AD OF THE YEAR: PLAYSTATION, by Taylor Marsh
It’s not what you think.
For those not seeing it, I explain…
It’s not what you think.
For those not seeing it, I explain…
So far this year, states have enacted 39 new restrictions on access to abortion.Although this is significantly lower than the record-breaking 80 restrictions that had been enacted by this point in 2011, it is nonetheless a higher number of restrictions than in any year prior to 2011. Most of the 39 new restrictions have been enacted in states that are generally hostile to abortion. …Fully 55% of U.S. women of reproductive age now live in one of the 26 states considered hostile to abortion rights. – Guttmacher Institute
THE WAR ON WOMEN in the 21st century exploded because of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, aided and abetted by the first female and Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Pres. Obama, who needlessly signed an executive order, while also codifying the Hyde Amendment into the Affordability Care Act, making it the first time in history the ultra conservative legislation was in law for all time.
It was an easy layup from there for right-wing religious conservatives across the country. A mini-Stupak wave in 2010 that became a tsunami, the challenges to women’s self-determination rising without any overt court challenges to Roe v. Wade, because those in the so-called women’s movement today are too afraid that Roe could be overturned.
While the right fights to continue moving reproductive health care away from making self-determination for women easier, women’s groups and other allies keep losing through the decision to protect the status quo that keeps receding.
Meanwhile, Perry and his Health and Human Services executive commissioner, Thomas Suehs, vowed to create a new, entirely Texas-funded WHP. And Health and Human Services and the Texas Attorney General’s Office made it very clear in a letter to the 5th Circuit judges this week that in their WHP, doctors would be banned from even discussing the existence of abortion with their patients. [Dallas Observer Blogs]
What do women think would happen if Roe v. Wade was overturned by SCOTUS, because of a challenge to what’s happening in the states? It would be a short-lived “victory,” because it would wake up the next generations of women, men too, to what happens when you compromise women’s civil rights, privacy and self-determination to religious conservatives who are against full freedoms and equality for women. Right now the argument over a woman’s right to basic self-determination continues in a hamster wheel of political insanity, while women are stripped of rights already won, state by state.
The fight would at least be real, instead of the current debate that revolves around Democrats being hailed as champions of women’s freedoms, which is certainly true to a point, especiallywhen compared to Republicans, which is the main argument by Democrats to keep women voting for them, but always ends in compromise when compared to the individual equality men enjoy without demand.
Is this really what modern women in the 21st century are going to accept, settle for?
It doesn’t impact me, personally, but I continue to be amazed at the laziness of the feminist argument today that always ends in applause for Democrats, the very political party who enabled Stupak and resulted in the Hyde Amendment being codified in law, with the Affordability Care Act making it a lot harder for women to get emergency abortion surgery if they need it.
I’ll close with some better news, at least as of mid-year 2012, including the Mississippi judge that continues to block the closure of the only abortion clinic in that state. Then there’s this from Guttmacher:
Fourteen of the 19 states that include a line-item for family planning have adopted their state budgets as of July. Despite the continuing sad state of state budgets and the widespread attacks on family planning funding last year, no state has singled out family planning funding for draconian cuts so far this year. Ten states maintained level funding for their family planning programs. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a measure that would have restored funding to the state’s program, which was eliminated in 2010. Maine slashed family planning funding by 25%, a cut in line with those taken to other health programs. And surprisingly enough, two states moved to increase funding: Minnesota restored $1 million in funding through the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program, and Virginia increased the 2010 funding level by 23%.
States also seem to be backing away from efforts to defund family planning providers. In 2011, eight states moved to disqualify at least some family planning providers from receipt of state family planning funds; so far this year, only three states have done so. Arizona adopted a measure disqualifying agencies that either provide abortions or that specialize in the provision of family planning services. Kansas and North Carolina disqualified specialized family planning providers from being eligible for state funding; litigation filed shortly after the Kansas provision was adopted has blocked enforcement of the provision, which is identical to one adopted—and enjoined—last year. Aside from the ongoing saga in Texas (see below), no other state has specifically taken aim at Planned Parenthood affiliates by name so far this year.
“Mitt Romney is trying to out-right anyone else in the race.” – Rep. Jan Schakowsky
On a conference call yesterday put together by the DNC for the media, Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky called Mitt Romney the “most extreme candidate” on issues directly impacting women.
“Romney showed no leadership whatsoever” on Rush Limbaugh, which is true.
Born and raised in Missouri, I’m not at all surprised that Mitt Romney made his latest extreme statement on women in the Show Me state. Sen. Roy Blunt and Rush Limbaugh prove there is no shortage of war on women crusaders in there.
Rick Santorum swept the south last night, but Democrats have their eye on the math and the probable nomination of Mitt Romney, whatever tortured path it takes to get him there. So, as the GOP primary race turns to Illinois, Democrats are gearing up.
Mitt Romney has clarified his remarks in Missouri from yesterday, as usual, which were added to the discussion in Thursday’s Chicago-Sun Times, saying he meant he wanted to get rid of federal funding. Does Romney not know this would impact cancer screenings for women across the country or is it that he really doesn’t care about the less advantage who rely on Planned Parenthood?
“It’s not conservative, it’s extreme,” was Cecile Richards’ response. “It’s further to the right than conservative Republicans,” she continued, adding, “Planned Parenthood saves money.”
It’s not hard for someone like myself, who is adamant about full freedom for women, to be outraged by Mitt Romney and the Republican candidates joining the war on women. If women don’t control our bodies we simply aren’t free.
I’ve got major disagreement with what the Democratic Party has done on many fronts, finding Pres. Obama’s decision on Stupak dangerous and a way to embolden the right, which is exactly what happened. Scuttling Plan B was political and wrong on the science. However, his action on a contraceptive mandate is groundbreaking and one of the most important breakthroughs in women’s freedom and health, which also aids women economically.
I’m not a one-issue voter and neither are women, with economics the top issue for most of us, but Mitt Romney’s asking an awful lot if he expects a pass on these anti-women positions.
Romney supported the Blunt-Rubio amendment as well, calling Roe v. Wade “one of the darkest moments in Supreme Court history.”
“Women don’t come to Planned Parenthood to make a political statement,” Cecile Richards said on the call. I’m no fan of Ms. Richards, as she completely abdicated her responsibility during the Stupak Amendment debate, but she’s correct on this.
Romney also supports the offensive “personhood” amendment, which even Mississippi rejected, as they did Mitt Romney last night.
How can anyone support a political party or presidential candidate who supports what Romney says he does where women are concerned? It leaves many people with no choice at all, which is why it could be a very low turn out election.
I guess you can say he’ll just flip flop and go sane if he wins the presidency, but that’s an awfully big bet for people to make with their daughters and granddaughters futures.
Hilarious poll from the Washington Post makes the case for Rick Santorum and women… as long as he stays an unknown.
Gov. McDonnell’s statement at the link.
This is what’s waiting for women in Virginia.
Clint Eastwood called it.
The Good Guys have won a couple.
I like it.
By Good Guys I mean the American people, which includes determined stiffs like Attorney General Beau Biden, then there is A.G. Eric Schneiderman and A.G. Koster of Missouri.
Attorney General Chris Koster recently announced a 136-count indictment against DOCX, which a Boone, Cty. grand jury delivered in the town where I was born.
A grand jury in Columbia, Missouri, handed down the 136- count indictment against Docx and founder Lorraine Brown alleging that a person whose name appears on 68 notarized deeds of release didn’t actually sign the paperwork, Chris Koster, the state’s attorney general, said in a statement yesterday.
This is one of the topics Chris Hayes talked about this past weekend. Genius guest booking and general wonderfulness all ’round.
Then there’s David Boies back dispensing wisdom, this time on Pres. Obama’s free contraceptive coverage decision, without fanfare or ego. Conversations and email exchanges on the subject with attorney friends, discussion richness.
Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are backing Pres. Obama on the contraception mandate.
While Sen. Scott Brown gave Elizabeth Warren a big gift. He joined Sen. Roy Blunt’s anti-women brigade that wants to deny women what Pres. Obama’s mandate provides.
“Arguing for Obama, Justice Scalia” (h/t wb), by Jay Bookman takes it from there.
I’ve been reading Justice Antonin Scalia’s decision in “Employment Division v. Smith,” a 1990 case in which the Supreme Court pretty much settled the question of whether the federal government can require or outlaw actions that might bump up against religious beliefs. The decision makes it clear that the Catholic bishops have no legal or constitutional basis for their complaint.
Gov. Chris Gregoire signed marriage equality in to law.
Occupy is still percolating out there.
Prop. 8, funded by the Mormon Church, was overturned, and marriage equality is alive.
Women won a big one, but also businesses and the greater bottom line. Ordinary workers, the individual, got some power back, because the First Amendment swings both ways.
This came after Susan G. Komen let Karen Handel near the piggy bank, and Planned Parenthood and women who can’t afford what Karen Handel or Susan G. Komen can, demanded justice.
The whip cream for me was the announcement that the money pit Baghdad embassy was going to be filleted, with the staff being cut by half. That’s on top of Iraq involvement being cut down to bare necessities. That leaves one-half of a money pit.
It just feels like one of those moments when something has shifted.
No one should get comfortable, because whatever we’re living through remains in motion, as Pres. Obama says in his note.
Somehow Whitney Houston is woven into this passage, too.
But it’s that Super Bowl car ad.
American car companies and manufacturing are part of the American soul and psyche, as far as I’m concerned. The combination of the moment, with Clint Eastwood narrating, it all seems so iconic.
Things just feel a little better right now.
It’s happier days, Keynes is back in the conversation and the culture war is back.
The answer is simple. Because no Republican or Democratic politician has the courage to challenge any church today. E.J. Dionne reveals why:
That is why it is so remarkable that he utterly botched the admittedly difficult question of how contraceptive services should be treated under the new health care law.
His administration mishandled this decision not once but twice. In the process, Obama threw his progressive Catholic allies under the bus and strengthened the hand of those inside the Church who had originally sought to derail the health care law.
… Speaking as a Catholic, I wish the Church would be more open on the contraception question. But speaking as an American liberal who believes that religious pluralism imposes certain obligations on government, I think the Church’s leaders had a right to ask for broader relief from a contraception mandate that would require it to act against its own teachings. The administration should have done more to balance the competing liberty interests here.
What Mr. Dionne reveals is that “Catholic allies” are more important than the integrity of protecting the individual person against the institution. The female individual having no lobbying crew or elite to protect her, for which she relies on the government, because only at the highest levels can a woman’s individual civil rights be secured. “Competing liberty interests” doesn’t address the lack of power an individual person has against institutions, seen in this debate by the Catholic Church who wants to deny reproductive health care to women, which hits rural and poor women directly.
Contrary to the fantasy that the Obama administration waging “an attack on their religious freedom,” an argument Russ Douthat makes today in the New York Times, what Pres. Obama has decided gives power to the individual over institutions.
Nothing is in higher keeping with the founders’ principles. It also is what Republicans and other conservatives, including Democrats, tout all the time, except where women are concerned. Then all of a sudden freedom it is just for men.
One woman’s privacy is more important than any religious institution’s prerogatives.
This highlights the biggest scourge in our politics and that is allowing religion and faith to have entrance into the debate in the first place. Thanks to Ronald Reagan and the “Moral Majority,” which was neither then or now, a religious litmus test has entered our political and policy landscape.
In thousands of parishes this weekend, Catholic priests read a version of the following letter to their congregation denouncing this decision as an attack on their religious freedom. Each bishop personally sent the letter out, and so there were some local variations. Here’s the one read in the Phoenix Archdiocese. Here’s another from the Bishop of Trenton. What follows is from the Bishop of Marquette… – Business Insider
I’m a rebel Episcopalian that now relies on daily meditation as my spiritual bedrock. I won’t take a back seat to any fundamentalist or evangelical or Catholic on spirituality. However, any person’s preferences in private should have no sway in public policy matters.
Since the Catholic Church is clearly encouraging it’s parishioners to wage a political campaign against this decision there should be substantive questions raised as to why this religious organization deserves protected status under the IRS code.
“The law says that organizations exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, which includes charities and churches, may not participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office,” the Internal Revenue Service says on its website.
That means no endorsements, checklists, guides promoting one candidate over another or sample ballots by tax-exempt parishes and organizations or their publications.
But it does not prevent religious leaders or members of other tax-exempt organizations from speaking out on the issues, organizing voter registration drives or nonpartisan educational forums or publishing candidates’ responses to a questionnaire as long as the questions cover a broad range of issues and do not reflect any bias.
As you’ll see from the letter below, provided by Business Insider, there is nothing nonpartisan about it.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
I write to you concerning an alarming and serious matter that negatively impacts the Church in the United States directly, and that strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty for all citizens of any faith. The federal government, which claims to be “of, by, and for the people,” has just been dealt a heavy blow to almost a quarter of those people — the Catholic population — and to the millions more who are served by the Catholic faithful.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that almost all employers, including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees’ health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. Almost all health insurers will be forced to include those “services” in the health policies they write. And almost all individuals will be forced to buy that coverage as a part of their policies.
In so ruling, the Obama Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. And as a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled to either violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so). The Obama Administration’s sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply.
We cannot—we will not—comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second class citizens. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom. Our parents and grandparents did not come to these shores to help build America’s cities and towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture, only to have their posterity stripped of their God given rights. In generations past, the Church has always been able to count on the faithful to stand up and protect her sacred rights and duties. I hope and trust she can count on this generation of Catholics to do the same. Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.
And therefore, I would ask of you two things. First, as a community of faith we must commit ourselves to prayer and fasting that wisdom and justice may prevail, and religious liberty may be restored. Without God, we can do nothing; with God, nothing is impossible. Second, I would also recommend visiting www.usccb.org/conscience,to learn more about this severe assault on religious liberty, and how to contact Congress in support of legislation that would reverse the Obama Administration’s decision.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Alexander K. Sample
Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample
Bishop of Marquette
The reason I wrote my book was to tell a piece of history. It was to set the record of events out for people to read and connect. The Hillary Effect gets another big boost from recent reporting that bolsters the case I make, which is backed up by the facts I offer.
“Change we can believe in” and other Obama slogans were mythmaking of the first order, which I prove, with character assassination the only weapon they thought could work when Obama got up against it. Because it wasn’t as if Hillary had an affair with Monica, or was responsible for NAFTA (it was proven conclusively she was against it), and Obama and Clinton had the same votes in the Senate on foreign policy (minus the Iran vote he ducked).
The reality from Lizza’s important article:
Another hard-edged decision helped make him the Democratic Presidential nominee. In early October, 2007, David Axelrod and Obama’s other political consultants wrote the candidate a memo explaining how he could repair his floundering campaign against Hillary Clinton. They advised him to attack her personally, presenting a difficult choice for Obama. He had spent years building a reputation as a reformer who deplored the nasty side of politics, and now, he was told, he had to put that aside. Obama’s strategists wrote that all campaign communications, even the slogan—“Change We Can Believe In”—had to emphasize distinctions with Clinton on character rather than on policy. The slogan “was intended to frame the argument along the character fault line, and this is where we can and must win this fight,” the memo said. “Clinton can’t be trusted or believed when it comes to change,” because “she’s driven by political calculation not conviction, regularly backing away and shifting positions… . She embodies trench warfare vs. Republicans, and is consumed with beating them rather than unifying the country and building consensus to get things done. She prides herself on working the system, not changing it.” The “current goal,” the memo continued, was to define Obama as “the only authentic ‘remedy’ to what ails Washington and stands in the way of progress.”
Obama’s message promised voters, in what his aides called “the inspiration,” that “Barack Obama will end the divisive trench warfare that treats politics as a game and will lead Americans to come together to restore our common purpose.” Clinton was too polarizing to get anything done: “It may not be her fault, but Americans have deeply divided feelings about Hillary Clinton, threatening a Democratic victory in 2008 and insuring another four years of the bitter political battles that have plagued Washington for the last two decades and stymied progress.”
Neera Tanden was the policy director for Clinton’s campaign. When Clinton lost the Democratic race, Tanden became the director of domestic policy for Obama’s general-election campaign, and then a senior official working on health care in his Administration. She is now the president of the liberal Center for American Progress, perhaps the most important institution in Democratic politics. “It was a character attack,” Tanden said recently, speaking about the Obama campaign against Clinton. “I went over to Obama, I’m a big supporter of the President, but their campaign was entirely a character attack on Hillary as a liar and untrustworthy. It wasn’t an ‘issue contrast,’ it was entirely personal.” And, of course, it worked.
The entire traditional, elite and many new media outlets sucked up the Axelrod theory with a straw. Put more bluntly, they picked a side.
The result is the disillusionment you have among many American voters who trusted the marketing message of “change we can believe in,” but also trusted the press, which was in collusion for one candidate over another, a scourge that continues to run through our media, especially on cable, but also in new media, where if you don’t pick a side readers can’t figure out what you’re saying. That’s how used to the partisan pabulum people have become. The case I make in my book lays it out in detail.
The Obama memo details from David Axelrod emphasize what Neera Tanden is quoted saying. The only way Barack Obama could beat her was a character assault on Hillary Rodham Clinton, even if her character was really not the issue. The issue was Barack Obama not having what it took on his own.
It’s nothing new under the political stars, but it is emphatically evident it was far from the preening, above it all persona the Obama campaign pushed.
The critical component remains the media who laid the groundwork, which I prove conclusively in my book, which covers close to 20 years.
This illustrates the importance of reporters in outlets like The New Yorker to history, people who get access to historic information to which independent authors aren’t privy. It’s a lot harder for people like myself to get heard, because I’m outside the establishment, so nuggets like what Rizza offers are critical.
The New Yorker has done something very important, for which I’m grateful, because I wrote a fair, fact based, true account of the most important political contest in modern history, from a point of view that had not been heard before.
The relevancy of The Hillary Effect has never been more real and now has one more piece of historical testimony to add to its truths.