Now that our Supreme Court seems determined to gut pretty much any part of our government that actually helps good Americans, Branko Marcetic at In These Times reminds us how well our Environmental Protection Agency has worked over the years. “From dramatically improving air quality and banning cancer-causing substances, to cleaning up toxic sites and making long-poisoned natural attractions habitable again, the EPA has been the worst nightmare for right-wing, anti-government forces: an example of government power working for the benefit of the average person,” he writes. But he doesn’t forget to note that activists have often had to prod our EPA into working for us. And that’s as it should be: a tool is only any good if folks use it, after all.
The so-called National Right to Life Committee has proposed model legislation that would not only make abortion illegal everywhere in America, but would put anyone who helps someone get an abortion in jail. And naturally the bill is just vague enough to ensure that journalists reporting on reproductive issues would get swept up in its nefarious dragnet, meaning it’s also an anti-free speech bill. As more than one observer has noted, we need to understand the right-wing agenda as, ultimately, an anti-free speech agenda – they’ll make everything illegal and if you talk about it, they’ll make you an accomplice.
So how did right-wingers react to the 10-year-old girl who had to travel from Ohio to Indiana to get an abortion because she was six weeks and three days pregnant? By calling it fake news, of course, though they strained not to use that exact term, and naturally Washington Post “fact-checker” Glenn Kessler didn’t do his due diligence, either, which was exactly the cover they all needed. I would not oppose defamation lawsuits against all the right-wing fools who claimed the story wasn’t true only to be proven wrong (and who then labored mightily to cover their tracks without correcting their statements).
Starbucks says it’s closing 16 stores (including a few unionized stores) under the guise of “store safety,” and Starbucks Workers United (the union organizing their workers) files a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. Starbucks execs think they’re clever for closing some non-union stores along with the union stores, but they’ll never escape the bitter irony that store safety issues provoked a lot of the union organizing to begin with! Perhaps these executives imagine someone will write a Mahabharata about their exploits one day, but they’re wrong – no one will remember their names or their evil works in a hundred years, and that’s as it should be. In the moment, of course, we must overcome their evil.
You’ve heard that Joe Manchin has killed the latest iteration of the Democrats’ climate change bill – and that President Biden has rather vocally moved on, though we’ll see if that actually produces any results – but I guess I should note that Mr. Manchin himself has denied killing the bill, saying he just wanted to see what inflation was going to be like and see what the Fed planned to do about it before going further, which sure sounds like every other damn excuse for inaction he’s offered the last 18 months. I normally have no sympathy for Chuck Schumer, but it sure looks like he just decided to cut to the chase already.
Finally, in a related note, Paul Kane at the Washington Post warns that we should “Always listen to Joe Manchin’s public comments, not what others hear in private,” and adds that Democrats “seem to have all made the same mistake: hearing the nice tones that the West Virginia Democrat said in their private meetings, while dismissing his pessimistic comments in public as standard negotiating ploys. Instead, Manchin is the odd politician whose public pronouncements, whether in brief Capitol hallway interviews or in detailed prepared statements, carry more weight than whatever he tells his colleagues in private.” I must say that is an awfully long way of saying he negotiates in bad faith, and I’m not sure letting Rep. Jayapal say essentially the same thing makes up for that.