Sunday Reads: Maybe we should call it, Embryonic Cardiac Activity?

Hello…and good morning.

Quoted below:

…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.

Quoted below:

…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.

Quoted below:

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.”

Quoted below:

“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:

Oh boy….

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 2016

Patriot Front, a group that the Southern Poverty Law Center classified as a white nationalist hate group that broke off from Vanguard America after the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, march down South Michigan Avenue in the Loop as anti-abortion activists march across the street during a March for Life rally, Saturday afternoon, Jan. 8, 2022.Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

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 democracy

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. 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?


Sunday Reads: This county is no longer safe for women.

It is all too upsetting…

Repost from @nationalwomensliberation

The final decision is out. SCOTUS has overturned Roe against the will of the people. This is a country with a growing maternal mortality and morbidity rate, no paid parental leave or public universal childcare, and no universal healthcare. An unelected, undemocratic government body that has also gutted voting rights and eliminated the right to live freely without gun violence is now going to force people to carry children against their will. The freedom to marry and access to birth control are next.

So will you FIGHT for abortion and DEMAND Reproductive Justice? We will NOT back down!

Will you Pledge to #AidAndAbetAbortion no matter what it takes? LINK TO SIGN IN BIO!

Will you study the history of how we won abortion and fight to expand reproductive freedom? Buy and read Without Apology

Will you study the root of why this country pursues abortion and birth control bans instead of improving our material conditions? Buy and read Birth Strike.

Will you learn about reproductive justice and all that it encompasses to FIGHT for a society and build communities that value families and supports the health, safety and dignity of everyone?

Will you consider engaging in civil disobedience to help someone get an abortion?

Build the Women’s Liberation Movement. Find a protest or gathering and let it be a start to the long term real freedom we all need to win.

#aidandabetabortion #nationalwomensliberation

This is an open thread.


Friday Reads: Back to the Dark Ages and a Funeral for Democracy

It’s a Sad Day Sky Dancers!

The machinations of religious extremists, Mitch McConnell seeking endless power, and white nationalists have brought us to this moment.  Many of the fundamental rights established over the last 100-plus years are now being disassembled by a Supreme Court stacked with extremists appointed under very dicey circumstances.

I never thought I’d ever see such a radical overreach to tear down well-established precedents backed up with stories bringing us back to the Wild West with its primitive firearms and the rejection of medical science and the establishment clause based on nothing but wild dreams of a white male religious zealot to drag us way back in time.  So a guy about 300 years ago who liked to dox witches gets a say in what happens to American Women’s bodies but they don’t?  The court made sure in case-after-case that we knew they didn’t care about established laws. Their religious, economic, and social agendas are dominant not anything else.

Our taxes can now be used for religious indoctrination.  Anyone can conceal/carry a weapon just about everywhere they want.   Most importantly, women have been designated state property with little control over their bodies. Police no longer are held responsible for reading folks their Miranda rights.  Who will they come for next?

I’m gratuitously using John (repeat1968) Buss for this thread because the images of the Spanish Inquisition are just about as horrid as you’d think they would be.  But that is exactly how I feel about the Roberts’ Court.  They are a group of inquisitors.

I am not state property.  My Daughters are not state property.  My granddaughters are not state property.  No Woman or girl in this country should ever be assigned the role of chattel again.

Here are some links to information on these horrible decisions.

Striking down Roe v. Wade

From the USA Today Tweet: “What Barack Obama, Mike Pence and others are saying about the end of Roe”.

Immediately following the Supreme Court’s ruling on Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade, current and former lawmakers reacted to the end of Americans’ Constitutional right to an abortion.

The decision had been anticipated since the Supreme Court took the Dobbs v. Jackson case this year. A leak of the decision last month showed a 6-3 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which was indeed the final outcome.

The ruling:Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, eliminating constitutional right to abortion.

I’m going to highlight Speaker Pelosi’s words because she’s the one most responsible for getting rid of this abomination.

Speaker Pelosi says Dems will fight ‘ferociously’ to enshrine Roe

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is “outrageous and heart-wrenching” and vowed to fight against it in Congress and at the ballot box.

The ruling is the result of the GOP’s “dark and extreme goal of ripping away women’s right to make their own reproductive health decisions,” she said.

“Because of Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, the Republican Party and their supermajority on the Supreme Court, American women today have less freedom than their mothers,” Pelosi said.

During her weekly news conference, shortly after the SCOTUS decision, she warned that Republicans in Congress want a nationwide ban. She indicated the only way to stop that was to keep the GOP from gaining a majority in the midterm.

“A woman’s right to choose is on the ballot in November,” Pelosi said.

And, from Hillary:

Hillary Clinton: Opinion “Will live in infamy”

Former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweeted that the Supreme Court’s decision “will live in infamy” as a step backwards for women’s rights.

“Most Americans believe the decision to have a child is one of the most sacred decisions there is, and that such decisions should remain between patients and their doctors,” she wrote.

Clinton also called on the public to support and donate to Democratic candidates, to protect reproductive rights by winning elections “at every level.”

 

Thousands of people gathered in New York City and across the country to show their support for abortion rights nearly two weeks after the leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade.  The New York Times

Abortion will be banned in thirteen states.  Each state will have to work out it’s own law to meet this horrid decision. Again, I’m just glad that My OB/GYN Doctor Daughter and her daughters are in Washington State. It’s enshrined in their State Constitution.  My Colorado Daughter says she’s safe there too. I can’t imagine having working equipment and living here in Lousyana.  My governor signed death sentences for many Louisiana women yesterday. 

This is bCaroline Kitchener writing in WAPO: “Roe’s demise marks new phase in state-by-state battle over abortion. The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the landmark precedent will prompt immediate changes to the country’s abortion landscape”.

The tremors from Friday’s sweeping Supreme Court decision to strike down Roe v. Wade will ripple across the country almost immediately, with roughly half of all states poised to ban or drastically restrict abortion.

Thirteen states will outlaw abortion within 30 days with “trigger bans” that were designed to take effect as soon as Roe was overturned. These laws make an exception for cases where the mother’s life is in danger, but most do not include exceptions for rape or incest.

In many states, trigger bans will activate as soon as a designated state official certifies the decision, which Republican lawmakers expect to happen within minutes.

“They just need to acknowledge, ‘Yes, this has occurred,’ ” said Arkansas state Sen. Jason Rapert (R), who has championed much of his state’s antiabortion legislation, including its trigger ban. “I’ll be happy to see the butcher mill in Little Rock, Arkansas, shut down for good.”

All the Republican Politicians speaking out on this have their white patriarchal churchman voices out.  Like Rapert, quoted above, they use yellow prose and outrageous language.

Here’s the quick take from ScotusBlog on the Dobbs decision banning abortion.

Although the Supreme Court’s decisions in Roe and Casey established such a right, Alito continued, those decisions should nonetheless be overruled despite the principle of stare decisis – the idea that courts should not overturn their prior precedent unless there is a compelling reason to do so. Noting that some of the Supreme Court’s other landmark decisions, such as Brown v. Board of Education, rejecting the “separate but equal” doctrine, had overruled precedent, Alito emphasized that Roe was “egregiously wrong and deeply damaging” and – along with Casey – should not be allowed to stand. Instead, Alito concluded, the issue of abortion should “return … to the people’s representatives.”

Roberts agreed with the decision to uphold the Mississippi law, but he would have done so without formally overruling Roe and Casey. Echoing a position that he took at the oral argument (which then, as now, did not seem to attract any other supporters), Roberts would have allowed states to continue to regulate abortion without regard to whether the fetus has become viable – that is, the point at which it can survive outside the womb. In Casey, the court ruled that states may not ban abortions after the point of viability, which is typically considered to be at 22 to 24 weeks of pregnancy.

The right to terminate a pregnancy, Roberts reasoned, should “extend far enough to ensure a reasonable opportunity to choose, but need not extend any further.” But the court could and should, Roberts wrote, “leave for another day whether to reject any right to an abortion at all.”

In a rare joint dissent, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan pushed back against the majority’s characterization of the decision as leaving the issue of abortion to the states. Friday’s ruling, they cautioned, is likely to have a “geographically expansive” effect, as states may pass laws that include restrictions on traveling out of state to obtain abortions. “Most threatening of all,” they added, nothing in the majority’s decision “stops the Federal Government from prohibiting abortions nationwide, once again from the moment of conception and without exceptions for rape and incest.”

“Whatever the scope of the coming laws,” they concluded, “one result of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens.”

BOSTON, MA – 5/7/2022 Members of The Boston Red Cloaks carried signs hung from clothing hangers as they marched on the State House and advocated for reproductive freedom on Saturday. The Boston Red Cloaks were joined by over a dozen others as they rallied in support of Roe vs. Wade. Erin Clark/Globe Staff
Topic: 08ROEVWADERAALLY

Let me just give you some links analysis at Scotusblog to the other decisions that will make all of us more unsafe.

In a 6-3 ruling, the court strikes down New York’s concealed-carry law.

Thursday’s landmark decision came less than six weeks after a gunman killed 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket, and less than a month after 21 people – 19 children and two teachers – were shot to death at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. In response to those shootings, the Senate this week reached an agreement on bipartisan gun-safety legislation that, if passed, would be the first federal gun-control legislation in nearly 30 years. The 80-page bill would (among other things) require tougher background checks for gun buyers under the age of 21 and provide more funding for mental-health resources.

The state law at the heart of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen required anyone who wants to carry a concealed handgun outside the home to show “proper cause” for the license. New York courts interpreted that phrase to require applicants to show more than a general desire to protect themselves or their property. Instead, applicants must demonstrate a special need for self-defense – for example, a pattern of physical threats. Several other states, including California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, impose similar restrictions, as do many cities.

The lower courts upheld the New York law against a challenge from two men whose applications for concealed-carry licenses were denied. But on Thursday, the Supreme Court tossed out the law in an ideologically divided 63-page opinion.

The court rejected a two-part test that many lower courts have used to review challenges to gun-control measures. That test looked first at whether a restriction regulates conduct protected by the original scope of the Second Amendment and then, if so, whether the restriction is fine-tuned to advance a significant public interest. Instead, Thomas wrote, if “the Second Amendment’s plain text covers an individual’s conduct,” the government has the burden to show that the regulation is consistent with the historical understanding of the Second Amendment.

Applying that new and more stringent standard to the New York proper-cause requirement, Thomas found that the challengers’ desire to carry a handgun in public for self-defense fell squarely within the conduct protected by the Second Amendment. The amendment’s text does not distinguish between gun rights in the home and gun rights in public places, Thomas observed. Indeed, he suggested, the Second Amendment’s reference to the right to “bear” arms most naturally refers to the right to carry a gun outside the home.

After reviewing nearly seven centuries’ worth of historical sources, beginning in the 1200s and going through the early 1900s, Thomas concluded that although U.S. history has at times placed some “well-defined restrictions” on the right to carry firearms in public, there was no tradition of a broad prohibition on carrying commonly used guns in public for self-defense. And with rare exceptions, Thomas added, there was no historical requirement that law-abiding citizens show the kind of special need for self-defense required by the New York law to carry a gun in public. Indeed, Thomas concluded, there is “no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need.”

Thomas obviously missed the part about most sheriffs of small towns in the Wild West collecting guns at the city borders before anyone was allowed to head to the salon.  Is that okay Uncle Thomas?

From CNN: Supreme Court limits ability to enforce Miranda rights.  I mean who needs to know their constitutional rights anyway when you’re dead set on canceling them?

The Supreme Court limited the ability to enforce Miranda rights in a ruling Thursday that said that suspects who are not warned about their right to remain silent cannot sue a police officer for damages under federal civil rights law even if the evidence was ultimately used against them in their criminal trial.

The court’s ruling will cut back on an individual’s protections against self-incrimination by barring the potential to obtain damages. It also means that the failure to administer the warning will not expose a law enforcement officer to potential damages in a civil lawsuit. It will not impact, however, the exclusion of such evidence at a criminal trial.

The court clarified that while the Miranda warning protects a constitutional right, the warning itself is not a right that would trigger the ability to bring a civil lawsuit.

“Today’s ruling doesn’t get rid of the Miranda right,” said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law. “But it does make it far harder to enforce. Under this ruling, the only remedy for a violation of Miranda is to suppress statements obtained from a suspect who’s not properly advised of his right to remain silent. But if the case never goes to trial, or if the government never seeks to use the statement, or if the statement is admitted notwithstanding the Miranda violation, there’s no remedy at all for the government’s misconduct.”

These guys really like to give the state the power to oppress and let gun-toting fascists run free, don’t they?

The last one to be worried about is this one. Remember, Justice Roberts, hates voting rights.  This is from Scotusblog: “North Carolina Republican lawmakers win right to intervene in court and defend state’s voter-ID law.” All this analysis I keep quoting is from Amy Howe, btw.  I’d say this is a signal they are ready to get rid of more voting rights which is about the only way their kind stays in power.

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that two Republican legislators in North Carolina can join a lawsuit to defend the constitutionality of the state’s voter-identification law. Two lower courts had rejected the legislators’ request, reasoning that the state’s Democratic attorney general and the board of elections were already defending the law, but the justices reversed those rulings. In an 8-1 opinion by Justice Neil Gorsuch, the Supreme Court ruled that the Republican legislators have a right to intervene in the lawsuit.

Thursday’s decision addressed only the legislators’ right to join the lawsuit to defend the voter-ID law; it did not address the underlying issue of whether the law violates federal voting-rights protections.

The law at the center of the case requires voters to provide photo identification to cast a ballot and directs county election boards to provide ID cards at no cost to voters. The state’s legislature passed the law in 2018, and it went into effect over a veto by the state’s governor, Democrat Roy Cooper. The North Carolina NAACP then went to federal court, where it argued that the law violates both federal voting rights laws and the Constitution. When Philip Berger, the leader of the North Carolina Senate, and Timothy Moore, the leader of the state’s House of Representatives, asked to intervene in the lawsuit, the district court rebuffed their request, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit upheld that decision.

In an 18-page opinion, Gorsuch explained that the first issue before the court was whether the Republican legislators had an interest in the outcome of the dispute that would be “practically impaired or impeded without their participation.” As a general rule, Gorsuch posited, barring a state’s authorized representatives from intervening in a federal lawsuit challenging a state law will have such an effect on a state’s interests. And in this case, Gorsuch continued, other provisions of North Carolina law had specifically given its legislative leaders the power to defend the state’s interests in cases like this one.

What’s more, Gorsuch added, the 4th Circuit was wrong to presume that the state’s attorney general, Democrat Josh Stein, had adequately represented the state’s interests. That inquiry, Gorsuch wrote, is backward, because the Supreme Court’s cases have made clear that would-be intervenors generally have to meet only a relatively low bar. But such a presumption, Gorsuch continued, “is inappropriate when a duly authorized state agent seeks to intervene to defend a state law.” “Normally,” Gorsuch said, “a State’s chosen representatives should be greeted in federal court with respect, not adverse presumptions.”

Gorsuch acknowledged the NAACP’s concern that allowing legislative leaders to intervene to defend state laws could in some cases make litigation more complicated and potentially unwieldy. “But that case is not this case,” Gorsuch stressed. The legislative leaders “bring a distinct state interest” to the case – and indeed, “federal courts routinely handle cases involving multiple officials sometimes represented by different attorneys taking different positions.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the lone dissenter.

This is bound to work its way back to them.

This has been the hardest post I’ve ever had to right except for the ones related to Trump taking over the presidency.  It’s obvious that elections have consequences. This includes the state and local levels.  These next two will show us if we’ve lost the Republic, our democracy, and hope for our future. Just do what you can to get out the vote.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?