Category Archives: Sedition Watch

AN URGENT CALL FOR SOME PHILADELPHIA FRIENDS TO — “GET A CLUE”

A dispatch from Quaker flyover country.

Let’s see now: I’ve been in North Carolina for twenty years. Twelve years ago, in 2010, the state government was taken over by a rightwing party that was a militant forerunner of today’s authoritarian MAGA movement.

Science March, 2017, in Raleigh (not Philadelphia).

In the 12 years since then, Carolinians of more progressive views and values have had to struggle and push back against constant assaults on (a partial list) voting, women’s full rights, poor Blacks, whites & Hispanics, the stifling of Medicaid expansion, green lights for major, deadly polluters, hostility to immigrants, degradation of public schools and colleges, entrenched anti-union laws, undermining the integrity of teachers, and much more.

“Bathroom Bill” Protest at the NC legislative building, Raleigh.

There have been high points of open resistance: we mostly beat back a viciously anti-trans “bathroom bill”; enough non-extreme candidates fought their way into the legislature so our moderate governor’s vetoes of the worst bills can mostly be upheld.

We’ve also seen some memorable public protests: many big marches and rallies were mounted against transphobia, Confederate monuments and voter suppression: the “Moral Mondays” campaign of 2013 saw nearly a thousand citizens arrested in disciplined nonviolent civil disobedience against voter suppression (and one among them was me). Continue reading AN URGENT CALL FOR SOME PHILADELPHIA FRIENDS TO — “GET A CLUE”

Liz Cheney: Running for Her Life

A Life & Death Race. Not Exaggerating.

AP News: Liz Cheney braces for primary loss as focus shifts to 2024

BY STEVE PEOPLES AND MEAD GRUVER —  July 24, 2022

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Three weeks before the most significant election of her political career, Liz Cheney was nowhere to be seen as thousands of voters gathered for a massive midsummer rodeo and cowboy festival in Wyoming’s largest city. Continue reading Liz Cheney: Running for Her Life

More Weekend Humor

Stephen Colbert

“He chose not to act,” Colbert added. “Same review he got for [his cameo role in the movie] Home Alone 2.”

The committee retraced Trump’s steps for the whole of January 6, including the afternoon spent watching Fox News in the White House. “Nothing unusual there – just an elderly man, parked in front of Fox News all day, confused about where the president is,” Colbert quipped.

Seth Meyers

On Late Night, Seth Meyers previewed Thursday’s primetime hearing with a teaser from the committee, in which it confirmed Trump spent the afternoon of January 6 sitting in a White House dining room watching television. “You’ve got to give it to Donald Trump – he was somehow both the most dangerous and also the laziest president in American history,” said Meyers. “Donald Trump, in the dining room, with the television, that’s the answer to every mystery in a game of Trump Clue.”

Meyers replayed depositions from several White House staffers, including press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, confirming that Trump spent all afternoon watching TV. “. . .  “He was cheering them on like he was watching Sunday Night Football. I’m shocked we don’t have a photo of him in the Oval Office wearing a hat, a foam finger and jersey that says Team Insurrection.”

Regardless of what aired on Thursday, “so much crazy shit has happened that it’s easy to forget the details of any specific Trump scandal,” Meyers added.

“I really hope that particular sequence of events is seared into history for ever. Normally, our history textbooks all have boring names, like Modern America: 1950 to the present, but when they get around to writing a book about this, they should just call it The Dude Tried to Get His Own Vice President KILLED, I MEAN WTF!!!”

And a PS. From Friday: Steve Bannon was convicted of contempt in federal court. The trial was a quickie — the Justice Department lawyer was reportedly aiming to make the Guinness Book of  World Records for The Shortest Prosecution Evah. One account I heard said it went something like this:

Prosecutor: Your Honor, the government will show that the defendant Bannon showed utter contempt for this court. (To the witness): Ma’am, did you send this subpoena to Mr. Bannon?

The witness: Yep.

Prosecutor: Did Mr. Bannon appear at the appointed time and place?

The witness: Nope.

Prosecutor: No further questions. Your Honor, the prosecution rests.

[This testimony has been edited and reimagined, but not all that much.]

But alas, weekends don’t last very long . . .

. . . Then, it’s “back to business” in the hallowed halls . . .

 

 

Quotes of The Weekend: Midterm Election Keys — Enthusiasm, Turnout — and Hate

Philip Bump in the Washington Post, from an article crunching the latest post-Roe polls:

Now we come to enthusiasm about voting, that metric that many Democrats have seized on of late as an indicator of fury about [the] Dobbs [decision which threw out Roe].

Bump: As it turns out, Gallup has new data on that. Enthusiasm for voting among Democrats is higher now than in any recent year besides 2006 and 2018 — two elections that went very well for the party. But Republican enthusiasm is 10 points higher.

If we look at the gap between the two parties’ enthusiasm, we again get a murky picture. That said: If the trend line is perfect and the enthusiasm gap stays unchanged (neither of which is the case), 2022 will be a rough year for the left.

Infinite caveats apply . . . . Poll numbers can change (though it seems unlikely in this highly polarized era that Biden’s approval is going far). Republican enthusiasm can sink; Democratic enthusiasm can surge. Exceptionally bad or exceptionally good general election candidates can shift a lot of results unexpectedly. It really does come down to turnout.

All of which is to say: If you are a Democrat who wants to shift all of the graphs [in your direction] , your best bet isn’t to parse individual polls or cross your fingers. It is, in fact, to vote.

COMMENT: About that “enthusiasm gap”.  There’s more to it, much more than Bump and his charts reveal. And there are crucial synonyms for “enthusiasm” he misses, especially two: rage and hate. Continue reading Quotes of The Weekend: Midterm Election Keys — Enthusiasm, Turnout — and Hate

“Christian” Nationalists Planning Next Anti-Abortion Moves

NYTimes: Christian Nationalists Are Excited About What Comes Next

By Katherine Stewart — July 5, 2022

Ms. Stewart has reported on the religious right for more than a decade. She is the author of “The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism.”

The shape of the Christian nationalist movement in the post-Roe future is coming into view, and it should terrify anyone concerned for the future of constitutional democracy.

The Supreme Court’s decision to rescind the reproductive rights that American women have enjoyed over the past half-century will not lead America’s homegrown religious authoritarians to retire from the culture wars and enjoy a sweet moment of triumph.

On the contrary, movement leaders are already preparing for a new and more brutal phase of their assault on individual rights and democratic self-governance. Breaking American democracy isn’t an unintended side effect of Christian nationalism. It is the point of the project.

A good place to gauge the spirit and intentions of the movement that brought us the radical majority on the Supreme Court is the annual Road to Majority Policy Conference. At this year’s event, which took place last month in Nashville, three clear trends were in evidence. First, the rhetoric of violence among movement leaders appeared to have increased significantly from the already alarming levels I had observed in previous years.

Second, the theology of dominionism — that is, the belief that “right-thinking” Christians have a biblically derived mandate to take control of all aspects of government and society — is now explicitly embraced. And third, the movement’s key strategists were giddy about the legal arsenal that the Supreme Court had laid at their feet as they anticipated the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Continue reading “Christian” Nationalists Planning Next Anti-Abortion Moves

“Why We Did It” — A Review in Pieces – Part 1

Timothy Miller is a repentant ex-Republican operative, now a key member of “The Bulwark.” This is a group of mostly like-minded  onetime GOP operatives, now Never Trumpers, still “conservative” on many issues, but dead-seriously dedicated to preventing #45’s overthrow of democracy, and who may well have — at least I hope so— the brains & skills to do it.

Yet with a long record of putting his talents effectively to work for many who have become bigtime Trump loyalists and fascism accelerators, not to mention being a completely closeted hit man for many professional political  homophobes, Miller, as the saying goes, has a lot of explaining to do — first all, to himself.

Hence, Why We Did it, just published last week. Fittingly, it’s both a personal confessional, and an insider apparatchik’s look at the rise and reign of you-know who. This latter category is a crowded one at most bookstores, with new entries popping up every week or so.

Will Miller’s book stand out in this crowd? I don’t know yet. And — full disclosure — I haven’t read all or most of the similar output, and don’t plan to. Life is short.

But in 2020, deep in the gloom of the pandemic’s first autumn, I was captivated by one of the other major confessional tomes, Disloyal, by Trump’s longtime fixer, Michael Cohen. That experience produced a review, not only of the book but of its times, that filled several posts (which can be found here). Continue reading “Why We Did It” — A Review in Pieces – Part 1

Watching January 6: Bags Packed, Ready to Flee

CNN Opinion: As a Jewish American, I don’t see this country quite the same way after January 6

CNN Opinion by Nathan Wolfson — July 25, 2022

Nathan Wolfson is the deputy digital director and social media manager at J Street, a pro-Israel, nonprofit advocacy group. He lives in Washington, DC. The views expressed here are his own. Read more opinion at CNN.

Each session of the House committee investigating the events of January 6 showed us just how far parts of the country have traveled, unbeknownst to most of us, down a road towards extremism, white nationalism and antisemitism.

We all saw the throngs of protesters storm the Capitol, waving Confederate flags and spewing racist hate. As it turns out, my vantage point was a bit closer than for most Americans.

I live close to Capitol Hill, the neighborhood that abuts Congress and congressional office buildings.

From the window of my home, I watched throngs of mostly white men in red MAGA hats gathering that morning, many of whom I suspect were violently attacking Capitol police a few hours later and hoping to prevent the peaceful transfer of presidential power. As their numbers swelled in my neighborhood, my wife and I scrambled to pack our bags.

Within a stone’s throw of my front door, I saw men wearing shirts referencing Nazism and the SS. I learned from news reports that one of protesters who breached the Capitol wore a t-shirt bearing the words “Camp Auschwitz.” To see those symbols and messages worn proudly was chilling. Still, I never expected the violence the country would witness that day. Continue reading Watching January 6: Bags Packed, Ready to Flee

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.