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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#19301 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-December-11, 16:56

I predict no expansion of the Supreme Court for at least, let's say, five years. Why on earth would we expect that the same people who couldn't get their choices appointed to the nine-seat court could suddenly develop the skill to both expand the number of seats and then fill those new seats with candidates of their choice? The losing team does not get to add four extra innings to a baseball game and it is far from clear that it would help them if they could.
Letters to Santa requesting a new pair of skates have a chance, but expanding the Supreme Court so as to change its direction? Even elves have their limits.
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#19302 User is online   akwoo 

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Posted 2021-December-11, 18:15

Actually, it wouldn't hugely surprise me if a majority of the Supreme Court came out in favor of expansion.

For Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett, court expansion would enhance their legitimacy. The problem for them is that they are not overtly partisan, in that they are ruling based on their sincerely held and reasoned opinions on the law. However, they were appointed and confirmed in a partisan manner, chosen *because*, when they act with personal integrity, the result is one that brings disrepute to the system. Court expansion relieves them of their moral bind.

And to restore sanity, afterwards, we should require 2/3 approval for supreme court confirmation. If we can't agree on new justices (and it's okay if we can only agree on them 2 at a time, with long periods of having a vacancy), our country is having enough problems getting along that we should agree to a divorce.
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#19303 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-December-11, 20:36

It might be good to expand SCOTUS so we can get more quotes like this:

ACB said:

Is there any kind—I mean, how would you even know if a—if a school taught all religions are bigoted and biased or, you know, Catholics are bigoted or, you know—or we take a position on the Jewish-Palestinian conflict because of our position on, you know, Jews, right?

Before the words rush out from behind their teeth, I wonder if they pause to chew them over and taste what they sound like?
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek.
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#19304 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2021-December-11, 22:04

David Brooks said:

U fell in love with conservatism in my 20s. As a politics and crime reporter in Chicago, I often found myself around public-housing projects like Cabrini-Green and the Robert Taylor Homes, which had been built with the best of intentions but had become nightmares. The urban planners who designed those projects thought they could improve lives by replacing ramshackle old neighborhoods with a series of neatly ordered high-rises.

But, as the sociologist Richard Sennett, who lived in part of the Cabrini-Green complex as a child, noted, the planners never really consulted the residents themselves. They disrespected the residents by turning them into unseen, passive spectators of their own lives. By the time I encountered the projects they were national symbols of urban decay.

Back then I thought of myself as a socialist. But seeing the fallout from this situation prompted a shocking realization: This is exactly what that guy I read in college had predicted. Human society is unalterably complex, Edmund Burke argued. If you try to reengineer it based on the simplistic schema of your own reason, you will unintentionally cause significant harm. Though Burke was writing as a conservative statesman in Britain some 200 years earlier, the wisdom of his insight was apparent in what I was seeing in the Chicago of the 1980s.

I started reading any writer on conservatism whose book I could get my hands on—Willmoore Kendall, Peter Viereck, Shirley Robin Letwin. I can only describe what happened next as a love affair. I was enchanted by their way of looking at the world. In conservatism I found not a mere alternative policy agenda, but a deeper and more resonant account of human nature, a more comprehensive understanding of wisdom, an inspiring description of the highest ethical life and the nurturing community.

What passes for “conservatism” now, however, is nearly the opposite of the Burkean conservatism I encountered then. Today, what passes for the worldview of “the right” is a set of resentful animosities, a partisan attachment to Donald Trump or Tucker Carlson, a sort of mental brutalism. The rich philosophical perspective that dazzled me then has been reduced to Fox News and voter suppression.

I recently went back and reread the yellowing conservatism books that I have lugged around with me over the decades. I wondered whether I’d be embarrassed or ashamed of them, knowing what conservatism has devolved into. I have to tell you that I wasn’t embarrassed; I was enthralled all over again, and I came away thinking that conservatism is truer and more profound than ever—and that to be a conservative today, you have to oppose much of what the Republican Party has come to stand for.

This essay is a reclamation project. It is an attempt to remember how modern conservatism started, what core wisdom it contains, and why that wisdom is still needed today.

https://www.theatlan...ression/620853/

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The reasons conservatism devolved into Trumpism are many. First, race. Conservatism makes sense only when it is trying to preserve social conditions that are basically healthy. America’s racial arrangements are fundamentally unjust. To be conservative on racial matters is a moral crime. American conservatives never wrapped their mind around this. My beloved mentor, William F. Buckley Jr., made an ass of himself in his 1965 Cambridge debate against James Baldwin. By the time I worked at National Review, 20 years later, explicit racism was not evident in the office, but racial issues were generally overlooked and the GOP’s flirtation with racist dog whistles was casually tolerated. When you ignore a cancer, it tends to metastasize.

Second, economics. Conservatism is essentially an explanation of how communities produce wisdom and virtue. During the late 20th century, both the left and the right valorized the liberated individual over the enmeshed community. On the right, that meant less Edmund Burke, more Milton Friedman. The right’s focus shifted from wisdom and ethics to self-interest and economic growth. As George F. Will noted in 1984, an imbalance emerged between the “political order’s meticulous concern for material well-being and its fastidious withdrawal from concern for the inner lives and moral character of citizens.” The purpose of the right became maximum individual freedom, and especially economic freedom, without much of a view of what that freedom was for, nor much concern for what held societies together.

But perhaps the biggest reason for conservatism’s decay into Trumpism was spiritual. The British and American strains of conservatism were built on a foundation of national confidence. If Britain was a tiny island nation that once bestrode the world, “nothing in all history had ever succeeded like America, and every American knew it,” as the historian Henry Steele Commager put it in 1950. For centuries, American and British conservatives were grateful to have inherited such glorious legacies, knew that there were sacred things to be preserved in each national tradition, and understood that social change had to unfold within the existing guardrails of what already was.

By 2016, that confidence was in tatters. Communities were falling apart, families were breaking up, America was fragmenting. Whole regions had been left behind, and many elite institutions had shifted sharply left and driven conservatives from their ranks. Social media had instigated a brutal war of all against all, social trust was cratering, and the leadership class was growing more isolated, imperious, and condescending. “Morning in America” had given way to “American carnage” and a sense of perpetual threat.

I wish I could say that what Trump represents has nothing to do with conservatism, rightly understood. But as we saw with Enoch Powell, a pessimistic shadow conservatism has always lurked in the darkness, haunting the more optimistic, confident one. The message this shadow conservatism conveys is the one that Trump successfully embraced in 2016: Evil outsiders are coming to get us. But in at least one way, Trumpism is truly anti-conservative. Both Burkean conservatism and Lockean liberalism were trying to find ways to gentle the human condition, to help society settle differences without resort to authoritarianism and violence. Trumpism is pre-Enlightenment. Trumpian authoritarianism doesn’t renounce holy war; it embraces holy war, assumes it is permanent, in fact seeks to make it so. In the Trumpian world, disputes are settled by raw power and intimidation. The Trumpian epistemology is to be anti-epistemology, to call into question the whole idea of truth, to utter whatever lie will help you get attention and power. Trumpism looks at the tender sentiments of sympathy as weakness. Might makes right.

On the right, especially among the young, the populist and nationalist forces are rising. All of life is seen as an incessant class struggle between oligarchic elites and the common volk. History is a culture-war death match. Today’s mass-market, pre-Enlightenment authoritarianism is not grateful for the inherited order but sees menace pervading it: You’ve been cheated. The system is rigged against you. Good people are dupes. Conspiracists are trying to screw you. Expertise is bogus. Doom is just around the corner. I alone can save us.

What’s a Burkean conservative to do? A lot of my friends are trying to reclaim the GOP and make it a conservative party once again. I cheer them on. America needs two responsible parties. But I am skeptical that the GOP is going to be home to the kind of conservatism I admire anytime soon.

Trumpian Republicanism plunders, degrades, and erodes institutions for the sake of personal aggrandizement. The Trumpian cause is held together by hatred of the Other. Because Trumpians live in a state of perpetual war, they need to continually invent existential foes—critical race theory, nongendered bathrooms, out-of-control immigration. They need to treat half the country, metropolitan America, as a moral cancer, and view the cultural and demographic changes of the past 50 years as an alien invasion. Yet pluralism is one of America’s oldest traditions; to conserve America, you have to love pluralism. As long as the warrior ethos dominates the GOP, brutality will be admired over benevolence, propaganda over discourse, confrontation over conservatism, dehumanization over dignity. A movement that has more affection for Viktor Orbán’s Hungary than for New York’s Central Park is neither conservative nor American. This is barren ground for anyone trying to plant Burkean seedlings.

I’m content, as my hero Isaiah Berlin put it, to plant myself instead on the rightward edge of the leftward tendency—in the more promising soil of the moderate wing of the Democratic Party. If its progressive wing sometimes seems to have learned nothing from the failures of government and to promote cultural stances that divide Americans, at least the party as a whole knows what year it is. In 1980, the core problem of the age was statism, in the form of communism abroad and sclerotic, dynamism-sapping bureaucracies at home. In 2021, the core threat is social decay. The danger we should be most concerned with lies in family and community breakdown, which leaves teenagers adrift and depressed, adults addicted and isolated. It lies in poisonous levels of social distrust, in deepening economic and persisting racial disparities that undermine the very goodness of America—in political tribalism that makes government impossible.

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#19305 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2021-December-12, 09:47

Heather Cox Richardson on December 11 said:

https://heathercoxri...HdIYdHOYPINtz6s

The picture of what was happening at the White House in the days before the January 6 insurrection is becoming clearer. (While we also have a decent idea of what was happening at the Department of Justice, what was happening at the Pentagon remains unclear.)

Shortly after Trump’s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows announced on Tuesday that he would no longer cooperate with the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, committee chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) wrote a letter noting that Meadows had already shared material—thus indicating he did not consider it privileged—that he is now saying he won’t discuss. Thompson identified some of that material.

He said Meadows had provided the committee with an “email regarding a 38-page PowerPoint briefing titled ‘Election Fraud, Foreign Interference & Options for 6 JAN’ that was to be provided ‘on the hill’; and, among others, a January 5, 2021 email about having the National Guard on standby.”

Journalists immediately began looking for that PowerPoint. Slides began to surface, and then a whole slide deck appeared on the internet. The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell verified it on Friday. The fact that members of the president’s inner circle actually prepared a presentation for an audience about how to overturn an election crystallized just how close the nation came to a successful coup on January 6.

The PowerPoint presented three ways for then–Vice President Mike Pence to overturn Biden’s election and hand the presidency back to Trump. Pence could simply seat the slates of electors Trump supporters had organized to replace the official slates certified by the states. Pence could insist on rejecting all electronic ballots. Or Pence could delay the counting of the ballots long enough to throw the election into the House of Representatives, where each state gets one vote. Since there were more Republican-dominated states than Democratic-dominated states, Trump would be reelected.

Then, also on Friday, news dropped that Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis had produced two memos—one previously unknown—outlining far-fetched legal arguments to justify Pence throwing the election to Trump. One, dated December 31, said he could simply refuse to open the envelopes containing the electoral votes of states whose results Trump contested.

A second, dated January 5, made a more complicated argument claiming for Pence more authority to determine the outcome of the election than the vice president has exercised since the 1887 Electoral Count Act.

Today, Robert Costa, the Washington Post reporter who wrote the book Peril with veteran journalist Bob Woodward about the fraught weeks surrounding the January 6 insurrection, laid out the timeline for early January in the White House.

In December, right-wing lawyer John Eastman began drafting the Eastman Memo calling for Pence to refuse to count electors from states Biden won and laying out a number of ways Pence could throw the election to Trump. (Trump’s own loyal attorney general, William Barr, and his deputy Jeffrey Rosen, who replaced Barr when he resigned on December 23, 2020, had already concluded the election was not fraudulent.) The plan, as Costa and Woodward put it in Peril, was: “Either have Pence declare Trump the winner, or make sure it is thrown to the House where Trump is guaranteed to win.”

The White House had the memo by January 1. Meadows was working with the Trump team to push the ideas in it. Someone in the White House gave it to Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and others on January 2. Meadows met with both Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani in Meadows’s office on January 2 to brief Graham, who was then the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on what they claimed was voter fraud. Graham demanded proof.

On January 3, Pence conferred with the Senate parliamentarian, who told him he was simply there to count the votes. It was clear he was not on board with Trump’s plan.

On January 4, Trump called Pence to the Oval Office to pressure him. Eastman presented his case to Pence; Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short; and Pence’s legal counsel, Greg Jacob. On that day, someone presented the PowerPoint to a number of Republican senators and members of the House.

Apparently, none of the people briefed called the attention of the FBI to the coming attempt to overturn the election.

On the evening of January 5, Trump called Pence to a meeting as his supporters were gathering on Freedom Plaza near the White House. The people in the streets were cheering and waving “Make America Great Again” flags. Trump asked Pence to throw the election to the House of Representatives; Pence again said he did not have authority to do anything other than count the certified electoral votes.

And then, according to Costa and Woodward in Peril, Trump asked: “Well, what if these people say you do?” gesturing to the crowds outside. “If these people say you had the power, wouldn’t you want to?”

Pence, who would have been the face of the insurrection if he had done as he was asked, still said no.

That night, Trump called his people in the so-called “war room” at the Willard Hotel, where loyalists had been trying to figure out a way to delay certification if Pence didn’t cave. He called the lawyers and the non-lawyers separately, since Giuliani wanted to preserve attorney-client privilege. “He’s arrogant,” Trump told his lieutenant Stephen Bannon.

They appear to have settled on a plan to get Republican lawmakers to raise enough objections that it would delay the counting long enough to throw the election into the House of Representatives. (This squares with the voicemail Giuliani left for newly elected Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) in the midst of the insurrection, saying: “The only strategy we can follow is to object to numerous states and raise issues so that we get ourselves into tomorrow—ideally until the end of tomorrow.”)

[snip]

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#19306 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2021-December-12, 11:12

Risa Brooks and Erica De Bruin said:

Democracy is most likely to break down through a series of incremental actions that cumulatively undermine the electoral process, resulting in a presidential election that produces an outcome clearly at odds with the voters’ will. It is this comparatively quiet but steady subversion, rather than a violent coup or insurrection against a sitting president, that Americans today have to fear most.

Five sets of actions fuel this corrosion: limiting participation in elections; controlling election administration; legitimizing and mobilizing social support for methods to obstruct or overturn an election; using political violence to further that end; and politicizing the regular military or National Guard to delegitimize election outcomes.

We have identified 18 steps to democratic breakdown and assigned a score of one to three alarm bells for each step, which indicates how big a threat we believe it poses to our democracy now.

https://www.washingt...ext-coup-signs/

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#19307 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2021-December-12, 20:05

Matt Yglesias said:

Seems bad

Dave Brown at Politico said:

NEW TONIGHT: Mark Meadows indicated in a Jan. 5 email that the National Guard was on standby to “protect pro Trump people,” according to an email obtained by the House committee investigating the Capitol riot https://politico.com...rd-trump-524133

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#19308 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-December-12, 21:48

Finally some really good news from the USA.
Newsom, twice-elected Governor of California, has taken a leaf from the Texas legislature.

CNN reporting of Governor Newsom said:

In light of the Supreme Court's decision, Newsom said he directed his staff to draft a bill that would allow private citizens to seek injunctive relief "against anyone who manufactures, distributes, or sells an assault weapon or ghost gun kit or parts in the State of California."
The bill would also provide for statutory damages of at least $10,000 in addition to attorney's fees, the governor's statement said.
"If the most efficient way to keep these devastating weapons off our streets is to add the threat of private lawsuits, we should do just that," Newsom said.


Now what we need is the right to seek injunctive relief against anyone who manufactures, distributes, or sells false information for the purpose of seeking monies or for election to public office.

Gov. Abbott may be onto something.
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek.
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#19309 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-December-13, 08:03

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-December-12, 21:48, said:

Finally some really good news from the USA.
Newsom, twice-elected Governor of California, has taken a leaf from the Texas legislature.
[/size]

Now what we need is the right to seek injunctive relief against anyone who manufactures, distributes, or sells false information for the purpose of seeking monies or for election to public office.

Gov. Abbott may be onto something.


I am very much on board with the spirit of this but it runs against my dream to defund the lawyers. Well, we all have to choose our fantasy.
Ken
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#19310 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2021-December-13, 08:27

Jocelyn Benson, Secretary of State of Michigan said:

This is a five-alarm fire. If people in general, leaders and citizens, aren’t taking this as the most important issue of our time and acting accordingly, then we may not be able to ensure democracy prevails again in ’24.


Barton Gellman said:

January 6 was practice. Donald Trump’s GOP is much better positioned to subvert the next election.

https://www.theatlan...lection/620843/

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#19311 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-December-13, 08:51

I agree completely with Jocelyn Benson. The Jan 6 insurrection and the more general attempt to overturn a legitimate election stands alone as an issue.
This must be addressed and those representatives who are still trying to justify it or pretend it didn't happen need to be seen as total scum, which they are.
We can disagree about other things, inflation and such, but the attempt to overturn a legitimate election is a whole different matter.
Ken
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#19312 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2021-December-13, 09:14

From A Comedy Nails the Media Apocalypse

Quote

... great satire amplifies obvious truths, and there’s no doubt that “Don’t Look Up” contains those moments of recognition. David Roberts, the author of the clean energy newsletter Volts, called it “the first good movie about climate change.”

The global failure to slow carbon emissions, like the failure to control the Covid-19 pandemic, is partly a story about hard science. But it’s more about society’s ability or inability to take action, and the news media had played a large role in that willful turning away from a difficult truth. “Don’t Look Up” ends — spoiler alert! — badly for humanity, but before it does, a Fox News-style host whistles manically past the grave. We’ll be moving on, he tells his viewers as the world is ending, to “the story that everyone is talking about tonight — topless urgent care centers.”

Trailer
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#19313 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2021-December-13, 09:58

More from David Roberts:

Quote

Don't Look Up: the first good movie about climate change. Because it isn't about climate change.

One of the most devilish aspects of climate change is that it resists good art. But Adam McKay, director first of comedies like Anchorman and later of more serious fare like The Big Short, has cracked the code. Don’t Look Up (in theaters today; coming to Netflix on Dec. 24) is the first climate movie — the first work of art about climate change of any kind — to hold my rapt attention from start to finish. It is fantastic.

One reason it’s so good is that it isn’t really about climate change at all. It’s about a pair of scientists, played by Leo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, who discover that a large comet is heading directly toward Earth and will strike, and wipe out all life on the planet, in just over six months. They try to tell people. It does not go well.

Don’t Look Up attempts to capture, not so much climate change itself, but one of the most vertiginously weird aspects of understanding climate change: you know this terrible thing is coming and yet … no one’s acting like it. You end up feeling like the ranting guy on the street corner waving a sign about how the end is nigh.

The movie is about having knowledge but being unable to make the knowledge matter, being unable to make anyone hear or act on it. By compressing the timeline to six months and making the threat a singular force, visible in the sky, it brings the absurdity of the situation to the surface. It’s hilarious, and if you’ve spent years banging your head against a wall trying to get people to pay attention to climate change, you will find a great deal of catharsis in the laughter.

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Posted 2021-December-13, 15:28

Adam Cancryn and David Lim at Politico (Dec 9) said:

https://www.politico...id-tests-524064

The Biden administration opted for a controversial plan to pay for at-home Covid-19 testing through private insurance after officials concluded it would be too costly and inefficient to simply send the tests to all Americans for free, three administration officials told POLITICO.

The decision to forgo a European-style approach to testing — which hinges on the government buying and widely distributing rapid tests — has sparked days of backlash, putting the White House on the defensive over its newest plan for containing the virus.

Public health experts have panned the administration’s approach as too complex, zeroing in on a proposal that would require people to submit testing expenses to their insurer for reimbursement. And White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s brusque dismissal when asked earlier this week if the administration considered giving everyone free at-home tests only served to further inflame the administration’s critics, who saw the remarks as glib.

“Offensive and unbecoming of someone representing the White House,” said Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist who advised the Biden transition’s Covid-19 response. “It’s like they want to appear like they’re doing something, but aren’t as concerned about actual impact.”

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Posted 2021-December-14, 06:17

Liz Cheney said:

These texts leave no doubt: the White House knew exactly what was happening at the Capitol.

Liz Cheney said:

These non privileged texts are further evidence of President Trump's supreme dereliction of duty during those 187 minutes.

Feels like the Select Committee is onto something.
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Posted 2021-December-14, 07:47

From Who Gets Abortions in America? by Margot Sanger-Katz, Claire Cain Miller and Quoctrung Buix at NYT:

Quote

The portrait of abortion in the United States has changed with society. Today, abortions among teenagers are far less frequent, and abortion patients are most likely to already be mothers. Although there’s a lot of debate over gestational cutoffs, nearly half of abortions happen in the first six weeks of pregnancy, and nearly all in the first trimester.

The typical patient, in addition to having children, is poor; is unmarried and in her late 20s; has some college education; and is very early in pregnancy. But in the reproductive lives of women (and transgender and nonbinary people who can become pregnant) across America, abortion is not uncommon. The latest estimate, from the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research group that supports abortion rights, found that 25 percent of women will have an abortion by the end of their childbearing years.

“There isn’t one monolith demographic who get abortions,” said Ushma Upadhyay of the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco. “The same people who become pregnant and give birth are the same people who have abortions at different points in their lives.”

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Posted 2021-December-14, 21:26

From Marginalized by Her Party, Cheney Takes Center Stage in Jan. 6 Inquiry by Catie Edmondson and Luke Broadwater at NYT:

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WASHINGTON — Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the onetime Republican leader ousted from her post and pushed to the sidelines by her own party for bluntly condemning former President Donald J. Trump’s false election claims, has re-emerged as a force on Capitol Hill — this time as one of the most active and aggressive members of the special committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.

Ms. Cheney’s no-holds-barred style grabbed the spotlight this week as the committee led the charge to hold Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff, in contempt for his refusal to cooperate with the panel’s investigation.

Twice in the space of two days, from hearing rooms on Capitol Hill, she read aloud panicked and angry text messages that Republican lawmakers sent Mr. Meadows on Jan. 6 as rioters laid siege to the complex.

“It’s really bad up here on the Hill,” one wrote in a text that Ms. Cheney read on Tuesday, ahead of a House vote to hold Mr. Meadows in contempt. “The president needs to stop this ASAP,” another said. A third simply wrote: “Fix this now.”

Ms. Cheney’s recitation — delivered in her signature monotone — reflected her approach as the vice chairwoman of the panel, where she is serving in defiance of Republican leaders who have sought to thwart the investigation at every turn.

Both in public and behind the scenes, Ms. Cheney has used her perch to hold up an unsparing and often unflattering mirror to her own party, exposing Republicans’ complicity in the stolen-election narrative that fueled the Jan. 6 riot. She has done so even in the face of a primary challenge from a Trump-backed candidate that is likely to be a referendum on the former president.

“For her, this is about setting out in stark relief what the truth is, and in some way making the Republican Party confront that truth,” said Michael Steele, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee. “‘Here are the text messages, here are the phone logs, here are the conversations.’ That becomes a very difficult story line to refute.”

Ms. Cheney, the scion of a conservative dynasty, has found herself in an unusual place as a result of her position on the committee, as has the panel’s only other Republican member, Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. They have been ostracized and derided as grandstanders by their own party; at the same time, they have been embraced by Democrats as the only Republicans willing to demand a full and bipartisan accounting of the worst attack on Congress in centuries.

During committee hearings and floor debates, Ms. Cheney often tailors her public comments to an audience of Republican voters and elected officials. On Monday, she chose to publicly read anguished texts sent to Mr. Meadows on Jan. 6 by conservative personalities like the Fox News host Laura Ingraham and Mr. Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr.

In doing so, Ms. Cheney made the case that there was a moment when even the most devoted loyalists to Mr. Trump understood that his inaction in the face of the violence at the Capitol was inexcusable.

“We as Republicans used to be unified on this point — in terms of what happened on Jan. 6 and the responsibility the president had to stop it,” Ms. Cheney said.

But her challenge is that her audience is a decidedly hostile one, a reality that is perhaps nowhere clearer than at home in Wyoming, where she has been purged from the state party and is facing a challenge from Harriet Hageman, a Never Trumper turned MAGA acolyte.

“By pointing out the facts of what happened Jan. 6, and the hypocrisy of those pushing a narrative into a population willing to receive it, she’s identifying the lies,” said Denver Riggleman, a former Republican congressman who is on the special committee’s staff. “And hoping that a small percentage will see this and understand that Jan. 6 not only was one of the worst things in our history, in our capital, but has also been used to play people for money.”

Behind the scenes, Ms. Cheney has been just as aggressive. She is known to draft her own remarks in advance of hearings and does her own preparation work, poring over the voluminous documents the committee has obtained. She also pressed to assemble a team of former intelligence analysts and law enforcement specialists on the committee’s staff, some of them Republicans — a move that bolstered the committee’s bipartisan bona fides.

In closed-door interviews held in a nondescript federal office building near the Capitol, Ms. Cheney has emerged as a leader and central figure on the panel, known for drilling down into the details of the assignment she views as the most important of her political career. She is well-versed in the criminal code and often uses language borrowed from it to make clear she believes the former president and others face criminal exposure.

She has been particularly pointed in suggesting that Mr. Trump, by failing to stop the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, may have violated a federal law that prohibits obstructing an official proceeding before Congress.

“We know hours passed with no action by the president to defend the Congress of the United States from an assault while we were trying to count electoral votes,” Ms. Cheney said. “Mr. Meadows’s testimony will bear on a key question in front of this committee: Did Donald Trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to obstruct or impede Congress’s official proceeding to count electoral votes?”

The statute that Ms. Cheney was citing is the basis for the main charge that law enforcement officials have brought against more than 200 Capitol rioters accused of interfering with Congress’s role in certifying the Electoral College vote. The obstruction law, which prosecutors have used in lieu of sedition or insurrection, is how the government has chosen to describe the central political crime of Jan. 6: disrupting the peaceful transition of power.

Ms. Cheney has also established herself as a tough and meticulous questioner in deposition interviews.

When Jeffrey Clark, a Justice Department lawyer who participated in Mr. Trump’s frenzied efforts to overturn the election, appeared before the committee last month, Ms. Cheney pressed him in a series of rapid-fire questions on various aspects of the plan to keep Mr. Trump in power.

“In terms of your assertions about Dominion voting machines and smart thermostats, could you explain where you got that information?” she asked about a wild conspiracy theory about the hacking of voting machines that was endorsed by Trump supporters.

Ms. Cheney has taken particular interest in holding members of her own party accountable.

“I’d like to ask the witness when he first met Congressman Scott Perry,” Ms. Cheney asked Mr. Clark, referring to a lawmaker who had acted as a conduit between him and Mr. Trump.

“Did you have any interaction with any other members of Congress?” she asked at another point.

Each time Mr. Clark refused to answer.

“I just want to be clear that I want the record to show that Mr. Clark is refusing to answer any questions, including those questions that have nothing to do with any of his interaction with the president, questions that couldn’t conceivably be covered by any assertion of executive privilege,” Ms. Cheney said.

Ms. Cheney has said that the investigation could very well lead to Mr. Trump facing her questions, with criminal penalties hanging over his head if he lies.

“Any communication Mr. Trump has with this committee will be under oath,” Ms. Cheney said this month. “And if he persists in lying then, he will be accountable under the laws of this great nation and subject to criminal penalties for every false word he speaks.”

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#19318 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-December-14, 23:49

Did Voltaire know Donald Trump?

Quote

Truly, whoever can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. If the God‐​given understanding of your mind does not resist a demand to believe what is impossible, then you will not resist a demand to do wrong to that God‐​given sense of justice in your heart. As soon as one faculty of your soul has been dominated, other faculties will follow as well. And from this derives all those crimes of religion which have overrun the world.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#19319 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-December-15, 00:18

To be fair, suspension of disbelief is a psychological skill that people are trained in from birth.
Wouldn't it be great if there was a "lone moral agent" who "knows the difference between right and wrong" - Shane, The Punisher or Batman?
Or better still, some bloke who was sent by his Father (only son as it happens) to Earth and for some reason decided to stick around and solve the trolley car problem - Superman amongst others.

Not only do you suspend your disbelief but you are absolved of all personal responsibility.
Step inside that small confessional where the man whose got religion'll tell you if your sins original.
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek.
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#19320 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2021-December-15, 06:39

Mitch McConnell said:

We are all watching what is unfolding on the House side,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said today, “and it will be interesting to reveal all of the participants that were involved.

Heather Cox Richardson said:

Meanwhile, Meadows continues to talk to friendly media while saying he cannot talk to the January 6 committee, and after a day of ignoring the story about their texts altogether, tonight the Fox News Channel personalities identified yesterday in texts defended those texts, although they sounded nervous.

They are apparently not the only ones with reason to be nervous. In a lawsuit parallel to that of Meadows, lawyer John Eastman, author of the Eastman memo outlining a strategy for overturning the election, today sued members of the January 6 committee, the committee itself, and Verizon to try to keep his records secret.

Also today, a federal judge ruled that the House Ways and Means Committee has a legitimate reason to review Trump’s tax returns and that he must hand them over. Congress has been trying to get them since 2019. Federal law says that when the congressional committees that oversee taxation ask for an individual’s tax return, the Treasury Department and the IRS must turn it over, but Trump has fought the law on the grounds that the committee has no legitimate reason to look at his taxes and is only seeking to embarrass him. The judge gave Trump 14 days to appeal.

And finally, Karl A. Racine, the attorney general for the District of Columbia, sued the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, as well as many of their leaders, for their roles in the January 6 insurrection. The suit charges that the defendants kept U.S. officials from doing their duties surrounding an election—in violation of a law written to stop the Ku Klux Klan during Reconstruction—and seeks monetary damages to bankrupt the organizations.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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