It’s remarkable, you know. I see patterns other people don’t and there are people who know me and think I’m too full of hyperbole to pay attention. Even when I’m right. Continue reading “Aftermath (Part 10): Are we really so blind we can’t see?”
The text below began circulating Facebook at the start of this week. I’ve been trying to coalesce my thoughts since I copied and pasted to here, but I had to start with links to the text in each of the bills below.
This isn’t a drill. The Congressional House of Representatives controls the US budget process and they are working on the next budget for Trump to sign into law, after it passes the Senate, but that’s not stopping them from deleting whole line items, piecemeal.
Since President Obama left office in January, we have been operating on the last Obama-era budget, such as it was. With the end of FY 2016-2017 on September 30, that changed. We are now in Trump territory. If there was ever a question about his agenda, today’s reprehensible Executive Order should answer it for you.
Soon after Trump signed the executive order, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman threatened to sue the administration if it oversteps its executive power.
“President Trump now appears to be trying to accomplish by executive fiat what he could not through Congress,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “If the Trump administration takes any action that violates the law — or tramples on New Yorkers’ constitutional rights — we will take them to court.”
And while Trump was entertaining his audience (so much so, he forgot to sign the actual order and Pence had to remind him AGAIN not to leave first), the House is presently debating all of the bills below.
Every one of these hideously grotesque bills belongs to the Republicans in charge. Affix blame where it lies: At the malicious feet of the radical right who’ve taken over our country during the last 40 years.
Distracted by bump stocks, taking the knee, Corker tweet storm, “real” first lady, IQ challenge?
The following bills have been introduced (as of last week):
1. HR 861 Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency
2. HR 610 Vouchers for Public Education
3. HR 899 Terminate the Department of Education
4. HJR 69 Repeal Rule Protecting Wildlife
5. HR 370 Another attempt to Repeal Affordable Care Act
6. HR 354 Defund Planned Parenthood
7. HR 785 National Right to Work (this one is devastating to the working class … it ALSO applies to Union members)
8. HR 83 Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Bill
9. HR 147 Criminalizing Abortion (“Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act”)
10. HR 808 Sanctions against Iran
Contact your House Representative.
Copy, paste, share
Combine the concerted attacks on the Affordable Care Act with the recent language change on human conception and meaning from Health and Human Services, and Trump’s change to the mandate for covering birth control and you have the toxic makings of a Patriarchal Theocracy.
So much for our Republic. One nation, indivisible, but only for rich white men.
That’s been the plan all along, ever since Carter had the audacity to take the election from Gerald Ford and Bob Dole. Make sure if the Democrats are in power, they never get another chance to do what FDR did, and erode those policies as fast as possible, by any means necessary.
These acts of Trump and the GOP are not just to destroy President Obama’s legacy. They intend to restore to the plan before Bush left office. If only McCain had won, like he was supposed to, this is what would have happened eight years ago. It’s what would have happened if Romney had won in 2012. And it’s why the hypocrites in the GOP hitched their wagon to a narcissistic imbecile like Trump, who doesn’t give an actual shit about anything except protecting his own assets.
I want to be positive, so here’s a prediction: I’m positive that if we don’t get our collective shit together before 11/6/2018, there won’t be another election in this country. Not one we can vote in, anyway.
Either we’ll be dead or the GOP will have rigged the process so that we can’t actually cast ballots for anyone, including dogcatcher.
It takes a lot to grind a functioning social region to a halt. The DC metro area does one thing and it does it very well: We support all those people who make the US Government function. Shutter three agencies, remove the regulations for private industry, shift the center of government elsewhere, and take action against all those who oppose the plan? That’s fascism.
Edited to add:
Just as I was getting ready to put this to bed, FB popped this article up on my feed.
The SPLC has identified the Family Research Council as a hate group. More from the SPLC can be found here:
Tell me I’m wrong.
I dare you.
This is not a link share, but my own opinion and you’re welcome to do with it what you will.
In the last two days I’ve come to one inescapable conclusion. If the Equal Rights Amendment as originally written is dead, then it’s time for a new and improved Equal Rights For ALL Amendment, that covers everyone, with no exceptions for race, gender or ability.
The amendment MUST make clear that this right transcends due process and extends to every individual person in the country. And by person, I am specifically excluding corporations, which are not now and never have been people.
Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of gender, race or ability.
Section 2. Rights shall extend to every individual within the borders of the United States and its territories, regardless of nationality.
Section 3. The word “individual” shall not be construed to mean property held by an individual in the form of a corporation.
Section 4. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 5. This amendment shall take effect one year after the date of ratification.
I’ll make an appointment to see Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Barbara A. Mikulski and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer if I have to.
If certain members of the Supreme Court can decide to ignore the 14th Amendment, because it’s not specific to equality and equity (which are similar but not the same), that’s proof enough for me that the states made a bad decision and that this needs to be addressed.
No riders, no “must ratify by” date limitation.
It’s long past time.
If you agree, spread the word: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/pass-equal-rights-all-act-amendment-us-constitution/4TdbChJP [Petition now defunct. -CT]
On Monday, the US Supreme Court, by a 5-4 margin (which divided itself by conservative and religious lines), declared that employers who object to contraception as a violation of their deeply held religious beliefs do NOT have to cover their employees, one of the most important points of the Affordable Care Act. Continue reading “Second class citizens…”
Only this one’s different. This one involves a pregnant woman, and the rules have changed. Because this is Texas, where, thanks to George W. Bush, fetuses trump everything, and the only sacred thing is birth. But this isn’t just about Bush and it’s not just about Texas, either.
Did you know that roughly one third of the United States have enacted similar laws? Where do you live? Have you checked the rules? Is there the remotest chance you could become pregnant, then incapacitated, and then be forced into the role of incubator at the pleasure of the State?
This article, from the Vermont Law Review, dates back to 2005, and was published shortly after Bush signed the bill into law in Texas.
But the article isn’t about Texas. It’s about New Hampshire. Which other states have such laws on their books? I can’t tell you. There is no quick summary to tell me which states ignore Advanced Directives in favor of pregnancy. And I’m not in a position right now to devote the time it will take to review the laws in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the US territories.
I strongly suggest that if you have even the remotest chance of becoming pregnant and you think you have a Living Will or Five Wishes document in place, you check your state laws and make sure your family won’t be trapped in Erick Muñoz’s living hell.
We don’t understand nearly enough about the dying process that I would even consider the possibility of remaining on life support to continue carrying my unborn fetus, unless that fetus was near term. A couple of days? Yeah, I could see that, but Marlise Muñoz was barely out of the first trimester when she collapsed. Based on nutrition alone, that’s going to have a massive effect on the health of the baby. Then there’s the oxygen deprivation, circulatory regulation, and more.
And then, there’s the enormous load of ethical questions of cost for care and who should bear them. Texas is absolved of the responsibility. If the hospital shunts its responsibility back to the already grieving father who is taking legal action against the hospital, how is this even remotely right or responsible?
The question is so charged with ethical questions, in fact, that the first judge set to hear the case has recused herself. Don’t skip this article. It has links to a bunch of other related articles I won’t reproduce the links here, and to understand what’s happening in Texas, and could happen in your state as well, you need to read through all of them.
In fact, there are so very many questions, starting with the right to choose coming from the family, I can’t even begin to list all the reasons why this is so tremendously awful. It’s Quinlan and Schiavo all over again.
I recognize that I’m an atheist at best, but there’s doing what’s right and then there’s this. Religion and morality get in the way of doing the right thing and that’s the sole reason for the separation of church and state.
I find it profoundly disturbing that there is no simple summary of the states that would force a family to maintain a pregnant woman on life support as an incubator for her fetus. In fact, the laws are so variable I strongly suggest that if you have such a document in place, you investigate for yourself what your family will face if they have to make the decision for you.
Pregnancy is such a loaded event. It’s hard enough to imagine the responsibilities of caring for a person from birth through to adulthood. We invest so much in child bearing and so little in child rearing, and focus so much attention on abortion and choice, that we forget sometimes the state will trump our right to choose. If you think about it, you shouldn’t be at all surprised to discover that the next logical step is jail for miscarriage, but that’s the case in some of our states.
Government so small it fits into a woman’s uterus.
Think about it. Fight against it, because we’re just one thin line away from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
[Addendum 1: After publishing this post, I found the following link, to the Center for Women Policy Studies’ article entitled Pregnancy Exclusions in State Living Will and Medical Proxy Statutes. I strongly recommend this article if you or your child(ren) are of an age where pregnancy is an issue. Whether you live in one of the five states that allow advanced directives for pregnant women (Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Vermont) or not, pay very close attention to your state laws.]
[Addendum 2: MSNBC is reporting that John Peter Smith Hospital has been ordered by a Texas judge to remove Mrs. Muñoz from life support, no later than 5 p.m. CST on Monday, and that her death on November 28th places her outside the legal requirement for maintaining the acknowledged non-viable pregnancy. It is unclear whether the hospital’s administration will follow the judge’s ruling at this time.]
When Jon Stewart called Rove out in this episode of the Daily Show (here: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) he was pointing out a problem with Rove’s math.
All day, when I haven’t been plowing through deadline-driven work or cleaning up a huge backlog of filing, I’ve listened to news stories on NPR and reading articles about the aftermath of Election Day 2012. The news items all fall into roughly two categories of analysis:
1. We knew it was going to turn out this way and how sad it is they didn’t; or: Why it worked out this way and what we/they did wrong.
2. What now? How are we going to fix the mess we’re in, now that the game has changed?
One thing is crystal clear: The GOP miscalculated their margin of viability and they’ve gotten the wake-up call they deserve. Denial is a hard place to be, which is why I’ve thought all day about how to write this post without sounding like a gloating witch. Honestly, in the hard, cold light of day, we’ll get over this.
Rachel Maddow explains the 2012 election and its result in 3 minutes, 13 seconds of glorious truth.
The transcript here, because eventually the YouTube video will vanish again into the Memory Hole of the Internet:
Ohio really did go to President Obama last night and he really did win.
And he really was born in Hawaii. And he really is legitimately President of the United States. Again.
And the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month.
And the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy.
And the polls were not skewed to oversampled Democrats.
And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections about the election to make conservatives feel bad. Nate Silver was doing math.
And climate change is real.
And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes.
And evolution is a thing.
And Benghazi was an attack on us. It was not a scandal by us.
And nobody is taking away anyone’s guns.
And taxes have not gone up. And the deficit is dropping, actually.
And Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction.
And the moon landing was real.
And FEMA is not building concentration camps.
And UN election observers are not taking over Texas.
And moderate reforms of the regulations on the insurance industry and the financial services industry in this country are not the same thing as communism.
Last night was a good night for liberals and for Democrats for very obvious reasons, but it was also
possibly a good night for this country as a whole. Because in this country we have a two-party system in government and the idea is supposed to be that the two sides both come up with ways to
confront and fix the real problems facing our country. They both propose possible solutions to our real problems and we debate between those possible solutions. And by the process of debate we pick the best idea. That competition between good ideas from both sides about real problems in the real country should result in our country having better choices, better options than if only one side is really working on the hard stuff.
And if the Republican Party and the conservative movement and the conservative media is stuck in a vacuum sealed door locked spin cycle of telling each other what makes them feel good, and denying the factual lived truth of the world then we are all deprived as a nation of the constructive debate between competing, feasible ideas about real problems.
Last night the Republicans got shellacked and they had no idea it was coming
And we saw them in real time–in real, humiliating time–not believe it even as it was happening to them. And unless they are going to secede, they’re going to have to pop the factual bubble they have been so happy living inside if they do not want to get shellacked again.
And that will be a painful process for them I’m sure but it will be good for the whole country, left, right, and center.
You guys we’re counting on you. Wake up! There’s real problems in the world. There
are real, knowable facts in the world. Let’s accept those and talk about how we might approach our problems differently. Let’s move on from there.
If the Republican Party and the conservative movement and conservative media are forced to do that by the humiliation they were dealt last night, we will all be better off as a nation.
And in that spirit, congratulations everybody. Big night.
Since January, in ever-increasing ways, I’ve become thoroughly sick of the radical Right’s rhetoric. I honestly thought, after growing up during the 1968 riots and surviving ten presidents, many race-based assassinations (I was 16 days old when Kennedy was assassinated so I count his administration, too), that we were past all this thinly veiled racist, misogynistic, homophobic crap, but there is simply no question about what the GOP in general and the Tea Party in particular expected in this year’s Presidential race.
NPR’s probably got the best lock on the main deciding factors: The “brown” vote, together with a diverse coalition of citizens whose liberal politics and religious beliefs, gave President Obama the edge he needed to win, not just by popular vote but by an Electoral College landslide.
Facebook has images popping up on multiple feeds that compare the “red” states of 2012 to maps showing slavery states in 1860. These remarkable divisions are clear and extremely disappointing. Why aren’t we beyond this by now?
The summary works like this: If you choose to accuse every brown person (African-American, Hispanic, Asian or other) of being part of the 47% who suffer from greed and laziness, failing to tow the imaginary line of strict morality, expecting them to give up rights to healthcare, family planning and legal immigration, you get what you deserve.
Reducing a woman’s access to family planning and abortion, particularly in regard to rape, is going to get you booted out of office. Basing your agenda on abridging basic civil rights, regardless of your opinion over the appropriateness of private behavior isn’t just wrong, it’s reprehensible. And it will cost you a seat in the Senate or the House.
The GOP has barely retained their majority in the House, but they have lost ground in the Senate. Continued shenanigans with filibusters and the looming economic Fiscal Cliff will ultimately cost the Tea Party’s constituents, and there is absolutely nothing standing in the way if President Obama wants to clasp his hands casually behind his back while Sequestration kicks in, meaning GOP leaders will either find a way to compromise or find themselves on the other side of the Capitol’s chamber doors in two years (or less).
It’s game over for the obstructionists of 2010. They no longer have the mandate they once did for doing as they please. While most of the GOP’s supporters remain white, male, and over 50, that number has shrunk sufficiently to tip the balance in favor of those whom the social safety nets protect. Four years down the road, their majority will shrink even further, leaving more progressives in place, in areas with higher populations.
Of all the reactions I read in the last two days, Jim Wright (Stonekettle Station) says it best with this post: Hemlock With A Small Side Of Schadenfreude. I warned my Facebook friends this morning to swallow whatever they had in their mouths before reading this article because Wright is dead on with his analysis, not just of the utter disappointment in Romney’s huge loss, but in the way the world will be now that the election is over.
I’ve posted the articles I found most useful or interesting below.
“We knew it was going to turn out this way and how sad it is they didn’t; or: Why it worked out this way and what we/they did wrong:”
John Scalzi (Whatever): Post-Election Notes For the GOP (Not That They’ve Asked For Them)
“What now? How are we going to fix the mess we’re in, now that the game has changed?”
The New York Times: Back to Work, Obama Is Greeted by Looming Crisis
In the end, we’re in for an interesting couple of months, while Congress figures out how to pull back from Sequestration, if it happens at all. No matter what, there’s a lot of healing that’s going to have to happen first.
Here in Maryland early voting has ended. My birthday is just a few hours away.
Election day begins on Tuesday, November 6, with the opening of polls as early as 7am, but hundreds of thousands of people have already made their choices in states allowing early voting, or by mail through absentee ballot. This election is still too close to call, despite all the evidence that shows how big money is manipulating our election system.
Based on some reports, we’ve never seen the number of ads, the privately (and hidden) funding, that we’ve seen in this year’s election, the bulk of funding by the Koch Brothers, Karl Rove and other “dark” sources who prefer to put their money where their mouths are.
Meanwhile, of our top two presidential candidates, only one has employed questionable tax shelters to hide his money, kept his financing intentionally vague, because there are things he doesn’t want us to know about how he got his money and where it goes. This man, with the power of the Office of President behind him, has the potential for avoiding any sort of criminal investigation simply by virtue of being President.
“Why should we worry about the Romneys’ money?” I hear this all the time from ultraconservative friends who think Governor Romney’s activities are just fine. Trouble is, if he isn’t straight with us about his views, how can we be sure of the things he will do once he is in office. Bloomberg just reported on the most likely reason the Romneys won’t release their tax forms: It’s called a Charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT).
For reasons that I suspect have to do more with a GOP-majority House, we haven’t seen a call for investigations on the CRUT, Bain Capital’s Delphi and Sensata transactions, or other questionable activities that would be all over the news if the same could be said for President Obama or for any other Democratic candidate.
What is a CRUT? Wikipedia has a technical answer. The shelter has been around since 1969, but congress changed the loophole in 1997, just after the Romneys took advantage of the shelter. You’d think the Mormon Church would be concerned that the Romneys might not be tithing to their fullest extent, but that’s where misguided faith in leadership can lead.
See, Governor Romney has said he’s not running as a Mormon candidate. I believe he knows too well the damage he will do to his campaign by being associated with his faith. Don’t believe me, listen to his words as he tries to defend his political views on a woman’s right to choose in Massachusetts.
The original video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFkaCji-UDA&feature=related. You can watch as Romney goes from smooth candidate to angry defender of the faith. He walks out of the interview because he knows he can’t say these things on air. The campaign is so tired of walking back his misstatements, he’s now using a teleprompter.
And in all this, there’s the question of who’s voting for him. While President Obama’s supporters are all over the map, there’s a more narrow majority who favor Governor Romney. On Friday, November 2, Slate Magazine ran a sensational and inflammatory piece by Tom Scocca: Why Do White People Think Mitt Romney Should Be President? Parsing the narrow, tribal appeal of the Republican nominee. His likening this campaign to George Wallace’s disastrous run has led to response articles by NewsBusters, but has generated almost no other buzz since posting. Scocca isn’t the only one to notice the disparity, though, despite the Romney campaign’s strong desire to cast this as applying to 100% of Americans. CBS News ran a piece on October 26, defining Romney supporters as mainly white working class men. That this might insult his other supporters seems irrelevant.
Other aspects, including Hurricane Sandy’s “October Surprise, the real impact of Obamacare and a slow but steady improvement to our economy aren’t putting a dent in the GOP juggernaut. But it all comes down to this, because Romney has run out of options: Elect me or else.
“You know that if the President is re-elected, he will still be unable to work with the people in Congress,” Romney said. “He has ignored them, attacked them, blamed them. The debt ceiling will come up again, and shutdown and default will be threatened, chilling the economy.”
I am guessing that most of my readers don’t make more than $200k per year. Many of them are sharing my underemployment boat, scraping by, not partying on private yachts or taking extensive European vacations. We’re not wealthy but we are generally intelligent and we know (most of the time) when we’ve been fed a lie.
Here’s hoping that the end of this political nightmare will bring not just four more years of potential recovery but a real end to obstruction.
Creedless: The lack of any system, doctrine, or formula of religious belief… (See http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/creedless)
As a result of my mother’s incapacitating long-term illness (Multiple Sclerosis), my father raised my sister and me as a single parent, at a time when such things were very far from the norm. Dad, not interested in organized religion, nevertheless instilled in me a wish to understand ethics and live by the Golden Rule as a basis for conduct.
For the first 40+ years of my life, my experience with organized religion came mostly in sound bites, in the form of weddings, funerals, holidays and other special occasions. Most of my friends were Catholic (mainly Italian) or Lutheran. As a child I attended a few services, mostly weddings or confirmations. Occasionally we would attend Passover Seders.
During the summer for more than ten years, we traveled throughout the US and Canada, until my father tired of driving and settled on a summer-house near Garden City, on the shore of Bear Lake, a beautiful spot at the very top of Utah near the borders of Idaho and Wyoming.
In our travels, Dad took us to Anasazi sites like Canyon de Chelly, Taos, and Santa Fe, all the way west to the Spokane World’s Fair, Eureka, CA and Seattle, north as far as Jasper, AB and south just close enough to Mexico to walk across the border one afternoon. There’s much to tell about those trips, but that’s not the point of this article and I’ll come back to them eventually.
With an architect’s help, Dad designed and built the Utah house on the hill overlooking Sweetwater, the local timeshare where I got my first job (working as a sitter). We visited Salt Lake City about once a year, along with trips to Logan, up to the Grand Tetons and once to Yellowstone and to the Salt Lake Tabernacle’s Temple Square. I traveled out to the house every summer with my sister and Dad until my Junior year of college, when I decided to stay for the Summer Repertory theatre program.
As an adult, my religious exposure ranged from liberal to orthodox in Catholic, Jewish, Baptist, African Methodist Episcopal, Pagan (several forms), United Methodist and Born-Again Christian traditions, among others.
I visited several UU congregations as part of an ongoing attempt at understanding faith and the Bible, but until 2005, the year I lost eight people in my circle of friends and family (some by association and some directly connected to me), I was not committed to any one religion.
After that terrible year, I sought to make some sense out of the platitudes and sermons or a way to interpret the losses and how people perceived them. I was already experimenting with the idea of committing to a congregation when we attended our first service at what I now consider my spiritual home, in January, 2006.
In the spring of that year, I signed the Membership book and became an official member of our Unitarian Universalist congregation. Since then I have worked hard to better understand other faiths in their context. I suppose that’s part of what makes the story below so horrifying to me.
From MetroActive come two stories of the internal life of Mitt Romney, not known until recently because there is pressure to keep such things private, within the confines of the faith.
Based on these stories, it seems that Romney talks a good Moderate game when coached to do so, but even through coaching his true opinions often leak out through the cracks, causing his campaign staff to “walk back” the things he has said.
Witness the flak caused by his “Binder full of women” comment. The men in my circle of friends have generally not understood what the fuss was about, but the women, especially those in the workforce, understand all too well.
These two related articles are well worth the read:
Reading these two articles brought me to this profile of Judy Dushku on The Mormon Women Project (http://www.mormonwomen.com/). Her profile raises questions for me of what the Mormon Church thinks of these women. I would call them pioneers for a new age. I suspect Gov. Romney would call them something else: Boat-rockers who belong in the kitchen, not in public.
Despite his protestations of moderation, Romney’s condescending remarks at the second Presidential debate about filling key positions in his gubernatorial staff with qualified women helps to expose an underlying story that paints a different picture of his views on women and their value in society.
President Obama’s sudden adoption of the term Romnesia comes closest to describing Romney’s convenient inability to remember the facts as they come to light. That these facts are damning is no less true, whether he admits to them or not.
These links represent a variety of violations to privacy, personal liberty, even truth.
Especially disturbing, the Contraception video, which seems to imply that our coming Baby Boom problem would be cured by breeding enough children to help us cope with the coming onslaught of elderly and sick, but which fails utterly to discuss the realities of raising children specifically to care for their elders. How would this be any different from slavery?
Under Legal, racial profiling gone horribly wrong, not just for those whose rights have been violated, but for the officers forced to comply with the quotas. Turn these tables and imagine that these officers are teachers trying to keep their jobs and being judged for their students’ test scores, and you begin to see the problem with the assumption that the only way to know a public servant is doing her job is by the volume of reports she files each week.
The Hunted and the Hated
An Inside Look at the NYPD’s Stop-and-Frisk Policy (Upworthy):
US court says reading other people’s online email is OK, privacy be damned (Naked Security/Sophos):
The Lunatic Fringe
You Deserve to Know the Truth: Contraception
Christian Group Finds Gay Agenda in an Anti-Bullying Day (The New York Times):
Let’s Do Lunch! Religious Right Attacks Kids Making New Friends in School (Americans United):
New Metro Ads Protest ‘Hate Speech’
Religious coalition calls on Metro to donate the money it received from a controversial ad campaign (NBC4 Washington):
The School Voucher Crisis (Center for Inquiry):
http://www.centerforinquiry.net/advocacy/the_school_voucher_crisis/ and http://www.centerforinquiry.net/uploads/attachments/OPP_School_Vouchers.pdf
A kinder way to tackle truancy (The Guardian):
Back to October 15, 2012 “36 Windows…”