Today I want to follow up on what Daknikat wrote yesterday about the Supreme Court and abortion rights. Thanks to all the Bernie Bros and Hillary Haters, we ended up with Donald Trump in 2016, and he was able to appoint three right wing nuts to the Supreme Court.
We could have had the first woman president, and she could have nominated three liberals to the court. But misogyny and anti-Clinton propaganda won Trump enough electoral votes to take the White House even though he lost the popular vote. Now women will face the consequences.
Mark Joseph Stern at Slate: The Supreme Court Is Taking Direct Aim at Roe v. Wade.
On Monday morning, the Supreme Court announced that it will reconsider the constitutional prohibition against abortion bans before fetal viability. This decision indicates that the ultra-conservative five-justice majority is prepared to move aggressively against Roe v. Wade rather than tinker around the edges of abortion rights. The court will take on state laws that seek to outlaw abortion at early—and perhaps all—stages of pregnancy. It seems likely that the justices took this case for the express purpose of overturning Roe and allowing the government to enact draconian abortion bans that have been unconstitutional for nearly half a century.
Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case that SCOTUS took up on Monday, is not a subtle threat to Roe. It is, rather, a direct challenge to decades of pro-choice precedent. In 2018, Mississippi passed a law forbidding abortions after 15 weeks. This measure had two purposes: to restrict abortion, yes, but also to contest Supreme Court precedent protecting abortion rights. In Roe and later decisions—most notably Planned Parenthood v. Casey—the Supreme Court held that the Constitution forbids bans on abortion before the fetus has achieved viability. Since there is no doubt that, at 15 weeks, a fetus is not viable, even with the most heroic medical interventions, Mississippi’s law was clearly designed as a vehicle to let SCOTUS reevaluate (and reverse) Roe.
The lower courts understood this plan. Judge James Ho, a very conservative Donald Trump nominee, all but endorsed it when the case came before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Ho urged the Supreme Court to overturn Roe—while acknowledging that, as a lower court judge bound by precedent, he could not uphold Mississippi’s abortion ban. Now the justices have vindicated Ho by accepting Mississippi’s invitation. (The court will hear arguments in the case next fall and issue a decision by the summer of 2022.) It is not difficult to guess what will happen next. But it is worth pointing out three reasons why the Supreme Court appears poised to seize upon Dobbs to eviscerate the constitutional right to abortion.
How do we know the conservatives on the Court are planning to reverse Roe v. Wade?
First, there is no split between the lower courts on the question presented in Dobbs. The Supreme Court typically takes up cases that have divided courts of appeals so the justices can provide a definitive answer that applies nationwide. Here, however, no court has claimed that, under current precedent, a state may outlaw abortions at 15 weeks. Even Ho had to admit that binding precedent “establishes viability as the governing constitutional standard.” There is no reason for the Supreme Court to hear Dobbs unless it wants to abolish this standard, which has been the law of the land for almost 50 years.
Second, Mississippi gave the justices several options for a more limited ruling; its petition to the court included a question that would’ve let the court modify the standard for abortion restrictions without overtly killing off Roe. But the justices rejected that alternative and agreed to consider the central question in the case: “Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.”
This action suggests that the conservative majority is no longer interested in gradually eroding abortion rights until they are, in reality, nonexistent….
Third, and relatedly, Barrett’s impact on this case cannot be understated. Just last summer, the Supreme Court struck down laws targeting abortion clinics in Louisiana by a 5–4 vote, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the liberals (with qualifications) to affirm the bottom-line rule that states may not place an “undue burden” on the right to abortion before viability. Less than three months later, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, and Trump put Barrett—a foe of abortion rights—in her seat. By doing so, Trump shored up a far-right five-justice majority that, by all appearances, is committed to ending Roe.
Greg Stohr of Bloomberg via The Washington Post:
Read the whole thing at the WaPo.
According to The New York Times, anti-abortion activists are celebrating: ‘A Great Sense of Inspiration’: Anti-Abortion Activists Express Optimism.
Anti-abortion activists across the country expressed optimism on Monday that they might be on the cusp of achieving a long-held goal of the movement: overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that extended federal protections for abortion.
The Supreme Court announced on Monday morning that it would consider in its next term a case from Mississippi that would ban abortion after 15 weeks of gestation, with narrow exceptions….
It is the first abortion case under the court’s new 6-3 conservative majority, and activists expressed hope that this case would be the one to remove federal protections for the procedure. Such a ruling would give the right to regulate abortions at any point in pregnancy back to the states, many of which in the South and Midwest have imposed tough restrictions.
“There’s a great sense of inspiration across the country right now,” said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life. “This is the best court we’ve had in my lifetime, and we hope and pray that this is the case to do it.”
In a statement, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, a national anti-abortion organization, called the court’s move “a landmark opportunity to recognize the right of states to protect unborn children,” and noted that state legislatures have introduced hundreds of bills restricting abortion in this legislative season.
At The Daily Beast, Emily Shugerman writes that Biden is being criticized for not doing enough to protect abortion rights: Abortion Is on SCOTUS’ Radar—and Biden Is Getting Heat.
Abortions rights advocates cheered when Joe Biden was elected, heralding his win as a “seismic shift” and a “welcome change.” Now, with the nationwide right to an abortion on the line, they’re getting a little impatient.
On Monday, the Supreme Court announced it would take on a Mississippi case that has the potential to overturn Roe v Wade, the 1973 decision making abortion legal across the country. If that happens, nearly half of the U.S. would move to prohibit the procedure, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.
Advocates see the decision to take on the case as a massive threat to abortion rights—and one Biden may not be taking seriously enough.
“He turned his back on people who have abortions as soon as he got into office,” said Renee Bracey Sherman, executive director of the abortion advocacy group We Testify. “What happened this morning at the Supreme Court is what happens when you turn your backs on us and ignore the restrictions we’re facing every single day.”
Pressure on Biden to act more decisively began mounting April 29, when more than 140 organizations called on the administration to prioritize changes to U.S. sexual and reproductive rights law recommended by the United Nations. The day before, nearly 60 women’s rights organizations—including Planned Parenthood and NARAL, which spent tens of millions of dollars to help elect the president—sent a letter to the administration asking them to increase funding for abortion and remove “unnecessary barriers” to access.
“The Biden-Harris administration and Congressional leadership must prioritize these policies for women and women of color,” they wrote, in a letter calling for multiple changes on behalf of American women. “We need to build back better for women and create lasting political, social and economic change.”
Click the link to read the rest.
There is much more news, and I’ll post more links in the comment thread, but to me this is the biggest issue right now. Women are on the verge of losing the rights we have been fighting for since the late 1960s.
As always, treat this as an open thread.
I was so taken with the Korean folk art paintings that Dakinikat posted on Monday that I decided to focus on Korean cat art today. I hope these paintings will help you deal with today’s news, which is mostly stupid coup stories. Now that the Supreme court has rejected Trump’s last ditch effort to overturn the election results, he is melting down in even more embarrassing ways than ever. Will U.S. democracy survive?
The New York Times: Supreme Court Rejects Texas Suit Seeking to Subvert Election.
The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a lawsuit by Texas that had asked the court to throw out the election results in four battleground states that President Trump lost in November, ending any prospect that a brazen attempt to use the courts to reverse his defeat at the polls would succeed.
The court, in a brief unsigned order, said Texas lacked standing to pursue the case, saying it “has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections.”
The order, coupled with another one on Tuesday turning away a similar request from Pennsylvania Republicans, signaled that a conservative court with three justices appointed by Mr. Trump refused to be drawn into the extraordinary effort by the president and many prominent members of his party to deny his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., his victory.
It was the latest and most significant setback for Mr. Trump in a litigation campaign that was rejected by courts at every turn.
Texas’ lawsuit, filed directly in the Supreme Court, challenged election procedures in four states: Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. It asked the court to bar those states from casting their electoral votes for Mr. Biden and to shift the selection of electors to the states’ legislatures. That would have required the justices to throw out millions of votes.
Mr. Trump has said he expected to prevail in the Supreme Court, after rushing the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett in October in part in the hope that she would vote in Mr. Trump’s favor in election disputes.
None of the three justices Trump appointed were willing to hear the case. But Republican support for Trump’s efforts have done permanent damage to our country.
The New York Times: ‘An Indelible Stain’: How the G.O.P. Tried to Topple a Pillar of Democracy.
The Supreme Court repudiation of President Trump’s desperate bid for a second term not only shredded his effort to overturn the will of voters: It also was a blunt rebuke to Republican leaders in Congress and the states who were willing to damage American democracy by embracing a partisan power grab over a free and fair election.
The court’s decision on Friday night, an inflection point after weeks of legal flailing by Mr. Trump and ahead of the Electoral College vote for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Monday, leaves the president’s party in an extraordinary position. Through their explicit endorsements or complicity of silence, much of the G.O.P. leadership now shares responsibility for the quixotic attempt to ignore the nation’s founding principles and engineer a different verdict from the one voters cast in November.
Many regular Republicans supported this effort, too — a sign that Mr. Trump has not just bent the party to his will, but pressed a mainstay of American politics for nearly two centuries into the service of overturning an election outcome and assaulting public faith in the electoral system. The G.O.P. sought to undo the vote by such spurious means that the Supreme Court quickly rejected the argument.
Even some Republican leaders delivered a withering assessment of the 126 G.O.P. House members and 18 attorneys general who chose to side with Mr. Trump over the democratic process, by backing a lawsuit that asked the Supreme Court to throw out some 20 million votes in four key states that cemented the president’s loss.
“The act itself by the 126 members of the United States House of Representatives, is an affront to the country,” said Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee. “It’s an offense to the Constitution and it leaves an indelible stain that will be hard for these 126 members to wipe off their political skin for a long time to come.”
Read more at the link.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to reject the sham GOP lawsuit demanding that Electoral College votes in four states be overturned and awarded to Donald Trump:
“The Court has rightly dismissed out of hand the extreme, unlawful and undemocratic GOP lawsuit to overturn the will of millions of American voters.
“The 126 Republican Members that signed onto this lawsuit brought dishonor to the House. Instead of upholding their oath to support and defend the Constitution, they chose to subvert the Constitution and undermine public trust in our sacred democratic institutions.
“The pandemic is raging, with nearly 300,000 having died and tens of millions having lost jobs. Strong, unified action is needed to crush the virus, and Republicans must once and for all end their election subversion – immediately.”
Trump reacted by skipping last night’s superspreader White House Christmas party and proceeding to melt down on Twitter. He was at it again this morning. I won’t reproduce the tweets; you can read them on Twitter if you want to endure the idiocy.
Some thoughtful reactions to Trump and GOP attacks on democracy:
Tom McCarthy at The Guardian: After the fact: the five ways Trump has tried to attack democracy post-election.
Historians could mark 2020 as the moment when Republicans applied the same zeal they have used to attack democracy in advance of elections, through voter suppression and gerrymandering, to attacking democracy on the back end, by trying to deny and overturn the results.
Here is a list of five post-election attacks on democracy by Donald Trump and Republicans that were new in 2020 but might haunt elections for years to come.
Here’s McCarthy’s list–read the article for details: 1) Especially reckless and sustained election fraud charges, 2) Political pressure on local elections officials, 3) External legal challenges to the certification of state election results, 4) Internal political challenges to the certification of state election results, 5) The president’s role.
McCarthy on Trump’s behavior:
Should a president of the United States, after an election, be calling up county election officials in charge of certifying the results? Should a president invite lawmakers weighing an intervention in their state’s certification process for lunch? Should a president call out the mob on Twitter against a local election official or a state secretary of state who has resisted his schemes?
Whatever damage US democracy has sustained in 2020, much of it traces back to the source, to a president who did not see anything wrong in 2019 with coercing a foreign leader to try to take out a political opponent, who made the fealty of state governors a condition of pandemic aid, and who now has twisted the arms of elected officials across the United States in an effort to subvert the will of American voters.
The role that Trump has played in attacking the integrity of the American system is the most outrageous and unprecedented of all the unholy perversions of democracy that 2020 has seen. Whether that role will be replicated or reprised in future White Houses, and in future elections, could make all the difference.
William Saletan at Slate: Trump Is Finishing Russia’s Smear Campaign Against America.
Donald Trump’s presidency has been a gift to Russia. He has undermined NATO, withheld military aid to Ukraine, and abandoned America’s commitments to democracy and human rights. He has excused Vladimir Putin’s crimes, yielded to Russian troops in the Middle East, and dismissed Russia’s 2016 election interference as a hoax. Now Trump has been voted out by Americans, but he’s still serving Russia. He’s devoting his final days in office—and suggesting he might devote his post-presidency—to a long-standing Russian objective: destroying faith in U.S. elections.
For weeks, Trump has rejected Joe Biden’s victory as a fraud. In interviews, tweets, speeches, and a campaign rally in Georgia, Trump has accused Democrats of using dead people, undocumented immigrants, and software to manipulate the outcome. These allegations aren’t just lies. They’re replications, almost word for word, of propaganda that was spread by Russia in the United States and adopted by the Trump campaign in 2016. Russia expected Trump to lose that election, and it planned to portray his loss as evidence that American elections were rigged, that the U.S. government was illegitimate, and that the United States wasn’t really a democracy. Now that Trump has lost to Biden, that campaign of slander is underway. But it’s not being driven by Russians. It’s being driven by Republicans.
Russia’s strategy is detailed in three reports: one by the U.S. Intelligence Community, another by special counsel Robert Mueller, and a third by the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee. The ultimate goal of the operation wasn’t to elect Trump. It was to spread the idea that “U.S. election results cannot be trusted.” In 2016, Putin’s propagandists used fake Facebook pages and Twitter accounts (“Army of Jesus,” “Secured Borders,” “Tea Party News”) to plant bogus rumors of “voter fraud” in multiple states. They told the same horror stories and used the same trigger words Republicans use now: “rigged,” “dead people,” “illegal aliens,” globalist-controlled voting machines, “tens of thousands of ineligible mail in … votes,” and “voter fraud caught in Philadelphia.”
Trump and his followers parroted this propaganda during the 2016 campaign. Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump retweeted fake “#VoterFraud” updates written by Russian operatives. Kellyanne Conway, Brad Parscale, Michael Flynn, and other Trump campaign advisers also retweeted messages from the Russian accounts. When the Russians circulated a false rumor that voting machines were rigged against Trump, he repeated it on Fox News. After the election, when Russian front groups spread the word that “illegals” and “machines” had robbed Trump of the popular vote, he repeated that, too. “I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” he declared.
There’s much more at the link.
Ryan Cooper at The Week: The Constitution has an answer for seditious members of Congress. Cooper notes that the pandemic is growing exponentially, while Trump and the GOP do nothing about it. At the same time Republicans supported Trump’s effort to overturn the election results.
In short, material conditions in this country have not been this bad since 1932 at least, and the political situation has not been this bad since 1860. The logical endgame of the rapidly-accelerating Republican attempt to destroy democracy while the country burns would be civil war — if it weren’t for the high probability that Democratic leaders would be too cowardly to fight.
But it’s worth thinking about what a party seriously committed to preserving democracy would do when faced with a seditious opposition party — namely, cut them out of power and force them to behave. Democrats could declare all traitors ineligible to serve in national office, convene a Patriot Congress composed solely of people who have not committed insurrection against the American government, and use that power to re-entrench democracy….
All members of Congress swear an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, which establishes a republican form of government. The whole point of a republic is that contests for power are conducted through a framework of rules and democratic elections, where all parties agree to respect the result whether they lose or win. Moreover, the premise of this lawsuit was completely preposterous — arguing in effect that states should not be allowed to set their own election rules if that means more Democrats can vote — and provides no evidence whatsoever for false allegations of tens of thousands of instances of voter fraud….
…this lawsuit, even though it didn’t succeed, is a flagrant attempt to overturn the constitutional system and impose through authoritarian means the rule of a corrupt criminal whose doltish incompetence has gotten hundreds of thousands of Americans killed. It is a “seditious abuse of the judicial process,” as the states of Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin jointly wrote in their response to Texas trying to steal their elections.
The Constitution, as goofy and jerry-rigged as it is, stipulates that insurrectionists who violate their oath are not allowed to serve in Congress. Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, written to exclude Confederate Civil War traitors, says that “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress … who … having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress … to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same[.]” How the Supreme Court ruled, or whether Republicans actually believe their lunatic claims, is irrelevant. It’s still insurrection even if it doesn’t work out.
Democrats would have every right, both under the Constitution and under the principle of popular sovereignty outlined in the Declaration of Independence, to convene a traitor-free Congress (also including similar acts committed by Republican senators like Lindsey Graham, David Perdue, Kelly Loeffler, and others), and pass such laws as would be necessary to preserve the American republic. That might include a national popular vote to decide the presidency, ironclad voting rights protections, a ban on gerrymandering either national or state district boundaries, full representation for the citizens of D.C. and Puerto Rico, regulations on internet platforms that are inflaming violent political extremism, a clear legal framework for the transfer of power that ends the lame duck period, and so on. States would be forced to agree to these measures before they can replace their traitorous representatives and senators. If the Supreme Court objects, more pro-democracy justices can be added.
Unfortunately the Democrats are probably too cowardly to take these necessary actions. Two more articles to check out along these lines.
Greg Sargent at The Washington Post: Chris Murphy’s surprise floor speech raises tough questions for Democrats.
That’s all I have for you today. Have a nice weekend, and please stop by and leave a comment if you have the time and inclination.
Good Day Sky Dancers!
I hope you had a wonderful feast day! It’s difficult for me not to think about how fortunate those of us with food and shelter are this year. I’ve watched the number of community fridges grow in my city and the food bank drive throughs are endlessly long. Unless Congress reups some kind of aid for those whose work and lives have been severely disrupted by Covid-19 we will continue to experience the kinds of things not really seen since the Great Depression.
Food insecurity appears to be on the rise across the country, worsened by the pandemic. Researchers from Northwestern University estimate food insecurity in America doubled in the first few months after the coronavirus arrived, and a recent CBS News poll shows more than one third of Americans are at least somewhat concerned they won’t have enough money for groceries in the next year. Errol Barnett reports on the growing need before the holidays.
I’d like to start by reminding everyone that some of the most essential workers in the country are Farm Workers. No meal would be possible without them. Those of us of a certain age remember the work of César Chávez. His Granddaughter, Julie Chávez Rodríguez,, will now serve in the Biden Administration.
President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday (Nov. 17) selected Julie Chávez Rodríguez, the granddaughter of farmworker icon César E. Chávez, to serve on his White House staff.
Rodríguez, 41, who was born in Delano, will serve as director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.
As a senior adviser for Latino outreach, she is the highest-ranking Latina on the Biden campaign.
“I am proud to announce additional members of my senior team who will help us build back better than before. America faces great challenges, and they bring diverse perspectives and a shared commitment to tackling these challenges and emerging on the other side a stronger, more united nation,” said Biden in a press statement.
Rodriguez is expected to help Biden improve his outreach with the Latino population. More than 70% of Latino voters supported Biden, but he failed to garner as much support as Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign in areas like Miami-Dade County and Texas border counties.
Ever wonder how that food gets to your table? Here’s an interesting set of tweets compiled by Life Hacker to let you know “Learn How Farmers Produce Ingredients for Your Favorite Thanksgiving Dishes.” The United Farm Workers sent these tweets with videos showing the food and a farmworker that harvests it for our use.
On Sunday, November 22nd, the United Farm Workers tweeted a call for requests: “Tell us your favorite Thanksgiving dish, and we’ll share some of what we know about the work behind the ingredients.” And after inviting people to participate, the dishes started coming in hard and fast.
In response, the UFW sent photos and videos with brief explanations, providing some details about the growing and harvesting process. For example, Brussels sprouts grow on a very tough, woody stem, and there are not one, but two ways to harvest cranberries.
These videos are really quite fascinating: “Organizers are using mesmerizing video clips of harvests to advocate for better protections and pay.”
The thread blew up, garnering more than 50,000 likes in a couple of days. It’s full of mesmerizing videos of highly skilled agricultural workers tossing turnips, parceling parsley, and harvesting radishes, hands moving with impossible quickness, blades swinging fast enough to take off a less-skilled person’s finger.
Yet the images don’t just reveal the immense skill most of us take for granted: They also reveal the often dangerous conditions, and lack of compensation, that agricultural workers endure. Most farm workers are paid by piece rather than hourly, a few cents a bundle, meaning they need to pick quickly, in physically grueling conditions, to make above minimum wage. Almost a third of farm workers live in poverty, often in cramped, impermanent housing, with no ability to work from home. This has left agricultural workers particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 infection.
“This has just been a brutal, brutal summer to be a farm worker,” says Strater. “We’ve heard so much about how their work is so essential—no matter what the cost you’ve got to keep it open, keep production running. But few people are thinking about the human cost.”
At one point earlier this year, following a particularly devastating outbreak, Strater found herself on the front lines. “It became my job to engage with the county coroner, and explain to these workers’ families why they weren’t even going to get their dads’ bodies back,” she says.
And then in late summer, when things seemed they couldn’t get worse, wildfires broke out on the West Coast. The fields were filled with a thick, dangerous coat of smoke. “There were farm workers working in the fields while their homes were burning,” Strater says.
Here’s just on example:
California accounts for 80 percent of the U.S.’s celery supply. Here, workers cooperate to harvest, process, and stack the long stalks in a few deft movements. According to Strater, celery juice can irritate exposed skin, so workers must completely cover themselves during the harvest—a difficult prospect in the harsh California heat.
There are a lot more to watch! Go to either of the above links or directly to the UFW’s tweet stream.
We’ve said this a lot but read this The Guardian article for more: “Putting Trump behind us is like exiting an abusive relationship: it takes time. Under Trump many had a ‘collective hypervigilance and anxiety of what he might do next’, experts say – so how do we unpack these past four years?
There are certainly many parallels between the end of Donald Trump’s presidency and a psychologically violent relationship. Think about the temper tantrums, the refusal to accept reality, mood swings, fear of reprisal and a sense of looming danger: all are hallmarks of controlling and abusive behavior.
Farrah Khan is a gender-based violence expert and member of the government of Canada’s Advisory Council on the Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence – and she echoes how Trump’s time in office has often mirrored domestic violence.
“Throughout his time in office, Trump would belittle communities, enact state violence through policies, act out in vengeful ways when he felt slighted and cut off access to supports or protections, isolating communities from each other,” she tells me. “I feel that under Trump many of us had a collective hypervigilance and anxiety of what he might do next. This has shown up in things like night terrors or constantly scrolling on social media for real or perceived threats from him to your community.”
One of the most common ways an abuser exerts control is through isolation, cutting their partners off from the support of their communities and loved ones. Through his most despicable policies on issues like race, immigration and LGBTQ+ rights, it can be argued thatTrump has pitted Americans against each other, sowing discord and creating rifts that push his supporters further from their family and friends.
For years, Trump has managed to isolate his most fervent followers from reality, creating a parallel Maga world where Covid-19 is little more than a hoax, mail-in ballots don’t count (unless they do) and behind every pizza place lurks a pedophile ring. And like many coercive partners, Trump refuses to let go.
Like many, Khan’s immediate reaction on election night was one of suspicion and worry. She wrote that the “most dangerous time in a violent relationship is when you leave”. She’s still concerned that Trump’s violent rhetoric is escalating rather than declining. “As someone that works daily with survivors of domestic violence and other forms of gender-based violence, I know that the risk of violence is often highest during the period of separation. People who cause harm will use anything available to them from coercive threats, lies or pleading to force the partner to stay,” she says.
Those are hardly words normally ascribed to the transition of power from one US president to the next, but prescient given the lengthy and increasingly futile legal battle Trump continues to wage in hopes of denying the reality of his loss and his increasingly tenuous grip on power. In a recent Guardian article on his increasingly unhinged behavior, Larry Jacobs, director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota said: “This behavior is even more erratic than usual and he has retreated. He has put himself in a form of psychological isolation. His emotional state is clearly abysmal.”
The Pope wrote a blistering Op Ed in The New York Times that seemed pointed towards Trump and his cronies. It seemed prescient given that five pseudo Catholics on the Supreme Court Basically just voted against his advice. “Pope Francis swipes at groups protesting COVID-19 restrictions in NYT op-ed.” This is Joseph Choi’s take from MSNBC.
In the article, the pope talked about the ways in which his own personal health crisis helped him to understand how science is used to help people recover.
At 21, the pope had part of his lung was removed.
“When I got really sick at the age of 21, I had my first experience of limit, of pain and loneliness. It changed the way I saw life. For months, I didn’t know who I was or whether I would live or die. The doctors had no idea whether I’d make it either. I remember hugging my mother and saying, ‘Just tell me if I’m going to die,'” he wrote.
“I have some sense of how people with Covid-19 feel as they struggle to breathe on a ventilator,” he added.
According to Francis, two nurses – Cornelia and Micaela – helped him survive, adding that “They taught me what it is to use science but also to know when to go beyond it to meet particular needs. And the serious illness I lived through taught me to depend on the goodness and wisdom of others.”
The pope lauded doctors and medical workers who continue to take care of the sick during the pandemic, stating that they understand that “it is better to live a shorter life serving others than a longer one resisting that call.”
“That’s why, in many countries, people stood at their windows or on their doorsteps to applaud them in gratitude and awe. They are the saints next door, who have awakened something important in our hearts, making credible once more what we desire to instill by our preaching,” he added.
However, the pope swiped at groups who have insisted that measures put in place to stem the spread of the pandemic are an attack on their personal freedoms.
“Looking to the common good is much more than the sum of what is good for individuals. It means having a regard for all citizens and seeking to respond effectively to the needs of the least fortunate,” he writes.
Justice Sotomayor–also Catholic–delivered an eloquent clap back on the decision that basically puts religion above the law. “In Covid-19 regulations case, Sotomayor dissent claps back at Supreme Court majority. The high court’s ruling, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote, will “will only exacerbate the Nation’s suffering.”
Sotomayor, the nation’s only Latina Supreme Court Justice and a native New Yorker, was not having it.
“Free religious exercise is one of our most treasured and jealously guarded constitutional rights. States may not discriminate against religious institutions, even when faced with a crisis as deadly as this one,” she wrote. “But those restrictions are not at stake today.”
In her dissent, in which she was joined by Justice Elena Kagan, she wrote: “Justices of this Court play a deadly game in second guessing the expert judgment of health officials about the environments in which a contagious virus, now infecting a million Americans each week, spreads most easily.” The Court had rejected challenges to similar measures in California and Nevada earlier this year, and she saw no reason for its apparent change of heart. The Court’s ruling, she noted, “will only exacerbate the Nation’s suffering.”
As the Court has increasingly shifted to the right, Sotomayor has emerged as its strong progressive voice. She has taken aim at what she saw as improper actions by the Trump administration, as well as what she considered improper behavior by the Court itself.
In her dissent in the Covid-19 restrictions case, Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Andrew M. Cuomo, Sotomayor took aim at Gorsuch’s comparison of New York’s treatment of religious institutions to liquor stores and bike shops. In the latter venues, she reasoned, people do not gather inside for more than an hour to sing and speak to one another.
Sotomayor brushed aside allegations that Governor Cuomo had made anti-religious statements, which would mean that his coronavirus orders be subjected to strict scrutiny by the Court. Just a few years ago, she pointed out, the Court declined to consider President Trump’s remarks and comments in its evaluation of the so-called “Muslim Ban,” limiting immigration from Muslim-majority countries. In her opinion in the DACA case earlier this year, she likewise noted that the majority did not give weight to Trump’s comments (about Mexicans) in that decision, either.
So, that’s it for me today.
We’re still here together. Let us know how you’re doing! We are a community that cares about each other!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
It’s another Monday Sky Dancers!
And, we’re hearing more about the how Brett Kavanaugh was given a lot of special treatment on his short path to a seat on SCOTUS. This is from WAPO and it’s an opinion piece by Jennifer Ruben: “This is the Kavanaugh mess we feared”. The big question is will this make one damned bit of difference?
The initial NYT times story has triggered a flurry of calls for Kavanaugh’s impeachment. The article from VOX is from Tara Golshan and sums up the areas where he’s had truthfulness issues..
Democrats called for an investigation into Kavanaugh’s “truthfulness” during the confirmation process, but got nowhere.As new information — and another allegation — comes out, there have been renewed calls to reopen investigations into the Supreme Court justice.
Kavanaugh’s truthfulness has repeatedly come into question
Even before Saturday’s report, there were a lot of discrepancies in Kavanaugh’s story — especially when it came to Ramirez’s allegation.
During the confirmation process, an NBC report detailed communication between Kavanaugh, his team, and college friends to rebut Deborah Ramirez’s claim that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at Yale, before she had come forward with allegations in an article in the New Yorker.
NBC’s reporting was in direct contradiction to Kavanaugh’s testimony, in which he angrily denied the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct brought against him and said he learned of Ramirez’s claim through the original New Yorker story:
SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R-UT): When did you first hear of Ms. Ramirez’s allegations against you?
KAVANAUGH: … In the New Yorker.
HATCH: Did the ranking member [Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)] or any of her colleagues or any of their staffs ask you about Ms. Ramirez’s allegations before they were leaked to the press?
However, two friends of Kavanaugh’s — Kerry Berchem and Karen Yarasavage — were in contact with the Supreme Court nominee and his team, according to text messages obtained by NBC:
In a series of texts before the publication of the New Yorker story, Yarasavage wrote that she had been in contact with “Brett’s guy,” and also with “Brett,” who wanted her to go on the record to refute Ramirez. According to Berchem, Yarasavage also told her friend that she turned over a copy of the wedding party photo to Kavanaugh, writing in a text: “I had to send it to Brett’s team too.”
In an interview with Republican congressional staff two days after Ramirez went public, Kavanaugh said he had “heard about” Ramirez calling college friends about the alleged incident. It’s not clear if he had heard about that after the allegations went public.
These text messages detailing Kavanaugh’s knowledge of Ramirez’s allegations aren’t the first time his truthfulness has come into question. Here are five other instances where discrepancies in Kavanaugh’s testimonies have been raised.
1) Kavanaugh’s drinking: The Supreme Court nominee has been adamant that while he enjoys beer and perhaps at time drank “too many,” it was never to the point of passing out, blacking out, or even causing slight lapses in memory.
His characterization of drinking has been denied by multiple friends and past roommates, as Vox’s Emily Stewart explained. He grew “belligerent and aggressive” as a drunk, according to Chad Ludington, one of Kavanaugh’s former classmates.
Liz Swisher, another former Yale classmate, recounted to CNN of Kavanaugh’s drinking: “There’s no problem with drinking beer in college. The problem is lying about it.”
The other allegation, previously unreported, came from Washington lawyer Max Stier, who told Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) that he witnessed Kavanaugh exposing himself to a different female classmate during their freshman year.
Both Kavanaugh and the woman were heavily intoxicated at the time, according to Stier’s account, as described by people familiar with the contacts between him and Coons and others who have spoken with Stier since Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
The woman in that case, a friend of Ramirez, has denied that she was assaulted, telling friends she has no memory of such an incident. According to Stier’s account, the woman was so inebriated at the time that she could easily have no memory of it.
Coons sent Wray a letter on Oct. 2 — four days before the Senate voted on Kavanaugh — naming Stier as an “individual whom I would like to specifically refer to you for appropriate follow up.”
The FBI never contacted Stier. The bureau also did not interview other classmates who said they had heard at the time of either the incident Stier reported or the one involving Ramirez.
Stier has declined to comment publicly on the allegation. He wanted his account to remain confidential, both for the sake of the woman, a widow with three children, and for his own professional considerations.
Stier founded a nonpartisan, nonprofit group to promote public service roughly two decades ago. Before that, he was a lawyer at Washington’s Williams & Connolly firm, where he worked with the team that defended then-President Clinton. Several Republican commentators on Sunday zeroed in on that part of his resume to discredit his account as partisan.
During the hearings, Kavanaugh stated under oath that he was never so drunk that he would pass out or forget what he’d done while intoxicated. A number of former classmates who knew him said they were sufficiently upset by that statement, which they considered untruthful, that they contacted the FBI. None received responses from the bureau.
So, the usual suspects have lined up to either defend the feckless Kavanaugh.but it appears the calls for impeachment may not go any where at all. From Politico and Kyle Cheney “Judiciary chairman throws cold water on Kavanaugh impeachment. Jerry Nadler says the committee is too busy ‘impeaching the president’ to consider investigating the Supreme Court justice.”
The House Judiciary Committee is too tied up with “impeaching the president” to take immediate action on a potential investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said Monday.
“We have our hands full with impeaching the president right now and that’s going to take up our limited resources and time for a while,” Nadler said on WNYC when pressed by host Brian Lehrer.
The House Judiciary Committee is too tied up with “impeaching the president” to take immediate action on a potential investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said Monday.
“We have our hands full with impeaching the president right now and that’s going to take up our limited resources and time for a while,” Nadler said on WNYC when pressed by host Brian Lehrer.
There just appears to be no depth of depravity to which all of Trump’s appointments can find themselves. And the worst thing? They don’t ever seem to be held to account in a manner consistence with justice.
Trump and every one that surrounds him engage and scandalous, illegal behaviors and the system props them up. The Republicans in their search for white male hegemony that only recognizes women and minorities that are enablers must be dealt with at the ballot box and in the committees of the House of Representatives.
Are we woke enough to get this done?
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Today’s post is complemented with images of famous people when they were young…some may surprise you…others will not. I hope you enjoy the show.
Earlier this week, Pence came to Georgia. One of my fellow Roller Girls showed up to protest:
I am so proud of Pixie! It takes guts to stand there, by yourself…and she did get harassed by tRump supporters. Video clip of her interview with the local news station at this link.
One thing about the WFTDA (Women’s Flat Track Derby Association), they are proactive when it comes to issues and politics that strike out at causes and the culture Roller Derby stands up for…for instance:
In recent days, the United States executive branch has suggested federal policy changes may be coming that would significantly harm transgender, nonbinary, genderqueer, intersex, and other gender nonconforming members of our communities. As the governing body for the sport of roller derby, the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) denounces these proposed changes, which would be in direct opposition to the inclusive spirit of our roller derby community. We ask other sports governing bodies, amateur and professional, as well as organizations and individuals who recognize the value of inclusivity in sport to join us in pushing back on these discriminatory policies.
As a nonprofit proudly based in Austin, Texas, the WFTDA is saddened to hear of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ interest in defining gender as a biological condition. In the eyes of the WFTDA, this is an attack on our core values as an organization.
In 1972, Title IX was introduced as part of the U.S. Education Amendments, to end “discrimination on the basis of sex.” Title IX specifically offered protections and space for women in amateur sports, addressing the collegiate system directly. In recent years, the NCAA has taken steps to begin extending these protections to transgender athletes wishing to compete at the highest level in their chosen sports, pushing Title IX to end discrimination not just on the basis of assigned sex, but also on the basis of gender expression and transgender status.
The WFTDA has also worked throughout its existence to re-evaluate its own gender policies and create its current gender statement, at the encouragement of the WFTDA community as well as our colleagues in the Junior Roller Derby Association, the Men’s Roller Derby Association, and other organizations that have contributed significantly to gender-expansive competition. Together, we recognize that a commitment to inclusivity makes our sport brighter and more competitive. Diversity adds complexity and nuance that would not otherwise exist on eight wheels. It’s our collective obligation to advocate for the human rights of our membership — especially those who have historically faced disproportionately larger barriers to inclusion.
Please, go to the link to read the rest of the statement. There is a lot more there to chew on.
As you can also see, they encourage their teams to participate in the political discussion:
In 2004, AZRD agreed to play the Texas Rollergirls (TXRG) in the first interstate-bout of the modern era. As part of creating its first All-Star team, AZRD members selected the name Tent City Terrors, a satirical political statement in reference to Arizona’s notorious outdoor jail. Many of the skaters on the original team selected a second identity separate from that of their home team, such as “Sheriff Shutyerpaio”. When it was formed, it was unclear when or how many more games the team would play; at the time, there was no flat track organization nor rule set. Still, the name and uniform stuck through the first national tournament held in 2006, and has been used by the team since.
Yeah, a team name…plus derby player’s names to make a political statement. Check out a few other examples below:
Here are a few more links on politics and WFTDA and Roller Derby this:
A few articles on gender issues and concentrating on Derby as an LGBTQ inclusive sport.
Roller Derby and promoting the Indigenous Community:
Team Indigenous Talks Politics – WiSP Sports | conversations from the world of women’s sports-‘MICK SWAGGER’ AND ‘JUMPY MCGEE’ DISCUSS HOT TOPICS AND THE POLITICS OF TEAM INDIGENOUS AND THE WFTDA
Here is a statement back when tRump issued the fucking Muslim travel ban:
It really makes me proud to be a part of the North Georgia Roller Girls ….which is a WFTDA team associated with Peach State Roller Derby; with the WFTDA backing us, we should stand up for the causes that are a part of the movement that is Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby…it is wonderful to see women like Abby/Pixie embracing the Culture of WFTDA. I applaud her efforts. Brava!
As for the NGRG…we start playing our official first games in March of 2019, so I will definitely keep you all up to date with that nugget of derby news from time to time.
Oh, yeah…more young celebrity pictures:
So back to the shit storm that is tRump.
The 14th amendment to the constitution confirms that all Americans are born equal. One immigrant-hating lover of dictators cannot change that with a simple stroke of his pen
In an interview that will air in full on Sunday, Donald Trump reveals that he wants to end birthright citizenship through executive order. But he doesn’t have that power. An executive order cannot reverse the guarantee of citizenship to anyone born in the United States that is enshrined in the constitution.
After the civil war, Congress sought to grant full citizenship to African Americans, who had been denied it under the Dred Scottsupreme court decision. Yet when it passed the 14th amendment in 1868, Congress went further. It wrote a rule making it clear that any person, regardless of ethnicity or national origin, had a right to citizenship upon being born in the US.
The relevant portion of the 14th amendment reads: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” The phrase about jurisdiction was meant to exclude the children of ambassadors and tribal Native Americans, who until 1924 were regarded as citizens of separate sovereign nations.
These words about birthright citizenship reflect the wider values of the 14th amendment, which also guarantees “equal protection of the laws” for all persons. Together with the constitution’s ban on royal titles in Article I, Section 9, the document stands for the idea that the US does not condone hereditary hierarchy – or any legal distinction based on birth or parentage, ideas associated with aristocratic societies. In the US, everyone starts on the same plane.
I also think this is yet another form of tRumpian white nationalist intimidation. Considering the past 2013 Scalia Supreme Court decision which removed the Voting Rights portion of Civil Rights Act of 1964. (Remember the Civil Rights Act will again be revisited soon enough.)
This way of sending these outright threats goes far to back the claims of fascism that Boston Boomer discuss in her post from yesterday.
But back to the the op/ed up top. It goes on to discuss the first case that came before the SCOTUS, in 1898… United States v Wong Kim Ark. Please read the rest to learn more…
I’m going to stick with the Guardian for the next few links, I think it will give us a good look from a different perspective.
Hey, what a fucking surprise. Georgia’s election shit is making news over in the UK!
“The consequences of any of us staying home really are profound because America’s at a crossroads,” he warned. “The healthcare of millions of people is on the ballot. Making sure working families get a fair shake is on the ballot. But maybe most of all, the character of our country is on the ballot.”
It was not meant to be like this. America’s first black president hoped to steer the nation on an upward trajectory. Then came Donald Trump, a man endorsed by white supremacists and the breathing embodiment of everything Obama is not. On Tuesday, these two radically opposing visions of “the character of our country” will collide at the ballot box. Georgia is ground zero.
I live in ground zero. I know the crap first hand. Ugh.
Recently a clutch of American relatives came to visit me in London. I don’t get to see my extended family so much these days, but thanks to the internet they see me all the time, reading my articles and sending messages so supportive they occasionally reject English as insufficiently adoring and opt for Yiddish (“I’m kvelling!”). They ask me about the different things I’ve been writing about: celebrities, feminism, and so on. But when they made the transatlantic trip this time there was a rare consensus: they all wanted to talk about the rise of antisemitism in Europe.
“What is going on? It’s just crazy!” one uncle said to me after I wrote about protesting against antisemitism in British politics. We discussed the rise in verbal and physical attacks on Jews in the UK, the election of Viktor Orbán in Hungary, the Law and Justice party in Poland. He was especially horrified by the murder of 85-year-old Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll in Paris. “It is just unimaginable,” my cousin said.
Dietrich was one of many German born actors/entertainers who spoke out and actively campaigned against Hitler during WWII.
Robert Brack, who at one point had the heaviest caseload of any federal judge in the US, pleads for justice for the immigrants he sees every day
One more link for today’s post…
A fleeting moment within the teaser for Axios’s interview with Donald Trump, the centerpiece of Sunday’s “Axios on HBO,” tells all you need to know about how the president truly feels about his relationship to the media.
Moments after Jim VandeHei admits to Trump that his “enemy of the people” rhetoric scares the hell out of him, the reporter (and co-founder of the media site) tells the president, “You are, like, the most powerful man in the world.”
Reflexively Trump looks off-camera and grins, briefly, his face flush with what appears to be self-satisfaction. There was concentrated smugness in that expression, tinged with a pugilist’s cruelty.
In that scene, VandeHei points out the extreme irresponsibility of any leader of the free world using his position and platform to vilify an entire class of people, and using that rhetoric to stoke the emotions of the people who constitute his base.
Ever the attention-hungry reality show star, Trump softly replies, “They like me more because of it,” calling his dangerous hyperbolic term the only way he can fight back. That satisfied grin says he knows he’s winning.
Axios on HBO,” premiering Sunday at 6:30 p.m., is one of many specials the news site will run on the premium cable channel as part of a partnership. HBO has been steadily expanding its news and information footprint. And that in itself indicates how malleable our concept of news has become under Trump’s administration.
This is the interview where tRump announces he is going to snap his fingers…click his heels and poof, no more “14th Amendment.”
So what are you finding today as we count down to Tuesday’s election?
This is an open thread.