Sunday, July 31, 2022

There She Goes Again



If Representative Rashida Tlaib hadn't already established herself as an anti-Semite, she'd qualify for the most ignorant member of the United House of Representatives.

 

 has failed to find the truth. Shireen & her family deserve justice. When Americans are killed abroad our government investigates. But when the murderers wear Israeli uniforms? Silence.

Tlaib continues to fantasize that Israel is an apartheid state in the hope that if she repeats it often enough, people will buy it. Yet there are several members representing Arab parties in the Israeli Knesset and have been several (Christian) Arabs on the Israeli Supreme Court. Recently, an Arab Muslim, Khaled Kabub, became the first Muslim appointed to the court. And it was 13 months ago that Time wrote of

the leader of the political party of the Islamic Movement, Mansour Abbas, sitting alongside Naftali Bennett, the envoy of religious ultra-nationalist Zionism. But there they were with the secular centrist Yair Lapid on June 2, pens in hand, ready to sign documents bringing a devout Muslim and Palestinian citizen of Israel into a coalition government with the two Jewish Zionist leaders. “It was a historic moment,” Abbas tells TIME a few days later from the offices of his United Arab List party in Kafr Qana. “Some people in the room teared up.”

Israel practices a very strange apartheid, indeed.  Moreover, any oppression Tlaib claims Tel Aviv practices against Palestinians is obviously unrelated to "racism," given that there is no clear racial distinction between Palestinian Muslims and Israeli Jews. Nor do Palestinians constitute one distinct race. 

Decades ago, discrimination against Jews and Catholics was common in the USA. Not all discrimination constitutes "racism," and neither is most criticism of Israel anti-Semitic. But you'd never know it from Rashida Tlaib.

 

Friday, July 29, 2022

Tweet of the Day- Charter Schools



"It's about privatization. It has nothing to do with education," emphasizes a former charter school employee and current public school teacher.

 

Mr. Johnson maintains that once a charter school has been given its money but realizes a student has special needs, the child is sent back to a traditional public school. The charter school gets to keep the money.

Especially insidious is the growth in virtual charter schools, which has outpaced that of brick-and-mortar charters and which

have a record of low academic achievement, high attrition, and low graduation rates. In addition, the sector has experienced massive scandals, like the A3 chain in California, whose founders pleaded guilty to phantom enrollments and are repaying the state hundreds of millions of dollars. Like ECOT (Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow) in Ohio, which collected $1 billion over 20 years, gave generously to politicians, then declared bankruptcy rather than comply with a court order to repay $67 million to the state for padded enrollments.

Privatization is a scourge throughout society and education is no exception.

 


Thursday, July 28, 2022

Pardon The Execution


In 2016, it was immigration powering Donald J. Trump to the presidency. Now it appears that Donald Trump has seized upon a slightly different issue, one he mentioned but did not emphasize in 2022, as his path back to power. On Tuesday, he

voiced support for imposing the death penalty as punishment for convicted drug dealers as part of a speech in which he laid out a series of drastic measures to curb crime.

“The penalties should be very, very severe. If you look at countries throughout the world, the ones that don’t have a drug problem are ones that institute a very quick trial death penalty sentence for drug dealers,” Trump said at the America First Policy Institute.

“It sounds horrible, doesn’t it? But you know what? That’s the ones that don’t have any problem. It doesn’t take 15 years in court. It goes quickly, and you absolutely — you execute a drug dealer, and you’ll save 500 lives,” Trump continued.

“It’s terrible to say, but you take a look at every country in this world that doesn’t have a problem with drugs, they have a very strong death penalty for people that sell drugs,” he said.

Trump’s comments calling for a crackdown on drug dealers, which included praise for quick trials in other countries, came as part of a broader vision for harshly cracking down on crime.

The former president painted a picture of a bleak and dystopian country, highlighting instances of civilians being attacked in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere.



On July 8, he had similarly maintained

the U.S. should model its response to the illegal narcotics trade on China, where he said accused drug dealers are executed after swift trials.

Trump made the remarks in a speech he delivered in Las Vegas, Nevada, Friday during a rally for his endorsed candidates in the state's gubernatorial and Senate races. The speech was marked by two recurring themes for Trump: a demand for law and order, as well as an admiration for heavy-handed governance.

Addressing what he's characterized as an alarming wave of violent crime, Trump prefaced his praise for China by saying he would either "get a standing ovation" or "people are going to walk out of the room."

"If you look at countries all throughout the world ... the only ones that don't have a drug problem are those that institute the death penalty for drug dealers. They're the only ones, you understand that? China has no drug problem," Trump said to applause.

As with Trump's pleas for patriotism, the ex-president's heated rhetoric slamming drug dealers is a matter of convenience.  On his way out of office

President Donald J. Trump’s late-night commutation of a 10-year prison sentence being served by a drug smuggler named Jonathan Braun made the action sound almost routine. The White House said only that upon his release, Mr. Braun would “seek employment to support his wife and children.”

What the White House did not mention is that Mr. Braun, a New Yorker from Staten Island who had pleaded guilty in 2011 to leading a large-scale marijuana smuggling ring, still faces both criminal and civil investigations in an entirely separate matter, and has a history of violence and threatening people.

According to lawsuits filed in June against Mr. Braun and two associates by the New York State attorney general, Letitia James, and the Federal Trade Commission, Mr. Braun helped start and worked as a de facto enforcer for an operation that made predatory loans to small-business owners, threatening them with violence if they refused to pay up.

Federal prosecutors for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan also have a continuing investigation into that operation, a person with knowledge of the investigation said Friday.

As recently as two and a half years ago, Mr. Braun was accused of throwing a man off a deck at an engagement party. Federal prosecutors said in a court proceeding that he threatened to beat a rabbi who borrowed money to renovate a preschool at his synagogue. “I am going to make you bleed,” he told the rabbi, according to court documents, adding, “I will make you suffer for every penny.”

How much Mr. Trump and his aides knew about Mr. Braun’s past and his current legal troubles is not clear. In its announcement of the pardon this week, the White House appears to have substantially overstated how much of his 10-year sentence Mr. Braun had completed, saying he had served five years when he had only reported to prison a year ago. (The White House announcement also misspelled his first name, calling him Jonathon.)

Braun wasn't the first drug salesman to whom President Trump lavished some love.  There would have been more but the vast majority of drug crimes are state, rather than federal, offenses.

Perhaps Donald Trump actually would like to see drug pushers executed, along with the political opponents he'd target in a second term. Either way, he may have found his issue this time around.



Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Why The Deception?


Shamefully, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is lying to the American people.

 


In her speech (video below) on the House floor prior to passage in the chamber of the Respect for Marriage Act, the Speaker noted the legislation would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and (at 5:24) maintained

This legislation also guarantees that no married couple can be denied equal protection under federal law. This is really very important- from tax provisions, to social security benefits, and more, even if the Court were to erase marriage freedom, God forbid. Finally, this legislation bars states from denying recognition to valid out-of-state marriages even if a state were to enact heinous restrictions.



It would indeed accomplish the latter. However, as the ACLU explains

While the bill and bipartisan vote are important, the bill is quite limited.

Here’s why: The Respect for Marriage Act repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which in turn did two things: DOMA barred the federal government from respecting the marriages of same-sex couples who were married under state law, excluding them from federal recognition in over 1,000 contexts, from Social Security survivor benefits to the ability to sponsor a spouse for citizenship to equitable tax treatment. It also said that the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution doesn’t require states to respect the marriages of same-sex couples performed by other states.

The Supreme Court struck down the federal recognition portion of DOMA in the 2013 United States v. Windsor decision. After Dobbs, people fear that Windsor could be overturned, so the Respect for Marriage Act fully repeals the federal respect portion of DOMA and replaces it with a requirement of respect by the federal government. It also repeals the Full Faith and Credit portion of DOMA, replacing it with a statement that Full Faith and Credit requires inter-state recognition. Those would both be significant advances that would backstop the Supreme Court’s ruling in Windsor and the inter-state recognition portion of its ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges should they be overturned.

The Respect for Marriage Act would not require any state to allow same-sex couples to marry.

If the Supreme Court overturns Obergefell v. Hodges, which established that the fundamental right to marry covers same-sex couples, the Respect for Marriage Act would not stop any state from once again refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The federal government would still be required to respect same-sex couples’ already-existing marriages, as would other states in many circumstances. But a state that wanted to get out of the business of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples would not violate the Respect for Marriage Act.

Nancy Pelosi wants to make it clear that the Respect for Marriage Act (which pertains also to interracial marriage) codifies Hodges v. Obergefell, thereby ensuring that "marriage equality" is "the law of the land."  But it does no such thing. It is less ambitious, significantly more limited in scope, although members of her caucus are claiming otherwise.

It's possible, though highly unlikely, that Pelosi herself has been misled by aides into believing the legislation is all that. However, that's unlikely because there is no one in the chamber who needs to know what is in a bill more than does the Speaker of the House.

The Speaker instead may have lied to her caucus but she would have realized that most members would read this relatively short bill. Alternatively- and most likely- she and her caucus have determined to represent the bill as something that it is not.  The media hasn't confronted party leadership over the misrepresentation, Republicans have ignored it, and it's clear that major Democrats aren't going to let the public in on their motive. 

 


Monday, July 25, 2022

Survival Instict


It's an imperfect analogy, but you get the point.


One of America's most prominent climate change hawks, who has publicly been on the global warming bandwagon for many years, almost predicted a massacre such as occurred in Uvalde, Texas.  He wasn't talking specifically about school shootings but did point out one of the most serious problems with policing in the USA. Spoiler alert: it has nothing to do with race.

In March of 2018, Bill Maher interviewed then-New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu, who is now in charge of infrastructure in the Biden Administration. A few days earlier, a police officer in Sacramento had shot and killed an unarmed, young black man. Maher remarked (at 5:46 of the video below)

But I guess I'm asking a more basic question. It seems like the police have this idea in their head that it should be a completely no-risk operation and we know it is a job with risk.... By the way, they do keep statistics so on this stuff. a policeman is the 14th-ranked risky job in America....

Well, we have had episodes- but they seem to have this idea hat if I feel my life is threatened in any way, I have the right to just take you out.


 


Four years ago, Bill Maher recognized that race is not the only component of policing which must be evaluated. Despite the abuse which would rain down upon him from Twitter and elsewhere in the political discourse, Maher should return to this theme. The truth will make left, right, and center uncomfortable but a solution is rarely implemented without first recognizing and acknowledging the problem.


Sunday, July 24, 2022

A Leading Abortion Opponent



In one of those cliched "shocking, but not surprising" moments:


As of a few months ago, the federal government still was investigating the congressman for allegedly having sex with a minor and obstructing justice. Joel Greenberg, once labeled Gaetz's "wingman, " was offered a plea deal in return for cooperating with federal authorities but sentencing has been delayed a few times, presumably while the authorities try to pry sufficient information from him.

Which begged the question(s):

:

The GOP does have women in their party, even in such elected positions as governor, US Senator, and US Representative. In the latter category lies an individual in caucus leadership, House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik of New York.

It would be especially meaningful and helpful if the ambitious and opportunistic Representative Stefanik, a personal favorite of Donald J. Trump, were to denounce Gaetz's comments. She will not, of course, especially because she is unusually ambitious and opportunistic.

But this is the time, or should be the time, for a woman- any woman- inside the GOP to stand up.  Matt Gaetz and other men are responsible for monogamy inside the Republican Party today. However, the primary responsibility for calling it out belongs to the women of the party.

Men should condemn it. Yet, we should not expect men to denounce what women, who are the target, appear to find acceptable. If a man did so, we should expect a Republican woman such as Stefanik (and did I mention that she is ambitious and opportunistic?) were to step in and defend Gaetz, leaving the gentleman exposed. 

If a Democrat had made a similarly offensive remark, GOP women probably would jump to the front of the line to denounce the sentiment and the speaker.  It's time for those women, if not completely lacking in integrity, to make their opinions known, publicly and definitively.

 

 

Friday, July 22, 2022

Tweet of the Day- Resisting Arrest

This tweet from Pe/ is two days old but well captures a contradiction


The police officer didn't handcuff Representative Ocasio-Cortez because there was no need to do so. Unlike roughly 99% of individuals who are arrested, the congresswoman actually wanted to be arrested, the better to publicize the cause. The officer either ordered her to put her hands behind her back or was at least relieved that she did so, the better to get her away from the scene of the obstruction and toward the police car. It's difficult to believe that Fox News' Brett Baier is so ignorant as not to understand this.


 




Thursday, July 21, 2022

Tweet of the Day- Second Amendment Literacy


Aside from anything else, it's nice to hear a Democrat avoid the obligatory- in their mind- assurance that "I'm in favor of the Second Amendment."

Raskin: They say when we argue for removing weapons of war from the streets of America, we’re actually telling them to repeal the 2nd amendment. We are not telling them to repeal the 2nd amendment, we are telling them to READ the 2nd amendment

On gun safety, it doesn't get any better than that.  However, Raskin notes that even in District of.Columbia vs. Heller in which Justice Antonin Scalia found a (non-existent) individual right to bear arms, the Justice wrote that the right is not unlimited. So Raskin adds

The sort of weapons protected were those in common use at the time. That was the musket, of course, and if you're an originalist, as Justice Scalia was, then you would say you have a right to carry a musket but you don't have a right to carry an AR-15. Even if you want to update that language to say, well, in common use at that time means in common use in our time- which is what I'm hearing from the gentleman- how is it in common use for Americans to use AR-15 when 68% of Americans don't own any gun at all and probably 80 or 85% of Americans don't own assault weapons?

It's questionable that Americans have the right individually to keep and bear even a musket, aside from participation in the militias which no longer exist. But I'm fine with telling our fellow citizens that they can carry a musket, and even more so that  repealing the 2nd Amendment is less important than reading and understanding it.


Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Broader Focus Needed


The Texas Tribune: "Only One Texas Republican in Congress Voted to Protect Marriage Equality".... "Almost all U.S. House Republicans from Texas on Tuesday opposed formally codifying the right to same-sex marriage into federal law.

Rachel Bitecofer (political scientist and Democratic strategist): Majority of House Republicans voted against codifying gay marriage bc they don't believe in equality under the law.

Politico: 47 House Republicans Vote to Write Same-Sex Marriage Into Law"....  "Nearly 50 House Republicans voted to write same-sex marriage into law Tuesday, joining all Democrats in a heavily bipartisan vote that would’ve been considered unthinkable a decade ago."

Newsweek: "House Republicans Cast 157 Votes Against Protecting Same-Sex Marriage".... The House voted to pass a bill that would codify protections for same-sex marriage into federal law, with 47 Republicans joining Democrats in passing the bill.

NBC News:  House Votes to Protect Same-Sex Marriage in Case the Supreme Court Rescinds It"... The House passed the Respect For Marriage Act Tuesday to codify legal same-sex marriage nationwide, fearing that the conservative majority on the Supreme Court will rescind the right after it overturned Roe v. Wade last month.

The Hill: "Republicans Show Political Evolution with Same-Sex Marriage Vote"... A vote on codifying federal protections for same-sex marriage demonstrated a sharp political evolution for Republicans on the issue over the last decade, with nearly four dozen House GOP members voting in favor of the legislation.

The New York Times: "House Votes to Protect Same-Sex Marriage Against Supreme Court Reversal"... The House on Tuesday passed a bill that would recognize same-sex marriages at the federal level, with a bipartisan coalition supporting a measure that addresses growing concerns that a conservative Supreme Court could nullify marriage equality.

I didn't go beyond the first paragraph, which is typical for many readers. The nature of coverage on MSNBC and CNN has been as bad, but unsurprising, given that real journalism largely is limited to the print medium. (Republican Fox News would have its own motive to cover the story in the same way). 

On the congress.gov website, we read the official explanation of the Respect for Marriage Act, H.R. 8404:

This bill provides statutory authority for same-sex and interracial marriages.

Specifically, the bill repeals and replaces provisions that define, for purposes of federal law, marriage as between a man and a woman and spouse as a person of the opposite sex with provisions that recognize any marriage that is valid under state law. (The Supreme Court held that the current provisions were unconstitutional in United States v. Windsor in 2013.)

The bill also repeals and replaces provisions that do not require states to recognize same-sex marriages from other states with provisions that prohibit the denial of full faith and credit or any right or claim relating to out-of-state marriages on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin. (The Supreme Court held that state laws barring same-sex marriages were unconstitutional in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015; the Court held that state laws barring interracial marriages were unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia in 1967.) The bill allows the Department of Justice to bring a civil action and establishes a private right of action for violations.

The preponderance of the media- which believes the bill applies only to same-sex couples, appears unaware that the bill prohibits the denial of full faith and credit to marriages  ".... on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin." Politico and The Hill obviously are particularly reprehensible, unaware or unconcerned that a vast majority of Republicans are, ahem, particularly partial to same-race marriages.

Sure, 157 of 204 Republicans voted against same-sex marriage, prohibition of which has been outlawed since the US Supreme Court rendered its 5-4 opinion (written by a Justice who since has retired-  a whopping seven years ago.  By contrast, states have been barred from banning interracial marriage for the past 55 years.  Interracial marriage is embedded in American society.

Well into the 21st century, 77% of Republicans have voted against a measure demonstrating respect for interracial marriages.  That should be startling, more so than the rejection of same-sex marriage, however little the media has noticed.


 


Typical Man With Firearm


Everyone heard, repeatedly and legitimately, about this murderous weekend incident outside of Indianapolis. CBS News has reported

Police on Monday provided more details about the shooting at a mall in Indiana on Sunday that left three victims dead — including the name of the "Good Samaritan" who is believed to have killed the shooter and stopped the attack. Officials called the actions of the armed civilian "nothing short of heroic," noting that the gunman likely would have killed many more people had he not intervened....

In a press conference Monday, Mayor Mark M. Meyers called Dicken a "Greenwood Good Samaritan" and thanked him for his quick actions in stopping the shooter. Greenwood Police Chief James Ison said that "Many more people would have died last night if not for a responsible armed citizen who took action within the first two minutes of this shooting."

A Good Samaritan and hero, Elisjsha Dicken deserves the wide acclaim he has gotten. But too often the "good guy with a gun" narrative goes awry- and gets less attention.  So many fewer people heard 

A distraught mother slammed a Texas grand jury for refusing to indict the man who shot and killed her young daughter while chasing down a man who'd just robbed him in February. 

On February 14, Arlene Alvarez was sitting in her family's car listening to music through headphones when she was shot in the head by Tony Earls, a 41-year-old who was on the street chasing down a man who had just robbed him at an ATM. 

Earls thought the robber had hopped into a vehicle and he mistook the Alvarez family car for one his assailant may have been traveling in. 

Gwen, the girl's mother, says he fired a total of nine shots at them, knowing he was going to kill someone or at the very least hoping he would. 

Earls was later charged with aggravated assault but a Grand Jury on Tuesday declined to indict him, accepting  his claim that he was acting in self-defense. 

"Self-defense" does a lot of work there.  Tony Earls is a good guy or, like most of us, a generally law-abiding one, who was angry because he had been robbed.  The grand jury found him to be an innocent man who had made a huge and horrible mistake. He, and especially his victim, are now a big part of what firearms and those who wield them recklessly have done to our country.


 

 


Monday, July 18, 2022

I Went To Riyadh, But All I Got Was A Fist Bump


George Conway tweets “I can think of at least two billion reasons why no member of the Trump family should not be heard to make any criticism of the President on this issue.” But in a way she does not intend, Lara Trump is right

President Trump never would have done the fist bump thing with Mohammed bin Salman.  There was no need for it. He already was in the Saudis' pocket without a fist bump.  As to the price exacted:

Six months after his father-in-law left the White House, Kushner secured a $2 billion investment from the main Saudi sovereign wealth fund — despite the fact that those responsible for helping oversee the fund were highly skeptical about giving Kushner’s firm this money. In fact, they accurately noted that Trump’s son-in-law had no relevant experience, and the firm’s operations were deemed “unsatisfactory in all aspects.”

Aside from the very real issue of a likely payoff to the son-in-law of an American president, there was Trump's visit early in 2017 to the Kingdom. He received an award from Saudi Arabia's de jure leader, King Abdullah, and in return, bowed down to the monarch. Rationalized as a squat, it was probably all Trump could muster, or perhaps he didn't want to get his suit pants dirty. There was also the mysterious glowing orb that President Trump joined Saudi dignitaries in saluting, which no one ever has been fully able to explain. The famous sword dance of the Saudis probably was Trump's favorite.







As Conway suggests, the two billion dollars was likely particularly significant, given that it exemplifies the Trump pattern of corruption and selling out the American people.  However, Lara Trump accidentally uttered a truth.  Her father-in-law would not have been satisfied with a meaningless and superficial fist bump when he could have gotten on his knees and really expressed his appreciation.



   




Saturday, July 16, 2022

Doublespeak


You've already viewed this exchange by Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell of California and Catherine Glenn Foster, President and CEO of Americans United for Life in a committee hearing on Thursday. However, you have not heard this testimony, which is so telling about forced-birth activists, enough. So beginning at 2:59 of the video below (boldness mine):

E.S.: Miss Foster, do you thin a ten-year-old would choose to carry?
C.F.: In a ten-year-old case, first of all, the Ohio-
E.S.: My question is, would a ten-year-old choose to carry a baby?
C.F.: In the Ohio case, the Ohio Attorney General said that abortion would be justified.
E.S.: I'm asking you, would a ten-year-old choose to carry a baby? Ma'am, focus on the question, please. Would a ten-year-old choose to carry a baby?
C.F.: I cannot-
E.S.: Do you think a ten-year-old should choose to carry a baby?
C.F.: I believe that would probably impact her life and so therefore it would fall under any exception and would not be an abortion.
E.S.: Wait- it would not be an abortion if a ten-year-old with her parents made the decision not to have a baby that was the result of a rape?
C.F.: If a ten-year-old became pregnant as the result of rape and it was threatening her life, then that's not  abortion. So it would not fall under any abortion restriction in our nation.

(Representative Swalwell then turned to Sarah Warbelow, Legal Director of the Human Rights Campaign, who agreed that Foster's characterization is "disinformation.")


 


The witness from Americans United for Life almost told the truth in her last assertion because abortion is permitted in Ohio if the life of the mother is endangered and in only two states (Arkansas and Louisiana) is there no exception for rape or the life of the mother. However, as Mehdi Hassan points out later in the video above, Ohio law permits abortion only to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman. And as one might reasonably conclude from this analysis, the 10-year would unlikely qualify for an exception and an abortion would have been denied.

So Foster wrongly asserted that when a pregnancy may be terminated in every state when it is caused by rape and threatens the mother's life. That misunderstanding- more likely a lie- pales in importance to her statement that termination of a pregnancy "would not be an abortion."

Abortion is premature termination of pregnancy and neither the circumstances of the fetus nor of impregnation can make it other than an abortion.  Abortion is abortion. This rationalization is analogous to the tactical decision of the anti-choice forces to characterize the woman seeking, requesting, paying for, and receiving an abortion as a "victim."

There have been episodic cases of a woman being prosecuted after an abortion. Nonetheless, it appears there has been no abortion provider in any of these cases. No physician or other midwife was involved and thus none could be charged.   No state, however determined to curtail or end a woman's reproductive freedom, has chosen to establish a specific penalty for a woman terminating a pregnancy.

This may, of course, change as the slippery slope of oppression becomes a steep sliding board.  However, states clearly are far more eager to punish the provider than the woman, even though the patient has actively sought, obtained, and given compensation for what that state has concluded is an unlawful killing of a human being. In forced-birth states, such a female is seen as a pitiful individual, incapable of agency and unable to make her own decisions. 

More than 60 years before Kellyanne Conway's "alternative facts," George Orwell wrote "if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought." If a grown adult exercising reproductive freedom can be labeled a "victim," it should be unsurprising that the anti-choice movement would begin arguing that an abortion is not an abortion.



Thursday, July 14, 2022

Smear Undone


On Wednesday, CBS News reported

An Ohio man has been charged with raping a 10-year-old girl whose case drew national attention following a doctor's comments that the child had to travel to Indiana for an abortion, an account that had led some prominent Republicans – including Ohio's attorney general and a congressman – to suggest it was fabricated.

Democratic President Joe Biden highlighted the case last week at the signing of an executive order aimed at protecting access to abortion as state after Republican-led state, including Ohio, enacted near-total restrictions after the U.S. Supreme Court's recent landmark ruling.

The President's reference to the case bothered many conservatives, with Fox News online attempting to discredit the account as "repeated by President Biden last week, but the widely shared story is facing increased skepticism and hasn't been verified by even left-leaning fact checkers," Shockingly, "even left-wing fact-checker Snopes could not determine if the story was true." (Of course, a fact-checker leans left because facts have a liberal bias.)

CBS News added

A detective testified Wednesday at an initial court appearance for the 27-year-old suspect that Columbus police learned about the girl's pregnancy through a referral by Franklin County Children Services that was made by her mother June 22, and that she had an abortion in Indianapolis on June 30, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

The detective said DNA from the Indianapolis abortion clinic was being tested to confirm paternity.

An Indianapolis physician who provides abortion services, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, had told The Indianapolis Star that an abortion had been provided for such a child because the girl couldn't get the procedure in Ohio under a newly imposed state ban on abortions at the first detectable "fetal heartbeat." A judge lifted a stay on the ban after the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.

As Judd Legum details, an entire right-wing campaign was unleashed. Tucker Carlson declared the news item "not true." Further

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost appeared on another Fox News show, Jesse Watters Primetime, to attack the Indianapolis Star report. "We have regular contact with prosecutors and local police and sheriffs — not a whisper anywhere," Yost said. In a subsequent interview with USA Today, Yost said that there was "not a damn scintilla of evidence" to support the story, which he described as a likely "fabrication." Watters himself concluded that the story "fits a pretty dangerous pattern of politically timed disinformation."

 

The Ohio congressman to whom CBS referred was the famous, more deservingly infamous, Jim Jordan:

 

Conservatives understood that Americans might realize that if an abortion could be denied to a 10-year-old rape victim, every woman would be in jeopardy. Among the worst offenders was the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, which called Indianapolis Star Shari

Rudavsky's report a "fanciful tale[]" that was "too good to confirm." Ignoring Bernard's first-hand account, the editorial claimed there is "no evidence the girl exists." The piece criticizes Bernard for not providing details that could expose the identity of the 10-year-old including "where the alleged crime occurred" and "the Ohio doctor who referred the case." They suggested that Bernard perpetrated a hoax because she has "a long history of abortion activism in the media."

 Legum, again:

Yost is unrepentant. Jordan is unrepentant. No Republican will admit to error because to forced-birth advocates, no error was made.

 

A safe prediction:

 

It will not be the last. Donald Trump is the GOP hero and the only Republican with a serious chance of heading him off is the similarly cruel Florida governor, Ron DeSantis. Pro-life is not the point for party officials. Cruelty, and coercion of women- even rape victims- are on their wish list.

 

Share |

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Griner Alone Chorus


In late April, after the release from Russia of Trevor Reed in a prisoner swap, CNN reminded us that Paul

Whelan, a US citizen and former Marine, was detained at a Moscow hotel in December 2018 and arrested on espionage charges, which he has consistently and vehemently denied. He was convicted and sentenced in June 2020 to 16 years in prison in a trial US officials denounced as unfair.....

In a separate statement earlier Wednesday, the Whelan family expressed happiness about Reed's release after more than two years in Russian detention, but said it is a day of "varied emotions" and questions for them.

The detainment of WNBA star Brittney Griner increases the opportunity for a deal which would include Whelan. And after the agreement that included Reed but not Whelan, the "Biden administration "said it will continue to work for Paul Whelan's release, as well as that of detained WNBA player Brittney Griner."



The Administration, wanting both Whelan and Griner released, has little company.  On Tuesday, we heard from "King" LeBron as

"Now, how can she feel like America has her back?" James said in a trailer for the latest episode of his talk show, "The Shop: Uninterrupted," which airs on YouTube. "I would be feeling like, 'Do I even want to go back to America?'"

James later tweeted Tuesday that his comments were not meant to disrespect "our beautiful country""....

Nonetheless

James' Uninterrupted multimedia platform is also selling T-shirts with "We Are BG" printed on the front, with Uninterrupted's online store stating that the proceeds from the merchandise will go to The BG Advocacy Fund, run by Griner's family to cover legal costs associated with her release.

Last Saturday, opinion columnist Evette Dionne noted on the MSNBC website

In March, Black Feminist Future, a national organization “focused on the dynamic possibilities of galvanizing the social and political power of Black women, girls, and gender-expansive people toward liberation,” launched Bring Brittney Home. The multipart campaign, which includes clear demands for the Biden administration (“We demand the U.S. government prioritize the swift and safe release and return of Brittney Griner back to the United States — facing no charges”), has a comprehensive media toolkit for those who want to express support for Griner but are unsure where to start.

Dionne, in apparent seriousness, decried the Biden Administration's "apparent lack of  urgency" because "queer Black women are deprioritized on both sides of the political aisle." 

Compared to LeBron James, certainly. Compared also to "WNBA leaders (who) created a Change.org petition that has garnered more than 300,000 signatures and is using social media to continue shining a spotlight on this injustice."  and the NBA's Boston Celtics, who wore “We Are BG” shirts that included a QR code for the petition.  Compared also to Griner's wife Cherelle, who has been active on Instagram and has been seen frequently on MSNBC and CNN.  

Paul Whelan's brother, David, also has been fairly visible. He has pled for greater attention to the detention of both his brother and Brittney Griner. His is almost a voice crying alone in the wilderness.

If you have seen a problem here, you are paying attention. If you have not, you are, quite understandably, unaware of Paul Whelan's incarceration in a Russian prison. Or perhaps you believe- like some of Brittney Griner's advocates- that only some American lives matter.




Monday, July 11, 2022

Dessert Is (Not) Served


Say their names: Dr. David Gunn (Pensacola, 1993); Dr. John Bayard, James H. Barrett (Pensacola, 1994); Shannon Lowney, Leanne Nicks (Brookline, Mass., 1994); Dr. Barnett Slepian (Amherst, NY, 1998); Robert Sanderson (Birmingham, 1998); Dr. George Tiller (Wichita, 2009); Garrett Swasey, Ke'Arre M. Stewart, Jennifer Murkowsky (Colorado Springs, 2015).

These are the names of the victims- the individuals murdered at abortion clinics, or elsewhere because they were practitioners at abortion clinics. It does not include the thousands of employees, professionals or otherwise, or women seeking an abortion, who in the last several years have faced increasing threats of violence or harassment at abortion clinics.

But Brett Kavanaugh is the real victim:

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh ducked out the back door of a steakhouse in Washington, D.C., when a group of demonstrators gathered outside to protest his vote to jettison Roe v. Wade, Politico and activists reported.

Kavanaugh was dining Wednesday night at Morton’s restaurant in downtown Washington when protesters showed up out front, according to Politico. They called the manager to tell him to kick Kavanaugh out — and later tweeted that the justice soon slipped out the back, which Politico confirmed.

Morton's has a right, legally and morally, to serve anyone and everyone who wishes to dine there, assuming the patron pays for its product and abides by whatever basic standards the chain steakhouse may require its customers to maintain. And Brett Kavanaugh has the same right, legally and morally, to travel to any dining spot he wishes, even though there is no right to travel deeply rooted in this nation's history and tradition.  Moreover, the raucous protest outside of Morton's will change no one's mind, and, disturbingly, may not have been intended to do so.

Nonetheless, as Charlie Pierce has noted

You cannot protest at the steps of the Supreme Court, as they've walled that shit off. You can't protest at the justices' houses, and there's some merit to the idea that private residences—where spouses and children are in the mix—should be off-limits. (Of course, in the case of Clarence Thomas, his spouse has very much been in the mix.) But you can't protest in neutral public venues, either, even if you're on a city street outside a restaurant.

Kavanaugh's supporters, the restaurant and others, are claiming a right to privacy which the court's most prominent problem drinker and four others have denied to women because they were not inserted in the Constitution by the musket-toting, horse and carriage riding, slaveholding founders.

 

There is no constitutional right to eat dinner, but Justice Brett Kavanaugh has been subject to rude and useless harassment. He and five other Justices have opened pregnant women to much more than having to flee a restaurant by the back exit. 

 

 


Sunday, July 10, 2022

Tweet of the Day- Musk


If even a stopped clock is right twice a day, Donald Trump probably is right roughly twice a year. and he was right in Alaska in Saturday about a famous multi-billionaire:


Pe` has Elon Musk pegged:


Even before the move to buy, or not buy, Twitter, it had become clear who (or rather, what) Elon Musk is. Two months ago,.the Guardian explained

How do you become the richest man in the world? In Elon Musk’s case, part of it involves making workers in China put in hours that would be unacceptable according to labor norms elsewhere.

On Tuesday, the Tesla boss praised Chinese factory workers for pulling extreme hours while taking a shot at American workers. “There is just a lot of super talented hardworking people in China who strongly believe in manufacturing,” the billionaire said. “They won’t just be burning the midnight oil, they will be burning the 3am oil, they won’t even leave the factory type of thing, whereas in America people are trying to avoid going to work at all.”

Musk’s comment comes as Tesla’s massive Shanghai “Giga-factory” pushes its workers to the limit to meet production targets amid an ongoing pandemic lockdown.

In April, Tesla restricted its Shanghai workers from leaving the factory under a so-called “closed-loop” system originally developed by Chinese authorities to contain Beijing Olympics participants. While locked inside, the workers were reportedly made to work 12-hour shifts, six days in a row, and to sleep on factory floors. Production at the plant was forced to halt this week due to parts shortages, the company said.

Labor rights and safety violations have been reported at Tesla’s Shanghai factory since it opened in 2018, with some workers making as little as $1,500 a month in what an investigation by local journalists called the “Giga-sweatshop.”

Even in the United States, Musk is well known for his disregard for labor norms and work-life balance....

Elon Musk probably is the "bull _ _ _  artist" Trump claims he is, especially because the latter knows more about slinging bull than almost anyone alive.  However, he also is a hypocrite, complaining about mask mandates in the USA while ramping up production in a country which would jail his workers if they break quarantine to leave the factory.  Better (worse yet, he's a hypocrite contemptuous of American workers- hence of Americans- because they'd rather spend 3 a.m. at home than at work.



Saturday, July 09, 2022

Destructive Agenda




Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor of Pennsylvania, wants to decertify electors to restore Donald Trump to the White House, ban abortion completely, and establish Pennsylvania as "a Second Amendment sanctuary for unrestricted firearms ownership. Also

“I think instead of 19,000 [dollars], we fund each student around 9,000 or 10,000 and they can decide which school to go to, public school, private school, religious school, cyber school, or home school,” Mastriano said. “And the money goes to the kids. And I believe that would incentivize and drive down the costs of public education."

The driver of Mastriano’s scheme would be his push to eliminate, or at least radically reduce, the biggest source of school dollars in Pennsylvania: the property tax. He just wouldn’t replace this proposed massive loss of tax dollars. And the downsized government spending that still existed would be available to families in vouchers they could use to attend nonpublic schools, including religious schools or homeschooling — two pillars of Mastriano’s Christian nationalist movement....

According to a 2022 ranking by World Population Review, spending $9,000 per pupil would put Pennsylvania on a par with Mississippi ($8,935), a state that’s often criticized for the poor quality of its public education.....

Donna Cooper, executive director of the Children First schools advocacy group, says Mastriano’s plans are wildly out of touch with the realities of K-12 education in the state, including that even religious schools in the state’s more prosperous regions cost more than the $9,000 a year he’d give families. Added Cooper: “One of the reasons he’s advancing these proposals is his concern that teachers are paid too much. But we have an average teacher salary that is $70,000 — and Pennsylvania is facing a massive teacher shortage.”

Well, maybe that's Mastriano's point, wisely left unstated.  Fewer teachers yield more students per teacher and less discipline and learning.

On July 7, Fox News' Laura Ingraham hosted The John Locke Foundation's Terry Scoops, who blasted the National Education Association for supporting abortion choice and LGBQIA+ rights and claimed the union was promoting an "insane agenda." Then

Ingraham jumped in, calling for an end to public schools, and saying taxpayer funds should be diverted to private education....

“But what it’s not about is education and this is why I think, Terry, a lot of people are saying it’s time to defund government education or at least defund it by giving vouchers to parents so they can say, ‘No, we’re not doing this anymore.’ And I think that just has to happen. We have to stop funding this madness.”

This is nothing new. Thirteen months ago, Joy Ann-Reid interviewed Christopher Rufo, perhaps America's chief critic of what he calls "Critical Race Theory." It was interesting and informative, though the latter not because of the conflict over whether CRT is taught anywhere in law schools nor about its benefit or harm.

Rufo claims- probably truthfully- to have investigated the increasing interest in public schools of the study of the role of race in American culture past and present. Yet early in the video below, he can be seen citing Robin D'Angelo and Ibram X. Kendi as critical race theorists.

As Reid pointed out, neither D'Angelo nor Kendi is a critical race theorist. Kendi is arguably the most prominent advocate of "anti-racism," with D'Angelo's focus a melding of anti-racism and "whiteness" theory. They probably both are pleased critical race theory is taught in law schools and welcome (or would welcome) its presence in K-12 schools. However, neither is particularly a promoter of CRT, which they have left for others, such as Kimberle Crenshaw



The (inaccurate) selection Kendi and D'Angelo as representatives of critical race theory may be significant. It may have been because they are the best known, and thus most controversial, of the proponents of the broad field of race-conscious education.

More likely, though, Rufo threw out those two names because he doesn't care who comprise the intellectual core of this broad discipline. Ending this particular educational philosophy is not his goal.  A few days after the victory of Republican Glenn Youngkin in the Virginia gubernatorial race, Michelle Goldberg had a discussion with Rufo in which

“I’ve unlocked a new terrain in the culture war, and demonstrated a successful strategy,” said Rufo, a documentary filmmaker-turned-conservative activist. With that done, he was getting ready for a new phase of his offensive.

“We are right now preparing a strategy of laying siege to the institutions,” he said. In practice, this means promoting the traditional Republican school choice agenda: private school vouchers, charter schools and home-schooling. “The public schools are waging war against American children and American families,” he said. Families, in turn, should have “a fundamental right to exit.”

Private school vouchers, charter schools, and home schooling. Now the partisan Supreme Court of John Roberts clearly is on board. That was unsurprising because destruction of the public school system and the common good is part of the GOP's overarching goal of privatization of the entire economy for the benefit of the privileged.  Democrats and progressives need to understand this and to take it seriously, but aside from a journalist here and they, they apparently are doing neither.

 


Not the Moron He Seems to Be

According to Urban Dictionary , this phrase "was once a compliment turned insult. Meaning to be an insult to those who believe they a...