Monday, July 29, 2013

What happens when you turn the Torquemada Wing of The GOP loose...

         The stampede of so-called conservative thought over the cliff of sanity may actually be proof of evolution for science deniers. Since Newt Gingrich enabled the reactionary right to take over the GOP House majority in 1994 The Republican Party has developed a "wide stance". Their stance on issues was once narrow. Government was the problem, not the answer. taxes were too high and Welfare Queens were a sign of the downfall of America. It was basically the Gospel of Saint Ronnie.
Gingrich helped engineer the first loss of the House of Representatives by the Democratic Party in forty years.They did this by making Liberal a term of derision, uniting the right wing factions and stoking the underlying racial fears and tensions present in American life. They immediately over reached with reactionary slash and burn policies. Clear cognizant political analysis was a skill the GOP lacked then and now.
The idea that any Democrat winning the White House was an illegitimate usurpation of the will of the mythical conservative American majority took root and blossomed. Unfortunately the bloom was the Rafflesia arnoldii. The corpse flower. It's name is an apt description of it's scent.
The Republicans spent the Nineties as the Minority, then the majority party, trying to destroy, discredit and remove President William Jefferson Clinton.
President and Mrs. Clinton were accused of murdering Assistant White Counsel Vince Foster who tragically took his own life. (I'm expecting this to be resurrected by the Beck's and Limbaugh's should Hillary run in '16)A special prosecutor was appointed to investigate a land deal in Arkansas called Whitewater, The prosecutor was replaced for not being aggressive enough in his investigation of the President and was replaced By Ken Starr. After five years and millions of dollars Starr managed to convict Clinton Arkansas associates Susan and Jim McDougal along with Clinton's successor as Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker and have the conviction of Webster Hubbell overturned for prosecutorial misconduct.
Failing to find criminal conduct in Whitewater, Starr expanded the scope of his investigation. It spread through the Executive Branch like MRSA. Firing of people in the White House travel office. No traction. Obstruction accusations against Hillary. No traction. Fraud. Nope. They eventually found Monica Lewinski. I am not proud of how this young woman was treated by we on the Left. She was ridiculed and vilified.She was not the first woman ever seduced by men with power. And won't be the last.
Starr recommended the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton for lying under oath about a blow job (perjury) and trying to stop the investigation of said blow job. (Obstruction of Justice). In a lame duck session the GOP controlled House voted basically along party lines to impeach President Clinton. This was the second time a President was impeached by the House. On a straight party line vote the Senate, for the second time in it's history, failed to convict on Bills of Impeachment. And this was with a Republican majority. This action was unpopular with the American people as the President had an approval rating of over 60%. The Republican response was pretty much, Sorry Honey, it's been a long time and I prematurely pulled the trigger.
Al Gore, distancing himself from Clinton won the popular vote and saw the Electoral College handed to George Bush by the Supreme Court.
After his disastrous first term President Bush and the Republicans lost the House and Senate in the '06 mid terms. Until then Bush had a rubber stamp Congress that enabled him to spend us into record debt by reducing taxes as we went to war for the first time ever. Following these tax cuts the GOP went on a spending spree like a thief using a stolen high limit credit card. The debt ceiling was repeatedly raised with no qualms by a Republican House. Oh, after gaining a House Majority the Democrats did not vote to impeach Bush or Cheney. They instigated no political witch hunts. They did not repeatedly hold political repeal votes that had no chance of passing the Senate. They actually tried to govern. Imagine that.
In 2008 Senator Barack Obama was elected President in an impressive victory over Senator John McCain. The right wing immediately went into bat shit crazy mode.
A person I know who was a Republican operative at the time said had they nominated a true conservative they would have won. He also said this in '12 when Romney had his ass handed to him by President Obama. Election night in '08 Sean Hannity said he was going to be a leader in the resistance. Mere hours after the '08 election Obama Derangement Syndrome was in full swing. The right wing idea that a Democrat could not be elected President without massive fraud was back. Any Democratic President was illegitimate.The election had to have been stolen. It is so easy to manufacture a few million votes on cue.
On Inauguration Day in 2009, Republican leaders met to plot a way to obstruct any meaningful agenda put forth by the President.
Immediately the existence of Bush spending policies ceased to exist. The record debt and near collapse of the economy was the doing of a President who had not been in office. The lies and misrepresentations were spewed from Republican office holders, RWNJ blogs, so-called news sites and Fox News.
The once fringe idea that The President was foreign born, a secret Muslim, a possible sleeper agent, a black militant and a America hating Socialist went mainstream.The mainstreaming of once ridiculous,once fringe conspiracy theories has become a hallmark of the modern Republican Party. Had Dems met the day Bush was inaugurated to plan to obstruct they would have been in the dock being tried for sedition and treason.There was no investigation to find any criminal culpability in any of the Bush Administration's actions.
Faced with a problematic Senate the President was still able to accomplish a lot in the first half of his first term. The Affordable Care Act became the clarion call to the right to solidify opposition to any progressive agenda that was proposed. It has since become the most public face of Obama Derangement Syndrome. More about that later.
Following the President's election, hard as it is to believe, Fox News became even less connected to reality. Any person who had a conspiracy theory, any misrepresentation of the facts concerning any Presidential policy and supposed proof we were marching down the road to Socialism was given extensive airtime. We discovered there was a Federally mandated war on Religion. The Majority Religion in The United States felt they were being persecuted.
The Tea Party became the darlings of Fox News. They were treated as an actual, reasoning political force. They were a political force but without reason. Racist statements and views were downplayed  and denied. Bastardized inaccurate and out right lies were passed off as actual accepted history. America was depicted as being founded as a Christian nation contrary to facts stating the opposite. Quotes by the Founders were pulled out of context. Contradictory statements and letters were ignored. The role of slavery in American was woefully misrepresented. The radical underpinnings of the Revolution was being shown as only a taxation issue and a conservative movement. The Constitution was being interpreted as The Articles Of Confederation 2.0. The very existence of Federalism was being denied. I don't think a conservative movement has ever resulted in a Radical reformation of the world order.
More and more of the Tea Party was being elected to offices. Fox and others presented this as proof that the American political landscape is conservative. The usual denial of fact. These tea party activists have pushed the GOP farther and farther to the right. This is simply because of Primaries.
For decades the primary system has been dominated by the zealot on both sides. The true believers are the ones who work in campaigns, donate money and vote. The GOP Primaries were hijacked by the reactionary right. Any office holder who failed a purity test was purged in a challenge from the right. Any candidate that survived moved right to protect their political future. The major method of governing with two political parties, compromise. was vilified and denigrated as selling out.
Recent negotiations between the GOP controlled House and the White House has borne this out. The GOP position has been give us everything we want or we drive the nation over a cliff. These ideologues would rather burn down America rather than not get their way. In fact many see burning down our house as a good way to reach their political utopia.
Ideas,attitudes and beliefs that would have at one time been ridiculed are now considered to be a viable political philosophy. Willful ignorance is thought to be a path to election and reelection. It is seen as a pathway to the Presidency under the assumption ignorance is a virtue.
Jack Kennedy as a Catholic felt he had to speak to the concerns of Protestants that America wouldn't be ruled from Rome by the Pope. Today conservative evangelical views are worn by Republican candidates as a prerequisite to being an office holder. Let's forget this is the antithesis of two centuries of American political practice and thought.
We have people in power who reject the existence of the 21st Century. They reject evolution. They believe creationism should be taught as a viable scientific principle. They believe the Universe and Earth are the same age. 6,000 years. They deny human physiology as a liberal secular plot. Some decry science as lies from the pit of Hell. They believe their view of Christianity must be codified into law to prevent some Old Testament style smiting.
So we are seeing unprecedented denial of the world being signed into law. Pregnancy has been redefined. Women have been redefined from being humans and citizens into ambulatory incubators. A life support system for a fetus should be her role.
We need to run a modern society based on books and beliefs of a Bronze Age nomadic civilization. Women are property. They also are the reason for all sin and misery in the world. They are so seductive they force themselves to be raped. Women are disobedient harlots who need to be beaten into submission for their own and the world's good.
These good Christian who seek to rule every aspect of our lives and our very thoughts are vehemently opposed to any healthcare reform in their presence. Saving lives must be an affront to God. People without insurance who get sick are freeloaders. They should have been buying insurance all along. If you have a preexisting condition sorry. you know, free market. Rationing by ability to pay is what God and the founders wanted. So, the House sees fit to have forty repeal votes in a show of political theater. This way they can go home and say, look i'm trying but these Godless Democrats want to take away your freedom to deny healthcare to those you don't like.
Now these people are going to try to extort the repeal of the ACA in the budget negotiations and debt ceiling fight. They would rather shut down the government than admit they lost the last two elections. They refuse to admit that they were found wrong by the American electorate.
The right feels they have a God given mandate to establish a theocratic oligarchy. It appears they will stop at nothing to do it.
We have to stop them. Organize.
Help people get voter ID's.
Give rides to people to get them to the poll.
We have to stand against this tide of intolerance, hate and repression.  We must take our country back.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Tony Soprano is a Senator now? GOP: Sure, extortion will work.

         Just when you think you've seen it all a Republican House Member or Senator steps up to the Mic and presents a whole new vista of visionary violation of political sanity. If all else fails turn to Tony Soprano for guidance. It seems some feel extortion is a viable option.
Once again the GOP threatens to take their ball and go home if they don't get their way. Lets hold the American people Hostage over Affordable Care Act. After all stripping Americans of the Act's positive results is a very good Idea. Denying coverage due to age or preexisting conditions is a good expression of American compassion and ideals. Making having a uterus a preexisting condition justifying higher insurance also a winner.
The current wonderful extremist GOP/Tea Party idea circulating in DC is hey let's defund the ACA or we'll shut down the Government. This is being led by the shining intellectual lights of the right.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY). The very idea they will vote no on important Senate bills is in itself not surprising. It's been a staple of GOP policy since the inauguration of President Obama.What makes this different is the defunding of the ACA or shutting down the Federal Government is seen by most GOP politicians as a lose/lose scenario. If RedState thinks it's a good idea you should not walk, but run away from this idea at full speed.
Hill staffers are admitting this is only a political ploy to put Democrats on the defensive in 2014. They actually believe they can win the Senate and hold the House by blaming a shutdown on Dems for not abandoning ACA and submitting to GOP extortion.
Knowing it is a lost cause these guys feel if they can create an optic showing them as staunch idealists it can help the potential Presidential bids of Paul and Rubio. Somehow they have come to the belief that shutting down the Government over something that has no chance of becoming law or policy is an excellent move. Stopping Social Security checks, Pension Payments, Military pay and expenditures while troops are in harms way is the best way to show they are Patriots.
You have the rabid right saying do it. They feel any voice of caution is the advice of the people who gave them Mitt Romney and a not conservative enough Senate Minority. These extremist voices who unfortunately believe had the GOP fielded an reactionary right candidate they would have taken the White House in '08 and '12 for sure. Is it delusional to believe this? After the right wing ideology was rejected twice in the election of President Obama.
Americans are not idiots, Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck not withstanding. It is one thing to pick a major ideological fight with far reaching consequences if there is a remote possibility of winning. It is quite another to do so in a lost cause to simply score political points posturing for future perceived possible partisan positioning.
These ideologues need to step back and accept, in the Senate at least, that as long as there is a Democratic Majority in the Senate and Barack Obama is President the ACA is going to be the law of the land. The House where they continue to have votes over and over in a hopeless quest to repeal ACA, is an entirely different world.
For wonks and pundits this exercise in political theater will be entertaining. Our political thought and process has become the "Toddlers And Tiaras" of the developed world. Dante's "Inferno" as policy. Reality TV as the norm.
Will the GOP step back from the brink? Is a US default and destruction of our debt rating really a viable plan? After the intransigence of the GOP in 2011 it appears to be yes. Lemmings in expensive suits following deluded leaders off the cliff into an abyss of absurdist futility. Ask Newt Gingrich how it worked for him in the Nineties.
God help us all.

Friday, July 26, 2013

If it's Friday, it must be Teabagistan.

          I like to think I'm quasi well informed. A certain amount of self delusion is necessary to remain a more or less functional Human Being. Having one's head constantly exploding can not be a good thing. It's messy for starters.
So anyway I have found that considering a lot of what the right does as entertaining political theater works for me as a coping mechanism. I have spent the week throwing things, weeping uncontrollably and laughing my skinny Irish American ass off. Let's revive That Was The Week That Was. More or less.
Ok. Let's see here.
Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY{State, not the lube}) will be facing a Primary challenge from the right since he is so liberal. A loaded Tea Party favorite is going after the Senate Minority Leader for being a big government spender, confirming liberal judges, working hand in hand with the Democratic Majority to subvert the Constitution and general not true conservative chicanery. Seriously, you can't make this stuff up and I've tried.This Primary challenge should be fun since a national Tea Party group has endorsed McConnell and KY groups oppose him. Fratricide? Please? I do know the campaign will give The Senate Minority leader a chance to show off his visionary view of America, his amazing grasp of political reality and devotion to clean, accurate, informed. intellectual issue oriented campaign debate. Another profile in courage, I am sure.
While in Kentucky, let's check out the Junior Senator who is making noises about a possible Presidential bid in 2016. Senator Rand Paul.
Recently Senator Paul was hailed as a gun rights hero for actually doing a real filibuster because...freedom. Senator Paul visited Iowa to address the State's evangelical Pastors. The Senator is reaching out to minority voters saying no one in the Senate is a bigger supporter of minority rights than him. Now, this is the guy who thinks the Civil Rights Act is unconstitutional.
The Federal Government had no right to ban segregation by private entities.He feels that the free market would have ended segregation because it was doing such a bang up job of that in the Sixties. Were they still around we could verify that with Woolworth's. You know with their lunch counters in the South being so progressive and all.
Senator Paul feels the GOP is the natural home for minorities if they can get past the image problems. So he is promoting a big tent approach as he slams Rep. Peter King(R-NY) for being exclusionary. The Junior Senator from Kentucky is doing this with a straight face as he woos the Taliban wing of Christianity and the so tolerant, reasonable Tea Party voters.
I am looking forward to the 2016 GOP Presidential Primaries as is every stand up comedian, The Daily Show and Colbert. It is promising to make the 2012 Republican field look sane and thoughtful.
I am positive , in a Nation where religious test for public office is expressly forbidden, we will see all the contenders trying to out Taliban each other as the truest conservative Christian. They all know in spite of the lies taught in secular, liberal history classes America was founded as a Christian theocracy. Ask David Barton.
Already we have Senator Ted Cruz(R-TX) seemingly contemplating a run. I am waiting for the inquisition to start over a son of a Cuban who fought with Castro, becoming a citizen in 2005 and an American mother who gave birth in Canada to start any minute. Just kidding. He's not a Democrat. Cruz's platform seems to simply consist of being against anything a sane, rational person is for. He is also proud he is not considered a team player by his Senate Republican colleagues because if he runs for President it is always a good idea to alienate like minded potential allies.
Arch conservative Catholic Rick Santorum hasn't ruled out another run. After all his desire to reestablish the Catholic Inquisition and other archaic, abandoned Church positions and practices as law were so very popular.He may be seeking support of the Torquemada wing of the GOP.
Governor Rick Perry of the Great State of Texas has decided not to seek reelection. This frees him up to spend months and other peoples money to embarrass and humiliate his home State. He'll be able to expound on the great job he has done saving Texas women from their natural stupidity and general sluttiness.
Then there is Perter King of New York. This GOP House Rep has made a career of saying really stupid, intolerant offensive shit is planning a run. His strategy seems to be pissing of everyone except a few racist, homophobic, islamophobic, misogynist white guys. Another guy who couldn't carry his home State in a bucket. Let's also ignore the fact there has been no successful run for the Presidency by a member of the House since the latter part of the 19th Century.
We still haven't heard from the usual suspects Palin, Bachman(if she can stay out of jail).Huckabee and the darling of the literati, Donald Trump.
There are also staunch defenders of women and unions looking at a run. Governor John Kasich of Ohio and Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin.  These guys will be great choices for Republican outreach to women. Their impeccable record of protecting women from themselves speaks for itself. Surely they will attract the support of the Pro life movement. I am anticipating the well reasoned, well researched appeals to logic we will see from these activists. How can you go wrong attacking 52% of the population? Maybe Ann Coulter will help with the base by reminding everyone she thinks women are too stupid to vote.
America can also look forward to candidates for State Elections, Federal House and Senate seats to enlighten us with their views. These stalwarts of Freedom will attack science, history and knowledge as having a Liberal bias. There will be calls to put God in the classroom. They will lecture us on the Constitution, States Rights, creeping socialism, Tyrannical Healthcare. the Feminist, Lesbian, Homosexual secular agenda and a subject they have proven to be experts on, rape. Basically it will be a clarion call for a return to the Dark ages.That did work well for religious leaders and the political elite.
In 2016 I do believe we can continue to see American Political discourse devolve even more into entertainment. A reality show. We must raise our voices to push a substantive debate on real issues. Real American tradition is to expand rights not to strip segments of the population of them. This should never be done using religion and tradition as a rallying cry. After all this was the basis for slavery. This is used to keep the harlot in her place. Decent women want to serve their man.
OK. We have a choice. America moves forward. Or America solidifies itself as a theocratic oligarchy. We stand and watch, wringing our hands or we fight. We vote. We educate. We stand and say no. No farther. This is unAmerican and is not what this Nation was envisioned as.  The time to start is now. As the right is so fond of saying, "I want my Country back". We do. We will prevail as long as good people of belief and vision fight the coming darkness.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Why a war on women: II The sequel

          It's SUMMER and sequels are BIG!! So why not?
Why does the religious right/GOP/Tea Party have such a problem with the modern American woman?American women today have more freedom, empowerment and options than at nearly anytime in our history. Oh,oh. There's the reason.
I live in Ohio which seem to be a microcosm of America in general. I am exposed to sermons disguised as policy and dogma disguised as Legislative initiative. The idea of establishing a fundamentalist Christian theocracy seems to be a mission and duty to those in power. Once American religious thought was served by the mainstream Denominations. Now the loudest and most influential sects make a Southern Baptist look like a Unitarian. WTF is going on here? Well, lets turn over some rocks and take a look.
In the 2010 election cycle the American electorate through complacency and pique allowed extremist reactionaries to seize power. These people seem to reject the last half of the 19th, all of the 20th and 21st centuries as an affront to God and an abandonment of "Christian"values. They also reject the secular, humanist and enlightenment influences and underpinnings of the United States Constitution. They not only reject these influences but have found history deniers to extol the idea America was founded as a Christian theocracy. David Barton and a few historians who are as respected in their fields as Dr. Daniel Jackson was as an archeologist in "Stargate"babble about lost histories.
Emboldened they view anything curtailing their reactionary actions and message as a war on Christians. The majority religion in The United States is whining about being oppressed. With a God given sureness and arrogance born of zealotry they are flexing their muscles.
Since 2010 there has been a crusade against the moderate secular majority. No view, statement or attempted legislation seems out of bounds to them. Being on a mission from God gives you a lot of leeway as to what you target.
In a nation where a religious test for office is expressly forbidden, the 2012 Republican Primary candidates felt a need to out Jesus each other. This in a country where in 1960 John Kennedy felt compelled to speak to the role of religion in American Politics.JFK expressed the idea he could separate being a Roman Catholic from his duties as POTUS of all the American people. Rick Santorum felt the urge to tell us this speech, which is considered as one of the most important, as one of the best political speeches of the Twentieth Century, nauseated him.
These candidates wouldn't acknowledge they believed in evolution.
Sitting Republican officeholders believe in different types of rape. Some forms are more legitimate than others.
Views that not that long ago would have been ridiculed are now a path to election to public office.
A member of the House Science And Technology Committee called science lies from the pit of hell.
A common thread to all these views is America has strayed from a righteous path into the briars of secularism. Traditional American Christian values have been subverted. We face an Old Testament style smiting by a wrathful God.
To restore America to greatness these problems must be removed. The word of God, as they understand it,must be restored as our moral and legal compass.
So they go after the Biblical cause of all of mankind's problems.
Since Eve women have been the source of all evils to befall us as a species. Disobedient harlots and temptresses who constantly seduce men into straying from the one true path.
Modern women are no longer chained to home and hearth. They are educated, empowered and independent members of society. They are Doctors, Lawyers, Scientists and political leaders. They are free to determine their own lives, options and futures. In other words the destroyers of traditional values.
They have stolen jobs from men. Women not being stay at home mothers has destroyed the American family dynamic. They feel they can think independently of their husbands. These women actually believe they have the right to decide if or when they will bear children. For some satanic reason they don't believe they should be subservient to men. Submission is no longer seen as a duty. Abhorrent disrespect to the will of God.
If you view modern women as a threat and thorn in your side what is the best way to deal with them?
How do you push them out of public life and back into the home? How do you save and restore America?
Control the reproductive options of a woman.
SInce the introduction of hormonal birth control having a reliable method of birth control has allowed women to step outside of the traditional roles if she wishes.
A family can plan when to have children. A family can decide not to have children.
The fact a woman can enjoy and have non procreational sex is more evidence of their responsibility for the collapse of civilization. Everyone knows that by their very nature women are tramps, sluts, harlots and whores. The only thing that keeps these lustful seductresses in check is the possibility of unintended pregnancy. Once that threat is minimized they are free to wreak havoc on the world.
They will challenge men as their betters. They will reject the need of a stern, strict hand to keep them in there ordained place. How can this be stopped?
First demonize abortion. Make a medical procedure be seen as murder. Lie that it is blithely used as a convenient form of birth control. Thus only sluts that refuse to face the consequences of their wanton actions seek to abort. Slut shaming is needed to intimidate and humiliate women. How else can we drive the life lesson home?
Since the secular heathens won't allow outright abortion bans any possible barrier to access must be devised and put in place. Unnecessary preferably humiliating and invasive medical procedures need to be mandated. Lectures containing disputed and purposely false information need to be required. Waiting periods are a good idea. So is forced counseling by groups whose purpose is to urge carrying the pregnancy to term. Change regulations to require unneeded and expensive renovations of provider sites. This may force some to close. Eliminate legal reasons for abortion. After all a baby conceived in rape and violence is a gift from God. All of a woman;s healthcare needs to be controlled by men. We all know women are too emotional, irrational and let's face it guys. just not smart enough to make decisions that decide their future.
Now to compliment abortion denial we need to make birth control harder to access and seem dangerous. This will need a public/private collaboration. First of all where we can get away with it let's redefine pregnancy. The AMA defines it as happening on the implantation of a fertilized egg to the uterine wall. However as GOP lawmakers we are more knowledgeable about this. Science after all has a liberal bias. Pregnancy begins at conception. Any method of birth control that in any possible way could prevent implantation is now an abortion causing agent. So we can force the abortion regulations to get an IUD or a prescription for the pill. Plan B ? Same thing. Morning after pill? Ditto.
Companies will need to challenge any coverage of birth control or abortion as a violation of their religious freedom. It is vitally important this be done with a straight face.
We all know unions are evil. Let's attack them. Since Teachers, medical workers and public employees are predominately where women find good paying jobs they will be the main target If union protection and wages can be eliminated women will be economically forced to rely on men again. It also has the added benefit of curtailing any political voice that could be raised in defense of our attempts to strip the gals of full citizenship. Praise God!
We can not let the religious right impose their shameless agenda to strip our sisters, wives, sweethearts and mothers of the rights that are those of any citizen. We can not allow women to be classified as simply walking incubators. Stand. Raise your voice and say NO!  This will not stand!
Send these people back to their pews and pulpit where they belong. Religion has no place in law.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Why a war on Women? Is the right really that crazy?

          I am an older white male. I know we are the generic oppressors. I also know that is as accurate as any other stereotype. Any person who has read my blog posts can easily see my positions and the stands I take on the idea of equality. I believe equal means equal. Period.
The rights of any citizen is not something to be graciously granted by a patriarchal Legislative body or voted on whether to grant or deny said rights at the whim of an electorate. The rights one segment of society enjoys should be without question the rights all must have. Again, period. There should be no discussion or debate.
Once a debate starts about rights it is usually to deny or strip a certain portion of the population of equality under assorted guises. The most popular of these guises are "Tradition" and "Religious" rights and freedoms.
I have never posted twice in one day. However this simmering anger and dismay of mine has annoyed me to the point I need to address this subject again. In this political climate I am also sure this won't be the last time.
I have a question for the Congress of the United States of America, the Legislatures of Ohio, Texas,and Wisconsin along with the others doing this. Why, with the pressing serious issues facing the States and our Nation has you priority been the systematic attack on women's rights, heatcare options and futures? Have you lost your minds?  Seriously.
Any moderately informed person knows your stated reasons are a sham.
This has nothing to do with safety.
This has nothing to do with education.
This has nothing to do with options other than limiting them.
I am going to once again examine this and give my ,I like to feel is informed, opinion on the why's. And the hows.
I was out of High School when Roe v. Wade was decided.  When I was in high School a young woman that became pregnant vanished. As a slut her education was over. It usually resulted in an early marriage of two kids unprepared to be parents. Since both were out of school without a diploma their future was limited. The only recourse was a GED. Or the girl went to visit relatives for several months and then an adoption. It was a way to hide the fact your daughter was a tramp.
Birth Control was something not discussed in polite society. I can remember when condoms had the disclaimer sold for prevention of disease only. Yep, in places birth control was illegal. That pretty much ended when SCOTUS struck down Connecticut's statute.
There has been amazing progress made in women's rights since the Sixties. We still have a long road to travel. The idea that a woman should know her place and that place was the home has, until recently, been dismissed as archaic.  I had hoped we could continue towards full equality and elimination if institutionalized sexism. Now a movement to undo centuries of progress has raised it's head and bared fangs.
Somehow the very idea that women are human beings, valuable members of society and full citizens has come under fire. Some disguise it as concern for women;s heath and option education. Others may be less disingenuous when they say women need to fulfil their God defined role in society.
The history of civilization is ,with minor exceptions, a tale of patriarchal societies. One could tell how evolved a society was by the way they treated women.I am sorry to say the record is not pretty.A battle that unlike other societies, Americans were actually willing and able to fight. It was a war I thought had been mostly won. I felt we were in the end stages, like Patton crossing the Rhine in the waning days of WWII.
The war was long. Women went from effectively being property to being able to own property. They were able to eventually have money in their own right. Suffragettes finally forced the passage of the 19th Amendment to The US Constitution giving women voting rights. Many men thought this would simply double their vote. A wife would never vote in a way that her husband disapproved. This was also recent enough that it affected both my Grandmothers.
During the Second World War with so many men in uniform women stepped forward to staff the arsenal of democracy. Rosie the riveter became an icon. Women ferried bombers to the European Theater of War. Women built the weapons needed to end the war. When it was over they were expected to return home to the kitchen. many did. Some didn't.
In the Fifties you saw the rise of the working woman. She was basically limited to traditional women's jobs. Nurses, though a few became Doctors. Legal secretaries, though some became lawyers And so on and so forth.
Eventually more and more women were able to gain a foothold in The Man's World.
Following the introduction of hormonal birth control in the early Sixties women were finally able to control if, when and how many times they would become pregnant.
Finally a woman had some control over her life. She could get a degree. She could pursue a career.
From the Sixties forward it was an upward curve for women. They forced more doors open. Roe v. Wade gave them safe access to abortion. Women gained control of their reproductive health which gave them control of their lives and futures.
Attitudes were slow to change. Most realized it would be a generational battle. You can't change ingrained thinking overnight.
I know I was confused. The paradigm I grew up in was obsolete. I had a choice to evolve or not. I chose evolution.
I had to change how I thought. I had to reevaluate how I interacted with women. It was a learning curve for both genders.
Some though saw empowerment of women as a direct challenge to their manhood. Others were dismayed that women were able to have sex without the spectre of an unwanted pregnancy looming in the shadows. They gnashed their teeth and tore at their garments as they saw the end of a christian nation. Women enjoying sex. Women not beholden to a man. Women free to live as a full citizen. The end times are nigh. Somehow these people went from fringe whackos who were laughed at as holy rollers to positions of power and authority.Once ensconced they went to work.
These were devout evangelicals and anti abortion activists. They were the ground troops for the GOP throughout the Eighties and early Nineties. They learned how campaign were fought. They knew how to raise money. They were also tired of Republicans only paying lip service to their issues. So they mounted Primary challenges and took seats from party faithful.
The problem with electing zealots is they won't play nice. They vote their ideology not the party line. They see compromise as a sin and weakness. They will burn down the world to build their Utopia on the ashes.
More and more were elected. This pushed the GOP farther right each cycle. Sitting politicians toed these new ideals to avoid a challenge.
People who had no idea how government works were elected.  People who held extreme positions found what once would have ostracized them now got them elected. Then they discovered something.
 A) In spite of having high profile women espousing their ideas most women weren't having it. They were leaving the party in droves
B) They were sure as good Christians, women were sinful creatures and must submit to a strict hand. They needed to be saved from themselves.
C) Gop members who weren't evangelicals saw women as a threat. Since they weren't getting their vote anyway they may as well destroy any political power they had. If the men seemed caring and pious as they did it, so much the better.
The best way to strip a woman of any ability to plan their lives is prevent them from having access to family planning.
So as the extreme became mainstream others with similar views were emboldened to come forward.
Some business owners felt there would be no downside to discriminating against women.
In 2010 the Tea Party fueled US House and State legislatures took up the sword. Not surprisingly women's rights were not an election issue. The call was jobs, spending and taxes. Once in power the first order of business was attacking women.
The House cut funding on anything that benefited women SNAP. WiC. Pell Grants. Laws were passed with the express purpose of challenging Roe v. Wade. Thankfully these laws had no prayer of passing the Senate and died in limbo.
The States were a different story.
Ohio attempted to redefine pregnancy to conception and ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat was detected. This happens before most women even know they are pregnant. A fetus testified via sonogram. This weas 2011. There had been a bruising battle over union rights and the Senate had no taste for for another fight. The supposed Heartbeat bill died. This year with a bigger majority Ohio was emboldened to try again. As was Wisconsin, Kansas, Arkansas and Texas.
The 2012 election had these issues debated and espoused or opposed by both candidates. The President was reelected with a rejection of the Republican point of view. In spite of this the new year saw a renewed and vigorous attack. The righrt feels had a more conservative ran thet would have run. I have never understood this line of reasoning. So with their majorities due to Gerrymandering the attack is on. Ohio. Texas. Wisconsin. Arkansas.
Pregnancy has been redefined. Clinics are regulated out of existence. Planned Parenthood is defunded. Contraception is attacked as causing abortions. Real sex education make teenagers have sex.
So, if you have issues with women. You are intimidated by smart women? You don't like working for one? You feel superior? Fine. The best way to get women out of public life and the private sector, give her a choice. Celibacy during her child bearing years or pregnant during most of her child bearing years.
Corporations claim they're Christian and can't cover birth control for their women employees becaus it offends the company's morals.
If a women has children it is easier to keep her out of politics. Busy. Easier to keep her out of the workforce. If you refuse to pay equal wages you make women more dependant on men to survive.
Large families keep women at home. They fulfill the bible standard as wives and mothers. She is too busy to be a pest by working in campaigns. Worn out and old before her time.
This frees up jobs for men.
Keeps women from major involvement in political life.
A win win for the evangelicals and women haters.
A blissful return to the Fifties.
This is not a place where I want to live. A nation that values women as vital parts of the society.  A country that is better for them. A country that realizes we need the intellect and different point of view to move forward. We stand together.

Move along.. Nothing to see here.. Ohio. Still.

          November 2, 2004. A cold grey, wet rainy day in a pivotal battleground State. In predominately white Republican precincts voting was a smooth, quick experience. In Democratic precincts voters waited in lines for up to twelve hours in bone chilling rain. Polling places were open well after closing time to allow those in line to cast a ballot.. There were too few machines to accommodate voters in many precincts. Machines broke down at others causing more delay. Machines counted votes for John Kerry as votes For George Bush. Voters were sent to vote at the wrong polling places which would prevent their ballot from being counted. Voters found they weren't listed as being registered. In the mother of all coincidences these anomalies benefited the incumbent Republican President.
Since we are talking of massive minority vote suppression we must be dealing with a Southern State. Florida or Virginia, maybe? North Carolina, Arkansas or Tennessee?
No. Ohio.
J. Kenneth Blackwell, Republican Secretary Of State,was the State official who oversaw elections in Ohio. An African American Republican and an extremely conservative Republican at that, he had a reputation as a very partisan SecState. He also had close ties to the Re-election committee of President George Bush. Campaigning for Bush he made a statement open to interpretation. He guaranteed the President would carry Ohio. A brave statement indeed considering how close the polls were.
 Dissatisfaction with Bush was so high the President nearly lost the endorsement of The Columbus Dispatch. This daily paper in Columbus, Ohio's Capitol, had not endorsed a Democrat since Woodrow Wilson. The rumors were the Publisher, a mover and shaker in Ohio Republican politics, forced a Bush endorsement over the objections of the editorial board.
During the 2004 election cycle the Secretary of State's office was embroiled in controversy. Blackwell seemed to relish it.
Following massive Democratic registration drives he decreed only registrations on a certain size and weight paper would be accepted. Public outrage and ridicule, along threats of legal action forced him to back off that idea. There were reports of Democratic new registrations being shredded.
He mandated thr use of Diebold touch screen voting machines instead of preferred optical scanner machines. Coincidentally there would be no paper trail with the touch screen devices.There were also warnings floating around on the web that the Diebold software was easily hacked.
Blackwell sent out a directive that any voter showing up in a wrong polling place, if the poll worker was not convinced of residence could refuse to even issue a provisional ballot. This included voters directed to that wrong location by poll officials. As he appealed the ruling preventing this Ken said he would go to jail before he would comply. The appeal court rendered a split decision. Blackwell's enabling poll workers to arbitrarily refuse to issue provisional ballots was overturned. However voters who voted in wrong precinct would have their ballots disallowed. Ken stayed out of jail by complying.
Amazinly all decisions made by Blackwell in 2004 benefited George Bush. After mysterious disparity between exit polls, recounts and lawsuits Bush carried Ohio and was reelected. There are those who still suspect Ohio was stolen. You decide. An excellent book on this is Ohio What Happened and Why by Bob Fitrakis.
In 2006 the GOP lost every Statewide office. The new Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat, oversaw an election in 2008 that set records for ballots cast. There was early voting through the weekend preceding the election. Clear and consistent voting rules were implemented. The result? A smooth example of representative government in action.
In 2010 as the Unicorn Wing of the Democratic Party stayed home sitting on their hands in a pique, the Tea Party fueled reactionary Republicans took over the State of Ohio. Their slash and burn style of governing resembled Reconstruction. They seemed to view the people of Ohio as a vanquished opponent to be repressed and subjected. Since  elections ran smoothly and fairly under the Democrats, election reform became a priority right behind abortion.
A move to suppress traditional Democratic voting blocks was hidden behind the rallying cry of Voter Fraud prevention. It seems any vote not for these reactionaries was potentially fraudulent. Never mind fraud wasn't an issue. A solution in search of a problem.
Restrictive identification requirements were instituted. Early voting was severely curtailed. Provisional ballot requirements were tightened. A voter who was directed to the wrong poling place by poll officials was out of luck. There different early voting standards in Republican Counties and Democratic counties.
Secretary of State Husted was besieged by litigation. Every loss was appealed. This included appeals to the SCOTUS. Husted consistently had his ass handed to him. So timely court challenges stopped Ohio from replaying 2004. This was not from a lack of effort by SecState Husted. He became the poster child for the implementation of rampant Republican voter suppression policies. These attempts were the most egregious in Northern States not subject to DOJ oversight under the Voting Rights Act. Thus affirming this is not a regional, Old Confederacy problem but official, if unspoken, Republican policy and strategy.
The only response and recourse left to fair minded Ohioans is the removal of Republicans that control Statewide offices. From Governor Kasich on down. Removing the Tea Party Legislators will be more difficult due to blatant Gerrymandering.
Husted is being challenged by State Senator Nina Turner a Dem who doesn't run from being called a liberal. She is a fighter and Husted is in for battle. But, he]ll be overseeing the election. Again we here in Ohio will have to be ready to stop suppression efforts as soon as they surface. Ohio should never be the but of political jokes and derision. It is time to prove we are't crazy following the abortion laws recently passed.
Defeating Kasich will derail his plans to run for President in 2016. Defeating Husted will derail any future plans he has to be Governor.
The only way to prevail in this fight for our future here in Ohio is to vote. Straight Dem from Governor down ballot. Vote. Organize. Fight back. VOTE!!

Monday, July 22, 2013

This is the Twenty-first Century, right??

           I usually wander along thinking we are in a new millennia, moving forward towards a Star Trek future of a society ruled by reason, compassion and a quest for knowledge. It usually works for me.Then someone in Congress,a so called"Christian" or Conservative leader will say something that forces me to check the calender. I feel a need to make sure I haven't strolled through a Temporal Event into the Tenth-Century.
There has always been a tension in The United States between Conservative thought in general, Conservative Christian thought in particular, and the secular lifestyle of society. It's a result of the concept of personal liberty in this Nation's DNA. However the oft repeated claim the US was founded as a Christian nation is not only wrong but gives voice to a school of thought the authors of the Constitution would have found repellent.
Since the Puritans washed ashore in Massachusetts there has been a strain of American thought that is terrified and appalled that someone, somewhere is having a good time. In spite of Maryland being settled by Catholics there has been long standing suspicions and contempt aimed at the Church of Rome. This is still seen today in some congregations. Other believers are viewed as not really Christian or not Christian enough. There is also the very disturbing trend of Christian literalists coming to power.
The United States was flirting with the concept of a weak central government, strong State government form of rule. Since it was evident that The Articles of Confederation was an abysmal failure. men of stature, intelligence and vision gathered in Philadelphia to fix the problems. After examination and debate they realized said Articles were beyond repair. So, they decided to exceed their mission and scrapped it to devise a workable form of Government.
This was a continuation of the radical (for the time) idea that humans were capable of life without an aristocracy and monarchy. Contrary to some modern beliefs this Nation was founded by Radicals. The American Conservative was a Tory. A supporter of the Crown. Following the end of the American Revolution they fled to Canada or Great Britain.
The framers of the Constitution were products of a period and philosophical adherents to a movement known as The Enlightenment. This 17th and 18th century period is remembered for the elevation of reason over blind obedient faith as the guiding light of civilization. There was the radical idea that reason, a quest for knowledge, scientific inquiry and intellectual liberty would move this rag tag nation onto the world stage as an example.
Keep in mind in the 18th century these ideas were as radical as those of Marx and Engels would be in the 19th.The rejection of monarchical and religious rule was seen as a rejection of the laws of nature. A God ordained subjugation of the many by the privileged few.
These men were influenced by classical thought dating back to Rome and Greece. They saw the Reformation as throwing off the yoke of a corrupt single entity. The work of Voltaire, Montesquieu, Hume and Locke shaped their view of the world. Scientific thought and curiosity trumped dogmatic rejection of expanding knowledge. Having first hand experience with State mandated Religion, they were mistrustful of theocratic ideals and influence over public life. They knew a knowledgeable and educated populace would move America along the path of greatness. These men revered the human intellect, pursuit of knowledge and reason,rejecting blind faith.
The Framer in spite of being the elite, well educated in a land where education beyond the basics was still rare, rejected a divine right to rule. This was the result of a classics oriented education which today would be equivalent to a Liberal Arts curriculum.
With their radical background these Framers wrote a document to establish a nation not ruled by church or aristocracy. They specifically forbade any religious test for office. One could not hold a title of Nobility and be a citizen. A strong central government was established to check the parochial self interest of State Legislatures. The common good was enshrined as a basic tenant of government. We were to emerge as one nation, not a collection of autonomous States. A unified state was the goal. The bar for success.
Ten amendments were added to this precedent setting document to enumerate certain rights and ensure it's ratification. The very fact this document can be amended shows the Framers realized times would change and their ideas must be expanded on to ensure the nation's survival. The Federalist Papers were penned to inform and clarify the need for The Constitution to the populace.
The Constitution was written by committee. Compromises were made. The ability to adapt to changing times and social growth was guaranteed. These men would be shocked and appalled by the reverence given to them. They knew they were not infallible.
Somewhere in recent history a certain segment of the population has risen to positions of power and prominence. You can call them Christian Nationalists or Dominionists or whatever suits your point of view. You can ridicule their ideas. You can reject these ideas. However dismiss this movement as irrelevant at your peril.
Ideas and beliefs that were once so far out of the modern American mainstream of thought they were considered ludicrous are now viable, legitimate ideology.
America, once a beacon of scientific thought, a bastion of unfettered knowledge, a place where one could pursue a life of their choosing is being changed.
There has always been a small strain of anti-intellectualism in America.It may trace back to a mistrust of our pseudo aristocracy. That strain though now threatens to become pandemic. The very ideas of modernity, science, progress and secularism is being rejected wholesale. The idea of a melting pot, once lauded as a source of strength and innovation is now condemned as a threat to America.
The rise of the "Christian" Right should terrify any rational, thinking American. The desire to codify their idea of Christian moral tenants into our life is a step towards a wanted theocratic state. A reactionary theocracy dedicated to subjugating, disenfranchising and silencing those who don't buy into their narrow view of God.
Politically these believers are not much different than any totalitarian ideologues. They exploit fear and blame ideas and other kinds of people for the ills besetting society. Where the Spanish Inquisition had Jews and heretics, The Nazis had Jews and any non Aryan we have secularists presented as the primary threat to the American way of life. Oh, Muslims also. And Jews to a point.
The right, called Christofascists by some, claim America was founded as a Christian nation and with the rejection of those ideals we invite the Wrath Of God. The majority faith in America feels they are oppressed because they are not permitted to impose their divinely revealed beliefs upon everybody. It doesn't matter those beliefs violate you strongly held ideas. It doesn't matter you disagree or despise those thoughts. All that matters is we become their ideal of what a Christian nation should be.
Science? Lies from the pits of Hell. The Universe is 6,000 years old. Any idea to the contrary is blasphemy.
Non religion based education is simply secular indoctrination and oppression of the true way.
Homosexuality? An abomination in the sight of God. A choice  because people do love to be assaulted, killed and reviled so very much.  Any move towards equality will cause God to smite America with Old Testament style wrath.
Sex? For men? The flesh is weak so rape is a no, no but worthy only of a wrist slap. And it's ok to nail those harlots who put out without the sanctity of marriage. Eve was a wicked slut.
Women? Where to start? They are inherently sinful. Wanton temptresses of good men. They use their wiles to corrupt the righteous order of things by seducing men from the divinely ordained path to good. The really sinful harlots actually enjoy sex. They don't view it as a distasteful obligation to ensure the continuation of the species. Women are incapable of accepting the consequences of being whores and sluts. Thus they blithely murder babies as a convenient form of birth control. So it is up to God fearing men to protect them from themselves and prevent abortion. For any reason.
Also the main reason for the collapse of American morals and way of life is obviously the fault of women. Since Eve they have been rebellious and in need of stern guidance. The very fact they work and pursue careers has destroyed the family. The fact they have sex outside of marriage and enjoy it has destroyed our moral fabric as any fool can see. The idea of them not being subservient and obedient to men is a defiance, aberrant behavior in the sight of God. It's a man's right and God given duty to beat them into penitence. If your woman refuses her duty to have sex with you you have the right to take her. Any way you please for after all she is your property to do with as you wish
Israel must be unconditionally supported so the end of times may unfold as intended.
Any means is acceptable to remove the Godless from power. Lies. Fraud. Destruction of the social safety net because takers must not be rewarded.
Not that long ago this would have been poorly constructed satire. Ayn Rand as a ideological guide for anyone? When asked about "Atlas Shrugged" Dorothy Parker said. "This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly.It should be thrown with great force." An excellent take on Rand's talent. Or lack thereof.
Too many Americans wear a willful ignorance as a badge of honor. They believe science and literature has a liberal bias. It does as it destroys ignorance and opens the mind to the wonders of the Universe. Joys that are being denied to coming generations. Their rejection of rational thought and science will have the same effect that fundamentalism had in the Arab world a millenia ago. What was once the shining light of knowledge in a dark world was extinguished. We are living with the results. America can not be allowed to blithely take that road. At the end lies failure, totalitarianism, ignorance and bleak despair.
We need to fight back while there is tims. The cultural destruction of American ideals is underway. To stand and watch is an invitation to being intellectually and perhaps physically chained.
Stand up and speak for sanity and freedom. Oppose God being inserted into public institutions. Stand for your right to believe as you will. Wait too long and there will be no voice raised to your defense. You will be chained into a life of not so quiet desperation. A moral and intellectual desert. Say no, now. Loudly and often.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

When did the Fringe become mainstream?

      For starters, to move forward in any meaningful constructive way we will need to divest ourselves of the bias that any region is inherently more backward and insane that any other region. Yes, I'm talking about the Northern notion that "The Dukes OF Hazzard","Hee Haw" and "The Beverly Hillbillies" were documentaries. "Li,l Abner" was not a diary. "Petticoat Junction" was not a travelogue.The North has ceded any perceived moral superiority they may have ever had. They did so a long time ago.
Today America stands united in what at one time would have been seen as unthinkable insanity. What the hell happened?
American History has never had a shortage of  ill conceived  poorly reasoned political thought and agendas The Whiskey Rebellion should have throttled States Rights and Libertarianism as a viable political ideology in it's cradle. Aaron Burr planned an insurrection. The know Nothing Party. The Grange Movement. Communism. Fascism. The Black Panther Party. The White Panther Party. The historical American Political landscape is littered with the remains of radical, reactionary or single issue political movements
Yet American politics is still a two Party system, very minor aberrations not withstanding. The major political parties here are exquisite examples of Darwinism. They adapt and survive. The parties crush the upstarts by co opting any viable issue or idea they have. The carcase is then picked clean of any original thought or approach. American political thought evolves. A lot of what was once considered politically impossible is now commonly accepted social norms. Slavery is gone. Voting rights have expanded beyond White Male Landowners. Women are supposed to be full citizens, as are African Americans and Native Americans. Homosexuals are being acknowledged as being actual citizens with the same rights as the rest of the Country.
Our problem occurs when the absorbed ideas are antithetical to our history. The trends over more than two centuries is an expansion of the concept of liberty and equality.
Once it was common practice to discriminate not only by race but by religion, national origin , sex and any factor unpopular with the majority. Hence, Irish need not apply signs. The idea John Kennedy could not be elected President because he was Catholic. There are only a few jobs suitable for women. Single women at that. Everyone knew once a woman was married her job was to manage the home, bear and raise children and stop any thought independant of her husband's. Blacks were less intelligent and inherently inferior. Caring for them was the White Man's Burden. The common wisdom is that we have evolved and moved past such primitive notions. It now seems the common wisdom is treated as the ramblings of a fool. The performance of a court jester meant for only ridicule. disdain.and outright loathing.
Regression instead of progression. Today battles are being fought again when we thought the war was won.
The concept of self defense is rooted in English Common Law. A person has the moral right to protect their life, their family and others from mortal threats. Also you can defend your home. The Castle concept. In a confrontation the idea has always been disengagement when possible. If it can be done one should move away from the threat. Deadly force was only acceptable in very limited circumstances. To protect your life and the life of others from an obvious threat. Then came stand your ground.
Somehow the idea of confronting a perceived threat became a perceived right. The notion everyone is John Wayne or Dirty Harry. Disengaging from a threat became cowardice and somehow Un American. This concept seemed to grow hand in hand with the view that gun ownership was the only sacrosanct Constitutional right.
As more and more States liberalized concealed weapons laws (usually over objections of law enforcement) there became a feeling of entitlement. If you had a firearm you should not be told where and when you could carry it. After all that is tyranny. There also came the belief that deadly force was not only a viable option but should be a primary option. A confrontation that once would have resulted in a fist fight now has the ability to escalate into a frontier justice moment. Judge. Jury. Executioner.
The feeling has grown there should be no consequences when lethal force is used. Even if the the person was mistaken about the threat level. There should be no charges. In fact one should be lionized for standing against crime.They dealt decisively with what they thought was a threat.The obvious problem with these concepts is assuming everyone who carries a firearm is a reasonable human being with good judgement and respect for life. At best that is a flawed premise. At worst? Open season for overt racism and violence.
One question. had an adult African American man followed an unarmed white teenager and shot him during a confrontation would the result be the same?  I think he would have been convicted long ago and in Raiford on death row now.
At the beginning of the American experiment in a new form of government the only ones with the right to vote were free white male landowners.By modern standards this is awful. By 18th century standards it was unprecedented. A system of government with a set Constitution and representation to enact laws that could not be changed on a whim by a divine right ruler.
As America grew the right to vote was expanded also. All free white males could vote. Again revolutionary. A system not class based by law and tradition.
 Following a brutal bloody Civil War African Americans became citizens and able to vote. Unfortunately it took a century to end Jim Crow. It took the power of the Federal Government to push the Old Confederacy into the 20th century against their will. It has taken fifty years but the South has changed. Blatant racism is no longer the dominant way of life. If anything they are now more like the North with the racism being covert and insidious.
In the Voting Rights Act the States of the Old Confederacy were forced to have any changes in voting laws reviewed and approved by the Department of Justice. After all there was ample evidence of concerted suppression of the black vote.
Following the election of Barack Obama President, with overwhelming support from minority voters, there was a new push by conservative Republican Legislatures to enact voting laws and regulations to suppress the votes of groups they felt were the Democratic base. Minorities. The young. Newly naturalized citizens. The attempts in the South were beat back by DOJ. The attempts in the North had to be stopped in court. The Northern States trying to pull this off outnumbered the Southern States. Yet it is still decried as a regional problem. It's not. It's an ideological problem. Some have decided America's tradition of expanding liberty is wrong and destructive. An unprecedented, in modern American History, drive is on to strip segments of the population of rights.
This effort is using Evangelical religious belief, flawed Constitutional and discredited States Rights arguments.
They have found and promote so-called historians to validate their fictional version of America. There are those on the reactionary right who feel extremist dogma should be codified as the basis of American law. They are convincedl they have been called by God to establish a Christian theocracy. An extremist Christian theocracy. Their most visible target? Women.
Across the country in conservative Legislatures there has been a rejection of the 21st century. Women are blamed for the collapse of the family, the destruction of morality by wanton behavior. They defy God by not relegating themselves to serving their husbands, being pregnant for most of their reproductive years and daring to be independent and educated. It is their fault rape is an epidemic.
The only recourse is to make life altering decisions concerning their health and future. Everyone knows they are unable to be rational. They are unable to behave in a responsible manner. They refuse to accept the consequences of having sex for non procreational purposes. Thus they can't be treated as fully equal citizens. They are after all walking incubators.
America has always been at the forefront of scientific discovery, innovation and technological advancement As territories were settled land was set aside for schools. Publicly supported schools. Education was recognized as needed for the future of a great nation. American thought, education and sense of unfettered exploration drove scientific and technological advancement in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Now, scientific literacy and ignorance has become something to aspire to. A badge of honor. Mainstream political leaders deny evolution. They deny evidence climate change is a real and present danger. A member of the House Science and Technology Committee decries science as lies of Satan spawned in the pits of Hell. There was a time such an individual would have been laughed out of office. Now he'll be reelected.
School boards are being pressured to teach evolution as simply another theory and present creationism as a scientifically valid alternative. They are pressured to rewrite American History as a Christian triumph  The teaching of critical thinking is vilified as undermining the beliefs of the parents.
America can not survive and prosper if education is a knowledge a la carte. Facts are facts. Scientific and cultural progress is built on empirical knowledge. Not myth. Not suppersition. Not willful ignorance. Not that long ago education was a noble calling. We entrusted educators with our childrens futures. Now they are union thugs indoctrinating students in godless secularism. These ideas I've touched on were once considered so fringe they couldn't be taken seriously. Now they are considered legitimate political thought. A coherent ideology. These ideas haven't changed. They are still crazy. The only difference is crazy is now respectable.
Our choice of action is limited. We beat back the coming Dark Ages, the sequel. We say no to the budding inquisition. We say no to codifying religious dogma. We stand for the thoughts and ideals that made America great. The alternative is to watch it devolve into a repressive intolerant dogmatic theocracy.  We stand with our ideas. Or fall under the flaming sword of reactionary Christianity and the bootheel of regression to the past of camps and witch hunts to preserve ideological purity.  The only real question is who is drug off in the dead of night first.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Domestic Surveillance. New? Not so much. A look back at COINTELPRO.

     My Liberal friends have their panties in a twist. The Right Wing is salivating over another supposed Obama scandal. Shhh. The NSA is listening. This is a surprise, why? The United States has a long storied tradition of keeping an eye on it's citizenry that stretches back over a century.
 The Patriot Act was passed and renewed. Why is anyone shocked it's being used??
Since I am simply a history major with out a degree(Though that gives me a leg up on David Barton) I still recognize that context and historical perspective shapes, even colors current perceptions.
Since I'm not a history Professor (Just a wannabe) and I'm not teaching a survey course on Government Misbehavior, this will be simply a look back at COINTELPRO. Also maybe a peek at the other agencies tagging along.
COINTELPRO (COunter INTELligence PROgram) was started in 1956 by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to counter what he saw as a Cold War threat. Communists, socialists, civil rights and any other dissent that offended him. With Hoover that was basically dissent, period.
During the Thirties and Forties the Bureau perfected the skills needed to operate outside the legal framework. Illegal wiretaps, open surveillance to intimidate and harass,smear tactics and disinformation. This was primarily directed at Gangsters, the American Communist Party, other left leaning organizations and Nazi sympathizers. Using these tactics Hoover also collected his famous files on Hollywood, Washington and Industrialists, The FBI developed and nurtured a network of informants across American Society. Friends spying on friends. Having grown up during the Cold War I remember this was constantly cited as an evil Soviet practice.
In the Fifties we saw a resurgence of political dissent in response to and fueled by the political climate that produced Joe McCarthy and Richard Nixon. Civil Rights , anti-nuke, and a revived American Left were more vocal and visible. Hoover decided to act by creating COINTELPRO.
Though technology has changed the basic tenants of domestic spying remain essentially the same.
1)  Infiltration. this was a favorite in the Fifties and Sixties that is still chugging along. Then the FBi joined The Communist Party, Socialist Party, NAACP, CORE, Ban the Bomb groups, the KKK, The American Nazi Party and John Birch Society. However the bulk of resources were devoted to the Left, a trend that would continue into the Sixties and beyond
The targets then were still the Civil Rights groups, The Woman's Movement, the anti-war movement and the New Left. That was the SDS and Weathermen. Basically it was any individual or group that vocally opposed then current American Foreign and Domestic policy that Hoover perceived as a threat.
Agents and informants infiltrated these groups often developing the plans that were used as probable cause for arrest. Still popular today. Think all these "Sting" operations used to corral suspected terrorists.
2)  PsyOps. The FBI and local police would use friendly newspapers and reporters to plant false damaging news stories about the targeted group or individual. They would print and distribute phony leaflets using the group's Masthead. Misinformation about meetings and events was spread. Supporters, donors, families, schools and others were strong armed to bring pressure on dissidents.Anonymous call and letters were very popular. If you nose around around the internet today you still see misinformation campaigns being waged. Same on social media. I do like to believe the blatant lies and misrepresentations are politically motivated rather than covert government activity. I'm a hopeful guy.
3)  Legal harassment This was simple. Targeted selective enforcement of laws. Planting of manufactured evidence and perjury. Frivolous lawsuits designed to discourage donors and intimidate supporters. Any law or regulation to make life difficult could and would be used.
4)  Extralegal means. Ok. Black bag jobs. (The most famous were Nixon's Plumbers Watergate and Ellsberg's Psychiatrist's office break-ins)  Illegal wiretaps which has grown beyond the hardlines of yesterday. planting evidence, false arrest and wrongful conviction. You can read deaths in unintended explosions or killed while resisting as you wish.
During this time nearly every agency and large police force joined in not wanting to be left in the dark by the FBI. Army intelligence. the CIA( in violation of their charter forbidding them to operate within the US) and massive spying and entrapment programs by NYPD and  LAPD.
Hoover used his unbridled power to create a win by any means culture. Intelligence was shaped to fit the need. Manufactured and disseminated to disrupt the exercise of Constitutionally guaranteed liberties. This was done to protect the status quo and dominant political agendas.
A lot of this should sound familiar. The FBI was founded to round up anarchists for deportation. They were used as a tool of political control until the early Seventies.
The Church Committee in the Senate catalogued the offenses and abuses of the American Intelligence community dating back to the 19th Century. Since then the resultant laws and regulations have been watered down and undermined by legislation and executive order. This is a grand American tradition. One that as long as intel is needed there will be tension between our liberty and the Nation's security. We haven't got it right yet. Why would we start now?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

NASA is working on a Warp Drive. Let's build The Enterprise. Make it so.

     The portion of Sci Fi that always annoyed scientists was superluminal travel. They recognized it as a necessary plot device to set fiction somewhere other than our local piece of celestial real estate. An impossible plot device since matter can not exceed the speed of light according to the General Theory of Relativity. FTL, Warp Drive, and other iconic modes of transportation were seen as charming, entertaining flights of fantasy.
Star Trek however has made a habit of prescience. Computer technology such as memory size, speed, a voice or touch interface and high powered portable hand held devices. Communications technology like cell phones. Automation. An ion drive(Impulse)engine for solar exploration.
The reason behind this is Trek inspiring some of it's smart fanbase to go into science.These fans are doing R & D or cutting edge theoretical work. They look at Kirk's Communicator and think how can we do that? Computers, the same. Hand held devices for remote access to a data base. Yeah, we can figure that out also. Even non fans are pushing the envelope due to the environment of creative thought they find themselves in.
Seemingly The Theory of Relativity has loopholes like any law
Matter can not exceed the speed of light. This is at times referred to as a cosmic speed limit when explaining it to us laymen. The loophole? Spacetime has no speed limit. It can expand and contract at any speed.
After the Big Bang the minimum speed of spacetime expansion has been postulated at 30 million, billion times the speed of light. Makes The Enterprise-E look like an ox cart.
The idea is that if you cause spacetime behind a ship to contract and spacetime in front of the ship to expand the ship, on flat spacetime, inside a warp bubble(How Star Trek)will ride along at faster than light. SInce this isn't true propulsion there is 0 g's. Humans would see the result as motion. Projected speeds put a ship in the Alpha Centauri star system in two weeks. That system is a little over four light years away. Ahead warp factor 7 Mr. Sulu.
So, how does this work. magic. OK, not really. Let's take a peek at tomorrow.
So lets start with spacetime.
All right. The best example to show what spacetime is and how it works i've seen is to imagine a flat sheet of rubber suspended at it's corners so the sheet is in the air, not resting on anything. This is spacetime with no external forces applied to it. Flat.  Put a soccer ball in the center of the sheet. It will deform into a depression holding the ball. This is a decent example of madd and gravity warping spacetime. Anything with mass or gravity creates dimples. These need to be taken into account when plotting a course to any local celestial body.
So, if a ship were placed on the sheet and spacetime were expanded behind and contracted ahead spacetime would move around the ship. This enables the ship to surf spacetime from point A  to point B without it actually moving by being in a warp bubble of local spacetime.So the ship doesn't actually move, the space around it does. Weird stuff happens in physics.
The trick is it takes a lot of mass/energy to warp spacetime enough to do anything with it.
Miguel Alcubierre designed a warp engine. It was a flat circle which would enable the warping of spacetime. Unfortunately, it requires power equal to the mass of Jupiter. Thus it was filed away as  a cool but never able to be used idea.
Harold White took another look at the equations. He saw that if the sphere were made thicker and curvier, (think doughnut compared to hula hoop) and the bubble was oscillated the energy requirements plummeted to 1600 lbs. This warranted another look.
Now it's in the lab. Attempts are being made to cause little dimples in spacetime that can be measu red using lasers. The search for the exotic forms of matter proceeds.
It wasn't that FTL was fantasy. Now actual, serious research is being done. I truly feel my Daughter may vacation under an alien sun. Seeing new worlds could force us to put our stupid differences behind and explore this galaxy. Standing in awe before it's size and majesty. To actually boldly go where no one has before.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ohio, Indiana, Iowa. And Texas. But it's always"And Texas".

      After the last few weeks, just as you thought Republican Legislatures and right wing syncophants could not get more egregious, they don;t disappoint.
In Iowa a State Supreme Court decision was handed down upholding the firing of a 33 year old woman who had worked for a Fort Dodge Dentist for a decade. Her terminating offense? Being too hot. Even though she was an excellent employee that was enough to cost her job. This woman's workplace behavior was never considered improper. Her attire was business appropriate. However the Dentist and his wife thought she was a threat to their marriage because the Dentist wanted to nail her. So it's her fault, for being only an attractive woman. Because you know, that;s all she is. She couldn't possibly be seen as a productive human being.
It's her fault not the Boss who was so sure of his prowess that he'd charm her into an affair. Shr is a potential homebreaker so the threat must be removed. Everyone knows every man is too stupid and primitive to control his Libido. As Jimmy Buffett said, "There's always a woman to blame. " Bravo Iowa for setting the image of men back a century or so. Should the livestock also be wary?
Iowa's High Court(with this ruling I think they may be) found this was not discrimination because it was based on feelings, not gender. As the attorney for the Plaintiff said, dark skinned African Americans could be fired to be replaced by lighter skinned ones. Because, feelings. Small breasted women could be fired and replaced with big breasted women. Because, feelings. So could Catholics be fired to be replaced with Protestants because a feeling the Pope is the Anti-Christ? Can one fire liberals because you feel they're evil and un American. What if you feel someone is a witch? Can you burn them at the stake? Iowa, welcome to the 17th Century.
Ah, Indiana. Even though same sex marriage is illegal there they felt the need to criminalize it, by making it a felony. As of 7/1/2014 it will be a felony punishable by eighteen months in prison and a ten thousand dollar fine.for same sex couples to apply for a marriage license. There is no option on a license in Indiana for applicants of the same sex. Thus it is falsification and fraud. Lovely. Just to make it more interesting anyone who performs a same sex marriage is guilty of a misdemeanor with a six month jail sentence and fine. I hope Ohio doesn't notice.
Ohio. Again. Still.
In Ohio following his signing a State Budget into law which contains some of the most repressive and restrictive abortion regulations in the Nation Governor John Kasich was lauded by the so called right to life groups foe saving women from themselves. In fact the Governor received his first endorsement for President. This should remove some doubts Kasich's move was other than blatant pandering to the national base. the conservative mob is poised to fight against a proposed ballot initiative to equalize marriage in Ohio.  They are breaking out all the reactionary views usually deployed to fight for an idea whose time is passed. As Ohio moves left the Government stumbles farther right. I expect a concerted effort by Legislators to thwart this issue. And Ohio Government used to be moderate and reasonable.
And Texas. Isn't it always "And Texas"?
Following the failure of abortion legislation  in the last Special Session due to horrendous time management and the inspiring filibuster by State Senator Wendy Davis(D-Ft Worth) Texas faced a decision. Which was promptly made by Gov. Rick Perry. Let;s have another Special Session to deal with the most pressing issue faced by Texas. Women were actually being treated as citizens instead of ambulatory incubators. That must be rectified.
The Democratic Minority in the Legislature and actual thinking, sane Texans came into this fight energized. National media attention was focused on this fight. Like the Alamo there was hope this losing battle could enable sanity to prevail down the road. The Republicans also seemed to get crazier. I know, how?
As seems to be the norm in Republican controlled State Legislative bodies there appears to be the belief pregnancy from rape and incest is a gift to be treasured.Very young girls who are victims are forbidden to have an abortion because it is dangerous. This ignores that a full term pregnancy at a young age is high risk in and of itself.
As the GOP steamrollered Dems the thousands of sane Texas women and men protested. So, naturally they are an unruly mob not citizens. Texas DPS vowed to clear the chamber if decorum was not maintained. So ever a stylish example of the ideals of Southern Womanhood the outraged women of the Lone Star State pelted the Senators with tampons and pads. At least they weren't used.
In response, women were required to have handbags searched. Tampons and pads were confiscated.By the way, anyone holding a valid concealed carry permit was able to use a special entrance and enter the Senate armed. Because..freedom. Any fool knows tampons are weapons of mass absorption.
Thank you Texas, you never disappo the comedy writers of America.
Hey, GOP. I need a break. Can you shut up and go home for awhile. Please? It's summer. I want to relax. You'll have plenty of time to be stupid in the fall.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Send in the Clowns. Don't bother, they're here. Ohio. Again.

     In 2004 one of the things Karl Rove and company, in an effort to rally and get out the far right vote, supported so called Defense of Marriage ballot measures which sprang up across the United States. Not unlike foul, poisonous hallucinogenic toadstools.
Here in Ohio the ballot measure for an Amendment to the State Constitution banning Same Sex Marriage and recognition of such unions from other States may have been the driving force in the loss of this battleground by John Kerry.The issue passed. For the first time Ohio's Constitution bans equality of a certain portion of the population. That was then.
This is now.
Currently there is a petition drive to place a Marriage Equality Amendment on the ballot in 2014. As the GOP extremists are fond of saying, "Repeal and replace". This should galvanize the progressive vote in Ohio. It will likely help the Democrats in The Buckeye State. It is actually garnering support from former Republican officeholders. Why this sudden show of sanity here after our inmates running the asylum politics of the last few years? In my opinion I'd say demographics, image,jobs and the economy.
Younger people in American society simply are not fixated on sexual orientation. They know and are friends with out homosexuals. They have other worries than what someone is doing in their bedrooms.
When it comes to jobs and the economy Ohio is at a disadvantage. Highly educated members of the LBGT community leave to live where they are not objects of legally mandated discrimination. High Tech and other cutting edge firms are less likely to relocate for the same reason. In the 21st Century institutionalized discrimination is bad for business and image. Those jobs and companies go elsewhere.
This Amendment makes Ohio look intolerant, backwards ignorant. Oh believe me it can be all of those things when poked in the right place.
So how do the people who pushed this anti gay law to begin with feel about this?
Governor John Kasich does not support gay marriage. You will likely see him come out in opposition to a ballot issue.
Your national organizations are again wringing their hands over the destruction of the religious foundations of America and the coming outlawing of religion.The arguments are stale and repeated ad nauseum.
What they miss in the cacophony of the noise machine is that this has nothing to do with religion. Period.  Religious ceremonies are not mandated. It does not effect a single religion. Not one. This legalizes CIVIL marriages.
Civil marriages are performed all the time. Inter faith marriages are not a threat to "traditional" marriage. They aren't illegal or condemned.
The big stick that's always used is traditional christian values. This was the argument used to justify and support slavery. It was used to prevent inter racial marriages. Religion is always used to support the status quo and oppose progress.
The other specious argument is the will of the people. It was voted on. Historical perspective says that voting on what rights a minority should have is always a good idea.
An election in Ohio always attracts media attention and tons of outside money. Civil discourse on the issue is already a casualty
Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) now supports gay marriage. Unfortunately, like too many conservatives. it took his son coming out. He was immediately attacked by the right wing blogosphere and groups. It was suggested gay reversion therapy was an option. As was denouncing and turning his back on his boy. Always classy.
With midterms,elections for Governor and the other Statewide offices happening this won;t be pretty. There is a visceral anger in the electorate following the GOP attacks on women. Those members of the Legislature are all up for reelection also.
So 2014 will here in Ohio be caustic, vicious, filled with personal attacks and lie filled ads. In other words, business as usual..


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Let's talk about John Kasich.

     It appears inevitable that in spite of the impassioned, angry response of the women in the State, Texas will pass their repressive Reproductive Health law. Governor Rick Perry's lasting legacy of shame and humiliation for the women of the Great State of Texas. Compared to Ohio Texas, The Old Confederacy and all the extreme Right Wing dominated Legislatures here in the North are rank amateurs.
Not one, as Ohio has done, has seen fit to redefine pregnancy. I really can not rehash these regressive laws stripping women of their rights as citizens again. It gets a bit messy as my head explodes. Google. OK? 
I want to, wait. Let me rephrase. I need to talk about Ohio Governor John Kasich.
Once again the wannabe historian lurking inside takes the reigns, shoving me aside.
John Kasich. Where to start? Sheesh.
John grew up in Pennsylvania the son of a Letter Carrier. Yep, he grew up with a Union Thug. Kasich attended and got his degree from The Ohio State University. I wish he had gone to Michigan then he'd be their problem, not Ohio's.
Kasich stayed and was at twenty-six elected to the Ohio Senate. Even then he had a likeable public persona. John drew on his blue collar background, pointing out his father worked for the Postal Service, projecting an everyman image. He moved on wresting the 12th Congressional District back from a one term Democrat in 1982. He would hold that seat until 2001.
During this time he would convert from Catholicism to Evangelical Christianity, divorce his first wife. He then married his second and current wife. They have twin daughters.
Kasich came to Congress as a member of the minority GOP.He voted for the Clinton Impeachment. John also voted for NAFTA and helped get passage of the Assault Rifle Ban in the now Republican House. I am surprised that vote did not haunt him during his Gubernatorial bid.
With the GOP in control of The House, Kasich became head of the House budget Committee. He helped   pass the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. That is something he still claims full credit for, as if no one else was involved.
As Kasich declined to stand for relection again in 2000 he opened an exploratory committee for a Presidential run. That bid collapsed under massive indifference. He withdrew prior to the Iowa straw poll and endorsed George W. Bush.
Following his Congressional career Kasich received a show on Fox News. "Heartland With John Kasich".Here he pushed himself as a reasonable voice from the heart of America. He polished that performance. Fox also used him as a commentator and guest host for O'Reilly. John also subbed for Hannity. Sean, as a fair and balanced journalist, heartily endorsed Kasich's run for Governor.
While at Fox John also went to work for Lehman Brothers as a Managing Director based in Columbus Ohio. As they collapsed, nearly taking the economy with them, John received nearly a half million dollars in bonuses.
The collapse of the economy in 2008, the rise of the Tea Party, and falling poll numbers for Ohio Democratic Governor Ted Strickland convinced Kasich to run in 2010..
The near implosion of the American economy caused Ohio/s to tank. As a good Republican Kasich blamed the Democrats and the evil, greedy Unions. He rode the Tea Party and Democrats Unicorn Wing sitting out due to annoyance with President Obama. Thus the Democrats lost every Statewide elected office. This spelled disaster as redistricting loomed. Kasich won a brutal election by less than two percentage points. Like Bush in 2004, Kasich felt this was a sweeping mandate.So he took on the Public Sector Unions.
In a speech in Ashtabula County in March of 2009, Kasich spoke of a "Need to break the back of school unions." Thus when a bill eviscerating public sector union rights in Ohio passed the legislature. no one was surprised.
It took old school political shenanigans for this bill to pass. An Ohio Republican State Senator on committee was replaced to ensure the bill would make it to the floor. The Democrats were steamrollered. Opposition witnesses were denied a chance to speak.As the Statehouse was packed with and surrounded by angry Ohioans the bill passed. It was promptly signed by Kasich.
The opposition coalesced and gathered millions of signatures for a ballot repeal initiative.It required a truck to deliver the petitions to the Secretary of State. SecState Husted, staking out his independence from Kasich rejected Republican attempts to split the initiative into multiple ballot issues. The GOP also lost court battles over ballot language.
The fight was on. A former Republican lobbyist I know smugly predicted a crushing defeat for Issue 2. It was simply a matter of education, he said. We(GOP) just have to show the electorate the right way to vote. Massive amounts of out of state money poured in on both sides.The GOP attempted to split the Union vote by offering to remove Police Unions from the law. The FOP rejected it for solidarity.The poll numbers were dismal showing a defeat coming. So at the last minute the GOP offered to negotiate a new bill with Dems if the ballot measure was removed. That was met with a resounding NO. Issue 2, the Union Busting Bill was repealed 69%-31%.
With majorities in the State House and Senate the GOP turned their eye to women.
A Heartbeat Bill was introduced in the House. This legislation would have prevented abortion once a fetal heartbeat was detected. The result would be effectively banning abortion as a heartbeat occurs before most women realize they are pregnant. A fetus testified to the House via sonogram. Ohio was a laughingstock, again.
This bill was so misguided that so called Right To Life Organizations opposed it. They knew full well it would never survive a court test. Thankfully it died in the Senate. However there was no veto threat from Kasich.
Throughout his political career John has at every opportunity bleated his Pro Life credentials.
The Ohio Republican reactionary social agenda was rejected in 2012 by electing President Obama and Senator Sherrod Brown with a comfortable margin, Actually Senator Brown crushed his conservative opponent.
So, with the message given by voters the Ohio Legislature, with opposition proof majorities, did the only rational thing they could. They went after women.
These guys seem to feel they have a God given divine right to impose their narrow, theocratic moral views on the population of Ohio. The best way to do this they felt was in a budget bill effectively preventing open debate. Because, freedom.
As I said earlier, I am not going to revisit those provisions today because I can't type as I weep for Ohio.
Now tucked away in the budget passed by a conservative Republican majority was a provision forbidding an expansion of Medicaid in response to the ACA. Let's look at what happened after the budget was passed.
Prior to passage there were large protests outside the Statehouse. This should have been seen as proof the issue isn't the winner they think it is. In their bubble they must think,"Women, cute how they think they're  important."
This reprehensible budget passed on a Friday less than forty-eight hours ahead of a legal deadline.
The calls for the Governor to use his line item veto to strike down these provisions was loud and immediate. The response was to stop answering their phones and emails.
In answering questions for the Media over that weekend Kasich extolled the virtues of the new budget. He would work with the Legislature to get Medicaid expansion even though they'd just bitch slapped him over it. As to the abortion provisions he needed to look oat them. He also made it a point to often cite his pro life credentials.
Democrats and progressives I know thought that Kasich is at times a pragmatist. To avoid court fights he would veto the abortion regs. I disagreed because I saw this as a play to the base with his constant waving of the pro life ensign. I truly wish I had been wrong.
Kasich vetoed the prohibition on Medicaid expansion and did not veto ANY of the abortion provisions in the budget. This way he avoids a bloody GOP mutiny as he eyes reelection in '14 and a possible Presidential run as a champion of the pro life movement. So for naked political ambition John Kasich is willing to boost his ambition on the backs of women. He sees no downside to stripping women of their rights. Kasich must feel women are too complacent to cause any meaningful political damage to his election plans. Perhaps he should have a chat with Mitt Romney.
Ohio, it is tme to show these officeholders the political price of hubris and arrogance.
They need to be reminded who they serve. The people of Ohio. All the people of Ohio not just the most vocal, connected and generous with campaign contributions.
It is time to retake the asylum from the patients.Sanity, compassion and equality must return to the political discourse in Ohio. The only way to cause that is to show extremism has a high political cost.
The time to stand united with women is now.
The time to restore sanity is now.
The time to shout no further is now.
Stand for our daughters, sisters and a womans right to control her life and future.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Shiny Key Syndrome

     All regulations and laws to stop abortion are introduced and passed only for a few reasons. Forcing women to carry pregnancies to term. Slut shaming and humiliating a woman for daring to have an abortion. Codifying the result of women not living up to the vision God had for their place in family and society. So why are they always dressed up as being for the health, safety and education of women? Is it because the actual intent being stated would doom these predominantly male politicians to the dustbin of history?
The repressive reasoning used to demonize abortion is rife with misstatements,shoddy science and outright lies legitimized as law.
And it's every sane citizen's fault we are where we are.
When the Berger Court handed down Roe v. Wade it barely registered as a blip in the National Media. It coincided with a truce in Vietnam. It may have been the subject was still something not to be discussed in polite society. It may have been most of America just didn't care. That's how I recall it. But it has been forty years. There were small protests and rallies spread across the country, pro and con .It wasn't the polarizing issue it would later become.
This also coincided with the rise of the televangelist as a nascent political force. Billy Graham was a fixture at the White House. Oral Roberts,Pat Robertson, and Jerry Falwell were decrying the fall of God Fearing America and the rise of evil secularism. They had TV, radio and had started their own Colleges. They also had a group of devoted followers and tons of CASH.
The addition of cash. ideology and a determined squad of true believers never bodes well for American Politics. There is always a political party ready to exploit those acolytes for shaping public opinion and swaying elections. Volunteers, logistics and money are the lifeblood of elections.
These so called Christian Leaders organized and delivered pulse pounding fire and brimstone sermons. They took the the issue, twisted it into a good verses evil narrative and ran with it.
We stood by and allowed it.
Their numbers were small.The rhetoric was outside the mainstream. Religion in The United States was still dominated by the large traditional Denominations. The very conservative sects were small but vocal. These were derided as "Holy Rollers"and pretty much ignored. Until the Republican Party realized what they could be used for.
This all converged as Lee Atwater was redefining Liberal as a dirty word. Making politics here as the Republicans saving America from Liberals. Libs were the ones who had destroyed American values. Paving the way for Reagan's "Shining City On The Hill". A perfect storm. Liberal became a label Democrats have been running from for a generation.
All the while these ideas were written off as rantings of religious nut jobs and extreme out of touch  politicians.
We saw the rise of groups that had started picketing clinics. Pro Life was presented as right and moral. Pro Choice was demonised as baby killers.
Through the eighties the anti abortion movement grew becoming louder and more radical. More Americans than ever identified themselves as "Born Again" than ever. Republican politics and religion were merging.
The picketing evolved into trying to prevent access by blocking entrances. Women, preparing for a never easy, life altering, action were vilified. Patient names were spread. The Doctors were condemned as murderers. The leaders of these organizations were more strident. They pushed any action against these baby killers was just and sanctioned by God. The groups pushed back in court challenging laws keeping them from interfering with access to the clinics. Civil disobedience resulting in martyrdom via righteous arrest. When you fell God approves things get ugly, very fast.
We started seeing Doctors stalked and murdered without any outrage expressed by the allied politicians.
All the while the Republicans were reaping the benefit of support from the zealots, they ran on pro life platforms then compromised with the spawn of Satan, the Democrats. There came anger as they felt The GOP was using them. Since they were committed they tended to be staunch primary voters.
Having learned how the process worked the Religious Right started putting up challengers to those they felt betrayed them by not being conservative enough. This started a panic driven lurch to the right. Some incumbents were defeated and replaced by neophyte office holders obsessed with a few poorly thought out and naive stances. We started seeing extreme comments fueled by a theocratic view of how they thought American Government worked.
This spread through out the States as people felt sanity would prevail. Dems were out worked , out organized, out spent and out voted.
Once in power an agenda emerged. Front and center the abolition of abortion. They decided to put into practice what they had been advocating for four decades.  These laws are designed to strip women of full citizenship and roll back the gains made since the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.These people aren't stupid. They hope the coming court challenges will result in the current Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.
In the meantime they get to shame and humiliate women. Treating them as if they are too stupid to make life altering decisions regarding their future. This is a chance to relegate them to ambulatory incubators. They see an opportunity to push their repressive "Christian" values on everyone to save America from those they feel hate God.
And we stood by and let them do it.
We stayed home during elections handing them the keys. We didn't challenge as we let them set the message. We didn't stand up push back and say no.
Those days are over.
I have seen women of every political stripe angered and appalled at the current situation. Thousands are telling the Texas Legislature NO!
John Kasich and Scott Walker have due to their raw political ambition have decided to sign extremist laws as a blatant play to the base. Both harbor Presidential ambitions and feel what they have done will propel them to the White House on the backs of women. The disdain is evident in that they feel women are not a threat They shrug off the fact they are the top targets. They have not learned a simple fact. Women are a force of nature. When they are motivated by righteous anger they are fierce and unyielding in their fight for justice.
We men can stand with women in this battle or be wrong again. The time to push back is now. The time to stand is now. Together. United in saying No! This will not stand!