Will 2024 Be Biden vs. Trump or Newsom vs. DeSantis?

While most oddsmakers seem fairly confident that a Biden vs. Trump rematch is the most likely scenario in 2024, it’s clear that both the Democratic and Republican parties are exploring alternatives. A Biden-Trump rematch would be a unique occasion: a race between two highly unpopular Presidents each rife with vulnerabilities that would sink any other candidate against any other opponent. Therefore, there’s reason to believe that neither party is all-in on Biden or Trump just yet.

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On the Republican side, Trump is considering declaring his candidacy unusually early in order to box out his most threatening potential rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. DeSantis’ star is rising in the GOP, and he’s expected to seize the opportunity to run for President. He’s currently trailing Trump by more than 20 points in early primary polls, but he’s a formidable opponent who could certainly give Trump a run for his money if he decides to challenge him.

For Democrats, Biden’s re-election prospects are looking worse by the day, as his performance and polling numbers continue to flounder. California Governor Gavin Newsom recently released a campaign ad which, oddly, aired in DeSantis’ home state of Florida and targeted DeSantis specifically: a clear signal that he’s mulling a potential run for the White House.

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It’s highly unlikely that Newsom would challenge Biden in a primary if Biden decides to run again. If Biden seeks re-election, such a challenge would likely be construed as undermining the presumptive nominee in an already difficult campaign year. But it’s quite possible that his ad was designed to persuade Democratic donors and the White House itself that he – not Biden – is his party’s best bet in 2024. If he can make his case to party insiders before the midterms, they might convince Biden to step down and not run again. If Biden’s donors then flocked to Newsom, it would give him a tremendous advantage going into a Democratic primary.

Writer and author Anis Shivani joined us on our podcast to discuss some of these key developments in the early phases of the 2024 Presidential campaign, as well as the intriguing Pennsylvania Senate contest between John Fetterman and Dr. Oz.

Listen to our full conversation by clicking the player below, and subscribe to our podcast on any major podcast player.

If you enjoyed this content, please consider helping us create more of it by becoming a member at Patreon or Substack. We also accept secure donations via PayPal. Thank you for supporting independent media.

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157. First Thoughts on "Climate" Bill, Greens Back on NC Ballot – w/ Matthew Hoh Due Dissidence

Photos: AP, Getty, Gavin Newsom for Governor

Liberals’ Praise of Liz Cheney is Their Latest and Greatest Embarrassment

by Keaton Weiss

Arming Saudi Arabia; drilling on protected lands; draconian, inhumane border enforcement; blocking a path to citizenship for DACA recipients; cutting taxes for the rich; banning trans people from the military; defunding health centers that perform abortions; preventing the government from negotiating for lower prescription drug prices; opposing sensible gun laws; opposing a $15 minimum wage; opposing restoration of the Voting Rights Act. These are just some of many issues in which Liz Cheney and Donald Trump are in full agreement.

And where they differ, Cheney’s positions are usually worse than Trump’s. She spoke out against Trump’s withdrawal of troops from Syria in 2019, she voted to override Trump’s rightful veto of 2020’s $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act, and she voted down Trump’s plan to increase coronavirus stimulus payments from $600 to $2,000 in the most recent Lame Duck session.

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Democratic mega-donors like Jeffrey Katzenberg seem at least somewhat aware of this, which is why they qualify their gushing praise of Liz Cheney with caveats like “We agree on little, if anything.” But – ah – there’s always a but. “But,” Katzenberg continues, “She has done something that very, very few people in history have done, which is she’s put her country over party and politics to stand in defense of our Constitution.”

He’s of course referring to Cheney’s indignation at the January 6th riot and her insistence of Trump’s culpability in the event which have made her a rockstar in liberal media. Even Robert Reich, a more progressive Democrat who should certainly know better, penned a ludicrous essay floating her for President in 2024. His rationale is essentially the same as Katzenberg’s, which is essentially the same as Jonathan Chait’s, which is essentially the same as blue-checked celebrities like Rob ReinerStephen KingGeorge Takei, and countless others in the liberal hive mind.

Reich writes:

Cheney is a firm conservative and I have opposed many of her positions. But we are at an inflection point in this nation over a set of principles that transcend any particular positions or policies. If we cannot agree on the sanctity of the Constitution and the rule of law, we are no longer capable of self government.

The real battle in 2024 will not be between Democrats and Republicans. It will be between forces supporting democracy in America and those supporting authoritarianism. Trump is the de facto leader of the forces supporting authoritarianism. Liz Cheney has become the de facto leader of the forces supporting democracy.

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Aside from being a reflection of his own privilege, Reich’s contention that Cheney’s supposed “support” for democracy “transcend[s] any particular positions or policies” is shockingly narrow-minded in its conception of democracy itself. His “democracy” refers only to the dog and pony shows we call “free and fair elections” in which votes are cast, counted, and certified, and a winner is decided. If the practice of democracy were as simple and as limited as that, Reich might have something approaching a reasonable point. But democracy is more than just the electing and swearing-in of political leaders. Democracy is more broadly and relevantly defined as control of a group, organization, institution, or society, by a majority of its members.

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By this definition, Liz Cheney is no supporter of democracy at all. By this definition, a society in which women are denied basic bodily autonomy cannot be democratic. A society whose labor force is relegated to serfdom – and who depend on their employers for access to medical care – cannot be democratic. A society whose members support by a 90-10 margin background checks on gun purchases, but are denied this policy preference because their government has been bought off by arms dealers, cannot be democratic. A society which restricts access to voting itself – obviously – is not and cannot be democratic.

And so there is no way to parse one’s “particular positions or policies” from their support for democracy itself. Two people cannot differ on matters of civil rights, economic rights, labor rights, climate rights, and immigrants’ rights, but agree on the importance of maintaining a democratic system. It’s absurd on its face. Liz Cheney is egregiously wrong on all of these issues, and therefore cannot be credibly lauded as a champion of democracy under any circumstances.

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Her January 6th posturing might be nothing more than an elaborately staged audition tape for The Lincoln Project, but assuming it is motivated by some sincere political conviction, Cheney’s real commitment is to the charade of electoral processes which produce peaceful transfers of power between puppets of the capitalist-militarist state.

Proclaiming the “sanctity” of such pageantry is essential to maintaining the illusion of American democracy. (Oddly enough, it was Al Gore’s servile deference to this ideal that allowed Liz’s father and his gang of marauding war criminals to successfully steal a Presidential election from the rightful winner.) But post-2016, liberal politics itself has been reduced to just that: pageantry. Anti-Trump sentiment is all that matters to today’s liberals. Whether such opposition is voiced from the Left or the Right is mostly irrelevant.

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Perhaps somewhere in their conscience, liberals long for a world in which policy differences between Democrats and Republicans are of little to no consequence. After all, this was the world they lived in for most of their lives, and for the most part it served them well enough. This would explain their fondness for moments like George W. Bush and Michelle Obama’s candy exchange at John McCain’s funeral, and their embrace of Never Trump Republicans like Jennifer Rubin, Steve Schmidt, David Frum, and Bill Kristol. In this context, their veneration of Liz Cheney makes perfect sense.

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To the rest of us, it’s their latest and greatest in a string of embarrassing post-Trump psychotic breaks. The zeitgeist turned against the liberal class for a reason: because most Americans in most places don’t pine for the good old days when politics was a low-stakes parlor game for an insular elite class who more or less agreed on the major issues of the day. Most Americans have come to an understanding – even if more intuitive than intellectual – that such a politics yields nothing desirable for them. This is how Liz Cheney became a pariah within her own party, and why a Democratic Party that sings her praises is destined to fail.

If you enjoyed this content, please consider helping us create more of it by becoming a member at Patreon or Substack. We also accept secure donations via PayPal. Thank you for supporting independent media.

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157. First Thoughts on "Climate" Bill, Greens Back on NC Ballot – w/ Matthew Hoh Due Dissidence

Photo: C-SPAN

The Liberal Class Called. They Want Their Fake Democracy Back.

by Keaton Weiss

In January, The Brookings Institute published a report entitled “Is democracy failing and putting our economic system at risk?” Baked into its thesis is the faulty presumption that democracy can and should exist to accommodate capitalism – a practical impossibility since capitalism is inherently antidemocratic. And so truly, it’s the failure of our economic system that’s exposing our so-called democracy for the sham it’s always been.

For the liberal class, this realization isn’t coming easily. Their entire worldview is predicated upon the notion that capitalism and democracy can in fact complement each other so long as economic opportunity is evenly distributed among people of all colors, creeds, genders, orientations, etc.. Of course, this is a delusion. Capitalism is an economic system in which one uses their existing advantage (capital) to accrue further advantage (more capital) in a market which inevitably becomes more and more unequal, both in outcomes and opportunities. As inequality worsens, social cohesion deteriorates, and the “democratic” system in which all of this takes place collapses.

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We’re in the throes of this right now. The January 6th hearings, an endless sequence of horrific mass shootings, runaway inflation, and the Supreme Court’s string of draconian rulings are making the unraveling of both our economic and political systems clear as day for all to see.

If we had an actual Left in this country with both the will and the ability to create a democratic economy more compatible with political democracy, there might be some hope that this trend could be reversed. Instead, we have a liberal opposition whose only response to social, economic, and political collapse is indignation and resentment that the pseudo-democracy they’ve enjoyed until now isn’t good enough for everyone else.

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Nowhere is this more evident than in their response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Liberals decry the revocation of their rights to reproductive healthcare, as they should. However, many of these same people consistently vote against progressives in their own party who advocate for all forms of healthcare as a human right. This is a perfect example of trying to fit the square peg of capitalism into the round hole of liberal democracy. Liberals want abortion rights, but they don’t want to enshrine all forms of healthcare as a right by passing something like Medicare For All. Hillary Clinton, in the wake of the Court’s decision on Roe, warned that that “women will die” as a result. This is the same Hillary Clinton who said loudly and proudly at a 2016 campaign rally that universal healthcare would “never, ever come to pass.” Approximately 10,000 American women die each year because they can’t afford medical care. Hillary would have you believe that women’s deaths from unsafe back-alley abortions are an outrage, but women’s deaths due to lack of healthcare affordability are an inescapable reality we’ll all just have to accept as a sacrifice at the altar of the market. What moral or political sense does this make? None at all, except that it has the blessing of our “centrist” political and media establishment.

Until recently, this “center” they love so much – ie, abortion access inside an inhumane market-based healthcare system – has more or less held. The 2016 Sanders campaign was the voice in the wilderness warning mainstream liberals that it wouldn’t hold much longer. And now, here we are. Liberals mostly blame Donald Trump for this, as well as those they feel paved the way for his election – Bernie Bros, Susan Sarandon, Jill Stein, James Comey, and Vladimir Putin. But in reality, it was their delusional insistence that democracy can be preserved without challenging capitalism that ushered in this new dystopia. Furthermore, their continued belief that such a balance is both feasible and desirable is what explains the Democratic Party’s paralysis in the face of our descent into authoritarianism.

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Republicans have fully embraced this devolution from fake democracy to actual fascism – the natural progression of a hyper-capitalist state. Democrats, on the other hand, are in the unfortunate position of having to sell the public on the obviously artificial premise that capitalism and democracy can be reconciled and fused for the promotion of our collective wellbeing. Democrats believe we can protect the right to reproductive healthcare while commodifying access to all other forms of healthcare. Republicans take the much simpler and more politically digestible position of denying both of these rights, and stressing “personal responsibility” as the key to survival in an an increasingly capitalistic – and decreasingly democratic – society.

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The only viable counter to this offensive is to assert that all healthcare is a human right, and take capitalism out of the equation altogether. You’d have to take similar approaches on issues of climate, labor, and criminal justice, and then you might have a chance at pulling us back from the brink. But of course, that isn’t going to happen so long as the liberal class is at the helm. They’ll simply continue to lament the incorrigibility of a public who’s abandoned their neoliberal politics forever and for good reason.

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So when you hear them bemoan the fall of democracy, understand there’s nothing democratic about the order they wish to restore. For this reason, our decline will only get steeper as their cries grow louder.

If you enjoyed this content, please consider helping us create more of it by becoming a member at Patreon or Substack. We also accept secure donations via PayPal. Thank you for supporting independent media.

Follow us on all of these platforms to stay in touch:

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157. First Thoughts on "Climate" Bill, Greens Back on NC Ballot – w/ Matthew Hoh Due Dissidence

Photo: Ted Eytan (cc 2.0)

Neoliberalism Toppled Chesa Boudin

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin was ousted from office last week in a recall election. The vote wasn’t close: 60-40 against Boudin.

And while mainstream media outlets – both liberal and conservative – have emphasized the recall’s support among San Francisco’s poorer communities of color, the reality is that Boudin was also rejected – perhaps even in larger numbers – by the city’s affluent white liberal (and conservative) residents. Like in New York City, where a mixed coalition of working class people of color and affluent white cosmopolitans elected Mayor Eric Adams based largely on the perception that he was “tough on crime,” a similar dynamic took shape in the effort against Boudin.

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Criminal justice reporter Tana Ganeva (Rolling Stone, The Intercept, The New Republic) cited these mixed results in her recent substack post in an effort to counter the narrative that the recall was mostly an organic working class uprising against a progressive DA. In it, she points out that while neighborhoods like Chinatown did vote mostly in favor of the recall, the pro-recall forces ran up higher turnout and margins in rich white neighborhoods like Pacific Heights, Presidio Terrace, and the Marina District.

Tana joined us on our podcast to do a deep dive into not only the results of the recall, but the political implications of the broader effort against progressive criminal justice reformers. Boudin’s recall in San Francisco, Adams’ election in NYC, and the looming recall effort against George Gascón in Los Angeles suggests a reactionary backlash in supposedly “liberal” cities to “soft on crime” politicians.

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Of course, these are the same cities whose residents have, through their full embrace of neoliberalism, ushered in an era of obscene inequality that has gentrified millions of poor and working class people out of their communities, and immiserated millions more who stayed. Rather than use their votes to reverse this trend, wealthy affluent liberals instead voted to shield themselves from culpability for the poverty and desperation they’ve wrought upon their cities’ underclasses by laying the resulting “crime problem” at the feet of progressive reformers like Chesa Boudin.

We discuss the recall in detail in the podcast below. Click the player to hear our full conversation, and subscribe to our podcast on any major podcast player.

If you enjoyed this content, please consider helping us create more of it by becoming a member at Patreon or Substack. We also accept secure donations via PayPal. Thank you for supporting independent media.

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157. First Thoughts on "Climate" Bill, Greens Back on NC Ballot – w/ Matthew Hoh Due Dissidence

Photo: NBC

Jim Clyburn’s Primary Challenger Marcel Dixon Isn’t Pulling Any Punches

Gregg “Marcel” Dixon is a candidate for Congress in South Carolina’s 6th District, currently represented by James Clyburn. Dixon is mounting a primary challenge in which early voting is already underway.

We interviewed Marcel about his background and platform, as well Clyburn’s record of failure and corruption. The beginning portion of our interview is transcribed in part below. To hear the entire conversation, listen to the podcast underneath the text.

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Keaton Weiss: I just want to jump right in and talk a little bit about James Clyburn’s district. Because I know James Clyburn as a power broker inside the Democratic party – a kingmaker of sorts who revived Joe Biden’s campaign, pretty much from the dead, in the 2020 primaries. But I had not known until very recently the horrible shape that his home district is in. South Carolina’s sixth is the sixth poorest district in the country, and that statistic is really just the tip of the iceberg. In terms of child poverty, education, healthcare access, this district just kind of ranks miserably all across the board – so can you speak to the state of your district and Clyburn’s failures as a rep?

Marcel Dixon: Well I’m not surprised you wouldn’t know his district was in such bad shape because he’s never here. Outside of playing golf he’s never really spending time going around his district or speaking to people, so it’s easy to forget that he’s responsible for a district in South Carolina. 

As you already mentioned, his district is the sixth poorest by net worth in the United States of America. For children, it’s the third poorest. His district has the worst water quality in the nation, some of the highest levels of toxicity. Highest eviction rate, some of the worst health outcomes for any district in the United States of America. In Richland County, where the capital city of Columbia is located, there is one community, majority black community – as his district is a majority black district – there have been so many amputations of the black residents there. Their toes and fingers, legs and arms being chopped off, that a whole exposé had to be written about it. 

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And they discovered that these people had such poor health outcomes because they live in food deserts – which means you go for 10 miles or more and not be able to have access to a grocery store – that exist all throughout his district. There’s also healthcare deserts – where you can go 10 miles or more and not be able to pass a hospital or doctor’s office – that exist all throughout his district. So for preventable reasons, these people are getting their limbs chopped off, and once your limb is chopped off [you‘re] usually only given three years further to live because of lack of mobility and poor circulation.

There’s a town in his district, Denmark South Carolina. It’s a small town of no more than three to four thousand people, but it has two HBCU’s: Voorhees College and Denmark Tech. They haven’t had clean water in over 10 years. [An] unapproved, untested chemical was being put in their water supply. And you’d think Clyburn would be shouting about this from the rooftop. He has not. Bernie Sanders actually brought a pallet of clean drinking water for the residents there. Now they’re telling people the water is fine. They said that in Flint, Michigan too and we saw how that went. So people there don’t believe it at all. 

Russell Dobular: So why does he keep getting returned to Congress? Why do people keep voting for him?

Marcel: People haven’t had any options, to be honest with you. It’s almost like you have grits for breakfast or grits for breakfast, you’re going to eat grits. He’s really been the only option since he’s been in office. He’s had a few primaries here and there, but none have really been a legitimate threat to him. That’s on record. And really, he’s gone as long as entire decades without being primaried. And the of the truth of the matter is, most Americans of any racial ethnic demographic, over half of their demographic is not voting. So it’s not that most people are voting for Clyburn, it’s that among the segment of the population that does vote, he gets the majority of those votes. 

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And it really does come from his image as an older Black southern man. People look at him and they think that because of him being black, him having to live through Jim Crow, redlining, and all the other horrors through which Black American descendants of American slaves have survived, people imagine he has our best interests at heart. Also, the truth of the matter is a lot of people do not do their due diligence and do their research. I never bothered to research his record until I did. And once I did, that’s when I said this cannot continue. 

People don’t realize how neglectful he’s been towards us. People think that he’s up there trying, and people make excuses for him. When you bring up how bad our district is, people want to blame the Republicans.

That’s not flying with me. Black Americans vote 90 to 95 [percent] for the Democrats. Without Black Americans there will be no Democratic Party. So when i want results for my people, i’m not going to look at the Republicans. They’re not getting most of our votes, the Democrats are. 

Also, people want to give to him both sides of argument. They want to say, “look at the good things he’s done” – which is very little – and they want to give him credit for the good, and at the same time don’t want him to take responsibility for the bad. That’s not how this works. You don’t get to claim credit for the good and then absolve yourself of responsibility for the bad. So it’s been a lot of excuses made for him, it’s a lot of lack of knowledge about how bad his record. People think he’s trying to do good by us and he’s just being given a difficult time by Republicans. That is not the truth.

People are not familiar with his record. But because of me, they are now.

To hear our full conversation, click the player below, and subscribe to our podcast on any major podcast player.

If you enjoyed this content, please consider helping us create more of it by becoming a member at Patreon or Substack. We also accept secure donations via PayPal. Thank you for supporting independent media.

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157. First Thoughts on "Climate" Bill, Greens Back on NC Ballot – w/ Matthew Hoh Due Dissidence

Photos: AP, MarcelforCongress.com

Podcast: A Talk With the Finance Director of Andrew Yang’s Forward Party – w/ Kait Saier

We interview Kait Saier, finance director of Andrew Yang’s Forward Party, about new parties, democracy reform, ranked choice voting, and more in our latest podcast.

Click the player below to hear our full conversation, and subscribe to our podcast on any major podcast player.

If you enjoyed this content, please consider helping us create more of it by becoming a member at Patreon or Substack. We also accept secure donations via PayPal. Thank you for supporting independent media.

Follow us on all of these platforms to stay in touch:

Listen to our latest podcast below and subscribe to our podcast on Apple, StitcherSpotifyCastboxSoundcloudor any podcast player you use.

157. First Thoughts on "Climate" Bill, Greens Back on NC Ballot – w/ Matthew Hoh Due Dissidence

Photo: Gage Skidmore

Uvalde Proves Once Again That America is a Death Cult

As the 212th shooting of 2022 goes down, Americans still refuse to confront their dark side

by Adventures in the Free World (Photo:Gabriele Galimberti fromthe photo series The Ameriguns)

This constant nonsense of rotating between “No, we need gun control!” and “No, it’s a mental health issue!” has gotten absurd. What else do people expect from living in the most murderous empire in human history, where we are socialized from cradle to grave to believe in the legitimacy of a government which commits genocide 365 days a year simply to preserve world economic domination for the benefit of a handful of billionaires – all while a full half of American citizens couldn’t survive a $400 emergency?

What do people think “Live by the sword, die by the sword” means, anyway? Do they imagine it means “Except for us, because we’re the ‘greatest nation in the world’/’the good guys’” and other fantasies?

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People that vent their outrage online every time another mass shooting happens, cycling back and forth between blaming Republicans, blaming this-or-that SCOTUS justice or politician, blaming a certain ideology or political position, are unserious about seeing real change. It’s not to say that there isn’t some sort of genuine feeling there, but when mass shootings (along with police murdering unarmed civilians) happen on a near-daily basis and people are still pearl-clutching and tossing around the same vapid excuses in order to confront the real source of the problem or say the quiet part out loud, “unserious” is an accurate criticism.

Capitalism is violence. The capitalist system breeds violence in all forms. Capitalism creates poverty and death. Yet those who are beneficiaries of capitalism, or have maintained a modicum of comfort or stability under the capitalist system, will never admit its complicity – for a dozen complicated reasons which are a separate article in themselves – when the latest atrocity porn is dominating the mainstream media cycle.

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People die of capitalism in this country every day, and people die as victims of the American capitalist system outside our borders daily in exponentially larger numbers. All this, as the Democrat legislative majority hands enough money to Ukraine to end homelessness in the United States in order to INSTEAD fund Biden’s proxy war with Russia.

There is functionally no difference between Americans dying because they have to ration their insulin, can’t pay for cancer treatment, or can’t afford to go to a doctor.

Between Americans dying because they were thrown out of their homes due to the criminal pandemic response and now can’t afford even to rent anywhere because of what happened to the market.

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Between Americans dying in prison on bullshit drug charges, the 150,000 that die of opioid overdoses yearly, of other deaths of despair, or of childbirth- as we have the highest maternal death rate in the developed world.

There is functionally no difference between the children Republican and Democrat presidents alike bombed to death at schools, weddings and hospitals during our 20 plus-year “war on terrorism” all over the Middle East and the global south.

There is functionally no difference between the children these presidents have starved to death – starvation being exponentially more painful and horrific than being shot- in Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia, Syria, Libya, Iran, Venezuela, Honduras, Iran, and Palestine; all due to American militarism and regime-change operations.

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The media psy-op of presenting a school shooting as being somehow more criminal or horrific than all of the above is pure propaganda. ALL violence should be equally condemned, because all violence is equally unjust and morally wrong. But more than anything, the systemic violence that causes individuals to choose to take their pain out on others must be front and center in these discussions, because there is no such thing as a “lone gunman” with “mental health issues” in a country built and bred upon murder and exploitation. These shooters are the canaries in the coalmine – and they should be treated as such.

The insidious fact is that a large number of Americans are so self-centered that they are only outraged at things they believe could happen to THEIR kids.

This is why the lack of a healthcare system doesn’t bother people who are cool with their employer-sponsored health insurance and have no problem affording medical care for their families.

Why it doesn’t bother them that one in ten diabetics – even those insured – play Russian roulette with their insulin because they can’t afford to pay for the amount they actually need.

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Why they’re not outraged that every major city in the country has tent encampments of the unhoused, who are routinely preyed upon by city governments and police forces razing the country’s most vulnerable peoples’ few earthly possessions with bulldozers as money appropriated for helping them is funneled elsewhere.

Why Americans don’t include children outside of our borders when they cry out, “But think of the children!” Safely ensconced in their homes, the only violence that breaks through the bubble of exceptionalism is the thought that when they send THEIR kids to school, this could happen to THEM.

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This is exactly the reason that the same millions of Americans who scoffed at Bernie Sanders platform centering healthcare as a human right, calling it “ponies for everyone” and running him out of the race at the start of a global health emergency, were the ones most loudly calling for the heads of anyone that didn’t choose to care for their health regarding Covid-19 according to their personal demands. “I feel personally threatened and now I demand you to make me feel safe!” was the rallying cry, ignoring the blatant hypocrisy and moral relativism from which it is born.

It’s way past time that American citizens wholly confront America’s dark side – and that includes the dark side of their own psyches that cause them to remain passive, or even complicit with a system birthed by genocide and white settler colonialism, which maintains its power and economic legitimacy through murder and exploitation – thereby being responsible for the unhinged reactionary violence of various individuals that results.

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“But what about the shooter? Aren’t they responsible for their own actions?” Yes. What a derptastic question, as if anyone is actually claiming that if all of the above were true, then EVERYONE would be going into schools and shooting fourth graders. Let’s not pretend that’s the ultimate source of the problem when it’s not.

“But all those other people, it’s not MY problem THEY can’t pay for healthcare and housing!” If you really think you magically ascended to a stable position in the meritocracy all on your own strengths and hard work – that the system does not advantage you while disadvantaging others, or that you are somehow “more deserving” than “those OTHER people,” you need an economics education or a lobotomy – or both.

The fallacy upon which people predicate their distinction between “worthy” and “unworthy” victims is whether or not they believe a person was helpless.

Dividing the world into worthy and unworthy victims is a tactic used to justify our crimes and demonize our enemies.

-Chris Hedges, Worthy and Unworthy Victims

When we have been scammed into believing the country is a meritocracy, the excuse people tell themselves goes like this:

A disease spreading can happen to worthy victims if those victims did “all the right things,” but if they didn’t do those things and catch the disease, then “they deserve it.” A shooting that happens among gang members is two unworthy victims, thereby not deserving of sympathy; an unarmed civilian shot by police is slightly more deserving; and innocent children in school are the most deserving. But someone dying because they lost everything, starting with their house? Well, they just didn’t work hard enough! They didn’t go to the right college, or perhaps college at all. They should have changed jobs to something that paid them more. “Whatever the cause, it couldn’t possibly be systemic – not in a meritocracy – because then how can I justify my class position as deserved and due to my hard work and extraordinary intelligence?”

And so with every act of violence, we explain it away along the battle lines of culture wars, morality, and individual responsibility, while capitalism – the water we are all swimming in – is both the original sin and the current cause of increasing deaths of despair and reactionary rage.

This is a game of delusion, disinformation, and misdirection in which civilians have a moral obligation to stop participating. Without acknowledging the root cause of the issue, there isn’t a damn thing under any administration that will ever change.

If you enjoyed this content, please consider helping us create more of it by becoming a member at Patreon or Substack. We also accept secure donations via PayPal. Thank you for supporting independent media.

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157. First Thoughts on "Climate" Bill, Greens Back on NC Ballot – w/ Matthew Hoh Due Dissidence

As Dems Fail to Protect Roe, Sh*tlibs Finally Realize They’re in a Sh*t Party

by Russell Dobular

Anyone who has ever tried to reason with, cajole, prevail upon, talk sense to, or in any other way, shape, or form, get anything out of the Democratic Party, has come to discover pretty quickly that there’s no one manning the phones. At least not if you aren’t promising to show up at their next fundraiser with a T-shirt gun stuffed full of hundred-dollar bills. 

For the average Democratic voter, with nothing to offer beyond their single, solitary, measly little vote, the answer to any and all requests for relief, be they financial, medical, judicial, or racial, is a beet-red, screwed up, fat-cheeked face, howling, “WHAT, DO YOU WANT THE REPUBLICANS TO WIN???!!!!”

More understand this now, than ever before. Everyone will catch on eventually. 

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Coming from an arts background, I know some of the shittiest shitlibs that God ever shat. And even they started seeing the glitches in the Matrix when the party dropped old, white, male Joe Biden on their asses and told them they had to suck it up. 

Buttigieg was more their kind of bloodless, technocratic, checking the identity boxes, flavor. And for the Warren folks, even though they focused most of their bitching on the biblical plague of digital serpents that Sanders’ supporters unleashed on Liz after her desperate claim on the debate stage that he told her a woman couldn’t win, it didn’t escape their notice that the press and the party leadership wasn’t giving Warren the ol’ Hillary footrub, in spite of her similarly being in full possession of a vagina.

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As she began to gain in the polls, WAPO organized the same op-ed firing squad that had previously been reserved for Sanders, and even Mama Bear took a swipe at her Medicare for All proposal. It was reported that in blue states, incidents of cerebral hemorrhage increased ten-fold after Pelosi attacked Warren more or less openly in the press, with some victims heard to say through clenched teeth and spittle, “Pelosi woman, Warren woman, both woman, ahhhhhhhhhhhh!”

For Sanders voters who had switched to Liz, this was all familiar territory, but the Hillbots in her coalition had no experience with being on the wrong side of the party’s Mean Girls leadership and their obsequious toadies in the press. They really thought -wait for it – that the establishment gave a flying fuck about sexism, and not simply about preserving and extending its own power through whatever vehicle they consider best suited to that objective in any given election.

Did you hear? Liz just put out a Medicare for All proposal. So gross!

 These days they prefer that their corporate tools be on the diverse side so that they can attack all criticism as sexism, homophobia, transphobia, racism; whatever gets the Twitterverse clucking its collective tongue. It also allows them to tell their base that they’re doing something with their time in office other than trading stock on inside information and starting up new wars on behalf of Lockheed Martin. Look! A gay, black, female, press secretary! See, we’re doing stuff!

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 On this score, they didn’t want Joe Biden. But they would be damned if they were going to let Warren, or, God forbid, Sanders, anywhere near the White House. Getting a taste of that medicine opened up enough daylight between some former Hillary voters and the establishment for the leaked Roe decision to act as a final straw.

TYT’s Ana Kasparian, in the clip below, is speaking for many when she says she’s done with the party:

Never mind that Kasparian has spent years labelling anyone who said what she’s now screeching at the top of her lungs a grifter, a right-winger, a Russian agent, etc.  In that, as in many things, she is emblematic of her shitlib fellows.

So why does this realization come only now?

Because where healthcare, wages, affordable education, criminal justice reform, and structural racism are concerned, the liberal class are mostly immune from the consequences of belonging to a party that hasn’t taken any meaningful action in any of these areas for decades. Indeed, this is a party that is currently, however theoretically, led by a man who during his long tenure in the Senate did more to create the student loan crisis and the carceral state than any other living politician. That didn’t stop them from vote-blue-no-matter-whoing anyone who had the poor taste to point out the obvious hypocrisy of the Kente cloth party nominating the warden from Cool Hand Luke.

“Seems the American people got rabbit in their blood. Thinking about running. Going North. Show ‘em which way’s North, Pete.”

But abortion. Ah, now we’re talking about an issue they actually care about. 

Let’s face it. The Democrats are the modern stewards of a Protestant work ethic that has long informed the country’s attitudes towards the poor. In the end, in their heart of hearts, they don’t really believe that everyone deserves access to healthcare and education. They believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to gain access to healthcare and education. 

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Discrimination is the only true sin in their philosophy. Purge that from the system, and it’s all kosher. If you didn’t get the grades to win a scholarship, and you didn’t land a job that provides healthcare, that’s on you, isn’t it? Should have cracked those books before you got that cancer diagnosis.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the thing that held this whole repulsive clusterfuck of narcissistic self-regard disguised as a political project together, was Roe. As long as the right to an abortion was nominally protected, the shitlibs could always justify themselves. Roe was the first thing they mentioned when trying to bully others into voting for the D-designated, psychopath du jour, and it was their last line of defense when confronted with the real-world uselessness of their party. But now . . .

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Now, the Democrats have failed at the one thing the powerful suburban wine mom lobby entrusted them with. And they are pissed. Perhaps not as pissed as someone who can’t discharge their student loans in bankruptcy because of Biden, or someone who got thrown out of their house because of Obama, or someone who’s serving twenty years on a BS drug charge because of Bill Clinton, but still, pretty pissed.

Pissed enough to withhold their vote? Yes, I think so. Not in an intentional, willful way. After all these years of vote-shaming and Bernie Bro blaming, they’ll never openly proclaim their intention to stop voting. They just won’t make the time between soccer practice and Chardonnay to get down to the polling station. That’s how it usually works; not with a movement in the streets, but with thousands individually deciding they have better things to do with their Tuesday. 

That’s why voter enthusiasm is such a reliable predictor of outcomes.

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Voting is a pain in the ass in this country. In order to win you need your side motivated enough to dodge the dragons, swim the moat, defeat the Gorgon, stand on line, present ID, and then, should they make it through all that, pull the lever, punch the chads, touch the screen, sacrifice the goat, or perform whatever other bizarre ritual the particular locality requires in order for voters to simply register their preference for Douchebag A over Douchebag B, along with whether or not Main Street needs a new stop light.

So, how is the post-SCOTUS leak polling looking for Democrats? Not good. 

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While Dem enthusiasm to vote has increased by 6%, GOP enthusiasm has gone up by 2%, giving Dems only a +4% net gain-not nearly enough to dig them out of the hole they’ve been in all year. Morning Consult/Politico shows a current 7% gap on enthusiasm with 54% of Dems excited to vote, vs. 61% of the GOP.

Remember, this polling was done well after the SCOTUS draft leak. Which means that even in the face of an almost certain repeal of Roe, Dems cannot whip what’s left of their base into a full-on voting frenzy. 

Pelosi refusing to rescind her endorsement of Henry Cuellar, a pro-life Democrat, who’s house was raided by the FBI in January for still unknown reasons, probably isn’t helping. James Biggest-Scumbag-In-Congress-And-That’s-Saying-Something Clyburn going down to Texas to campaign for him, literally two days after the leak, might not have been the best of optics either.

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This kind of fuck you peasants, governing style from the Democrats has been on display for a long time. But as long as Roe held, it was mostly invisible to the voter-donors that they cared about. Now that even those are getting the middle finger from a leadership that nonetheless wasted no time sending out the fundraising e-mails as soon as the draft decision first appeared in Politico, the Dems are down to MSNBC viewers and the immediate families of office holders. Have you seen the ratings for MSNBC? You can’t win an election on that.

While a lot of Dem politicians secretly greeted the news of Roe’s death with a sigh of relief, thinking it would save them from a midterm rout, failing to do the one thing they were charged with doing by all the disparate elements of their dwindling coalition, probably signifies the end of the party. Without enough voters left to hold meaningful power after 2022, and particularly after 2024, they are likely to go the way of the Whigs, over the next few election cycles.

The only question now is, what comes after? My money’s on a few decades of social chaos, fascism, and de facto civil war. At the end of which, Bernie Sanders’ disembodied head in a jar may finally be given some latitude to reform the healthcare system.

. . . now let’s talk about the high cost of prescription drugs

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Outrage Over Roe v. Wade Won’t Save Us if We’re Still Blind to How We Got Here

by Adventures in the Free World

It’s well and good to cite the statistics and reasons (which should not actually have to be explained, but Gabrielle Blair puts it so well here) on why women need to control their own bodies, but it doesn’t do much when we have a population that can’t even correctly identify the cause of why we’re still fighting for this. Only then can anyone clearly see what we need to do if we want this to change. Thus, rather than stating all the obvious things, I’m going to talk about what should be obvious, but apparently isn’t. Let me connect the dots for everyone that wants to blame the Republicans for Roe v. Wade.

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I’ll start with this: Democrats have had 50 years to codify Roe into law, and in 50 years they haven’t done it. Since 2000, they have held the majority in both houses 3 times- twice with a Democrat president at the helm. If you haven’t already arrived at the obvious conclusion, here it is: They’d have little else to run on in close elections if it weren’t for abortion. But before the “But Trump’s SCOTUS” objections start up, examine the facts there too:

Biden was in charge of the appointment of Clarence Thomas, in case you forgot he’s been around for 40 years, steamrolling Anita Hill– a black woman victim of sexual assault- in the process. In 1982, Biden voted for a constitutional amendment giving states the right to overturn Roe. And at the beginning of the primary as with many times before, he said- verbatim- that women controlling their own bodies was ‘going too far.’

The Democrats, having rehabilitated Bush II as “a good guy” in the last election, prefer we all forget that Alito was his SCOTUS appointment. But he’s a friend now, (look! he hangs out with Ellen DeGenres and stuff!) so just nevermind that little detail.

Bernie Sanders ran in 2016. Kavanaugh and Coney-Barrett were appointed by Trump. Trump would not have been president in the first place if Democrats hadn’t screwed the pooch the first time Bernie ran. Had they not screwed the pooch the second time, Bernie would likely have helped to codify Roe into federal law during his first 100 days in office, in fact he ran on that promise. For whatever his detractors say about him, everyone knows Sanders keeps his promises.

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The same, that they would have taken care of this issue already, could actually be said for every single progressive challenger that has run in the Democrat presidential primary since the JFK administration. There has been one every time. I’m going to repeat that: Every presidential primary since 1963 has had a progressive challenger. Here’s a timeline, for those with doubts. And every time, the party sabotages them. This is the same at the state and local level.

Progressives though, haven’t exactly been showing up for folks of any color lately, have they? The House Progressive Caucus sandbagged Nina Turner– an amazing, strong black woman full of heart and committed (mostly) to progressive policy- in favor of endorsing another corporate bootlicker, Shontel Brown, who will do nothing for anyone’s equality or rights ever, as she was chosen to enable the status quo. With these hands,” Nina says in her iconic speeches“we will transform this country.”

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I guess people didn’t want that. Predictably, Nina lost in Ohio again last night. Also predictably, the party progressives are punching left as usual at everyone that’s done enabling the Blue Team and its corrupt machinations for not voting blue, while the Blue Team is punching left at progressives for being “too far left.”

I’m not done talking about Bernie though, now that one of the many hundreds of opportunity costs of not having a Sanders presidency is suddenly coming to the attention of the liberal class. (You’d think not having a healthcare system during a global pandemic would be the thing that got everybody going, except liberals don’t notice anything they don’t think personally affects them– by which I mean the class that can afford to treat politics like a personality contest.)

White feminists on the Elizabeth Warren train were too busy bitching that Bernie was “a sexist” (an allegation that was debunked as quickly was it came out) to acknowledge that his Medicare for All bill- (actual bill, unlike Warren’s “plan”) introduced in 1999 and sitting in congress ever since- specifies ALL women’s care as healthcare. Black women, white women, trans women. Just… women. Clearly though, Bernie’s non-existent sexism was a dealbreaker in their voting choices.

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We all have our priorities, I guess.

At its core, abortion rights is a class issue- and liberals and their Democratic party represent the Professional Managerial Class- in other words, the petite bourgeoisie. Abortion rights is also a labor issue, which is the take we all forgot but has been so clearly elucidated here. As Kim Kelly says,

“There is no time to mince words: Abortion rights are a labor issue, and this is a moment in which the labor movement needs to make clear that bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom are core issues that unions will fight tooth and nail to preserve. The right to control our bodies is part and parcel of our centuries-old battle to control our labor, and they cannot be separated from one another. It matters that so many workers are not only at risk of unwanted pregnancy themselves, but are also expected to engage in reproductive labor — the so-called “women’s work” that is so often undervalued and underpaid (or wholly unpaid). It matters that pregnant workers face discrimination as well as physical and medical hazards on the job, and that far too many don’t have access to quality healthcare or paid parental leave. It matters that workers who do not want to have a baby or cannot do so safely are about to have that choice stolen from them, and that forced birth is the only option on offer from the most powerful court in the land (as illegitimate as it is and always has been).

A couple of interesting facts:

The highest rate of abortions in the USA happens among educated white women.

Most of them already have children and a) can’t afford more or b) are older and at high risk for complications either to themselves or the fetus.

To put it more on the nose about class and race: Rich white women have never had a problem getting abortions. Not when they were illegal, not when they were legal but expensive unless you went to Planned Parenthood, and not after they’re made illegal again due to the Democrat Captains of Failures’ cascading miscalculations. Affluent women, while they may work, are not constrained by cost limitations when they need to travel to another state or even another country to terminate a pregnancy. They’re less likely to be exposed to “physical or medical hazards on the job.” Their resources are greater to hire daycare, nannies, and other things to make motherhood- including working motherhood- easier for themselves. They are also most likely to be either married or receiving alimony.

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Banning abortion is a strategy to maintain an underclass of impoverished women, trapped in a predatory economic system that produces easily exploit-able workers for the service sector and desperate soldiers for the Pentagon’s endless regime-change wars.

It’s not just white feminists that ignored this, however. Despite the medical establishment’s racial injustices and the unaffordable cost of healthcare for most of the black population, old black folks- the Clyburn folks- ignored it too, in favor of voting for the Dixiecrat that wrote the 1994 crime bill. In favor of the guy that still called a member of the Congressional Black Caucus “boy” during a meeting prior to the general election. In favor of the guy whose entire campaign trail was littered with racist gaffes and stories about Corn Pop. In favor of the guy that has been sending poor black children to fight in endless regime-change wars and enthusiastically bombing black and brown people all over the global south for 3 generations.

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Somehow, “bErNiE iSn’T fOr uS” was just a more compelling argument at the time. Apparently. Or it was the fact that the Monday night coup before Super Tuesday 2020 came at the powerful directive of Obama himself. Either way, it has cost us all.

So the guy that explicitly said when asked that he would veto Medicare for All if it ever came across his desk, and said women were going too far to demand reproductive choice, became the POTUS and nobody thought this was going to be a problem when the now-majority conservative Supreme Court finally decided to weigh in.

We can’t put it all on Biden, however. The Democrats could have codified Roe any time they’ve held a majority since 1973 and simply chosen not to. As House Rep. Pramila Jayapal correctly said yesterday, the Senate can bypass the filibuster to do this right now. I guarantee you they won’t. As stated before, what would they run their campaigns on these days if they did?

Hillary Clinton chose Tim Kaine, a vocally anti-abortion Democrat, as her running mate in 2016. Obama promised to work for the codification of Roe v. Wade into law in 2008, then, consistent with his praxis, didn’t. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi removed abortion access from the Affordable Care Act. Just this week, Pelosi and other party power-brokers are in Texas, fundraising and campaigning for the virulently anti-abortion Henry Cuellar for the second time against the progressive Jessica Cisneros. Yet whenever Democrat politicians behave badly, their loyal voters are happy to look the other way.

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The party’s favorite- and strategically necessary- rotating villians grift comes in handy at times like these; this time around, Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema. Manchin was challenged by Paula Jean Swearengin twice. Swearengin had overwhelming bipartisan support in West Virginia. She was sabotaged both times by the DNC and Democrat party leadership. The party needed him to be their bad guy so they can blame their deliberate ineptitude on a couple of “yucky corporate Dems” and lead their voters away from the truth that the problem is the entire party. Manchin’s complicity in standing against abortion rights is a price the Dems were entirely willing to pay to maintain their charade.

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The same way, Mitch McConnell would no longer be a problem if the Democrats hadn’t screwed Charles Booker, who also had overwhelming bipartisan support in Kentucky, in favor of the candidate nobody wanted and nobody thought could win: Amy McGrath. The point here is that where Democrats have always been unreliable about protecting anyone’s rights except for the occasional performance (ripping up Trump’s speech, kneeling in Kente cloth at the Capitol), progressives have been more strident about it. The internecine war between the party’s two factions proves that equality for anyone isn’t on the agenda anywhere but campaign speeches and outraged tweets.

Really, this all comes down to basic pattern recognition.

Of course, it helps to also learn about peoples’ political records before voting instead of just listening to campaign promises. And, you know, understand how the party you’re aligning yourself with functions and what it truly represents. But I digress.

I’ll tell you another thing, the entire “Our body, our choice” argument espoused by the Democrats and the liberal class as a whole for decades rings mighty hollow after their epic, paranoid pivot on this position the second a Big Scary Pandemic came along. Obviously, the pandemic was serious and scary. But the inflated sense of self-importance that the liberal class brought to it – the very same class that wholesale rejected universal healthcare, including in the primary election that was in full swing as the pandemic began raging – characterizes the hypocrisy of categorically dismissing the well-being of others until one feels personally threatened. Then the finger-pointing and demands began. “Do this for the good of everybody” REALLY means “do this because I’m scared I’ll catch it at the grocery store,” but that would (gasp!) sound self-centered. Don’t think the 47% of voters who are actually independent, as in not aligned with the two-party grift, didn’t note this glaring consistency. They did. Think that will undermine the credibility of liberals arguing for bodily sovereignty in the future?

Yes. I think it will.

The push for mandates of the experimental mRNA drug treatment is a clear legal, scientific, and ethical violation- while also severely undermining the ability to use choice as a moral argument. Bodily sovereignty is sacrosanct, full stop. Be it medically-assisted suicide, reproductive control, or choosing which medical interventions and treatments to accept or decline, this is a non-negotiable line item in any society which wishes to call itself free.

To say that using religion or moral “right to life” claims to bolster the abortion debate is transparently false is stating the obvious. But that doesn’t mean the people stating this have a leg to stand on, because even when they’re correct, after eight years of culture war hysteria and Russiagating, no one’s listening to them anymore. To the outside observer, it all looks like pearl-clutching, moral-panicking hypocrisy. …Right, I’ll just be blunt: A meme. It all looks like a meme.

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This is the predictable damage caused by both tribal factions in this country politicizing the pandemic to advance their respective partisan cultural-social agendas. Now, if you point out the hypocrisy of the thoroughly unscientific and basically made-up pandemic response with regards to this issue, cheered- in fact, demanded– by the same people that five minutes earlier were supposed to be for bodily choice, you’re a crazyantiscienceMAGAracisttransphobicantivaxxer out to Covid-murder your fellow Americans and deserve to die screaming.

It serves to mention, however, that the highest percentage of “anti-vax” sentiment (a blatant propaganda slur if I’ve ever heard one) in the U.S. was among black folks, but you’d never know it from the corporate media. Gee, I wonder why, after things like the Tuskegee Experiment and other racist abuses of power levied at black people under the guise of medical advancement made them little more than guinea pigs for nearly a century.

So it’s not like bodily sovereignty among black folks has ever been policy in this country- but it sure as hell doesn’t help the cause when the party that is supposed to be advocating for it suddenly abandons this position as soon as something pierces the safe little bubble in which affluent white liberals working their six-figure jobs from home and ordering Whole Foods delivery live, and makes them feel personally threatened.

Lastly, if you hadn’t noticed, the Blue Team is in for the shellacking of the century in the upcoming midterms. Their favorite scapegoat, Donald Trump, just came out and voiced the sane position on Russia-Ukraine while their Democrat president, Democrat House/Senate majority, and various State media apparatus are busy fomenting a proxy war with the world’s #2 nuclear power. Meanwhile, Republicans are suddenly the party pushing for anti-trust laws, opposing censorship, and breaking up monopolies. In other words, what used to be the Democrats’ brand.

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I’m sure this little SCOTUS leak on the most inflammatory culture issue in the country is probably just a coincidence though. I mean… they would never... would they?

Facts to the contrary could not be more in abundance, but when those elections roll around, the usual faction of tribalistic liberals will be screaming at everyone to “vote blue no matter who,” making the usual nonsensical arguments about this how this is going to save women’s rights and everyone that doesn’t is a racistsexistNazibrownshirtBerniebro. The canyon between liberals (Democrats), progressives (still Democrats but like to think they’re not as Democrat-ey), and leftists (former Democrats, progressives & anti-capitalist independents- all DemExit) will grow to the size of the continent. The 2024 election will surely see the Party of the People get clobbered as well.

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Right now, as predictable as the sun coming up in the morning, the Democrats have dramatically announced an urgent show vote to do the thing they should have done since the original Roe v. Wade decision three generations ago. Just this morning I received a series of desperate text messages from “Joe Biden” and “Kamala Harris” via ActBlue, asking me for $15 to save women in America. You’ll understand why I told them to use the hundreds of millions they made insider-trading during the pandemic and fund this little deus ex machina themselves.

Meanwhile, Status Quo Joe Biden is busy filming live informercials for javelin missiles, extolling the virtues of the military-industrial complex and doing imperialism as his entire constituency wonders whether we’re sleepwalking straight into The Handmaid’s Tale. Which, as Caitlin Johnstone points out, is “the most Joe Biden thing ever.”

“It’s a good thing Trump lost because otherwise Roe v Wade would be on the chopping block and immigrants would still be getting mistreated and the Iran deal would still be dead and the military budget would keep inflating. That bastard would probably have us on the brink of World War 3 by now.”

What’s the point of this screed, you say? Isn’t it detracting from the issue? No.

No, it is the issue.

The moral of the story is that THERE IS NO OPPOSITION PARTY IN THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT, and without an opposition party, what the f**k else did you think was going to happen??? As long as people keep deluding themselves that there’s an electoral solution for abortion or any of the other problems in this country- that we’re going to magically vote our way out by picking either half of the corrupt neoliberal government to save us- you can bet your life on the fact it will never change.

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Make no mistake, the United States is an empire in collapse. Reproductive rights and women’s equality have remained an electoral cudgel, rather than being resolved, for a reason- and it’s not due to any absence whatsoever of decades of legislative opportunity, political capital and public demand.

So ask yourself: What have we been getting wrong about this?

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An Open Letter to Bitter Hillary Voters on Bernie Bros, Susan Sarandon, and Roe v. Wade

by Keaton Weiss

Dear Nasty Woman,

I know you’re angry right now. So am I. I’m a firm believer in a woman’s right to choose, and so the leaked SCOTUS opinion which shows them poised to overturn Roe v. Wade is a cataclysmic, and yes, terrifying development. (Luckily, Democrats have the Presidency, the House, and the Senate, and they could move quickly to codify abortion rights in federal law if they wanted to. Unfortunately though, they’re not willing to suspend the filibuster in order to do so – what a surprise.)

Whenever an abortion-related court ruling goes the wrong way, Susan Sarandon trends on Twitter within minutes. Hillary supporters rage at both the famous Sanders surrogate turned Jill Stein supporter, and the Bernie Bros who sat out the 2016 general election in protest.

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According to you guys, this is all our fault. Had we been conscientious and mature enough to vote for Hillary that November instead of selfishly deciding not to, President Clinton would have filled the three seats on the Court that were instead appointed by the Orange Man, and Roe v. Wade would have been safe for at least the next generation.

For the sake of this argument – and not rehashing old ones about who’s most responsible for Clinton’s unlikely defeat – I’ll fully accept your premise that disaffected Bernie Bros and the likes of Susan Sarandon blew the 2016 election for Hillary and therefore endangered reproductive rights for millions of American women.

As I stated from the outset, I’m staunchly pro-choice. Without getting into the graphic details, I’m probably even to your left on the issue. But I believe with equal conviction that a woman’s right to a safe, legal, and free abortion is no more sacred than anyone’s right to any other medical procedure. In 2016, millions of Democrats supported Bernie Sanders largely because he felt the same way: that ALL HEALTHCARE IS A RIGHT OF ALL PEOPLE, and that it’s long past time the United States implement a single-payer universal healthcare system – the only way to translate that belief into reality.

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And you remember how you responded, don’t you? Do the dismissive words “free stuff” ring a bell? How about “pie in the sky,” “fairyduster,” or “my way or the highway?” Remember when Hillary herself proclaimed on a rally stage that Medicare for All would “never, ever come to pass?” Remember the thunderous applause from you guys after she said that? I think you do.

So just to recap: millions of Bernie supporters asserted that, as is the case in every other developed country on Earth, all medical care – chemotherapy, brain surgery, and yes, abortion services as well – should be enshrined as a human right available to all Americans regardless of their ability to pay. And your camp reacted with nothing but derision and contempt. You insisted that another national debate over healthcare wasn’t worth the trouble, even as in the Obamacare era, tens of thousands of Americans continue to die each year because they can’t afford medical treatment.

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And then, in the general election, you expected these same people – many of whom depended on the implementation of M4A in order to stay alive – to show up on your behalf to vote for your candidate to protect your right to reproductive care. After you dismissed, for example, type 1 diabetics’ pleas for free insulin as “theoretical better ideas” that would never be realized, you demanded that they go to bat for you that November so that your rights would be secured. Now ask yourself, who were the truly “selfish” ones in this situation?

With all due respect for our founding documents, “rights” are not inalienable, and they don’t come from our creator. Rather, rights are won by humans through human struggle, and are protected through human solidarity. In that most fateful election of 2016, the Hillary faithful expressed no support whatsoever for what we in the Bernie camp, along with every other major country on the planet, viewed as the fundamental human right to healthcare and medicine.

In fact, as you well remember, you told us all to go fuck ourselves. And in November, many of us returned the sentiment. We didn’t owe you any more than that then, and we certainly don’t owe you an apology for it now. So even if we are most to blame for Trump’s election and its consequences, I maintain we had no obligation to stand up for your rights when you clearly had no interest in standing up for ours.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, if you really want to secure reproductive rights in this country, now would be the time to give your beloved Democratic politicians an ultimatum: use your power to abolish the filibuster and codify federal protections for abortion access, or we’re never voting to give you that power again. And if you want to avoid these crises in the future, join the struggle for single-payer healthcare, the only way to codify all forms of healthcare as basic human rights, no more or less sacred than any others.

The ball’s in your court. Choose wisely for a change.

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