Wednesday Reads: Will No Win? Hell yes!Posted: August 3, 2022 Filed under: 2022 Elections, 2022 Primaries, abortion rights, birth control, black women's reproductive health, child sexual abuse, children, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, court rulings, Crimes against Children, Democratic Politics, Discrimination against women, Domestic terrorism, Donald Trump, Feminists, fetus fetishists, fundamentalist Christians, morning reads, open thread, Political and Editorial Cartoons, Reproductive Health, Reproductive Justice, Reproductive Rights, SCOTUS, The Biden/Harris Administration, the GOP, Women's Healthcare, Women's Rights | Tags: abortion rights, Department of Justice, Kansas 5 Comments
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…
US ‘Independence’ Day: This is not a drill. We have less Freedom Today than in 2016Posted: July 4, 2022 Filed under: 2016 elections, 2021 Insurrection, 2024 Elections, A thread for Ranting, abortion rights, academia, American Gun Fetish, Black Lives Matter, black women's reproductive health, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Climate change, Feminists, Hillary Clinton: Her Campaign for All of Us, History, January 6 Committe 29 Comments
Freedom’s Ring is faint and disappearing in the USA!
State after state is signing laws to criminalize abortion under all circumstances making women chattel of the state. Many women with ectopic pregnancies are left to suffer until death’s door is nearly open on the advice of lawyers. Republicans with federal appointments and offices are trying to make that a Total Abortion Ban Federal Law.
Guns have more rights in this country than women and children. The Supreme Court is rewriting law after law with little more justification than they were put there by the Federalist Society to get the job done, they now hold a supermajority and their misguided religious fervor will rule every decision. Police can overlook stating Miranda Rights. The EPA can’t oversee pollution releases in carbon-producing companies This is what the post-2016 election era has brought us. We are living in a Republican dystopia and it’s getting worse.
Every American officeholder should announce that they will never appoint anyone recommended by the extremist group funded by the Koch brothers and others to any judicial appointment. Every candidate needs to announce their intent.
I would suggest you read a compelling book about Germany called The Death of Democracy: Hitler’s Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic published in 2018 and written by Benjamin Carter Hett. As you ask yourselves what Germans in the years of 1933-1934 should’ve, would’ve, could’ve been doing finish by asking yourselves what should we be doing now?
To say that Hitler was elected is too simple. He would never have come to power if Germany’s leading politicians had not responded to a spate of populist insurgencies by trying to co-opt him, a strategy that backed them into a corner from which the only way out was to bring the Nazis in. Hett lays bare the misguided confidence of conservative politicians who believed that Hitler and his followers would willingly support them, not recognizing that their efforts to use the Nazis actually played into Hitler’s hands. They had willingly given him the tools to turn Germany into a vicious dictatorship.
Benjamin Carter Hett is a leading scholar of twentieth-century Germany and a gifted storyteller whose portraits of these feckless politicians show how fragile democracy can be when those in power do not respect it. He offers a powerful lesson for today, when democracy once again finds itself embattled and the siren song of strongmen sounds ever louder.
Realize that Republicans at all levels are using these same techniques. We have “spates” of right-wing insurgencies and they appear only helpless and enabling to stop the rise of White Nationalism. Patriot Front marched around the Freedom Trail in downtown Boston this weekend. The Patriot Front also showed up around Independence day in Philadelphia in 2021. The group was run off by residents. They were arrested in Idaho last month. They are a radical white Christian nationalist group. This is not normal. They’re showing up everywhere.
From Axios: “What we know about the Patriot Front march through Boston.”
Driving the news: Police received a call around 12:30 p.m. that a group of protesters were marching through the city, though their route was unknown, CNN reported.
- Many of the marchers wore khaki pants and dark-colored polo shirts, with cloth coverings over their lower faces, along with sunglasses and caps.
State of play: The group approached a rental truck parked near the Haymarket metro stop and unloaded shields and a number of different flags, according to the Boston Herald.
- Among them were U.S. flags, with some being flown upside down and others showing just the 13 stars of the original U.S. colonies. Other flags displayed versions of the symbol used by Benito Mussolini’s National Fascist Party, per the Herald.
- Patriot Front flags were also flown, per CNN.
- Boston police received a report around 1:25 p.m. of a Black man being injured in a confrontation with Patriot Front marchers.
- The man told police that he was pushed around, knocked to the ground, and assaulted by members of the group, suffering several lacerations. He was later taken to Tufts Medical Center, the Herald reported.
- Around 1:30 p.m. the group left the scene via the metro system after packing their materials into a rental truck, per the Herald.
The big picture: City Council President Ed Flynn wrote in a letter Saturday that members of neo-Nazi groups have “continued to make their presence known” in Boston in recent months.
- In February they targeted doctors working to address racial disparities in healthcare at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and appeared at the city’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade in March, Flynn wrote.
- In June, 31 members of the Patriot Front were arrested in Idaho after being caught planning to riot at an LGBTQ Pride event.
What to watch: The Boston Police Department is conducting a civil rights investigation into the incident and no arrests have yet been made, per the Herald.
What they’re saying: “The disgusting hate of white supremacists has no place here. [Especially] when so many of our rights are under attack, we will not normalize intimidation by bigots,” Boston Mayor Michelle Wu tweeted on Saturday.
They marched with anti-abortion protestors in the loop in Chicago in January.
I will never go to Florida again. It’s become the fascist cookbook for laws that could be enforced by the White Nationalist Inquisition. They’ve come for me again. Every student and especially professor at any legitimate university or college has what is called Academic Freedom. It no longer exists in Florida
The concept of academic freedom is based on the idea that the free exchange of ideas on campus is essential to good education. Specifically, academic freedom is the right of faculty members, acting both as individuals and as a collective, to determine without outside interference: (1) the college curriculum; (2) course content; (3) teaching; (4) student evaluation; and (5) the conduct of scholarly inquiry. These rights are supported by two institutional practices—shared governance and tenure (see below.) Academic freedom ensures that colleges and universities are “safe havens” for inquiry, places where students and scholars can challenge the conventional wisdom of any field—art, science, politics or others.
From the link above: “Florida Gov signs law requiring students, faculty be asked their political beliefs.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Tuesday signed legislation mandating public colleges and universities survey students and faculty about their beliefs in an effort to promote intellectual diversity on campuses.
“We obviously want our universities to be focused on critical thinking, academic rigor,” DeSantis said during a news conference Tuesday, according to the Naples Daily News.
“We do not want them as basically hotbeds for stale ideology,” he said.
“It used to be thought that a university campus was a place where you’d be exposed to a lot of different ideas,” DeSantis said. “Unfortunately, now the norm is, these are more intellectually repressive environments,” he added.
Under House Bill 233, surveys would be conducted annually on campuses to assess viewpoint diversity and intellectual freedom, and determine “the extent to which competing ideas and perspectives are presented,” and whether students and faculty “feel free to express beliefs and viewpoints on campus and in the classroom.”
I would hate to hear what DeSantis thinks is “stale ideology”. Academic freedom supports the free exchange of ideas but basically ensuring your faculty has an agenda you approve of is just about as fascist as you can get. Throw out theory and replace it with whatever. Does this mean Med Schools must teach that a clump of vibrating cells is a heartbeat when there are no valves present in a fetus at that point in development? How about me? We all live in mixed market economies. Capitalism, Socialism, Communism, whatever are political ideologies and are discussed just as philosophical takes on how to apply data and theory. They’re abstracts only. There, I just got in trouble because I use market economies and dump the philosophical vantages for the idea of doing what works for each individual market. Capitalism is a Marxist Construct. Are my views stale or is he just plain ignorant?
ESPN is not the place where you’d expect a headline or thought piece like this one by Howard Bryant:“Baseball, barbecue and losing freedom this Fourth of July”.
Last month, Major League Baseball and its partners again released Independence Day-themed baseball hats that each of the 30 teams will wear. This year’s version features a flush of stars across the front against a blue and white backdrop, offset with a shaggy shock of red. The Toronto Blue Jays, located in a country that does not celebrate American independence, were also issued the caps — even though the Canadian flag does not contain stars nor the color blue. Public outrage prompted a redesign of the Toronto caps. Next is the USA-themed socks, the marketing, the freedom-inspired spikes, gloves, wristbands, the inevitable paeans to the armed forces.
By now, we’re all numb to the spectacle. At least publicly, the emphasis on the Fourth of July shifted from family to symbols years ago — Sept. 11 did that. Two decades of paid patriotism has made it ever harder to center the Fourth on reconnecting with your favorite aunts and uncles. No backyard barbecue and badminton game could compete with 20 years of military tributes and unquestioned nationalism. You think back to Righetti. Cosmetically, there was nothing about that July 4, 1983, that said patriotism. All Yankee Stadium said that day 39 years ago was baseball. Ninety-four degrees. Sox-Yankees. The Stadium looked as it did every other day. The crowd came because it was July 4, a Monday day game — a great day for baseball and family — and, along with Bat Day, the biggest giveaway day of the year: Yankee Cap Day. You smile a little at the victory in that, because only a few decades earlier, the Yankees were most resistant to a brilliant piece of marketing. In the 1950s, the Yankees did not want fans wearing Yankees caps. George Weiss, the Yankees’ general manager at the time, thought a million New York kids wearing the team cap cheapened the brand. Yankees hats were a piece of a professional uniform. They were for players, not fans.
Grilling, baseball and fireworks, first replaced by symbols — and now by a country tearing itself completely apart. July 4, 2022, falls in the midst of devastation. It is Independence Day in America with independence under current and relentless assault. From Miranda rights to the environment, to the separation of church and state, to guns — so many guns — people are reeling. The U.S. Supreme Court has run a chain saw through what two generations of Americans had known to be the legal baselines of their lives. Tens of millions of women today do not feel freedom and certainly are not celebrating independence. The people who can become pregnant who feel celebratory toward the Court may do so from the victory of their position, but it nevertheless remains true that the power of choice — and the right to privacy — has been taken from all of them.
There’s not a fine line between honoring and disrespecting the flag, but Trumperz doesn’t appear to know that. If you want to see what a cult look likes take a look at this Guardian piece: “Trump supporters: what they wear – in pictures.” It’s frankly scary and depressing at the same time while being terrifically disrespectful to the flag.
Here’s a video from Ken Burns published at the New York Times. America Is Failing Refugees, and Itself/ For his 1985 documentary about the Statue of Liberty, the filmmaker Ken Burns interviewed two Jewish boys sitting on a bench in New York City. They were twins who had fled Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union, with their father.”
Also from The New York Times and Peter Baker: “New Insights Into Trump’s State of Mind on Jan. 6 Chip Away at Doubts. Former President Donald J. Trump has weathered scandals by keeping his intentions under wraps, but recent testimony paints a stark portrait of a man willing to do almost anything to hang onto power.”
He was not speaking metaphorically. It was not an offhand comment. President Donald J. Trump had every intention of joining a mob of supporters he knew to be armed and dangerous as it marched to the Capitol. And there had even been talk of marching into the House chamber himself to disrupt Congress from ratifying his election defeat.
For a year and a half, Mr. Trump has been shielded by obfuscations and mischaracterizations, benefiting from uncertainty about what he was thinking on Jan. 6, 2021. If he truly believed the election had been stolen, if he genuinely expected the gathering at the Capitol would be a peaceful protest, the argument went, then could he be held accountable, much less indicted, for the mayhem that ensued?
But for a man who famously avoids leaving emails or other trails of evidence of his unspoken motives, any doubts about what was really going through Mr. Trump’s mind on that day of violence seemed to have been eviscerated by testimony presented in recent weeks by the House committee investigating the Capitol attack — especially the dramatic appearance last week of a 26-year-old former White House aide who offered a chilling portrait of a president willing to do almost anything to hang onto power.
So, this is not a drill. This is real. I think it’s time we dig into a little Weimar Republic History and see where the Germans got it wrong and then vow to get it right.
Happy Independence Day even though we are less independent today than we were when Hillary told us during her campaign that all of this was bound to happen.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Sunday Reads: Independence Day My Ass!Posted: July 3, 2022 Filed under: 2022 Elections, 2024 Elections, abortion rights, birth control, child sexual abuse, court rulings, Discrimination against women, Donald Trump, Feminists, fetus fetishists, fundamentalist Christians, GLBT Rights, Human Rights, LGBTQIA+, misogyny, morning reads, open thread, Planned Parenthood, PLUB Pro-Life-Until-Birth, Political and Editorial Cartoons, Reproductive Health, Reproductive Justice, Reproductive Rights, Republican politics, SCOTUS, the GOP, Vagina, Violence against women, War on Women, Women's Healthcare, Women's Rights | Tags: #WeWillNotGoBack #BansOffOurBodies #BodilyAutonomy #ReproductiveJustice #AbortionIsHealthcare #AbortionEqualsLiberty #LiberateAbortion #NiUnaMenos #SomosMujeresNoObjetos #AbortoLegal #AidAndAbetAborti 15 Comments
Fuck Independence Day! Shit on 4th of July!
I refuse to celebrate July 4th…when half the population is not free! Women are no longer independent in the USA…we no longer have #BodilyAutonomy :
Read this link above, a few important points:
Cartoons via Cagle:
This is an open thread.
Monday Reads: Of Droogs, Unwinable Wars, and Civil Rights ProtestsPosted: February 7, 2022 Filed under: Black Lives Matter, Black Women Lead, Capital Punishment aka Death Penalty, child sexual abuse, children, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, corporate money, Criminal Justice System, Feminists, History, Human Rights, immigration, income inequality, misogyny, physical abuse, police brutality, racism, Rape Culture, white nationalists 22 Comments
Good Day Sky Dancers!
Fifty years ago, Elton John released Tiny Dancer, and Clockwork Orange was playing in theatres. We were fighting what seemed like an endless war run by a lawless President. It was the year of the Easter Offensive when North Vietnamese forces overran South Vietnamese forces. It was probably the first true evidence of a war the US would not win.
Shirley Chisholm became the first woman and African American to seek the nomination for president of the United States from one of the two major political parties. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) passed Congress and got 35 of the 38 votes to become a Constitutional Amendment. In 1972, Native Americans occupied the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The protest came from tribal frustration with the government’s ‘Trail of Broken Treaties.’ It lasted six days.
Furman v. Georgia was decided in 1972. The United States Supreme Court invalidated all death penalty schemes in the United States in a 5–4 decision. Each member of the majority wrote a separate opinion. The Civil Rights act of 1972 passed which led to Title IX.
A recipient institution that receives Department funds must operate its education program or activity in a nondiscriminatory manner free of discrimination based on sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity. Some key issue areas in which recipients have Title IX obligations are: recruitment, admissions, and counseling; financial assistance; athletics; sex-based harassment, which encompasses sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence; treatment of pregnant and parenting students; treatment of LGBTQI+ students; discipline; single-sex education; and employment. Also, no recipient or other person may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or its implementing regulations, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in a proceeding under Title IX.
1972 was also the year of the Gary Declaration coming from a National Black Political Convention. Reverend Jesse Jackson was just one of many to attend the convention.
What Time Is It?
We come to Gary in an hour of great crisis and tremendous promise for Black America. While the white nation hovers on the brink of chaos, while its politicians offer no hope of real change, we stand on the edge of history and are faced with an amazing and frightening choice: We may choose in 1972 to slip back into the decadent white politics of American life, or we may press forward, moving relentlessly from Gary to the creation of our own Black life. The choice is large, but the time is very short.
Let there be no mistake. We come to Gary in a time of unrelieved crisis for our people. From every rural community in Alabama to the high-rise compounds of Chicago, we bring to this Convention the agonies of the masses of our people. From the sprawling Black cities of Watts and Nairobi in the West to the decay of Harlem and Roxbury in the East, the testimony we bear is the same. We are the witnesses to social disaster.
Our cities are crime-haunted dying grounds. Huge sectors of our youth — and countless others — face permanent unemployment. Those of us who work find our paychecks able to purchase less and less. Neither the courts nor the prisons contribute to anything resembling justice or reformation. The schools are unable — or unwilling — to educate our children for the real world of our struggles. Meanwhile, the officially approved epidemic of drugs threatens to wipe out the minds and strength of our best young warriors.
Economic, cultural, and spiritual depression stalk Black America, and the price for survival often appears to be more than we are able to pay. On every side, in every area of our lives, the American institutions in which we have placed our trust are unable to cope with the crises they have created by their single-minded dedication to profits for some and white supremacy above all.
I was in high school feeling like we might actually get through this all and get to the dream of a more perfect Union. It was definitely a year of ups and downs. Fifty years ago seems like another lifetime. You’d think we’d see more progress on all of this.
We do have a Black Woman Vice President but no ERA and we had our first Black Man elected President who served two terms.. The Department of Interior is led by an Indigenous woman who has planned reforms that might bring more civil rights to our native peoples. Women’s sports are taken a lot more seriously but not one woman player earns what her male peers make.
Black Americans face a new wave of voter suppression and a Supreme Court ready to tear through laws meant to improve access to American Universities not unlike what the 1972 Civil Rights law sought to do on the basis of gender. We just got rid of a second long, unwinnable war but will we have another?
We also have Elton John on tour and Droogs. The Droogs are the white male Maga Men and hide under names like Oathkeepers, Proud Boys, and Patriot Front.
Some things don’t change and in this country, we know why. They don’t share power. They don’t want to. They’ll do anything to keep as much of it as possible. We have a White Male problem and it’s mostly got the face of an extreme patriarchal take of Christianity.
So that’s the perspective. This is the reality in 2022. This is from MS Magazine whose first stand-alone magazine was published in 1972. Excerpts from Elizabeth Hira’s “Americans Are Entitled to Government That Truly Reflects Them. Let’s Start With the Supreme Court” are going to show you exactly how far the rest of us still have to go. It’s in response to the audacity the Republican Party has to hold up Joe Biden’s promise to appoint the first black woman to the Supreme Court as some kind of affirmative action for a less-qualified person which is total Bull Shit.
This is the premise she completely proves. “Our current system has created conditions where, statistically, mostly white men win. That is its own kind of special privilege. Something must change.”
This is her conclusion. “American government in no way reflects America—perpetuating a system where male, white power makes decisions for the rest of us.”
These are her descriptive statistics.
Data shows these claims are not hyperbolic. A Supreme Court vacancy started this inquiry: There have been 115 Supreme Court justices. 108 have been white men. One is a woman of color, appointed in 2009. (Americans have had iPhones for longer than they’ve had a woman-of-color justice.)
One might be tempted to dismiss old history, except that the Supreme Court specifically cannot be looked at as a “snapshot in time” because the Court is built on precedent stretching back to the nation’s founding. Practically speaking, that means every decision prior to 1967 (when Justice Thurgood Marshall joined the Court) reflected what a group of exclusively white men decided for everyone else in America—often to the detriment of the unrepresented.
In a nation that is 51 percent female and 40 percent people of color, are white men simply more qualified to represent the rest of us than we are of representing ourselves? That sounds ridiculous because it is. And yet that is the implication when naysayers tell us that race and gender do not matter—that the “most qualified” people can “make the best choices” for all of us, and they all just happen to be white men.
What’s worse, those white men aren’t just making broad, general decisions—each and every branch of government acts in ways that directly impact people because of their race and gender, among other identities.
- When the Supreme Court considers affirmative action, it will be considering whether race matters for students who are already experiencing an increase in school segregation—what Jonathan Kozol once dubbed “Educational Apartheid.”
- When Congress is inevitably asked to pass a bill to protect abortion should the Court strike down Roe v. Wade, 73 percent of the Congress making that decision will be men—not people who could even potentially experience pregnancy.
- When recent voting rights bills failed, it was because two white Democrats and 48 Republicans (45 white and three non-white) collectively decided not to protect all American voters of color against targeted attacks on their access to the ballot.
- When Senator Kyrsten Sinema spoke to the Senate floor about why she could not take necessary steps to protect Americans of color, she did not have to look a single sitting Black woman senator in the eye. Because there are none.
The Supreme Court is not alone in underrepresenting women, people of color, and women of color. Of 50 states, 47 governors are white, 41 are men. Nearly 70 percent of state legislators are male.
The pattern holds federally, too: Today’s Congress is the most diverse ever—a laudable achievement. Except that today’s Congress is 77 percent white, and 73 percent male. (As an example of how clear it is that Congress was simply not designed for women, Congresswomen only got their own restroomin the U.S. House in 2011.)
In the executive branch, 97.8 percent of American presidents have been white men. There has never been a woman president.
The numbers don’t lie. I don’t even want to go into the number of American presidents that have been worse than mediocre including the previous guy. This is the kind of systemic discrimination perpetuated in this country’s primary decision-makers. It is no wonder 50 years later we are even losing the table scraps they’re stealing now.
I’m going to leave you with this one last analysis before telling you to go read the entire essay.
The first female major-party presidential nominee was dogged by questions of her “electability,” and recent data shows large donors gave Black women congressional candidates barely one-third of what they gave their other female counterparts. Some people don’t support women and candidates of color because they worry these candidates simply can’t win in a white male system of power—which perpetuates a white male system of power. To create equitable opportunities to run, we must change campaign finance structures. It’s a necessary precursor to getting a government that looks like everyone.
I’m trying to send money to Val Demings in her effort to take down Mark Rubio. Mark Rubio will never consider the interests of all of his constituency because he’s funded by white males with a vested interest in their monopolies on politics and the economy.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Now Tom said, “Mom, wherever there’s a cop beating a guy
Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries
Where there’s a fight against the blood and hatred in the air
Look for me, Mom, I’ll be there
Wherever somebody’s fighting for a place to stand
Or a decent job or a helping hand
Wherever somebody’s struggling to be free
Look in their eyes, Ma, and you’ll see me”
Like Tom Joad, I was born an Okie. I was born on the Cherokee strip one of those places on the Trail of Broken Treaties at the end of the Trail of Tears. “The Grapes of Wrath” was on many a book banning and burning list back in the day. Look for it again on a list near you.
Friday Reads: Oh, I wish I wasn’t in the Land of SurrealityPosted: December 10, 2021 Filed under: abortion rights, Capitalism 3.0, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, court rulings, COVID19, Feminists, inflation 21 Comments
Hi Sky Dancers!
I really had hoped that last year’s elections and dump of Trump would calm the country down. I can tell you that my street is already seeing infrastructure improvements. I lost water all day long while contractors cut out a huge–and I mean huge–old steel sewer pipe out of the street to replace it with PVC. This will be at least a year-long process. This pipe was put in the street before my parents were born. There are many more like it to be replaced.
I can only think about these pipes being formed in someplace where there were thousands of real steelers working up North. They were likely put on trains that could reach a place where they could be floated on barges to their home down here. That pipe was at least 20 feet underground and was large enough for a good-sized man to crawl through it using hands and knees. I’m now curious about what kind of cranes they had back in the day because that pipe likely weighed a lot. So, think back to those years where the dawn of the last century met science, technology, and progress. That picture of pipes placed in Boston in 1909 looked a lot like the one they pulled out of the cross street on my block.
I bugged the crew with so many questions that they offered to get me sloggers and let me watch while they used an iron saw to take it apart. I unfortunately, had to teach but this little girl that loved her building sets and her sandbox dump trucks would have been there in a minute if I could have.
So, I have messy, smelly, life-interrupting proof of infrastructure projects! Why do I feel so little progress is being made to get out of the mess the Republicans have made of this country this century? Well, let me share some headlines with you.
This is from David Leonhardt writing for The New York Times: “Covid Malaise. Why do Americans say the economy is in rough shape? Because it is.” I’m writing this as I watched 3 neighbors get booted from their apartments with a 5-day notice after the release of the evictions block by the Federal Government. I’m also aware that there was money available to their landlords and it appears a bunch of small landlords are booting their tenants and using the money to upgrade the property to seek higher rents instead of keeping renters in place. Yes, I’m just full of anecdotal evidence today!
Offices remain eerily empty. Airlines have canceled thousands of flights. Subways and buses are running less often. Schools sometimes call off entire days of class. Consumers waste time waiting in store lines. Annual inflation has reached its highest level in three decades.
Does this sound like a healthy economy to you?
In recent weeks, economists and pundits have been asking why Americans feel grouchy about the economy when many indicators — like G.D.P. growth, stock prices and the unemployment rate — look strong.
But I think the answer to this supposed paradox is that it’s not really a paradox: Americans think the economy is in rough shape because the economy is in rough shape.
Sure, some major statistics look good, and they reflect true economic strengths, including the state of families’ finances. But the economy is more than a household balance sheet; it is the combined experience of working, shopping and interacting in society. Americans evidently understand the distinction: In an Associated Press poll, 64 percent describe their personal finances as good — and only 35 percent describe the national economy as good.
There are plenty of reasons. Many services don’t function as well as they used to, largely because of supply-chain problems and labor shortages. Rising prices are cutting into paychecks, especially for working-class households. People spend less time socializing. The unending nature of the pandemic — the masks, Covid tests, Zoom meetings and anxiety-producing runny noses — is wearying.
While some of these disruptions are minor inconveniences, others are causing serious troubles. The increase in social isolation has harmed both physical and mental health. Americans’ blood pressure has risen. Fatal drug overdoses have soared, with a growing toll among Black Americans. A report this week from the surgeon general found that depression, anxiety, impulsive behavior and attempted suicides had all risen among children and adolescents.
“It would be a tragedy if we beat back one public health crisis only to allow another to grow in its place,” Dr. Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general, wrote.
Schools are a particular source of frustration. Last year, the closure of in-person school caused large learning losses. This year, teachers have the near-impossible task of trying to help students make up for lost time, which has left many teachers feeling burned out.
I feel like I’m living in a developing country. Inflation is rising. It’s about at levels it was during the Reagan years though. It’s nowhere near peak Nixon level. This is from Jeff Cox at CNBC. Actually, when a country is growing, inflation is not unusual. Nor is it unusual when a country is reeling from a shock like the Covid-19 epidemic that was badly mishandled by the Trump Regime.
Inflation accelerated at its fastest pace since 1982 in November, the Labor Department said Friday, putting pressure on the economic recovery and raising the stakes for the Federal Reserve.
The consumer price index, which measures the cost of a wide-ranging basket of goods and services, rose 0.8% for the month, good for a 6.8% pace on a year over year basis and the fastest rate since June 1982.
Excluding food and energy prices, so-called core CPI was up 0.5% for the month and 4.9% from a year ago, which itself was the sharpest pickup since mid-1991.
The Dow Jones estimate was for a 6.7% annual gain for headline CPI and 4.9% for core.
There is a difference between what’s called the headline CPI and the core CPI. Headline inflation is the total inflation in an economy. … It is different from core inflation, which excludes food and energy prices while calculating inflation. Food and energy are not included in core inflation because their prices are volatile. It makes headline inflation a more volatile measure than core inflation. The core is a more reliable measure of underlying price trends.
So, now this is looking less of a temporary surge which means policymakers will have to make decisions. This is especially relevant for the Federal Reserve Bank Board of Governors supported by information from its economists. This is from The Washington Post. and Rachel Siegel.
In time, it’s possible that lower gas and energy prices or unclogged supply chains can help steer prices back down to more sustainable levels. But there’s no telling when that will happen, and in the meantime, businesses and consumers could start to change their expectations of what’s still to come.
“Yes, inflation can abate, but what [policymakers] care about is, is it significant or insignificant to peoples’ lives and decision-making?” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton. “This is inflation that’s not likely to be insignificant anytime soon, and that’s a problem.”
Financial markets appeared to shrug off the news, with the Dow Jones industrial average and the tech-heavy Nasdaq up slightly on Friday.
Inflation has emerged as a top political concern for voters ahead of the 2022 midterms, especially because the cost of food or gas is often a test for how people perceive the economy.
Republicans criticized the high inflation numbers, blaming Democrats’ stimulus as the culprit and warning against future legislative packages.
The problem with Republican criticism is that Trump’s massive tax cuts and his original Covid-19 payments are as responsible for this as anything the Biden administration has done to date. Most of those funds have yet to be circulated and after all, we’re still on the Trump Budget since it’s stalled in the Senate.
What is most unsettling to me are the continuing stories about the ongoing Trump coup. So little appears to be happening to punish the culprits in charge of the Trump Regime. This headline would be so Hollywood if it wasn’t real. From Reuters: “Kanye West publicist pressed Georgia election worker to confess to bogus fraud charges.”
Weeks after the 2020 election, a Chicago publicist for hip-hop artist Kanye West traveled to the suburban home of Ruby Freeman, a frightened Georgia election worker who was facing death threats after being falsely accused by former President Donald Trump of manipulating votes. The publicist knocked on the door and offered to help.
The visitor, Trevian Kutti, gave her name but didn’t say she worked for West, a longtime billionaire friend of Trump. She said she was sent by a “high-profile individual,” whom she didn’t identify, to give Freeman an urgent message: confess to Trump’s voter-fraud allegations, or people would come to her home in 48 hours, and she’d go to jail.
Freeman refused. This story of how an associate of a music mogul pressured a 62-year-old temporary election worker at the center of a Trump conspiracy theory is based on previously unreported police recordings and reports, legal filings, and Freeman’s first media interview since she was dragged into Trump’s attempt to reverse his election loss.
Kutti did not respond to requests for comment. Her biography for her work at the Women’s Global Initiative, a business networking group, identifies her as a member of “the Young Black Leadership Council under President Donald Trump.” It notes that in September 2018, she “was secured as publicist to Kanye West” and “now serves as West’s Director of Operations.”
Oh, and then there’s this:
Why is CNN trying to keep Trump in the headlines? Is it really because of the coup?
Nothing is more symbolic than this picture. Guess who didn’t wear a mask to Bob Dole’s funeral?
So, I’m going to putting some headlines up about the signaling the Supremes seem to be doing on taking down Roe V. Wade next. This makes me shake with anger. Women are headed back to chattel status on a state-by-state basis.
I am officially tired of this shit. What will the backlash from this be? I’m not sure how much more I got left in me.
Have a good, peaceful weekend.
What’s on your blogging and reading list today?