For all the news stories about how there are no consequences for the anti-abortion side in Texas, just pondering,from a non-legal mind not licensed by any bar association...
And I was intrigued to see all the #BoycottTexas postings on social media today, growing by the hour.
The new "whistleblower" website is now up in Texas here for people to drop their anonymous tips about suspected people giving abortions. It turns out that a lot of people are indeed overwhelming the site, though not necessarily the kind of tips being asked for. Apparently, memes of "Shrek" are very popular.
This is the form.
They also ask if you're a public official, but you get the idea.
I thought I'd help out, too.
There's a limit to how much help they'll accept, though, since all the boxes have limits on how much you can type in them. The Zip box, for instance, only allows for five characters. Only the first two questions really permit extensive text and explanation, and the second isn't much.
Still, this was my attempt to participate --
> How do you think the law has been violated?
That is not a good question. You shouldn't be asking how I or anyone "thinks" the law has been violated. That's just a silly guessing game. What you what to know, I assume, is how one is absolutely 100% certain that the law has, in fact, been broken. Because we're talking about breaking the law, right?! So, how one "thinks" about a law is meaningless. What you want is incontrovertible evidence, right? But that's not what you're asking, so I don't get what you're doing??? And it seems neither do you.
> How did you obtain this evidence?
Now, see, that's the problem I was talking about! Here you're asking about evidence, but before you just wanted to know what I think. What I think is that you're clueless about what you're doing. Make up your mind!
> Clinic or Doctor this evidence relates to
Wouldn't it be a hoot if I said "Seuss" or "Kissinger" or "Scholl"?
A small town doesn’t count?
Hey, this is a Texas-only law!
Isn't city & state enough??
Amid all the news, let's head back to Texas. But no, not about their horrible COVID-19 policies and Gov. Abbott blocking mask mandates at schools (which school boards around the state are defying), as infection rates in the sate skyrocket And no, not the proposed fascist voter suppression laws so repressive that forced State House Democrats to leave Texas, for which Gov. Abbott has ordered them arrested when they return to Texas. No, this is a third reprehensible issue.
Yes, Texas has hit the contemptible trifecta.
In two weeks, on September. 1, a new Texas law will let anyone 21 years or older carry a handgun in public without a permit or training. Yes, really.
You need a license in Texas to fish. You need a license in Texas to sell alcohol. You need a license in Texas to drive a car. And to sell flowers. And make tattoos. And put up signs.
But you will not need a license -- or even training -- to own a gun whose main function is to shoot other people or mailboxes, whichever strikes your fancy.
Oh, and in a bit of whimsy, you need a permit to be a grave-digger. Just not one for helping make the job necessary.
Given the two major gun massacres in Texas in 2019, in El Paso and Midland -- not to mention the 27 people killed in Sutherland Springs in 2017, along with all the other Texas massacres -- it's uncertain if the Texas legislature and Gov. Abbott have problematically short memories or should couldn't care less.
To be clear, there are restrictions to this very open carry law, but they're few and minor. The law does not apply to people who otherwise are restricted, such as those with felony or domestic violence convictions. It's not quite certain how those prohibitions got through somehow. Given today's Texas legislature, you'd almost think they allow anyone to carry a gun for any reason whatever their age. Unless, perhaps, they were black.
Though a slight majority of Texans favor the law, most Texas voters do not and law enforcement is strongly against this. Which shouldn't come as a shock, though in Texas it sort of is.
This is being referred to in the state as "constitutional carry." Apparently that pesky "well-regulated" part of the 2nd Amendment in the U.S. Constitution got missed. As it always seems to be by gun fanatics.
"You could say that I signed into law today some laws that protect gun rights," Gov. Abbott said when the bill was signed in June. "But today, I signed documents that instilled freedom in the Lone Star State."
You certainly could say that -- it wouldn't be true, but you could say it. Requiring one to register their gun and have training doesn't take away their right to own the weapon. It just protects the rest of society from when the person decides to use the gun.
But then, there's that whole idea of "freedom." To Gov. Abbott, and the Republican state legislature, "freedom" seems to mean the right to shoot someone without having registration or training, but citizens not having the right to vote unfettered by restrictions.
"I don't know what it's a solution to," said James McLaughlin, executive director of the Texas Police Chiefs Association. "I don't know what the problem was to start with."
That seems to be the question surrounding pretty much all reprehensible actions by Republicans in Texas these days. But unfortunately, the answer tends to be -- it doesn't matter, we can do whatever we want, and if it hurts hurts people or shreds democracy, well, so what, this is Texas. If you don't like it, we can swagger to our heart's content and secede any time we want."
The door is over there, to the far-right.
If you missed Last Week Tonight with John Oliver last night, his Main Story was about ransomware. It was a very good, comprehensive report -- full of alarm, yet with humor -- though I follow this subject fairly closely and so fast-forward though a bit of it. The report was very good, though I had another quibble similar to one last week -- it's about him taking to task the administration supposedly having a "you're on your own, pay the ransom" policy. Yet earlier in the story, even the show acknowledged that some of the money of the big Colonial Pipeline attack had been recovered. That money (and it was a lot) was recovered specifically because the FBI got involved
For the NPR quiz show Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me! this week, I decided to post the full show – that’s because it’s their first with a live audience in a year-and-a-half, recorded outdoors last Saturday at the Mann Center in Philadelphia. And having a crowd (and such an enthusiastic one, to be back) is a palpable treat.
As for our regular standby feature of the ‘Not My Job’ segment, the guest is local -- Larry Krasner, a former defense attorney for 30 years and civil rights lawyer who eventually decided to fix the problems he long-railed about on the other side and ran for District Attorney in Philadelphia and won, and is finishing up his first term. In his light-hearted, but often engagingly blunt interview with host Peter Sagal, he talks about documentary series that followed him after he got elected and also about screwing up trying to cut off his pony tail. If you want to jump directly to the “Not My Job” segment, it started around the 18:15 mark.
I think that perhaps the most bizarre tweet I've seen in a very long while -- which is saying a lot since we have lived through four years of Trump in office, a pandemic and insurrection was this one below posted yesterday by Ed Henry. To be clear, it may not be the most bizarre -- competition for that title is strong -- but on a lot of levels it's got much going for it. It wasn't a new tweet, it's actually from July 1, but it only just now crossed my eyeline. Somehow, inexplicable, I know, I missed it. That doesn't make it any less weird, of course, just belated.
For starters, the mere fact that Ed Henry tweeted the announcement of his lawsuit and sort of in the third person is eye-catching enough. But then, of course, there's the whole announcement of why he's suing.
Because he claims that "Fox News" isn't conservative enough.
It's really difficult to read this and not be certain that isn't isn't a parody from The Onion. But it's not, it's real. It's a lawsuit by a former "Fox News" host suggesting that the far-right channel, which has regularly been called the media arm of the Republican Party has, as Henry's 23-page court document claims, "shifted to more establishment views in the past year."
The best I can figure is that apparently he believes that "Fox News" didn't support fascism enough. I mean, honestly, this is like a story about Bozo suing Barnum & Bailey claiming it's biased against clowns.
But the story gets even more weird, which is what puts it it Top Tier Weird. That's because last year, the reason Henry is a "former" host is because he was fired after a civil lawsuit alleging rape was filed by a colleague at the channel. Henry denies the charge, but honestly, how weird to file this lawsuit which he has to know is only going to bring more attention on the other court case, especially since he's claiming that he was wrongly fired for being too conservative and too much a supporter of Trump and the rape lawsuit was only an excuse.
And by the way, how weird to make an issue out of a journalist -- who is supposed to be objective and fair, most especially on a channel that began life with the slogan, "We report, you decide" -- complaining that he was fired for being biased. And even more, for trying to paint a purported news organization at fault for supposedly being too balanced.
This would seem to be a no-win case for Henry. On the one hand, if he does make his case that "Fox News" has become too middle-of-the road, he's setting the foundation for a "Not guilty" verdict by virtue of the channel supposedly being fair which is what a news organization is supposed to be. On the other hand, if he doesn't prove that to be the case -- and he won't, because it's not even remotely close to reality -- and "Fox News" is shown to still be as far-right as always and still the media arm of the GOP, he'll lose his case.
The only thing I can imagine is that Henry looks at the conservative TV "news" landscape and sees Newsmax and OANN creating a new presence that are both so deeply far-right that they can no longer even seen where the line is, and compared to that, "Fox News" appears to be middle-of-the road. Of course, when you compare pretty much anything to Newsmax and OANN, even Attila the Hun would seem middle-of-the-road. But that doesn't mean "Fox News" moved to the middle, just that someone built an extension to the playing field.
But there Ed Henry is. Filing his profoundly weird lawsuit. And if you don't think all that is weird enough to quality, there's an addendum.
Because, you see, the same day, Henry also filed defamation lawsuits against CNN and PBS. And why did he do that? Because he claims they were unfair in reporting the actual news.
Okay, that wasn't his stated reason, but it's actually pretty close. His complaints alleged that the reporters he was suing have “longstanding grudges against Fox News and/or individuals associated with the company,” which he says caused them "to repeat false allegations on the reasons why Henry was dismissed from Fox News relating to alleged sexual misconduct." Except the allegations -- if indeed false -- were actually filed in court as an actual lawsuit, and that they were actually filed is factual, so what they were reporting was actual news. Which Ed Henry appears to believe is wrong for journalists to do and irresponsible and illegal. In fairness to Henry, he had been working at "Fox News" for years, so the concept of reporting facts probably is, indeed, wrong, irresponsible and illegal to him.
And of course, at the foundation of these two other lawsuits are the rape allegations, so, yeah, that will get brought up, too. A lot. Weird.
Weird, too, is that lawyers would take these cases with, it would seem, no way on earth for them to succeed. But then, we've seen lawyers take on far-right efforts to claim Trump won the election with no way on earth for them to succeed -- and indeed losing 60 of 61 cases, winning only on a technical matter that had nothing to do with fraud, but merely a matter of distance in the recount room. So, I'm guess that the lawyers saw these lawsuits as a big pay day. ("Sue CNN and PBS for reporting the facts? Sue 'Fox News' for being mainstream? You bet, Ed!! That's a great idea! Got anyone else you want to sue? Hey, you want to sue Hasbro for packing Mr. Potato Head and Ms. Potato Head together in one box? We'd be happy to do that!!")
But if Ed Henry wants to sue all these people most especially "Fox News," who am I to say no? Let them battle out whether the channel is fair or totally biased -- the latter of which hilariously will have to be at least part of the "Fox News" defense, most especially since they're battling with Newsmax and OANN for the hearts and minds of the far-far right.
Oh, please, do carry on...
A Scottish judge has approved investigations into Trump's golf properties there under the wonderfully-named Unexplained Wealth Orders -- also known as the even-better named "McMafia Act." The court was petitioned by a U.S. non-profit activist organization, Avaaz. So great that this is in Scotland -- not many Republicans there to bully or abuse the court system.
You can read the full article here.
And no, to be clear, there really isn't a good side.
Last night, Rachel Maddow had a fascinating report how Democrat Kathy Hocul ended up as the next governor of New York as soon as Andrew Cuomo’s resignation is official. It’s a twisted tale that began with a particularly nasty sex scandal of Republican Congressman Mark Foley and overlapped with different ranges of sex scandals by Republican Congressman in her own district Tom Reynolds and Chris Lee, as well as Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert (who ended up having his own far-greater sex scandal) which lead to her running for the seat and winning. And then other lives intertwined with sex scandals by several Democrats, which led to investigations, various resignations, a particularly dark sex scandal of Republican Carl Palladino which resulted in his opponent – Andrew Cuomo – being elected governor of New York…and now-Lt. Governor Hocul on the verge of taking office as governor.
Ignorant of all this history – not that it matters, since their ignorance was egregiously stupid on its own current level, even leaving history out of it – many Republicans were doing victory dances over Cuomo’s resignation. Of course, on its most basic level, this misguided joy ignores the recent history of them celebrating the sex scandal and resignation of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman…which resulted in Letitia James being elected to fill that job, and she’s now opened up the investigation into Trump. So, y’know, the whole “Be careful what you wish for…” thing.
But more than that is the total clueless, tone-deaf amnesia of what is today’s Republican Party. You don’t have to know history to be aware that it’s not a great idea to celebrate the resignation of a governor for sexual improprieties when the leader of your own party has 16 charges of sexual abuse, including rape, and was caught on tape reveling in how easy and great sexual abuse was, and you and your party enabled and protected him – whereas it was Cuuomo’s own Democratic Party that helped lead the aggressive effort to get him to resign – and never mind that Attorney General Letitia James, who conducted the investigation, is a Democrat.
Further, in the sitting Congress, Republicans have Matt Gaetz under investigation for sex trafficking of minors, Madison Cawthorn who has had several charges of sexual abuse against him and Tom Reed, a New York congressman who is accused of sexual abuse of a 25-year-old female lobbyist, including and unhooking her bra while drunk in 2017. And then there’s Jim Jordan, not accused of sexual abuse himself, but accused of overlooking sexual abuse when he was a wrestling coach at Ohio State University.
And we can’t forget Roy Moore who ran for the Senate while accused of being a pedophile, and the GOP leader Trump endorsed him. Rather than, y’know, saying how sickened he was by the charges and aghast that Moore was running, rather than doing time in prison in Hell.
And honestly, there may well be other current Republican officials in Congress and throughout the country, as well, who have sexual abuse charges against them, and I’m sure there are, but I just don’t have the heart to research any more. To be clear, I am sure there are such charges against Democratic officials around the country, but Democrats are the ones who investigated Andrew Cuomo and pushed him out of office, rather than enabled and protected him. So, they’re allowed to be pleased by the results without having “Pathetic Hypocrite” splashed over them.
But the point of this all is not the various Republicans celebrating a sexual abuser being removed from office without any sense of self-awareness that their party (and likely they themselves) have a bushel of fellow GOP officials who they’ve blissfully protected. It’s about two particular Republicans whose level of shameless hypocrisy is so deep and personal and bizarre, it exists on almost another level.
The first is Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) who took to Twitter to do a jig about getting a “pervert” out of government. While I believe that an individual’s personal family problems are private and separate from public issues, when people themselves cross the line to bring those personal matters to the table, they become part of the public discourse. And Ms. Boebert’s own husband actually plead guilty in a court of law to sexual abuse charges, including exposing himself to a minor – 18 months before Lauren Boebert married him. She is welcome to live her life as she sees fit. But what kind of a empty chowderhead celebrates the downfall of someone else, when you know – know – that the person you knowingly married was convicted of something arguably worse since it was with a minor and is on record as a crime. And should know – know – that his sex crime against a minor would be brought up publicly and prominently.
And the other is Bill O’Reilly. Yes, really. While he was celebrating the resignation of Andrew Cuomo, he can’t have forgotten that he himself was fired from “Fox News” for sexual harassment and this company had to pay $10 million dollars to get him off the hook. And if he forgot this (and no, he didn’t) not many other people did. Not the people who despised him, and not the people who loved him, since they no doubt miss seeing him on the air.
Being pleased when someone does something wrong, gets caught and pays a penalty for it is a natural reaction and a good one. Especially when you’re on the side of those making sure he got caught and paid a penalty. But when you’re on the side of enabling and protecting the sexual abuses of Trump, Gaetz, Cawthorn, Lee, Moore, your fellow coach, and your husband and yourself, and no doubt a lot more, every word you utter in pleasure on the subject only serves to draw attention to yourselves with a glaringly bright Klieg light only how you are actually a part – a big part – of the problem.
If you missed Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on Sunday, his Main Story was on opioids. Actually, this is their third story on opioids, this time focusing on how the government settlement with the Purdue company may actually leave the Sackler family with more money over time despite their multi-billion dollar penalty. It will not shock you to learn that he was outraged by this, almost with humor laced through. And with a wonderful Last Week Tonight twist at the end.
I love the headline from Rawstory -- "Personal injury lawyer asks conservatives to hire him if they've been 'harmed' by critical race theory."
Man, and I thought liberals were supposed to be the snowflakes. I mean, honestly, this makes snowflakes look like macho warlords.
I can see someone maybe wanting to hire a personal injury lawyer if they thought they’d been hurt by the theory of gravity because bricks fell off a building under construction and clonked them on the head. Or perhaps someone suing because they were harmed by the theory of evolution when someone who grew taller and stronger beat the bejeepers out of them.
But hurt by the theory of critical race theory? The only way I can see filing a lawsuit because you were harmed by it is when you were publicly humiliated for not knowing what it actually was and got fired from your high-level executive job because your stupidity reflected badly on the company.
“Hi, I’m personal injury lawyer Ed Bondurant and are you a conservative who has been harmed by critical race theory? Had your feelings hurt because by critical race theory for any reason – perhaps you learned that slavery existed when America was founded, and it made you feel sad…or made you feel proud but were shamed for it? Maybe you were unexpectedly side-swiped by critical race theory when you didn’t see it coming and couldn’t defend yourself. If you believe you’ve been wrong in any way for anything, you don’t have to know if the cause was critical race theory – that’s why I’m here for you, to tell a court that you were because critical race theory is the cause of all your problems. You don’t even have to know what critical race theory is – after all, if you don’t know that COVID-19 is real and then get infected by it, you’re still sick. Same with critical race theory – ignorance is not your fault. It’s the fault of critical race theory. And don’t worry about claiming that you were hurt by something that could also hurt moderates or liberals – moderates and liberals will never think they’re hurt by critical race theory. So, all of our lawsuits are moderate-and-liberal free. We only sue over critical race theory on behalf of conservatives. Because they are the only people who will ever believe that critical race theory ‘harmed’ them. I’m personal injury lawyer Ed Bondurant, and I’m here for you. I want you to hire me. And remember, if we don’t win our lawsuit, it’s because of critical race theory. And you can hire me again to file yet another lawsuit. Call 1-800-WOEISME.”
One of the things that really stood out for me from this story is how it showed Republicans have really learned how to con money out of members of the party’s base for pretty much any reason. Clearly that comes from watching Trump fundraise for four years after claiming he was SO rich he was going to self-finance his campaign. And from Republican officials raising money by trumpeting every conceivable slight by Democrats. “Democrats want to get rid of Mr. Potato Head. Help me block them and save the beloved potato toy.” Hey, Republicans mounted an insurrection to overthrow the United States and they began raising money to defend themselves. So, trying to make money by convincing the eternally aggrieved to sue because they were hurt by an educational theory seems the natural extension.
But the main thing that stood out for me was the most obvious, natural response when a personal injury lawyer asks conservatives to hire him if they've been harmed by critical race theory –
It’s that I look forward to any lawyer asking anyone, whatever their political beliefs, to hire him if they’ve been harmed by actual gunfire, actual baseball bats, actual beatings as a result of critical race reality.
Actually, I do think there is one way for conservatives to be truly hurt by critical race theory. And that's if they continue trying to create laws about what can be taught in schools and what can't and try to build a faux-agenda around critical race theory by trying to convince to American public that racism didn't exist at the beginning of the country, when black people weren't given the right to vote and only counted as three-fifth of a person and slavery was allowed to exist in the South. If conservatives do that in the 2022 mid-term elections, critical race theory will be part of them getting pummeled.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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