoint anyone recommended by the extremist group funded by the Koch brothers and others to any judicial appointment. Every candidate needs to announce their intent.
I would suggest you read a compelling book about Germany called The Death of Democracy: Hitler’s Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic published in 2018 and written by Benjamin Carter Hett. As you ask yourselves what Germans in the years of 1933-1934 should’ve, would’ve, could’ve been doing finish by asking yourselves what should we be doing now?
To say that Hitler was elected is too simple. He would never have come to power if Germany’s leading politicians had not responded to a spate of populist insurgencies by trying to co-opt him, a strategy that backed them into a corner from which the only way out was to bring the Nazis in. Hett lays bare the misguided confidence of conservative politicians who believed that Hitler and his followers would willingly support them, not recognizing that their efforts to use the Nazis actually played into Hitler’s hands. They had willingly given him the tools to turn Germany into a vicious dictatorship.
Benjamin Carter Hett is a leading scholar of twentieth-century Germany and a gifted storyteller whose portraits of these feckless politicians show how fragile democracy can be when those in power do not respect it. He offers a powerful lesson for today, when democracy once again finds itself embattled and the siren song of strongmen sounds ever louder.
Realize that Republicans at all levels are using these same techniques. We have “spates” of right-wing insurgencies and they appear only helpless and enabling to stop the rise of White Nationalism. Patriot Front marched around the Freedom Trail in downtown Boston this weekend. The Patriot Front also showed up around Independence day in Philadelphia in 2021. The group was run off by residents. They were arrested in Idaho last month. They are a radical white Christian nationalist group. This is not normal. They’re showing up everywhere.
From Axios: “What we know about the Patriot Front march through Boston.”
Driving the news: Police received a call around 12:30 p.m. that a group of protesters were marching through the city, though their route was unknown, CNN reported.
- Many of the marchers wore khaki pants and dark-colored polo shirts, with cloth coverings over their lower faces, along with sunglasses and caps.
State of play: The group approached a rental truck parked near the Haymarket metro stop and unloaded shields and a number of different flags, according to the Boston Herald.
- Among them were U.S. flags, with some being flown upside down and others showing just the 13 stars of the original U.S. colonies. Other flags displayed versions of the symbol used by Benito Mussolini’s National Fascist Party, per the Herald.
- Patriot Front flags were also flown, per CNN.
- Boston police received a report around 1:25 p.m. of a Black man being injured in a confrontation with Patriot Front marchers.
- The man told police that he was pushed around, knocked to the ground, and assaulted by members of the group, suffering several lacerations. He was later taken to Tufts Medical Center, the Herald reported.
- Around 1:30 p.m. the group left the scene via the metro system after packing their materials into a rental truck, per the Herald.
The big picture: City Council President Ed Flynn wrote in a letter Saturday that members of neo-Nazi groups have “continued to make their presence known” in Boston in recent months.
- In February they targeted doctors working to address racial disparities in healthcare at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and appeared at the city’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade in March, Flynn wrote.
- In June, 31 members of the Patriot Front were arrested in Idaho after being caught planning to riot at an LGBTQ Pride event.
What to watch: The Boston Police Department is conducting a civil rights investigation into the incident and no arrests have yet been made, per the Herald.
What they’re saying: “The disgusting hate of white supremacists has no place here. [Especially] when so many of our rights are under attack, we will not normalize intimidation by bigots,” Boston Mayor Michelle Wu tweeted on Saturday.
They marched with anti-abortion protestors in the loop in Chicago in January.
I will never go to Florida again. It’s become the fascist cookbook for laws that could be enforced by the White Nationalist Inquisition. They’ve come for me again. Every student and especially professor at any legitimate university or college has what is called Academic Freedom. It no longer exists in Florida
The concept of academic freedom is based on the idea that the free exchange of ideas on campus is essential to good education. Specifically, academic freedom is the right of faculty members, acting both as individuals and as a collective, to determine without outside interference: (1) the college curriculum; (2) course content; (3) teaching; (4) student evaluation; and (5) the conduct of scholarly inquiry. These rights are supported by two institutional practices—shared governance and tenure (see below.) Academic freedom ensures that colleges and universities are “safe havens” for inquiry, places where students and scholars can challenge the conventional wisdom of any field—art, science, politics or others.
From the link above: “Florida Gov signs law requiring students, faculty be asked their political beliefs.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Tuesday signed legislation mandating public colleges and universities survey students and faculty about their beliefs in an effort to promote intellectual diversity on campuses.
“We obviously want our universities to be focused on critical thinking, academic rigor,” DeSantis said during a news conference Tuesday, according to the Naples Daily News.
“We do not want them as basically hotbeds for stale ideology,” he said.
“It used to be thought that a university campus was a place where you’d be exposed to a lot of different ideas,” DeSantis said. “Unfortunately, now the norm is, these are more intellectually repressive environments,” he added.
Under House Bill 233, surveys would be conducted annually on campuses to assess viewpoint diversity and intellectual freedom, and determine “the extent to which competing ideas and perspectives are presented,” and whether students and faculty “feel free to express beliefs and viewpoints on campus and in the classroom.”
I would hate to hear what DeSantis thinks is “stale ideology”. Academic freedom supports the free exchange of ideas but basically ensuring your faculty has an agenda you approve of is just about as fascist as you can get. Throw out theory and replace it with whatever. Does this mean Med Schools must teach that a clump of vibrating cells is a heartbeat when there are no valves present in a fetus at that point in development? How about me? We all live in mixed market economies. Capitalism, Socialism, Communism, whatever are political ideologies and are discussed just as philosophical takes on how to apply data and theory. They’re abstracts only. There, I just got in trouble because I use market economies and dump the philosophical vantages for the idea of doing what works for each individual market. Capitalism is a Marxist Construct. Are my views stale or is he just plain ignorant?
ESPN is not the place where you’d expect a headline or thought piece like this one by Howard Bryant:“Baseball, barbecue and losing freedom this Fourth of July”.
Last month, Major League Baseball and its partners again released Independence Day-themed baseball hats that each of the 30 teams will wear. This year’s version features a flush of stars across the front against a blue and white backdrop, offset with a shaggy shock of red. The Toronto Blue Jays, located in a country that does not celebrate American independence, were also issued the caps — even though the Canadian flag does not contain stars nor the color blue. Public outrage prompted a redesign of the Toronto caps. Next is the USA-themed socks, the marketing, the freedom-inspired spikes, gloves, wristbands, the inevitable paeans to the armed forces.
By now, we’re all numb to the spectacle. At least publicly, the emphasis on the Fourth of July shifted from family to symbols years ago — Sept. 11 did that. Two decades of paid patriotism has made it ever harder to center the Fourth on reconnecting with your favorite aunts and uncles. No backyard barbecue and badminton game could compete with 20 years of military tributes and unquestioned nationalism. You think back to Righetti. Cosmetically, there was nothing about that July 4, 1983, that said patriotism. All Yankee Stadium said that day 39 years ago was baseball. Ninety-four degrees. Sox-Yankees. The Stadium looked as it did every other day. The crowd came because it was July 4, a Monday day game — a great day for baseball and family — and, along with Bat Day, the biggest giveaway day of the year: Yankee Cap Day. You smile a little at the victory in that, because only a few decades earlier, the Yankees were most resistant to a brilliant piece of marketing. In the 1950s, the Yankees did not want fans wearing Yankees caps. George Weiss, the Yankees’ general manager at the time, thought a million New York kids wearing the team cap cheapened the brand. Yankees hats were a piece of a professional uniform. They were for players, not fans.
Grilling, baseball and fireworks, first replaced by symbols — and now by a country tearing itself completely apart. July 4, 2022, falls in the midst of devastation. It is Independence Day in America with independence under current and relentless assault. From Miranda rights to the environment, to the separation of church and state, to guns — so many guns — people are reeling. The U.S. Supreme Court has run a chain saw through what two generations of Americans had known to be the legal baselines of their lives. Tens of millions of women today do not feel freedom and certainly are not celebrating independence. The people who can become pregnant who feel celebratory toward the Court may do so from the victory of their position, but it nevertheless remains true that the power of choice — and the right to privacy — has been taken from all of them.
There’s not a fine line between honoring and disrespecting the flag, but Trumperz doesn’t appear to know that. If you want to see what a cult look likes take a look at this Guardian piece: “Trump supporters: what they wear – in pictures.” It’s frankly scary and depressing at the same time while being terrifically disrespectful to the flag.
Here’s a video from Ken Burns published at the New York Times. America Is Failing Refugees, and Itself/ For his 1985 documentary about the Statue of Liberty, the filmmaker Ken Burns interviewed two Jewish boys sitting on a bench in New York City. They were twins who had fled Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union, with their father.”
Also from The New York Times and Peter Baker: “New Insights Into Trump’s State of Mind on Jan. 6 Chip Away at Doubts. Former President Donald J. Trump has weathered scandals by keeping his intentions under wraps, but recent testimony paints a stark portrait of a man willing to do almost anything to hang onto power.”
He was not speaking metaphorically. It was not an offhand comment. President Donald J. Trump had every intention of joining a mob of supporters he knew to be armed and dangerous as it marched to the Capitol. And there had even been talk of marching into the House chamber himself to disrupt Congress from ratifying his election defeat.
For a year and a half, Mr. Trump has been shielded by obfuscations and mischaracterizations, benefiting from uncertainty about what he was thinking on Jan. 6, 2021. If he truly believed the election had been stolen, if he genuinely expected the gathering at the Capitol would be a peaceful protest, the argument went, then could he be held accountable, much less indicted, for the mayhem that ensued?
But for a man who famously avoids leaving emails or other trails of evidence of his unspoken motives, any doubts about what was really going through Mr. Trump’s mind on that day of violence seemed to have been eviscerated by testimony presented in recent weeks by the House committee investigating the Capitol attack — especially the dramatic appearance last week of a 26-year-old former White House aide who offered a chilling portrait of a president willing to do almost anything to hang onto power.
So, this is not a drill. This is real. I think it’s time we dig into a little Weimar Republic History and see where the Germans got it wrong and then vow to get it right.
Happy Independence Day even though we are less independent today than we were when Hillary told us during her campaign that all of this was bound to happen.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Monday Reads: Theocratic Supreme Court Suppresses Religious Freedom and democracyPosted: June 27, 2022 Filed under: A thread for Ranting, religious extremists, Reproductive Health, Reproductive Justice, Reproductive Rights | Tags: Forced Birth, Forced Prayer 30 Comments
It’s Monday Sky Dancers! Hide your wives and daughters!
The Supreme Inquisitors of the United States have released more decisions that allow their religion to have an outsized role in our supposedly secular democracy founded solidly on the separation of church and state. They’re doing that by dissolving the state and its protection of minorities.
Now, we all have to endure egoistic displays of piety in schools from public servants. Gorsuch wrote this abomination of a decision. From The New York Times: “Supreme Court Sides With Coach Over Prayers on 50-Yard Line.” As the great-grandaughter of a Methodist Circuit rider in Kansas, and a former nice little Methodist choir director and Sunday School Teacher, I’d just like to know why they don’t read their Bibles? This is straight from Matthew 6:5-6.
5“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
This isn’t even something like an outdoor wedding, blessing some building or a group of pets, or even doing an outside service. This is fucking football. What perfect being wouldn’t find that laughable? How is causing bodily harm to another person and running around with a ball anything a deity would be concerned about?
Joseph Kennedy, a former high school football coach in Bremerton, Wash., had a constitutional right to pray on the field after his team’s games, the justices ruled.
The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a high school football coach had a constitutional right to pray at the 50-yard line after his team’s games.
The vote was 6 to 3, with the court’s three liberal members in dissent.
The case pitted the rights of government workers to free speech and the free exercise of their faith against the Constitution’s prohibition of government endorsement of religion and the ability of public employers to regulate speech in the workplace. The decision was in tension with decades of Supreme Court precedents that forbade pressuring students to participate in religious activities.
The case concerned Joseph Kennedy, an assistant coach at a public high school in Bremerton, Wash., near Seattle. For eight years, Mr. Kennedy routinely offered prayers after games, with students often joining him. He also led and participated in prayers in the locker room, a practice he later abandoned and did not defend in the Supreme Court.
Just so you remember the stare decisis this over turns:
Over the last 60 years, the Supreme Court has rejected prayer in public schools, at least when it was officially required or part of a formal ceremony like a high school graduation. As recently as 2000, the court ruled that organized prayers led by students at high school football games violated the First Amendment’s prohibition of government establishment of religion.
“The delivery of a pregame prayer has the improper effect of coercing those present to participate in an act of religious worship,” Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the majority.
These six inquisitors have no shame.
And the facts about Abortion from the New England Journal of Medicine.
Experience around the world has demonstrated that restricting access to legal abortion care does not substantially reduce the number of procedures, but it dramatically reduces the number of safe procedures, resulting in increased morbidity and mortality. Millions of persons in states lacking protections for abortion care are also likely to be denied access to medication-induced abortions. It may be difficult for many Americans in 2022 to fully appreciate how complicated, stressful, and expensive, if even attainable, their most private and intimate decisions will become, now that Roe has been struck down. A recent New York Times article recounted the experiences of women, now in their 60s and 70s, who sought abortions before Roe.5 They described humiliating circumstances, unsafe procedures literally performed in back alleys, and the deep shame and stigma they endured. Common complications of illegal procedures included injury to the reproductive tract requiring surgical repair, induction of infections resulting in infertility, systemic infections, organ failure, and death.6 We now seem destined to relearn those lessons at the expense of human lives.
Without federal protection, recent state laws curtailing or eliminating the right to abortion care will deny Americans’ reproductive autonomy and create an Orwellian dystopia. Examples are the Oklahoma law enacted on May 25, 2022, that declares life to begin at fertilization and the Texas bill that went into effect on September 1, 2021, which empowers third parties to bring civil suits and collect damages against persons who perform, aid, or abet abortions. Defendants in such suits will bear their legal costs, while plaintiffs are indemnified against countersuits for bringing groundless actions. Use of postcoital contraception, either hormonal contraception or placement of an intrauterine device, could be equated with abortion and prosecuted; some jurisdictions (e.g., Mississippi) are already considering such actions. A single act of coitus not timed with respect to the menstrual cycle has a 3% probability of causing conception.7 After conception, approximately 14 days elapse before chorionic gonadotropin reaches detectable levels in maternal blood. Approximately 30% of recognized pregnancies result in miscarriages. Thus, in some jurisdictions, people could be prosecuted for aborting a pregnancy by using postcoital contraception, despite a 98% probability that their actions did not cause an abortion, but there is no way to prove or disprove that they were pregnant.
The Supreme Inquisitors will kill women and more. Every Governor who lets these laws go through has blood on their hands. But hey, isn’t that what their practice of Christianity is all about? Controlling others and not themselves?
NPR has the results of a poll today: “Poll: Majorities oppose Supreme Court’s abortion ruling and worry about other rights.” The analysis is by Domenico Montanaro.
By a 56%-to-40% margin, respondents oppose the court’s decision, including 45% who strongly oppose it.
Almost 9-in-10 Democrats and a slim majority of independents (53%) are against the decision. Three-quarters of Republicans, on the other hand, support it.
There is a massive split by education – 69% of college graduates oppose the decision while those without degrees are split. Half of whites without degrees support the decision, while two-thirds of whites with college degrees oppose it.
A majority of men and women are against the decision, though a slightly higher percentage of women oppose it (59% vs. 54%).
Along racial lines, 60% of non-whites and 54% of whites oppose the decision. (There were too few people surveyed to break out individual racial groups any further without margins of error getting too high.)
By a 57%-to-36% margin, respondents said the decision was mostly based on politics as opposed to the law. And by a 56%-to-41% margin are concerned that the overturning of Roe will be used by the Supreme Court to reconsider past rulings that protect contraception, same-sex relationships, and same-sex marriage.
Just 39% said they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the Supreme Court; 58% said they have not very much or no confidence at all in the institution. That’s a low in the poll
My friends in Europe keep telling me we have to get it into law like they did. I’m beginning to think that this is our only route but just consider how long it will take to get rid of those state-level Republicans as well as those in safe, federal gerrymandered districts.
Here’s a take from The Guardian and Stephan Marche: “With the end of Roe, the US edges closer and closer to civil war. The question is no longer whether there will be a civil conflict in America. The question is how the sides will divide, and who will prevail.”
The cracks in the foundations of the United States are widening, rapidly and on several fronts. The overturning of Roe v Wade has provoked a legitimacy crisis no matter what your politics.
For the right, the leaking of the draft memo last month revealed the breakdown of bipartisanship and common purpose within the institution. For the left, it demonstrated the will of dubiously selected Republican justices to overturn established rights that have somewhere near 70% to 80% political support.
Accelerating political violence, like the attack in Buffalo, increasingly blurs the line between the mainstream political conservative movement and outright murderous insanity. The question is no longer whether there will be a civil conflict in the United States. The question is how the sides will divide, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and how those strengths and weaknesses will determine the outcome.
The right wing has been imagining a civil war, publicly, since at least the Obama administration. Back in 2016, when it looked like Hillary Clinton would win the election, then Kentucky governor Matt Bevin described the possibility in apocalyptic terms: “The roots of the tree of liberty are watered by what? The blood. Of who? The tyrants, to be sure. But who else? The patriots. Whose blood will be shed? It may be that of those in this room. It might be that of our children and grandchildren,” he told supporters at the Values Voter Summit.
The possibility of civil war has long been a mainstay of rightwing talk radio. Needless to say, when the right conjures these fantasies of cleansing violence, they tend to fantasize their own victory. Steve King, while still a congressman from Iowa, tweeted an image of red and blue America at war, with the line: “Folks keep talking about another civil war. One side has about 8tn bullets, while the other side doesn’t know which bathroom to use.”
Any time anyone acts on their violent rhetoric, the rightwing politicians and media elites are appalled that anyone would connect what they say to what others do. “We need to understand we’re under attack, and we need to understand this is 21st-century warfare and get on a war footing,” Alex Jones said in the lead-up to the Capitol riot.
According to a New York Times series, Tucker Carlson has articulated the theory of white replacement more than 400 times on his show. Calls to violence are normal in rightwing media. Calls to resist white replacement are normal in rightwing media. The inevitable result is the violent promotion of resistance to white replacement. Republican politicians like Arizona state senator Wendy Rogers and New York congresswoman Elise Stefanik are outraged when their one plus one turns out to equal two, but their outrage is increasingly unbelievable, even to themselves. America is witnessing a technique used in political struggles all over the world. Movements devoted to the overthrow of elected governments tend to divide into armed and political wings, which gives multiple avenues to approach their goals as well as the cover of plausible deniability for their violence.
The leftwing American political class, incredibly, continues to cling to its defunct institutional ideals. Democrats under Biden have wasted the past two years on fictions of bipartisanship and forlorn hopes of some kind of restoration of American trust. When violence like Buffalo hits, they can do little more than plead with the other side to reconsider the horror they’re unleashing, and offer obvious lectures about the poison of white supremacy. Since January 6 didn’t wake them up to exactly what they’re facing, it’s unclear what might ever wake them up. The left has not made the psychological adjustment to a conflict situation yet. But it won’t be able to maintain the fantasy of normalcy for much longer.
This is from Politico: “European leaders decry US restriction of abortion rights. US Supreme Court ruling adds to sense that America is out of step with other modern democracies.”
European leaders are voicing dismay and outrage about the U.S. Supreme Court decision stripping the legal right for women to obtain an abortion.
“Making abortions illegal isn’t pro-life. It’s anti-choice,” Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel tweeted. “It’s a social & economic injustice. And just so, so wrong. Reproductive rights are not just women’s rights. They are human rights. So let’s all stand up for them.”
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson told POLITICO: “I’ve got to tell you, I think it’s a big step backwards.”
Speaking at a news conference in Rwanda, where he was attending a Commonwealth meeting, Johnson said: “I’ve always believed in a woman’s right to choose and I stick to that view and that is why the U.K. has the laws that it does.”
The U.S. court ruling overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade precedent, which had protected a woman’s right to obtain an abortion, is just the latest development that has left Europeans bewildered about the deep political polarization in the U.S.
“There is still a long way to go for gender justice,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a tweet. “Women’s rights are threatened. We must defend them resolutely.”
Along with years of inaction in Washington in response to an epidemic of mass shootings, endemic racism, the exorbitant costs and limited access to medical care, and meager government-protected maternity benefits, the abortion decision has reinforced a sense in Europe that the U.S. is oddly out of sync with most modern, civilized democracies.
Despite this sense that the U.S. is negligent when it comes to basic social protections for its citizens, the country remains a global political and cultural touchstone, and its domestic political perturbations still reverberate across the two oceans that often keep U.S. citizens relatively distant and disconnected from tribulations elsewhere.
“Very concerned about implications of @USSupremeCourt decision on #RoeVWade and the signal it sends to the world,” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo tweeted. “Banning abortion never leads to fewer abortions, only to more unsafe abortions. Belgium will continue to work with other countries to advance #SRHR everywhere,” he wrote, using the hashtag for “sexual and reproductive health rights.”
At least BOJO knows how to read a room or a country in this case.
The more I read, the more disgusted I become. I’m not sure what President Biden has up his sleeve other than a few panaceas that have to do with the availability of pharmaceutical birth control and abortion. He needs to start thinking out of the box or else women will find more radical ways to solve the problems. He also has some interest in seeing that women can get to safe-haven states.
However, since many women needing abortions are poor, I’m not sure he needs to address just availability. Louisiana women will need to travel 600 miles. This is why I’ve been tweeting to every public official I know to consider a Fleet of Women’s health clinics where women in the south–a terribly underserved group–can get access to ALL the healthcare they need. We need to fund these women.
We haven’t heard from Speaker Pelosi for several days. Congress is on vacation and I certainly hope it’s a working one. Congresswoman Ocasio has been out on the press circuit. I’m with AOC on this one.
Now is the time for all of us to come to the aid of our country. Our democracy is sinking fast.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?