Why Did Republicans Become So Extreme?

Stephan:  As usual, Paul Krugman sees clearly and accurately what is happening with the Republican Party. we are in a war, whether we like it or not. In November we are getting what may be our last chance to reverse this trend. Otherwise, we are going to have to live with it. And that is a very different America.
Credit: Mark Peterson / Redux

Many political analysts have spent years warning that the G.O.P. was becoming an extremist, anti-democratic party.

Long before Republicans nominated Donald Trump for president, let alone before Trump refused to acknowledge electoral defeat, the congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein declared that the party had become “an insurgent outlier” that rejected “facts, evidence and science” and didn’t accept the legitimacy of political opposition.

In 2019 an international survey of experts rated parties around the world on their commitment to basic democratic principles and minority rights. The G.O.P., it turns out, looks nothing like center-right parties in other Western countries. What it resembles, instead, are authoritarian parties like Hungary’s Fidesz or Turkey’s A.K.P.

Such analyses have frequently been dismissed as over the top and alarmist. Even now, with Republicans expressing open admiration for Viktor Orban’s one-party rule, I encounter people insisting that the G.O.P. isn’t comparable to Fidesz. (Why not? Republicans have been gerrymandering state legislatures to lock in control no matter how badly they lose the popular vote, which is right […]

Read the Full Article

1 Comment

Seeking an abortion? Here’s how to avoid leaving a digital trail.

Stephan:  I am running this story not only because it represents the desperate nature of the Roe decision in the lives of actual women. I am also running it to help any of my readers who are fertile women for whom pregnancy is a living issue. Also for readers who may know a girl or woman living in a Red state. Please pass this on. Monitoring fertile females is going to be one of the next big pushes by Republicans in control of Red states.
A nurse uses an ultrasound machine at Houston Women’s Reproductive Services in 2021.
Credit: May-Ying Lam / The Washington Post

Everything you do online is already tracked. That information is about to become even more sensitive if you’re seeking an abortion in the United States.

Friday’s Supreme Court decision overturning the landmark abortion rights ruling Roe v. Wade means 13 states could outlaw abortions within a month, and more could follow.

Help Desk: Technology coverage that makes tech work for you

A Google search for a reproductive health clinic, online order for abortion pills, location ping at a doctor’s office and text message about considering ending a pregnancy could all become sources of evidence. People constantly share data about their fertility online, privacy advocates say — even if they don’t realize it. Other obvious sources of health datainclude period-tracking apps and digital check-in forms at hospitals.

“People should not be responsible for doing everything perfectly, when they’re in a stressful situation, to protect our own privacy,” said India McKinney, director of federal affairs for the privacy advocacy organization […]

Read the Full Article

No Comments

‘We Are the Christian Taliban’: White Nationalist Declares Far Right’s Goal Is Turning US Into ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Stephan:  It is all getting so very explicit. From top to bottom the Republican Party has become a White Supremacy, male dominance, militant heterosexual, christofascist cult, committed to making America an anocracy, with them in permanent control.
White nationalist Vincent James spewing his hate, resentment, and racism

America is seeing a rise in far-right extremism, and the far-right is not trying to hide their existence or their dangerous fascistic agenda.

White nationalist Vincent James is proudly embracing criticisms the far right is the “Christian Taliban.”

“We are the Christian Taliban,” he says in video posted by Right Wing Watch. “This is the era of Christian nationalism. Christian nationalism is on the rise and people are thirsty for it. They are hungry for this. And we are the Christian Taliban. And we will not stop until ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is a reality and even worse than that,” he brags.

“The Handmaid’s Tale,” a 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood, tells the tale of a dystopian America turned into “Gilead,” a far Christian right theocratic nation in which women are effectively slaves in a patriarchal society – all of which violate the ideals set forth in the U.S. Constitution.

“To be honest, yes, we do have to start rolling back the – there was this article […]

Read the Full Article

No Comments

Roe’s Death Will Change American Democracy

Stephan:  Here is one of the most insightful essays I have read about Roe, how it happened, and its implications. Well thought out and based on objectively verifiable facts. And it gets the scale right. With the Roe, gun, and using federal tax money to fund religious christofacist schools, the importance of November's election just became several orders of magnitude greater.
Credit: Kenny Holston / The New York Times

The anti-abortion movement has long argued that reversing Roe v. Wade would strengthen American democracy. Roe, the argument goes, short-circuited a process of state-by-state debate and compromise, freezing the democratic process and imposing a single abortion solution on the nation. Undoing the constitutional right to abortion, then, is seen as a win for democracy — a first step in allowing each state to set its own policy.

The Supreme Court stresses this point in its opinion overturning Roe, going so far as to suggest that Roe is at the root of the polarization of American politics and the partisanship of our courts. Overturning it, the court argues, will move us a step closer to national sanity — or at least states can reach their own decisions and leave one another alone.

The problem with this argument is that history gives us no reason to believe it. Opinions about legal abortion were polarized before 1973, and Americans have held vastly different views about abortion since at least the […]

Read the Full Article

1 Comment

Education Department agrees to cancel $6 billion in debt for some 200,000 student loan borrowers

Stephan:  Here is some good news. Not the final chapter, of this trend, but still good news. The college education debt in this country is obscene, just another way to milk students of limited means for the profit of the oligarchs and the corporations they control. It's disgusting. It fosters the wellbeing of a society to let students seek education to the highest level to which they can qualify. That's how the doctors, physicists, biologist, and engineers are created that keep a nation on the cutting edge. Those who control social policy haven't learned that yet because they have other priorities that blind them to this truth.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona
The Washington Post / The Washington Post / Getty
  • The U.S. Department of Education has agreed to cancel the student loans of around 200,000 people who had brought a class-action lawsuit against it.
  • The former students claimed they were stuck with federal debts by schools that had been found to engage in misconduct.

Under the terms of the Sweet v. Cardona settlement, the Education Department will immediately approve around $6 billion in debt forgiveness. The 200,000 borrowers eligible for the relief will get full cancellation of their debt, refunds of amounts paid and repair to their credit.

The U.S. Department of Education has agreed to cancel the student loans of around 200,000 people who brought a class-action lawsuit against the government, claiming they were stuck with federal debts from schools that were found to have misled them.

The plaintiffs brought their lawsuit against the Trump administration in 2019, representing around 264,000 class members who said their applications for loan cancellation were being ignored by the Education Department. The suit name was later […]

Read the Full Article

No Comments