Eloquence Exemplified In Dissent: Courting the Post-Roe Future

Excerpts from the dissent by justices: Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor. (Some emphasis has been added.)

After today, young women will come of age with fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers had. The majority accomplishes that result without so much as considering how women have relied on the right to choose or what it means to take that right away. The majority’s refusal even to consider the life-altering consequences of reversing Roe and Casey is a stunning indictment of its decision.

. . . The majority accuses Casey of acting outside the bounds of the law to quell the conflict over abortion – of imposing an unprincipled “settlement” of the issue in an effort to end “national division”. Continue reading Eloquence Exemplified In Dissent: Courting the Post-Roe Future

The Other Name for June 24: Susan Collins . . .

“Susan Collins Was A Fool & A Sucker Day”

Washington Post, June 2, 2022:

“If this … is the final decision and this reporting is accurate, it would be completely inconsistent with what Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh said in their hearings and in our meetings in my office,” said the statement the senator released after the story broke. “Obviously, we won’t know each Justice’s decision and reasoning until the Supreme Court officially announces its opinion in this case.”. . .
She explained that the judge  — in their two-hour face-to-face session followed by a one-hour telephone conversation — had assured her of his belief “that precedent provides stability, predictability, reliance and fairness.” The Supreme Court would overturn a precedent only in “rare and extraordinary times” — including, and here she borrowed Kavanaugh’s language, when a decision is “grievously wrong.”

Admittedly, Kavanaugh said plenty in his public hearings about the limits of precedent, and plenty more in his past that set off alarms for pro-choice activists. For Collins, these bells never tolled. The nominee’s “views on honoring precedent,” she proclaimed, “would preclude attempts to do by stealth that which one has committed not to do overtly.”

The year after Kavanaugh ascended to the high court, he dissented in a case setting aside a law that required abortion providers in Louisiana to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital. This was ominous. The chief justice gave the liberals his vote — and a majority — because the law in question was almost identical to another struck down in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.

Roberts had objected to that outcome, but precedent was precedent. Not so for Kavanaugh. How did Collins respond? “He said under oath many times, as well as to me personally many times, that he considers Roe to be ‘precedent upon precedent,’ because it had been reaffirmed in the Casey v. Planned Parenthood case.” She added, “To say that this case … tells you that he’s going to repeal Roe v. Wade, I think, is absurd.”

She believed him, because trusting in each other is how government always used to get things done. Susan Collins might soon have a different worry: After this, who’s going to trust her?

Which makes June 24:

“Susan Collins Was A Fool & A Sucker Day”


They Proved Me Wrong

The one newspaper headline I wrote that I don’t have a copy of (but wish I did) hit the streets of Boston in midsummer of 1972, just after the Democratic National Convention. It read:

“Why McGovern Can’t Lose.”

[For those not of a certain age, Senator George McGovern had just been nominated for president. He would go on to lose 49 states in the 1972 election, winning only Massachusetts (and the District of Columbia).]

If I still had it, that headline would be in a frame, placed in a spot where I would see it often. But just the memory is still a useful reminder, of something I repeated here on June 12:

I don’t know the future.

Specifically, I didn‘t know if Congress would pass the proposed gun reform package.

But I was doubtful; very doubtful. To quote:

I’m also a Quaker, and we aren’t supposed to gamble. But if I was going to break that rule, I wouldn’t bet the ranch on any of that “outline/framework/unbaked loaf.”

For that matter, I wouldn’t even bet the ranch dressing.
Go ahead, Congress, prove me wrong.
“I’m keeping it.”

Today, June 24, Congress passed it. They proved me wrong.

It feels good to be wrong about that.

I still don’t think the package amounts to much. But luckily I didn’t bet, so I’m keeping the ranch dressing.

And I still wish I had a copy of that 1972 headline.

Democracy In Peril: Progressive Billionaires to the Rescue?? (Well, Maybe . . .)

“Money,” truthfully spake the legendary California pol Jesse Unruh, “is the mother’s milk of politics.”

And if money, rather than love, is All You Need (as spake, or crooned, the legendary Beatles), Democrats & their worried (“terrified” is more accurate) and beleaguered progressives ought to be breathing easier today, despite the fate of Roe.

The morning papers bring news that, busting through the encircling hordes of vote suppressors, election stealers and insurrectionists, the cavalry is coming. They’ve been sent by a pentagon of the biggest Dem billionaire campaign donors, and bear saddlebags stuffed with cash (and bitcoin?) to help the Dems fend off the MAGA assault:

LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, one of the nation’s top political donors, gathered more than a dozen billionaires or their representatives over Zoom Friday to sound an alarm about the coming elections.

“MAGA leaders intend to use 2022 midterm wins to install Trump in 2024 regardless of the vote,” read a slide of the PowerPoint Hoffman presented to the group, which was obtained by The Washington Post.

He was pitching some of the nation’s wealthiest people on a doomsday idea that has become a growing obsession among the liberal donor community. Another slide, titled “How MAGA midterms can install Trump,” laid out a step-by-step hypothetical scenario: Republicans win statewide offices in key battleground states in 2022 and then change state laws in 2023 to give legislatures control over presidential electors. After the next presidential election, they declare votes from urban centers “tainted” and overrule the popular vote by sending their own slate of electors to Washington.

The goal [here] . . . was to raise tens of millions of dollars for groups that the PowerPoint described as being able to increase Democratic turnout, persuade swing voters to vote Democratic and “dissuade” Republican voters from going to the polls.

You get the idea. The plot to use 2022 as the stepping stone to a Trump or successor MAGA coronation will be familiar to most of us who can read, listen, or remember their nightmares. I for one am not a doubter.  The MAGA-orange drive is as real as Covid; and stopping it, if that can be done, will cost beaucoup bucks.

However. Continue reading Democracy In Peril: Progressive Billionaires to the Rescue?? (Well, Maybe . . .)

Think Pieces: Peaceniks Still Struggle With Ukraine War Support

NOTE: On a day off from the January 6 Committee hearings, it’s a suitable time to ponder the Ukraine war, and how it has scrambled long-held beliefs & positions for many people. Here are two perspectives: first, that of an internationally-noted public scholar, and the other from a writer who interviewed & wrote about many combat veterans who strongly opposed the U. S. War in Iraq, but now feel supportive of Ukraine’s resistance to Putin’s invasion.  Like the Ukraine war, these mostly inward struggles seem likely to  continue.

#1 – The Guardian: Ukraine
Pacifism is the wrong response to the war in Ukraine
Slavoj Žižek — Tue 21 Jun 2022

The least we owe Ukraine is full support, and to do this we need a stronger Nato

For me, John Lennon’s mega-hit Imagine was always a song popular for the wrong reasons. Imagine that “the world will live as one” is the best way to end in hell.

Those who cling to pacifism in the face of the Russian attack on Ukraine remain caught in their own version of “imagine”. Imagine a world in which tensions are no longer resolved through armed conflicts … Europe persisted in this world of “imagine”, ignoring the brutal reality outside its borders. Now it’s the time to awaken.

The dream of a quick Ukrainian victory, the repetition of the initial dream of a quick Russian victory, is over. In what looks more and more as a protracted stalemate, Russia is slowly progressing, and its ultimate goal is clearly stated. There is no longer any need to read between the lines when Putin compares himself with Peter the Great: “On the face of it, he was at war with Sweden taking something away from it … He was not taking away anything, he was returning … He was returning and reinforcing, that is what he was doing … Clearly, it fell to our lot to return and reinforce as well.”

More than focus on particular issues (is Russia really just “returning”, and to what?) we should read carefully Putin’s general justification of his claim: “In order to claim some kind of leadership – I am not even talking about global leadership, I mean leadership in any area – any country, any people, any ethnic group should ensure their sovereignty. Because there is no in-between, no intermediate state: either a country is sovereign, or it is a colony, no matter what the colonies are called.” Continue reading Think Pieces: Peaceniks Still Struggle With Ukraine War Support

Guilford Is In “The Times” Again— Yes, With Ayn Rand

Most folks who speak often in public tend to have a collection of anecdotes they repeat to illustrate familiar points. Dr. King, for instance, had a whole stack of sermon passages, which he shuffled like a deck of cards, to fill out various addresses. (Yes, “I have a dream” was one.)

Wendy Brown, academic doyenne, is another, still very much alive. She also has her go-to stories. Not being an academic, I only know one of hers: the tale of the near-broke little Carolina Quaker college which sold its soul to an Ayn Rand-obsessed mega-donor, for half a million dollars and a ten-year supply of her doorstop clunker screed, Atlas Shrugged.

Brown dropped this nugget into a lengthy Times interview early last month, which we duly noted here.

But that wasn’t enough for The Paper of Record. Continue reading Guilford Is In “The Times” Again— Yes, With Ayn Rand

Drag Queen – MAGA Smackdown In Arizona


AP News: Drag queen blasts GOP candidate for Arizona governor

PHOENIX (AP) — Kari Lake, the frontrunner in the Republican primary for Arizona governor, condemned the growing cultural clout of drag queens, jumping into the latest social grievance taking hold on the right.

But her comments were quickly criticized over the weekend by one of the most popular drag performers in Phoenix, who says Lake is a hypocrite who frequented his performances.

Barbra Seville

Richard Stevens, who performs as Barbra Seville, said Lake, a former television news anchor, regularly attended drag shows and even hired him to dress as Marilyn Monroe at a private party and brought her young daughter. He posted photos on his social media accounts of Lake posing with drag queens and screenshots of his conversations with her.

The dispute between the gubernatorial frontrunner and the prominent drag queen drew national attention and put Lake on the defensive two weeks before early voting begins ahead of Arizonas Aug. 2 primary. It also fuels a persistent criticism of Lakes conversion from Barack Obama donor to Donald Trump conservative.

“They kicked God out of schools and welcomed the Drag Queens,” Lake tweeted on Friday night. “They took down our Flag and replaced it with a rainbow. They seek to disarm Americans and militarize our Enemies. Let’s bring back the basics: God, Guns & Glory.”
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Stevens responded on social media the next morning: “I’ve performed for her. I’ve performed for her family. I’ve met her kids. I’ve been in her home, and I have her private phone number and her private Facebook account.”

He told The Associated Press on Monday that he stayed in touch with Lake and privately defended her even as she ran a farright campaign that he disagreed with. But when she came after drag queens, he said, “this hypocrisy really bothered me.”

“I was just personally offended by that tweet, Stevens said.

Stevens said he first met Lake in the late 1990s, when he performed regularly at a gay bar near the KSAZ studios, where Lake was an evening anchor. He said Lake and her coworkers would sometimes stop by the bar’s weekly drag show after the broadcast, and he recognized her from watching the news. They eventually struck up a friendship, he said. She would ask him for sources to discuss issues affecting the LGBTQ community, and he occasionally appeared on Fox 10 broadcasts.

Lake once hired him to perform as Marilyn Monroe at a coworkers baby shower about a decade ago, and there he met her daughter, whom he remembers being around 9 or 10 years old.

As Stevens post quickly gained traction on social media Saturday, Lakes campaign initially responded by drawing a distinction between a drag performer and a man impersonating a female celebrity.

The campaign published a statement Sunday condemning the media for covering the controversy and threatening to sue Stevens for defamation.

“Like most sane people, Kari Lake is very much opposed to grown men or women dancing provocatively for children, especially at the expense of the taxpayer,” the statement said. “Why would anyone be opposed to this?”

The statement called Stevens a talented comedian and performer that Kari Lake covered during her TV career and pointed to his support for Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.

A spokesman for Lake, Russ Trumble, declined to comment further Monday, saying “it’s a legal matter now.”

Lake jumped quickly into the frontrunners position after launching a campaign that energized the GOP base and earned Trumps endorsement. She has aggressively promoted false claims that the 2020 election was marred by fraud. But she faces a challenge from businesswoman Karrin Taylor Robson, whos family fortune has allowed her to vastly outspend Lake on television ads, and from former U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon.

Drag shows feature men dressing in flamboyant womens clothing while dancing and singing or lipsyncing. Once a relatively obscure subculture, theyve have exploded into the mainstream with the popularity of the television hit “RuPauls Drag Race. Some performances, particularly lightnight events at bars, can be risque. Others are promoted as family friendly affairs, such as drag queen story hour.

Lakes drag queen tweet latched onto an issue that caught fire this month with conservatives around the country who say drag shows are sexualizing children.

Lawmakers in several states have introduced legislation attempting to ban children from drag shows, and GOP leaders of the Arizona Senate say they have plans for a similar bill.

“The fact is, drag has existed forever,” Stevens said. “I’ve been doing drag longer than Kari has been a Republican. But if you want to outlaw drag in front of kids, you better free up your calendar because it’s ingrained in our culture. The first drag queen I saw was Bugs Bunny.”

The Fires This Time: Northern Spain

Spain devastated by wildfires amid record-breaking heat wave

Wildfires in Spain have destroyed thousands of acres of land and forced hundreds of residents to flee their homes amid a punishing heat wave across Europe.

Some of the fires continue to burn, with firefighters working to extinguish flames that have ravaged more than 74,000 acres. On Friday, the World Meteorological Organization warned that all of Spain faced “extreme fire risk” because of the heat and drought.

The early heat wave broke some records in Spain, with Valencia Airport setting a record June high on Friday, logging a temperature of 102 degrees Fahrenheit (39 Celsius) and surpassing records set in 2017. In Madrid, temperatures rose to around 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.5 Celsius) in what the State Meteorological Agency said was the earliest major heat wave in more than four decades.

“What we’re witnessing today is unfortunately a foretaste of the future,” Clare Nullis, a spokeswoman for the World Meteorological Organization, told the Independent over the weekend as she warned that early heat waves were being propelled by climate change. Continue reading The Fires This Time: Northern Spain

Poll: 60% Say Trump Should Be Charged for Jan. 6; Texas GOP Is Wacko

Axios: Jun 19, 2022 – Politics & Policy
6 in 10 Americans now say Trump should be charged for Jan. 6, poll finds

Julia Shapero

Nearly six in 10 Americans think former President Donald Trump should be charged with a crime for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll.

The big picture: The findings represent a slight increase since the start of a series of public hearings by the House special committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Driving the news: 58% of those surveyed think the former president should be charged with a crime for his role in the riot, according to the poll conducted on June 17 and 18.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll from April found that 52% thought Trump should be charged, while a poll from the same organizations in January 2021 found that 54% believed he should be charged.

More details: The same portion of Americans (58%) think Trump bears either a great deal or a good amount of responsibility for the events of Jan. 6, the June poll revealed.

Sixty percent of Americans also believe the Jan. 6 committee is conducting a fair and impartial investigation.

However, only 34% of Americans said they were watching the committee’s hearings very or somewhat closely.

The platform states the disproven claim that Joe Biden wasn’t legitimately elected and says homosexuality is an abnormal lifestyle choice

The Texas GOP’s convention in Houston ended by finalizing 275 planks in its party platform which aren’t laws but serve are directions or instruction for elected republican officials in the state ranging from flood protection to putting the possibility of Texas seceding from the United States on the ballot.

“The point is that the people who are at the convention are true believing conservatives and they are people who believe the nation has gone severely off course and that it needs to readjust its course.”

The Texas GOP website went offline Monday morning and was still not working by 5 p.m. A Texas GOP spokesperson said too much media attention and increased traffic forced the site offline.

One plank in the platform that generated an immense response was stating, “Homosexuality is an abnormal lifestyle choice” and saying there should be no civil or criminal penalty for people who oppose homosexuality.

“It sounds like the greatest hits of the 1980s but there’s no Michael Jackson or Rick Astley,” said Rafael McDonnell, the senior advocacy, policy and communications director at Dallas-based Resource Center.

Resource Center provides services and programs for LGBTQ+ communities across the area. McDonnell says the party should be focusing time and energy on pressing state issues instead of playing to its base.

“They are saying out loud what they were saying quietly back when we had the marriage rulings, when we had the striking down of the sodomy statutes. They’ve never really changed who they are,” he said. “It is embarrassing that a major political party is wasting its time with this sort of stuff but it’s a base election.”

The party platform also notably includes the disproven claim that the 2020 election had “substantial fraud” and says President Joe Biden “was not legitimately elected”.

Last week, congressional hearings on the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot showed officials for former President Donald Trump stating claims of voter fraud were false.

“They can make these dramatic statements for their base and depend on the fact that relatively few Texans will know about it or remember it come election day,” Jillson said. “Most voters, a week from now or two weeks from now will not be able to tell you a single plank in the republican platform.”

“Every candidate will take a look at this platform and see what parts of this they can use to their advantage and what parts they will ignore or even disavow in some cases,” Riddlesperger said.

The platform also both supported banning the teaching of sex education while at the same time endorsing teaching that life begins at fertilization.

It also stated support for repealing both gun laws and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that outlaws discrimination in voting. Sen. John Cornyn was booed while speaking at the convention and rebuked in the party platform. Rep. Dan Crenshaw was also booed, and Gov. Greg Abbott didn’t attend.

“It’s radical but it’s also a crystal-clear expression of the republican activist’s base’s view of the world,” Jillson said. “Until democrats can defeat them, they’re going to continue to feed their activist base.”

In a month, Texas Democrats will host a convention in Dallas. Jillson says while the Republican planks may not be popular with independents, they’re gaining traction partly because they’re digestible.

“Voters listen to that and they understand it. When democrats try to take an alternative view that takes paragraphs to explain, they’re in big trouble,” he said. “Republican advantage of simplicity.
Democrat detriment of complexity.”


Quotes to Start the Week, On Election Integrity & Consequences

In Otero County, New Mexico, there was a local primary election on June 7. Republicans were elected to every office on the ballot but two.

One exception was a Democrat for one of the three County Commissioner seats. For a second commissioner seat, a near tie of 801 votes to 790, may go to a recount — but both those candidates are Republicans too.

New Mexico. Otero county is in purple in the bottom tier.

Not much excitement, or news here, initially. But then the incumbent commissioners made headlines last week, by refusing to certify the results.

There were no charges of any irregularities, but the county had used Dominion voting machines, which MAGA Republicans falsely assert are actively wired for fraud, and that was enough: the Commission voted unanimously not to certify.

Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin

New Mexico’s Secretary of State went to the state supreme court, which ordered the Otero commissioners, lacking any evidence of fraud, to certify the vote by week’s end. On Friday, two of the members met. But the third, Couy Griffin, was absent. Continue reading Quotes to Start the Week, On Election Integrity & Consequences