Sunday Reads: Another day…another racist.

Good morning…cartoons via Cagle:

My dad drew this little thing:

I thought it was so funny.

I hope you have a good day, take it easy and this is an open thread.


Finally Friday Reads: Warrant Watch Edition

Secret Society from Peekaboo!, Tomoo Gokita,2018

Good Day Sky Dancers!

So, we’re on watch today to see exactly if the Search Warrant and property list from the FBI search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago stash are as disturbing as leaks imply.   This headline is from WAPO: “FBI searched Trump’s home to look for nuclear documents and other items, sources say.  The former president said on social media that he won’t oppose a Justice Dept. request to unseal the search warrant.” It describes the Garland Presser as well.

Late Thursday night, Trump said on social media that he agreed the document should be made public. In another post early Friday, he called the nuclear weapons issue a “hoax” and accused the FBI of planting evidence, without offering information to indicate such a thing had happened. Trump said agents did not allow his lawyers to be present for the search, which is not unusual in a law enforcement operation, especially if it potentially involves classified items.

Material about nuclear weapons is especially sensitive and usually restricted to a small number of government officials, experts said. Publicizing details about U.S. weapons could provide an intelligence road map to adversaries seeking to build ways of countering those systems. And other countries might view exposing their nuclear secrets as a threat, experts said.

One former Justice Department official, who in the past oversaw investigations of leaks of classified information, said the type of top-secret information described by the people familiar with the probe would probably cause authorities to try to move as quickly as possible to recover sensitive documents that could cause grave harm to U.S. security.

“If that is true, it would suggest that material residing unlawfully at Mar-a-Lago may have been classified at the highest classification level,” said David Laufman, the former chief of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence section, which investigates leaks of classified information. “If the FBI and the Department of Justice believed there were top secret materials still at Mar-a-Lago, that would lend itself to greater ‘hair-on-fire’ motivation to recover that material as quickly as possible.”

Cable News lit up last night with analysis and news.

This is from the tweet above and Steve Benen.

It’s worth emphasizing that the new motion filed by the DOJ isn’t to disclose everything, but it would bring to light the materials Team Trump already has in its possession, which would make clear key details of the search.

It’s why Marcy Wheeler noted, in response to today’s statement, “Garland is calling Trump’s bluff.”

The attorney general went on to note that he “personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant” in this case — something that was widely assumed, but not confirmed before this afternoon. He added that the Department of Justice “does not take such actions lightly” and first pursues “less intrusive” means.

But before wrapping up, Garland also took about a minute to defend federal law enforcement from “recent unfounded attacks on the professionalism of the FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors.”

“I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly

Peek A Boo, 2000, Bella Larsson

The New York Times focused on the possibilities that beyond-Top Secret Material was sitting around the basement of the Club. My worst thoughts are that he already shipped it off to his buddy in North Korea, his man-crush in Russia, or Bonesaw. “Trump Search Said to Be Part of Effort to Find Highly Classified Material. The former president said he will not object to the Justice Department’s move to release the search warrant used to carry out the search of his Florida home.”

While the inventory provided to Mr. Trump’s team after the search is unlikely to reveal details about the specific documents he kept, it refers to an array of sensitive material, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Judge Bruce Reinhart, the federal magistrate in the Southern District of Florida who approved the search warrant and is handling the motion to unseal it, had issued an order requiring the Justice Department to serve a copy of its motion to Mr. Trump’s lawyers. It said the department would have to tell the judge by 3 p.m. on Friday whether Mr. Trump opposed the motion.

Mr. Garland’s statement amounted to a challenge to Mr. Trump, who has been free to release the search warrant and the list of items taken during the search on his own, but has declined to do so. Many Trump allies and Republicans have also called on Mr. Garland to explain his decision, adding political complexity — or hypocrisy — to any decision by Mr. Trump to oppose making the search warrant public.

The Justice Department did not seek to release the affidavits — which contain much more information about the behavior of Mr. Trump and evidence presented by others — that were used to obtain the warrant.

The public statement by Mr. Garland came at an extraordinary moment, as a sprawling set of investigations into the former president on multiple fronts gained momentum even as Mr. Trump continued to signal that he might soon announce another run for the White House.

Peek-A-Boo /Hide and seek (Kurragömma) , Carl Larsson, 1898

Republican Elected officials and right-wing New Sources are doing everything to stir the empty pot of Trump’s latest Big Lie. This is from The Guardian: “Republicans dust off familiar playbook to weaponise Mar-a-Lago FBI search. Analysis: GOP accusations of ‘deep state’ and politicization of justice department likely to foment an intense backlash.”

But Republicans responded furiously to the development, following Trump’s lead in claiming that the search showed the justice department waging a politically motivated witch-hunt. Their florid rhetoric will do little to assuage fears that a prosecution of Trump could lead to social unrest and even political violence.

Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, said: “Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Countless times we have examples of Democrats flouting the law and abusing power with no recourse.

“Democrats continually weaponize the bureaucracy against Republicans. This raid is outrageous. This abuse of power must stop and the only way to do that is to elect Republicans in November.”

Kevin McCarthy, the Republican minority leader in the House, claimed in a statement that the justice department had reached “an intolerable state of weaponized politicization” and vowed that, when Republicans take back the House, they will conduct immediate oversight of the department.

He said ominously: “Attorney General Garland: preserve your documents and clear your calendar.”

Lindsey Graham, a US senator for South Carolina and Trump ally, noted that midterm elections are about a hundred days away and Trump is likely to run for president again in 2024. “Time will tell regarding this most recent investigation. However, launching such an investigation of a former President this close to an election is beyond problematic.”

Bob Good, a Republican congressman, wrote on Twitter: “The continued weaponization of the federal government against its citizens and political opponents continues under the Biden/Garland march toward a police state.”

Congressman Ronny Jackson added: “Tonight the FBI officially became the enemy of the people!!!”

Kristi Noem, the governor of South Dakota, denounced the search as “un-American”, while Matt Schlapp, chairman of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) – which hosted an event in Dallas, Texas, last week with speakers including Trump and the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán – also joined the condemnation.

“The Deep State will do anything in its power to slime President Trump,” Schlapp said. “Americans need to keep growing the big Red Wave and save the country from these corrupt fascists.”

Mike Pompeo, a former secretary of state under Trump, tweeted: “Executing a warrant against ex-POTUS is dangerous. The apparent political weaponization of DOJ/FBI is shameful. AG must explain why 250 yrs of practice was upended w/ this raid.”

Biden has repeatedly stressed his belief that the justice department must work independently of the White House and that he will not interfere in its investigations. Merrick Garland, the attorney general, insisted last week that no one was above the law.

The FBI is directed by Christopher Wray, a Trump appointee.

Meanwhile, a member of the Trump Cult tried to shoot up an FBI office in Cinncinatti.  He was spurred on by the Republican responses.

The gunman who fired at police and engaged in an hours-long standoff in a corn field after trying to enter the FBI’s office in Cincinnati on Thursday has been identified in multiple media reports as someone who was present at the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection.

The man also apparently left a trail of posts on Truth Social, the social media platform created by former president Donald Trump, announcing his plans to attack the FBI office and indicating that his actions were a direct response to the FBI’s search Monday of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club.

The suspect is Ricky Walter Shiffer, according to NBC News and the New York Times, which reported that Shiffer was under investigation for having “ties to extremist groups,” including the Proud Boys, which he apparently mentioned on social media.

The standoff suspect was shot and killed by police on Thursday afternoon, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said, but his identity has not been confirmed.

The 42-year-old Shiffer reportedly posted on Facebook on Jan. 5, 2021, showing him attending a pro-Trump rally at Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington the night before the Capitol was stormed, according to the Times.

The week’s events have spurred a new addition to the Dark Brandon memes.  We now have Dark Merrick.

I really want to focus on this, though, because it ties all of the shit we’ve been through since Trump started with the Obama wasn’t born here lies.  I’d love to have sat in on this discussion between the President and a group of the nation’s premier Historians.

The conversation during a ferocious lightning storm on Aug. 4 unfolded as a sort of Socratic dialogue between the commander in chief and a select group of scholars, who painted the current moment as among the most perilous in modern history for democratic governance, according to multiple people familiar with the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a private meeting.

Comparisons were made to the years before the 1860 election when Abraham Lincoln warned that a “house divided against itself cannot stand” and the lead-up to the 1940 election, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt battled rising domestic sympathy for European fascism and resistance to the United States joining World War II.

We’ve seen this analysis from various Historians that appear on TV News.  Here’s some additional reading material,

I somehow missed that publication in the dark years of the Trump Presidency.

No matter how and when the Trump presidency ends, the specter of illiberalism will continue to haunt American politics.

At this point, I’d just like to see Trump himself stop haunting us.

If the US has someone whom historians will look back on as the gravedigger of American democracy, it is Mitch McConnell. Like Hitler’s conservative allies, he and the Republicans have prided themselves on the early returns on their investment in Trump.

Mitch has calmed down some, but the rest of the Republicans have not. This just broke.

This scoop comes from Lisa Rein.

The White House has faced mounting questions about a decision by the Department of Homeland Security inspector general’s office to abandon attempts to recover missing Secret Service texts from Jan. 6,2021. President Biden, in response, has signaled his intention to stay out of the process as an independent watchdog investigates the inspector general.

But Joseph V. Cuffari and his staff have refused to release certain documents and tried to block interviews, effectively delaying that probe, which has now stretched for more than 15 months and evolved into a wide-ranging inquiry into more than a dozen allegations of misconduct raised by whistleblowers and other sources, according to three people familiar with the case who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an open investigation.

Some Republican senators have also raised stiff resistance to the investigation — which is being overseen by a panel of federal watchdogs fromthe Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) — questioning the need for a full probe into the Trump administrationappointee.

Pavel Tchelitchew
Hide-and-Seek
Derby, Vermont and New York, June 1940 – June 1942

It just seems we’ve lost our way.

There is some good news.  The House is on the verge of sending the Inflation Reduction Act to the President for his signature.

There’s also this from the AP: “Kansas abortion vote shows limits of GOP’s strength.”

An increase in turnout among Democrats and independents and a notable shift in Republican-leaning counties contributed to the overwhelming support of abortion rights last week in traditionally conservative Kansas, according to a detailed Associated Press analysis of the voting results.

A proposed state constitutional amendment would have allowed the Republican-controlled Legislature to tighten restrictions or ban abortions outright. But Kansas voters rejected the measure by nearly 20 percentage points, almost a mirror of Republican Donald Trump’s statewide margin over Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

In the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to repeal a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion, the threat of new restrictions in the state galvanized Democrats and independents more than anticipated. At the same time, Republicans showed less interest in turning out to support the measure.

The findings reinforce a sense in both parties that the Supreme Court’s decision may have altered the dynamics of this year’s midterm elections.

Even Fox News polling supports the tightening of the race to maintain control of Congress,

“Between passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, killing al Qaeda’s leader, less pain at the pump, and the Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices taking away abortion rights, the political landscape is less horrible for Democrats,” says Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who conducts the Fox surveys with Republican Daron Shaw. “There are successes Democrats can point to that didn’t exist in the spring, but the biggest single change I see in this poll is the increased disapproval of the Supreme Court and suspect that is a significant factor.”

Fifty-five percent disapprove of the Supreme Court’s job performance, up from 48% in June.

Meanwhile, the shift in vote preference mainly comes from women. They preferred the GOP candidate by 1 point in May and now go for the Democrat by 6.

Okay, we’ll keep you updated on the release of the warrant.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Wednesday Reads: Will No Win? Hell yes!

Thanks Dak…

Fuck yeah!!!! Kansas votes No to save Abortion Rights!!!!

Let’s hope this is a sign of what will come in November…

What a lady…

I’m going to end with this cartoon from 1969/1970:

Find the latest primary results here:

This is an open thread…


Friday Reads: The time has come,’ the Justices said, To talk of many things

Bathing Man. Edvard Munch.1918

Good Day Sky Dancers!  And yes!  It really is Friday

News broke last night that “Jan. 6 texts missing for Trump Homeland Security’s Wolf and Cuccinelli”   If that’s not a sign of a series of cover-ups, I do not know what is. This is another amazing scoop by Carol D. Leonnig and Maria Sacchetti.

Text messages for President Donald Trump’s acting homeland security secretary Chad Wolf and acting deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli are missing for a key period leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to four people briefed on the matter and internal emails.

This discovery of missing records for the senior-most Homeland Security officials, which has not been previously reported, increases the volume of potential evidence that has vanished regarding the time around the Capitol attack.

It comes as both congressional and criminal investigators at the Justice Department seek to piece together an effort by Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the election, which culminated in a pro-Trump rally that became a violent riot in the halls of Congress.

The Department of Homeland Security notified the agency’s inspector general in late February that Wolf’s and Cuccinelli’s texts were lost in a “reset” of their government phones when they left their jobs in January 2021 in preparation for the new Biden administration, according to an internal record obtained by the Project on Government Oversight and shared with The Washington Post.

The Wounded Foot, 1909, Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida

These reset excuses are getting old.  There’s some good news on the Senate for a change.  First, it looks like Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes will be the Democratic Candidate for the Senate and has a wonderful chance of beating current worthless Trumper Senator Ron Johnson.  Another Democratic challenger has suspended their campaign. This is from The Cap Times that follows the political news coming from Madison, Wisconsin.

The decisions from Nelson, Lasry and Godlewski to drop out have turned the Democratic U.S. Senate primary on its head and all but ensured Barnes will take on Johnson in November.

“Over a year ago, we launched this campaign to defeat Ron Johnson and return this Senate seat to the people of Wisconsin,” Godlewski said in a statement. “I stepped up because, too often, Washington overlooks so many of the challenges working families face — from affordable child care and senior care to paid family leave to prescription drug costs to reproductive freedom. I believed we needed more working moms at the U.S. Senate table who would fight like hell to make these issues a priority — I still do.”

“But it’s clear that if we want to finally send Ron Johnson packing, we must all get behind Mandela Barnes and fight together,” she continued. “I’m proud of what our 72-county campaign has accomplished, and while I may not be on the ballot this November, every issue we fought to bring front and center will be.”

Democratic Senators Schumer and Manchin outfoxed the Republicans in the Senate in a move worthy of Moscow Mitch.  All the Republicans are having hissy fits. The Marriage Equality bill may get the brunt of their temper tantrums as they now say they will not vote for anything. This is from The Atlantic as written by Robinson Meyer.

Every few years, American politics astonishes you. Yesterday was one of those days.

In the late afternoon, Senator Joe Manchin announced that he had reached a compromise with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer over President Joe Biden’s long-ailing legislative agenda. In a move that seemed to shock almost all of their colleagues, the two men unveiled a nearly completed bill that will reduce the federal budget deficit, reduce greenhouse-gas pollution, invest in new energy infrastructure, and lower health-care costs.

Every few years, American politics astonishes you. Yesterday was one of those days.

In the late afternoon, Senator Joe Manchin announced that he had reached a compromise with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer over President Joe Biden’s long-ailing legislative agenda. In a move that seemed to shock almost all of their colleagues, the two men unveiled a nearly completed bill that will reduce the federal budget deficit, reduce greenhouse-gas pollution, invest in new energy infrastructure, and lower health-care costs.

And now for the main event.  The Supreme court is on Summer hiatus.  Several have been giving speeches, and Justice Thomas unceremoniously quit his adjunct gig because of student protests over his misogyny and homophobic messages in the context of his role in the overturn of Roe. His comments also invited the states to go after marriage equality and possibly even reinstate old sodomy laws.

This is from Axios referenced in the tweet that follows.

The big picture: After the Roe ruling was released, some GW students launched a petition urging the university to remove Thomas from teaching and cancel the constitutional law seminar he teaches at the law school. The petition was signed by over 11,000 people as of Wednesday.

  • GW stood by Thomas, writing in a letter that “[b]ecause we steadfastly support the robust exchange of ideas and deliberation, and because debate is an essential part of our university’s academic and educational mission to train future leaders who are prepared to address the world’s most urgent problems, the university will neither terminate Justices Thomas’ employment nor cancel his class in response to his legal opinions.”

Go deeper: Clarence Thomas is at the peak of his power

In a tradition started by Sandra Day O’Conner, Justice Sotomayor and Cult member and Hand Maid Amy Coney Barret spoke to an audience, trying to seem as collegial as possible.  This is from CNN: “Justices worry about the future of the Supreme Court — and point fingers as to who’s to blame.” Well, I’d blame Trump, everything he touches turns to shit, and this Supreme Court is full of it. Moscow Mitch is a good candidate for the appearance that settled law doesn’t matter anymore. Ariane De Vogue provides this analysis.

Limping away from one of the most significant terms in decades, justices are sending out flares expressing concern not only for the future of the Supreme Court but the country as a whole as institutional norms dissolve, tensions rise, and the court pivots right with the addition of three new members.

The justices are mostly on their summer recess now, having left behind a trail of bitter conservative-liberal splits on issues that will reshape how Americans live their lives when it comes to reproductive health, religious liberty, the environment and gun rights.

In those opinions and in public comments, members on both sides of the ideological divide are expressing reservations not about their ability to interact civilly — but about the court itself and its future.

All the while, the public doesn’t like what it sees. According to a new Marquette Law School poll, 61% of the public disapproves of how the court is handling its job. And 63% oppose the ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, according to a CNN poll released Thursday.

“If over time, the court loses all connection with the public and with public sentiment, that is a dangerous thing for a democracy,” liberal Justice Elena Kagan told an audience in Montana last week, when asked generally about what a court can do to increase public confidence.

I think people are rightly suspicious if one justice leaves the court or dies and another justice takes his or her place and all of a sudden the law changes,” Kagan added. “It’s like: what’s going on here? That doesn’t seem like law”

Seascape near Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Vincent van Gogh , 1888

You may go to the article to read the droppings of the conservative Justices, including more from Uncle Thomas and Court Nanny John Roberts. Maybe he just quit that adjunct job so he’d have more time to visit his wife in her future room in a hoosegow.

We know Brent Kavanaugh is off at some bar getting drunk and assaulting whatever will come near him.  But this one from Alito basically demonstrates a great evil on the court. The Grand Inquisitor delivered a speech in Rome on “religious liberty” or, as he calls it, how I force my extremist dogma on the entire country.  It was in service to Notre Dame Law School. This is from Politico.  “Alito mocks foreign critics of Supreme Court abortion ruling.”  How dare they mock him when it came directly to him as he flayed himself unconscious as is encouraged to do by Opus Dei. A few of these justices likely do it together over too many beers.  And again, you have no doubt as to why they called it the Dark Ages.

Most of Alito’s 36-minute speech was devoted to a discussion of religious liberty, with the conservative justice arguing that support for religious liberty is eroding because so many people now say they lack religious belief.

“It is hard to convince people that religious liberty is worth defending if they don’t think that religion is a good thing that deserves protection,” Alito said, before outlining some arguments that might find traction with what he called an “increasing” number of people who reject religion or don’t consider it important.

That was after he suggested Bojo got what he deserved for mocking him.  Rather arrogant or just a bad joke?  And then there’s this that upset him.

“What really wounded me was when the duke of Sussex addressed the United Nations and seemed to compare the decision whose name may not be spoken with the Russian attack on Ukraine,” Alito said. “Despite this temptation, I’m not going to talk about cases from other countries.”

I wish he would just get out there and do comedy, but we’re stuck with him until he croaks. You can watch his performance on the youtube that follows.

So, I hope that the paintings of the ocean were calming because we are still in for stormy weather.  There are also plenty of  Republican grifters that are ready to eat their followers after fattening them up with fairy tales.

Have a great Friday and Weekend!!!


Monday Reads: A bit of this and that!

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Fränzi in front of Carved Chair, 1910.

Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!

There are a lot of long-form articles up today that are worth a read.  I’m going to start with a few on the abortion issue since Kansas has a significant vote today. Kansas is the first state to have a Post-Roe vote.  This is from The New York Times: “‘Everybody Is Dug In’: Kansans Fiercely Debate the First Post-Roe Vote on Abortion. The Aug. 2 ballot question will decide whether the State Constitution will allow legislators to ban or further restrict the procedure.”

Kansas voters will decide next week whether to remove protections of abortion rights from their State Constitution, providing the first electoral test of Americans’ attitudes on the issue since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

The election could give the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature authority to pass new abortion limits or to outlaw the procedure entirely, potentially reshaping the map of abortion access in the nation’s center. The vote, which has been planned since last year but took on far higher stakes after the federal right to abortion was eliminated, is expected to send a message far beyond Kansas as politicians nationwide weigh new abortion measures and watch for signs of how the public is reacting.

“Kansas is the bull’s-eye of the United States in terms of its geography, but it’s also the bull’s-eye where all the energy that has emerged from the Supreme Court decision has now focused,” said Pastor Randy Frazee, who leads a large church in suburban Kansas City, and who like many clergy members supports giving legislators the power to restrict abortions.

“Complementary Yellow Twin Sisters,” unknown artist

A good deal of my family is still in the Kansas City area. One of my great grandfathers was a Methodist circuit rider back in the day when Kansas had a healthy abolitionist movement. We’ll see if the old Kansas idea of Christian social justice is still there.  FiveThirtyEight discusses “How The Fight To Ban Abortion Is Rooted In The ‘Great Replacement’ Theory.”  It’s also firmly rooted in the idea that men own women and whatever activities they can do.  This analysis was written by Alex Samuels and Monica Potts.

Throughout colonial America and into the 19th century, abortions were fairly common with the help of a midwife or other women and could be obtained until the point that you could feel movement inside, according to Lauren MacIvor Thompson, a historian of early-20th-century women’s rights and public health. Most abortions were induced through herbal or medicinal remedies and, like other medical interventions of the time, weren’t always effective or safe.

But the dynamics surrounding the procedure changed by the mid-19th century, as America’s elites began to fear a rising tide of immigrants from Ireland, Italy and other European countries (people often viewed as “inferior”), suffragists seeking new freedoms and recently freed Black people, whom these elites feared were reproducing at higher rates than the white population. Laws limiting abortion, it was believed, would ultimately force middle- and upper-class white women — who had the most access to detect and terminate unwanted pregnancies — to bear more white children.

“There were concerns that these other groups were demographically outpacing white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant women. And so they thought to limit the bodily autonomy of white women and limit access to contraception in order to force them to have children. That they felt would keep up with the demographic birth rate,” said Alex DiBranco, the co-founder and executive director of the Institute for Research on Male Supremacism.

It took time for the anti-abortion movement to attract supporters, and unlike today, religious groups were not originally an active part of it. Still, momentum built as a small but influential number of physicians began arguing that licensed male doctors — as opposed to female midwives — should care for women throughout the reproductive cycle. In the late 1850s, one of the leaders of the nascent anti-abortion movement, a surgeon named Horatio Robinson Storer, began arguing that he didn’t want the medical profession to be associated with abortion. He was able to push the relatively new American Medical Association to support his cause, and soon they were working to delegitimize midwives and enforce abortion bans. In an 1865 essay issued by order of the AMA, Storer went so far as to say of white women that “upon their loins depends the future destiny of the nation.”

The Family (John Gruen, Jane Wilson and Julia), Alice Neel, 1970

There’s a lot more in the article if you can stand to read all the misogyny, racism, and basic WASP nationalism. From Cameron Joseph, at VICE we learn exactly how deep the Republican Party’s hatred of women has become.  “JD Vance Suggests People in ‘Violent’ Marriages Shouldn’t Get Divorced. The Ohio Republican Senate nominee claimed people “shift spouses like they change their underwear,” and that it had damaged a generation of children.”

“This is one of the great tricks that I think the sexual revolution pulled on the American populace, which is the idea that like, ‘well, OK, these marriages were fundamentally, you know, they were maybe even violent, but certainly they were unhappy. And so getting rid of them and making it easier for people to shift spouses like they change their underwear, that’s going to make people happier in the long term,’” Vance said.

“And maybe it worked out for the moms and dads, though I’m skeptical. But it really didn’t work out for the kids of those marriages,” Vance continued. “And that’s what I think all of us should be honest about, is we’ve run this experiment in real time. And what we have is a lot of very, very real family dysfunction that’s making our kids unhappy.”

Vance was responding to a moderator who referenced his grandparents’ relationship before asking, “What’s causing one generation to give up on fatherhood when the other one was so doggedly determined to stick it out, even in tough times?” And those comments came immediately after he brought up his grandparents’ relationship and how it differed from his parents’ generation. He described their marriage as “violent” in his best-selling book “Hillbilly Elegy,” though they’d reconciled by the time he came along and helped raise him, giving him a sense of safety and stability his mother was unable to provide.

“Culturally, something has clearly shifted. I think it’s easy but also probably true to blame the sexual revolution of the 1960s. My grandparents had an incredibly chaotic marriage in a lot of ways, but they never got divorced, right? They were together to the end, ’til death do us part. That was a really important thing to my grandmother and my grandfather. That was clearly not true by the 70s or 80s,” he said.

Terrace in Balcic, Nutzi Acontz, 1930

How about once women actually get choices, where they can take care of themselves and their families, that makes the horrid man in their life irrelevant?  I endured one marriage of 20 years and believe me, never again. He’s working on his third btw.

So, one more topic I want to cover today is how the Republicans are trying to form a new kind of servitude on everyone but white Christian men and billionaires. First up from The Daily Beast: “The Four Stages of Republican Misinformation. The right has a tested formula to brainwash its base. From the Big Lie to attacking a 10-year-old rape victim, here’s how they do it.”  This is written by Wajahat Ali.

The entire right-wing ecosystem unleashed its full arsenal to discredit the 10-year-old girl as a liar, intimidate her physician, demonize liberals, and continue its march backward, undeterred, in its quest to make Handmaid’s Tale cosplay a reality—in an America that subordinates and punishes women for having the audacity to control their own bodies.

To achieve its goal, the right uses a now familiar four-part strategy.

First, Republicans use any means necessary to achieve power and promote their unpopular, extremist, counter-majoritarian agenda.

Second, they create and promote disinformation and lies to frighten their base and Jedi mind-trick them into believing they are being oppressed by the actual victims.

Third, they create a specific villain, target them, and then attack them through scapegoating, smearing, and intimidation.

Fourth, they never apologize or back down once their lie is exposed, but instead, they double down, and in times of doubt, always pivot towards racism and fear-mongering.

To illustrate the strategy, look no further than the GOP’s rationalization of the Jan. 6 insurrection and embrace of the Big Lie—which gave them the successful blueprint to promote their hateful anti-abortion policies.

First, Donald Trump deliberately promoted lies and conspiracy theories about election fraud conducted by Democrats. Instead of accepting his defeat, he unleashed a premeditated, coordinated strategy to engage in a failed coup, which eventually resulted in thousands of his supporters overtaking the U.S. Capitol in an effort to overturn a free and fair election.

To get to the point where a 10-year-old rape victim has to cross state lines for an abortion, look to the GOP’s four-decade effort to kill Roe v. Wade. Republicans finally got their wish by packing the Supreme Court with right-wing extremists in black robes handpicked by the Federalist Society. Sen. Mitch McConnell stole Merrick Garland’s seat by refusing to hold a confirmation hearing, citing the need to wait until after the 2016 election. Then, he went against his own bullshit precedent and bum-rushed Justice Amy Coney Barrett on to the Court after millions of votes had already been cast in the 2020 election. That’s how they got a right-wing majority to dutifully overturn Roe, which led to Republican-controlled states imposing draconian laws that are punishing women and their health-care providers.

Second, the right-wing media ecosystem continues to amplify the Big Lie and fuel conspiracy theories, which has since resulted in a majority of GOP voters falsely believing Biden was not fairly elected. More than 100 Republicans who have won their recent primaries support the Big Lie, which has transformed into a MAGA litmus test for aspiring GOP candidates.

Anxiety, Edvard Munch,1894

There’s more.  It’s a brutally factual and honest assessment. This leads to a story sent to me last night by BostonBoomer.  This is from The Atlantic: “America’s Self-Obsession Is Killing Its Democracy. The U.S. still has a chance to fix itself before 2024. But when democracies start dying—as ours already has—they usually don’t recover.”  It’s written by Brian Klaas.  I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but we must wake everyone up to all of this.

American democracy is dying. There are plenty of medicines that would cure it. Unfortunately, our political dysfunction means we’re choosing not to use them, and as time passes, fewer treatments become available to us, even though the disease is becoming terminal. No major prodemocracy reforms have passed Congress. No key political figures who tried to overturn an American election have faced real accountability. The president who orchestrated the greatest threat to our democracy in modern times is free to run for reelection, and may well return to office.

Our current situation started with a botched diagnosis. When Trump first rose to political prominence, much of the American political class reacted with amusement, seeing him as a sideshow. Even if he won, they thought, he’d tweet like a populist firebrand while governing like a Romney Republican, constrained by the system. But for those who had watched Trump-like authoritarian strongmen rise in Turkey, India, Hungary, Poland, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Venezuela, Trump was never entertaining. He was ominously familiar.

At issue was a classic frame-of-reference problem. America’s political culture is astonishingly insular. Turn on cable news and it’s all America, all the time. Other countries occasionally make cameos, but the story is still about us. (Poland is discussed if Air Force One goes to Warsaw; Iran flits into view only in relation to Washington’s nuclear diplomacy; Madagascar appears only in cartoon form, mostly featuring talking animals that don’t actually live there.) Our self-obsession means that whenever authoritarianism rises abroad, it’s mentioned briefly, if at all. Have you ever spotted a breathless octobox of talking heads on CNN or Fox News debating the death of democracy in Turkey, Sri Lanka, or the Philippines?

That’s why most American pundits and journalists used an “outsider comes to Washington” framework to process Trump’s campaign and his presidency, when they should have been fitting every fresh fact into an “authoritarian populist” framework or a “democratic death spiral” framework. While debates raged over tax cuts and offensive tweets, the biggest story was often obscured: The system itself was at risk.

Even today, too many think of Trump more as Sarah Palin in 2012 rather than Viktor Orbán in 2022. They wrongly believe that the authoritarian threat is over and that January 6 was an isolated event from our past, rather than a mild preview of our future. That misreading is provoking an underreaction from the political establishment. And the worst may be yet to come.

This is another long read, but please check it out! I think I’ve saddled you with enough angst and anxiety for a while.  Oh, and sorry, but I am on a Queen binge recently. So enjoy the killer lyrics and solo guitar by Brian May, the Freddie vocals, and the artwork that is this video.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

While the sun hangs in the sky and the desert has sand
While the waves crash in the sea and meet the land
While there’s a wind and the stars and the rainbow
‘Til the mountains crumble into the plain
Oh, yes, we’ll keep on tryin’
Tread that fine line
Oh, we’ll keep on tryin’, yeah
Just passing our time
While we live according to race, colour or creed
While we rule by blind madness and pure greed
Our lives dictated by tradition, superstition, false religion
Through the aeons, and on and on
Oh, yes, we’ll keep on tryin’
We’ll tread that fine line
Oh-oh, we’ll keep on tryin’
‘Til the end of time
‘Til the end of time
Through the sorrow, all through our splendour
Don’t take offence at my innuendo
You can be anything you want to be
Just turn yourself into anything you think that you could ever be
Be free with your tempo, be free, be free
Surrender your ego, be free, be free to yourself
If there’s a God or any kind of justice under the sky
If there’s a point, if there’s a reason to live or die
If there’s an answer to the questions, we feel bound to ask
Show yourself, destroy our fears, release your mask
Oh, yes, we’ll keep on trying
Hey, tread that fine line
Yeah, we’ll keep on smiling, yeah (yeah, yeah)
And whatever will be, will be
We’ll keep on trying
We’ll just keep on trying
‘Til the end of time
‘Til the end of time
‘Til the end of time