Time (magazine)

Republican Governance (Aborted)

Corset - Detail of frame from 'Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt'.

This is pretty straightforward:

• In 2013, North Dakota Republicans passed into law a heartbeat abortion bill, which would have set the termination cutoff around six weeks.

• The law never went into effect, and was struck in federal court in April, 2014.

• In July, 2015 a federal appeals court affirmed that ruling; the North Dakota anti-abortion law that never went into effect remained struck.

• Today the Supreme Court said no to the Peace Garden (Roughrider? Flickertail?) State’s last appeal; the law remains dead.

This is the only catch: This was how it was supposed to go.

Republicans knew the law wouldn’t survive; Gov. Jack Dalrymple even said so when he signed the bill into law: “Although the likelihood of this measure surviving a court challenge remains in question, this bill is nevertheless a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade”. Apparently, the governor thought viability was an open question, which would of course be the reason Judge Daniel L. Hovland wrote, in the April, 2014 decision, that, “a woman’s constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy before viability has been recognized by the United States Supreme Court for more than forty years”, reminded that the highest court in the land “has clearly determined the dispositive issue presented in this lawsuit”, and even found himself explaining to North Dakota, “This court is not free to impose its own view of the law”.

So here’s the thing: When Republicans tell you government doesn’t work, what they mean is that government in their own hands does not work.

No, really, just think about it for a minute. (1) Pass a harsh bill that stands well outside accepted norms; (2) argue the new law is a “legitimate attempt” to “discover the boundaries”; (3) pretend in court the boundaries are unclear and need to be discovered; (4) get reminded quite the opposite; (5) appeal to the Supreme Court; (6) see your appeal denied.

This, according to Gov. Dalrymple, was apparently the plan.

No, really, think about the logic here: The Court says we can only go this far. But they didn’t explicitly say we couldn’t go farther. You might as well fault the speed limit signs for every possible velocity they do not explicitly reject: “It only says, ‘Speed Limit 55’; it doesn’t explicitly say, ‘Thou shalt not drive ninety miles per hour’!”

When Republicans tell us government does not work, it would behoove us to attend the threat.

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Alter, Charlotte. “North Dakota’s Strict Abortion Ban Overturned”. Time. 22 July 2015.

Hassan, Carma and Dana Ford. “Judge overturns North Dakota law banning most abortions”. CNN. 17 April 2014.

Williams, Pete. “US Supreme Court rejects plea to revive North Dakota abortion ban”. msnbc. 25 January 2016.

A Downing Downer (Doobie Doo Double Down Downer D’oh! Mix)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), in January, 2015. Detail of photo by J. Scott Applewhite.

Of all the ghosts that might haunt a would-be candidate, London is something of a heavy metaphorical monkey. And why not mix metaphors, since five months later, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s trip abroad still haunts him:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says British Prime Minister David Cameron confided in him that he was concerned about the direction of American leadership. But there’s a problem with the Republican’s tidy critique of President Barack Obama: Cameron doesn’t remember it that way ....

“I heard that from David Cameron back in February earlier when we were over at 10 Downing,” Walker said. “I heard it from other leaders around the world. They’re looking around realizing this lead from behind mentality just doesn’t work. It’s just not working.” ....

As Zeke Miller makes clear for Time, while this sort of halfwitted pandering might or might not play in Deer Valley, it certainly didn’t impress Downing Street:

Walker, who has taken several trips overseas in recent months to study up on foreign policy in preparation for an all-but-certain presidential bid, told a roomful of Republican donors Friday that world leaders, including Cameron, are worried about the U.S. stepping back in the world. “The Prime Minister did not say that and does not think that,” a Downing Street spokesperson told TIME.

There is always something of a fun question, each cycle, about foreign leaders and to what degree they should involve themselves in our American elections. And the question certainly has its proper context. Still, though, it also seems an obvious and appropriate question: If you wish to drag Downing Street into an American electoral process, why do so in such a clumsy manner? After the Chatham gaffe, Mr. Walker seems prepared to double down on the D’oh!

Seriously, if one wishes to name drop a foreign government, at least do so in a way that doesn’t move them to publicly call bullshit.

Because, you know, really, it doesn’t do your foreign policy credentials any good to go out of your way to offend our nation’s international neighbors and partners.

Then again, this is Scott Walker.

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Image note: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), in January, 2015. Detail of photo by J. Scott Applewhite.

Miller, Zeke J. “British Leader to Scott Walker: I Never Dissed Obama”. Time. 12 June 2015.

Dignity

Transgender pride

Thank you.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown made her state the third to outlaw the use of conversion therapy on minors on Monday, eliminating the controversial practice that President Barack Obama called to ban in early April. Oregon joins California, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., in prohibiting licensed therapists from attempting to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a child.

(Steinmetz)

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Steinmetz, Katy. “Oregon Becomes Third State to Ban Conversion Therapy on Minors”. Time. 19 May 2015.

Just a Reminder

With much attention given to the evolving circumstances in Ukraine, perhaps it seems the wrong moment to remind that there are other wars going on:

Ethiopian and Somali government forces have seized a key town in central Somalia from the Islamist militant group al-Shabab, officials say.

There is always a war going on, somewhere.At least 12 people were killed in heavy fighting for control of Rabdhure town in Bakol region, residents said.

The attack may signal the start of a new offensive against al-Shabab, according to a BBC reporter in Somalia.

Ethiopian troops are part of a 22,000-strong African Union (AU) force battling the militants in Somalia.

The BBC’s Mohamed Moalimu in the capital, Mogadishu, says the fall of Rabdhure is significant, as it was a major al-Shabab base for attacks across the region.

It would be the first town the group has lost since September, when Mahaday in central Somalia fell to AU-backed government forces.

(BBC)

There are always other wars going on.

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