Americans have spent the last 40 years or so sinking into poverty. 15% of Americans now live below the poverty line. A big proportion is food insecure (that’s hungry for plain speakers), a large number of them children. For the past 20 years or so, the U.S. has doggedly refused to cope with its housing crisis. With each passing year, increasing numbers of people—many living from pay check to paycheck—cannot cope any longer with rising landlord greed. And many college graduates, some in debt with anywhere from 50K to 150K in student loans, can’t find jobs, or are reduced to working for Capitalism’s brand new sweetheart: the “gig” economy—no benefits, no pension, no holidays, no vacation, old age in a tent, and dumpster diving at the Safeway.
Economists call this state of affairs precarity. It means that many who are forced to live with mom and dad have little likelihood of finding professional success, or owning a house, the sort of prerequisite for marriage. It means that young folks of childbearing age are putting off having children, or not having any kids at all.
A declining birth rate
This past May 15, the Centers of Disease Control issued the latest birthrate figures in the United States. In 2018, Americans gave birth to 3,788,235 babies, the fewest in 32 years, a replacement rate of 1.7, a state of affairs which has occurred every year for the past ten years. For perspective, the birthrate is lower than in the years after the Great Depression. To maintain a steady population, a nation needs to maintain a replacement rate of about 2.1 or 2.1 babies over a woman’s reproductive years, the rate at which a generation can replace itself. The long term impact of fewer babies is a nation that lacks sufficient workers to replace those who retire.
With the killing pace of American life, fewer couples have time for sex. And Climate Collapse has begun to play a role: sperm does not take well to heat, and many women are thinking twice about becoming pregnant. In the U.S. which, despite what genetics tells us, still loves ticking its racial category boxes, the trend of lower birthrates was found across all so-called “races,” including Asians, Hispanics, whites and blacks, with the highest impacts found among Asian, Native Americans, and Alaskan natives.
Professor Donna Strobino of Johns Hopkins opined “There’s no question that part of the explanation for that is economic. It’s very expensive to raise children these days—and part of it is social—all the changes in women’s roles.” But that’s not the whole story.
In Common Dreams, Ari Berman reports that, thanks to gerrimandering and voter suppression, white men rule in states such as Ohio, Alabama. which signed into law a bill making abortion punishable by up to 99 years in prison, Missouri and omTexas, where a law threatening women who aborted or who attempted to abort with the death penalty went as far as committee hearings, and most recently in Gov. Kemp’s Georgia. You’ll remember that Gov. Kemp oversaw his own election to the detriment of his Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams. On Kemp’s watch, from 2012 to 2016 Georgia purged 1.4 million people from the voter roles, put on hold the registrations of 53,000 people, 80% people of color, and closed 214 polling places in six years.
|Georgia: protesters face state troopers|
In Georgia, state representatives noted that, as they debated the law legalizing a six-week abortion ban, increased police presence was a decision that came from the state’s Republican leaders, to whom Georgia state troopers serve while working at the capitol. “You are in violation of 16-1-34-1, and you will be incarcerated if you do not disperse immediately,” a state trooper warned the group of oppositional legislators through a megaphone. And as the new law was being voted into law by the white men who dominate the state’s legislature, a massive police presence kept protesters in line by intimidating them, many of them women of color.
Anti-abortion laws bring about the abolishment of the 20th century. For example, according to Daily Kos, so called forced “birthers,” bowing to the 5 millennia-long view of women-as-chattel, believe that, regardless of whether the fertilization is the result of rape, even by an immediate family member, the moment that a woman ends up with a fertilized egg inside her, she loses her personhood. There's a child, and a father, but no longer a human mother, no a person. Just a living incubator which can be forced by the state to give birth.
Following the 2009 murder of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, in 2015, the pro-life harassment at abortion clinics has intensified. In 2018, patients seeking abortion care had to walk through 99,409 incidents of picketing, more than 4 times the 2015 number. NYC for Abortion Rights views clinic defense as a way of insuring abortion clinics safety, but of transforming the system altogether. It calls for rallies, marches, strikes, civil disobedience, confrontation, walk-outs and other forms of defiance.
|Patient escorted past pro-lifers in Alabama|
But the bill that got passed in Georgia will affect, not the rich who can afford to travel out of state, but the poor and vulnerable, those who need reproductive care the most, and who often put off obtaining prenatal care till the third trimester. And those women are predominantly black. Not only does the state of Georgia penalize women in general, but black women in particular.
Not the whole story
But two-bit politicians only think they make the rules. And agencies like Planned Parenthood, by campaigning for donations, undercuts the movement of popular resistance, such as that of the National Abortion Federation (NAF) that has the potential of expressing the will of the majority in more capable ways with more effective results. And their noise and fury notwithstanding, fundamentalists themselves are ”played” by elites who have power to affect policy, and by such forces as steepening housing shortages, post-college debt, and the dearth of well-paying jobs, in short the economic pressures responsible for that “precarity” which makes for a non-sustainably low birthrate, and for the growing scarcity of replacement people who can consume all those products corporations need to push, and fly those bombers to sustain its main industry, and export: the U.S. war machine. Chris Hedges writes, “The ruling elites are acutely aware that the steadily declining American birthrate is the result of a de facto ‘birth strike’ by women who, unable to afford adequate health insurance and pay exorbitant medical bills [while being] denied access to paid parental leave, child care, and job protection, find it financially punitive to have children….If women refuse to produce children at levels desired by economic planners, then abortion and contraception will be banned or made difficult to obtain.”
Why blame the legislatures of both parties for their inattention to the kinds of trifling economic details which spell out the immiseration of an entire country and result in unsustainable birth rates when women’s bodies can be bred—like those of farm animals—and much more easily targeted?
Tell the Supreme Court: Don’t overturn Roe vs. Wade. Don’t criminalize abortion at
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French researchers come up with building a solar cell with perovskite converting carbon dioxide into energy-rich ethylene and ethanol at low cost, and with easily available materials.
Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif states he doesn’t think a war will break out in the region because Tehran does not want a conflict and no country has the “illusion it could confront Iran” (it’s not a country we’re worried about, it’s mental illness in the family).
Chavistas march in Caracas to mark Maduro’s re-election.
Venezuelan Press far more diversified than U.S. corporate press.
Although the governments of Turkey and Venezuela agree to sign a Protesting Power Agreement, the administration yields the embassy to Guaidó’s people.
80,000 Chileans march to legalize medical marijuana, regulate recreational use.
In protest over Yemen war, Italian unions refuse to load Saudi ship loaded with weapons that could be used to kill civilians and fuel world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
In Greece, workers self-manage production of enviro-friendly cleaning products at worker-occupied factory Vio.Me.
In Brazil, one million protest against education budget cuts and pension “reform.”
Discovery of humble succulent growing in only one area of South Africa’s Karoo prevents uranium mine from going in.
Women’s reproductive right (abortion) defenders gather in Montgomery, Anniston, Huntsville and Birmingham to denounce “Alabama Human Life Protection Act,” HB314 which virtually outlaws terminations.
Thousands of people from all 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico show up to defend Roe vs. Wade, #StoptheBans and stop attempts to punish people who need safe abortions.
Amid wave of GOP attacks on abortion, more state boycotts and nationwide protests planned.
Venezuelan Embassy Protectors and other groups to stage UN General Assembly protest.
Intent on leading political revolution, not just a campaign, rallies support for McDonald’s strike.
Promising big change, Sanders and Barbara Lee introduce new financial transaction tax on Wall Street.
Amid declining real wages, strikes in U.S. escalate.
After years of organizing, People’s Lobby and Reclaim Chicago see wins in 2019 Chicago municipal elections as significant victories.
AOC ties concerns over unregulated facial recog technology to global rise of authoritarianism and fascism.
Sen. Kaine proposes amendment to prevent funding for any military action against Iran (except in self defense! or if Congress approves a separate war authorization.)
Kamala Harris announces equal pay plan that would fine companies paying women less.
Senate approves $19 billon for Puerto Rico and several states relief after #45 backs off from demand for border security funds.
DOJ antitrust attorneys said to recommend agency block T-Mobile/Sprint merger.
Lawyers, academics and activists publish open letter calling for release of New York political prisoner and only remaining Black Panther, Jalil Muntaqim, arrested 48 years ago when he was only 19.
Louisiana, So. Carolina, New York, N. Carolina and Missouri pass laws to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 18.
Teens rally in predominantly black Newark: “build up Kids, not prisons.”
First vote to shutter San Francisco’s Juvenile Hall passes unanimously.
Chicago’s Stop Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) won a major victory this month when the head of the local program profiling Muslims stepped down, with no current plans to replace him.
Sen. Wyden’s new proposal to protect the integrity (!) of U.S. elections, the Protecting American Votes and Elections Act of 2019, takes needed step forward by requiring a return to paper ballots.
Nevada Senate passes National Popular Vote hill, becoming 40th state chamber to do so. It goes to the governor for his signature.
#45 administration keeps losing environmental court cases.
Environmentalists and activists arrested for protesting around the Bayou Bridge pipeline have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a state law allowing law enforcement to charge protesters as felons liable for five years in prison if found on or even near Louisiana pipelines.
SumOfUs appear at Pepsi and KFC shareholder meetings, deliver activist message to save forests and disappearing orangutans.
Indigenous and other climate activists disrupt Chase meeting in Chicago.
While media yawns, “Save our planet, save our future:” youth demand action with massive climate strikes worldwide.
In Greta Thunberg’s foot prints, Massimo Paciotto Biggers, coming on 16, is sole climate striker at Iowa City Public School.
In Jefferson County, W. Virginia, Rockwool Insulation resisters hold rally, vow to keep fighting toxic Danish factory
SB 307, saving California desert aquifer will be voted in on the assembly floor before legislative year ends mid September.
Beyond Nuclear’s Unsung Hero award honors Rose Gardner, anti-nuclear activist, leader and founding board member of the organization.
New Jersey Assembly approves Resolution A230 in support of U.S. accession to the Treaty on the prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Nuclear waste from San Onofre will get first dibs for relocation under new bill.
In fall return to campus, students plan raising nuclear weapon dangers.
District Judge Amit Mehta upholds House panel subpoena for #45 financial records.
In second setback for #45, Federal judge Eduardo Ramos rules Deutsche Bank and Capitol One may provide #45’s financial records to House Democratic lawmakers after administration tries to block the move.
The New York State Assembly will likely vote on the N.Y. TRUST act. which would allow the release of #45’s tax returns to Congress. Gov. Cuomo has indicated he’ll sign it into law.
Leaked IRS memo says Mnuchin must hand over #45 tax returns.
Deutsche Bank ordered to turn over information about #45’s business loans.
California Gov. Newsom grants pardons to two Cambodian fathers at risk of deportation.
House Judiciary Committee passes Dream and Promise Act of 2019, first time since 2013 that Dreamer legislation advances.
ACLU sues Border Patrol for killing Guatemalan Woman.
Sen. Warren demands answers from Customer and Border Patrol Commissioner following death of yet another (the seventh) migrant child.
Asylum seeker, Aida (surname withheld) has been granted asylum, although the government still reserves the right to decide whether or not it will appeal her grant.
Opponents of oil and gas pipelines in three states file suit against new, anti-protest laws aimed at suppressing fossil fuel industry dissent.
Project Drawdown EcoChange results in over 41,000 meatless meals eaten, over 135,000 gallons of water saved, and reduction of over 345,000 lbs. of CO2.
Maryland bans polystyrene foam containers.
UC system bans glyphosate.
Atlanta creates first and nation’s largest food forest in Georgia.
After suffering financial ruin and multiple bankruptcies, Iowa farmers get off #45 train.
Jailed second time for refusing to sing to another Grand Jury, Chelsea Manning vows “I’d rather starve to death than change my position in this regard,” referring to naming Julian Assange.