The 2nd American Civil War is beginning


Hannah Beier/Reuters

The US supreme court’s upcoming decision to reverse Roe v Wade (an early draft of which was leaked last week) doesn’t ban abortions; it leaves the issue to the states. As a result, it will put another large brick in the growing wall separating blue and red America.

The second American civil war is already occurring, but it is less of a war than a kind of benign separation analogous to unhappily married people who don’t want to go through the trauma of a formal divorce.

One America is largely urban, racially and ethnically diverse, and young. The other is largely rural or exurban, white and older…

Surveys show Americans find it increasingly important to live around people who share their political values. Animosity toward those in the opposing party is higher than at any time in living memory. Forty-two per cent of registered voters believe Americans in the other party are “downright evil”.

Increasingly, each America is running under different laws…

“States rights” was always a cover for segregation and harsh discrimination. The poor – both white and people of color – are already especially burdened by anti-abortion legislation because they can’t afford travel to a blue state to get an abortion.

They’re also hurt by the failure of red states to expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act; by red state de facto segregation in public schools; and by red state measures to suppress votes.

“What is to be done?” is the question waiting for an answer. Not for the first time in any nation; not even the first time in this one. But, a non-violent solution is to be preferred. That doesn’t include “States’ Rights”.

Nearby wildfires increase cancer risk

A new study from McGill University finds higher incidence of lung cancer and brain tumors in people exposed to wildfires. The study, which tracks over 2 million Canadians over a period of 20 years, is the first to examine how proximity to forest fires may influence cancer risk…

Published in The Lancet Planetary Health, the study shows that people living within 50 kilometers of wildfires over the past 10 years had a 10% higher incidence of brain tumors and 4.9% higher incidence of lung cancer than people living further away.

Wildfires typically occur in similar regions each year, and as a result, people living in nearby communities might be exposed to carcinogenic wildfire pollutants on a chronic basis, warn the researchers.

In addition to impacts on air quality, wildfires also pollute aquatic, soil, and indoor environments. While some pollutants return to normal concentrations shortly after the fire has stopped burning, other chemicals might persist in the environment for long periods of time, including heavy metals and hydrocarbons. “Exposure to harmful environmental pollutants might continue beyond the period of active burning through several routes of exposure,” adds Professor Weichenthal

Just being an old geezer, I’ve been staying indoors on detectable “smoke days” during the unusually severe wildfire wildfire patch we’re experiencing this spring. Now, I get to worry even more.

FBI’s fraudulent letter sent to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

When the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech before huge crowds on the National Mall in August 1963, the FBI took notice.

“We must mark him now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this Nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro and national security,” FBI Domestic Intelligence Chief William Sullivan wrote in a memo two days later.

…Surveillance failed to show that King was a communist, but it did result in many tapes of extramarital sexual liaisons by King.

So the next year, Sullivan sent the following unsigned letter to King’s home. An unredacted version of it was only recently unearthed by Yale historian Beverly Gage, and published in the New York Times in November 2014:

Though the letter was unsigned and the letter writer appeared to want King to think he was black — “you know you are a complete fraud and a great liability to all of us Negroes,” one line states — King and his advisers quickly concluded the letter had been sent by the FBI…

I was at that rally on the National Mall when Dr. King delivered his “I have a Dream” speech. It was hot and I was tired. And none of that mattered. This speech was a profound (and lasting) inspiration to all who heard it.

“Did none of you learn anything from the Gridiron Dinner?”


Pete Marovich/NYTimesTrevor Noah asks…

On Saturday, the comedian Trevor Noah stood before a ballroom of 2,600 journalists, celebrities and political figures at the White House Correspondents Dinner, and asked: What are we doing here?

“Did none of you learn anything from the Gridiron Dinner? Nothing,” Mr. Noah said, referring to another elite Washington gathering in April, after which dozens of attendees tested positive for the coronavirus. “Do you read any of your own newspapers?”

By Wednesday, Mr. Noah’s chiding remarks at what he called “the nation’s most distinguished superspreader event” were beginning to appear prophetic as a growing number of attendees, including a string of journalists and Antony J. Blinken, the secretary of state, said they had tested positive for the virus…

The growing number of cases presented another sign of an official Washington that has largely returned to prepandemic routines, even as officials still urge Americans to take precautions, and has decided to live with the result.

Stupid is as stupid does. Might be repetitive…even trite. Still happens to be the truth too often to ignore.

Religious nutballs own our Supreme Court

From the National Women’s Law Center

Tonight, a draft Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked. The language in that opinion is outrageous, irresponsible, and shocking—and the unsurprising culmination of a decades-long plan to end our right to abortion. It also confirms what we’ve already known: the Supreme Court has been politicized and weaponized by extremist politicians who want to take away our rights.

If the opinion that was leaked tonight is finalized, our fundamental right to reproductive autonomy, agency, and freedom will be eroded beyond recognition, and 50 years of settled law will be obliterated.

Any Justice who signs onto this opinion is fueling the harm and violence that will happen to people who become pregnant in this country.

If you only do one thing tonight, support abortion funds who are fighting to ensure people have access to care no matter what the Supreme Court says. Follow this link for a list of abortion funds to support.

I’ll be honest: the road ahead is scary. But we will never stop fighting for a world where our bodies, lives, and futures aren’t controlled by the court, anti-abortion extremists, or politicians who try to shame us. Until then, we will need all of you, and all of us, today, tomorrow, and beyond.

In solidarity…

By the age of 22, I had twice broken a religion-based, crap law, in my birth state, Connecticut. A state that bragged on itself as the Constitution State, BTW. I’d paid for one illegal abortion. I had a vasectomy. Oh yes, in particular, representatives of the Holy Roman Catholic Church in my state, doing their G_d’s Will, didn’t want any opportunity available for individuals to thwart what they considered heaven-sent law.

And, now, the highest court in this land is preparing to overturn settled law on the basis of their religious and political beliefs. Screw science, screw virtually unanimous studies about women’s rights or a legal system that supports choice over an ideology leftover from the Dark Ages.

A Supreme Court that picks a political side in this manner is no longer free and progressive. They should be judged with the contempt they deserve. They don’t deserve the respect one might show to an ignorant animal.

Edward A. Campbell [eideard]

Republicans decide Nazis had the best idea when they came up with burning books

The Republican-led Tennessee state House passed a bill Wednesday that would require public school librarians to submit to the state a list of book titles for approval, as a GOP lawmaker suggested burning books that are deemed inappropriate.

During a contentious debate on the bill in the House, state Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D) asked state Rep. Jerry Sexton (R) what he would do with the books that he and the state consider inappropriate for libraries.

“You going to put them in the street? Light them on fire? Where are they going?” Clemmons asked.

“I don’t have a clue, but I would burn them,” Sexton replied.

“That’s what I thought,” Clemmons said…

Book burning is emblematic of authoritarian regimes, and it was notably carried out in Nazi Germany. One of the most prominent examples in history occurred May 10, 1933, when students in German universities set fire to more than 25,000 books that were deemed “un-German,” according to the U.S. Holocaust Museum. The action came after some 40,000 people gathered to hear Joseph Goebbels, chief propagandist for the Nazi Party, deliver an address declaring “No to decadence and moral corruption,” according to the museum.

Under the Tennessee House bill, librarians would be required to submit to a state-run commission a list of book titles in their collections for approval. The Tennessee state Senate approved a different version of the bill. After differences between the two are resolved, it will head to Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) to be signed into law.

This new formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party will now literally carry their torch forward to advance racism, discrimination on gender, politics and sexual identity. All the bigotry historically favored by the Nazi Party…is now embraced as the heart and soul of the Republican Party.

What did Greg Abbot’s border inspection turn up? Bupkis!


Omar Ornelas/The El Paso Times

State troopers ordered by Gov. Greg Abbott to inspect every commercial truck coming from Mexico earlier this month — which clogged international trade with Mexico — found zero drugs, weapons or any other type of contraband, according to data released by the Department of Public Safety to The Texas Tribune…

Over eight days, starting April 8, troopers conducted more than 4,100 inspections of trucks. Troopers didn’t find any contraband but took 850 trucks off the road for various violations related to their equipment. Other truckers were given warnings, and at least 345 were cited for things such as underinflated tires, broken turn signals and oil leaks…

Can’t find a bloody thing wrong that you’re looking for. That you made a big noise about in the media. Spend the rest of your time harassing the truckers trying to make a living – some part of which involves crossing the border into one of the most politically backwards portions of these United States. Texas.

…Adam Isacson, director for defense oversight at the Washington Office on Latin America, an advocacy group for human rights in the Americas, said…“It just seems odd to me that DPS would be that much of a deterrent for smugglers deciding whether to bring something after already passing through the gauntlet of CBP,” he said.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection routinely inspects commercial cargo coming from Mexico for illegal drugs and people being smuggled as soon as truckers cross the international bridges. CBP called Texas’ inspections duplicative and “unnecessary.”

Useless duplication. Inflicted upon transport workers because an incompetent Republican governor (1) wants to find someone to blame for every imaginary problem stuck in his pea-brain and (2) no doubt he’s getting ready to run for president of the GOUSA in Republican primaries leading up to the 2024 election and he desperately needs to be seen as doing something productive.

If Elon Musk owns TWITTER, he can snoop on the world!


Jim Watson/AFP

Elon Musk’s plans to privatize Twitter have spurred concern among privacy experts and social media researchers, including one former Harvard professor who told The Washington Post that having one person in control of the social platform “is a disaster” for user privacy.

The former professor and author of “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism,” Shoshana Zuboff, said huge ad revenues and unregulated data collection about user behavior have changed the social media industry, which now holds incredible sway over real-world events…

Putting that power in the hands of a single person, she said, would be “incompatible with democracy.”

“There are simply no checks and balances from any internal or external force,” Zuboff told The Washington Post.

Do you trust Elon Musk?

Cripes, I don’t trust any president, any Congress, probably no one who’s paid to be a full-time politician. OTOH, I’m still out here even though the official government yoyos also have the FBI, NSA, CIA. The whole alphabet soup of snoops! Probably means I’m not enough of a gadfly.