Wednesday Reads: Fairy visitors…Posted: July 27, 2022 Filed under: 2022 Elections, 2024 Elections, abortion rights, birth control, Black Lives Matter, Black Women Lead, Civil Rights, Climate change, court rulings, Discrimination against women, Donald Trump, Economy, Fox News, fundamentalist Christians, House of Representatives, Joe Manchin, LGBTQ, Marriage Equality, morning reads, open thread, Political and Editorial Cartoons, QAnon Queen Marjorie Taylor Greene, racism, Real Life Horror, Reproductive Health, Reproductive Justice, Reproductive Rights, Republican presidential politics, the GOP, Violence against women, Voting Rights, Voting Rights and Voter Suppression, War on Women, Women's Healthcare 17 Comments
Good morning. I’ve been visited by the migraine fairy, so just a quick post today.
Cartoons via Cagle website:
Now that is a pretty purple bird.
This is an open thread.
Friday Reads: Back to the Dark Ages and a Funeral for DemocracyPosted: June 24, 2022 Filed under: A thread for Ranting, abortion rights, black women's reproductive health, Civil Rights, Gun Control, Voting Rights, Voting Rights and Voter Suppression, War on Women, We are so F'd 43 Comments
It’s a Sad Day Sky Dancers!
The machinations of religious extremists, Mitch McConnell seeking endless power, and white nationalists have brought us to this moment. Many of the fundamental rights established over the last 100-plus years are now being disassembled by a Supreme Court stacked with extremists appointed under very dicey circumstances.
I never thought I’d ever see such a radical overreach to tear down well-established precedents backed up with stories bringing us back to the Wild West with its primitive firearms and the rejection of medical science and the establishment clause based on nothing but wild dreams of a white male religious zealot to drag us way back in time. So a guy about 300 years ago who liked to dox witches gets a say in what happens to American Women’s bodies but they don’t? The court made sure in case-after-case that we knew they didn’t care about established laws. Their religious, economic, and social agendas are dominant not anything else.
Our taxes can now be used for religious indoctrination. Anyone can conceal/carry a weapon just about everywhere they want. Most importantly, women have been designated state property with little control over their bodies. Police no longer are held responsible for reading folks their Miranda rights. Who will they come for next?
I’m gratuitously using John (repeat1968) Buss for this thread because the images of the Spanish Inquisition are just about as horrid as you’d think they would be. But that is exactly how I feel about the Roberts’ Court. They are a group of inquisitors.
I am not state property. My Daughters are not state property. My granddaughters are not state property. No Woman or girl in this country should ever be assigned the role of chattel again.
Here are some links to information on these horrible decisions.
Striking down Roe v. Wade
From the USA Today Tweet: “What Barack Obama, Mike Pence and others are saying about the end of Roe”.
Immediately following the Supreme Court’s ruling on Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade, current and former lawmakers reacted to the end of Americans’ Constitutional right to an abortion.
The decision had been anticipated since the Supreme Court took the Dobbs v. Jackson case this year. A leak of the decision last month showed a 6-3 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which was indeed the final outcome.
The ruling:Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, eliminating constitutional right to abortion.
I’m going to highlight Speaker Pelosi’s words because she’s the one most responsible for getting rid of this abomination.
Speaker Pelosi says Dems will fight ‘ferociously’ to enshrine Roe
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is “outrageous and heart-wrenching” and vowed to fight against it in Congress and at the ballot box.
The ruling is the result of the GOP’s “dark and extreme goal of ripping away women’s right to make their own reproductive health decisions,” she said.
“Because of Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, the Republican Party and their supermajority on the Supreme Court, American women today have less freedom than their mothers,” Pelosi said.
During her weekly news conference, shortly after the SCOTUS decision, she warned that Republicans in Congress want a nationwide ban. She indicated the only way to stop that was to keep the GOP from gaining a majority in the midterm.
“A woman’s right to choose is on the ballot in November,” Pelosi said.
And, from Hillary:
Hillary Clinton: Opinion “Will live in infamy”
Former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweeted that the Supreme Court’s decision “will live in infamy” as a step backwards for women’s rights.
“Most Americans believe the decision to have a child is one of the most sacred decisions there is, and that such decisions should remain between patients and their doctors,” she wrote.
Clinton also called on the public to support and donate to Democratic candidates, to protect reproductive rights by winning elections “at every level.”
Abortion will be banned in thirteen states. Each state will have to work out it’s own law to meet this horrid decision. Again, I’m just glad that My OB/GYN Doctor Daughter and her daughters are in Washington State. It’s enshrined in their State Constitution. My Colorado Daughter says she’s safe there too. I can’t imagine having working equipment and living here in Lousyana. My governor signed death sentences for many Louisiana women yesterday.
This is by Caroline Kitchener writing in WAPO: “Roe’s demise marks new phase in state-by-state battle over abortion. The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the landmark precedent will prompt immediate changes to the country’s abortion landscape”.
The tremors from Friday’s sweeping Supreme Court decision to strike down Roe v. Wade will ripple across the country almost immediately, with roughly half of all states poised to ban or drastically restrict abortion.
Thirteen states will outlaw abortion within 30 days with “trigger bans” that were designed to take effect as soon as Roe was overturned. These laws make an exception for cases where the mother’s life is in danger, but most do not include exceptions for rape or incest.
In many states, trigger bans will activate as soon as a designated state official certifies the decision, which Republican lawmakers expect to happen within minutes.
“They just need to acknowledge, ‘Yes, this has occurred,’ ” said Arkansas state Sen. Jason Rapert (R), who has championed much of his state’s antiabortion legislation, including its trigger ban. “I’ll be happy to see the butcher mill in Little Rock, Arkansas, shut down for good.”
All the Republican Politicians speaking out on this have their white patriarchal churchman voices out. Like Rapert, quoted above, they use yellow prose and outrageous language.
Here’s the quick take from ScotusBlog on the Dobbs decision banning abortion.
Although the Supreme Court’s decisions in Roe and Casey established such a right, Alito continued, those decisions should nonetheless be overruled despite the principle of stare decisis – the idea that courts should not overturn their prior precedent unless there is a compelling reason to do so. Noting that some of the Supreme Court’s other landmark decisions, such as Brown v. Board of Education, rejecting the “separate but equal” doctrine, had overruled precedent, Alito emphasized that Roe was “egregiously wrong and deeply damaging” and – along with Casey – should not be allowed to stand. Instead, Alito concluded, the issue of abortion should “return … to the people’s representatives.”
Roberts agreed with the decision to uphold the Mississippi law, but he would have done so without formally overruling Roe and Casey. Echoing a position that he took at the oral argument (which then, as now, did not seem to attract any other supporters), Roberts would have allowed states to continue to regulate abortion without regard to whether the fetus has become viable – that is, the point at which it can survive outside the womb. In Casey, the court ruled that states may not ban abortions after the point of viability, which is typically considered to be at 22 to 24 weeks of pregnancy.
The right to terminate a pregnancy, Roberts reasoned, should “extend far enough to ensure a reasonable opportunity to choose, but need not extend any further.” But the court could and should, Roberts wrote, “leave for another day whether to reject any right to an abortion at all.”
In a rare joint dissent, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan pushed back against the majority’s characterization of the decision as leaving the issue of abortion to the states. Friday’s ruling, they cautioned, is likely to have a “geographically expansive” effect, as states may pass laws that include restrictions on traveling out of state to obtain abortions. “Most threatening of all,” they added, nothing in the majority’s decision “stops the Federal Government from prohibiting abortions nationwide, once again from the moment of conception and without exceptions for rape and incest.”
“Whatever the scope of the coming laws,” they concluded, “one result of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens.”
Let me just give you some links analysis at Scotusblog to the other decisions that will make all of us more unsafe.
In a 6-3 ruling, the court strikes down New York’s concealed-carry law.
Thursday’s landmark decision came less than six weeks after a gunman killed 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket, and less than a month after 21 people – 19 children and two teachers – were shot to death at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. In response to those shootings, the Senate this week reached an agreement on bipartisan gun-safety legislation that, if passed, would be the first federal gun-control legislation in nearly 30 years. The 80-page bill would (among other things) require tougher background checks for gun buyers under the age of 21 and provide more funding for mental-health resources.
The state law at the heart of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen required anyone who wants to carry a concealed handgun outside the home to show “proper cause” for the license. New York courts interpreted that phrase to require applicants to show more than a general desire to protect themselves or their property. Instead, applicants must demonstrate a special need for self-defense – for example, a pattern of physical threats. Several other states, including California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, impose similar restrictions, as do many cities.
The lower courts upheld the New York law against a challenge from two men whose applications for concealed-carry licenses were denied. But on Thursday, the Supreme Court tossed out the law in an ideologically divided 63-page opinion.
The court rejected a two-part test that many lower courts have used to review challenges to gun-control measures. That test looked first at whether a restriction regulates conduct protected by the original scope of the Second Amendment and then, if so, whether the restriction is fine-tuned to advance a significant public interest. Instead, Thomas wrote, if “the Second Amendment’s plain text covers an individual’s conduct,” the government has the burden to show that the regulation is consistent with the historical understanding of the Second Amendment.
Applying that new and more stringent standard to the New York proper-cause requirement, Thomas found that the challengers’ desire to carry a handgun in public for self-defense fell squarely within the conduct protected by the Second Amendment. The amendment’s text does not distinguish between gun rights in the home and gun rights in public places, Thomas observed. Indeed, he suggested, the Second Amendment’s reference to the right to “bear” arms most naturally refers to the right to carry a gun outside the home.
After reviewing nearly seven centuries’ worth of historical sources, beginning in the 1200s and going through the early 1900s, Thomas concluded that although U.S. history has at times placed some “well-defined restrictions” on the right to carry firearms in public, there was no tradition of a broad prohibition on carrying commonly used guns in public for self-defense. And with rare exceptions, Thomas added, there was no historical requirement that law-abiding citizens show the kind of special need for self-defense required by the New York law to carry a gun in public. Indeed, Thomas concluded, there is “no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need.”
Thomas obviously missed the part about most sheriffs of small towns in the Wild West collecting guns at the city borders before anyone was allowed to head to the salon. Is that okay Uncle Thomas?
From CNN: Supreme Court limits ability to enforce Miranda rights. I mean who needs to know their constitutional rights anyway when you’re dead set on canceling them?
The Supreme Court limited the ability to enforce Miranda rights in a ruling Thursday that said that suspects who are not warned about their right to remain silent cannot sue a police officer for damages under federal civil rights law even if the evidence was ultimately used against them in their criminal trial.
The court’s ruling will cut back on an individual’s protections against self-incrimination by barring the potential to obtain damages. It also means that the failure to administer the warning will not expose a law enforcement officer to potential damages in a civil lawsuit. It will not impact, however, the exclusion of such evidence at a criminal trial.
The court clarified that while the Miranda warning protects a constitutional right, the warning itself is not a right that would trigger the ability to bring a civil lawsuit.
“Today’s ruling doesn’t get rid of the Miranda right,” said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law. “But it does make it far harder to enforce. Under this ruling, the only remedy for a violation of Miranda is to suppress statements obtained from a suspect who’s not properly advised of his right to remain silent. But if the case never goes to trial, or if the government never seeks to use the statement, or if the statement is admitted notwithstanding the Miranda violation, there’s no remedy at all for the government’s misconduct.”
These guys really like to give the state the power to oppress and let gun-toting fascists run free, don’t they?
The last one to be worried about is this one. Remember, Justice Roberts, hates voting rights. This is from Scotusblog: “North Carolina Republican lawmakers win right to intervene in court and defend state’s voter-ID law.” All this analysis I keep quoting is from Amy Howe, btw. I’d say this is a signal they are ready to get rid of more voting rights which is about the only way their kind stays in power.
The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that two Republican legislators in North Carolina can join a lawsuit to defend the constitutionality of the state’s voter-identification law. Two lower courts had rejected the legislators’ request, reasoning that the state’s Democratic attorney general and the board of elections were already defending the law, but the justices reversed those rulings. In an 8-1 opinion by Justice Neil Gorsuch, the Supreme Court ruled that the Republican legislators have a right to intervene in the lawsuit.
Thursday’s decision addressed only the legislators’ right to join the lawsuit to defend the voter-ID law; it did not address the underlying issue of whether the law violates federal voting-rights protections.
The law at the center of the case requires voters to provide photo identification to cast a ballot and directs county election boards to provide ID cards at no cost to voters. The state’s legislature passed the law in 2018, and it went into effect over a veto by the state’s governor, Democrat Roy Cooper. The North Carolina NAACP then went to federal court, where it argued that the law violates both federal voting rights laws and the Constitution. When Philip Berger, the leader of the North Carolina Senate, and Timothy Moore, the leader of the state’s House of Representatives, asked to intervene in the lawsuit, the district court rebuffed their request, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit upheld that decision.
In an 18-page opinion, Gorsuch explained that the first issue before the court was whether the Republican legislators had an interest in the outcome of the dispute that would be “practically impaired or impeded without their participation.” As a general rule, Gorsuch posited, barring a state’s authorized representatives from intervening in a federal lawsuit challenging a state law will have such an effect on a state’s interests. And in this case, Gorsuch continued, other provisions of North Carolina law had specifically given its legislative leaders the power to defend the state’s interests in cases like this one.
What’s more, Gorsuch added, the 4th Circuit was wrong to presume that the state’s attorney general, Democrat Josh Stein, had adequately represented the state’s interests. That inquiry, Gorsuch wrote, is backward, because the Supreme Court’s cases have made clear that would-be intervenors generally have to meet only a relatively low bar. But such a presumption, Gorsuch continued, “is inappropriate when a duly authorized state agent seeks to intervene to defend a state law.” “Normally,” Gorsuch said, “a State’s chosen representatives should be greeted in federal court with respect, not adverse presumptions.”
Gorsuch acknowledged the NAACP’s concern that allowing legislative leaders to intervene to defend state laws could in some cases make litigation more complicated and potentially unwieldy. “But that case is not this case,” Gorsuch stressed. The legislative leaders “bring a distinct state interest” to the case – and indeed, “federal courts routinely handle cases involving multiple officials sometimes represented by different attorneys taking different positions.”
Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the lone dissenter.
This is bound to work its way back to them.
This has been the hardest post I’ve ever had to right except for the ones related to Trump taking over the presidency. It’s obvious that elections have consequences. This includes the state and local levels. These next two will show us if we’ve lost the Republic, our democracy, and hope for our future. Just do what you can to get out the vote.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Martin Luther King Day Reads: Whither Voting RightsPosted: January 17, 2022 Filed under: Dr. Martin Luther King, Voter Ignorance, Voting Rights, Voting Rights and Voter Suppression 12 Comments
Today, we celebrate the life and works of Doctor Martin Luther King! Good Day!
I was fortunate to live during a time when great change was possible that came from the grassroots up. It did not come from a specific church, the military-industrial complex, or the whims of billionaires whose hobbies were to be funded by allowing them not to pay taxes. A crooked president was shamed out of the office with a bi-partisanship agreement and on full-display on TV. We achieved reproductive rights, voting rights, GBLT civil rights, and great scientific advances, and moved towards inclusion provided by the decisions of a balanced Supreme Court and Legislation hashed through with supporters on both sides of Congress.
This seems no longer possible due to the increasing belligerence of one party representing religious fanatics, billionaires, the war and fossil fuel machines, science deniers, white nationalists, and what still remains of the Confederacy. It’s all or nothing for them. Our country is scorched earth. We’re experiencing extreme weather events, extremist violence including insurrection, and extreme wealth inequality.
We do not want to continue down this path. It will not end well.
This is from Dr. Hakeem Jefferson quoting Dr. King. I am glad he is on our side and can elucidate the struggle so eloquently.
[A]ll types of conniving methods are still being used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters.” Continuing, he argued that “The denial of this sacred right is a tragic betrayal of the highest mandates of our democratic tradition.”
Jefferson’s San Francisco Chronicle op-ed is righteous, powerful, and urgent.
For me, I’ve found comfort in the words of Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, who, when asked how she avoids despair at times like this, said, “I don’t know of anything in the history of Black people in this country in which I’ve read some account in which it ended with, ‘And then they gave up.’ That’s just not what we do.”
That, dear reader, is the legacy of King. That is the legacy of Black people in a country that has long failed to live up to its ideals. That is the legacy that gives me hope, even as there is much reason to despair. That is the legacy I call up today and every day because those committed to justice cannot rest “until justice rolls down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
There are many books being written these days on the move towards autocracy in these United States. I’d like to offer up the work of David Peper interviewed by reporter Paul Rosenberg who writes on “How the states have become “Laboratories of Autocracy” — and why it’s worse than you think. Former Ohio Democratic Party head David Pepper has a dire warning: Rigged state legislatures are destroying America.” This is from Salon and it is an interview with David Pepper, the book’s author.
It was funny — it was when I thought of the term that the book came to me. I was going to tweet the words out, “You know, these states are no longer acting like laboratories of democracy, but laboratories of autocracy.” I didn’t send the tweet, because the minute I wrote it I thought, “Boy, there’s a lot more to say than this tweet.” And everything flowed from that.
Obviously, it comes out of this age-old term that Justice Louis Brandeis made famous but that many have used, a very idealized notion of states doing good things that then become models for the country. Clearly, that’s been the case sometimes. But as I argue in the book, in our history sometime it’s been the exact opposite. That’s how we got Jim Crow. States have enough power that in the wrong hands they can do great damage, and the point of the title was to say that’s what’s happening now in very stark ways.
But both words matter. “Autocracy” matters, as these states are hacking away at pillars of democracy that could lead to autocracy. But the “laboratories” part matters too, because they’re always learning, they’re always improving. So they are functioning as laboratories. Until you start adding some accountability and pushing back, they’ll just keep going. So my hope is that “autocracy” wakes people up, but “laboratories” is a really important part of that title because it explains how they operate.
I’ve been fighting the voting rights battle in Ohio for a number of years. The worst is still the purging of voters, but to have a secretary of state intentionally cause long traffic jams for the form of voting that he knew minorities and Biden voters were using, and lying over and over again about what the law actually, was such a troubling thing. And this was not your right-wing, Trump-type secretary of state. He had held himself out as more moderate.
So I tell the story because you look at the traffic jams that his one-drop-box-per-county policy created, and anyone with a commonsense response would say, “Don’t ever do that again.” But in a world of “laboratories of autocracy,” as I tell in the story, the state legislature of Ohio, seeing those jams, began pushing for bills to have traffic jams forever by making that not just a policy decision, but state law. And what do we see at the same time? States around the country looked at those traffic jams and saw the effect on — let’s be clear — Black voters waiting in long lines. So now we have the same effort in other states to minimize drop boxes and to do what happened here: Put the drop boxes where people are already voting early in person, which creates the maximum congestion possible. So it’s a great example of how they behave as laboratories against democracy.
We thought we could get so much done this last election only to see everything held hostage by two Democratic Senators. Ron Brownstein argues this in The Atlantic: “How Manchin and Sinema Completed a Conservative Vision. A nationwide standard of voting rights now seems like a pipe dream.” What follows is a blasting damnation of Roberts’ decisions in Shelby County v. Holder.
Roberts, who served as a young clerk to conservative Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist and as a Justice Department assistant in the Reagan administration, has long expressed hostility to federal oversight of voting and election rules. As the journalist Ari Berman recounted in his 2015 book, Give Us the Ballot, Roberts “led the charge” against the bipartisan 1982 reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act, which ultimately reversed a Supreme Court decision (supported by Rehnquist) weakening one key section of the law. Roberts wrote “upwards of 25 memos” opposing the legislation’s provision requiring that the Justice Department prove only discriminatory “effect” rather than purposeful “intent” in order to block state or local voting restrictions. (The Court had ruled the opposite, severely limiting the law’s applicability.)
In one memo reported by Berman, Roberts revealed his broader philosophy about voting rights: The test for federal objection to local voting laws should be extremely difficult to meet, he wrote, “since they provide the basis for the most intrusive interference imaginable by federal courts into state and local processes.”
That approach has guided Roberts on the Supreme Court. As the Harvard Law School professor Nicholas Stephanopoulos, an expert in voting law, wrote in a 2019 law-review article, “The Roberts Court has … never nullified a law making it harder to vote.” To the contrary, in a series of landmark decisions, it has nullified efforts to ensure voter access, combat gerrymanders, and to limit political contributions and spending.
Those cases have included Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in 2010, which swept away federal prohibitions on undisclosed, unlimited corporate spending in federal elections; Shelby County v. Holder in 2013, which eviscerated the Justice Department’s authority under the Voting Rights Act to review, or “preclear,” any changes in voting procedures in states with a history of discrimination against minorities; Rucho v. Common Cause in 2019, which ruled that federal courts cannot overturn even the most extreme partisan gerrymanders; and Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee in 2021, which severely weakened Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act—the same provision that Roberts, as a young Reagan aide, targeted all the way back in 1982.
Those decisions generally aligned every Republican-appointed justice on the Court at the time against every Democratic-appointed justice (with the exception of Citizens United, in which one GOP-appointed justice, the center-left John Paul Stevens, sided with the minority). The first three cases were decided by the narrowest possible 5–4 majorities, and the most recent one by a 6–3 count that reflected the Court’s larger GOP advantage. Roberts personally wrote the decisions in both the Shelby and Rucho cases.
Roberts has often appeared reluctant to let the Court be seen in purely partisan terms. But that instinct, as many critics have noted, has not extended to cases involving the core electoral interests of the two political parties—cases in which he’s been entirely willing to engineer sharply divided rulings that separate the justices along partisan and ideological lines. (No Democratic-appointed justice has supported any of these rulings.)
I’m pretty sure I’ve given you enough long pieces to read so I’ll end here.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Friday Reads: The Right to Vote is Essential to Addressing the Issues of Our TimePosted: December 17, 2021 Filed under: Bread and Roses, The Biden/Harris Administration, U.S. Economy, Voter Ignorance, Voting Rights, Voting Rights and Voter Suppression, Women's Rights, worker rights 19 Comments
Good Day Sky Dancers!
I hope your week went well and your weekend goes better! I think I’m fully moved into my new phone and zapped then returned the old one. I’m about to start switching over to the new computer tomorrow. I just have a few more adulting things to do and I, fortunately, don’t need the camera and mic until Sunday.
American Life is so abnormal that I am really glad that I don’t have to drag myself into a classroom until January. I’ve dealt with teaching far worse economies and financial markets so that’s not the challenge. Part of me is just bugged by the fact I can’t depend on any American to do the right thing in this latest surge of Pandemic. Indeed, I’m actually thinking I may be back on Zoom instead of behind a podium next year. I think our economy is looking resilient and the financial markets are functional. What I think is dysfunctional is the way America does business. That’s the model that doesn’t work. It’s especially not working now. The extreme nature of the American ideological take on Capitalism is causing all kinds of things just to not work.
Then, there’s the weather situation which was elucidated in an article in The Guardian that BB posted yesterday. We’re not just experiencing extreme weather. It’s extreme and unique. This week we had temperatures never reported before in December in places like St. Paul. We continue to have severe thunderstorms and tornadoes in the midwest in December. These records are not only record-setting. These instances are making records because their occurences are unknown to us in modern times. Between the weather and the global pandemic, we need to strengthen and address flaws in our institutions before it all kills nearly everything.
I do want to address the new push to reinstate and further Voting Rights and why it’s so important. First, I want to address what I’ve said above by sharing this Article in VOX by Anna North. “The world as we know it is ending. Why are we still at work? From the pandemic to climate change, Americans are still expected to work no matter what happens.”
It’s a good question to ask and it’s being asked by the workers at Kellogg’s including the one I spent my teen years viewing out school windows and those of my house on the hill. The plant in Omaha is way across on another hill where you can always see the big ol’ red Kellogg’s signature on the building. My thought was always the same. I’m never going to put myself in a place where I have to endlessly and mindlessly drop trinkets in cereal boxes for at least 8 hours a day. Yesterday, on MSNBC, I heard from Senator Sanders that some workers worked overtime for 100-120 consecutive days at Kellogg’s factories. We also learned that workers at the decimated candle factory in Kentucky were threatened with firing if they didn’t keep working. Are candles and dry cereal really worth this?
We didn’t learn anything from all the workers dropping dead from COVID-19 at meat processing plants? Now, we also find out there’s no shortage of truckers, it’s just how there’s a major difference between how independent truckers are paid and those that are union. It’s basically a problem of driver delays. Nonunion drivers get paid by the mile so they get assigned to places where they have to sit forever. Union drivers are paid by the hour. I’m frankly blessed not to have been pushed prematurely back into the classroom but that’s only because I’m semiretired and can say no without it threatening my work.
So, with that background, let’s read Anna North’s article.
For a moment in early 2020, it seemed like we might get a break from capitalism.
A novel coronavirus was sweeping the globe, and leaders and experts recommended that the US pay millions of people to stay home until the immediate crisis was over. These people wouldn’t work. They’d hunker down, take care of their families, and isolate themselves to keep everyone safe. With almost the whole economy on pause, the virus would stop spreading, and Americans could soon go back to normalcy with relatively little loss of life.
Obviously, that didn’t happen.
Instead, white-collar workers shifted over to Zoom (often with kids in the background), and everybody else was forced to keep showing up to their jobs in the face of a deadly virus. Hundreds of thousands died, countless numbers descended into depression and burnout, and a grim new standard was set: Americans keep working, even during the apocalypse.
Now it’s been nearly two years since the beginning of the pandemic — a time that has also encompassed an attempted coup, innumerable extreme weather events likely tied to climate change, and ongoing police violence against Black Americans — and we’ve been expected to show up to work through all of it. “I don’t think people are well,” says Riana Elyse Anderson, a clinical and community psychologist and professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. “We are moving along but we are certainly not well.”
For some Americans, working during the apocalypse is fatal — think of the transit workers who died from Covid-19 in 2020, or the Amazon warehouse workers killed by a tornado on December 10 in Illinois. “All disasters are workplace disasters for some people,” said Jacob Remes, a historian and the director of the Initiative for Critical Disaster Studies at New York University. For others, the effects are more of a slow burn; the chronic stress that comes with putting on a game face at work, day in and day out, as the world becomes ever more terrifying.
Of course, Americans haven’t all quietly accepted the demand that we work through the end times. Record numbers are quitting their jobs in search of higher pay and better conditions. After more than 20 months of being asked to keep showing up uncomplainingly while everything crumbles around them, people are demanding a more humane approach to work in the age of interlocking crises.
Please read the full article.
So, the question is how do we get more humane treatment at work, access to educations, and childcare at a reasonable cost? Pharmaceuticals at a reasonable cost? Food at a reasonable cost? How about energy that doesn’t cost too much and kill us at the same time? Fewer wars? Actual customer service instead of automated checkouts and endless phone trees to get to someone that can actually help you? The business model these days is basically about where it was pre-union. Just jack up prices, lower service levels, overwork what employees you have, push a paperwork and surveillance atmosphere, then drive all the profits to the top where no one has to pay taxes on anything or can hide their money. This is not sustainable in this day and age. Where do we get some redress and control?
We should get it through our voter franchise and our democracy and representatives that deliver to voters and not just donors and radical bases. We’re losing all kinds of rights and none of them will return to us unless the majority of the democracy can vote easily and get fair elections, Can we get this done?
Not, when all roads lead to Joe Manchin and there’s a filibuster rule in the Senate for for basic civil, human, constitutional rights. These things should not be left to overturn by a radical minority.
From the AP: “Power of one: Manchin is singularly halting Biden’s agenda.” Let’s be real about this. It’s not just Biden’s Agenda it’s the people’s agenda as demonstrated by poll -after-poll. Joe Manchin is the perfect example of someone that pushes everything that’s not sustainable and mostly because his wealth depends on it and his power.
Sen. Joe Manchin settled in at President Joe Biden’s family home in Delaware on a Sunday morning in the fall as the Democrats worked furiously to gain his support on their far-reaching domestic package.
The two-hour-long session was the kind of special treatment being showered on the West Virginia senator — the president at one point even showing Manchin around his Wilmington home.
But months later, despite Democrats slashing Biden’s big bill in half and meeting the senator’s other demands, Manchin is no closer to voting yes.In an extraordinary display of political power in the evenly split 50-50 Senate, a single senator is about to seriously set back an entire presidential agenda.
Biden said in a statement Thursday night that he still believed “we will bridge our differences and advance the Build Back Better plan, even in the face of fierce Republican opposition.”
But with his domestic agenda stalled out in Congress, senators are coming to terms with the reality that passage of the president’s signature “Build Back Better Act,” as well as Democrats’ high-priority voting rights package, would most likely have to be delayed to next year.
Failing to deliver on Biden’s roughly $2 trillion social and environmental bill would be a stunning end to the president’s first year in office.
Manchin’s actions throw Democrats into turmoil at time when families are struggling against the prolonged COVID-19 crisis and Biden’s party needs to convince voters heading toward the 2022 election that their unified party control of Washington can keep its campaign promises.
This has been pushed to the back burner and now they have decided to shift to voting rights. Look at who’s on the catbird seat again.
From The Hill article in the above Tweet:
President Biden joined a Zoom call with Senate Democrats on Thursday to encourage them to pass voting rights legislation, as the chamber appears poised to leave for the year without a deal.
Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who are both part of the group negotiating rules changes and voting rights, said that they had spoken with Biden about their efforts.
“Very positive. ‘Good work, guys. Keep at it,’” Kaine said about Biden’s message.
“‘Are you talking, are you taking it seriously, are you trying to get there?’ Yes. So he [was] encouraging us, thanking us and encouraging us,” the Virginia Democrat added.
Tester, asked about Biden’s general message, summed it up as the right to vote is “important for democracy.”
Those included on the call were Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Angus King (I-Maine), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Kaine and Tester, a source familiar told The Hill. Vice President Harris was also on the call.
The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the call.
Biden’s call come as Senate Democrats are poised to wrap their work for the year without a deal on how to move voting rights legislation.
“We don’t have the votes right now to change the rules,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told reporters after a closed-door caucus lunch, acknowledging the political reality that the party currently faces.
Democrats have been holding a flurry of behind-the-scenes meetings to try to come to a deal that unites all 50 Democrats on changing the Senate rules.
A group of Senate Democrats — Kaine, Tester and King — have been tasked with coming up with a proposal on how to alter the 60-vote legislative filibuster in a way that would allow voting rights legislation to move forward.
Republicans have blocked several voting rights and election bills, fueling calls from within the Senate Democratic caucus to change the rules.
Meanwhile, the Senate is going on holiday. Why can’t we all get paid and have work hours and benefits like them?
From NPC News: Democrats rev up voting rights push to end 2021. But Senate path remains elusive. All 50 Senate Democrats would be needed to change the rules to get around a filibuster. But Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema still don’t support such a move.
Long-simmering frustrations among prominent Black leaders appeared to be boiling over as they pressure President Joe Biden to do more to encourage the Senate to act. Progressive advocacy groups have revved up their pressure campaigns, fearing that time is running out to avert what they see as an existential threat to democracy. Leaders of the effort in the Senate, notably Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia, have held meetings with colleagues to find a path forward.
And moderates like Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia and John Hickenlooper of Colorado, said this week they’re ready to change the Senate rules to allow a vote on an election overhaul. But despite this movement, it may not be enough.
Manchin and Sinema are supportive of the Freedom to Vote Act, which would enshrine a series of voting-access guarantees across all states, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would impose additional limits on states with a history of discrimination. But neither supports a rule change to get around the 60-vote threshold that is blocking votes on those bills.
Manchin, who spoke to Warnock about the issue and left the Capitol shoulder-to-shoulder with him this week, told reporters he wants support from both parties before establishing new rules.
“All my discussions have been bipartisan, Republicans and Democrats. A rules change should be done to where we all have input in this rules change because we’re going to have to live with it,” he said.
That’s a problem: Republicans are extremely unlikely to sign off on any rule changes that would enable passage of voting rights legislation, which they staunchly oppose. A filibuster change through the regular process require a two-thirds vote, and even moderate Republicans say they’re not interested.
“I don’t see how. Unless Sen. (Chuck) Schumer tries to employ the nuclear option, rule changes require 67 votes,” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, told NBC News, referring to the Senate majority leader. “I think the rules and traditions of the Senate have generally served us well, and I don’t see the need for rule changes.”
Sinema said through a spokesperson that she still opposes weakening the 60-vote rule to pass a voting bill.
And that Ladies and Gentlemen is how empires and democracies die!
Have a great weekend! I hope you enjoy the soothing colors of Marc Chagall!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Blue Monday Reads: It will be a Long Cold WinterPosted: December 6, 2021 Filed under: Republican politics, Revisionism, the GOP, The Insurrection Fallout, Treason and Sedition Republican Style, Trump Trash, Voter Ignorance, Voting Rights, War on Women 13 Comments
Good Day Sky Dancers!
I kept the TV off–as usual–for my weekend. Still, things crept through my timelines on social media so I got your basic headlines. The 4th wave of the Covid-19 is settling in for Winter. Germany has basically told all unvaccinated people they must stay home unless they’re doing something absolutely necessary. New York City is getting tougher too. The New York Times reports that “New York City sets a sweeping vaccine mandate for all private employers.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a sweeping coronavirus vaccine mandate for all private employers in New York City on Monday morning to combat the spread of the Omicron variant.
Mr. de Blasio said the aggressive measure, which takes effect Dec. 27 and which he described as the first of its kind in the nation, was needed as a “pre-emptive strike” to stall another wave of coronavirus cases and help reduce transmission during the winter months and holiday gatherings.
“Omicron is here, and it looks like it’s very transmissible,” he said in an interview on MSNBC. “The timing is horrible with the winter months.”
New York City has already put vaccine mandates in place for city workers and for employees and customers at indoor dining, entertainment and gyms. Nearly 90 percent of adult New York City residents now have at least one dose of the vaccine.
But Mr. de Blasio said the city must go further to combat another wave of the virus in New York City, once the center of the pandemic. Some private employers have required employees to get vaccinated, but many others have not.
Mr. de Blasio said the new measure would apply to about 184,000 businesses. Employees who work in-person at private companies must have one dose of the vaccine by Dec. 27; remote workers will not be required to get the vaccine. There is no testing option as an alternative.
The city plans to offer exemptions for valid medical or religious reasons, Mr. de Blasio said. City officials will release detailed guidelines about issues like enforcement by Dec. 15 after consulting with business leaders.
The mayor also announced that the rules for dining and entertainment would apply to children ages 5 to 11, who must have one dose to enter restaurants and theaters starting on Dec. 14, and that the requirement for adults would increase from one dose of a vaccine to two starting on Dec. 27, except for those who initially received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The problem is still the people in the hinterlands who are also creating problems with their gun fetishes and authoritarian/theocratic tendencies. Sorry to do this, but we’re going there today. Trumpists and theocrats threaten our democracy. This is written by Barton Gellman for The Atlantic: Trump’s Next Coup Has Already Begun .
The prospect of this democratic collapse is not remote. People with the motive to make it happen are manufacturing the means. Given the opportunity, they will act. They are acting already.
Who or what will safeguard our constitutional order is not apparent today. It is not even apparent who will try. Democrats, big and small D, are not behaving as if they believe the threat is real. Some of them, including President Joe Biden, have taken passing rhetorical notice, but their attention wanders. They are making a grievous mistake.
“The democratic emergency is already here,” Richard L. Hasen, a professor of law and political science at UC Irvine, told me in late October. Hasen prides himself on a judicious temperament. Only a year ago he was cautioning me against hyperbole. Now he speaks matter-of-factly about the death of our body politic. “We face a serious risk that American democracy as we know it will come to an end in 2024,” he said, “but urgent action is not happening.”
For more than a year now, with tacit and explicit support from their party’s national leaders, state Republican operatives have been building an apparatus of election theft. Elected officials in Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and other states have studied Donald Trump’s crusade to overturn the 2020 election. They have noted the points of failure and have taken concrete steps to avoid failure next time. Some of them have rewritten statutes to seize partisan control of decisions about which ballots to count and which to discard, which results to certify and which to reject. They are driving out or stripping power from election officials who refused to go along with the plot last November, aiming to replace them with exponents of the Big Lie. They are fine-tuning a legal argument that purports to allow state legislators to override the choice of the voters.
By way of foundation for all the rest, Trump and his party have convinced a dauntingly large number of Americans that the essential workings of democracy are corrupt, that made-up claims of fraud are true, that only cheating can thwart their victory at the polls, that tyranny has usurped their government, and that violence is a legitimate response.
Any Republican might benefit from these machinations, but let’s not pretend there’s any suspense. Unless biology intercedes, Donald Trump will seek and win the Republican nomination for president in 2024. The party is in his thrall. No opponent can break it and few will try. Neither will a setback outside politics—indictment, say, or a disastrous turn in business—prevent Trump from running. If anything, it will redouble his will to power.
This is also from The Atlantic and written by George Packer. Way to go with the winter cheer! Are We Doomed? If you haven’t got Blues yet, you’re either a White Nationalist or dead.
A year after the insurrection, I’m trying to imagine the death of American democracy. It’s somehow easier to picture the Earth blasted and bleached by global warming, or the human brain overtaken by the tyranny of artificial intelligence, than to foresee the end of our 250-year experiment in self-government.
The usual scenarios are unconvincing. The country is not going to split into two hostile sections and fight a war of secession. No dictator will send his secret police to round up dissidents in the dead of night. Analogies like these bring the comfort of at least being familiar. Nothing has aided Donald Trump more than Americans’ failure of imagination. It’s essential to picture an unprecedented future so that what may seem impossible doesn’t become inevitable.
Before January 6, no one—including intelligence professionals—could have conceived of a president provoking his followers to smash up the Capitol. Even the rioters livestreaming in National Statuary Hall seemed stunned by what they were doing. The siege felt like a wild shot that could have been fatal. For a nanosecond, shocked politicians of both parties sang together from the hymnal of democracy. But the unity didn’t last. The past months have made it clear that the near miss was a warning shot.
If the end comes, it will come through democracy itself.
You can read his scenario at the link. Here’s some more anti-democratic stuff from Axios and Mike Allen.
Conservatives are aggressively building their own apps, phones, cryptocurrencies and publishing houses in an attempt to circumvent what they see as an increasingly liberal internet and media ecosystem.
Why it matters: Many of these efforts couldn’t exist without the backing of major corporate figures and billionaires who are eager to push back against things like “censorship” and “cancel culture.”
- It’s still not clear whether demand will match supply.
Driving the news: Rumble, a conservative alternative to YouTube, agreed to go public at an implied $2.1 billion valuation via a SPAC merger.
- The SPAC is sponsored by Cantor Fitzgerald, a financial services firm led by billionaire and Trump fundraiser Howard Lutnick.
- “I’m excited to support Rumble and its ability to operate the neutral video platform,” Lutnick said in a statement.
Donald Trump’s new social media company, called Truth Social, also plans to go public via a SPAC and on Saturday said that it secured $1 billion in so-called PIPE financing.
- The SPAC is currently trading at a market value of $1.6 billion, down from its $4.5 billion peak in late October. Truth Social has yet to name a CEO.
Gettr, a social app launched by ex-Trump aide Jason Miller, has not disclosed all of its investors, but Miller has acknowledged that one of the app’s funders is the family foundation of Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui.
Aside from social networks, conservatives are pushing to create alternatives to other tech tools and communication platforms.
Some good news is that Trump SPAC is under investigation by federal regulators, including SEC via CNBC.
Federal regulators are investigating former President Donald Trump’s SPAC deal.
The Securities and Exchange Commission and FINRA probes were disclosed in a filing by Digital World Acquisition Corp., the special purpose acquisition company.
Trump Media & Technology Group has said it will launch a social media platform called “TRUTH Social.”
The platform would compete with Twitter and Facebook, both of which have banned the former president because of his incitement of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
You may read more details about this story in The New York Times. Securities Regulators are among the most fastidious investigators anywhere. You should also read this Op-Ed from Jennifer Rubin from the Washington Post. Rubin does a great job vivisecting the most vial Governor of Mississippi. He’s pretty much everything you hate in those white evangelicals. The hypocrisy is jaw-dropping.
The priority for Reeves and the GOP is to force women to complete their pregnancies and give birth — even though that is exponentially more dangerous to the lives of women in his state. (The Post reports that in Mississippi it is “75 times more dangerous for women to give birth than to undergo a pre-viability abortion.”)
Republicans are incapable of explaining the contradiction between their objection to minor inconveniences (e.g. mask-wearing, vaccinations, reasonable gun laws) to save lives and their insistence that women undergo dangerous pregnancies to protect a fetus, which they consider to be a person.
Well, I was hungry but now my appetite has been ruined. Think I’ll have some more tea and turn on some nice music. I vote this coming Saturday for Orleans Parish Sheriff and my City Council seat. It’s amazing to be someplace with normal candidates and then look at the rest of the country and state.
Here are a few things you may want to check out!
From Politico: ‘Absolute liars’: Ex-D.C. Guard official says generals lied to Congress about Jan. 6
From WAPO: Sidney Powell group raised more than $14 million spreading election falsehoods
From CNN: Biden administration expected to announce diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics this week
From WAPO: GOP congressman’s gun-toting family Christmas photo sparks outrage days after school shooting
There is a lot out there on Republican Shenanigans and our inability to really address many of the central issues.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Now the fraud police are coming
Right out to your door
They say you have no liberty if you’re who there looking for
No writ of habeas corpus
No platform of the sands
The wind don’t have to hurry only the wind knows where you went