Finally Friday Reads: Judge Loose Cannon’s Land of Pure Imagination

Come with me, and you’ll be in a land of pure imagination.” Gene Wilder’s 1971 Willy Wonka in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”

Good Day Sky Dancers!

The big story today is that Trump actually has appointed a few “Trump” judges, and they’re willing and able to create laws and requests out of thin air. Judge Loose Cannon appears to be a wholly-owned subsidiary.  This is not how a democracy works. No one is above the rule of law.

Judge Cannon even stated that Trump’s reputation is on the line.  Who thinks he has a stellar reputation? Why is he more important than any other criminal?  For example, none of his lawyers argued that any of the sensitive material might have been unclassified by Trump. Trump was interviewed conservative by commentator Hugh Hewitt and said he’d done the deed. This, however, is not the point. Unclassified or not, they don’t belong to him.  Plus, the proper procedures and documentation to declassify documents were not done.  This is truly an astounding moment in our republic.

From Jurassic World: Dr. Alan Grant: “It’s just the two Raptors, right? You’re sure the third one’s contained?”
Dr. Ellie Sattler: “Yes, unless they figure out how to open doors.”
Spoiler alert: They do.

Here’s a take on the Hewitt interview from Susan B. Glasser published in The New Yorker: “A Second Trump Term Would Be a Scary Rerun of the First. Remember those “Jurassic Park” velociraptors learning how to open the door? 

On Thursday morning, Donald Trump did a phone interview with the radio host Hugh Hewitt, one of many conservative commentators who started out as harsh critics of Trump only to change their view of him once he came to power. Hewitt asked the former President, who was promoting a campaign rally this weekend for candidates he’s endorsed in Ohio, whether he feared being indicted by the Justice Department for bringing top-secret classified documents with him to Mar-a-Lago when he left office and refusing to return them.

Well, Trump responded, there was no reason for them to charge him, except “if they’re just sick and deranged, which is always possible.” When Hewitt helpfully reminded him that he had previously claimed to have verbally ordered all the documents at issue declassified, Trump agreed. “I have the absolute right to declassify,” the former President said. “Absolute.”

Then Hewitt asked the question that, nearly two years after Trump exited the White House, has, perhaps inevitably, come to dominate American politics since he became the first President in American history to refuse to accept his electoral defeat: “Will you run for President anyway, even if you’re indicted?”

Trump’s response left little doubt that the answer is yes, before he proceeded to issue the kind of threat that, had the violent insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, 2021—and all the rest—not happened, might have been dismissed as the idle but reckless bluster for which he has long been famous. “I don’t think the people of the United States would stand for it,” he said, of an indictment. Trump added, “I think you’d have problems in this country the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen before.”

Once again, Hewitt tried to play cleanup. “You know that the legacy media will say that you’re attempting to incite violence with that statement,” the host warned the former President. Seemingly unconcerned, Trump blithely repeated the threat. “That’s not inciting,” he insisted. “I don’t think the people of this country would stand for it.”

This remarkable exchange says pretty much everything you need to know about Donald Trump in 2022: he wants to run again for President, and he has little apparent hesitation about calling forth a mob all over again if that’s what it takes. The past, in other words, is prologue. With Trump, it always is.

“That’s Entertainment, Part II” stars Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, 1976

Follow the link to find out more about “Trump, the Sequel”.  It ain’t entertainment.  Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discusses procedure for handling documents with Seth Meyers on “Late Night”. This HuffPo article has a link to the interview and some discussion and is written by Ron Dicker. “Hillary Clinton: Type Of Documents That Trump Had Are Often Handcuffed To An Officer. The former secretary of state detailed the strict protocol for the kind of classified material that Trump may have stashed at home”

Clinton told “Late Night” host Seth Meyers that when she read top-secret material, an officer “would come into my office and would have a handcuff that was attached to a suitcase in order to show me something that was so secret he literally had to have it tied to his hand.”

The officer would watch Clinton read it and sign that she had reviewed it, and then he would take it back, she recalled.

The idea that Trump reportedly squirreled away top-secret information on a foreign government’s nuclear capabilities and the like at a country club prompted Clinton to say: “I don’t care what political party you are. … This is a threat to our national security.”

Clinton, who lost the 2016 presidential election to Trump, harkened back to his supporters’ cries to “lock her up” for using a private email server to conduct government business. Clinton faced accusations that she was trying to conceal wrongdoing. (A State Department investigation of the emails determined in 2019 that “There was no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information,” The New York Times reported.)

“Unlike those guys, I’m not saying ‘lock him up,’” Clinton said of Trump and his supporters. “I’m saying let’s just find the facts and follow the evidence wherever it goes.”

Peter Falk as Detective Columbo, 1968,
“You try to contrive a perfect alibi, and it’s your perfect alibi that’s gonna hang ya.” …

That sounds a bit like what Columbo used to do.  You goad the criminal long enough and everything unravels.  This is especially true when the criminal is stupid and narcissistic.  This is from The Atlantic and David Frum: “Biden Laid the Trap. Trump Walked Into It. At his Pennsylvania rally, the former president gave exactly the narcissistic display his Democratic nemesis tried to provoke.”

One of the purposes of Biden’s Philadelphia attack on Trump’s faction within the Republican Party was surely to goad Trump. It worked.

Yesterday, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Trump addressed a rally supposedly in support of Republican candidates in the state: Mehmet Oz for the Senate; the January 6 apologist Doug Mastriano for governor. This was not Trump’s first 2022 rally speech. He spoke in Arizona in July. But this one was different: so extreme, strident, and ugly—and so obviously provoked by Biden’s speech that this was what led local news: “Donald Trump Blasts Philadelphia, President Biden During Rally for Doug Mastriano, Dr. Oz in Wilkes-Barre.”

Yes, you read that right: Campaigning in Pennsylvania, the ex-president denounced the state’s largest city. “I think Philadelphia was a great choice to make this speech of hatred and anger. [Biden’s] speech was hatred and anger,” Trump declared last night. “Last year, the city set an all-time murder record with 560 homicides, and it’s on track to shatter that record again in 2022. Numbers that nobody’s ever seen other than in some other Democrat-run cities.”

Trump spoke at length about the FBI search of his house for stolen government documents. He lashed out at the FBI, attacking the bureau and the Department of Justice as “vicious monsters.” He complained about the FBI searching his closets for stolen government documents, inadvertently reminding everyone that the FBI had actually found stolen government documents in his closet—and in his bathroom too. Trump called Biden an “enemy of the state.” He abused his party’s leader in the U.S. Senate as someone who “should be ashamed.” He claimed to have won the popular vote in the state of Pennsylvania, which, in fact, he lost by more than 80,000 votes.

The rally format allowed time for only brief remarks by the two candidates actually on the ballot, Oz and Mastriano. Its message was otherwise all Trump, Trump, Trump. A Republican vote is a Trump vote. A Republican vote is a vote to endorse lies about the 2020 presidential election.

Remember Ron Popeil and his infomercials about his pocket Fisherman?  He had a wonderful long life selling gadgets on TV and passed quietly last year. He sold his Ronco Co. for $55 million and lived to see Dan Aykroyd send him up on SNL.  This is unlikely for Pillow Huckster Mike Lindell.  The Pillow guy was served an FBI subpoena and had his phone grabbed.  Now, like his mentor, the head huckster of the Trump Family syndicate, he’s suing the FBI and just about everybody.  But wait, there’s more!  He’s suing the United States of America! He’s retained, Alan Dershowitz!!  This is from Steve Benen writing for Maddow Blog at MSNBC: “MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell claims FBI executed warrant, seized his phone.  It’s tempting to dismiss Mike Lindell as a silly sideshow, but as the FBI seizes his phone, the Trump insider is facing a serious situation.”

It’s tempting to dismiss Mike Lindell as a silly sideshow. The MyPillow CEO has earned a reputation as a clownish figure in Donald Trump’s orbit, pushing strange conspiracy theories and making outlandish claims about the former president’s imminent reinstatement. In general, Lindell is more likely to generate eye-rolling than outrage.

But when it comes to the investigation into the efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, there are serious questions about Lindell’s efforts that can’t be laughed off.

Indeed, let’s not forget that Trump welcomed the pillow guy into his political fold in the wake of Election Day 2020, and Lindell was seen at the White House after the Jan. 6 attack with a paper with the words “insurrection act” and “martial law if necessary” on it. When the House select committee investigating Jan. 6 subpoenaed Lindell’s records, no one was especially surprised.

As it turns out, congressional investigators aren’t the only ones interested in his perspective. The Associated Press reported overnight that Lindell claimed late yesterday that federal agents seized his cellphone.

Lindell was approached in the drive-thru of a Hardee’s fast-food restaurant in Mankato, Minnesota, by several FBI agents, he said on his podcast, “The Lindell Report.” The agents questioned him about Dominion Voting Systems, Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and his connection to Doug Frank, an Ohio educator who claims voting machines have been manipulated, he said. The agents then told Lindell they had a warrant to seize his cellphone and ordered him to turn it over, he said. On a video version of his podcast, Lindell displayed a letter signed by an assistant U.S. attorney in Colorado that said prosecutors were conducting an “official criminal investigation of a suspected felony” and noted the use of a federal grand jury.

Given the circumstances, I suppose some caution is in order. Lindell says all sorts of weird things, and as a rule, it’s best not to accept his assertions at face value.

That said, the FBI confirmed that it really did serve Lindell with a search warrant.

You really can’t make this up. But, sometimes, life unfolds like something you’d expect to see on a screen.  Like how about a State Governor that rounds up a bunch of refugees in San Antonia, puts them on a chartered plane, stops in Miami to pick up some Fox News videographers, and dumps them, say in Martha’s Vineyard or downtown Chicago at night, or in front of the Vice President’s Home?  Is this the new version of Beverly Hillbillies? And so old Ron, well he’s a millionaire, loaded up some migrants, and soon they’re in the air…   Well, the saga continues on this one, and happily so for those that landed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  Boomer wrote yesterday about how the folks in the vineyards stepped up to make these folks feel better after the lies and trafficking.

This is from Charlie Sykes, writing for The Bulwark: “The Cruelty and the Crazy. Migrant airlifts and the Unabomber candidate.”

Sorry, but shipping migrants to Martha’s Vineyard is brilliant — a political masterstroke, an epic troll, and, above all hilarious.

You can tell because of the reaction on the right: a cascade of LOLS and triggering-the-libs-huzzahs as Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis stick it to the hypocritical Blue State elites. Donald Trump may have come down a golden escalator to denounce Mexican rapists, but these guys are actually putting them on buses and sending them to Chicago.

And, sending a busload of migrants to Vice President’s Kamala Harris’s residence is … I’m sorry, but right-wing Twitter needs to catch its breath, it’s laughing so hard. Delaware — Joe Biden’s home state — is next!

Even the respectable cons at Commentary think it’s a “political coup.” Anti-Trump conservative Matt Lewis has also come around. “Blue states are finally getting a taste of what red border states have to deal with every day.”

In DeSantis’s case, he’s using Florida tax dollars to fly Venezuelan refugees fleeing communism from Texas to Massachusetts (which has a Republican governor). But don’t get hung up on the details, because this is priceless political theater that supremely owns the libs, whose tears are the sweet, sweet aphrodisiac for the base.

The cruelty is, of course, simply a bonus. And the “narrative” is more important than cuckish concerns about… morality.

Let’s stipulate of couple of things. First: there is a real problem at the border, and there’s a legitimate debate over how migrants should be handled and who should share the burden.

Abbott and DeSantis have every right to raise questions about border policies; they can make speeches, hold press conferences, run ads, raise money off anti-immigrant outrage, and even stage political events to highlight their positions.

And there is nothing inherently awful about political stunts, especially in our media-besotted political environment.

But this one is different, because they chose to use people — including vulnerable children — as their pawns and props.

The Venezuelan immigrants sent by DeSantis are on their way to the Cape today to be handled the way immigrant families should be handled.  They will be temporarily housed at Joint Base Cape Cod before being relocated to places where they can apply for asylum and start anew.  This is from The Washington Post: “Migrants sent by Gov. DeSantis to Martha’s Vineyard depart for Cape Cod. They will be temporarily housed at Joint Base Cape Cod, according to Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker.”  The weird thing about this one is that the Mass Governor is one of what’s left of old-timey Republicans.

On Friday morning, the dozens of migrants who landed on Martha’s Vineyard this week filed out of the church they’d been sleeping in for two nights to hugs from the local volunteers.

They now had full bags and new cellphones. As they boarded the three white buses that would take them to the ferry, many cried. Eliomar Aguero, 30, put up a peace sign, smiling and thanking the dozens of volunteers waving him on. “Thank you all,” Aguero said in Spanish.

Soon, he and his wife, Maria, would board a ferry. Massachusetts authorities announced Friday that the 50 migrants would be moved from Martha’s Vineyard to a military base in Cape Cod so they can find shelter and chart next steps. The move is voluntary for the migrants, the state said.

Gov. Charlie Baker (R) said the migrants will be offered “shelter and humanitarian supports” in dormitory-style rooms at Joint Base Cape Cod in Bourne. State and local officials will also ensure migrants have food, shelter and other services. Baker said he plans to activate up to 125 members of the Massachusetts National Guard to aid in the relief effort.

Hopefully, they will soon say, “There’s no place like home.”  If there is anything like karma, justice, or whatever, someone will soon drop a house on Ron Desantis and throw a bucket of water on Greg Abbot.

Well, that’s it for me today.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

“Wanna change the world?  There’s nothing to it”   Willy Wonka


Wednesday Reads: It’s fucking enough.

I’ve got nothing to say, because we all know this is fucking never going to change. Fuck these Republicans and their thoughts and prayers:

End this post with this thread here:

This is an open thread…


Monday Reads: It’s always the same Nonsense!

Seated Female Clown (Mlle Cha-U-Kao), 1896 Wall Art, Henri
de Toulouse-Lautrec, The Met

Good Day Sky Dancers!

BB is the authority on this, but I’d just like to say if you want any of the best examples of projection as an ego defense mechanism, choose any Republican.  The Encyclopedia of Britannica sums it up nicely. “Projection is a form of defense in which unwanted feelings are displaced onto another person, where they then appear as a threat from the external world.”  From the existence of Pedophiles to Cancel Culture, Republican sloganeering puts a target on something “liberal” and then focuses on getting the attention off the incredible number of instances of it that appear in the Republican Party domain.

A few days ago, I put this Newsweek article up down the thread. “GOP Senator Ray Holmberg Resigns Chair After Texts to Child Porn Suspect.”   The details of anything other than the texts aren’t known right now, but it sure seems a lot of Republicans are overly intrigued with pedophiles these days.  Of course, we know of many recent Republican officeholders–most notably Denny Hastert, the former Speaker of the House– that were actual pedophiles. A judge referred to him as a “serial child molester” after determining he had been molesting boys he coached over decades.  We also have the examples of MagaRats Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan.  There’s an awful lot of deflecting and projecting dealing with that horrid behavior.

And who could forget this one from a few weeks ago? From Vanity Fair: “TED CRUZ WARNS DISNEY PROGRAMMING WILL SOON DEPICT MICKEY AND PLUTO F–KING.”

In an extremely weird set of remarks, even for him, the Texas lawmaker opined at a live recording of his podcastVerdict With Ted Cruz: “I think there are people who are misguided, trying to drive, you know, Disney stepping in, saying, you know, in every episode now they’re gonna have, you know, Mickey and Pluto going at it. Like, really? It’s just like, come on guys, these are kids, and you know, you could always shift to Cinemax if you want that. Like, why do you have—it used to be, look, I’m a dad. You used to be able to put your kids on the Disney Channel and be like, alright, something innocuous will happen.”

And then there’s this: “Kellyanne Conway Knew Of ‘Sexual Allegations’ Against Nebraska Candidate Months Ago. The former White House adviser and Donald Trump are working for Charles Herbster’s election as governor despite allegations he groped eight women.”  This is from HuffPo, as reported by Mary Papenfuss.

Former Trump administration White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said she heard last year about “some kind of sexual allegations” against GOP Nebraska gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster — but she’s working to get him elected anyway.

Conway alleged on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast that groping allegations raised by eight women, including a Republican state senator, were somehow cooked up by current Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, who does not support Herbster, a corporate CEO who has never held office.

Ricketts “got in my face” 10 months ago vowing to “destroy Charles Herbster,” said Conway. She offered nothing else in the way of proof that Ricketts is behind the assault accusations.

A key accuser is GOP state Sen. Julie Slama. She said in an emotional radio interview earlier this month that she was “in shock” at what she called an “assault” by Herbster at a Republican dinner in 2019.

As I was … walking to my table, I felt a hand reach up my skirt, up my dress and the hand was Charles Herbster’s,” Slama said, her voice shaking, in an interview on News Radio KFAB in Omaha. “I was in shock. I was mortified. It’s one of the most traumatizing things I’ve ever been through.”

Slama added: “I watched as five minutes later he grabbed the buttocks of another young woman. … This was witnessed by several people at the event.”

You may read more about the allegations at the link.  And here’s my cartooning friend from Nebraska on the Pornhusker candidate. By the way, Ricketts also graduated from our High School!  ICK!!!!

We have more on the orange snot blob and his crime syndicate family as I’m writing this.  This is fresh off the virtual presses from the New York Times. “Judge Holds Trump in Contempt Over Documents in New York A.G.’s Inquiry. Former President Donald J. Trump was ordered to turn over materials sought by Letitia James, the New York attorney general, and will be fined $10,000 per day until he does so.

A New York judge on Monday held Donald J. Trump in contempt of court for failing to turn over documents to the state’s attorney general, an extraordinary rebuke of the former president.

The judge, Arthur F. Engoron, ordered Mr. Trump to comply with a subpoena seeking records and assessed a fine of $10,000 per day until he satisfied the court’s requirements. In essence, the judge concluded that Mr. Trump had failed to cooperate with the attorney general, Letitia James, and follow the court’s orders.

“Mr. Trump: I know you take your business seriously, and I take mine seriously,” remarked Justice Engoron of State Supreme Court in Manhattan, before he held Mr. Trump in contempt and banged his gavel.

Alina Habba, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, said she intended to appeal the judge’s ruling.

Still, the ruling represents a significant victory for Ms. James, whose office is conducting a civil investigation into whether Mr. Trump falsely inflated the value of his assets in annual financial statements.

Illustration by Victor Juhasz for Rolling Stone

So a few more stories about other thuggish clowns.  Wherever you see a thuggish clown, there will be a thuggish religious figure to give him a messianic complex.  This is by Tom Nichols, writing for The Atlantic. “Putin’s Unholy War. Putin, the Patriarch, and the corruption of Orthodox Christianity.”

For most of the Christian world, Easter is over. For Orthodox Christians, however, Easter week has just begun—and Russia, the largest Orthodox country in the world, is still relentlessly pursuing the invasion and barbaric destruction of its mostly Orthodox neighbor, Ukraine. In fact, the renewed Russian offensive in the Donbas, replete with day and night bombardment of mostly Orthodox, mostly Russian-speaking areas in eastern Ukraine, began just after Russians and Ukrainians observed Palm Sunday.

I note this because I, too, am an Orthodox Christian, and I am watching one nominally Orthodox nation try to slaughter another.

In most of my comments on the Russian war against Ukraine, I’ve tried, as best I can, to provide you with dispassionate analysis. But I hope this week you’ll allow me a few personal observations as I head toward Easter. I realize that sometimes the cold equations of political analysis can seem far removed from our emotions, and so I thought I would share with you some of my own.

Although my career was mostly spent as a scholar and Russia expert, it is difficult for any area specialist to be completely objective about the countries they study, because our lives end up unavoidably connected to the subject of our profession.

Nonetheless, whether friend or enemy, I have spent my life trying to understand Russia and its people. Now, like everyone, I am disgusted by Russian savagery. Fury grows in me each time I see the mutilated corpses and leveled homes—not only because of the sadistic violence, but also because I know that the Russian regime, in trying to destroy the Ukrainian nation, has destroyed a chance, at least for some years to come, for a better world.

And for what?

For the messianic dreams of a small man, a frightened and delusional thug leading a criminal enterprise masquerading as a government, who believes that he is doing God’s will.

You might be surprised at the last sentence, but Vladimir Putin really believes this. He thinks he’s on a mission. I’ll come back to this in a moment, but it’s a reality that too many in the West have either overlooked or chosen to ignore. And as much as I’d like to lay all of this mayhem on Putin’s shoulders alone, we now have to accept that his butchery of innocent people is either tacitly or openly supported by millions of Russians. Yes, there are brave Russians who have risked their lives to protest this war, but there is no way, any longer, to deny that Putin enjoys more support than any decent nation should give to such horror.

And so I grieve not only for Ukraine, but for the knowledge that no matter how this war ends, the era of hope that began in 1989 is over. Ukraine is now the scene of the largest conflict in Europe since World War II. NATO and Russia are openly enemies again. Nuclear war, for a time a forgotten abstraction, is a real danger.

Putin’s messianic madness is magnified by the blessings of the head of the Russian Orthodox Church leader for the invasion of Ukraine. This has split the church.  (Via WAPO)  This so reminds me of all the evangelicals who see Trump as some kind of messiah.  White Patriarchal Nationalism is just a potent poison wherever it manifests itself.

Whether warning about the “external enemies” attempting to divide the “united people” of Russia and Ukraine, or very publicly blessing the generals leading soldiers in the field, Patriarch Kirill has become one of the war’s most prominent backers. His sermons echo, and in some cases even supply, the rhetoric that President Vladimir Putin has used to justify the assault on cities and civilians.

“Let this image inspire young soldiers who take the oath, who embark on the path of defending the fatherland,” Kirill intoned as he gave a gilded icon to Gen. Viktor Zolotov during a service at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral in mid-March. The precious gift, the general responded, would protect the troops in their battles against Ukrainian “Nazis.”

One more clown to send in today.

If you haven’t gotten the idea that my post today is all about the clowns who want money and power and will do any schtick to get it, well, you know now.  Now, this has nothing to do with Musk’s diagnosis of having Autism Spectrum Disorder but I think we can see more than a bit of Narcissism in all the folks we read about today. I will leave Twitter if the Orange Cheeto and his hateful cult are allowed back on.  Free speech isn’t about lying or harassing people and calling them ugly names. I use my block and report button continually because I prefer not to see hateful people try to take over a discussion.

Twitter is said to be nearing a deal to sell itself to Elon Musk, according to The New York Times and other outlets, 11 days after the Tesla and SpaceX CEO shocked the industry by offering to buy the company in a deal valuing it at more than $41 billion.

A deal could be finalized as soon as Monday, according to the Wall Street Journal. Twitter declined to comment on the reports.

Reports that a deal is imminent come after Musk revealed last week he had lined up $46.5 billion in financing to acquire the company. Twitter’s board met Sunday to evaluate Musk’s offer to buy all the shares of the company he does not currently own for $54.20 a piece, a source familiar with the deal confirmed to CNN. The source said that discussions about Musk’s bid have turned serious.

Musk appeared to hint at the completion of a deal on Twitter on Monday when he tweeted, “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means.”

The potential sale agreement caps off a whirlwind news cycle that began less than a month ago, when Musk revealed he had taken a more than 9% stake in the company and ramped up calls for changes to the social media platform.

I just want quick access to breaking news as reported by the reporters.  Oh, well.  To me, there are critics and then there are damn liars with a mean ax to grind.  I want none of the latter.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Frank Friday Reads

Ghislaine Howard, Self Portrait Pregnant, 1984. © Ghislaine Howard.

Happy Friday Sky Dancers!

I’m going to make this entire weekend TV-free. It’s easy for me because all forms of sportsball bore me and I certainly don’t need to see the endless talking heads as it’s been a depressing enough week already. Most movies and tv shows bore me too so my plan is to read and do creative stuff. I’ve got pies to bake, pictures to paint, and music to make!

There were a lot of depressing and insulting things argued during the Mississippi Forced Birth Enslavement and child-trafficking law loved completely by the out-of-touch right-wing Christianists on the court. They must have missed being exposed to the idea that women have moral agency during their important lessons in life sessions. BB covered a lot of it yesterday.

A lot enraged me but none more than the white savior complex of Amy “great white savior” Coney Barret. She seems to feel since she adopted two black children and saved them from whatever hell she imagines with her white nationalist vision and missionary position she can ride to the rescue of all zygotes and embryos everywhere in the country. She feels she knows what’s right and that adoptions are just the answer to everything surrounding a woman’s pregnancy. Adoption justifies the state enslavement of pregnant women resulting in state trafficking of commodity babies. It’s her perfect concoction of everything is better when the rest of us are just the property of white men.

I’m sure as many of you have experience with friends that were adopted and also couples that adopted for a variety of reasons. Even with all the best intentions and best parenting, I’ve never met an adopted person that hasn’t presented some combination of similar emotional and psychological issues. They always feel lacking in a way that I never experienced even though they can be a tremendous variation on that theme. My first real experience came with a young black woman who was adopted by a kind elderly white couple and never quite felt she fit into any community that she met. I’ve always hoped that since multi-racial families are more prevalent that has become less of an issue. I also had a friend who adopted a boy only to find out a procedure could take care of her fertility problems. She then had four kids right after him. His biggest problem was one of his grandfathers continually reminding him that he wasn’t really theirs. Then, another friend had been adopted by a white couple because they wanted her baby. It took years for her to be able to tell her son that he wasn’t her brother. They really couldn’t be bothered with her after the boy was born.

Stuff like this leaves scars. And these are examples of what most people would call successful adoptions. None of the parents in these scenarios are the monsters that many adopted or foster kids get a place with. I won’t even share the trauma I’ve seen an adopted nephew go through even though his parents try everything. Every time a girl breaks up with him he goes through a loss like I’ve never seen in a person. At the moment, I live with someone who was adopted and it’s a variation on this all over. She’s got a form of detachment disorder and just is constantly in therapy over those issues and other personality disorders. She spent time in an orphanage. She loves her parents. They’re annoying in the same way most parents are but again, there are just issues that come along with all that and some people handle it better than others or have been further complicated before they get to their adopted family. It’s a forced birth fairy tale that adoption all rainbows and unicorns for everyone!

Gustav Klimt – Hope, II, 1907

These kids didn’t end up in the foster system although a few came from orphanages. I want to share these three articles with you written today. BB shared a few yesterdays. Don’t get me wrong. Adoption isn’t like they used to do which was to dump a girl in an unwed mother’s home, take the child from her, then put the child wherever. But, it still has that feeling that the state shouldn’t be forcing child trafficking and making women nothing but vessels. This is the worst kind of state interference in a woman’s moral agency. It’s autocratic and it’s purely based on one’s interpretation of a few religions. Babies are not commodities. Fetuses cannot live on their own and women do not just play passive host vessels. My last much wanted pregnancy nearly killed both of us and me several times with cancer I developed during it. Every woman has a different story and every child has a different story. The state just can’t write us all off under one big power grab like we’re all property. It’s a woman’s decision to make. PERIOD.

This is from New York Magazine: “Amy Coney Barrett’s Adoption Myths. “They’re co-opting our lives and our stories.” written by Irin Carmon’.

Twice in oral arguments this week for the abortion case that could overturn Roe v. Wade, Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett asked pro-choice advocates: Would banning abortion be so bad if women could just drop their newborns at the fire station for someone else to adopt? She conceded that forced pregnancy and birth are “an infringement on bodily autonomy,” but suggested, misleadingly, that the real choice is between having a later abortion and “the state requiring the woman to go 15, 16 weeks more and then terminate parental rights at the conclusion.”If advocates for abortion rights were so worried that “the consequences of parenting and the obligations of motherhood that flow from pregnancy” would harm women, asked Barrett, who adopted two children from Haiti, “Why don’t the safe-haven laws take care of that problem?”

The attorney for the clinics, Julie Rikelman, reminded Barrett that it’s 75 times more dangerous to give birth in Mississippi than to have a pre-viability abortion, disproportionately threatening the lives of women of color in particular. U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar said citing laws where parents can relinquish their newborns, no questions asked, “overlooks the consequences of forcing upon her the choice of having to decide whether to give a child up for adoption. That itself is its own monumental decision for her.” People who have lived and studied the realities of adoption also had a lot to say about Barrett’s blithe solution — one that drew on a well-established conservative political strategy to put adoption forward as the kinder face of the anti-abortion movement.

The day after oral arguments, I had a conversation with Angela Tucker, a transracial adoptee, host of The Adoptee Next Door, and media consultant; Kate Livingston, Ph.D., a birth parent and educator of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies; Kathryn Joyce, journalist and author of The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption; and sociologist Gretchen Sisson, Ph.D., who studies abortion, adoption, and reproductive decision-making in the United States.

Pablo Picasso Pregnant Woman Vallauris, 1950

Please go read the questions and answers in this conversation. They are enlightening, to say the least. Elizabeth Spiers writes this for the New York Times: “I Was Adopted. I Know the Trauma It Can Inflict.”

As an adoptee myself, I was floored by Justice Barrett’s assumption that adoption is an accessible and desirable alternative for women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant. She may not realize it, but what she is suggesting is that women don’t need access to abortion because they can simply go do a thing that is infinitely more difficult, expensive, dangerous and potentially traumatic than terminating a pregnancy during its early stages.

As an adoptive mother herself, Justice Barrett should have some inkling of the complexities of adoption and the toll it can inflict on children, as well as birth mothers. But she speaks as if adoption is some kind of idyllic fairy tale. My own adoption actually was what many would consider idyllic. I was raised by two adoptive parents, Alice and Terry, from the time I was an infant, and grew up in a home where I knew every day that I was loved. A few years ago, I found my biological mother, Maria, and three siblings I didn’t know I had via a DNA test and Facebook.

The first time I spoke to Maria on the phone — she lives in Alabama, not too far from my parents, and I live in Brooklyn — she apologized repeatedly for giving me up and told me she loved me and that I would always be family. “You are blood,” she would say later. I told her, and continue to tell her, every time she brings it up, that the apology is unnecessary. I had a wonderful childhood and I believe she had made the right decision. But she remains heartbroken about the years we missed together.

Both Maria and my mom, Alice, oppose abortion on religious grounds. My mom is white and Southern Baptist; Maria is Hispanic and Pentecostal. Both like to point to me to justify their beliefs, saying that had Maria gotten an abortion, I would not exist. It’s a familiar argument: The anti-abortion movement likes to invoke Nobel Prize winners who might never have materialized, or potential adoptees who might have cured cancer, if they hadn’t been aborted at eight weeks.

Here is my third offering on this topic.

You could make the argument that from Alito on … they all should step down. They were hired by the Republicans to tank Roe and whatever follows that insults their personal religious fetishes. We all have the right to practice our religions but not to force them on others via the state. It’s hard to believe they’re on the Supreme Court and they have such open disdain for the First Amendment of the Constitution.

‘How brilliant to paint yourself changing’ … Chantal Joffe’s 2004 self-portrait Photograph: © Chantal Joffe Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London/ Venice

When should a Supreme Court justice’s deeply held religious beliefs require recusal — that is, that the justice not participate in a particular case? A difficult question, to be sure, but one that Justice Amy Coney Barrett has already answered for herself. And her answer requires her recusal in abortion cases.

The Supreme Court hears arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Wednesday, which challenges the constitutionality of Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Under current precedent, the law is unconstitutional — as both the district court and the court of appeals held. Both Roe v. Wade, decided in 1973, and Planned Parenthood of Southeast Pennsylvania v. Casey, decided in 1992, hold that a state cannot ban abortions prior to viability, approximately the 24th week of pregnancy. Mississippi has asked the Supreme Court to overrule those precedents.

To follow her own words in a 1998 law review article, Barrett should have recused herself from deciding this case (and all other abortion cases) if she has any integrity at all.

In “Catholic Judges in Capital Cases,” published in the Marquette Law Review, Barrett (then a law clerk to a federal court of appeals judge) and her co-author address the dilemma that faces devout Catholic judges in capital cases. She writes that such judges are “obliged by oath, professional commitment, and the demands of citizenship to enforce the death penalty,” but they are also “obliged to adhere to their church’s teaching on moral matters.” They are therefore “morally precluded from enforcing the death penalty.”

What’s a Catholic judge to do, then? According to Barrett’s article, the judge must recuse herself. She can neither enforce the death penalty and violate her religious conscience, nor fail to enforce it and violate her oath of office.

And even in a case in which a judge has discretion whether or not to sentence a convicted criminal to death, he cannot resolve to keep an open mind and then claim to have done nothing wrong if he decides not to impose the death penalty. Because, Barrett writes, “A judge who suspends his moral judgment during sentencing sets his conscience aside” and “cuts himself loose from his moral moorings.” That unloosing is itself a sin, she concludes — analogous to “looking lustfully at a woman” and thus committing adultery “in his thoughts.”

Barrett’s bottom line is that an “observant Catholic judge” may not “formally cooperate in bringing about the defendant’s execution.” And for that reason, “if one cannot in conscience affirm a death sentence the proper response would be to recuse oneself.” To do otherwise is to “betray a public trust” by manipulating the law “in order to save lives.”

Well, Well, Well!

Celebration of the body … Jenny Saville’s Electra (2012). Photograph: Prudence Cuming/© Jenny Saville. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates. Courtesy the artist and Gagosian.

Here are a few other links to how Christianists are forcing everyone to follow their distinct takes on Christianity. They sound more like the Taliban every day. And take it from me, as a former Methodist who was frequently called not a real Christian, they will come for all of you.

Also from The Hill: “North Dakota school superintendent slams critical race theory, calls to teach ‘Christian heritage'”.

A North Dakota school district superintendent sent an email that says racial injustice is being pushed by a “political ideology,” called for a “Christ centered Republic” and deemed critical race theory “bigotry cloaked in academic theory,” according to InForum.

The news service, which obtained a copy of the email that was sent to a North Dakota Council of Educational Leaders-run listserv, reported that in Starkweather Public School District Superintendent Larry Volk’s email, he said that it was “time to move away from godless corrupt woke, left-wing ideology and back to the devout Christ centered Republic the founders envisioned.”

Volk also vowed in his email that critical race theory “will never be taught in our district. We will not teach institutionalized bigotry promoted by the left.”

“Racial injustice has been pushed by a political ideology — not a race of people. There is no systemic racism in America created by our Founding Fathers — the racism is the project of the godless Democrat party that has rejected god, family, faith and America and embraced secularism in the form of Marxism,” Volk said in another portion of the email.
“My district will continue to teach the Christian heritage and origins of the American Republic focusing on primary source documents from the founding era,” he added.

In an email to The Hill, Volk defended his email, which included some political commentary regarding a list of historical events, figures and groups, saying that “my goal is simply to teach as accurately as I can.”

Yeah, Jesus the street preacher and social justice warrior would surely not recognize the description of his work here.

My last set of links is basically a group of writers telling Dems to face the culture warriors .head-on and decimate them. As Amanda says below, “fight early and fight often.” There are also some gun fetishists that need to be dealt with.

In one good piece of news, there’s this. McConnell folded like a cheap umbrella.

In other good news, Donald Trump is still NOT president. We’re just back to fighting old battles like Women’s Rights, Voting Rights, and probably GLBT rights shortly. Have a peaceful and joyful weekend!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


St. Valentine’s Day Reads

This special Valentine goes out to all those people #43Traitors who voted to give a certain insurrectionist yet another free pass.

By the way, all Kitty hearts illustrations by:

This tweet is getting some attention:

So, there are bad storms across the country…

I will end with this one observation:

What can you say after that?