Of all the stunning revelations emerging from hearings of the House Select Committee on Jan. 6, 2021, the testimony from those facing physical threats is the most disturbing. Tuesday, a Georgia election worker named Shaye Moss told the committee, and the nation, that her life has been changed forever because of the vicious attacks she faced after the 2020 election. Moss had been falsely accused of mishandling ballots in Georgia. Abusive supporters of Donald Trump’s election lies soon made her life hell. “I second-guess everything that I do. It’s affected my life in a major way, in every way,” ...
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I expected the right to celebrate their long-sought goal of forcing women to give birth against their will. After all, it has been their Holy Grail for the last 50 years. After decades of proselytizing that a zygote is more important than fully formed human beings, they have even recently succeeded in convincing Republican political leaders that it is decent and humane to force little girls who have been raped by their fathers to give birth to their own siblings. It is quite an accomplishment. So it stands to reason they'd pop the champagne, thrilled to have finally put women back in their place and looking forward to more hard-fought civil rights they can overturn.
But weirdly, I'm not seeing much joy in their victory.
Now such is often the case with the right-wing base. They tend to get angry when they win yet the other side doesn't immediately apologize for ever having opposed them and proclaim themselves converts to the cause. (This is a very old dynamic in America.) But this time we're seeing something a little different.
Yes, anti-choicers are angry at the protesters. One Republican candidate in Rhode Island, a police officer, even punched out his female opponent at a protest on Friday. But Republican officials mostly seem to be either rushing to avoid the subject or bending over backward to reassure everyone that their great victory isn't going to change much of anything.
Politico tried to chase down some GOP candidates in swing districts and they punted, saying it is no longer a federal issue. Nevada senatorial candidate Adam Laxalt issued a perfectly incoherent "having it both ways" statement in which he celebrated the "sanctity of life" and at the same time reassured his own voters they won't have to observe it:
"The people of Nevada have already voted to make abortion rights legal in our state and the Court's decision on Roe doesn't change settled law and it won't distract voters from unaffordable prices, rising crime or the border crisis."
Republicans have a problem on their hands with Roe overturned and they know it.
This attempt to divert attention from his anti-abortion zealotry in his pro-choice state is embarrassingly transparent. Yet none other than Sean Hannity spent his entire show on Friday explaining that the Supreme Court didn't ban abortion after all:
[W]hile Democrats in the media mob predictably, are demagoguing and lying about this very ruling, we'll give you the facts straight up, let you decide. Now, first, let us be very clear. This decision does not make abortion in America illegal. It does not. I know that. Implying that they're saying it even, but it does not. Instead, individual voters, you will now decide abortion.
Yes, he couldn't be more fatuous. After all, in the states where abortion is now illegal, individual women voters will no longer be able to decide on abortion. It's nonsensical. But the mere fact that he's not doing celebratory cartwheels tells you they are very concerned that this is going to cause a dangerous backlash. In fact, Donald Trump is reportedly very nervous about this and had to be talked into taking a victory lap. (That's got to be a first.)
Trump's top rival for the presidential nomination, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, is carefully testing the waters vaguely promising to "work to expand pro-life protections." South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem believes that forcing girls who've been raped by a family member to give birth will make for stronger families (which says a lot about the "family values" she and her voters believe in) But she, like a number of other governors including DeSantis, also bathed themselves in unctuous sanctimony, assuring the nation they would ensure that all the women and girls who would be unable to get an abortion would be well taken care of with medical care and support for herself and her children.
One can't help wondering why they didn't provide all this help before? After all, many poor women have been having children for the entire time Roe was in effect, doing exactly what these people say they wanted them to do and Republicans didn't lift a finger to help them. Did it not even occur to them over the past 50 years that if they helped poor women "choose life" it would show other women that they would be supported and their children would be cared for if they did the same? Apparently not.
Donald Trump is reportedly very nervous about this and had to be talked into taking a victory lap. (That's got to be a first.)
Instead, Republicans were stingy and mean throughout the entire last half-century, rejecting every program for maternal health and child welfare that anyone proposed. Even to this day in places like Noem's South Dakota, where they refused the Medicaid expansion and even tried to stop the voters from putting the question on the ballot (which failed, luckily, are miserly and selfishly denying even the most basic support for women and children. The idea that these right-wing extremists will suddenly adopt a generous welfare program for women and children is laughable. Recall this memorable moment during the Obamacare debates:
Republicans had a full-blown meltdown over the fact that the Democrats wanted to require maternity coverage in the Affordable Care Act, which they all voted against anyway. Then they tried to make maternity care "optional" for insurance companies for years afterward. They pushed to end the Children's Health Insurance program for decades, along with pretty much every other child welfare program. Just this year they refused to extend the expanded child tax credit that lifted tens of millions of kids out of poverty. (Just don't touch those tax cuts for the rich though. Those are sacred.) As we speak they're even blocking money for the school lunch program.
The idea that anyone would trust these people to ensure that women and their children are supported now that abortion is illegal in their states is mind-boggling.
But it does raise the question as to why they are even promising to do it even after they've spent years decrying "welfare queens" and "dependency" and cruelly degrading poor families as dysfunctional and claiming that "unwed" motherhood is an example of "defining deviancy down." So why suddenly are they all for a socialist welfare state?
This is just something they are saying at the moment to try to wriggle out of the jam they suddenly find themselves in with the Supreme Court delivering a huge win to the base and leaving them holding the bag: massive public disapproval and polls showing it is going to be a voting issue in the fall. That may not matter to candidates and incumbents in bright red districts but it could make a difference in statewide races and swing districts.
Republicans have a problem on their hands with Roe overturned and they know it. All you have to do is watch them stumble and dissimulate on television trying to persuade people they aren't going to keep making life miserable for millions of women and their families.
As I wrote when the opinion was first leaked, if Democrats don't pin Republicans down on what further rights they intend to infringe and what specific plans they have in mind to mitigate the pain and suffering they are causing, it will be malpractice. The Republicans' big win is an albatross around their necks.
Trump faces more Truth Social troubles — shares tank as merger company hit with grand jury subpoenas
After a federal grand jury in New York issued subpoenas for board members of the special purpose acquisition company that plans to take former President Donald Trump’s social media site "Truth Social" public, shares for the company fell more than 9% in pre-market trading after the subpoenas were revealed, Forbes reports.
The SEC launched a probe of the company, Digital World Acquisition Corp. (DWAC), in December, and the subpoenas seek some of the same documents the SEC asked for in its investigation "as well as requests related to communications with several individuals and information regarding venture capital and private equity company Rocket One Capital," Forbes report stated.
"The investigation came after multiple outlets reported Trump had met with DWAC Chief Executive Patrick Orlando before the company went public," Forbes reported. "The meeting could have broken SEC rules that prohibit SPACs from identifying a target company before raising money."
DWAC shares also fell in April after news reports stated that Tesla CEO Elon Musk had been approved by Twitter’s board of directors to acquire the company for $44 billion.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on Monday appeared to agree it is a "blatant falsehood" that a far-right Christian ministry that has claimed "homosexuals say yes" to pedophilia and promotes anti-LGBTQ lies is a "hate group" that deserves to be placed on the same map and the KKK and neo-Nazis.
Justice Thomas' rant appears as the only opposition to the Court's decision Monday to not take up a case that would effectively revisit the landmark First Amendment case New York Times v. Sullivan, which requires a plaintiff suing for defamation to prove "actual malice."
Coral Ridge Ministries asked the Supreme Court to review its case, which it lost, against the Southern Poverty Law Center for designating it an anti-LGBTQ hate group. The case is not about whether or not the church is a hate group, but whether or not the Southern Poverty Law Center has the First Amendment right to say so. The court refused, but Thomas in an angry dissent wrote:
"SPLC’s 'hate group' designation lumped Coral Ridge’s Christian ministry with groups like the Ku Klux Klan and Neo-Nazis. It placed Coral Ridge on an interactive, online 'Hate Map' and caused Coral Ridge concrete financial injury by excluding it from the AmazonSmile donation program. Nonetheless, unable to satisfy the 'almost impossible' actual-malice standard this Court has imposed, Coral Ridge could not hold SPLC to account for what it maintains is a blatant falsehood."
Thomas also writes:
Coral Ridge maintained that although it “opposes homosexual conduct” based on its religious beliefs, it is in no sense a “hate group.” ... To the contrary, it “has nothing but love for people who engage in homosexual conduct” and “has never attacked or maligned anyone on the basis of engaging in homosexual conduct.”
In its iconic 2010 report, "18 Anti-Gay Groups and Their Propaganda," the Southern Poverty Law Center explained that the "late Rev. D. James Kennedy started turning fundamentalist Coral Ridge Presbyterian into a mega-church in the 1960s."
In an especially nasty 1989 edition of a CRM newsletter, Kennedy ran photographs of children along with the tagline, “Sex With Children? Homosexuals Say Yes!”
"Over the years," the SPLC report adds, Rev. Kennedy "emphasized anti-gay rhetoric, particularly in his TV ministry. He recommended as 'essential' the virulent work of R.J. Rushdoony ... who believed practicing gays should be executed."