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June 27, 2018

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Also, I wonder who Marcy Wheeler is talking about here.

The link is worth reading.

I consider Wheeler to be trustworthy. She definitely has a stance, but to my eye she is also scrupulous. She does her homework.

Perhaps something that deserves a thread of its own, but I'll put it out for discussion here:

What happens if:

(a) It's demonstrated that people in Trump's campaign, or his family, or Trump himself, solicited assistance in the 2016 campaign from the Russian government or Russian nationals associated with the Russian government and/or Putin himself.

(b) It's demonstrated that some kind of deals were cut relative to Syria, or the Ukraine, or NATO, or any other foreign policy issue.

(c) Nobody in a position to do anything about it - censure, impeachment, criminal charges - does anything about it.

Flynn, Cohen, Manafort, Papadopoulos, are all going to pay some kind of price. But not necessarily for co-operation with foreign nationals to interfere with the election.

So, I'm leaving them out. They are, regarding the campaign per se, more or less collateral damage.

What if the primary purpose of the investigation - not collusion, that namby-pamby word, but soliciting and receiving illegal assistance in the form of interference with the campaign - is demonstrated?

And nobody does a f'ing thing about it?

Not an idle question. Personally, I don't see a (R) House - at least this (R) House - impeaching the POTUS, nor do I see this (R) Senate voting in favor of it.

What happens then?

What happens then?

"The Left" gets super angry, which delights Trump supporters on "The Right." Where's cleek?

wj: Also, both groups discover that their female members are nowhere near as enthusiastic on the subject as they have been assuming

I keep seeing this assertion, with no evidence. Got a link to any poll results?

Once again I predict that the day Mueller issues his report, Putin will initiate some pre-arranged international crisis for the benefit of his American stooge. You heard it here first.

--TP

What if the primary purpose of the investigation - not collusion, that namby-pamby word, but soliciting and receiving illegal assistance in the form of interference with the campaign - is demonstrated?

And nobody does a f'ing thing about it?

I think this is exactly what is currently unfolding, unfortunately. Much of the Republican party is complicit, IMO, as well as various other people, who have probably been on the Putin payroll. I honestly think that election help is being sought right now by those red state lawmakers visiting Russia. They know that the fix is in for them, which is why they are unabashedly performing their part of the bargain.

They're all traitors, and they've sold the country. And it's unlikely that we'll get it back since the states with Republican governors are unlikely to protect the vote.

Yes, I'll still work on GOTV and electing Democrats wherever I can. And I continue to hope for a miracle. But my guess is the Supreme Court appointees will have much less to do with Roe, and much more to do with protecting Trump from any criminal or civil liability.

What happens then?

Republicans lose the Presidency in 2020. (Whether they nominate Trump for a second term or not.) Every Republican candidate for Congress is forced to take a position on the subject. A lot try to avoid, but mostly don't succeed -- and lose if they don't denounce the Trump campaign for doing so.

There will be the entirely predictable cries of "fake news" and resorts to "alternate facts." And the dedicated Trumpistas will believe them. But a substantial majority of the country will be recoiling in horror. (This assumes, which every evidence so far suggests will happen, that Mueller does a solid job of proving his case.)

I keep seeing this assertion, with no evidence. Got a link to any poll results?

Sadly, no. Just gut feel.

Where's cleek?

Living it up on the west side (of Cleveland)!

You’re absolutely right: nothing will happen. And the serious Republicans will just shrug and say “the GOP is reflecting the will of the people who elected them. Nothing can be done. “ while the other 90%. Of the party churros out rationalizations and denials.

This was always going to be the case. They elected a crook. They live and support the crook. They do not care that he’s a crook. And they won’t care if more evidence of his crookedness comes out. It’s a cult.

Crap. HTML on a iPhone is hard.

What happens if:

(a) It's demonstrated that people in Trump's campaign, or his family, or Trump himself, solicited assistance in the 2016 campaign from the Russian government or Russian nationals associated with the Russian government and/or Putin himself....

I’m beginning to think it more likely that the investigation will get shut down before that can happen.

Any poll results...
Some.
https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/03/abortion-supreme-court-justice-691338

Churros out?

Well, Churns out

I hate typing on phones.

"wj: Also, both groups discover that their female members are nowhere near as enthusiastic on the subject as they have been assuming
I keep seeing this assertion, with no evidence. Got a link to any poll results?"

I agree. There are a couple of things about Roe v. Wade. First, a bunch of people don't know what it is. They say they support it AND they say that they want restrictions that aren't allowed under it. Second, the assumption that women and men feel differently about it is basically not true. There is a slight gender gap in abortion with men being slightly MORE pro-choice than women. Abortion is such a political bomb because the Supreme Court locked-in a set of policies that are *much* more pro-choice than the US population which has led the discussion to be dominated by the radical pro-choicers who want to maintain the 'constitutional' status quo, and pro-lifers who also couldn't command anything like a majority on radical first trimester bans on abortion.


Polling here

See especially questions like "Thinking more generally, do you think abortion should generally be legal or generally illegal during each of the following stages of pregnancy." You'll see that only about 20% of the population agrees with the extreme pro-choice position of abortions being generally legal in the third trimester. You'll see that only about 30% of the general population agrees with the extreme pro-life position of making it generally illegal in the first trimester. However 65-70% of the population thinks that it should be generally illegal in the second trimester--something which Roe does not allow. The policy space desired by a very large majority has been made 'unconstitutional'. So I don't think it is clear at all that opening up that policy space automatically creates a huge backlash.


Embracing the radical pro-life position as a constitutional standard would probably create a backlash just as embracing the radical pro-choice created a backlash. But there are lots of things that NARAL would call 'destroying Roe' that probably would not cause a backlash because it would allow legislation that enormous majorities agree with.

if Roe is overturned, economic and political conservatives lose the connection to social and religious conservatives

I would disagree somewhat. The one big thing 'connecting' these two groups is race. Roe came later.

Also, both groups discover that their female members are nowhere near as enthusiastic on the subject as they have been assuming.

From what I observe, the anti-choice movement is absolutely chock full of women...so no.

it becomes an electoral disaster for them in several ways.

Again, no. The battle would then move to the states and continue to rage. Deep blue or deep red states are not going to change their political orientation over this one issue. Whether this would be decisive in toss-up states is....um, indeterminate. I would argue demographics and the GOP's marked proclivity to drive the economy into a ditch are more important.

There are a couple of things about Roe v. Wade. First, a bunch of people don't know what it is. They say they support it AND they say that they want restrictions that aren't allowed under it.

Quite true. And contrawise. In fact, I was about to draft up a comment suggesting that we quit talking about Roe per se, and talk about abortion/choice.

Consider, that rabid conservative Justice Ginsberg has said
https://www.law.uchicago.edu/news/justice-ruth-bader-ginsburg-offers-critique-roe-v-wade-during-law-school-visit
that

Roe was a faulty decision. . . . the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that affirmed a woman’s right to an abortion was too far-reaching and too sweeping
If someone who you thought was a conservative expressed that point of view, how adamant would you be that he should be rejected? Think about it.

Further from Justice Ginsberg, “My criticism of Roe is [also] that it seemed to have stopped the momentum on the side of change”. Which, for anyone here too young to remember, was already happening. See, for example, this from the Southern Baptist Convention in 1971:

we call upon Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother [emphasis added]
Times have changed of course. But that's where the philosophical discussion had got to pre Roe.

I have to say, I'm with her on both counts. I think abortion should be legal. (I incline to say, up to the point that the fetus can survive outside the womb without massive medical intervention.) But I think that the legal "reasoning" in Roe is garbage. And we would be better off today if the case had simply been declined as "not a Federal issue."

So, let's stop focusing on Roe v Wade and focus in what we actually care about.

Sebastian,

Did Roe v Wade establish ONLY a woman's right to abort a pregnancy? Or did the Court's opinion ALSO protect other, more general rights for individuals' bodily integrity?

"Abortion" is not explicitly mentioned in the original text of the Constitution. Neither is "contraception" or "sex change" or "organ donation" or "assisted suicide". When the SCOTUS rules on cases in which individual US citizens challenge the power of their state government (or of the feds) to restrict any of those things, what constitutional principles are involved? And are they the same principles across the various cases?

--TP

Seb H, I agree in general that a balanced legal solution would be better in theory.
But from a German perspective and looking at the situation in the US, I doubt that it would be possible to enforce it. We had for a long time a system of abortion being illegal but with specific exceptions. Our supreme court ruled a trimester based system as unconstitutional after parliament tried to introduce it. But the court had to revisit its decision because the law as it existed got applied very differently in different parts of Germany (FRG, the GDR had a trimester based system). In the South abortion was in essence illegal without exceptions while in the North it was in essence legal with few exceptions, and there was 'abortion tourism' to the Netherlands. The supreme court was finally angered enough about the Southern defiance that it finally agreed to a de facto trimester system (while in theory it is still illegal with exceptions but the state is banned from prosecution, if the woman takes a counselling interview* 24 hours before the abortion).
Since in the US it is clear that several state governments will under no circumstances play fair if given the slightest legal leeway, I fear the 'no restrictions' position (which I do not share personally) is the only viable option and the federal government should actually go into the abortion business itself in places where the local government ignores/defies the (federal) law (precedent: refusual to end segregation).
(fat chance of that, I know).
Btw, I agree that Roe is legally questionable. More or less correct conclusion but faulty reasoning. Unfortunately, I see no chance of it getting replaced by something with a firmer base. If Roe goes, it will be nixing not fixing.


*which has to be neutral, the woman cannot be denied a certificate, and locations to take the interview have to be provided everywhere, i.e. no 'crisis pregnancy centers' or need to travel hundreds of miles or similar shenanigans.

I’m almost amused but the ‘faulty reasoning’ consensus, given just how many landmark SC decisions seem to be based on contradictory principles, or twisting precedent into pretzels.

There something to be said for the ‘the law is what the judges say it is’ analysis...

"Btw, I agree that Roe is legally questionable. More or less correct conclusion but faulty reasoning. Unfortunately, I see no chance of it getting replaced by something with a firmer base. If Roe goes, it will be nixing not fixing."

This highlights exactly the problem with dealing with it as a Constitutional issue combined with setting the court mandated policy solution to a radically pro-choice point. In a legislative solution we would dial it down to something in tune with the 65-70% of people who think that it should be mostly outlawed at some point in the second trimester rather than the third. By setting it through the Supreme Court at a point where just under 2/3rds of the population disagrees, but can't fix it, we've set up a horrible dynamic where everyone has to treat the Supreme Court as the most important thing around, rather than Congress. So finally, after working 40 years on it, they are close.


Meanwhile, even the huge percentage of Democrats who wouldn't mind earlier restrictions, can't do so legislatively, so what are they going to do? Vote for conservative judges? Probably not, so the issue remains frozen in 1973.


Which leads to one of my recurring themes on hyper-polarization. When one radical side has the support of just under 30% of the population, and the other radical side has the support of around 20% of the population, both sides are wrong when they invoke the slippery slope to the other side. If the law is where 65% of people agree with it, neither radical side is likely to get much traction. The problem is when one radical side cements their agenda through the courts because they are basically inviting the people in the middle to ally with the other radical side. In that case, the other radical side gets a lot of involvement if the Court ruling is ever reversed. But that wouldn't happen if you could move things to the center slowly. That wouldn't cause a slippery slope, because most people strongly disagree with both sets of radicals.


The problem is that we have set up a system where once the courts get involved you can't move things to the center. It makes for starkly binary outcomes that most people just don't want. And then people get very tribalistic about protecting 'their' judges.

LOL Nigel....you have a point. And thus we have the "garbage" (to quote widely known legal scholar above) that is Roe and the high, highly correct, and deeply principled in the most originalist Constitutional sense that is Bush v. Gore.

And even talking about it is a huge mess, because both sets of radicals claim that center agrees with them.

Radical pro-lifers think that abortion should be outlawed either completely or very early in the first trimester.

Radical pro-choicers think that abortion should be allowed completely at the mother's discretion throughout the entire pregnancy, or only outlawed in the third trimester or later.

About 65% of people think it should be mostly outlawed at some point in the second trimester.

Those are the facts.

But when we discuss it, the pro-life radicals say things like "a huge majority of people are pro-life" because they think that abortions should be mostly disallowed much earlier than radical pro-choice advocates think.

Pro-choice radicals say things like "a huge majority of people are for abortion rights" because about 2/3rds of the public doesn't want to restrict 1st trimester abortions.


But in neither case can these statements be translated into "a majority of people support our radical cause". They don't. And pretending that they do ends up obscuring why abortion has remained such a nasty pivot point in US politics.

contra wj, ROE WAS DECIDED CORRECTLY.

Read it and weep. :)

Why weep? Justice Ginsberg (and I) wasn't arguing that there was no basis for overturning anti-abortion laws. Rather, that the reasoning was faulty. On that, I'd definitely be inclined to take Ginsberg over Lemieux. YMMV

I agree that Roe was decided correctly. I have made that argument here before, and I'm not sure why we discuss this case time and time again, especially with people saying it is "garbage" without explaining why, and people complaining about its political implications (about whether it moved things along too fast or whatever) without discussing the merits of the rights that were discussed in the opinion.

And, yes, although I admire RBG, I disagree with her that the case was decided on the wrong grounds (although, sure, it could have been decided on equal protection too).

In any case it is a masterful opinion which discusses the history of the common law, religious tenets and medical opinion. It is an extremely compassionate and sensible approach to the issue, and it reflects a very mainstream view.

Also, as we've probably discussed before, if people aren't willing to donate a kidney, or a chunk of their liver, or their bone marrow, and they claim to be "pro-life", they can go stfu.

I don't usually wade into this, but I found Hartmut's comment quite astute. The difference I see between the two groups is that the 'pro-choice radicals' occupy a philosophical position and it is difficult to find a woman who might choose to go thru an entire pregnancy just to terminate a few days before the due date. On the other hand, the other side is more than happy to take it beyond a philosophical question to a question of actual practices. This then easily overlaps with racist and classist motivations (the daughter in the Hamptons who 'has an accident' is going to be treated differently than a counterpart daughter of color) wj's notion that things would work themselves out if Roe were repealed is probably true, but the human cost involved would be staggering.

The difference I see between the two groups is that the 'pro-choice radicals' occupy a philosophical position and it is difficult to find a woman who might choose to go thru an entire pregnancy just to terminate a few days before the due date.

What does the "pro-choice radicals'" position have to do with Roe? Roe holds that states can regulate or even ban abortion in the third trimester unless the life or health of the woman would be compromised by continuing the pregnancy.

Y'all, Roe is a mainstream view of abortion. It allows abortion on demand ONLY during the first trimester. Okay?

It was in quotations because I wanted to emphasize it wasn't my term, it was Sebastian's. And my comment wasn't addressing Roe, except to point out that I thought Hartmut's example of Germany and why it had to be kicked up to the federal level was insightful.

Thanks, lj.

This isn't directed at you, but instead at the comments in the thread generally. We're talking about the Supreme Court possibly overturning Roe, right? Which means that when we bring up Roe, and what a "garbage" decision it might be, or why we disagree with it, or what's wrong with it, it might be nice to actually read it. Or talk about the rights that it discusses.

Most people feel that they have a certain right to privacy in what goes on with their own body. For example, most people would object if the government forced them to donate bone marrow, even if it would save the life of another person. Roe limits that bodily autonomy for pregnant women in a way that gives a growing fetus some power to demand that a woman give up her choices. I'm okay with that, so maybe that makes me a pro-choice moderate. Roe is a great decision for people like me, a pro-choice moderate.

as far as i can tell, folks are more than happy to embrace policy made via the courts when it favors their preferences.

roe addresses issues that are broader in scope than abortion per se.

the nature of republican governance is that what the majority want is not the only factor to be considered when making law and policy.

given that the scotus took up the issue at all, roe seems pretty close to solomonic. imvho.

if roe goes, women's access to legal abortion will likely be limited relative to what it is now. good thing, bad thing, depends on factors far beyond what the law can sort out. if you demand that the law figure it out - in either direction - you're gonna end up with an answer that will not satisfy everyone completely. hardly anyone, more like.

law is about drawing lines. that is its value, and its limitation.

that's everything i got on roe.

Sometimes, my mind boggles. It seems there is some growing objection to Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh from the right. Apparently he has on unacceptably open mind on health care. Plus he's too close to the Bushes.

Worse, he has written that Supreme Court precedent “strongly suggests that the Government has a compelling interest in facilitating access to contraception”. Oh, the horror! Why if they had contraception, they could have sex without the ban on abortion forcing them to have a child. Which was the whole motivation behind banning abortions for many.

Sapient, rather than Roe, what do you think about Planned Parenthood v Casey? Which I personally find far more persuasive.

“Y'all, Roe is a mainstream view of abortion. It allows abortion on demand ONLY during the first trimester. Okay?”

That isn’t correct. Roe allows abortion on demand all the way through the end of the sixth month. The court doesn’t allow abortion regulations to protect “potentiality of human life” until then. It strikes that line at least two months later than a vast majority of the population thinks is right.

The amount of people who think that the 7th month or later is the right place to draw that line represents only about 20% of the population.

Literacy is a privilege too, it seems. Any guesses what SCOTUS would have to say on the matter now or with a Kennedy replacement?

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/395231-michigan-judge-rules-kids-dont-have-a-fundamental-right-to

Caveat: The judge makes a distinction between right and fundamental right and states that education is important. It's not one of those fundamentalists that are against the very idea. But as with many things these days in the US of A it looks right on the path to 'you have the right to X but no right to access the legal system to get it' (cf. voting rights or wage theft or access to abortion under local 'pro-life' governments).

It strikes that line at least two months later than a vast majority of the population thinks is right.

I assume that the vast majority of the population, then, won't be having an abortion at that stage.

Sebastian, would you favor a law requiring people to donate kidneys or bone marrow in order to save the lives of unquestionably viable people? If not, why not? Aren't you pro-life? Or is just women who should be forced to devote their bodies to save other [potential] people?

wj, if Casey's amended standard would have made forced birthers leave women alone, it would have been fine. But it did nothing of the sort. It just gave people room to deny women access to medical care.

I would suggest that instead of obsessing about women's failure to save fetal lives, people start doing their own work saving people by donating their body parts. There's a growing need. Maybe some people here have already done so. If that's the case, you deserve a lot of respect for your freely-made sacrifice. But I would still ask, would you force people to do it? Why not?

Another very good argument for term limits...
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/07/power-causes-brain-damage/528711/

Am in complete sympathy with you, sapient.

FWIW, Andrew Sullivan, back in the days when his blog was interesting, ran a long debate with readers and came to similar conclusions.

In Germany there is a discussion about an opt-out model for organ donation (after death), i.e. if you do not specify that you want to keep the stuff even while dead, you would automatically consent to donation (whether relatives could object is part of the discussion). Iirc the courts have not weighed in (since it is not yet law and might never become).

I would suggest that instead of obsessing about women's failure to save fetal lives, people start doing their own work saving people by donating their body parts.

I'd agree. And I'd add that anyone who claims to abhor abortions, but opposes making contraceptives universally available (and free), even to teenagers and without parental involvement, is a total hypocrite. And probably is caring about something other than the supposed life being lost. So they should STFU.

About this "on demand" business: what fraction of the population equates "on demand" with "on a whim"?

You can get chemotherapy "on demand" in the sense that you don't have to get permission from The State. (Your insurance company may be a different story.) That has not led to a rash of people getting chemo "on a whim" as far as I know. And I seriously doubt that 3rd-trimester abortions happen "on a whim", either.

That cuts two ways, of course. If women seek late-term abortions not "on a whim" but for good reason, then:
1) The Right can argue it's no great imposition when The State demands to know the reason before granting permission;
2) The Left can argue that going from "on demand" to "by State permission" is a needlessly authoritarian attempt to solve a non-problem.

Naturally, "for good reason" means different things to different people, and it's hard to poll that question. It's much easier to pretend that "on demand" means "on a whim", and poll on that.

--TP

I’ll play CharlesWT by providing this link:

https://reason.com/blog/2016/10/21/late-term-abortions-in-america-2016

I'm waiting for Trump to tweet that some women are so pro-abortion that they get pregnant deliberately, just so they can have an abortion. Which is ridiculous, but that's never stopped him before.

wj, that claim has been made for ages by Kristian(TM) fundamentalists. Don't forget that liberals are Satan worshippers. Unbaptized kids (in particular those dying unborn) go straight to hell, so liberal women pay their satanic membership fees by conceiving babies and aborting them. Of cause Satan would prefer that they strangle them personally after birth (or hand them to the midwives for that purpose*) but a) that would be personal inconvenience (something liberals hate) and b) in the time to produce a single life birth one can conceive and abort multiple unborn.

*cf. Malleus Maleficarum for details

Sigh. Every time I think I've invented a "Nobody could be this daft" idea, I discover that someone is and did. Serious, and recurring, failure of imagination on my part.

I just discovered that there are billboards in Cleveland that say “abortion is systemic racism “

Rational people these are not

Tony P, I'm talking about second trimester abortions, so your comparison to chemotherapy isn't on point. (Though the fact that at least a hundred women got fully viable fetuses aborted from a criminal in Pennsylvania suggests that non-medically necessary abortions may be much more common than is assumed). But as for second trimester abortions, this is from a very pro-choice view point medical study: "This characterization, however, is not informed by empirical data on women seeking later abortions. The body of research on women who have dealt with fetal anomalies or life endangerment during pregnancy describes their stories as narratives of pregnancy wantedness and tragic circumstances. We do not know how accurately these narratives characterize the circumstances of women who seek later abortions for reasons other than fetal anomaly or life endangerment. But data suggest that most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment"


Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2013, 45(4):210–218, doi: 10.1363/4521013


They suggest that one of the statistically significant factors is that some of the women had trouble getting an earlier abortion, though even in that the effect size isn't nearly as large as you probably assume. There really do seem to be quite a few women who get medically elective abortions even well into the second trimester (and the third).

Via our pals at BJ, we have this pair of items.

This makes me weirdly happy. Very much so.

Enjoy the 4th everyone. Don't blow anything up that isn't supposed to blow up, make sure your pets and PTSD-afflicted neighbors have a safe cool and dark place to chill out until the explosions are over.

Have a hot dog or two, a big old slice of watermelon, and keep on keeping on.

Not sure why you haven't addressed the body part donation issue, Sebastian. I guess that when non-pregnant people are confronted with the concept of being forced to save someone else's life, even a fully formed person, in a way that poses discomfort or risks to their own health, they mostly think it's ridiculous.

It's not ridiculous.

I would suggest folks assessing Sebastian's post at 4:16 above read the entire study, because he has cherry picked one statement and taken it out of context. True, the study found that women obtaining abortions after 20 weeks have delayed their decision for reasons that are not necessarily due to fetal abnormalities or health of the woman. The major reasons are found to be: (1.) Not recognizing the pregnancy-yes, this happens!; (2.) Difficulty making the decision-don't see how you could complain about that! (3.) Disagreement with partner-it's complex! (4) Finding a facility-ergo, by limiting access, we can blame conservatives for a significant number of 'late term' abortions, right? (5-6.) Cost and/or lack of insurance-well, obviously if we did not have poor people, or uninsured people, we would have fewer late term abortions! QED!

Weirdly, the study had this caveat at the end:

"Our study has several important limitations. Our data are limited by the exclusion of women who sought later abortions on grounds of fetal anomaly or life endangerment."

But there is no data presented about what portion of these "late term" procedures are undertaken for those reasons.

Remember folks, when it comes to 3rd trimester abortions (NOT 20 weeks), we are discussing about 1% of the procedures.

And it should also be noted that Sebastian, sooner or later, just about always brings up the Gosnell case in ANY discussion about abortion. You will notice how he so easily generalized from that case above, because you "know" the Gosnell case says everything there is to say about late term abortions.

Time to set off some fireworks. Thanks.

Thanks, bobbyp. You're wonderful, calm, measured, and correct.

I was surprised to have enjoyed the fireworks this year, even though I'm feeling so dispirited. It's going to be hard going, but it's worth trying to bring our country to where it actually should stand: liberty and justice for all.

I’m not saying anything about Gosnell. I’m saying that the Gosnell investigation revealed that more than a hundred women had viable fetuses aborted by him. Unless you are claiming that he kidnapped them and gave the abortions against their consent, that shows that the idea that women only seek late term abortions because of medical necessity is false. Gosenell may show other things about the abortion situation in the US, but the only one I’m mentioning here is that it revealed that an astonishing number of women in a single city sought and received abortions of fully viable fetuses over the course of just a few years.

This set of proposals - whether you think them right or wrong - seem to me rather more coherent than simply court packing, which as the article points out is merely a call to escalation.
And some of these ideas have far more merit on their own terms, irrespective of partisan advantage.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/07/04/democrats-majority-rules-norms-trump-2020-218947
They should take advantage of legal and constitutional silences to “transform American politics in a lasting progressive direction,” Faris writes. “Doing so will require party leaders to pursue policy changes that will be ridiculed by their opponents as outrageous affronts to democratic decency and received by their own voters with puzzlement or even shock. They need to do it anyway.”

The list of those changes is dizzying. Grant statehood to D.C. and Puerto Rico, and break California in seven, with the goal of adding 16 new Democrats to the Senate. Expand the Supreme Court and the federal courts, packing them with liberal judges. Move to multi-member House districts to roll back the effects of partisan gerrymandering. Pass a new Voting Rights Act, including nationwide automatic voter registration, felon enfranchisement and an end to voter ID laws. Grant citizenship to millions of undocumented immigrants, creating a host of new Democratic-leaning voters: “Republicans have always feared that immigration would change the character of American society. Democrats should reward them with their very worst nightmare.”

…But even if Democrats quibble with the details, they should work to match his program’s coherence, of interlocking actions that are driven by realignment rather than resentment. If Democrats can’t fully commit to that course, then they should pursue something like the Normalcy program as a distant second best. The worst course of action would be an unfocused, impulsive, spasmodic program of norm-breaking, one that begins without a sense of where it is supposed to end. In that case, the logic of escalation will supply an ending.

I again hate to step in again, but.... I did not remember Sebastian speaking about Gosnell here and a google search shows that it was only one peripheral mention by him. Brett was the person who most often mentioned Gosnell. Now, I know that Sebastian actively participates on several other boards (hence my question about where court packing was a thing) and I don't go into the comments very often but here, he's not brought up Gosnell.

My own personal approach to what people say in other places is that I won't raise it because I feel one should give the person the opportunity start from a fresh slate and restate what they believe cause I think that people can be goaded into writing things that they may not support, but the back and forth leads them to that. While that may not always be the best philosophy, as recent events may suggest, I think that it is necessary to keep discussion on a level keel.

This is one reason why I am thankful that we apparently have so few people tweeting here, I really wouldn't like the comments to turn into references to things people tweeted.

I return you to your regularly scheduled program.

break California in seven, with the goal of adding 16 new Democrats to the Senate.

an interesting idea on its own merits, perhaps, but i'm not sure it would result in 16 new (D) senators.

an interesting idea on its own merits, perhaps, but i'm not sure it would result in 16 new (D) senators.

Breaking California into seven would result in 12 new senators - the other four (almost certainly Democrat) come from DC and Puerto Rico.

Of the twelve new post California senators, even if one allocated votes proportionally (which is likely being generous to Republican prospects), eight would be Democrat and four Republican - a net gain of at least four then, so total net minimum gain of eight.

If packing the Senate by breaking up CA then breaking up TX in retaliation.

These are all interesting ideas. That said, folks in CA may or may not want to be split into seven separate new states.

With all due respect to all of the ideas presented here, I think folks are making this much more complicated than it needs to be, or should be. Enough so that there's a very high likelihood of missing the mark entirely.

Trump's favorable ratings are basically at something like 40%. That's not so great. He lost the popular vote by a significant margin, and would probably do worse were he to run today.

The (R)'s have been able to dominate national politics at a level much greater than their actual level of support deserves. Because they've read their freaking Gramsci. They've done a really good job of working the existing institutions to their advantage.

Drawing district lines, appointing judges per a strict Federalist Society litmus test, suppressing the votes of people who tend to vote (D). And, when all else fails, plain old cheating.

The solution to (R) dominance at the national level is to WIN MORE ELECTIONS. Run a (D) in every freaking race available. Every country, every city, every state, every Congressional district, every Senate seat.

And they need to figure out what their freaking message is. It's not a complicated message, it goes like this:

(R)'s are coming after your jobs, your retirement, your health care, your schools, your libraries, every fucking thing you have or own. Your water, your air, the food you eat. They are coming for it. Their clients are billionaires, and their clients aren't happy with their billions, they want your measly hundreds and thousands as well.

Win elections. All of the other stuff is interesting, but if you don't win elections, it won't matter. It will make zero difference.

Win elections. When you win elections, you can re-instate voting rights laws. When you win elections, you get to re-draw congressional districts so they don't look like a ball of snakes. When you win elections, you get to appoint judges, and approve them, too.

Spend money, volunteer time, drive people to polls, canvass neighborhoods.

Win elections. There is no substitute.

...break California in seven...

In 2016, a proposal to split California in six couldn't get on the ballot. This year, a proposal to split California in three made the ballot, but is polling 72-17 against. Seems pretty clear that Californians don't see much benefit from dividing the state. I am generally opposed to asking individual states to "take one for the team." What do you offer California to make them see it as being in their best interest?

I pretty well agree with russell, 'win elections', but the prospectus laid out did make rather more sense than merely packing the SC - and some of the ideas (statehood for Puerto Rico; new VRA; the right to vote for released felons, for example) make sense on their own merits.

If packing the Senate by breaking up CA then breaking up TX in retaliation.

Would likely end up with no massive gain for the Republicans, as its quite a bit smaller, and the voting percentages are much closer than California.

What do you offer California to make them see it as being in their best interest

Other than a federal government not antithetical to the majority of voters, not so much.

The CA state splitting thing doesn't seem likely to pay off nearly as well as people in DC seem to think. California has all of the same issues of the city/rural Democratic/Republican divide that the nation as a whole has. Unless the map splits CITIES into different states, I'd be careful of assuming that much more than half of those states end up regularly Democratic. The reason it looks good on first glance is because LA and the SF area go massively for Democrats. The moment you get to medium sized cities like Sacramento and Fresno (whose combined population is bigger than DC btw) you are getting places where Republicans might be able to get senators. To meet it seems like a dangerous game.

"What do you offer California to make them see it as being in their best interest
Other than a federal government not antithetical to the majority of voters, not so much."

Is that worth it? Is maybe gaining a few more votes in the Senate worth breaking up one of the powerhouses of the Western world? Maybe, but the case isn't as obvious as you suggest. I would tend to think that breaking away from the US entirely would be better for California (still bad, but probably better) than breaking it into a bunch of tiny pieces.

This year, a proposal to split California in three made the ballot, but is polling 72-17 against. Seems pretty clear that Californians don't see much benefit from dividing the state.

Californians, even those who came here from elsewhere (which is most of us), tend to take an almost nationalistic view of our state. At least, that's the easiest analogy I can think of.

That is, we cheerfully squabble over the (nominal) conflict between Northern and Southern California, but don't really embrace splitting the state even so. Maybe, maybe, you could get a majority to sign on to a two-way split of the state. But dividing into more pieces would be a non-starter -- as the polls cited demonstrate.

If you split CA, you also split its electoral vote and no longer have 55 EVs automatically going (D).

If gaining more representation in the US Senate were important to Californians, splitting up might make sense to them. To the extent that the State of California is big enough and rich enough to resist the depredations of a federal government run by Mitch McConnell and the He, Trump crime family, sticking together is obviously a better option.

Anyway, Californians don't have quite the same historical tradition of revolution and independence (which we all supposedly celebrated yesterday) that us NE urban corridor types do:)

--TP

"What do you offer California to make them see it as being in their best interest?"

As Coloradans, we could the new Democratic californias more water.

To the new republican californias, we shut the water off completely.

That said, California is the 5th largest economy in the world, despite the conservative republican carnivorous animal kingdom believing since forever that it is run by commies, hippies, illegal hispanics, gays, Hollywood Jews, and wj.

"If Texas were a country our economy would rank # 10...in the WORLD."

Says vermin governor abbott. Kick THEIR asses out of the country and let their buddy Putin become their sugar daddy.

If Texas were a country, the real America would have to double its nuclear deterrent and triple ICE's immigration thugs to keep the fuckers from ruining the rest of the country.

Austin, and maybe Houston, can become sanctuary cities, supported via foreign aid from the other 49 states, where decent Texans can hide when Texas republicans start killing them.

It's time Mexico lines up nuclear launch sites along the border with Texas too.


Anyway, Californians don't have quite the same historical tradition of revolution and independence (which we all supposedly celebrated yesterday) that us NE urban corridor types do.)

Actually, we do have such a history. Indeed, the state flag still says "California Republic", which dates back to the days after we rebelled against Mexico -- before we joined the United States.

Right, I didn't even think about the fact that the Presidential electoral votes would end up split. That seems tactically dubious.

Way up in this luscious thread, Russell, I believe, and hairshirthedonist, talked about the mp supporters they know.

I'm acquainted with a few too, all nice people, unless the subject of politics is raised. Any conversation in that direction or about mp is a non-starter. Like cultists whose bodies have been snatched, their eyeballs roll back in their sockets and they begin declaiming their victimhood and mp's God-like qualities. The most radical right wingers can do no wrong in their fake news opinions.

WE are Evil incarnate, never to be permitted political power again and prevented by ALL means to do so.

I'm done with being advised to understand or humor them. I've never witnessed anything like it.

It's like talking to this guy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlyBNSD_RiY

But they are nice people. Nice in the way one's neighbors in Bosnia or the Hutu parts of Rwanda were nice, until they weren't. Perfectly nice human beings, Schubert aficionados, like the neighbors of German Jews were, as Walker Percy described many times, standing in their yards, a few of them spitting and taunting, as the boxcars full of the OTHER rolled by on the tracks heading for the ovens in Poland.

If Texas were a country

Let them go.

Then, we'll invade them and take their oil.

Hahahaha!

unless the subject of politics is raised

I don't raise it.

but the case isn't as obvious as you suggest...

I thought Id made it fairly clear that the case for that particular suggestion wasn't obvious at all ?

russell:

And they need to figure out what their freaking message is. It's not a complicated message, it goes like this:

(R)'s are coming after your jobs, your retirement, your health care, your schools, your libraries, every fucking thing you have or own. Your water, your air, the food you eat. They are coming for it. Their clients are billionaires, and their clients aren't happy with their billions, they want your measly hundreds and thousands as well.

Is there any use is making a positive message first? As in, "We (Ds) are working to preserve your retirement benefits, your health care, your air, the food you eat.....etc." And only secondly: "And the Rs want nothing more than to take all that away from you."

I'm just as clueless as everyone else; if I weren't, I would be running successful campaigns for all sorts of candidates. But ISTM that "Here is what we stand for" has got to have some content beyond "those other people are evil and they're coming after your shit."

Is there any use is making a positive message first?

Yes.

And that is why I should be kept far far away from any position of public responsibility.

:)

Tell would be immigrants that they can become citizens if they live in Puerto Rico for five years.

Pruitt resigns.

Count the silverware.

"those other people are evil and they're coming after your shit."

LOL. I must say it does seem to be effective when it comes to GOP voters. But point taken. We can do better.


That seems tactically dubious.-Sebastian H.

Sebastian and I agree on this. So there you are...oil, water, the internets, a miracle occurs.

I'd be more inclined, if there was ever the opportunity to do so, to incorporate some other ideas such as promoted in this book.

I am particularly fond of legislating a "path to citizenship" for all current "illegal" immigrants, and totally reform the current way we undertake these policies. To those who cry "amnesty" I would reply, "Kiss my ass. We asked them to come here."

bobbyp
incurable dreamer

Pruitt resigns.

Count the silverware.

More to the point, don't lose track of the fact that he was only the most visible. But probably not nearly the biggest crook in the administration.

"Kiss my ass. We asked them to come here."

This murderous government is going to begin revoking the citizenship of already naturalized American citizens.

As to Pruitt, they have plenty of murderers to succeed the thieving, lying Pruitt, who must be prosecuted and when found guilty, shot in the head for waste, fraud, abuse, and general mayhem.

One is already been chosen and the bench is deep.

Fetuses die from the effects of pollution and the lack of medical care provided to mothers, both weapons used by republicans to murder pre-born and and post-born children.

Besides, when abortion is banned, only the criminal republicans with money whose daughters and wives wish to abort will have abortions, or at least safe ones, as it was forever before Roe versus Wade.

Not only that, but if the birthrate among the poor rises because abortion had been banned, we'll once again start hearing from the usual racist suspects that all THOSE people do is clutter up the country and our schools with their hordes of kids.

I heard that said a million times by the republicans around me while I was growing up.

But probably not nearly the biggest crook in the administration.

It's my impression that the whole world has a pretty good idea who that is.

all THOSE people do is clutter up the country and our schools with their hordes of kids

As a UN official once said, "It's not so much that they breed like rabbits, it's that they've stopped dying like flies." So actually, with their attacks on the ACA, maybe the Rs (or at least the far right) are trying to get "them" to start dying like flies again....

It won't be a surprise if what "everybody knows" turns out, as so often, to be wrong. (Although not for lack of trying.)

Like maybe someone like Ross is really the biggest crook. And Trump turns out, once again, to be merely a wanna-be.

That depends if you measure the biggest crook by the actual amount of money stolen, or illicitly gained (as opposed to say the guy who sold his country out for a bunch of promises). Although, even by that measure, the money trail from Russia is likely to prove pretty immpressive. On the other hand, I've always subscribed to the theory that he was just pretending to be a billionaire, and talking up his wealth in a grifter-sting kind of way, so I'm also sympathetic to your point, wj. It's just that I think he may have hit pay dirt when he ran/became POTUS.

I'd agree that becoming President has probably been his biggest score. Especially if you count the take for his immediate family.

But while he hasn't been as penny ante as Pruitt, he's never been in the real big leagues. Always on the outside looking in, and resenting it.

And apparently totally unable to comprehend any measure of importance other than money. Otherwise he would be using the Presidency to become generally popular. Which, even after his first year in office, wouldn't have been impossible.

GftNC: I'm (in a friendly way) wondering what your current thinking of terminology like fascist and Nazi is. Maybe it's time to discuss what those terms mean, and what terms we should use, and what ammunition we should use to call these people out.

Thinking about this, for example.

https://www.nrdc.org/onearth/who-andrew-wheeler-and-why-you-should-be-afraid-him

But while he hasn't been as penny ante as Pruitt, he's never been in the real big leagues. Always on the outside looking in, and resenting it.

Which goes to explain his admiration for Putin, who by some accounts is a contender for the world’s richest man. And biggest crook.

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