Women’s Rights Is Only The Beginning

Today the Supreme Court, once a fair and non-partisan branch of our federal government, is hearing a case to decide whether to uphold the recent Mississippi law banning abortions.  The general consensus is that the Court will, either in this case or the next one, do significant damage to Roe v Wade, if not completely overturn the 1973 decision that gave women the right to control their own bodies.

Make no mistake … this is NOT simply about abortion, about the fate of a fetus that might or might not otherwise become a human.  No, people, this is about women’s rights, about where women stand in the grand scheme of this country.  Make no mistake – the United States is still very much a man’s world where men, regardless of how corrupt, how cruel, how ignorant they are, are revered over women, considered somehow ‘superior’ to women by the majority of people.  Don’t believe me?  Look at the U.S. Congress and tell me how many women you see there?  144 women hold seats in the U.S. Congress, just under 27%, while women comprise more than 50% of the total population of the country.  Also notable is the disparity between parties … 105 of those 144 women are Democrats, while the other 39 are Republicans.  And frankly, among the Republican women in Congress are the likes of Margie Greene and Lauren Boebert … radical conspiracy theorists who are not in any way representative of women in this nation.

What’s next in the fight for women’s rights?  Will they take our right to vote?  To own property?  To divorce our husbands?  Women in this nation have had to fight tooth-and-nail for every single right we have, and now, thanks to the bigotry of the former guy and his court appointees, we stand to lose, stand to be shoved back into the dark ages of the nation’s history.  If the bigots have their way, a young girl raped by her father or an uncle will be forced to give birth to a baby, her life forever changed, forever damaged.  Thousands of unwanted children will be born into households where they stand no chance of a normal life, where food is scarce, where parents are ill-prepared to cope with another mouth to feed.

Given the current structure of the Supreme Court, I no longer hold out any hope for justice, for equality, for human rights to win the day.  The Court today is merely an extension of the Republican Party, the minority party and the radical religious right.  Separation of church and state is destined to become a tenet of the past as the Court supports the bigotry that is ingrained in the evangelical doctrine.  Sadly, women’s rights are not the only ones on the chopping block, but also LGBT rights and voting rights stand to take a knife in the back under today’s Court.

There is only one possible means of overcoming the radical right majority currently in the Supreme Court and possibly salvaging the third branch of the federal government, and that is for President Biden to add seats to the Court.  This is not as simple nor as straightforward as some would have us believe, but it may well be the last best hope this nation has of salvaging its democratic principles.  Without the checks and balances on the power of any one branch of the federal government, we are destined to become a nation ruled by religious bigotry, by men more interested in their own power and wealth than the well-being of the citizens of the nation.  I don’t know about you, but that is not a nation I would be proud to call home.  Think about it.

Do You Know What’s in the Infrastructure Bill?

These days it seems we are bombarded with ‘misinformation’ … I call them lies … but call it what you will, it has left us in the dark on many issues.  One topic that has been subjected to so many lies and so much confusion is the recently passed infrastructure bill, or BIF.  Many are simply confused, others are attempting to paint it as something it isn’t.  But, our friend TokyoSand over at the Political Charge blog has some excellent FACTUAL information!  I hope you’ll take a moment or two to read her post and see for yourself what is actually contained in this bill, rather than believing the falsehoods that readily float on the media and the internet.  Thank you, TokyoSand!

We can’t amplify and tout the fantastic infrastructure bill if we don’t know what’s in it. This overview will help.

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Good grief!  Have the Republicans in Congress completely lost their bloody minds?  On Friday, the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that has been the source of much haggling for months finally passed in the House.  It would not have passed this time either, had it not been for 13 Republicans who stepped up to the plate and put the best interests of the people ahead of the Republican Party.

  • Don Bacon of Nebraska
  • Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania
  • Andrew Garbarino of New York
  • Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio
  • John Katko of New York
  • Adam Kinzinger of Illinois
  • Nicole Malliotakis of New York
  • David McKinley of West Virginia
  • Tom Reed of New York
  • Chris Smith of New Jersey
  • Fred Upton of Michigan
  • Jeff van Drew of New Jersey
  • Don Young of Alaska

Filosofa gives a huge thumbs-up to these 13 men and women!  👍

But then came the repercussions from the circus show otherwise known as the GOP, or the Republican Party.  A sampling …

  • “I can’t believe Republicans just gave the Democrats their socialism bill” — Matt Gaetz  👎
  • “That 13 House Republicans provided the votes needed to pass this is absurd” — Chip Roy  👎
  • “Vote for this infrastructure bill and I will primary the hell out of you” — Madison Cawthorn  👎
  • Says ol’ Margie Greene … any Republican who voted for the bill would be “a traitor to our party, a traitor to their voters and a traitor to our donors.” After the vote, she accused the 13 of having voted to “pass Joe Biden’s Communist takeover of America” and tweeted the phone numbers to their congressional offices.  👎👎

It becomes obvious that either a) these people have no idea what ‘infrastructure’ is, or b) they don’t care if people are killed on crumbling roadways and bridges, if the people of this nation have clean, safe, drinking water, and more.  My best guess is the latter explanation … the Republican Party no longer gives a damn about their constituents or about the people who pay their salaries … they care only about their own power and wealth.

Six Democrats voted against the bill, but you don’t hear other Democrats deriding them and calling them names.  Just goes to show the difference in the level of maturity, don’t you think?

A number of Republicans are either leaving the party or deciding not to run again next year because they are ashamed of what the party has become and no longer wish to be associated with it.  While I fully understand their logic and cannot argue to the contrary, perhaps it would be better for the country if those few who still have a conscience stayed in the party and tried to make a difference.  We’ll never know.

The Republican Party has become something that would make the Founding Fathers roll over in their graves.  The only way they will change is if the most radical of them are voted out of office.  There was a time when I thought the vast majority of people in this country were too smart to fall for some of the crap the GOP is dishing out, but today I’m not so sure.

Being Awful a Prerequisite for GOP

I have not been up to reading blogs for several weeks now, but lying awake at 4:00 a.m., I decided to read this one of Jeff’s, for the title intrigued me. What Jeff says here is spot on and echoes my own thoughts exactly, only he says it far better than I could. Thank you, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

Growing up in Northeast Ohio in the 1960s and 70s, one thing my mother always taught me was to be polite. Yes, the golden rule is what many call the practice: Treat others as you wish to be treated. I’ve tried my level best to adhere to that mindset my entire life. Maybe I’ve fallen short here and there, but when I depart this earth at some point, I’ll have no regrets that I fulfilled my mom’s hope for her youngest son.

I’m beginning to wonder if the golden rule is slowly slipping away from us as a society. We don’t seem to care for our fellow human beings as we should. When you think about it, we’re not on this earth for a very long time. Why wouldn’t we at least make an honest effort to make it a more hospitable and friendly place?

When it comes to the…

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You’re FIRED!

There was never anything that deemed Kellyanne Conway qualified to sit on the U.S. Air Force’s Board of Visitors.  She has no military experience at all and her appointment to that position by the former guy can only be said to have been a political favour.  Okay, every president has likely meted out such favours, and the next president most often reverses them if they aren’t qualified.

On Wednesday, the White House told 18 officials who had been appointed by the former guy to serve on the boards of U.S. military service academies to resign or be dismissed.  Of the 18, only one that I’m aware of was even remotely qualified for the positions to which he had been appointed:  former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster.  Among the least qualified were former Trump advisor and one-time campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.  Neither had a shred of qualifying experience for the positions to which they were assigned.

A sample of one of the letters from White House assistant Catherine M. Russell read …

“On behalf of President Biden, I am writing to request your resignation as a Member of the Board of Visitors to the U.S. Naval Academy.  Please submit your resignation to me by the close of business today.  Should we not receive your resignation, your position with the Board will be terminated effective 6:00 p.m. tonight.  Thank you.”

And the fight was on … naturally it was, for anything that President Biden says or does is food for the Republican gristmill.  And naturally, Kellyanne’s was the loudest voice of dissent, tweeting …

“President Biden, I’m not resigning, but you should.”

Former Press Secretary Sean Spicer, whose claim to fame was his ridiculous and disproven claim about the size of the former guy’s inauguration crowd in 2017, is also flapping his wings and crying “Foul!”.  Again, not surprising but also neither mature nor professional.  Spicer, in fact, has threatened to sue current White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki for her remarks when asked to comment on the terminations …

“I will let others evaluate whether they think Kellyanne Conway, Sean Spicer and others were qualified, or not political, to serve on this board.  But the president’s qualification requirements are not your party registration. They are whether you are qualified to serve and whether you’re aligned with the values of this administration.”

And so, while wildfires are raging throughout the West, while floods are crippling the northeast, while more than a thousand people per day are dying in the U.S. alone as a result of COVID, while voting rights and women’s rights are being decimated on a daily basis, this … the removal of highly unqualified individuals from positions they never earned, will be in our faces, cost the government wasted time and money, and give more fuel to the GOP fires already burning out of control.  What’s next, I wonder?  The quality of food served in the U.S. Capitol?  Not up to Republican standards?  🙄

Black Face On White Supremacy

On September 14th, Californians will cast their vote to either keep current Governor Gavin Newsom or replace him with one of a number of other candidates vying for his job. The leading contender appears to be Larry Elder, who I have mentioned before here on Filosofa’s Word. Elder is NOT a man under whose governance I would wish to live! Clay Jones over at Claytoonz has done a fantastic job of showing us who Elder is … read on!

claytoonz

Cjones09082021

Over the weekend, a speaker at a rally for California governor Gavin Newsome said his Republican opponent, Larry Elder, is a “black face on white supremacy.” Larry Elder is a controversial right-wing Trump-supporting conspiracy-spreading whack job with a radio show who also happens to be black. But black people can be conservative lunatics too, right? Is it fair to accuse one of them, like Larry Elder, of being a “black face on white supremacy?” After all, Larry Elder is totally 100 percent in favor of reparations for slavery.

Of course, it’s not descendants of slaves Larry wants reparations for. No, Larry believe slave OWNERS should be rewarded reparations.

Ya’ see, Larry was talking to fellow black conservative lunatic, Candace Owens (which helps defend him from the charges of racism because she can be his prop for a black friend), and he argued since slavery was legal, slave owners were robbed…

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Lies, Lies, Lies — Is McCarthy’s Nose Growing Yet?

I have to wonder if Kevin McCarthy’s parents read the story of Pinocchio to him as a child.  You remember … Pinocchio, the wooden puppet who became an actual boy, but his nose grew with every lie he told.  If Kevin heard that story as a child, you’d think it might have made a lasting impression and he’d be less inclined to lie glibly on a near-continual basis.  I remember as a child, each time I told a lie, going into the bathroom and actually measuring my nose with my finger!

But Kevin does have a fairly longish nose, come to think of it.

In the past two weeks, he has told at least six blatant lies that I’m aware of, likely many more.  The question becomes, why?  Does he realize that his constituents are largely uncaring and ignorant of facts and only want to hear those things that can give them renewed purpose in hating any who don’t follow the Republican playbook?  But what about the rest of us?  Does it not matter to him that we see the smoke coming out of his mouth, that we DO know the facts, or at least are willing to spend 2 minutes looking them up?  Somehow, this ‘man’ has risen through the GOP ranks to become his party’s leader in the U.S. House of Representatives – a position that commands respect, but that respect must be earned, and he damn sure is not earning it.

Lie #1:  McCarthy claimed that oil prices are now “the highest that we have seen.”  Fact:  Crude prices peaked in 2008 under Republican President George W. Bush – more than double their level at the time McCarthy made this claim.  Crude prices were also higher at various points under Republican President Donald Trump than they were two weeks ago when McCarthy made his false claim or than they are today.

Lie #2:  McCarthy claimed that there is now “inflation at a number we have not seen.”  Fact:  While inflation was at a 13-year high in June and July, at a seasonally adjusted 5.3% on a year-over-year basis, it is not even close to the highest we have ever seen and not even close to the level of the late Carter era. Inflation was more than twice as high in every month of 1980 than it was in June and July of this year; its 1980 peak was 14.6%.

Lie #3:  Speaking about congressional Democrats, McCarthy asked, “Why aren’t they protecting the border from those 5,000 prisoners who have just left Afghanistan and — have the hope of coming across our borders?”  Fact:  There is no basis for McCarthy’s claim that 5,000 former prisoners have “just left Afghanistan” with the hope of coming to the US. And McCarthy neglected to mention that it was President Donald Trump’s own 2020 deal with the Taliban — a deal McCarthy had positive words about at the time — in which the US agreed to let up to 5,000 Afghan prisoners go free.

Lie #4:  McCarthy said, “We have watched state after state where Democrats have left the state.”  Fact:  Texas is the only state whose Democratic legislators left the state under Biden or Trump to deny Republicans the minimum attendance needed to pass elections legislation.

Lie #5:  McCarthy said Democrats’ new elections bill “would ban voter ID in every state.”  Fact:  The Democratic bill would not prohibit states from having voter identification laws and would not prohibit states from checking the IDs of in-person voters. Rather, it would require states to give voters an alternative to showing the ID the states normally demand — specifically, to allow voters who do not show that ID to instead submit signed statements under penalty of perjury attesting to their identity and eligibility to vote.

Lie #6:  McCarthy claimed, based on an anonymous report, that the Department of Justice has concluded that Donald Trump did not cause, incite, or provoke the violence on January 6th.”  Fact:  The report is anonymous, not an official FBI report, but is suspected to be a report published by Reuters news agency that said merely the FBI has found “scant evidence” that the January 6 riots were coordinated.  No idea where they got their misinformation.

I’m sure there are more lies, but these are enough to spread disinformation far and wide among Republican voters who are already heavily influenced by the conspiracy theories put forth by QAnon and others who seem to have members spread throughout the GOP.

Anybody have a tape measure?  We really ought to measure ol’ Kevin’s nose!!!  Or wait … maybe we should measure the noses of every Republican in Congress, for the GOP motto seems to be “Why tell the truth when a lie will work just as well?”

The Good, The Bad, The Hopeful

A few days ago, my dear friend Ellen sent me Maureen Dowd’s column from the New York Times.  She says so much that the topic of the column rather defies description, but her vision of where this nation is today is spot on.  She also gives us hope in a more positive, yet realistic assessment of President Biden’s policies and actions than we’re used to hearing these days.


Drowning Our Future in the Past

By Maureen Dowd

Opinion Columnist

It isn’t a pretty picture.

One coast is burning. The other is under water. In between, anti-abortion vigilantes may soon rampage across gunslinging territory.

What has happened to this country?

America is reeling backward, strangled by the past, nasty and uncaring, with everyone at one another’s throats.

Post-Trump, we let ourselves hope that the new president could heal and soothe, restore a sense of rationality, decency and sanity. But the light at the end of the tunnel turned out to be just a firefly.

We feel the return of dread: We’re rattled by the catastrophic exit from Afghanistan; the coming abortion war sparked by Texas; the Trumpian Supreme Court dragging us into the past; the confounding nature of this plague; the way Mother Nature is throttling us, leaving New Yorkers to drown in their basements. And now comes Donald Trump, tromping toward another presidential run.

It feels as if nothing can be overcome. Everything is being relitigated.

We’re choking on enlightened climate proposals but the disparity between the disasters we see, and what’s being done in Washington, makes it feel as though nothing is happening except climate change. We’re so far from getting a handle on the problem, the discussions around it seem almost theoretical.

Joe Manchin, tied to the energy industry, balks at climate change provisions in the reconciliation bill. He should be looking for ways to get West Virginia in touch with reality rather than living in the past.

“Manchin’s claim that climate pollution would be worsened by the elimination of fossil fuels — or by the resolution’s actual, more incremental climate provisions — is highly dubious, if not outright false,” The Intercept reported, noting that the truth is that Manchin’s personal wealth would “be impacted.” Since he joined the Senate, The Intercept said, he has grossed some $4.5 million from coal companies he founded.

With its new abortion law, sending women back to the back alley and encouraging Stasi-like participation from the citizenry, Texas now becomes the capital of American unreason. The law “essentially delegated enforcement of that prohibition to the populace at large,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

There were medieval fiefs more enlightened than the Lone Star G.O.P.

Between putting women in danger by pushing that law and putting children in danger by imposing his anti-mask mania on school districts that want to mask up, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas has become a scourge of the first rank.

A cynical slice of the Republican Party — and this includes Trump — privately denigrates anti-abortion activists as wackos, but publicly moves in lock-step with them in order to cling to that base and keep power.

But the anti-abortion forces were somehow clever enough to hijack the Supreme Court and Republicans will have to contend with the backlash when the court tosses Roe v. Wade aside.

As botched as the withdrawal from Afghanistan was, at least Joe Biden was trying to move into the future and do triage on one of America’s worst mistakes.

And unlike other presidents — J.F.K. with the Bay of Pigs, L.B.J. with the Vietnam War and Barack Obama with the Afghanistan surge — Biden did not allow himself to be suckered by the generals, the overweening Ivy Leaguers and the Blob, the expense account monsters who keep this town whirring and always have a seat at the table, no matter how wrong they were, and are.

The Afghanistan tragedy, as James Risen wrote in The Intercept, was just two decades of Americans lying to one another, and it “brought out in Americans the same imperial arrogance that doomed the U.S. involvement in Vietnam.”

Unlike his three predecessors, Biden risked Saudi ire by directing the Justice Department and other agencies on Friday to review and declassify documents related to the F.B.I.’s investigation into 9/11. Families of 9/11 victims had been pushing for the release of the secret files to learn more about the role the Saudis played in the attacks.

The enablers of our misbegotten occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq have been shrieking like banshees at Biden, trying to manacle him to their own past mistakes as he attempts to lift off.

With peerless chutzpah, Tony Blair called Biden’s decision to depart cynical and driven by an “imbecilic political slogan about ending ‘the forever wars.’”

But Biden knew enough not to spend more lives and treasure to prop up a kleptocracy. He oversaw some bad weeks in Afghanistan but George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld should be blamed for 20 bad years.

Remarkably, as Jon Allsop pointed out in The Columbia Journalism Review, the word “Bush” was not mentioned once on any of the Sunday news shows the weekend Kabul was falling.

“He looks like the Babe Ruth of presidents when you compare him to Trump,” Harry Reid, the former Democratic Senate majority leader, told The Washington Post’s Ben Terris, for a story this past week on Bush nostalgia.

With a memory like a goldfish, America circles its bowl, returning to where we have been, unable to move forward, condemned to repeat a past we should escape.

Perhaps We Trusted Too Much

If you were born with pale skin in the United States in the last 150 years, you have led a life of great privilege, though you might not realize it.  You might begin to realize it if you could exchange brief life stories with someone your age born in Ghana, Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Brazil, Iraq … most any other non-democratic nation.  But here’s the thing … we are so used to that life of privilege that we no longer appreciate it, we take it for granted.

Since you were old enough to talk, you’ve understood that this is a mostly free nation, that people have certain ‘unalienable’ rights.  You can choose your own career path, can choose to be well-educated … or not.  You can choose, within the confines of your economic status, where to live, what sort of car to drive.  You are not told who, or even if you must marry.  You are not forced into any religion.  And perhaps most importantly of all, you have the right to vote in order to keep people in government who are dedicated to preserving your rights.

You were told when you first learned about the founding of the U.S. and the U.S. Constitution that this document was the foundation of our nation and was the primary safeguard against the country ever becoming a Nazi Germany ruled by a madman.  You were told that the Constitution guaranteed that religion and government would always be kept separate, that you would never be beheaded for not believing in any religion.  It is your right, you were told, to be a Jew, Muslin, Hindu, Christian, or atheist.  It is your right to marry whomever you choose.  It is your right to have the final say over your body.  And you thought all this was guaranteed, that those ‘rights’ could never be taken away from you.

It may just be that you were wrong.

We became lazy, we became complacent, we became inured to the little things that were chipping away at our lives, our freedoms, as we didn’t even realize it.  We trusted in our government and its foundational separation of powers that would always keep any one branch of government from having too much power.  We never asked ourselves what would happen if two or even three of those branches plotted to join hands and become all-powerful.  We had the utmost faith in the impartial, non-partisan, 9-member Supreme Court that would always rule in favour of ‘right’.  We trusted in the ‘Separation of Church and State’ doctrine to keep us free of bigoted, restrictive rules imposed by religious sects.

But a funny thing happened as we travelled through the decades.  Men became intoxicated by power and the smell of money. And then they lied to us.  They lied about little things, they lied about big things.  They manipulated us, told us that those who try to help people in need are ‘socialists’ and ‘communists’, even though the majority of people do not even understand what those terms mean, but these greedy men gave us their interpretation and … we were too lazy to educate ourselves with facts, to learn the truth of the matter.

I won’t go through the entire scenario of the past twelve years or so, but here we are today … dangerously close to the precipice, to that thin line that separates a democratic republic from an autocracy.  Even now, when we nearly lost our voices and our freedoms on January 6th, far too many people believe that the men lying to them on a near-hourly basis are the good guys, the guys in the white hats.  They have allowed themselves to be brainwashed into believing that white folks like themselves are being pushed into a minority and that … somehow this is not a good thing.  They have been convinced that climate change is a hoax, that the pandemic is but a minor blip on the radar, and that somehow all evil stems from one side of the political spectrum.

A quote by Nelson Mandela speaks volumes here …

The United States is at a crossroads.  We can continue to allow the politicians, our elected representatives, to lie to us, to rob us, to cheat on us, as we take comfort in the fact that we have a job, a comfortable home, a ‘happy’ life, or we can educate ourselves, wake up and realize what could happen, how drastically our lives could change over the coming few years if we simply do nothing, continue to believe that somehow it will “all work out in the long run.”  A lot of people in Germany 90 years ago made the same mistake.

The Week’s Best Cartoons: Texas’ Abortion Ban

I haven’t re-blogged TokyoSand’s Saturday cartoon post for the past two weeks, for there is so much deeply wrong in this country today that the cartoons seemed to somehow fall flat with me.  However, given my own malaise and the primary topic of this week’s cartoons — women’s rights, which is near and dear to my own heart — I’ve decided to re-blog this week’s post.  The main topic, of course, is the new Texas law, currently upheld by the white-male-dominant Supreme Court, that has set women’s rights back a hundred years or more.  And then, there’s climate change — no longer is it possible to reject the science of climate change when we’re had uncontrollable wildfires, floods, and mega-storms, not to mention killer heat all summer long.  So, sit back and enjoy the ‘toons … you’ll find the entire collection over at Tokyo’s place (link at end).

Note to readers:  I have been having health issues for some 3 weeks now and my energy levels are on a roller coaster ride, mostly at the bottom of the track.  Therefore, I have not posted much and have not responded to comments at all, nor am I likely to try to catch up at this point.  I have read all comments, and appreciate those of you who have helped out by keeping the conversations going.  I shall pick up here and try not to fall behind again.  I appreciate your patience and apologize for my laziness.


See The Rest Of The ‘Toons Here!