Beating The War Drums

National Security Advisor John Bolton still thinks that the Iraq war was a good idea. He has never met a war he didn’t like or a treaty that he did. Now, as Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor, he has a great deal of power to make war against Iran. Bolton has given speeches for the MEK, a cultish organization that wants regime change in Iran.

Trump pulled the United States out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, Iran deal) a year ago, under the fiction that his great deal-making skills and “maximum pressure” would force Iran into a deal where they would change their government, stop supporting Hamas, end all nuclear work, and, probably, build a Trump Tower Tehran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has listed twelve points that Iran must meet to become a good world citizen in his eyes. Presumably, as in the case of North Korea, Iran must meet all those points before sanctions will be removed.

The JCPOA covers the possibility of Iran’s making nuclear weapons in full detail. Iran is complying with the agreement. But that’s not enough for a faction in the United States and Israel who opposed the JCPOA from the beginning and have continued to agitate for withdrawal from it. Read more

Keeping Women Barefoot And Pregnant

The Georgia legislature passed a law making abortion after six weeks of pregnancy illegal. I won’t go into all the details of the law. The theory is that a fetal heartbeat can be detected at that time. This is nonsense, because the embryo (it isn’t a fetus until nine weeks after conception) doesn’t have a heart at that point, although it does have a group of cells that, with luck, will become a heart and pulse together.

Pregnancies are defined from the last period, so six weeks is about when a period is late enough (for most women) that the woman starts thinking that maybe she’s pregnant. So the law bans all abortions. It also, and I haven’t dug into these details, makes it likely that women who have miscarriages can be convicted and imprisoned. Some asshole also said that it applies to ectopic pregnancies too, because the embryo/fetus should be removed from its unfortunate implantation outside the uterus and gently placed into that uterus. This is also nonsense – no such procedure has been developed.

Ohio wants to ban insurance coverage for abortion and most types of contraception. (Thanks, debbie!)

Alabama has also indulged in some sort of fuckery around a forced pregnancy law, but they haven’t gotten to voting on it yet.

The ACLU and others are challenging the Georgia law. At least two movie production companies are withdrawing from making movies in Georgia.

The responses on Twitter have been great. Here are some.

Great thread here – women will identify, and men should think about this.

At six weeks, the embryo is microscopic. A late and difficult period may well be an early miscarriage. Will the legislators want to examine menstrual fluid for those microscopic people?

You can donate to Planned Parenthood here. (thanks joel haines)

I think it’s cool that so many women are talking so candidly about menstruation and related matters.

Over to you all.



Registration tables vs. Mortality tables

American politics right now is basically a race of the registration tables against the mortality  tables.

Charles Franklin has a great graph on Twitter looking at mid-term voter participation rates by age for 2010, 2014, and 2018.

There are a few take-aways here. First, the probability of voting by age pretty steadily increases as cohorts age until about age 75 or so and then it drops off. Secondly, the slopes are fairly similar over time; it is a matter of levels for the differences in turn-out.  Young voters increased their voting rates faster than almost any one else in 2018.

Age is a strong dividing line. Pew shows this nicely from a poll in January 2019:

Read more

Monday Morning Open Thread: Hopes & Ambitions

Jonathan Capehart, in the Washington Post:

I turned to the rollicking 24-hour cocktail party that is Twitter to get some insight on the 2020 race for the Democratic nomination for president. Look, I know, Twitter is to civil political discourse what President Trump is to the rule of law. But what better way to try to take the pulse of potential Democratic voters than to pose a 118-character query and await incoming…

What I found out was actually rather interesting. I couldn’t get through all of the more than 1,000 responses that I’d received by 1 p.m. on Thursday, but I got through enough to notice a really interesting pattern among my admittedly unscientific and self-selecting sample. While the new polls show former vice president Joe Biden as the runaway favorite in the crowded field, he’s not among the favorites of the folks who responded to me.

Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) was the favorite by far. She was the first choice of 117 respondents. That includes the 10 people who gave her all three of their slots and six people who gave her two out of the three. Seventy-five gave Harris their second slot, and 24 more made her their third choice.

The interesting pattern that emerged was that for many, Harris and Warren were the top two choices. It was either Harris then Warren or Warren then Harris. More often that not, I noticed a Harris-Warren-Biden troika. And, in that, you see three strands of the Democratic contest…

Clown Car Open Thread: I, of Course, Blame the Oval Office Occupant

The curve for mediocre white men is very real. Perhaps it is my natal chauvinism, but as far as I can tell, Bill de Blasio is the 21st century version of John V. Lindsay: A less-than-popular NYC mayor whose only qualification for higher office is “I am extremely tall and have presidential hair.”

I mean, say what you will about Marianne Williamson (I am not a supporter, or even a reader), but at least she has millions of actual fans. Getting dinged as one of the no-hopers who didn’t even make the 20-person debate cut’ hardly seems worth taking media attention away from those candidates who do have a shot, and Goddess knows we don’t lack for qualified candidates already.

But then again, if you’ve got the kind of ego required for a political career, and you look at the farcical puppet now representing America and the Republican party…