Progress Unraveling

Three years after the Brown vs Board of Education decision that partly struck down Plessy vs Feguson (1896) and called for schools to be de-segregated, Judge Thomas P. Brady of Brookhaven, Mississippi, gave a speech to the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco.  The speech is lengthy, but I have culled a few of the most damning parts to share here.  In the event you have the stomach for it, you can read his entire speech here.

  • I want you to distinctly understand that the South does not hate the Negro. I dare say you know little, if anything about the true Southern Negro.  Among the finest characters I have ever known are Negroes.  There is a great deal of genuine affection and understanding between the races.  We have lived harmoniously together with a minimum of violence and bloodshed.  We have nurtured the Negro, taught him, provided for him, educated him and endeavored to make of him a worthwhile citizen.  The Negro has made great strides and the Southern white man is largely responsible for these advancements.
  • There is, as every honest socialist knows, a distinct correlation between the degree of segregation of the races and the numerical strength of the Negro. The reason is obvious.  If in the South the Negro was permitted, as in some Northern States, to obtain the ballot by simply reaching 21 years of age, it would mean that no qualified white man in many counties throughout the South could ever hold public office.  It would also mean that in the halls of Congress, seats now held by competent white representatives would be held by ignorant, incompetent Negroes.
  • While I regret that I must do so, I must nevertheless comment upon some of the intellectual and moral aspects of the reason why the South must remain socially segregated. The average vocabulary of the Negro in the South consists of approximately 650 words.
  • It is because of an inherent deficiency in mental ability, of psychological and tempermental [sic] It is because of indifference and natural indolence on the part of the Negro.  All the races started out at approximately the same time in God’s calendar, but of all the races that have been on this earth, the Negro race is the only race that lacked mental ability and the imagination to put its dreams, hopes and thoughts in writing.
  • Never forget that the leftwing socialist groups are forever grading down, never grading up the intelligence, the industry and the genius of this country! They wish to equalize, thereby reducing to a low minimum the intelligence of America.
  • The Negro, in so far as sex is concerned, is not immoral, he is simply non-moral. He merely follows his natural instincts.  We cannot disregard his utter disregard for the laws relating to theft.  We cannot overlook his proclivity for drunkenness and dope addiction.  We cannot overlook his natural tendency to immorality and violence and subject our children to the terrible consequences resulting from such traits through integration.

He goes on to say that the people of Mississippi, having formed the ‘White Citizens Council’ will defy the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown vs Board of Education and …

  • As long as we live, so long shall we be segregated, and after death, God willing, thus it will still be!

As I read his words, realizing that those very words were not uttered centuries ago, but actually in my own lifetime, I felt physically ill.  A full decade after the ruling in Brown v Board of Education, 98% of school children in Mississippi were still attending segregated schools!

And then, a few years later in 1963, came the brutal murder of civil rights worker Medgar Evers in front of his wife and children, and the following year, the murders of three civil rights workers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner who were trying to help Black citizens register to vote.  In the interim, the KKK and the White Citizens Council were busily terrorizing Black people in Mississippi and throughout the South.  Far too many members of law enforcement in the South were also members of the KKK in the 1960s and perhaps beyond.

So now you’re wondering, “Why the history lesson, Filosofa?”  Patience, grasshopper … there is method to my madness.

Look today at Florida, Texas, even Virginia.  The states, particularly in the deep south, are using the excuse of Critical Race Theory … something that is not taught in elementary or secondary schools (though perhaps it should be) and something that the average person knows nothing about other than the lies they’ve heard from the likes of Tucker Carlson and others.  They seized on it as an excuse to stop teaching about the racist history of this nation.

Many believe that the current Supreme Court is all but set to overturn Roe v Wade (1973) that gave women the right to make decisions about their own bodies.  There is also talk of the Court attempting to overturn Obergefell v Hodges (2015) that gave same-sex couples the right to marry.  There is also talk of overturning Loving v Virginia (1967) that removed the barriers to interracial marriage.  Given the composition of the Court today, is it such a stretch, then, to think that ultimately, they might also overturn Brown v Board of Education?

Women’s rights, civil rights, LGBTQ rights and perhaps most importantly, voting rights … all are potentially on the chopping block in this, the 21st century.  States are overstepping their bounds, writing laws that directly conflict with federal laws, conflict even with common sense, decency, and human rights.  This nation is traveling backward today, seemingly bent on destroying the progress of the last 70 years or so.  Why?  I am told that white people fear they will lose their “majority status”.  SO WHAT???  Who cares what colour skin anybody has, or how many white people as compared to Black or Brown people?  Apparently, some people care and those are attempting to change the course of history, to turn this ship around and take us back into the Dark Ages.

Read Judge Brady’s words again … is that a world any of us want to live in?  I certainly don’t.  I won’t.

A Tribute To A Great Woman — Madeleine Albright

Madeleine Albright was one heck of a woman, my friends.  Her death last week took me aback, though it shouldn’t have, given that she was 84 years old!  I wanted to write a tribute to her, but didn’t know quite where to begin, for she was truly larger than life.  Ms. Albright served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 1993 to 1997, and as U.S. Secretary of State in the Clinton administrations from 1997 to 2001, but those are facts … they are single-dimensional and they don’t tell who Madeleine Albright was, the person she was.

While I struggled to write a memorable tribute, one that would be worthy of the woman she was and what she gave to the world, I stumbled across a tribute written by none other than Hillary Clinton.  I think Ms. Clinton captured the essence of who Madeleine Albright was, for she had a personal connection, and her words are far more moving than mine would have been.  Thus, I share with you, a tribute to a great woman, Madeleine Albright!


Madeleine Albright Warned Us, and She Was Right

By Hillary Clinton

March 25, 2022

Late one night in 1995, in a cramped airplane cabin high over the Pacific, Madeleine Albright put down a draft of a speech I was set to deliver in Beijing at the upcoming United Nations conference on women, fixed me with the firm stare that had made fearsome dictators shudder, and asked what I was really trying to accomplish with this address.

“I want to push the envelope as far as I can,” I replied. “Then do it,” she said. She proceeded to tell me how I could sharpen the speech’s argument that women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights.

That was Madeleine, always cutting right to the heart of the matter with clarity and courage. She pushed the envelope her entire life. She did it on behalf of women and girls, shattering the glass ceiling of diplomacy as the first woman to serve as secretary of state and calling out atrocities against women all over the world. She did it for the country that took her in as a child fleeing tyranny in Europe, championing the United States as an indispensable nation and the leader of the free world. She never stopped pushing the envelope for freedom and democracy, including cajoling sometimes skeptical generals and diplomats to see human rights as a national security imperative.

For Bill and me and her many friends all over the world, Madeleine’s passing is a painful personal loss. She was irrepressible: wickedly funny, stylish and always game for adventure and fun. I’ll never forget how excited she was to walk me through the streets of her native Prague and show me the yellow house where she lived as a girl. We couldn’t stop laughing when an unexpected rainstorm blew our umbrellas inside out, and couldn’t stop smiling when the captivating playwright and dissident turned president Václav Havel charmed us over dinner. Madeleine was 10 years ahead of me at Wellesley, and for decades we used to address and sign our notes to each other “Dear ’59” and “Love, ’69.”

Madeleine’s death is also a great loss for our country and for the cause of democracy at a time when it is under serious and sustained threat around the world and here at home. Now more than ever, we could use Madeleine’s vital voice, her cleareyed view of a dangerous world and her unstinting faith in both the unique power of the American idea and the universal appeal of freedom and democracy. We can honor her memory by heeding her wisdom.

Stand up to bullies and dictators

In the 1990s, when my husband named Madeleine U.N. ambassador and then secretary of state, she went toe-to-toe with the blood-soaked Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic. She helped marshal American power and the NATO alliance to end the brutal war in Bosnia and ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. She saw the chronically underestimated Russian president Vladimir Putin for what he is: a vicious autocrat intent on reclaiming Russia’s lost empire and a committed foe of democracy everywhere. In a prescient column in The Times published Feb. 23, she warned that an invasion of Ukraine would be “a historic error” that would leave Russia “diplomatically isolated, economically crippled and strategically vulnerable in the face of a stronger, more united Western alliance.” As happened so often, the man with the guns was wrong and Madeleine was right.

Madeleine Albright talking to Kim Jong-Il, center, in Pyongyang, North Korea, in 2000.Credit…Andrew Wong/AFP/Getty Images

She was a woman of action, especially when facing injustice. Madeleine understood that American power is the only thing standing between the rules-based global order and the rule of the sword. That did not mean she was ever quick or casual about the use of force, even for the right cause. Madeleine was a diplomat’s diplomat, ready to talk to even the most odious adversary to advance the prospects of peace. In 2000, she was the first secretary of state to travel to North Korea, where she spent 12 hours negotiating with the dictator Kim Jong-il. But, as she often said, her crucial historical frame of reference was Munich, not Vietnam, so she had a deep appreciation for the risks of inaction. Today, with a rising tide of authoritarianism threatening democracy not just in Ukraine but all over the world, that is a lesson worth remembering.

NATO and U.S. alliances are the cornerstone of world peace

As secretary of state, Madeleine helped my husband welcome Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic into NATO after the end of the Cold War. Years later, I asked her to head up an international commission for the Obama administration to redefine NATO’s mission for the 21st century. Having experienced Europe’s historic traumas firsthand, she understood that the security provided by NATO was the key to keeping the continent free, peaceful and undivided. She saw it as a political alliance, not just a military pact, cementing democracy in countries that had only recently freed themselves from authoritarianism.

Madeleine rejected the criticism, renewed recently, that NATO’s expansion needlessly provoked Russia and is to blame for its invasion of Ukraine. As the Princeton historian Stephen Kotkin has noted, that argument ignores Russia’s centuries-long efforts to dominate its neighbors. Madeleine would be quick to add that it also erases the aspirations and autonomy of the former Soviet bloc countries that threw off their chains, built fragile democracies and rightly worried about Russian revanchism. She would encourage us to listen to the insights of leaders like our friend Mr. Havel, who said the message of NATO expansion is that “Europe is no longer, and must never again be, divided over the heads of its people and against their will into any spheres of interest or influence.”

Make no mistake, if NATO had not expanded, Mr. Putin would be menacing not just Ukraine but the Baltic States and likely all of Eastern Europe. As the historian and journalist Anne Applebaum recently argued, “The expansion of NATO was the most successful, if not the only truly successful, piece of American foreign policy of the last 30 years.”

Madeleine Albright, right, with Hillary and Bill Clinton at the funeral for Václav Havel, the former Czech president, in 2011.Credit…Michal Cizek/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Madeleine also strongly disagreed with Donald Trump’s approach of treating America’s alliances as a protection racket where our partners must pay tribute or fend for themselves. She knew that U.S. alliances — especially with other democracies — are a military, diplomatic and economic asset that neither Russia nor China can match, despite their best efforts, and are crucial for our own national security.

Attacks on democracy at home play into the hands of dictators abroad

They make it harder for the United States and our allies to champion human rights and the rule of law. In her searing 2018 book, “Fascism: A Warning,” Madeleine described Mr. Trump as the first U.S. president in the modern era “whose statements and actions are so at odds with democratic ideals.” She observed that his assault on democratic norms and institutions was “catnip” for autocrats like Mr. Putin. After the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, and Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn a free and fair election, Madeleine imagined Abraham Lincoln weeping. “My family came to America after fleeing a coup, so I know that freedom is fragile,” she wrote. “But I never thought I would see such an assault on democracy be cheered on from the Oval Office.” With the Republican Party recently declaring the insurrection and events that led to it to be “legitimate political discourse,” and some of the party’s most powerful media allies pushing Kremlin talking points on Fox News and elsewhere, it’s clear that the threat to our democracy that so alarmed Madeleine remains an urgent crisis.

The fundamental truth that Madeleine understood and that informed her views on all these challenges is that America’s strength flows not just from our military or economic might but from our core values. Back in 1995, Madeleine told me a story that still inspires me. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, she visited parts of the Czech Republic that had been liberated by American troops in 1945. Many people waved American flags as she passed, and to her surprise, some had just 48 stars. They had to be decades old. It turned out that American G.I.s had handed out the flags a half-century earlier. Czech families said they had kept them hidden all through the years of Soviet domination, passing them down from generation to generation as the embodiment of their hope for a better, freer future.

Madeleine knew exactly what that meant. Even at the end of her life, she treasured her first glimpse of the Statue of Liberty, sailing into New York Harbor in 1948 as an 11-year-old refugee on a ship called the S.S. America. She would have been thrilled by President Biden’s announcement on Thursday that the United States will welcome up to 100,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine, and she would encourage us to do more to respond to this unfolding humanitarian nightmare. She would warn, as she did in her book, about the “self-centered moral numbness that allows Fascism to thrive,” and urge us to keep pushing the envelope for freedom, human rights and democracy. We should listen.

A Stranger In My Own Country

Y’know … lately I’ve begun to feel very much a persona non grata in the nation I was born in and have lived in for all of my 70 years.  Why?  Comments like this one from Florida governor Ron DeSantis …

“We want people that are going to fight the left, and that’s what we need to do in this country. That’s what we’re doing in Florida, standing up for people’s freedoms. We’re opposing wokeness. We’re opposing all these things.”

So, to be clear, DeSantis says ‘they’ (whoever ‘they’ are) oppose equal rights for Blacks, LGBTQ people, women, Latinos, atheists, Jews, Muslims, and anyone who doesn’t meet DeSantis’ approval, for that is what “wokeness” is, as defined by the narrow-minded conservatives who see white, Christian males as superior to all others.  And ‘they’ oppose helping people in need, oppose international alliances and trade, and oppose basically anything that is supported by people like me.  Since I was 13 years old, I have been a taxpayer in this nation, and yet today I am intentionally made to feel an unwelcome entity.

Another example is when the former guy makes claims like “Americans want _________” and yet it is nothing that I support or think is just.  Am I no longer an American, then?  Did my citizenship expire sometime in the past decade and nobody thought to tell me?  For the record, I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat … I am an Independent.  I am an Independent for a number of reasons, the first being that I don’t wish to be hounded by phone calls, emails, and texts begging for donations for one candidate or another.  Beyond that, however, is the fact that I don’t support every policy of either party, or every candidate of either party.  I largely, probably 90%, lean toward the same values as the Democratic Party, but I’m not willing to commit to any political party.  Although I have voted for Republicans in the past, the current ideology (or lack thereof) of the Republican Party is such that I cannot foresee ever doing so again.

I am an independent thinker, always have been.  My antennae start twitching the instant somebody tries to tell me what I should think, and then I head off to do my own research and form my own opinion.  As Euripides was fond of saying, “Question everything.”

State legislatures all around the nation are doing their darndest to keep people from voting … poor people, Black people, young and elderly people.  Why?  Because those are the demographics that typically care more about the average people in this country than about the wealthy, therefore those are the people who would more than likely vote for a Democrat.  Legislatures and governors in nearly every state are also passing laws that would hurt LGBTQ communities.  They are also trampling women’s rights in many states, robbing us of our rights to decide what is right for us without the interference of a male-dominated legislature.  The only people who seem to matter to the Republican Party are the wealthy, white, straight males – the rest of us can go to hell in a handbasket for all they care.

I used to think this nation had values, that the people, the average working people, would see through the political arrogance and greed and vote for those who pledge to ‘do the right thing’ by the nation and its people.  Today, I no longer believe that.  I don’t know if it’s a reflection on our devolving education system or that people are changing, but today it seems that people fall for the flimsiest lies on the part of the politicians and eat up every word that comes out of the mouths of the Fox “News” opinion people.  Humans pride themselves on being an intelligent species, but I’m just not seeing it in the general public.

Back in the day, Richard Nixon was demonized for his corruption, but in this, the 21st century, we see people like Donald Trump being worshipped as heroes not only in spite of their cruelty and lies, but in some cases because of them!  They seem to be cheering on the most horrific people, while turning against those who are trying to do the right thing, to care about the nation and its people.

After I wrote my post about Montana governor Greg Gianforte and others murdering endangered wildlife for trophies, my friend Mary Plumbago commented “What is wrong with us! Why are we this way!”  I’ve been ruminating on this … trying to find an answer … but the truth is that I just don’t know.  There is definitely something very wrong with some of the people … maybe many of the people in this nation, but I don’t know how we got here and the bigger question is … how much worse will it get?  What will it take to stop the madness, to bring the people of this nation together to fight for a set of values that benefit ALL people, not just some?

I will tell you this much … if the people of this country are so ignorant as to return Donald Trump to the Oval Office in 2024, I will thereby renounce my citizenship on that very day and will begin seeking my best option for relocating myself and my family outside the United States.  And that is a promise.

Making Me Growl … Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

A number of things in yesterday’s news set my teeth on edge, so let’s talk about some of them.  The first two are ugly, but the third one is the stuff that invokes @$%& words and deep-throated growls, maybe even the launching of a projectile at a wall!


Send Republicans to live in Russia!

In 2016, the former guy met with Russia’s authoritarian leader, Vladimir Putin, at the Helsinki summit, whereby Mr. Trump claimed that Putin denied interfering with our 2016 presidential election in order to assist Trump’s ascendence into the Oval Office (note that Trump actually lost the election by nearly 3 million votes, but due to the quirks of the electoral college system, was able to occupy the White House for 4 ugly years).  Trump praised Putin and denigrated our own intelligence community who had indisputable evidence of Russia’s attempts to sway the election.

More than a few times, Trump praised Putin just as he did other autocratic leaders such as Kim Jong-un of the DPRK and Victor Orbán of Hungary.  In light of that, consider the following statement by one of many brainwashed Republicans: “I’m convinced that Putin would be a lot, LOT more hesitant to invade if Trump was President. Biden simply does not evoke any sense of strength or danger to our enemies.”

Say WHAT???  Trump himself claimed Putin’s aggressive moves toward Ukraine to be “wonderful”, “savvy”, and said Putin is a “genius”.  And the majority of people in the Republican Party think this ‘man’ should be president again???  Rather than an Invasion of the Body-Snatchers, I believe the U.S. is the victim of an invasion of the brain-snatchers!!!  The question becomes, how do we educate those who have been lied to so convincingly that they are now truly incapable of sorting fact from fantasy, good from evil?


Women have more rights WHERE???

For those who continue to believe that the U.S. is more advanced than Latin American nations, consider this … at a time when the U.S. Supreme Court seems poised to overturn Roe v Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction, on Monday, Colombia’s highest court decriminalized abortion.  Not only that, but Mexico’s Supreme Court decriminalized abortion in a similar decision last September, and Argentina’s Congress legalized the procedure in late 2020. Now three of the four most populous Latin American countries have opened the door to more widespread access to abortion.

At a time when women’s rights are on the chopping block, thanks largely to ultra-conservative evangelicals, more and more countries are finally recognizing women as people with rights.  If the Court does overturn Roe v Wade it will set women back a hundred years or more in this country, and we will no doubt see a return to back alley abortionists and an increase in the sale of wire coat hangers.  Funny, nobody questions a man’s right to a vasectomy … think about it.


Rick Scott’s “11 Points”

Since the Republican Party has been unable to come up with any sort of a platform, U.S. Senator Rick Scott, a Republican from Florida, has released what he calls his “11-Point Plan to Rescue America” and frankly I’ve never seen so much bigoted crap in one document in my life!  Here are his ‘points’ …

  1. Education — Our kids will say the pledge of allegiance, salute the Flag, learn that America is a great country, and choose the school that best fits them.
  2. Colour Blind Equality — Government will never again ask American citizens to disclose their race, ethnicity, or skin color on any government form.
  3. Safety and Crime — The soft-on-crime days of coddling criminal behavior will end. We will re-fund and respect the police because, they, not the criminals, are the good guys.
  4. Immigration — We will secure our border, finish building the wall, and name it after President Donald Trump.
  5. Growth/Economy — We will grow America’s economy, starve Washington’s economy, and stop Socialism.
  6. Government Reform and Debt — We will eliminate all federal programs that can be done locally, and enact term limits for federal bureaucrats and Congress.
  7. Fair, Fraud-Free Elections — We will protect the integrity of American Democracy and stop left-wing efforts to rig elections.
  8. Family — We will protect, defend, and promote the American Family at all costs.
  9. Gender, Life, Science — Men are men, women are women, and unborn babies are babies. We believe in science.
  10. Religious Liberty and Big Tech — Americans will be free to welcome God into all aspects of our lives.
  11. America First — We are Americans, not globalists.

Check out the details of his plan for each item has a number of growl-inducing statements, but the one that got the attention of the public was under #5, Growth/Economy …

“All Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if a small amount. Currently over half of Americans pay no income tax.”

The uproar was so intense that he had to walk it back within 24 hours of releasing his “points”.  First, roughly 50% of Americans on the bottom half of the income distribution do not pay federal income taxes because they do not earn enough to have income tax liability and because many receive tax credits.  Second, most people 65 or older and receiving Social Security do not have income tax liability unless they also earn more than a certain amount outside their Social Security checks.

No doubt I will be writing more about his “11 Points”, but for today this seems to be the one that is most on people’s minds.  Many of his other points would take away women’s rights, Black people’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and would erase factual history from our schools … do take a look at it and delve into some of the ‘finer’ points!

The funny thing is, though, that nowhere in his statements on the economy did Mr. Scott plan to ensure that the wealthy finally pay their fair share of taxes!  Oh, but wait … it makes sense when you realize that with a net worth of $259.7 million, Rick Scott is the wealthiest member of Congress!  Why would he want to raise his own taxes?  No, much better for him to raise taxes on the poor, the homeless, and the elderly!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  In my book, Mr. Scott is a filthy piece of human flesh, a waste of space on planet Earth!

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!

Outraged!!!

There are so many competitors for my anger these days that I am often simply overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin.  This one, however, robbed me of a night’s sleep and nearly wrote itself in my head last night as I tried counting sheep, counting backward by 2s from 200, and played countless games of Sudoku on my phone.

The target of my acerbic tongue today?  Women’s rights … women’s rights that in the last two days have been set back by 100 years or more in the not-so-great state of Texas.  No, folks, this isn’t just about abortion as many would have you believe … this is about women’s rights.  Now that we are told we cannot decide for ourselves whether we are financially and emotionally ready to have a child, the rest of our rights will be as a house of cards.

The Texas legislature passed a draconian bill that was signed into law by the clown of a governor, Greg Abbott (the same man who is trying to kill the children of Texas by banning vaccine and mask mandates).  This bill prohibits abortion after 6 weeks … many, if not most women do not even know they are pregnant before six weeks!  And, long story short, if a woman has an abortion and a friend or neighbor report it, the reporter is eligible for a reward of up to $10,000 and the woman and the abortion provider can be sued by the state.

Worse yet … there are no exceptions in the cases of incest or rape.  Imagine this scenario …

16-year-old Chloe comes home late one night from a party dressed … well, rather scantily.  Her father, who has been tippling a few drinks, sees her, says he’s going to teach her a lesson, rips her clothes off of her and brutally rapes her on the living room sofa.  Chloe screams for her mother, but the mother claimed she heard nothing.  Chloe misses her next period but doesn’t think too much of it.  By the time she misses the second and seeks a medical consultation, it is too late for Chloe to seek an abortion.  With advice from her friends, she invests in a few packs of gauze and a pack of wire coat hangers, for she is not going to carry her half-brother or half-sister in her body for the next nine months.  Long story short, Chloe is now dead.

Variants of Chloe’s story will play throughout the state of Texas in the coming months/years.

The United States Supreme Court, our last bastion of hope for protecting our rights, has refused to block the Texas law.  Late last night, the Court announced it would not block the new Texas law while the legal challenge made its way through the federal courts. Amazing, even for this conservative court. It’s a sad day for women, but also for the rule of law.  I was pleased that Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the rights of women, even though he is not a fan of Roe v Wade.  But the other five – Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas, Amy Barrett, and Samuel Alito – took an axe to women’s rights, ultimately throughout the nation.

This is a dark day for women in the United States.  If you think other states, emboldened by Texas’ easy success, won’t follow suit, then think again.  What’s next on the chopping block?  Our right to equal pay for equal work?  Our right to vote?  Our right to own property in our own name?  Our right to divorce our husbands?  All of these rights have come as a result of long, hard fights, and even today … the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) that was first proposed in 1923, has not passed!  This amendment would solidify women’s rights in many areas including healthcare, housing, and the workplace, but … it seems doomed to fail.  WHY???

In 1972 Congress passed the ERA and it was sent to the states for a vote.  Simple, right?  Of course … 1972 … the world is enlightened, women have contributed in every area imaginable … a no-brainer!  HAH!  What happened?  In a word, the dishonourable Phyllis Schlafly.  A wolf in sheep’s clothing, Schlafly mounted a campaign to stop states from passing the ERA.  She warned women that if equal rights were enshrined in the Constitution, the heterosexual world order would collapse. Morality would fall by the wayside and women would be at risk of losing their femininity and the opportunities presented by marriage.

If the amendment passed, she wrote, women would be forced to go to war, would lose their right to child support and alimony, and society would fall apart. “The women’s libbers are radicals who are waging a total assault on the family, on marriage, and on children,” she said.

Eventually, the now-expired ERA will come back into the limelight and someday it may even become a Constitutional amendment, but likely not in my lifetime or yours.  Meanwhile, there is Texas and other states will follow.  My response to the draconian law in Texas is this:  Okay, fine, but no longer can a male walk into a doctor’s office and walk out with a prescription for Viagra.  No longer will men be given penile implants to extend their pleasure at our expense.  In fact, women should be much more discriminating about letting a man within 15 feet of her body!  Keep your wee willy winkies to yourself … buy yourself an inflatable doll!

The Texas law and the Supreme Court’s refusal to block it are the first step in what I predict will be a major setback for women’s rights across the nation.  What is it that makes us inferior in the eyes of so many – both men and women?  Is it that we weren’t born with that all-important anatomical part?  Is it that we don’t have deep voices and chest hair?  Or is it just that all that testosterone makes the male of the species need to feel superior over someone?  Either way … look out, guys, ‘cause one of these days we’re gonna rise above all this.

On Women’s Rights And The ERA

Women’s rights … it has taken us centuries to have the right to own property, to marry who we choose, to divorce him if it doesn’t work out, to VOTE, to earn equal pay for equal work, to have the right to make our own decisions in matters pertaining to our bodies.  What may have taken centuries to build, has taken very little time to destroy.  Two cases caught my eye in the news yesterday.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans has ruled that Texas may prohibit a common second-trimester abortion procedure.  Isn’t it funny that people claim they have control over their body when it comes to getting vaccinated or wearing masks, but when it comes to we women having control over our body for something as life-changing as pregnancy, the Courts will decide what we can or cannot do?  I think, in order to avoid being seen as sexist, or a double standard, the Courts should immediately order every person over the age of 12 to be vaccinated!

Out in California, one of the most progressive states in the union, Larry Elder is one of the candidates hoping to unseat Governor Gavin Newsom next month.  Elder is, apparently, a misogynist, or as we used to call them, a male chauvinist pig.  It is illegal to ask a female employee when or if she plans to become pregnant.  Mr. Elder, however, sees no reason for that law.  He says …

“Are there legitimate business reasons for a venture capitalist to ask a female entrepreneur whether & when she intends to have children? Hell, yes. I’m not quite sure why it’s the govt’s business to intrude on it.”

What a guy, eh?  Now, seems to me that if he supports asking women that question, it would also be only fair to ask male employees and applicants when and if they plan to sire a child, and how many?

Why do we have to keep fighting the same old battles?  The U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1787, yet it would be 133 years later, in 1920, before the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, ensuring women the right to vote.  And it would be 1984 before the State of Mississippi finally ratified the 19th Amendment, granting women in that state the right to vote.

In 1973, the Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade makes abortion legal.  And ever since, religious groups have been trying to get it overturned.  This isn’t about, as they will try to tell you, “right to life”, for the proponents in favour of overturning Roe don’t care about life.  They largely support the death penalty, they hunt to kill, most own guns … no, it isn’t about the right to life, it is about controlling women, it is about taking back women’s rights.

In 1923 the first version of the Equal Rights Amendment was introduced. It says, “Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction.”  Today, nearly 100 years later, the Equal Rights Amendment still has not been passed by Congress!!!  Can anybody explain this one to me?

Phyllis Schlafly … you remember that witch, right … campaigned against the ERA saying that the measure would lead to gender-neutral bathrooms, same-sex marriage, and women in military combat, among other things.  😱  Oh horrors!  Every single one of those things came to pass anyway and our nation is a better place because of it!  Take that, Ms. Schlafly!!!

By 1977, only 35 states had ratified the ERA. Though Congress voted to extend the ratification deadline by an additional three years, no new states signed on. Complicating matters further, lawmakers in five states — Nebraska, Tennessee, Idaho, Kentucky, and South Dakota — voted to rescind their earlier support.

Tell me again that this isn’t very much a man’s world!  We women, in their minds, serve at their pleasure.  Period.

The Catholic Church vs We The People

Karl Marx said of religion that it is the ‘opiate of the masses.’  In other words, it is the thing that keeps people in line, keeps them obeying rules that they are told by their respective churches are the rules of some higher power.  A disclaimer here:  While I am a non-believer, I fully respect the right of others to believe as they will so long as they do no harm and do not impose their beliefs on others.  But this is where the problem comes in.

I’ve railed long and loud about the evangelical Christians who would impose their will on us all if given half a chance.  They have cherry-picked their own religious tome and loudly proclaim those parts that suit their own conveniences, while ignoring other parts, such as “do unto others …”  But today, I am equally disgusted by the Catholic religion that is trying to do the exact same thing as the evangelicals, only on a grander scale.

From an article in The Washington Post

Catholic bishops on Friday voted to create guidelines on the meaning of Communion, a move that could be an early step toward limiting the serving of the Eucharist to President Biden and other politicians who support abortion rights.

The bishops voted 168 to 55 to punish the President and other politicos who support women’s rights. Let me tell you what this means in basic terms.  President Biden is a dedicated Catholic to whom receiving communion on Sundays is important.  This is a personal choice of his, he was raised in the Catholic church and is dedicated to his faith, as he has every right to be.  However, it IS a personal decision and cannot cross into his professional duties as President of the United States.  But this is exactly what the Catholic church is attempting to do … to threaten and bully our president into changing his stance on a critical human rights issue in order to appease the church.  BULLSHIT!

Make no mistake … the issue here and also with the evangelicals is not … I repeat NOT … about abortion per se.  The Catholic bishops and the evangelical leaders couldn’t care less about a fetus.  It is about women’s rights.  Period.  Back in the Dark Ages that ended only a couple of decades ago, women were considered chattel … they were dominated by males, were basically maids, cooks, and baby-making machines.  We finally got sick and tired of that status, rose up and demanded and fought for equal rights, and while we still aren’t quite to the point of being considered the equal of men, we’ve made one hell of a lot of progress, no thanks to most religions or church leaders.

President Biden is now faced with a decision … to obey the tenets of his church (new tenets, as it were, designed only to coerce him and other politicians who defend women’s rights) or to follow the will of We the People.  I have full confidence that President Biden will do the right thing, but sadly his personal religious life may never be the same.  A man (or someday, hopefully, a woman) should not be forced away from their religion in order to do their job!  They should not have to choose between their faith and their job!

The Catholic church, the various evangelical churches … they cannot be allowed to dictate whether or not women have the right to control their own bodies.  And isn’t it interesting that NONE of the churches seem to object to a man having a vasectomy, or conversely, a man asking his doctor for a prescription for Viagra so that he can … er … perform.  Again … women’s rights are on the chopping block if churches have their say.  Ask me again why I eschew religion, why I agree with Karl Marx, that religion is a tool that is used to suppress that which certain elements of society do not wish to allow.

What’s next?  Will the churches next demand that only men be allowed to vote?  Or that Blacks be relegated to the back of the bus once again?  Or that … well, use your imagination.  For every step forward we take, the religious right tries to shove us two steps back.

This nation has people of many different religions:  Muslim, Protestant, Hindu, Catholic, Mormon, Jewish, Buddhist, and others, as well as those of us who are agnostics or atheists.  We all pay taxes, we all vote, we all have the same constitutional rights.  The U.S. Constitution calls for a separation of church and state, which means that while people have the right to believe as they wish, no religion should define the laws that bind us all.  However, that is exactly what is happening when the U.S. Supreme Court rules discrimination is legal as has happened numerous times recently, the most notable case being the Masterpiece Cakeshop v Colorado Civil Rights Commission case.

I rarely condemn a certain religion, but today I am condemning the Catholic church for trying to leverage our President to return women to a state of chattel.  Harsh?  Sure, but also true.  As a woman, I’ll be damned if I’ll sit back and let a bunch of old, white men who wear 10th century garb and funny things on their heads tell me what to do with my body, with my life.  Were I to see a priest at the grocery store today, I would likely aim a head of cabbage at his head!

Ask me again why I think religion sucks.

The Week’s Best Cartoons 5/22

This week’s editorial cartoons, needless to say, largely focused on the topic of the proposed January 6th commission and the attempts by congressional Republicans to block any such investigation.  Odd, don’t you think, for it seems to me that being so dead set against finding the answers to the ‘who, what, how’ questions is a sign of guilt in and of itself.  It makes me wonder how many Republican members of Congress had a hand in the insurrection/attempted coup.  And then, of course, there is the cease fire between Israel and Palestine, and the new threats to women’s rights coming up in the Supreme Court.  Never a dull moment, is there?  Our friend TokyoSand has, as she always does, found the best of the political cartoons for your Saturday afternoon pleasure!  Thanks again, TS!

 

See The Rest Of The ‘Toons Here!

Sometimes Less Is More

I read an article a few days ago about “America’s Falling Fertility Rate”.  My curiosity was piqued by the title, so I read on.  Turns out that women in the U.S. are having fewer babies than at any time in recorded history.  Okay, so … the earth is overpopulated, there are some 330 million people in the U.S. … what’s the problem?  Fewer people is better, at least in my book.

According to the experts, a replacement rate of 2.1 children per couple is necessary to sustain a country’s population, and at present the U.S. is only achieving 1.705 births per woman while Britain, Canada, France, and Australia all had fertility rates below 1.9.  So?  Again … what’s the problem?

Given the effects of humans on the environment and given that people in some parts of the world are dying of hunger due to the lack of arable land on which to grow food, it seems to me that lowering the rate of population growth could well contribute to saving the planet.  Oh, but wait … silly me, I wasn’t considering the wealthy corporations!

Some experts are calling this phenomenon “a demographic time bomb.” In coming years, lower fertility rates could have profound economic consequences, with employers lacking sufficient workers to grow the economy.  Le GASP!  Oh damn!  Microsoft and Apple won’t have enough workers to invent more useless software and market it for 5,000% of what it’s actually worth, and Wally World (aka Wal-Mart) will have to scale back on some of the junk they sell!  The world’s richest dudes will start losing money instead of languishing in obscene profits!  And they will learn, perhaps, to live a little less extravagantly, to appreciate their employees, maybe even to pay them a living wage.

So, why are women having fewer children today?  According to the article in The Week

A complex set of factors has driven down birth rates for almost all age groups of women — except for those in their late 30s and early 40s. As more women pursue college and advanced degrees and devote their 20s to career building, the mean age at which women have their first birth reached a record high of 26.9 in 2018. The Census Bureau reported that from 2000 to 2019 the number of 25-year-olds who had obtained a master’s degree doubled to 21 million and the number of those pursuing doctorates more than doubled. In a 2020 survey of thousands of women who delayed childbirth, 3 in 5 cited their desire to reach a certain job title or level before starting a family. Many feminists say this is necessary because many employers sideline mothers. Ashley Stahl, a career coach, points to a Princeton University study showing that for every child a woman has, her earnings potential falls 4 percent.

The article goes on to say that housing plays a significant role …

The National Bureau of Economic Research says that the largest component of child-rearing costs is housing. And the cost of housing in America has skyrocketed. The median U.S. home in 1953 cost $18,080, or about $177,000 in today’s inflation-adjusted dollars. Today, the median home price is $301,000. Young people who cannot afford homes or even a two-bedroom apartment are less inclined to marry and to have children.  One 2014 study published in the Journal of Public Economics explicitly linked housing costs to fertility, suggesting that for every $10,000 jump in housing values, fertility among nonowners fell 2.4 percent.

Now, I fail to see the problem.  As a person who is deeply concerned about what humans have done and are continuing to do to the environment, I can only conclude that fewer humans on this earth is a positive thing.  Fewer humans = fewer cars, fewer airplanes, fewer trees being cut down, less pollution.  As a supporter of animal rights and protecting the earth, again I see fewer humans leading to fewer species becoming extinct as a result of human activities.  Perhaps this is Mother Nature’s way of leveling the playing field.  I realize that the majority of people do not likely share my opinion, but rather see the growth of the human species as invaluable and essential.  I also realize that to a degree, my view of this complex issue is somewhat simplistic.

In my view, fewer humans means more trees, healthier animals, cleaner air and water … a healthier planet in general.  It may also mean that the planet can better sustain all the people on earth, that nobody will be without food, water, and fresh air.  Let’s learn to appreciate the truly finer things in life, the things that man, in all his greed and arrogance, is in the process of destroying.