Links, Quotes, and Comments, Today 14 July 2022

Red States and Abortion Bans; Religious Nuttery; How Fox News fakes it; Conservatives attempts to turn back the cultural clock; What Proud Boys and their wives want


NY Times, 11 July 2022: States With Abortion Bans Risk Losing Their Economic Edge

Subtitle: “The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has prompted Democratic governors to pitch their states as better alternatives for business.”

Like elections, restricting people’s rights has consequences. Some red states seem intent on making themselves cultural, and thus technological, backwaters.

Gina Raimondo, the nation’s commerce secretary, said in an interview that the states imposing rigid abortion bans were all but certain to suffer economically.

“I’ve spoken to C.E.O.s who are rethinking those states,” said Ms. Raimondo, a Democrat. “I think the cumulative effect will, over time, develop to be quite significant.”

Big companies are fighting a “war for talent,” Ms. Raimondo said, and particularly for female talent given that women make up a growing majority of new college graduates. A former governor of Rhode Island, Ms. Raimondo predicted that companies would find it difficult to recruit skilled workers in states where women’s rights and medical services were sharply curtailed.

There is data to back up that view: A survey published this month by the Pew Research Center found that more than 3 in 5 people with college and postgraduate degrees disapproved of the Supreme Court’s decision, along with nearly 70 percent of people under 30. Sixty-two percent of women disapproved of the decision, according to the survey.


Salon, Thom Hartmann, 12 July 2022: So where did all this right-wing religious nuttery come from?

Subtitle: “Most Americans — and most Christians — don’t want religious doctrine dominating our laws. So how did we get here?”

The article begins with an anecdote about a Minnesota couple traveling through Wisconsin and encountering a pharmacy clerk who refused to sell them condoms because of his faith (and acting like a jerk while doing so).

The vast majority of Americans, opinion research shows, think a situation like this is absurd. As Jennifer Brooks notes in an article about the Pentzes’ experience for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

When the Pew Research Center surveyed American attitudes about birth control, just 4% viewed contraception as morally wrong. Condoms protect us from disease and prevent unwanted pregnancies. What’s not to like?

And what’s so astonishing about the entire situation is that we have reached this point not because the American public wants religious doctrine running our law, and not because most religious people agree with an arrogant prick working at Walgreens.

So what is the reason…?

Instead, it’s because a small group of right-wing billionaires didn’t want to pay their taxes, wanted to get rid of their unions and didn’t want regulation of the pollution from their refineries and other operations.


They put billions of dollars over five decades into a project to seize control of the legislatures of a majority of the states, jam up the U.S. Congress and pack the Supreme Court — and it was all about taxes, unions and regulation.

The article goes on to describe the history, since the 1970s, of conservative strategies to convince ordinary Americans that taxes and regulations were unfair burdens, to pervert Christian teachings via grifters like Jerry Falwell, and to hook up with the NRA to promote conservative politicians.

I’ve encountered Thom Hartmann before — in a post here just a week ago in fact — and this piece strikes me as a tad hyperbolic. Yet he is not describing any kind of conspiracy theory, exactly, he’s just weaving into a grand story conservative trends that have been apparent for decades. Which does in fact confirm my own observations over the past decades.


Boing Boing, 11 Jul 2022: Watch: Fox didn’t like Jean-Pierre’s answer to Peter Doocy’s question, so they faked it


This story is all over today. A 10-year-old was raped, but couldn’t get an abortion in her state, so was driven to another state to get one. A casualty of harsh abortion laws? Republicans said the story was a fake. It wasn’t. Note subtitle.

Salon, Amanda Marcotte, 14 July 2022: Post-Roe gaslighting: The party of QAnon denies the very real rape of a 10-year-old

Subtitle: “A shameful episode in right-wing media is a reminder: Republicans only care about kids when they’re imaginary”


Washington Post, Paul Starr opinion, 12 July 2022: Conservatives hope to turn back the cultural clock. Can they succeed?

Retrofuturism is a term for imaginative works that envision a future out of the past. It seems an apt way to think about the future of American law and its relation to American culture. After long seeing their cultural influence decline, can conservatives use their control of the Supreme Court to impose their will and turn back the clock on decades of social and cultural change?

The writer compares the current situation to two examples from the past: prohibition, and immigration restriction. Both eventually failed.


AlterNet, David Badash, 11 July 2022: Florida paper publishes then deletes op-ed praising the Proud Boys — written by a Proud Boy’s wife

This is of interest because it gives us a peek into what people like the “Proud Boys” actually say they want.

[the woman Melissa Radovich] describes herself as a “God-fearing Christ follower,” a “mother of two beautiful children,” a “patriot,” and the “wife of a man who defends his family and their freedoms.”


“When I think about the Proud Boys,” Radovich writes, “I think of fathers, business owners and veterans. These fathers have spoken at many School Board meetings. They are concerned about the direction that their local schools are heading in, and I commend them for coming to School Board meetings.”

“I am simply a mom who will do what is best for my kids. If I have to speak at School Board meetings, fine. If I have to deal with smear campaigns, so be it. My passion will not be stifled, and my stance will not waver. I am for God, family and freedom – no matter what.”

I think she’s very sincere. She just has an extremely narrow idea of what our pluralistic American society should be like. And her self-description as a “God-fearing Christ follower” undermines whatever argument, intellectually, she seeks to make.

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