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Showing posts from September, 2021

Losing Roe Could Be a Nightmare — For Republicans

  Greetings from Canada, where I’m taking a mental health week, enjoying something of a media fast (which I recommend), and where I’m happily not writing. So this post is a repeat, and a somewhat timely one. First published October 2, 2020 — pre-election, pre-insurrection, pre-big lie — the subject was abortion. While I certainly never saw the new Texas laws coming — let alone the bounty-hunter angle — I’m pleased that the piece seems more relevant now than it was then. Please give it a read, or a re-read, and see if you agree.   Of all the atrocities a six-to-three Supreme Court could inflict on the world, the overturning of Roe v. Wade is, dare I say, among the least of them. Yes, reproductive rights are as important as ever. Yes, it’s obscene that any Western country should still be wasting time on what should be a long-settled issue. But the implications of a Roe-less future needn’t be as bleak as popular imagination would have it. And it could end up blowing b

Texas, Stalinism, and The Informer Society

Rage over the new Texas abortion laws comes naturally to anyone with either a heart or a brain, let alone both. But beyond the unspeakably cruel restrictions on reproductive rights, beyond the wanton misogyny and toxic masculinity, beyond the predictable media firestorm that turns outrage into clickbait, there is a larger issue on the table. And it’s one we can only hope is not a trend: Texas Republicans are now openly embracing a culture of citizen-on-citizen informing. Anyone in Texas can now inform on anyone having, or even contemplating, an abortion. Informers have been a cornerstone of totalitarian rule throughout recorded history. Dire warnings about the political use of rumor, innuendo, and slander go back at least to Aristotle. But we need look back no further than the Soviet Union under Stalin to see it raised to an art form, an apotheosis of mass cruelty. By the mid-1930s, Stalin had consolidated all the power of the new Communist state, and vested that power in him