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    • A word on Abenomics, QE and doing Stimulus right
      Quantitative Easing, to put it simply, no matter what form you do it in, is only marginally effective. Most of the money goes to the rich, you may or may not get a technical win in GDP, and in many cases the money may flow out of the country. If you want to improve the [...]
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Hellooo? Paycheck Fairness Bill? Anyone??

For some peculiar reason, the news that there will be a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Bill today has somehow slipped right under the radar.  How could that be??  Where is NOW?  This issue gets second billing on their front page.

Did anyone really buy that crap the Democrats were floating about Lilly Ledbetter?  I’m not saying it’s not an important bill but it’s sort of like the People’s Front of Judea fighting for a man’s right to have babies even though he ” ‘asn’t got a ‘oomb’ “.  Come to think of it, if men wanted to have babies, that bill would probably get passed first.

C’mon people.  Who’s really going to go to HR and ask to see the salaries of everyone in the department?  It’s like branding your forehead with a giant “L”.  HR is there to serve management, not troublemaking upstarts.  And it’s only after you have the information that you know whether there’s a suit worth pursuing.

In any case, the bill is supposed to fall 60 votes short in the Senate.  Are you frickin’ kidding me??  There are a bunch of lame ducks in the Senate.  If they can’t take a stand for women and do something right now, when can we ever expect such a thing?  And this would be a great boost to the economy that wouldn’t cost the government a cent.  Yeah, actually pay women what they’re worth so they can go and buy stuff.  What we really need for the economy to improve is for wages to increase and we’re half the fricking country.  It’s a no-brainer guys.  Even Republican women will love you for it.  You don’t get better political cover than this.

So, what gives?  Why is the concept of Paycheck Fairness, getting paid the same wages for the same work, regardless of your gender, meeting so much resistance in the 21st century?   If there was only one regulation worth passing on business this session, this bill would be it.

And we hear- nothing.

The 19th Amendment: Negative Space

happy anniversary, I guess

Ohai, today was the anniversary of the 19th amendment.  You know, the one that gave women the right to vote as long as they vote for some guy?  Yeah, that one.  Well, I don’t know about you but I have been underwhelmed by my ability to fairly reflect my preferences for elected office in the past 30 years that I have been granted this privilege.  So, I think I might experiment with negative space in the voting area.

See, it seems to me that there are an awful lot (emphasis on awful) of politicians that have filled in their electoral success scenarios by anticipating the votes of women, to whom they make promises they don’t intend to keep.  Creatively, I think they’ve hit a rut.  I would like to challenge those guys (and it’s mostly guys) to repaint their electoral pictures without our votes. Consider it a thought experiment, a little intellectual masturbation.  Imagine an electoral landscape with massive voids where our votes might have been. After all, we given the right to vote but no one said we had to use it.  Or would we be using it if we just didn’t?

Oh, sure, the Democrats will say that if the Republicans win, it will just make it worse for ourselves.  But then I think about the old guy in Life of Brian who was about to get stoned for BLASPHEMY and think how much worse can it get if I say Jehovah one more time?  Jehovah!  Jehovah!  I mean, as long as I’m going to get pummeled anyway, might as well express myself.

Anyways, having the vote is great, in theory.  Too bad there’s no one I want to give it to right now.  And you all know that they won’t buy the cow if you give the milk away for free.

Sing it, sisters:

Elena Kagan and Laura Bush: When Pigs Really Fly

Kudos to the President for nominating another lady to the supreme court. Well done. But something’s not right here. What is it…? Oh, yeah.

I’m really, really glad Obama chose a woman. I really, really wish she were more liberal. I suspect she’ll be okay on Roe and other “social issues,” but her attitude to executive power is alarming.

Also, rumors abound that Kagan is gay. Let’s just pretend for a second that we care….

Glad that’s over.

As for social issues, the President has really given us a treat! He picked someone that is kind of pro-choice! OMG! But wait…

As a White House adviser in 1997, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan urged then-President Bill Clinton to support a ban on late-term abortions, a political compromise that put the administration at odds with abortion rights groups.

Documents reviewed Monday by The Associated Press show Kagan encouraging Clinton to support a bill that would have banned all abortions of viable fetuses except when the physical health of the mother was at risk. The documents from Clinton’s presidential library are among the first to surface in which Kagan weighs in the thorny issue of abortion.

The abortion proposal was a compromise by Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle. Clinton supported it, but the proposal failed and Clinton vetoed a stricter Republican ban.

In a May 13, 1997, memo from the White House domestic policy office, Kagan and her boss, Bruce Reed, told Clinton that abortion rights groups opposed Daschle’s compromise. But they urged the president to support it, saying he otherwise risked seeing a Republican-led Congress override his veto on the stricter bill.

Oh. But still! Since Kagan is probably a lezbo, she must support gay marriage, right? Wrong.

The meme has taken hold that Kagan is a stealth candidate who has avoided taking positions on important constitutional or other issues throughout her career.

But on one issue of critical importance to the left — the constitutional right to same-sex marriage, Kagan has staked out a very clear and unequivocal position: There is no constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

In the course of her nomination for Solicitor General, Kagan filled out questionnaires on a variety of issues. While she bobbed and weaved on many issues, with standard invocations of the need to follow precedent and enforce presumptively valid statutes, on the issue of same-sex marriage Kagan was unequivocal.

Kagan is a winner in other ways, too:

“Like Harriet Miers, she doesn’t have a record to tell us how she would adjudicate from the bench. They led a rebellion against the executive branch and the same thing should happen here.”

“I object to appointment somebody that has no track record. Corporate power is a big one because of the Citizens United decision, and also Miranda. There are a lot of things where it would be helpful to be able to examine past writings.”

“If I was in the Senate, I would vote no, because like Harriet Miers she doesn’t have the judicial experience.”

“Accepting Kagan just because people like Obama is wrong. That’s appropriate for American Idol, not the Supreme Court. Nobody knows what she stands for but him. It’s just a cult of personality with Obama. This is the Supreme Court.”

There is something fundamentally wrong about this. Everyone is used to Obama constantly rejecting his base. They are like devoted mistresses who constantly tell themselves that their boyfriends will leave their wives–he is just making a compromise right now; it’s a secret game of eleven dimensional chest and during the election time he will come crawling back. But really, why do liberals have to compromise in the first place?

The selection of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to be the nation’s 112th justice extends a quarter-century pattern in which Republican presidents generally install strong conservatives on the Supreme Court while Democratic presidents pick candidates who often disappoint their liberal base.

[…]

Along the way, conservatives have largely succeeded in framing the debate, putting liberals on the defensive. Sonia Sotomayor echoed conservatives in her Supreme Court confirmation hearings last year by rejecting the idea of a “living” Constitution that evolves, and even President Obama recently said the court had gone too far in the past. While conservatives have played a powerful role in influencing Republican nominations, liberals have not been as potent in Democratic selections.

Well, I don’t know. Maybe the blogger boyz just need a reality check. For one thing, Obama is just not that into them.

For another, the notion that Obama is a “Democratic President” is laughable anyway. Democratic Presidents don’t pass Heritage Foundation Health Insurance Reforms and then claim it as the biggest victory of their Presidency. Just sayin.’

The Democratic Party is obviously in trouble, and that is no secret. But they can’t be any worse than Republicans, right? NOTHING is worse than a Republican. I mean, Elena Kagan might not be perfect on social issues, but at least she’s more liberal that Laura Bush!

On her media tour for her memoir, Spoken from the Heart, Laura Bush stopped by Larry King Live, where she opened up for the first time about her advocacy for marriage equality, as well as her belief that Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision regarding a woman’s right to an abortion, should be upheld.

A 16-year-old is buried alive, nobody cries

I’ll bet that girl did, but apparently nobody heard her. Here’s the story:

Turkish police have recovered the body of a 16-year-old girl they say was buried alive by relatives in an “honor” killing carried out as punishment for talking to boys. The girl, who has been identified only by the initials MM, was found in a sitting position with her hands tied, in a two-meter hole dug under a chicken pen outside her home in Kahta, in the south-eastern province of Adiyaman. … Media reports said the father had told relatives he was unhappy that his daughter – one of nine children – had male friends. The grandfather is said to have beaten her for having relations with the opposite sex. A postmortem examination revealed large amounts of soil in her lungs and stomach, indicating that she had been alive and conscious while being buried. Her body showed no signs of bruising.

Yup. A sixteen year old girl was buried alive for talking to boys and nobody gives a shit. I mean, seriously, who cares? Tiger Woods porked a Porn Star! Angeline is bored with Brad!

The always reliable Peter Doau tells it like it is:

First, let me say this: the brutalization of women and girls cuts across all religious and cultural boundaries, so this isn’t just about dis-‘honor’ killings, though few things are more heinous than a father murdering his daughter (after dispassionately discussing it with other family members). It’s about the things males do to females and will continue to do unless the outcry is loud enough that the world begins to take notice.

I have no patience for anyone trying to blame this hideous act on Islam. None. If you want to get on an anti-Islam soupbox, do it somewhere else, where people who aren’t ignorant don’t have to listen to you. This is not about Religion. This is not about class. This is not about Race or Origin or Ethnic background or location, this is about that girl and millions of others like her who suffer and die because they have a vagina. This is about the human spirit, and the simple fact that women are not viewed as human beings in our society, and haven’t been viewed as human beings for a very long time. What happened to that girl isn’t an isolated incident. It is pervasive, like an ancient and sickening disease. And it is everywhere.

Denis Mukwege, a Congolese gynecologist, cannot bear to listen to the stories his patients tell him anymore. Every day, 10 new women and girls who have been raped show up at his hospital. Many have been so sadistically attacked from the inside out, butchered by bayonets and assaulted with chunks of wood, that their reproductive and digestive systems are beyond repair. “We don’t know why these rapes are happening, but one thing is clear,” said Dr. Mukwege, who works in South Kivu Province, the epicenter of Congo’s rape epidemic. “They are done to destroy women.”

[…]

I could post thousands of these and it wouldn’t capture the depth and breadth of the problem. It comes down to this: there simply isn’t sufficient public outrage about gender-based violence to spur political action.

[…]

Sometimes I feel like we were all born into an alternate universe, a psychotic, twisted, perverted version of what life should be. Our existence is marked by unimaginable violence, hideous acts of evil against the most innocent among us. It’s like living in a perpetual horror movie.

Setting aside the existential conundrum, one thing I know for certain: we can’t stop jumping up and down, screaming at the top of our lungs, donating money to organizations that help women, telling our friends and families, doing everything in our power to stop these male monsters from continuing their savagery against women and girls.

Hmmmmm… do any of you know anyone who jumps up and down, screams at the top of their lungs, donates money to lady friendly organizations, and tells all of their friends about violence against women and girls? I don’t.

And maybe its time we do.

As a Wiccan I’m often asked why folks like me carry around the burning times as chips on our shoulders. They ask this as if the burning times are over. Nobody is burning at the stake (at least not very many) but that’s only because its so passe. Genital mutilation and stoning is much more effective these days.

SOD did a series about Male Social Dominance and how it effects women and girls. Attitudes like these do stem from Male Social Dominance, but some argue that Male Social Dominance isn’t as ingrained into human nature as you might think.

If you ever read The Chalice and The Blade, by Raine Eslier or When God Was a Woman by Merlin Stone or In Search of the Sacred Feminine you would know what that means. They and others make the case that human beings aren’t, by nature, violent and warlike, and cite archeological evidence of Pre-Helenic Egalitarian societies as proof.

One common misconception is that women back then were “worshiped” in “fertility cults” because of their reproductive powers, but the truth is much more practical and economical. Nobody was monogamous those days and they didn’t have paternity tests, so societies were matrilineal, meaning property and possessions were passed down through daughters instead of sons, because there was never any way to know who the father of the children were. Women were thus in control of their bodies and independence, so men and women lived together in peaceful harmony.

Archeologists have discovered no evidence of the glorification of violence and war from the civilizations that existed on the Islands of Crete and Thera for at least a thousand years. They were neolithic, so they didn’t hunt and didn’t evolve by eating meat, therefore physical strength, which is where men usually have the advantage, wasn’t very important. People from those societies generally had a different view on life than we do today. They had no human or animal sacrifices. They were highly advanced, and they didn’t have written word because it wouldn’t have made sense to them. Paragraphs are linear and they had no concept of time, for them everything went in a circle. Obviously they weren’t perfect, and they were the way they were because men and women chose to coexist instead of dominating each other.

Their way of life eventually died out because non-neolithic indo-europeans invaded from the north and Hebrews invaded from the south. Those tribes were violent and patriarchal because they came from areas that were to cold or warm to grow food, so they survived by hunting and conquest. That supposedly happened around five thousand years ago, and women have been subject to violence ever since, because to violent societies past and present women are akin to livestock or booty.

(It’s also worth noting that the Aryans were one of the Indo European tribes that invaded those egalitarian societies, and Hitler cited them as superior human beings.)

If you really think about it, all of the world’s problems go back to women’s equality. That’s how it all started. I highly doubt that any of the men in Congress or men in the White House are going to be bringing more attention to gender based violence any time soon.

So, as usual, its up to us to do something about it.

Monday Morning News and Views

Ida

Hurricane Ida batters coast of Cancun, Mexico

Good Morning, Conflucians! This morning more than ever, I’m so grateful for all of you, and so glad we have this blog where we can discuss, argue and rant about politics and news events. I can’t begin to imagine what I would have done with out TC and all of you Conflucians over the past couple of years. Thank you all for being here! I hope you have a marvelous Monday, despite the bad news.

This has been a very tough weekend to be a liberal who saw through Obama from the beginning when so many other other people who previously seemed sane and reasonable just gulped down the Koolaid and adjusted their blinders so as to see only “hope ‘n change” filtered through their rose-colored glasses. I don’t enjoy saying “I told you so” anymore. The consequences of electing an inexperienced, narcissistic, apparently amoral, misogynistic, homophobic man to the presidency are becoming all too clear. And those results are tragic.

From where I sit, the pain of the unconscionable betrayal of women by the President and the U.S. House of Representatives still feels fresh. Stateofdisbelief said it so well yesterday in a comment on Quixote’s post:

Yep. Last night was it for me. They can all pound. F#$K Sestak, F#$K Specter, F#$K Holden. I am done. No help. No phone calls. No canvassing. No money. No vote.

I hate them all.

There is no one that can argue with a straight face that women should vote for Democrats. There is nothing. They burnt the bridge.

It’s over for me too. I can never again consider myself a Democrat. We need a new party to represent those of us who were FDR, JFK, LBJ, WJC, HRC Democrats–there is no longer room in our former party for liberals who believe in equal rights for all and compassion for our fellow humans. Both of the parties now represent only the superrich and giant multinational banks and corporations. We’re on our own now. As Quixote wrote so eloquently:

But women are just, as always, the expendable canaries in the coal mine. Their rights are toast, which means so are everyone else’s.

I’m going to shout that: WOMEN’S RIGHTS ARE TOAST WHICH MEANS SO ARE EVERYONE ELSE’S.

Rights are for all. When only some people have them, they’re just privileges. And privileges can be taken away….

The right to control one’s own person is fundamental. Even the right not to be murdered is secondary, since killing is allowed in self-defence.

So what’s happening in the news this morning? It’s hard for me to work up much enthusiasm for surfing the ‘net right now, but I’ll post a few links and you can add your own in the comments.

It looks like Hurricane Ida has weakened to a Category 1, so I hope Dakinikat and her fellow N’awlins citizens will be able to safely weather the storm. Fingers crossed.

Hurricane Ida chugged toward the Gulf Coast, and despite warnings extending more than 200 miles across several states, residents seemed to take the first Atlantic hurricane to target the U.S. this season in stride.

Authorities said the hurricane weakened early Monday to a Category 1 storm, with 90 mph winds, and could make landfall as early as Tuesday morning.

The New York Times has a very good story on the background of the shooting at Fort Hood.
Fort Hood Gunman gave signals Before his Rampage

Major Hasan’s behavior in the months and weeks leading up to the shooting bespeaks a troubled man full of contradictions. He lived frugally in a run-down apartment, yet made a good salary and spent more than $1,100 on the pistol the authorities said he used in the shootings.

He was described as gentle and kindly by many neighbors, quick with a smile or a hello, yet he complained bitterly to people at his mosque about the oppression of Muslims in the Army. He had few friends, and even the men he interacted with at the mosque saw him as a strange figure whom they never fully accepted into their circle.

It is beginning to look like Major Hasan was a very likely suffering from clinical depression at the very least. He had turned to his religion for solace, but he needed much more help than any religion could provide. Sadly, it appears that many of his superiors either ignored or simply did not notice the ominous signs and they did not listen to those who tried to warn them. Continue reading

The three pillars of alpha male social dominance

3 pillars of social dominance

The battle rages on between feminists over whether a “women-only” or “liberal women-only” strategy is the best path to upending the current patriarchal system.  This system is one that deprives the female gender of appropriate representation in the power structures of our nation.  I believe this is *the* question of our generation for women who witnessed the simultaneously positive and negative experience of the election of 2008.  Two strong female candidates, each from supposedly diametrically opposed ideologies, became political lightening rods; both were revered and ravaged at the same time.  Many of us saw the awesome potential of finally cracking that political glass ceiling and it excited us.  When the dust settled in the ashes of the political aftermath, a smoldering question remained — who should crack that ceiling? or more accurately, who deserves our support?

But, to my intended point here – are we focusing too narrowly on politics in our pursuit of social equality?  I’ve previously discussed the theory of social dominance as the fundamental explanation for women’s barriers to this social equality.  (It may be helpful to read the following posts here, here, and here, which provide the foundation for what follows.)  The basic premise of social dominance theory is that a socially dominant group establishes through its power, institutions that perpetuate their dominance.  This is accomplished through the the promulgation of legitimizing myths. (legitimizing myths = beliefs, norms, doctrines, ideologies, dogma, memes, etc.)  The socially dominant therefore use their power over institutions to promote legitimizing myths that are used to persuade the non-dominant group to accept their subservience. The only effective antidote to specific areas of social dominance is to mount a successful counter-movement for the purpose of gaining access to the power structures of the institution and to erode the legitimizing myths.

Continue reading

Common Sense and the sensus communis: anatomy of an American pressure cooker

romesenate1

Gay-Lussac

The pressure of a fixed mass and fixed volume of a gas is directly proportional to the gas’s temperature.

This relationship is known as the Gay-Lussac’s Law and a pressure cooker is an example of the law in practice. Cooking under pressure creates the possibility of cooking with high temperature liquids because the boiling point of a liquid increases as its pressure increases. High pressure and high heat can result in delectable dishes.

41CvXI3gHEL__SL160_

Cooking under pressure can be also dangerous because as liquids change phase into gases their volume expands greatly. For example, at atmospheric pressure the volume of steam is about 1700 times greater than the volume of water. To prevent pressure cookers from becoming bombs, relief devices (pop safety valves) are employed that are capable of relieving all of the steam the vessel is capable of producing.

America the Beautiful Pressure Cooker

The political pressure cooker is beginning to heat up. The power brokers and institutions that drive the nation have arrived unannounced on the doorsteps of America like a gaggle of unwanted, high maintenance relatives that demand hospitality for an unforeseeable time and that won’t take no for answer. Furthermore, they’ve announced that more relatives are on the way. Whatever plans America’s householders had, they’ve just gone out the window, with their household budgie and the relatives’ cat in hot pursuit.

People are justifiably angry with this incursion. Their budgie might not have been much, but it was “their budgie”, nurtured from birth into what it had become. Justifiably angry householders are trying to work out why the relatives arrived on their doorsteps and why they brought their fucking cat. Continue reading

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