HOME IMPROVEMENT: Does our tribe need to improve its game?

FRIDAY, JUNE 24, 2022

Some reasons for saying yes: Yesterday's presentation by the January 6 committee focused on a remarkable meeting in the Oval Office.

The meeting occurred on January 3, 2021. For the record, the information presented yesterday wasn't exactly new.

The Washington Post had described this same meeting in this detailed report which appeared online ten days ago, on June 14. The lengthy report was widely discussed when it appeared. Oddly, we found no sign that the remarkable report had ever appeared in the Washington Post's print editions.

That said, yesterday's presentation was riveting. At one point, Rep. Adam Kinzinger described then-president Donald J. Trump strangely saying this:

KINZINGER (6/23/22): The Select Committee confirmed that a call was actually placed by Secretary Miller to the attache in Italy to investigate the claim that Italian satellites were switching votes from Trump to Biden. 

This is one of the best examples of the lengths to which the president—President Trump would go to stay in power, scouring the Internet to support his conspiracy theories—shown here, as he told Mr. Donoghue in that December 27th call, quote, "You guys may not be following the Internet the way I do."

Were Italian satellites somehow switching votes from Trump to Biden? Scouring the Internet (or being so directed), Donald J. Trump had landed on a crazy claim to that effect. 

According to notes from the January 3 meeting, he scolded three top Justice Department officials because they hadn't been "following the Internet" to the same extent. Trump was aware of the crazy claim, and his three underlings weren't.

This is the type of comment which provokes group hilarity on our tribe's cable channels. For us, it's the type of comment which makes us wonder if Donald J. Trump is cognitively impaired in some serious way, or if he may be in the grip of some (serious) mental health issue.

Presumably, Trump's bizarre, scolding remark seemed crazy to those in the room. It seems that the very peculiar Donald J. Trump wasn't equipped to know that. 

That said, we encountered a lot of statements which struck us as odd as we watched yesterday's hearing, along with the subsequent commentary. One such statement was this:

KINZINGER: The only reason I know to ask for a pardon is because you think you've committed a crime. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.

Kinzinger's statement came late in the hearing. It has been widely echoed all over blue tribe cable and in the mainstream press.

We can't assess the motives or thinking of anyone who may have asked for a pardon. However, we can say this:

The highlighted statement strikes us as stunningly unintelligent. But then, our own blue tribe has crossed many lines in the past six to ten years.

Does our tribe need to improve its political game if it hopes to win future elections? Presumably, everyone always has room for improvement, but our tribe is significantly disadvantaged by several features of our creaking electoral systems.

In a recent post, Kevin Drum called attention to one of these disadvantages. The post in question caid this:

DRUM (6/22/22): I got aimlessly directed to the latest Fox News poll this morning, and as I was browsing through it I came across its results for the generic congressional ballot ("Would you vote for the R or D candidate in your district?")

[...]

For some reason I was under the impression that Democrats were way underwater right now, but the difference is actually only three points. FiveThirtyEight has it at two points.

Obviously that's hardly good news for Democrats, who need to be well ahead to retain their majority, but it doesn't quite sound like a disaster either. And who knows? Maybe Dems can get their act together and improve on this. It's not the craziest idea in the world.

(Close, though.)

It's true! Due to several factors, Democrats need to win the national popular vote in House elections by a fairly substantial amount in order to break even in the number of House seats won. (Due to several factors, they may need to be ahead in the polls by 6-8 points to end up winning by three.) 

Under current arrangements, even winning by three points may not get Democrats there. Here are two recent examples of the way this foofaw works:

November 2016: In the 2016 House elections, Republicans won the nationwide popular vote in House elections by just over one percentage point, but they won a large majority of House seats (241 R, 194 D).

November 2020: In 2020, Democrats won the nationwide popular vote in House elections by just over three percentage points, but they won a slender majority of House seats (222 D, 213 R).

No two elections are just alike, but under current arrangement, electoral systems work against Dems on almost all federal levels. In part for this reason, our blue tribe needs to improve its performance—but human nature being what it is, we may not be so inclined.

At present, our tribe is involved in a great civil war involving two tribes, red and blue.  Our tribe could get wiped out in the fall—or then again, maybe not!

At present, the January 6 committee is playing a large role in the discourse. With the exception of its initial, prime-time hearing, the hearings have even aired live on Fox. 

(Yesterday, Fox cut away from the hearing at 5 P.M., skipping its last 25 minutes, so it could air an especially dimwitted version of its high-rated program, The Five.)

During these televised hearings, people are seeing extensive testimony concerning the astounding behavior of Donald J. Trump during his last few months in office. Could this material possibly shift the current political balance in the country?

Yes, of course, it possibly could. But then again, it may not.

For ourselves, we've been massively struck, in the past 24 hours, by the moral and mental weakness of our tribe's established thought leaders, especially those who drive the discussion on cable. 

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but our established leadership is quite mediocre. Even grading on the curve, we may be excessively generous if we grant them their legacy C's.

In letters in this morning's New York Times, several members of our tribe beg for indictments of Donald J. Trump.  Should Trump be indicted for his conduct prior to January 6? 

We don't know the answer to that question. Even if Trump committed a definable crime, it strikes us as a difficult call, unless the ongoing committee hearings are changing the nation's political balance.

Meanwhile, is it possible that Donald J. Trump is disordered in a literal clinical way? We've wondered about that question for years. His reported remark about "following the Internet" made us wonder about it again—but it didn't affect the Storylines of our tribalized pundits at all.

On cable, our "journalists" are openly rooting for indictment. It would be silly to say that they aren't.

We think these stars should get over themselves—should let American journalism be journalistic again. Attempting to explain what we mean by that would take the next hundred years.

For ourselves, we almost never like the idea of sending people to jail. Many people are inclined to feel differently, especially at times of war. 

That said, our tribe is facing a difficult political problem. It isn't clear that any such problem can be solved by legal means.

"We must be friends," President Lincoln once urged. "Our human brains aren't wired that way," disconsolate experts have said.

UPDATE AFTER TYPING: And now, the end of Roe v. Wade. That may affect things too.


150 comments:

  1. You know what they say about the Republican Party: Once a fascist, always a fascist.

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  2. They say, up until the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Republican Party wasn’t just fascists. Must have been nice to be alive in those days.

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  3. Who would have guessed the sexual predators the Republican Party put on the Supreme Court would rule that women are second-class citizens?

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    1. The above was me.

      Liz Cheney voiced her support gif the decision today.

      Twitter was not kind. She’s back to being Dick’s daughter.

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    2. I’m thinking we may have now found a way to define “woman”.

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    3. Cecelia punches down. Ho -hum.
      She's no more a ;piece of shit than any other Reagan Republican.

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    4. The likes of me… is “punching down” down at Liz Cheney.

      She is falling fast.

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    5. I think the commenter meant that you are punching down at transwomen. Empathetic as usual.

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    6. It’s convenient for you to see it that when your political rhetoric was that gender was not defined by biology and now it must change back to traditional definitions.

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    7. Sit down and shut u, Junior:
      https://www.theonion.com/anti-abortion-advocate-excitedly-switches-focus-to-sham-1849106094

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    8. This is incredibly stupid Cecelia. Are women with hysterectomies not women?

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    9. That would be incredibly stupid for anyone to think that.

      It’s like thinking that if one woman is born sterile that this means we must question the fact that the female of the species has the capacity to bear children.

      That’s really stupid too.

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    10. Anonymous 10:21pm, with defenders like The Onion, the Roe opinion doesn’t need any right wing enemies.

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    11. With a face like Cecelia's, there's no need for abortion.

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    12. That’s right. You’re suddenly convinced there must be a God.

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    13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. "Oddly, we found no sign that the remarkable report had ever appeared in the Washington Post's print editions."

    This is called an Exclusive. Newspapers work hard to produce them because it gives them an edge over competitors and is good for business.

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    1. Somerby wants to call Trump crazy for saying he gets news (info) from the internet. Pew Research reports that most Americans say the same thing. On what basis, then, can Somerby call Trump crazy for doing the same thing?

      "More than eight-in-ten U.S. adults (86%) say they get news from a smartphone, computer or tablet “often” or “sometimes,” including 60% who say they do so often. This is higher than the portion who get news from television, though 68% get news from TV at least sometimes and 40% do so often. Americans turn to radio and print publications for news far less frequently, with half saying they turn to radio at least sometimes (16% do so often) and about a third (32%) saying the same of print (10% get news from print publications often)."

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    2. What matters is not so much where you get your news but the judgment you exercise in deciding what to believe as true.

      Somerby's criticism of Trump was for giving credence to a far-fetched story about Italian satellites switching votes during our election, not for the more general behavior of getting your news from the internet.

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    3. "According to notes from the January 3 meeting, he scolded three top Justice Department officials because they hadn't been "following the Internet" to the same extent. Trump was aware of the crazy claim, and his three underlings weren't."

      I agree with you that judgment is important, but Somerby is the one labeling the satellite theory "crazy". Trump is described as blaming his staff for not following the internet -- because Trump didn't consider the claim crazy at all. Most likely, he considered it just another piece of info he could use to pressure his staff to overturn the election. Note that he refused to listen to any rebuttal of any fraud claims, plausible or not. Trump has no technical understanding of computers or satellites -- he was arguing for confiscation of voting machines and believing claims against Dominion. This is more of the same, not some special crazier theory because it came from the internet. Trump would have repeated it, no matter where he heard about it. And the introduction of Italy is no less crazy than the idea of Russian interference, which was substantiated by the Mueller report.

      Somerby grasps at evidence of Trump's craziness in the same manner as Trump himself grasps at evidence of voter fraud. That is Somerby's narrative and he exercises very little judgment over the evidence that Trump is mentally ill instead of venal. Why is he working so hard to advance that explanation when the preponderance of the evidence suggests that Trump is a criminal serving his own interests and desire to stay in power. There is nothing crazy about wanting to remain President and working to accomplish that. Dictators have done that many times in history.

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  6. "Were Italian satellites somehow switching votes from Trump to Biden? Scouring the Internet (or being so directed), Donald J. Trump had landed on a crazy claim to that effect."

    Shouldn't the second sentence in this quote be "we really can't tell you", dear Bob?

    It's so sad that your TDS has progressed to the point where your whole personality, dear Bob, is in shambles. Disordered, so to speak, in a literal clinical way.

    Tsk. Oh well.

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  7. "The highlighted statement strikes us as stunningly unintelligent."

    Somerby says this about the statement Kinzinger made about the consciousness of guilt that would lead someone to ask for a pardon. But Somerby never says why he considers that statement unintelligent.

    I agree with Kinzinger and also believe that such a request for a pardon would be taken as awareness of guilt in a criminal trial. It is true that taking the 5th wouldn't be an admission of guilt, but that is because everyone retains the right not to testify against themselves, not because they are automatically considered innocent. Requesting a pardon is not the same thing. Accepting a pardon is considered an admission of guilt because someone cannot be pardoned if they have not committed a crime. Acceptance of a pardon means that a person cannot subsequently take the 5th, for example, and then must answer questions under a subpoena. It makes no sense that someone would request a pardon that he or she could not accept if it were granted (due to lack of any crime).

    Somerby really needs to explain why he considers Kinzinger's remark "unintelligent," because it is not obvious.

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    1. I can explain it without bothering Bob.

      You may in fact be innocent but fear that corrupt authorities will unjustly prosecute you, and/or you may be innocent and just want to avoid a costly, time-consuming prosecution.

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    2. 2:03: nice try, but unlikely.

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    3. You are forgetting that these people have been told repeatedly by DOJ and those they were trying to pressure that doing what they wanted would be illegal, against the Constitution and a violation of their oaths. How could they believe themselves innocent in the face of that? They may have believed that "if the president does it, it isn't illegal" as Nixon did, but they must have heard that their demands were against the law. The corrupt authority in this situation is Trump.

      It would surprise me if Trump's "pardons" would hold up after he himself was charged with attempting a coup. The pardons would look like more conspiring to subvert the law -- a coverup and obstruction of justice. More conspiracy. I wonder if someone pointed that out to Trump and perhaps influenced his decision NOT to pardon his helpers.

      Would you like it if I called Somerby's failure to see this "crazy" on his part?

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    4. Here we actually see why mh stands out as the best among the critics of Somerby. His use of "unlikely" shows that he is more balanced in his approach, he could have easily spoke in absolutes, e.g., "impossible."

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    5. The danger in using such terms is that it is too easy to fall into Somerby's habit of not assigning probabilities to anything and merely saying "this could be true or it could be untrue, I don't know" and "anything is possible", which turns a phrase such as "unlike" into mush. We all understand that mh is saying he doesn't think the proposed explanation is correct. With all of Somerby's caveats and limitations, we don't know what he believes at all and can only conclude that he doesn't want to take a stand on much (other than Trump being crazy and the Democrats "flailing").

      I don't think anyone here would have said that it is impossible for Matt Gaetz to be innocent of any crime (his request was for a blanket pardon for any and all crimes), but we might have said it is less likely for Matt Gaetz to be innocent than for Italy to have used satellites to rig the vote for Biden.

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    6. Kinzinger doesn’t say it but it’s rather understood, you wouldn’t ask for a pardon for actions you had not been
      charged on, or that are not generally
      recognized as sketchy, if you did not
      think you were guilty of a crime. Perhaps this is challengeable, but only
      Stunningly unintelligent to Bob
      because he is desperate to
      score points for team Trump.

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  8. For having a nation with a. Right-wing who pretend they hate political correctness so much, the United States has quite a dearth of folks pointing out God is a figment of dim-witted imaginations.

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  9. A media criticism site would point out that the media treating the Republican Party like they aren’t really fascists, is what has gotten us into this mess.

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    1. I'm going to need you to shut up

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    2. I agree with @12:30.

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  10. "But then, our own blue tribe has crossed many lines in the past six to ten years."

    Feeling this way about one's own political party might just be a clue that one's political opinions have changed. I don't consider Somerby to be a member of "our" blue tribe. To be one, you need to believe in the core principles of the party, not just have once voted Democratic in an election, had Democratic parents, or be registered as a Democrat (some people do that to ratfuck a primary). It has been a long time since Somerby has expressed any support for Democratic candidates or expressed views consistent with what most liberals believe.

    It is perhaps time for Somerby to re-evaluate whether he is actually a member of the blue tribe at all -- especially given his tendency to watch Fox News and repeat Republican talking points here day after day.

    Actual liberals were apalled and distressed by the behavior of Republicans described in the hearing yesterday, especially the treatment of Lady Ruby and Shaye Moss. Somerby instead is upset by the way the committee treated Matt Gaetz! The "unintelligent" things being said by Democrats about the hearing. That should be a clue that Somerby is lying about being any kind of blue tribe member. In fact, it is Somerby's very own Big Lie.

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    1. The same types of judgments you are imposing on Somerby are the same types of judgments behind blacks and Hispanic's two step away from the Democratic Party.

      It must be you are actually planted by Republicans as a commenter here to sink the fortunes of the Democrats.

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    2. Hispanics voted in the same percentages for Biden in 2020 as they did for Al Gore in 2000. The Republican party persecutes immigrants -- why on earth would Hispanics switch to them?

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    3. "It must be you are actually planted by Republicans as a commenter here to sink the fortunes of the Democrats."

      I've entertained that thought myself.

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    4. If you think that, please provide evidence. Otherwise, you are just name-calling. I have provided a lot of evidence in support of my ideas about Somerby's motives, using Somerby's own words.

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    5. The evidence is your words here.

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    6. In your words you have drawn a ridiculous and completely subjective line in the sand about who is in and who isn't, dictating to people how they should feel by telling them they are either on 100% with us or they are against us, which is perfectly alienating to Hispanics and blacks, just to name a few. And it is not behavior that is truly liberal.

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    7. Actually, it's the behavior of a fascist. Which would make people believe you are a plant of Republicans, put here to alienate Democrats.

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    8. You have made an accusation but you refuse to back it up with evidence. That is just name-calling.

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    9. No one expects you to agree with the charge that your childish behavior is so ridiculous that it smells of that of an agent provocateur.

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    10. One thing is quite completely clear. You are not a true liberal.

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  11. For sure, Republican voters would be furious with the Supreme Court overruling Roe vs Wade, if they cared about something other than bigotry and white supremacy.

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    1. Alas, elections take place with the Republican voters we have, not with Republican voters Somerby, the corporate-owned media, and Rationalist pretend we have.

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    2. Like Rationalist, my four-year old niece has an imaginary friend too.

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    3. Is that the niece you disowned because she showed signs of becoming a conservative?

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    4. My niece has a great imagination, but not an imagination so far out there her imaginary friend is a Republican voter who cares about something other than bigotry and white supremacy.
      Thank God.

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    5. She’s four-years old, not insane.

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    6. Oh, good, Anonymous 3:18pm.

      Evidently, your niece has it all over her fatuous one-truck pony aunt or uncle.

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    7. One anonymous is the same as another to you Cecelia. You don't care who you are talking to.

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    8. Why would you care? You’ve chosen to be one more “Anonymous”?

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    9. Brett Kavanaugh is lying about sending the question about abortion back to the people. He must think the public is as stupid as Cecelia.

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    10. Brett Kavanaugh has been lying since, at least, the time he was under oath in his Supreme Court hearings.

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    11. If asked during his SCOTUS hearings, Kegstand Kavanaugh would have said the Constitutionality of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation is settled law, too.

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  12. "It's true! Due to several factors, Democrats need to win the national popular vote in House elections by a fairly substantial amount in order to break even in the number of House seats won. (Due to several factors, they may need to be ahead in the polls by 6-8 points to end up winning by three.)"

    Somerby then goes on to discuss the margin needed to win House seats. However, he blithely glosses over the data, which is about a GENERIC ballot, not any specific head-to-head match anywhere. It is simply a measure of whether people are trending Democratic or Republican in general.

    When it comes to actual races, the specifics of the candidates will take precedence over their party affiliation. It will matter whether the Republican running was the asshole who issued Rino hunting licenses or the one who beat his wife (oops, same guy) or the one who disowned his illegitimate kids while berating others for being bad fathers, or the one who asked for a pardon for any and all crimes (including the ones involving sex trafficking of underage women), or the one who is claiming that Jesus needed an AK-47 (or was it an AR-15?). What people say about Republicans or Democrats overall has little to do with feelings about one's own local assholes.

    This is as foolish as trying to estimate Biden's likelihood of winning a Trump rematch, using Biden's current favorability ratings (which are the same as other incumbents who have won reelection). Not that Trump is going to surviver the hearings, politically speaking. Republicans are turning against him. Who knows whether they will turn against Trump's many helpers in the Republican party too? Not Drum and not Somerby. Drum didn't even think the gun bill would pass, so his prediction record is a bit tarnished today.

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    1. Somerby hops on Drum's prediction because it fits his own narrative of "flailing" Democrats -- the blue tribe as a bunch of losers who can't do anything right. It is his main meme these days.

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    2. What’s happened with Roe could be a catalyst for changing Republican states to Democratic ones.

      Could be a glass half-full.

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    3. You don't have to become a Democrat to become more compassionate about women's health issues. It would be fine if those Republican states enacted reasonable health laws, like those in place before this SC decision. The draconian and punitive attempts to punish women for their sexuality must be sickening to at least some Republicans.

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    4. "The draconian and punitive attempts to punish women for their sexuality must be sickening to at least some Republicans."

      Adorable.

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  13. "At present, our tribe is involved in a great civil war involving two tribes, red and blue. "

    Just as the Union did not start the Civil War -- the confederate states seceded and then fired on Union troops, it is Republicans who have declared war on Democrats, going back to Newt Gingrich. Their win-at-all-costs approach to politics has only gotten worse since then. It is why Trump was their nominee, why they accept bribes from foreign governments via the NRA, why they plotted an insurrection, and why they are not participating in the 1/6 Select Committee.

    It is heartening to see some Republicans voting on bipartisan bills, but this is a war that Republicans could end at any time, one neither instigated nor maintained by blue tribe members.

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  14. "Could this material possibly shift the current political balance in the country?

    Yes, of course, it possibly could. But then again, it may not."

    Somerby does not mention that the hearings have already shifted polling, not just among Democrats but also among Independents and a few Republicans. While most MAGAs are holding firm in support for Trump, some senate candidates are no longer mentioning their Trump endorsements and there is a deepening rift between MAGA candidates and others who did not seek or didn't earn Trump's approval. It is becoming acceptable for Republicans to express their resentment over being strong-armed by Trump. Note the new information obtained by the 1/6 Committee as Republicans agree to testify and turn over texts, emails and other evidence to them. Republicans are breaking ranks.

    It is wishful thinking if Somerby believes there will be no political consequences for Republicans -- it is already happening.

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  15. "Meanwhile, is it possible that Donald J. Trump is disordered in a literal clinical way? "

    It is the responsibility of those surrounding Trump, the people who see him every day, to evaluate his performance and decide whether he is functioning or whether he needs to be removed from office. While there has been some discussion about Article 25, there was no meaningful effort to remove Trump from office. That means that those with the power, and the first-hand information about his sanity, did not choose to remove him.

    This should put an end to Somerby's speculation about Trump's mental status. In fact, it moots the question. A president cannot evade medical evaluation and insist he is in good health, and then turn around and claim mental disability when he is accused of committing crimes to stay in office.

    In my opinion, Somerby uses the term "crazy" way too often. Not only is it not an actual legal or medical term, but he applies it mainly to statements he doesn't like, such as those made by Democrats or cable news pundits and guests. It is meaningless, except as name-calling, but it also disparages those who are actually mentally ill. For that reason, beginning Psychology majors and those taking Psych 101 (General Psychology -- Problems in Living) are taught explicitly not to use stigmatizing labels to disparage other people you dislike or who anger you in every day life. It is like other taboo words that civil people now avoid. And no, this is not PC. It is about respecting others with mental disabilities and being a kind and decent person.

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    1. Then what word(s) would you use to describe someone who thinks the claim that Italian satellites switched votes from Trump to Biden is worth being investigated by the Department of Justice?

      'Crazy' seems to do nicely.

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    2. You are crazy. So of course you don't like hearing that word.

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    3. I took a lot of time here explaining that delusions don't make someone crazy. In vain, apparently. People believe they have ESP, have been abducted by aliens, that they can talk to God and that he listens and directs their lives, that they can communicate with the dead, and many other fanciful things that may be deviant or unsubstantiated, but they are otherwise normal. The Q-Anons, for all their weird beliefs, are not "crazy" in the sense of having a mental illness.

      But if you like using the word "crazy", you might also enjoy "retard", "spaz", "gimp," "cripple," and of course the n-word. They are all ugly language that serves no other purpose than hurting other people. But you be you.

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    4. 2:11: You are assuming the truth of what you are trying to prove. We don’t know if Trump really thinks that, or is just bullshitting.

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    5. Well-pointed out mh. I was the one that wrote remarks distinguishing lying from bullshitting recently. Bullshitting is worse. And it's correct to say that Trump doesn't give a crap if what he says is true or not, he's just laying down the bullshit. Truly a dangerous man.

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    6. It seems we have a dispute here about how technical we have to be in using ordinary language. There is a recognized, in-the-dictionary sense of ‘crazy’ in which it refers to someone whose ideas are “foolish, totally unsound”.

      This usage doesn’t imply they would qualify for admission to a psychiatric institution, nor is it a slur on par with the n word, nor is it an expression of someone’s state of mind in the context of determining their guilt or innocence in a court of law.


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    7. Somerby has been using the term crazy to refer to someone who is mentally ill. He has posted Bandy Lee's discussion before and himself suggested that Trump may be a sociopath or delusional (in a clinical sense), disturbed. He is not using the word colloquially except when he refers to democrats and that is a disparaging usage. You need to take these words in context to figure out what Somerby means.

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    8. It’s also possible that Somerby is bullshitting and doesn’t mean a word he says.

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  16. Opinion of the Court
    Held: The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.
    Well, that's about as unambiguous as it gets. The majority focuses on several key findings. First, there is attention given to stare decisis and whether court precedent should dictate the result of this case. The Court finds that it does not, for a variety of factors. Among those are (1) the nature of the Court’s error, (2) the quality of the reasoning, (3) workability, (4) effect on other areas of law, and (5) reliance interests.
    The majority also directly addresses the impact of public opinion when the Court decides to overturn a fairly significant decision. The Court's stance: they "cannot allow its decisions to be affected by such extraneous concerns".
    Finally, the majority asserts that abortion law falls under a rational basis standard of review. In other words, "States may regulate abortion for legitimate reasons, and when such regulations are challenged under the Constitution, courts cannot substitute their social and economic beliefs for the judgment of legislative bodies."
    ALITO, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which THOMAS, GORSUCH, KAVANAUGH, and BARRETT, JJ., joined. THOMAS, J., and KAVANAUGH, J., filed concurring opinions. ROBERTS, C. J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. BREYER, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., filed a dissenting opinion.
    Obviously, this was never going to be a short decision, but this one comes in at a whopping 213 pages... So even with the earlier leaks, there's a lot to take in. Expect this post to be updated as I read through it all.

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    1. Concurrences
      Let's start with Thomas, who in typical Thomas fashion disagrees with several mainstream interpretations of the Due Process Clause. In particular, he rails on the concept of substantive due process. He cites his own previous concurrences quite often, which should surprise no one. His key takeaway: "Substantive due process conflicts with that textual command and has harmed our country in many ways. Accordingly, we should eliminate it from our jurisprudence at the earliest opportunity."
      Kavanaugh, in typical Kavanaugh fashion, tries to temper emotions with a moderate approach to this decision. Mainly, he recognizes the reasoning for being both pro-life and pro-choice, but emphasizes that this is purely a Constitutional decision. "The Constitution is therefore neither pro-life nor pro-choice." He implies that the Court in Roe sought to "override the democratic process". He further clarifies that this majority opinion does not outlaw abortion. It just returns the question of abortion to the normal democratic process. And via footnote, he also emphasizes that most abortion bans recognize exceptions to protect the health of the mother. He also asserts answers to other hypotheticals: no, a state may not punish a woman for travelling elsewhere for an abortion. No, a state may not retroactively punish women who have sought abortions previously.
      Roberts, who did not join with the majority opinion, writes separately. He agrees with the majority around the stare decisis rulings; the viability lines established in Roe and Casey should be eliminated. He would therefore side with Mississippi in the root case, but he would not go on to rule on the constitutionality of abortion in general. That is not necessary to decide this case, and therefore it should *not * be decided. So we essentially have a 6-3 decision upholding Mississippi's law, and a 5-4 decision to overturn Roe and Casey and return the question of abortion to the states.

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    2. Dissent
      Unsurprisingly, the dissent asserts a Constitutional right to an abortion. The dissent also asserts the unavoidable outcome of today's decision: the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens. Of note is that this is a collective dissent by Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. There is no individually-named author.
      The joint dissent proceeds to then muse on other established rights that may now be at risk. In particular, same-sex marriage and contraceptive use are called out. They then point out the hypocrisy (or maliciousness) in the majority claiming that this opinion will have no effect beyond abortion.

      Delete
    3. Thank you for this review.

      Delete
    4. Credit goes to user Resvrgam2 on Reddit who made the comment in this thread:

      https://www.reddit.com/r/moderatepolitics/comments/vjplk4/opinion_of_the_court_dobbs_v_jackson_womens/

      Delete
  17. "We think these stars should get over themselves—should let American journalism be journalistic again. "

    Those so-called stars are not reporters but pundits, commentators, stating opinions and interpreting the news from a political perspective. Journalism is still journalism. It is only Somerby who confuses reporters with cable hosts. The reporters supply the current events and news that the cable hosts then discuss the implications of.

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  18. "That said, our tribe is facing a difficult political problem. It isn't clear that any such problem can be solved by legal means."

    I disagree strongly that this is a "political" problem. We have a president and a series of co-conspirators both within and outside the government, who attempted to overturn an election by illegal means and organized and abetted an insurrection that interfered with government functioning and resulted in multiple deaths and hundreds of injuries to police.

    The people who participated in the attempted coup by storming the Capitol Building are being investigated, charged, tried and put in jail. Some are being charged with (and pleading guilty to) seditious conspiracy. The actions by Trump and his conspirators are just as illegal and just as detrimental as those of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys who are the current fall guys. There is nothing political about such crimes -- they are plainly illegal and they are acts against our government and the People of the USA, regardless of political party. Usurping power and undermining democracy arguably hurts Republicans as much as Democrats, in the sense that one man's will to power is substituting itself for our nation's rule of law and Constitution. That is why this not a "political" questions at all.

    There have been other unpopular decisions made by courts. Today's Roe v Wade is one, and it specifically says that political considerations are not to be substituted for law (based on the rundown of the concurring opinion provided above). Republicans do not have to agree that Trump is guilty of crimes, in order for him to be charged and tried. The same is true for the case in Georgia, where Trump is being accused of interfering in an election, and the case in New York, where his prior business dealings are being examined. I hope he is charged in every case of wrongdoing, because we are a nation of laws and no one is above the law.

    It astonishes me that Somerby does not see the issues of justice and fairness behind the letters and calls for indictment being made by liberals. That is one reason why I do not believe he is any kind of liberal. Liberals care about justice -- they don't think trials should be based on popularity and public polling.

    When Somerby juxtaposes a call for Democrats to improve in order to win upcoming elections, and then talks about Trump being crazy and worries about whether there is sufficient public support for him to be indicted, Somerby is subtly threatening the left by suggesting that trying Trump may be bad for the election prospects of Democratic candidates, implying that the right might take reprisals, so we better leave Trump alone and not go after his co-conspirators. That is what today's column is about -- but being Somerby, he doesn't come right out and say what he is implying. His concern trolling camoflages his intent, which is to protect Trump from the consequences of his actions, and those of the Republicans around him and in Congress. It is time for the piper to be paid -- Somerby is trying to negotiate the price.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And with what means would the beleagued blogger Somerby enforce his 'threat'?

      Somerby is putting forth the pragmatic idea that if Trump is indicted for something that is not, in the eyes of his supporters, a clear-cut crime, it could have negative consequences at the polls for Democrats.

      Whether you agree or disagree with this idea, it is a prediction, not a threat.

      Delete
    2. Oh that last one is obvious, they 100% disagree with everything Somerby writes. In fact I bet they can't post a link to even one of their thousands of posts where they ever once agreed with a single thing he wrote. Propaganda.

      Delete
    3. Somerby is trying to influence votes. Every word he writes here is intended to depress turnout for Democrats.

      Nothing Democrats do is going to cause die-hard Trump supporters to be less committed to Trump. The hearings may pry away those Republicans who still care about honor, integrity, rule of law, democracy etc. So, we have nothing to lose, pragmatically, by indicting Trump. We have a great deal to lose if we just let these miscreants destroy democracy.

      Predictions are threats if they discourage Democrats from pursuing justice in this situation.

      Look at what Trump said to Raffensperger -- I think this could be dangerous for you; I think there is criminal liability for you... Are those predictions or threats? They sound like gangster talk -- beautiful house you have here, it would be a shame if something happened to it. Somerby says the race is close. Democrats must up their game. Then he tells us that this is a political problem, not a legal one, and points out how close the race is. Be a shame if something were to happen to those Democratic races in this close midterm...

      But the giveaway is that there is no downside -- what Democrat is going to worry about Trump being indicted for crimes that are horrible to those watching the hearings -- who ARE largely Democrats. When Somerby urges Democrats not to take an action that has no downside, what game is he playing?

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    4. 2:38,
      Or Neville Chamberlain, for that matter.

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    5. 2:20: conveniently for Trump, he can commit no crime in their eyes. Remember when he said he could shoot someone and not lose support? That was an astute (not crazy) observation.

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    6. So pointing out there is a difference between a prediction and a threat implies not only support for Trump, but that this support is so fanatical it would survive Trump's murdering someone in broad daylight?

      Is that really your position?

      Delete
    7. 10:37: who are you responding to? I mean that there is no crime, no matter how clear cut, that would make Trump supporters stop supporting him, so their reaction to a prosecution, any prosecution, is a foregone conclusion. Trump could be charged with a clear-cut case of murder and it would have “negative consequences” for Democrats. Even the GOP held Trump responsible initially for Jan 6, and yet the Dems have suffered negative consequences for investigating it. And that was a pretty clear-cut case of malfeasance by Trump.

      So, it’s a meaningless, pointless and obvious argument from Somerby, one that Democrats are already aware of. Only a dimwit would think Democrats don’t understand this.

      Does Somerby think that a prosecutor should consider the electoral consequences for Democrats in her decision to charge Trump or other Republicans? What about the consequences to the country if they don’t prosecute?

      Delete
  19. You can trace the country’s slide into being a shot hole, to when Ronald Reagan fed the Republican Party tainted monkey brains.

    ReplyDelete
  20. "HOME IMPROVEMENT: Does our tribe need to improve its game?"

    It should be obvious to all that this is not a game.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. game

      3a: a procedure or strategy for gaining an end

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    2. yes, that fits, but it is also offensive to ignore the seriousness of what is at state here for our country

      games don't have consequences like this situation does

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    3. Men are born for games. Nothing else. Every child knows that play is nobler than work. He knows too that the worth or merit of a game is not inherent in the game itself but rather in the value of that which is put at hazard. Games of chance require a wager to have meaning at all. Games of sport involve the skill and strength of the opponents and the humiliation of defeat and the pride of victory are in themselves sufficient stake because they inhere in the worth of the principals and define them.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous doesn't like the word games. That's because Amonymous will not stop until there is war. It's what they truly want. This is further evidence that Amonymous is working on behalf of Republicans.

      Delete
    5. According to Somerby, there is already war. I think Newt Gingrich started it. YMMV but how would this war that is already happening show that Anonymous favors Republicans? First, this is supposedly a liberal blog, since Somerby says "our blue tribe" all the time, and second, conservatives are the ones attacking Anonymous and supporting and agreeing with Somerby, not objecting to his posts. If those conservatives dislike the Anonymous criticisms of Somerby, wouldn't that mean that Somerby is writing conservative-pleasing stuff? So how then can Anonymous be working for Republicans, much less be a Republican? I think you are confused.

      Delete
  21. Clarence Thomas showed you don’t need a background in law to be a Supreme Court justice, as long as you get your legal theories from a Facebook feed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He went to Yale law, so stop being a child.

      Delete
    2. How does going to Yale prevent someone from being partisan? Look at Kavanaugh.

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    3. It also doesn’t prevent someone from being dumb or suggestible. Just peruse Somerby’s blog history to find out what he thinks of Ivy League schools, a la Harvard, his alma mater.

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    4. It’s far past time we shutdown Yale Law School, until we find out what the fuck is going on over there.

      Delete
  22. I haven’t seen Republicans this happy about taking away rights, since George Floyd was choked to death by a thug for over 8 minutes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Moronic snark serving no purpose. False too. Things are bad enough without dunces making things up.

      Delete
    2. You don't think Republicans are happy about this decision? You don't think Floyd was choked to death by a thug (who was convicted by the way)? Or are you disputing the 8 minutes, FDR?

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    3. This fool doubles down with an insane comparison.

      Delete
    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    5. FDR, there is no comparison in 3:11's comment. There are two events that both made Republicans happy. The meaning is that Republicans are made happy by the wrong things.

      Delete
    6. FDR,
      Why won’t you take Bob’s advice, and listen to “the Others”?

      Delete
  23. The decision to charge Trump is in the hands of various law enforcement officials, among them and principally Merrick Garland and Fani Willis in Georgia.

    Is Somerby saying that these two people should consider the potential harm to the Democratic Party when charging Trump? Or should they base their decision on the merits of the case? There is the principle that no one is above the law, that powerful people who commit crimes shouldn’t get away with it. There is potential harm in not prosecuting Trump (if there is credible evidence of guilt), but Somerby never addresses that concern, one that Bandy Lee discussed and that I shared here a while back.

    Is Somerby saying that liberals and non-Trump-supporting Republicans who want Trump prosecuted should not say so, because it might cause Garland or Willis to make a rash decision? I find it doubtful that either of them would proceed with a case against Trump if they weren’t 100% convinced of his guilt, popular opinion be damned.

    It feels as if Somerby is just throwing out reasons not to go after Trump. His potential mental illness is one, but in the event that Trump isn’t mentally ill, then “it might hurt the Democrats” is another, unrelated one.

    ReplyDelete
  24. "UPDATE AFTER TYPING: And now, the end of Roe v. Wade. That may affect things too."

    Such an understatement! Does Somerby have any idea what this decision means for women?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What makes you think Somerby isn’t thrilled women’s second-class citizenship is now the law of the land?

      Delete
    2. This is an insane statement/accusation with no evidence. You are a disgrace.

      Delete
    3. Somerby says he has no religious beliefs now but he grew up Irish Catholic in Boston. What makes you think he has no views about abortion or women's roles? Recall that he said that Chanel Miller shouldn't have gotten drunk at a frat party if she didn't want to be sexually assaulted. That shows a lack of empathy for women who may become pregnant through rape. Women shouldn't be women if they don't want to become pregnant, amirite?

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    4. Please stop hurting FDR’s feelings by telling the truth about the Republican Patty.

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    5. Anonymouse 3:51pm, not only are you not right, you’re conniving and dishonest.

      Somerby has explicitly voiced support for Roe v. Wade.

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    6. But he hasn't voiced any support for women's rights.

      Delete
    7. How many abortions has Trump paid for. That isn’t what is meant by supporting women’s rights.

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    8. Of course paying for an abortion supporting women’s rights if abortion is a woman’s right. It is the nature of that “right” that it comes with a particular benefit to sperm donors.

      However, I get your general point that one must endorse everything anonymices think in order not to be held suspect.

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    9. Somerby dislikes women. He’s the last liberal on the planet to say something liberal about Roe v Wade.

      Delete
    10. Probably not as many as he promised he would pay for

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    11. Cecelia,
      You're not surprised the sexual predators Republicans put on the Supreme Court ruled to make women second-class citizens, are you?

      Delete
  25. Guns and the destruction of Roe will bring a backlash.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No sitting on the sidelines. We beat them in WWII. We’ll need the same effort again.

      Delete
    2. It’s pretty terrible. We now have to go back to post-sex douching with witch hazel and camomile tea.

      Delete
    3. We already have the worst maternal mortality rate among Western democracies and now it will get worse because of do-it-yourself abortion attempts, and Cecelia thinks it is funny.

      Delete
    4. No, I think that you and your reasoning are funny.

      I’m the sure the rate of childhood diseases will increase with a higher birth rate, as well.

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    5. There is no reason why the rate should change, unless kids stop being vaccinated.

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    6. 8:04,
      Don't take it personal. Cecelia is always a piece of shit.

      Delete
    7. Not all childhood diseases McCann be prevented with vaccines.

      Children have ear problems and the sequella of common colds, such as epiglottis.

      However, you get my point.

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    8. That you don’t know what a rate is? Yes, we all get that.

      Delete
    9. I get your “logic”. If some states don’t legislate unfettered abortion, there will be a higher rate of medical issues from backdoor ones.

      Well, if we kill babies in clinics before they are born, not only will we have fewer botched abortions… (sheesh) we’ll have fewer incidents of childhood illnesses, teenage crime, and damage by people to the environment.

      You wouldn’t frame things up like this, but this is essentially your thinking. You’re a moral paragon.

      Delete
    10. If we treat women as first-class citizens, it'll make it harder on rapists, like Brett Kavanaugh and the 2024 Republican Presidential nominee.

      Delete
    11. Extending your argument, Cecelia, the baby food and children's clothing manufacturers will be jumping for joy with this new decision. Schools will have to expand due to the baby boom. The shortage of teachers will be much worse, especially since younger women will be home minding their kids instead of working. In fact, the removal of women from all sectors of the job market will cause a worse recession than the pandemic. And then, the women who die will mean fewer mates for men, resulting in more mass shootings by incels. Restaurants will have fewer customers because women will be home cooking. On the other hand, there will be a Democratic backlash and we may finally get the ERA ratified. Republican men who perpetrated this on women will be cut off at home. Some may regret it enough to change party affiliation. Or sexually frustrated men (because no birth control either) will cause WWIII.

      Lots of ways to think about the consequences of this immoral decision. I wouldn't "frame this up" as you have suggested because I am aware that the women who seek abortions are not all single or minority group members whose kids would otherwise be immersed in crime. They are, statistically, married mothers who already have several kids, whose families cannot afford another child or cannot afford to have her stop working. But the good news is that STDs will go down if contraception is criminalized, except for rape cases, of course.

      Maternal mortality is already higher in the US due to restrictions on abortions (and other factors), but it will go higher because Planned Parenthood provides a variety of prenatal services to poor women. When a pregnancy is a threat to a woman's life, the unavailability of doctors able to treat that as a health issue and not a legal or moral one, will result in more women dying.

      Conservatives "frame this up" as God's will, just as Trump has said that the repeal of Roe v Wade is "God's will," as if he is in any way acquainted with God, much less His will. That is scandalous in an age where medicine has made it possible to preserve women's lives from all sorts of male interference. We now have men deciding for women whether they will live or die, under circumstances where women will have no ability to control whether and how many children they will have. Men do not suffer the consequences of such decisions, but the patriarchy has been strengthened by allowing men to make life and death decisions for women.

      Fortunately, California, Oregon and Washington have formed an alliance to help women fleeing such interference in their own states. I am proud of my own state, California, for defending women's right to make their own health decisions. Meanwhile, Cecelia, you are welcome to have as many kids as you choose, right up until menopause, and I sincerely hope you tape advantage of that right, because you obviously have too much time on your hands now.

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    12. Well, I’m glad to see I’ve made an honest woman of you, Anonymouse 10:10am.

      Babies are a hassle and a damn mess for society. Women hardest hit… We can’t change that, we can only try to keep a lid on them.

      The more that are aborted, the better off we all are.

      Smart people, in smart states, know that unfettered abortion is a hallmark of civilization. President Macron of France recently voiced his adoration for it and they don’t even allow it where he governs. We were one of only seven “Shinning Light On A Hill” counties that do.

      I think you do well to emphasis the good things that may come of this.

      More nongovernmental organizations helping second- class women (formerly known as “people with uteruses) who live in states that have abortion restrictions.

      A sort of Bizarro World “underground railroad” of getting free from very tiny masters and getting around Big Government [state legislatures]


      Delete
    13. Big government folks are Republicans, said everyone who pays attention, and ignores the bullshit the Right spreads on a daily basis.

      Delete
    14. You'll know COVID is over when the free-market Libertarians stop begging Daddy Government to save their businesses, and return to cosplaying as rugged individual frontiersmen.

      Delete
  26. "You are here: Home / House of Representatives / Reaction to the 5th January 6 Committee Hearing – Part II
    Reaction to the 5th January 6 Committee Hearing – Part II
    June 23, 2022 at 5:29 pm EDT By Taegan Goddard 285 Comments

    Today’s hearing was masterful in continuing to build a criminal case against Donald Trump for attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election. It was extraordinary.

    We heard the smoking gun quote that proves Trump was directing the scheme: “Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican Congressmen.”

    Trump’s quote was first reported last year but we learned today it was documented in real time by Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue on Dec. 27, 2020. When coupled with other testimony from these hearings, it demonstrates Trump’s intimate involvement and corrupt intent in trying to remain in power.

    We also found out the White House had begun referring to Jeff Clark as the acting attorney general on the afternoon of January 3. That’s extraordinary because we know he was willing to carry out Trump’s plan and declare the election fraudulent. That’s how close the country came to a full-blown constitutional crisis and possible “political coup.”

    The only reason Trump didn’t fire Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen and make the Clark appointment was because he was told mass resignations — possibly “hundreds and hundreds of them” — would take place at the Justice Department.

    Just as important, we learned that at least six Republican members of Congress sought pardons in the final days of Trump’s presidency. They included Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Louis Gohmert (R-TX) and Scott Perry (R-PA).

    Trump also talked about issuing a “blanket pardon” for family members and for staff."

    ReplyDelete
  27. The pardon comment bothered me too. You might ask for a pardon if you thought the Democrats would do a witch hunt.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But why then are not more Republicans asking for pardons? Why is it only these guys?

      Delete
    2. No one can watch the 1/6 hearings and think the Democrats are engaged in a witch hunt.

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    3. Every RW accusation is a confession. There are no exceptions.

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  28. This is how real liberals are talking on Daily Kos:

    "Because women (to be clear, white women) who voted for trump vs Hillary in 2016, we got Trump-appointed Amy Coney Barrett who provided the nail-in-the-coffin for Roe.

    Nobody has to like it, but those are the facts. If white women had voted for Hillary in the numbers Black women did, we would not be lamenting Roe’s demise, we’d have the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and so much more expansion of rights instead of contraction of them.

    We can mourn today, but tomorrow it’s rise up and fight time again. Qthuglicans CANNOT be allowed back in the majority in Congress in 2022 nor the Presidency in 2024!!

    We MUST #VOTEBLUE up and down te ballot in November or we descend futher toward more of our rights as women (and all citizens) being decimated by these Qthuglicans."

    Is this the effect Somerby is talking about? It would be if he were any kind of blue tribe member.

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  29. On this site, I have defended Trumps sanity in the past, because his actions were sane and effective, even though some of his words sounded insane. However, IMO Trump's reaction to the election was not sane. Not only were his words unreasonable, his actions were unreasonable and not at all effective. Even if the election had been stolen, say by adding enormous numbers of fake Biden votes, there was no way to prove it. Trump had to accept the results. He should have quietly left office.

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    Replies
    1. David, have you considered the possibility that Trump didn’t believe the election was fraudulent, but that he said it was to fool his marks and attempt to stay in power, or to grift? It’s worked out well for him in the sense that he’s made a lot of money off the rubes, and the idea that Democrats cheat and therefore their votes shouldn’t count has gained significant traction within the GOP. This faction wants to ensure Trump is installed in office regardless of the actual vote, and that would suit authoritarian Trump just fine.

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    2. I have replied to David's comment 3 times now and each time my comment has disappeared.

      There was no fraud because none of the extensive investigations of fraud showed any evidence of it. I listed those investigatory efforts, but so did the 1/6 hearing, in Barr's and Rosen's words. It was not possible to have massive numbers of Biden votes without evidence. There are too many checks in place for that to happen. Stop claiming this, David.

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    3. mh - you might be right. I have no way to discern what is in the head of Trump or anyone else.

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    4. "Even if the election had been stolen, say by adding enormous numbers of fake Biden votes, there was no way to prove it. Trump had to accept the results. He should have quietly left office."

      Really? And the next one, in 2024, too? And then every candidate in every election after that?

      Interesting opinion; thanks for sharing...

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    5. Who do you think you're fooling, David. You knew Trump was a corrupt lying sack of shit conman from day one. And you celebrated it.

      Delete
  30. Did anyone expect the sexual predators Republicans put on the Supreme Court to recuse themselves instead of gutting Roe v Wade.?

    ReplyDelete