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The Mahablog

D-Day + 80 and Today’s News Bits

Today is the 80th anniversary of D-Day. There are some good history articles online, such as On D-Day, the U.S. Conquered the British Empire by Michel Paradis at The Atlantic and ‘Almost terrifying to contemplate’: Why D-Day nearly didn’t happen by Garrett M. Graff at WaPo.  And we should be grateful President Biden is representing the U.S. at the commemoration today and not that other guy.

“In their generation, in their hour of trial, the Allied forces of D-Day did their duty,” Biden said, standing before dozens of World War II veterans at the Normandy American Cemetery. “Now the question for us is, in our hour of trial, will we do ours?”

Yesterday’s Senate vote on the right to contraception amounted to an IQ test for Republicans. They flunked.

Republicans argued the bill was unnecessary, because they don’t oppose contraception and there are no efforts to ban it.  

“Senate Democrats are using their power in the majority to push an alarmist and false narrative that there was a problem accessing contraception,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said on the Senate floor. “This is not an issue unless their candidate for president is running behind in the polls.” 

If they don’t oppose access to contraception, then why block the bill? They must have known the point of the bill was to get them all on the record of being for or against a right to contraception. And, in fact, there are several attempts by Republicans in the states to put limits on access to contraception. See also:

Republican lawmakers in Missouri blocked a bill to widen access to birth-control pills by falsely claiming they induce abortions. An antiabortion group in Louisiana killed legislation to enshrine a right to birth control by inaccurately equating emergency contraception with abortion drugs. An Idaho think tank focused on “biblical activism” is pushing state legislators to ban access to emergency contraception and intrauterine devices (IUDs) by mislabeling them as “abortifacients.”

Since the Supreme Court overturned the right to abortion two years ago, far-right conservatives have been trying to curtail birth-control access by sowing misinformation about how various methods work to prevent pregnancy, even as Republican leaders scramble to reassure voters they have no intention of restricting the right to contraception, which polls show the vast majority of Americans favor.

The divide illustrates growing Republican tensions over the political cost of the “personhood” movement to endow an embryo with human rights, which has also animated the debate around in vitro fertilization.Mainstream medical societies define pregnancy as starting once an embryo has implanted in the wall of the uterus. But some conservative legislators, sharing the views of antiabortion activists, say they believe life begins when eggs are fertilized — before pregnancy — and are conflating some forms of birth control with abortion.

One of the things that’s going to have to happen to restore any amount of sanity to state and federal legislatures is for the forced pregnancy movement go away. (This happened to the Christian Temperance movement, which for a time was hugely powerful. Where is it now?)

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal ran a story allegedly sourced from several people, Democrats and Republicans, that allegedly documented deep concern about President Biden’s mental decline. Yeah, they’ve gone back to that. Josh Marshall read it for all of us and reports that the “several people” are Mike Johnson and Kevin McCarthy.

I read the piece and I noticed right away, but had to go back and make sure I was understanding the circumlocutions, that this purported deep dive on Biden’s slipping leads off with the accounts of two people: Speaker Mike Johnson and former Speaker Kevin McCarthy. There are some efforts to fuzz that up with Johnson since you have to piece together the meaning of the sourcing. (It’s based on the accounts of “six people told at the time about what Johnson said had happened” during a one-on-one meeting between Biden and Johnson. ¯\_(?)_/¯ ) About ten paragraphs in it notes in passing that of the more than 45 people the reporters spoke to for the piece over several months “most of those who said Biden performed poorly were Republicans.”

I do wish I could ask Mike Johnson when the Commandment about not bearing false witness (number eight or nine, depending on the source) was suspended. But just notice that that Murdoch Media is resurrecting the “Joe is brain dead” talking point now.

Update: Charles Pierce:  “I find it more than a little convenient that, after a solid month of stories about how El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago was dozing off at the defense table during his own criminal trial, we have ‘some’ who ‘wonder’ about Biden.”

What we’re up against: Pennsylvania Republicans jeer, leave statehouse floor in protest of officers who defended Capitol on Jan. 6.

Finally we get to our not-favorite judge Aileen “Loose” Cannon. Loose continues to find creative ways to waste time and push the trial date further into the future. Yesterday she re-shuffled the dates of hearings on various issues and added a new one, a hearing on whether Jack Smith’s appointment of special counsel is unconstitutional. And she took the bizarre step of inviting third party “friends of the court” with no direct involvement in the case to offer testimony at this hearing. Next I expect Trump’s lawyers to file a brief claiming the court has no jurisdiction because Trump is actually the Dauphin of France. Loose would probably schedule a hearing on that. See also Judge Aileen Cannon Will Entertain Any Excuse to Delay Trump’s Trial at The New Repuplic.

Update: Judge orders Steve Bannon to report to prison on July 1 for contempt of Congress sentence

6 thoughts on “D-Day + 80 and Today’s News Bits

  1. On the subject of D-Day: the veterans who fought that day, dead and alive deserve every bit of respect that we can put together. They prevailed and a year later, the fascist regime of Germany fell. But they might have failed in that battle and the war been prolonged, possibly even to a negotiated settlement rather than surrender.  Now, 80 years later we are fighting fascism at home. 

    Regarding Biden's "decline" – it's in Joe's power to set the issue of his mental decline to rest for the remainder of the election with the debate. That's a heavy burden to place on one man for a few hours of action. Like D-day, it's not a video game you reset.  "Do it do not. There is no try." The good news is that Trump shows no ability to learn new tricks, so the crap Trump will pull in the debate is totally predictable. If Joe's prep team does not capitalize on that predictability, the debate will look like a lot of trying.

    As I see it, the election pivots on what the "issues" are. It's not a question of where the majority of voters will stand, the question is what issues the majority will rank highly when they vote.

    The GOP wants the voter to prioritize the southern border, Biden's mental acuity, ANTIFA burning down cities, and woke making your children gay. (Did I forget anything?)

    Democrats are concerned with more concrete issues. What was January 6? How do you feel about women's rights to authority over their bodies, especially reproductive rights?  Abortion AND contraception. How do you feel about equality, racial, religious, and marriage (same-sex marriage), and the rights of adults in alternate (minority) sexual lifestyles? Do you support real democracy or do you want an authoritarian government with the illusion of elections and pre-ordained results?

    To go back to the WWII parallel, a lot of Germans were either indifferent to the atrocities, or ignorant. It all looked like fun in the beginning as Germany looted foreign countries and Jews just kinda disappeared in fact not long after their rights evaporated. But it was OK, I suspect until the Allies started dropping napalm on German cities. (Not commonly reported in the history books, but not different from the atrocities that the conquered countries endured.) All of a sudden, the war was wrong and somebody should do something – but when your side was doing it to others, it's collateral damage or whatever the catchphrase was that let you ignore the ugly reality.

    So the US voters are sleepwalking into an election where democracy is at stake. The "naplam" result of failing in this election is government limiting access to birth control, then monitoring all pregnancies from the first confirmed report. There is no other reason for the GOP to vote against a right to contraception. The party that defends "parent's rights" to decide what's in the best interests of the child wants to ban a parent from respecting the sexual orientation the child demonstrates – demanding the external or internal plumbing they were born with will be ENFORCED by the state for their entire lives.  The "napalm" result may be mass interment for those who exercise "free speech" and the "right of assembly" in protest of unconstitutional abuses. The only way all of this works will be an attack on freedom of the press, the media and free speech in social media. We're months away from the moment it does or does not happen.

  2. On Bannon: new reporting answered my question from yesterday. The NY trial on the "Build the Wall" fraud Bannon was in on will be in September. So he goes to jail July 1, and gets tried on new charges halfway through the four months. I'm not sure what NY SOP is on a criminal trial but Bannon should be convicted and close to sentencing around the time of the election.

    Bannon is not followed closely by the normal Republican voter. (IMO) He is followed by MAGA and (I think) his reporting to prison will be closely noted by MAGA in direct relation to their radicalization. 

    This is a story we want in front of voters as much as possible. Bannon looks like a homeless person most of the time. What he says and has done is truly an attack on civilization But only kooks like me follow it.

  3. "I do wish I could ask Mike Johnson when the Commandment about not bearing false witness (number eight or nine, depending on the source) was suspended"

    Those commandments are meant to be followed by others, evangelicals like Johnson don't need to follow any rules, they've "accepted" Jesus as their lord and savior, they've already had their ticket punched!

  4. Safe to say that tRump does not get D-day, like his comment during tour of Arlington, "What was in it for them?", absolutely no understanding of the concept of sacrificing for others.

    Noticed in Huffpo that Dr. Phil had a one-on-one with tRump; a sign that we have reached peak – whatever! I did not get into it other than just noticing, that was the limit of my tolerance.

  5. Michel Goldberg writes today of the Trump mob rather than the Trump cult.  Either way it is a money collection scheme with religious cover.  Steve Bannon has to go to jail, and while in jail will be tried for a money collection scheme related to the wall, which resulted in embezzlement and the conviction of three of Bannon's cronies for the crime. Really this was more of a mobster ploy than a cult one.  

    I tend to paint a cult with at least a thin veneer of religious zealotry.  You still have the zeal, but the mobster element is showing through.  Mostly it is now all about extortion, protection, and other vice, with only the primitive codes of conduct native to the greed and hate mob/cult.  

    In the Viet Nam Era, there was a book out entitled The Ugly American.  It was a collection of mostly unsavory activities of Americans on the international scene.  Bannon seems to have thought it a how-to book.  It is of little wonder that both reputable Western and Eastern Cultures dread any chance of the return of the Trump mob.   I am with them on that. It would be really ugly, the art of the deal you cannot refuse.  

  6. For Mike Johnson, his vulnerability has always been the commandment about lying (false witness). He's made his choice: having power is more important.

    For MTG, her vulnerability is Matt 22:36 – the two greatest commandments, 1) love God with all you've got, and 2) love your neighbor as yourself. 

    These hypocrites (a word Jesus often used to describe people like Johnson and Greene) need to be confronted with this at every turn. Listen closely: It's the Democrats' vulnerability that they do not know scripture well enough to confront these clowns. It would absolutely shut them down.

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