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“Late Term Abortion”

The Washington Post points out there is no precise medical or legal definition of “late-term,” and “many doctors and scientists avoid that language, calling it imprecise and misleading.”

The Daily Beast also notes that only 1.3 percent of abortions are performed after 21 weeks of gestation, and the idea that a woman can get an abortion moments before giving birth is “not how medical care works.”

The use of “dog whistles” aka “coded” labels has been common for many years but until recently has been out of the mainstream of conversation. The current administration aided by a neer do well Congress has brought these “coded” statements and words to common use. Along with this common usage the administration has trashed agreements put in place to prevent war and improve trade. Tariffs (taxes) put in place to offset the “tax” policy that was supposed to benefit everyday Americans and threats to bad actors who were in a state of containment with the approval of our now alienated allies. The administration has in a few years undermined our economy, foreign affairs and put us on an isolation footing all because of “dog whistles”.

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The Fox News host has faced fierce scrutiny over his support of the “great replacement” idea cited in a racist screed allegedly left by the Buffalo gunman.

By

Nick Visser May. 17, 2022, 01:03 AM EDT

00:32 01:40

Tucker Carlson condemned the 18-year-old suspect accused of shooting 13 people at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store this weekend. But the Fox News host failed to take accountability for the white supremacist “great replacement” theory he’s peddled on prime time for years, instead lambasting Democrats and the media for attacking free speech.

Carlson opened his program Monday by addressing the spate of mass shootings across America in recent days, including the Buffalo attack and a shooting at a church in California that left one dead and five others injured. In Buffalo, Payton Gendron is accused of targeting a store in a predominantly Black neighborhood. He is believed to have posted a 180-page screed full of racist, white supremacist tropes that referenced extreme versions of replacement theory, a baseless claim that Democrats are plotting to “replace” white Americans with people of color through immigration and other policies.

Almost all of the victims in the shooting, which killed 10 people, were Black.

“The document is not recognizably left-wing or right-wing,” Carlson said Monday. “It’s not really political at all. The document is crazy. It’s the product of a diseased and unorganized mind. … It’s definitely racist, bitterly so … but what he wrote does not add up to a manifesto. It is not a blueprint for a new political movement.”

Several mass shootings in recent years have been linked to the conspiracy theory, including an attack at a synagogue in 2018, a shooting that killed 23 at a Walmart in 2019 and a rampage in Christchurch, New Zealand, that year that left 51 dead.

Carlson has faced fierce scrutiny in recent days over his own support of the replacement theory, which has grown from a fringe conspiracy theory and is now embraced by far-right commentators and even Republican politicians. A New York Times investigation found Carlson had promoted the idea in more than 400 episodes of his show since he joined Fox News’ prime-time lineup in 2016.

The Fox News host said, however, that Democrats had used the Buffalo attack to craft “a coordinated campaign to blame those murders on their political opponents.” He did not mention replacement theory or his regular assertions that President Joe Biden was supportive of immigration to “dilute the political power of the people.”

Instead, Carlson said Democrats who spent the hours after the Buffalo shooting condemning hate speech were using the attack as a “pretext” to roll back the protections of the First Amendment.

“What is hate speech? Well, it’s speech that our leaders hate,” Carlson said. “So because a mentally ill teenager murdered strangers, you cannot be allowed to express your political views out loud. That’s what they’re telling you.”

“Race politics always makes us hate each other,” he continued. “Race politics is a sin. Race politics always leads to violence and death. There is only one answer to rising racial tension, and that is to de-escalate. Treat people as human beings created by God rather than faceless members of interest groups… all people have equal moral value, no matter what they look like. All lives matter, period.”

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ABC News

McConnell, when asked, fails to denounce racist ‘replacement theory’

ALLISON PECORIN

Tue, May 17, 2022, 7:28 p.m.·6 min read

As Democrats have ratcheted up condemnation of “replacement theory” in the wake of Saturday’s mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, some Republicans on Capitol Hill have shied away from rejecting the racist idea that some members of their own party have espoused.

At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was asked repeatedly about his views of “replacement theory,” a conspiracy theory that holds that Democrats are trying to replace white Americans with undocumented immigrants and people of color in order to win elections.

He repeatedly avoided denouncing it outright.

PHOTO: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks during a news conference after a closed-door lunch with Senate Republicans at the U.S. Capitol, on May 17, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks during a news conference after a closed-door lunch with Senate Republicans at the U.S. Capitol, on May 17, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

MORE: How ‘replacement theory’ became prominent in mainstream US politics

McConnell was asked whether he, as the party leader, had a responsibility to speak out against the theory, which authorities say was adopted by the 18-year-old white man accused of killing 10 Black people at a local food market.

He responded by denouncing the actions of the suspect, calling him a “deranged young man,” but making no mention of “replacement theory.”

Pressed again by reporters on whether the Republican Party is obligated to denounce the theory, McConnell condemned racism generally.

“Look — racism of any sort is abhorrent in America and ought to be stood up to by everybody, both Republicans, Democrats, all Americans,” McConnell said.

MORE: Biden labels Buffalo shooting ‘domestic terrorism’ after visiting scene

He then was asked whether he believed that Democrats are seeking amnesty for undocumented immigrants for the purpose of influencing and changing the electorate. He responded by criticizing the Biden administration’s policy at the southern border.

McConnell’s comments Tuesday came as the Senate GOP conference hosted Ohio Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance, who has used language similar to the theory on multiple occasions​​.

Vance secured the GOP nomination during Ohio’s primary race earlier this month after a late endorsement from former President Donald Trump, who has supported multiple Republicans who echo the theory’s main points, if not its outright racist basis.

In a March 17 appearance on Fox News, according to the news monitoring site Mediaite, Vance told Fox News host Tucker Carlson that Democrats are intentionally creating a surge in undocumented immigration.

“You have to ask yourself who is benefiting from this and who is getting rich from it? First of all Chamber of Commerce-style Republicans and Democrats who love the cheap labor who love the fact that these immigrants are displacing America’s workers but also Democrat politicians who have decided that they can’t win reelection in 2022 unless they bring in a large number of new voters to replace the voters that are already here,” he said.

Vance’s campaign declined to comment to ABC News and he did not answer a barrage of reporter questions as he left the Senate GOP luncheon.

McConnell was not the only Republican leader to avoid calls to denounce replacement theory Tuesday.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden visit a memorial near a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York, after the May 14 mass shooting at the store on May 17, 2022. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden visit a memorial near a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York, after the May 14 mass shooting at the store on May 17, 2022. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images)

Rep. Elise Stefanik, House GOP Conference Chair, has faced renewed criticism in recent days for her campaign ads echoing replacement theory. Her campaign released a statement about the attack, and another from her senior adviser calling the focus on the ads a “disgusting low for the left, their Never Trump allies and the sycophant stenographers in the media.”

When pressed by reporters, Stefanik didn’t respond directly, saying she didn’t want to make the Buffalo shooting political.

“Our nation is heartbroken and sad and of the horrific loss of life in Buffalo. This was an act of pure evil and the criminal should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Stefanik said. “It is not the time to politicize this tragedy. We mourn together as a nation.”

PHOTO: Representative Elise Stefanik speaks during a news conference outside the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., May 12, 2022. (Bloomberg via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Representative Elise Stefanik speaks during a news conference outside the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., May 12, 2022. (Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Republican reticence to reject replacement theory comes as President Joe Biden traveled to Buffalo on Tuesday and in a speech called on Americans, to “reject the lie” and condemn those “who spread the lie for power, for political gain and for profit.”

MORE: Biden labels Buffalo shooting ‘domestic terrorism’ after visiting scene

Later, speaking to reporters, Biden declined to name names but was blunt when asked if he thinks members of the Republican Party, and cable news pundits like Fox News host Tucker Carlson, deserve blame for violence.

“I believe anybody who echoes a replacement is to blame not for this particular crime, but it’s for no purpose, no purpose, except profit and or political benefit,” Biden said. “And it’s wrong. It’s just simply wrong,”

Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has gone further, calling out Fox News and pundits like Carlson by name.

Schumer penned a direct appeal to media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, his son, and the heads of Fox News Tuesday urging them to “to immediately cease all dissemination of false white nationalist, far right conspiracy theories on your network.”

CES Letter 5.17.22 by ABC News Politics on Scribd

Invoking massacres with racial motivations in Pittsburgh and El Paso, Schumer wrote about his Buffalo constituents, saying that they’ll “be forced to relive this tragic event every single time they visit the supermarket for a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk” —- asking that Fox take into consideration the very real impacts of the dangerous rhetoric…”

Carlson has denied that discussing what he claims is a political matter is racist.

A spokesperson for Fox pointed to a comment Carlson made on his show earlier this week regarding the Buffalo shooting. Carlson, she said, called the shooter “racist” and “immoral” and “called for a de-emphasis of racial tensions and working toward a “colorblind meritocracy” adding “all people have equal moral value, no matter what they look like” and quoted Martin Luther King, Jr.”

She did not directly address Schumer’s letter.

The shooting has revealed a divide in the Republican ranks. While McConnell and Stefanik have fallen short of denouncing “replacement theory,” others have been outspoken on condemning it.

MORE: Enter headline of content here

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., had no qualms about rejecting the theory outright.

“Oh, it’s … an outrageous theory. I totally reject it as any reasonable discussion to be had.”

Blunt, who is retiring, is from a state where two GOP politicians have openly espoused the racist theory.

MORE: In wake of Buffalo shooting, Liz Cheney says House GOP leaders ‘enabled white nationalism’

On Monday, GOP Rep. Liz Cheney, whose role as GOP conference chair was usurped by Stefanik, called her colleagues out directly in a tweet.

“The House GOP leadership has enabled white nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism,” Cheney tweeted. “History has taught us that what begins with words ends in far worse. @GOP leaders must renounce and reject these views and those who hold them.”

“Despite sickening and false reporting, Congresswoman Stefanik has never advocated for any racist position or made a racist statement,” Alex DeGrasse, a senior adviser to Stefanik, said in a statement. “The shooting was an act of evil and the criminal should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he added.

ABC News’ Ben Siegel, Lalee Ibssa and Trish Turner contributed to this report.

McConnell, when asked, fails to denounce racist ‘replacement theory’ originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

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McConnell, when asked, fails to denounce racist ‘replacement theory’

ALLISON PECORIN

Tue, May 17, 2022, 7:28 p.m.·6 min read

As Democrats have ratcheted up condemnation of “replacement theory” in the wake of Saturday’s mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, some Republicans on Capitol Hill have shied away from rejecting the racist idea that some members of their own party have espoused.

At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was asked repeatedly about his views of “replacement theory,” a conspiracy theory that holds that Democrats are trying to replace white Americans with undocumented immigrants and people of color in order to win elections.

He repeatedly avoided denouncing it outright.

PHOTO: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks during a news conference after a closed-door lunch with Senate Republicans at the U.S. Capitol, on May 17, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks during a news conference after a closed-door lunch with Senate Republicans at the U.S. Capitol, on May 17, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

MORE: How ‘replacement theory’ became prominent in mainstream US politics

McConnell was asked whether he, as the party leader, had a responsibility to speak out against the theory, which authorities say was adopted by the 18-year-old white man accused of killing 10 Black people at a local food market.

He responded by denouncing the actions of the suspect, calling him a “deranged young man,” but making no mention of “replacement theory.”

Pressed again by reporters on whether the Republican Party is obligated to denounce the theory, McConnell condemned racism generally.

“Look — racism of any sort is abhorrent in America and ought to be stood up to by everybody, both Republicans, Democrats, all Americans,” McConnell said.

MORE: Biden labels Buffalo shooting ‘domestic terrorism’ after visiting scene

He then was asked whether he believed that Democrats are seeking amnesty for undocumented immigrants for the purpose of influencing and changing the electorate. He responded by criticizing the Biden administration’s policy at the southern border.

McConnell’s comments Tuesday came as the Senate GOP conference hosted Ohio Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance, who has used language similar to the theory on multiple occasions​​.


Timothy P. Carney

05/17/2022

The A paranoid conspiracy theory has taken over parts of the Left. It has found its clearest expression in an extremely vile op-ed at the Washington Post by author and filmmaker Brian Broome. The heart of his argument is this little pile of slander and hate: that the Buffalo shooter’s mindset is the same as the mindset of the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The same sort of thinking about race and birthrates now dominates the conservative Supreme Court,” Broome writes. “The leaked draft opinion isn’t about protecting babies. It is about protecting Whiteness. Specifically, White babies.”

These two sentences are an insane fever dream with no grounding in reality. Either Broome is a liar who hopes his readers don’t notice, or he is truly mad, living in a paranoid delusion in which powerful people are engaged in dark conspiracies disguised as normal politics.

To believe what Broome espouses, you first need to believe that Justices Clarence Thomas (formerly a black baby) and Amy Coney Barrett (mother of adopted black babies) don’t care about black babies.

But that’s not even the most absurd part of Broome’s argument.

If you reduced the number of abortions, the ultimate aim of all pro-lifers, you would increase the number of black babies and the black share of the U.S. population. Black babies are three times as likely as white babies to be aborted. Hispanic babies are twice as likely as white babies to be aborted.

Anyone trying to end or curb abortions is working to make the population less white, not more. That is just statistics. And this is why white supremacist Richard Spencer is pro-abortion.

“The people who are having abortions are generally very often black or Hispanic,” Spencer explains. Like Spencer, racist eugenicists have always favored abortion. Even the abortion lobby today agrees that Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, peddled birth control and abortion because she wanted fewer nonwhite babies.

Nevertheless, Broome repeatedly asserts, using the fallacy or argument by assertion, that any concern about birthrates is part of “the great replacement theory.”

This is, frankly, idiotic. Birthrates are falling in every country, and the United States has been in a baby bust for 16 years. The result is small towns shuttering and schools closing. Eventually, it will mean an economy with not enough people to make things and perform services needed to keep the world running.

There are a million reasons to care about falling birthrates that have nothing to do with “replacement” conspiracy theories. That’s why the New York Times ran a front-page story in May 2021 warning of a “demographic time bomb.”

“All over the world,” the New York Times news story warned, “countries are confronting population stagnation and a fertility bust.”

Broome points out that the Buffalo shooter worried about white birthrates. That’s true — the Buffalo shooter was a racist who believed in baseless conspiracy theories. Conservatives like myself who worry broadly about birthrates are not fixated on white birthrates. We are happy to see more black babies, more white babies, more Hispanic babies, more Asian babies, more Native American babies, and so on.

I’m not on the same side as the murderer. Maybe Broome is. The shooter, probably like Broome, believes in human population control for environmental purposes. “There is no Green future with never ending population growth,” the atheist shooter wrote in his manifesto.

Broome’s slanderous dishonesty comes in a piece about “want[ing] the hate to stop.” But Broome’s entire op-ed is nothing but hate.

Because the data and facts cut against his tendentious thesis, Broome rests his entire argument on what he somehow knows to be the secret motivations of a shadowy cabal running America. The real reason Clarence Thomas opposes abortion, he surmises, is that he wants more white babies, etc. Never mind all the data!

Those secret intentions, Broome tells us, are evil, and they will result in something like genocide. Never mind that abortion has dramatically limited the nonwhite population.

Broome’s argument, grounded as it is in paranoid conspiracy theories and bigotry against entire classes of people, sounds a lot more like the Buffalo shooter’s thinking than anything else you’re going to find in print these days.

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Mainstream Promoter _ucker Carlson

Heather Cox RichardsonMay 16

Yesterday, an 18-year-old white man murdered 10 people and wounded three others with an AR-15. The shooter traveled more than 200 miles to get to a predominantly Black neighborhood, where he put on heavy body armor and live streamed his attack as he gunned down people grocery shopping. Eleven of those he shot were Black.

The Buffalo Police Commissioner, Joseph Gramaglia, said, “The evidence that we have uncovered so far makes no mistake that this is an absolute racist hate crime. It will be prosecuted as a hate crime. This is someone who has hate in their heart, soul and mind.”

Before his attack, the shooter published a 180-page screed on Google Drive. It is mostly a list of his weaponry, but in it he also explained his belief in what is known as the “great replacement theory,” embraced by white nationalists. This is the idea that white people are losing economic, cultural, and political power to Black people and other people of color. The name is usually associated with a French agitator who argued in a 2011 book that immigrants were destroying European culture, but the theory that an “other” is destroying traditional society has roots stretching far back in European history. In the twenty-first century, that theory has launched right-wing political parties and shootings around the world.

But the Buffalo shooter’s ramblings drew not only from the European theory—although there is plenty of that in his 180 pages of racism and anti-Semitism. They also drew from America’s own version of a theory of replacement.

That theory comes out of the 1870s and was explicitly connected to voting.

In 1867, Congress began the process of recognizing the right of Black people to have a say in their government. In the Military Reconstruction Act, it called for conventions in former Confederate states to write new state constitutions and permitted Black southerners to register to vote to choose delegates to those conventions. White supremacists scoffed at the idea that formerly enslaved people and those white men willing to work with them could produce coherent constitutions.

When their constitutions not only were coherent, but made adjustments to give more representation to poorer white men than the prewar constitutions had provided, white supremacists set out to make sure voters did not ratify the new constitutions. Needing to avoid the U.S. Army, still stationed in the South to protect Black people and their white allies, the white supremacists dressed up in white sheets to look like dead Confederate soldiers (no one was fooled) and tried to terrorize voters to keep them from the polls.

It didn’t work. Voters ratified the new constitutions, which guaranteed Black voting. Congress readmitted the southern states to the Union, but not until they ratified the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. That crucially important amendment dissolved the state laws discriminating against Black Americans. It established that Black people were U.S. citizens and guaranteed that the U.S. government would see to it that no state could take away the rights of any citizen without the due process of law.

In 1870, white politicians in Georgia tried to undermine their new state constitution. The American people then ratified the Fifteenth Amendment protecting the right of Black men to vote. Congress also created the Department of Justice to enable the federal government to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment, which it promptly did. Attorney General Amos Akerman, a former Confederate who had become a Republican, oversaw more than 1000 cases against the Ku Klux Klan.

With the federal government holding them to account for their racist attacks on Black Americans, southern white supremacists began to argue that their objections to Black equality were actually about voting. By 1871, they argued that Black men voted for leaders who promised roads and hospitals and schools. Those social investments would require tax levies, and since the Black population was poor almost by definition after enslavement, those taxes would fall almost entirely on the white men who owned property. In this telling, Black voting was essentially a redistribution of wealth from those with money to those without, from white men to Black men. It was socialism.

White supremacists began to say that they objected to Black voting and to the governments Black people elected not on racial grounds, but on economic ones. They promised to “redeem” the South from the profligate state governments that they said were bleeding tax dollars out of white landowners to provide services for the poor, generally characterized as Black, although there was no racial monopoly on poverty in the post–Civil War South.

In 1876, the “Redeemers” took over the southern states, thanks partly to the rhetoric that made them sound reasonable to northern observers and largely to the violence that enabled them to keep Black men from the polls. The “Solid South” would stay Democratic until Arizona Republican senator Barry Goldwater, running for president on a platform that called for the federal government to leave states’ racial discrimination alone, won five deep southern states in 1964.

The violence of the 1876 election, along with fears of what their lives would look like in its wake, led Black Americans to leave the South in a movement known as the Exodus. In 1879 and 1880, about 20,000 Black southerners went west to Kansas, Oklahoma, and Colorado. “[T]he whole South…had got into the hands of the very men that held us slaves,” one recalled, “and we thought that the men that held us slaves was holding the reins of government over our heads…. [and] there was hope for us and we had better go.”

About two thousand of those migrants went to Indiana.

Indiana was a contested state in which the Republican and Democratic parties traded power. In 1876, it had gone to the Democrats by a few thousand votes.

When Black Americans began to come to their state, Indiana Democrats immediately howled that the Republicans were importing Black migrants to shift the state back toward the Republicans in the 1880 election. Their clamor was loud enough to cause a Senate investigation. The Democratic majority on the select committee concluded that the Republicans must have induced the Black southerners to leave their region because there was well-paid work and no violence in the South; Republicans retorted that if they were really trying to flood the electoral system, they would have left Black Americans where they were.

But the conspiracy theory took root. White Hoosier Democrats met Black migrants with showers of rocks and vowed to “clean out all the g–d d– –n***ers in the county before the [1880] election.” After a political rally in Rockport, Indiana, Democrats attacked local Black inhabitants, shouting: “Kill them, kill them.” After they shot Uriah Webb, one rioter stood over his body and said, “One vote less,” while the others cheered Democratic presidential candidate Winfield Scott Hancock.

Racial hostility kept the Black population of Indiana small, but it also fed the cultural and social discrimination that made Indiana the beating heart of the resurgent Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. Under violent con man David Curtis Stephenson, who raped, mutilated, and murdered a female state employee, the Indiana Ku Klux Klan developed the idea of “100% Americanism,” which argued for a hierarchy of races in which the white race was uppermost. Immigrants and Black Americans, that theory said, were destroying traditional America.

That argument has poisoned American politics since the 1870s. Yesterday, the Buffalo shooter echoed the modern European great replacement theory, but he also echoed the racial “socialist” argument of the U.S. He railed against Black Americans, whom he wildly insisted take, on average, $700,000 apiece from white Americans. He urged those who thought like him not to pay taxes, which he said would be wasted on such people. Then he warned white Americans not to become a political minority because minorities are never treated well.

Today’s Republican politicians, including Elise Stefanik of New York, the third ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, have pushed the great replacement theory for years and even after yesterday’s massacre have refused to denounce it. That theory is based in racial hate, but it is not only about racial hate. It is also about politics, and today Republicans are using it to create a one-party state.

“I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term ‘replacement,’ if you suggest that the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World,” Fox News Channel personality Tucker Carlson, who is one of the country’s leading proponents of the great replacement theory, said on his show. “But they become hysterical because that’s what’s happening actually. Let’s just say it: That’s true.”

It was not true in 1879, it is not true now, and people making this argument have blood on their hands.

Notes:

https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/15/us/buffalo-supermarket-shooting-sunday/index.html

Campney, B.M.S. (2015). “This Negro Elephant is Getting to be a Pretty Large Sized Animal”: White Hostility against Blacks in Indiana and the Historiography of Racist Violence in the Midwest. Middle West Review 1(2), 63-91. doi:10.1353/mwr.2015.0017.

Report and Testimony of the Select Committee of the United States Senate to Investigate the Causes of the Removal of the Negroes from the Southern States to the Northern States (1880), Senate Report 693. 

https://www.timesunion.com/opinion/article/Editorial-How-low-Ms-Stefanik-16465746.php

https://www.yorkdispatch.com/story/news/politics/2021/04/15/rep-perry-pushes-replacement-theory-during-committee-hearing/7229074002/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/rep-stefanik-claims-in-ads-that-democrats-are-seeking-a-permanent-election-insurrection-by-providing-pathways-to-citizenship/2021/09/16/7372011a-16eb-11ec-a5e5-ceecb895922f_story.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/05/09/nearly-half-republicans-agree-with-great-replacement-theory/

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On complaints from old white guys

The Abilene Reporter-News

Opinion by John Powell – Yesterday 1:13 PM

In two recent opinion articles in the Reporter News, the authors complained about the general state of affairs in our country.

©. John D. Powell

One writer (March 3) suggested that immorality and the decline in religious belief were undermining our democracy. He included a list of things he considered immoralities.

The other author (March 17) included a laundry list of Republican talking points blaming Biden and Democrats for everything he found objectionable. He trivialized climate change as our new focus of worship, though he won’t be around to see its consequences.

He concluded with the tired old statement, “We want our country back.” 

Both authors suggest a return to a set of values and a worldview from years past. Those values worked well for some people.

I am a 72-year-old white guy, and I, along with the two authors, benefitted greatly from that past era. However, we now live in a larger, more connected, more inclusive world, and it is imperative that we make room for others at the table of opportunity, not just people like me.

The world always has been diverse, but those of us in charge did not acknowledge or make much room for that diversity. Now, finally, we are. Our society is haltingly making room for women, people of color, people of different sexual orientations, people with disabilities, and a host of others who historically were not granted the same rights and privileges as those in charge.

Those are good changes, but even good changes can be painful and messy.

One of my primary disagreements with both authors is not that they express opinions different from mine. They are free to do that. My concern is that they focused mostly on symptoms, not problems. Focusing on symptoms alone will not solve problems.

Several years ago, the engine in my son’s car started blowing smoke. I’m not a mechanic, so I talked to one. After describing the sound and the smoke, he said, “You blew a head gasket.” The smoke was the symptom. It was alarming and annoying, but no amount of attention to the symptom was going to fix the problem. 

These two articles identified lots of smoke.

Some of the smoke comes from white Christian privilege. Most of us over 50 grew up in the middle of Christian privilege and didn’t know it. It was simply the way things were. We sat through prayers read over the loudspeaker just before morning announcements at school. We prayed before football games thinking it might keep players from injury. We admired manger scenes on courthouse lawns. It took court rulings to remind us that we are a representative democracy, not a Christian theocracy.

There was a lot of other smoke in the form of blaming others for being immoral and uncivil. Some of their examples are indeed symptomatic of significant social problems, but social problems don’t arise because people simply decide to be immoral or uncivil. Such problems typically arise when people feel powerless.

Many of us who grew up with white male privilege have decided along the way that our personal rights and privileges are more important than the common good. Too often we ask, “How will this affect me?” without much consideration for how it will affect those more vulnerable. Over time, the system has been structured to favor us, not others. 

Gradually, that’s changing. There are still setbacks because old white guys don’t yield their power easily. We’re not comfortable with being uncomfortable. We’re not accustomed to being confronted by people  not like us. You know, women, people of color, LGBT folks, people of other religions, people from outside our borders. We are especially not comfortable with their anger.

When I hear the anger, it’s easy for me to get defensive. I might even blame those making all the noise for not being adequately grateful for living in this great country. I have to remember, however, that many of them do not live in the same great country I do. They live within the same borders, but not with the same privileges, opportunities, or access. They live with a set of worries and threats and unwritten laws that are foreign to me. 

I need to be willing to listen to the anger, to make the effort to see the world from their perspective and to give up the illusion that I deserve a place at the table more than they do.

If I can’t do those things, I become part of the problem.

John Powell lives in Abilene.

This article originally appeared on Abilene Reporter-News: On complaints from old white guys

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Autocrats, dictators, people in power all seem to tell us that what they are doing to us is for our own good and somehow many of us believe it. If we are paying attention, we can see what the GOP is doing and saying the same thing while enacting repressive laws on voting, reproduction and installing “their choice of judges” while stopping passage of infrastructure legislation. Is this for our own good? The current GOP is almost a mirror image of the1850’s political group then called southern Democrats or Dixiecrats. The times have changed but the issues and activities are the same. The basis of the party is to control government and make laws that benefit big business and thereby benefit themselves. These activities do not and have not benefitted the voters (all voters pro and con), too many voters fail to understand that following someone who promotes falsehoods disguised as facts amounts to abdicating your rights as a citizen. A casual glance around the world should show how people in power will lie to your face while continuing their nefarious deeds “on your behalf”. A shining example is the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, this was done “in the best interests of Ukraine” no matter how many Ukrainians died and how devastated the landscape become. This is what is quietly done when the party of the “right” is in power with no checks from the left and center. It is unfortunate that the United States has entered a stage where “Civil War” is possible especially since the effects of the last one is still with us.

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Facts wherever I find them

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  • 09-28-18

Impeachment is rare but possible.

BY MELISSA LOCKER1 MINUTE READ

If you were watching the confirmation hearings of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and, for no particular reason, were wondering if it was possible to remove a Supreme Court justice after he was confirmed to his lifetime appointment, the answer is yes. The framers of the U.S. Constitution included a process to do just that. That said, it has never really been done successfully. Yet.

Section 1 of Article 3 of the Constitution says:

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

This means that the justices hold office as long as they choose and can only be removed from office by impeachment. The only Justice to be impeached was back in 1805, when Associate Justice Samuel Chase–who was appointed by President George Washington–was accused of allowing his political views to interfere with his decisions and “tending to prostitute” the court and his position. (You can read the riveting account on the U.S. Senate’s website.) The House of Representatives passed Articles of Impeachment against him, but he was acquitted by the Senate.



However, the threat of impeachment proceedings has led to the resignation of a justice: In 1969, Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas resigned before he could be impeached for taking $20,000 a year for life from the family of a Wall Street titan in jail for SEC violations.

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US edition US politics

Robert Reich

Throughout history, the central struggle of civilization has been against brutality by the powerful. Civil society doesn’t let might make right

‘Putin must be stopped. Trump must be held accountable. Rightwing politicians who encourage white Christian nationalism must be condemned and voted out of office.’

‘Putin must be stopped. Trump must be held accountable. Rightwing politicians who encourage white Christian nationalism must be condemned and voted out of office.’

Mon 9 May 2022 06.21 EDT

I keep running into people who feel overwhelmed by so many seemingly unrelated but terrifying things occurring all at once. “How can all this be happening?” they ask.

But these things are connected. They are reinforcing each other. As such, they pose a clear challenge to a decent society.

Putin invades Ukraine. Trump refuses to concede and promotes his big lie. Rightwing politicians in America and Europe inflame white Christian nationalism. Television pundits spur bigotry toward immigrants. Politicians target LGBTQ+ youth.

Powerful men sexually harass and abuse women. Abortion bans harm women unable to obtain safe abortions. Police kill innocent Black people with impunity.

CEOs rake in record profits and compensation but give workers meager wages and fire them for unionizing. The richest men in the world own the most influential media platforms. Billionaires make large campaign donations (read: legal bribes) so lawmakers won’t raise their taxes.

What connects these? All are abuses of power. All are occurring at a time when power and wealth are concentrated in few hands.

It is important to see the overall pattern because each of these sorts of abuses encourages other abuses. Stopping them – standing up against all forms of bullying and brutality – is essential to preserving a civil society.

Throughout history, the central struggle of civilization has been against brutality by the powerful. The state of nature is a continuous war in which only the fittest survive – where lives are “nasty, brutish, and short,” in the words of the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes.

Without norms, rules, and laws preventing the stronger from attacking or oppressing the weaker, none of us is safe. We all live in fear. Even the most powerful live in fear of being attacked or deposed.

Civilization is the opposite of a state of nature. A civil society doesn’t allow the strong to brutalize the weak. The responsibility of all who seek a decent society is to move as far from a state of nature as possible.

Certain inequalities of power are expected, even in a civil society. Some people are bigger and stronger than others. Some are quicker of mind and body. Some have more forceful personalities. Some have fewer scruples.

Some inequalities of income and wealth may be necessary to encourage hard work and inventiveness, from which everyone benefits.

But when inequalities become too wide, they invite abuses. Such abuses invite further abuses until society degenerates into a Hobbesian survival of the most powerful. An entire society – even the world – can descend into chaos.

Every time the stronger bully the weaker, the social fabric is tested. If bullying is not contained, the fabric unwinds.

Some posit a moral equivalence between those who seek social justice and those who want to protect individual liberty, between “left” and “right.”

But there is no moral equivalence between bullies and the bullied, between tyranny and democracy, between brutality and decency – no “balance” between social justice and individual liberty.

No individual can be free in a society devoid of justice. There can be no liberty where brutality reigns.

The struggle for social justice is the most basic struggle of all because it defines how far a civilization has come from a Hobbesian survival of the most powerful.

A civil society stops brutality, holds the powerful accountable, and protects the vulnerable.

Putin must be stopped. Trump must be held accountable. Rightwing politicians who encourage white Christian nationalism must be condemned and voted out of office. Celebrity pundits who fuel racism and xenophobia must be denounced and defunded.

Powerful men who sexually harass or abuse women must be prosecuted. Women must have safe means of ending pregnancies they don’t want. Police who kill innocent Black people must be brought to justice.

CEOs who treat their employees badly must be exposed and penalized. Billionaires who bribe lawmakers to cut their taxes or exempt them from regulations must be sanctioned, as should lawmakers who accept such bribes.

This is what civilization demands. This is what the struggle is all about. This is why that struggle is so critical.

Robert Reich, a former US secretary of labor, is professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley and the author of Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few and The Common Good. His new book, The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It, is out now. He is a Guardian US columnist. His newsletter is at robertreich.substack.com

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May 7, 2022

Heather Cox Richardson

May 8
I told this story here two years ago, but I want to repeat it tonight, as the reality of women’s lives is being erased in favor of an image of women as mothers….

If you google the history of Mother’s Day, the internet will tell you that Mother’s Day began in 1908 when Anna Jarvis decided to honor her mother. But “Mothers’ Day”—with the apostrophe not in the singular spot, but in the plural—actually started in the 1870s, when the sheer enormity of the death caused by the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War convinced American women that women must take control of politics from the men who had permitted such carnage. Mothers’ Day was not designed to encourage people to be nice to their mothers. It was part of women’s effort to gain power to change modern society.

The Civil War years taught naïve Americans what mass death meant in the modern era. Soldiers who had marched off to war with fantasies of heroism discovered that long-range weapons turned death into tortured anonymity. Men were trampled into blood-soaked mud, piled like cordwood in ditches, or transformed into emaciated corpses after dysentery drained their lives away.

The women who had watched their men march off to war were haunted by its results. They lost fathers, husbands, sons. The men who did come home were scarred in body and mind.

Modern war, it seemed, was not a game.

But out of the war also came a new sense of empowerment. Women had bought bonds, paid taxes, raised money for the war effort, managed farms, harvested fields, worked in war industries, reared children, and nursed soldiers. When the war ended, they had every intention of continuing to participate in national affairs. But the Fourteenth Amendment, which established that African American men were citizens, did not mention women. In 1869, women organized the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association to promote women’s right to have a say in American government.

From her home in Boston, Julia Ward Howe was a key figure in the American Woman Suffrage Association. She was an enormously talented writer, who had penned The Battle Hymn of the Republic in the early years of the Civil War, a hymn whose lyrics made it a point to note that Christ was “born of woman.”

Howe was drawn to women’s rights because the laws of her time meant that her children belonged to her abusive husband. If she broke free of him, she would lose any right to see her children, a fact he threw at her whenever she threatened to leave him. She was not at first a radical in the mold of reformer Elizabeth Cady Stanton, believing that women had a human right to equality with men. Rather, she believed strongly that women, as mothers, had a special role to perform in the world.

For Howe, the Civil War had been traumatic, but that it led to emancipation might justify its terrible bloodshed. The outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 was another story. She remembered:

“I was visited by a sudden feeling of the cruel and unnecessary character of the contest. It seemed to me a return to barbarism, the issue having been one which might easily have been settled without bloodshed. The question forced itself upon me, “Why do not the mothers of mankind interfere in these matters, to prevent the waste of that human life of which they alone know and bear the cost?”

Howe had a new vision, she said, of “the august dignity of motherhood and its terrible responsibilities.” She sat down immediately and wrote an “Appeal to Womanhood Throughout the World.” Men always had and always would decide questions by resorting to “mutual murder.” But women did not have to accept this state of affairs, she wrote. Mothers could command their sons to stop the madness.

“Arise, women!” Howe commanded. “Say firmly: ‘We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country, to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.’”

Howe had her document translated into French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Swedish and distributed it as widely as her extensive contacts made possible. She believed that her Women’s Peace Movement would be the next great development in human history, ending war just as the antislavery movement had ended human bondage. She called for a “festival which should be observed as mothers’ day, and which should be devoted to the advocacy of peace doctrines” to be held around the world on June 2 of every year, a date that would permit open-air meetings.

Howe organized international peace conferences, and American states developed their own Mothers’ Day festivals. But Howe quickly gave up on her project. She realized that there was much to be done before women could come together on such a momentous scale. She turned her attention to women’s clubs “to constitute a working and united womanhood.”

As she worked to unite women, she threw herself into the struggle for women’s suffrage, understanding that in order to create a more just and peaceful society, women must take up their rightful place as equal participants in American politics.

Perhaps Anna Jarvis remembered seeing her mother participate in an original American Mothers’ Day when she decided to honor her own mother in the early twentieth century. And while we celebrate modern Mother’s Day, in this momentous year of 2022 it’s worth remembering the original Mothers’ Day and Julia Ward Howe’s conviction that women must make their voices heard.
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