Wednesday Evening Open Thread

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Good evening:

Welcome to the third day of the second week of our experiment with an evening open thread with four suggested topics in the news. This is your place to comment, a place where off topic is on topic.

Please let us know if you like the idea. We’ll incorporate it as a regular feature, if you do.

Or suggest something else.

Tonight we switch to considering innovative strategies to peacefully change the dreadful circumstances in which we find ourselves

Here are the four suggested topics:

(1) In the let-there-be-hope department, we have former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens who has written a book, titled Six Amendments, How and why we should change the Constitution. John Bonifaz and Ryan O’Donnell at Truthout:

But if there was ever a time to cast aside our political cynicism, it is today. John Paul Stevens, retired justice of the US Supreme Court, appeared recently before the US Senate to argue for a constitutional amendment to limit money in politics. In fact, Justice Stevens is calling for a great deal of change, which he describes in a new book, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution.
One key amendment would reassert the important principles the Supreme Court has been steadily undermining, and reverse the march to a political future full of more super PACs and less democracy. It reads, “neither the First Amendment nor any other provision of this Constitution shall be construed to prohibit the Congress or any state from imposing reasonable limits on the amount of money that candidates for public office, or their supporters, may spend in election campaigns.”

(2) In the how-can-we-stop-police-violence department we have the wave of citizen activism protesting police violence. Kent Patterson of Americas Program writes,

In Albuquerque, police violence has triggered the biggest wave of activism in the New Mexico city since the early 1970s.

Since the shooting of James Boyd, activists have marched in the streets, packed City Council and DOJ meetings, conducted vigils, organized community forums, and prepared petitions to remove the mayor and convene grand juries that will indict officers. Citizens are participating in the DOJ’s current goal of writing a consent decree that will impose new recruitment standards, training, oversight policies, and standard operating procedures on the APD.

Street protests have drawn hundreds of young people who are cutting their teeth in activism and civil disobedience.

At an April forum held at the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice, activists formulated nearly 40 short-term and long-term demands. Significantly, the proposals call for the demilitarization of the policing, zero tolerance for racial profiling and citizen oversight of the police department.

(3) In the yet-more-flagrant-dishonesty-by-the-right-wing-hate-machine department, we have this example from Massachusetts, where they label Senator Elizabeth Warren a “leftist” because she promotes consumer rights. Stephen Richter of the Globalist writes,

Just what is Mrs. Warren’s crime that warrants such castigation? Speaking up for the concerns of everyday Americans — consumers, debtors, working people, that’s what.

As the founding spirit behind the long-overdue establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau , Senator Warren saw to it that today’s Americans are finally able to avail themselves of the same consumer rights that have been considered as givens by their counterparts in Europe since the 1970s.

What makes the charge of labeling Warren a leftist almost comical is that, when Europeans started to pursue the issue of consumer rights, they were eager to emulate the world leader of the consumer movement at the time — the United States.

(4) In the how-to-change-the-conversation-about-abortion, we have this suggestion by Valerie Tarico, of, which applies the principles of Aikido:

Picture this: A group of abortion opponents stand outside a women’s clinic holding pictures of fetal remains. As they stand there, calling and offering pamphlets to people entering the clinic, a trickle of pro-choice activists also arrive. Instead of lining up on the opposite side of the sidewalk, they position themselves beside the first group in silence, holding posters of their own.

The signs have words—not their own words but words from texts that inspire the anti-choice movement. Some quotes are from modern church leaders or ancient patriarchs. Others are from the Bible itself. They read:

I fail to see what use woman can be to man, if one excludes the function of bearing children. –Saint Augustine
In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children and thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee. –Genesis 3:16

Women will be saved through childbearing. –1 Timothy 2:15

The word and works of God is quite clear, that women were made either to be wives or prostitutes. –Martin Luther

If a woman grows weary and at last dies from childbearing, it matters not. Let her only die from bearing; she is there to do it. –Martin Luther

If no proof of the bride’s virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. –Deuteronomy 22:20-21

Her feelings drive woman toward every evil, just as reason impels man toward all good. –Saint Albertus Magnus

When life begins with that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen. –Senate candidate Richard Mourdock

Women will be saved by going back to that role that God has chosen for them. –Pastor Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill Church, Seattle

Still no donations to report. The total for the month is $45. Last donation was over a week ago.

6 Responses to Wednesday Evening Open Thread

  1. bettykath says:

    TPTB do a lot to keep us fighting with each other. Ralph Nader has some ideas on how to unite us, at least for a number of issues where we agree. It’s on my wish list, actually, I have it on the wish list of everyone.

    Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State by Ralph Nader (Apr 15, 2014)

  2. Malisha says:

    Good collection of quotes on the status of women. Very clear that the traditional patriarchal religions do not regard women as a valid part of humanity, but as useful livestock for “mankind” to make use of and naturally that implies total control.

    It is significant, as well, that a woman does not have choice about keeping her baby once it is born. The instant it is born, the father, the purported father, the “legal father,” the sperm donor father, any other relative, a baby-sitter, a “contestant for custody” [as the law so nimbly calls them] or the state itself can take the child from her with a minimum effort, becoming ever more minimal daily. Now there are “Jane Crow Laws” in many states criminalizing various non-criminal behaviors if the pregnant woman commits them. And women can be subjected to surgery against their will to IDENTIFY the genetic father of a fetus they are carrying in order to establish that petitioner’s “rights” over the fetus before it is even born. Some states clap travel restrictions on pregnant women as if they are on parole because the putative fathers want to be able to sue for custody upon delivery (whereas, presumably, should the baby not meet their standards they can easily choose to NOT sue for custody and just move on to the next gestator).

    Under these conditions it is not even rational to get pregnant, but of course, not everyone has CHOICE in that matter either.

    • Right wing Republicans can’t keep their noses out of other people’s bedrooms.

    • bettykath says:

      What’s amazing is how those who make and support such repressive laws are the same ones who are so opposed to big government. Is that all government is supposed to do: check out our sex lives and medical decisions? In the meantime, the schools can crumble, the bridges can collapse, children can live in poverty and hunger, and this list is too depressing to continue.

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