This is your body on conservatives.
On November 26, Marlise Munoz’s husband Erick found her unconscious on the floor. She had suffered a pulmonary embolism, her brain received no oxygen for some time, and she was pronounced dead at the hospital. As paramedics, Erick and Marlise understood well what “life support” meant, and Marlise had made clear that in such tragic circumstances she would not want such interventions.
But Marlise was 14 weeks pregnant, and Texas has a “pregnancy exclusion” law: unlike other adults, a pregnant person may not have life support withdrawn even against her wishes. For weeks Marlise’s body was kept minimally functioning to sustain the fetus until her husband sued the hospital and a judge ordered the removal of life support.
Similar laws are on the books in 31 states. Only one—Pennsylvania—will pick up the tab for this enslavement of dead women to harvest their fetuses. Katherine Taylor and Lynn Paltrow at RH Reality Check wryly put it: “Apparently, in some circles, objections to government-supported health care disappears if the money serves the dual purpose of sustaining fetal life and denying women their rights.”
In a conservative context, pregnant people have the “right” to be incubators. Awesome.
This is your state on conservatives.
Here is a 46 minute futuristic thriller set in a terrifying dystopia after a bunch of scheming right-wing apes take over every part of a state government. Oh wait, sorry. It’s actually a documentary. About present-day North Carolina. My bad.
This is your water on conservatives.
The story of the chemical spill into the Elk River in Charleston, West Virginia is horrific. Some 300,000 people in nine counties have gone without potable running water. The leaked compound is 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, a chemical used in coal processing.
Another is the underreporting on the company’s PR firm, Charles Ryan Associates, which counts among its clients American Petroleum Institute (API), a group of powerful right-wing lobbyists for America’s Owners singularly dedicated to making sure we all die as soon as possible from the repercussions of global warming and/or from drinking the fracking chemicals in our groundwater.
Of course it’s no secret that conservatives want to completely dismantle the EPA, and failing that, prevent the agency from regulating greenhouse gases, water pollution or anything else of importance. You see, environmental regulations interfere with the fabulous lifestyles of America’s Owners. What are you some kind of communist?
Another under-reported aspect is the significance of the fact that very little is known about exposure to 4-methylcyclohexane methanol. Deborah Blum at Wired spoke to a government toxicologist who told her “Interestingly, and unusually, there is very little information on the compound spilled in West Virginia.” She took to Twitter and enlisted help from chemists and toxicologists, to no avail. Finally a source sent her a 2011 Material Safety Data Sheet, and this caught her attention:
Exposure guidelines: None established for products or components
Ecological information: There is no data available for the product
And that I think is the most important message in this story. That we don’t really know. That we haven’t done our homework well on enough of these industrial compounds because we haven’t been willing to invest in the research or provide enough financial support to the agencies who could do the work.
Gosh, I wonder why that is.
Here’s an interesting thought experiment: What would happen if a leaked chemical turned out to be odorless and deadly?
This is your planet on conservatives.
This is a graphic depiction of the wake of Western imperialism. One thing it doesn’t illustrate, however, is the blood-soaked methods used to achieve that outcome. Consider Colombia, our closest ally in South America. Even before the Colombia Free Trade Agreement was signed by President Obama in 2011, residents of the port city Buenaventura were experiencing a brutally sadistic campaign of violence, torture and intimidation by right-wing paramilitaries, often in the presence of local police and with the support of Colombia’s military. Their goal is the eradication of thousands of some of the world’s poorest people to make room for an expanded port. The violence only worsened after the agreement, which compounded an already accelerating land grab by Big Agra and mining interests—which is the entire point of the agreement in the first place. (Colombia is also oil-rich.) A congressional report has since noted:
“[w]hile Buenaventura is a strategic hub for international commerce, the riches of this growing global economy fomented by the U.S.-Colombia [Free Trade Agreement] mainly pass through Buenaventura and do not integrate or benefit the local Afro-Colombian population…[s]ixty-three percent of Buenaventura’s residents who are Afro-Colombian live under the poverty line, and unemployment is 64 percent.”
A prominent human rights advocate in the region wrote to the U.S. ambassador, calling the situation in Buenaventura a “permanent genocide.
But Buenaventura is just one city, in one country. Nick Alexandrov writes of a Guatemalan peasant woman who explained exactly what’s up. Activist Kevin Danaher met her in 1984, “shortly after School of the Americas alumnus Ríos Montt had completed his genocidal tear through the countryside.”
[The woman] “told us that soldiers had come to her home one night and hacked her husband to death, right in front of her and her three children;” the man “was a subversive,” in the military’s eyes, “because he was helping other peasants learn how to raise rabbits as a source of food and money.” Danaher struggled to understand the connection between this effort at self-sufficiency, and the brutal end its advocate met. “Look,” the widow explained, “the plantations down along the coast that grow export crops are owned by generals and rich men who control the government. A big part of their profit comes from the fact that we peasants are so poor we are forced to migrate to the plantations each year and work for miserable wages in order to survive.” Were she and other Guatemalan peasants to become self-reliant, they “would never work on the plantations again”—an indication of the severe threat rabbit-raising posed.
Washington’s policies continue to ruin—or end—the lives of millions of destitute people.
All of which is to say that American citizens are beyond redemption to the extent they believe the government and those it serves care one whit about democracy or human rights anywhere in the world—including here.