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News 06.05.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 06.05.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@charlottebland
News 06.05.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@mendlbarr_chandeliers
News 06.05.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@thecarolinelin

If you are an American with a young daughter, she will grow up in a world without the right to choose when and where she gives birth, and in which nothing restrains a state from declaring her womb its property, with all the invasive authorities that implies.

That is the significance of the draft Supreme Court opinion leaked to Politico, which shows that the right-wing majority on the Court intends to discard Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, landmark precedents guaranteeing the constitutional right to abortion. The justices can change their minds before judgments are issued, but their opinions are drafted after they’ve taken an initial vote on the cases themselves. The draft likely reflects the direction of the final decision, even if the scope of that decision changes.

The draft, written by Justice Samuel Alito, is sweeping and radical. There is no need to dwell too long on its legal logic; there are no magic words that the authors of prior opinions might have used in their own decisions that could have preserved the right to an abortion in the face of a decisive right-wing majority on the Court. The opinion itself reads like a fancy press release from a particularly loyal member of the GOP Senate caucus. Alito’s writing reflects the current tone of right-wing discourse: grandiose and contemptuous, disingenuous and self-contradictory, with the necessary undertone of self-pity as justification. Alito, like the five other conservative justices, was placed on the Court by the conservative legal movement for the purpose of someday handing down this decision. These justices are doing what they were put there to do.

Alito claims to be sweeping away one of the great unjust Supreme Court precedents, such as Dred Scott v. Sanford, which held that Black people had no rights white men were bound to respect, or Plessy v. Ferguson, which upheld racial segregation. But in truth, Alito is employing the logic of Plessy, allowing the states to violate the individual rights of their residents in any way their legislatures deem “reasonable,” as the opinion in Plessy put it. Homer Plessy’s argument was that the segregation law violated his Fourteenth Amendment rights, and that those rights should not be subject to a popularity contest in every state in the union; what Alito describes as a “restrictive regime” of constitutional protection for abortion rights is the kind of safe harbor Plessy himself sought.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 06.05.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 06.05.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Over the last three weeks, the Russian economy has been overwhelmed by sanctions. Soon after the Kremlin invaded Ukraine, the West began seizing the assets of the wealthiest individuals close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, prohibited Russian flights in its airspace, and restricted the Russian economy’s access to imported technology. Most dramatically, the United States and its allies froze the reserve assets of Russia’s central bank and cut Russia out of not just the SWIFT financial payments system, but of the basic institutions of international finance, including all foreign banks and the International Monetary Fund. As a result of the West’s actions, the value of the ruble has crashed, shortages have cropped up throughout the Russian economy, and the government appears to be close to defaulting on its foreign currency debt. Public opinion—and the fear of being hit by sanctions—has compelled Western businesses to flee the country en masse. Soon, Russia will be unable to produce necessities either for defense or for consumers because it will lack critical components.

The democratic world’s response to Moscow’s aggression and war crimes is right, both ethically and on national security grounds. This is more important than economic efficiency. But these actions do have negative economic consequences that will go far beyond Russia’s financial collapse, that will persist, and that are not pretty. Over the last 20 years, two trends have already been corroding globalization in the face of its supposedly relentless onward march. First, populists and nationalists have erected barriers to free trade, investment, immigration, and the spread of ideas—especially in the United States. Second, Beijing’s challenge to the rules-based international economic system and to longstanding security arrangements in Asia has encouraged the West to erect barriers to Chinese economic integration. The Russian invasion and resulting sanctions will now make this corrosion even worse.

There are several reasons why. First, China is attempting to navigate a nonconfrontational response to the Russian invasion. Both its financial system and its real economy are observing the sanctions because of the potential economic retaliation if they finance or supply Russia, let alone bail Moscow out. But anything short of fully joining the blockade will feed anti-Chinese policies in the West, reducing the country’s economic integration. Second, countries fear being subject to the whims of Washington’s economic might, now that it is re-enamored with its apparent power. Right now, the United States’ economic actions may be just, and there may be little risk of countries not invading Ukraine ending up on the wrong side of U.S. policies. But the next time, the United States may be more selfish or capricious.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

Aubrey, a 26-year-old in Florida, does not recommend working at a hotel in the middle of a pandemic. The floors were constantly understaffed and inventory seemed to disappear overnight. In fact, Aubrey was genuinely relieved when she was finally laid off. And like so many newly occupation-free members of the American workforce, Aubrey turned to the internet and searched for any sort of minimal-effort side-hustle that seemed feasible.

Aubrey found hope with what she describes as “low-content books”. With just a layperson’s grasp of graphic design, Aubrey was able to flood the Amazon marketplace with a tide of scholastic notebooks, graph-paper pamphlets and crossword collections. There is no real writing involved in the low-content book scheme, which is exactly the point. All Aubrey needs to do is come up with an appetizing front cover and trust that the shadowy algorithm takes care of business. “My most successful product is randomly a ‘vegetable’ blank lined notebook where I just scattered some pictures of cartoonish onions, pumpkins and leeks on the cover,” she tells me. “It has done pretty well and is about $200 of my sales.”

Aubrey isn’t breaking the bank, but she’s emblematic of a growing contingency in the global economy that’s lured by the hope of cobbling together “passive income” streams online. More than 47 million people quit their jobs last year, leaving many to exchange their long-term career ambitions with low-stakes schemes to make money from home.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

News 06.05.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 06.05.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

On 2 October 2020, the French president Emmanuel Macron gave a two-hour speech entitled ‘The Fight Against Separatism – The Republic in Action’ at Les Mureaux, a north-western suburb of Paris. In it, Macron described Islam as ‘a religion that is in crisis all over the world today’ due to ‘an extreme hardening of positions’. While acknowledging that France was partly responsible for the ‘ghettoisation’ of large numbers of Muslim residents (‘initially with the best intentions in the world’), and that it had failed to confront its colonial past including the Algerian war, Macron insisted that radical Islam was organising a counter-society that was ‘initially separatist, but whose ultimate goal is to take over completely.’

Against this, Macron proposed a ‘republican reawakening’, including legislation that would defend the values of laïcité, enshrined in Article 1 of the French Constitution, which separates Church and state, and mandates France’s neutrality on religion – ‘Secularism,’ stated Macron, ‘is the neutrality of the state.’ One is invited to join this neutrality – an individual’s adherence to ‘the Republic’s universal principles’ gives one claim to citizenship of France. ‘We are not,’ he said, ‘a society of individuals. We’re a nation of citizens. That changes everything.’

But it was not simply the ideas of Islamic extremism that Macron identified as a threat to the Republic’s universal principles. According to Macron, France has also been ‘undermined’ by ‘theories entirely imported from the United States’. These theories, such as postcolonialism, gender studies, deconstruction and critical race theory, represent to France – as The New York Times put it in the article ‘Will American Ideas Tear France Apart? Some of Its Leaders Think So’ (2021) – an existential threat, a threat that ‘fuels secessionism. Gnaws at national unity. Abets Islamism. Attacks France’s intellectual and cultural heritage.’

There was a certain irony to Macron’s statement, as many of the major thinkers on gender, race, postcolonialism and queer theory are in fact French, part of the miraculous blooming of intellectual talent in late-20th-century French thinking. Far from being a US import, ‘identity politics’ – and identity, and politics – are central to the French intellectual tradition up to the present day.

It is a tradition the French president should know well. The final book of one of the key thinkers in late-20th-century French philosophy, Paul Ricœur’s Memory, History, Forgetting (2004), carries a dedication to ‘Emmanuel Macron to whom I am indebted for a pertinent critique of the writing and the elaboration of the critical apparatus of this work.’

Read the rest of this article at: aeon

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News 06.05.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Within a matter of months, women in about half of the United States may be breaking the law if they decide to end a pregnancy. This will be, in large part, because Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is surprised that there is so little written about abortion in a four-thousand-word document crafted by fifty-five men in 1787. As it happens, there is also nothing at all in that document, which sets out fundamental law, about pregnancy, uteruses, vaginas, fetuses, placentas, menstrual blood, breasts, or breast milk. There is nothing in that document about women at all. Most consequentially, there is nothing in that document—or in the circumstances under which it was written—that suggests its authors imagined women as part of the political community embraced by the phrase “We the People.” There were no women among the delegates to the Constitutional Convention. There were no women among the hundreds of people who participated in ratifying conventions in the states. There were no women judges. There were no women legislators. At the time, women could neither hold office nor run for office, and, except in New Jersey, and then only fleetingly, women could not vote. Legally, most women did not exist as persons.

Because these facts appear to surprise Alito, abortion is likely to become a crime in at least twenty states this spring. “The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision,” Alito wrote, in a leaked draft of the Supreme Court’s majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The draft decision, which Politico published on Monday night, would overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision legalizing abortion. Chief Justice John Roberts, promising an investigation, has not denied its authenticity. Five Justices have reportedly voted in accordance with the draft: Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch. Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan are sure to dissent. Roberts is not likely to concur. One theory has it that whoever disclosed the draft is trying to make it more difficult if not impossible for Roberts to recruit a defector from the majority. But, of course, this remains unknown.

About as wholly speculative as the question of who leaked this decision is the history offered to support it. Alito’s opinion rests almost exclusively on a bizarre and impoverished historical analysis. “The Constitution makes no express reference to a right to obtain an abortion, and therefore those who claim that it protects such a right must show that the right is somehow implicit in the constitutional text,” he argues, making this observation repeatedly. Roe, he writes, was “remarkably loose in its treatment of the constitutional text” and suffers from one error above all: “it held that the abortion right, which is not mentioned in the Constitution, is part of a right to privacy, which is also not mentioned.”

Women are indeed missing from the Constitution. That’s a problem to remedy, not a precedent to honor.

Alito cites a number of eighteenth-century texts; he does not cite anything written by a woman, and not because there’s nothing available. “The laws respecting woman,” Mary Wollstonecraft wrote in “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman,” in 1791, “make an absurd unit of a man and his wife, and then, by the easy transition of only considering him as responsible, she is reduced to a mere cypher.” She is but a part of him. She herself does not exist but is instead, as Wollstonecraft wrote, a “non-entity.”

If a right isn’t mentioned explicitly in the Constitution, Alito argues, following a mode of reasoning known as the history test, then it can only become a right if it can be shown to be “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.” As I have argued, the history test disadvantages people who were not enfranchised at the time the Constitution was written, or who have been poorly enfranchised since then. Especially important is the question of who was enfranchised at the time of the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, in 1868, the nation’s second founding, since many arguments defending abortion rights (and many other rights, too) turn on the equal-protection and due-process clauses of that amendment. Here, too, Alito is baffled to discover so little about abortion and women. Referring to the advocates for Jackson Women’s Health Organization and to amicus briefs like one signed by the American Historical Association, Alito writes, “Not only are respondents and their amici unable to show that a constitutional right to abortion was established when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted, but they have found no support for the existence of an abortion right that predates the latter part of the 20th century—no state constitutional provision, no statute, no judicial decision, no learned treatise.”

Within a matter of months, women in about half of the United States may be breaking the law if they decide to end a pregnancy. This will be, in large part, because Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is surprised that there is so little written about abortion in a four-thousand-word document crafted by fifty-five men in 1787. As it happens, there is also nothing at all in that document, which sets out fundamental law, about pregnancy, uteruses, vaginas, fetuses, placentas, menstrual blood, breasts, or breast milk. There is nothing in that document about women at all. Most consequentially, there is nothing in that document—or in the circumstances under which it was written—that suggests its authors imagined women as part of the political community embraced by the phrase “We the People.” There were no women among the delegates to the Constitutional Convention. There were no women among the hundreds of people who participated in ratifying conventions in the states. There were no women judges. There were no women legislators. At the time, women could neither hold office nor run for office, and, except in New Jersey, and then only fleetingly, women could not vote. Legally, most women did not exist as persons.

Because these facts appear to surprise Alito, abortion is likely to become a crime in at least twenty states this spring. “The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision,” Alito wrote, in a leaked draft of the Supreme Court’s majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The draft decision, which Politico published on Monday night, would overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision legalizing abortion. Chief Justice John Roberts, promising an investigation, has not denied its authenticity. Five Justices have reportedly voted in accordance with the draft: Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch. Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan are sure to dissent. Roberts is not likely to concur. One theory has it that whoever disclosed the draft is trying to make it more difficult if not impossible for Roberts to recruit a defector from the majority. But, of course, this remains unknown.

Read the rest of this article at: Time

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