Thursday Morning Open Thread: Ratify the ERA

Back at the end of May, Illinois became the thirty-seventh state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. (Thirty-eight states are required for ratification.) Even though I didn’t post about it at the time, events of the past few weeks have confirmed my conviction that embedding the ERA in the Constitution is one of our best weapons against the creeping authoritarianism of the revanchist GOP and its dishonest brokers in all three branches of government. And I’m not alone!

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2014 remarks at the National Press Club said if she could choose any amendment to add to the US Constitution, it would be the Equal Rights Amendment. “I think we have achieved that through legislation, but legislation can be repealed, it can be altered,” Ginsburg continued. “So I would like my granddaughters, when they pick up the Constitution, to see that notion — that women and men are persons of equal stature — I’d like them to see that is a basic principle of our society.”

It will probably not come as a surprise that the states which have so far failed to ratify are those of the Confederacy, plus Utah and Arizona. That doesn’t mean any of these states are unflippable, not even Arkansas (hello, Senator Doug Jones) or Georgia. The original 1970s impetus to revive the ERA — which, it should be remembered, was first proposed in 1923 — was vitiated by a series of state-level legal and social changes. But Anthony Kennedy’s retirement, and the Reichtwing jubilation greeting the Oval Office Occupant’s chance to steal another seat on the Supreme Court, make it clear that the ERA is every bit as essential to our continued existence as a free nation as the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments. Without protection at the highest level, our rights to equal protection will never be more than provisional.



“Righteous” Monsters Russiagate Open Thread: No Violin Tiny Enough, Mr. Comey

I’m sure he really, honestly believes he was acting in good faith, there was nothing else he could do, just following orders, ma’am. Small consolation: His reputation seems to be “everything” to Mr. Comey — and history has never been kind to the “just following orders” defense.



Excellent Read: “Ninja Supreme Court Justice: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Has Fun With Fame”

There’s never a pause in the rush of BREAKING NEWS these days, so I’m just gonna start posting good links irregardless. From the New York Times, “The star of the documentary “RBG” has embraced her popularity as another tool in her effort to help women advance”:

WASHINGTON — No one knew when, or even how or where, Ruth Bader Ginsburg would pop up. The Supreme Court justice was due at a screening here of “RBG,” a new documentary chronicling her exemplary life. But she was not tied to the night’s tightly scripted schedule — at some point she would just appear, “like a ninja,” an organizer said.

Gathered in a theater at the Naval Heritage Center, the crowd was amped. There were lawmakers (progressive Democrats and a smattering of conservatives); the justice’s family, friends and former law clerks; her colleague Justice Stephen Breyer; and self-described fan girls and boys…

When the justice arrived, bodyguards encircling her, the audience gave her a standing ovation, then hushed until she claimed her seat. She wore her hair pulled back with one of her beloved scrunchies, in navy velvet; a maroon tweedy blazer; slate-blue belled slacks; jewelry in just about every possible place jewelry can go; and carried her own large handbag. In front of her, arms shot up for the stealth selfie-with-a-famous-person snap. She didn’t mind.

Justice Ginsburg is an unlikely celebrity but then again, we live in an age full of those. What makes her ascendance to pop culture icon — the Notorious RBG, y’all — truly surprising is that, at 85, she is having fun with her unexpected fame, and making careful and inspired use of it for her own savvy ends.

“Ruth was so far ahead of her time that she was alone for decades,” Gloria Steinem wrote in an email, listing the ways her friend and feminist compatriot of nearly half a century has been at the forefront of cultural shifts. “Ruth acted on the intertwining of racism and sexism long before it was called intersectionality. And she was principled in her own field,” the law, even though, as a woman, she was not initially welcome in its highest ranks…
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Comhghairdeas Éire! (Our Chance Comes In November)

Ireland has done what, as a not-much-younger-human I would have thought impossible in my lifetime: it has legalized abortion — and by an overwhelming margin.

In doing so, it has struck a blow that will resonate worldwide, and especially here, I think and hope.  Most important, it says to the forces of reaction that all people are people (even women!) and to hell with any doctrine, policy or party that says and does otherwise.

The Irish can have nice things.  So should we — and can if we mobilize the energy that is already here to say “not on our watch” this November.

We’ll be talking about that all summer, I’m sure.  For now, lets celebrate a huge win — for a small island and all its friends.

Image: John Duncan, The Riders of the Sidhe1911.



The Invisible Hand in the “Sexual Marketplace”

The first person the Santa Fe shooter killed was a 16-year-old girl who had refused to go out with him, according to the victim’s mother. Most of the victims were women and girls, including an exchange student from Pakistan who was due to go home next month, and two teachers.

Since the shooter chickened out on his suicide plan, maybe some explanation for his actions will be forthcoming. But online and offline misogynists think they’ve already figured it out:

It’s a mystery, Mark, but maybe I can explain. What Mark here describes as the “destabilization of the sexual marketplace” is what I call women’s freedom to function in society as a fully realized human beings.

Just a scant few generations ago, the Invisible Hand of the “sexual marketplace” grabbed women by the pussy like a metaphorical Trump and traded us between fathers, husbands and other male “protectors” like a commodity. If love, respect and companionship entered into the bargain, it was usually luck rather than the objective of the transaction.

Women disrupted that marketplace by claiming their own agency. The men who are “hard hit” by that need to examine why they have to rely on coercion to get laid. Or they could use their not-so-invisible hand to jerk off. Really, guys, this shouldn’t be our fucking problem.



Open Thread: Inside A New York Minute


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Turncoats in the Battle for Women’s Equality Demand a Purple Heart

Wingnuts are among the most entitled creatures on the planet. They meep endlessly about made-up oppression like the persecution of white Christian men, even though white Christian men have always been the most powerful group in the country. They feel entitled to validation by Hollywood elites and whine unceasingly about being disrespected by writers, artists, musicians, actors, etc.

But for my money, no wingnut entitlement is quite so annoying as the demand that feminists circle the wagons around a conservative woman who has spent her entire career helping powerful men denigrate and oppress women. Even if she’s legitimately a victim of sexism, it takes some goddamned nerve for a conservative woman to demand that the sisterhood kiss her boo-boo when she’s busily advancing a sexist goon’s agenda. She should at least have the fucking decency to accept the terms she’s trying to impose on the rest of us.

Making such demands based on a lie about sexism is even more galling. The latter spectacle has been on display all week, with liars and/or idiots misunderstanding a comic’s routine and shrieking like scalded wombats about a nonexistent insult to Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ looks at the WHCA dinner. Here’s a sample of an annoying demand for women to circle the wagons from another lying Trump mouthpiece:

Talia Lavin on Twitter wasn’t having any of Conway’s bullshit, and the multi-tweet smack-down response (rendered below in paragraph form) is a thing of beauty that not only vaporizes Conway’s dumb comment but gets to the heart of what feminism is with uncommon clarity:

no. you don’t get to work your entire life against women’s rights and advancement, work for the most poisonously anti-woman admin in modern memory, and then turn around and beg for faux-feminist solidarity.

Feminism means something. It is NOT a sugar-spun cloak of girl power. It’s not a pink ribbon on an expensive coat. It is a fight to be free. It is a liberation struggle and the wages of losing are death or worse. You don’t get to make me forget that. I will never forget that.

I will fight against anyone, male or female, who does not want me to be free. I will fight against anyone who wants womanhood to be a punishment. I will fight for my flesh and my blood and my soul to be free until I die.

Too many people think feminism is decorative, a sugar pill to be bottled and sold at a markup. I grew up in a religion that gender-segregated during prayer, that taught me my body was dirty and my mind inferior. I left. Feminism gave me that strength.

I have been raped and assaulted and groped and beaten, and I have had an easy life. So many women are suffering. So many are not free. And this is because of systems of power, political and social, that feminism’s white-hot core seeks to burn down.

We have to claim it. We have to own it. Feminism isn’t easy or simple. You can’t buy it and you’re not born into it because you’re female. You have to choose it. You have to take the power yourself. No one will give it to you.

A-fucking-men. Had the comedian at the WHCA dinner actually insulted Sanders’ appearance, feminists would have spoken up, even though Sanders, Conway, et al, are enablers and apologists for the grotesque sexist nightmare in the Oval Office. But their speaking up wouldn’t be what Lavin rightly calls “faux-feminist solidarity,” and it wouldn’t be out of any sense of obligation to those particular women; it would be part of the larger struggle for recognition of our full humanity. That battle goes on, regardless of the turncoat status of Sanders, Conway and every idiotic woman who voted for Trump.