More on Trump and abortion

Katha Pollit makes pretty much the same case I just did.  But she’s better at it than me and a famous feminist writer, so she’s in the NYT:

If abortion is murder, as abortion opponents are always claiming it is, how can society let the woman off the hook? We take murder pretty seriously in this country, especially the murder of children, which is what the anti-abortion movement deems fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses to be. True, punishing women sounds cruel and misogynist. But if ending a pregnancy is murder, how can we not treat it as such?

Abortion opponents answer this question by insisting that the woman is a victim, too — “broken and wounded,” in the words of Penny Nance, the president of Concerned Women for America. The woman is desperate, confused and alone. Someone pushed her into it — her parents, her boyfriend or husband, the “culture of death” that tells her an embryo is just a clump of cells, Planned Parenthood. Yes, somehow, the mere existence of a clinic forces her to enter its doors, even if she has to drive all day to get there, sleep in her car to fulfill a 24-, 48- or 72-hour waiting period, listen to a script full of anti-abortion propaganda and pay a month’s wages for the procedure.

If you consider how determined a woman has to be to get an abortion in much of the country these days and how much energy states expend trying to dissuade her, it’s hard to see her as a frail flower. If abortion is murder, the woman is less like a victim and more like someone who hires a hit man. In law, both parties are culpable.

Abortion opponents know full well that the public would not abide putting women in prison en masse. Politically, it’s more palatable to portray them as irrational, ignorant and childlike, perhaps even temporarily insane. They are, in any case, incompetent to make their own decisions. If a woman thinks having a baby as a college freshman or a mother of five is a terrible idea, if she has health problems or is trying to escape a bad relationship or feels unready for motherhood, well, she just doesn’t know what’s good for her…

Perhaps Mr. Trump “misspoke,” as he described it, because he’s a relatively recent convert to the cause, unfamiliar with the doublespeak in which forcing women to give birth is a form of love, and punishment is the last thing on the anti-abortion movement’s mind. In his blundering way, he revealed the true logic of the case against legal abortion: If it’s murder, then murder has consequences. Too bad the moment of clarity couldn’t last.

Quick hits (part I)

1) Of course we are not completely safe from terrorism.  And, of course, that’s a good thing.

2) Some bad news… After a moratorium the feds are resuming the evil that is civil asset forfeiture.

3) I still need to read the Atlantic article on The Obama Doctrine.  That said, I really liked this bit about it:

It is true, contra the apologists, that ISIS is a Muslim problem (read my colleague Graeme Wood on this subject). Those who have read “The Obama Doctrine” know that the president believes this to be true, and that he has called on Muslim leaders and clerics to examine the causes of extremism in their community. But it is also true that Islam is the solution to the ISIS problem. The great mass of the world’s billion-and-a-half Muslims are not ISIS supporters, nor sympathizers, and it is also true, of course, that most of ISIS’s victims are Muslim. Only Islam can truly defeat this movement. One reason Obama is cautious in using heated, or overly generalized, rhetoric is that he would like to avoid a situation in which ordinary Muslims come to believe that the West despises their religion. It is a core interest of ISIS to convince non-radicalized Muslims that there is no space for them in the West. Trump and Cruz are helping ISIS make this case; Obama, and the national-security apparatus of the United States, are not interested in doing this.

4) Really interesting take on how the undue burden standard has eroded Roe v. Wade.

5) Al Franken for vp.

6) Drum on HRC’s non-scandalous email scandal.

7) Apparently real Marxism is making a comeback on the left.  Chait is not amused.

Many Marxist theorists have long attempted to rescue their theory from its real-world adherents by attributing its failures to idiosyncratic personal flaws of the leaders who took power (Lenin, Stalin, Mao … ). But the same patterns have replicated themselves in enough governments under enough leaders to make it perfectly obvious that the flaw rests in the theory itself. Marxist governments trample on individual rights because Marxist theory does not care about individual rights. Marxism is a theory of class justice. The only political rights it respects are those exercised by members of the oppressed class, with different left-wing ideological strands defining those classes in economic, racial, or gender terms, or sometimes all at once. Unlike liberalism, which sees rights as a positive-sum good that can expand or contract for society as a whole, Marxists (and other left-wing critics of liberalism) think of political rights as a zero-sum conflict. Either they are exercised on behalf of oppression or against it. Any Marxist government immediately sets about snuffing out the political rights of parties or ideas deemed reactionary (a category that also inevitably expands to describe any challenge to the powers that be). Repression is woven into Marxism’s ideological fabric.

8) There’s a tick bite than can lead to a red meat allergy.  Bizarre!  And I’m pretty sure this is what happened to a friend of mine years before they knew the tick bite was a cause.

9) The trade deficit— far more complicated than politicians (here’s looking at you, Trump) would have you believe.

10) This professor sounds like a bit of a jerk.  But I love that he took a stand on meaningless bureaucratic standards of “learning outcomes” in his syllabus:

He [Professor Woodrow Wilson] continued:

The object of education is not merely to draw out the powers of the individual mind: It is rather its right object to draw all minds to a proper adjustment to the physical and social world in which they are to have their life and their development: to enlighten, strengthen, and make fit. The business of the world is not individual success, but its own betterment, strengthening, and growth in spiritual insight. “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” is its right prayer and aspiration.

Mr. Dillon, who grew up near Wilson’s hometown, in central Virginia, liked that formulation. So when he was asked to define the desired “learning outcomes” for students in his laboratory course in genetics, he pasted the entire quotation and nothing more.

But antique manifestos were not what Mr. Dillon’s bosses had in mind.

11) Norm Ornstein’s prescient August 2015 column on Trump.

12) How parents can connect with their teenagers through 80’s music (we do this all the time with the Sirius XM Big 80’s and First Wave stations).   That said, I mostly connect through 90’s and 00’s music (Weezer, Nirvana, and Muse).

13) Really, really, good Brookings piece on the complexity of medical marijuana policy:

Medical marijuana policy in the United States is putting Americans at risk. The federal government keeps people who live in states that don’t have medical marijuana programs from accessing a product that could benefit their health. And even as it prevents some people from having it, it erects barriers against research into the safety and efficacy of a product used by tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people who do live in states that have legalized it.

Although there are a number of policy changes, large and small, that Congress and the administration could make to overcome the deficiencies of this system, thus far they have chosen not to do so. Yet, as numerous organizations like the Marijuana Policy Project and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws have documented, a substantial majority of Americans in every state that has been polled supports changes (in some form) to the nation’s medical marijuana laws. Gallup and CBS News polls have pegged national support for reform at between 70 and 85 percent.

While elected officials cling to the status quo, failing to recognize and address the inherent hypocrisies in the nation’s laws, patients like Jennifer Collins and her family, and business owners like Rabbi Kahn and his family, are enduring unnecessary hardships. Far from being outliers, they are typical of the many people victimized by an unjust, arbitrary, and downright harmful system that hinders access to a clinically proven medical benefit.

It is time for government to transform medical marijuana policy into a system that is rational, functional, consistent, and informed by science—not politics.

14) Our governor’s office put out a truth and myths about HB2 statement.  Suffice it to say, it did not fare well when held up to the scrutiny of a fact check.

15) I love this from one of the few Democrats who voted for the bill because it shows how utterly stupid the supporters are:

And Rep. Ken Goodman of Rockingham – one of 11 Democrats who voted yes – tweeted that “corps who threaten to boycott N.C. can’t wait to locate in Cuba.”

16) If you value it, you should be willing to pay to read it.

17) Nate Silver on how Trump hacked the media:

Put another way, Trump has hacked the system and exposed the weaknesses in American political institutions. He’s uncovered profound flaws in the Republican Party. He’s demonstrated that third-rail issues like racism and nationalism can still be a potent political force. He’s exploited the media’s goodwill and taken advantage of the lack of trust the American public has in journalism. Trump may go away — he’s not yet assured of winning the GOP nomination, and he’ll be an underdog in November if he does — but the problems he’s exposed were years in the making, and they’ll take years to sort out.

18) The culture of sensitivity at Harvard.

19) A high-level defector from Trump’s campaign let’s loose.

20) Everybody was fine with non-discrimination ordinances until opponents made them all about bathrooms.

21) The commodification of higher education.

22) Frank Rich’s good, long take on Trump and the GOP.

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