Good Day Sky Dancers!
The news from around the country is not good as radical republican Governors seeking the Trump base to run in 2024 grind their states into a march back to the Dark Ages. Meanwhile, the folks coming behind them may be worse. Take Louisiana’s AG Jeff Landry, please! This is a read-out of what he’s been doing to us in New Orleans because we’ve got better things to do than hunt pregnant women who may want abortions and ensure they’re forced to give birth. This is from Jezabel: “Louisiana Delays Critical Flood Response Funds to New Orleans Over Abortion Politics, AG Jeff Landry just delayed a $39 million line of credit for the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board the city won’t enforce the new abortion ban.” This story is reported by Lorena O’Neil.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) successfully urged the Louisiana Bond Commission on Thursday to delay a $39 million future line of credit for the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board–which the city needs for its flood response–until city officials agree to enforce the state’s abortion ban. The move comes right at the start of hurricane season, on the same day New Orleans has issued a flood advisory.
The financing that’s being held hostage would, specifically, be used to build a power station for the Sewerage & Water Board to help combat flooding. Melinda Deslatte, a research director at Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, live-tweeted today’s meeting, in which Republican politicians decided to punish New Orleans, a Democratic stronghold in the state, for defending abortion rights in the wake of a near-total ban. (Officials in New Orleans, including even the police, have vowed not to enforce the state’s new ban, which has already pushed out all three of its abortion clinics.)
Read more about the impact on the City at the link. Here’s more from investigative reporter Sam Karlin living in the city. The NOPD will not make arrests but now say they will investigate.
We currently have a police shortage typical of many big cities these days. Why put our police to work on this ridiculousness and make a big deal of it? Landry seeks to replace John Bel Edwards as Louisiana’s governor next year. Will Louisiana’s three big cities that lost their abortion clinics and the surrounding areas come out to ensure he doesn’t get into the position to Desantis/Abbott our state into White Christian Nationalism? Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, a shocking story presented on MSNBC by Alex Wagner shows that “DeSantis imposes extreme culture war framing on nuanced U.S. civics.” This includes downplaying the role of slavery in the country, promoting Scalia and his strict views on originalism, showing that slave-owning founders didn’t like slavery with no citations to the quotes, and promoting the idea that the founders really wanted a country that was essentially a Christian state with no separation between that religion and the state. It even includes a cartoon of the idea of a porous and fluid fence rather than a wall. This is all wrapped up in a seminar aimed at getting Florida’s educators to join in clearly White Christian Patriarchal Nationalism propagandizing.
Please watch and see the appalling materials as a young Florida Civics Teacher reveals the material and its shortcomings. A discussion with Professor Jelanie Cobb follows.
Also, DeSantis has instigated an “election crimes” law. According to The Washington Post, “DeSantis’s new election crimes unit makes its first arrests. The targets are folks who are formerly-incarcerated individuals that voted.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the first arrests made by the state’s new elections police force Thursday: Twenty people previously incarcerated for murder or sexual assault who he said had illegally voted in the 2020 election.
The GOP-led Florida legislature passed a bill creating the Office of Election Crimes and Security earlier this year at DeSantis’s behest. While the 2020 election went smoothly in Florida — DeSantis called it the “gold standard” for elections — the governor has said there are still issues and conservative lawmakers have sought to further tighten voting regulations.
The governor — widely considered a potential 2024 presidential candidate — heralded the arrests, saying the unit had “sprung into action to hold individuals accountable for voter fraud.” DeSantis said they had been arrested for violating the rules of a constitutional amendment passed by Florida voters in 2018 that allows formerly incarcerated people to register to vote — except for those who committed felony sexual assault or murder.
“This is just the opening salvo,” DeSantis said. “This is not the sum total of 2020.”
But voting groups and experts said that if anything the initial arrests indicate Florida’s election system is robust and crimes rare. Some expressed concern that the new unit could have a chilling effect, particularly on vulnerable groups of voters, such as formerly incarcerated people who are legally entitled to vote.
“It’s 20 people out of millions of voters,” Michael McDonald, an expert on voting and a professor of political science at the University of Florida. “These arrests are inconsequential to the integrity of the electoral system.”
DeSantis made the announcement flanked by law enforcement officers in Broward County, which has the most registered Democrats of any county in Florida. The arrests came about six weeks after the office opened and five days before the state’s primary election.
A Florida judge has stopped parts of DeSantis’ “Stop Woke” Act. This is from The Insider: “Florida judge blocks parts of DeSantis-backed ‘Stop WOKE Act,’ saying the state has turned into the upside-down world from ‘Stranger Things’.” Kimberly Leonard is the reporter on this piece.
A federal judge has suspended partial enforcement of Florida’s “Stop WOKE Act,” a bill that Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis endorsed that restricts how companies and schools discuss race.
DeSantis signed the bill into law in April. It would limit race-based teachings in schools, and the way that private companies carry out mandatory diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings. Companies that have 15 employees or more could face civil lawsuits if someone accuses them of violating the law.
In his opinion, Chief US District Judge Mark Walker blocked the employer portion of the law, saying it violated free speech. He compared the law to Netflix’s blockbuster science-fiction hit, “Stranger Things.”
“In the popular television series Stranger Things, the ‘upside down’ describes a parallel dimension containing a distorted version of our world,” Walker, a nominee of then-President Barack Obama, wrote in his opinion. “Recently, Florida has seemed like a First Amendment upside down.”
“Normally, the First Amendment bars the state from burdening speech, while private actors may burden speech freely,” Walker continued. “But in Florida, the First Amendment apparently bars private actors from burdening speech, while the state may burden speech freely.”
The governor’s press office told Insider on Friday that it planned to appeal the decision.
“Judge Walker has effectively ruled that companies have a first amendment right to instruct their employees in white supremacy,” said communications director Taryn Fenske. “We disagree and will be appealing his decision.”
The law targeted what many Republicans call “critical race theory.” Formally, critical race theory examines racism in US institutions stemming from slavery and the Jim Crow era. Democrats have argued it’s mostly taught in law schools, and defenders of DEI trainings say it’s necessary to prevent implicit bias, discrimination, and racism.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is your future Orwellian Republican State!
There are three articles today that show a disturbing future for anti-Trump Republicans like Liz Cheney. This first one is from Ben Jacobs writing for VOX. “The Never Trump wing of the GOP never had a chance. Liz Cheney’s loss made clear Trump’s GOP detractors have little electoral sway.”
The bad news for Never Trump Republicans this week wasn’t just that Liz Cheney lost the primary for her Wyoming congressional seat on Tuesday. It wasn’t even that she lost by such an overwhelming margin. It was that her loss fit a pattern in which the GOP’s voters have roundly rejected Republican after Republican who voted to impeach Trump. Only two of the 10 House Republicans who did so will even be on the ballot in November — one of whom is running in a district that Joe Biden won by more than 10 percentage points in 2020.
It’s clear at this point that the Republican Party is a pro-Trump party, and that its voters recoil from candidates who are ardently opposed to the former president. The results of this primary season — and Cheney’s loss in particular — show a Never Trump wing on the verge of extinction.
Cheney’s loss follows those this year of Reps. Peter Meijer of Michigan, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, and Tom Rice of South Carolina, among those Republicans who voted to impeach Trump. Another four Republican House members who voted to impeach — Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, John Katko of New York, and Fred Upton of Michigan — opted against even running for reelection.
This continues a trend within the GOP since Trump took office, as Republican critics like Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona have opted not to seek reelection, while others, like Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, lost their primaries.
“I’m unaware of any Republican primary where the organizing principle that Trump is a bad guy was ever successful,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), a close Trump ally in Congress who had been campaigning against Cheney since days after her impeachment vote, told Vox. “Republicans might have squeaked through who were not pro-Trump, but those candidates had some other organizing principle. Liz Cheney didn’t, and that’s why she lost so badly.”
Even an ardent Never Trumper like Tim Miller, a former top Republican operative and author of a recent New York Times bestseller, Why We Did It, conceded that Trump won the battle for the soul of the GOP. “A lot of people misunderstand what is happening in this moment and think the Republican Party might somehow go back to being the party of Liz Cheney and Paul Ryan,” Miller said. “It’s never going back — at least not any time on the horizon.”
Wait! There’s more! Susan Glasser says it’s “Trumpism vs Hopium”.
By Wednesday, Eric Trump was bragging about his father as one of the all-time great political assassins. “Last night, my father killed another political dynasty, and that’s the Cheneys,” he told the Newsmax host Eric Bolling. “He first killed the Bushes, then he killed the Clintons. Last night, he killed the Cheneys. He’s been rino hunting ever since he got into politics, and last night he was successful again.” Trump’s story, as narrated by his son, is that of a political axe murderer—a grim reaper of the “Republican in Name Only” establishment. In the Trump lexicon, “killer” is a compliment. Donald Trump himself has bragged about this, explaining that the term constituted high praise from his ruthless father, Fred, who taught him to be one.
The family must be so proud. Trump has zealously stuck to the paternal creed. From the start, he has been an almost uniquely destructive force in American politics, a leader not only willing to blow anything up that stands in his path but one who glories in the act. The result has been a Republican Party transformed almost entirely into Trump’s Republican Party. Nearly all of those who stood against him have been purged or defeated or have cravenly renounced their previous views. “She may have been fighting for principles,” Taylor Budowich, a Trump spokesperson, said, after Cheney’s loss, “but they are not the principles of the Republican Party.” Which is as close to an inarguably true statement as has ever been issued by the Mar-a-Lago government in exile. The Republican Party’s ideology these days is simply whatever-Trump-wants-ism, as it made clear when it did not even bother to issue a new policy platform at its 2020 convention, settling instead for a simple resolution saying that it was for Trump. Being a classy winner, though, is clearly not part of the emerging party doctrine. After the Wyoming results came in, Budowich posted to Twitter a video compilation of Trump dancing, set to the tune of “na, na, na, na, hey, hey, hey, goodbye,” along with the message “Bye bye, @Liz_Cheney.”
The results of this midterm season so far have shown how nearly complete Trump’s Republican triumph already is. Dozens of election deniers who have adopted the former President’s lies about his 2020 election loss have won Republican nominations, up and down the ballot. Only two of the ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for his role in the January 6th insurrection are still in the running to remain in Congress. And, of course, polls show that Trump himself remains a strong front-runner for the Republican nomination in 2024. The headlines after Tuesday’s voting would have been inconceivable in the immediate aftermath of his failed effort to hold onto power: “Trump’s dominance in GOP comes into focus,” the Washington Post said. “Cheney’s Wyoming defeat is a win for Trump and a decisive blow to fading GOP establishment,” the Los Angeles Times declared. “Cheney’s defeat end of an era for GOP; Trump’s party now,” the Associated Press said. So why are Trump’s opponents—at least some of them—feeling in any way optimistic?
May I have some hopium, please? Like, lots of it?
But, over the summer, a new school of what might be called “Trumptimism” has taken hold among some Democratic strategists and independent analysts. In the mess of our current politics, they discern a case for optimism—history-defying, experience-flouting optimism that maybe things won’t work out so badly after all in November. “In the age of Trump, nothing is normal,” Simon Rosenberg, the president of the liberal think tank the New Democrat Network and a veteran strategist, told me, on Thursday. “Nothing is following traditional physics and rules, so why would this midterm?”
Follow the link to read the rationale behind the assertion. Meanwhile, the Republican with the most fluid values ever discourages Liz Cheney from running for President. “What Mitt Romney says about Liz Cheney possibly running for president”. If this man ever had a hope to make any of us sorry he couldn’t hold any higher office he’s blown it now.
As Rep. Liz Cheney contemplates her next move after losing the Republican primary in Wyoming this week, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney says he wouldn’t encourage her to run for president.
“I’m not going to encourage anyone to run for president. I’ve done that myself, and that’s something I’m not doing again. I don’t know if she really wants to do that. She would not become the nominee if she were to run. I can’t imagine that would occur,” Romney told the Deseret News on Thursday.
Cheney, he said, might run for other purposes but “I’m not in collaboration with that effort.”
Remember, this is from the man that put his dog on the top of his car while driving fast. He’s all in it for the convenience.
And yet, the Biden Administration really tries to get us all back in to America he envisions. He’s even thrown us a “United We Stand” Summit so leaders can show that it’s possible. “Statement by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on The White House “United We Stand” Summit.”
On Thursday, September 15, President Biden will host at the White House the United We Stand Summit to counter the corrosive effects of hate-fueled violence on our democracy and public safety, highlight the response of the Biden-Harris Administration and communities nationwide to these dangers, and put forward a shared vision for a more united America.
President Biden decided to run for president after the horror of the hate-fueled violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. Since taking office, his Administration has consistently taken steps to counter hate-motivated violence — from signing the bipartisan COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, to releasing the first-ever National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism, to signing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the most significant legislation in three decades to reduce gun violence.
Even as our nation has endured a disturbing series of hate-fueled attacks, from Oak Creek to Pittsburgh, from El Paso to Poway, from Atlanta to Buffalo, Americans remain overwhelmingly united in their opposition to such violence. The United We Stand Summit will bring together heroes from across America who are leading historic work in their communities to build bridges and address hate and division, including survivors of hate-fueled violence. The summit will include a bipartisan group of federal, state, and local officials, civil rights groups, faith and community leaders, technology and business leaders, law enforcement officials, former members of violent hate groups who now work to prevent violence, gun violence prevention leaders, media representatives, and cultural figures. It will feature a keynote speech from President Biden as well as inclusive, bipartisan panels and conversations on countering hate-fueled violence, preventing radicalization and mobilization to violence, and fostering unity.
As President Biden said in Buffalo after the horrific mass shooting earlier this year, in the battle for the soul of our nation “we must all enlist in this great cause of America.” The United We Stand Summit will present an important opportunity for Americans of all races, religions, regions, political affiliations, and walks of life to take up that cause together.
Is this possible given that the states that have more wildlife and vacant land still control entire states and send 2 senators to the District? Will, this 30% that includes Racists, Gun Toting Militias, White Christian Militias, Incels, and folks that hate independent women and the GLBT community really coming around to uniting with the rest of us?
This is from the HRC link above. It’s from The Washington Post.
Biden will deliver a keynote speech at the gathering, which the White House says will include civil rights groups, faith leaders, business executives, law enforcement, gun violence prevention advocates, former members of violent hate groups, the victims of extremist violence and cultural figures. The White House emphasized that it also intends to bring together Democrats and Republicans, as well as political leaders on the federal, state and local levels to unite against hate-motivated violence.
Biden, a Democrat, has frequently cited 2017’s white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, with bringing him out of political retirement to challenge then-President Donald Trump in 2020. He promised during that campaign to work to bridge political and social divides and to promote national unity, but fulfilling that cause remains a work in progress.
Sindy Benavides, the CEO of League of United Latin American Citizens, said the genesis of the summit came after the Buffalo massacre, as her organization along with the Anti-Defamation League, the National Action Network and other groups wanted to press the Biden administration to more directly tackle extremist threats.
But how do we solve a problem like Greg Abbott, Marjorie Taylor Green, Ron DeSantis, Jeff Landry, Steve Scalise, Jim Jordan, and all the the other Trump Zombies?
Vote them out if we can! I’m not sure his voters can be shamed into embracing the American Dream ever again.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!
There are a lot of long-form articles up today that are worth a read. I’m going to start with a few on the abortion issue since Kansas has a significant vote today. Kansas is the first state to have a Post-Roe vote. This is from The New York Times: “‘Everybody Is Dug In’: Kansans Fiercely Debate the First Post-Roe Vote on Abortion. The Aug. 2 ballot question will decide whether the State Constitution will allow legislators to ban or further restrict the procedure.”
Kansas voters will decide next week whether to remove protections of abortion rights from their State Constitution, providing the first electoral test of Americans’ attitudes on the issue since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
The election could give the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature authority to pass new abortion limits or to outlaw the procedure entirely, potentially reshaping the map of abortion access in the nation’s center. The vote, which has been planned since last year but took on far higher stakes after the federal right to abortion was eliminated, is expected to send a message far beyond Kansas as politicians nationwide weigh new abortion measures and watch for signs of how the public is reacting.
“Kansas is the bull’s-eye of the United States in terms of its geography, but it’s also the bull’s-eye where all the energy that has emerged from the Supreme Court decision has now focused,” said Pastor Randy Frazee, who leads a large church in suburban Kansas City, and who like many clergy members supports giving legislators the power to restrict abortions.
A good deal of my family is still in the Kansas City area. One of my great grandfathers was a Methodist circuit rider back in the day when Kansas had a healthy abolitionist movement. We’ll see if the old Kansas idea of Christian social justice is still there. FiveThirtyEight discusses “How The Fight To Ban Abortion Is Rooted In The ‘Great Replacement’ Theory.” It’s also firmly rooted in the idea that men own women and whatever activities they can do. This analysis was written by Alex Samuels and Monica Potts.
Throughout colonial America and into the 19th century, abortions were fairly common with the help of a midwife or other women and could be obtained until the point that you could feel movement inside, according to Lauren MacIvor Thompson, a historian of early-20th-century women’s rights and public health. Most abortions were induced through herbal or medicinal remedies and, like other medical interventions of the time, weren’t always effective or safe.
But the dynamics surrounding the procedure changed by the mid-19th century, as America’s elites began to fear a rising tide of immigrants from Ireland, Italy and other European countries (people often viewed as “inferior”), suffragists seeking new freedoms and recently freed Black people, whom these elites feared were reproducing at higher rates than the white population. Laws limiting abortion, it was believed, would ultimately force middle- and upper-class white women — who had the most access to detect and terminate unwanted pregnancies — to bear more white children.
“There were concerns that these other groups were demographically outpacing white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant women. And so they thought to limit the bodily autonomy of white women and limit access to contraception in order to force them to have children. That they felt would keep up with the demographic birth rate,” said Alex DiBranco, the co-founder and executive director of the Institute for Research on Male Supremacism.
It took time for the anti-abortion movement to attract supporters, and unlike today, religious groups were not originally an active part of it. Still, momentum built as a small but influential number of physicians began arguing that licensed male doctors — as opposed to female midwives — should care for women throughout the reproductive cycle. In the late 1850s, one of the leaders of the nascent anti-abortion movement, a surgeon named Horatio Robinson Storer, began arguing that he didn’t want the medical profession to be associated with abortion. He was able to push the relatively new American Medical Association to support his cause, and soon they were working to delegitimize midwives and enforce abortion bans. In an 1865 essay issued by order of the AMA, Storer went so far as to say of white women that “upon their loins depends the future destiny of the nation.”
There’s a lot more in the article if you can stand to read all the misogyny, racism, and basic WASP nationalism. From Cameron Joseph, at VICE we learn exactly how deep the Republican Party’s hatred of women has become. “JD Vance Suggests People in ‘Violent’ Marriages Shouldn’t Get Divorced. The Ohio Republican Senate nominee claimed people “shift spouses like they change their underwear,” and that it had damaged a generation of children.”
“This is one of the great tricks that I think the sexual revolution pulled on the American populace, which is the idea that like, ‘well, OK, these marriages were fundamentally, you know, they were maybe even violent, but certainly they were unhappy. And so getting rid of them and making it easier for people to shift spouses like they change their underwear, that’s going to make people happier in the long term,’” Vance said.
“And maybe it worked out for the moms and dads, though I’m skeptical. But it really didn’t work out for the kids of those marriages,” Vance continued. “And that’s what I think all of us should be honest about, is we’ve run this experiment in real time. And what we have is a lot of very, very real family dysfunction that’s making our kids unhappy.”
Vance was responding to a moderator who referenced his grandparents’ relationship before asking, “What’s causing one generation to give up on fatherhood when the other one was so doggedly determined to stick it out, even in tough times?” And those comments came immediately after he brought up his grandparents’ relationship and how it differed from his parents’ generation. He described their marriage as “violent” in his best-selling book “Hillbilly Elegy,” though they’d reconciled by the time he came along and helped raise him, giving him a sense of safety and stability his mother was unable to provide.
“Culturally, something has clearly shifted. I think it’s easy but also probably true to blame the sexual revolution of the 1960s. My grandparents had an incredibly chaotic marriage in a lot of ways, but they never got divorced, right? They were together to the end, ’til death do us part. That was a really important thing to my grandmother and my grandfather. That was clearly not true by the 70s or 80s,” he said.
How about once women actually get choices, where they can take care of themselves and their families, that makes the horrid man in their life irrelevant? I endured one marriage of 20 years and believe me, never again. He’s working on his third btw.
So, one more topic I want to cover today is how the Republicans are trying to form a new kind of servitude on everyone but white Christian men and billionaires. First up from The Daily Beast: “The Four Stages of Republican Misinformation. The right has a tested formula to brainwash its base. From the Big Lie to attacking a 10-year-old rape victim, here’s how they do it.” This is written by Wajahat Ali.
The entire right-wing ecosystem unleashed its full arsenal to discredit the 10-year-old girl as a liar, intimidate her physician, demonize liberals, and continue its march backward, undeterred, in its quest to make Handmaid’s Tale cosplay a reality—in an America that subordinates and punishes women for having the audacity to control their own bodies.
To achieve its goal, the right uses a now familiar four-part strategy.
First, Republicans use any means necessary to achieve power and promote their unpopular, extremist, counter-majoritarian agenda.
Second, they create and promote disinformation and lies to frighten their base and Jedi mind-trick them into believing they are being oppressed by the actual victims.
Third, they create a specific villain, target them, and then attack them through scapegoating, smearing, and intimidation.
Fourth, they never apologize or back down once their lie is exposed, but instead, they double down, and in times of doubt, always pivot towards racism and fear-mongering.
To illustrate the strategy, look no further than the GOP’s rationalization of the Jan. 6 insurrection and embrace of the Big Lie—which gave them the successful blueprint to promote their hateful anti-abortion policies.
First, Donald Trump deliberately promoted lies and conspiracy theories about election fraud conducted by Democrats. Instead of accepting his defeat, he unleashed a premeditated, coordinated strategy to engage in a failed coup, which eventually resulted in thousands of his supporters overtaking the U.S. Capitol in an effort to overturn a free and fair election.
To get to the point where a 10-year-old rape victim has to cross state lines for an abortion, look to the GOP’s four-decade effort to kill Roe v. Wade. Republicans finally got their wish by packing the Supreme Court with right-wing extremists in black robes handpicked by the Federalist Society. Sen. Mitch McConnell stole Merrick Garland’s seat by refusing to hold a confirmation hearing, citing the need to wait until after the 2016 election. Then, he went against his own bullshit precedent and bum-rushed Justice Amy Coney Barrett on to the Court after millions of votes had already been cast in the 2020 election. That’s how they got a right-wing majority to dutifully overturn Roe, which led to Republican-controlled states imposing draconian laws that are punishing women and their health-care providers.
Second, the right-wing media ecosystem continues to amplify the Big Lie and fuel conspiracy theories, which has since resulted in a majority of GOP voters falsely believing Biden was not fairly elected. More than 100 Republicans who have won their recent primaries support the Big Lie, which has transformed into a MAGA litmus test for aspiring GOP candidates.
There’s more. It’s a brutally factual and honest assessment. This leads to a story sent to me last night by BostonBoomer. This is from The Atlantic: “America’s Self-Obsession Is Killing Its Democracy. The U.S. still has a chance to fix itself before 2024. But when democracies start dying—as ours already has—they usually don’t recover.” It’s written by Brian Klaas. I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but we must wake everyone up to all of this.
American democracy is dying. There are plenty of medicines that would cure it. Unfortunately, our political dysfunction means we’re choosing not to use them, and as time passes, fewer treatments become available to us, even though the disease is becoming terminal. No major prodemocracy reforms have passed Congress. No key political figures who tried to overturn an American election have faced real accountability. The president who orchestrated the greatest threat to our democracy in modern times is free to run for reelection, and may well return to office.
Our current situation started with a botched diagnosis. When Trump first rose to political prominence, much of the American political class reacted with amusement, seeing him as a sideshow. Even if he won, they thought, he’d tweet like a populist firebrand while governing like a Romney Republican, constrained by the system. But for those who had watched Trump-like authoritarian strongmen rise in Turkey, India, Hungary, Poland, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Venezuela, Trump was never entertaining. He was ominously familiar.
At issue was a classic frame-of-reference problem. America’s political culture is astonishingly insular. Turn on cable news and it’s all America, all the time. Other countries occasionally make cameos, but the story is still about us. (Poland is discussed if Air Force One goes to Warsaw; Iran flits into view only in relation to Washington’s nuclear diplomacy; Madagascar appears only in cartoon form, mostly featuring talking animals that don’t actually live there.) Our self-obsession means that whenever authoritarianism rises abroad, it’s mentioned briefly, if at all. Have you ever spotted a breathless octobox of talking heads on CNN or Fox News debating the death of democracy in Turkey, Sri Lanka, or the Philippines?
That’s why most American pundits and journalists used an “outsider comes to Washington” framework to process Trump’s campaign and his presidency, when they should have been fitting every fresh fact into an “authoritarian populist” framework or a “democratic death spiral” framework. While debates raged over tax cuts and offensive tweets, the biggest story was often obscured: The system itself was at risk.
Even today, too many think of Trump more as Sarah Palin in 2012 rather than Viktor Orbán in 2022. They wrongly believe that the authoritarian threat is over and that January 6 was an isolated event from our past, rather than a mild preview of our future. That misreading is provoking an underreaction from the political establishment. And the worst may be yet to come.
This is another long read, but please check it out! I think I’ve saddled you with enough angst and anxiety for a while. Oh, and sorry, but I am on a Queen binge recently. So enjoy the killer lyrics and solo guitar by Brian May, the Freddie vocals, and the artwork that is this video.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
While the sun hangs in the sky and the desert has sand
While the waves crash in the sea and meet the land
While there’s a wind and the stars and the rainbow
‘Til the mountains crumble into the plain
Oh, yes, we’ll keep on tryin’
Tread that fine line
Oh, we’ll keep on tryin’, yeah
Just passing our time
While we live according to race, colour or creed
While we rule by blind madness and pure greed
Our lives dictated by tradition, superstition, false religion
Through the aeons, and on and on
Oh, yes, we’ll keep on tryin’
We’ll tread that fine line
Oh-oh, we’ll keep on tryin’
‘Til the end of time
‘Til the end of time
Through the sorrow, all through our splendour
Don’t take offence at my innuendo
You can be anything you want to be
Just turn yourself into anything you think that you could ever be
Be free with your tempo, be free, be free
Surrender your ego, be free, be free to yourself
If there’s a God or any kind of justice under the sky
If there’s a point, if there’s a reason to live or die
If there’s an answer to the questions, we feel bound to ask
Show yourself, destroy our fears, release your mask
Oh, yes, we’ll keep on trying
Hey, tread that fine line
Yeah, we’ll keep on smiling, yeah (yeah, yeah)
And whatever will be, will be
We’ll keep on trying
We’ll just keep on trying
‘Til the end of time
‘Til the end of time
‘Til the end of time
Good Day Sky Dancers!
There is nothing more telling about the state of discourse in our country than the move to censor and replace materials in libraries and public schools with pure nonsense and propaganda. As a child, I spent a great deal of the summer in the old Council Bluffs, Iowa Library doing the children’s reading club. My mother took us to the local library at least once a week.
I don’t know if you can see the inscription on top, but it reads “Free Public Library.” The city built a new library, but the Carnegie-funded library is now standing as a Union Pacific Railroad Museum. I currently use another Carnegie-funded library in my neighborhood in New Orleans which features a Drag Queen storybook hour for kids. People come from out of the Parish to protest that, but everyone here is thankful for the creative time to read books together and discuss the one thing kids like to do which is play ‘dress-up.’
The public library in Council Bluffs when a subscription library was established for males over the age of 12. Libraries now strive to be more inclusive unless their town goes all Fahrenheit 451 on them. This is from CNN: “Iowa library temporarily closes after full-time staff leaves following complaints about ‘liberal agenda’ in book selection.” Rather than shrugging off stuff they don’t like and simply choosing not to read it, the Trumperz Thought Brownshirts would rather close the place down.
A small-town library in Iowa is scrambling to reopen after community complaints about its book selection prompted full-time staff members to resign.
The controversy started over complaints about books on display for children with information on the LGBTQ community, according to Jimmy Kelly, board chair of the Vinton Public Library.
“They would like balance that for every book that talks about LGBTQ issues, that there also be a book describing traditional gender expression,” Kelly told CNN Thursday.
“The people basically accused the library of having a liberal agenda,” he added.
“A reconsideration policy allows you to object to materials or programming in which the library is joined. Libraries have this, it’s very common,” she added. “It protects the library staff, it protects the library board as well as the person who is making the complaint. It is a wonderful process.”
The content complaints followed complaints last year the library had a children’s book about Vice President Kamala Harris and one written by first lady Jill Biden, but no children’s books about former President Donald Trump, according to Kelly. It resulted in McMahon’s resignation, he said.
Since resigning last year, McMahon took a job as the library director in DeWitt, about 90 miles away. She says the controversy leading to her decision to leave the Vinton community was unfortunate.
“It was very sad. I really liked working with the city department heads I worked with,” she said. “I had a great staff and there were a few people on the library board who I thought were fantastic, but it was just the atmosphere, and we all will choose a location of where we live or where we work by what matches our personalities and I just did not feel that I needed that extra stress in my life.”
McMahon said she also heard complaints there were no books about former President Donald Trump in the display.
“These were children’s books, these were picture books, and I did my due diligence. Did I miss someone? Did someone write a nice book about the former president? The answer at that point was no. I don’t know if there’s something now, I don’t know,” McMahon told CNN.
So, my first thought is just about every book in a collection is about traditional expressions of gender. It shouldn’t need to be singled out in a diatribe. My second thought was is there no wonder that no respectable children’s book author doesn’t want to write a book describing a corrupt, twice-impeached traitor with a wife that did soft porn? I mean seriously, how is that something a small child should be reading about?
But even more seriously, what is Governor Rick DeSantis doing to the Civics Curriculum in Florida? If this isn’t lies and propaganda being pushed into Public Schools what is? I have slave owners in my family tree. Many of them signed the Declaration of Independence. Two Signed the Constitution. One of the buggers that signed the US Constituion of the US was an ever not so great Uncle from South Carolina who was the Governor at one point and wrote the Fugitive Slave Act. My own Uncle helped pen and argued for the Japanese Internment Laws before SCOTUS during Wolrd War Two. The last one particularly hits home to me because my mother-in-law was Japanese so my ex-husband, daughters, and granddaughters are of Japanese descent.
I imagine that most of my relatives–including me–lived on land stolen from Indigenous people. Why hide where they fucked up? My mother took me around the country showing me where all this happened in the hopes that my knowledge would make sure it never happened again. Those dead people never had an ounce of an impact on me. However, my mother, local librarians, and public school teachers sure did. Some in ways they intended, others in ways they did not. The further I got in education, the more I learned that all of our history is not pleasant, it happened, but it should not happen again. It need not be covered up. I trust our education to determine how and when to elucidate the impact of slavery, of the Indigenous relocation pogroms and reeducations schools, Japanese internment, and the system of immigration that favors some races over others. Then, we work to tear down the remanents that harm our modern society and correct them.
From NPR: “Florida Gov. DeSantis takes aim at what he sees as indoctrination in schools” It’s always the same with these guys. Projection! Slavery and Indigenous relocation and massacre are at the heart of our history and considered women to be property until after 1849. That’s not part of the past that should be glossed-over or celebrated with some pantomimes with kind pilgrims, dancing slaves, and always happy mothers.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has made it clear how he views public schools and what they’re teaching children: He doesn’t trust them.
At a recent news conference, he returned to a familiar theme.
“Following woke indoctrination in our schools, that is a road to ruin for this country,” he said. “And we’re not going to let it happen in Florida.”
Since becoming governor in 2019, DeSantis has become known for taking combative positions on controversial issues, including education. He recently signed a number of measures aimed at preventing the sort of “indoctrination” he and his Republican supporters fear is taking place.
His “Stop Woke” act sets limits on how issues involving race may be taught. And it allows parents to sue teachers and school districts that violate it.
Another measure, the Parental Rights in Education Act, dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” by critics, bans any instruction involving sexual orientation or gender identity in the earliest grades and says beyond that it must be “age appropriate.”
In a June interview with the Christian fundamentalist group, Focus on the Family, DeSantis said he believes there’s a “concerted effort to inject … gender ideology and sexuality into the discussions with the very youngest kids.”
You know something is wrong when he’s being guided by Child Beating advocates Focus on the Family.
As first reported by the Miami Herald, the training materials were prepared for the state by groups including the Bill of Rights Institute, founded by Charles Koch and Hillsdale College, a small Christian school in Michigan that is influential in developing conservative education policies.
Segal, a teacher with 18 years in the classroom, says DeSantis is pushing a false narrative that schools are promoting a “woke” progressive agenda.
“I hate to say this,” she says, “but I feel that maybe, possibly he’s pandering to a base for re-election and that’s very hurtful.”
DeSantis is running for re-election as governor in November but is also widely seen as a likely contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
All this comes as Florida is facing a critical teacher shortage with more than 9,500 vacant jobs statewide.
In Brevard County, school board member Jennifer Jenkins says teachers are demoralized. Many have retired or found jobs in other fields. In her district, she says there are 20 vacancies at a single school that only has 40 staff members.
“I don’t know how we’re going to continue to live in this hostile environment, how we’re going to encourage educators to enter the field and stick around,” Jenkin says. “It’s really, really scary.”
School board members have become a particular target. Jenkins has had protesters outside her home, vandalism, and threats of violence stemming for her support for a school face mask mandate.
Ending tenure at Universities is another way Republicans are seeking to stack public education facilities with whatever. From the Advocate here in Louisana: “Mark Ballard: Conservatives want to clip tenure protections for outspoken college professors.”
Louisiana began down what one legislator calls the “slippery slope” toward eliminating job-protecting tenure for college professors who mouth off in unapproved ways.
Senate President Page Cortez, R-Lafayette, Friday received designees for the Task Force on Tenure in Postsecondary Education, putting Louisiana on the path already tread by other Republican-majority states seeking to remove what some professors call protection for academic free thought and what some conservatives say is a license to indoctrinate youth with extremist thought.
“The caricature for tenure has been weaponized on the national level for political pursuits,” University of Louisiana System President Jim Henderson testified May 11 as legislators considered creating the task force. “I encourage you that the conversation around this is around the merits and not about the politics.”
There’s a good list there with all states trying to pass some form of the same effort. So far, none of these efforts have passed but, just like voter suppression efforts, Republicans are hot to quash public education and send tax payer money to places with religious indoctrination agendas. One of DeSantis’ civics changes includes this doozy via Axios: “Florida training program: “Misconception” that founders wanted separation of church and state”.
Driving the news: That and other content in a state-sponsored training course has raised eyebrows among some who have participated and felt it was omitting unflattering information about the country’s founders, pushing inaccuracies and centering religious ideas, per the Post.
- The Constitution explicitly bars the government from “respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Scholars interpret the passage to require a separation of church and state, per the Post.
- In another example, the training states that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were against slavery, while omitting the fact that each owned enslaved people.
It’s obvious that the Republican Party likes their base stupid. They also want us to be just as stupid and uninformed. Fox News Channel and AM radio shows do just that. Whatever can we do to stop all of this?
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
It’s Monday Sky Dancers! Hide your wives and daughters!
The Supreme Inquisitors of the United States have released more decisions that allow their religion to have an outsized role in our supposedly secular democracy founded solidly on the separation of church and state. They’re doing that by dissolving the state and its protection of minorities.
Now, we all have to endure egoistic displays of piety in schools from public servants. Gorsuch wrote this abomination of a decision. From The New York Times: “Supreme Court Sides With Coach Over Prayers on 50-Yard Line.” As the great-grandaughter of a Methodist Circuit rider in Kansas, and a former nice little Methodist choir director and Sunday School Teacher, I’d just like to know why they don’t read their Bibles? This is straight from Matthew 6:5-6.
5“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
This isn’t even something like an outdoor wedding, blessing some building or a group of pets, or even doing an outside service. This is fucking football. What perfect being wouldn’t find that laughable? How is causing bodily harm to another person and running around with a ball anything a deity would be concerned about?
Joseph Kennedy, a former high school football coach in Bremerton, Wash., had a constitutional right to pray on the field after his team’s games, the justices ruled.
The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a high school football coach had a constitutional right to pray at the 50-yard line after his team’s games.
The vote was 6 to 3, with the court’s three liberal members in dissent.
The case pitted the rights of government workers to free speech and the free exercise of their faith against the Constitution’s prohibition of government endorsement of religion and the ability of public employers to regulate speech in the workplace. The decision was in tension with decades of Supreme Court precedents that forbade pressuring students to participate in religious activities.
The case concerned Joseph Kennedy, an assistant coach at a public high school in Bremerton, Wash., near Seattle. For eight years, Mr. Kennedy routinely offered prayers after games, with students often joining him. He also led and participated in prayers in the locker room, a practice he later abandoned and did not defend in the Supreme Court.
Just so you remember the stare decisis this over turns:
Over the last 60 years, the Supreme Court has rejected prayer in public schools, at least when it was officially required or part of a formal ceremony like a high school graduation. As recently as 2000, the court ruled that organized prayers led by students at high school football games violated the First Amendment’s prohibition of government establishment of religion.
“The delivery of a pregame prayer has the improper effect of coercing those present to participate in an act of religious worship,” Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the majority.
These six inquisitors have no shame.
And the facts about Abortion from the New England Journal of Medicine.
Experience around the world has demonstrated that restricting access to legal abortion care does not substantially reduce the number of procedures, but it dramatically reduces the number of safe procedures, resulting in increased morbidity and mortality. Millions of persons in states lacking protections for abortion care are also likely to be denied access to medication-induced abortions. It may be difficult for many Americans in 2022 to fully appreciate how complicated, stressful, and expensive, if even attainable, their most private and intimate decisions will become, now that Roe has been struck down. A recent New York Times article recounted the experiences of women, now in their 60s and 70s, who sought abortions before Roe.5 They described humiliating circumstances, unsafe procedures literally performed in back alleys, and the deep shame and stigma they endured. Common complications of illegal procedures included injury to the reproductive tract requiring surgical repair, induction of infections resulting in infertility, systemic infections, organ failure, and death.6 We now seem destined to relearn those lessons at the expense of human lives.
Without federal protection, recent state laws curtailing or eliminating the right to abortion care will deny Americans’ reproductive autonomy and create an Orwellian dystopia. Examples are the Oklahoma law enacted on May 25, 2022, that declares life to begin at fertilization and the Texas bill that went into effect on September 1, 2021, which empowers third parties to bring civil suits and collect damages against persons who perform, aid, or abet abortions. Defendants in such suits will bear their legal costs, while plaintiffs are indemnified against countersuits for bringing groundless actions. Use of postcoital contraception, either hormonal contraception or placement of an intrauterine device, could be equated with abortion and prosecuted; some jurisdictions (e.g., Mississippi) are already considering such actions. A single act of coitus not timed with respect to the menstrual cycle has a 3% probability of causing conception.7 After conception, approximately 14 days elapse before chorionic gonadotropin reaches detectable levels in maternal blood. Approximately 30% of recognized pregnancies result in miscarriages. Thus, in some jurisdictions, people could be prosecuted for aborting a pregnancy by using postcoital contraception, despite a 98% probability that their actions did not cause an abortion, but there is no way to prove or disprove that they were pregnant.
The Supreme Inquisitors will kill women and more. Every Governor who lets these laws go through has blood on their hands. But hey, isn’t that what their practice of Christianity is all about? Controlling others and not themselves?
NPR has the results of a poll today: “Poll: Majorities oppose Supreme Court’s abortion ruling and worry about other rights.” The analysis is by Domenico Montanaro.
By a 56%-to-40% margin, respondents oppose the court’s decision, including 45% who strongly oppose it.
Almost 9-in-10 Democrats and a slim majority of independents (53%) are against the decision. Three-quarters of Republicans, on the other hand, support it.
There is a massive split by education – 69% of college graduates oppose the decision while those without degrees are split. Half of whites without degrees support the decision, while two-thirds of whites with college degrees oppose it.
A majority of men and women are against the decision, though a slightly higher percentage of women oppose it (59% vs. 54%).
Along racial lines, 60% of non-whites and 54% of whites oppose the decision. (There were too few people surveyed to break out individual racial groups any further without margins of error getting too high.)
By a 57%-to-36% margin, respondents said the decision was mostly based on politics as opposed to the law. And by a 56%-to-41% margin are concerned that the overturning of Roe will be used by the Supreme Court to reconsider past rulings that protect contraception, same-sex relationships, and same-sex marriage.
Just 39% said they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the Supreme Court; 58% said they have not very much or no confidence at all in the institution. That’s a low in the poll
My friends in Europe keep telling me we have to get it into law like they did. I’m beginning to think that this is our only route but just consider how long it will take to get rid of those state-level Republicans as well as those in safe, federal gerrymandered districts.
Here’s a take from The Guardian and Stephan Marche: “With the end of Roe, the US edges closer and closer to civil war. The question is no longer whether there will be a civil conflict in America. The question is how the sides will divide, and who will prevail.”
The cracks in the foundations of the United States are widening, rapidly and on several fronts. The overturning of Roe v Wade has provoked a legitimacy crisis no matter what your politics.
For the right, the leaking of the draft memo last month revealed the breakdown of bipartisanship and common purpose within the institution. For the left, it demonstrated the will of dubiously selected Republican justices to overturn established rights that have somewhere near 70% to 80% political support.
Accelerating political violence, like the attack in Buffalo, increasingly blurs the line between the mainstream political conservative movement and outright murderous insanity. The question is no longer whether there will be a civil conflict in the United States. The question is how the sides will divide, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and how those strengths and weaknesses will determine the outcome.
The right wing has been imagining a civil war, publicly, since at least the Obama administration. Back in 2016, when it looked like Hillary Clinton would win the election, then Kentucky governor Matt Bevin described the possibility in apocalyptic terms: “The roots of the tree of liberty are watered by what? The blood. Of who? The tyrants, to be sure. But who else? The patriots. Whose blood will be shed? It may be that of those in this room. It might be that of our children and grandchildren,” he told supporters at the Values Voter Summit.
The possibility of civil war has long been a mainstay of rightwing talk radio. Needless to say, when the right conjures these fantasies of cleansing violence, they tend to fantasize their own victory. Steve King, while still a congressman from Iowa, tweeted an image of red and blue America at war, with the line: “Folks keep talking about another civil war. One side has about 8tn bullets, while the other side doesn’t know which bathroom to use.”
Any time anyone acts on their violent rhetoric, the rightwing politicians and media elites are appalled that anyone would connect what they say to what others do. “We need to understand we’re under attack, and we need to understand this is 21st-century warfare and get on a war footing,” Alex Jones said in the lead-up to the Capitol riot.
According to a New York Times series, Tucker Carlson has articulated the theory of white replacement more than 400 times on his show. Calls to violence are normal in rightwing media. Calls to resist white replacement are normal in rightwing media. The inevitable result is the violent promotion of resistance to white replacement. Republican politicians like Arizona state senator Wendy Rogers and New York congresswoman Elise Stefanik are outraged when their one plus one turns out to equal two, but their outrage is increasingly unbelievable, even to themselves. America is witnessing a technique used in political struggles all over the world. Movements devoted to the overthrow of elected governments tend to divide into armed and political wings, which gives multiple avenues to approach their goals as well as the cover of plausible deniability for their violence.
The leftwing American political class, incredibly, continues to cling to its defunct institutional ideals. Democrats under Biden have wasted the past two years on fictions of bipartisanship and forlorn hopes of some kind of restoration of American trust. When violence like Buffalo hits, they can do little more than plead with the other side to reconsider the horror they’re unleashing, and offer obvious lectures about the poison of white supremacy. Since January 6 didn’t wake them up to exactly what they’re facing, it’s unclear what might ever wake them up. The left has not made the psychological adjustment to a conflict situation yet. But it won’t be able to maintain the fantasy of normalcy for much longer.
This is from Politico: “European leaders decry US restriction of abortion rights. US Supreme Court ruling adds to sense that America is out of step with other modern democracies.”
European leaders are voicing dismay and outrage about the U.S. Supreme Court decision stripping the legal right for women to obtain an abortion.
“Making abortions illegal isn’t pro-life. It’s anti-choice,” Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel tweeted. “It’s a social & economic injustice. And just so, so wrong. Reproductive rights are not just women’s rights. They are human rights. So let’s all stand up for them.”
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson told POLITICO: “I’ve got to tell you, I think it’s a big step backwards.”
Speaking at a news conference in Rwanda, where he was attending a Commonwealth meeting, Johnson said: “I’ve always believed in a woman’s right to choose and I stick to that view and that is why the U.K. has the laws that it does.”
The U.S. court ruling overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade precedent, which had protected a woman’s right to obtain an abortion, is just the latest development that has left Europeans bewildered about the deep political polarization in the U.S.
“There is still a long way to go for gender justice,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a tweet. “Women’s rights are threatened. We must defend them resolutely.”
Along with years of inaction in Washington in response to an epidemic of mass shootings, endemic racism, the exorbitant costs and limited access to medical care, and meager government-protected maternity benefits, the abortion decision has reinforced a sense in Europe that the U.S. is oddly out of sync with most modern, civilized democracies.
Despite this sense that the U.S. is negligent when it comes to basic social protections for its citizens, the country remains a global political and cultural touchstone, and its domestic political perturbations still reverberate across the two oceans that often keep U.S. citizens relatively distant and disconnected from tribulations elsewhere.
“Very concerned about implications of @USSupremeCourt decision on #RoeVWade and the signal it sends to the world,” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo tweeted. “Banning abortion never leads to fewer abortions, only to more unsafe abortions. Belgium will continue to work with other countries to advance #SRHR everywhere,” he wrote, using the hashtag for “sexual and reproductive health rights.”
At least BOJO knows how to read a room or a country in this case.
The more I read, the more disgusted I become. I’m not sure what President Biden has up his sleeve other than a few panaceas that have to do with the availability of pharmaceutical birth control and abortion. He needs to start thinking out of the box or else women will find more radical ways to solve the problems. He also has some interest in seeing that women can get to safe-haven states.
However, since many women needing abortions are poor, I’m not sure he needs to address just availability. Louisiana women will need to travel 600 miles. This is why I’ve been tweeting to every public official I know to consider a Fleet of Women’s health clinics where women in the south–a terribly underserved group–can get access to ALL the healthcare they need. We need to fund these women.
We haven’t heard from Speaker Pelosi for several days. Congress is on vacation and I certainly hope it’s a working one. Congresswoman Ocasio has been out on the press circuit. I’m with AOC on this one.
Now is the time for all of us to come to the aid of our country. Our democracy is sinking fast.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
- Democrats can win the culture wars — but they have to take on the fight early and often. Liberals are already winning the culture wars, which is why the right is so mad. Why won’t Democrats lean into it? by AMANDA MARCOTTE writing for Slate
- .Democrats need to fight the culture war — and win by Will Bunch writing for the Spokesman-Review
- .If Roe Is Reversed, Democrats Need to Be Ready by Ed Kilgore writing for New York Magazine
- Parents of Michigan high school shooting suspect charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter via the Washington Post
- DeSantis proposes a new civilian military force in Florida that he would control by Steve Contorno writing for CNN
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?