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  • (85)

    As sentient beings living in what purportedly is a free society, the right to self-determination is one of our most closely held values. South Dakota is doing all it can to take away self-determination away from women, as far as reproductive rights go.

    In 2005, the South Dakota legislature passed five laws restricting abortion, after a bill to ban abortion outright had failed by one vote in 2004. And new laws are virtually assured for the coming year. A 17-member abortion task force, made up largely of staunch abortion opponents, issued recommendations to the legislature earlier this month that included some of the most restrictive requirements for abortion in the country.

    The report states that science defines life as beginning at conception and recommends a law that gives fetuses the same protection that children get after birth, thus banning abortion. Until such a ban, the task force recommends requiring that a woman watch an ultrasound of her fetus, that doctors warn women about the psychological and physical dangers of abortion, and that women receive psychological counseling before the abortion, among other measures.Here they go with the "science is what I say it is" approach. Does life really begin at conception? Where is this scientific evidence? Does implantation have nothing to do with it? What about gestation? You know, the nine months of what is required of the woman's body after the man's five-second contribution to the effort?

    As national leaders on both sides of the abortion debate focus on the upcoming Supreme Court nomination hearings of Samuel A. Alito Jr., they are watching states such as South Dakota pass more and more restrictions that might be upheld by a newly constituted, more conservative Supreme Court.

    "Samuel Alito wrote the blueprint 20 years ago on how to dismantle and eventually overturn Roe," said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, referring to a memo Alito wrote in 1985 in which he mentioned passing restrictions on abortion as a way to mitigate the effects of Roe v. Wade. "If he is confirmed, Alito could cast the decisive vote that allows additional attacks on women's reproductive freedom from the states to stand."Of course, that's exactly why the man who's "pro-life" views extend to warrentless strip-searches of 10-year-old girls is just wonderful in the eyes of the religious zealots.

    But Mary Spaulding Balch, director of the state legislation department of the National Right to Life campaign, said South Dakota is one of many states that have had success in passing laws the organization has been espousing for more than 30 years.

    "Working within the fact that the Supreme Court said that it's legal to kill unborn children," she said, "it makes sense that you do your best to save whatever lives you can."Unborn children -- a nice, nonsensical phrase, because of course children are not children until they are born. But hey, potential children are almost children, right? Let's move the point of birth up to the point of conception. That way, women can be relegated to cow status, whose primary purpose is replenishment of the herd.

    Moo.

  • (85)

    How many times does Soulja Boy use the word "hoe" in his song? 30 times. Since we know words carry meaning, let's take a closer look at what the term "hoe" really means.

    According to the Urban Dictionary, the #1 most popular definition for the term "hoe" is:

    1. A skank
    2. A woman that is too loose in the booty.
    3. Woman or man that fuck anything with two legs.
    4. A promiscuous person.syn: slut

    Here are the phrases where Soulja Boy uses the word "hoe":

    1. "Soulja Boy Up In This Hoe..."
    2. "den Super Man Dat Hoe..."
    3. "Watch Me Super Soak Dat Hoe..."
    4. "Hoe, So Don't Do It Like Me..."
    5. "All too clean off in dis hoe..."
    6. "Watch me crank dat roosevelt den supa soak dat hoe..."
    7. "supa soak dat hoe(supa soak dat hoe)..."

    Another favorite term that Soulja refers to women in this video are "bitches". The Merriam-Webster dictionary online defines "bitch" as:

    1 : the female of the dog or some other carnivorous mammals
    2 : a lewd or immoral woman b : a malicious, spiteful, or overbearing woman -- sometimes used as a generalized term of abuse
    3 : something that is extremely difficult, objectionable, or unpleasant
    4 : Complaint

    Soulja uses "bitch" 10 times in his song. Here are the phrases where he uses the word "bitch":

    1. "I'm Jocking On Yo Bitch Ass..."
    2. "Den im cockin on ya bitch ass..."
    3. "All too fresh off in dis bitch..."
    4. "Den supaman dat bitch(yooouuu)..."
    5. "I'm fresh up in this bitch..."
    6. "supaman dat bitch(supaman dat bitch)..."

    Interesting enough, there are two times where Soulja Boy repeats the same lyrics, but replaces them respectively with either the word "bitch" or "hoe".

    "Den supaman dat bitch(yooouuu)..."
    "Den Super Man Dat Hoe..."
  • (73)

    Why did the United States lurch to the right in 1980? In large part it is because Reagan preached a New American Ideology. As one woman said of Reagan, "he gave us back our pride."

    When did we lose that? Well …

    Americans had emerged triumphant from the Second World War. Powerful, wealthy, and filled with hubris, America had managed against the East bloc well enough and even weathered the unnerving Cuban Missile Crisis, but then things started to go really wrong.

    The American President was assassinated in his own country, in broad daylight. His successor got mired in a land war in Asia that led to the first clear defeat of the American Army. He did not seek another term as President. Anger over the War split the nation and the Democratic Party. Spending on social reform and a full scale war caused run-away inflation. And then OPEC staged an oil embargo, sending people into long gasoline lines as energy prices soared.

    Iran seized the American Embassy and yet another the Democratic Administration seemed paralyzed.

    Those old enough to remember the events of October 1962, when the United States and the Soviet Union nearly started World War Three, recall that both sides backed down. Yet there were grumblings that Democrat JFK had been "soft on Communism." The Republicans had to bail the Democrats out in Vietnam. And once again, the Democrats were paralyzed, this time by the Ayatollah.

    Reagan asked the demoralized American people, "are you better off today than four years ago?"

    Many thought that Reagan spoke about economic benefits, and surely that was true, but that was not the entire story. Americans were embittered over losing the War in Vietnam, having had oil shut off by OPEC, and having the American legation held prisoner by Iranian fundamentalists.

    America had lost its place in the sun, and Reagan promised "morning in America." The long night was over. America was turning a corner.

    A nation's myths do not need to be based in fact. They merely need to be believed.

    In the last century, economic inequality was seen as one of the roots of social unrest.

    Reagan challenged this view. He said that so long as everyone was getting something, and that the "pie" was getting bigger, people were better off than if they divided the existing pie more equitably.

    He said capitalism was the answer and that the Democrats with their views about "fairness," were merely impeding real economic growth. That Democrats were responsible for reverse discrimination - and their social program had proven no better than their ability to win wars.

    Right or wrong, Reagan made his case. His foreign policy was bellicose enough to instill a feeling of pride. And the Iran hostages came home - even though history records a seamier side to that triumph.

    The Democrats continue to be reactive to Reagan's New Deal.

    Reagan put his finger on the pulse of America and articulated their hopes and fears. Reagan's vision of America endures. Americans who do not remember the Vietnam Era, or the Great Society, tend to see America's problems as having been caused by the flawed values of the Democratic party and Republican policies as having been vindicated by the court of history.

    But mostly, where the Democrats have failed, is in understanding that American values have shifted, although they are probably not changed at bottom.

    The Democrats have campaigned largely on bread-and-butter issues … their legacy from the Great Depression, whose agony swept them into power. People who can actually remember the Great Depression are well into their eighties. The Labor Movement of the 1930s is the stuff of history books.

    The question now before Democrats is, can they offer a vision that is better in tune with America's basic values than the one being offered by the Republicans?

    Until the Democrats can do that, they will follow the lead of the Republicans, and at best be pale shadows of the Republicans who are better at articulating Republican values than are the Democrats.

    The closest this nation came to having someone articulate an even-newer New Deal was Ross Perot. Flawed though his candidacy might have been, it showed the American people are not asleep.

    The Democrats are asleep and until they awaken, we'll have more of the same.

  • (69)

    There are many people, including some big bloggers, telling women and men who believe strongly about women's reproductive rights to just shut the fuck up and get behind the Party. These people say that Bob Casey, Jr.'s anti-choice views are why he can beat Republican Rick Santorum. Such is the cold calculus of dealing away people's rights to try win elections.

    But is this electoral math accurate? Is the assumption true that Pennsylvania would go for a Democratic candidate who's against reproductive rights? Pennsylvania voted for the pro-choice Democratic presidential nominee the last four elections.

    Yet there's no question about where Casey stands on women's rights over their own bodies:

    It would seem obvious: Democratic Senate candidate Robert P. Casey Jr., who opposes abortion, believes Roe v. Wade should be overturned.

    "You can't say you have the position I have and not believe that," Casey said in a recent interview about the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that made legal abortions available nationwide.
    Some would argue that Casey's brand of anti-choice is "better" than Santorum's.

    But a Quinnipiac University survey released last week suggests Casey could lose support as his abortion stance draws more attention. It found almost a third of respondents who identified themselves as pro-Casey and pro-abortion-rights said they would not vote for him after being told he opposes abortion. Sixty-six percent would stay with him, the poll found.

    The drop-off might not be so steep in the end, but it suggests that Casey's 12-point lead over Santorum might be much smaller, said Clay Richards, a Quinnipiac pollster. The poll of 1,447 state voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.

    It also underscores how Casey could struggle against a well-financed primary opponent who backs abortion rights, Richards said. Two abortion-rights proponents - Bucks County professor Chuck Pennacchio and Philadelphia lawyer Alan Sandals - plan to challenge Casey, but both trail him in fund-raising and name recognition. Santorum faces his own primary challenge from John Featherman, a Philadelphia real estate broker who favors abortion rights.
    Isn't that interesting? Just as we're hearing crap that Democrats, who've already now pitched the ERA from their platform, have to ditch women's reproductive rights to win elections, we see Republicans who support abortion rights stepping into the race.

    Seems like the Republicans are starting to see their "pro-life" positions as political liabilities. So why do the Democrats so covet that patriarchal corner of the so-called "big tent"?
    "Bob Casey can't win a tough campaign against Rick Santorum without a strong turnout from the pro-choice majority in Pennsylvania," Pennacchio said last week. "Democrats should not repeat the mistake we made in 2000" with Ron Klink.
    Klink was the Democrats' previous "pro-life" candidate for the Senatorial seat. In that election, PA voted for Gore ... and Santorum. That's how sufficiently unmoved Democratic voters were by Klink's candidacy.

  • (64)

    from Talk to Action

    Last week's Texas Taxes Funding the "Pro-Life" Gospel focused on the crumbling of the wall between church and state now unavoidable with public funding of crisis pregnancy centers, agencies that the North American Missionary Board of the Southern Baptist Convention calls "pregnancy care ministries" for community evangelism. But all CPCs are not supported by Protestant churches. Out of respect to the Fairness Doctrine of sainted memory, it must be said that no CPCs are more dedicated in their missionary zeal, or more energized by direct support from the local religious infrastructure, than those sponsored and financed by the Roman Catholic Church.

    One such CPC in North Texas provides a study of Catholic crisis pregnancy centers in microcosm. The White Rose Women's Center in Dallas is incorporated as a 501(c)3 charitable organization, and their website gives little hint of the church's sponsorship of the White Rose and its affiliated agency, St. Joseph's Helpers – well, aside from that one graphic of a tearful Queen of Heaven cupping a fetus in her hand. But the Catholic Pro-Life Committee of North Texas isn't quite so reticent.

    The White Rose Women's Center is heavily supported by congregations throughout the Dallas Diocese, as evidenced by the parish bulletins of St. Thomas Aquinas:

    The second collection at all Masses next weekend, February 15/16 will be the annual collection for the St. Thomas Aquinas Pro-Life group. These funds will go towards maintaining our pro-life group and helping the White Rose Women's Center. This collection is in lieu of the Baby Bank campaign conducted each year.

    . . . Holy Spirit:

    Hike For Life held each first Saturday in October. This event helps to raise funds for Dallas area pro-life activities including the White Rose Women's Center (a Catholic Crisis Pregnancy Center).

    . . .and Saint Anthony's (pdf link):

    White Rose Women’s Center - Counselors are urgently
    needed for day, evening, and Saturday shifts. The White Rose
    Women’s Center is the only Catholic Crisis Pregnancy Center in
    the Diocese.

    . . . just to name a few.

    And without the Knights of Columbus, there might not be a White Rose at all:

    The White Rose Women's Center - Dallas' only Catholic Pregnancy Center - must move out of its current location by September 1st due to new ownership of the building! However, a miracle has happened...the building next door to [an] abortion center has become available. What a great opportunity God has provided to save the lives of even more babies and their mothers!! The new chapel will actually overlook [the clinic's] entrance!

    Did I forget to mention that the White Rose has a consecrated chapel right on the premises? A free pregnancy test, and a mass while you wait.

    LOTS OF VOLUNTEERS are needed to clean the new building, to renovate and make it ready for occupancy, to pack up the White Rose and St. Joseph's Helpers, and to unpack and organize in the new location.
    :::
    The actual move of St. Joseph's Helpers will begin on Wednesday, August 28th. But before then, all the baby clothes, furnishings, and other baby items must be boxed up. The move will progress through Saturday, August 31st, with the White Rose being the last to vacate. [T]he life-saving work of the White Rose [is] to continue during the moving process.

    This is going to be a monumental task and it will take a lot of devoted people from all over the diocese to accomplish this move. PLEASE HELP in any way you can!!!

    And the Pro-Life Committee's Convert-to-Life Ministry – a gentle-sounding euphemism for its well-organized harassment of women arriving at abortion-providing clinics – makes clear that it shares its mission from God with the White Rose as well.

    May 2005

    - 36 women chose life for their babies, with 39 hopeful turnaways. Totals year-to-date: 148 saves, 126 hopefuls.

    - 12 people participated in the 2nd Saturday Rosary at North Park Medical Group.

    - Project 100: Goal to cover 100 killing hours per week. Average coverage this month 88%, thanks to our college summer interns.

    - Fr. David Colella said a special Mass at the White Rose for all counselors on May 7th.

    Another staple of the committee's program is Project Gabriel.

    Project Gabriel is a parish outreach to women in crisis pregnancies. A mother-to-be who calls the 972-BABY-DUE hotline from a Project Gabriel parish sign or bumper sticker is paired with a trained volunteer called a "Gabriel Angel.." ... Angels have access to local resources and agencies, such as: St. Joseph's Helpers; the White Rose Women's Center, Dallas' only Catholic crisis pregnancy center, with which the CPLC closely networks and financially supports; and Catholic Counseling Maternity and Adoption Services.
    :::
    [P]arishes can erect Project Gabriel signs that bear the tender image of the Madonna of the Street, the message: "Pregnant? Confused? Need Help?" and the 972-BABY-DUE number. To date, 40 parishes in the metroplex have erected these "Signs of Life," with more being added each year.

    And what happens when a desperate young woman dials 972-BABY-DUE? According to an article published in the Dallas Morning News, "Women who call the BABY DUE number will reach a counselor at the White Rose Women's Center in Dallas. Counselors invite them in for a free pregnancy test and a sonogram, and the women get help with other medical needs."

    Indeed, the White Rose/St. Joseph's Helpers brochure assures us that they are "helping save lives."

    Another purpose of this program is to provide up-to-date scientific information about the hazards of abortion to young women who are, or may, be pregnant. Audio-visual presentations depict pre-born life and medical data on abortion.

    Their "audio-visual presentations" on the hazards of abortion have left many young women – who misunderstand the deliberately vague offer of "Confidential Care, Financial Help, Individual Counseling," call seeking assistance with an abortion and hear, "Sure, come on in and we can talk about it" -- sobbing in near-hysteria to people like me over the years, but the White Rose doesn't see fit to make clips available online.

    It does, however, present a taste of its other offerings. The printed materials young women receive are short on science and long on scare-tactic propaganda -- such as the description of a simple plastic vacurette with a rounded end as a "hollow tube with a knife-edged tip." Echoing the ubiquitous and repressive "Woman's Right to Know" laws now in effect across the country, the brochure partially reproduced on the White Rose website is titled "You Have a Right to Know." Reading from a copy of that same brochure in my possession, it goes on to warn that "Abortion is always FATAL. Please examine the alternatives!" (bold in the original).

    This CPC, like many others, distributes a variety of brochures, some written and sold by Judie Brown of the American Life League, and some from other "pro-life" sources. The distorted and perverse litany of "medical data" that follows consists of verbatim quotations from my own extensive collection of brochures distributed by the White Rose Women's Center, and there's more where this came from – much more.

    Regarding possible complications of abortion: “Sterility, ranging from 2% to 5% of abortions.�

    “Tubal pregnancies (increased from eight-fold to 20-fold by abortion).�

    “The risk of breast cancer among the general population of women is now 12 percent. Among women who have no children it is more like 20 percent. And among women who have no children and also have one or more abortions it’s probably closer to 50/50.�

    “There are a few studies which show that women who have breast cancer and who have a history of abortion not only have a greater incidence of breast cancer, but the cancer grows more rapidly, has more signs of cancers that are harder to treat, is more invasive and is more aggressive.�

    From a brochure targeting women of color: “Some upper middle class white females are not reproducing and they are trying to keep other groups from reproducing so they can remain in the majority."

    “If you have an abortion:
    (1) You will be more likely to bleed in the first three months of future pregnancies.
    (2) You will be less likely to have a normal delivery in future pregnancies.
    (3) You will need more manual removal of placenta more often and there will be more complications with expelling the baby and its placenta.
    (4} Your next baby will be twice as likely to die in the first few months of life.
    (5) Your next baby will be three to four times as likely to die in the last months of his first year of life.�

    “Mild fever and sometimes death occurs when there is an infection from an abortion. This happens in anywhere from 1-in-4 women and 1-in-50 women.�

    “Placenta previa occurs 6 to 15 times more often after a woman has had an abortion. This causes the mother to bleed severely while the baby almost always dies, unless your obstetrician recognizes this condition and removes the baby by Caesarian section at just the right time in the pregnancy.�

    “Don’t depend on the (birth control) pill. It could be harmful to you. It could also kill your baby – without your ever knowing it. Whether you are single or married, chastity is always the best choice.�

    Regarding medication abortion: “The chemical cuts off nourishment to the preborn child, who starves to death inside his mother’s womb. ... After RU-486 has killed the tiny boy or girl through starvation, [a] second chemical is designed to push the dead baby out of the mother’s womb.�

    “The D&C abortion is done before 12 weeks. A hook shaped knife is inserted into the uterus and cuts the baby into small pieces. The womb is then scraped out completely. Bleeding is sometimes profuse."

    On abortion for rape victims: “This is another propaganda tool used by the anti-life forces and the pro-abortion media. We now have abortion on demand up to the 9th month because of false arguments like this. The truth is that pregnancy from rape is extremely rare. Many different studies have shown conclusively that rape almost never results in a pregnancy.�

    Lest we hope that this one center's philosophy and mode of operation deviate from the Catholic CPC norm, consider this brief excerpt from a more lengthy article written by Holly Dutton, a Dallas antiabortion activist with close links to the White Rose Women's Center, whose personal testimony is published by Father Frank Pavone's Priests for Life.

    While homeless in Dallas in December, 1994, I was raped. ... During the medical exam for rape, I quietly and steadfastly refused the pregnancy-preventive medication. The doctors and hospital staff were dumfounded (sic), but I felt a wonderful inner peace, the first real peace in many years. I didn’t get pregnant, but when I told Bishop Charles Grahmann what had happened, he smiled warmly and praised my action as "heroic." Rev. Flip Benham of Operation Rescue was also elated. "It took great faith and courage to do what you did. God bless you!"
    :::
    Other pro-life notables whom I later met who also commended me include Norma McCorvey, the former "Jane Roe" of Roe vs. Wade, John Everett, director of St. Joseph’s Helpers at the White Rose Pregnancy Center, Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, Jean Garton, Lutheran pro-life author of "Who Broke the Baby," Olivia Gans of American Victims of Abortion, and Dr. Bernard Nathanson.

    Because even though rape almost never results in pregnancy, birth control pills can kill your baby without your ever knowing it. That must be true, Holly. The White Rose tells you so, and these men agree.

    Bishop Charles Grahmann, spiritual leader of the Dallas Diocese. And Father Frank Pavone, director of Priests for Life and newly authorized by the Vatican to establish the first religious order solely dedicated to the eradication of abortion and euthanasia, a "community of men" whose apostolic mission is dedicated to the memory of John Paul II.

    A bishop and the founder of a new religious order are just about as mainstream as it gets. And the White Rose's mission – and theirs -- will now be funded by us, the taxpayers, right along with all the other religiously sponsored CPCs in the state.

    They preach; we pay $5,000,000. And far too many women who innocently look to them for help pay even more.

  • (63)

    Maybe it's spring fever. Maybe it's femiphobia. Maybe it's hormonal. (Heh.) Kos done popped a cork:

    So over the weekend, certain segments of the community have erupted in anger over the TBS ad for their reality show, the Real Gilligan's Island. Apparently, having two women throw pies at each other, wrestle each other in a sexy, lesbianic manner, then having water splashed on their ample, fake bosoms is degrading to women. Or something like that.

    Whatever. Feel free to be offended. I find such humorless, knee-jerk reactions, to be tedious at best, sanctimonious and arrogant at worst. I don't care for such sanctimony from Joe Lieberman, I don't care for it from anyone else. Some people find such content offensive. Some people find it arousing. Some people find it funny. To each his or her own.

    But I am not Lieberman. I won't sit there and judge pop culture and act as gatekeeper to what I think is "appropriate", and what isn't.

    And I certainly won't let the sanctimonious women's studies set play that role on this site. Feel free to be offended. Feel free to claim that I'm somehow abandoning "progressive principles" by running the ad. It's a free country. Feel free to storm off in a huff. Other deserving bloggers could use the patronage.

    Me, I'll focus on the important shit.

    p.s. And congratulations -- the more people have bitched about the ad, the more successful it has become. It is now the most successful ad in the history of this site, with close to 8,000 click throughs over the low-traffic weekend. And, now that you have demanded I respond to the ad, thousands more will click through to see what the big deal is all about.

    Sometimes, the best way to kill something you disagree with is to ignore it.

    Of course, such sanctimony had to be properly and sanctimoniously denounced! There was a lot more sanctimony in the 900+ comments below. Somewhere in there, I'd read enough and piped up:

    what I find so offensive here is the sanctimonious diary up at the top of the page that reads, in effect:

    "I, as the man, have weighed the concerns of feminists on this matter, and I, as a man, have decided that feminists who take offense at this ad are being sanctimonious."

    In other words, the man -- and here, he's The Man -- is attempting to define what are and are not appropriate feminist issues. As if he had any special insight into the matter.

    The blanket and prejudicial disregard he expresses here for women, for feminists, for academic feminists is so typically chauvenistic, it's simply a laugh that he attempts to claim that he's sensitive to feminist causes.

    Here's a clue, guys: The first step to supporting feminism is shutting up and letting the women speak ... and hearing, really hearing, what we have to say. Every time you overrule -- with prejudice and ad hominem attacks -- what we say about our concerns, you are reinforcing the very thing you claim to oppose.

    The really sad part of all this is that it's not a surprise -- not to me, after the underwhelming responses to posts about the ERA and women's rights. On DKos, the men have signed on regarding women's reproductive rights. But when it comes to any other feminist issues, well, us girls are supposed to just shut up.

    Who says the left isn't a patriarchy?

    There were not a few sad comments. Disillusionment comes at a price. Many declared they were leaving DKos. Many were shocked that such sentiments and attitudes could be expressed by a progressive leader like Kos. Some were just melancholy, like radioradio:

    I've loved this site for a long time, and I've been so disappointed by the recent swipes Kos has been taking at those working for women's rights, or for better representations of women in media. How dare the "women's studies set" be offended by images that objectify women and play into ugly gender stereotypes! Just as it was a few weeks ago -- how DARE those ladies not toe the party line when the party starts hedging on supporting reproductive freedom! Why does it seem so very obvious that if someone had produced an ad with offensive, stereotypical representations of other key Democratic constituencies, say African Americans or Jewish people, the criticism would be coming fast and furious on sites like this one. But I guess we ladies just have no sense of humor. With the climate here these days, I'm beginning to wait for a post to pop up chastising all the "feminazis" on this board who see problems with the ad.

    Some responses were more biting. wakingup drew blood:

    Like someone above commented, I could basically give a shit about that ad. But the ad becomes a springboard from which to explore the real issues having to do with gender and power in the world.

    it is interesting to see the comments of many of the people here, and to see how they would fit quite comfortably into any conservative republican bachelor party of the sort GWB and his cronies probably attend. And yet these same people consider the objections to corporate marketing and control of the female image as a conservatively-based thing. Quite ironic really. A fine example of men banding together to face the common enemy: women. The brotherhood of man, guess it really does ultimately transcend political affiliations.

    This drew a response from Armando, the DailyKos minister of tact, that said, in essence, "Bullshit" (and was titled with same), which led to a brief exchange of more tactful expressions, until wakingup said:

    When I say you don't know what it is like to be a woman, the point is it can't be expected for men to know how it is for women, any more than women can know what men's experience is like.

    And this is precisely why listening, instead of ridiculing, women's accounts of their own experience is appreciated. And nobody is even saying you must agree, but we deserve more than the snide, even celebratory tone of the posts here, dismissively cackling at something that can be an important issue for many women.

    It sure let's us know that we don't count.

    And that pretty much sums up my own take on "liberal" men and their "support" of feminism. Not all men are like this -- thank goodness! -- but in my experience political persuasion is not a good predictor. Yes, the misogynists are different between left and right. The wingnuts will criminalize your body, while the macho lefties will just declare you as being irrelevant ... or a barrier to progress.

    Lauren at Feministe expresses much the same interpretation:

    Is the ad in and of itself offensive? Not necessarily. What is offensive is Kos’ dismissal of feminist complaint, concern and criticism regarding a pretty sexist ad designed for het male titillation run on the most widely-known progressive blog for his own personal profit.

    Objectifying and demeaning any minority group for the sake of profit, be it corporate or personal, is abhorrent. This is exactly why I resist the Democratic party and most of its advocates. Women and women’s opinions don’t matter if they run contrary to the bottom line.

    On her own site, Echidne offers a more charitable interpretation:

    Much of the anti-woman stuff in the society is fairly invisible unless you happen to be a woman, and a woman who has awakened to these issues, to boot. Some time ago I started to write a diary of my public radio listening. I noted down any programs that discussed gender issues or women, the topic and the conclusions, and I set the diary aside unread for a while. When I actually analyzed my notes I was shocked, and I'm a feminist. This was public radio, remember, so I expected fairly neutral coverage. What I found was something different: the programs about women or gender differences were always about the problems that women cause or that women have, always slightly negative in tone, and the solutions always privileged the idea that women should somehow change. The only programs taking the same tone about men were on men's medical issues, whereas the negative issues on women were not only on health but also on women working, women mothering, women not speaking in public, women not getting raises, women reacting worse to terrorism threats, women not being suitable for the military and on and on.

    In short, and in an effort to be polite, I suggest that Kos doesn't see the sexism around him. That's the only kind explanation I can give for his response, whether the particular ad is harmless or not (I didn't look).

    I think that has to be true, at a very minimum. The question then is how much Kos, and guys like him, will cling to that ignorance? And at what point does that ignorance become simple insensitivity? When does poo-pooing become pigheadedness?

    Amanda on Pandagon is a bit more blunt:

    Everyone spends a lot of time blah blahing about how the Democrats need to set themselves apart from the Republicans in a very obvious and clear manner. Well, the number one thing the Republicans sell themselves on is that they are the party of The Cock as a Weapon. They are all about male dominance and male sexuality displayed in a dominant manner--think Bush displaying his cock in a flightsuit, drawing a picture of erotic militarism that couldn't be more obvious. I think the Democrats' move should be obvious--hold that silliness up for ridicule and fashion themselves as the party that actually cares about people, yes, even women. And put women's rights up to the front instead of doing things like demanding that women's organizations like NARAL carry the Democrats' water for them.

    Instead, we get this abject fear of being feminized from prominent liberal men, which is frankly hurtful. C'mon guys! We're not so bad! No one is gonna make you wear lipstick, I promise. Well, if someone does, it's not going to be the girls but actually the bullies on the right who all but held John Kerry down and put a skirt on him. More than half the voters in this country are women, hard as that may be to believe.

    Shadowthief sums it up well:

    Normally, I would say, eh, just forget the whole thing, it's one of those minor tempests that will blow over and is best blotted out.

    But the nasty, hateful attitude taken by Kos and the frat boy posse on this diary make me think that all this is far from over--and that while the folk on my side have learned a great deal about Kos, et al, they have learned nothing at all.

  • (56)

    The party of Barry Goldwater is dead.

    Via Captain's Quarters:

    It's their community, of course, and they set the rules. However, this doesn't hurt Paul's credibility as much as it does Redstate's. While Paul's supporters tend towards the annoying and repetitive, they have less impact because we can easily engage them and counter their arguments. Banning them simply for their support for a candidate seems more like an admission that Redstate lacks that ability.

    I'm no Paul supporter by any means. However, Paul's statements can be addressed and rebutted fairly easily, at least those with which I strongly disagree. I don't fear the commenters nor the debate, even if it does grow tiresome at times. It certainly can't be any more tiresome than the S-CHIP debate, or the Iraq War debate, or the FISA debate -- and I'd have less sympathy for opponents on those issues than the people who support Ron Paul.

    Having been to the CLC, I disagree with Leon's assumption that these Paul supporters are all or mostly cryptoliberals. Plenty of libertarian-leaning Republicans exist in the party, along with the former Buchananites and isolationists of the GOP. Instead of cutting these people off, it might be better for Redstate to keep engaging them.

    Yes, the small-government advocates should be tolerated in the party of neo-fascism. Dismiss their arguments for fiscal responsibility.

    Even though Ron Paul is a social conservative, as ready to invite Big Brother into the livingrooms and bedrooms of Americans as any gold-star Republican, his name is mud in mainstream Republican circles.

    Why?

    Maybe follow the money. This is the new face of conservatism.

    (P.S. - I'm not a Ron Paul supporter, either. Far be it! But compared to all the other Republican candidates, he's a fucking saint!)

  • (53)

    I posted a rant about apathy towards the ERA, asking why men -- even progressive men -- don't seem to give a shit. Damn if the post, which is pretty damned long (I was ranting away), wasn't up for a minute when I had my first response:

    That's a long post. But if you want to get my support in your fight for equality, fight for human equality instead of just gender equality.

    I'm all for equality between all individuals, but I'm not a woman so I'm not going to get involved in issues which do not concern me. I'll get involved if you wish to broaden the debate.

    I wanted to just reply with the words: "Case in point." Then I wanted to reply with, "Nice to know that women's equality isn't quite equal enough of a cause for anyone to support." Then I wanted to just scream and strangle the little twerp. But then I considered that, for all I know, he's six foot six and weighs 250 pounds and would love to smack around some uppity bitch.

    So I came running here and posted this instead. Aren't I a brave one?

    [UPDATE: It seems that he has posted another response entitled "The reason I don't support womens rights." I'm just going to leave that hanging there, but you all might want to go take a look at "liberal" misogyny in action.]

  • (48)

    Does American love a man (or woman) in uniform? I wonder.

    An interesting debate has broken out over the so-called "Fighting Democrats" -- new Democratic political candidates who happen to have military experience -- starting in a Daily Kos diary a couple of days ago. Dadahead picked up on the question yesterday:

    Witness the fascination, especially among bloggers, with Democratic candidates who have military experience. Why anyone would think that being a veteran is an advantage for a Democrat, after the the flame-out of Wesley Clark and the swift-boating of John Kerry, is beyond me. But the delusion that Democrats can neutralize the GOP's advantage on 'national security' by running candidates who have worn a uniform persists.

    Clark wins one straw poll after another at Daily Kos, and left-of-center bloggers are practically lining up to fellate Paul Hackett. Why? For one reason, and one reason only: they've served in the military. Military service, it is thought, is the key to electability, despite all evidence to the contrary.

    Liberals really need to be shaken out of this delusion.

    Very intriguing. But this just scratches the surface of the analysis offered in NCHeartland's dK diary:

    Wedge the other guy's base, not your own:

    When Bill Clinton defeated veterans George H.W. Bush then Bob Dole, the era of required military service to serve the people was declared dead. Why is the Democratic Party trying to revive a dead era? Because there's a war on? Because they need a public relations face-lift? Stacking the House (and our party) with vets may sound like a good idea superficially, but what's the actual message? Is there any other kind of Democrat but a fighting one? Apparently not according to the "Fightin' Dems" brand. Forget education, jobs, privacy, community responsibility--our values and what we stand for; all we want now is 'boots on the ground' experience to combat Bush's war. The tactic looks cynical and reactionary--Why? Because it is. If many of us in the Democratic Party are turned off, what do you think swing voters (not to mention republicans) will think?

    Swing voters:

    If all we needed to take America back was an "officer and a gentleman" to sweep everyone from hippies to hawks off their feet, John Kerry would be President right now. And if the republicans didn't have a plan to undo every 'hero' someone places on a pedestal, John McCain wouldn't be a punchline.

    [--snip--]

    Target practice:

    Does anyone really think this tactic scares republicans? One little bit? This distraction from the issues is permission to swift boat the entire party with broad brush strokes. I'm doing it right now. Look how easy we've made it. You can't swift boat someone until some moron places them on a pedestal - Not only smugly above their republican opponent, but above the typical voter. That makes knocking someone down a peg or two not only welcome, but a spectator sport. If you don't think Frank Luntz has a national campaign ready to tailor to each of these "uniformed" Dems, open a window -- The fumes from the broad brush being used to paint the "Fightin' Dems" as our savior will be turned against us faster than John Kerry can change his mind.

    [--snip--]

    Forget Katrina, there's a war on:

    "Fightin' Dems" not only accepts the republican framing of the war as the most vital issue of our day, it endorses it. In Washington the war in Iraq may be the most important issue to "get Bush" but how does that translate to a family in NC, or AZ, or PA that can't buy food, afford healthcare or find a job? Triangulate. How do "Fightin' Dems" fighting Bush (or his war) help the average swing voter's bottom line? Politics 101: It's still the economy, Stupid.

    Metaphorically speaking:

    And what does "Fightin' Dems" even mean? I mean really mean? I've seen fresh from the front lines and ready to face Bush, among other things and worse. Are we serious? Do we still not get swing voters at all?

    First, the supposed metaphorical appeal of a candidate in uniform (Dem or otherwise) is one of discipline, heroism and patriotism. Right? Or am I giving the DCCC too much credit here? If the idea is experience on foreign ground is what matters, we've already lost the swing voter that thinks in terms of values, not product benefits. If the message is Dems can wage republican wars more competently, then again John Kerry would be President if that even remotely worked.

    So "Fightin' Dems" is a viable message to send swing voters if the goal here is to not only accept the republican framing that the war is the most important issue of 2006, but endorse the idea that only people with military backgrounds will be taken seriously in Congress.

    [--snip--]

    Let me tell you what swing voters actually see in this giddy "Fightin' Dems" hysteria. 'Cause it aint pretty. Order takers, not following orders. Subordinates turning on their Commander in Chief. Whiners. Every "Fightin' Dem" is an insubordinate flip-flopper. See how easy that was? Did you really not see this coming? Learn from our mistakes. Stop repeating them.

    While on the most superficial of levels a "Fightin' Dem" does accurately project the chickenhawk nature of his republican opponent (which worked so well in 2004), it actually does much more damage to the "Fightin' Dem" (and our party) than it does any opponent. "Look at me! I'm a turncoat. Swiftboat at will. I was for the war (even fought in it) before I was against it. But I can wage it better than my boss. And by the way, the other Dems aren't "Fightin' Dems" like me. I'm special. Better than you even."

    And there's the real rub. In this cynical effort to reframe the elitist stereotypes of the Democratic Party, "Fightin' Dems" effectively enforces it. It also demonstrates a common criticism of the Democratic Party that it doesn't know what it stands for, and reinvents itself on whims. We are the war party now? We wage war better than anyone? What happened to the people's party? The party of regular working people, labor, education, healthcare, our environment, equality? CHOICE? Not to mention diplomacy and cooperation.

    The last part, especially, is what concerns me. Whatever happened to progressive values? Liberal values? Democratic values? Many "fighting Dem" supporters call themselves "progressive," but it seems almost as a form of cover, or simply to differentiate themselves from wingnuts. Meanwhile they crash down on anyone who calls for candidates who support progressive values as "single-issue voters" who are only interested in "ideological purity" or just their "pet cause" -- often couched to portray progressive values (of tolerance and inclusion when it comes to effective government for government, healthcare policy and equal rights for all) as being "intolerant" of other views --- never mind many of those other views are defined by intolerance. Can we just 86 progressive values as just too inconvenient for politics?

    There's a battle for the soul of the Democratic Party, and the "fighting Dems" approach is emblematic of the theory that the greatest vulnerability Democrats have is the politically inconvenient amalgam of traditional Democratic values.

    Mike the Mad Biologist adds:

    The whole "Fighting Dems" concept troubles me for many reasons, but the one thing that really gets me is that we're willing to sacrifice qualified, popular, and progressive candidates for moderate and conservative Democrats. The most ridiculous example of this is the primary race between Sherrod Brown and Paul Hackett in Ohio. It's refreshing to see that someone else thinks that throwing good Democrats under the bus in the name of electability (didn't we try this before....) is a really stupid idea.

    The Counterargument: Image

    For rebuttal, Ezra Klein Ezra Klein's guest-blogger, Neil the Ethical Werewolf, talks up the appeal of the military [attribution corrected. -mg]

    There’s a world of difference between a presidential candidate who has the mannerisms of a Senator invoking his Vietnam service, and a congressional candidate who actually sounds like a soldier invoking his Iraq service. Kerry had a long public record, and there were more things that could interfere with his attempt to cultivate a military image. One of these things was his own speaking style, which sounded nothing like the stereotype of a military man. The war he fought over 30 years ago was against a different enemy. By contrast, congressional candidates who served in Iraq – especially if their bearing, like that of Paul Hackett, fits some military stereotype – will get instant credibility on a huge issue in contemporary American politics.

    I think this oversimplifies the perception of our fighting forces. What the uniform represents is not automatic leadership. In fact, American military leadership is looking pretty poor right now. While sympathy is with those who are paying the dearest price for the war, it seems pretty transparent to me that anyone who tries to appeal to voters simply on that basis is going to come off as smelling a bit false. The uniform is not political armor -- Gore, McCain and Kerry are proof of that. The candidate has to step up with character, and nobody needs a uniform for that.

    The vast majority of the Iraq veterans in the primary won’t face anything close to the Swift Boating that Kerry faced. Remember that Kerry had a Nixon-appointed stalker, John O’Neill, connected to a pool of 527 money and a network of veterans who hated him for his part in the Winter Soldier investigation. Most congressional candidates won’t have anything like that against them. And if they do, they can still respond as Kerry should have – by thrusting out their chests on TV and using the allegations as a platform to boast about what they actually did. Furthermore, as Jean Schmidt has recently learned, actual politicians slander ex-soldiers at their peril.

    I don't think it takes 30 years for the flush and well-oiled Republican smear machine to develop a hate for any candidate that steps up against them. And as history shows us, they don't even need facts: they'll just make things up, as they did with Kerry, as they did with McCain, as they did with Iraq.

    As for veterans' simply puffing up their chests and boasting about their war exploits, I'm not sure how that would appeal to many voters. I don't care how many sorties they flew or insurgents they killed. I want to know what they would do in office. I want to know their plans, their beliefs, their philosophy. And that puts them on the same footing as any other candidate.

    And holding up Schmidt's blunder against Murtha as some sort of proof that veterans are now slander-proof doesn't wash with me. Murtha may have emerged from obscurity due to his speaking out, but he didn't emerge unscathed, and in the end he seemed to simply declare victory and retreat.

    The Bottom Line

    When I look at a candidate, I look at who they are as people. Let's face it -- lots of chuckleheads go enlist in the military because nobody else would have them, or because the violent life actually appeals to them. I don't think these sorts actually define our military, but just because someone wore the uniform doesn't automatically mean that that person has character or integrity or a clear vision of where the country should be going. Richard Nixon was a veteran. Lee Harvey Oswald wore the uniform. And if we've learned anything in the past year, the uniform doesn't automatically make the man or woman worthy of wearing it.

    I don't know much about Paul Hackett or Sherrod Brown, the primary Democratic candidates for Ohio's senate seat who seem to be at the center of this debate. It seems to me that the Democratic Party will only be helped by a robustly competed primary. And not just in Ohio.

    Of all the "fighting Dems," I've seen only Major Tammy Duckworth (on C-SPAN, mostly), and she really has impressed me. But it's not because she wore the uniform. It's not even how she's met her injuries with such an incredibly positive attitude. It's because of how she talks about life, how she talks about working with other people, how she seems to understand how to get things done, and that's not military -- though she's the first to credit her military background for discovering that talent within her.

    She's a leader. She's a manager. I could see her being effective. And that, more than anything else, is why I find her appealing and why, were I in her district, I would consider voting for her.

    But it would come down to her values. What does she stand for? What does she want to accomplish? What role does she see government playing in our nation? What solutions does she see to problems we face?

    I don't think I'm alone when I say that's the kind of thing that motivates me to vote for someone. The largest voting bloc in this nation is the non-voting bloc -- those who don't find anyone to vote for and feel that deciding whether Beavis or Butthead would be less worse is hardly a reason to take off work or find a sitter for the kids and go wait in line at the polls.

    So for me, when it comes to the so-called "fighting Dems," I shrug and yawn. Tell me what you're going to do. That's what matters to me.

  • (47)
    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Citing what they see as a more receptive or antiabortion high court, lawmakers easily approved a sweeping ban on the procedure, one that declares that life begins at conception.

    South Dakota's law makes it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion unless the mother's life is endangered. There are no exceptions for cases in which a mother's health may be threatened or cases in which the pregnancy results from rape or incest.

    On the March 3, 2006, broadcast of The News Hour with Jim Lehrer we saw past the benign rhetoric about how the Supreme Court is going to stay impartial and the new Justices are not coming to the Supreme Court to grind an ax.

    South Dakota has passed legislation that discriminates in favor of an embryo over the rights of a woman to control her own body.

    Reproductive technology marches on. It is possible to place a fertilized egg of one woman into the womb of another woman. This is not surrogacy where the man impregnates another woman. This is the transfer of a fertilized egg of one women into that of another.

    Currently, there are Third World women, and women of poverty in this nation, who are hiring out their wombs to people of means (often of different ethnicity) so that the hiring couple can have a baby that is biologically "theirs." The egg and sperm of the hiring couple are joined, and the embryo is implanted into another woman who has agreed to carry the fetus through labor. If a woman who has donated her womb has a change of heart, under South Dakota law she cannot get out of the services she has contracted to fulfill - nor does she (or so it seems) have any real legal standing once she delivers the baby.

    This is not science fiction. This is the state of affairs today, and we are going down the slippery slope where the state begins to assert eminent domain over the womb.

    Stay tuned. This is going to get a whole lot worse before we get away from people who are more interested in the rights of an embryo than a woman.