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Hello Widdershins! What a week. As usual, the Beltway press was salivating and the pundits were putting debt default countdown clocks on every show because McConnell Said The Republicans Wouldn’t Vote to Raise the Debt Ceiling OMG! We’re all going to dieeeeeeeee!

But that didn’t happen, mainly because the Democrats threatened to nuke the filibuster. Apparently, McConnell didn’t think Manchin and Sinema would withstand the pressure from the rest of the caucus, who all want to do SOMETHING about the 60-vote rule, in this very dire situation. McTurtle blinked, and 11 Republicans voted to raise the debt ceiling. And some members of his own Party are shaking their heads. Lady Lindsey, Ted Cruz and (of course!) der Drumpfenfuhrer are calling it capitulation. On the Democratic side, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer mildly and rightfully criticized all Republicans for bringing the U.S. to the point of financial ruin to try to win some pathetic partisan advantage. [Thanks for facepalming behind him, Joe Manchin – I don’t even have words at this point.]

Upon receiving bad reviews from the left and the right, McTurtle went on offense to try to make himself look less weak. In an embarrassing letter to President Biden, he sputtered in hypocritical fauxrage, lambasting Schumer and making hollow threats. Yeah Mitch, we know. You’re very powerful. Do you need some warm milk?

“[Schumer’s] tantrum encapsulated and escalated a pattern of angry incompetence from Senator Schumer … this childish behavior only further alienated the Republican members who helped facilitate this short-term patch. It has poisoned the well even further.”

Democrats argue it was McConnell who poisoned the well by refusing to co-operate with raising the debt limit, a step they took repeatedly with Donald Trump in power. Experts say a US default would be catastrophic for the global economy.

McConnell insisted: “In light of Senator Schumer’s hysterics and my grave concerns about the ways that another vast, reckless, partisan spending bill would hurt Americans and help China, I will not be a party to any future effort to mitigate the consequences of Democratic mismanagement.”

This is, of course, complete Kentucky Derby horse pucky. I’m sure you all know this, but I feel compelled to point out that all of the spending McConnell claims to be upset about has already been authorized! Indeed, $7T of it came from the maladministration of The Former Guy, and even if the Democrats hadn’t passed ANY spending bills in 2021, the ceiling would still have to be raised. This means that trying to prevent the debt ceiling from being raised doesn’t have any impact on future Democratic spending. At all.

The way this went down proves that the Rethugs are indeed terrified that the Democrats will alter the filibuster in some way, robbing them of any power whatsoever, and that McTurtle, despite all the ink and screen time the pundits give him, is not immune to that threat.

Let’s see what happens when the codification of Roe v. Wade, passed on a party line vote in the House in late September, comes before the Senate. Will the Democrats have the same energy to protect these existential threats to the health of hundreds of millions of Americans, as they did to protect existential threats to the economy? Will they finally nuke the filibuster?

When women’s rights are on the table, McConnell is armed with thousands of years of white supremacy on his side to defeat them. The Beltway press and punditry are already saying the House bill has no chance in the Senate. I sincerely hope they’re wrong, again.

Open thread, as always. DYB, this musical selection is for you!

Do you remember this article from a couple of years back? It was big in the media for a few days. Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children.

Having a child contributes some thirty times as much to warming the planet as the next closest action an individual can take: living without a car.

 

Climate change impact of having a child: each one adds 58.6 tons of CO2 equivalents per year. Using a car adds 2.4 tCO2e per year.

 

 

And yet, amidst all the discussion of air travel and bicycling and electric vehicles, there’s a ban on mentioning population control.

Another example I came across recently was in a very encouraging article about greening the Sahel in Africa.

… {Farmers had a] cheap, effective way to regreen the Sahel. They did so by using simple water harvesting techniques and protecting trees that emerged naturally on their farms.

Garrity recalls walking through farms in Niger, fields of grains like millet and sorghum stretching to the sun planted around trees, anywhere from a handful to 80 per acre. “In most cases, the trees are in random locations because they sprouted and the farmer protected them and let them grow,” he says. [Depending on species] [t]he trees can be cut for fuel… They can be pruned for livestock fodder. Their leaves and fruit are nutritious.

One tree, Faidherbia albida, goes dormant during the wet season when most trees grow. When the rains begin, the trees defoliate, dropping leaves that fertilize the soil. Because they have dropped their leaves, the trees do not shade crops during the growing season. Their value had long been recognized by farmers….

[But] “He laments that work is moving too slowly. With the Sahel’s population doubling in 20 years, Reij says regreening needs to be finished within 10 to 15 years.”

He makes it sound as if this doubling is a great force beyond human influence, like a solar storm or a meteor strike. It’s not. It’s merely human reproduction. We’re helpless only because the subject is so untouchable it can’t even be said out loud.

What’s up with that?

I think the answer lies in the two possible trajectories to control births.

One is coercive. China’s one child policy is perhaps the most famous recent example. Since women are the ones giving birth, you have to control women. You punish them if they have too many children. You enforce abortions on mothers. Or, if you’re a Nazi in the 1930s who wants lots of blond babies and no browner ones, you try to enforce a eugenics program on women. You sterilize gypsies or the disabled or Jews while giving “your” women the option to be incubators or nothing.

All those methods involve hideously totalitarian pre-emption of individual choice and body autonomy (like the supporters of forced pregnancy, but we’re more used to them so it doesn’t feel as outlandish). But on the bright side, they don’t require any changes to misogynist and patriarchal social systems.

The other trajectory is to give women control over their own reproduction. Wherever that is done, birth rates drop dramatically. They may not fall all the way to replacement levels, but they get much closer than any other method. Giving women control works, it works sustainably and long term.

But.

But it deprives society of its main tool to control all aspects of women’s lives. Your reliable producers of the next generation, your unpaid domestic servants and nannies and handholders and caregivers, gradually find other things to do with their lives. Members of the upper caste might have to do their own dishes. Your whole system falls apart.

And therein lies the rub. All our current problems are made much worse by overpopulation. Dealing with that requires treating women like human beings. Which gives the patriarchy the vapors.

So suddenly respect for medieval religions and medieval cultures make it impossible to promote birth control. They might be offended!

There’s not the same action-limiting respect when it comes to things that serve the caste system. Porn is all over the place even though the Pope disapproves. But breastfeeding is too avantgarde for the delicate sensibilities of men on Facebook. Nor is there ever equivalent concern that women object to being erased.

The discrepancy has a name. Sady Doyle wrote about it almost three years ago, Trump, Putin, Assange, and the politics of sexism. Supposedly all three are exponents of radically different systems, and yet they have a lizard brain-level understanding that they’re on the same side. Her focus is social and political effects, but the same allergy to anything kind or well-meaning is everywhere.

Recently, reactionaries have made The Misogyny of Climate Deniers obvious by their revolting comments against a 16 year old who’s done nothing except use the full weight of all the evidence to disagree with them.

The connection has to do with a sense of group identity under threat, … both by developing gender equality—Hultman pointed specifically to the shock some men felt at the #MeToo movement—and now climate activism’s challenge to their way of life, male reactionaries motivated by right-wing nationalism, anti-feminism, and climate denialism increasingly overlap, the three reactions feeding off of one another. … Climate change used to be a bipartisan concern, the first Bush senior presidency famously promising to tackle global warming. But as conservative male mockery of Thunberg and others shows, climate politics has quickly become the next big battle in the culture war—on a global scale.

Misogyny isn’t the only motivation of reactionaries. There’s greed and garden variety hatred in there, too, but misogyny is the core. It’s misogyny, not greed or racism or ordinary hatred, that makes men fear weakness more than anything. And fear of weakness is what ties together the worst of what they do.

They think strong man governments are a good idea. They like guns and “defence” — war, really, so long as somebody else dies in it. Peace is only tolerable “through strength.” The reactionaries are against anything that doesn’t shout big power. They like nukes because gigawatts! dangerous! The truth is that even building a new gigawatt nuke every two months from 2010 till 2050 would solve only a small part of climate change and energy needs. Meanwhile renewables could provide all our energy by 2050 for a fraction of the cost and without radioactive waste. But distributed power, whether that’s rooftop solar or real democracy, strikes reactionaries as la-la limp-wristed hippie crap. Likewise, restraint against environmental destruction is pathetic weakness in the face of hard choices.

And weakness is the worst thing you can show. They (“They”) come and take your man card away. It’s the only thing that gave you any standing and it’s gone.

That is a future so horrible it’s worth burning the world down to avoid it. It must never be spoken lest saying its name calls it forth.

Crossposted from Acid Test.

And so are his friends.

On Saturday, billionaire financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was arrested for the alleged sex trafficking of dozens of minors in New York and Florida between 2002 and 2005. In a criminal indictment unsealed Monday, federal prosecutors claimed that Epstein lured underage girls, some as young as 14, to his luxurious homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach under the guise of paying them cash for massages. He then molested them and encouraged them to recruit other young girls to return with them. The victims who returned with new victims were paid a finder’s fee.

“In this way, Epstein created a vast network of underage victims for him to sexually exploit, often on a daily basis,” the U.S. Attorney’s office said in a statement.

Lest we forget, this is what Drumpf said about Epstein in 2002:

“I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”

Can you not hear the sleaze dripping from his voice as he says this? The nasty, pedophiliac drool? Oh yes. He knew exactly what that overprivileged piece of shit was doing to children.

That brave woman, E. Jean Carroll, told her story and was basically ignored by the media; not because they didn’t believe her, but because they did. We all know that gob of orange goo in the White House is a sexual predator. That is one of the many, many, MANY reasons we were all so devastated after Election Day in 2016; the knowledge that tens of millions of Americans actually voted for a known sexual predator instead of the most qualified candidate for President in the history of our country, because they hate women and all people of color. White people all across this country made that decision with eyes wide open. And now we are reaping the whirlwind as more and more of the pResident’s men are starting to get caught committing horrible sexual crimes.

People like Jeffrey Epstein are Donald Trump’s friends. People like Alex Acosta are his enablers. Trump’s Attorney General William Barr has recused himself from the Epstein case (for a reason that doesn’t pass the smell test). These are just the most recent “best people” Republicans are fine with keeping in power, but there are oh, so many more.

I just have to ask: what moral compass is being used here? If you’re a Republican, do you think raping children is better or worse than separating them from their parents and putting them in concentration camps? Is raping children better or worse than letting them be killed in school shootings nearly every day? Is raping children better or worse than taking clean air, food and water away from them?

This terrible travesty of an administration has caused us to ask these horrifying questions, to compare and weigh the many cruelties visited on children and to wonder, how can anyone be okay with this? Even more dreadful, it has caused us to answer that question thus: that Republicans will put up with anything to stay in power. It doesn’t matter who gets raped, as long as it isn’t them.

Here’s to truly draining the swamp in 2020. May we make it so that all the slimy sexual predators, like Jeffrey Epstein, William Barr, Alex Acosta and so many others, are sent to prison, along with their Cheeto-hued chief.

And may we make America, finally, a safe place for our women and children.

This is an open thread.

 

Good afternoon Widdershins

 

I had a different post in mind for the weekend, but yeah, fuck that.  And no, it wasn’t going to be a GoT thing.

No, after this week it’s time to let your musical voices come out in anger!  Shout it out.

I’ll put up a few songs but I fully expect y’all to provide lots of them yourselves.

* * * *

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AND LAST:

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Open thread of course but hope you’ll add some of your own in the comments.

 

Tags: ,

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Something really inspiring happened yesterday, Widdershins. It answered a question for me: Why did Cecile Richards, one of the most effective leaders Planned Parenthood has ever had, resign from the organization?

She had to partner with Alicia Garza and Ai-jen Poo to form an exciting new women’s organization, called SuperMajority!!! (Okay, the exclamation points are mine. I am just so excited!) Yes, anyone can join, regardless of gender. You just have to believe in the mission.

In an apparent reference to the #MeToo movement, the organization, which describes itself as multiracial and intergenerational, said that “in the past two years, we’ve seen what happens when women mobilize. But while “women are on the cusp of becoming the most powerful force in America,” Supermajority’s co-founders say that to “fundamentally transform this country” women must work together.

To help further that goal, the group’s leaders say their organization will provide on-the-ground training to help women advocates “get and stay informed on issues that affect their lives,” in addition to creating a “women’s agenda” that will put women’s issues first, “from economic equity and opportunity, to dignity and safety on the job, to keeping families and communities safe.”

While Supermajority’s aim is to push politicians to adopt a “women’s new deal,” as Richards told The Associated Press in a recent interview, the group is not expected to endorse individual candidates.

A “women’s new deal!” Oh, yes, PLEASE!!!

I remember way, way back in our PUMA days, when I suggested that a new Women’s Party should be formed. I wrote:

So let’s review. The Democrats make appropriate noises about women, but don’t follow through when push comes to shove. The Republicans are so backwards as to be laughable.

Isn’t it time we had our own Party, ladies?

I am tired of hearing that the interests of 51% of the population are not important enough to focus on. I am tired of hearing that we should shut up and vote Democrat because they are the lesser of two evils. I am tired of seeing *ssh0les like Obama get away with breaking his promise to pass FOCA first thing and sell out our reproductive rights to pass a bill the Supreme Court will most likely overturn. I am tired of seeing mindless monsters like Jesse Lee Peterson being given airtime by Defenders of the Hateful, Faux News. I am tired of the religiously insane trying to pass laws that will humiliate and kill our sisters.

It will f*cking kill me to vote D on Election Day, even though I won’t be voting for Obama at the top of the ticket. I am frankly weary of the crapulence of the PFKAD. I want a Party that represents women and puts our equality FIRST, that won’t be distracted by the latest shiny object. One Party, one goal: Pass the ERA! Fight for women’s equality in every aspect of our lives. That is what we women need now.

I’m not sure why it’s taken so long for women to wake up. Maybe women got too complacent with Obama at the helm, naively believing their rights would never be threatened again. Maybe we all “knew” that Hillary would win in 2016, so we thought we didn’t need to mobilize separately. But once the giant pile of orange slime slithered his way into the White House, maybe that was the catalyst we needed. The Resistance, MeToo, OnwardTogether…and now this amazing new organization!

After the horrors of the past few years, it seems unbelievable that anything good could come out of our long national nightmare. The latest attack on a temple in San Diego, killing one heroic woman and wounding others, is just one of the many hate crimes inspired by Der Drumpfenfuhrer and his Nazi minions. But maybe if we women (and all genders who support us!) do band together, we can finally turn this country in the direction it so desperately needs to go.

This is an open thread.


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