While liberal journalists scream in advance what President Trump desperately needs is live real-time “fact checking,” we will remind you just how stupid that liberal journalists think the American “sheeple” are. USA Today posted a fact check in case anyone was fooled by the Babylon Bee’s hilarious article “Ninth Circuit Court Overturns Death Of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”
We rate this claim SATIRE, based on our research. A satirical article about the 9th Circuit “overturning” Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death has no basis in fact. It is true that the 9th Circuit has ruled against many Trump-era policies.
“In a close decision, the judges on the court have ruled RBG’s death unconstitutional and will block Trump from nominating a replacement,” the article says.
Ninth Circuit Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw was credited with issuing the ruling on the basis that Ginsburg’s death was an “affront to the (Constitution)” and the “God-given right to abort as many babies as possible and sell their body parts for research.”
Therefore, Ginsburg will still be considered “alive” by the law, the article says. As to how the court will accomplish this feat, Wardlaw admitted, according to the article, “We’re still figuring that part out.”
Any attempt to fill the vacancy left by Ginsburg will be blocked by the 9th Circuit until she can be cloned or resurrected, according to the article.
Cox then “corrected” the jokes:
There is no record of any Wardlaw opinion on Ginsburg’s death on the website for the 9th Circuit, but she participated in a panel discussion Friday about Ginsburg’s life produced by the UCLA School of Law. There was no mention of “reviving” Ginsburg during the discussion.
These “fact checkers” think they are so much smarter than the average American. And the average American should feel insulted by the almost athletic condescension.
Hack MSNBC host Joy Reid on Tuesday openly plotted with Symone Sanders, urging the Biden senior campaign advisor to have her candidate mock Donald Trump’s children and act as the official “fact checker” of Donald Trump.
Regarding the big debate, Reid sounded like DNC television, deeming the scandals surrounding Hunter Biden to be “fake”: “The expectation is that Donald Trump will spend a lot of time going after Hunter Biden and try to induce or sort of lure the press into covering sort of fake scandals regarding the President’s son.”
She then lobbied the Biden campaign to trash Trump’s own kids:
Has Vice President Biden prepared a line? The Trump boys have never had a job other than working for their daddy and wouldn’t have anything if it weren’t for him employing them. Has the Vice President prepared a line to say, “Have you met your kids?” Like, is there any line that he’s prepared to talk about Donald Trump’s kids?
Earlier in the interview, Reid floated the idea that the Biden campaign should be the official fact checker of the debate: “Chris Wallace says that he doesn’t intend to fact check, that he doesn’t see that as his role. Does Vice President Biden believe that he then is the one that needs to fact-check Donald Trump if and when he says something that is a lie?”
So one candidate should fact check the candidate he is competing against? That’s a bit like asking Pepsi to weigh in on the taste of Coke. This was too much even for Sanders, who replied, “It is not his job to fact-check…. It’s the independent press’s job. I do not doubt that there will be any shortage of fact-checkers on the job tonight.”
With media types like Reid, we can guess what their conclusion will be.
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A partial transcript is below:
The ReidOut 9/29/2020 7:22 PM ET
JOY REID: Chris Wallace says that he doesn’t intend to fact check, that he doesn’t see that as his role. Does Vice President Biden believe that he then is the one that needs to fact-check Donald Trump if and when he says something that is a lie?
SYMONE SANDERS (Biden campaign senior advisor): No, joy. Tonight, again, Joe Biden is going to speak directly to the American people. It is not his job to fact-check. It’s his job to articulate his vision. We believe that it is the moderator’s job. I know what Chris Wallace has said but I’ve also seen him hold Donald Trump accountable. I’ve also seen him hold us accountable on a number of occasions. So it’s the moderator’s job, and, frankly, it’s the independent press’s job. I do not doubt that there will be any shortage of fact-checkers on the job tonight.
REID: The expectation is that Donald Trump will spend a lot of time going after Hunter Biden and try to induce or sort of lure the press into covering sort of fake scandals regarding the President’s son. How has the Vice President prepared for those attacks? And what is he prepared to do in response, or to say in response?
REID: Has Vice President Biden prepared a line? The Trump boys have never had a job other than working for their daddy and wouldn’t have anything if it weren’t for him employing them. Has the Vice President prepared a line to say, “Have you met your kids?” Like, is there any line that he’s prepared to talk about Donald Trump’s kids? One of whom was involved in one of his tax schemes?
REID [To Stacey Abrams]: But I want to show you just what the debate is hinging on. These are the topics that they’ve put forward. Some of them make sense, the records of these two men, the Supreme Court obviously, COVID-19 is a huge issue, the economy, race and violence in our cities. The integrity of the election. Are these the kinds of issues that would be litigated tonight that will ease the fears and inspire people’s sense of hope that says I want to vote? Do these sound like they’re on target?
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) joined Lou Dobbs on Tuesday following the release of newly declassified documents that reveal Hillary Clinton hatched the Russiagate hoax to pin the DNC “hacking” onto Trump.
Gaetz and his cohorts Devin Nunes, Jim Jordan, Mark Meadows, and several others were speaking out against the hoax back in 2017 but Speaker Paul Ryan purposely ignored them.
Rep. Matt Gaetz: Remember Lou, it was myself and Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows, back in 2017 who said we needed a special counsel to investigate the activities of Hillary Clinton. And had we done that we would have know what John Ratcliffe just told us well before. But we had the spineless Speaker Paul Ryan who blocked us at every turn. He acted like we were the tinfoil hat wearing crazy Republicans. But the reality was that we were telling the American people the truth. People on Washington on both sides of the aisle were lying to the American people and now we know exactly where the Russia hoax began.
Joe Biden trolled President Trump with a photo of debate ‘performance enhancers’ posted about ninety minutes before Tuesday night’s debate in Cleveland, Ohio set for 9 p.m. EDT.
Will Biden be able to stay alert for the entire debate?
Trump and his campaign have been dogging Biden with questions about his ability to perform in the debate and whether he would be taking performance enhancing drugs or wearing an ear pierce that could feed him answers.
Biden’s photo sought to push back against all that with a photo of ear buds and a pint of ice cream, “It’s debate night, so I’ve got my earpiece and performance enhancers ready.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court has close ties to a charismatic Christian religious group that holds men are divinely ordained as the “head” of the family and faith. Former members of the group, called People of Praise, say it teaches that wives must submit to the will of their husbands.
Federal appeals judge Amy Coney Barrett has not commented publicly about her own or her family’s involvement, and a People of Praise spokesman declined to say whether she and her husband are current members.
But Barrett, 48, grew up in New Orleans in a family deeply connected to the organization and as recently as 2017 she served as a trustee at the People of Praise-affiliated Trinity Schools Inc., according to the nonprofit organization’s tax records and other documents reviewed by The Associated Press. Only members of the group serve on the schools’ board, according to the system’s president.
The AP also reviewed 15 years of back issues of the organization’s internal magazine, Vine and Branches, which has published birth announcements, photos and other mentions of Barrett and her husband, Jesse, whose family has been active in the group for four decades. On Friday, all editions of the magazine were removed from the group’s website.
People of Praise is a religious community based in charismatic Catholicism, a movement that grew out of the influence of Pentecostalism, which emphasizes a personal relationship with Jesus and can include baptism in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. The group organizes and meets outside the purview of a church and includes people from several Christian denominations, but its members are mostly Roman Catholic.
Barrett’s affiliation with a conservative religious group that elevates the role of men has drawn particular scrutiny given that she would be filling the high court seat held by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a feminist icon who spent her legal career fighting for women to have full equality. Barrett, by contrast, is being hailed by religious conservatives as an ideological heir to the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a staunch abortion-rights opponent for whom she clerked as a young lawyer.
In accepting Trump’s nomination Saturday, the Catholic mother of seven said she shares Scalia’s judicial philosophy.
“A judge must apply the law as written,” Barrett said. “Judges are not policy makers, and they must be resolute in setting aside any policy views they might hold.”
Barrett’s advocates are trying to frame questions about her involvement in People of Praise as anti-Catholic bigotry ahead of her upcoming Senate nomination hearings.
Asked about People of Praise in a televised interview last week, Vice President Mike Pence responded, “The intolerance expressed during her last confirmation about her Catholic faith I really think was a disservice to the process and a disappointment to millions of Americans.”
But some people familiar with the group and charismatic religious groups like it say Barrett’s involvement should be examined before she receives a lifelong appointment to the highest court in the nation.
“It’s not about the faith,” said Massimo Faggioli, a theology professor at Villanova University, who has studied similar groups. He says a typical feature of charismatic groups is the dynamic of a strong hierarchical leadership, and a strict view of the relationship between women and men.
Several people familiar with People of Praise, including some current members, told the AP that the group has been misunderstood. They call it a Christian fellowship, focused on building community. One member described it as a “family of families,” who commit themselves to each other in mutual support to live together “through thick and thin.”
But the group has also been portrayed by some former members, and in books, blogs and news reports, as hierarchical, authoritarian and controlling, where men dominate their wives, leaders dictate members’ life choices and those who leave are shunned.
The AP interviewed seven current and former members of People of Praise, and reviewed its tax records, websites, missionary blogs and back issues of its magazine to try to paint a fuller picture of an organization that Barrett has been deeply involved in since childhood.
People of Praise was founded in South Bend, Indiana, in 1971 as part of the Catholic Pentecostal movement, a devout reaction to the free love, secular permissiveness and counterculture movements of the 1960s and early ’70s. Many of the group’s early members were drawn from the campus of nearby Notre Dame, a Catholic university.
The group has roughly 1,800 adult members nationwide, with branches and schools in 22 cities across the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. All members are encouraged to continue to attend church at their own parishes.
After a period of religious study and instruction that lasts from three to six years, people involved in People of Praise can choose to make a lifelong covenant pledging love and service to fellow community members and to God, which includes tithing at least 5% of their gross income to support the group’s activities and charitable initiatives, according to a statement on the group’s website.
People of Praise’s more than 1,500-word covenant, a copy of which was reviewed by the AP, includes a passage where members promise to follow the teachings and instructions of the group’s pastors, teachers and evangelists.
“We agree to obey the direction of the Holy Spirit manifested in and through these ministries in full harmony with the church,” the covenant says.
It’s unclear whether Barrett took the covenant. But members of the organization and descriptions of its hierarchy show that members almost invariably join the covenant after three to six years of religious study or they leave, so it would be very unusual for Barrett to continue to be involved for so many years without having done so.
A 2006 article in the group’s magazine includes a photo of her attending a People of Praise Leaders’ Conference for Women. The magazine also includes regular notices when members are “released from the covenant” and leave the group. The AP’s review found no such notice of Barrett’s or her husband’s departure.
A request to interview Barrett made through the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, where she currently serves as a judge, was declined. The judge didn’t mention People of Praise in her 2017 Senate judicial questionnaire, filled out prior to her confirmation for the bench.
Jesse Barrett did not respond to voicemail or email sent through his law firm in South Bend.
People of Praise spokesman Sean Connolly declined to discuss the Barretts or their affiliation with the group.
“Like most religious communities, the People of Praise leaves it up to its members to decide whether to publicly disclose their involvement in our community,” Connolly said by email. “And like most religious communities, we do not publish a membership list.”
Several people familiar with the group told the AP that, unlike some other charismatic movements, People of Praise has a strong commitment to intellectualism, evidenced in part by the schools they have established, which have a reputation for intellectual rigor.
Barrett’s father, Michael Coney Sr., has served as the principal leader of People of Praise’s New Orleans branch and was on the group’s all-male Board of Governors as recently as 2017. Her mother, Linda Coney, has served in the branch as a “handmaid,” a female leader assigned to help guide other women, according to documents reviewed by the AP.
“One of the key principles of People of Praise is freedom, the exercise of our own freedom in following the Lord and in following our own — what we believe, what we think is right,” Michael Coney, 75, said Friday in an interview with the AP.
Joannah Clark, 47, grew up in People of Praise and became a member as an adult. She acknowledged that the board of governors consists of all men, but said that is not a reflection on the “worth or ability of women,” but rather the approach the group has chosen for that level of leadership.
“In a marriage, we look at the husband as the head of the family. And that’s consistent with New Testament teaching,” said Clark, who is the head of Trinity Academy in Portland, Oregon. “This role of the husband as the head of the family is not a position of power or domination. It’s really quite the opposite. It’s a position of care and service and responsibility. Men are looking out for the good and well-being of their families.”
Clark said she had previously served as a “handmaid.” The term was a reference to Jesus’ mother Mary, who called herself “the handmaid of the Lord.” The organization recently changed the terminology to “woman leader” because it had newly negative connotations after Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” was turned into a popular television show.
Clark said the woman leaders in People of Praise do things like provide pastoral care and organize help for community members, such as when people are sick or need other help.
“They’re also in a role of advising, so the men will ask the women leaders’ advice on issues that affect the patterns of life within the community, certainly issues that affect women and families,” Clark said.
Barrett, in accepting Trump’s nomination at the White House on Saturday, put particular emphasis on the equality of her own marriage, saying she expected from the start the she and her husband would run their household as partners.
“As it has turned out, Jesse does far more than his share of the work,” she said. “To my chagrin, I learned at dinner recently that my children consider him to be the better cook.”
Though People of Praise opposes abortion, those familiar with the group said it would be a mistake to pigeonhole their politics as either left or right. While socially conservative in their understanding of family and gender, some members are deeply committed to social justice in matters of race and economics, they said. Barrett’s parents are both registered Democrats, according to Louisiana voter registration records.
Tax records and other documents show that as recently as 2017 Barrett sat on the board of Trinity Schools, a campus of which was recently designated by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as a National Blue Ribbon School. The schools are coed, but most classes are segregated by gender.
The school’s website says the group sees men and women “created by God equal in dignity but distinct from one another.”
“We seek to uphold both that equality and appropriate distinction in our culture,” it goes on.
Similarly, at People of Praise the leadership structure is largely segregated by gender. And as they become adults, members frequently live together in same-gender communal houses sometimes owned by the group, or they are invited to live with a family within the community. Articles in the People of Praise magazine frequently note when young single members get married to each other. Multiple birth announcements often follow.
The group’s magazine also offers insights into the group’s views on marriage, community and members’ finances. A 2007 issue discusses how the 17 single women who live together in a household, called the Sisterhood, had their paychecks direct deposited into a single bank account. One member said she had “no idea” what the amount of her paycheck was.
The pooled money was managed by one woman, who budgeted for everyone’s clothing and other expenses, including $36 weekly per person for food and basics like toilet paper. All women were expected to give 10% of their pay to People of Praise, another 1% to the South Bend branch and additional tithes to their churches.
Married couples and their children also often share multifamily homes or cluster in neighborhoods designated for “city building” by the group’s leaders, where they can easily socialize and walk to each other’s houses.
As part of spiritual meetings, members often relay divine prophecies and are encouraged to pray in tongues, where participants make vocal utterances thought to carry direct teachings and instructions from God. Those utterances are then “interpreted” by senior male leaders and relayed back to the wider group.
A 1969 book by Kevin Ranaghan, a co-founder of People of Praise, dedicates a chapter to praying in tongues, which he describes as a gift from God.
“The gift of tongues is one of the word-gifts, an utterance of the Spirit through man,” Ranaghan wrote in “Catholic Pentecostals.” “Alone, the gift of tongues is used for prayer and praise. Coupled with the gift of interpretation it can edify the unbeliever and strengthen, console, enlighten or move the community of faith.”
In a blog entry on the group’s website from March of this year, a mother described taking her children to pray in tongues as the coronavirus pandemic took hold.
While People of Praise portrays itself as a tightknit family of families, former members paint a darker picture of that closeness.
Coral Anika Theill joined People of Praise’s branch in Corvallis, Oregon, in 1979, when she was a 24-year-old mother of 6-month-old twins.
“My husband at the time was very drawn to it because of the structure of the submission of women,” recounted Theill, who is now 65.
Theill, who converted to Catholicism after getting married, said in her People of Praise community women were expected to live in “total submission” not only to their husbands, but also the other male “heads” within the group.
In a book she wrote about her experience, Theill recounts that in People of Praise every consequential personal decision — whether to take a new job, buy a particular model car or choose where to live — went through the hierarchy of male leadership. Members of the group who worked outside the community had to turn over their paystubs to church leaders to confirm they were tithing correctly, she said.
Theill says her “handmaid,” to whom she was supposed to confide her innermost thoughts and emotions, then repeated what she said to the male heads, who would consult her husband on the proper correction.
“There’d be open meetings where you just have to stand for the group and they’d tell you all that was wrong with you,” Theill recounted to the AP last week. “And I would ask questions. I was a critical thinker.”
When she told her husband she wanted to wait to have more children, Theill said, he accompanied her to gynecological appointments to ensure she couldn’t get birth control.
“I was basically treated like a brood mare,” she said, using the term for a female horse used for breeding. During her 20-year marriage, Theill had eight children from 11 pregnancies.
Theill, who says she declined to take the covenant, described being dominated and eventually shunned because of the doubts she expressed about the group.
Clark, a current member in Oregon, said she had never heard of members being shunned.
“At any point, a community member can decide to leave and is free to do so,” Clark said. She said she has friends who have left the community. “These are people I’ve maintained a good friendship with and people who’ve maintained friendships with other people in community.”
But Theill isn’t the only former member to describe forced subjugation of women within People of Praise or shunning of former members.
Among People of Praise’s very first members in South Bend were Adrian Reimers and his wife, Marie. The couple was active for more than a dozen years before he said he became disillusioned and was “dismissed” from the group in the mid-1980s.
Reimers, who teaches philosophy at Notre Dame, went on to write detailed academic examinations of the group’s inner workings and theological underpinnings. In a 1997 book about People of Praise and other covenant communities, Reimers wrote that the fundamental principle of the group was St. Paul’s stipulation from the Bible that the husband is the “head” of his wife and that the wife is to “submit in all things.”
“A married woman is expected always to reflect the fact that she is under her husband’s authority,” Reimers wrote. “This goes beyond an acknowledgment that the husband is ‘head of the home’ or head of the family; he is, in fact, her personal pastoral head. Whatever she does requires at least his tacit approval. He is responsible for her formation and growth in the Christian life.”
Though women are allowed to serve in some administrative roles within the community, Reimers wrote that no woman is allowed to hold a pastoral position of leadership in which she would oversee or instruct men.
“People who leave these communities are often shunned by other members and are spoken of as no longer brothers and sisters in Christ or even no longer Christian,” he wrote.
Reimers declined to expand on his experience with People of Praise, saying he doesn’t know Amy Coney Barrett and didn’t want to get drawn into a political fight. But he said he stands by his prior account.
“To quote Pontius Pilate, ‘What I have written, I have written,’” he said last week, referring to the Roman official in the Bible who signed the order condemning Jesus to be crucified.
Lisa Williams said her parents joined the Minnesota branch of People of Praise in the late 1970s, when she was a fourth-grader. She chronicled her experience in a blog called “Exorcism and Pound Cake,” a reference to how she knew as a child that it was a meeting night because of the smell of baked goods coming from the kitchen.
“I remember my mother saying a wife could never deny sex to her husband, because it was his right and her duty,” said Williams, 56. “Sex is not for pleasure. It’s for as many babies as God chooses to give you. … Women had to be obedient. They had to be subservient.”
Corporal punishment of children was common, Williams told the AP. When she was insufficiently obedient to her father, she was beaten with a belt and then required to kneel and ask forgiveness from both him and God, she said.
She recalled People of Praise meetings held in her parents’ living room where members prayed in tongues to cast out demons from a person writhing on the floor, rituals she described as exorcisms.
When her parents, from whom she is now estranged, decided to leave People of Praise when she was a junior in high school, she remembers the leaders said her family would be doomed to hell and they were shunned. “Nobody would talk to you,” she recalled.
Steven Hassan, a mental health counselor who works with people who have left fundamentalist authoritarian religious groups, said the culture within People of Praise as described by Theill and Williams, including the practice of shunning former members, creates fear so that people are dependent and obedient.
“A person who is in one of these groups has to suppress their own thoughts, feelings, desires that doesn’t align with the dogma,” Hassan said.
He cautioned, however, that Theill’s and Williams’ experiences were from decades ago and not necessarily illustrative of how the group now operates. And current members of People of Praise interviewed by the AP strongly disputed those characterizations.
“There’s a high value on personal freedom,” said Clark, the Trinity School director in Oregon.
She said she had never heard of some of the practices the former members detailed to the AP, such as micromanaging finances or handing over paychecks. She grew emotional when she recounted the sacrifices people in the group make for each other as part of their covenant, like the case of a man known for helping his fellow members move, who was in turn cared for by group members as he died.
“I’ve never been asked to do anything against my own free will,” said Clark, a member of the group for 25 years. “I have never been dominated or controlled by a man.”
Thomas Csordas, an anthropology professor at University of California San Diego, has studied the religious movement that includes People of Praise. He said such communities are conservative, authoritarian, hierarchical and patriarchal.
But, he said, in his view, the group’s leaders are unlikely to exert influence over Barrett’s judicial decisions.
Coney, Barrett’s father, said the culture of female submission described by some former members was based on misunderstandings of the group’s teachings.
“I can’t comment on why they believe that. But it is certainly not a correct interpretation of our life,” he said. “We’re people who love each other and support each other in their Christian life, trying to follow the Lord.”
As a lawyer himself, he rejected the notion that his daughter’s religious beliefs will unduly influence her opinions if she is confirmed to the high court.
“I think she’s a super lawyer and she will apply the law as opposed to any of her beliefs,” he said. “She will follow the law.”
Smith reported from Providence, Rhode Island. Associated Press reporters Mitch Weiss in Greenville, South Carolina, and Juliet Linderman in Baltimore, Maryland, contributed.
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Yes, Amy Coney Barrett is a successful working mother. Currently a judge on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Barrett was nominated by President Donald Trump to the Supreme Court just last week. She has seven children, ages 8–18. Clearly, this is someone who’s doing well for herself professionally while raising a family.
But her individual success does not make her some kind of feminist superhero.
Incredibly, that’s the storyline pushed by conservatives and Republicans, who appear eager to co-opt the legacy of women’s rights champion Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Barrett’s behalf.
A piece in Politico calls Barrett “A New Feminist Icon.” The National Republican Senatorial Committee is selling shirts that say “Notorious A.C.B,” appropriating the affectionate nickname used for Ginsburg, an actual feminist icon.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, another successful working mother who has not been on the side of gender equality, tweeted last week, “If liberals actually cared about empowering women, they’d be applauding Judge Amy Coney Barrett – a working mom with impeccable legal credentials.”
Nonsense. Liberals don’t need to celebrate every woman who achieves power. Certainly, feminists don’t. None have taken to Twitter, for example, to cheer on Ivanka Trump, who talks a lot about being a working mother while actively supporting policies that are not good for women.
I think it speaks to the success of the modern feminist movement that conservatives think their best move is to co-opt it. Jaclyn Friedman, feminist writer and activist
Feminism is not about any one woman’s success; it’s about all of us being freed from discrimination and oppression: not just professional white women, but trans women, gay women, poor women, immigrant women, Black and brown women. Feminism is even interested in doing this for men, who are also burdened by toxic expectations and limitations.
“Feminism doesn’t mean anything that’s good for an individual, particular woman. It doesn’t mean one individual woman gaining power. Feminism is a movement for liberation from gender and sex oppression,” said Jaclyn Friedman, a feminist writer, activist and co-editor of ”Believe Me: How Trusting Women Can Change The World.”
“I think it speaks to the success of the modern feminist movement that conservatives think their best move is to co-opt it,” she said.
There is nothing in Barrett’s history that would indicate that she’s spent any time empowering women.
Barrett’s mentor was Antonin Scalia, a Supreme Court justice who consistently ruled against gender equality. As an academic, Barrett is not known for writing or studying feminist issues. She is known for being pro-life.
There is no evidence in her three years on the bench that Barrett is anything but supportive of typically anti-feminist causes, including gun rights, limits on reproductive freedom and hostility toward the Affordable Care Act, which has brought health insurance to many many millions of women who are mothers.
In fact, from her short time on the bench, it seems Barrett’s conservative inclination is to rule against the rights of individuals, particularly those who are oppressed.
“Feminists support upholding Roe v. Wade. Amy Coney Barrett does not. Feminists support government policies to ensure equality and equity for women. Amy Coney Barrett does not. Feminists value the importance of affirmative action, environmental protection, and universal health care. Amy Coney Barrett does not,” said Jennifer Lawless, a political science professor at the University of Virginia. “Opposing a female nominee who is antithetical to feminist principles reflects a commitment to the cause.”
The conservative argument for a feminist Barrett seems to center around the fact that she is a mother of many children who still managed to succeed. “She is a walking example of how young children and demanding work can coexist—I dare suggest even happily,” writes Wall Street Journal opinion writer Kate Bachelder Odell in a piece calling Barrett a role model for mothers.
Conservative Christian women, particularly those who are anti-abortion, told the The New York Times how happy they were about Barrett’s nomination. “She shows that it’s possible for a woman to rise to the top of her profession while having many children,” a Stanford Law School graduate and mother of 10 who heads a conservative legal advocacy group focusing on religious liberty told the Times.
But Barrett is a particular kind of successful woman; one of a very privileged few upper-income mothers who get to have good jobs with flexible hours. Most working mothers do not have paid leave or workplace flexibility or health care; they are struggling to succeed. They don’t need a well-off lady role model. They need policies that support their lives.
That’s something that even Barrett herself acknowledged in a 2013 talk at Notre Dame University when she said best way to prevent abortions would be through policies that support “poor, single mothers.”
Still, there’s little indication that Barrett backs policies that would support such women, especially because such policies include access to birth control.
Barrett has openly criticized the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding Obamacare, which greatly expanded access to birth control and health care more generally and unquestionably helps poor women. She opposes abortion, which studies have shown is critical to the economic empowerment of women.
Most working mothers do not have paid leave or workplace flexibility or health care; they are struggling to succeed. They don’t need a well-off lady role model. They need policies that support their lives.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg isn’t a feminist legend because she was a working mother any more than Brett Kavanaugh is a feminist legend for being a working father. RBG is a feminist hero because, as a litigator, she took on hundreds of cases fighting for gender equality and is literally responsible for getting the Supreme Court to put women’s rights into the Constitution. As a justice on the high court, she continued that project.
Conservatives are playing identity politics with Barrett, selling the idea that one woman is interchangeable with any other woman. That any woman who gets to the top is a win for women.
Representation does matter, of course, but it’s not the only thing that matters. “Representation without ideology is empty,” said Friedman. “It signifies an attitude towards women in which we are all interchangeable. That our gender is the only thing that matters about us. And that we’re completely interchangeable. Which is what patriarchs in the conservative movement believe.”
Nominating Barrett to the Supreme Court is also part of a longtime Republican goal of having a woman overturn Roe v. Wade. “It’s helpful for optics,” said Lawless, who pointed out that President George W. Bush passed restrictions on abortion while surrounded by “smiling white men.”
But those optics aren’t likely to fool many people, she said.
“It’s not like the Democrats, pro-choice advocates, and everyday voters who support a woman’s right to choose will feel any better or protest any less merely because a conservative female justice helped overturn Roe v. Wade.”
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In 2011, The New York Times published what was, at the time, the most shocking expose on tax policy in decades. General Electric, the largest American corporation, had notched a $14.2 billion profit in the previous year ― and paid no federal income tax.
GE had achieved this financial miracle through creative accounting, ferocious lobbying and years of corporate hiring that lured top tax officials away from just about every government agency, office or committee with jurisdiction over the matter.
The GE story touched off a furious debate by the standards of its day. The company’s defenders took to CNBC to insist that under a more flexible definition of tax liability, GE had paid quite a bit. Others insisted the firm was an outlier and that most corporations were paying plenty of taxes, if not too much.
But critics and admirers alike agreed on one thing: GE’s practices were unusually aggressive, but it hadn’t done anything illegal, in part because GE and its lobbying allies had persuaded Congress and regulators to write rules in the company’s favor.
In the nine years since, public opinion on tax policy has been remarkably consistent. Overwhelming majorities of the public, including large swaths of the Republican Party, think that big corporations and the wealthy should be paying more. And yet the opposite has occurred. In 2013, the Obama administration cut a deal with then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to give households making over $250,000 a tax break. And in 2017, President Donald Trump signed into law his signature policy achievement, a sweeping $1.5 trillion tax law that slashed the tax obligations of the rich and large corporations, hacked away at federal revenues and exacerbated economic inequality.
Trump’s tax law has always been deeply unpopular. In March 2019, a survey from the Pew Research Center showed that just 36% of Americans approved of it. A month later, a Monmouth University poll put approval at 34%.
In short, everyone knew the American tax system was a corrupt nightmare before The New York Times released its extraordinary expose on the president’s taxes on Sunday. Its details are breathtaking: Trump didn’t pay taxes at all in 11 of the previous 18 years, paid just $750 a year for the first two years of his presidency, has been living in the shadow of a multimillion-dollar IRS audit for nine years, and appears to be on the verge of financial ruin.
But as stunning as the particulars are, the bigger picture is by now familiar. The Trump family is exactly what the American tax code is designed to create ― an incompetent, intergenerational graft that our government rewards for draining the nation’s resources and destroying social value. Tipping the scales in favor of the rich doesn’t just generate inequality, it creates an inept upper class shielded from the consequences of its errors and granted access to political power.
Trump is not an anomaly. Much of the so-called innovation that drives up corporate share prices amounts to little more than devising ways to stiff workers on their pay, rip off customers, or hide from the tax man. From Uber to offshoring to Wells Fargo’s fake accounts, executives are rewarded for creating inequality.
Even when they get caught actually breaking the law, these oligarchs nevertheless retire on piles of money. Disgraced former Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf still owns more than $80 million in company stock after collecting $60 million in salary and bonuses over the course of his career and accruing a $22.7 million pension.
In the days since the Times story dropped, reformers have rightly called to increase the enforcement budget of the IRS to give the agency the resources it needs to take on rich fraudsters. Such a boost would be welcome. But the cancer on our democracy cannot be cured with a few appropriations bills. Many of the tax loopholes Trump has been exploiting were enacted with bipartisan support.
Trump may not be able to get away with it forever. But he got away with it for years, and rode getting away with it to the highest office in the country.
The IRS began auditing Trump in 2011 ― it knew the deal years before Trump began his presidential run. It doesn’t take nine years to figure out if a tax refund is aboveboard. As the Times story makes clear, some of the trouble appears to lie with the bipartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, which has jurisdiction over multimillion-dollar tax refunds. One of the reasons Trump’s reputation as a businessman survived for so long is because a bipartisan congressional panel couldn’t be bothered to do its job.
One of our two political parties is devoted to celebrating the rich for being rich, while half of the other party wants to do the same. It is a failure of leadership that with a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, the public is learning about Trump’s tax returns from the Times instead of the House Ways and Means Committee. The effort to release those returns has been tied up in court, but only after seemingly endless foot-dragging from Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.), who has prioritized deal-making with the administration over confrontation about corruption.
Trump may not be able to get away with it forever. But he got away with it for years, and rode getting away with it to the highest office in the country, where his political opposition has been reluctant to challenge him on what he has been getting away with.
It’s enough to make you wonder why GE bothers with all the fancy revolving-door accountants. Who, really, would make them pay?
When he first signed up to be Donald Trump’s Vice President, Mike Pence had somewhat of a spine. When the Access Hollywood tape came out, the former Indiana Governor reportedly gave serious thought to leaving the campaign. He infuriated his wife by choosing not to.
At this point, Pence is all in with the Trump campaign. This loyalty to the President was obvious on Tuesday when the Vice President referred to the damning New York Times story about Trump’s taxes as, “same old, same old.”
Pence made the comment while speaking with Fox News Bret Baier. He told the host, “It feels like the same old, same old, doesn’t it, Bret? These same issues and allegations came up in 2016. The American people know President Donald Trump was a job creator. He’s a builder. He saved tens of millions of dollars in state and local taxes, payroll taxes. He created thousands of jobs as he built his business over many, many years.”
Baier did push back, noting that Trump has told two different stories about his tax return. He asked the VP, “So which is it — a totally fake news story or illegally obtained documents that were real?”
Pence responded by saying that the allegations were “the same kind of allegations,” made four years ago. The vice president continued, “I’m very confident they took advantage of all the legal deductions and exemptions that were available in the tax code.”
Todd Neikirk is a New Jersey based politics and technology writer. His work has been featured in psfk.com, foxsports.com and hillreporter.com. He enjoys sports, politics, comic books and spending time at the shore with his family.