When the Supreme Court reversed federal abortion rights last June, Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion stressed that “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
mike rebecca stan ann trina betty elaine marcia ruth
Mar 16 at 6:44 PM
President Joe Biden called Florida’s recent wave of anti-trans legislation “just cruel” and “close to sinful” in an interview with Kal Penn when the actor-turned-Obama staffer guest hosted Monday’s The Daily Show.
In a new interview with Yahoo Entertainment, one of Hollywood’s most revered comedic performers, Lily Tomlin, made her feelings known about the measures Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and other Republican lawmakers are taking to curb rights for transgender people.
“I mean, limiting any group’s rights is a travesty. People cannot push backwards to that,” says Tomlin, who stars in the new film Moving On.
“It’s insane. I don’t know what DeSantis hopes to do in Florida, and I can’t believe he can marshal that many people to support him. Because most people know when injustice is being done. They sense it themselves, whether they even accept your point of view or not. At least they would be equivocating. They would just say, ‘Well, that's what that group of people wants. You know, they're not harming anyone.’”
The best-selling author Marianne Williamson has built a career preaching love and forgiveness. It is the cornerstone of her second Democratic campaign for president which she launched on March 4.
But those who have worked with Williamson as she has moved into the political realm say her public persona is at odds with her private behavior.
Interviews with 12 people who worked for Williamson during her 2020 presidential campaign paint a picture of a boss who can be verbally and emotionally abusive.
Those interviewed say the best-selling author and spiritual adviser subjected her employees to unpredictable, explosive episodes of anger. They said Williamson could be cruel and demeaning to her staff and that her behavior went far beyond the typical stress of a grueling presidential cycle.
Progressive Democrats are renewing a push to make four-day workweeks federal law, with lead sponsor Rep. Mark Takano of California saying the change will give Americans more time "to live, play, and enjoy life more fully outside of work."
Takano introduced a bill earlier this month that would reduce the standard workweek from 40 hours to 32, effectively ending the traditional five-day cycle.
The legislation follows a shift in workplace trends after the COVID-19 pandemic influenced conversations about what the future of work may look like.
"Workers across the nation are collectively reimagining their relationship to labor – and our laws need to follow suit," Takano said in a statement.
In the first oral arguments of a two-week sitting of the high court, the Navajo will defend a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit that kept alive their long-running legal effort to force the government to come up with a plan to provide enough water.
In court filings, the tribe contends that an 1868 treaty promised both land and water sufficient for the Navajos to return to a permanent home in their ancestral territory.
Many Navajo households live on a small fraction of the water most Americans use per day, the tribe states. More than 30 percent of the reservation lacks running water. And water hauled from miles away costs multiple times more.
“How did we get here, in this country, in the twenty-first century? Broken promises,” the tribe’s brief said. “The basic human rights of hundreds of thousands of Navajos, fellow U.S. citizens, hang in the balance.”
Down from five known historical populations, the three existing populations of bog buck moth — one in the U.S. and two in Canada — face growing threats from habitat loss, invasive species , and increased flooding associated with climate change . The populations in the U.S. and Canada are isolated from each other and are more vulnerable to threats during natural population fluctuations, or “boom-and-bust" cycles. In years when conditions are favorable, bog buck moth populations can grow, or “boom,” but during years when conditions are unfavorable, the populations can crash, or “bust,” in response to disease, predation, or parasites. Federal protection will raise awareness about the threats this species faces and strengthen existing partnerships to support its recovery.
Habitat loss or alteration resulting from land-use change has made it harder for the species to recover from these periodic steep declines in part because they cannot disperse to sites where conditions are better. To persist into the future, populations of bog buck moth need to be large enough, and have access to enough suitable habitat, to withstand natural fluctuations. Maintaining healthy populations at different climate gradients is also important to ensure this species retains the ability to adapt to changing conditions.
With black-and-gray wings that span nearly 2.5 inches — the length of your index finger — bog buck moths are large and bold. They have fuzzy black bodies and translucent black-and-gray wings with wide, white bands and eyespots: circular markings meant to mimic eyes to scare away predators. Males have feathery antennae, which have receptors to detect the pheromones of females, and red tipped abdomens.
The final rule and supporting information are available online in the Federal Register reading room.
Today’s announcement comes as the ESA turns 50 years old in 2023. Throughout the year, the Department of the Interior will celebrate the ESA's importance in preventing imperiled species' extinction, promoting the recovery of wildlife and conserving the habitats upon which they depend.
The ESA has been highly effective and credited with saving 99% of listed species from extinction. Thus far, more than 100 species of plants and animals have been delisted based on recovery or reclassified from endangered to threatened based on improved conservation status, and hundreds more species are stable or improving thanks to the collaborative actions of Tribes, federal agencies, state and local governments, conservation organizations and private citizens.
But the drama Wednesday in a Texas courtroom over medication abortions demonstrates that judges remain at the center of access to abortion in America and reinforces the possibility that another battle over reproductive rights could soon land at the high court.
Whether Kavanaugh was trying to downplay the consequences of the startling June decision or ignoring the persistence of anti-abortion foes, he and fellow conservatives who secured the 5-4 ruling failed to acknowledge the kind of dispute now before Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk.
A single federal judge – not a duly elected state legislature – is positioned to shut down access to an abortion drug and thwart women seeking to end pregnancies even in states where the procedure is still legal. Such an order could sweep nationwide, rather than be limited to one state.
This new fraught chapter, accompanied by protests at the scene and heightened court security, reveals how America’s abortion wars have only intensified since the June 24, 2022, decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
The illegitimate Court could have been stopped. Barack Obama could have kept his promise back in 2009 and codified ROE V WADE. After he failed to do that, Nancy Pelosi could have pushed for it. Repeatedly, Democratic Party leaders failed us.
"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
The U.S. and its allies invaded Iraq 20 years ago in Operation Iraqi Freedom. President George W. Bush’s press secretary Ari Fleischer twice accidentally referred to it as Operation Iraqi Liberation, which was definitely not its official name and would have generated an unfortunate acronym.
The men and women who launched this catastrophic, criminal war have paid no price over the past two decades. On the contrary, they’ve been showered with promotions and cash. There are two ways to look at this.
One is that their job was to make the right decisions for America (politicians) and to tell the truth (journalists). This would mean that since then, the system has malfunctioned over and over again, accidentally promoting people who are blatantly incompetent failures.
Another way to look at it is that their job was to start a war that would extend the U.S. empire and be extremely profitable for the U.S. defense establishment and oil industry, with no regard for what’s best for America or telling the truth. This would mean that they were extremely competent, and the system has not been making hundreds of terrible mistakes, but rather has done exactly the right thing by promoting them.
There are still US soldiers on counter-terrorist missions in Iraq and Syria. The Authorisation to Use Military Force that Congress first granted to the Bush administration in the run-up to the 2003 invasion has yet to be repealed by the Senate, and has been cited by the Obama and Trump administrations in justifying operations in the region.
Coleen Rowley, an FBI whistleblower who exposed security lapses leading to the 9/11 attacks, wrote an open letter to the FBI director in March 2003, warning of a “flood of terrorism” resulting from the Iraq invasion. She says now that two decades on, nobody has been held accountable for the fatal mistakes.
“I think the real danger is that their propaganda was very successful, and people like Bush and Cheney have now been rehabilitated,” Rowley said. “Even the liberals have embraced Bush and Cheney.”
The terrible mistakes made leading to and during the Iraq war forced no resignations and neither George W Bush nor his vice-president, Dick Cheney – nor any other senior official who made the case the war and then oversaw a disastrous occupation – have ever been held to account by any form of commission or tribunal.
The Iraq reconstruction failed to account for the lessons of Vietnam (the CORDS program in particular.) The Afghan reconstruction failed to account for the lessons of Iraq. We now sit and wait to see the coming Ukraine reconstruction fail to remember any of it at all.
“It is obvious that American business can become the locomotive that will once again push forward global economic growth,” President Zelensky said, boasting that BlackRock, JP Morgan, and Goldman Sachs “have already become part of our Ukrainian way.” The New York Times calls Ukraine “the world’s largest construction site,” and predicts projects there in the multi-billions, as high in some estimates as $750 billion.
It will be, says the Times, a “gold rush: the reconstruction of Ukraine once the war is over. Already the staggering rebuilding task is evident. Hundreds of thousands of homes, schools, hospitals and factories have been obliterated along with critical energy facilities and miles of roads, rail tracks and seaports. The profound human tragedy is unavoidably also a huge economic opportunity.”
We did worse than nothing. Iraq before our invasion(s) was a more or less stable place, good enough that Saddam was even an ally of sorts during the Iraq-Iran War. By the time we were finished, Iraq was looking closer to a corrupt client state of Iran. Where once most literate Americans knew the name of the Iraqi prime minister — a regular White House guest — now, unless he’s changed his name to Zelensky, nobody cares anymore. And that’s what the sign on the door leading out of Iraq (and perhaps into Ukraine) reads: tens of thousands of lives and billions of dollars later, no one cares, if they even remember.
Unlike the bulk of people weighing in, Peter's tying in then and now and his knowledge of Iraq doesn't stop in 2008. The November 2008 election of Barack Obama lead 'activists' like United for Peace and Justice to close shop -- their very own "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" moment -- and media outlets to withdraw -- ABC announced at the end of 2008, for example, that they would be using BBC NEWS reports to cover Iraq instead of their own correspondents.
The media withdrew from Iraq. All this time later, US troops remain in Iraq.
At COUNTERPUNCH, Kathy Kelly notes:
Twenty years ago, in Baghdad, I shared quarters with Iraqis and internationals in a small hotel, the Al-Fanar, which had been home base for numerous Voices in the Wilderness delegations acting in open defiance of the economic sanctions against Iraq. U.S. government officials charged us as criminals for delivering medicines to Iraqi hospitals. In response, we told them we understood the penalties they threatened us with (twelve years in prison and a $1 million fine), but we couldn’t be governed by unjust laws primarily punishing children. And we invited government officials to join us. Instead, we were steadily joined by other peace groups longing to prevent a looming war.
In late January 2003, I still hoped war could be averted. The International Atomic Energy Agency’s report was imminent. If it declared that Iraq didn’t have weapons of mass destruction (WMD), U.S. allies might drop out of the attack plans, in spite of the massive military buildup we were witnessing on nightly television. Then came Secretary of State Colin Powell’s February 5, 2003, United Nations briefing, when he insisted that Iraq did indeed possess WMD. His presentation was eventually proven to be fraudulent on every count, but it tragically gave the United States enough credibility to proceed at full throttle with its “Shock and Awe” bombing campaign.
Beginning in mid-March 2003, the ghastly aerial attacks pounded Iraq day and night. In our hotel, parents and grandparents prayed to survive ear-splitting blasts and sickening thuds. A lively, engaging nine-year-old girl completely lost control over her bladder. Toddlers devised games to mimic the sounds of bombs and pretended to use small flashlights as guns.
Our team visited hospital wards where maimed children moaned as they recovered from surgeries. I remember sitting on a bench outside of an emergency room. Next to me, a woman convulsed in sobs asking, “How will I tell him? What will I say?” She needed to tell her nephew, who was undergoing emergency surgery, that he had not only lost both his arms but also that she was now his only surviving relative. A U.S. bomb had hit Ali Abbas’s family as they shared a lunch outside their home. A surgeon later reported that he had already told Ali that they had amputated both of his arms. “But,” Ali had asked him, “will I always be this way?
I returned to the Al-Fanar Hotel that evening feeling overwhelmed by anger and shame. Alone in my room, I pounded my pillow, tearfully murmuring, “Will we always be this way?”
Throughout the Forever Wars of the past two decades, U.S. elites in the military-industrial-Congressional-media complex have manifested an insatiable appetite for war. They seldom heed the wreckage they have left behind after “ending” a war of choice.
The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft is a fairly new think-tank (2019). It was started by Andrew Bacevich and has recieved funding from the Koch brothers and George Soros. Where we're concerned is the proposal on Iraq that they've published -- written by Steven Simon and Adam Weinstein:
Withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq within five years (except Marine Security Guards for the protection of the Embassy and OSC–I personnel under the U.S. Mission), recognizing that temporary combined training exercises, military delegations, and combined planning efforts using TDY personnel would be useful and should continue if both countries wish.
Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence.
A new report published last week by the Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism found that an “all-time high” number of “white supremacist propaganda” incidents occurred in the United States in 2022, eclipsing the previous year’s record total of 4,876 by nearly 2,000.
“Our data shows,” the ADL wrote, “a 38 percent increase in incidents from the previous year, with a total of 6,751 … the highest number of white supremacist propaganda incidents ADL has ever recorded.”
In addition to an increase in white supremacist incidents, the ADL recorded a more than doubling of “antisemitic propaganda” incidents, rising from 352 in 2021 to 852 in 2022. These included banner drops on roadways, in-person demonstrations, leafleting neighborhoods and projecting images on buildings and stadiums.
The ADL found that propaganda efforts were undertaken in every US state except Hawaii, with the most active states being Texas, Massachusetts, Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, Utah, Florida, Connecticut and Georgia. These propaganda efforts were organized by “at least 50 different white supremacist groups” according to the ADL, however, “three of them—Patriot Front, Goyim Defense League (GDL) and White Lives Matter (WLM)—were responsible for 93 percent of the activity.”
White supremacist “events” such as demonstrations at state capitols, parades and local businesses, organized by WLM, GDL, Patriot Front, the Proud Boys and others increased by 55 percent last year, from 108 in 2021 to 167 in 2022.
The only area where ADL recorded a decrease in fascist activity was on school campuses, where the ADL found 219 incidents of white supremacist propaganda in 2022, a slight 6 percent decrease from 2021. Fascist propaganda, overwhelmingly distributed by Patriot Front (74 percent of all incidents), was discovered on campuses in 39 different states, led by Texas, Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Ohio, Illinois and Michigan.
This is the second report released by the ADL in the last month that has documented an historic rise in far-right agitation and violence in the US.
Last month, the ADL reported that every single “extremist” mass killing in 2022 was linked to far-right ideology. Notably, the ADL did not mention that every mass killing linked to in their report was directly inspired by Republican Party politicians and their sycophants in right-wing media. This is also the case in the March report, which likewise does not mention Trump or the role of the Republican Party in cultivating these right-wing and openly fascist elements.
While the Republicans, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, have advanced some 420 pieces of anti-LGBTQ legislation so far in 2023, violent Republican rhetoric is translating into threats of real-world fascist terrorist violence.