Wednesday, June 7, 2023

No Alternatives


There must be a universe in which America hasn’t descended into anti-science denialism; in which all members of America’s majority religion actually followed its teachings, rather than promoting hate and fear of otherness, and elevating its amoral political “leader” to a status higher than their religious one.

Somewhere in the multiverse, America never elected a lifelong liar and flouter of the law, a narcissistic destroyer of the once-touted “guardrails” of democracy; a wrong-doer never held to account, unable to accept recant or renounce transgressions of decency and the law. Surely there’s a universe in which the party that elected him took responsibility and corrected its mistake. By producing superior candidates capable of correcting the error, refusing to reinstall the one, fealty to and fear of whom facilitated the downfall of party and country.

These Friday columns are sent in by Wednesday evening, allowing Editor Jon Bauer to lay out the opinion section on Thursday morning, for publication the next day. So, at this writing, we don’t know if the inevitable indictment of Donald Trump by Jack Smith has yet dropped. But we know the reaction.

From Republican leaders and their admitted-liar media, the meas won’t be culpa. We’ll hear of witch hunts, crazed Trump-haters, liberals seeking vengeance for something or other, rather than supporting punishment for obvious crimes, as should be the case, in a nation of laws, for all people, even former “presidents.”

We’ll hear praise of the January 6 desecrators, pretense that stealing classified documents, lying about it, and getting others to lie, too, is no big deal; and claims that, in a supernatural act, the documents became declassified the minute they were stolen.

There’ll be calls for impeachment, imprisonment, or worse, of investigators, prosecutors, and Democratic leaders, top to bottom. Trump’s poll numbers will rise. “Truthless Social” will run out of capital letters. Despite his undeniable criminality, he may still become his party’s nominee. Too late to admit their mistake. For those with time and inclination, here’s documentation of Trump’s crimes, created by former prosecutors, which they propose would be similar to Jack Smith’s “prosecution memo.” 

But what alternative candidates are there? Ron DeSantis, whose campaign is based entirely on constantly repeating his too-clever-by-three-quarters phrase, “woke mind virus,” the definition of which boils down to acceptance of differences among fellow humans and resistance to banning books and words. (Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, not yet and hopefully never a candidate, just signed a law requiring imprisonment of librarians who allow children to see books she’s banned. Other red state governors are in line.)

Nikki Haley, the “reasonable one,” just blamed the fact that a third of girls have contemplated suicide on fear of sharing a bathroom with a trans girl; something that happens rarely and so what? Girls’ bathrooms have stalls, not urinals. And she doesn’t like red flag laws because she doesn’t “trust the government to enforce them.” As opposed to whom? The NRA?

Chris Christie, whose weight is being mocked by classy, 237-pound (according to lying Ronny Jackson, MD, R-TX) fourth-grader Trump, once in trouble for hugging President Obama for his help with Hurricane Sandy, began his rehabilitation campaign by asserting that Obama deliberately divided the country.

Mike Pence, whose chances lag Hell’s snowball, kicked off his campaign with a professionally produced video, in which he says “President Biden and the radical left have weakened America at home and abroad;” a statement believed, no doubt, by the Foxified but refuted on every level by simple observation. The part of the video that insists “timeless American values are under assault” shows images of rainbow flags and trans kids. No dog whistle for Mike. A soulless bullhorn.

Most of these pretenders push the lie that children can be “groomed” to become gay or to change their sex. They push it because it works; because it’s a proven path to power when they have nothing to offer for average Americans. Granted, children can be groomed to accept sexual molestation; we hear of it, roughly weekly, being done by various youth pastors and anti-LGBT, pro-life politicians, as well as “patriotic” militia members. And, for sure, taught to be racist. But not to become gay. Or to switch gender. It doesn’t happen.

The lie that sexual identity is chosen, or “groomed,” as opposed to inborn, is second only – or maybe, in terms of harm to vulnerable people, first – to Trump’s election lies. The science – yes, science! – is compelling, and deepening steadily. Pushing the lies, attacking our most vulnerable for political gain is cynical, un-Christian cruelty at its worst.

Having run out of space, we finish by quoting noted social scientist, Wanda Sykes: “Until a drag queen walks into a school and beats eight kids to death with a copy of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, I think you’re focusing on the wrong s[tuff].”

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Fascism Defined. And Observed

 


Memorial Day. Compare and contrast:

President Joe Biden: “On this day, we come together again to reflect, to remember, but above all, to recommit to the future our fallen heroes fought for …a future grounded in freedom, democracy, equality, tolerance, opportunity, and…justice... [T]he truest memorial to their lives is to act every day to ensure that our democracy endures, our Constitution endures, and the soul of our nation and our decency endures.”

Trump: “Happy Memorial Day to all, but especially to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the country they love, and to those in line of a very different, but equally dangerous fire, stopping the threats of the terrorists, misfits and lunatic thugs who are working feverishly from within to overturn and destroy our once great country, which has never been in greater peril than it is right now. We must stop the communists, Marxists and fascist ‘pigs’ at every turn and, Make America Great Again!” (“Happy Memorial Day” to soldiers who died??)

DeSantis: “I will destroy leftism and leave woke ideology in the dustbin of history.” (Really? How?)

Thanks to Heather Cox Richardson, a history professor to whose daily “Letters From An American” everyone should subscribe, I learned of pamphlets issued by the War Department to US soldiers during WWII, aimed at helping them understand what they were fighting for. As my personal creativity is a dying ember, I’ll quote extensively:

“You are away from home, separated from your families ... because of a thing called fascism... It is important for our future ... that as many of us as possible understand the causes and practices of fascism, in order to combat it.”

“Fascism is government by the few and for the few. The objective is seizure and control of the economic, political, social, and cultural life of the state. The people run democratic governments, but fascist governments run the people.” “The basic principles of democracy stand in the way... Anyone who is not a member of their inner gang has to do what he’s told. They permit no civil liberties, no equality before the law... Fascism treats women as mere breeders. ‘Children, kitchen, and the church,’ was the Nazi slogan for women.” ...

“They maintain themselves in power by use of force combined with propaganda based on primitive ideas of ‘blood’ and ‘race,’ by skillful manipulation of fear and hate, and by false promise of security.” ... “... faith in the common sense of the common people—was the direct opposite of the fascist principle of rule by the elite few, so they fought democracy…. They played political, religious, social, and economic groups against each other and seized power while these groups struggled, [using a] well-planned ‘hate campaign’ against minority races, religions, and other groups.”

“In place of international cooperation, the fascists seek to substitute a perverted sort of ultra-nationalism which tells their people that they are the only people in the world who count.” ... “[It is] vitally important to learn to spot native fascists, even though they adopt names and slogans with popular appeal, drape themselves with the American flag, and attempt to carry out their program in the name of the democracy they are trying to destroy.” ...

“Freedom requires being alert and on guard against the infringement not only of our own freedom but the freedom of every American. If we permit discrimination, prejudice, or hate to rob anyone of his democratic rights, our own freedom and all democracy is threatened. And if we want to make certain that fascism does not come to America, we must make certain that it does not thrive anywhere in the world.”

Wow. Was that a “woke” military, or what! WWMTGD?

It’s doubtful the War Department foresaw the fascistic devolution of today’s Republican Party, which was, after all, grooming Dwight Eisenhower. But their warnings have become the playbook for Trump and DeSantis, plus every current hat-thrown R candidate, following in goosestep. Nikki Haley and Tim Scott smile more, but they’re in line.

Aided by media which, as recent events prove, lie for lucre, they’re creating a horde of Americans who ignore the obvious threat to themselves. Who target Target rather than race-baiting, antisemitic, anti-democracy, sexually-nervous white-supremacists. (God invented the rainbow.)

Providing proof are House Republicans in their debt ceiling extortion attempts. What they wanted, and were willing to ruin the lives of Americans to get – they still might -- was cutting benefits for the (lazy, undeserving) underprivileged while making sure the IRS hadn’t the ability to audit wealthy (they and their donors) tax cheats. Empowering the few, demonizing the different, it’s fascism defined. Induced to self-harm via calculated other-hate, most of their voters, victimized by their policies, elect them anyway. It’s a scam bigger than all of Trump’s added together.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Optical Rosacea

 


In my surgery practice, I was a perfectionist. Not a bad thing for my patients, but it meant I was highly self-critical and rarely satisfied. On those occasions when I found myself feeling proud of how I handled a very difficult situation, it didn’t last long. I came to believe that if the gods of surgery discovered a surgeon feeling good, they’d send a case that erased it. Similarly, surgeons and surgical personnel know never to say, in the middle of an operation, “Gee, this is going well.”

With that in mind, I hesitate to say I’m feeling mildly encouraged about Democrats’ electoral prospects in ’24. The positivity is due, in part, to the results of recent off-year elections, where Democrats won jobs long held by Republicans. Mayor of Jacksonville, Florida, for one, deep in DeSantis country. Have he and his party overestimated America’s tolerance for punitive autocracy? Maybe a majority of people prefer making their own choices for what books their children read; letting parents make decisions about non-binary children; aren’t threatened by pronouns. Trust doctors more than legislators when it comes to health decisions. Aren’t bothered by Rudy Giuliani’s penchant for dressing in drag. We’ll see.

Perhaps the hypocrisy and legislative nothingness coming from the right will be dispositive. Maybe enough people are disgusted by House Republicans’ unanimous refusal to rid themselves of serial scammer George Santos while proposing expelling Adam Schiff for ... doing his job. Might they be repulsed by Marjorie Taylor Greene filing articles of impeachment against President Biden, Attorney General Garland, D.C. District Attorney Graves, FBI Director Wray, and DHS Secretary Mayorkas?

In her Georgia district, such attention-hogging oxygen-wasting will undoubtedly play well. Around the country, though, will she be seen as emblematic of Republican (non)governance? Will people in less-gerrymandered precincts and in states where Democrats’ votes are ineffectively suppressed defeat similar candidates?

The future of America under Republican control isn’t speculative. It’s on display in Texas, Florida, Nebraska, Montana... Ron DeSantis just signed a law allowing him to take custody of trans children under age 18, making criminals of parents faced with heart-rending, difficult choices in supporting their own children. He’s preventing public colleges from teaching courses related to “diversity, empathy, and inclusion.” Is it because teaching kindness and history might produce students lacking MAGAntipathy? 

In times lost to memory, the Republican Party stood against such invasive government intrusion into private lives. It’s possible real conservatives still exist, and look with revulsion at the prospect of American Floridation. Maybe they’ll consider banning the poem read at President Biden’s inauguration because just one parent found it offensive, a step too far in whitewashing minds. Conceivably, sending school librarians to prison for allowing children to read books could be a deal breaker, too. 

It might be that the Foxified who believe there was no Russia/Trump connection will read of the Americans Putin permanently banned and note how many are ones who’ve criticized, disagreed with, opposed, lampooned, or written truthfully about Trump. And rethink. (Among the chosen are Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, and Seth Meyers.)

It’s not impossible, as we approach debt-ceiling Armageddon, that a determinative number of Americans will recognize that Republican hypocrisy on the matter is because SINO Kevin McCarthy takes orders from MTG and Trump, the latter of whom would deliberately ruin millions of lives, hoping voters would blame it on President Biden. For not yielding to extortion. They might conclude Trump’s desperation to be elected is to escape prosecution for his manifold crimes.

A significant majority of Americans recognize climate change as the serious threat it is. Will they see Montana, which just banned considering impact on climate change in permitting new construction, as how R-USsians would deal with it? Possibly.

How many voters will consider Ted Cruz’s proposed Senate investigation of Bud Lite as the best use of legislative time? Or MTG’s intent to bring Hunter Biden’s alleged prostitutes before Congress? What of Gym Jordan’s defense of funding for his star witnesses by rightwing half-billionaire, Trump apologist, Kash Patel; and his refusal to share their testimony with Democrats on his “weaponization” committee? What if roles were reversed and the funder was George Soros? Hypocrisy? How about its chairman admitting politicization of the “oversight” committee? 

Could there be a limit to tolerating Republican rejection of sensible gun laws; living in a country whose FBI makes how-to videos on surviving a mass murderer? 

We haven’t even mentioned red-state abortion laws, or how they create unwanted pregnancies and children in need; or their heartless forcing of women to bear doomed babies, endangering their own lives. Maybe even most Christians prefer not to live in a Christian Nationalist theocracy

Is optimism justified? Perhaps. But I haven’t yet bought a pig-proof umbrella. The gods are watching.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Not Even Mothers' Day?

 


Here are sentiments expressed by two recent presidents and a “president,” on Mothers’ Day (that’s the proper location for the apostrophe, IMO): 

President Barack Obama: “Happy Mother’s day! I hope you take a moment to appreciate all the moms and mother-figures in your life – and be there for people who may be missing theirs. To Michelle Obama, thanks for being such an amazing mom to our beautiful girls. You set an incredible example for all of us.” 

President Joe Biden: On Mother’s Day, we celebrate the moms and the women filling the role of a mother in our lives... They believe in us so we can believe in ourselves... They are there for us at our highest points and our lowest moments... The lessons I learned from my mother... continue to guide me today. My wife, First Lady Jill Biden, has loved our children and grandchildren with abandon as well. She was the glue that helped put us together after my boys and I experienced profound loss...”

Trump: “Happy Mother’s Day to ALL, in particular the Mothers, Wives and Lovers of the Radical Left Fascists, Marxists, and Communists who are doing everything within their power to destroy and obliterate our once great Country. Please make these complete Lunatics and Maniacs Kinder, Gentler, Softer and, most importantly, Smarter, so that we can, quickly, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!”

Readers might discern differences in tone. Not to mention who’s included and who’s not. Subtle. Like the difference between sanity and lunacy. Normality and pathology. Ability to love and inability. Work on it: it’ll come to you.

As easy as it is, from the above, to discern who are decent human beings and who isn’t, and as much as you’d think no one could conclude otherwise, we know that such openness to reality has been expunged from the formerly rational and useful Republican Party. One expects and appreciates differences of political opinion, of course; it makes for good policy. But this... this level of divide augers poorly.

For example: Ever since they assumed the majority position in the House, Republicans have promised to expose horrifying corruption in the Biden administration. Most recently they announced the existence of a whistleblower who claims to have access to an informant who knows some... stuff. Barely containing their excitement, they’ve held presser after presser, promising historic revelations. Until their showstoppers went missing.

We don’t know if the sources ever existed; if they did, we don’t know where they went. Naturally, there are two general points of view: from the left, it was vaporous from the beginning. From the right, they’ve been kidnapped and, assuming they haven’t been drained of their blood, they’re imprisoned in George Soros’ basement, forced to hear drag queens reading history using only pronouns.

A less fanciful example of blindered divide is the just-released final report of independent prosecutor John Durham’s four-year, seven-million-dollar investigation of the FBI’s investigations of Trump. Durham was hired by Trump’s Attorney General Barr, who, unlike AGs like Merrick Garland, who keep arm’s length from special prosecutors to maintain independence, accompanied Durham around the planet as they sought to find proof of malfeasance.

To prominent Republicans and their media mouthers, the report is a withering indictment of the FBI; a cause for eliminating the Bureau altogether; a reason for imprisonment of many people. To people able to read, which, in this case, amazingly, includes Trump-pardoned, ultra-MAGA felon, Steve Bannon, the report amounts to a rehash of old news and conspiracies.

Opinions aside, its only semi-substantive conclusion was that the FBI should first have done a preliminary investigation. Durham detailed no corruption and, tellingly, made no recommendations. In fact, his report omitted several high-profile, ultimately unrevealing inquiries he and Barr made.

But he stated that the FBI treated Trump and Hillary Clinton differently. They did: they kept their investigation of Trump secret, as opposed to releasing information about Clinton right before the election, which probably contributed to Trump’s “victory.” Bleeding between the lines, Republicans see proof of ... something. For those interested in facts, two in-depth analyses are here and here.

Also emblematic of hopeless division are responses to the killing of Jordan Neely, a mentally-ill black man, by Daniel Penny, a white man, on a subway in NYC. Subdued by an overly-long chokehold as he was behaving erratically, Neely died. As expected, Penny has been lavished with rightwing adoration; Ron DeSantis raised millions of dollars for his defense; Nikki Haley demands a pardon. Like Kyle Rittenhouse before him, who killed peaceful demonstrators demanding human rights, Perry will become a star. Liberals have suggested he could have released his hold once Neely stopped struggling. They’re right. Doesn’t matter.

A final example for now: Trump says he’d re-hire pardoned felon, Q-anon believer, General Michael Flynn. Where’s the outrage from the right?

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Debt Seething



It wasn’t supposed to be like this. When the ability of the government to borrow money was included in the Constitution, there weren’t political parties. Nor did the founders envision the evolution of two dominant ones, followed by the devolution of one into undemocratic nihilism; genuflecting to a pathological liar, would-be autocrat, and, now, convicted sexual abuser; a party unwilling to stop defending and mirroring him, to resume partnership in democracy. But here we are.

In the beginning, borrowing against “the full faith and credit” of the US required Congressional approval in each instance. As the country grew and expenditures increased, it became unwieldy; thus was born the “debt ceiling” concept. The idea was that Congress could spend money up to a legislated limit without going through the process of repetitive authorization. Streamlining, in other words, the ability of the government to function.

Then came World War I, for which expenses could not be predicted. Containing a not-yet insane Republican party, Congress approved the first Liberty Loan Act of 1917. Then, shortly, another; each distributed borrowing limits between government bonds and one-year certificates, but freed the treasury to issue debt more efficiently. That worked until 1939, when WWII and the Great Depression occasioned eliminating those distribution rules, simplifying future spending.

Emphasis on “future.” Just as there’s confusion between debt and deficit, the function of the debt ceiling is widely misunderstood and, by Republicans, intentionally mischaracterized. If someone owes too much on their credit card, they analogize, the solution isn’t to let them spend more. Which sounds sensible, until you realize they’re proposing reneging on what’s already owed. In their credit card metaphor, they’d destroy the owner’s credit score forever, if not longer. How is paying one’s bills and THEN addressing future spending even controversial? Shouldn’t preserving “full faith and credit” come first?

If the debtor were your child, would you force them into default to teach a lesson, or would you insist they pay their bills, responsibly? Would you prevent them from paying until they stopped volunteering at a food bank? Dropped out of school? Poisoned a reservoir? Do I analogize as badly as they? Not really.

Though it wasn’t foreseen as such, the debt limit has been a political wedge for several decades. In 2006, then-Senator Obama said he’d not vote to raise the limit without a concurrent plan to lower the deficit. Emphasis on “concurrent,” as opposed to de facto Speaker Marjorie Taylor Greene’s extortion, for which – surprise – Mitch McConnell and most Republican senators have voiced support.

As a condition for raising the debt ceiling, they demand undoing President Biden’s most important and popular accomplishments: Money for environmental protection, job creation, social programs including the Veterans Administration, and increased funding for the IRS to track down wealthy – emphasis on “wealthy” – tax cheats. Oh-so cleverly asking the impossible, they’ll blame the consequences on Biden. Even without Tucker’s braying, MAGAs will believe.

Under the Obama administration, the bipartisan Budget Control Act was established. It slowed spending until Republicans recaptured the White House and ignored the limits, increasing discretionary spending by sixteen percent. During Trump’s “presidency,” when pre-failed, top-heavy tax cuts and increased spending created fully one-third of our current national debt, they raised the ceiling three times, stringlessly. It was the first time Republicans exhibited hypocrisy. McConnell still hasn’t. (I could be wrong.)

The value of a two-party system is in hashing out differences on critical issues – like budgets – and finding acceptable middle ground, based on concern for what’s best for the most Americans, as opposed to “owning” the other side. Until the Republican party, featuring Gingrich, DeLay, Rove, Ailes, et. al., rejected cooperation, paving the path to where we are now, it worked pretty well.

So far, President Biden has refused, rightly, to bargain the credit limit; saying, rightly, that budget talks should be separate, as intended. In demanding otherwise, Republicans are amplifying their already-disproportionate, Constitutionally-granted minority power. President Biden was elected decisively, based on what he promised; which he’s doing. Holding the economy hostage, MAGA Republicans aim to undo the electoral will of the people, just as they ignore the huge majority of Americans who favor gun control and abortion rights.

Absent balanced budgets, Republicans will continue their pervicacious crisis-creation. The national debt will continue to rise, with typical rapidity under Republican administrations; less so, as usual, under Democrats. The last balanced budget was during the Clinton administration, which also marked the appearance of Gingrich’s scorched-earth approach to compromise. With today’s Republicans’ even greater intransigence, it’s unlikely we’ll ever see agreement on the sort of spending cuts and tax increases that would eliminate deficit spending. Not unless Republicans return to electing qualified, democracy-supporting leaders, assuming there remain any who fit the description.

Also, the debt ceiling may have been unconstitutional from the beginning. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Two Roads, Diverging


 

Joe’s running. It’s not his age that’s of concern; it’s concern about his age, the perfect distraction from what’s important. President Biden’s multiple years and Trump’s multiple indictments will be horserace headlines above much more crucial text. The 2024 election – no hyperbole – will decide, probably permanently, whether the remains of our republic can endure continued attempts by MAGA Republicans to finish it off. It’s not looking good.

In my medical career, I recognized the approach of death. But one needn’t be a doctor to note democracy’s agonal breathing, its thready pulse. Come 2024, it’s either a last-minute lifesaving operation or pull the plug.

Evidence is everywhere. Satisfied they’ve terminally poisoned elections in their favor, red state legislators feel no compunction in dismantling bedrock American principles. In Texas, their Senate just passed bills forcing every classroom in public schools to display the Ten Commandments and to set times for prayer and Bible study. They must believe the carefully-curated, Mitchified majority of religiously zealous legislators on the US Supreme Court will favor them when the inevitable lawsuit arrives, pre-decided, as those who bankrolled their nominations and vacations intended.

Aware that voting by educated young people threatens their antidemocratic agenda, Republicans are making it as difficult as possible. They’re not hiding it. Cleta Mitchell, a top GOP lawyer, abettor of Trump’s unlawful attempts to overturn a lawful election, is speaking to Republican state legislatures about the need to impede student voting. It’s Democrats that have done the rigging, she says, which is a perfect inversion of reality. She is, after all, addressing legislators in states so gerrymandered that Republican lawmakers far outnumber Democrats, despite their populations favoring the latter. They aim to keep it that way, not only by hindering students’ access to the ballot, but that of everyone who disfavors their monolithic plans.

2024 won’t be about choosing between an aged candidate who’s turned the economy around and overseen record-breaking job creation and the end of devasting pandemic mismanaged by his predecessor, running against a nearly as old mis-manager of pretty much everything else but the impenetrable wall he got Mexico to pay for. It’ll be about the dramatically divergent directions in which the parties they represent would take our country. It’ll be about which one voters prefer. Republicans know, and are desperate to keep people distracted. Democrats, less cynical at messaging, need to make the choice clear, as never before.

Which party is responsible for the Oklahoma woman bearing a devasting molar pregnancy, fatal for the fetus and potentially fatal for her, who was told she’d have to wait until her life was threatened before obtaining the necessary abortion she’d have already had in a rational state? Legislatures of which party are criminalizing transgender care, not just for children but, in some, for all ages? Which party’s candidates are fomenting hysteria over a non-existent threat from such people? Being gay or transgender isn’t communicable. They threaten no one. Pretending they do, to deceive and capture voters, is despicable. And, for decades, modus operandi.

Following President Biden’s announcement of running again, two videos were released; one a frightening view of a future based entirely on lies Republicans have been telling about his and Democrats’ accomplishments since the non-stolen, decisive election ; the other a positive vision for our country, calling for action on actual problems, in belief that, together, they can be solved.

Subtracting twenty percent credibility on general principles, the differences still couldn’t be more stark; nor could they say more about the right-wing messages with which we’ll be bombarded in the coming months, till we can’t stop screaming. Or about how each party sees its voters: gullible, bitter, and fearful; or clear-eyed, willing, and ready.

There’ll be many who believe the dishonest, distorted, disdainful Republican view. But, because they’re not enough to swing an election, even when promised more top-end tax cuts, punishing the poor, and being told that accepting differences among and offering help to fellow humans (God’s children) is abhorrently “woke,” Republicans will continue to resort, federal, state, and local, to totalitarian self-preservation.

They’ll ban more books, more topics of education, more speech. They’ll prevent more people from obtaining needed medical care. And voting rights. They’ll continue making America an un-Christian Christian theocracy. They’ll keep threatening economic mayhem. They’ll keep making you fear your neighbor, further loosen gun restrictions and child labor laws.

They’ll continue telling you drag shows are more dangerous than climate change. Their judges will continue to favor polluters. Bent on dismantling the singular threat to their agenda – democracy -- they’ll keep choosing election-deniers and anti-everyone-but-us Christian nationalists at all levels. That’s what 2024 is about. Not President Biden’s age. Not Trump’s criminality. It’s about cliffs or cures. 

Also, Tucker will be fine. Once he learns to speak Russian.


Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Standing On Shaky Ground


Permit-less concealed carry and “stand your ground” laws: the deadliest possible combination. Yet, cahooting with the NRA, the Republican Party is doing everything it can to exacerbate it. It’s a party gone nuts. At this point, we may as well assume that everyone we encounter is packing and pissed; and that if we do anything considered threatening, like, for example, breathing, we could be killed.

Maybe it began with the stand-your-ground, get-out-of-jail card and subsequent lionization of George Zimmerman after he killed Trayvon Martin for carrying... Skittles. If that was lionization, what’s happened to smirking, money-begging Kyle Rittenhouse, murderer of unarmed demonstrators, is deification. A frequent guest on Fox “news,” he was just featured in a personal “Trigger Time” adventure, auctioned off by the Idaho GOP.

Going even further, Texas Governor Abbott is itching to pardon the cop who, after publicizing his intent to kill BLM protestors, did so. Because he was afraid of a man who approached him after he deliberately drove into a crowd. It’s like a MAGA credo: claim fear, stand your ground, murder at will. Or try to.

An unarmed, sixteen-year-old Black kid knocks on the wrong door, gets shot in the head by the white homeowner, likely having stepped momentarily away from watching Fox “news.”* A twenty-year-old woman is killed for pulling her car into the wrong driveway. A cheerleader is shot, critically, for accidentally stepping into the wrong car in a parking lot. Could it be because right-wing leaders, their media (to get votes), and the NRA (to sell guns) are pushing fear and paranoia onto their followers like dealers selling fentanyl?

Among America’s mass murders, more in 2023 than days elapsed, one was committed by a transgendered man. Capitalizing on Trumpism’s latest ginned-up, vote-getting scapegoat for all of society’s ills, twice-impeached, two-time popular vote loser, indicted Donald Trump, promised, at the NRA convention, “Upon my inauguration, I will direct the FDA to convene an independent outside panel to investigate whether transgender hormone treatments and ideology increase the risk of extreme depression, aggression and even violence. I think most of us already know the answer.” “Ideology,” he called it. “The answer,” he said.

The smell of exploded gunpowder barely dissipated after the nearby murder of schoolchildren, and after arrogantly expelling two Black legislators demanding gun regulation, the Tennessee legislature voted down proposed red flag laws. Take that, woke liberals!

But it’s not just committers of gun violence that Republican lawmakers are grooming. It’s people like 21-year-old Jake Teixeira, who damaged our country by stealing and sharing critical military secrets. Unlike Daniel Ellsberg, who, pilfering the Pentagon Papers, intended to expose lies about the Vietnam War, that kid just wanted to impress his online gamer pals. Nevertheless, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Tucker Carlson, among other Trumpic lovers of Putin and his criminal war, proclaimed him a hero. To MTG, it’s because he’s “white, male, christian (sic), and anti-war.” Unmentioned, but likely equally appealing, were his racist and anti-Semitic postings.

Uninformed isn’t enough, though. Because knowledge and critical thinking are MAGA’s enemies, the ultimate goal is uneducated. Not satisfied with banning books that teach empathy and history, Republican legislatures are defunding public libraries. State officials in Louisiana asked lawmakers to ban the study of racism at universities, citing “divisive, inglorious aspects of US history.” Florida just expanded bans on teaching about gender and sexuality to include high school. In several red states, laws are being passed to disallow college ID for voting registration, and to remove polling places and drop boxes from campuses.

It’s not hard to understand why. The same goes for love for Putin and his governing style. It’s MAGA Republicans’ vision of future America: Silencing dissidents and journalists, creating and lying about enemies, having a single ruling party, an above-the-law leader, tightly-censored public education, and state-run media; ensuring perpetual power. Everything they’re doing is in service to that aim. Which, in their case, includes extremist theocracy.

Speaking of MAGA love objects, a word about the Dominion v. Fox lawsuit settlement: Disappointing. Yes, Fox will give Dominion a ton of money, and similar suits are still pending. But they weren’t required to admit their lies. In fact, so far, they’ve barely mentioned the result. Tucker, Sean, Laura, Maria, and Jeanine should have been required to state, live on their shows, every day for months, that they’ve been lying for years. To the contrary, Fox’s public (not on-air) announcement included: “This settlement reflects Fox’s continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards.” That their offices weren’t immediately swallowed by the earth could be seen by some as proof that God doesn’t exist. Or that he’s Rupert Murdoch.

And speaking of God, given Republicans’ continued attacks on being “woke,” we end by noting that of all historical figures, none was more so than Jesus.
_______________
* Update: I wasn't wrong 

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Is The Tide Turning?


Few who know me would call me a political optimist. But it may be, might be, could possibly be within the realm of imagination, that something I’ve hoped for, written about, hallucinated, has become, to some extent, in moments unburdened by the signs and sounds of democracy’s death-knell, thinkable.

As Republicans have no positive agenda other than tax cuts, voter suppression, and vengeance, nothing to offer average Americans beyond a tsunami of lies and anger, I’ve thought it possible they’d eventually overplay their hand. They’d mistake the undying devotion of the Foxified thirty percent for a free pass. They’d loose upon us such outrageously undemocratic and repugnant behavior that reasonable people, formerly inclined in their direction, would awaken to the danger they represent to our teetering democracy. If there’s a glimmer of hope, we have the Tennessee legislature, Jim Jordan, Texas’ Federal Judge Kacsmaryk and Governor Abbott to thank. Among others.

In Tennessee, after what was then (no longer) the latest mass murder, school children and their parents marched on the capitol to demand action. From the floor of the legislature (how dare they?) three of the greatly outnumbered Democrats showed their approval, raising their fists Josh Hawley-J6-style and, worse, shouting. Given several less punitive options for reprimanding the besmirching of hallowed ground, Republicans unanimously expelled the two male Democrats whose skin color differed, darkly, from the female other and from their own.

Intra- and outrĂ©- state outrage was immediate. And, to all but those legislators, so sure of their God-given power to do whatever they wanted, predictable. Because even among today’s Republicans, there are some who favor democracy and at least minimal gun regulations. Then, improbably, their pro-gun governor announced support for background checks and red flag laws. It took the murder of a friend of his wife, but still...

No such epiphany has found Texas Governor Abbott. Almost before the courtroom was empty, he promised to pardon an off-duty cop convicted of murdering a BLM protestor. The officer’s “stand your ground” defense was considered and rejected, unanimously, by a jury. Among other things, the murderer had previously announced his intent to kill protestors and, accordingly, deliberately drove his car into a peaceful group of them.

The victim, though legally armed, had not reached for his gun. Which was unchambered. That the protestor shared melanin with the Tennessee Two goes without saying. So does the falsity of Abbott’s party’s claim to favor “law and order.” As in Tennessee, it’s blatant playing to the racism he assumes Texans share with him. Even there, it can’t stand forever.

Then there’s Trump-appointed, unqualified, rabid anti-abortion, anti-LGBT, specifically-chosen Judge Kascmaryk, who, based on unsupported and unscientific claims by a group of hand-picked “doctors” filing in just the right courtroom, ruled the FDA erred, twenty-three years ago, when it declared a medical abortion drug safe. In fact, time has shown it safer than Tylenol. Pending appeal, his ruling would make it unavailable nationwide, even in states where abortion is legal. The party which once railed against activist judges cheered their judge declaring decades of proven science invalid. His inclusion of religious language in his ruling, where it had no place, only made them happier.

In another example of religious-based rejection of science and appealing to the ignorance and fears of their base, Republican-led legislatures are criminalizing gender-affirming care for trans people; in most, but not all cases, for minors. Taking difficult family decisions away from parents and doctors, it’s the biggest of big-government interference, about which that party hypocricizes continually. Parents, they say, should be in charge of what their children learn about America and gender, but not, evidently, of what is among the most difficult parenting issues, ever.

As repellent as are the preceding examples, there’s no comparison, in terms of displaying contempt for norms, for his presumed supporters and for the Constitution, to Jim Jordan’s weaponization of government disguised as an investigation into weaponization of government. Or his making of Congress into a dedicated law firm for twice-impeached, twice-popular-vote-losing, indicted defendant Donald Trump. Demanding, from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, information to which he’s not entitled, blatantly interfering with a state’s lawful pursuit of presumed criminal activity, he’ll marsupialize hearings in NYC on “rampant crime” which he blames on Mr. Bragg. Surely he knows that NYC is safer than many red state cities, and that crime there has been steadily decreasing. Facts, though, are never his point.  

Limited space requires ignoring Governor DeSantis and his “surgeon general” faking statistics to malign covid vaccines. And the cancel-culture hilarity of transphobic Trumpists blowing up cans of Bud Light (which is to beer as pea-shooters are to bazookas.)

There is space, however, to note that apples can, indeed, fall far from trees: cf. Robert Kennedy, Jr.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Running On Emptiness

 
So Trump was indicted (or, as he spelled it, “indicated”) and now we know the particulars. And we know that he reveled in it, was fundraising over it; even, having been deprived of an official mugshot, created one printed on a t-shirt he’ll send you “free of charge” with a minimum $47 donation. Preferring the spectacle, he declined the opportunity to do it remotely. To his idolaters, he’s more heroic than ever.

The facts are undisputed, which explains the rightwing response. From the outset, they’ve attacked Alvin Bragg, President Biden, George Soros, and the commies behind the prosecution. Filling the air are claims that “This isn’t America anymore,” “We’ve become a banana republic,” “It’s communism.”

In fact, it’s what separates America from dictatorships: Potential crimes were investigated, evidence was presented to twenty-three members of a grand jury, which recommended indictment. The accused was presented with the charges, a generous amount of time was granted before the next court appearance (eight months), and, eventually, in a court of law, appearing before a jury of fellow citizens, he’ll have the opportunity to defend himself; after which he’ll be acquitted or found guilty.

In countries to which Trump et cultum are comparing the process, he’d have been arrested and imprisoned on the spot. Or executed. Our system is one of many things that MAGAlready. It’s “political” or “election interference” only to the extent that he chose to run, hoping to avoid indictments. Too bad Al Capone didn’t think of it.

In other news...

There’s been another demonstration interrupted by rioting, overturned vehicles, broken windows, arson, and multiple injuries. Again, BLM and Antifa... weren’t involved. It was mainly white college kids, celebrating winning the NCAA b-ball championship, to do with which they had nothing. Shall Congress investigate?

Speaking of weaponizing government, following the indictment, Representative Jim “Gym” Jordan (R-OH) of the Weaponization of Government subcommittee, is calling for defunding the FBI and DOJ. He’s forgotten, evidently, how he and all Republicans campaigned on the (very few, not leaders) Democrats who called for defunding the police after the murder of George Floyd. Back home at Mar-a-Lago, Trump called, amongst the usual lies, for the same.

Days after the latest massacre of school children with legally-obtained AR 15s, Ron DeSantis signed a permitless-carry law in Florida. The event was atypically closed to the public and press. Present were legislators who wrote the bill and – get this! – representatives of the NRA. Well, at least Running Ron doesn’t hide to whom he’s beholden and to whose concerns he listens.

Regarding that mass murder in Tennessee, about which the US Representative from the district where it occurred said there was nothing to be done about it, masses of school children and their parents – more than showed up supporting Trump in NYC -- protested at the state capitol, demanding that the overwhelmingly Republican House of Representatives take action on guns. Three Democratic representatives joined the crowd. Comparing the noisy but nonviolent demonstration to January 6, Republicans proceeded to remove those Democrats from committees, deactivate their access cards, and are in the process of expelling them entirely. Such is their love of democracy and free speech. Such is their characteristic abuse of power.

Putting into words the symbolism of DeSantis’ NRA-honoring signing ceremony, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) said “We’ve done about as much as we can” about gun control. Left unsaid was the implicit end of the sentence: “... and still collect bribes from the NRA and votes from our gunly-paranoid base.”

In heavily-gerrymandered Wisconsin, where, as in Tennessee, Republicans disproportionately outnumber Democrats in their legislature, a liberal judge just won election to their Supreme Court, decisively, giving it a liberal majority. This will have enormous impact on abortion rights, gun control, and election fairness, as well as national Electoral College prospects.

Gerrymandering doesn’t work for elections in which state-level candidates are selected by all voters. Which is why Democrats still hold the US Senate. But not Wisconsin’s.

Asa Hutchinson, former Republican Governor and Representative from Arkansas, manager of the Clinton impeachment, announced he’s running for president. He’ll lose of course, and not just because he’s the only Republican who dared to defend the process by which Trump was indicted, urging people to wait and see. A definitional conservative, he’s a throwback outlier in today’s Republican party.

Running through it all is a common theme: Trumpism. It’s been systematically tearing down the Constitutional foundations of America, infecting every state, but especially the red ones. Maybe DeSantis’ wildly unpopular permitless carry law and Tennessee’s fascistic, undemocratic legislative bullying will become a bridge for Republicans to cross the Rubicon back in this direction, back to rationality, rejoining the democracy they claim to love, instead of destroying it step by step.

Right. And Trump will stop lying.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Let's Be Immoderate


In response to anger over his abolitionist advocacy, William Lloyd Garrison, founder of the anti-slavery newspaper, The Liberator, wrote this, in 1831: “I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or to speak, or write, with moderation. Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm ... but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I will not equivocate ... AND I WILL BE HEARD.”

Everyone, not just columnists, can be heard. By friends, family. By their conscience. If Trump’s and his Congressional conspirators’ recent behavior doesn’t end their political careers, and if you’ve not said something, anything, to anyone, you’re with them.

After Trump made undeniable his intent to subvert America to save himself, no Republican leader has had the guts to place country above power and party. Witnessing his hate for everything that our country stands for and by which it has survived as the world’s most durable democracy, their craven, cowardly silence is an indictment more powerful than any heading Trump’s way.

Fully aware of how his cultists respond to his unsubtle calls for violence, Trump posted a picture of himself wielding a baseball bat next to a picture of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s head. Predictable as lies at his rallies, death threats ensued. On his Truthless Social platform, he ranted like a street-corner doomsayer: "What kind of person can charge another person, in this case a former President of the United States ... and leading candidate (by far!) for the Republican Party nomination, with a Crime, when it is known ... that potential death & destruction in such a false charge could be catastrophic for our Country?" Death and destruction. Subtle. 

“Bragg,” he on-rambled, “ ... is a Soros backed animal who just doesn’t care about right or wrong no matter how many people are hurt [projection much?]... this is Russia and China [whose leaders he later praised as “very smart people”], but worse. Disgraceful! ... He is just carrying out the plans of the radical left lunatics. Our country is being destroyed, as they tell us to be peaceful!” An animal! Backed by a Jew! Radical left! Don’t be peaceful! Grab a bat and follow me. I’ll be right behind you.

There’s been no condemnation from elected Republicans. To the contrary, offering a free pass for all crimes Trump has committed or has yet to, House Republicans floated a law preventing state or local prosecution of any ex-president. Insurrection-lauding Marjorie Taylor Greene led a flagrant flock of fellow felon-fluffers to visit and glorify incarcerated January 6 rioters, calling them “political prisoners.” Later, she demanded defunding “the justice system.” Which, because it’s America, had given them fair trials and found them guilty. 

At last weekend’s Wacko rally, miming allegiance to justice, Trump stood hand-hearted, as a sappy recording blared his voice and those of convicted January Six felons singing our national anthem. While video of their seditious attack on the Capitol played, reverentially, like a hymn.

Trump and MAGA Republicans are all in on insurrection. Without irony and to cheers of his unpatriots, he eructed his usual election lies, poor-me-isms, and a promise that, if elected, “The thugs and criminals who are corrupting our justice system will be defeated, discredited, and totally disgraced.” We can hope.

It’s not those who’d apply the law to Trump who threaten our country; it’s those who wouldn’t. Until Republican leaders renounce him and his poisonous anti-Americanism, voting for any of them is nearly treasonous. So says respected conservative, retired Federal Judge, Michael Luttig: “The Republican Party has made its decision that the war against America’s Democracy and the Rule of Law it instigated on January 6 will go on, prosecuted to its catastrophic end.” 

People like those who attend Trump’s rallies to have their hatreds and grievances validated by a lying sociopath will never forswear him. But for Congresspeople sworn to defend our Constitution, and anyone who believes in America, there’s no longer any excuse to excuse Trump. There never was.

“If they can come for Trump, they can come for you,” say his mouthpieces. But it’s the reverse: if they can come for you for committing crimes, they MUST come for him, too. Conservatism can survive another four years of job and economic growth, protecting public education, rebuilding infrastructure, addressing climate change, protecting voting and civil rights, women’s and LGBT rights; providing for people in need, strengthening NATO, and more. It cannot endure another four years of Trumpism, though, and neither can America. Aiming to destroy the Republic to escape justice, Trump endangers us all. Silence is complicity.

And William Lloyd Garrison was a Republican.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Lawnorder

 


Editorial demands being what they are, at the time of sending in this column it was unknown whether Trump had been/will be indicted for, as Trey “Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi” Gowdy put it, “paying for sex.” So far, the only announcement has been from lifelong liar Trump, himself, who then proceeded to denounce “leaks.”

It’s all but certain that indictments are coming, and that Stormy Daniels is merely the appetizer on a comprehensive menu of indelicacies. But we don’t need an indictment to know how Republican leaders and media will respond. They’ve been embarrassing themselves and our country since Trump unbarned the horse.

Certifying his unfitness for the job he bought with what remained of his soul, “Speaker” Kevin McCarthy answered “No one is above the law,” when asked if Trump is. “But no one is under it, either,” he added, signifying nothing.

If the most stupid, that was the least deplorable of his utterances. He made clear what’s been obvious since his party elected a prolific liar, scammer, law-suit-laden, proud tax-evader, suspected launderer of Mafia money, serial adulterer. Namely, that the “party of law and order” cares for neither. Having no idea what, if any, the charges are, or what evidence was presented to the Grand Jury, he nevertheless opined, “Here we go again. An outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA who lets violent criminals walk as he pursues political vengeance against President Trump.” 

“Vengeance.” A District Attorney looking into possible criminal activity. Doing his job. The way it works. If indicted after Grand Jury consideration, a person is entitled to a trial in which evidence is presented and defense is mounted. He’s convicted or exonerated. It’s the American way, as opposed to how Mussolini’s career ended. For example.

McCarthy wasn’t done. “I’m directing relevant committees to immediately investigate if federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by interfering in elections with politically motivated prosecutions.” He said, interfering with a state’s constitutional judicial process. What better example of “weaponizing government” is there than that? Other than Jim Jordan’s committee looking into weaponization of government. Or the endless investigations of Hillary Clinton, which Kevin McCarthy admitted at the time were about ending her political career. Maybe he forgot. Let us not. 

There’s an even better example; namely, the letter sent to NYC District Attorney Alvin Bragg, signed by three of McCarthyism’s committee chairmen: “You are reportedly about to engage in an unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority: the indictment of a former President of the United States and current declared candidate for that office,” they fulminated, demanding his presence before them. Having no authority to require it.

Well, of course it’s unprecedented. Until Trump, America had never Electoral-Colleged a “president” whose pre-, intra-, and post-“presidential” activities were so deserving of criminal investigation. Clearly, they consider Trump above the law. And, we must infer, no crime or suspected crime, no matter how egregious, by any former president, and no one running for that office, may be prosecuted, or even investigated. (Presumably, there’s an expiration date on that proposition. Instantly, when President Biden is out of office.)

Similar to McCarthy’s rejection of American jurisprudence and due process, Rand Paul offered these self-canceling words: "A Trump indictment would be a disgusting abuse of power. The DA should be put in jail." Evidently convinced he has a shot at Trump’s old job, not-hung Mike Pence chimed in: "... when there's a crime wave in New York City, the fact that the Manhattan DA thinks that indicting President Trump is his top priority I think just tells you everything you need to know about the radical left." Right. Buttons pushed: the radical left; crime waves. Plus, evidently, Pence believes a DA’s office can do only one thing at a time.

From there, it gets laughable. James Comer, one of the signers of that letter to DA Bragg, said an indictment would be intended to distract from Hunter Biden’s laptop. Makes perfect sense. Possible “presidential” criminality is way below what’s on the unsecured hard drive of a private citizen.

Then Tucker Carlson, causing "irony" to disappear from all dictionaries, said, “You don’t fantasize about your political opponents going to jail.” Really? Has there ever been a rally when Trump didn’t lead cheers of “Lock her up”? Does Tucker not recall when Trump called on Attorney General Bill Barr to lock up Joe Biden, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton? 

Trump and MAGA Republicans will see his indictments as proof of his perfection. Before Reagan and Gingrich, Republicans’ cowardly desperation to protect someone like Trump was unimaginable. Stormy Daniels is prologue. Their reaction to Georgia’s Fani Willis, DOJ’s Jack Smith, and New York’s Letitia James will reveal everything about Republicans’ respect for Constitutional order and their place in America’s future. Not that we don’t already know.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Blood 'n Stuff

 

For reasons I’ll explain further down the page, blood has been on my mind. My career involved a lot of it, leaking out, pouring in. Surgical residency produced lots of memories; many colored red. On the heart surgery service, an abundant source of excellent stories, the chief resident once scrubbed out of a case to donate his own blood to the patient on whom he was operating, who wouldn’t stop bleeding after finishing the pump run. Fresh blood – his was a match, of course – has magical powers, in some circumstances, to stop bleeding. It worked. Joe scrubbed back in and finished the case.

Another time, when another patient wasn’t responding to routine post-pump coagulants, the attending cardiologist left the room, returned wearing a feathered headdress and carrying a ceremonial rattle, which he shook, chanting, over the patient. The bleeding stopped.

Before moving here, forty-plus years ago, I began my surgical practice in Salem, Oregon. Not long after setting up shop, I was called to the ICU to see a woman in her early forties, bleeding relentlessly from a duodenal ulcer. Other surgeons had been consulted before me, the last-choice new guy of whom few had heard. They had all declined to operate, despite her obvious need for life-saving surgery. The reason: A devout Jehovah’s Witness, she refused to receive blood. Her husband was equally adamant. Those surgeons wouldn’t agree not to use blood, or to face a potential lawsuit for “wrongful life” if they did. Already a tough situation, that makes it tougher.

But I didn’t hesitate to operate on the exsanguinating young woman; she’d die if I didn’t try. She needed me and I was there. I did, however, make clear to her husband (she was no longer able to concur) that it was possible she wouldn’t survive the surgery if I was prohibited from giving her blood. He understood. Still, I told him, if we’re at that point, I’m going to come to the waiting room to ask one more time if you’re willing to have her die. So don’t go away. He nodded.

Disaster avoided, I was able rapidly to control the bleeding and do a couple of things to minimize the chance of it happening again. I don’t know what I’d have done, had it come to “do or die.” Amusingly, after word got around the community that I was a surgeon willing to operate on Witnesses, I saw many more in my practice. Continued to do so, here, too. (Side note: in training and for a while after, I operated on many emergency ulcer patients. They’re uncommon nowadays, as new understanding of the origins of peptic ulcer and better prevention have made such operations much less frequent.)

So, why have these patients been on my mind? Imagine if our government was fully controlled by people whose particular interpretation of the Bible demanded refusing blood transfusions? What if they made giving and receiving it illegal? What if state legislators passed laws to imprison doctors who gave transfusions and their patients? What if citizens were rewarded for reporting people who received blood? What if a single federal judge, appointed by a “president” who lost the popular vote by millions, narrowly confirmed by a Senate majority representing forty-million fewer Americans than those who voted against him, single-handedly made transfusions illegal in all states under all circumstances, for all people, of all or no religions, no matter their personal beliefs, or the fact that it had been legal for decades?

What if “the system” allowed zealously pro-life-without-transfusions people to sue in a state where it’s possible to hand-pick the court and the judge who’d hear the case? What if that judge had had no judicial experience prior to his appointment to the Federal bench, but was chosen for his extreme, anti-blood religious views? Added together, would those what-ifs be more consistent with properly functioning democracy or theocratic oligarchy?

It’s unlikely to happen with blood transfusions. For one thing, judges might need one someday. But it’s exactly what may happen regarding medical abortion pills (effective only prior to ten weeks, by the way), even in states where it’s been legal for decades, which is most of them. The case will be decided in Texas, where nearly all those what-ifs apply. In Amarillo, you’re practically guaranteed to get the “right” guy (which they did), who, in addition to rabid anti-choice views, is known for his vehement anti-LGBT rhetoric. 

Remember when warnings of President Obama establishing “Sharia Law” were sliming their way through right-wing media? How crazy it was to think that one set of extreme religious views could be imposed on us all, here in the US. Oh, how innocent we were.

Also: “Woke” doesn’t break banks. Deregulation does

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