Sunday, March 31, 2024

The Internet Has Not Made Americans Smarter


Most Americans Favor Legalizing Marijuana


The charts above reflect the results of a survey done by the Pew Research Center. Between January 16th and 21st, they questioned a nationwide sample of 5,140 adults. The margin of error for the survey was 1.7 points.

The Right-Wing Court's Agenda

 Political Cartoon is by Ann Telnaes in The Washington Post.

The Way To Save Abortion Is To Vote Against Republicans

From The New York Times editorial board

However the mifepristone case turns out, the threats to reproductive rights the justices unleashed by overturning Roe go much further.

The anti-abortion movement is pursuing its aims on many legal fronts. One focus of intense activity are so-called fetal-personhood laws, which endow fetuses (and, in some cases, even fertilized eggs) with the same legal rights as living, breathing human beings. Last month, Alabama’s Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos created through in vitro fertilization were to be protected as “extrauterine children,” relying in part on an 1872 state law. That sent lawmakers in Alabama scrambling to protect a procedure that is highly popular among Republicans and Democrats alike. Three weeks after the court ruling, they passed a law protecting patients and doctors who perform I.V.F. procedures from legal liability.

Fetal-personhood laws can also be used to target access to birth control, embryonic stem cell research and even women who suffer miscarriages.

In eliminating a woman’s constitutional right to choose what happens in her own body, the Supreme Court claimed to be respecting the democratic process by allowing state legislatures to determine whether abortion should be legal, and what, if any, limits should be placed on it. . . .

Instead of being settled at the state level, less than two years since the Dobbs ruling the issue of abortion has returned to the court and is likely to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

The Dobbs ruling has forced a new public debate on abortion, and galvanized Americans’ support for it, which has been strong for decades. Since 1975, a majority of Americans have supported legal abortion in some or all cases, according to polling by Gallup, and that support has increased slightly since Dobbs. The percentage of Americans who think abortion should be illegal in all cases has gone down.

Since Roe was overturned in 2022, in every state where reproductive rights has been on the ballot, from Vermont to Kentucky, the abortion rights side has won. . . .

There are limits to the state-by-state approach when it comes to protecting bodily autonomy. Some states don’t allow ballot initiatives of the type that have led to abortion rights victories elsewhere. In Ohio and other states, lawmakers have sought to block or overturn attempts by voters to protect abortion rights, and anti-abortion lawmakers in several states have sought to prosecute anyone who helps a woman travel to another state to get an abortion.

In short, there is no silver bullet for reproductive rights. The judiciary is no haven, not as long as the current Supreme Court majority holds; state and lower federal courts aren’t much better, going by the Alabama I.V.F. ruling and the decisions that pushed the mifepristone case to the Supreme Court. At the same time, voter support for reproductive rights won’t make a difference if they can’t use ballot measures to make that support known.

That is why any successful strategy to protect or restore abortion rights must understand reproductive rights and representative democracy as inextricably linked.

That means understanding the stakes of the elections in November. If Mr. Trump’s party wins solid control of the House and Senate, this could put Americans’ reproductive rights at further risk. . . .

Voters will be faced with a stark choice: the choice of whether to protect not just reproductive rights, but true equality for women.

The Evolving Bible

Political Cartoon is by Mike Stanfill at

If Russia Bombs Ukraine - Ukraine Should Bomb Russia


Saturday, March 30, 2024

Things The GOP Will Do If Trump Wins


Voters Overwhelmingly Oppose Trump's Immunity Claim

The chart above reflects the results of the new Quinnipiac University Poll -- done between March 21st and 25th of a nationwide sample of 1,407 registered voters, with a 2.6 point margin of error. 

Too Many Delays For Justice

Political Cartoon is by Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A Look At The Trump Version Of The Bible (Satire)

In the week before Easter, Donald Trump began hawking bibles. Some religious people viewed that as sacrilege. Alexandra Petri (in The Washington Post) saw it as an opportunity for some biting satire. She wrote: 

“Happy Holy Week!" former president Donald Trump wrote this week on Truth Social. “Let’s Make America Pray Again. As we lead into Good Friday and Easter, I encourage you to get a copy of the God Bless the USA Bible.” The God Bless the USA Bible costs $59.99.

I recently got a peek inside, and some things seemed a little different. You would think that a book in which all the parts about loving your neighbor as yourself had been removed and all the “not’s” omitted from the Ten Commandments would be cheaper than a regular Bible, but that shows what I know. Here are just a few classic stories in their improved Trump Bible retelling!

The Creation: In the beginning, God created Mar-a-Lago. And then God said, “Let there be Light,” so that people could look at Mar-a-Lago and admire it. And then God said, “No, that Light is too much. Do not pay the lighting guy.” And then God created lots of other places, plants and birds and lots of things like that, and lots of real estate, but God ruined it by filling up with animals. Some call them people. But we don’t, do we? Not everyone is people.

Cain and Abel: And Cain did smite Abel, very peacefully and very patriotically, and God said, “We like this Cain fellow, don’t we, folks! We like the ones who don’t get smote, don’t we.” And Abel’s blood cried out from the earth, from wherever. Very weak, we hate to see it. And God said, “Let’s have Cain sing at my rally.” And God was so happy about Cain, he said, “Get me more guys like this guy! Cain is from central casting.” And he promised to pardon him the first chance he got.

The Tower of Babel: It was no Trump Tower.

Abraham: Abram had a very old wife. Much too old! Much too old. Embarrassing for Abram, the age of this woman. And she wanted to have children, which, disgusting. But Abram said, “Why not!” And God said, “Sure.” And they had a son. Fine for them, I guess. God said, “Sacrifice me the son!” And Abraham said, “Sure.” That’s loyalty, folks. We love to see loyalty.

Jacob’s Dream: Jacob did lay his head upon something hard and uncomfortable like unto a stone, and Jacob did say, “Wow! I love MyPillow!”

Joseph’s Coat: Joseph got a coat from his father. Very ostentatious! Maybe too ostentatious. And he had dreams. Sleepy Joe, we call him. Bundles of grain bowing down and fat cows coming up out of the river, I mean, what the hell is this guy talking about? Some call them nightmares, like the American Dream has become.

The Plagues of Egypt: Plagues, folks! Ten of them! Hail, locusts, frogs, darkness, death of the firstborn, pestilence, lice, flies, boils, and, of course, the bloodbath, folks. The water turned to blood, and it was a bloodbath for the whole country. A metaphor for the auto industry, of course.

Numbers: [The book of Numbers is mostly preserved, except none of them are accurate any longer, according to the New York attorney general.]

King Solomon Splits the Baby: Two women, folks! Arguing over a baby. And King Solomon said, “I have an idea! Let’s cut the baby in half!” Shall we do it, folks? Let’s cut one in half. Who has a baby?

Jesus’ Ministry: There was a man named Jesus. Satan offered him a lot of real estate one time, which also happened to Donald Trump, but Jesus wasn’t smart enough to make the deal. Unlike Donald Trump, he got along well with tax collectors, owned no Manhattan property and was born in a barn. “Suffer the little children,” he said. “Suffer the little children.” But he meant it the opposite way.

The Wedding at Cana: Jesus went to a wedding, and they ran out of wine, but there was water. And he did touch the water and nothing happened to it, but he charged $10.99 for it anyway because it was Water Touched By God.

The Beatitudes: Blessed are the poor, but I think the rich are more blessed. Even more blessed to be rich. The poor, they say the poor will inherit the earth. Maybe! The poor had better have good lawyers. Blessed are the meek? Mm, I don’t think so. I’ve never heard of them. I don’t think they can be all that blessed. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. No, thank you. No mercy. Who wrote this? This is no good.

The Golden Rule: Love your neighbor as yourself.

The Bible Salesman

 Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at

A Stark Contrast


Friday, March 29, 2024

GOP Is In Never Neverland


Biden Leads Trump By 3 Points In The Latest Poll


The chart above reflects the results of the new Quinnipiac University Poll -- done between March 21st and 25th of a nationwide sample of 1,407 registered voters, with a 2.6 point margin of error.

Just A Prop

 Political Cartoon is by Rick McKee at

About 210,000 Workers Filed For Unemployment Last Week

The Labor Department released its weekly unemployment report on Thursday. It showed that about 210,000 workers filed for unemployment benefits in the week ending 0n March 23rd. Here is the official Labor Department statement:

In the week ending March 23, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 210,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 2,000 from 210,000 to 212,000. The 4-week moving average was 211,000, a decrease of 750 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 500 from 211,250 to 211,750.

Out Of Control

 Political Cartoon is by Joe Heller at

Right-Wing Quick To Spread Lies About Bridge Disaster

 From Charlie Sykes at

Early Tuesday morning, a 948-foot containership plowed into Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge, which quickly collapsed. Rescue teams spent much of the day searching for victims and survivors. While the region grappled with the human and economic cost of the catastrophe, President Joe Biden and his Cabinet pledged to help local leaders rebuild. 

For most Americans it was a breathtaking disaster and human tragedy. But far-right conspiracy theorists saw it as an opportunity.

In a rapid flood of social media posts, politicians and “pundits” insisted that the disaster could not have simply been an accident. It was somehow Biden’s fault, or the fault of immigrants, or the result of a terrorist attack. Without evidence, they blamed “drug-addled” employees, diversity policies, Israel and even the recent infrastructure bill.

Many of the usual suspects weighed in, moving seamlessly from one big lie to another. Think of this week’s constellation of psychosis as an outgrowth of Bridge Denialism.

Fox News host Maria Bartiromo (whose election lies figured prominently in Dominion’s $787 million defamation lawsuit) tried to link the bridge collapse to what she called “the wide-open border.”Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., who voted against the 2021 infrastructure bill, appeared on Newsmax to complain that the Biden administration did not spend more money on bridge infrastructure. (Perhaps more hypocrisy than denial, but I digress.)

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., took to X to muse: “Is this an intentional attack or an accident?” This despite Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley stating unequivocally that “there is absolutely no indication that there’s any terrorism, or that this was done on purpose.”. . .

None of this dissuaded the right’s most feculent conspiracist, Alex Jones, from declaring the accident an attack. “Looks deliberate to me,” he posted on X. “A cyber-attack is probable. WW3 has already started.”

Lara Logan, the former CBS correspondent who has drifted to the far edges of the fever swamps, was also quick to weigh in. Logan, who once promoted comparisons between Dr. Anthony Fauci and Nazi physician and murderer Josef Mengele, claimed on X that “Multiple intel sources” were telling her that the bridge collapse “was an ‘absolutely brilliant strategic attack’” on U.S. infrastructure. Striking an apocalyptic tone, she claimed with zero evidence that “our intel agencies know” about the attack and that the U.S. has just been divided “along the Mason Dixon line exactly like the Civil War.”

And she, via her unnamed "sources," blamed Barack Obama.

One after another they piled on. Former Trump aide Steve Bannonhinted at foul play: “It’s not right, and I think we need to get the full accounting of this until people say it’s not terrorism.” Right-wing media personality Benny Johnson breathlessly asked his audience: “Is this terrorism? How the hell did this happen? Is this incompetence? Who’s allowing this?”

Kandiss Taylor, who ran for Georgia governor in 2022, also suggested a conspiracy behind the collapse. Taylor — who has claimed “Satan wants to use” Taylor Swift “to elect Joe back into the White House to destroy what’s left of America” — offered no evidence for her bridge theory. Instead, she claimed that she had “watched the video several times.”

“What’s the chance that ship hit the bridge in the exact spot to crumple it up like tinfoil?” she asked. “I don’t believe in coincidences.”

The tragedy also brought racist and antisemitic trolls out of the woodwork. As Media Matters' Matt Gertz noted, blue-checked accounts were quick to try to connect the disaster with Israel. How incredibly predictable.

Other X “influencers” blamed Baltimore’s Black mayor for no other reason, it seems, than he happens to be Black. After Mayor Brandon Scott called for prayers for the victims and their families, a popular right-wing user posted to his 276,000 followers: “This is Baltimore’s DEI mayor commenting on the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge. It’s going to get so, so much worse. Prepare accordingly.” It was a revealing comment in more ways than one.

Well-known MAGA conspiracy-monger Jack Posobiec similarly (and mindlessly) seemed to implicate diversity and inclusion, forwarding a “Titanic” meme on Telegram that used Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s sexual identity to mock DEI policies.

And then there were the commenters whom Maryland journalist Brian Griffiths called, simply, “the ghouls” — like Roger Stone.

Their crudity, along with their cruelty, is the point.

In other words, Tuesday was just another day in the perverse MAGA universe. In this world, any event can be used to spread baseless smears, conspiracy theories, evidence-free attacks, fact-free speculation and lies. All while stoking suspicion, distrust and fear.

Breaking MTG's Commandments

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at

Trump Is Lying About Crime In The U.S.


Thursday, March 28, 2024

Rules, Law, And Constitution Seem To Be Different For Trump


55% In U.S. Now Disapprove Of Israeli Military Action In Gaza

The charts above are from the Gallup Poll -- done between March 1st and 20th of a nationwide sample of 1,016 adults, with a 4 point margin of error.

Gag Order

Political Cartoon is by Rob Rogers at

Biden Wants To Tax The Rich More & The Public Agrees


Since 1990, the number of billionaires has risen from about 70 to nearly 700. Those additional billionaires have not sprung from the middle or working classes, but from the already rich. Republican policies have allowed some millionaires to become billionaires - and some billionaires to become multi-billionaires (and approach trillionaire status).

We are fast becoming a nation of haves and have-nots. While the rich get much richer, the middle class is shrinking as it struggles to stay up with inflation, and the working class is falling behind.

In the midst of this, President Biden says he wants to raise taxes - not of the working and middle classes (or anyone making less than $400,000). Taxes would be raised on only the rich, and especially the super-rich.

And it looks like most Americans agree with the president. About 61% say taxes should be raised on those making above $400,000 (see the chart below), while only 20% want to keep those taxes at current levels and 17% would like to see the taxes on the rich lowered.

The president is right. It is obscene that a few should be ridiculously rich while most Americans struggle. The rich should pay more in taxes, especially the billionaires - who already have more money than they could possibly spend.

It comes down to this: Do we want a country where all citizens can thrive, or a country where only a few can be rich at the expense of all others?

If you prefer the former, then you must vote Democratic in November. The Republicans care only for the rich, and their failed economic policies would just make things worse for most Americans.

The Grifter Sells Bibles

Political Cartoon is by Dave Whamond at

The U.S. Is Complicit In Starving The Residents Of Gaza


Wednesday, March 27, 2024

She Doesn't Fit On A Network That Tells The Truth


Do U.S. Citizens Have A Right To Privacy? (Yes, But It's Tenuous)

I think most Americans think they have a constitutional right to privacy. But it's not guaranteed. There is no provision or amendment in the U.S. Constitution that guarantees a right to privacy. That right, as it currently exists, has been created by liberal Supreme Court justices out of other rights explicitly granted in the Constitution.

The Court then used this created right to guarantee married couples the right to purchase contraception (Griswold), the right of unmarried people to purchase contraception (Eisenstadt), the right to an abortion (Roe), and the right of same-sex couples to have sex (Lawrence).

Unfortunately, the right to privacy is not recognized by all Supreme Court justices. The right-wingers on the current Court denied that right in Dobbs (which overturned the right to an abortion). And some justices have said they would like to revisit the decisions in Griswold, Eisenstadt, and Lawrence. In other words, they want to effectively gut the right to privacy in the United States.

The following post is a discussion of the right to privacy by the Cornell Law School:

There is a long and evolving history regarding the right to privacy in the United States. In the context of American jurisprudence, the Supreme Court first recognized the “right to privacy” in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965). Before Griswold, however, Louis Brandeis (prior to becoming a Supreme Court Justice) co-authored a Harvard Law Review article titled "The Right to Privacy," in which he advocated for the "right to be let alone."

​In Griswold, the Supreme Court found a right to privacy, derived from penumbras of other explicitly stated constitutional protections. The Court used the personal protections expressly stated in the FirstThirdFourthFifth, and Ninth Amendments to find that there is an implied right to privacy in the Constitution. The Court found that when one takes the penumbras together, the Constitution creates a “zone of privacy.” The right to privacy established in Griswold was then narrowly used to find a right to privacy for married couples, regarding the right to purchase contraceptives. 

Additionally, it is important to note Justice Harlan's concurring opinion in Griswold, which found a right to privacy derived from the Fourteenth Amendment. In his concurrence, he relies upon the rationale in his dissentingopinion in Poe v. Ullman (1961). In that opinion, he wrote, "I consider that this Connecticut legislation, as construed to apply to these appellants, violates the Fourteenth Amendment. I believe that a statute making it a criminal offense for married couples to use contraceptives is an intolerable and unjustifiable invasion of privacy in the conduct of the most intimate concerns of an individual's personal life." 

In privacy cases post-Griswold, the Supreme Court typically has chosen to rely upon Justice Harlan's concurrence rather than Justice Douglas's majority opinion. Eisenstadt v Baird (1971), and Lawrence v. Texas (2003) are two of the most prolific cases in which the Court extended the right to privacy. In each of these cases, the Court relied upon the Fourteenth Amendment, not penumbras. 

In Eisenstadt, the Supreme Court decided to extend the right to purchase contraceptives to unmarried couples. More importantly, however, the Court found that "the constitutionally protected right of privacy inheres in the individual, not the marital couple." 

In Lawrence, the Supreme Court used the Fourteenth Amendment to extend the right to privacy to "persons of the same sex [who choose to] engage in . . . sexual conduct." Relying upon the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of due process, the Court held: "The petitioners are entitled to respect for their private lives. The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime. Their right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives them the full right to engage in their conduct without intervention of the government."

When the Supreme Court first decided Roe v. Wade, the Court used the right to privacy, as derived from the Fourteenth Amendment, and extended the right to encompass an individual’s right to have an abortion: "This right of privacy . . . founded in the Fourteenth Amendment's concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action . . . is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy." However, after the Dobbs decision, the Court overturned both Roe and Casey. Consequently, the right to abortion no longer falls under the broader right to privacy. Additionally, the Dobbs opinion mentioned potentially examining Griswold and Eisenstadt in the future. While it is unclear to what extent that may have on the right to privacy in the current time; it is likely that the case law around this right will continue to evolve with more recent Supreme Court decisions.