European Groups Push Leaders to Strengthen Abortion Rights

Source: Common Dreams

“Appalled by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v. Wade and concerned about the dark money-fueled global assault on abortion rights, advocacy groups from 28 European countries demanded Tuesday that their leaders take immediate steps to shield and strengthen access to reproductive care throughout the continent. Expressing ‘profound solidarity’ with people across the U.S. who will be or already have been harmed by the right-wing high court’s unpopular ruling, the groups noted in an open letter that several European countries — including Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, and Poland — also have in place ‘highly restrictive laws in disregard of international human rights obligations and public health evidence.’ While ‘the general trajectory across Europe has been to improve laws and policies on abortion,’ the groups continued, ‘the need to reinforce and protect reproductive rights and abortion access across Europe is ongoing.'” (06/29/22)

Lack of Paid Leave Complicates Interstate Abortion Travel

Source: The American Prospect
by David Dayen

“Since the Dobbs ruling taking away a woman’s right to determine her own medical care, a handful of large corporations have stepped up to provide up to $4,000 in travel expenses for employees who need an abortion but have no access to one in their states. … The stance from these companies (mostly big financial companies, movie studios, entertainment conglomerates, tech firms, and a few large retailers) has led to various questions. First, is this just greenwashing-style PR to look socially conscious in public, while funding the politicians who pushed to overturn Roe v. Wade behind the scenes? Is this yet another corporate benefit that will have to be consistently bargained, and used by companies like Starbucks as a perk only for those workers not uppity enough to want a union?” (06/29/22)

Afghanistan: Taliban and US officials to meet amid quake relief efforts

Source: SFGate

“Afghan finance and central bank officials from the Taliban-led government departed for Qatar on Wednesday to meet with U.S. officials, the Taliban said. The meeting follows last week’s deadly earthquake, which brought into focus how relief and emergency aid efforts have stumbled under the weight of the country’s spiraling economic woes. The quake in southeastern Afghanistan killed around 770 people, according to U.N. figures, though the Taliban put the death toll at closer to 1,150, with thousands injured. The U.N. says 155 children are among those killed in what was the deadliest earthquake to hit the impoverished country in two decades. Several thousand homes were destroyed or badly damaged in Paktika and Khost provinces. Despite international aid efforts by U.N. agencies and countries in the region, survivors say they need more help to subsist.” (06/29/22)

TX: Two Mexican nationals living in US hit with weapons charges in tractor-trailer migrant deaths

Source: Fox News

“Two Mexican nationals living in the U.S. illegally [sic] have been charged with firearm offenses after dozens of migrants were found dead in an abandoned semi-truck in Texas earlier this week. Juan Francisco D’Luna-Bilbao and Juan Claudio D’Luna-Mendez, who both allegedly overstayed B-2 visas, have been charged through separate criminal complaints as illegal [sic] immigrants in possession of firearms, according to court documents filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Texas. Federal prosecutors have asked that both men be held without bond, The Hill reported. They could face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted on the current charges. A third man, believed to be the big rig’s driver, was also reportedly arrested and charged with human smuggling.” (06/29/22)

UK: Johnson blames “toxic masculinity” for Ukraine war

Source: BBC News [UK state media]

“Russian President Vladimir Putin would not have invaded Ukraine if he were a woman, Boris Johnson has claimed. The UK prime minister said the ‘crazy, macho’ invasion was a ‘perfect example of toxic masculinity’ and he called for ‘more women in positions of power.’ But Downing Street said there was ‘not a deliberate policy’ to publicly belittle Mr Putin. Mr Johnson’s comments come ahead of a Nato meeting where allies will discuss how to respond to future threats. At the summit in Madrid, he is set to call on fellow members of the defensive alliance to ramp up defence spending. The UK’s defence spending is projected to reach 2.3% of GDP (a key measure of the annual income of a country) this year as a result of defence industry investment and £1.3bn in military support for Ukraine, the government said.” (06/29/22)

The Only Thing Constant Is Change: A message from the new publisher

Source: In These Times
by Christopher Hass

“This isn’t my first In These Times editorial, but it is my first as publisher. After 36 years, editor & publisher Joel Bleifuss is moving on from the magazine. For 23 of those years, Joel was at the top of the masthead, and his insights and observations were often the first thing you read when you opened an issue. But if Joel was a constant, In These Times was constantly changing  —  from newsprint broadsheet to glossy magazine, from biweekly to monthly, from teetering on the brink of extinction to becoming the healthy publication it is today. Now, Joel is the change, as he heads out for the next adventure. Joel won’t be going too far, though. He’ll soon be working on a new project we hope to partner with, reporting from rural communities.” (06/27/22)

SCOTUS decision for Maine parents paves road for school choice

Source: Fox News
by David McIntosh

“Students should never be denied the benefit of their education tax dollars simply on account of religion. But that’s precisely what had been happening. Tuition assistance to attend private institutions had been available to Maine school children, but the state program excluded those attending religious schools. … The Supreme Court agreed with Maine’s parents in its 6-3 decision, delivering an undeniable victory for religious liberty. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the court’s opinion in Carson v. Maykin: ‘Regardless of how the benefit and restriction are described, the program operates to identify and exclude otherwise eligible schools on the basis of their religious exercise.’ The ruling for the parents also represents a huge victory for the parental school choice movement.” (06/28/22)

Democrats Have Become a Serious Threat to the Republic

Source: The Federalist
by David Harsanyi

“Those who seek to destroy or delegitimize the Supreme Court for upholding the Constitution are no better than those who desire to overturn or delegitimize presidential elections. In fact, they probably pose a greater long-term threat to American ‘democracy.’ Now, if you believe the above contention is hyperbole, consider that many leftists aren’t merely advocating for court-packing or nullification of the Dobbs decision; they justify those attacks with a litany of other grievances about the constitutional order. Even as the Supreme Court relinquished its power, and threw the abortion issue–unmentioned anywhere in the Constitution–back to the voters, a horde of j-school graduates and politicians, either ignorant of basic civics or contemptuous of them, descended with panic-stricken warnings about the demise of ‘democracy.'” [editor’s note: As if Republicans give a tinker’s damn about the Constitution when it gets in their way – TLK] (06/27/22)

Why Going “Hard” Is Taking the Easy Way Out

Source: TomDispatch
by William J Astore

“American schools are soft, you say? I know what you mean. I taught college for 15 years, so I’ve dealt with my share of still-teenagers fresh out of high school. Many of them inspired me, but some had clearly earned high marks too easily and needed remedial help in math, English, or other subjects. School discipline had been too lax perhaps and standards too slack, because Johnny and Janey often couldn’t or wouldn’t read a book, though they sure could text, tweet, take selfies, and make videos. Oh, wait a sec, that’s not what you meant by ‘soft,’ is it? You meant soft as in ‘soft target’ in the context of mass school shootings, the most recent being in Uvalde, Texas.” (06/24/22)

KY: ACLU Lawsuit claims abortion ban violates state constitution

Source: Raleigh News & Observer

“Kentucky’s new abortion ban is being challenged by abortion-rights supporters, who filed a lawsuit Monday that says women are being ‘forced to remain pregnant against their will’ in violation of the state’s constitution. The state’s Republican attorney general, Daniel Cameron, responded by vowing to fight any ‘baseless claim’ made against enforcing the abortion ban. The suit takes aim at a 2019 Kentucky law that called for an immediate halt to nearly all abortions in the event that the Roe v. Wade ruling were to be overturned. The state law went into effect Friday (and abortions ended abruptly in Kentucky) when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to end federal constitutional protections for abortions. Filed in a state court, the suit asks a judge to temporarily block Kentucky’s so-called trigger law along with another state law that attempted to prevent abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.” (06/28/22)