• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    Propertius on A Hypothesis
    William on A Hypothesis
    William on A Hypothesis
    Propertius on A Hypothesis
    Propertius on A Hypothesis
    insightanalytical on Happy Fourth of July!
    William on Happy Fourth of July!
    Propertius on Focusing on the Wrong Thi…
    Propertius on Focusing on the Wrong Thi…
    William on Focusing on the Wrong Thi…
    Propertius on Focusing on the Wrong Thi…
    Propertius on Focusing on the Wrong Thi…
    William on Focusing on the Wrong Thi…
    riverdaughter on And so it begins…
    lililam on Somewhat Brief Reflections
  • Categories

  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    September 2021
    S M T W T F S
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Now That We’re At Peak, How Fast Will Civilization Collapse Be?
      Last week I wrote an article about the future of civilization, collapse centered around a graph from “Limits To Growth.” I spent a fair bit of time staring at this graph yesterday, and I want to return to it, because it says some very important things about what’s coming up over the next decades. The first thing to understand is that the future is, as Willia […]
  • Top Posts

Labor Day Memories, and a Few Jokes

Today is Labor Day, which always falls on the first Monday in September. I’m sure that everyone here knows that Labor Day is meant to celebrate the contributions of working people. The concept began in America in the 1880’s, and President Cleveland signed legislation to make Labor Day a national holiday on June 28, 1994. And a well-deserved one it is.

For me as a boy, Labor Day was sort of the unofficial end of summer vacation. I loved summer vacation. I liked school, but I was never bored with days off. It also meant the last doubleheaders of the baseball season. They actually used to play doubleheaders on holidays, until the owners figured out that they could make more money by separating the games into two different days, so there went the doubleheaders I loved, except for when they made up rainouts, which virtually never happened in Los Angeles, so the only doubleheaders to listen to were on the road. Still, I got to see two doubleheaders; one in Dodgers Stadium, and maybe this was actually scheduled in advance. I think the Dodgers won both games, one might have gone extra innings. What fun!

The other one was in San Francisco, and I think it was on Labor Day; we had gone for vacation there, and my parents dropped me and my brother off at Candlestick Park to see an important doubleheader, the Giants vs. the Braves, which mattered to the Dodgers, who were battling those two teams in the division. The original Candlestick Park, in which these games were played, was known to be a park of sometimes howling winds, off the bay, and not muted by enough construction, such as was later put in when they built a new version of Candlestick.

So what I remember is that about the sixth inning of the first game, the winds started to pick up, and in a while, they were blowing everything; bags of peanuts, wrappers, plastic and paper cups, plus a lot of dust. And of course it affected the game. By the time the doubleheader was over, and they were two good games, I was completely sunburned and windburned. The Giants won both games, I was rooting for them, because the Dodgers needed the Braves to lose more than they did the Giants. It was a nice vacation memory, and I can still see that wind whipping through the stands, so unusual at a baseball game. There was actually a pitcher, the Giants’ Stu Miller, who was blown off the mound during an All-Star game played at Candlestick Park.

Well, those are my baseball memories of Labor Day. I have always thought of it as a day to honor working people, and also perhaps to celebrate lounging around, being sure not to do any work on that day. It is hard for many people to actually take a day off, much less a week, but it is necessary. The Protestant Ethic which is imbued in this country, may have some value, but I think it has had a negative effect on our culture, and on the psychology of all of us who live here.

But that is a topic we will save for another day! Since we should be trying to do nothing (unless you really like barbecuing), I will tell a few jokes which I learned from my father, who may have gotten them at work. He always told them well; they were always completely clean; and they were told as stories, like the classic jokes; not one-liners, but little vignettes. And they sort of had a moral to them, at least a light subtext, which actually made the jokes more amusing and memorable. My parents would be proud that I still remember my father telling us the jokes, and I have told them to many people over the years. These are the ones I remember.

The Dodgers were not doing well, they were losing most of their games. Their manager (who may have been Leo Durocher in the original version, but later became Tommy Lasorda), had run out of things to do to possibly turn it around. But one day, as he was sitting in the stands, watching practice, a man he didn’t know, came up to him, and said, “Tommy, I am going to save your season. I’m going to give you the chance to sign the greatest baseball talent I’ve ever seen.”

Lasorda doesn’t believe a word of it, and tells him to go away, but then he thinks that he has nothing to lose So he tells the man to bring out his player, and he’ll let him try out. A few minutes later, the man reappears….leading a horse. Lasorda starts yelling at him to leave and take his horse with him, but the man pleads, “Just give him a chance.” So Lasorda tells a pitcher to go out pitch a few balls to the horse. The horse walks up to the plate, holds the bat between his front hooves, and hits the first pitch about 450 feet over the fence. He does the same with the next eight pitches, he hits them all out of different parts of the ballpark.

Lasorda says, “Okay, that’s impressive, but can he field?” The scout says, “Watch this.” The horse walks out to the outfield, puts a glove on a hoof, and catches every ball hit to him. Lasorda is amazed, and says that he will offer the horse a contract right there. He tells his coaches that he will not put the horse in the starting lineup, but will save him for a key moment. And sure enough, in that night’s game, the Dodgers fall behind again, and they are down 3-1 going into the bottom of the ninth. But they manage to get the bases loaded with two outs. And Lasorda tells the horse to grab a bat and pinch-hit.

The other manager and players complain, but there is no baseball rule that says a horse cannot be on the team, and he has signed a contract, so the umpire waves him to the plate to bat. The first pitch is a fastball, and the horse swings and hits the ball to the deepest part of the ballpark, where it hits the very top of the wall, and bounces away from the outfielder. The runner on third scores, the runner on second is rounding third. But the horse is still standing at home plate. The outfielder is chasing down the ball; the runner on second crosses the plate, the runner on first is now rounding third with the winning run, but the batter has to get to first for any of the runs to count, and he is still standing at home plate. Lasorda jumps out of the dugout and screams at the horse, “Goddammit, why don’t you run?!” The horse turns around, and says to him, “Tommy, if I could run, do you think I’d be playing baseball?”

Another sports joke. A guy named Dave likes to play golf with his friends from work, but they always place bets on the outcome, and he almost always loses, because he is not very good. Sometimes they play in twosomes, where whoever on the two-man team has hit the best ball, closest to the hole, takes the next shot for his team. Dave is absolutely determined to beat his co-workers, for both money and pride, so he is out at the driving range one afternoon, hitting balls. Then he sees an amazing thing. At one of the spots, there is a gorilla, driving balls. He hits a ball 500 feet, right to what would be the green, on a regular golf course. He hits the next shot 480 feet or so. The next one, the same.

Dave goes up to the gorilla, and begs him to play with him in his weekly competition. To his surprise, the gorilla agrees. So at the scheduled weekend game, Dave arrives a little early, and tells his two so-called buddies, that he wants to play with two-man teams, and best ball. They agree. Dave says that he has been practicing, and that he wants to raise the wager from $50 a hole to $250 a hole. They are a little suspicious, but they love taking Dave’s money. They say that that they don’t care who his partner is, as long as he has never been on the PGA Tour, or on any high school or college team. Dave promises that he has not, so the bet is made. Then Dave brings out the gorilla from the clubhouse, and the men are astounded.

They line up for their first shots. One of the men on the other team hits a nice drive on the Par 5 hole. Dave hits a weak drive, about 100 yards less. The other opponent, hits a comparable drive to his partner. The gorilla takes out his driver, steps up to the ball, and whack!, hits the drive about 500 yards, straight down the center, past the fairway, on to the green, where it stops two feet from the hole. Dave’s opponents are stunned.

Dave is chortling. “You guys want to pay me now, at a discount, or do you want to lose all 18 holes?’ The other guys say nothing; the man who hit the best ball for them, takes his second shot, with a wedge, and gets it on the fairway, pretty much in line to get it in the hole in three more shots, and make par. The gorilla is of course best ball for Dave’s team, his ball two feet from the hole. He takes out a putter from his bag, walks up to the ball…and, whack!, he hits the ball 500 yards..

The final joke is one which almost took me aback when my father told it to me, and then I started laughing, which is rare for me when I hear a joke, I usually just smile; and my father started laughing, too. It is about a workplace where the employees usually take their lunches to a large lunchroom, where they can spend the hour together, talking about the day, telling stories,and the like.

One day, a new man comes to work there. He appears to be a taciturn type, he just does his work, and when it is time for lunch, he goes to an empty chair in the lunchroom, sits down, and opens his lunch bag. He eagerly looks inside, takes out the wrapped paper opens it, shakes his head, and says, “Peanut butter again.” He eats a bite or two, then throws it away.

The next day, the same thing happens. The man sits down by himself, opens his sack lunch, shakes his head, sadly says. “Peanut butter,” and puts it away. This happens every day for two weeks; the man opens his lunch with an eager expression, then says, “Peanut butter, once again,” and either throws it away, or eats a bite or two, then wraps it back up, and puts it back in the paper bag.

Finally, one of the other men, feeling bad for him, gets up and walks over to him and says, “Hey, I don’t mean to intrude, but every day I watch you come in here, and you look forward to your lunch, and then it’s peanut butter, and you barely eat any of it, or throw it away. Why don’t you tell your wife to make you something else for lunch??” The man shakes his head, and says, “That wouldn’t do any good. I make my own sandwiches.”

So there you have three jokes which might elicit a smile or two. They are in an old-fashioned style, as befits a nicely old-fashioned American holiday. Happy Labor Day.

Re: Catholics

The anti-abortion crowd is very concerned about the souls of Catholic lawmakers today. They’re swarming AOC, well, who wouldn’t, she’s smart as a whip and can take down a right wing talking point in a single tweet. Then there was this:

This is analogous to the Catholic question that John F. Kennedy was asked back in 1960. The implicit assumption was that he would place his fealty to his religion and the pope over defending the US constitution. That was the fear of a lot of white Anglo Saxon Protestants back then. But he assured a slim majority that he wasn’t going to take orders from the pope.

Joe Biden is hewing to that line. He’s not going to check his support of the constitution in order to comply with the Vatican. He didn’t take an oath to the Vatican when he was inaugurated. He took an oath to defend the constitution. As a faithful Catholic, I’m fairly sure that he’s not pro-abortion. There are very few people in this country, if any, who are pro-abortion. But the first amendment does protect freedom of religion and he has quite a few constituents who are not Catholic.

So even if the pope had a say over Joe’s opposition to abortion, Joe does not have the right to impose this view on others. In other words, we do not all have to become Catholic. Joe is leaving the choice up to the people who are affected by abortion the most and that is not the nebby busy bodies in the anti-abortion movement.

I sense that the tweeters are starting to change their tactics a bit today. More than one has said that their opposition is not religiously based. It’s based on ethics. Ok. I’ll bite. Let’s talk about ethics. The choice issue is very much like the Trolley dilemma ethics problem.

It turns out that how you solve that problem depends in part on your culture. The solution could be either outcome. It is a choice you have to live with and you weigh the rightness of the solution depending on many factors.

“Oh, but it’s MURDER!!”, they wail. Yes. In the above example, someone(s) is going to die. That’s the problem. Are you going to condemn only one person or 5? There’s a variation that requires the problem solver to decide whether to push a man off a bridge to stop the trolley from hitting the five people. This is actually much closer to the actual abortion problem. In the first problem, all the solver needs to do is throw a switch. Maybe the trolley kills someone, maybe it stops in time, maybe the people on the track get out of the way. But in the second instance, the problem solver has to actively kill someone to save other people.

This is what it’s like to have choice. It is a very difficult choice. I don’t think the religious, I mean, newly converted “ethicists” actually appreciate that.

But let’s get back to Catholicism. I’m so glad these anti-abortion activists are finally bringing up the topic of religion because, goddess knows, we heard enough of their yelling and screaming about how unfair and impolitic it would be to ask Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Barret, Roberts or Thomas about their attitudes towards their catholic religious teachings. For the record, Gorsuch is now an Episcopalian but he graduated from a Jesuit prep school. I think he is a convert to episcopalianism so he might as well be Catholic. That right there is 6 Catholic Supreme Court justices. I believe Sotomayor is Catholic as well but she seems to be perturbed by the constitutionality of putting enforcement of state laws into the hands of private citizens. She seems to be ruling in the JFK manner.

What about the other 6 Catholic justices? We couldn’t ask them about whether they would put the constitution first. It should have been a legitimate question. Why is it that so many Conservative presidents nominated Catholics? They could have chosen Sikhs, or a Buddhist or a Quaker or an atheist. But they didn’t. Each and every time there was an opening they could appoint or steal, they chose a Catholic. Once or twice is reasonable. But SIX times? That is definitely a trend, nay, a correlation.

I think there is a lot of culture that a Catholic brings to the court. Their religion teaches them that abortion is wrong but as we have seen above, public servants at their level are expected to serve the US Constitution not Pope Francis. Also, they are taught from an early age to revere authority. But you know, it’s not a requirement. You can think for yourself as you uphold constitutional principles. It should be noted though that women have no authority in the Catholic Church. Maybe they did in elementary school but they don’t write papal bulls or vote on the next pontiff or get to be cardinals or bishops or priests.

Anyway, they can’t get around the party that brought them to power. The were nominated because they were more likely to adhere to the Republican Party platform, and all that it stands for, some of it unjust and not pretty. And for the most part, they have, even if that means they are opening up American jurisprudence to all kinds of outcomes that we will all regret later. They are smart enough to think things through and I have no doubt that they have.

Sam The Vigilante Man

Are you stuck in a dead-end job, where your boss does not appreciate your worth? Are you being forced to wear a mask, or to show that you are vaccinated? Are you furious that your precious rights are taken away by liberals and Communists and bleeding hearts who want to impose their values on you? Well, here’s your way out, and your chance to get revenge against all of them!

Work with me, Sam The Vigilante Man! I have done vigilante work for years, helping to turn in traitorous liberals to organizations which will go after them without letting up. And now I have the opportunity to find and punish those women who insist on getting abortions, and the men and women who help them, and to make them pay, literally! A worthy cause, right? Yes, and now, we can make money at it! What is more appealing than virtue combined with big monetary rewards?

Texas has just passed a law which allows anyone who has information about a woman getting an abortion after six weeks of conception, to bring them all to justice. And they will pay us for doing it! You have the right to sue any person who contributes in any way toward the woman getting the abortion! That can be anyone, from the husband, to the boyfriend, an abortion doctor, and anyone who works in that office. Anyone who contributes in any way to the abortion! Taxi drivers, bus drivers, anyone who might have given the woman a lift. Store clerks who sold her something she used to help her, before or after the abortion. Support group members. Psychologists and counselors. Members of her family. The list is endless, and it all pays us!

And this is growing! Florida’s state legislature announced that it would soon be passing a bill just like the one in Texas! More states will follow! This is going to be a massive opportunity! And if you work with me, we can get in at the ground floor! In fact, come to think of it, we can go after elevator operators, too! You see what you can come up with, using a little imagination, and the will to get rich?

Here’s how it works: You sign a contract with me, Sam The Vigilante Man (Business license K8270XP). This will give you a $500 payment for any person you turn in, whom we effectively sue. And we don’t actually have to sue them, we can just threaten to sue them, unless they pay us a fee! In those situations, you get 10% of our fee. We expect to have thousands of cases to bring, and we are compiling a list of judges who will always grant us hearings on our suits, so we will have great power to threaten and scare the daylights out of anyone who ever knew anyone who is going to have an abortion, or even consider it! And $10,000 is the minimum we can sue them for, the law allows higher amounts! Black Gold, baby! Texas Tea! And soon to be coming to a state near you!

And here’s even more good news, to get you motivated. The woman does not even need to have had an abortion! We can still call the boyfriends and the husbands and the taxi drivers and her friends, and threaten to sue them all unless they pay up. Most of them won’t be sure that she ever was pregnant or not, but when they think about having to go to court, and fight our suits, and particularly that even if they win, they will still have to pay all their attorney’s fees, they’ll be more than happy to pay our reasonable settlement demands! More money for you, and us!

We want you to have the chance to get in before anyone else. We will make millions in our first year, and we want loyal Americans like you to have the chance to share in it. We’ll show those libs what enterprising and devout people can do! We can make their lives Hell!

So call this number today, and we’ll schedule an interview with you, to see if you are the kind of Vigilante Assistant that we need! No education required, and no knowledge of law. You just need a car, some good telescopic equipment, a pair of binoculars might do. The ability to see at night, to be able to look at the contents of garbage cans, for bills, phone receipts, anything you can come up with. We’ll turn it over to our team of investigators to follow all the leads! And you make cash, as long as we can either win in court, and we will, or get them to settle out of court, even better!

No matter where you live, you can be a Vigilante Assistant, though applicants who reside in Texas, and any other state which passes a similar anti-abortion law, are preferred. Or move there, to be where the action is!

Join the posse of Sam The Vigilante Man! We’re going to be on the case! Millions of cases! We’ll get them all, and hang ’em high! Or at least make them stand and deliver cash to us!

Defend my what??

I heard the details of the Texas Abortion law from lawyer Christopher Melcher on Popcorned Planet on YouTube yesterday. I made a comment to the effect that it was to be expected once the Republicans put two more conservative justices on the Supreme Court that abortion would be sharply curtailed. We should now expect more states to follow like Missouri, Florida, and Utah but not Pennsylvania. In any state where the court, legislature and governor are all Republican, we should see more of these laws. In states where there is divided government, like PA, the governor is very unlikely to sign such bills into law. Now it is up to Texans to decide if this law is really going to work for them. We have now gone back to the Bonnie Jo, Go Home days where young women will need to travel to another state to get an abortion. That’s not easy in Texas where the nearest clinic may be in New Mexico 4 hours away.

Some idiot replied to my comment with “Defend your argument”. I didn’t take that bait. This is not a theoretical discussion about the existence of God. It’s definitely falsifiable. We can collect evidence.

It just occurred to me that an awful lot of people took their anti-abortion stance because being contrary didn’t have a down side. They could speculate and argue until the spittle flew from their mouths and there was a kind of brotherhood of rebellious defiance. But they didn’t think it was ever going to happen. There weren’t going to be any real world consequences. It was all win-win for anyone who was not a pro-choice commie liberal militant lesbian who was going to force gay marriage abortions down our throats. I’d love to piss on Rush Limbaugh’s grave right now if I could find it.

I can guarantee that there were thousands of teenagers who woke up yesterday absolutely panic stricken in Texas. A lot of them are worrying for nothing but some are freaking out right now, counting days, desperately looking to friends to give them money or help them get to New Mexico or looking up “abortion pill” online. There will be some who have already run out of time, can’t get away from work, or scheduled their 10 week abortion for the weekend and now have to figure out how to get it done. Some of them will do whatever they can. The cases of poisoning by ivermectin for Covid will be nothing compared to what is about to happen.

I’ve heard a lot about the consequences for the people who aid women to get an abortion in Texas. It’s going to be nasty and brutal and there doesn’t seem to be any exception for rape, incest, life or health of the mother, or serious fetal defects. This law is completely devoid of mercy of any kind and full of retribution from busy bodies and religious nutcases.

Every woman in Texas is Catholic now. Not one of them has freedom to practice her own religion. There will be shaming because it will be seen as cold, unmaternal and irresponsible to give up a child for adoption. You shall reap what you have sown. There won’t be any way to escape scrutiny. If you’re 16 and pregnant and you live in a fundamentalist house where you will be forced to accept lifelong parenthood for a child you didn’t want, can’t afford and will seriously affect your ability to provide for yourself in the future, this is not just an argument. It’s reality.

If I were a young woman in Texas, my sex life just came to an abrupt end. Sure there is birth control. But we know that it fails. We can get Plan B but thanks to Barack Obama, minors will still need to consult a parent in the Bible Belt. The abortion pill is available but it will not be easy to get one. Every sexual interaction from now on will come with some risk. And the consequences of that risk will only fall on one partner. Texas may become a very chilly place.

This is what it was like before Roe when young women were expected to be mothers or whores. The only way out was to travel somewhere to get an abortion, sometime legal, sometimes not. Sometimes women lost their fertility permanently or ended up dead. There will be a whole class of well to do people who can’t have children who will think adoption is a perfect solution. But when we romanticize motherhood, there will be a social price to pay for women who give up their children.

These are not theoretical concepts. This is actually going to happen and we know this because this is what happened before.

But the abortion debate has hurt women who never had to make that choice and it has been doing it for as long as my entire adulthood. I came of age in a country where Roe was the law of the land but it only partially protected me. I’ve never had an abortion but there has been a sword hanging over my head my entire life. Just talking about abortion day after day, month after month, year after year was like dealing with a threat. The threat was “we men and fundamentalist religious persons have the power to make you an unequal person in a way that will never affect the men in this country.” That’s been out there and let me tell you, there isn’t a woman in this country who hasn’t felt the affects of that threat.

It has affected the way we parent and when we have or do not have children. It has affected when we put our kids in daycare or if we have maternity leave. It has affected our incomes and employability. Because at any moment, we could get that fifth Supreme Court justice who would make a pregnant woman a burden to her employer or her research group or her family.

Now that I think of it, why would ANY woman of childbearing age go to Texas to do research? If I were the head of a lab, I’d be extremely concerned by a woman working with teratogens or suspected teratogens or substances of unknown teratogenicity. If my grad student unintentionally ends up pregnant, I could be held responsible for any harm to her unborn child. Or she might not be aware she’s pregnant until it’s too late to do anything about it. I’d think twice about hiring female grad students because in order to protect them, I’m going to have to exclude them from certain kinds of lab work. How would that be useful to my research? The contrarians never have to think about these things but any female scientist who has been excluded from working in the lab once she’s found out that she’s pregnant will know exactly what I’m talking about. That may permanently affect what kind of research a female scientist will be able to do. Texas is leading the way in excluding some of our most talented women from the labs. No Jennifer Doudna will be coming from Texas universities.

The sword of Roe rescinded has kept wages artificially low, it has made fewer of us managers, it has affected our creativity. Just recently I noticed that all of the YouTube channels I subscribe to that feature young, creative women having the time of their lives doing risky entrepreneurial things are Canadian. It’s hard to find an American female YouTuber who isn’t married with kids or working with her husband who is the editor who doesn’t throw in homeschooling and religiosity as the defining aspects of their personalities. Oh, I’m sure the happy go lucky and plucky creative American women are out there in YouTube land but it’s the Canadians and Swedes and Austrians and global digital nomads that keep showing up. American women who are not in the entertainment industry are matronly, stolid, pious, modest and boring by comparison. Or they’re cottagecore Dianas, virginal and in touch with nature and faeries. We are very madonna or whore in this country.

That is the result of decades of religious voices defining what is acceptable and what is not. It’s motherhood above all. But it doesn’t benefit any woman who doesn’t want to be a mother or doesn’t want to be a mother now or wants to excel in her career or doesn’t want to be harassed just because the culture has been shaped by the abortion debate to see women as not quite professional or at least hobbled by the prospect of that sword coming down on her at any moment by some former altar boy sitting on the Supreme Court.

I don’t need to defend an argument. We are living it.

Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade, But Won’t Stand Up to Admit It

Almost fifty years after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court has just overturned it. Not with a bang, not even with a whimper, but with cowardly silence.

Texas, which has now become the worst state in the country, yesterday passed through a bill which would outlaw every single abortion after six weeks. And to show that “Cruelty” is now their state motto, they even will be giving out bounties of $10,000 to anyone who can find a woman who has an abortion after six weeks; seeks an abortion; is a doctor or nurse who tries to help a woman get one; is a cab driver who drives a woman to a place to get one. I am surprised that they are not giving out the bounties for killing anyone thinking of having an abortion, but they will get there.

The United States Supreme Court could have immediately set a hearing on this law, but they delliberately have not, and almost certainly will not. Because: 1) That carefully handpicked Court majority wants to completely overturn Roe v. Wade; and, 2) They do not want to actually say it, nor do they want to just carve away at it. They would prefer to simply and clearly give their imprimatur to any state which will effectively or completely outlaw abortions.

This is the culmination of the Republican dream. Why there has been this long furor over the right to an abortion, is an interesting, but at this point, indulgently abstract, consideration. I am a man, so my perspective may be limited in that regard. I have always thought that the first attack on the Roe decision was a way of trying to punish those people in the 1970’s who the Far Right thought were engaging in free love, and using abortion as a form of birth control, which is mostly absurd, but so are they. Then it became about controlling women, forcing them to stay “barefoot and pregnant.”

Only later, it seemed to me, did it become about fetuses, and whether they had rights. But it was a powerful rallying image. The bitter irony is that these fanatics don’t care one bit about babies, whether they are born with crack addictions, or impoverished mothers. They just want to punish the women, and to some extent the men who got the women pregnant, even if they both employed protection, and did not want, or could not afford, to have a baby at that time.

So the anti-abortion zealots worked tirelessly to fill the Supreme Court with justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade. It took a long time, but they got there. For every one of the last 48 years, people have warned that if you let the Republicans win the presidency, they will pack the Court with anti-abortion justices. And after making a few mistakes in that regard, they managed to do that

Every judge which the Heritage Foundation put up to the acquiescent Republican presidents, was a sure vote to overturn Roe. Look at all the Catholics which they have put on the Court. And presidents like GHW Bush, who probably did not want Roe overturned, helped it happen by putting Thomas on the Court. His son GW Bush put on Roberts and Alito. Bush did not win that election, but the Supreme Court handed it to him, including Sandra Day O’Connor, who supposedly said “That’s awful,” when she was told that Gore was going to win. O’Connor of course had previously upheld Roe, but Roberts and Alito would not.

And over and over, people like Barbra Streisand would say that “The election is about the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court,” but not enough would listen. 2016 was the culmination. Justice Scalia died, President Obama nominated Garland to replace him, and McConnell would not allow a hearing, because he knew that Garland would be confirmed, and would be the swing seat. And Obama apparently felt that there was nothing he could do about it.

And then Trump won, because far too many people decided that they could indulge themselves and not vote, or vote for Stein or Johnson, because “they just didn’t like Hillary”; or they were angry Sanders supporters who wanted him to be the president the next time; or they were people who had made a voting career out of disparaging both parties. Varieties of each of these stupid, foolish or self-indulgent (THEIR states would not ban abortion)) people. I could write a book about how such people were major dupes and useful idiots in the now successful Radical Faux Religious Right’s efforts to make abortion a crime. I wonder how they will rationalize this. Bill Clinton appointed Breyer and Ginsburg to the Supreme Court. Hillary would have appointed great Justices. Trump got to appoint three, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett.

The last one, Barrett, was rushed in, as Republicans showed that everything they said about the Garland nomination was an utter lie. Did you know that McConnell, when asked, recently said that if Biden had a Supreme Court opening to fill in 2024, he would block it? What is the saying, “Fool me 7,890 times, and you are the most obtuse person imaginable”?

And special perverse credit should be given to Susan Collins, who would always tell us that she did not want Roe v. Wade overturned, but that she would vote for Barrett, because she and the Court would not overturn it. Maybe she was in on the con; the Court did not actually write a decision overturning it, they just allowed it to be overturned by state courts, without doing anything about it. Oh, those Republicans, spending every waking hour when they are not counting their money, working on ways to circumvent, deceive, find flaws and loopholes to use to their advantage.

To say that this is a truly chilling day in American history, would not be overstating it. Many more Red States will pass bans on abortion just as totalitarian and inhumane as the one that Texas passed. In (don’t mess with) Texas, you can’t get a hospital bed, you can’t go to a school or a job with a vaccine or mask mandate, and you can’t get an abortion after six weeks, which is probably the earliest you could even know that you are pregnant. This is out of some nightmarish dystopian book or television show, and it is real.

So what can be done, if anything? Well, the Congress could pass a bill making Roe v. Wade a national law, which under our system, would supersede anything a state legislature could do, or a Supreme Court could rule. That is conceivable, but of course there is the filibuster to overcome, though this would be a possible opportunity for Manchin and Sinema to carve out an exception. I suppose that our government could try to cut off funds to Texas, or sue them, under the argument that they were violating Roe. This is unlikely to work, but it would highlight things. We could to try to add Court seats, but that is not getting through any time soon.

People, maybe including some of those who couldn’t be bothered to vote in 2016, might want to boycott any product coming out of Texas, and not go to sports events where any team from there is playing. That might upset them. And then of course everyone has to vote, although it is getting harder to do that each day. Any state with a Republican-controlled legislature, and there are some in “Blue States,” which just one time, elects a Republican governor, risks a draconian anti-abortion law.

There are realistic things which can be done, but it will take Democrats working in concert. Part of this zero-sum game reality, is that we have to stay united. We can’t divide and be conquered. Republicans have become thoroughly evil, and just enough Democrats were too fragmented or myopic to see what their endgame was, and how it would be realized. Now we have to undo it.