Friday Reads: NRA Blood Money and the Slaughter of Lambs

Hi Sky Dancers!

We’ve got the usual Dance of the Macabre performed by Republicans after another tragic shooting in a grade school two weeks after a tragic shooting in a grocery store.  My Senators are among the idiots saying bizarre things to keep their NRA checks in place.  When is this going to stop?

Take my Senator Cassidy, please! I guess all of us around here need an AR-15 to stop feral pigs. I’m not sure what purpose splattering a huge hog all over the neighborhood would serve but I’m sure our Fish and Games folks have something to say about that.

So, how many states actually have feral pigs? You don’t even need that much to get a huge alligator. One rifle shot to his sweet spot on the head and the guy is dead. Again, Lousiana Fish and Games, is that what you use?

But then, thankfully I don’t have this asshole for a Senator.  Why on earth would he ask for this?   Well, this weekend he’s kissing NRA butt so I suppose he thinks it doesn’t matter now.

 

I’m also struggling to watch them try to act like the “hardening” of schools, theatres, grocery stores, and whatever would simply solve the problem when it was obvious that Robb Grade school and its community of Uvalde supposedly had all of this in place.  It doesn’t work.  Follow the link above for more on that.

Uvalde also dedicates 40% of its city budget to the police who also had a swat team that didn’t seem to even show up that day.  You can read BB’s post yesterday for more on that but even last night we learned more about a series of screw-ups and failures that undoubtedly led to more deaths until the Border Patrol came to the rescue.

We’re learning more about that today.

This is from the Texas Tribune Tweet above and I’m about to turn my tv on to see what they fumble with today.  There’s a live link in the tweet.

But back to the big question … why do we need these kinds of weapons in our communities?  How is it that an 18-year-old can’t drink, can’t rent a car, and can’t do a lot of things but can buy tactical weapons and equipment in Texas and other states?

This is from the NPR tweet above.

Though the motivations in these particular cases likely differ, the suspects of these shootings, and others like it, have a lot in common, according to James Densley and Jillian Peterson, co-founders of The Violence Project. Their research organization studies gun violence, mass shootings and violent extremism.

“Usually what’s motivating these shootings is an element of self-hatred, hopelessness, despair, anger, that’s turned outward to the world,” said Densley, who is also a sociologist.

Connecting the two shootings is important, said Peterson, a psychologist.

“I think we’re too quick to write things off because the motive is slightly different,” she said. “It’s the same trajectory over and over and over again. Just people get radicalized in slightly different directions, their anger points in different directions, but its roots are the same.”

The shooters were both 18 and male

Salvador Ramos was 18 years old and a high school dropout, according to officials.

Payton Gendron, is also 18, and white. He turned to various websites during the pandemic, according to a document allegedly written by him, and said he was radicalized that way.

He threatened his high school last year, prompting a visit from the New York State Police.

Densley and Peterson said they see two kinds of age clusters of mass shooters: Men in their mid-40s for those who are workplace shooters and school shooters or those involved in other types of mass shootings between the ages of 15 and 24.

Of the 180 instances of mass shootings in the U.S. they’ve studied, they found that there are only two cases where women acted alone.

It’s always men otherwise, Peterson said.

“We know that 18 is this kind of fragile age, this kind of coming of age where people tend to have mental health crises, or they may feel suicidal,” she said.

These shootings are emblematic of that.

The shooters have “the desire to have that pain, and that anger be known to the world, to have us all watch and witness it, to hear their names, to see their pictures, to read what they’ve left behind for us to read. These are public performances meant for us to watch,” she said.

Notably, in many places in the U.S., it’s also the age they can legally buy their weapons of choice.

There’s more at the link and it’s worth the read.

As usual, “Gun legislation is stalled in Congress. Here’s why that won’t change anytime soon”.  This analysis is by CNN’s Paul LeBlanc.

A House-passed bill, HR 1446, backed by Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, would close what’s known as the “Charleston loophole,” which allows some licensed gun sales to go through before a required background check is done.

Specifically, the legislation would increase the amount of time, from three business days to a minimum of 10 business days, that a federal firearms licensee must wait to receive a completed background check prior to transferring a firearm to an unlicensed person.
Using that loophole, a White gunman was able to legally purchase a firearm to kill nine people at a historically Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.

Senate Democrats took steps Tuesday night to place the bill, called the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021, onto the legislative calendar so it can be voted on.

It’s unclear when the Senate will vote on the measure, but it needs 60 votes in the chamber to overcome a filibuster, and it’s clear the legislation does not have that support (at least not right now) — nor does it have full Democratic backing to gut the Senate rule altogether.

It’s unclear when Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will try to force a procedural vote to break a filibuster. Unless there’s an agreement from all 100 senators, the earliest he could set up the procedural vote would be Saturday, according to a Democratic aide.

But senators were expected to leave for next week’s Memorial Day recess on Thursday afternoon. So they may wait until after the recess to take that procedural vote, even though leaving town amid the Texas tragedy would be bad optics.
The aide said Schumer has not indicated when he may try to force the vote yet.

Still, Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, who has pushed for gun safety legislation since the Sandy Hook shooting in his state nearly 10 years ago, told reporters Tuesday there should be a vote even if it is doomed to fail.

“I think we need to hold every member of Congress accountable and vote so that the public knows where every one of us stand,” he said. Asked about the potential for bipartisan agreement, he added, “I think there may well be areas of agreement. I have come close to agreement with a number of my colleagues on a red flag statute.”

 

A woman reacts as she pays her respects at a memorial site for the victims killed in this week’s elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Thursday, May 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

As “The Reid Blog” points out, “Texas Republicans offer the same old shameful responses to shootings.  Hours removed from a massacre at a Texas elementary school, Republican lawmakers from Texas are still prioritizing guns over people.”  This analysis is by

That wasn’t surprising. Like Abbott, Cruz acts like a shill for the gun lobby, which he’s demonstrated through his repeated efforts to block gun safety measures. And speaking to reporters Tuesday afternoon, Cruz made it clear we shouldn’t expect the most recent mass shooting in his state to move him in any way.

“Inevitably when there’s a murder of this kind, you see politicians try to politicize it, you see Democrats and a lot of folks in the media whose immediate solution is to try to restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens,” Cruz said. “That doesn’t work. It’s not effective. It doesn’t prevent crime.”

That claim is ironic coming from Cruz, who frequently poses as a supporter of law enforcement. If he were as attuned to the needs of police as he often suggests, he’d know law enforcement groups tend to back certain gun safety measures.

But Cruz’s stance is typical of conservatives when it comes to gun safety: They’re careless about who carries the burden for their perverted affinity for guns. That probably explains why Cruz proposed adding armed law enforcement to school campuses as a simple solution to mass shootings, despite the fact the gunman in Tuesday’s shooting reportedly got past armed police officers.

As my colleague Steve Benen wrote for the MaddowBlog, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton joined Cruz in suggesting more guns are needed in schools — except Paxton said teachers should be armed.

If it’s not abundantly clear by now, the GOP is desperately trying to avoid criticizing guns. Another Texas Republican, Rep. Brian Babin, even tied love for guns to Christ on Tuesday, appearing on the right-wing network Newsmax to suggest that the love of guns is interwoven with America’s “Judeo-Christian foundation.”

It’s clear that today’s Republican party has an agenda that only represents a sliver of the America where we grew up. They hate any kind of diversity and want state control of anything that goes against their white nationalistic version of Christianity.  We’re paying for that with the blood of our elderly and our young. These are the country’s most vulnerable.

It’s beyond shameful. It’s cruel. It’s rooted in greed and hatred. We have to find a way to vote them all out.  We’re losing our country to the worst of humanity.

 

 What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

So Strong

by Labi Siffre

The higher you build your barriers
The taller I become
The further you take my rights away
The faster I will run
You can deny me
You can decide to turn your face away
No matter, cos there’s
Something inside so strong
I know that I can make it
Tho’ you’re doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone
Oh no, something inside so strong
Oh oh oh oh oh something inside so strong
The more you refuse to hear my voice
The louder I will sing
You hide behind walls of Jericho
Your lies will come tumbling
Deny my place in time
You squander wealth that’s mine
My light will shine so brightly
It will blind you
Cos there’s
Something inside so strong
I know that I can make it
Tho’ you’re doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone
Oh no, something inside so strong
Oh oh oh oh oh something inside so strong
Brothers and sisters
When they insist we’re just not good enough
When we know better
Just look ’em in the eyes and say
We’re gonna do it anyway 2x
Something inside so strong
And I know that I can make it
Tho’ you’re doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone
Oh no, something inside so strong
Oh oh oh oh oh something inside so strong
Brothers and sisters
When they insist we’re just not enough
When we know better
Just look ’em in the eyes and say
We’re gonna do it anyway 4x
Because there’s something inside so strong
And I know that I can make it
Tho’ you’re doing me, so wrong
Oh no, something inside so strong
Oh oh oh oh oh something inside so strong


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?


Monday Reads: It’s one of those days where I’m just speechless

Free South Africa- Keith Haring- 1985

Well, it’s Monday Sky Dancers!

I’m just going to put these items up and see if you’re as shocked and speechless as I am.  The Supreme Court is holding oral arguments on the unconstitutional Texas Abortion Law that’s designed to make women chattel property of whatever state decides that’s their political wish.    You can watch it on C-Span 2 where you can see that Clarence Thomas actually can speak from the bench and not just from political fundraisers.

The artwork today is from this link: “Famous Political Art Pieces”  and this link: “15 Influential Political Art Pieces. Artwork(s) In Focus, Top Lists, Art History, Socially Engaged Art”.

Shepard Fairey-George Orwell Print Set with Books (2008)

There really never was a day in America when political discourse wasn’t wrapped up in testosterone posing but this tit-for-tat shit is really out there.   I just learned about the “Let’s go Brandon” thing and here’s Dan Rather to damn it so I don’t have to fire a synapse thinking about college boys at football games creating a national meanness meme.  “A Party Embraces Vulgarity.”

The issue at hand can succinctly be summed up in three words: “Let’s go Brandon.” If you have no idea what I am talking about, consider yourself fortunate. For reasons too mundane to fully outline here, “Let’s go Brandon” has become a favorite chant and rallying cry for many Republicans as a stand-in for another three-word chant that you may also have heard : “F- Joe Biden,” with F-, for the purposes of decorum in this newsletter, standing for a four-letter vulgarity.  Search for “Let’s Go Brandon,” and you will start finding it everywhere – all over social media, a song with a ton of downloads on iTunes, at political rallies, and among snickering Republicans in Washington.

In a compelling column in the Washington Post, Dana Milbank uses the phrase to dive into the stark differences between the seriousness and propriety of the two political parties at this moment. He writes:

“Democrats clear the way for passage of a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that will provide broadband Internet and lead-free drinking water to every American, and better roads, bridges and ports for all to enjoy. And Republicans reply: Let’s go Brandon…

Could the contrast be any greater? Half of America’s leaders are trying to govern, and the other half are hurling vulgarities.”

The entire piece is worth the read, but for our discussion here I would like to delve a little deeper into what I think these vulgarities really mean, what motivates them, and what should be our – particularly the media’s – response.

Politics has never been a genteel pastime. The volume of vulgarities I heard covering the White House, Congress, and politics at the state and local level over the decades would rival any comedy special on HBO. In the passionate pursuit of power, discourse, especially behind the closed doors where the real action takes place, is often reduced to words that can be spelled with only four letters, or their adjectival equivalents. And no matter what side of the political divide you might be on, there have likely been moments when you are reading something or listening to an opposing politician speak and you have been moved to at least think of obscenities, if not utter them out loud. There have certainly been many Democratic politicians who have sworn about Republicans. But what we are witnessing here is fundamentally different.

“F- Joe Biden,” or the slightly less explicitly obscene but no more clever “Let’s go Brandon,” is about much more than political passion or anger. It’s about weaponizing the vulgar dehumanization of our entire democratic – small d – experiment. Joe Biden is not only a person; he is the President of the United States, whether your tinfoil-shrouded conspiracy brain cares to recognize that fact or not. How many times have we heard Republicans sanctimoniously preach about how Democrats don’t “respect” the office of the presidency for such things as President Obama not saluting properly or wearing a tan suit?

Golden Future of America- Robert Indiana- 1976

Not to be outdone, The Wall Street Journal Op-Ed page which is a favorite thing of those seeking to line rat cages is pearl-clutching over 5 young people dressed up as the Torch Terrorists in Charlottesville and stood in silent ironic protest in front of the Trumpist running for governor in Virginia’s campaign bus. Wow, they really let the Lincoln Project get to them this time.  “A Dirty Campaign Trick in Virginia. The Lincoln Project plays the race card in a false-flag operation.”  As usual, there are two right-wing conspiracy theory signals dog-whistling from the headline.  Everything surrounding racism is playing “the race card” and I can’t even figure how this is a “false-flag operation,” but hey, get down with your crazy stupid selves!  How long do we have to wait before we read the next attempt to label it “virtue-signaling”?

Democrats routinely play the race card when they’re worried about losing an election, and that’s exactly what the operatives from the Lincoln Project did last week in staging a dirty campaign trick against surging GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin.

It started Friday when a reporter for a local NBC affiliate tweeted a photo of four men and one woman dressed in white shirts, khakis and sunglasses and holding tiki torches. They were standing in front of Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin’s bus during a campaign stop in Virginia.
“These men approached @GlennYoungkin’s bus as it pulled up saying what sounded like, ‘We’re all in for Glenn.” tweeted Elizabeth Holmes. The tiki torches were meant to tie Mr. Youngkin to the infamous torchlit, white nationalist march in Charlottesville in 2017.

Twitter exploded, with various people claiming to have identified people in the tiki-torch photo as Democrats. They hadn’t been positively ID’d by the time we went to press on Sunday.

But as evidence grew that this was a setup, the Lincoln Project finally fessed up. It presented its attempt to play the white supremacist card as an exercise in civic virtue, saying it was “our way of reminding Virginians” about Charlottesville, “the Republican Party’s embrace of those values,” and Mr. Youngkin’s “failure to condemn it.” This is a slur against Mr. Youngkin and the Virginia GOP.

Massacre in Korea, 1951 by Pablo Picasso

So, this is all pretty radically nuts because the latest craziness by the Republicans in Virginia is all about that Critical Race Theory nuttiness. Juan William states it plainly.  ‘Parents’ rights’ is code for white race politics’.  I remember living through this same craziness in 1992 when the code word was “multiculturalism” which basically means if it wasn’t spat out by a white christianist it shouldn’t be taught to children.

After white supremacists spilled blood in defense of keeping up Confederate statues in 2017, the GOP candidate for governor of Virginia, Ed Gillespie, said the monuments should stay up as a matter of heritage and history.

His TV advertising featured threatening images of Latino gangs, labeled illegal immigrants, involved in murder and rape.

The racially loaded “Culture Wars” campaign, straight from then-President Trump’s playbook, gave Gillespie a push, but he ultimately lost the race to Democrat Ralph Northam.

Now Virginia Republicans are back with a new and improved “Culture Wars” campaign for 2021. The closing argument is once again full of racial division — but this time it is dressed up as a defense of little children.

The rallying cry is “Parents’ Rights.”

It is a campaign to stop classroom discussion of Black Lives Matter protests or slavery because it could upset some children, especially white children who might feel guilt.

And this time, the Trump-imitating Republicans think they have struck political gold.

Unlike their earlier defense of Confederate monuments, the “Parents’ Rights” campaign message at first glance looks to have zero to do with race.

That puts Democrats on the defensive. They are in the uncomfortable position of calling the attention of suburban white moms to divisive racial politics being used by Republican Glenn Youngkin’s campaign.

Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate, calls the Republican message a “racist dog whistle.”

The Problem we all live with, Norman Rockwell, 1963

Still, that race–that will be determined tomorrow–is a dead heat.  This is from the NYT: “In the Final Days Before Virginia Votes, Both Sides Claim Momentum.”

The high-stakes race for governor of Virginia entered its final stretch with Glenn Youngkin and Terry McAuliffe trading accusations of sowing division, as voters appeared closely divided over returning a Democrat to office or electing a Republican to lead their state for the first time in more than a decade.

The size and atmosphere of dueling events during the last weekend of campaigning before Election Day on Tuesday reflected the trends in the most recent polls. Mr. Youngkin, the Republican candidate, greeted crowds of more than 1,000, while Mr. McAuliffe, the Democrat, hustled through sparsely attended events from morning to night.

Mr. McAuliffe, who served one term as governor from 2014 to 2018, has displayed a rising sense of urgency lately, dispatching some of the Democratic Party’s biggest stars to campaign for him and push people to vote early. In 11 hours on Saturday, Mr. McAuliffe traveled more than 120 miles, making eight stops in six cities amid a whirlwind day of campaigning in which he urged supporters not to be complacent.

“We are substantially leading on the early vote, but we cannot take our foot off the gas,” Mr. McAuliffe told a crowd on Saturday in Norfolk, where he met with labor leaders who were planning to spend the day knocking on doors.

Meanwhile, The Bulwark’s Tim Miller just had to put this headline in front of me today: “Donald Trump Is Now the Odds-On Favorite to Be President in 2025 .”  I’m gagging over here.

So, Donald Trump is now the odds-on favorite to be president of the United States in 2025.

I know that lede sentence was also the headline, but I wanted you to read it one more time just to let it really settle in the ol’ noggin before pressing forward.

The twice-impeached, disgraced loser who was schlonged in the 2020 election, tried to stay in power against the will of the people, and then came ten cowardly Republican senators away from being disqualified from ever running for office again, is now more likely than any other person in the world to take the next oath of office on the Capitol steps on January 20, 2025.

How is that for some weird shit?

Now I’m sure some will roll their eyes when this headline comes across the Twitter feed. Attribute this article to my raging Trump Derangement Syndrome or The Bulwark’s Cady Heron-level obsession with Mar-a-Lago’s in-house wedding toastmaster.

But this ain’t about my compulsions. It’s the actual, real-world reality being presented by those who have the most skin in the game.

Both the major off-shore gambling quants and the online trading markets have moved in Mr. Trump’s favor in the past couple weeks.

Banksy, The Flower Thrower, 1963

Here’s some more crazy shit that I’m speechless about.

Why does the press keep trying to incite a civil war instead of elucidating the danger in all of this?  Rad idea below  Atlantic writer suggests Never Trumperz support DeSantis.  (Connor Friedsdorf warning) What drug is this guy on? Or Read this shake-down in New York Magazine describing DeSantis worship.

I’m going to go play music and eat chocolate now.  Hope you have a great day and that you’re not as depressed and confused about all this is and derp as I am.

I had to steal this image from my blogging buddy Peter Athas  Get his take on that TNR article here.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?