Friday Reads: We need a Democracy Booster

Frida Kahlo, Niña tehuacana, Lucha María (Sol y luna) ( Girl from Tehuacán, Lucha María [ Sun and Moon ]), 1942. © 2019 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy of Di Donna Galleries.

Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!

Just got back from a very long wait for my Covid-19 Pfizer booster. I’d plan to get a flu shot too but they’d been out for over a week at my closest Walgreen’s.  So, I’m way late and needed a reminder from BB. There are a lot of stories out there with one basic theme.  Donald Trump and the throwback Republican Party are actively trying to dismantle our democratic republic.

Chauncey DeVega writes this for Salon: “Steve Bannon’s second act: He’s back, and he wants to bring down the curtain on democracy. Maybe you thought “Trump’s brain” was off the political stage forever. But he’s back — and now he smells revenge”

Bannon has been in the news this week: He may be charged with criminal contempt by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol assault, and he hosted an event in Virginia on Wednesday night where attendees reportedly recited the Pledge of Allegiance before a flag used in that insurrection.

It does indeed seem likely that Bannon appears to have played a key role in the events of Jan. 6 and perhaps also in Trump’s overarching coup attempt. On a recent episode of his podcast, Bannon admitted to telling Trump, prior to that date,  “You need to kill this [Biden] administration in its crib.”

Bannon has also made repeated use of the technique known as stochastic terrorism to encourage right-wing violence, while disclaiming personal responsibility. As HuffPost reports, he recently told his listeners of his “War Room” podcast: “We need to get ready now. We control the country. We’ve got to start acting like it. And one way we’re going to act like it, we’re not going to have 4,000 [shock troops] ready to go, we’re going to have 20,000 ready to go.”

Bannon has said these “shock troops” would be used to destroy the federal government from within in a second Trump administration, as a way of tearing down what he calls “the administrative state,” an anti-government euphemism that also includes multiracial democracy.

Political scientists, historians and others have shown that such rhetoric is used by Republicans and their allies (and by too many “moderate” or corporate-sponsored Democrats) to justify attacks on the very idea of government itself, in large part because they perceive it as serving the interests of Black and brown people and others deemed to be “undeserving.”

Bannon’s use of violent language about “shock troops” — in a military context, this means heavily armed, fast-moving elite soldiers used to break through enemy defenses — is not necessarily hyperbole or metaphor. Rather, it should be seen as part of a larger embrace of political violence and other terrorism by the Republican fascist movement.

Alice Rahon : Gato Nocturno : Night Cat, 1942

BB wrote a lot about Bannon’s refusal to submit to a congressional subpoena and a possible criminal complaint will be voted on in the full House of Representatives shortly. This is from Molly Jung-fast writing for The AtlanticDemocrats Are Ready to Send Steve Bannon to Jail. If Democrats want answers, they’ll need to enforce their subpoenas in the face of Trump allies’ defiance. They say that’s just what they plan to do.”

Democrats want to uphold norms of interparty civility while also preventing Trump and his buddies from completely undermining democracy. But time is running out. The January 6 committee is one of Congress’s last chances to narrate the Capitol riots and the Trump administration’s efforts to subvert the peaceful transfer of power. The only way to fight fascism is with narrative, Masha Gessen, the writer and activist, once told me. The select-committee probe presents a real opportunity to do just that.

Enforcing the committee’s subpoenas isn’t a controversial idea, Representative Eric Swalwell of California told me. “We must enforce congressional subpoenas not just for holding insurrectionists accountable but to show everyone in America that we all follow the same rules,” he said. “If Bannon and company are above the law, why wouldn’t nonpublic figures toss their lawful subpoenas in the trash?”

Perhaps Bannon thinks that the committee won’t follow through, or that jail time might martyr him. He’s dodged consequences for alleged misconduct before. Last year, he faced prison for his role in the “We Build the Wall” scheme, which prosecutors said was fraudulent, but Trump granted him an 11th-hour pardon. At least he’s had some time to think about what he might have to pack.

Susan Glasser calls the Trump Presidency an “active crime scene”.

A book from the former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, “The Chief’s Chief,” is due out in December; Trump promoted it the other day as “an incredible Christmas present” that will explain how his Administration “did things that no other administration even thought they could do.”

Trump, of course, meant this as a bragging point, not as an ironic commentary on all the norm-busting and lawbreaking that occurred during his four years in office. “Remember,” he said in the statement, “there has never been an administration like ours.” In that, he’s right. The rapidly accumulating pile of books on the history of the Trump Administration is different in a crucial respect: they are not helping to explain the past so much as they are attempting to explain a present and very much ongoing crisis. Meadows, for example, is a crucial witness in the investigation by the House select committee into the events of January 6th. The panel subpoenaed him and several other Trump advisers to give testimony and hand over documents, with a deadline of Thursday. Not one has done so, setting the stage for a new and potentially protracted series of court battles. The panel announced on Thursday that it will seek to hold Steve Bannon, Trump’s fired White House strategist (the two later reconciled), in criminal contempt; it said that it is still negotiating with Meadows and the former Pentagon official Kash Patel. How many months or years will we have to wait to find out what they and others knew, and did, as a pro-Trump mob tried to stop Congress from certifying Trump’s defeat?

The bottom line is that the story of the Trump Presidency still has important unanswered questions that the forthcoming pile of books cannot answer. And they have an urgency about them that unanswered questions about past Administrations usually don’t, given the ongoing threat to our democracy: Trump is not only preparing to run again but is determined to mold the G.O.P. into a single-issue Party, the ideology of which consists solely of disputing the legitimacy of the election that turned him out of office. The Trump Presidency is not yet, alas, simply a matter for booksellers and book writers; it’s an active crime scene.

Hayv Kahraman, T25 and T26, 2017. © Hayv Kahraman. Courtesy of the artist, Jack Shainman Gallery, and White Cube.

Republican states are happily destroying the civil rights of women and minorities expecting no retribution when their actions get to the supreme court.  This headline out of Oklahoma is beyond disturbing.  It’s a horrific injustice and downright mean-spirited. “Native American Woman In Oklahoma Convicted Of Manslaughter Over Miscarriage. Brittney Poolaw faces four years in prison for a miscarriage she suffered less than halfway through her pregnancy.”  The headline comes via Oxygen.

Prosecutors in Oklahoma successfully argued to a jury this month that a woman who had a miscarriage was guilty of the manslaughter of her non-viable fetus.

Brittney Poolaw, 21, was convicted of second-degree manslaughter by a Comanche County jury on Oct. 5 for the death of her fetus that had a gestational age of 15 to 17 weeks, reported ABC affiliate KSWO in Lawton, Oklahoma. She was charged with in the case on Mar. 16, 2020 after a miscarriage that occurred on Jan. 4, 2020.

Obstetricians determine gestational ages based on the date of the woman’s last period prior to getting pregnant — i.e., before the date of conception. The U.S. Supreme Court determined with Roe v. Wade in 1973 that legal viability is after the 28th gestational week, when fetal survival is generally above 90 percent, but medical viability is pegged at 25-26 weeks, when the fetus has more than a 50 percent chance of surviving outside the womb, according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only defines a fetus as “stillborn” if it is delivered after 20 weeks gestational age; before that, it’s medically considered a miscarriage.

The Lawton Constitution reported last year that, according to police, the then-19 year-old Poolaw miscarried at home in early 2020 and was brought to the Comanche County Memorial Hospital with the umbilical cord still attached to the fetus. She told the medical staff that she had used both methamphetamines and marijuana while she’d been pregnant.

Later, in interviews with police, Poolaw allegedly confirmed that she’d smoked marijuana but used methamphetamines intravenously, including as recently as two days prior to her miscarriage. She also allegedly told them, according to the Lawton paper, “that when she first became pregnant, she didn’t know if she wanted to keep the baby or not.”

It is unclear from those reports whether she had actively decided to continue the pregnancy, given that she had been 15 to 17 weeks along, simply hadn’t made a decision or had few other options but to continue it. The nonprofit Guttmacher Institute notes that 53 percent of women in Oklahoma live in the 96 percent of counties with no facilities that offer abortion services — Comanche County among them — and the state requires a woman go to a provider twice, 72 hours apart, in order to obtain an abortion. Abortion is, by law, not covered by most private insurance plans in the state without an extra rider, and it isn’t covered by Medicaid except in extremely limited circumstances.

(In April 2021, Oklahoma’s governor signed three bills that will effectively eliminate all abortion access in the state — including a ban on any abortions after six weeks gestational age. The new laws are scheduled to take effect in November. They would not, however, have applied in Poolaw’s case.)

Technically speaking, Oklahoma state law did not criminalize women for miscarriages, stillbirths or other fetal harm for which prosecutors felt the woman was at fault until September 2020, when the state Supreme Court ruled that, despite the state’s child neglect and homicide laws making no reference to fetuses, the laws nonetheless encompassed a viable fetus whose mother used drugs.

Dorothea Tanning, Fatala, 1947. © Dorothea Tanning Foundation. Image courtesy of Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco.

The Washington Post reports that the “Justice Department will ask Supreme Court to block Texas abortion law while legal fights play out .”

The Department of Justice said Friday that it will ask the Supreme Court for an emergency halt to the Texas law that has restricted access to abortion in the nation’s second largest state to an extent not seen in 50 years.

The announcement followed a decision by a federal appeals court Thursday night that allowed the law to remain in effect. A lower court judge last week said the law was unconstitutional.

The department’s announcement meant the high court for the second time will be asked to put the law on hold while legal challenges to it continue. In a divisive 5 to 4 decision last month, the court allowed the law to take effect as the case goes forward, even though the majority said it raised constitutional concerns.

Abortion has emerged as the most dominant issue at the Supreme Court this term, as those opposed to it see a new opportunity for victory in the court’s changed membership, with three members nominated by President Donald Trump.

The court on Dec. 1 will hear a challenge to a Mississippi law that conservatives have urged the court to use to overturn the constitutional right to abortion established nearly a half-century ago in Roe v. Wade.

Mississippi’s law would ban most abortions after 15 weeks. Roe and subsequent decisions say a state may not impose undue burdens on the right to choose abortion before fetal viability, normally gauged to be between 22 and 24 weeks. The Mississippi law was put on hold by lower courts.

Texas’s law is more restrictive than that. It bars abortion as early as six weeks into the pregnancy, when many do not realize they are pregnant, and makes no exceptions for rape or incest.

And lastly, in the category of they walk among us:

All this has made me quite distrustful of a whole lot of White Americans.

A U.S. Capitol Police officer has been indicted on obstruction of justice charges after prosecutors say he helped to hide evidence of a rioter’s involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The officer, Michael A. Riley, is accused of tipping off someone who participated in the riot by telling them to remove posts from Facebook that had showed the person inside the Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack, according to court documents.

Riley, 50, appeared virtually in federal court in Washington and was released with several conditions, including that he surrender any firearms and not travel outside the U.S. without permission from a judge. He was ordered to return to court later this month.

Riley, who responded to a report of a pipe bomb on Jan. 6 and has been a Capitol Police officer for about 25 years, had sent the person a message telling them that he was an officer with the police force who “agrees with your political stance,” an indictment against him says.

The indictment spells out how Riley sent dozens of messages to the unidentified person, encouraging them to remove incriminating photos and videos and telling them how the FBI was investigating to identify rioters.

I hope you have a good weekend.  I seem to have no soreness or anything on my arm.  I’m hoping this holds.  Meanwhile, Blow up your TV, Throw away your paper …

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 

 


Monday Reads: Gaslighting Lousyana Style

L’Apéritif (1908) Raoul Dufy

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

I missed the days when Louisiana was a purple state.  That was back before Dubya’s Turd Blossom decided it would be a great idea if we could just find a way of stopping Black New Orleanians from returning home after Katrina. Of course, they mainly were bussed off to Georgia and Texas, where they’ve helped turned those states purple, which is a good thing. However, we’ve been saddled with the craziest pathetic group of KKK-loving, christianist nitwits ever assembled in one place.

One of them popped up on a Sunday show and proved he was still a Trumpy goose-stepping sleazeball.

Well, that makes about as much sense as what he actually said/didn’t say.  Liz Cheney just lit right into him. This is from Newsweek: “Liz Cheney Accuses Scalise of ‘Attack’ on the U.S. After He Refuses to Say Election Wasn’t Stolen.”

“Do you think the 2020 election was ‘stolen’ from Donald Trump? And in continuing to make that charge…do you think that that hurts, undermines American democracy?” Wallace asked Scalise on Fox News Sunday.

Scalise didn’t directly answer the question. “I’ve been very clear from the beginning. If you look at a number of states, they didn’t follow their state-passed laws that govern the election for president. That is what the United States Constitution says,” he responded.

Wallace went on to ask the direct question two more times, but Scalise responded with his concerns about state’s allegedly not following their local election laws. He also criticized Democrats for opposing controversial election changes pushed through by Republican legislatures in conservative states.

Cat With Red Fish by Henri Matisse

New Jersey never sends its very best to Sunday Talk Shows, either. Chris Christie said this: “‘It depends’: Chris Christie says there are times teachers should be ‘threatened’ via Raw Story.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) asserted on Sunday that there are times that public school teachers deserve to be the target of verbal threats.

During a panel discussion on ABC’s This Week, Christie falsely suggested that Attorney General Merrick Garland was trying to silence parents who disagree with critical race theory being taught in schools.

“It makes him look partisan,” Christie said of the attorney general. “I think he needs to get back to what the Justice Department is supposed to do, which is dispassionately look at the facts like they did after 9/11.”

Democratic strategist Donna Brazile had a different point of view.

“Chris, no teacher should be threatened simply because he or she is trying to do their job,” Brazile explained.

“It depends on what you call a threat, Donna!” Christie interrupted forcefully. “Parents standing up for what they want is not a threat.”

“A threat is when you verbally assault someone and threaten their lives,” Brazile noted, “which has happened across this country. And that’s why the Justice Department decided to take a position on that.”

André Derain, Hyde Park,1906

This comes after a string of attacks on teachers as part of a Tik Tok challenge and those staged by Covidiots. This is also from the great state of Lousyana, as reported in WaPo. “A student punched her disabled 64-year-old Teacher. The attack might have been inspired by TikTok.”  Oh, this is Sleazy Steve’s district btw.

A Louisiana teenager could face up to five years behind bars for assaulting a teacher, an attack that authorities say could have been inspired by a TikTok challenge.Larrianna Jackson, 18, was charged with felony battery of a schoolteacher after a video shared across social media showed her attacking a Covington High School teacher on Oct. 6, police said.

A spokesman for the Covington Police Department, Sgt. Edwin Masters, told The Washington Post that some students and teachers have suggested that the attack was inspired by the “slap a teacher” trend found on social media site TikTok.

“We’re still trying to figure out if it’s isolated or related to TikTok,” he said, noting that soap dispensers have been stolen and urinals have gone missing across St. Tammany Parish in recent weeks. Such antics reportedly have been part of a September challenge known as “devious licks.”

The Teacher is wheelchair-bound and was taken to the hospital. Watch the video if you can but it’s a rough thing to see and hear.  This is from our local Fox affiliate.

.Police say that Larrianna Jackson, 18, was arrested after video captured her physically assaulting the teacher after the dismissal bell rang. Video obtained from another student’s cell phone shows Jackson striking the teacher four times as she’s hurled to the ground.

“I was just devastated to know what our teachers go through on a day-to-day basis just to educate students,” said St. Tammany Schools Superintendent Frank Jabbia. “For this teacher to be having a conversation with a student and then to be assaulted in this manner was very disturbing.”

Jabbia says anyone involved will be disciplined.

The teacher was badly bruised and rushed to a hospital for treatment. She was released but Jabbia says her condition will be monitored over the next couple of days.

“She is hurting,” he said. Jabbia says it’s unknown if the teacher will return to the classroom following the attack.

Jackson was arrested and accused of a felony count of battery of a school teacher. Jackson was transported to the St. Tammany Parish Jail where she will await prosecution.

Still Life, 1906 par André DERAIN

I’m not exactly sure what is happening to civility these days. Still, I believe that politicians and social media standards are setting the bar pretty low for acceptable behavior these days.  There is a high level of burnout for Health Care Workers who have also come under attack recently for just doing their jobs.  The same is true of Teachers. The Capitol Police Force has more  PSTD  than most of their officers experienced while on active duty military service in the Middle East.  Why has this country turned on its Helpers; the people there to help, as Mister Rogers used to call them when speaking to children in need.

Everyone has been tired and burnt out from living in the U.S. for the last five years.  Again, we were treated to the torment of a Donald Trump Rally in Iowa.  The worst of the worst was on display yet again.  CNN’s Dean Obeidallah describes it this way “The most alarming Trump rally yet.  Highlights from the rally are also available at the link.

Saturday’s rally in Iowa, though, was different. This one was attended by longtime Iowa US Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Ashley Hinson, and other mainstream Republican officials. Some of these very same people, who just nine months ago were slamming Trump for his role in the Capitol riots, were now only too happy to be seen supporting him. This is politics at its worst — and at its most dangerous for our democracy.

The most hypocritical of the bunch is Sen. Grassley, who on January 6 was escorted by his security detail to a secure location to protect him from the pro-Trump mob that had laid siege on the Capitol. Grassley, who voted to certify the 2020 election, made a veiled reference to Trump in his statement, noting that the lawsuits filed after the election had failed and that “politicians in Washington should not second guess the courts once they have ruled.”

In February, however, after Trump’s impeachment trial for allegedly inciting the January 6 insurrection (allegations which Trump has denied), Grassley was even more direct with his criticism. He said in a statement that “President Trump continued to argue that the election had been stolen even though the courts didn’t back up his claims,” and “belittled and harassed elected officials across the country to get his way.” Grassley added that Trump “encouraged his own, loyal vice president, Mike Pence, to take extraordinary and unconstitutional actions during the Electoral College count.”

Grassley continued bluntly: “There’s no doubt in my mind that President Trump’s language was extreme, aggressive, and irresponsible,” sharing his view that all involved in the attack — including Trump — “must take responsibility for their destructive actions that day.”

Flash forward to Saturday, and there was Grassley beaming as Trump offered a “complete and total endorsement for re-election” for the 88-year-old Senator. Grassley responded, “If I didn’t accept the endorsement of a person that’s got 91 percent of the Republican voters in Iowa, I wouldn’t be too smart.”

To Grassley, it was “smart” to accept the endorsement of the man who spent Saturday’s rally spouting the same falsehoods that led to the January 6 violence that caused Grassley to hide in fear. Trump’s litany of dangerous election lies at his Iowa rally ranged from irresponsible claims he won Wisconsin “by a lot” in 2020, to lying that the results of the recently released Arizona audit support his false claim that he had actually won that state. He even declared that “First of all, [Biden] didn’t get elected, OK?”

The crowd responded to Trump’s buffet of lies by chanting, “Trump won! Trump won!”

It would be sad to think that Trump and Trump’s behavior–like gaslighting, lying, and promoting angry violent responses to everything–is the rubicon we’ve crossed for our social interactions.  It seems, however, cruelty and gaslighting are about all you see on both social media and the regular press with very few folks calling it out for what it is.

It is burning out the empathetic among us.  These are the very people we rely on to care for us at all stages of our lives.  I see this in my own family and in myself. It’s those of us that that do people work that are taking the brunt of it. Every one of us has studied, gone to school, and worked to become society’s public servants.  If only the Republican politicians approached their duties the same way.  At the very least, they could uphold their oath to the Constitution and most seem incapable of that even.  It would behoove them to think of this medical commandment “First, do no harm”.

Meanwhile, I’m basically feral and staying home. I haven’t had the T.V. on all day or last weekend, and watch less of it all the time. I read. I play silly video games. I’m just glad my parents haven’t lived to see all this and I fear for our children and grandchildren. Several major Republicans spoke this weekend.. One basically okayed abusing teachers. The others just gaslit the nation on lies about our elections.

I’m bereft. I miss simple kindness.

I am working on a spontaneous gift for my daughter and granddaughters. A friend is downsizing her collectibles and offered up a cookie jar that’s a beautiful spotted little bear.  I am picking it up on Wednesday.  I have a recipe box that I started in 8th grade.  It contains handwritten instructions for my favorite cookie recipes in bright peacock blue and pink ink with hearts where dots should be.  I’m giving her my originals.

My daughter is thrilled and said she did not have my mother’s chocolate chip cookie recipe. That recipe came from a neighbor in Ponca City and it is forever Mrs. Daniels’ chocolate chip cookies. I’m also giving her the one that came from our Cleaning lady of 30 years.  Dr. Daugter said she had become interested in decorated cookies so I am also sending three generations of cookie cutters and my mother’s decorating kit that came from Italy.  She learned how to decorate cakes when I was little. I have all her tips and a book. The Italian lady across the street from us in Council Bluffs taught her.  Both my mother and I gave our daughters designer cakes So, it’s the little things like these that make me smile.  Generations of women helping each other and passing things forward.  At least we can still share those small things on a most local level.

You take care and embrace all the small pleasures that you may find!

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?


Sunday Reads: Coke and a Child

Good morning, I guess the memes make themselves up nowadays.

Cartoons from Cagle.com

All this mask freedom…is a bit premature…

The fat lady hasn’t even started to warm up, she won’t be singing anytime soon.

I thought Benji was out? Or would be out soon?

Meanwhile in Mississippi:

There is a new case of police brutality…this one is torture.

Remember the name Jamal Sutherland…because he will become the next George Floyd.

I tried to watch the video, but I could not. My disgust is overwhelming and I am seriously thinking about going to Charleston to March in the protest.

I’m ending this with a few nice things:

This is an open thread.


Sunday Reads: Corn POP

Hello.

There was a pro-tRump, KKK, Neo-Nazi rally here in Dahlonega yesterday, it stinks because this is one of the reasons I moved out of Banjoville.

Dahlonega rally organizer on probation for 2016 assault in local bar

Chester Doles, the principal organizer of Saturday’s pro-Trump rally in Dahlonega, has repeatedly described his group as patriotic and peaceful, despite his history as a violent white supremacist.

Doles has two prior felony convictions, both of which earned him stints in federal prison. Now, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned that Doles was arrested on assault charges in a December 2016 melee in a Dahlonega bar that included, according to a witness report, Doles smashing a woman’s head into a wall while calling her a “stupid (expletive) white bitch.”

Doles is currently on supervised probation for that charge, conditions of which require him to “avoid persons or places of disreputable or harmful character.”

BTW, Doles is planning to run for the US Senate…as a challenge to David Purdue.

Hey, just a side comment:

Uh, that is the sheriff of Chattooga County…as posted by the Facebook page of the Georgia Alliance For Social Justice Discussion Group…That is disgusting. As you can see, the white power symbol being flashed…

#IndivisibleLumpkin had a little rally outside of Doug Collins office in Gainesville on Friday, in conjunction with others to  #DefundHate

It was exhilarating to get out there and yell towards the dipshit’s office…granted he wasn’t there and neither was his staff…but to be able to get the frustration out, that was marvelous.

 

A few tweets….

Poorly phrased?

I wonder if that whole shitfuck was planned, because:

Meanwhile…what is important about this fucking article…gets buried:

A few more tweets…for some harmless fun?

And now, a funny take on Biden, no not just this ridiculous record player crap from the debate.

We are talking about the legendary story of Corn Pop. To get the full jest of the matter, I have to share this extra long Twitter thread with y’all. Take the time to read it in full.

 

You can also read the entire thread here: Thread by @michaelharriot: “Thread: I’m always astounded by the imaginings of white people as it relates to race. Many of them have this fictionalized jigaboo version t […]”

 

In relation to the story of Corn Pop…

Joe Biden recalls lessons learned as the only white lifeguard at city pool in 1962 – The Washington Post

 

Early in the summer, a gang that called itself the Romans frequented the pool. One of the gang members, nicknamed Corn Pop, was bouncing relentlessly on the high diving board, which was expressly against the rules. Biden, wanting to show that he “wasn’t an easy mark” whistled at Corn Pop and yelled, “Esther Williams! Get off the board, man. You’re out of here.”

Williams was a 1950s swimmer and actress best known for aquatic set pieces, and the joke was likely meant to be somewhat emasculating.

 

Former Vice President Joe Biden had a public swimming in Wilmington, Del. named after him on June 26. (WDEL)
As you have learned from the twitter thread…Corn Pop was waiting for Biden in the parking lot…

Biden wanted to call the police, but Wright stopped him. If he did that, he’d never be allowed back in the community. So Biden did as his friend suggested and wrapped a six-foot length of metal chain around his arm, which he then wrapped in a towel.

Corn Pop indeed approached Biden, who said, “You might cut me, Corn Pop, but I’m going to wrap this chain around your head before you do.”

But he also said, loudly for all to hear, “I owe you an apology. I should never have called you Esther Williams. That was wrong. And in front of all your friends, I sincerely apologize. But if you bounce on the board like that again, I’m still going to throw you out.”

The two “put our weapons away, and we ended up being friends. Corn Pop and the Romans looked out for me the rest of the summer.”

This was all news to me. How could I have missed this story of Corn Pop and the gang?

I will end with this image. I think the look on Hillary’s face says it all:

 

This is an open thread.