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Eli Lilly, Indiana and Dobbs.

I told you so.

After Indiana passed it’s new abortion law, Eli Lilly announced it would seriously consider pulling out of the state:

“After the legislation was signed into law, Eli Lilly, the pharmaceutical giant and one of the state’s largest employers, warned that such laws would hurt its employee recruiting efforts and said the company would look elsewhere for its expansion plans.

“We are concerned that this law will hinder Lilly’s — and Indiana’s — ability to attract diverse scientific engineering and business talent from around the world,” the company said in a statement issued Saturday. “Given this new law, we will be forced to plan for more employment growth outside our home state.””

Many people who read that statement will think Lilly is making a statement about how Indiana is becoming an unattractive state for STEM professionals altogether. It’s not exactly what Lilly is saying here because I’ve met Republicans and very religious people in the labs. I’m not sure Indians, Asians, Muslims and non-religious scientists are the whole story. That’s not the issue.

Here’s the issue:

Eli Lilly is the first employer to highlight what will happen to women’s careers even if they aren’t pregnant.

A woman working in an R&D lab (biology, chemistry) is frequently exposed to known teratogens and substances that are unknown teratogens. In Indiana, that means exposing the fetus to harm, causing birth defects. To avoid this, R&D labs have been know in the past to remove women from the labs as soon as they know they are pregnant to prevent damage to the fetus and liability for the company. 

Now, without the ability to abort except for lethal damage, woman may need to be excluded from the lab altogether. She may not know she is pregnant before the damage is done and while these instances are rare, no one will be able to risk it. So, a female PhD for example who has studied for a significant chunk of her life to do a particular area of research will probably need to follow strict guidelines on what she can do in the lab. Or she may have to stay out of the lab altogether. The is going to directly impact the research projects she’s working on, her body of work, patents she might be an inventor on and papers she might have published. It will also be difficult for her to manage or direct the experiments of people who are working for her. 

In other words, it’s a huge setback for female STEM professionals in terms of achievements, recognition, advancements and compensation. This is what Eli Lilly is saying, likely because their female scientists immediately brought it to their attention after Dobbs. It doesn’t matter if they can travel out of state for abortion. The state could hold female lab workers and their companies liable for any damage to fetuses who are not aborted. Will criminal suits follow? Who knows. You could end up in jail for knowingly exposing a fetus to a known teratogen. It’s bad for female researchers in industrial and academic labs anywhere a legislature as decided that “it’s not her body, not her choice”.

Pennsylvania, take notice. We have an overwhelmingly Republican state legislature and the only thing preventing us from becoming Indiana is our Democratic governor. This fall, we have a choice between Doug Mastriano, an extreme right wing religious Christian Nationalist who’s not above bussing people to insurrections and Josh Shapiro, our Democratic AG. We also have a number of pharma companies and small biotechs in the Philadelphia area. In Pittsburgh, we have Bauer and PPG, which although it isn’t a pharma also has labs for paints and coatings. All of these companies with labs that could potentially expose women to harmful agents will be affected and all of the women working in them now are facing an existential threat to their careers.

It’s not a crazy theory now. It’s really happening.

Kansas Nope

The ballot initiative in Kansas illustrates vividly why the idea that leaving abortion rights to the state legislators is a naïve and undemocratic idea. For those of you not following along, back in 2019, the state Supreme Court agreed with an amendment to the state constitution that protected the right to abortion. It was a sort of reverse trigger law. The ballot initiative yesterday asked whether Kansans wanted to do away with the amendment and allow the state legislature enact new laws regulating abortion.

Kansas, which at one time recently was the subject of a book called “What’s the Matter with Kansas?”, was the belwether warning us what could happen when extremism in Republican politics moves into a state. The state legislature is 2:1 Republican. Interestingly, they have a Democratic governor. I’m beginning to see THAT as the real indicator of public sentiment on abortion. Voters might not be able to do anything about how the state legislative seats are allocated but more densely populated cities can elect statewide offices. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The Kansas state legislature crafted the ballot initiative in such a way that it would have the best opportunity to pass. The sneaky tactics included voting for it on a primary day in August instead of November. The idea was that voter turnout was expected to be a low 38% and since most Democrats were running unopposed, the primary should have pulled in mostly Republican voters.

The wording of the initiative was as confusing as date rape where yes meant no and no meant yes. A No vote meant that the voters wanted to keep the amendment. A yes vote meant that the voters preferred the legislature to regulate abortion. The Republicans were breathtaking in their disinformation campaigns spending $10 million dollars on ads that muddled the issue even further.

Then there was a new law that makes it a felony to impersonate an election official. This is one of those maniacally important election integrity laws that is intended to scare people into not running voting registration drives. Everyone knows they’re not election officials but do they really want to take that risk of going to jail for going into high schools and churches to sign people up?

But in spite of all that, in fact, maybe because of all that, voters turned out in crazy numbers. The No vote won by almost 20 points. It might have won by more if the legislature skullduggery didn’t have some impact.

I imagine the state legislature scratching its head today like the Grinch hearing Wahoo Dorus in Whoville on Christmas morning. It tried every sneaky thing it could think of to trick Kansans into gutting their own rights in a presumably red state that went for Trump by gobs and gobs of deluded red state votes. The presidential election went 56% to 41% for Trump in 2020 and this ballot initiative was almost completely the opposite.

That means there were probably a lot of Republicans who voted No. Oooo, that’s not good. That’s a completely different bellwether.

“It came without bobbles, buttons or bows.”

Maybe it was because a 10 year old rape victim couldn’t get an abortion in Ohio. Maybe it was because of all the accounts coming out of Texas and Missouri where women have to be minutes from dying before they can get abortions that would save their lives because doctors are terrified they could lose their license to practice medicine. Maybe it was because Kansans in cities looked around at their only options and decided they didn’t want to be stranded out on the prairie and have to travel all the way to Colorado or Illinois. Maybe Republican women who are now pillars of the community remembered that abortion they had when they were second year college students. I’ll leave it to the 538 data scientists to sort it all out.

There’s one thing I do know for sure. The state legislature and the militant anti-choice, pro-forced motherhood brigade are hardly going to let a speed bump like this stand in their way of making sure women suffer punishment of biblical proportions for being human and opening their legs. No. They will find some new, diabolical scheme that will make sure they get control of every female who dares to have the same bodily autonomy as their male counterparts.

I don’t know how they’re going to do it but if I were Kansans who voted No, I’d be very vigilant. They might consider voting No on their local state legislator running for office. Republicans currently have a 2:1 advantage in the legislature and the governor is up for re-election in November. Do they really want to swap out Democrat Kelly for Republican Schmidt?

Maybe Kansas is starting to recover from its fever dream. Maybe reversing Roe was the thing that will make Kansans re-evaluate their commitment to Trumpism or extreme conservatism in general. Maybe Republican women don’t actually prefer being second class citizens in their own country with no say in their healthcare or parenthood decisions. Maybe Dobbs has created a whole new category of single issue voter.

Maybe Republican politicians nationwide should think about that.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

The antidote for magical thinking.

I don’t understand the minds of the people who voted for Trump. I’m not wired that way. I can’t see what they see in him and, like William below, I find it puzzling that anyone would praise his “accomplishments”. Long time readers know that I wasn’t a fan of Obama either for the myriad of reasons I documented from 2008-2016. Obama may go down in history as the luckiest man to ever be president because he was sandwiched between two of our worst presidents.

But if we compare temperaments, Obama was passive and complacent while Trump was unfit. We knew this ahead of time. No doubt, Hillary Clinton’s campaign did extensive opposition research on Donald. It’s not like he suddenly became pathologically impulsive and irresponsible overnight. He’s been that way for his entire adult life.

Here was Hillary’s warning in 2016:

I don’t believe for a minute that Trump’s voters didn’t know that about him. I think it was a feature to them. For some reason, they want destruction. They think so little of the government they’ve had the privilege to grow up with that they want to see it burned to the ground. Even if that means chaos. Even if that means bloodshed. Even if that means loss of services, energy grid, weather forecasts. Even if that means they won’t be retiring with the Social Security and Medicare they’ve paid for all their working lives.

That’s why so many MAGA supporters to this day, after so many hearings and evidence of Trump’s unfitness are still unwilling to see things as they really are. He was getting away with things they could only dream about.

There are specialists in autocratic governments and how they are created who have been warning that it could happen here. The American population has cut its teeth on jingoism and slogans and imagery of baseball game anthems and fireworks that have lost all their original meaning. We are sitting ducks for the strong men who will slide in unawares and gobble up everything that once belonged to all of us and will now be handed out like fiefs by a feudal lord.

There will come a day soon when Florida will crack down on abortions in the state, probably following Victor Orban’s lead on what he did in Hungary: Reduce the number of weeks to 12 or close to it, prohibit the use of medication for abortions, force women seeking one to go to a crisis pregnancy center for a couple of time wasting meetings where they will be emotionally manipulated and if that doesn’t work, humiliated and lectured before they’re finally allowed to make a decision that is right for their lives. Ron DeSantis is definitely playing by the Orban playbook and the next steps are entirely predictable.

Magical thinking is believing that some strong man is going to avenge your wrath on your enemies on your behalf and remake America into the idyllic past that never existed. Accountability is necessary to impose limits on pursuing magic instead of governance. The people responsible for what happened on 1/6/21 and to this day (because they’ve been busily setting up their next coup) have to be held accountable. They must face the consequences of their actions. There must be punishment or prohibition from ever holding office again. The public needs to see that we won’t tolerate the theft of our government by extraconstitutional means.

I get it that they think they have enough guns to overwhelm us but what does that get them? Do they really want to be those people? The kind that slaughters innocent people like the pioneers just passing through Mormon territory at Mountain Meadows in 1857? Those Mormons who participated in the slaughter were indoctrinated and lead to believe that the pioneers were their enemy without any justification. That’s where we are heading, slaughter of fellow Americans. The shooters who did it were eventually caught, tried and hung but the strongman, Brigham Young, who sicced his domestic terrorists filled with the wrath of God on 140 men, women and children, seemingly got away with it, giving hope to the many renegades to come, some of them the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers and their wannabes of 2021.

That’s what is going to happen here. He’s going to try to get away with it. And then he’ll do it again because he can’t help himself. Even this week, he tried to get Wisconsin to change its 2016 election results. He’s focussed like a shark on only one thing: whatever he wants. And the one who aspires to be next will take advantage of the cracks in our electoral system that Trump has helped to open up.

And when you’ve lost your vote, you’ve lost your control over your future and the stability of your country. Ask any voter in Russia or Hungary how they feel about the strongman they once invited in and can’t get rid of. Once you’ve lost it, you can almost never get it back without becoming the enemy of the state you put in power to begin with.

We don’t have to go through that. We can start imposing limits now. We can punish the guilty. We can keep insurrectionists from holding office, forcing voters to choose a different hard ass Republican for their district, one that doesn’t have treason on his hands and who won’t run from the vampire’s minions he invited into his House.

There is no antidote for magical thinking. It’s like a fire that may take a long time to burn out. The only thing that stops it in its tracks is decimating the believers and hoping that their leaders go down with them.

I take that back. Timothy Snyder, the author of On Tyranny, wrote this in a recent substack. The antidote is pulling ourselves back, giving ourselves a moment to reflect:

“Russian propaganda reaches us for much the same reasons it reachers Russians. The three “N”s give us no analytical purchase on what is actually going on; we cling to them for the reasons that Russians do, which is that they touch deeper emotions. If your default inclination is guilt about the world, and you are inclined to believe that America is responsible for all evil, then your “N” is NATO. If you are fearful and looking for a reason to do nothing, then you are best served by “nukes.” And if you like to look down on others as barbarians, or have the urge to be seen as the most radical person in your pack, you will be susceptible to Putin’s characterization of his chosen enemies as “Nazis.”

It is easy to demonstrate that none of this makes any sense, nor has any bearing on Russia’s war aims. But unless we are able to say about ourselves: “oh yes, I have that vulnerability” or “sure, I might fall for that sometimes” or “I can see how I could be led down that rabbit hole” such a demonstration will make no difference. And this, one hopes at least, is the fundamental difference between Russia and America at the moment. We still have the institutions and, one likes to hope, the inclination to reflect, to reconsider. Tyranny at some late stage is based on nothing more than the backwash of violent action: it must have been right because we did it at the tyrant’s behest. Democracy depends upon the ability to catch ourselves halfway, before we internalize the slogans and defend them just because we defend them.”

The kind of thing we need right now

Before we dive in to what a horror show 1/6 was as Trump sat in the dining room watching the insurrection on TV and ketchup dripped down the silk moiré wallpaper (just speculating. I have no idea if there is silk moiré wallpaper), let’s take a few minutes to shift our hearts and minds to something a lot more wholesome.

I love youtube design videos and one of the best content creators in this category is Drew Scott from Lone Fox. I’ve been watching his on the job training for the last few years as he’s been trying out new things and defining his aesthetic. For the last couple of years, he’s been working on the LA apartment he shares with his roommate Marie. Recently, Drew bought a house so he will be saying goodbye to this apartment. The space already had good bones but Drew really did take it to the next level.

Before he left, he gave a tour to his landlord Roger, an elderly guy who let Drew do pretty much whatever he wanted to this space. Rarely has there been such a lucky convergence of ability, opportunity and inspiration in a design space. But what would Roger think? They recorded the tour, naturally. Here it is. Enjoy:

So what’s your point?

I might be dreaming this but it seems like a lot of Republican MAGA tweeters are getting defensive. I know, right?? Who expected that? They’re usually just up in your grille or shaking their junk in your face or shrieking about the commie lib snowflakes wetting their pants over Covid.

It’s been 6, no, 7 years of this obnoxious flurry of “we DARE you to make us stop” non-productive assholishness.

But something has changed in the last few days. I’m not going to say that the over the top thugishness won’t return but there seems to be a slight pause.

One thing is for certain though. They intend to play this inflation thing for all it’s worth. Here’s how it usually goes:

Them: “so what if xyz, inflation is still catastrophically horrible and we are all suffering unimaginable awfulness because of it (implying that it’s all Biden’s fault)

Us: Inflation is up globally. Biden isn’t the president of Yurp. So what’s your point?

Them: We aren’t allowed to drill for more American oil and that’s why gas prices are astronomically high.

Us: Really? I thought that Biden is allowing for a lot more leasing for drilling. So what’s your point?

Them: Keystone! Keystone! Keystone!

Us: That was a pipeline for Canadian oil to pass through the US to the Gulf of Mexico. The oil in that pipeline isn’t ours. It’s for other countries. So what’s your point?

Them: Gas costs more than it ever has and that’s because we aren’t producing enough American oil.

Us: Enron debacle- refineries offline. 2013 high gas prices- refineries offline. 2022 high gas prices- refineries offline. It’s almost like there’s a correlation… Back in the first pandemic year in 2020, oil companies couldn’t give oil away. Prices were very low because no one but essential workers were driving to work. Now that more companies are requiring return to the office, oil companies are trying to recoup their losses by choking supply. To bring down the cost of gas, those who can work from home, should WORK FROM HOME. Demand will decrease dramatically and so will prices. You can’t overprice a commodity that no one needs. So, what’s your point?

Them: You’re being insufferably smug and uncivil to Trump voters. That’s why we don’t like what you say and we’re going to continue to hate your Fucking guts.

Us: Since 2020, I’ve been called a snowflake, a bed wetter, un-American, a traitor for not fellating Trump like the MAGA crowd. I’ve been told I’m a communist without any justification whatsoever. I’ve been yelled at to leave the country of my birth because I’m not patriotic. And all this from some of the people who I’m closest to. It has been insult on insult on insult. Now I’m smug because they have finally realized that their strongman chucks his lunch at the wall when he doesn’t get his way, and their policies on abortion have turned out to be a giant Fucking PR disaster and getting worse as MAGA politicians are doubling down, and there’s a new mass shooting everyday and expecting Americans to twist themselves in knots trying to not be decapitated by an AR-15 is tricky and extremely unpopular. But the MAGA crew is just getting started in statehouses and governor’s mansions and AG offices in red and purple states all over the country and every day, they seem to exceed themselves in how insane and out of touch they are.

The MAGA crowd has caught the bumper it has been chasing for 49 years, it has seized the tar baby, it has knocked itself out and keeps punching anyway. Our country is lagging behind in healthcare, infrastructure, economic equality and life expectancy due to Republican, Tea Party, MAGA obstruction in the senate for years and years. Nothing has gotten done because it is the stated policy of Mitch McConnell to never let Democrats claim one single victory even if it’s good for the vast majority of Americans. The goal is to make Democrats look bad by blocking every bill. They suck Republican voters back into their event horizon not by providing policies that would make our lives better but by being the stick that jams all the cogs in the machinery, makes their lives more miserable and refusing to do anything about it, except point fingers at anyone but themselves. Their compensation to their supporters was to allow them to sip the tender tears of their fellow Americans.

But the MAGA crew think we’re exceptional and that Europeans are unwashed and don’t have toilets because the only experiences they have of other countries are stories they heard from veterans of WWII because they never leave the US.

We’re not smug. We’re disgusted. And I’m used to having my fucking guts hated.

So what’s your point?

Fitness: Starting year 2

You might have noticed that the image looks different. Well, I got through my year long membership at the bougey gym and I am leaving it. The staff was never around, they didn’t seem interested in setting me up with a program unless I paid an extra couple hundred dollars a month, and it was too hot and stuffy when I was using the treadmill. So I switched. This gym is cheaper, the staff is very friendly, and the members aren’t snobs. Plus I actually feel cool when I’m running. Not in a swave and deboner sense but cooler in temperature. I ran a lot longer today w/o stopping than I have for a couple of weeks. Something was wearing me out so I eased up a bit for two weeks. I suspect the stuffy interior of the other gym had something to do with it.

Anyway, good workout. I’ll hit this gym more often probably because there is more equipment and variety and I have to work on my arms.

Today’s cool down is a song that seems like it could have been written last week but it’s actually 17 years old. The lyrics are uncanny. Enjoy!

More Post Roe Fallout

The accounts from doctors from around the country are starting to pop up. They mostly focus on rape, ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages. As long as it has cardiac cells that beat (not yet a heart), it can’t be aborted. And yes, any intentional termination of fetal life is an abortion. You don’t get a “get out of jail free card” just because you’re dying or too young to have children. It’s an abortion. THAT’S what anti-abortion activists were calling it a couple of months ago. Now that people are getting substandard healthcare, they want to call it…

… wait for it…

… healthcare.

Folks, you can’t make this stuff up.

We don’t have to make up what’s really happening. We can read about it daily in national papers. Like this article from The Boston Globe:

It was predictable. Doctors warned months ago that ending Roe was going to put them in very precarious situations where they might lose their medical licenses for providing the kind of healthcare their patients needed.

Here is Texas ob/gyn Mama Doctor Jones explaining the Texas Heartbeat Law that went into effect last September:

And here’s her video from 2 months ago after the draft opinion ending Roe was leaked:

By then, Doctor Jones had already accepted a temporary position as an ob/gyn in New Zealand. But this is the reality she will be coming back to if she goes home to Texas.

I’d stay in New Zealand.

*****************

It just occurred to me that these laws are specifically written to take control out of the physician’s hands, causing an untold number of human sacrifices, because a compassionate doctor might be able to circumvent the restrictions to help a desperate woman who doesn’t want to be pregnant for a myriad of reasons and may not have any other legal or safe alternatives.

Keep it vague. Allow a certain number of preventable deaths from inadequate healthcare. That will help make abortions scarier for everyone.

It’s diabolical.

The January 6 Hearing That Hasn’t Been Scheduled – Yet

One thing stood out to me during yesterday’s hearing. Over and over again, Trump and the Crazies talked about the crowd that was angry that the election had been *stolen*, they were filled with righteous indignation and that’s why they violently attacked the Capitol.

Here’s my question. There had to be a plan in place to deal with what would happen if the insurrection was successful, Mike Pence had been spirited off to Alaska, and Trump finished things off by showing up in the House chamber taking Congress leadership hostage. Or whatever. I don’t think Trump was going to wait for the election to be thrown back to the House. He wouldn’t have had to show up for that in person.

What was supposed to happen next?

Here’s why I ask. I think California and New York and other big blue states would have been stunned but their votes were not the ones that Trump was trying to disenfranchise. It was Pennsylvania’s and Arizona’s electoral college votes that were contested and set the whole chain of events in motion. There were other states that sent real EC slates of electors based on the popular vote and a fake set of electors picked by the Republican legislatures of their states. Those fake slates were sent to the national archives, all ready and teed up for the moment they would be needed.

The thing is, if Trump and the Crazies thought the irrationally outraged and deluded MAGA people would have been angry enough to storm the Capitol, they had to have known that their coup would infuriate those of us whose votes were just dragged to the trash as if they were artifacts of meaningless wastes of our precious time. That former Oath Keeper yesterday hinted at what they were thinking. They were preparing for a bloodbath. They would have expected trouble and they would be right.

I would have been on the road to Washington with my own sharpened flag pole to ram up the ass of the first guy I saw wearing a red baseball cap. Oh yes I would. You wouldn’t like it if I got angry.

Did they think that the illegally disenfranchised would just sit in a corner, shaking with fear and completely submissive just because a bunch of reactionary chauvinistic nut jobs didn’t like that their guy lost an election?? That we wouldn’t fight back?

I don’t think they believed that for a minute.

So what was the plan? I’m sure it was more than just mere words flung around for emphasis during the Red Wedding meeting in the yellow oval room. Someone must know that there had to be real plans for martial law or insurrection act invocation. What were the specific plans? Was that what Mike Flynn was for. How many MAGA sympathizers and white nationalists were in the military at the time? Why did Defense Secretary Miller feel that it was necessary to issue a memo saying that the military would be staying out of any actions on January 6 and could be actually keep that commitment if Trump had been successful or any of the Congress had been killed?

And note that the insurrection act wouldn’t apply to the MAGA mob. No, it would apply to the voters in Pennsylvania and Georgia, Michigan, Arizona, Wisconsin and Nevada. THOSE voters, who had a real reason to get angry, they would be the ones accused of insurrection even if they were the true Americans defending democracy.

So, is there going to be another hearing planned after the next one to tell us what their plan was for us? I think that’s the one that we all need to hear.

What were the next steps if they had succeeded?

Wishful thinking is not the same thing as morality.

Check out this conversation that Jordan Klepper had with John Kasich. Join me on the other side:

Kasich is one of the un-crazy Republicans, if we’re going to use January 6 terminology. Nevertheless, he still doesn’t get it and his reasoning is going to be the reason why we are going to make millions of women into human sacrifices. Here’s what I heard:

1.) Abortion is a divisive issue. Now it’s up to the states. This is the “Standard issue Republican talking point of 2022”. Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s one of those Frank Luntz focus group talking points that’s infuriatingly difficult to move past as Klepper finds. It stops any further argument. Klepper could have asked him about gerrymandered states where voting on state legislative seats is a pointless exercise. Would Kasich approve of referendums on the ballot so that everyone gets a crack at making the law in the state? What do you say, John Kasich? Can Ohio have a referendum on abortion rights? We’re all waiting for an answer. If it’s left up to the states, shouldn’t ALL the citizens of a state have a vote?

2.) Kasich is of the same mind as many other anti-choice people. There is only one choice. Motherhood. That’s it. He’s concerned that there are no exceptions for rape and incest, true, but his greater concern is that there was nothing in place for mothers. No crisis centers, no extra support, etc. I’m not disagreeing that economics have something to do with *some* abortions. But for the majority of women I have known who had abortions, and there were many, it was simply a matter of not wanting to be mothers and there’s just no way to get around that. Some women will kill themselves to not become mothers. Wishful thinking will not change this.

3.) Kasich just comes right out and says that now, other people’s opinions on this will be respected. I have heard this my entire life. You are never old enough or independent enough or mature enough to disagree with the opinions of a person with deeply held religiously derived moral beliefs. You may also hold moral beliefs as well. But to a religious person, they can be dismissed without consideration because theirs’ come from a more authoritative source and they’re saved and you’re not and you are not allowed (in their minds) to challenge them. No. Not on abortion or gay sex or evolution or any other thing they think is based on the Bible.

It’s astonishing to me how many Twitter commenters resort to saying the no abortions idea is based on biblical morality and the only way to not risk needing one is to not have sex. When it gets right down to it, the Bible has a lot more to say about FORNICATION than abortion. You can get stoned for fornicating but not for self-managing a medication abortion. The Bible is quite clear on sex and has plenty of examples of men sleeping with other men’s wives and seducing sisters and throwing daughters out to the town to rape and do with them what they will and incest of daughters with their fathers and concubines being chopped up by their husbands after they were thrown out to the town to be raped and nothing ever happens to those men in the Bible. These are transgressions that no ethical person in the 21st century would condone but in this Bronze Age text, it’s perfectly normal. It’s also perfectly normal to condemn women to death for illicit sex by throwing her to the dogs or stoning her. There are some passages about punishments for causing a pregnant woman to miscarry but those were the days when women and their offspring were considered valuable property of the owners m, potential workers, legal heirs and barter for transactions later.

That’s respectable. 🙄

In all the comments about abortion I see from the other side, the intensity of focus is on the fetus. There is almost never any mention of the human sacrifices that must be made in the service of the fetus.

Conclusion: We’ve been gathering data and observations on the anti-choice movement for 48 years now. We know definitively that the ability to get a safe abortion saved many human lives. But those who rely on religion for morality will not be satisfied until there are no abortions in the United States. They are also fanatically fixated on motherhood and what they perceive to be promiscuity. They are also either intolerant or unaware of the morality of abortion of other religious faiths other than fundamentalist Christianity or Catholicism. Muslim and Jewish morality on abortion is not considered nor are other faiths or no faiths.

The Dobbs decision cites morality as the reason why abortion is different from gay marriage or interracial marriage. But the morality applied has the strictest criteria and the proponents of that strict morality are the only authorities that are recognized and respected.

Excuse me for saying this but it looks like the justices have set up a state religion. The morality they are relying on can be traced back to the Old Testament proscriptions on extramarital sex and a handful of writings by medieval scholars.

The problem is the disrespect these moralists have for any other opinion.

I will offer mine anyway.

Nature already gave us the right to abortion. Animals, such as bears and mongooses, are capable of abortion under certain circumstances. Environmental pressures make it difficult to obtain resources for themselves and their offspring. Natural selection Favors organisms that are capable of passing their genetic material to the next generation. But you can’t get your offspring to the next generation if there are insufficient resources to sustain life. Better to conserve the energy of the adult and abort any fetuses that are unlikely to survive. Wait until next year. Seems sensible. As far as I know, animals don’t freak out about premarital sex.

Humans are also animals and face environmental stresses. Humans spontaneously abort. Maybe more of them spontaneously aborted back when our circumstances were more precarious hundreds of thousands of years ago. With better diets, vaccines, clean water, etc, spontaneous abortions are probably less likely. I’ll bet there are peer reviewed papers on this subject.

But our definition of environmental stress and resources have changed. It follows that our definition of reproductive success has also changed. Our definition of successful offspring has changed. Abortion isn’t proscribed by nature but like many things related to human gynecological medicine, human females can’t always do it for themselves. They need a little help.

Back in Roman times, women consumed herbs and plants they knew to be abortifacients. One of these was a plant called Sylphium. It was so popular it was over-farmed and is now considered extinct. There are many others still around like Queen Anne’s lace aka wild carrot. Medication abortions are our new Sylphium.

That coupled with the age of viability cutoff is my morality. Do what you need to do during the first trimester is my preference or up to viability. After that, doctors can help women facing health issues or fetal abnormalities.

My ethics and morality are based on actual evidence. Nature should override Bronze Age gods and mansplaining logic of medieval saints.

The moralists seem to think that if they force women to bear children, there will be no more promiscuity and the traditional role of motherhood will prevail. This goes against all experience. Everything we know from history proves that women will still engage in sex and they won’t necessarily want to be mothers. The ripping apart of little baby bodies that so abhors the tut-tutting moralists will now be performed by unregulated people who want to make immense profits by it. And thousands of tragedies will occur. For 49 years, we were able to stop these tragedies but now they will occur regularly and not one person who doesn’t want to be pregnant will be persuaded to not pursue an abortion by whatever means necessary.

Under Roe, no one who holds their morality above their own well being was forced to get an abortion. Now, anyone who values their own well being is required to become a human sacrifice and to reproduce when they aren’t ready or willing. But only one of these groups of people has respectable morality. The mistake we have made in the last 49 years that happier cultures have figured out is giving excessive respect and authority to the religious who rely on antiquated ideas of morality that do not value women. Not only do they rely on supernatural beings that can’t be proven to exist while ignoring nature, they also wish fervently that they get the unearned respect of people who don’t share their faith. I will refrain from commenting on what kind of personality issues those people have but their issues shouldn’t become the basis for everyone else’s major life decisions. No one should be forced into motherhood because some church lady feels oogy about premarital sex.

Wishful thinking should not be the basis of legal rulings and it is no more worthy of respect than personal ethics. I think it violates the first amendment on establishment of a state religion. That shouldn’t need to be said but, there, I’ve said it.

That Ms. Cover

I’m listening to the latest episode of The Ezra Klein Show featuring Michelle Goldberg. They’re talking about what happens to feminism in the wake of the Dobbs decision. It’s a long episode worth listening to. They make a lot of good points. But not once in 1 hour and 16 minutes did they mention the profoundly negative effect that the Obama phenomenon had on feminism and women’s equality. In fact, I don’t think I’ve heard them mention Obama’s name at all during the entire episode. So even though I spent the entire Obama campaign and administration railing against the guy and am thoroughly sick of him, I’m going to do it one more time because I don’t think anyone was paying attention for the past 14 years. The rare exception who kind of gets it and is still prominent in the blogosphere is Atrios at Eschaton and he’s a bit coy with his condemnation and focussed more on the economic fallout and failures. I’m going to try to finally get ahold of what has been nagging at me relentlessly since 2008 and how it lead to the shitty feeling that many women and liberals are experiencing now that we are stuck in a very backwards country spinning our wheels.

We on the left need to come to grips with this. I see way too many commentators and opinion makers who avoid touching the Obama era because the minute you go there, it’s like proclaiming that you have some kind of regard for social issues other than race and that is definitely not allowed. It’s a huge problem on the left that more than half of the country’s population is less important than any other demographic. It’s why I say that a fully raw cannibal will become a Democratic president with the full backing of the party before any woman or futuristic liberal will. There will always be a demographic whose situation is more compelling to it.

Many people don’t know the history of how Obama won the primary in 2008. I’m not going to go over that year in this post. If you want to dive into that check out the archives of this blog for 2008. A lot of what the Democrats did to its own electorate has been copied by Republicans with great success.

What I will touch on though is the very strong feeling I got when I was still writing at DailyKos that some aggressive entity had taken over the left of center net roots, it wanted Obama, and it wasn’t above scorching the earth to get him. I called it a jihad, which lead me to leave DailyKos and land here. The weird thing is that at the time I wrote that, I didn’t have any animosity towards Obama. It was these mysterious followers on DailyKos who took over the site that concerned me. They conducted a purge. The choice was get on the Obama train or get out. They were specifically targeting Hillary Clinton supporters and it was brutal.

I don’t know who those people were but something about them reminded me of “the smartest guys in the room” from the Enron scandal and their bro culture emails about how they were going to stick it to grannies with their rolling blackouts in California. They had the whiff of men in suits in office buildings, wired on whatever all day, ruthlessly crawling over the corpses of the temporarily unlucky on the way to the bigger bonuses and corner offices. It was distinctly male and dismissive of any wimmins’ problems. Who gave a f]#% about Hillary? You must be a racist and even if you’re not, we’re going to call you one because look at how this giant online focus group reacts when we do it.

You can blame Republicans all you want for their patriarchy and stodgy traditionalism that leaves no breathing room for women’s aspirations. But if you want to see how feminism was stomped into a bloody pulp and left to die without any assistance at all, go no further than the 2008 Democratic primary and the callous, cynical, humiliating treatment of women and Hillary Clinton by the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party itself. I de-registered and became an independent specifically because of it. That didn’t make me a racist. That made me wise about my own self-preservation. I wasn’t going to participate in slitting my own throat just because there was a frenzied madness to elect a cipher who had almost no political experience but sure could razzle dazzle the donors with huge pockets.

The worst part of that year was the roll call vote at the convention in Denver when Hillary was denied her own delegates. California and Pennsylvania never got an opportunity to cast their ballots for her and my state, NJ, just handed all of its delegates to Obama even though he lost the state by 10 points. By the time New York cast all of its votes for Obama, a state Hillary had won in a landslide, it brought her on the floor to denounce herself like some kind of political prisoner and then the party metaphorically gang raped her.

That’s what it looked like to some of us. It was the exact same feeling we got the day after Trump “won” the election in 2016 and when Dobbs overturned Roe.

But it didn’t stop there. The general campaign was all about forcing women who were Clinton voters to shut up and vote for Obama because, well, where else were you going to go? All the feminist hopes and dreams were now in the hands of Obama who would take care of us. You’re welcome.

Then came the Ms. Magazine cover. It came out roughly at the same time that that cringey picture of Jon Favreau groping a cardboard cut out of Hillary’s breast while drinking a beer. In fact, that whole period of time after the election was like a big f{#^ you to women. The Ms. Magazine cover was the thing that broke the feminist movement. Here it is:

That’s right. The dude bro who just steamrolled over a woman who had exponentially more experience, a political coalition of her own, savvy acquired from working on healthcare issues from the West Wing, and proclaimed “women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights”, well, THAT man was a feminist. He who had only a single X-chromosome and zero experience being a woman, HE was more of a feminist than Hillary Clinton.

It was so unbelievably cynical, smug and cruel that Ms. Magazine jumped the shark at that very second. No one I knew would ever take it seriously again. Ms. Magazine, does it even exist anymore and if it does, why??

We could see the rest coming. The relentless Propaganda on the passage of the toothless Lily Ledbetter bill as some kind of monumental achievement while completely abandoning the Paycheck Fairness bill, the patronizing restrictions placed on Plan B, the deprioritization of legislating abortion and reproductive rights for women, these were all part of the Obama years.

No one held him accountable for these failings. No one wanted to be called a racist for criticizing anything he did or mostly didn’t do.

But it didn’t stop there. The Obama years were bad from an optics point of view as well. He took more of an active role in directing the State department, as if he had to keep an eye on Hillary, he played golf and shirtless basketball with a little group of guys, and his wife, a well educated lawyer who once had a high profile job, threw all of that away so she could stay home and garden and be a full time mom to two kids who were already in school. I suppose it was to make sure the Sally Quinns of the Washington social set didn’t start picking on her for being smart, accomplished and ambitious. Better to be the good little wifey who if she still wasn’t going to do tea and cookies looked completely fulfilled transplanting tomatos and cultivating kale. Nothing too taxing for our First Lady. Nothing that would provoke attention or envy. Indeed, any well educated woman with a law degree should consider mommy tracking herself because she sure as f[{# wasn’t going to get her need for paid maternity leave or child care addressed by the Obamas.

That’s what the Obama years mean to me. It was the swan song of feminism, a Madama Butterfly sacrifice for the Pinkerton who came back to rob her of her last shred of dignity. Here you go, take it. We eviscerate ourselves for you, oh cool dude. Over and over again, we were satisfied if he remembered us at all. “I gave you Lily Ledbetter, didn’t I?? You should be grateful.” The feminist movement went along with it and completely debased itself.

There was nothing benign about how Obama handled feminism or the genuine concerns of women. Putting birth control in the ACA was the least he could do and he did the least. What about everything else?

By the time Trump started to run in 2016, the ground work was already prepared. Obama and his dude bros had shown him how it was done. Oh sure, he had some of his own tricks. But at the bottom of it all was Obama and the Democratic Party that sold women out.

Truth and reconciliation start there.