Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Drop Everything and Pass This (Almost) Nothingburger

No, Amy, just no:

As noted by HuffPost

The Senate on Tuesday passed a bill to codify protections for same-sex and interracial marriages, a historic vote aimed at protecting people’s civil rights in the event that the conservative-led Supreme Court decides to dismantle marriage equality on the heels of gutting abortion rights.

The Respect for Marriage Act passed, 61 to 36. Every Democrat present voted for it, and they needed at least 10 Republicans to vote with them. They got 12...

The measure now heads to the House and, assuming it passes, to President Joe Biden to be signed into law. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters Tuesday that the House plans to take up and pass the bill as soon as next Tuesday.

The bill does two things: It repeals the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 federal law that banned same-sex marriage, and it requires states to recognize valid same-sex marriages from other states. It also ensures the same protections for interracial marriages.

Klobuchar's tweet is wrong on several levels: 1) "marriage equality" (i.e., same-sex marriage) already had been protected by the United States Supreme Court, which ruled in Hodges v. Obergefell that no jurisdiction could prohibit it: 2) whatever is protected by the bill is not protected merely by action in the Senate but must also be passed in the House (as noted in the ABC News video below)- which might alter it with an amendment by the chamber's Republicans- and signed by the President; 3) the bill applies to interracial, as well as same-sex, marriages.

Other than that, the esteemed Senator from Minnesota has it exactly right.  By contrast, ABC News political reporter Brittany Shepherd seems to understand at least that the legislation is limited in scope- which (presumably) Klobuchar also does, but who as a Senator has motive to hype it. However, Shepherd also referred to it as a "monumental move for Democrats" and a "magnanimous, huge win for Joe Biden and Democrats." 


HuffPost explains

The bill does two things: It repeals the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 federal law that banned same-sex marriage, and it requires states to recognize valid same-sex marriages from other states. It also ensures the same protections for interracial marriages.

Same-sex and interracial marriages are, of course, already legal nationwide. But Congress is pushing through this bill in response to conservatives on the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade this year, destroying 50 years of precedent, and suggesting that they could use the same rationale for overturning landmark decisions that have established the right to same-sex and consensual relationships.

Justice Clarence Thomas, for one, had this to say in a concurring opinion when the court overturned Roe v. Wade in June: “In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.”

The Supreme Court already had overturned the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act, in 2013 in United States v. Windsor. If the current bill is not enacted into law, jurisdictions nonetheless could not prohibit same-sex marriage, thanks to Hodges v. Obergefell

This bill would guarantee full faith and credit for intra-sexual and interracial marriages were Hodges to be overturned, such that a state enacting prohibition of same-sex marriage would be required recognize such a marriage which took place elsewhere. Good, but call me unimpressed.

Meanwhile, Republicans- including the most likely Speaker of the House- Kevin McCarthy- in the next Congress- are threatening to refuse to raise the debt limit in order to force a reduction in spending, including in Social Security and Medicare. Spending cuts would be disastrous; a default would be disastrous. But, hey, now if the Court overturns its ruling on same-sex marriage, a state banning gay marriage would be required to recognize the marriage of two men or two women married in a state permitting such unions. 

Several of those twelve Republicans who voted "aye" would sooner sooner run naked through a Chick-fil-A restaurant than vote for anything substantive proposed by Democrats. But they voted for this bill. Senator Klobuchar is thrilled, but we should not be shocked by this.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Pretend Christian

If you're a Bible-believing Christian, as Greene claims to be, you should know she's a fraud. If, as with most people, you're not a Bible-believing Christian, you should know she's a fraud.

Marjorie Taylor Greene is famous, or infamous, for many things, including in June declaring "We need to be the party of nationalism and I'm a Christian, and I say it proudly, we should be Christian nationalists." She claimed Christian nationalism would stop "crime in our streets," school shootings, and "sexual immorality" and "we should be most proud of Christianity. So if Christian nationalism is something to be scared of, they're lying to you."

This, then, should strike Bible-believing Christians as highly incongruous:

In a verse well-known even to some people not well-versed in Scripture, the apostle Paul told the Romans "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." If Marjorie were half as committed to Christianity as she purports to be, she'd be familiar with this fundamental principle of the faith.  

Those unfamiliar with Paul's admonition or skeptical of its authenticity themselves are aware that all are imperfect because, well, no one is perfect. Moreover, that young person who is confused or uncertain (or determined to transition) about his or her sexuality would soon find out that he or she is not perfect and then realize that the counselor, friend, or family member who said otherwise was lying. 

Greene's remark won't change the mind of a non-Christian or lukewarm Christian, nor that of devout Christians, most still supportive of an ex-President who was openly contemptuous of Christians and Christianity. Still, it's helpful to understand that as right-wing and nasty as Marjorie Taylor Greene is, she's also a fake, phony, and fraud.


Sunday, November 27, 2022

Tweet of the Day- RNC

Adam Kinzinger, again. Of course, this would be great, and for two reasons related to each other (which, of course, Ronna is to Mitt Romney, which she hid by dropping the "Romney" in her name).

McDaniel fed the alligator by being a loyal supporter of Donald J. Trump- and by being effectively convincing the mainstream media otherwise. In an article last November,  CNN reporter naively wrote

“Painfully, Joe Biden won the election and it’s very painful to watch. He’s the President. We know that,” McDaniel said at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor in Washington, DC.

While the RNC has for months criticized Biden in press releases and rapid response materials, McDaniel’s comments Thursday marked the first time the party chairwoman has clearly stated that Biden “won” the 2020 election.

(Warning: sarcasm ahead.) What was her first clue? Was it the projection by networks a few as it when electors met in each state on 12/14/20 and cast their votes for the Delawarean? Was it the certification of the Electoral College of the results? Was it when Congress certified the electoral college vote in the early morning hours of January 7, 2021? Was it when Trump failed on 61 of 62 lawsuits he filed to overturn the election? Or was it when McDaniel saw Joe Biden speaking from inside the White House, or outside of it in the Rose Garden, at a lectern with the presidential seal?

Or this could have been a clue:


That the ex-vice president won the election and became President was never in doubt, except to a tiny minority of the hard-core MAGA people, and probably only to a tiny minority of them. To believe otherwise would not have been merely wrong, stupid, or even evil but certifiably delusional. 

The issue always has been- to a majority of Republicans, a small number of unaffiliated voters, and to Trump himself- whether Joe Biden was legitimately elected.  McDaniel never has admitted that he was and in February declared “Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger crossed a line. They chose to join Nancy Pelosi in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens who engaged in legitimate political discourse that had nothing to do with violence at the Capitol.”


Much of the media does not seem to understand who (or what) Ronna Romney McDaniel is. But Mike Lindell, though admittedly dangerous, is an open book and clearly embodies qualities which most of America rejects. If he does stand for election to head of the Republican National Committee, he might not win. However, if he does become its chairman, the entertainment value would be off the charts.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Tweet of the Day- Not So Fast, Liz

Liz Cheney was defeated in the GOP primary in her bid for a to represent Wyoming for a fourth bid in the US House of Representatives because she voted for the impeachment of President Trump and is vice chairperson on the January 6 commission. Adam Kinzinger also voted to impeach President Trump and opted out of seeking re-election to the House of Representatives from Illinois.

Nonetheless, they are not the same person.  We know that one wants the report of the insurrection to be about three things: Donald Trump, Donald Trump, and Donald Trump. We don't know of the preference of the other Republican congressman on the committee, but he clearly believes there is something rotten about the GOP that goes beyond the former President.

Cheney and Kinzinger were responding to news that

Former President Donald Trump had dinner Tuesday at his Mar-a-Lago estate with white nationalist Nick Fuentes and rapper Kanye West, a Trump adviser confirmed to CBS News on Friday….

Fuentes is a leading figure on the far-right, having attended the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville in 2017 and the "Stop the Steal" rally on Jan. 6. Fuentes, who has spread antisemitic conspiracies, is considered a white supremacist by the Anti-Defamation League. According to the ADL, "Fuentes 'jokingly' denied the Holocaust and compared Jews burnt in concentration camps to cookies in an oven."

I don't know Adam Kinzinger's mind. However, when someone says "or nah," it's a rhetorical question and a little snide, for which we should agree: good on Adam. Kinzinger. He already knew the answer, and it's an emphatic "no."

It's a reminder that if Kevin McCarthy does become Speaker of the House, it will be only as the de jure Speaker. We all know the de facto Speaker will be the greatest liar in American political history, the man who has retired the award.


Thursday, November 24, 2022

What Goes Around Comes Around

In midst of an ad campaign nearly two years ago in which she flaunted her decision to carry a firearm around the District of Columbia, the Denver Post reported

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert — who has vowed to carry her Glock across Washington, D.C., and was rebuked by the city’s police chief for saying so — caused a minor incident at a security stop at the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday night.

The Rifle Republican reportedly attempted to walk through newly installed metal detectors, which sounded as she did. She then refused to turn over her bag to Capitol Police, who in turn refused to let her enter House chambers, according to reporters on the scene.

It’s not clear how the matter was resolved.

Then last December, the

gun-toting Colorado Republican who is under threat of being removed from her committee assignments for Islamophobic comments targeted at fellow lawmakers, faced more backlash on Wednesday after sharing a family photo showing her four children posing with guns in front of a Christmas tree.

"The Boeberts have your six, @RepThomasMassie!" Boebert wrote on Twitter late Tuesday, in apparent solidarity with GOP Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, a fellow gun enthusiast, who faced criticism for posting a similar photo last week of his family proudly holding firearms in front of their Christmas tree. Both families appeared smiling while heavily armed ahead of the holiday season.

In the wake of the Colorado Springs massacre, for which the congresswoman expressed condolences, Boebert was criticized by several Democrats for anti-LGBTQIA/pro-gun sentiments.

Boebert says she’s also a victim of the Club Q shooting: “I’ve been accused of just about every mass shooting there has been. I’ve been blamed for all of it. It has to come to an end. The Left is pissed I won my election, so they’re trying to find something to go after me about.”

I'll take some cheese with that whine. Though even gun-loving members of Congress such as Boebert shouldn't be held primarily responsible for mass shootings, the congresswoman obviously has brought this upon herself.

Opposing gun safety- as do most Republicans- would not have earned Boebert the scorn she did.  She has chosen not to be a gun control skeptic but a pro-gun, in-your-face, whatever-the-law-is-I-don't-care belligerent.

An old advertising slogan ran "you asked for it, you got it, Toyota." Own it, Lauren- you asked for it, you got it. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Noticed or Not, Killing Go On

There is no unanimity in characterization of a violent attack by firearm as a "mass shooting." However, it is reasonable to argue that in the USA in the past week alone, there have been three (3) unfortunate manifestations of 2nd Amendment freedoms. They've taken place in Chesapeake, Virginia on 11/22, leaving 7 dead and 4 injured; in Hennessey, Oklahoma on 11/20, with 4 killed and one injured; in Colorado Springs, Colorado on 11/19, resulting in 5 killed and 17 injured.

As I've written before, I rarely watch Fox News, which is far more politically extremist than either CNN or MSNBC. On the latter two, however, there has been much less coverage of Chesapeake and Hennessey than of Virginia Beach, which is to say: the extent of coverage of the Colorado Springs massacre has been proper, of the other two, insufficient. Those not born on November 22, 2022 (i.e., yesterday) will recognize greater coverage because the murders took place at a gay nightclub. 

That's not the best reason for emphasizing the story. However, these atrocities receive insufficient attention by the right, so we should be thankful for whatever reporting there is on cable news.

And in the USA, there undoubtedly will be only limited attention paid to certain other obscenities, from the progressive left or the centrist media, whose narrative they contradic,; nor from the GOP, which cannot easily blame them on Joe Biden. The Times of Israel reports

The body of an Israeli man who died after a car crash in the northern West Bank city of Jenin on Tuesday morning was believed to have been snatched by Palestinian gunmen from a hospital in the city, the military said.

Tiran Fero, an 18-year-old from the Druze-majority town of Daliyat al-Karmel was critically injured along with his friend who was seriously hurt in the crash.

The Israel Defense Forces said Fero was taken to a hospital in the Palestinian city due to his critical condition, while his friend was transferred to a nearby checkpoint before being rushed by the army to a hospital within Israel proper.

The body of an Israeli man who died after a car crash in the northern West Bank city of Jenin on Tuesday morning was believed to have been snatched by Palestinian gunmen from a hospital in the city, the military said.

Tiran Fero, an 18-year-old from the Druze-majority town of Daliyat al-Karmel was critically injured along with his friend who was seriously hurt in the crash.

The Israel Defense Forces said Fero was taken to a hospital in the Palestinian city due to his critical condition, while his friend was transferred to a nearby checkpoint before being rushed by the army to a hospital within Israel proper.

Fero died at the Ibn Sina hospital in Jenin, and later his body was apparently snatched by unidentified gunmen, according to the IDF and Palestinian media reports.

Fero’s uncle, however, said his nephew was still alive and connected to a ventilator when he was taken. “They disconnected him from the machines and tossed him into a car,” he told the Kan public radio Wednesday morning.

Images of Fero’s Israeli ID card circulated on social media, seemingly after being taken from the hospital.

Fero was not a soldier, but a 12th grader at a school in the Druze town….

There was no immediate public claim of responsibility by any terror groups for snatching the body.

Not so reticent, however, were some of their supporters:


Of course, Hamas will be Hamas.

Israel proper occupies .288% (including occupied territories, slightly more) of the Middle East . That is too much for some people, including a portion of the Middle East and right-wing and left-wing anti-Semites in the USA. They will largely ignore the continuing effort to destroy our nation's one democratic ally in the region while American media will mostly turn a blind eye to most murderous rampages in the USA.  

This is not peak media performance. But decent folks must be allowed to sleep easy o' nights, mustn't they?

                                               HAPPY THANKSGIVING


Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Going from Sick to Sicker

Texas now has three significant abortion bans in place and several administrative regulations governing the procedure, setting up a potential conflict as the largest state to ban abortion navigates this new legal landscape.

The trigger law criminalizes performing an abortion from the moment of fertilization unless the pregnant patient is facing “a life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy.” The statute specifically prohibits prosecuting a pregnant patient who undergoes an abortion.

Violations of the law are punishable by up to life in prison. The statute also says that the attorney general “shall” seek a civil penalty of not less than $100,000, plus attorney’s fees.

Elsewhere, the Associated Press has reported a case in which

Weeks after Roe v. Wade was overturned, Dr. Grace Ferguson treated a woman whose water had broken halfway through pregnancy. The baby would never survive, and the patient’s chance of developing a potentially life-threatening infection grew with every hour.

By the time she made it to Pittsburgh to see Ferguson, the woman had spent two days in a West Virginia hospital, unable to have an abortion because of a state ban. The law makes an exception for medical emergencies, but the patient’s life wasn’t in danger at that moment.

“She was just kind of standing on the edge of the cliff,” Ferguson said, “waiting for an emergency to happen or for the baby to pass away.”

In Pennsylvania, at the hospital a four-hour drive away, Ferguson was able to induce labor to end the pregnancy.

A growing number of physicians and families tell similar stories as a post-Roe fear comes to pass: Pregnant women with dangerous medical conditions are showing up in hospitals and doctors’ offices only to be denied the abortions that could help treat them. Some doctors in states with restrictive abortion laws say they’ve referred or suggested more patients go elsewhere than ever. Some women are facing harmful, potentially deadly delays.

Doctors say they’re forced to balance medical judgment with potential punishments, including prison time. Although even the strictest laws allow abortion to save a mother’s life, a weighty question lingers: How close to death must the patient be?

“You don’t automatically go from living to dead,” Ferguson said. “You slowly get sicker and sicker.”

It’s impossible to say when that line is crossed, said Dr. Alison Haddock, who’s on the board of the American College of Emergency Physicians. “There’s just no moment where I’m standing in front of a critically ill patient where I know: OK, before their health was just in danger. But now, their life is in danger,” she said.

Referenda pertaining to abortion were on the ballot in six states in 2022. The three pro-choice measures were passed; the three pro-life measures were defeated. It turns out these were part of not only a pro-choice or pro-abortion rights movement, but of a women's health movement.

Drop Everything and Pass This (Almost) Nothingburger

No, Amy, just no: Today we protected marriage equality in the U.S. Senate. — Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) November 29, 2022 As noted...