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?


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?


Friday Reads: This and that and the other …

“The popular artist @PENPENCILDRAW created an illustration in response to that ruling, depicting “an Indian judge’s guide to being an ideal rape survivor”. The illustration went viral.”

Hi Sky Dancers!

I’m still exhausted from end-of-term madness. We’re still caught up in reacting to Trumpist news.  I’ll go there but not quite yet.

My neighbor tweeted this BBC article this morning on the terrifying rape culture in India.  Read this and see how the judge on the case dismissed a work-related rape.  It’s horrifying!  I need to post a trigger warning here!  The judge actually describes what he finds “appropriate” behavior for a rape victim. There should be global outrage on this one.

As many of you may know, I’ve been an advocate of battered women and children and also rape victims since high school.  I’ve been involved in this well into my current state of cronehood.  I fear for my daughters and for my soon-to-be-born granddaughters.  How can we ever get rid of these attitudes?  This is from India but I’ve run into these same attitudes here.

The illustration came from the following article.

Arianna Vairo

From the BBC World News article above:

Is there an appropriate way for a rape victim to behave?

That’s the question many are asking in India after a judge threw out charges against a man accused of raping a female colleague and questioned the behaviour of the alleged victim.

Judge Kshama Joshi wrote that in photographs taken shortly after the alleged assault, the young woman was “smiling and looked happy, normal, in [a] good mood”.

“She did not look disturbed, reserved, terrified or traumatised in any way even though this was immediately after she claims to have been sexually assaulted,” the judge wrote in a 527-page judgement.

The charges against Tarun Tejpal, the high-profile former editor of Tehelka magazine, were dismissed. The Goa government, which has appealed the decision, asked on Thursday for an early hearing, saying “we owe it to our girls” and that the acquittal order was “erroneous in law” and “unsustainable”. The High Court judge agreed and said he would hear the case on 2 June.

Endless debunking of these myths has led to little progress.  The root causes are power and control.  Never forget!

The fight to remove power and control from women also continues on the fight to preserve access to legal abortions.  This is from WBUR: “The Supreme Court, Abortion And The Anti-Abortion Movement’s Long Game.” The forced birth movement will never be satisfied an end to Roe V Wade.  Here’s a list of articles discussed in the broadcast.

CNN: “How Trump and McConnell set the final pieces for the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade” — “Conservatives have been waiting decades for this moment: a transformed Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear an abortion case that directly challenges women’s reproductive rights tracing to the 1973 Roe v. Wade milestone.”

Wall Street Journal: “The Mississippi Abortion Case at the Supreme Court: What You Should Know” — “The question of abortion rights is making a return to the Supreme Court, with justices on Monday agreeing to hear a challenge to a Mississippi law that bans abortions after about 15 weeks of pregnancy.”

Ms. Magazine: “Unprecedented Surge in Anti-Abortion Laws Proposed and Passed Across the U.S.” — “In the first four months of 2021, anti-abortion lawmakers introduced 536 abortion restrictions in 46 states, including 146 abortion bans, according to a report released by the Guttmacher Institute on Friday. They enacted 61 restrictions in 13 states, including eight bans that would go into effect if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Governors signed 28 restrictions into law in eight states just last week.”

The Hill: “Democrats: Roe v. Wade blow would fuel expanding Supreme Court” — “Democratic senators say if the Supreme Court strikes a blow against Roe v. Wade by upholding a Mississippi abortion law, it will fuel an effort to add justices to the court or otherwise reform it.”

Susanna and the Elders, Restored – X-Ray
1998 Kathleen Gilje

The headlines are quite bleak. This is from New York Magazine and was written by By Irin Carmon and Benjamin Hart. “The Radicalism of the Abortion Law the Supreme Court Granted”.

Irin: I would call this catastrophic for abortion rights. Not even the 5th circuit, arguably the most conservative appeals court in the country, thought it was worth upholding this ban, because it so egregiously flouts almost a half-century of precedent. There’s no circuit split — the dissent among lower courts that usually obliges the Supreme Court to step in. The court has had many chances to change its rule as to whether states can ban abortion before viability and never has. This suggests at least four justices (which is how many it takes to take up a case) think now is the time.

This is the from the local Erie News about the radical set of abortion legislation advanced by republicans in the Pennsylvania house.  I have not put the headline up because it contains mislabelling of the Forced Birth movement

Pennsylvania conservatives have previously pushed anti-abortion legislation, but several bills have stalled in committee, including when the Republican-controlled Legislature had a Republican governor to sign their agenda into law.

Former Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in 2011 signed into law stricter standards for abortion clinics and in 2013 signed a law that denied abortion coverage through Obamacare.

But nothing as restrictive as what was introduced Tuesday got close to law during the Corbett years.

The three bills Republicans advanced this week include a heartbeat bill that would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected; a ban on abortions after a Down syndrome diagnosis; and another that requires medical facilities to disclose burial options for miscarriages and abortions.

Rep. Kate Klunk, R-York County, said during the committee meeting that supporting the ban on abortions after a Down syndrome diagnosis is a “no brainer.”

“We shouldn’t allow them to be discriminated against,” she said.

“Children with Down syndrome, they lead amazing lives,” Klunk added. “They are contributing in so many ways, but they need the chance at life to be able to do that.”

Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny County, called the ban “dystopian” during the meeting and said the General Assembly is creating more fear while denying access to healthcare.

Rep. Frank Ryan, R-Lebanon County, introduced the bill on burial options because of his own experience after losing a child, a story he has shared previously.

He said he was “asking the ladies in the room” to “recognize how men feel.”

He said his bill is optional and gives families a chance at closure after losing a baby, he said.

“This is about giving choice to those people whose faith says that life begins at conception,” Ryan said.

Frankel argued that Ryan’s bill mandates cremation or burial and does not make it optional after abortion or miscarriage. To get a burial, a death certificate would also be required for abortions and miscarriages.

This is also about power and control.  This is from The Guardian “Anti-abortion movement bullish as legal campaign reaches US supreme court.”

The anti-abortion movement in the US is emboldened and optimistic after the supreme court announced it would hear a direct challenge to laws underpinning the right to abortion in the US, and Texas enacted a law intended to ban abortion after six weeks.

The high court decision to take up the case and the Texas move come during the most hostile year for reproductive rights in the nearly half-century since pregnant people won the constitutional right to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy in the landmark 1973 case Roe v Wade.

“The long-predicted scaling back of abortion rights by the supreme court just got a lot more likely,” said Mary Ziegler, a legal historian, author of Abortion and the Law in America: Roe v Wade to the Present, and law professor at Florida State University.

Today, abortion is legal in all 50 states up to the point the fetus can survive outside the womb, a legal concept called “viability” established in Roe. This is generally understood to be about 24 weeks (a full-term pregnancy is 39 weeks).

The case taken up by the court, called Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, will answer whether Mississippi can limit abortion to 15 weeks, and is brought by the state’s last abortion clinic. If upheld, it would reduce by more than two months the time in which a woman could choose to terminate a pregnancy.

“It’s really hard to see why the court would take this case unless they’re interested in reversing part of Roe or all of Roe,” said Ziegler. Further, the court chose to answer “the most explosive question in the case”, which “suggests they’re not really worried about the political fallout”.

On the right, the hopes are clear: that the court will end the legal right to an abortion, and potentially allow room to criminalize the procedure.

“We’re all hopeful the court will be intellectually honest and acknowledge what the science is clear on – that a unique human life starts at fertilization,” said Lila Rose, founder and president of the anti-abortion advocacy group Life Action. Rose is widely seen as the face of the millennial anti-abortion movement.

Mississippi is just one of 29 states across the south and midwest considered hostile to abortion rights, where 58% of American women of reproductive age live, and which would probably act to further restrict abortion rights.

The supreme court case represents the most severe challenge ever presented to Roe, and is a reflection of how the country has splintered in a decade of Republican-led voting restrictions and partisan gerrymandering, the process of redrawing politicians’ districts to favor one party.

“We’re becoming two countries, and your voting rights and your reproductive rights are increasingly likely to depend on where you live,” said David Daley, a senior fellow at FairVote and the bestselling author of Rat F**ked: Why Your Vote Doesn’t Count.

The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Pablo Picasso, 1962

The purge continues in education.  Not only is sex education in many states illegal but now summer school classes in Oklahoma have been cancelled because they don’t teach the white male version of racism. From Oklahoma City Local News station 5: “Oklahoma teacher says summer class canceled due to bill that bans teaching critical race theory.”

A teacher is disappointed with Gov. Kevin Stitt after one of her summer classes was canceled due to House Bill 1775, which bans educators from teaching certain concepts of race and racism.

Melissa Smith told KOCO 5 that she’s taught race theory-type classes for six years and is confused why there’s an issue now.

“I’m not happy. This is information everyone needs to know,” Smith said.

The high school and community college teacher said House Bill 1775 has caused her to lose a class she was supposed to teach this summer at Oklahoma City Community College.

“I’ve actually been teaching race and ethnicities in the United States for multiple years,” she said.

The recently signed legislation restricts what can be taught about racial divisions through history in Oklahoma classrooms.

“I got an email a week or so ago, saying due to this new law, they were canceling my completely full race and ethnicities class,” Smith said.

Her students won’t be able to take her class even though it was required for some to graduate. Also, Smith won’t be paid.

“This was a huge chunk of my income,” she said.

When Stitt signed the bill, he said, “We can and should teach the history without labeling a young child as an oppressor or requiring he or she feel guilt or shame based on their race or sex. I refused to tolerate otherwise.”

Yaqiu Wang • CHINA

So, this is AmeriKKKa.  This is from The New Yorker and Susanne B. Glasser: “American Democracy Isn’t Dead Yet, but It’s Getting There.  A country that cannot even agree to investigate an assault on its Capitol is in big trouble, indeed.”  

Before leaving town for their Memorial Day recess, in fact, Senate Republicans were expected to use the legislative filibuster for the first time this session to block the proposed bipartisan panel. Their stated arguments against a commission range from the implausible to the insulting; the real explanation is political cynicism in the extreme. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is so far delivering on his pledge to focus a “hundred per cent” on blocking Biden’s agenda, even claimed that an investigation was pointless because it would result in “no new fact.” John Cornyn, a close McConnell ally, from Texas, was more honest, at least, in admitting, to Politico, that the vote was all about denying Democrats “a political platform” from which to make the 2022 midterm elections a “referendum on President Trump.” For his part, Trump has been putting out the word that he plans to run for reëlection in 2024—and exulting in polls showing that a majority of Republicans continue to believe both his false claims of a fraudulent election and that nothing untoward happened on January 6th. Needless to say, these are not the signs of a healthy democracy ready to combat the autocratic tyrants of the world.

“Turns out, things are much worse than we expected,” Daniel Ziblatt, one of the “How Democracies Die” authors, told me this week. He said he had never envisioned a scenario like the one that has played itself out among Republicans on Capitol Hill during the past few months. How could he have? It’s hard to imagine anyone in America, even when “How Democracies Die” was published, a year into Trump’s term, seriously contemplating an American President who would unleash an insurrection in order to steal an election that he clearly lost—and then still commanding the support of his party after doing so.

This is the worrisome essence of the matter. In one alarming survey released this week, nearly thirty per cent of Republicans endorsed the idea that the country is so far “off track” that “American patriots may have to resort to violence” against their political opponents. You don’t need two Harvard professors to tell you that sort of reasoning is just what could lead to the death of a democracy. The implications? Consider the blunt words of Judge Amy Berman Jackson, in a ruling on a case involving one of the January 6th rioters at the Capitol, issued even as it became clear that Republican senators would move to block the January 6th commission from investigating what had caused the riot:

The steady drumbeat that inspired defendant to take up arms has not faded away; six months later, the canard that the election was stolen is being repeated daily on major news outlets and from the corridors of power in state and federal government, not to mention in the near daily fulminations of the former President.

It’s worth noting that Jackson released this ruling this week, the same week that Trump issued statements calling the 2020 vote “the most corrupt Election in the history of our Country,” touting himself as “the true President,” and warning that American elections are “rigged, corrupt, and stolen.”

Via HuffPo: “Sen. Lisa Murkowski Says Mitch McConnell Is Blocking Jan. 6 Commission For Political Gain.

“To be making a decision for the short-term political gain at the expense of understanding and acknowledging what was in front of us on Jan. 6, I think we need to look at that critically. Is that really what this is about, one election cycle after another?” Murkowski said.

She added: “Or are we going to acknowledge that as a country that is based on these principles of democracy that we hold so dear. And one of those is that we have free and fair elections… I kind of want that to endure beyond just one election cycle.”

So, I rather thought this post would be something else than it became as I wrote. Once again, I went down a dark rabbit hole.  We are losing our democracy and our selves in a series of right wing autocratic attempts to make laws and send them to courts stacked with religionists, autocrats, white nationalists, and enablers of patriarchy. Trumpism is radicalizing me. It’s something we must vote against, march against, and speak out against.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Monday Reads: Losing Ground but Finding Strength

Coyote Buttes South. Photo: John Fowler

I keep fighting back the urge to sing “It’s the end of the world as we know it” even though it seems like that way on so many fronts. The most dreadful of all gaslighting tricks fills the airwaves.  Brett Kavanaugh and his republican enablers are pretending that they are the victims of women’s hysteria while Dr. Ford can’t return to her home because of actual threats. Then, there are the rest of us. The people that aren’t white males or white male enablers.  How many more rights can they strip?

We’re looking to a future of having our voting rights stripped, our right to self determine our access to health care removed, and the enabling of police to shoot unarmed black men while white men complain they can’t watch their football without seeing folks bending a knee to remind them of the injustice. We’re looking to a future of likely seeing a President put above the law even though his obstruction of justice, theft of public property, and cooperation with Russian agents is there for nearly all to see. We’re going to continue to watch children and babies thrown into tents in the middle of deserts and jail cells after being ripped away from their parents.  We’re going to see the folks that need protection from our bad foreign policy flee to our borders only to be incarcerated for asking for refuge. We’re looking to losing spouses, jobs, and rights because of who we love and wish to marry.  In each of us, there is all of us.

We have to take one of the Houses of Congress away from the Republicans to turn this around.

There are other things we have to turn around too and I fully admit that I’ve thrown myself at the wall a few too many times to rise again. And yet, like every one else, I must.  We must.

Buffalo in Yellowstone National Park

From WAPO: The world has just over a decade to get climate change under control, U.N. scientists say. “There is no documented historic precedent” for the scale of changes required, the body found.”

The world stands on the brink of failure when it comes to holding global warming to moderate levels, and nations will need to take “unprecedented” actions to cut their carbon emissions over the next decade, according to a landmark report by the top scientific body studying climate change.

With global emissions showing few signs of slowing and the United States — the world’s second-largest emitter of carbon dioxide — rolling back a suite of Obama-era climate measures, the prospects for meeting the most ambitious goals of the 2015 Paris agreement look increasingly slim. To avoid racing past warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) over preindustrial levels would require a “rapid and far-reaching” transformation of human civilization at a magnitude that has never happened before, the group found.

Gros Morne National Park

NYT: Major Climate Report Describes a Strong Risk of Crisis as Early as 2040″

The report, issued on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders, describes a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040 — a period well within the lifetime of much of the global population.

The report “is quite a shock, and quite concerning,” said Bill Hare, an author of previous I.P.C.C. reports and a physicist with Climate Analytics, a nonprofit organization. “We were not aware of this just a few years ago.” The report was the first to be commissioned by world leaders under the Paris agreement, the 2015 pact by nations to fight global warming.

The authors found that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, the atmosphere will warm up by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above preindustrial levels by 2040, inundating coastlines and intensifying droughts and poverty. Previous work had focused on estimating the damage if average temperatures were to rise by a larger number, 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), because that was the threshold scientists previously considered for the most severe effects of climate change.

The new report, however, shows that many of those effects will come much sooner, at the 2.7-degree mark.

Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming

The Guardian: “We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN”

At 2C extremely hot days, such as those experienced in the northern hemisphere this summer, would become more severe and common, increasing heat-related deaths and causing more forest fires.

But the greatest difference would be to nature. Insects, which are vital for pollination of crops, and plants are almost twice as likely to lose half their habitat at 2C compared with 1.5C. Corals would be 99% lost at the higher of the two temperatures, but more than 10% have a chance of surviving if the lower target is reached.

Sea-level rise would affect 10 million more people by 2100 if the half-degree extra warming brought a forecast 10cm additional pressure on coastlines. The number affected would increase substantially in the following centuries due to locked-in ice melt.

Oceans are already suffering from elevated acidity and lower levels of oxygen as a result of climate change. One model shows marine fisheries would lose 3m tonnes at 2C, twice the decline at 1.5C.

Sea ice-free summers in the Arctic, which is warming two to three times fast than the world average, would come once every 100 years at 1.5C, but every 10 years with half a degree more of global warming.

l Capitan looms over the Merced River in California’s Yosemite National Park.

Back to Judge Bad News and Worse Temperament … Sarah Kendzior writes this for Canada’s Globe and Mail: “Kavanaugh’s appointment isn’t a step backward. It’s a head-first plunge into an ugly past”.

The confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh was, at heart, a referendum on the integrity of U.S. institutions and of the impunity of elites – and the U.S. failed. Senators who purport to believe in rule of law vouched for a judge who sees himself as above it. Senators who purport to believe in democracy honoured a man who degrades it, and did so in deference to a man seemingly attempting to destroy it – President Trump.

Checks and balances are nearly gone. The executive branch was long ago corrupted; the independent legislature neutered by a GOP majority nakedly seeking one-party rule. Until now, the judiciary had been the strongest bulwark against autocracy, having struck down many of Mr. Trump’s unconstitutional executive orders during his first year. The Trump administration responded by packing the courts, appointing right-wing judgesto lifetime appointments and purging attorneys they view as opponents. Justice Kavanaugh is the final nail in that coffin.

This is now Mr. Trump’s Supreme Court of the United States, run on white male entitlement and alternative facts. Justice Kavanaugh is expected to act as Mr. Trump’s legal lackey, exonerating him regardless of the charge or the evidence. His appointment may not only end the efficacy of the Robert Mueller probe, but curtail other attempts to prosecute Mr. Trump or his aides on state charges, due to a case, Gamble v. The United States, that the Supreme Court is set to hear this term.

Autocrats rewrite the law so they are no longer breaking it, and they hire and fire accordingly. This is why I have been warning for years that Donald Trump, whose seemingly autocratic consolidation grows stronger every day, was akin to a criminal able to someday select his own judge or delay his own trial – and now he has. This is why a purge of the FBI was followed by a sham FBI investigation into Justice Kavanaugh, reminiscent of those of authoritarian states, with key witnesses and evidence ignored.

For the President, the confirmation of this judge is a hand-picked gift, but for ordinary Americans, he marks the end of truths we deemed self-evident. Justice Kavanaugh marks the imposition of a corrosive new reality. The Supreme Court is likely to roll back decades of hard-earned rights, particularly voting rights, civil rights and women’s rights.

Also, a lot of Trump’s thug buddies in thuggish countries are disappearing journalists and others.

 

 

 

The silence is showing exactly what kind of country we’ve become.  We’re just another one of those ugly countries where the ruling class can’t possibly be bothered with human rights and hates the idea of a free press.

That’s all I can stomach today.

I’m trying to stay focused on the city around me because it’s kinda where I am right now and it appears the housing market has shifted against me in the last six months.  It’s one of those signs that tells me that the economy is likely to get pretty ugly pretty fast.   So, hug the ones around you, be thankful for what you have, and drag at least 10 people with you to the voting both in November.

It’s a matter of life and death for all of us.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Wednesday Reads: Buckets of what?

 

That about sums it up….buckets of shit.

Today’s thread is hosted by a twisted children’s books spoof meme. I’ve done this theme before but since then more of the little devils have sprung up on Pinterest and the like so I thought, why not.

It is sadly however that the news stories I bring you are not spoofs, but the real thing, yes…these are the tales of children…no wait. Former Fetuses…. Who find themselves to be in the unfortunate circumstance now (at least) to be a Female Former Fetus aka Woman/Girl living in a PLUB Anti-choice world.

imageNow there are plenty of links here, some are a few weeks old…but they all focus on primarily one thing.

Starting off with Sam Bee.

Watch: Samantha Bee Exposes the Hideous Lie of Fake Abortion Clinics | Alternet

Recently Samantha Bee introduced her audience to an atrocious anti-woman lawmaker, Senator Renee Unterman of Georgia, who has fought against justice for rape victims. Turns out that is not the only thing Unterman has been doing. She also wrote legislation that allows Georgia to give state money to [Crisis] Pregnancy Resource Centers.

“Woman, have you lost your f*cking mind?” Samantha Bee, host of “Full Frontal,” shouted.

Pregnancy Resource Centers are places that deliberately mislead women about the services that they actually offer.

“Much like Renee Unterman, Crisis Pregnancy Centers may look sweet and helpful, but they’re really full of toxic bullsh*t,” confirmed Bee.

Samantha Bee Takes Down Fake Abortion Centers — The Cut

 

 

If you want to see the rape kit bit Sam Bee mentions in the Abortion clip…here is that video.

 

By the way, other Sam Bee videos can be seen here: Full Frontal with Samantha Bee – YouTube

Back to the links…

imageCrisis Pregnancy Centers Are Pretty Bad at Dissuading People Seeking Abortion – Rewire

Until recently, a person who Googled “abortion clinic” might be directed to a CPC instead. CPCs, as a result, are reaching more clients than ever, but as statistics indicate, persuading very few to remain pregnant.

Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) are billed as alternatives to abortion clinics, but new data suggests they largely fail at their mission, persuading less than 4 percent of clients to forgo abortion care.

Of the 2.6 million clients who visited crisis pregnancy centers since 2004, 3.52 percent, or 92,679 people, decided against having an abortion. The statistics come from eKYROS.com, Inc., an anti-choice, Texas-based software company, which says more than 1,200 CPCs use its software to track clients and measure results.

The publicly available data, as the eKYROS website explains, reflects “clients who came to the center with initial intentions of Abortion or Undecided and then changed their mind to carry baby to term.”

The eKYROS software allows CPCs to collect demographic information on clients and categorize them based on a variety of criteria, including whether they are “abortion minded,” “abortion vulnerable,” or “likely to carry“—categories described in a software demo posted online. These categories are key to assessing whether the facilities are achieving what is at the heart of CPCs’ mission: convincing pregnant people to “choose life,” a viewpoint reflecting the largely evangelical Christian ideals of the centers’ religious operators.

imageFucking hell….

And as the Sam Bee video up top explains, these fuckers get money funds from the government! Yeah, as if having damn “tax free church status” wasn’t enough.

Georgia GOP Approves $2 Million for Anti-Choice Pregnancy Centers – Rewire

Elizabeth Nash, a policy analyst at the Guttmacher Institute, said the Republican-backed measure “allows state funds to go to organizations providing women with incomplete information or outright misinformation.”

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) signed a bill Tuesday that provides $2 million in state funding for anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), reported the Associated Press.

SB 308, sponsored by state Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford), would establish a program through the Georgia Department of Public Health that will provide grants to organizations “whose mission and practice is to provide alternatives to abortion services to medically indigent women at no cost.”

imageOh, but I wonder what will happen to those women and former fetuses once they are looking for help or assistance from these same fuckers?

State lawmaker seeks dramatic cuts in welfare, food stamps | www.ajc.com

This week I wrote about how Georgia won’t be requiring photos on food stamp cards. But that’s just a proxy for the real battle underway to dramatically scale back the food stamp program in Georgia.

State Rep. Greg Morris wants to dial back the state’s social safety net significantlyby requiring Georgia adopt only the bare minimum standards to qualify for federal welfare and food stamp funding.

imageGet this…

“The fundamental issue is that there are too many people” receiving benefits, said Morris, chairman of the House Banking Committee.

Morris has tried to trim the food stamp rolls before. In 2014, he sponsored House Bill 772, which required recipients suspected of using drugs to submit to urine tests and for all recipients to have their photos put on the EBT cards they use to access benefits.

About 1.6 million Georgians are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, roughly 16 percent of the overall state population, according to the state Division of Family and Children Services. About half of food stamp recipients are children.

The food stamp program brings $2.8 billion in annual federal aid to the state, with an average monthly benefit about just under $130 per person.

imageAssholes.

Meanwhile in Alabama, Alabama’s creative new anti-abortion strategy: regulate clinics like sex offenders – Vox

Over the past five years, some states have become quite creative about passing laws that seem specifically designed to close abortion clinics. Innocuous-sounding requirements about building codes ormedical licensing have proven so impossible for abortion providers to comply with that the Supreme Court is considering whether to overturn them.

But Alabama might have just come up with the most creative idea yet:forbidding abortion clinics from operating within 2,000 feet of a public elementary or middle school. Two of the state’s five abortion clinics fit this description — two of the largest, no less, which together provide more than half of all abortions in the state.

imageAs Hannah Levintova of Mother Jones points out, the bill would quite literally regulate abortion clinics in a similar manner as sex offenders. Alabama state law forbids registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools and child care facilities. And the bill’s sponsor has made this comparison explicit.

“We can put a restriction on whether a liquor store opens up across the street and make sure pedophiles stay away from schools,” Alabama state Sen. Paul Sanford told the Times Daily in February. “I just think having an abortion clinic that close to elementary-age school children that actually have to walk on the sidewalk past it is not the best thing.”

The bill’s opponents argue that the children would never even know abortions were performed there if not for the disruptive protests outside of the clinic. This, by the way, is why one Washington, DC, charter school is now suing anti-abortion activists.

imageWhat it’s like to own an abortion clinic in a deep red state | Fusion

June Ayers does not ignore calls.

It was after 4 p.m., and Reproductive Health Services, the clinic she has owned and operated for the last 30 years, was closed for the day. Ayers, in periwinkle scrubs dotted with purple butterflies, was seated behind a front desk covered with patient charts. A muted television played HGTV to an empty waiting room. The silent feed from the security cameras revealed a deserted parking lot.

But the phone kept ringing, so Ayers kept answering.

“Reproductive Health, may I help you?” Ayers, 61, has been repeating this line for decades. And her voice—Alabama drawl, all heavy vowels, sugar-sweet with a little rasp—is very likely one of the first things you will hear if you need an abortion within 100 miles of Montgomery.

The clinic is one of just five left in Alabama, which means that a majority of women in the state live in a county without an abortion provider. So in Alabama—like in Texas, like in Mississippi, like in a growing number of states across the country—to have an abortion means to travel.

It also means state-directed counseling intended to discourage abortion, a mandatory ultrasound, two separate clinic visits, and a 48-hour waiting period between them. For women who live outside of Montgomery, the waiting period requires time off work, traveling hundreds of miles for repeat trips, or finding somewhere to stay in the area overnight. And because 60% of women who have abortions are already mothers, the travel required means, in some cases, two full days of childcare. None of it comes cheap.

“And right now the state Legislature has seven other bills ready to go,” Ayers told me as we talked that afternoon, gliding her hand in the air like a conveyor belt.

Minors in the state must overcome another potential barrier: parental consent. Alabama is one of 21 states in the country that require minors to obtain the permission of at least one parentbefore terminating a pregnancy. If they can’t get that, whether because their parent is incarcerated or estranged, abusive, or strictly anti-abortion, then the law says they have to go to court.

For people under the age of 18, getting an abortion in Alabama is a little like that line about Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire: all the same steps, except backward and in heels.

imageThe Long Term Impact Of Alabama’s New Abortion Clinic Location Restrictions | Care2 Causes

Alabama, never one to shy away from in your face anti-abortion sentiment, has come up with a new bill that will help to shutter clinics in the state – a requirement that all abortion providers be located at least 2000 feet from any schools. This seemingly innocuous restriction is poised to completely change the landscape of access in the state and beyond, even more than the critics themselves may realize.

The 2000 foot bill was introduced last legislative session as an attempt to close the abortion clinic in Huntsville, Ala., the only clinic in the northern part of the state. It was introduced to target the clinic, which had only recently reopened after moving to a new location because it could not meet the newly enforced building requirements that had been a part of new legislation passed one year prior. Instead, the clinic relocated into a new building that met most of the standards – but was also located across the street from a local school.

The bill failed to make it through both chambers last year, but came back again this session. A brief debate was held over whether the new legislation should allow a grandfather clause, which would have allowed existing clinics an exception. That proposal failed, and now Huntsville – and possibly the clinic in Tuscaloosa, Ala., too – is in danger of losing licensure.

 

imageI’ve used this article before in one of my post, but I think it is important to state it again here:

Missouri Republicans spend more than $8 million to block less than $400,000 in federal funding for Planned Parenthood 

Why?

Anyway, more crazy in Utah:

Utah abortion providers stumped by law requiring fetal pain relief | PBS NewsHour

Utah’s first-in-the-nation requirement that fetuses receive anesthesia or painkillers before some abortions takes effect Tuesday, but doctors say it’s unnecessary and impossible to comply with.

The law requires pain relief for a fetus before any abortion at 20 weeks of gestation or later, based on the disputed premise that a fetus can feel pain at that stage.

 

New Utah Law Will Require Abortion Doctors To Lie To Their Patients | ThinkProgress

A new Utah law that goes into effect on Tuesday will force doctors to shirk their promise to “do no harm” by dangerously over-anesthetizing women who seek a later abortion.

Informed by anti-abortion state lawmakers rather than by medical experts, the “Protecting Unborn Children Amendment” requires physicians to administer an anesthetic to any women seeking an abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later, to “eliminate or alleviate organic pain to the unborn child.” Like many anti-abortion laws on the state level, Utah’s law rests on the unscientific belief that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks of gestation.

Most states that introduce “fetal pain” legislation try to ban abortions entirely after 20 weeks — and at least 12 have been successful. Utah is the first to pass a anesthesia-related bill instead of outright prohibiting the practice. But according to physicians, it may as well be a ban.

“You’re asking me to invent a procedure that doesn’t have any research to back it up,” said Dr. Leah Torres, an OB-GYN who works at one of Utah’s two licensed abortion clinics, in an interview with the New York Times. “You want me to experiment on my patients.”

Utah physicians have strongly opposed the bill since its inception, arguing that unscientific opinions from state lawmakers have no place in a safe doctor-patient relationship — especially if they put a woman’s life at risk.

 

imageIn other Utah news…At Brigham Young, a Cost in Reporting a Rape – The New York Times

Before she could move into a dormitory atBrigham Young University or sign up for freshman classes, Brooke had to sign the college’s Honor Code.

Part moral compass and part contract, the Honor Code is a cornerstone of life for the nearly 30,000 students at Brigham Young, a Mormon-run university. It points students, faculty and staff members toward “moral virtues encompassed in the gospel of Jesus Christ,” prizing chastity, honesty and virtue. It requires modest dress on campus, discourages consensual sex outside marriage and, among other things, prohibits drinking, drug use, same-sex intimacy and indecency, as well as sexual misconduct.

But after Brooke, 20, told the university that a fellow student had raped her at his apartment in February 2014, she said the Honor Code became a tool to punish her. She had taken LSD that night, and also told the university about an earlier sexual encounter with the same student that she said had been coerced. Four months after reporting the assault, she received a letter from the associate dean of students.

“You are being suspended from Brigham Young University because of your violation of the Honor Code including continued illegal drug use and consensual sex, effective immediately,” the letter read.

This is something of a habit over there at BYU…

In the past few weeks, Brooke and a handful of other female students have come forward, first at a rape-awareness conference and then in The Salt Lake Tribune, to say that after they made complaints of sexual abuse they had faced Honor Code investigations into whether they drank alcohol, took drugs or had consensual sex.

image“They treated me in such an un-Christlike way, like I was some sinner,” said Brooke, who agreed to be identified by her first name. “There was no forgiveness and mercy.”

Their accounts have brought a national debate over colleges’ disparate treatment of women who have reported sexual assaults crashing onto this faith-driven campus, where Mormon students gather from around the globe, skirts must fall to the knee and beards are outlawed. The women’s complaints have focused attention on how the university deals with such cases as it also seeks to uphold a moral code that lies at the heart of its identity.

Brigham Young’s policy on sexual misconduct urges students to come forward even if they have broken university policies. The university says that it investigates sexual assault complaints fully, but that it also has an obligation to pursue misconduct under the Honor Code. According to the sexual misconduct policy, violations of its code discouraging consensual sex are not exempt from scrutiny.

“Brigham Young University cares deeply about the safety of our students,” Carri Jenkins, a university spokeswoman, wrote in an email. “When a student reports a sexual assault, our primary focus is on the well-being of the victim.”

Sometimes, though, “facts come to light that a victim has engaged in prior Honor Code violations,” she said.

While the recent complaints about Brigham Young have come from female students, the university says that all students are required to follow the Honor Code “at all times,” whether on or off campus. Any potential violation that comes to the university’s attention could be investigated, it said. In the wake of the students’ complaints, the university announced last week that it would review how it handled reports of sexual assaults.

Go to the link to see other stories on the situation at BYU,  and to read more about this case.

Then remember this new law in Oklahoma:

imageOklahoma Says Drunk Girls Can’t Get Raped and the Other Worst Rape Laws in the U.S. – The Daily Beast

Bizarre loopholes and double standards in rape legislation aren’t just confined to Oklahoma.

On March 24, an Oklahoma appeals court unanimously ruled that “forcible sodomy cannot occur where a victim is so intoxicated as to be completely unconscious at the time of the sexual act of oral copulation” (PDF). 

Translated into English: Forcing a woman to perform oral sex while she’s blackout drunk isn’t rape.

Oklahoma Watch first reported the shocking decision, which Tulsa County assistant district attorney Benjamin Fu called “dangerous” and “offensive.” Fu served as the lead prosecutor in a case against a 17-year-old boy who claimed in a police interview that a 16-year-old girl he drove home from a park had consented to oral sex.

 The girl said she did not remember what happened and another boy who rode in the car confirmed that she was having difficulty staying conscious. After she was taken to the hospital early the next morning, tests showed that her blood alcohol level was a staggering .341 and that traces of the boy’s DNA were around her mouth.

But because she was intoxicated—and because the alleged rape was oral rather than vaginal—the court determined that Oklahoma law did not apply to her case. 

Oklahoma’s “rape in the first degree” statute is fairly comprehensive, applying to victims who were mentally ill, intoxicated, unconscious, physically coerced, or threatened with violence. But the “forcible sodomy” statute only lists two barriers to consent: mental illness and violence. 

The difference between the statutes might seem like a technicality, but it’s one that the appeals court took seriously, writing that they could not “enlarge a statute” in order to prosecute the boy.

More alarming than this conclusion is the fact that these bizarre loopholes and double standards in rape legislation aren’t just confined to one state.

As of 2013, the FBI defines rape as “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” The agency’s prior definition—“the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will”—was not only archaic, it was ambiguous about what, precisely, counted as rape: Did “carnal knowledge” include oral rape, anal rape, rape with an object? 

But even though the federal government has now laid out a crystal clear and expansive definition of rape, several states—not just Oklahoma—still regard nonconsensual vaginal penetration with a penis differently from other, equally serious forms of forcible sex.

As Jennifer Gentile Long, CEO of AEquitas, a resource for prosecutors in cases of violence against women, told The Guardian of the Oklahoma case, “There are still gaps in the ways laws are written that allow some cases to fall through the cracks. This case seems to be one of them.”

imageThat article has other state laws similar to OK which will make you red with anger…but since I am sticking to Oklahoma right now….

This Is Why A Ruling In An Oklahoma Courtroom Disgusted Everyone Including the DA

Unconscious, where you can’t make decisions because you are not awake.

 In an Oklahoma court, a decision was made that states the law doesn’t criminalize oral sex with a victim who is completely unconscious. The ruling is, of course, sparking outrage because critics say the judicial system was engaged in victim-blaming and believing outdated notions in regards to rape.

Sexual Assault Ruling in Oklahoma Spurs Calls to Change State Laws – The New York Times

Outraged activists and prosecutors in Oklahoma called for changes to a state law on forced oral sex after a court rejected the prosecution of a teenage boy in Tulsa because his 16-year-old accuser had been intoxicated to the point of unconsciousness.

“Forcible sodomy cannot occur where a victim is so intoxicated as to be completely unconscious at the time of the sexual act of oral copulation,” the Court of Criminal Appeals ruled in the case.

image“We will not, in order to justify prosecution of a person for an offense, enlarge a statute beyond the fair meaning of its language,” it said.

Advocates for rape victims said the decision by the appeals court was not all that surprising given the patchwork inconsistency of state-by-state sexual assault laws that leave legal gray areas. But other experts said the ruling should jolt other states into examining their own laws.

Oklahoma court rules that forced oral sex is not rape if victim is unconscious from drinking

On yet another abortion front, in this war on women:

Meet the abortion doctor fighting her hospital’s ‘gag order’ | Fusion

Many women’s health advocates wear their passion on their sleeve. Diane Horvath-Cosper wears hers on her ankle, in the form of a coat hanger tattoo—a reminder to herself and others, she says, that our country is rapidly returning to the dark ages of abortion and the horrors this reality entails.

I know about Horvath-Cosper’s new tattoo because I was with her when she got it last month. After we left the tattoo parlor, she promptly Instagrammed a photo of it with the hashtag #NeverAgain, then turned to me and said, sarcastically, “My parents are going to love this.”

imageAs a fellow OBGYN and a friend of Horvath-Cosper’s, I was proud but not at all surprised when she announced, in a mic-drop moment last week, that she was taking legal action against her hospital for forbidding her to speak publicly about her work and beliefs as an abortion provider.

As The New York Times first reported, Horvath-Cosper is filing a civil rights complaint against MedStar Washington Center Hospital in Washington, D.C. for what she describes as a “gag order” that has essentially put the kibosh on her work as an abortion rights advocate. “I don’t think the way to deal with bullies is to cower and pull back,”she told the paper.

Not surprisingly, news of Horvath-Cosper’s decision temporarily broke the internet—or at least that sliver of the internet reserved for abortion news, making her an overnight feminist heroine.

Read the rest about Diane Horvath-Cosper at the link…

‘Abortion Reversal’ Is Scary, Bogus Science – The Daily Beast

Louisiana is the latest state to legislate ‘abortion reversal,’ an unproven and potentially dangerous procedure to counter medical abortion.

imageThe “abortion pill” isn’t one pill, but two pills taken in sequence. First, women visit a clinic and take mifepristone, which blocks progesterone. Then, one to two days later, the drug misoprostol can be used to induce an abortion at home. The entire process—known as medical, rather than surgical, abortion—is safe, effective, and increasingly common.

In recent years, the rise of medical abortion has led some anti-abortion activists and lawmakers to claim that the process can be reversed with an emergency treatment after the first pill. But even if they succeed at turning that myth into law, the truth is that science is not on their side.

What Part Of Your Rape Is My Problem? An Open Letter By Oklahoma Republicans | Left Wing Nation

The Latest Strategy To Prevent Women From Getting A Safe Abortion | ThinkProgress

And the rest of today’s links are on women…yes? And other things….

imageJudge accused of offering young men reduced sentences for sexual favors | www.ajc.com

A district court judge in Arkansas resigned Monday and agreed to never pursue public office again in the face of mounting evidence that he traded reduced sentences and fines for sexual favors and provocative photos of young men under the guise of “community service.”

The Arkansas Judicial and Disability Commission launched an investigation to determine whether to sanction or remove part-time Cross County District Court Judge Joseph Boeckmann from the bench after an investigator working on an elder abuse case complained that witnesses connected to Boeckmann were dropping his name and refusing to speak with her.

During the course of their investigation, the commission unearthed allegations of misconduct dating back decades.

“He’s a criminal predator who used his judicial power to feed his corrupt desires,” David Sachar, executive director of the commission, told The Associated Press. “Every minute he served as a judge was an insult to the Arkansas Judiciary.”

Boeckmann became a Cross County District Court judge on Jan. 1, 2009. However, the commission said it discovered Boeckmann was using his position to sexually prey on young men as far back as 1985, when he worked as a deputy prosecuting attorney.

 

imageReport Catholic Hospitals Denying Reproductive Care

Jailed in El Salvador after losing their pregnancies

State’s doctors join suit over Dignity Health sterilization ban – SFGate

Purity Pledges May Lead to a Higher Chance of Pregnancy and STDs | Teen Vogue

Priest banned for molesting girl gets a new job as director of teen pregnancy center

Atlanta AIDS epidemic as bad as in some developing countries | www.ajc.com

Gloria Steinem: Feminism and New Documentary – Motto

The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Says Olympic Boycott Is ‘On The Table’ | ThinkProgress

Former Australian PM Julia Gillard: Women Need to Call Out Sexism – Fortune

Study: Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, gets the most negative media coverage – Vox

FOX News Tried to Delete Their Fans’ Racism Towards Malia Obama, But We Got Screenshots

imageTrump appeals to men ‘petrified to speak to women’ | Jay Bookman

Donald Trump Promises To Appoint Anti-Abortion Justices To Supreme Court

Anti-Abortion Group Once “Disgusted” by Donald Trump Now Supports Him | Mother Jones

Two Decades After Genocide, Rwanda’s Women Have Made the Nation Thrive – The Daily Beast

Stonewall Inn First LGBTQIA National Monument | The Mary Sue

And we will end this post with Women in Unexpected Places: Lady Detectives in Fact and Fiction – Beacon Broadside: A Project of Beacon Press

Erika Janik and her new book Pistols and Petticoats: 175 Years of Lady Detectives in Fact and Fiction! Pistols and Petticoats is a lively exploration of the struggles women have faced in law enforcement and in mystery fiction since the late nineteenth century. Working in a profession considered to be strictly a man’s domain, investigating women were nearly always at odds with society. These sleuths and detectives refused to let that stop them, and paved the way to a modern professional life for women on the force and in popular culture. We caught up with Janik to ask her about the social implications of women joining the police force, “murder as entertainment,” and how the reality of policewomen compares with the stories told in the crime genre.

What made you decide to write a book on women detectives and the mystery genre?

Something that always grabs my interest is what I sometimes refer to as “women in unexpected places.” I ran across a woman in Chicago who ran her own private detection agency around the turn-of-the-twentieth century and immediately wanted to know more. That led me deep into reading about real women in law enforcement—there are some real characters in the early years!—and thinking about how that reality compared with the fictional worlds I knew from a lifetime of books, television, and movies.

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, how did the role of women in detective stories differ from women’s perceived role in society? How does it differ today, if at all?

Fictional female detectives were definitely on the fringes of acceptable female behavior of the time. Women were thought to be emotional—not logical—and rational beings capable of putting the pieces of a mystery together. Women were also expected to be in the home, not out on the street tailing suspects or inspecting crime scenes for clues. At the same time, though, most of these fictional detectives were either young women or spinsters, two stages of life during which women had a bit more latitude because they didn’t have husbands or children.

Fictional detectives today are much closer to real women in that it’s not unusual for a woman to work or to be out in the city at night on her own. Fictional detectives today also tend to have more complicated personal lives. They may be divorced or from a troubled home. One thing that hasn’t changed is that fictional detectives still tend not to be married.

Pistols and PetticoatsIndustrialization and greater education opportunities in the nineteenth century gave women more time to volunteer and to work in social reform. One role borne of this charitable work was the prison matron, a role that paved the way for women on the force. How did the introduction of prison matrons in women’s correctional facilities impact the lives of female inmates and the view of women in policing?

Reformers lobbied hard for the introduction of prison matrons to help protect female inmates from abuse in prisons run by and designed for men. In some prisons, female and male inmates were housed in the same cell, while in others, women were packed together in a single room and largely ignored. Prison matrons did bring more attention to female inmates and had a better understanding of their charges. It also helped to change perceptions of female inmates among the matrons and other reformers. Where before, a woman in prison would be considered “fallen” and beyond redemption, through their work, matrons began to sympathize and understand the circumstances that often drove women to crime. They actually began to point to men as the problem and cause of women’s downfall.

Prison matrons helped ease the path for women in policing because they demonstrated that women could successfully work in a law enforcement capacity.

When women first entered the world of policing, the typical lady detective was young and unmarried or an older “spinster” to allow more time to focus on the job, as all other women were expected to be married and tending to their families. What were the societal implications when married women and mothers began to enter the police force?

Married women entering the police force faced many of the same obstacles and pressures as any married, working mother took on, though law enforcement definitely had the added potential of bodily harm or even death on the job. Fictional female detectives today still tend to be young or unmarried “spinsters,” widows, or divorcees today—that hasn’t changed. This is one area where reality strongly diverges from fiction because many real female officers had partners and children from the very beginning. For instance, Chicago detective Alice Clement was married with a daughter and still made headlines for her adventures in the 1910s.

 

Sounds like an interesting book…..

Why do you believe “murder as entertainment” as depicted in crime fiction and news reporting was such a satisfying genre for audiences in the nineteenth century? How do audiences view the genre today, and how does that affect the way we view current policewomen and female detectives?

I think that murder becomes satisfying entertainment as it becomes less common and as societies become more ordered. When you aren’t living in fear for your life every day, crime can be thrilling and fun as well as a way to play out our fears within a safe space. We also love a good story, even better if it has clear good and bad guys to cheer for and root against. I don’t think that has changed. Scandinavia is one of the safest places in the world today and yet their top literary genre is crime.

There are far more women in fictional detective settings than in real life. I think these fictional depictions of policewomen on television, in particular, have made it easier for our culture to imagine and accept a woman in that role. Unfortunately, that hasn’t necessarily translated to parity on our nation’s police forces.

Or as any of the links in today’s post show…women still are fighting for their basic rights. We have a woman running for president, dealing with a negative press like no other…women jailed for miscarriages, abortions…doctors required to lie to their patients, if only things were like fictional novels. (But even then, horror tales of Handmaids can and do become reality.)

This is an open thread.