Harriet Vane

Racism in US mixes with status insecurity to defeat infrastructure & destroy democracy

You want to know why Biden can't get infrastructure passed. Why the US is crumbling: the worst of the developed countries for public transportation, bridges, health and child care.

San Diego republicans will not let "this kind of thing" spread:

What GOP hates:  Trump's campaigns include rhetoric for single-famiy dwellings

You must first understand what racism is in my neighborhood -- upper middle class predominantly white.  (I have told on Sylvia II the story of how Jim and I came to live here.) More fundamentally the behavior comes from insecure status.  Class depends on money in the US: lose your money, you go down in class.  These people hate if their status is threatened; they regard any intrusion of lower class people, even from buses, and crowded traffic as also bringing down property values. They like to believe or do they are wholly responsible for their success in life.  Work hours & work ethnic in the US is killing. So they loathe other people getting anything "for free" or out of the tax system with money these other people didn't earn themselves.  It is okay to inherit it, then your parents did the earning. Democrats will pay taxes to the make the general world around them better; also provide health care for others.  But GOP people think they can and do buy their way out of the general world; if their attitude towards vaccination is any sign, they do not believe there is such a thing as public health or don't care about (again their money will insulate them) it.  It is this that prevents Biden from enacting his infrastructure bill -- these  GOP attitudes.  Lots of people identity as GOP because it is still seen as the patrician businessman not-whining party.  They loathe what they call whining. Whinging.  Threaded into many of Trump's speeches is the warning the democrats will put multi-unit housing in your area.  The phrase is a red flag

It is ugly, mean, -- and on top of that such people enjoy competition. They enjoy beating down a price. This tells them how they are worthy.  They like patronage systems. When they win out in these, again they are assured they are better than other people.  Another word for this in the US is individualism.  They will pay (almost do) anything to put their kids in elite schools. They regard the price tag of a college education as a negotiable amount. When their kid makes the college, they begin to call whoever and seriously nag and demand and plead for price to be brought down.  I understand sometimes it is. See how they have won out.

Now not all GOP people have all the above attitudes, and some upper class democrats share some of them.

The Buzz words

This is not to say the atavistic distrust and fear of people not white and people not middle class in money and property does not exist. Its core is something inexplicable: I saw it in my mother.  Anyone not Jewish she was not truly comfortable with; she regarded them as "other," and kept an emotional distance and didn't identify with a non-Jew, didn't trust a non-Jew, regarded them as somehow inferior to Jews.

I don't understand the hatred nor the intense anger -- it is very unfortunate this murder of a British MP by an Islamic "extremist."  Murders probably occur  everyday of the week but people pay attention to this.  A long story -- only took 3 days at most -- but I got myself in trouble on listserv and when I realized what was happening got off immediately.

It happened partly on  the neighborhood listserv -- which I know is monitored by local police (as I've seen occasional emails by one of them sounding official and answering what he or his group thought somehow threatening or whatever). A young Black man was coming through the neighborhood offering his and his companies services for fixing houses; he came to my door but I don't need the service, haven't got the money for what he proposed.  Well on the listserv someone announced she had called the cops to watch out for him; all praised this and gave little comments to add up to suspicion. No one mentioned he was Black.  I did write and say he was fine and no one was mentioning he was Black.  No they should not call police.  Not long after angry emails on list; I'm the racist because I mention he's Black; one person on the list supports me and two off list to me but too cowardly to be onlist. In my last I said I had written what I did because I feared that we'd end with bodies on our sidewalks and I couldn't reconcile with my conscience to say nothing.

 I got a few astonishing emails off list. One person incensed I have a sign that is pro-Terry.  You think you are something with your sign.  It's blue.  This year for the first time since before 2016 there are red GOP signs for the Republican candidates. W/o Trump there explicitly they have returned to shamelessness again -- for their candidate makes racist buzz words, anti-immigrant buzz words, says he will supoprt Trump.

The seething resentment of these white upper class types that I felt when I pointed out what I did astounded me. I think I have said that I fear the Va election will produce a Republican governor and in my (this same wealthy mostly white neighborhood)  One white man married to a Black woman became livid.  Any way I got off it was 2 days ago and I'm talking about maybe 6 mails altogether but this eruption is the same thing as the intense attention to this murder.  I must stay away as I have no understanding of these people.   The neighborhood list was useful for learning about neighborhood stuff.  I'll live without this information.

Why police kill Black young men with impunity

I could tell other incidents about these people calling cops when Black people who don't live here are seen in the neighborhood  -- many years ago another I got involved in where I was shocked again at this super-rich white women calling cops on a few Black children.  Yes these children from two blocks away and down a hill, an old-fashioned welfare kind of project came to the blocks and in no time saw in Izzy someone to bully.  I came out, shooed them away, before 2 hours had gone by the police were here.  The result was Izzy never rode her bike again.  The children were bullies; this happened to Izzy periodically as a child (she is small and also has a deformed hand) and a couple of times it was Black children, and again a fuss -- once Principal who was Black phoned me and threatened to sully my reputation if I complained -- . Nowadays we do have Black people living here, but only a few.

Few come out looking good in these incidents because so many behave in the worst ways possible filled with fear resentment  (remember one source of the latter is status insecurity -- see above)

The GOP take over of the US was prepared for 25 years by wealthy people taking over courts, and state governments slowly; but it is fueled by racism, blind hatred of immigrants who are seen as somehow criminal.  One reason Thao, my young 37 year old friend, with a Ph.d in a medical specialiy was not able to get s good paying job in Canada is she is female Asian -- much prejudice against the two together even in Canada.(All the horrrible disabilites and complete lack of ability for women in law before say 1870 in Europe which is laid out by proto-feminists like Francis Power Cobb are stil in place around the world in the middle east and other countries whose primary religion is Islam.)

Infrastructure and all general social benefits are bad-mouthed as socialism and these GOP people will suppress the vote to stop all change that threatens their neighborhoods as they see this.  A young Black man coming to the neighborhood to try to sell his house-fixing company had better stay away.

So what prompted this?  the infrastructure dreamed of by Biden and progressives and a few centrists is not going to happen; instead the US democracy will be hollowed to become anything but.

Miss Drake
Harriet Vane

20 Years of Bloodshed and Delusion: No War in Our Name


A couple of weeks ago now The Nation had an extraordinarly insightful informative and humane set of essays in its weekly paper copy. In accordance with my "brief" for this blog, I want to share them here.  I hope you can reach them.

First and foremost, Tariq Ali telling the truth of how and why the US came in inflict six wars, cause millions to be killed, and a terrible suffering of Muslims around the world:  The Foreign Masters' Rage.

Neta Crawford: The Cost of Twenty Years of War

Moustafi Bayoumi: How the War on Terror created Muslim America

Alexander Cockburn (the most eye-opening of them all because recording something so rarely recorded):  Why American Goes to War:  Money drives the US military machine: he also tells of how each individual does what he or she does in the war groups out of self-interest. there is no talk here of ideologies.

Clair MacDougall:  Gitmo's Forgotten Ex-detainees

Finally, a separate topic but in the same issue

Danielle Carr: a review of Carl Zimmer's A Planet of Viruses  The Politics of Science Writing -- that what is frequently discussed often misses most important issues

None of the above is unfortunately at all obsolete.

From the David Bacon Archive (many photographic essays found in the Progressive Magazine):  now online at Stanford Libraries

Tired Dolores Huerta in Sacramento, 1994

Miss Drake
Harriet Vane

9/11 -- twenty years since: Springstein & Biden; 4 movies (Fahrenheit 9/11); Heather Cox & me

Dear readers and friends,

An update: better than any of the four movies is Fintan O'Toole's essay which is both Afghanistan, and US politics and social world over the last 20 and more years . Fintan O'Toole has written a description and analysis of what happened in Afghanistan, why the US presence, its war in Afghanistan turned out such a dismal expensive failure. I've not come across anything as cogent, convincing, and he includes emphases and details you don't find elsewhere. "The lie of nation building:'

Notice the story about the kidnapping and chattel enslaving of young Afghan boys as imprisoned sexual objects for soldiers -- this is included in Turning Point but it is not made as important an indication of what was actually happening in Afghanistan as O'Toole sees this.

A quotation by O'Toole of Sarah Chayes:
I have often been asked whether we in the West have the right to “impose democracy” on people who “just might not want it,” or might not be “ready for it.” I think, concerning Afghanistan at least, this question is exactly backward…. I have found that Afghans know precisely what democracy is—even if they might not be able to define the term. And they are crying out for it. They want from their government what most Americans and Europeans want from theirs: roads they can drive on, schools for their kids, doctors with certified qualifications…, a minimum of public accountability, and security…. And they want to participate in some real way in the fashioning of their nation’s destiny….
But Afghans were getting precious little of any of that…. American policy in Afghanistan was not imposing or even encouraging democracy, as the US government claimed it was. Instead, it was standing in the way of democracy. It was institutionalizing violence

He argues we must think about what happened in Afghanistan as about ourselves and for our own sakes: The war was not just a projection of American power into a troubled part of Asia. It was a test of the nature of that power. It showed that if war is the continuation of politics by other means, what was continued over twenty years in Afghanistan was a dangerous American nonchalance about the difficulty and fragility of democracy. The prevailing assumption over those years was that a stable democracy could be created and sustained without a commitment to telling the truth, without controlling the distorting effects of money, without standing up to the avidity of the rich, without proper mechanisms for open scrutiny and rational deliberation, without a commitment to moral standards that apply as much to our allies as to our enemies. Democracy without those values and systems has no substance. It will fall—and not just in Afghanistan.
The Americans running the show there were never convinced by the performance. They just could not stir themselves to do much about it. They watched the notion of a democratic republic they had conjured for a suffering people slip away bit by bit until it collapsed catastrophically. They settled into a strange pattern of dazed powerlessness. Successive American administrations, Republican and Democratic, became spectators at a drama in which the follies and dangers of their own domestic polity were played out in exotic foreign costumes. They failed to see that this story was also about themselves.


Yesterday was a day of remembrance of those who died in the thousands either directly and quickly from the attack of the four planes and their destruction, or its short and long aftermath of sickness and maiming. It should also have been a day of acknowledgement of what happened thoroughly (there has never been a  public investigation and the records of what was found out remains sealed), including two long useless cruel wars (except to arms manufacturers and all those who make money on war, and from the oil that was sluiced away), with a vow of change US foreign policy utterly from imperialism, colonialism, militarism, ruthless capitalism. It was not in the public ceremonies,most of which were about coping with grief and loss.  Here's Bruce Springstein singing, ever so tenderly, "I'll see you in my dreams"

There have been many reports, stories, interviews of books over the last couple of weeks, ironically coinciding with all that's been said on the Afghanistan war, so many. There has been a pouring out of memories, on twitter, on News programs, emails, blogs, news-sites, newspapers. One powerful and poignant blog was written by the gentle author of Spitalfields.

My comment to him was as follows (he didn't let it appear - not the first time I've been censored):

It is untrue that the world was changed by this single event. It was and remains an incident on an on-going cruel capitalist world, however scary and unusual on who was killed; a circus symbolic spectacular stunt pulled off by people who loathed the US for its imperialist and colonialist policies and actions; it was a horrific tragedy for those who died and all those connected to them; for those who became terribly injured and sickened working on the site in the days that followed -- and were often refused decent health care because that would make it obvious that that NYC, and the stock market should have shut down for weeks. It made manifest what was and still is the underlying realities of US political policies.
The world did not change even if some of the policies of these gov'ts did. The Internet has changed some aspects of the world in this time of the pandemic but by no means the basic attitudes of the right wing capitalists who seem to hold the real power in any situation..
After 9/11, many corporations and individuals went on to make a lot of money in Iraq and Afghanistan and the real individual particular states who were involved (Bin Laden could not have done it just with with his Al-Quaeda -- Saudi Arabian groups were part of this) were never exposed.


But there has also been much serious talk and acknowledgement about how 9/11 happened: the causes, what led to it.  So much that I thought best to bring together tonight  four movies made which do tell important truths about what happened and continues to happen, with implications and direct comments on what needs change for real

Last night I re-watched a candid history for a second time, with informed (insofar as he could) and perceptive and humane analysis, Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. He streamed it from his corner of YouTube. In my judgement it should be required watching for everyone. The Wikipedia article offers a precise accurate summary.

I want to call attention especially to the unknown and uninvestigated business and political connections between Bush and the Saudi Arabian ambassador and gov't leaders, to how most of the "terrorists" were Egyptian or Saudi Muslims, to the creation of an atmosphere of fear and dread around the US by Bush's gov't for two years in order to attack Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11 but has vast oil fields and Saddam Hussein, who disdained Bush senior. The years of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan where the US built up the origins of the Taliban (to defeat "communist" Russia). The lying forms of recruitment, the horrific treatment of Afghans. One scene stays with me that flashes through: a beheading of a man in Saudi Arabia. The legless young men in Veteran's hospitals whose funds Bush was cutting.

Three other films to be watched in order to learn what happened and what the war in Afghanistan is rooted in.

9/11's Unsettled, is second in importance because of its perspective: the first responders. Alas, apparently not being distributed anywhere I can find. This is about the thousands of people who grew very sick, and developed serious diseases in the time after 9/11 when they worked at ground zero with inadequate protection, and within days Wall Street was opened again, a local high school, Stuyvesant, because what was wanted was to be seen to be carrying on making money. And to make money. From Rudi Giuliani to Christine Todd Whitman, ironically the head of the EPA, what was then wanted was a cover-up and not only did the US health insurance companies fight back and refuse to pay for people's treatments and injuries, refuse to acknowledge they were the result of 9/11, those who protested were maligned and punished. Read the story of Joe Zadroga, after whom one of the bills to provide for compensation was named, his wife, his father. One of the important reporters on the stories was Juan Gonzalez.

The third is a Netflix serial, Turning Point: 9/11 and the War on Terror, directed by Brian Knappenberger. This is an unflinching look at what was done by three administrations, but especially Bush, where the incident was used to extend surveillance, legitimize torture (Black sites), the nature of the Patriot Act, what came from it, Guantanomo, and again Drones.

There is a fourth, a Frontline series on PBS too: America After 9/11, directed by Michael Kirk. There is no reason anyone in the US should be ignorant of what happened, how it relates to what came before, and how it relates to how the GOP went extreme and is following Donald Trump (if it can and it's going far) into destroying the US democracy, such as it still is (very oligarchic) and was (thoroughly racist, punitive in outlook, deeply anti-social individualism promoted).

This might all lead to my reader wondering why I insist 9/11 didn't change the world. It happened as a result of all the US gov't had done since 1947, and the reaction to it was to intensify what led to it. I'm now thinking of the GOP efforts (thus far successful) of stifling the vote, and on that you can read Heather Cox Richardson and listen and watch over many days and weeks. Here is just one


Like most people here in the US -- as it was on the day Kennedy was assassinated and as it may come to be about the day Trump and the GOP and their followers attempted to overthrow the US democacy, by attacking the Congress to stop the validation of the election of Joe Biden --, I remember the day too.

My story is all too ordinary: as has been true for most of these catastrophic world-as-village events, seen at one time on TV, and now this PC computer, I was at or near home, leaving a dentist's office a little after 9:30.   I had felt suddenly & seen a commotion, excitement among the other people waiting, and asked the reception what was happening. I was told airplanes were hitting the World Trade Center!  I am ashamed to say I dismissed this as typical of this gullible receptionist. Could not be.

I went out to my car and found myself in a mounting traffic jam, so instead of 5 minutes to get home, it was 20. The phone was ringing as I reached the door, and I ran in and picked up, and it was Jim, in a drawn voice, "Not to worry. I'm just fine. I'm in the basement of the Australian embassy where we were all told to go, and scary huge men armed heavily are filling the building." He had to get off his flip phone, but said quickly "put on the TV, CNN." I did and I saw the first of the two tall buildings sliding down. Horror, shock, as I saw the fire line in the middle, and the camera switching way below to see a man shrugging intensely.
Soon from CNN I knew a story of  these two planes and that there was a third that hit the Pentagon. As it happened the library was hit -- since rebuilt as a small annex where Izzy works today. I went onto the Internet, queried friends at C18-l and read the name of Osama Bin Laden as the perpetrator for the first time. I had never heard this name before.
The rest is quickly told. A phone call from T.C.Williams telling me the school was in "lockdown" and of course "not to worry," as the young adults would probable be let out at the usual time. Another from Laura, frightened; she surprised me by coming over about two hours later with Wally (with whom she was living at the time, and whom she would marry the following year). She needed to see me and Jim and the house and that all was the same, as it ever was. The news shows had less news as time went on.
Two friends called for the first time in years to express anxiety over Jim.  I said he was not in the Pentagon that day, and my cousin contacted me.  The next day I did have bad pains in my chest, suggesting I was experiencing more stress that I admitted to myself.
I did think to myself what Susan Sontag wrote in a newspaper and was castigated for: "well, what do people expect -- the US for decades stops social democracies, foments civil wars, pulls off coups, creates situations where no young native men can get a good job and itself bombs, strafes, this is the afflicted world hitting back. But astonishment at the audacity and effectiveness of this plan to take down the center of capitalism (Wall Street has no such hubristic building), of the US military (the magically numbered Pentagon), and a fourth plane (never hit) to set on fire and destroy the central imperialist house in classical style, painted white ... "
Now 20 years on, two horrible wars later, instigated by George W Bush and his cronies and associates in crime (making oodles of money as unscrupulous oil and other corporations), carried on to no reasonable purpose (at least in aims originally by this crew), hundreds of thousands of people killed, untold billions spent, with "surges" by Barack Obama as president in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Then the institution of these inhumane murderous drones aka killing people without trial and often getting "the wrong target" so even the last day in Afghanistan a whole family was murdered, the US support of an utterly corrupt puppet regime in Afghanistan, laying waste a country and sending to their deaths or life-long psychological maiming young adult Americans.


What is terrible now is the newspapers and much of the establishment which makes money and finds prestige in continuous wars are attacking Biden. They are attacking him for his attempt to make vaccination work and bring the US back to health and safety. They are attacking his compromised but huge and important plans for infastructure.  The GOP, together with colluding democrats, are working to limit the vote to stop all but middle class white people, centrist, from voting insofar as they can. Or deny and throw away enough votes of those who want a social democracy never to have anything like it again.

Maybe more graver than usual. But it's appropriate. Not to say anything would be deeply wrong, reprehensible to me who does care about what happens to myself, my family and friends, all the people I know, the thousands and thousands inside the US whose destinies are intertwined with mine, and by extrapolation (since especially since the pandemic) our connection to all those vulnerable and powerless people who are not making oodles of money but at risk or suffering badly because of the people in these gov'ts, their allies, their donors, and parties' behavior.

Not all speeches were about personal pain or courage or hurt, Biden gave an impassioned one on how we now need unity to move ahead to improve all our lives together:

Miss Drake
Harriet Vane

Texas makes vigilante behavior to women & voters legal; a bounty offered; Supreme Court approves

Dear friends and readers,

You probably don't need me to tell you about this,  but it is such a stunning perversion of law, the US constitution, and democracy I feel I need to say something about it -- lest readers  not realize what the new laws in Texas  are encouraging.

Last week in The Nation, Katha Pollitt predicated just what is happening:  If Roe v Wade is overturned, the future will be worse than the past:  Before women were regarded as unchaste, promiscuous, there was anger against the coming birth of a child who would end a burden on the community; in fact socieities colluded in letting such children die (a history of infanticide in which the single woman was blamed): Child Murder and British Culture Polllitt predicts now the pregnant woman will be treated like a criminal, and the medical procedure within a woman's body treated like murder.

Heather Cox Richaredson offers a history of how abortion was made into a political issue, and then passions attached to it by propaganda (I'll add especially by the Catholic Church) so it's central to a culture war, and relentless propaganda has made a procedure the majority of Americans approve of before the 5th to 6th month of pregnancy, becomes in the papers something profoundly socially unacceptable in public at any time.

Texas is criminalizing women through their biology: if a heartbeat can be detected in their uterus, it's declared that there is a child there who must be protected from the mother. Most women don't know they are pregnant within the first six weeks. All the people a woman might possibly depend upon to help her cope -- from relatives, to friends, to doctors and nurses, cab drivers, anyone who gives her any help is subject to arrest. The person deputizing him or herself will get $10,000 if the case against the person is proved. If the person is found innocent of charges, he or she must pay all costs. As of midnight last night you need have no permit or any kind of control to buy a gun and carry it. The GOP also said there will be watchers at the polls to stop fraud (it is so infinitesimal this is an unreal charge); these watchers are in effect more vigilantes; they too can carry guns, so what is aimed at is all voters that GOP people don't want to vote can be stopped, arrested, harassed, and otherwise harmed, hurt and kill. Not only do officers kill ordinary people with impunity, there are "stand your ground" laws which permit the ordinary citizen to shoot to kill if they deem someone else a threat. Trayvon Martin's murderer was dclared not guilty of murder on these grounds. Done yesterday after the governor threatened to arrest all democrats who didn't show up for the vote. They showed.
And the Supreme court once again declined to hear the case so the new "law" can go into effect.

Heather Cox Richardson: "The Supreme Court has essentially blessed the efforts of Texas legislators to prevent the enforcement of federal law by using citizen vigilantes to get their way." (From newsletter for September 1st) ... "Last night at midnight, a new law went into effect in Texas. House Bill 1927 permits people to carry handguns without a permit, unless they have been convicted of a felony or domestic violence. "
That's what said more bluntly Heather Cox Richardson discusses in the academic plain style in her September 1st newsletter (which I link in here). Literally she explains how the Supreme Court is allowing states to defy laws passed by congress and long established constitutional law by allowing citizens to use violence and arrest to stop people from doing what they disapprove of. The citizens are allowed to do this because they look upon these behaviors as criminals. All people in Texas can carry a gun and need no permit. The legislature has declared the ordinary support system of women implicit criminals; and they have criminalized women through their biology. Finally they are allowing vigilantes to prowl through voting precincts to declare this or that behavior fraudulent.
Meanwhile -- she only referred to this in passing -- the GOP all day called Biden's ending of the 20 year war in Afghanistan a disaster, and decried turning women over to the Taliban, and the first actions of the Taliban officially were to say no women will be allowed in their gov't. TheTaliban have put orders to demand women stay at home ("for now," "for their safety"). The GOP in Texas with the allowance of a Supreme court whose majority is the result of sitting presidents who did not win the popular vote despite the gerrymandered condition of the US and the electoral set up in their favor. Richardson also says the use of this shadow approval (refusing to decide a case, leaving things stand w/o discussion, w/o signature) has grown immensely since Trump's regime began in 2016



Nancy Northrup discusses the situation.

Susan Cameron of NPR shifts the discussion to how this is an attack on "the abortion industry" -- medical facilities, doctors, all who provide for women's health as suspects

Nancy Pelosi today: The Court’s cowardly decision to uphold a flagrantly unconstitutional assault on women’s rights and health is staggering. The House will bring up Congresswoman Judy Chu’s Women’s Health Protection Act to enshrine into law reproductive health care for all women across America.


What is so distressing is the encouragement to open violence is rarely discussed; we hear what women with money will try to do out-of-state, but not that lawlessness is essentially being called law:


I thought perhaps Ruth Marcus in her column for the Wash Post would talk about the loss of a rule of laws, but alas, she does not -- though she comes close. Apparently if something is called legal, then to her mind, it's law. But see Erwin Chemerinsky: Texas is encouraging people to sue anyone who exercises a constitutional right.

Only Elie Mystal in The Nation discusses how dangerous this new law is quite literally:


"The law stipulates that any US citizen can sue a Texas abortion provider, or sue a person suspected of “aiding or abetting” abortion services. The plaintiffs don’t even have to be residents of Texas to sue Texans suspected of helping people make private choices. Should the lawsuit prevail, the person who brought the suit will receive $10,000, plus attorney fees. Texas has created a cash incentive to haul not just doctors and nurses into court but also lawyers, reproductive rights counselors, and even receptionists.

This country hasn’t seen this kind of dystopian legal bullshit since Salem.

The bounty system is more than mere red meat thrown at a base always eager to control the actions of others. It’s also key to Texas’s entire plan of evading constitutional review. The bounty system puts enforcement of the law in the hands of private citizens, not state officials, creating what bad-faith conservatives think is a constitutional loophole by preventing abortion providers and others from filing lawsuits against the state for the government’s new abortion restriction. It’s as if Texas is saying, “We’re not violating due process. We’re just offering $10,000 to Batman for any jokers who end up in jail, no questions asked.”

It’s an intellectually dishonest argument, and the district court judge, Robert Pittman, didn’t fall for it. Abortion providers had filed a case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson, and asked for a temporary injunction blocking the Texas law while the case proceeded. Judge Pittman temporarily enjoined the law last week, pending a full hearing, which was supposed to take place this past Monday, August 30.

But the Fifth Circuit, the most conservative circuit court in the country, rushed to support Texas’s constitutional trolling, and not only vacated Judge Pittman’s ruling, but canceled his hearing. Without Supreme Court intervention, a law functionally overturning Roe v. Wade will go into effect tomorrow.

In the meantime, the Supreme Court will hear a direct challenge to Roe this year, but likely not this one (although the Fifth Circuit’s ruling was immediately appealed to the Supreme Court). Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization concerns a 15-week abortion ban imposed by the state of Mississippi. That law also restricts abortions well before the fetal viability line set in Roe. The Fifth Circuit already struck that law down, as it didn’t include the bounty system Texas now claims absolves it from following the Constitution."

There is a Women's Health Protection Act in the Congress; it can be passed (or has been) by the House of Representatives; if passed by the Senate and signed by Biden, it would supersede this cruelty -- as cited by Nancy Pelosi (above)

Finally, to do this also has the effect of turning members of communities against one another; it turns a society into spies and spied-upon, the watched and the watchers, those anxious to criminalize others and punish them. Deadly clever.

Miss Drake
Harriet Vane

Afghanistan: explanatory

Another update:  9/9/2021:  On the Taliban:  to me it's telling that the group in charge is doing nothing about the closing of 2900 medical centers. That many are closing.  Outsiders (not Pakistan maybe and last night Amy Goodman had someone who said that Pakistan is pro-Taliban and has been supporting them financially for years because the Taliban is anti-India as Hindu and as anti-Muslim, which Modi and his gov't are) hoped that the need for money to keep Afghanistan in the modern world in effect, to help its people, to live decently, would control them.  No such thing.  They couldn't care less if their people die in huge numbers. After all that's getting to God quicker.  And women are animals, evil creatures (Eves who tempt men who are people and thus must be put into burkas, completely covered up) to be beaten into submission if they have any will of their own, and used by men as men please. (A Texas man recently said women's bodies are holders for babies. ) What gets me is no one is blaming Trump - -he negotiated this treaty . It was he and Pompeo who couldn't give a shit about what would happen to the Afghanistan people.

Update:  8/29/2021:  Trump would have done nothing; at this point Biden has evacuated over 117,000 people. The flaws in the treaty are Trump's. People talk as if we were there peacefully; we were not; we were killing and supporting a corrupt puppet gov't doing nothing for its people.

Dear friends and readers,

I return to the way I was writing these  blogs shortly after Trump became POTUS. I was so overwhelmed by what was happening, that I turned just to offering what I thought were the best essays, articles, blogs on the Internet offering analysis of what this man was doing to the US gov't, and what might occur therefore to a majority of people living on the land mass his power reached to.  So now any opinion I feel that I want to share prompts me to think of an alternative view or a qualifying one, which makes a hash or naive of what I might say, or I feel I am  taking too narrow a POV. I don't know enough of what happened over the past 20 years and again recently. I am not even sure of the Afghanistan map -- and maybe many others are not too:

These  reports, interviews, transcripts come from PBS reports (Judy Woodruff), DemocracyNow (Amy Goodman and night after night she had chosen the most revealing information and insight by the people who came to her show), The Guardian (news paper online), Of these all the Guardian is the only one who keeps up the theme of how women are treated by these non-western tribal groups, of which perhaps the Taliban is one of the very worst. Also Heather Cox Richardson, Michael Moore, and the Intercept.

The first set come from DemocracyNow.org (though people appeared elsewhere).   The larger picture where Spenser Ackerman's book links the kind of terrorism that erupts in countries outside the US where the US gov't has thwarted social democracies, have supported the militarists and capitalists who come to extract the natural resources of the country the colonizer power agents want for them. He show the direct links between domestic white supremacist terrorism to foreign terrorists setting up where they can theocracies, Kleptocracies.  Today's crisis in Kabul is the direct result of decades of US War & Destabilization:


Earlier in the week Craig Whitlock was interviewed about his book, The Afghanistan Papers:  A Secret History of the War.  The US public was lied to over the years; things were going badly for the US occupying people; we see the daily corruption from bribes, to taking huge amounts of money intended for re-building by local Warlords; the misery of the bombed people, living in fear


Early on in the Afghanistan war, Ann Wright who helped re-open the Embassy in Afghanistan, resigned in protest over what she saw was going on:


Matthew Hoh, another official who resigned in protest:


Azmat Khan, a woman reporter, on the deadly US air war helped the Taliban recruit people who wanted the invaders out, knew the Afghan gov't was a creation of these invaders


Finally, Ahmed Rashid, author of several books, including Taliban:  Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia:  how these various groups are integrated into interlocking groups.


Separately the plight of women:


Reports coming in about how women in Afghanistan are being stripped of whatever rights they had under the US supported Afghan gov't. The stories are terrifying, poignant, to women here just horrible to have to imagine: These are from PBS Reports and the Guardian and the NYTimes:




Jane Fergusson interviews one woman who is (was) a physician; the Taliban tried to force her to marry one of them, she's gone into hiding; she can no longer drive so sold her car to get money. School will be out, jobs will be forbidden it seems -- it seems there may be a brief attempt to look as if they are treating women as equal human beings, but as the attempt is laid bare for the hypocrisy it is, they'll stop .
Reports also of brutal and murderous treatment of any protests: one attempt to keep a flag up resulted in this. The Taliban people and their colluders in the villages don't value any individual's life at all.

A Terrifying individual reporter's story and that of a friend (still there) from the New Yorker:


On a central Taliban news conference: what they are saying is anything you care to name, that it will have rights, and then, two sentences later, rights as defined under Sharia law.
I saw and heard one of their representatives interviewed separately and he said that they never discriminated against women, never, that it was all false and unfair rumor. The person interviewing (I think, not sure) was a woman (in a sort of burka robe, hair tucked back, but face showing), unsurprisingly she did not push back against that.
I read that reporters asked if they could report freely; certainly, certainly, provided they report fairly within Sharia ...
I am not encouraged. It seems that they will not try to drive everyone back into a nightmare of the 7th century, but how they will interpret Sharia law and if they will be utter hypocrites, say one thing, do another, is not clear. They could. Last week they were still on their assassination campaign; previous behavior almost unimaginable to me (until I read they did this or that by creditable news source) brutality ....
Their behavior is still not sane enough, but then which of the GOP governors is sane? a huge proportion of Americans have been behaving or continue to behave insanely with respect to Trump and COVID.

Turning to newsletters:

Heather Cox Richardson, one of her first newsletters gave a historical account of the US politics driving some of what happned in the 20 years: This seems to me a good and accurate history of what happened in Afghanistan. FWIW (my view and I know we don't have information about what happened militarily in Afghanistan the way we used in Vietnam) but the parallel does break down, especially the US behavior in Vietnam was heinous -- remembering the napalming of thousands and thousands of Vietnamese people by the US,
She brings together the accurate political contexts in one place.
She does not emphasize the terrifying to lamentable position of women in regular Afghan society and what will/may now happen to 50% and more of the population now.


Michael Moore has begun to write weekly newsletters from substack: one has to remember the enormous amounts of money arms manufacturers make. Biden is now keeping his word to evacuate as many Americans and American afghans as he can -- Moore thinks deals were made over this week so that no one in the airport area has been killed, and safe flights are continually being mounted. Joke: the US policy right now is Wheels up. He includes comments from Ann Wright and an Intercept reporter:


Posted by Miss Sylvia Drake
Harriet Vane

Why we need infrastructure bills so badly ....

There's the small bi-partisan one, which represents a strong band-aid, and the democratic one which seeks to remedy the problem by re-building, re-casting, re-socializing and yes instituting codes and rules and laws to make for social progress once again.

As the newscasters on the channels I watch (PBS, DemocracyNow.org) and MSNBC say nothing like this for decades. The states don't have the money. GOP doesn't care. They want the average person to be poor and wretched so they'll work for nothing. Witness the refusal to up the minimum wage, the destruction of pensions, Trump's attempt to terminate social security, the politicizing of masks.   Governors in GOP forbidding mandating masks. Also building codes not renewed.  The wonders of unqualified capitalism is the US. If eviction moratorium allowed to lapse, we'll soon be like India in places. We are the third world in many places -- there's a word for it.  Right. That Florida building should not have collapsed so utterly, totally. The tenant-owners would not get together to spend the enormous sum needed -- because they'd have to pay for it and they are only retired middling people. Should not have been permitted to build there.  Nothing being done for climate change in Florida.  The inability of places deliberately set up to be communal spaces quickly not being able to provide parking because vulture-pirates ("venture capitalists") devour the space for profit.  Amazing we have any parks at all -- they are from the later 19th century and 1930s (a terrible time for Black people, when most of the hideous confederacy white supremacist statues went up).

American fascism. American fascism.  Yesterday the anniversary of the Charlotte, Virginia violent mob gangs. Richardson explains who they were, their excuse, the reality, what they did: killed one person with a car, injured 19 others. I have heard Biden say he decided to run for President firmly when he watched that scene. These mobs are at it again: they are violently acting against masking mandates for children and young adults in schools.

Heather Cox Richardson's newsletter about the anniversary of Charlotte openly Nazi demonstration:


A story from someone on facebook (accompanied by a photo of a church being destroyed by a wrecking company):  My grandfather was Pres. of the Board of Trustees when this church was built, started the church in his living room. My dad was President when the new wing was built and spent hours there overseeing the work to make sure it was solid, once took a contractor by the collar and held him up against the wall when he found them having done no work for a week (but billing for it). And what we get for it is... a parking lot. The United Methodist Church. Don't get me started.

Personal experience: Yesterday I met with my old friend ex-student, Lloyd - he's in his early 50s now. I had trouble again, was in a fluster trying to get there, couldn't program the Waze, didn't bring the right paper for the map but half-way there he phones (I have my cell phone right there) and he's having trouble.  His car is not acting right (something to do with the radiator) so he's going back to change cars and can we meet an hour later.  He tells me in words where it is -- next to the place the restaurant we used to go to used to be (having gone bankrupt).  Whew! I go back, write out address, now don't need Waze (for I know where it is), now remember glasses, Lloyd's phone number in the cell phone, set forth again Now bad trouble parking  Great irony  Four blocks four ways set up to be a pedestrian area of movies, restaurants, the last few years has almost no public parking.  A huge car park bought up and huge building built there  The same thing happened where there is another movie house . Finally I find a small strip in the third level of a garage.  Real problem: I've not been out in so long navigating myself by car, very nervous.  But I get there and he's there.  Two hours of good conversation and renewal.  He majored in geography and has a good geology background; he still works for the Environmental Protection Agency.  It was turned into a farce with the Trump appointee filing the lobby with guns, and pictures of shot animals.  They are trying to re-staff, re-calibrate, start again with all the new executive orders countermanding most of Trump's  He by the way is in trouble for his old age:  he and his wife never managed to save anything much; they own two homes but are approaching retirement age. His mother taken care of by 1930s-40s programs; hers by a small (lucky) inheritance.  They never had children.  Cannot afford them. Recently their 16 year old cat died.  Way too expensive (huge) to provide needed insulin for cat became mildly diabetic.

Miss Sylvia Drake
Harriet Vane

Enough people refusing to vaccinate so a new surge of hospitalization & death

Heather Cox Richardson's newsletter for July 16th:


Now the unvaccinated are getting seriously ill and dying "like flies". What do you do with a population preferring to sicken and risk die, following leaders who apparently hope by doing so they can unseat the present POTUS (Biden), who with most of the elected members of his party (stopped by arcane senate arrangements meant to keep slavery in place) is doing everything he can to save people and improve their lives.
Beyond trying to create an unstable situation where (do they hope) crazed demonstrations will begin, this refusal to be vaccinated can encourage the development of more dangerous strains of COVID. I have not yet grown used to how the GOP wants people to die and does all it can to kill off people, including possible GOP voters. .
My tentative view: "the thinking" might be that if the virus were really totally gone in effect, Biden would be fully credited and democrats have such landslide in 2024 that all the cheating, gerrymandering, refusal to count votes, refusal to accept an election officially might not counteract the GOP loss unless they were to go the third country or dictatorship route: make no bones about throwing out thousands and thousands of votes. Therefore the GOP needs to keep the pandemic going: making people seriously ill and killing people. So for the GOP the less people vaccinated, the better. They are also refusing to distribute the unemployments checks for $300. Donw south and in the west they make vaccination access hard. In Mississippi four counties have no vaccination site: heavily Black, these people lack cars, free time, and rightly distrust state officials.
During the 1930s the US population did not refuse FDR's New Deal; they did not refuse Social Security. What is wrong with US education at the grade and high school level is a question that come to my mind.

Miss Drake
Harriet Vane

A grave worrying turn: Supreme court approves of all sorts of restrictions on voting rights

From the 2020 Presidential election

As of today all a state needs to do is offer the option of a vote; a state doesn't have to make voting accessible.  14 states now have real restrictions on the right to vote, and several have put in place mechanisms whereby local state officials can throw out votes if they deem them fraudulent or in some way unacceptable. What Trump wanted the state authorities to do illegally, the GOP everywhere is making legal wherever they are in power -- and now the courts they filled with reactionaries are holding this up. Two of the supreme votes today are stolen seats: Merrick Garland should have been in one and Amy Coney Barrett was huddled in just before an election in record time.

Unless the Congress enacts a new Voting Rights Act, one which will pass muster in this court, the GOP is determined to turn our democracy into an autocracy run by wealthy white men. For it is not just objections to people of color or different ethnic origins the GOP aims to repress, it is an important function of our gov't since FDR: to answer citizens' needs by spending all our taxes on infrastructure (schools, roads, commerce, transportation, a myriad of social services, including paid for social security and health care) and cherished and needed elements in our lives.
Do not underestimate the seriousness of this, the gravity of this moment. In the 1890s after the supreme court at the time had again invalidated and the southern states taken as licence the power of the 14th and 15th amendments, said separate but equal is fine, that unleased enormous violence (killing and destruction, period massacres) by one large body of insanely tribal people on another smaller body of people of color and ethnic minorities, and the wealthy corporate parts of the US gov't through prison, those for socialistic ameliorations of capitalism.

A new blog to the 1965 voting rights act:  NPR

Adam Liptak from the New York Times:  challenges to many new measures making it harder to vote may not be successful  This decision will make it harder for the DOJ to win its suit against Georgia.

Ronald Brownstein of the Atlantic say democrats must act in congress to pass new legislation

Here is PBS's useful video discussion moderated by John Yang.

I will add to these essays as I see new insightful ones on the Net.

A voter who needs to have her voted counted ....

Meanwhile Heather Cox Richardson posted a powerful YouTube video on Voting Rights today.  I can't find it on YouTube and can't figure out how to transfer it from Facebook.  When I see it where I can transfer it, I will. But here is her July 1 Newsletter:

My summary:  Says Heather Cox Richardson, "we are reliving the Reconstruction years after the Civil War. For 75 years by a combination of state and private group terror (in the south, Ku Klux Klan, and
today the White Citizens Counsels) and various laws and voting customs stopped just about all Black people in the south and many poorer and older white citizens from voting. The supreme court took the teeth out of Section 4 of the 1965 Voting Act and now has invalidated Section 4.
Unless the Congress enacts a new Voting Rights Act, one which will pass muster in this court, the GOP is determined to turn our democracy into an autocracy run by wealthy white men. For it is not just objections to people of color or different ethnic origins the GOP aims to repress, it is an important function of our gov't since FDR: to answer citizens' needs by spending all our taxes on infrastructure (schools, roads, commerce, transportation, a myriad of social services, including paid for social security and health care) and cherished and needed elements in our lives.

Present litigation map where organizations through laws and courts
are attempting to stop this turning away from democracy and towards
autocracy ... but the courts have been packed with reactionary judges
by the GOP and Trump

Posted by Ellen
Harriet Vane

Illegal activities of Trump gov't - undermining US democracy & years of treaties

Friends and readers,

I gather together a series of stories showing Trump's undermining of our laws and democracy here in the US and abroad, and accompany that with a video of Heather Cox Richardson explaining why he is not arrested:

There's been an accumulation of revelations of what Trump's gov't was doing to undermine and subvert democracy here at home and years of treaties towards allied democracies abroad. So I thought it was time to put some of this here -- to help call attention to it while Biden is trying his best to pass his American jobs and infrastructure bill, one which will were it to be implemented, improve life for millions across the US in all sorts of ways, and lead to thriving of a middle class again, and also abroad to revive our trade, diplomatic and other socially and economically good policies. Much of this comes in the form of summaries of and additional remarks added to Heather Cox Richardson's newsletters, as well as tart qualifications (by me).


Heather Cox Richardson. June 12, 2021. What Trump (and his son) were doing in US foreign policy. There is now solid evidence to show that they were planning to re-align our alliances in the Middle East (what a silly term) so that we would be in an axis (what connotations) with the _central figure) Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia (the monster who had a reporter chopped to death), the (butcher) Netanyahu, and Jared Krushner of the US (a crook). They wanted to "muscle out" the Jordan king (who is now a quiet center of our alliances as he is quietly pro-Palestinian, at least as much as he dares, so a person and country who provide "balance" as it's called). This would destroy the meaning of a treaty hammered out by Clinton in 1994. Krushner told Aaron Miller the past didn't matter. We can do what we please. This resembles Johnson's true attitude to Brexit: the Tories passed some legislation where they openly said they need not honor things they sign with the EU.
Anyway the idea was to stop Jerusalem being a central holy city for 3 religions -- one of the immediate causes of this latest slaughter and destruction in the Gaza strip was a group of fanatic Zionist Jews attacked a Mosque and were protected by police and there was going on an enforced ejection of Palestinians living in Jerusalem.
This blatant immoral ethnic cleansing has by the resumed; it has never stopped. Palestinians have actually to put up with having Jews living on their property or in their houses.
She explains "Critical Race Theory." To be honest, I had no idea what it meant, never heard of it until recently, and this is the first clear account I've come across. It means recognizing that " legal protections for individuals did not, in fact, level the playing field in America."
Well, duh. Not just Black people, but hispanics, LGBT people, women, but the courts acted really biasedly against Blacks. I this past week learned of some Supeme court decisions which deliberately limited the scope of the 14th: it was intended to protect civil and social rights of everyone (original intent) and they scoffed or denied it on the grounds "the Negro" is inferior" so that it is just to deny them equal access to say hotels, transportation, good schools &c. Said this in opinions they wrote. One was 8-1

Heather Cox Richardson, June 10, 2021.  Trump not only had his DOJ investigate reporters, Barr was investigating democratic lawmakers.  This is the action of a police state


Heather Cox Richardson, June 8, 2021  What's happening with our voting rights and with Biden's bill to get the US thriving again, to build roads, infrastructure of all sorts to turn a country with vast groups of people living on the edge of over the edge of poverty into the kind of place where most can be some version of middle class.   Also a place with social ameliorations and helps to make life more comfortable with more opportunities for all -- that's the American Jobs bill.  The GOP there can't bear to make corporations pay a fair share of tax.


Heather Cox Richardson. June 7, 2021 I wish she would stop saying as if it were an explanation of the GOP's determination to restrict voting that all this is weird because these are such popular bills with Republican as well as Democratic voters. Is that all she can come up with? You come to such a conclusion if you think they are a party who want to reflect & please the majority of their constituency instead of people who stand for a dictatorship of a minority of wealthy white men.
Then she tells of three cases of outright corruption between Trump's gov't and corporations paying bribes -- with clear evidence.
What I would like to ask her is, Why is former president Trump not arrested for having tried to overturn the gov't, for having incited an insurrection, and today going round repeating these lies? He is known to have enacted criminal behavior.


And here is her video explaining why Trump has not been arrested because we know now for sure he is guilty of many crimes:

Posted by Ellen
Harriet Vane

President Biden's Speech at Tulsa Oklahoma

Watch and listen to him and heed and follow his advice:

Trump's threats of a "coup in August" to put him back in power is a response to Biden's speech: he is telling all who are for him they will again commit violence to destroy Black lives & prevent a democracy for all from surviving.

Heather Cox Richardson's letter of June 1 begins with a letter from 100 scholars "who study democracy" says " the new election laws in Republican-led states, passed with the justification that they will make elections safer, in fact are turning “several states into political systems that no longer meet the minimum conditions for free and fair elections.”


Posted by Ellen