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.

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