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The Twisted Vocabulary of the Pro-Death Movement

  The Dobbs decision, two years old next week, was a bomb dropped on American womanhood. The fallout from the explosion is being felt in so many ways — both overt and insidious — that it’s hard to keep track, even for those of us who keep track. Fortunately, we have Jessica Valenti to keep track for us. Ms. Valenti’s newsletter,  Abortion, Every Day, is now an important resource for understanding how the various states — mostly red, but also blue — are dealing with the very quintessence of a hot-button issue. I’ve been particularly impressed with how she illuminates the through-the-looking-glass language of the anti-abortion forces, a rich vocabulary of euphemisms and code words that celebrate the unborn while threatening the lives of the born. Much of this vocabulary is worth passing on, as it gives us all a glimpse into the mindset of what I’ve taken to calling the pro-death movement. At the risk of repeating myself from past posts, I’ve italicized a few
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It Isn’t Easy to Hang a Jury

In the short time it took the jury to convict Donald Trump — ten or so hours — there was ample time, between Ozempic commercials, for cable TV’s legal pundits to speculate on the harrowing possibility of a hung jury. Surely, the thinking went, there would be a plant on the jury who would insist on acquittal, force a mistrial, and Trump would skate yet again. It didn’t happen, not this time. But as we look forward to a long trail of trials over the next several years, the subject will surely come up again. I’m here to tell you it’s not likely. Deadlocked juries are rare — roughly six percent of trials — and most of those are the result of poorly prepared cases. Even if a diehard Trump fan were to get on the jury, the chances of that person deadlocking it — or even wanting to — are not high. I had the chance to hang a jury once, and it created an ethical dilemma that I might have failed — or not. It isn’t often one is thrown into a room with eleven total strang

The Origin Story of the Pro-Death Movement

  Two weeks ago, I excoriated the New York Times for its heavy hand in election coverage, for compulsively favoring the horserace over the survival of the American Experiment. Of course, no sooner had I done that then they published the sort of eye-opening exposé that few journalistic organizations have the resources to pull off anymore. Which only served to underscore what we’ve been missing from the Times in this year of hair-raising silliness. It was a long and depressing article about the behind-the-scenes machinations that led to the fall of Roe v. Wade . It tells of a loose but vast movement of religious zealots, reactionary lawyers, and red-state legislators who saw the election of Donald Trump as the moment they’d been waiting for. Think of them as the pro-death movement: [T]hey had built an elite legal and ideological ecosystem of activists, organizations, lawmakers and pro bono lawyers around their cause. Their policy arms churned out legal argument

Six Things Every American Needs to Know About Trump

  When it comes to Trump, piling on is a civic duty. We cannot afford to allow him even the slightest chance of retaking power. He needs to be overwhelmed. Simon Rosenberg — the veteran political analyst who famously predicted that the Red Wave of 2020 would be the Republican debacle it turned out to be — is urging a practical, grassroots approach to the problem. He is openly optimistic about the Democrats’ prospects this year, but he wants us all to be smart about it. He's especially concerned about getting information to the depressing percentage of the public who have no real grasp of who Trump really is, let alone the clear and present danger he represents. Right now, they are not paying attention, but Rosenberg wants us to be ready when they are, and to have at our command “ The Six Things Americans Are Going To Learn About Trump They Didn’t Know in 2020.” There’s nothing new here, but seeing it in one place is valuable. Think of it as a starter set o

The New York Times has Gone Over to the Dark Side

  A week or so ago, Trump took a break from the courtroom and held a rally in a picturesque corner of New Jersey, a state he has no hope of winning. His speech at this rally was even more unhinged than usual, featuring his now-famous tributes to Al Capone and Hannibal Lecter — the latter being as fictional as Trump’s medical records, but seemingly real in his mind. These speeches are growing worse over time, and they seem to betray a worsening cognitive condition. Unfortunately, the New York Times doesn’t see it that way. Their reporting of the event was basically a puff piece . To them, this rally was Trump’s well-deserved break from the rigors and indignities of his criminal trial. They marvel that, “after a long and tense week,” he could now head to the Jersey Shore for some much-needed rest and adulation: Against the backdrop of classic Americana, Mr. Trump repeated his typical criticism that Mr. Biden’s economic policies were hurting the middle class.

The Ascendancy of Half-Assed Fascism

  Much has happened since I wrote this post in June 2021, almost three years ago. This was after Biden's election in 2020, but before the Dobbs decision, before the Red Wave in '22, and before the rise and face-plant of the House clown caucus. But what I described then as "half-assed fascism" has since grown both more fascist and more half-assed.   The right has been working toward this moment for half a century, since well before Nixon. They got here through meticulous planning and superhuman patience. They bought hundreds of media outlets, so they could indoctrinate their followers. They targeted state legislatures when no one was paying attention, and won more than half of them. They took over local school boards all over the country, so they could indoctrinate the next generation.  In recent years, they’ve demonized Democrats, first as socialists, now as pedophiles. They’ve packed the judiciary with ideologues. They've stolen the Suprem

The GOP's Weaknesses are More Apparent than its Strengths

  Anyone who’s paying attention now understands that this election is a whole lot scarier than it ever should have been. It’s a shame — and an indictment of our constitutional system — that it comes down to an election at all. Surely, the Trump problem should have been settled by now, with no further elections required to get him out of our lives. His crimes were such that the real crime was letting him remain at large. All those checks and balances we were taught to revere should have somehow found a way to rid us of this monster. But the Supreme Court seems to have Trump’s back, though it’s not clear what that gains them. If anything, it makes one wonder what Trump is holding over them, and what might happen to their families if they don’t keep him out of prison. So it will come down to the election, and the lines couldn’t be drawn more indelibly. I prefer to think this can work out well — that these scorched-earth hacks can be overwhelmed at the ballot box