The Sign Says More Trouble Ahead For Oklahoma Women

It seems like once we get rid of some ridiculous law restricting reproductive rights for women here in Oklahoma, another law emerges that's even more crazier than the last one.

So it goes in Oklahoma.

The good news is that the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled invalid or "unconstitutional," whatever the means in this weird place these days, a new law that would have required physicians performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. It was a slam dunk 9-0 decision and follows a similar ruling on a similar Texas law by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law was never about women's health. Anyone who says that is a liar. Doctors or anyone can dial 911 just like anyone else, and emergency medical situations rarely come up at abortion clinics. This law created by the Republican-dominated legislature and signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin was to restrict abortion in the state. That was its only purpose. Anyone who says otherwise is lying or perhaps not very bright.

Fallin basically admitted this in a statement about the ruling:

"I'm disappointed to see another pro-life law stuck down by the courts. Like many bills passed in Oklahoma, this bill was designed to protect the health and welfare of the mother along with the life of the unborn, which always should be among our society's priorities."

Unfold all of the layers of the tricky phrase "the life of the unborn" for some rhetorical insight into the right-wing movement to make abortion illegal here in Oklahoma and elsewhere, which has become a possibility because of Donald Trump's election as president and his probable U.S. Supreme Court appointments.

(Click "Read more' to continue reading.)

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Truth Can Make Money Under A Man Named Trump

I was reminded last week just how important independent progressive voices and liberal blogs are still needed in the country, especially now that president-elect Donald Trump, barring some miracle with the electoral college, will soon be the next racist and sexist leader of the so-called free world.

First, I was contacted by the eclectic and creative site Fusion, based in the Miami, Florida area, for an interview about Trump's selection of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to serve as head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt is a dangerous man when it comes to the health and viability of the planet, as I pointed out in the interview, and his EPA tenure could become one of the most catastrophic events in the twenty-first century. That could change if Democrats could win back at least one chamber of the legislative branch of the federal government in two years, but right now that looks bleak.

Second, my own main post about Pruitt's selection on Okie Funk and Blue Oklahoma was reposted by a prominent writer at the Daily Kos. This excellent blogger runs a weekly roundup of progressive blogs throughout the country, and all progressives should be grateful for it. It has been a while, but I have posted and cross-posted at the Daily Kos through the years, and it's still churning out truth on a minute-by-minute basis.

It should go without saying that the Democratic National Committee, other well-funded progressive organizations, and, yes, rich liberals should double down on a new 50-state strategy when it comes to progressive blogs and media. The blogosphere has matured, and those of us who have endured, and that includes Okie Funk (since 2004) and Blue Oklahoma (since 2006), should get the financial and technology infrastructure support we have so long deserved. This is a much better strategy for liberals than trying to play the mainstream media game and spending millions of dollars on media ads that are rendered obsolete by one short tweet by Trump or by so-called "fair" reporting, which reports his outlandish lies as political arguments or official statements, all of which threaten our democracy.

I get it that a lot of blogs and sites come and go, and, believe me, as a college professor, I know fake news is here to stay as long as the internet exists, but there's now a clear track record of progressive web writers who have been in it for the long haul and for the right reasons.

Of course, another wise course of progressive action, which could work as well as investing in blogs and/or as part of the overall effort would be for mainstream media outlets demeaned as "liberal" by right-wing folks to incorporate more advocacy journalism on their pages, sites and networks, and what I mean is advocacy for the truth. Here's stating truth, for example: No matter how much The New York Times or The Washington Post try to present what their editors might see as balanced reporting, the right-wing will accuse them of liberal bias. At what point, do these media outlets, and other media outlets, rise up defiantly to save our constitutional rights and freedom of the press? There are also many, many progressive bloggers who could be absorbed into the mainstream media. (Wink, wink.)

(Click "Read more" to continue reading.)

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Oklahoma Standard Goes To Washington

I published a post last week about Oklahoma becoming the microcosm of what the country might become under a president-elect Trump presidency, mentioning Gov. Mary Fallin’s appointment to a transition team and the billionaire’s meeting with Oklahoma Attorney Scott Pruitt.

The post was not meant then or now as some type of tongue-in-cheek, snarky criticism of Trump, which I’m almost sure was read, if read at all, by people on the coasts with some eye rolling and an it’s-never-going-to-happen-here attitude. That denial will surely change in the coming months, but will the mainstream media on the coasts make the right decisions in response?

One thing that will change it significantly is Trump’s selection of Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt despises the EPA and its regulations, isn’t concerned about climate change and has been active politically with wealthy big-time oil and gas company executives, who will now benefit financially under his leadership. Pruitt has a long, anti-environmental track record of suing to keep EPA regulations at a minimum in Oklahoma.

(Here are my comments on a Miami, Florida-based media outlet, which seems to understand the Pruitt selection is deeply problematic and dangerous. You can also find my comments in the embedded Tweet after the first paragraph in this post.)

It gets worse. U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, perhaps the most well-known denier of manmade global warming in the world, is now chair, again, of the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, which deals with environmental issues, such as clean water and air pollution.

Let’s also don’t forget that Fallin, who has sat idly by as Oklahoma’s schools have been devastated by funding cuts during her tenure as governor, is on Trump’s transition team and presumably has his ear on a variety of issues, perhaps even taxes and rolling back reproductive rights. It has been rumored as well that Trump might select Fallin to lead the Department of Interior, which would be another blow to the environment.

(Click "Read more" to continue reading.)

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