Saturday Report 7/9/22 - Women cause mass shootings, not guns, according to Fox “News”
The Best of the Rest of the News
— In the past 11 years, Republican gun policy has killed over 26,000 American children. We’re all horrified by the recent carnage in Highland Park, Illinois and Uvalde, Texas. But if the United States had the same gun policy as Canada, researchers have found, over 26,000 American children who have died from gun violence since 2010 would still be alive. Fully 97 percent of all gun-related child deaths in the dozen wealthiest nations in the world happened here in the USA. Guns now kill more American children than cars: we’re the only developed country in the world for which that is true. And almost all of this explosion in gun violence has happened since the Reagan Revolution, when the NRA became politically active and purchased the GOP. If the media was doing their job and most Americans realized the size of the crisis — over 50,000 gun deaths a year (adults and kids) — it’s hard to believe we wouldn’t be doing more.
— Republicans on the Wisconsin Supreme Court choose voter suppression over democracy. Longtime readers of this newsletter know that the movement for voter suppression began in a big way when Heritage Foundation co-founder Paul Weyrich was working on the 1980 Reagan campaign and famously told a group of Republican activists that, “I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by the majority of the people; they never have been since the beginning of our country and they are not now. Quite candidly, our leverage in the elections goes up as the voting populace goes down.” Since then literally thousands of laws, rules and regulations have been put into place in Republican-controlled parts of America to drive down the vote; Wisconsin this week was no exception, when 4 Republicans on its Supreme Court ruled that absentee ballot drop boxes can only be placed at the often-inconvenient-to-reach elections offices. Ever since 2005, when Republicans passed the nation’s first mandatory voter ID law in Indiana, they’ve been on a tear to strip older, younger, poorer, working-class, and minority Americans’ right to vote. Hundreds of anti-voter laws have been proposed in Republican-controlled states this year and last, and more are coming, including the GOP today reaching out to white supremacist militia groups and their allies to act as election “poll watchers” in minority neighborhoods. We need to get ready for this fall’s election because, for the GOP, much of it will be a series of test-runs for new and nefarious ways to kick voters off the voting rolls and other strategies to prevent people from voting.
— Now that DeSantis has brought to Florida the requirement for students and professors to register their sense of political freedom on campus with the state, will the GOP try to pass similar laws nationally? DeSantis’ law provides for anonymous answers to questions like: “My institution encourages research, publications, dissertations, etc. on topics that span both liberal and conservative viewpoints.” And, of course, if DeSantis gets enough “no, conservative speech like Nazi lecturers are suppressed” answers (there’s a follow-up asking which is suppressed, “conservative or liberal”), you can bet there’s more coming. As Andrew Gothard, president of United Faculty of Florida and a teacher at Florida Atlantic University, calls it an effort to “chill the right to freedom of speech, freedom of association and the right to privacy among all the Florida students, higher education students, faculty, and staff.” He’s right: this is the camel’s nose under the edge of the tent and more is on its way.
— A Canadian study has found that US cops are five times more likely (per capita) to kill a citizen than Canadian cops. Police in the United States kill around 1,000 citizens a year, while only 30 die a year in Canada. And they’re disproportionately more likely to kill Black Americans than white people. Jayland Walker — unarmed and Black — got 60 bullets in his body in the most recent outrage, but the list is long and has been accumulating for centuries since the old southern slave patrols were converted into police departments. If US cops are killing more people because there are more Black people here than in Canada, that’s a racism flag; if they’re killing more Americans of all races (and they are) it’s also an issue with the kind of police we’re hiring. Back in 1998 I was writing a private detective novel and a friendly PI took me under his wing and got me into the Georgia Police Academy, from which I have a certificate (and got my Georgia PI license and badge). What I learned from spending a bit over a month with a few hundred cops-in-training was that about a third of them were bright professionals who’d studied law or law enforcement and were passionate about their future in the field; a third were decent, average people who just wanted a secure job with good benefits; and about a third were total asshole yahoos who were really, truly, excitedly looking forward to the day they could beat the crap out of people under the cover of law (one of those guys “accidentally” kicked the crap out of me when we were learning hand-to-hand combat and was so proud of himself). Every other developed country in the world has high standards for police; American policing desperately needs a top-to-bottom makeover, and de-fanging police unions by limiting their bargaining power to wages/benefits is a critical place to start.
— Only 5 percent of Republicans — having marinated in 4 years of lies and attacks on the press by Trump — say they trust American news; six times as many Democrats say they trust the news. Republicans have retreated into their own “safe spaces” like Fox, Facebook, and rightwing hate radio for their news and information, and it’s doing real damage to the ability of our republic to function. If Americans can’t agree on basic sets of facts, producing legislation and following laws based on those facts becomes extremely problematic, as we most recently saw with Covid. Rightwing radio in particular is tearing our country apart, although Fox and the hundreds of billionaire-, Chinese- and Russian-funded sites that pretend to be news are adding fuel to the fire. What’s the solution? A good starting point would be to require sites claiming to carry “news” to disclose their ownership, and to enforce the anti-trust laws to break up the big groups of hundreds of rightwing radio stations so more diverse opinions could return to our airwaves.
— The Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision striking down Roe v Wade is now putting the lives of women with lupus, severe arthritis, and cancer at risk. Methotrexate is a cancer chemotherapy agent that is also used in regular low doses to keep the disabling and deadly disease lupus at bay. But it’s also used as a drug to induce abortion (which is why women taking it for lupus or cancer are advised to avoid getting pregnant). Now women across the nation are reporting that their pharmacists are refusing to refill their Methotrexate prescriptions out of fear that state authorities or bounty hunters will bust them for selling “abortion pills.” The law of unintended consequences is hitting these women hard, putting their lives at risk when their only crime is having a uterus.
— Russia is betting that if the GOP takes control of the House of Representatives or the Senate this fall, their loyal Republicans will kill US support for Ukraine. Representative Matt Gaetz confirms that’s the plan:
— Speaking of Russia, the Financial Times (subscription required) is reporting that they’re intentionally targeting Ukrainian hospitals and healthcare facilities to worsen the chaos their indiscriminate shelling of civilians is causing. This is a war crime of the worst sort, but it’s also a strategy Russia followed in both Chechnya and Syria in the past. “By concurrently attacking civilians and targeting hospitals,” Annie Sparrow writes for the FT, “Russian forces simultaneously create an urgent medical need while denying people access to that care. These attacks magnify the harm of mass casualties caused by air strikes and augment the suffering of chronic conditions. They are especially harmful to girls and women, leaving them unable to access emergency management of rape…” Rape is also now known to be part of Russia’s strategy to terrify Ukrainian citizens. Adding to the danger Putin represents to the world is recent talk out of the Kremlin saying that western aid to Ukraine can provoke Russia to destroy “humanity” itself, a clear nuclear threat. Putin said this week that his military has only just “barely got started” with their war on Ukraine, an ominous sign.
— Crazy Alert! Women cause mass shootings, not guns, according to Fox “News.” Tucker Carlson, who’s been pushing “white replacement conspiracy theory,” is now arguing that women nagging men, and men smoking weed, are responsible for the mass shooting in Highland Park and others. That’s pretty rich, given that many of these shooters have explicitly said that their motivation was the aforementioned white replacement theory. Glenn Beck’s Blaze TV got into the act with a host telling viewers, “When women lead, it’s a sign of a curse on a country.” Right…
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