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June 13, 2022

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Michael Cain - that sets up a confrontation between local law enforcement and corporate supported security, with that conflict spilling out into the local populace as they choose economic sides. It’s basically Medieval Norway or Iceland - a breeding ground for feud.

Whatever the case, it seems more prone to fragmentation and destabilization than to an orderly compact between policy- aligned states.

Or we are just worldbuilding different dystopias.

I had noticed that the media (at least the bits I frequent) persists in treating those Democrats who keep winning in Montana as anomalies, rather than a trend.

They do seem to have quit referring to AZ as "deep red". All it took was the AZ Democrats winning 5-of-9 US House seats, both US Senate seats, the Secretary of State, and narrowing the Republican majorities in the state legislature to a single seat each. And the voters approving initiatives over the years for a redistricting commission, increased minimum wage, guaranteed sick leave, and recreational marijuana.

I have a bet with an "East Coast pundit" type on the AZ outcomes. Chances are neither of us win -- each of us picked a proposition that (a) we thought possible and (b) the other would think outlandish. I'm betting on flipping to a blue trifecta (governor and both chambers). He's betting on the Dems get absolutely crushed (lose every statewide race and two of the US House seats they hold).

Or we are just worldbuilding different dystopias.

I don't think I'm worldbuilding a dystopia, though. I'm worldbuilding a new country with a population of 75-80M, the fifth or sixth largest economy in the world, living with a stable electric grid based on renewables and storage, and technology that provides most of a contemporary society. You're worldbuilding the pre-1890 West.

I'm worldbuilding a new country with a population of 75-80M, the fifth or sixth largest economy in the world,
...
You're worldbuilding the pre-1890 West.

And others are trying, desperately, to worldbuild the Confederacy. Although, as they are very clearly aware, time is not on their side.

I wrote this comment yesterday:

If it's left to the states to a much greater degree than now to decide what sorts of laws to have, I wonder if the result, short of splitting the nation in two (or whatever number), will be that people in certain states come to realize what little hells the Christianists and gun-fetishists and radical deregulators have created for them. What would complicate that even further than it would already be complicated is whether those people could do anything about it (other than leave for saner states, assuming that was an even an option).

Today I remembered hearing about this:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32748998/

Findings: Results show that changes in life expectancy during 1970-2014 were associated with changes in state policies on a conservative-liberal continuum, where more liberal policies expand economic regulations and protect marginalized groups. States that implemented more conservative policies were more likely to experience a reduction in life expectancy. We estimated that the shallow upward trend in US life expectancy from 2010 to 2014 would have been 25% steeper for women and 13% steeper for men had state policies not changed as they did. We also estimated that US life expectancy would be 2.8 years longer among women and 2.1 years longer among men if all states enjoyed the health advantages of states with more liberal policies.

I guess it's not enough for people to notice ... yet.

Almost before Biden finished speaking about suspending gas taxes, my state's governor and one of the legislators that runs the joint budget committee announced we wouldn't be suspending our state gas tax. Basically, the balanced budget requirement means a $165M cut in revenue -- roughly what a three-month suspension would do -- has to be matched by a $165M cut in spending. Given the tortuous path revenue takes under our constitution and statutes, the cut would almost certainly come out of funding for local road repairs. No legislator wants to be the one who tells some city in his district, "You know that money you thought you had to realign the part of that street that's been a problem forever? Not so fast..."

Suspending the gas tax is also getting pushback from federal Democratic congress critters.

But only four other states are less urbanized.

Apropos of nothing much, this is one of a number of Maine "superlatives" that I have collected (though I tend to see it stated the other way around, that Maine is the "most rural" state). From CharlesWT's link:

Maine is currently the least urban U.S. state; its urban percentage (39%) is less than half of the United States average (81%).[2] Maine was less urban than the United States average in every U.S. census since the first one in 1790.[2]

though I tend to see it stated the other way around, that Maine is the "most rural" state

Many people are surprised to learn that five of the ten "least rural" states -- including two of the top three -- are in the Census Bureau's western region. Four if you want to say that Hawaii is a special case and shouldn't count.

Now that the CB is enabling the use of "built area" as the denominator in density calculations, rather than just county area, there have been some surprising results. One of the larger ones is that suburban areas in the western region average nearly twice as dense as suburbs in the rest of the country. Or perhaps not surprising. When I moved from New Jersey to Colorado 34 years ago, and was looking for a house, one of my first observations was that the suburbs were packed much more tightly in Colorado than in New Jersey.

On news further to the hearings, I read yesterday that some of the Rs (like Rusty Bowers himself) who have testified about Trump's attempts to illegally suborn election officials have said that if he were to run again they would still vote for him. And apparently Raffensperger refused to be drawn on the question.

If true, this is the real danger to American democracy. Or, as the commentator here at MSNBC more properly says "a mortal threat to our democracy". The relevant part of what Bowers said after the hearing on Tuesday starts at approximately 7.00 in the following clip:

https://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/arizona-s-rusty-bowers-says-he-would-vote-for-trump-again-despite-coup-plot-142644805654

Michael -- yes, some of these rankings are quite surprising. Also, I have to sit and think a bit about what's being measure. When I first saw that Maine was most rural, my immediate thought was "Wait, what about ... Wyoming?"

But what they're measuring doesn't have anything to do with land area, right? It's a measure of the ratio of one kind of population to another: people who live in built up areas vs people who don't, regardless of how the people who don't are spread out.

One of my Maine superlatives, which I heard or read many years ago and have never been able to find repeated, is that Maine has the highest # of miles of paved road per capita of any state. Which I guess isn't that surprising given how scattered the population is.

And in fact, Wyoming kills it on population density, beaten out only bu Alaska.

Typos! Sorry. I need breakfast and caffeine.

I read yesterday that some of the Rs (like Rusty Bowers himself) who have testified about Trump's attempts to illegally suborn election officials have said that if he were to run again they would still vote for him.

I'm thinking that this may be merely an exercise in self-preservation. Given the level of threats of violence against witnesses, any little thing which reduces the chances of threats moving to actions could well seem like a good idea.

wj, I can't believe it is that. After all, given what they had been through already in terms of being targeted, they had to have known how much worse it would get after testifying. And they still did it. It seems to me there is something else at work here, although I'm damned if I know what it is. Attachment to R priorities like tax cuts, SCOTUS noms etc could explain it, but making that fit in with the willingness to testify despite the risks, which argues an understanding of constitutional responsibilities and some integrity, is a really hard thing to square.

GftNC, I agree that it's hard to understand. I merely toss out a possible explanation for what is otherwise inexplicable. I'm completely open to alternative explanations.

It seems that Trump, at least, is paying close attention to the hearings. Since he cannot acknowledge that they are revealing his criminal activity, he is furious with Kevin McCarthy for refusing to put some Republicans on the committee (even if he couldn't engage in his preferred level of sabotogue).
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/trump-fumes-republicans-ignore-jan-6-panel-rcna34843

It would be vastly amusing if his fury reaches the point of doing as he has done in Georgia with Kemp. Tell his followers that it would be better to elect a Democrat than to reelect McCarthy. Not sure how likely that is. But wouldn't it be grand if it happened?

Look at what Bowers said in his testimony:

“It is a tenet of my faith that the Constitution is divinely inspired, of my most basic foundational beliefs. And so, for me to do that because somebody just asked me to is foreign to my very being. I—I will not do it.”

Bowers refuses to vote for the Democratic candidate because for him the GOP is not a political party, it's one side of a divine war and the Democrats are enemy forces. We can laugh all we want at Guns, Babies, Jesus, but that really is the rallying cry. Those are the three points on which their absolutist view of the world rests.

I remember quite clearly a conversation that I had with my sister-in-law a couple decades ago when she was struggling with some LGBTQ+ question and she was worked up about how hard it was to follow God's word and know what to do with gays when the Bible was so clear about the immorality of all that. My position was that she was required to love and that if she erred on the side of love then it was up to God to show her how to square the circle. But she could not get out from under the idea of the law and her obligation to obey long enough to consider what it means to be living in an age of grace.

Her worldview, not mine, but those were the grounds for the discussion.

She's retreated into conservative evangelicalism and continues to support the GOP just as Bowers does.

It's political theology, and they are fundamentalists, and their god is a god of fear and jealousy who demands obedience.

The rest of us are just a difficult test of their faith.

The rest of us are just a difficult test of their faith.

I'm not so sure. I think that it's reality which is the difficult test of their faith. Because facts, even facts that they can personally confirm, cannot sway them.

That's helpful, nous, but only to a point. If a man tries to strongarm you to break your covenant with God on a divinely inspired constitution in his favour, but you're still prepared to vote for him, there seems to me an inbuilt disconnect which your SIL did not face: she was facing contradictory divine imperatives. You're facing a choice of having to actually empower a representative of the anti-divine covenant tendency, when you could just, for example, not vote. Something does not hang together, even on its own terms.

No one can ever see who you voted for. In this, at least, you can have it both ways: say you're keeping the faith, and privately vote for someone else.

Anyhow, strict logical consistency is not a hallmark of our species, to put it gently.

Guns, Babies, Jesus.

The Democrats are waging a war against Christianity, trying to limit gatherings of the faithful through public health regulations. They are also trying to disarm the faithful. The US government has no authority over a pastor in the conduct of his church.

All true Christians are firmly against abortion under any circumstance.

Anti-LGBTQ+ stances all arise out of the logic of the anti-abortion stance, which is based on strict gender roles and patriarchy as divine law. Both abortion and homosexuality etc. are attacks on the Great Commission as the blueprint for society.

Because the Dems are wholly fallen, it's okay to vote for Tyrannosaurus Rump and trust that providence will see things through. Trump is merely a tool to be used. The judges will rule.

This is literally what many on the evangelical right believe.

Inconsistencies abound, but they don't matter so long as abortion and the second amendment exist as the ultimate disambiguators for deciding who to support.

Note that Bowers claims that the Constitution is "divinely inspired." It's been subsumed into their canon, and it is there to be rightly interpreted only by a man of faith who can reconcile it with the rest of the Word of God.

it is there to be rightly interpreted only by a man of faith who can reconcile it with the rest of the Word of God

One of the most bemusing things about this for me is that there are so many interpreters and interpretations, so ultimately the believer has to choose one to follow. And yet they never seem to be aware that that's the mechanism, or to be moved to query their own psychology and decision-making in choosing one over another.

Also, of course "man of faith..."

My mother was deeply conforming, worrying incessantly about what the relatives and neighbors would think about anything we did. And yet she was something of a practical feminist, far before that was common in the world I grew up in. I never thought about it at the time, but I wonder if that was in part because she grew up in a Free Will Baptist congregation where the minister was a woman -- in an era where there were hardly any of those anywhere. My widowed grandmother, in fact, was the preacher's housekeeper, and her little family lived in the parsonage for a long stretch of my mother's childhood.

"This is literally what many on the evangelical right believe."

Yes, plus they are the victims. The real true victims of persecution. The very existence of the rest of us just living our lives by our rules (not their rules) means they are being persecuted.

Anyhow, strict logical consistency is not a hallmark of our species, to put it gently.

This is very true, and something I need to be reminded of on a regular basis. Not to mention the possibility that someone would say one thing, then do another in the privacy of the voting booth. (Although in that case, you'd think that Bowers for example would have agreed to testify because he understood the need to display integrity to set an example, and that revealing he would still vote for Trump clearly undercut that. But there I go again, expecting logic.)

because he understood the need to display integrity to set an example

Following nous's comments, it's easy enough to imagine that he doesn't give a flying banana about "displaying" anything, or setting an example. He is setting himself right with his own conscience according to his own yardsticks.

From this angle, it's not that he isn't being logical, it's that he's following a different logic from yours or mine.

Quoted for probably the zillionth time:

Augustine, the most famous convert of antiquity, was puzzled that he could have held so firmly to so many falsehoods; he was not astounded that there are so many different truths."

From Finite and Infinite Games, by James Carse.

I'm thinking that this may be merely an exercise in self-preservation.

I'm thinking this is a fundamental misunderstanding of Mr. Bowers on your part.

The LGM take is found here.

There was a bit of a split between evangelicals that saw Jabbabobk as a mere tool of G*d (the same way G*d used wicked peoples to punish Israel and destroyed them later when Isreal returned to the covenant) and those that preached that Jabbabonk was a flawless, divinly inspired, even Christ-like, paragon of virtue and the first group was blaspheming by denying that.
The pastors pushing the latter line were - what a surprise - for the most part the usual megagrifters and masters of hypocrisy that would sell their souls to the highest bidder, if anyone would be the least bit interested [as the Devil I'd not pay anything for that since those souls would be irredeemably forfeit anyway.].

Ironically (actually not) those same religious fanatics used to consider a republican government to be of the Devil by definition (only democracy being even worse). The very idea that the US Constitution could be 'divinely inspired' would have been totally absurd.

JanieM -- Correct. They're comparing the number of people they categorize as rural to the total. Unfortunately, they change the definition pretty much every census. The oldest definition I've seen was "at least 25 miles from any town/city with at least 25,000 people". In 2010 it was "not in any of the defined metropolitan or micropolitan areas". I don't know what they're using with the 2020 data. Nevertheless, a very large majority of the population in "the West" lives in cities. That's actually been true for a long time.

An extreme example of the "built area" change is San Bernardino County in California. The large majority of the two million people who live in the county live in a tiny corner that's part of Greater LA. The county extends east all the way to the Nevada and Arizona borders. The county encompasses multiple national parks and preserves, most of two different mountain ranges, and large expanses of desert. Using the traditional density measure based on county area, it's about 100 people per square mile. The corner where people live averages about 3,500 people per square mile. That's not only above the threshold used for "suburban" in most academic work, it's above the threshold commonly used for "urban".

I'm thinking this is a fundamental misunderstanding of Mr. Bowers on your part.

Quite possibly. But I have yet to hear an alternative explanation which makes any real sense to me. Perhaps that reflects an inability on my part to wrap my head around the essence of religious fundamentalism. Or the fact that I found Trump a complete no-go from day one. (If not before....)

I guess the justification runs along this famous Chruchill quote: "If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons."

The Dems are so evil that Jabbabonk seems appealing in comparision. Plus of course 'I will not break the law' leaves out the tacit part of 'I leave that to some expendable useful idiot, so my hands remain clean.'

An amusing segment (near the end) on the way Ukraine is using music for morale.
https://www.economist.com/podcasts/2022/06/16/it-will-be-the-sharpest-tightening-in-a-calendar-year-since-1981-the-feds-rate-raise

Some of the comments on the lyrics gave me to think that Ukraine is seeing a revival of "the word that won the war."

bobbyp, it's possible that my brain isn't working properly since I'm just in the recess of the hearing so rushing, but I didn't understand what LGM's take was, unless you mean the Simpsons quote at the top. For example, this:

One thing worth noting here is that, for the right, the ideological stakes of the 2024 presidential election are exceedingly modest. They have a stranglehold on the federal courts and are almost certain to have a large Senate majority starting in 2025. A Democratic president wouldn’t be able to get much of their cabinet or any appellate judges confirmed, let alone sign any kind of ambitious agenda into law or be able to enforce existing laws in any way that the typical Republican judge disapproves of.

Wouldn't this mean they (people like Bowers) would be safe in saying they wouldn't support Trump in the future, since it wouldn't endanger their majorities, or their ability to stymie a Dem POTUS?

Whoops, gotta go.

OK, I've now had a chance to read the Atlantic piece linked in that LGM post from bobbyp. I still don't really understand the Bowers phenomenon, but I can't disagree with the following. It is profoundly, profoundly depressing.

As another of my colleagues, Juliette Kayyem, wrote recently, the January 6 hearings offer an off-ramp to Trump-ambivalent Republicans. But not enough of them are taking it. Many Republican leaders have talked themselves into the position that the policy views of Democrats are so dangerous, or Trump’s policies are so good, that it is more important to support him than it is to defend the basic process of democracy.

This is partly a product of an era when the parties are further and further apart on policy; partly a product of an era of affective polarization, in which partisans are driven as much by hatred of their political adversaries as affinity for any cause; and partly a result of diminished attachment to democratic ideals among voters around the world.

Once you’ve decided that your specific policy planks are more important than ensuring that the fundamental system survives, however, the result sooner or later is a government that has no interest in the will of the people. Imagining this doesn’t take much creativity: After the 2020 election, Trump tried to ignore the will of the people and remain in power. He was stopped only by the courage of people such as Rusty Bowers. If even Bowers is willing to back Trump again, despite his eloquent condemnations, the outlook for popular democracy is very bleak.

Cogent question from the hearings today: Why would you ask for a (preemptive) pardon unless you knew you had done something criminal? Yet at least 5 Republican Congressmen apparently did so.

Why would you ask for a (preemptive) pardon unless you knew you had done something criminal?

Because I'm a politician, so have been skating close to the edge on campaign finances. None of it is across the line, but if the DOJ decides to accept the FEC's referral to prosecute a criminal charge, it will cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars to win in court.

This is, IMO, an actual problem. If I'm a small guy, and the DOJ prosecutes me on the referral of some other agency, my practical choices are plea-bargain, or go bankrupt. I have no idea what to do about this. Some of it is the government, but some of it is the legal guild helping create a system where only the wealthy can actually defend themselves.

"Many Republican leaders have talked themselves into the position that the policy views of Democrats are so dangerous, or Trump’s policies are so good, that it is more important to support him than it is to defend the basic process of democracy."
THe excerpt from the Atlantic article provides some mealy-mouthed "reasons" for this and comes close to both sides do it. But this state of things within the Republican party is the result of a decision about tactics made years ago. Republican party leaders chose to polarize issues and chose to delegitimize everyone who isn't a Republican deliberately because they wanted voters who would vote Republican no matter what. And it's not a matter of those voters seeing Republican party policies as essential. Most have no idea what Republican party policies are. Republican voters will vote Republican no matter what because they believe that Republicans are the only ones defending real true American values (which they don't define) and everyone else is an existential threat to those values. AN admission of error is a threat to the egotism and entitlement of those self-proclaimed defenders of real true values.

The only thing that will get a Republican voter to decide to vote D is some kind of direct threat to their immediate well being that causes them to temporarily see a benefit to themselves in a D vote. But as long as climate change is and abstraction, as long as someone else's kid gets shot, as long as the federal gravy train keep delivering goodies to them, as long as they have some kind of health care, etc they are incapable of seeing politics from any other perspective than "Me good, you bad." IF personally screwed and someone sits them down and connects the dots for them they might vote D to get their problem addressed.

IN other words they can sometimes shift from voting out of godawful snobbery to voting for "I want for me, me, me", but very few are capable of voting to serve someone else's needs or out of a concern for abstract principles.

as long as climate change is and abstraction, as long as someone else's kid gets shot, as long as the federal gravy train keep delivering goodies to them, as long as they have some kind of health care, etc they are incapable of seeing politics from any other perspective than "Me good, you bad." IF personally screwed and someone sits them down and connects the dots for them they might vote D to get their problem addressed.

I'm getting the feeling, looking at the weather reports from around the country, that climate change may be approaching the "I'm getting personally screwed" threshold.

Way too late to make fixing the problem feasible in the short, or even medium, term, of course. Which means that, when the Democrats fail on instant gratification while in office, they will revert.

But possibly there will be a window of opportunity to get some sane voting laws in place. Which could be sufficient to get the victimhood voters into irrelevance. (Yeah, I know. Compulsively optimistic. But there you are.)

If people can't wear masks to keep their grandmothers or even themselves from dying, they aren't going to do a damned thing that mitigating climate change would require.

Before I went to bed last night, I emailed an friend of mine in the US who has had a lot more contact with the political world there than I have. I explained my extreme puzzlement, using the Bowers case as the example, and asked their opinion. Briefly, their reply boiled down to:

1. Political polarisation now so great that one's own side has become the only measure of right action. And wrong action has more or less ceased to have any meaning, other than a partisan one.
2. A widespread but absurd respect for the very rich and their opinions or judgement.
3. The mix of religion and morality with politics, enabling one to literally demonise one's opponents.

This friend is probably considerably less liberal than I am, but is a clever and experienced person, so I give their opinion weight, and notice that a lot of what they say supports the rationale put forward here by nous, among others. I also find it hard to disagree with a lot of what wonkie says.

Overnight, I came to the conclusion that there is also a kind of mass psychosis in play. Constant repetition (including by people like Bowers) of the "radical left Democrats" and their disastrous agenda for America has hypnotised people into forgetting that 8 years of Clinton and 8 of Obama did not leave America in a demonstrably more disastrous state, and that no crazed agenda was enacted. (This latter point, of course, is the purpose of the current and increasingly hysterical culture wars - the craziness is coming for you!).

Needless to say, my theory as refined overnight has not made my view of the situation any more sanguine. If half of America has gone or is going mad, and if the UK is on the same trajectory (norms-trashing lying PM etc) then it's hard to know which way to turn.

However, it's good to be reminded that one can still take a grim kind of pleasure in certain things. For example, Marina Hyde's piece in today's Guardian, ostensibly about the Murdoch marriage break-up, but really of course about the disastrous Murdochian agenda for America and the world wide media, inter alia. How she gets three good jokes into the first para, quoted here, can only engender admiration:

Like all true romantics, I can’t believe Jerry has split with the Pacemaker. News that Rupert Murdoch and his wife, Jerry Hall, are to divorce contradicts the lyrics of their most famous hit, confirming that the News Corp boss does, in fact, walk alone. Or at least, alone but for the aid of state-of-the-art tissue engineering, the plasma of emerging-market teens, and the cloven orthopaedic brogues that mark out the real big shots at every barefoot billionaires’ retreat.

Her headline is Murdoch’s divorce will leave a hole in his life. Could a new prime minister fill it?

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jun/24/rupert-murdoch-divorce-jerry-hall-boris-johnson

Overnight, I came to the conclusion that there is also a kind of mass psychosis in play. Constant repetition (including by people like Bowers) of the "radical left Democrats" and their disastrous agenda for America has hypnotised people into forgetting that 8 years of Clinton and 8 of Obama did not leave America in a demonstrably more disastrous state, and that no crazed agenda was enacted.

I’m off babysitting for a couple of days, so I don't have time to give this comment a really proper reply, but I want to at least offer the headlines. I agree about the mass psychosis, and I'm afraid it's not going to be defused or deflected or reshaped without disastrous violence.

But I think your "demonstrably" is back to that "whose logic are we talking about here" question.

Go to the picture at the top of the current top post at BJ. That picture is incontrovertible evidence, to the Bowerses of the world, that the "crazed agenda" WAS in fact enacted. Calling the culture wars “hysterical” does not do a thing to defuse the seriousness and dangerousness with which they are being waged.

Comments from friends of mine -- friends! pretty nice people overall! -- in the late 80s and early 90s, when gay people were just starting, in my area, to push hard for ordinary visibility and take-for-grantedness for their lives:

From a guy in the neighborhood whose kids played with mine for years (wife's name is made up): Jennifer and I are fine with gay people, but we don't need to see them holding hands in the park.

From a very nice woman at the UU church I went to for a while, about a couple of gay guys who attended that church and were for a long time the only out gays there: I like them fine, and it's okay that they're gay, but every time I see them I think of gay sex, and it's unpleasant.

Never mind that she didn't think about sex every time she saw a heterosexual couple (I asked her), and never mind that all kinds of people enjoy all kinds of sex (oral, anal, S&M, who knows) regardless of gender mix. Out gay people made her feel squicky, and she wasn’t entirely sure that public policy shouldn’t take that into account.

And if this was the attitude of relatively good-hearted people thirty-odd years ago, what do you think the attitudes of the Bowerses of the world were?

Their world is gone, and they're in a lunatic rage about it. And it was their world, not mine, not black people's, not brown people's, not trans people's, and that’s the point. They're by god going to take it back or destroy it in the process, because (in the old saying), better dead than red, even if the metaphor is all wrong nowadays.

*****

A few days ago I came across something I thought I had lost: a column in the WSJ from a bunch of religious scholars and bigshots from 1992, about the threat the "gay and lesbian agenda" posed to "our common humanity." I will try to figure out a way to make it available to be read. Not today. It is utterly chilling in its annihilation of the common humanity of ... people like me.

And Roe is struck down. Welcome to America!

Hmm, good point about the "demonstrably" Janie, yet again.

But as for

Calling the culture wars “hysterical” does not do a thing to defuse the seriousness and dangerousness with which they are being waged.

just to clarify (you probably understood this) I did not mean hysterical as in "hysterically funny", I meant hysterical as in "increasingly a product of hysteria". And I regard that as a factual description, not an attempt let alone a way to defuse the the seriousness and dangerousness with which they are being waged, which I hope everybody here understands I regard with the utmost gravity.

I understood which "hysterical" you meant. I just meant that hysteria, like logic, is in the eyes of the beholder. Which you already know. ;-)

And TaMara has pulled her post at BJ, the one I linked to, in order to put up a Roe post instead. It was a picture of a drag queen, a woman in a rainbow shirt, stuff like that, at a Pride festival.

For the record.

Thanks, Janie.

And I had just gone off looking for that BJ post, and found that out. FWIW, and you will know I am the opposite of wj's incorrigible optimism, I do think that gay rights themselves are now so firmly established everywhere in the first world that they will be impossible to row back. But then, I thought that about abortion rights....

Goddamit. Soon, it will be the barricades.

Aux armes, citoyens!

I do think that gay rights themselves are now so firmly established everywhere in the first world that they will be impossible to row back

Maybe in the same parts of the first world that, e.g., don't worship machine guns as ordinary streetwear.

In this country, SCOTUS decisions reversing Lawrence and Obergefell will allow anyone who wishes to to start pushing gay visibility out of public spaces. I'm not going to elaborate. And I'm not saying there won't be a huge fight -- which maybe we will figure out a way to win ... until next time.

And of course this applies to everything relating to "race," as well.

Bam. Third world shithole status achieved.

Prediction: we have not yet hit bottom.

Prediction: we have not yet hit bottom.

Yup. As I have mentioned before, this has long been my favourite limerick:

A lady born under a curse
Would drive forth each day in a hearse.
From the back she would wail
Through a thickness of veil:
Things do not get better, but worse.

If people can't wear masks to keep their grandmothers or even themselves from dying, they aren't going to do a damned thing that mitigating climate change would require.

I would say the difference is that mask wearing is mostly about protecting others. From something that you may not have noticed that much -- might seem like just a bad cold, rather than something serious. Whereas terrible weather impacts, visibly and seriously, you. And, especially in rural areas, your livelihood.

Plus, a covid case, even a modrately serious one, only lasts a couple of weeks. And then memories fade. Whereas the crazy weather just goes on and on and on. On top of which, everybody is impacted at the same time, so you end up talking about it. A lot.

For some, even that won't be enough. But we don't have to persuade everybody. Just enough to swing elections, and thus influence politicians.

Prediction: we have not yet hit bottom.

Not even close. Quoted by someone at BJ:

In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell,” Thomas wrote. “Because any substantive due process decision is ‘demonstrably erroneous’ … we have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents … After overruling these demonstrably erroneous decisions, the question would remain whether other constitutional provisions guarantee the myriad rights that our substantive due process cases have generated.”

I do think that gay rights themselves are now so firmly established everywhere in the first world that they will be impossible to row back. But then, I thought that about abortion rights....

I would say that the difference is that, if someone is gay (and out, of course), that fact is ongoingly obvious. And most people know at least one gay person. It makes getting hardened, if you will, to the reality more likely.

Whereas an abortion happens, and then it's over -- at least from the perspective of others. The fact that someone has had an abortion is not particularly obvious well after the fact, if you didn't know them at the time. So it's entirely possible to reject abortion in the abstract, without inconvenient reality intruding. Let along intruding constantly.

That may not be enough to secure gay marriage permanently. But its position is already more secure than abortion's ever was.

In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive . . . precedents, . . . because any substantive . . . decision is ‘demonstrably erroneous’

I'd say that this is likely true. IF by "this Court" you mean the one in place since Trump's appointments. Which Thomas didn't, but....

That may not be enough to secure gay marriage permanently. But its position is already more secure than abortion's ever was.

And LGBTQ+ people, by that very visibility, are more at-risk of violence.

We already know what the US looks like where these things are concerned, and the USSC wants to make sure that all of the people upset by federal protection for things they find immoral have unrestricted access to firearms so that they can proactively exercise insurrectionary theory in support of their religious liberty.

I'm betting that the most popular subject for this Sunday's sermons at mainline fundamentalist churches is going to be the Book of Judges (wiki):

The Book of Judges (ספר שופטים, Sefer Shoftim) is the seventh book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament. In the narrative of the Hebrew Bible, it covers the time between the conquest described in the Book of Joshua and the establishment of a kingdom in the Books of Samuel, during which biblical judges served as temporary leaders.[1] The stories follow a consistent pattern: the people are unfaithful to Yahweh; he therefore delivers them into the hands of their enemies; the people repent and entreat Yahweh for mercy, which he sends in the form of a leader or champion (a "judge"; see shophet); the judge delivers the Israelites from oppression and they prosper, but soon they fall again into unfaithfulness and the cycle is repeated.

Which would probably put Tyrannosaurus Rump in the role of King Saul - popular, but prone to fits, and leave the role of King David tantalizingly open for all the hungry Christian nationalist types waiting in the wings.

Not a prediction of what is to come, just a description of the Fundamentalist Evangelical imaginary at this point in time.

Gotta love this headline, for a column by the Washington Post's TV critic, of all people:
The Jan. 6 hearings and the spectacle of competence

What Congress could be, if it hadn't descended to "performance art". (And piss-poor art at that,)

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