Mexico! 🎉

(via e-mail breaking news alert):

Mexico decriminalizes abortion, a dramatic step in the world’s second-biggest Catholic country

The [Mexican] Supreme Court’s decision makes Mexico the most populous country in Latin America to permit the procedure. The ruling comes as Texas, just across the border, tightens restrictions. The decision reflects activism by a powerful feminist movement, as well as concern about women dying or suffering harm from illegal abortions.

Read more [@ WaPo]

While this Republicans (politicians and citizens alike) become more like the Taliban every day, a “powerful feminist movement” in Mexico has succeeded in moving the needle in the opposite direction. And they did so by centering those who are dying and being maimed by illegal abortions – a terrible price to pay for the living to obtain the basic human right to bodily autonomy.

But it’s just not “civil” to discuss such ugliness in polite society! We simply must keep the discourse around abortion rights calm, reasoned and as removed from reality as possible, as we sit around discussing abstract concepts like “choice” over tea. Because that’s really been working so well for us! [/snark]

Wasn’t I just ranting about this very thing on Sunday? Why, yes! Yes I was!

And I said:

The only thing “civil” attempts at persuasion accomplish is allowing sadistic misogynists to continue pretending that picture [of Geraldine Santoro taken in 1964 by police who found her dead after a botched attempt at self-aborting] does not capture exactly what they are doing.

I wonder how many (more) unnecessary deaths and senseless maimings it will take for U.S. Republicans to reverse course? It seems we will also need a powerful feminist movement. More powerful, even, than the Catholic Church in Mexico.

Anybody got one of those lying around?

I write letters to the president.

You know, sometimes I get it in my head that it’s worth taking five minutes of my finite existence to do something utterly and pathetically futile, just because I will feel better having done so, and because I can (<–no small thing, that).

Dear Mr. President:

For what it costs in both tax dollars and lives, here and abroad, perhaps you might consider upending the entire U.S. military paradigm. Humanitarian aid, even to our “enemies” would be far cheaper, far less inhumane, and far more likely to settle conflicts with a WIN-WIN.

For just one example, why not provide Palestinians the same amount of aid we give to Israel without accountability, in the form of rebuilding and improving their destroyed infrastructure, including creating world-class healthcare facilities that all people in the region would have access to?

Think outside the box, because the box is making a darker world and suffocating all of us.

-Iris Vander Pluym

Hey, I never said they were good letters.

Have a go at it yourself: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

Facebook knows better. Let’s make it DO better.

Via email from Color of Change (all emphasis in original):

color of change's facebook campaign image: pile of facebook's iconic thumbs-up "like" icons turned upside-down, with text "IT'S BEEN A YEAR. FACEBOOK DO SOMETHING."

Dear Iris:

One year ago, in response to Facebook doubling down on their refusal to remove calls to violence against Black protestors, we launched our “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign. Together, with our partners and Color Of Change members like you, we successfully compelled an unprecedented 1,200 business partners to withdraw millions of dollars in advertising from Facebook for failing to protect Black users and community stakeholders.1 The boycott increased the pressure we placed on Facebook to respond, resulting in them agreeing to some of our long standing demands, including creating a senior role to oversee civil rights at the company and a dedicated team to study algorithmic racial bias.2 Despite these important changes, Facebook continues to fall far short of adequately addressing the harms they cause our communities. [Read more…]

The 99.5 Percent Act.

As I’ve mentioned previously, Roots Action is an activist group I happily allow to gain entrée into my inbox. Even on the rare occasions when I disagree, their messaging is always informative and concise, and their target selection is spot-on. (More on the group here.)

Today’s missive concerns a bill being introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressdude Jimmy Gomez called the 99.5% Act, and provides a link to send a letter to the Goldman Sachs puppets on Capitol Hill who pretend to represent your interests and those of your fellow citizens who reside in your congressional district and state. The letter urges these assholes to get on board with this bill.

Hahaha. Yes, I know.

[Read more…]

Conservatives still ruining everything: Turkey edition.

[CONTENT NOTE: graphic descriptions of violence against women including murder.]

[via The Guardian*/Beril Eski and agencies]

A rally to mark International Women’s day in Istanbul where protesters demanded government commitment to the European accord on violence against women. Photograph: Bülent Kılıç/AFP/Getty ImagesA rally to mark International Women’s day in Istanbul where protesters demanded government commitment to the European accord on violence against women. Photograph: Bülent Kılıç/AFP/Getty Images

__________

Protests as Turkey pulls out of treaty to protect women

 

[Read more…]

The Joy of Painting With Bob Ross and Banksy.

LONDON (AP) — Banksy appears to have thrown his support behind a campaign to turn a former prison in the English town of Reading into an arts venue, a town spokesman said on Thursday, after the street artist confirmed that artwork that appeared on a red brick wall of the prison was of his making. The elusive artist confirmed the picture was his when he posted a video of him creating it on his Instagram account… More: https://apnews.com/article/banksy-reading-prison-artwork-bebac98ca76807d260985cd18e58adc8

I fuckin’ love this guy.

Questions for Secretary of State Nominee Antony Blinken.

Roots Action is an online activist groups that I happily allow to exist in my inbox: I find their messaging educational and their activism worthwhile. In case you are unfamiliar with them:

RootsAction is an online initiative dedicated to galvanizing people who are committed to economic fairness, equal rights for all, civil liberties, environmental protection — and defunding endless wars.

(More info at this link.)

Today they sent me an exemplary missive regarding Biden’s nominee for Secretary of State, Antony Blinken. Of course all such nominees are subject to Senate approval, so Roots Action has helpfully drafted questions for Senators to use when they query Mr. Blinken during the vetting process. These are questions that elected officials in any functioning democracy could, should and would demand be answered to the public’s satisfaction before handing over a set of keys to the kingdom. Which means these inquiries are highly unlikely to be asked, or even considered.

But that doesn’t mean that such email campaigns are not worth your click. For one thing, when a sizable enough number of constituents bombards your Senators’ offices with a single concern, some poor staffer is duty-bound to bring it to his or her attention. Unless the Senator in question is, say, Bernie Sanders, this particular collection of emails will have the effect of pissing them off. I mean really irritating the shit out of them.

Now doesn’t that mere thought alone warm your little black heart? Click here, and ruin a Goldman Sachs puppet’s day!

Second, I am a very big fan of taking actions that shift the Overton window. It is certainly in need of a hell of a lot of shifting, especially after conservatives have spent the last several decades on a singular mission to convince us all that people like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are godless communists. There is no question this effort has worked out splendidly for conservatives.

Yet in more recent years we have finally witnessed “fringe” ideas enter the mainstream from both the right and the left. For instance, Medicare for All is not yet seriously on the table, but it no longer gets you laughed out of the room, either. Lowering the Medicare eligibility age, as Biden pretends he wants to do, would certainly be a shift in the same direction. Even more promising, a public option/Medicare buy-in has picked up traction, too. If enacted, I predict this would drag the Overton window toward the single payer point much farther and faster than many now envision. That’s because a Medicare buy-in would never be restricted to individuals: here in ‘Murikka where Corporations ‘R People®, big business buy-in to more affordable employee health coverage could topple the private insurance industry with lightning speed.

Meanwhile, poor Mr. Overton must be nearly dead now from all that punching from the right. Not very long ago the violent overthrow of Congress at the direction of the US president by a bunch of badly dressed mooks sure seemed like a pretty fringe idea. Yet here we are.

The Roots Action email campaign is set up so you can modify the text before it gets routed to your Senators, and I took full advantage of this opportunity. Roots Action’s message is serious and well-documented, though still outside of more mainstream discourse. So is mine, but in the current political environment I’m quite sure I sound like a deranged lefty berserker. Good. Because you know what? It takes an awful lot of little pushes to budge that fucking window.

Why not help kick it a little.

_________

(My added text is right up front; the Roots Action text is below the cut.)

Subject: Questions for Antony Blinken

Dear [Senators Schumer and Gillibrand]:

War profiteering used to be universally reviled as the evil that it patently is. And yet now, it’s in the job description of the Executive Branch to shill for US “defense” companies like a bunch of used car salesmen. Incentivising the spread of war, violence and weapons around the globe for obscene private profits should not be the business of anyone, much less the United States government. Quite the opposite, in fact. Why, one might think the Executive Branch works on commission, rather than remuneration from US taxpayers. And yet here we are, with a man perfectly emblematic of this problem, nominated to head the State Department.

I have some questions for you to ask Mr. Blinken, but perhaps you could start with asking this one of yourself: Wouldn’t it be more accurate to rename the US Department of State the US Department of Sales? And while you’re at it, please think about how you might use your considerable power to dismantle the system that enables war profiteering and all of the evils that flow from it. Here’s a thought, and I’m just spitballing here: if US weapons manufacturers cannot enrich their shareholders without using the US government to ensure they are the preeminent arms dealers for the entire world, perhaps they should all be run as nonprofits?

__________

[Read more…]