Young man, I have lived in this house many years and seen the occupants of that White House across the square come and go, and nothing that you minor officials or the occupants of that house can do will affect the history of the world for long.
Believe he said this to FDR when Frank was assistant secretary of the Navy. Quote from Old Money by Nelson Aldrich.
If you enjoy English weirdness as I do jump to 8:17 here to watch the insane reaction Emily Thornberry, PM for Islington South and Finsbury gets for her joke:
This is my hot take for today:
Let’s assume you agree with me and think women in the United States should have access to abortion when they need it.
Letting Roe v Wade get overturned could be a positive outcome that would help this cause in the long term.
What would happen if Roe were overturned tomorrow? Well, in California, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Alaska, etc, I’m estimating about 29 states, I’m guessing: nothing.
In another 30 or so states, legislators might try to make abortion illegal. This would become an important, contentious issue in state elections. I believe this would drive voter turnout and galvanize women voters in particular.
We might look to Ireland as an example of what could happen. The issue of repealing the Eighth Amendment, which banned abortion, came up for a vote. An electrified, involved, young electorate turned up. Turnout was 64%, and Yes – the “pro choice” side – won with 66.40% of the vote (source).
I think this was healthy and democratic for Ireland.
Wouldn’t similar debates and votes, or mini versions in legislative elections in the states where abortion would be a contentious issue, be healthy and good for the country?
Or, better yet, have a women’s rights amendment to the Constitution. That would be great too.
Where in the Constitution is there a right to an abortion? It’s not in there. We might like it to be in there, but it’s not. The Roe decision didn’t find it in the Ninth Amendment:
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
In fact, if I understand right, the majority in Roe went out of their way to say they didn’t find it there:
The Court declined to adopt the district court’s Ninth Amendment rationale, and instead asserted that the “right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment‘s concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the district court determined, in the Ninth Amendment’s reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.” Douglas, in his concurring opinion in the companion case, Doe, stated more emphatically, “The Ninth Amendment obviously does not create federally enforceable rights.
The majority in Roe found the right in the Fourteenth Amendment, which is ridiculous. Not at all the intent of that amendment. At that point you’re making up stuff.
Roe v. Wade is one of the few Supreme Court decisions I’ve read and… it feels flimsy. It feels like a wire and string solution to get to a result the court wanted.
The Roe decision is cheating. It’s like the referee giving your team extra points because he wants you to win. That might get you the result you want. But it’s not good for the game.
Let the states fight it out! Let conservative legislators be forced to show how they’re gonna enforce making abortion illegal. Let them fight it every election cycle.
(lol bc I’m obviously out of my depth, ran this one by our legal counsel, MMW, for comment:
Had to look up the Lochner era.
sometimes you see the lesser villains of this current political period hit with “you’re gonna look bad in the history books!”
This seems very silly to me. Paul Ryan’s not gonna be in the history books! Not any popular ones anyway. He might be deep in the more exhaustive ones, but who cares? Who was the Speaker of the House during the Civil War? World War II? (“You’re legacy will be as controversial as Galusha Grow’s and Schuyler Colfax’s!“)
Maybe he longed for the history books once, but it feels to me that Paul Ryan made a choice to whimper away to what he imagines will be a high paying lobbying life.
Wouldn’t it be better to say, “during your lifetime your face will remind us of embarrassment and cowardice and no one will pay you to talk.”
I do respect the earnest, history buff energy of the taunt “you’re gonna be real ashamed when you read the history books, pal.”
I just think it gives too much respect to Paul Ryan’s motivations.
Feel like I am the only person in the world who accepts the reality that borders are over.
This isn’t a political position or something I’m advocating for. It’s an observation of fact.
Hard to say when we can date it, exactly. The first time we could see Earth from space? Maybe Malcolm McLean‘s pioneering of the shipping container. Stuff, an unstoppable amount of stuff, and money, and information, and people flow and move across borders in a way that is way beyond the ability of any state or government to stop.
The idea of a wall stopping this seems about as futile as Xerxes ordering his guys to whip the sea as punishment.
UAC there standing for unaccompanied children. That’s from the US Customs and Border Patrol website.
Tyler Cowen reports:
“What exactly is the plan here?” is the question for sure.
How much force and violence would be needed to stop this? Who would direct that? Do the guys in charge seem like they could handle that?
How many trans-border families already exist, and what to do about that?
I have no answers, only a feeling that statements like “if you don’t have a border you don’t have a country” or something are not in touch with reality.
We already don’t have a border. Without massive government expenditures, force and violence that would sicken any liberal or conservative, we never will again.
What’re we gonna do now?
Michelle Wolf says that in this Vulture profile by Amy Larocca.
A very similar complaint voiced by Clinton Cash author Peter Schweitzer in the Devil’s Bargain book about Trump and Bannon:
My friend Clarke Tucker is running for Congress as a Democrat in Arkansas’ 2nd district. He’s just the kind of guy you want doing legislative work. A solid citizen.
In his gentle and careful yet warm manner Clarke reminds me of another Southern state legislator:
Meanwhile, out in the desert and the Eastern Sierra, they’re trying to put Marge in charge.
Marge Doyle that is. I saw her speak on Sunday and was really impressed. Her passion to run stems from her frustration with current Congressman Paul Cook and his Republican party-line votes that would’ve hurt the health care people in the district depend on.
Had the chance to hear Marge give her message and came away real impressed. She came to her campaign through hard, slow work on health care issues in the district, and spoke of her belief in her ability to find solutions through common values.
Happened to meet Katie Hill when she turned up at a meeting of the SELAH (Silver Lake, Echo Park, Los Feliz, Atwater, Hollywood) Homeless Coalition.
She grew up in California’s 25th district, and seemed like just the person to knock off the distasteful Steve Knight and represent the people of Lancaster, Palmdale, Pearblossom, Acton, Santa Clarita, and the rest.
(oh and none of them are paying me or nothing. This is just my own Take!)
What is the deal here when Trump calls Elizabeth Warren Pocahontas?
At Helytimes, we like to go back to the source.
Sometime between 1987 and 1992 Elizabeth Warren put down on a faculty directory that she was Native American. Says Snopes:
it is true that while Warren was at U. Penn. Law School she put herself on the “Minority Law Teacher” list as Native American) in the faculty directory of the Association of American Law Schools
This became a story in 2012, when Elizabeth Warren was running for Senate against Scott Brown. In late April of that year, The Boston Herald, a NY Post style tabloid, dug up a 1996 article in the Harvard Crimson by Theresa J. Chung that says this:
Of 71 current Law School professors and assistant professors, 11 are women, five are black, one is Native American and one is Hispanic, said Mike Chmura, spokesperson for the Law School.
Although the conventional wisdom among students and faculty is that the Law School faculty includes no minority women, Chmura said Professor of Law Elizabeth Warren is Native American.
Asked about it, here’s what Elizabeth Warren said:
From there the story kinda spun out of control. It came up in the Senate debate, and there were ads about it on both sides.
A genealogist looked into it, and determined that Warren was 1/32nd Cherokee, or about as Cherokee as Helytimes is West African. But then even that was disputed.
Her inability to name any specific Native American ancestor has kept the story alive, though, as pundits left and right have argued the case. Supporters touted her as part Cherokee after genealogist Christopher Child of the New England Historic Genealogical Society said he’d found a marriage certificate that described her great-great-great-grandmother, who was born in the late 18th century, as a Cherokee. But that story fell apart once people looked at it more closely. The Society, it turned out, was referencing a quote by an amateur genealogist in the March 2006 Buracker & Boraker Family History Research Newsletters about an application for a marriage certificate.
Well, Elizabeth Warren won. Now Scott Brown is Donald Trump’s Ambassador to New Zealand, where he’s doing an amazing job.
The part of the story that lit me up was this:
The best argument she’s got in her defense is that, based on the public evidence so far, she doesn’t appear to have used her claim of Native American ancestry to gain access to anything much more significant than a cookbook; in 1984 she contributed five recipes to the Pow Wow Chow cookbook published by the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee, signing the items, “Elizabeth Warren — Cherokee.”
What is the best way to handle it, the best strategy, when the President is treating you like a third grade bully, repeatedly and publicly calling you a mean name?
Best advice to someone getting bullied? I googled:
We would amend “don’t show your feelings” to stay calm. We would urge any kid to put “tell an adult” as a last resort.
- if the problem persists, hit back as hard as possible, calmly but forcefully, at the bully’s weakest, tenderest points.
Such a Lisa Simpson / Nelson vibe to Warren / Trump. Are all our elections gonna be Lisa vs. Nelson for awhile?
from this 2003 episode:
Lisa easily wins the election. Worried by her determination and popularity, the faculty discusses how to control her.
that William F. Buckley and Ayn Rand kind of look alike?
The Economist reports:
A larger-than-life sculpture made of manure that depicts the hapless environment minister, Nick Smith, defecating into a glass of water has been a hit.
Some American politician should steal the New Zealand First party’s idea for the SuperGold card:
The SuperGold Card, a discounts and concessions card for senior citizens and veterans, has been a major initiative of the party.
New Zealand First established a research team to design the SuperGold Card, which included public transport benefits like free off-peak travel (funded by the government) and discounts from businesses and companies across thousands of outlets. Winston Peters negotiated with then-Prime Minister Helen Clark, despite widespread opposition to the card on the grounds of high cost. As a condition of the 2005 confidence and supply agreement between New Zealand First and the Labour Government, Peters launched the SuperGold Card in August 2007.
The card is available to all eligible New Zealanders over the age of 65. The card provides over 600,000 New Zealanders with access to a wide range of government and local authority services, business discounts, entitlements and concessions, such as hearing aid subsidies. A Veterans’ SuperGold Card, also exists for those who have served in the New Zealand Defence Force in a recognised war or emergency.
SuperGold Card came under threat in 2010 when National Minister Steven Joyce tried to terminate free SuperGold transport on some more expensive public transport services, including the Waiheke Island ferry and the Wairarapa Connection train. The Minister retreated when he came under fire from senior citizens.
Give old people a card that gets them free stuff! They’ll love it!
Have you abandoned your commitment to keeping us informed about public lands under Trump? I’m baffled by the present situation and would like some help!
I get it, I’m sorry. The truth is I myself am baffled by what’s happening. I’ve been slowly informing myself by reading:
They’re doing such good reporting on these issues. Also their classifieds are great:
This roundup of their stories on the latest developments is great:
I found this post on Mojave Desert Land Trust’s Instagram to be a good summary, too:
Trying to make sense of the national monument review process is like trying to avoid stepping on a scorpion in the dark.
In other words, our government is making it really hard for the public to see what is going on.
Here’s what we know so far.
In April, President Trump signed an executive order instructing the Department of the Interior (DOI) to review whether 27 national monuments deserved continued protection.
From May to July, the public was allowed to submit comments about this review. All of you spoke up to defend our Mojave monuments! Nearly three million Americans joined you in submitting public comments, 98% of which were in favor of keeping or expanding protections.
August 24th, DOI Secretary Zinke submitted his recommendations to the White House…and refused to release them to the public.
Since then, the public has waited for any information. And our Desert Defenders have continued to raise our voices about why our monuments deserve continued protection!
This Sunday, The Washington Post published a leaked version of Secretary Zinke’s report. Although this was supposed to be the DOI’s finalized review, it was titled as a draft and only contained vague recommendations for ten monuments.
It would need further revision by Zinke to become a final report. There was no mention of the other 17 monuments officially under review, including Mojave Trails and Sand to Snow. Nor was there word on Castle Mountains, which Rep. Cook asked Secretary Zinke to cut, although it wasn’t part of the original review.
Ultimately, no monument was declared safe. And the report’s omission of 17 monuments leaves them open to untold threats down the line, like executive orders or management plan reviews.
What the leaked report does make clear is that the Trump administration is preparing for an unparalleled attack on protected public lands that could result in widespread loss of wildlife habitat and economic harm to local businesses.
Seems like — and this may shock some of you – the Trump administration is hindered in executing wrongheaded and malicious policies by stupidity, clumsiness, disorganization and lack of any clear ideas, principles or goals short of being obnoxious and servicing the interests of GOP donors!
Welp, on the plus side, reading High Country News and learning about the Mojave Desert Land Trust has given me faith that lots of good people who care passionately are fighting to steward public land in effective and intelligent ways.
I’ve developed a radical policy idea. This is my position paper.
The Republic of Ireland should take in two million refugees.
Here’s my case.
Ireland is empty
Seriously, walk around the place. There’s like nobody there.
Here’s Ireland overlaid on Pennsylvania:
Pennsylvania has 12.78 million people. Similar landscape and climate.
Ireland has 4.773 million people.
Ireland has fewer people today than it did in 1841.
What a wild fact. What other country is like that? Can we really trust that 1841 census?
My source here is the Central Statistics Office of Ireland:
Ireland is empty because people moved away.
There were all the people that died in the massive famine.
But post-famine emigration is really what depopulated Ireland. The whole story of Ireland is people moving away.
Even James Joyce looked for a life elsewhere.
The people of Ireland were themselves once refugees.
They weren’t always looked fondly on either.
They were considered to be dirty and dangerous fundamentalists from a scary religion.
Now look at them.
Says The Washington Post:
According to the Census, there are 34.5 million Americans who list their heritage as either primarily or partially Irish. That number is, incidentally, seven times larger than the population of Ireland itself (4.68 million).
That’s just the USA. There are something like two million Irish Australians and four millionish Irish Canadians.
What a great chance for Ireland to return the favor!
What a cool national mission for Ireland!
And remember, we’re just restoring Ireland to its historical population level.
Possible counter argument:
But that will destroy the unique national character of Ireland!
First of all, maybe they won’t, maybe they’ll adapt to it. Or, as immigrants have done everywhere, offer new foods, traditions, ideas, and stir themselves into an overall blend.
Second of all Irish culture is pretty darn resilient, there’s dudes in Southie three generations removed who’ve never visited the place who have shamrock tattoos and sing some fraction of the songs while they get drunk together.
Third of all Irish culture has been well-preserved already.
You can count on the Irish to do a solid preservation job.
(This song about boiling a policeman and spreading him like pavement is a fair example of Irish culture*.)
Frankly Irish culture could use a bit of a jolt.
Previous pinnacle of Irish culture?
Taking in two million refugees is a challenge.
But Ireland is up to it. This country is one of the best ever producers of nurses, caregivers, teachers, cops. It could be a a national project that would bring out the best in them.
In conclusion, Ireland should take in two million immigrants.
By the way, not asking Ireland to do anything I wouldn’t do myself. You could argue California has already taken in two million refugees. I haven’t crunched the numbers yet but I think we could take in a million more.
* I’m aware the song was written by a Scottish person
Just read this one.
It’s true. Bannon, as presented in this book, is funny. Makes it harder to dislike him.
At one point he describes Paul Ryan as
a limp-dick motherfucker who was born in a petri dish at the Heritage Foundation.
This vivid turn of phrase after speaking to an embattled Roger Ailes:
Bannon was surprised at his desperation. “He was babbling,” he later told an associate. “He was in the fucking mumble tank.”
Bannon’s key insight:
Monster, filthy, sick, beast – these are terms Bannon throws around as compliments, what bro doesn’t? But on the other hand he starts to sound a lot like a dark wizard delighting in his devil-powers as he launches demons at the world.
Anyway, fast, entertaining and insightful book.
Was interested in the perspective of Peter Schweitzer, who wrote Clinton Cash.
Could you argue the same about journalists and Trump? Both love Twitter.
our Chicago correspondent sends us this find:
This NRA ad is so twisted and vicious that I hate to sully Helytimes with it. You don’t have to watch it, I will tell you the key parts.
From the woman’s tone to the images it is so intense, so designed to provoke fear and anger.
Imagine something less helpful than showing this to a fearful person or a deranged person who also owned a gun.
I learned a tiny bit about the woman in the ad and I don’t want to ever think about her again.
I do want to examine the use of the words “us” and “them” in the ad.
Sometimes I felt frustrated by the attempt to over-explain Trump’s popularity as just racism because I felt that like while racism was absolutely in the mix, that wasn’t a big enough word. What I really heard was something like “themism.”
It was obvious to anyone I talked to at Trump’s rally or the RNC that I was a “them” even though I felt like we were and could be and should be an “us.”
Who is them and who is us?
In the first twenty seconds of this ad, you hear about how “they use”:
- “their media”
- “their schools”
- “their movies stars
- their singers
- their comedy shows
- their awards shows”
(with lots of exterior shots of LA, by the way, including Disney Hall)
- “their ex-president”
As a media-working school-liking person who works on a comedy show in LA who loves and gave money to my ex-president, I am obviously a them.
What the hell? I want to be an us!
I am an us!
Who is the us, according to the ad?
Well, against the them is:
- “the law-abiding”
Me, definitely, I love the law, some of the people closest to me are professional law enforcers.
- “the police”
Same, I love one police in my own life and like the police in general.
So, I am also an us.
Can I be an us and a them?
What kind of wicked, nasty person would try and drive us apart like that? What sinister agenda would be behind that?
Anyone trying to divide us is wicked.
Which is better: united or divided?
Uniter or divider?
Everyone knows the answer to that. This is the United States.
If you are trying to divide, if you are sowing division, you doing wickedness. This is simple.
This ad is some kind of vicious dog-whistle designed make some loose category of people who feel angry and put upon and threatened feel more angry, put upon, and threatened. This ad uses the language of violence to suggest channeling those feelings into violence.
In this world you will see so much wickedness that you can’t possibly handle it all but somehow this one got to me.
Part of what makes me made is that a club for people who like shooting guns could be so positive. Lots of people in this country have guns because they like hunting or because guns are exciting. What if they were in a club that made them feel proud and noble instead of vicious and afraid?
The language about the “well-regulated militia” in the Second Amendment is so important. Adding those words was not an accident. The Founders didn’t want every gun-haver running around on his own kick deciding who to blast away. Read
A militia was a community. It brought people together. And it was a responsibility. To call this NRA video irresponsible is a wild understatement.
I suspect I have no more than two Helytimes readers who are in the NRA. There has to be a faction of the NRA that can see how wrong this ad is, how destructive. I could be wrong but my guess is this strategy of marketing for the NRA will not be successful.
My purpose in writing this was just to bore down and clarify mostly for myself what is so wrong and wicked about this ad and what larger principle that leads us to.
Also to shine a light on why the message is not just wicked but un-American.
A Smaller Thing That Made Me Mad From This Ad
“make them march, make them protest”
let’s pause here and remember you can say whatever the hell you want about movie stars and comedy shows but marching and protesting in American history is maybe not all the time but by an overwhelming margin a pretty darn heroic and positive thing in American history.
the ad is ignorant as well as wicked, the two often go hand in hand.
Pretty compelled by British politics, where a 68 year old socialist inspires mobs of young people with poetry while a former banker and political operator whose political arrogance blew up in her face clings to her job as Prime Minister.
Reader Laura M. calls our attention to another verse from that Shelley poem:
“…Next came Fraud, and he had on, Like Lord Eldon, an ermined gown ; His big tears, for he wept well, Turned to mill-stones as they fell.
And the little children, who Round his feet played to and fro, Thinking every tear a gem, Had their brains knocked out by them.”
The opening of the poem, The Masque of Anarchy:
- “Stand ye calm and resolute,
- Like a forest close and mute,
- With folded arms and looks which are
- Weapons of unvanquished war.
- And if then the tyrants dare,
- Let them ride among you there;
- Slash, and stab, and maim and hew;
- What they like, that let them do.
- With folded arms and steady eyes,
- And little fear, and less surprise,
- Look upon them as they slay,
- Till their rage has died away:
- Then they will return with shame,
- To the place from which they came,
- And the blood thus shed will speak
- In hot blushes on their cheek:
- Rise, like lions after slumber
- In unvanquishable number!
- Shake your chains to earth like dew
- Which in sleep had fallen on you:
- Ye are many—they are few!
Written in response to the Peterloo massacre:
This blog post is not an endorsement of the band Run The Jewels.
There are the protected and the unprotected. The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully.
The protected are the accomplished, the secure, the successful—those who have power or access to it. They are protected from much of the roughness of the world. More to the point, they are protected from the world they have created. Again, they make public policy and have for some time.
Strong endorse to an audio only, 1 hour 42 minute semi-memoir by Robert Caro, boiling down the central ideas of The Power Broker and the LBJ series. If you’ve read every single extant interview with Robert Caro, as I have, some of its repetitive but I loved it and loved listening to Caro’s weird New York accent.
Two details: he tells how James Rowe, an aide to FDR, told him that FDR was such a genius about politics that when he discussed it almost no one could even understand him. But Lyndon Johnson understood everything.
Caro tells that when LBJ ran for Congress the first time, he promised to bring electricity. Women had to haul water from the well with a rope. A full bucket of water was heavy. Women would become bent, a Hill Country term for stooped over. LBJ campaigned saying, if you vote for me, you won’t be bent. You won’t look at forty the way your mother looked at forty.
Indeed, it has long been in the Chinese government’s interest to sow cynicism among its citizens about the mechanisms of democracy. The current Administration and its steady stream of blunders have made Beijing’s task appreciably less difficult.
Some years ago at a dinner in Shanghai a smart person gave me his a somewhat jaded take on what would happen if China got democracy. He described how some huckster demagogue from TV would get elected and be terrible.
Peggy Noonan worth reading as usual. She got me to subscribe to the WSJ:
Here’s an idea.
It would be good if top Hill Republicans went en masse to the president and said: “Stop it. Clean up your act. Shut your mouth. Do your job. Stop tweeting. Stop seething. Stop wasting time. You lost the thread and don’t even know what you were elected to do anymore. Get a grip. Grow up and look at the terrain, see it for what it is. We have limited time. Every day you undercut yourself, you undercut us. More important, you keep from happening the good policy things we could have done together. If you don’t grow up fast, you’ll wind up abandoned and alone. Act like a president or leave the presidency.”
As Ms. Noonan points out that’s unlikely to be effective for long but it’s something positive.