Opinion

SCOTUS shows off its contempt for women

Despite all the legalese about "stare decisis" and "reliance interests," the abortion rights hearing held at the Supreme Court Wednesday morning came down to one question: Can women's rights simply be disappeared, with the ease of shaking an Etch-A-Sketch?

Unfortunately, 6 out of 9 members of the Court seemed to strongly believe that yes, it's time to hit the reset button on that whole "treating women like full human beings" experiment after nearly 50 years, since Roe vs. Wade, of women having full human rights.Through the two hours of questioning in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health, one word came to mind to describe the stance of the conservative judges: Contempt.

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What we talk about when we talk about white supremacy

In a speech last month at Washington’s Martin Luther King Jr. monument, President Joe Biden described the January 6 insurrection as being about “white supremacy.” Later on, MSNBC did a segment on Thanksgiving in which guest commentator, Gyassi Ross, discussed its realities. Ross, who is Indigenous, sees it as the beginning of theft, genocide and “white supremacy.” After Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal, Colin Kaepernick tweeted, “white supremacy cannot be reformed.”

It seemed like the term had come out of nowhere. I decided to check Google Trends. From 2004 to about 2016, there were relatively few searches for the word “white supremacy.” Then in 2016, there was an increase in the frequency of searches, with several sharp spikes. Two of those spikes were in August 2017 and June 2020. What happened?

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Forget the Steele dossier: Mueller report release shows why Trump-Russia inquiry was required

The last few weeks we have seen the media work itself into something of a frenzy in an attempt to force a "reckoning" on the matter of the Steele Dossier, the opposition research document prepared by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele about then-candidate Donald Trump. I'm sure I don't need to go into detail about that chapter in the Trump era. You'd have to have been in a coma not to have heard more about it than you ever cared to. Suffice to say that it was the source of the rumor about the infamous "pee tape" which offered many a late night comedian an uproarious punchline.

It's hard to know exactly what precipitated this sudden desire to have the media don a hair shirt over their coverage of the dossier, but it seems to stem from a recent ABC interview with Steele and the recent indictments of a handful of people by Special Prosecutor John Durham for lying to the FBI about it. Durham's inquiry into what Trump called "the oranges of the investigation" has been going on for years now with very little to show for it and according to those who have followed the cases closely, like journalist Marcy Wheeler, there is every reason to believe that the probe will end up being a dud.

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Another terrifying case is before the Supreme Court -- and it has disturbing links to white supremacy

Another week, another terrifying abortion case at the Supreme Court. Today, the Supreme Court will consider Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which concerns a Mississippi 15-week abortion ban. Since 15-week abortion bans, and all pre-viability abortion bans, are unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade, the only reason to even hear this case is for the Court to strongly consider upholding the ban and overturning Roe. While anti-abortion activists have been working toward this moment since the late 1970s, its no surprise they’re finding success in a moment of white backlash and growing white supremacy. The real history of abortion politics in this country should actually begin in 1662 with the first law codifying race and inheritable slavery.

The first 40 years of slavery in the North American British colonies treated slavery as it had been used previously in Europe. Slavery was mostly justified on the basis of religion or having conquered people and there were paths for slaves out of their enslavement. The slave system in Virginia completely changed with a 1662 law that made race and enslavement an inheritable condition through the mother. This law became the basis of the American racialized chattel system of slavery. It also clearly linked racial construction and the continuation of white supremacy to reproduction. Enslaved Black women would produce enslaved Black children while white women would produce free white children. The race of the fathers did not matter.

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Ron DeSantis is putting the American system to a test

I was thinking about the theory of political union as opposed to the practice of political union when I came across this line from the founder of USA Today. In 1982, on the frontpage of the first edition of his fledgling daily, the late Gannet CEO Al Neuharth expressed his aspirations for a new venture. “USA Today hopes to serve as a forum for better understanding and unity to make the USA truly one nation.”

That phrase jumped out at me -- truly one nation. The implications seem many and varied. On the one hand, America is not currently one nation. If it is, it’s not a true one. On the other hand, it’s becoming one, true nation. And if it’s becoming one true nation, what is it right now? Then there’s that phrase -- “better understanding and (better) unity.” The presumption seems to be that more facts and more knowledge strengthen the bonds between and among these united states.

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Ghislaine Maxwell's and Elizabeth Holmes' fake feminist defenses are an insult to #MeToo

In the midst of all the tumult over the pandemic and other ongoing political disasters, it's easy to overlook the other historically remarkable moment happening right now: Ghislaine Maxwell and Elizabeth Holmes, the defendants in the two most high profile trials in the country this week, both happen to be women.

The crimes the two are charged with are, to be clear, very different. Maxwell's alleged victims are innocent teenage girls who she is accused of sex trafficking for her boyfriend, Jeffrey Epstein. The alleged victims in the Holmes case, on the other hand, are less sympathetic — wealthy investors who were seemingly snookered due to their own arrogance and poor character judgment. (Holmes' company, Theranos, also harmed ordinary people who got false tests showing results like breast cancer or HIV, but they are not technically the victims in the government's fraud case.) But in a society where men are three times as likely to be charged with a crime than women, it's notable that what the two most famous alleged criminals on trial right now have in common is their gender.

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The American media missed the true nature of the GOP threat — but an international outlet nailed it

Jack Dorsey announced today plans to step down as head of Twitter. That prompted Candace Owens to say the following: “I’ve been telling people for years. Jack Dorsey is not your enemy. He is a prisoner at his own company. Good thing the Parler app is finally working properly and looks amazing. The communists will fully run Twitter soon.”

If you don’t already know Candace Owens, all you need to know is that she’s a koshering virtuoso. Like some Jewish people who make anti-Semitism seem respectable, Owens, who is Black, makes white supremacy seem fine and dandy. She appears to think Jack Dorsey had been some kind of bulwark against liberal sensibilities. Now that he’s leaving, she said, “the communists will fully run Twitter soon.”

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CNN's Cuomo problem just got worse

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo reportedly took advantage of his own sources in order to help advise his brother, Andrew Cuomo, the former governor of New York, through his handling of the outbreak of the COVID pandemic and while the elder Cuomo was facing allegations of sexual harassment.

Texts uncovered by a state probe and transcript of Chris Cuomo's interview with investigators reveal that Chris Cuomo played a much larger role in the behind-the-scenes effort to preserve his brother's reputation than was previously known.

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Right-wing media push new conspiracies about Waukesha parade killer -- and give no evidence for any of them

The right-wing effort continued on Monday to manufacture a culture-war weapon out of the tragic carnage of the Waukesha Christmas Parade.

Rep. Marjorie Greene posted the following on Telegram:

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The American media misses the true nature of the GOP threat — but an international outlet nailed it

Jack Dorsey announced today plans to step down as head of Twitter. That prompted Candace Owens to say the following: “I’ve been telling people for years. Jack Dorsey is not your enemy. He is a prisoner at his own company. Good thing the Parler app is finally working properly and looks amazing. The communists will fully run Twitter soon.”

If you don’t already know Candace Owens, all you need to know is that she’s a koshering virtuoso. Like some Jewish people who make anti-Semitism seem respectable, Owens, who is Black, makes white supremacy seem fine and dandy. She appears to think Jack Dorsey had been some kind of bulwark against liberal sensibilities. Now that he’s leaving, she said, “the communists will fully run Twitter soon.”

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With new Omicron variant looming, Republicans are now bribing people to avoid vaccination

Little is known at this point about the Omicron variant of COVID-19 that is causing worldwide panic and last week's stock market crash — except that it's a reminder of the importance of people getting vaccinated. Vaccination can help prevent such variants from evolving in the first place, and vaccinated people are probably still much safer than unvaccinated people in the face of the variant. As President Joe Biden's office told the press, his top infectious disease advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci "continues to believe that existing vaccines are likely to provide a degree of protection against severe cases of Covid."

Vaccines save lives and are the best path forward to ending the pandemic and returning to normal. Despite this — or really, because of this — Republicans not only continue to sabotage efforts by the Biden administration to get the public vaccinated, but are doubling down on the sabotage.

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Nothing short of horrific: Republicans continue their cynical anti-Biden strategy despite its tragic consequences

Americans woke up on Black Friday this year to more than a food hangover and big crowds at the malls. Along with the rest of the world, we were greeted with news of a frightening new COVID variant that appears to have characteristics that may make it more dangerous than the previous strains. After the stock market fell out of bed, the news networks went on full "breaking news alerts" all day, before governments around the world reacted with travel bans. Within hours, the World Health Organization named the new variant Omicron, B.1.1.529, and put it into the category of "variant of concern" citing the possibility that it has greater potential to escape prior immunity. Great. Just what we need.

Over the weekend, things calmed down a bit as the experts weighed in and told everyone to be patient and wait for real evidence before panicking. Most seemed to think that the vaccines would still have at least some effect and there were even those who suggested that the news that 10% of people testing positive in the Netherlands following flights out of South Africa, where the mutation is believed to have originated, may mean that Omicron is actually less virulent than those that came before.

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For 2022, the Democrats don't have an alternative to embracing left populist energy

With the help of business-oriented Republicans, Democrats have passed an infrastructure bill. If that does not sound exciting to you, that is because nothing is more boring than infrastructure bills. Little wonder the Democrats have an enthusiasm gap. They fear that they will lose control of Congress in 2022. They probably will. In recent history, incumbent parties have lost in mid-term elections. One needs only think of Donald Trump in 2018, Barack Obama in 2010, or Bill Clinton in 1994. To avoid such a fate, progressives need to do something different. They need to organize. But how?

The Populist movement offers one answer. Lawrence Goodwyn’s classic, The Populist Moment, emphasized how Populists in the 1890s created a “movement culture” to earn a chance for fundamental change. Rural people, especially before cars and telephones became widespread, were isolated from their neighbors. The Populists responded with picnics, camp outs, and speakers who helped explain their plight and its remedies.

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Happy Holidays!