Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Last Call For Another Day In Gunmerica, Con't

An 18-year-old shot up an elementary school and killed at least 18 kids and a teacher in Texas today.


Nearly a score of families are mourning the loss of a loved one tonight.

And nothing will change. There are too many blood-soaked billions of dollars to make sure that remains the case.  

The gun debate ended with Sandy Hook years ago.

We live in Gunmerica now and forever.

Erection, Flawed, Of Election Fraud

This is the biggest example of Republican 2022 dirty tricks yet: tens of thousands of fraudulent signatures were "collected" by several GOP candidates running in the Michigan Republican primaries in August, so many fraudulent signatures that several candidates running for Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's job will no longer qualify to be on the August primary ballot.

A signature forgery scandal has turned the race for the GOP nomination to be Michigan’s next governor on its head: Two leading Republican candidates did not collect enough signatures to qualify for the primary ballot after invalid signatures were excluded, according to a report from the state’s Bureau of Elections.

The Bureau of Elections reports will now go to the Board of State Canvassers, which will vote Thursday on which candidates qualify to appear on the ballot for the state’s Aug. 2 primaries.

Thirty-six petition circulators — campaign workers hired to collect signatures — “submitted fraudulent petition sheets consisting entirely of invalid signatures,” according to the Bureau. In all, according to the Bureau’s report Monday, these circulators submitted at least 68,000 invalid signatures across nominating petitions for 10 candidates.

Both leading Republican candidates submitted well above the 15,000 signatures necessary, but were subsequently hit with complaints that that counts contained fraudulent signatures.

James Craig , the former Detroit police chief, submitted more than 11,100 invalid signatures and just under 10,200 valid ones, according to the Bureau’s report. Bureau staff noted “consistent handwriting for the entirety of a petition sheet, including signatures” and evidence of “round-tabling,” or the practice of passing a petition sheet around in a group to make entries appear more authentic.

Another candidate, Perry Johnson, submitted nearly 14,000 valid signatures — not enough to make the ballot — and over 9,000 invalid signatures. The same group of petition circulators who submitted thousands of invalid signature pages for Craig’s campaign did so for Johnson’s, the Bureau reported. A report noted incorrect addresses and misspelled names.

Three additional Republican gubernatorial candidates also fell far short of the valid signatures needed to qualify, the Bureau said: Michael Brown, Michael Markey and Donna Brandenburg. Each submitted well more than 15,000 signatures, but in all three cases, more than 10,000 were deemed invalid.

Candidates need 15,000 valid signatures to qualify for the gubernatorial primary ballot, and were allowed to submit up to 30,000 for review. Gubernatorial candidates also need at least 100 signatures from at least half of the state’s congressional districts. Prices for signature-gatherers spiked this cycle, increasing pressure on campaigns as they raced to meet the qualifying figure.

The ultimate decision on the candidates’ qualifications for office is up to the Michigan Board of State Canvassers, which is made up of two Democrats and two Republicans and is set to meet Thursday.

If the Board of State Canvassers heeds the Bureau of Elections’ report and disqualifies 5 out of 10 Republican gubernatorial contenders, that could open the door for Tudor Dixon — who’s denied that Joe Biden won Michigan in the 2020 election and on Monday received the endorsement of the wealthy DeVos family, Michigan’s most influential political kingmakers. Dixon, notably, is also the only candidate to receive a shout-out at Donald Trump’s rally in Michigan last month: The former president called her “fantastic” and “brilliant.”

At least one campaign vowed to fight for their qualification Monday night.

“The staff of the Democrat Secretary of Staff does not have the right to unilaterally void every single signature obtained by the alleged forgers who victimized five campaigns,” John Yob, a consultant for Johnson, wrote on Twitter, adding: “We strongly believe they are refusing to count thousands of signatures from legitimate voters who signed the petitions and look forward to winning this fight before the Board, and if necessary, in the courts.”
John Yob is showing the obvious way forward for Michigan Republicans: those dirty Democrats made up the signature fraud, and if it really was fraud, it was the signature collectors' fault that we paid, not our fault!

Then again, this is a state where jurors bought the "FBI entrapment plot" defense to get the terrorists off who tried to kidnap and kill Gov. Whitmer.

Who knows how this will turn out?

The GOP Race To The Bottom, Con't

With his support from Donald Trump essentially the only thing keeping him even remotely close in today's Georgia gubernatorial primary, former GOP Sen. David Perdue needs something of a miracle to pull off the win against avowed Trump enemy GOP Gov. Brian Kemp.  But because these are Republicans we're talking about, Perdue's final actions before the vote indicate he has plead for intervention from below, rather than above.

Former Senator David Perdue ended his Trump-inspired campaign for governor of Georgia with a racist appeal to Republican primary voters on Monday, accusing Stacey Abrams, the Black woman who is the presumptive Democratic nominee, of “demeaning her own race” in how she has described the state’s problems.

Speaking to an overwhelmingly white crowd, Mr. Perdue trained his ire on Ms. Abrams, who narrowly lost the 2018 governor’s race to Gov. Brian Kemp, the Republican whom Mr. Perdue is vying to unseat in Tuesday’s primary.

Mr. Perdue’s remarks about Ms. Abrams transcended the typical Republican primary campaign fare about stolen elections and accusations of disloyalty to former President Donald J. Trump. In a state where segregationists once demonized civil rights leaders as unwanted interlopers, and where how to interpret the nation’s history of slavery and racism remains a contentious subject, Mr. Perdue cast Ms. Abrams as an outsider in a state that has been her home since high school.

“Did you all see what Stacey said this weekend?” Mr. Perdue said from the stage. “She said that Georgia is the worst place in the country to live. Hey, she ain’t from here. Let her go back to where she came from. She doesn’t like it here.”

Mr. Perdue also injected race into a 2018 remark Ms. Abrams made about her pledge to create jobs in the renewable energy sector.

“People shouldn’t have to go into agriculture or hospitality to make a living in Georgia,” she said in the closing weeks of her 2018 campaign. “Why not create renewable energy jobs? Because, I’m going to tell y’all a secret: Climate change is real.”

On Monday, Mr. Perdue said: “When she told Black farmers, ‘You don’t need to be on the farm,’ and she told Black workers in hospitality and all this, ‘You don’t need to be,’ she is demeaning her own race when it comes to that. I am really over this. She should never be considered material for governor of any state, much less our state where she hates to live.”

Mr. Perdue’s remarks came in response to comments Ms. Abrams made Saturday in which she dismissed Mr. Kemp’s regular line that under his stewardship, Georgia has become the best state in the nation to do business.

“I am tired of hearing about being the best state in the country to do business when we are the worst state in the country to live,” Ms. Abrams said. She added: “When you’re No. 48 for mental health, when you’re No. 1 for maternal mortality, when you have an incarceration rate that’s on the rise and wages that are on the decline, then you are not the No. 1 place to live.”

After concluding his remarks on Monday, Mr. Perdue ignored questions about his description of Ms. Abrams and his proposition that she was “demeaning” to Black people, and an aide hustled him off.

The Wisconsin-born Ms. Abrams spent most of her early childhood in Mississippi but moved to Georgia in high school. She graduated from Avondale High School in DeKalb County and Spelman College in Atlanta.

During an interview on MSNBC on Monday evening, Ms. Abrams declined to comment on Mr. Perdue’s remarks.

“Regardless of which Republican it is, I have yet to hear them articulate a plan for the future of Georgia,” she said.
I mean when you're down by more than 30 points in a Republican primary in a Southern state where a Black woman is running as the Democratic challenger in the general election, vile racism is actually something that will probably help him among Republicans. After all, this is the state that gave us Marjorie Taylor Greene.

It's a final roll of the blackened, bloody dice, and a nice reminder that all Republicans are terrible.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Last Call For The Burned Bridges Of Madison Cawthorn, Con't

How much of a jackass of a Republican do you have to be to lose your primary and then get a House Ethics Committee investigation with basically zero pushback from your own party in your defense?

The House Ethics Committee is investigating controversial Rep. Madison Cawthorn for his possibly improper promotion of a cryptocurrency in which he may have had an undisclosed financial interest, the panel revealed Monday.

The committee is also investigating the North Carolina Republican over questions about whether he had an “improper relationship” with a person employed on his congressional staff, the panel said.

The Ethics Committee authorized the probe by a unanimous vote on May 11. But the panel only disclosed it six days after the 26-year-old congressman narrowly lost a GOP primary, denying him a nomination for a second term.

The loss followed an embarrassing series of events for Cawthorn. He was charged by police in North Carolina with carrying a loaded handgun at an airport and with driving with a revoked license. He also claimed he was a victim of “blackmail” following the release of a video that appeared to show him naked in bed with another man.

Cawthorn also infuriated fellow Republicans in Congress earlier this year by claiming some of his older colleagues had invited him to orgies and used cocaine in front of him.

“We welcome the opportunity to prove that Congressman Cawthorn committed no wrongdoing and that he was falsely accused by partisan adversaries for political gain,” said Cawthorn’s chief of staff, Blake Harp, in response to the Ethics probe.

Harp said that the inquiry, which will be conducted by an investigative subcommittee assembled for that purpose, “is a formality.”

“Our office isn’t deterred in the slightest from completing the job the patriots of Western North Carolina sent us to Washington to accomplish,” Harp added.

Cawthorn later tweeted: “Wow - I must still be a problem for the swamp! They’re still coming after me!”
Now, improper promotion of crypto nonsense is small potatoes, especially given the fact the guy lost his primary.and given how much truly unethical stuff that say, MTG or Boebert does on a regular basis. But that unanimous vote to investigate, meaning all ten members signed off on this, including the five Republicans (Walorski, Guest, Joyce, Rutherford and Armstrong), makes me think this isn't "a formality" at all.

Something tells me if there was a vote to expel this little booger from Congress early, there just might be the two-thirds margin to do so.

Just saying. He's pissed that many Republicans off.

Bad Religion, Con't

Turns out that Baptists throwing stones at Catholics over that church's considerable history of covering up sexual abuse should probably start examining the structural integrity of their own glass houses.

Leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention on Sunday released a major third-party investigation that found that sex abuse survivors were often ignored, minimized and “even vilified” by top clergy in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.

The findings of nearly 300 pages include shocking new details about specific abuse cases and shine a light on how denominational leaders for decades actively resisted calls for abuse prevention and reform. They also lied to Southern Baptists over whether they could maintain a database of offenders to prevent more abuse when top leaders were secretly keeping a private list for years.

The report — the first investigation of its kind in a massive Protestant denomination like the SBC — is expected to send shock waves into a conservative Christian community that has had intense internal battles over how to handle sex abuse. The 13 million-member denomination, along with other religious institutions in the United States, has struggled with declining membership for the past 15 years. Its leaders have long resisted comparisons between its sexual abuse crisis and that of the Catholic Church, saying the total number of abuse cases among Southern Bapitists was small.

The investigation finds that for almost two decades, survivors of abuse and other concerned Southern Baptists have been contacting the Southern Baptist Convention’s administrative arm to report child molesters and other abusers who were in the pulpit or employed as church staff members.

The report, compiled by an organization called Guidepost Solutions at the request of Southern Baptists, states that abuse survivors’ calls and emails were “only to be met, time and time again, with resistance, stonewalling, and even outright hostility” by leaders who were concerned more with protecting the institution from liability than from protecting Southern Baptists from further abuse.

“While stories of abuse were minimized, and survivors were ignored or even vilified, revelations came to light in recent years that some senior SBC leaders had protected or even supported alleged abusers, the report states.

While the report focuses primarily on how leaders handled abuse issues when survivors came forward, it also states that a major Southern Baptist leader sexually assaulted a woman just one month after he completed his two-year tenure as president of the convention. The report finds that Johnny Hunt, a beloved Georgia-based Southern Baptist pastor who has been a senior vice president at the SBC’s missions arm, was credibly accused of assaulting a woman during a Panama City Beach vacation in 2010.

The report states that Hunt, in an interview with investigators, denied any physical contact with the woman but acknowledged that he had interactions with her.

Sex abuse survivors, many of whom have been sharing their stories for years, anticipated Sunday’s release would confirm the facts around many of the stories they have already shared, but many were still surprised to see the pattern of coverups by the highest levels of leadership.

“I knew it was rotten, but it’s astonishing and infuriating,” said Jennifer Lyell, a survivor who was once the highest-paid female executive at the SBC and whose story of sexual abuse at a Southern Baptist seminary is detailed in the report. “This is a denomination is through and through about power. It is misappropriated power. It does not in any way reflect the Jesus I see in the scriptures. I am so gutted.”

The report also names several senior SBC leaders who protected and even supported alleged abusers, including three past presidents of the convention, a former vice president and the former head of the SBC’s administrative arm.

The third-party investigation into actions between 2000 and 2021 focused on actions by the SBC’s Executive Committee, which handles financial and administrative duties. Although Southern Baptist churches operate independently from one another, the Nashville-based Executive Committee distributes the $121 million cooperative program budget that funds its missions, seminaries and ministries.

For decades, Southern Baptists were told that the denomination could not put together a registry of sex offenders because it would go against the denomination’s polity — or how it functions. What the report reveals is that leaders maintained a list of offenders while keeping it a secret to avoid the possibility of getting sued. The report also includes private emails showing how longtime leaders such as August Boto were dismissive about sexual abuse concerns, calling them “a satanic scheme to completely distract us from evangelism.”
It's so weird how the teachings of Christ keep getting perverted by awful men into excuses for, if anything, being the tools of the devil. I know, I know, flawed sinners and failed leaders, what else is new.  Growing up in the 80's and 90's and seeing the Bakkers, the Swaggarts, and the Grahams turned me off to any sort of organized religion, and a basic understanding of religion in world history over the centuries has cemented that distaste.

I've yet to meet a person who announced themselves as a "follower of Jesus" who actually follows those teachings.

The Pennsylvania Election Insurrection

The GOP Senate primary in Pennsylvania is absolutely headed to a recount as only several hundred votes separate Trump candidate and professional medical fraudster Dr. Mehmet Oz from corporate Republican drone David McCormick and suddenly, mail votes matter to the GOP.

In any close race, the trailing candidate, in this case McCormick, needs to find all possible votes to add to the count.

For the candidate in the lead — Oz, in this instance — the goal is the opposite. Oz wants the count to end with him on top.

McCormick will in particular want to count mail ballots: In-person votes have slightly favored Oz, while mail ballots have helped McCormick. (McCormick has won about seven mail votes for every five that Oz has.)

Campaigns can begin fighting over ballots even before the recount would be officially declared next week.

As the final votes are tallied — counties are required to submit unofficial, as-close-to-final-as-possible results to the Pennsylvania Department of State by 5 p.m. Tuesday — county elections officials will be making decisions as to which ballots to count or reject.

During the vote count, elections workers move as quickly as possible to count all the ballots they know they can, setting aside those with any defects for review. The contested ballots create opportunity for both campaigns when they’re adjudicated by county officials.

After two years of expansive mail voting, many of those decisions are largely settled — counties reject unsigned ballots, for example, or “naked ballots” that arrive without a secrecy envelope — but voters create new questions every election. The campaigns can challenge counties’ decisions to count or reject those ballots, and then appeal them to county courts.

Similarly, the campaigns will be able to challenge decisions during a recount, including arguing that the county is misinterpreting voters’ intent, rejecting legitimate votes, or accepting illegitimate ones.

Outside of the county-by-county fight, the campaigns may also opt for statewide litigation, such as by arguing that a patchwork of county policies violates the U.S. Constitution. And one set of lawyers hired by the Oz campaign is also involved in the Lehigh County case, so they could potentially ask the U.S. Supreme Court to block the appeals court ruling.

Both the McCormick and Oz campaigns have been probing the vote-count process, asking counties questions about how they’ve counted votes and how they made decisions about which to count or reject. In Allegheny County, for example, representatives from both campaigns observed the final stage of tallying in-person and mail ballots Friday, and both asked to examine undated or unsigned ballots when county officials reconvene Monday.

Those undated mail ballots have suddenly taken center stage.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled Friday that undated Lehigh County mail ballots from last November’s election should be counted.

It did not immediately issue an opinion, but the text of the order, several lawyers from both political parties said, meant counties suddenly could — or perhaps even should — count undated mail ballots.

State law’s requirement that voters date their ballots — which state courts had said meant undated ballots should be rejected — isn’t actually used in determining whether a vote is legitimate, the judges ruled. That makes the requirement a technicality that, if used to reject ballots, violates the Civil Rights Act.

Hicks attached a copy of the order in his email to the county solicitors. As he described it: “The Third Circuit determined that the lack of a voter-provided date on the outside of an absentee or mail-in ballot envelope cannot prevent that ballot’s counting because the lack of that date on an indisputably timely ballot is immaterial under federal law.”

On Saturday, Contres countered that “our campaign will oppose the McCormick legal team’s request that election boards ignore both Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court and state election law and accept legally rejected ballots.”

The fight over mail ballots now puts McCormick in the position of being a Republican defending a voting method that the GOP has spent the last two years attacking. Trump’s lies about election rigging and fraud have pushed Republicans to generally avoid voting by mail. 
Trump is already screaming about fraud from his little shit-filled social media sandbox, which means this could be the exact ticket to remind everyone why Republicans are 100% batsit crazy racist assholes.

We'll see who survives this.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Last Call For Our Little White Supremacist Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans say they will all vote to block a House Democratic bill that would authorize the FBI and Homeland Security to take stronger action against white supremacists, and since white supremacists are the GOP base, the bill will die to the filibuster.

The GOP compares the proposal, which sets up offices in the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the FBI to target domestic terrorism, to the recently paused disinformation board set up by the Biden administration.

“It sounds terrible,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) of the House-passed bill, predicting it won’t get 10 Republicans in the Senate.

“It’s like the disinformation board on steroids. Another way to look at is the Patriot Act for American citizens,” he added, referring to the law passed immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that expanded the government’s power to monitor phone and email conversations and collect bank records.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) says he will bring the bill to the floor this week as a response to the killings at a Buffalo supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood. The bill passed the House 222-203 on a mostly party-line vote, with Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) casting the only GOP vote in favor.

Democrats increasingly see the need for the government to take more action against the threat of domestic terrorism given a long string of incidents that includes the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol and several mass shootings targeting Black, Hispanic and Jewish people.

But the efforts have run into opposition from the GOP.

Senate conservatives say empowering the departments of Homeland Security and Justice with new authority to monitor domestic terrorism could easily morph into federal policing of political speech, and they worry it would be more targeted toward anti-government, anti-immigration activists than extreme left-wing groups.

“I’m completely opposed to this idea that we would be giving the federal government and federal law enforcement power and authority to surveil Americans, to engage in any kind of monitoring of speech that is directed toward censorship. I think it’s extremely frightening and I can’t believe they haven’t learned their lesson from the disinformation board debacle,” Hawley said.

The Biden administration ran into a storm of controversy last month when it announced the creation of the Disinformation Governance Board “to coordinate countering misinformation related to homeland security.” The backlash grew so intense that the Homeland Security Department put the project on pause after three weeks and its executive director, Nina Jankowicz, resigned.

Republican lawmakers argue that bringing the bill to the floor after the shooting in Buffalo is a veiled political attack on conservative critics of illegal immigration.

Some Senate Republicans see the domestic terrorism bill as another attempt to target the right and point to calls that Democrats made in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol to begin monitoring groups on the right as potential domestic terrorism threats.

“That’s exactly what it is,” said Hawley, arguing that the Department of Homeland Security has taken “a very different tone” with groups on the left that have threatened violence against Supreme Court justices after a draft ruling overturning Roe v. Wade leaked.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), a senior member of the Homeland Security Committee, said law enforcement is already supposed to be tracking domestic terrorism threats.

“The Democrats can’t even wait an hour before they blame the Republicans for the Buffalo shooting. I think it’s despicable,” he said.

Johnson said “there’s a huge double standard” between calls by Democrats to authorize federal law enforcement to track extreme speech when it comes from groups on the right compared to groups on the left.
The vote will be brought up this week, but if you think blocking the bill will hurt GOP Senate candidates in November at all, you've not been paying attention for the last six years. They're not going to give Homeland Security the power to stop the terrorists they want to use against Democrats across the country. 

I appreciate Democrats trying to do something here, but note that zero Senate Republicans have signed on to the bill, and one Republican in the House voted for the legislation, Adam Kinzinger.

Liz Cheney voted against it.

Republicans need white supremacists in order to win, and everyone knows it.

The Green Thunder Down Under

Conservative, if not Trumpy Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been booted from office by voters over the weekend, and that means that white Labor PM Anthony Albanese will be PM, it also means he's going to have to convince Independents and Greens to form a coalition government as the BBC's Nick Bryant explains.

Tumbling down have come the walls of conservative citadels. Parliamentary seats where Liberals had for generations dominated now look like barren lands.

The shoreline of Sydney Harbour, which is home to the most expensive real estate on the continent, is a case in point. It has been overwhelmed by a "teal" wave, the colour adopted by the swathe of independents who have had such a transformative effect on the country's political geography.

Remarkably, the Liberals no longer control any harbour-side seats that stretch from the Opera House to the ocean. These include Wentworth and Warringah, which were represented up until recently by two former Liberal prime ministers, Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott.

It is akin to San Francisco, another great harbour city, losing all its Democrats.

Nor did the teal wave just wash over the Liberal ramparts of Sydney.

In Melbourne, the party looks to have lost the seat of Kooyong, which was once the fiefdom of Robert Menzies, Australia's longest serving prime minister, and which had remained faithfully conservative since Australia became a federation in 1901.

The same electoral dynamics played out. A party that has become fixated in recent decades with attracting working class battlers in traditional Labor strongholds has lost touch with Tesla-driving professionals in blue-ribbon seats.

For the first time in more than a decade, the electric car nudged out the coal train.

The rise of the teal independents has shattered the main party duopoly in the major cities - urban Australia accounts for 86% of the country's population.

So, too, have the Australian Greens, one of the hitherto under-reported stories of this election.

With votes still to be counted, the Greens are confident of achieving what they are calling a "greenslide" in Queensland.

That is a startling statement, because, if true, it would shatter the conventional wisdom of Australian politics: that green politics is anathema to the country's "Deep North" state.

Labor's phobia of alienating voters in this mining and resources hub has had a paralysing effect on its approach to climate change.

Here, then, the Greens have been beneficiaries of Labor's timidity regarding emissions targets.

If parts of Queensland become "Greensland" then the ground has truly shifted beneath our feet.
Understanding that, Albanese has promised a "new green superpower" plan for Australia, but how far that actually gets, we'll see. Independents and green want radical, if not transformative climate action, and they may just very well have enough seats to force Labor to make good on that promise.

Sunday Long Read: A Large Problem In Medicine

Here's a simple truth about getting a diagnosis from a doctor if you're overweight like me: the diagnosis is whatever the problem is, it's because you're fat. Our Sunday Long Read comes from Marquisele Mercedes in Pipe Wrench with her own lifetime of dealing with this, and if you're Black like us, that diagnosis of "Lose weight or die" has been beaten into us by docs every visit.

The first time I was penetrated I was thirteen, almost fourteen. The lights were on and bright. My gray sweatpants sat discarded on a chair with my stretched-out underwear. My mom was a few feet away, on the other side of a locked door.

Moments before it happened, I was asked in a few coded but unsubtle ways if I had ever had sex. I said no. I was reminded, in case I’d forgotten, that I was a “developed girl” and “developed girls” often got “certain kinds” of attention that encouraged them to do “certain things.” But I had not forgotten; it is impossible to be a young fat Black girl and forget.

I had come to the Pediatric Emergency Department at Montefiore’s Children’s Hospital with intense cramps. I’d been sitting with my mom in a tiny room for nine hours before I was wheeled away to see a doctor. A nurse told her to stand outside and instructed me to undress from the waist down and wait. When my doctor—a thin blonde woman—entered the room, she said hello with a big smile but didn’t tell me her name. She asked whether I was sexually active but didn’t seem satisfied with my answers. Then she told me to lay back, scoot my bottom toward the end of the table, and spread my legs so she could “take a look.” She didn’t explain what that meant or what she was doing or what she had done after it was over. I screamed for her to stop, shouted “No!” over and over. The speculum had painfully snapped inside of me a second time when she said “Wow, you really weren’t lying!” I could only sob with so much helplessness it made my throat rattle. When she finished, she said she would come back to discuss things with me, but she didn’t. I was sent home with instructions to take Motrin and “stay out of trouble.” The STI tests all came back negative.

A pediatric emergency physician looked at me, a thirteen-year-old fat Black girl, and was so certain I was sexually active that she performed a pelvic exam while I screamed and cried and repeatedly revoked consent—if you can claim I ever gave it in the first place. An adult looked at a child and saw a corrupted vessel, a body as full of overindulgence and promiscuity and unrighteousness as it was “obese.”

Does this seem like an unfortunate aberration? Maybe a doctor who’d had a long night in the ER? A bad apple? You are not the first to cling to the comfort of denial.

This is medical fatphobia.

Medical fatphobia refers to the specific ways that hatred and denigration of fatness manifest within medicine and the fields that medicine influences, like public health. It is the reason many fat people likely didn’t get or know to ask to have their COVID-19 vaccine administered with an appropriate-length needle, and why the American Academy of Pediatrics supports bariatric surgery for fat kids despite the incredible risks.

Mainstream writing on fatphobia usually gives in to the myth that there is something exceptional about fatphobic violence in healthcare. That fat people, in all our corpulent clumsiness, are just more likely to stumble across the assholes.

This is not true. It is a lie that has been actively propagated with the assistance of the many not-fat people who have shaped our collective understanding of how fatphobia operates. The truth is that fatphobia is a scientific invention. Fatphobia did not penetrate science; it is derived from science. Everything you know about “obesity,” about fatness, about fatphobia, about fat people has been — and is still — wrong.
I don't go to medical appointments as a rule because I already know what the diagnosis is: lose weight or die. My COVID vaccinations were the only time I've been to a medical facility in years. I know I'm in bad shape, but any doc is going to tell me "If you don't lose X pounds in the next year, you won't make it to the next one."

This article goes over every reason why.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

The Burned Bridges of...Lauren Boebert?

The same GOP activist group that ended Rep.Madison Cawthorn's whole career is now setting its sights on Rep. Lauren Boebert. Get the popcorn.

Is Lauren Boebert about to be “Cawthorn-ized”? We’re going to find out. The same group that posted a nude video of Rep. Madison Cawthorn has now turned their attention to Rep. Boebert, who faces her own primary challenge on June 28 (ballots will start being mailed out on June 6).

But can lightning strike twice? According to David B. Wheeler, head of that group (The American Muckrakers PAC—also known as FireBoebert.com), Boebert’s primary is similar to Cawthorn’s. The districts, he says, are “very similar” demographically. And just as Cawthorn faced a North Carolina state legislator, Boebert’s challenger is Colorado Republican state Sen. Don Coram. There’s also a sense that neither incumbent cares about their district, but are instead more interested in their national profile.

No two races are alike. Cawthorn tried to switch congressional districts—a move that failed and probably hurt his image. And, of course, North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis endorsed Cawthorn’s opponent. Those are two big ingredients that Boebert’s opponent does not yet have (Colorado has two Democratic senators and a Democratic governor). By the same token, Boebert must defend a district that includes the liberal enclave of Aspen, Colorado (a potentially big source of anti-Boebert fundraising). And Wheeler tells me, “The opponent [Boebert] took out last time around is still pretty bitter about how she did it.” (In 2o2o, Boebert defeated a five-term, Trump-endorsed Republican congressman named Scott Tipton.)

Cawthorn and Boebert also share another obvious similarity: “Their own personal lives seem to be an absolute mess,” Wheeler adds.

Indeed, much of the drama has already been reported. Back in 2004, Boebert’s husband was arrested for exposing himself to two women at a bowling alley (Boebert was there). That same year, he was arrested on a domestic violence charge against her, and he served seven days in jail.

A few months later, Boebert was charged with assaulting him.

And then… they got married.

Since then, Boebert has had plenty of brushes with the law, including a 2015 incident where she was handcuffed at a country music festival after allegedly encouraging minors being detained for underage drinking to leave police custody. Boebert reportedly told police that “she had friends at Fox News and that the arrest would be national news.”

So, there are obvious similarities between Cawthorn and Boebert. And there will be no dearth of material to use against Boebert, including things that are yet to emerge (scandals are sort of like cockroaches—for every one you see, there are probably a hundred hiding).

Now, this is Matt Lewis of the Daily Beast, someone who would also like to see this same group going after"other extremists" like AOC or Rep. Ilhan Omar. But hey, Cawthorn actually did lose his primary thanks to these guys.

I'm okay with that if they can take down Boebert too.

Our Little White Supremacist Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

It seems Rudy Giuliani has finally given a deposition before the January 6th Committee, and if the information gleaned makes even one Republican in Congress cough up names, it'll be worth it.

Rudy Giuliani, former President Donald Trump's onetime personal attorney and a lead architect of his attempt to overturn the 2020 election results, on Friday met with the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection, two sources told CNN. 
Giuliani's original deposition with the committee had been postponed after the former New York City mayor asked to record the interview, with both audio and video. At the time, Giuliani's attorney Robert Costello said the committee rejected that request. 
Despite Giuliani backing out of the original deposition, the two sides continued to negotiate an appearance, which led to a virtual appearance Friday that lasted for more than nine hours, sources said. 
Costello declined to comment Friday. A spokesperson for the select committee also declined to comment on Giuliani's deposition. 
A central figure in Trump's failed bid to overturn the 2020 election, Giuliani was subpoenaed by the committee in January and has been engaging with lawmakers, through his lawyer, about the scope of the subpoena and whether he may be able to comply with some requests.
In its subpoena, the committee alleges that Giuliani "actively promoted claims of election fraud on behalf of the former President and sought to convince state legislators to take steps to overturn the election results." The subpoena also states that Giuliani was in contact with Trump and members of Congress "regarding strategies for delaying or overturning the results of the 2020 election." 
Several high-profile individuals from Trump's inner orbit have voluntarily spoken with the committee in recent weeks and months. In early May, Donald Trump Jr. met with the committee. And Trump's daughter and former senior White House adviser, Ivanka Trump, was interviewed for nearly eight hours last month; her husband and former White House senior adviser, Jared Kushner, has met with the panel as well.
The January 6th committee has heard from Trump's kids and now several of his consiglieres. We know Merrick Garland has requested evidence that the January 6th committee has, and the Justice Department investigation is continuing, even if the Manhattan case is dead and the NY state case is moving very slowly.

I still believe justice is coming, but actual justice has to be delivered by the voters.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Last Call ForThe Big Lie, Con't

Michigan Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is in a tough re-election fight as Republicans have openly called for months to have her jailed for her role in counting Michigan's ballots correctly. Now Benson says that she was told Donald Trump wanted her executed for treason.

Jocelyn Benson, Michigan’s top election official, faced an onslaught of threats after the 2020 presidential election for refusing to overturn results that showed Joe Biden had won the state. In those hectic weeks, she says she also received an especially disturbing piece of information: President Donald Trump suggested in a White House meeting that she should be arrested for treason and executed.

Benson, a Democrat, revealed the alleged remark for the first time in an interview with NBC News. She said she learned of it from a source familiar with Trump’s White House meeting.

“It was surreal and I felt sad,” Benson said, recalling her reaction.

“It certainly amplified the heightened sense of anxiety, stress and uncertainty of that time — which I still feel in many ways — because it showed there was no bottom to how far he (Trump) and his supporters were willing to stoop to overturn or discredit a legitimate election.”

Reached for comment, Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich said: "I have it on good authority that Secretary Benson knowingly lied throughout her interview with NBC News."

Benson, Michigan’s secretary of state, is now locked in an election fight with a Republican candidate who parrots Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election. In speeches and on her podcast, Kristina Karamo has said the election was “rigged and stolen” and “Secretary of State Benson should go to jail.”

A community college instructor, Karamo has secured the endorsement of the state GOP party and, more pivotally, Trump himself.

“She is strong on crime, including the massive crime of election fraud,” Trump said in his endorsement.
Part of the Big Lie is to terrorize and drive out good people in government, because Trump and the GOP don't want a government, they want a dictatorship where his political opponents are slaughtered in his name.

Next time, the arrests will happen.

And speaking of the Big Lie, we now know Justice Clarence Thomas's wife, right-wing activist Ginni Thomas, pushed Arizona Republicans to commit fraud with a "clean slate of electors" in 2020.

The emails, sent by Ginni Thomas to a pair of lawmakers on Nov. 9, 2020, argued that legislators needed to intervene because the vote had been marred by fraud. Though she did not mention either candidate by name, the context was clear.

Just days after media organizations called the race for Biden in Arizona and nationwide, Thomas urged the lawmakers to “stand strong in the face of political and media pressure.” She told the lawmakers the responsibility to choose electors was “yours and yours alone” and said they have “power to fight back against fraud.”

Thomas sent the messages via an online platform designed to make it easy to send pre-written form emails to multiple elected officials, according to a review of the emails obtained under the state’s public records law.

The messages show that Thomas, a staunch supporter of Donald Trump, was more deeply involved in the effort to overturn Biden’s win than has been previously reported. In sending the emails, Thomas played a role in the extraordinary scheme to keep Trump in office by substituting the will of legislatures for the will of voters.

Thomas’s actions also underline concerns about potential conflicts of interest that her husband has already faced — and may face in the future — in deciding cases related to attempts to overturn the 2020 election. Those questions intensified in March, when The Post and CBS News obtained text messages that Thomas sent in late 2020 to Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, pressing him to help reverse the election.

The emails were sent to Russell Bowers, a veteran legislator and speaker of the Arizona House, and Shawnna Bolick, who was first elected to the chamber in 2018 and served on the House elections committee during the 2020 session.

“Article II of the United States Constitution gives you an awesome responsibility: to choose our state’s Electors,” read the Nov. 9 email. “… [P]lease take action to ensure that a clean slate of Electors is chosen.”

Thomas’s name also appears on an email to the two representatives on Dec. 13, the day before members of the electoral college met to cast their votes and seal Biden’s victory. “Before you choose your state’s Electors ... consider what will happen to the nation we all love if you don’t stand up and lead,” the email said.

It included a link to a video of a man delivering a message meant for swing-state lawmakers, urging them to “put things right” and “not give in to cowardice.”

“You have only hours to act,” said the speaker, who is not identified in the video.

By December, the claim that legislators should override the popular vote in key states and appoint Trump’s electors was also being pushed publicly by John C. Eastman, a former law clerk to Clarence Thomas, and Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer.Trump allies argued that pandemic-era changes in election administration and supposedly widespread fraud meant that elections had not been conducted in accordance with state legislatures’ directions, and that under the U.S. Constitution the results therefore could be cast aside. Many legal experts have called those arguments unpersuasive and anti-democratic, and no state legislature complied. Efforts to persuade state lawmakers to name new electors are among the issues under examination by the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.

Ginni Thomas did not respond to requests for comment.

A spokeswoman for the Supreme Court did not respond to messages seeking comment from Clarence Thomas.
The conspiracy rages on, and we have a scant few months to fix it.

The Road To Gilead, Con't

In anticipation of next month's near-certain Supreme Court execution of Roe and Casey, Oklahoma has banned nearly all forms of abortion and is daring anyone to do anything about it.

The Oklahoma Legislature gave final approval on Thursday to a bill that prohibits nearly all abortions starting at fertilization, which would make it the nation’s strictest abortion law.

The bill subjects abortion providers and anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion to civil suits from private individuals. It would take effect immediately if signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican who has pledged to make his state the most anti-abortion in the nation.

“There can be nothing higher or more critical than the defense of innocent, unborn life,” State Representative Jim Olsen, a Republican, said Thursday on the floor of the Oklahoma House, where the bill passed on a 73-16 vote.

The measure is modeled on a law that took effect in Texas in September, which has relied on civilian instead of criminal enforcement to work around court challenges. Because of that provision — the law explicitly says state authorities cannot bring charges — the U.S. Supreme Court and state courts have said they cannot block the ban from taking effect, even if it goes against the constitutional right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade.

The Oklahoma ban goes further than the Texas law, which bans abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy.

Supporters of abortion rights said the legislation in Oklahoma, and the ongoing rush to enact new restrictions in other Republican-led states, showed that a new legal reality had set in even before the official release of a Supreme Court opinion that many expect will overturn Roe v. Wade.

“This isn’t a fire drill,” said Emily Wales, the president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, which has operations in Oklahoma. “This is not a rehearsal for what’s to come. We are living in this real world right now. The Supreme Court will finalize that this summer.
Again, the leak of the SCOTUS draft decision was absolutely the work of the right, and this is why: to get the framework of the hard new legal reality of women as second-class citizens, with every pregnancy in the state subject to civil and criminal suits if not carried to term. It was to get these laws into place at the state level before the decision was revealed, in order to cause maximum suffering from the day the ruling comes down.

It was done to get the jump on paperwork. They couldn't help themselves, they hate women that much.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Last Call For Giving Them The Business, Con't

Deficit-concerned senators blocked the Senate from considering a $48 billion aid package for restaurants and other small businesses Thursday, likely dealing a fatal blow to a monthslong effort to provide a final round of relief for industries that suffered major revenue losses during the pandemic.

The Senate did not invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the small-business aid bill, in a 52-43 procedural vote that was subject to a 60-vote threshold.

All but five of the 50 Senate Republicans voted against cloture, which was more than enough to mount a successful filibuster to prevent the Senate from even considering the measure for debate.

Senate Small Business Chairman Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., and Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., worked on the small-business aid package for months. The duo drew on past bipartisan proposals in an attempt to spread benefits far and wide, offering relief to stakeholders ranging from stage, lighting and sound providers for live events to minor league sports franchises.

"We must pass this legislation to keep these vital parts of America's economy and America's social and community life going," Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer said on the floor Thursday before the vote. "When minor league teams closed, entire towns have fewer options for coming together. When theaters can't open because businesses they rely on closed down, it disintegrates the fabric of our communities."

Through a period of what Cardin called “fits and starts,” he and Wicker remained optimistic that the bipartisan support needed to pass the bill would materialize once it was brought to the floor.

But as the test vote drew closer, it was apparent they wouldn’t get to 60 votes. So Cardin made a last-ditch offer to cut the size of the package and allow for an open amendment process in hopes of winning over hesitant senators.

“We believe we’ll be able to get the cost of this bill down, but we first need to get on the bill,” Cardin said, citing various offers from senators on both sides of the aisle with ideas on how to more narrowly target the measure.

One of those was an amendment from Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., that he said would limit aid to business owners who incurred debt in order to stay afloat during the pandemic. Manchin said he voted for cloture because of a commitment from Cardin that his amendment would be considered.

Cardin's plea worked on at least one GOP senator. Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski had said earlier Thursday she was still undecided because while restaurants in her state “are still facing some pretty tough times,” she wanted to see the cost of the package come down. She ended up voting to advance the bill.

But ultimately it wasn't enough. The only Republicans to vote for cloture on the motion to proceed were Wicker, Murkowski, Susan Collins of Maine, Roy Blunt of Missouri and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.
So when thousands of small businesses, restaurants, venues, theaters and event halls go under and take tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of jobs with them later this year due to rising costs and pandemic expenses, remember that Republicans blocked a bill to help save them.

Hungary For Fascism, Con't

Republicans want Viktor Orban's Hungarian single-party fascism so badly here in the US that they took their CPAC show to Orban's home turf in Budapest this week to rally the troops

Conservatives in Europe and the United States must fight together to "reconquer" institutions in Washington and Brussels from liberals who threaten Western civilisation ahead of votes in 2024, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Thursday.

Nationalist Orban said the next U.S. presidential election, when Donald Trump suggests he may seek a second term in the White House, and the vote for the European Parliament would make that a vital year. read more

He was addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the United States' most prominent conservative gathering, in Budapest, the first such CPAC event in Europe.

"Progressive liberals, neo-Marxists dazed by the woke dream, people financed by George Soros and promoters of open societies ... want to annihilate the Western way of life that you and us love so much," Orban told the conference.

"We must coordinate the movement of our troops as we face a big test, 2024 will be a decisive year," he said.

His comments were a familiar swipe at Budapest-born billionaire Soros, who he accuses of trying to undermine Europe's cultural identity by supporting immigration. Soros has promoted liberalism since before the 1989 fall of communism, funding education and scholarships.

Orban, who was re-elected for a fourth consecutive term after a landslide election victory in April, is seen by many on the American hard right as a model for his tough policies on immigration and support for families and Christian conservatism.

The EU has accused Orban of curbing media and judicial independence and enriching associates with public funds. He denies any corruption.

Orban laid out 12 points which he said were key to ensuring a dominance of conservativism, including playing by their own rules, standing up for national interests in foreign policy and gaining control over the media.

"We must reconquer the institutions in Washington D.C. and Brussels," Orban said.
Expect several Republican politicians to appear with Orban this weekend as they openly plot the overthrow of the US government for all to see.
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