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The Democrats are going to run on “results” in November??

Bart Stupak, poster boy for the "party of results"

I know, I know.  It took me awhile to stop giggling too.  They can’t possibly be serious.  But that’s what PoliticalTicker is claiming.   Swallow your coffee before you read it:

Washington (CNN) – When voters head to the polls in November, the Democratic National Committee would like them to remember Democrats with one word: results.

On Wednesday at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, chairman Tim Kaine revealed his party’s new message and strategy months ahead of the midterm elections. Kaine talked about the efforts with CNN Chief National Correspondent John King in an interview that aired on John King, USA.

Kaine told King that Democrats hope to convince voters they are the party of results. Part of their new strategy will involve pushing that message, helping local candidates, and convincing many of the new voters – that voted for President Barack Obama in the last election – to support Democrats in the midterms.

The DNC chairman said that while the economy still needs improvements, it’s moved from recession to recovery.

Kaine said, “I think the improvement will be noticed by our voters and we’ll be able to make the case to them, do you want to keep climbing or do you want to hand the keys back to the guys who put us into the ditch?”

Yeah, I’m sure that’s what they will be thinking as they head out the door today with their complimentary cardboard box for their stuff and their three month severance packages.

Actually, that’s not what I’ve been witnessing here in the heart of middle class suburbia.  What is happening is that the Republicans in NJ are stirring up an anti-tax rebellion and directing it against hapless teachers.  Why should THEY be getting decent bennies and a steady paycheck when the people footing the bill with their ridiculous property taxes are seeing their industries disappearing and their own lives on the brink of disaster?

Tim Kaine and the Democrats are utterly clueless.  They have no idea what is really going on out here.  Results?  What results?

Was the stimulus package big enough to stave off these drastic cuts in our school districts?

Did Democrats end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Did the Democrats fight hard for the entrepreneurs and small businesses to get the capital they need to start new ventures so people would have jobs?

Did the Democrats soak the rich bankers within an inch of their lives so that they would learn a valuable lesson and the financial catastrophe they brought upon us wouldn’t happen again?

Did Democrats put together an adequate bailout and mortgage restructuring package for strapped homeowners so they wouldn’t throw in the towel and walk away from their obligations?  Did they make it easier for mortgage owners to keep money flowing to the banks to keep them solvent?

Did the Democrats impose some emergency regulations so that bankers would stop gambling away our futures?

Have the Democrat done ANYTHING so far to make sure that no one touches Social Security and that we get our Trust Fund money back from the thieves who took it?

Did the Democrats give us actual health care reform that’s truly universal, affordable, with competition?

Did the Democrats protect womens’ rights and autonomy of her own body?

Did the Democrats fix gender paycheck inequalities for real or did they simply pass a law with no teeth?

Did the Democrats try to protect American workers’ jobs?

I haven’t seen any results.  I’ve seen them turn their backs on their own voters in 2008 in order to elect their lightbringer, an easy win for them.  All they had to do was change the roolz in the middle of the game and cudgel frantic American voters with false accusations of racism to guilt them into voting for one of the most unprepared but nakedly ambitious presidents since George W. Bush.  But it wasn’t enough to make him president.  No, the world had to give him a Nobel prize as well.  What’s next?  A MacArthur genius grant for curing cancer?  Where does he find the time??  The awards must be piling up on his little display etegere, like a bunch of 3rd place martial arts trophies.  Everyone who participates gets a prize for trying.

And the whining.  I can’t stand it.  We are now supposed to believe that a minority party, the Republicans, are responsible for all that has gone wrong.  They stand in the way.  They say no to everything.  Even when Democrats had a filibuster proof majority in the Senate, the Republicans were responsible.  How can that be??  I am trying hard to wrap my head around this concept.  Here’s what I’ve got: 1.) Democrats had a filibuster proof majority in the senate.  2.)Republicans got what they wanted anyway.  3.) Soooo, maybe the problem is actually *in* the Democratic party.   Three names come to mind immediately: Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson and Bart Stupak.  You can throw Blanche Lincoln and Mary Landrieu in there as well but at least they can be leaned on.  Who leaned on Nelson, Lieberman and Stupak?  Those three swaggered all over Congress and Stupak in particular got whatever the hell he wanted.  It was Bart Stupak vs the majority of voters in the USA and Bart won.  BART won.  The Democrats allowed Bart and Obama to screw millions of women out of their personal autonomy and Democrats have the nerve to blame Republicans?

I don’t think Democrats understand the impact of their cowardice.  Women are not a special interest.  Workers have to work to pay taxes.  The financial investment industry is out of control and wrecking havoc around the world.  Our current wars are pointless wastes of lives and money.  Sick children should never have to pass through a gauntlet to get affordable health care.  And we need teachers, even the mean ones who can’t be bothered to address the needs of the gifted.  If they do a good job with the other 98% of the students in their classes, we will have gotten more than our money’s worth.

You want to know what I want to see in the results category?  I want to see real passion on the Floor.  I want to see yelling and screaming.  I want to see the progressives and liberals eat some red meat and throw a fit until the Bart Stupaks in their own party back down.  I want to see eggs thrown and smoke bombs and bloody noses.  I want to see incivility.  I want to see so much fighting in Congress by Democratic representatives on behalf of Americans not in the bonus class that the editorial page of the New York Times faints before it can reach the smelling salts.  I don’t want two Republican parties.  I want to see Democrats actually ACT like Democrats. 

Shove your “party of results” meme until you have some results.  I own my vote.  I don’t give it away for social promotion purposes.  You can’t scare me with the Republican boogie man anymore.  I voted for downticket Dems in 2008 but they haven’t pulled their weight.  If Republicans win this fall, Democrats have themselves to blame and no one else.  It was their responsibility to get things done and they blew it.  They coasted.   This fall, I’m not voting for either party.  I’m voting for a party to be designated later.

And stop calling me for money.

Friday Morning News and Views


Good Morning Conflucians! TGIF!

I guess state-run media got together with the President and decided to try to distract us with some cutsie, lightweight news this morning:

Obama: “I Can Go to My Right, but I Prefer My Left”

President Obama hit the basketball court and talked politics with CBS “Early Show” co-anchor Harry Smith this morning.

Smith asked Mr. Obama, who is left-handed, if he can ever go to his right.

“I can go to my right, but I prefer my left,” the president says.

He doesn’t always sink his famous jump shot.

“You know, I’ve got a few other things on my mind,” said Mr. Obama, who then makes the jump shot. “Its like health care, I always come from behind – I finish strong.”

{Gag!} I don’t know, somehow cutsie just isn’t working for me at the moment.

Obama also gave Smith a recycled version of his famous “bitter working class people” remarks from the primaries. Some of us (the angry, creepy ones) are bitter, he says, but “the vast majority of Americans know that we’re trying hard, that I want what’s best for the country.” Obviously Obama either doesn’t read or doesn’t believe his poll numbers.

Today President Obama is going the Charlotte, NC, to make another speech–this time about “his administration’s plans to create jobs.” I wonder if he will reveal what that plan is? My guess is it’s “just words.”

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate is still 9.7% (actually about 20%) even though the Labor department claims the addition of 162,000 jobs in March.

Here’s a nice feel-good story that works a lot better for me than Obama’s weak basketball jokes: Teen with autism advises other ‘different’ kids

Haley, 15, is using her experience as a person with autism to help others deal with middle school. She wrote and illustrated “Middle School: The Stuff Nobody Tells You About,” which details her advice for students….

Haley’s case is on the high-functioning side of the autism spectrum. She has always attended regular schools, doesn’t have special classes and is a straight-A student at a prestigious private school in South Florida.

“Most people just notice that I’m shy, and that I don’t eat a ton of food at school,” said Haley, of Parkland, Florida. “Other than that, I come across pretty normal.”

Go Haley! I like your style.

Thank goodness, Scott Roeder, convicted murderer of Dr. George Tiller, was sent to prison for life yesterday.

The sentence was handed down Thursday by Judge Warren Wilber at the end of a remarkable nine-hour hearing in which a self-righteous Roeder, shadowed by a burly bailiff, spoke unrepentantly in his own defense while the doctor’s widow, Jeannie Tiller, sat shaking her head “no.”

Roeder had been convicted in January of first-degree murder for gunning Tiller down in his Wichita church last May. The question remaining today was whether Roeder’s mandatory life sentence would carry a minimum of 25 or 50 years before he would be eligible for parole. Prosecutors — citing Roeder’s longtime stalking of Tiller and assault of others in the aftermath of the shooting — argued for the so-called “hard 50.” Determining that those aggravating factors were not outweighed by factors presented by Roeder and his counsel, the judge gave Roeder the maximum sentence.

Throwing the book at Roeder sends the clearest possible message that nothing — not even his stated belief that his actions prevented the “murder” of millions more — mitigates his crime.

This as the Democratic Congress and President as well as the Kansas legislature act to curtail women’s reproductive rights, and consequently women’s basic freedoms to seek life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Today at Counterpunch, Dave Lindoff is arguing that Obama should be impeached.

Here’s Lindorff back in October 2008 explaining why he planned to vote for Barack Obama instead of a third party candidate:

The reason is partly because I know I would vote for Obama if I lived in Ohio or Indiana, where the race between McCain and Obama is too close to call, and so, to vote for Nader when it is simply safe to do so here in Pennsylvania is really a cop-out.

But even more important, when I see the hate-filled racists and right-wing yahoos braying at McCain and Palin rallies, when I hear people calling for Obama to be killed or lynched, and when I see the rabid hate mail circulating in email inboxes falsely labeling him as a secret Muslim, a terrorist, a Marxist and a black nationalist, I want to see the man resoundingly win this election.

But it’s more than that. I also, perhaps against all logic and experience, admit that I expect something good of an Obama presidency.

Call me naive, but based upon my own life experience, I keep thinking that a guy who has worked as a community organizer, a Harvard Law School grad (and even law journal editor!) who could have named his price at a Wall Street law firm, but who chose instead to be a political and community activist, a guy who has relatives who live in humble surroundings in Kenya, and who spent some of his childhood actually living in a Third World Asian nation, not to mention a guy who has surely felt the sting of being called a nigger, has to bring something new to the White House. Certainly no other president in the history of the country has come to the office with such a background.

OK, Dave. I’m calling you naive.

So what are you reading this morning? Please share! And have a fabulous Friday!!!!!

Friday Morning News and Views

Good Morning Conflucians! We had a brief two-day break in the gloomy weather, but the dank, foggy stuff is back and today we’re getting a mixture of snow and rain. I still have a cold and the worst sore throat I can remember having since I was a kid. But all that pales in comparison when I reflect upon what Barack Obama has managed to accomplish during such a short time in the White House.

More than 40 years ago, when I moved to Boston, the Catholic Church controlled the government of Massachusetts. Now, thanks to our “progressive” President, the Catholic Church controls our federal government! That Koolaid is some amazing stuff! In just a little more than a year, Obama and his Democratic Congress have managed to wipe out 40 years of advances in women’s rights! Now they are setting their sights on destroying Social Security–and accomplishing that will create new jobs too! We’ll need a lot of government workers to pick up and dispose of the bodies of elderly and disabled people who have starved and died on the street or in their homes.

What’s next? How about getting rid of DADT and restoring the old policy of no tolerance whatsoever for gays in the military? Let’s create more low-paying jobs by building debtor’s prisons, poorhouses, and orphanages where the unfortunate poor can be warehoused so the wealthy don’t have to look at them. The possibilities are endless! Ain’t it great living in a third world country?

I’ve decided to focus this post on Catholic Church news–because there is just so much of it. The Catholic Church that controls our government is embroiled in an slowly unfolding scandal that looks to be literally global. The abuse of children by Catholic priests is coming to light all over the world. Why are these people allowed to tell American women what we can do with our bodies?

NYT: Pope May Be at Crossroads on Abuse, Forced to Reconcile Policy and Words

“He is at a crossroads,” said Marco Politi, a veteran Italian Vatican journalist. “What’s extraordinary is that the scandal has reached the heart of the center of the church. Up to now it was far away — in the States, in Canada, in Brazil, in Australia. Then it came to Europe, to Ireland.

“Then it came to his motherland,” Mr. Politi added of Benedict’s native Germany. “Then it came to his diocese, and now it’s coming to the heart of the government of the church — and he has to give an answer.”


In Ireland

Irish Bishop John Magee has resigned.

Boston Herald: Irish bishop steps down amid pedophile scandal

DUBLIN – Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of an Irish bishop yesterday for his failure to report child-molesting priests to police, amid ever-unfolding accusations that church leaders have protected child abusers for decades.

Bishop John Magee – a former papal secretary – apologized to victims of pedophile priests who were kept in parish posts during his 23 years overseeing the southwest Irish diocese of Cloyne.

“To those whom I have failed in any way, or through any omission of mine have made suffer, I beg forgiveness and pardon,” the 73-year-old Magee said.

And another Irish Bishop, Sean Brady, may have to resign next.

Yet another Irish bishop admits child abuse failure as Vatican may force Cardinal Brady to resign

Speculation is mounting that Pope Benedict may seek the resignation of Cardinal Sean Brady as the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland as another Irish bishop admits he failed to handle a sex abuse case properly.

This comes amid fresh scandal in Ireland, with the Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, Dr William Lee, admitting he managed a sex abuse allegation case in the 1990s in a “seriously inadequate” fashion.

Lee waited two years before divulging the information he had about the priest to the relevant authorities.

Activist Irish pop singer Sinead O’Connor speaks out.

Sinead O’Connor: ‘There should be a full criminal investigation of the pope’

She shot to fame 20 years ago with her shaved head, chiseled cheeks and haunting rendition of the song “Nothing Compares 2 U.” Then she gained notoriety when she tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II on American TV, calling him “the enemy” and urging people to fight child abuse.

Sinead O’Connor is still singing. And she’s still speaking out against abuse — only now her 1992 stunt on “Saturday Night Live” almost seems prescient as the Roman Catholic Church faces a growing catalog of complaints about child sexual and physical assault by priests in her Irish homeland and across Europe


In the US

NYT: Vatican Declined to Defrock U.S. Priest Who Abused Boys

Top Vatican officials — including the future Pope Benedict XVI — did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church, according to church files newly unearthed as part of a lawsuit.

The internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, shows that while church officials tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed, their highest priority was protecting the church from scandal.

Boston Herald: Vatican halted trial for Wisconsin priest accused of molesting 200 deaf boys

On Thursday, a group of clerical abuse victims provided the documentation to reporters outside the Vatican, where they staged a press conference to denounce Benedict’s handling of the case. During the conference, a policeman asked for identification and they were subsequently detained, police said.

“The goal of Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, was to keep this secret,” said Peter Isely, Milwaukee-based director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.

“This is the most incontrovertible case of pedophilia you could get,” Isely said, flanked by photos of other clerical abuse victims and a poster of Ratzinger. “We need to know why he (the pope) did not let us know about him (Murphy) and why he didn’t let the police know about him and why he did not condemn him and why he did not take his collar away from him.”

CBS News: Rome Detains U.S. Church Abuse Protesters

Four American victims of clergy sexual abuse say they were detained and questioned by Italian police in Rome after showing photos of the pope during a news conference outside St. Peter’s Square.

Barbara Blaine, one of the victims, said Thursday after emerging from a police station near the Vatican that officers told them a judge will decide if they will be charged. She says they were detained because they didn’t have a permit for the outdoor news conference.

Time: After U.S. Abuse Revelation, the Vatican Fires Back

As the Times posted its story on the accused priest, Father Lawrence Murphy, who died in 1998, the Holy See responded on the Web. In a statement linked on the Vatican’s brand new Twitter account, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Papal spokesman, declared, “By sexually abusing children who were hearing-impaired, Father Murphy violated the law and, more importantly, the sacred trust that his victims had placed in him.” But Lombardi defended the decision not to remove Murphy from the “clerical state,” saying the priest was “elderly and in very poor health” and that he was “living in seclusion, and no allegations of abuse had been reported in over 20 years.”

Grand Forks Herald: Priest in Irish church abuse scandal had ties to North Dakota parishes

A key figure and the most notorious abuser in the Irish clergy sex scandal served as a priest in the Catholic Diocese of Fargo from 1979-83, where he was accused of sexually assaulting altar boys in St. Alphonsus parish in Langdon, N.D., and also served briefly in Park River and Ellendale, as well as other parishes.

The Rev. John Smythe, as he was known in North Dakota, was the Brendan Smyth who sexually assaulted boys over 30 years in Ireland and the United States and whose abuse and the cover-ups surrounding it was credited with bringing down the Irish government in late 1994.

Smyth died several years ago in prison.

In Germany

NYT: Pope Was Told Pedophile Priest Would Get Transfer

MUNICH — The future Pope Benedict XVI was kept more closely apprised of a sexual abuse case in Germany than previous church statements have suggested, raising fresh questions about his handling of a scandal unfolding under his direct supervision before he rose to the top of the church’s hierarchy.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope and archbishop in Munich at the time, was copied on a memo that informed him that a priest, whom he had approved sending to therapy in 1980 to overcome pedophilia, would be returned to pastoral work within days of beginning psychiatric treatment. The priest was later convicted of molesting boys in another parish.

Guardian UK: Pope implicated in allegations over sex abuse by second Catholic priest

Fresh revelations have been made directly implicating Pope Benedict XVI in mishandling the case of a paedophile priest in his former archdiocese of Munich. The allegations come a day after the Vatican responded angrily to the allegation that the former Cardinal Ratzinger had ignored an American diocese’s request that another predatory priest should be defrocked.

According to the New York Times, the former cardinal, as Archbishop of Munich, attended a meeting in January 1980 at which the transfer of Father Peter Hullermann from the diocese of Essen, where his parishioners had accused him of abusing boys, to Munich was agreed.

The move was meant to allow him to undergo therapy, but instead he was immediately posted to a parish in Bavaria, where he continued to abuse children.

And In Many More Countries

Swiss Catholic Church investigates 60 claims of sex abuse

The Catholic Church in Switzerland is investigating sixty claims of sexual abuse by priests, the Swiss news agency SDA reported.

Abbot Martin Werlen of the Benedictine Abbey of Einsiedeln told the newspaper Mittelland-Zeitung that the church is looking into the claims. The church itself will not press charges, Werlen emphasized, and intends to advise victims to do so themselves.

Swiss Catholic Church investigating 10 abuse cases

Vatican investigating 14 sex abuse cases in Spain

Abuse cases surface in Austrian Catholic Church

More on priest abuse in Austria

Dutch Catholic Church faces child sex abuse scandal

Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal goes global

Where will it all end? Many people think the pope should resign.

Should Pope Benedict Resign the Papacy?

Pope Benedict Should Do The Right Thing And Resign So Healing Can Begin

I am ashamed – the pope should resign

Good idea, but that won’t end the corruption, IMHO. It is systemic. I would much prefer criminal prosecution. Every state in the US should have required reporting of child abuse for anyone of authority within a church or religious school, with failure to report designated a felony. Furthermore, President Obama should be mandated to stop allowing the Catholic Church to control women’s bodies.

So what are you reading this morning? All rants about anything will be accepted in the comments. Have a fabulous Friday!

The Confluence CCD Class for Incorrigible American Women

If anyone had told me two years ago that I would be teaching a CCD class for incorrigible women, I would have thought they were playing a practical joke on me.  For one thing, I’m the LAST person on earth who should be trying to whip anyone into line where Catholic theology is concerned.  That doesn’t mean I don’t have morals and ethics.  It’s just that until Bart Stupak and his Vatican campaign staff came along, I thought I had a choice of religion.  Silly me!  I’m just a woman.  An *American* woman.  In France, I am told by one of my colleagues, there was a recent bill passed that provided greater compensation to doctors who provided abortions.  Apparently, the doctors in France felt they were being underpaid for the service and fewer of them were willing to perform the procedure.  So they government decided to make it easier for women to get this service by paying doctors more. I’ll see if I can find a citation, er, that’s not in French.

But I digress.

See, American women are not French.  No, we need the guidance of our ministers and fathers and husbands and boyfriends and guys who belong to a 2000 year old men only club who only recently apologized to Gallileo for dissing his heliocentric theory and sell their sopranos to foreigners for sexual pleasure that they aren’t technically supposed to be dabbling in anyway.  (There’s probably some clause that they invoke about how the choirboys haven’t officially taken any vows of chastity)  THEY can get away with it.  YOU cannot. Why can’t you?  I have no frickin’ idea.  I’m just here to teach this CCD class, not make the rules.

Now, I know that some of you are not Catholic.  You may be Protestant or Buddhist or atheists or neo-pagan universalists.  You may have thought you had the right to decide for yourselves whether you believed that zygotes have immortal and innocent souls that needed protection and that you are tainted with original sin for having SEX(!) or being created from the union of two tainted individuals who had SEX(!).  See, this is where you are wrong.  It’s not up to you to decide this stuff.  I don’t know why you can’t decide.  That’s not my job.  As I said before, I don’t make the rules.

Anyway, enough of the groundwork.  Where shall we begin?  Well. let’s start with saints.  To me, saints look like a holdover from polytheism but that might just be my mother’s protestant influence on me.  Saints have feast days in the Catholic calendar.  Saints can intercede on our behalf with the head honchos in heaven.  But each one of them is in a different department and carry out only a single function.  Like St. Anthony is supposed to help you find things.  St. Christopher is supposed to help travelers.  If St. Anthony and St. Christopher got together, they might market their services to people who lose their luggage at airports.

Now, who is the saint for March 25?  You may be surprised to know (or not), that there are many saints available for March 25.  But I have found the perfect one for incorrigible American women who after yesterday’s executive order signing ceremony (that wasn’t televised at lunch to nauseate the unsuspecting diner) are newly converted Catholics.  Her name is St. Dula.

From the Saints and Angels page we learn that St Dula was a:

Virgin martyr at Nicomedia, in Asia Minor, also called Theodula. The slave of a pagan soldier, Dula died defending her chastity.

What a brave, shining example St. Dula sets for us.  We should all go out and do likewise.  She probably couldn’t help it that she was a slave but original sin is powerful.  Her parents were probably responsible for her misfortune because they had SEX(!).   Nevertheless, this poor woman, and by poor I mean a working class person making little or no money, died rather than submit herself to the indignities of having SEX(!).  I find this story strange because had Dula become pregnant from rape, she might have been able to qualify for a federally funded abortion.  But never mind the inconsistency.  Believers in 2000 year old religions have to live with such things and so do you.  From now on.  Until we elect a woman.  Next time.

I pray.

Now, be good and pure or it’s off to the laundries with you.

The Magdalene sisters will getcha if you don't watch out!

“A Tragic Setback For Womens’ Rights”

Via Vastleft at Correntewire

That’s what NOW president Terry O’Neill calls the bill that the House passed last night.  Here’s more from her press release this morning:

The health care reform bill passed by Congress today offers a number of good solutions to our nation’s critical health care problems, but it also fails in many important respects. After a full year of controversy and compromise, the result is a highly flawed, diminished piece of legislation that continues reliance on a failing, profit-driven private insurance system and rewards those who have been abusive of their customers. With more than 45,000 unnecessary deaths annually and hundreds of thousands of bankruptcies each year due to medical bills, this bill is only a timid first step toward meaningful reform.

Fact: The bill contains a sweeping anti-abortion provision. Contrary to the talking points circulated by congressional leaders, the bill passed today ultimately achieves the same outcome as the infamous Stupak-Pitts Amendment, namely the likely elimination of all private as well as public insurance coverage for abortion. It imposes a bizarre requirement on insurance plan enrollees who buy coverage through the health insurance exchanges to write two monthly checks (one for an abortion care rider and one for all other health care). Even employers will have to write two separate checks for each of their employees requesting the abortion rider.

This burdensome, elaborate system must be eliminated. It is there because the Catholic bishops and extremist abortion rights opponents know that it will result in greatly restricting access to abortion care, currently one of the most common medical procedures for women.

….

Fact: The bill permits age-rating, the practice of imposing higher premiums on older people. This practice has a disproportionate impact on women, whose incomes and savings are lower due to a lifetime of systematic wage discrimination.

Fact: The bill also permits gender-rating, the practice of charging women higher premiums simply because they are women. Some are under the mistaken impression that gender-rating has been prohibited, but that is only true in the individual and small-group markets. Larger group plans (more than 100 employees) sold through the exchanges will be permitted to discriminate against women — having an especially harmful impact in workplaces where women predominate.

We know why those gender- and age-rating provisions are in the bill: because insurers insisted on them, as they will generate billions of dollars in profits for the companies. Such discriminatory rating must be completely eliminated.

Read the whole thing.

The propaganda catapulters have been out in force in the past couple of days, trying to shape consensus reality so that it will appear that a.) anyone who praises the bill will look intelligent, modern and sexy and b.) anyone who opposes it, especially women, will be told that they’re being selfish, self-centered, hard-hearted bitches because they would rather let 32 million uninsured people die than give up their access to a cheap and easy abortion that they should be able to pay for themselves.

But even people such as myself who were in favor of health care reform and wanted to fix, not kill the bill, will find that the impact that this bill will have on women goes beyond abortion.  It appears that it will mean higher rates for women and those higher rates may make an employer think twice about hiring and firing and promotions, as if women don’t have enough to worry about.  Our salaries are lower than mens’ but we will be forking out more  to pay for our health.  As cost sharing goes, this is a raw deal for women.  It makes us a liability and drag on our employers’ bottom line and makes our lives harder.

And by the way, you propaganda artists, we happen to be among those 32 million uninsured.

Last night, Jane Hamsher put up a poll on FDL asking who was most to blame for selling out our  abortion rights in the health care bill.  The multiple choice answers included a number of culprits and probably all of them were responsible from Nancy Pelosi caving to Bart Stupak to Planned Parenthood staying silent to Barack Obama himself.  But she left out the people who were really responsible and whose decisions two years ago were the genesis of the erosion of their rights today.  That would be women such as Jane Hamsher herself who did not forcefully advocate for fairness in the primaries and who rejected a sure thing womens’ advocate in Clinton for a cipher in a mens suit.  Barack Obama had a history of voting present on abortion legislation in Illinois.  He met with evangelicals throughout the election season.  The Democratic candidates who ran the same year scrubbed their support of reproductive rights from their websites.  The effect was to give the illusion to swing voters and religious voters that Barack Obama and the new Democrats were open to negotiation where womens’ reproductive rights were concerned.

I caught Jane on several occasions going head to head with conservative bloggers on C-Span and other programs, warning viewers that Republicans were going to take away their rights to abortion and that only Obama and the Democrats would protect them.  And a lot of women, young women of child bearing age, listened to Jane and Jessica and Ariana and others like them, rejected Hillary Clinton in the primaries due to her Iraq War Resolution vote and heaped scorn and derision on Sarah Palin because of her anti-choice stance and supposed stupidity.  But they utterly failed to look carefully at what Barack Obama was doing or had done.  They refused to look at the evidence and draw conclusions about what the evidence meant. The final insult was Ms. Magazine itself proclaiming that Barack Obama was some sort of superhero feminist on its cover after a year of the most brutal and obscene misogynism we have ever witnessed in a national campaign.

Jane is responsible for that.  We, the newly unaffiliated liberal Democrats, were not distracted and fooled.  We knew Obama by watching him.  We believed our lyin’ eyes.  And once again, we were proven right.  It makes us villains to Jane.  Instead of asking for our help, she gives us her scorn and disrespect.  Jane calls us “A certain type of woman”.  What kind of woman is that, Jane?  The kind that isn’t duped by appeals to their emotions and terrorized to vote against their best interests?  This is what happens when malicious forces act to divide us.  Women, like the rest of the impotent left, can only watch in dismay as we are now relegated to the same socio-economic status we had 40 years ago.

I don’t know if this country can be healed.  From what I know, women have very little status in truly fascist regimes.  That word, fascism, is not one to throw around lightly or it will lose its meaning.  Maybe a fascist political system that isn’t one we necessarily planned but towards which we drift, propelled by the evolving nature of our media, finance system and millenialist religious views.  But last night’s vote looks like it brought the real impact of that word a little closer to our everyday reality.  We are now locked into a law that gives our money to private entities, we are told that our individual and gender grievances must be subordinate to the glory of the bill and the status of more than half of the citizens of the country has been diminished.

I wanted health care reform.  Just not this one.

Health Care Reform: Women Will Walk

I’ve been trying to keep a low profile on the health care reform bill.  For the record, I am not in the “kill the bill” camp.  I’m in the “fix it now, not later” camp.  I follow my old inorganic chemistry prof’s admonition, “If you don’t have the time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?”  Make no mistake, if the bill that gets voted on today isn’t the right one, it will not be changed for a very long time – if ever.  And what we have right now is a bill that locks the vast majority of us into contracts with  insurance companies that are hoping to add a lot of new hostages customers to its profit making business.

As a woman of Obama’s age cohort, divorced, with a respectable but unremarkable income, and with a teenage girl as a dependent who isn’t covered by any other health insurance policy other than the one I receive from my employer, I am particularly ticked at this bill in its presently unfixed state.  I’ll only qualify for an exemption from the excise tax if I’m a family of four and my health care policy is $23000.  Along with feathering my 401K so that the predators of Wall Street can fritter it away in emerging markets, paying for my mortgage and ridiculously high property taxes AND paying the single rate on my income taxes, when exactly am I supposed to save for college for the adolescent?  Would it be OK for the idiots in Congress if I kept some of the money they are planning to charge me for my health insurance coverage so that she doesn’t get saddled with a lifetime of student loan debt?

I’m actually for the mandate, believe it or not.  I think everyone *should* be required to carry health insurance.  But I have caveats.  The insurance has to be affordable, it should be subject to free market forces that encourage competition, like choice and antitrust regulations, and anyone not satisfied with their current carrier should be able to shop around.  If that was what we were getting, I’d gladly pay the tax.  But that’s not what we’re getting.

But the thing that really ticks me off is that American women are about to lose their freedom to worship (or not) as they choose.  To me, one of the most egregious things in this bill is the way that women are treated.  When we are considered at all, our reproductive health seems to be in a special category, one where a bunch of old guys in red beanies and pointy hats, have the final say as to what is or isn’t acceptable.  If the Senate bill passes, it will perfectly acceptable to force women to identify themselves as considering abortion as a healthcare option when they sign up for insurance.  It’s to shame them.  No, no, don’t try to sugar coat this.  That is the intention.  To keep abortion as a shameful procedure.

I can just hear the anti-choice crowd now.  “Why should we pay for something that’s going to offend our consciences?”  Jeez, I dunno.  Why do I have to pay for faith based initiatives?  How about we pass a separate bill that requires all of the religious people out there to write separate checks to cover church based charities that discriminate against the gay community or actively practice discrimination in their church hierarchy?  That kind of crap really frosts my crockies and offends my conscience down to the quick but I still have to pay for it.  There is no little box on the tax return form that says, “Would you like to make a donation to faith based initiatives?  Or war in Iraq?  Or TARP?” No, all of the stupid laws and bills and war resolutions that have passed in the past decade because it was possible to fool enough of the people most of the time have cost me and my cohort and we have had very little choice in the matter.  A Republican dictator president wielded his veto pen like it was a baton and threatened to use it with relish. We just had to go along with it.

But not anymore.

This is a Congress that we elected and it is a president that the deluded foisted upon the rest of us.  We expected them to be different from their immediate predecessors.  Well, we expected some congress members to be different.  The Confluence never expected anything different from Obama but we thought he could be prevailed upon to not veto what Congress passed.  And this Congress is overwhelmingly Democratic.  These are the very same Democrats who scared the deluded into voting for Obama in 2008 because they convinced young women of child bearing age that only he and they could protect the reproductive rights of women.

They made that promise and we will hold them to it.

That is not to say that protecting reproductive rights is anything like guaranteeing equality under the law.  No.  It is not the same.  Young women should not kid themselves into thinking that Roe v. Wade means you’re equal.  Gender equity was not something Democrats promised in 2008.  But they did promise to protect reproductive rights on nearly every blog the Obama trolls invaded.  Isn’t that what the Democrats promised?  Or is it what we *thought* they promised?  What if they didn’t promise anything?  What if all they really did was turn up to 11 the fear of Sarah Palin and her anti-choice crusaders?  What if they had no intention of protecting your rights?

People will say and do anything when they want power.  Power, in my humble opinion, is more important than money.  People accumulate money so they can buy power.  Democrats want power.  They have no idea how to use it when they get it but that’s what they want.  Voters also have power.  Women voters have a lot of power.  And it doesn’t take many of us to throw some cowardly Democrats out of power.  With so many voters hypnotized by Glenn Beck and Fox News, this is not a good time to be pissing off women.

Maybe they didn’t promise us gender equity, but they made enough noise about reproductive rights that women who voted for Democratic Congress members will be righteously indignant if those rights are not preserved and reproductive choice and care is not covered fully in the health care reform bill at a price that does not discriminate against women.  A Congress person who holds firm in their unwavering support for women will get our unwavering support in return.  But the Democratic party as a whole should tread very carefully in this area because if they don’t do health care reform right the first time, women will walk. The Democrats premised their whole party identity on protecting the rights of women.  If they don’t do that, they have no credibilty.  If they don’t stick up for women and working class people in general, their identity as a party is meaningless.

We will turn our backs on the Democrats and walk away.  And as for your power?

Pffftt!

Saturday Morning News and Views

Good Morning Conflucians!!!!

A giant 8.8 magnitude earthquake has hit Chile and triggered a tsunami

President Michelle Bachelet confirmed 47 deaths and said more were possible. Telephone and power lines were down, making damage assessments difficult in the early morning darkness.

“Never in my life have I experienced a quake like this, it’s like the end of the world,” one man told local television from the city of Temuco, where the quake damaged buildings and forced staff to evacuate the regional hospital.

According to The New York Times,

The quake downed buildings and houses in Santiago and knocked out a major bridge connecting the northern and southern sections of the country.

It struck at 3:34 a.m. local time and was centered about 200 miles southwest of Santiago, at a depth of 22 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. The epicenter was some 70 miles from Concepcion, Chile’s second-largest city, where more than 200,000 people live.

Phone lines were down in Concepcion as of 7:30 a.m. and no reports were coming out of that area. The quake in Chile was 1,000 times more powerful than the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that caused widespread damage in Haiti on Jan 12, killing at least 230,000, earthquake experts reported on CNN International.

The U.S. Geological Survey and eyewitnesses reported more than a dozen aftershocks, including two measuring magnitude 6.2 and 6.9.

Only hours earlier, there was a 6.9 magnitude earthquake off the southern coast of Japan. A tsunami was predicted, but did not take place.

The late late night TC crowd was discussing this insane video of Trent Franks (R-Arizona) being asked about hate radio and Rush Limbaugh and then doing a quick pirouette to talking about abortion and “killing innocent babies.” He calls Obama “the abortion president” and he thinks African Americans were better off under slavery because (he claims) “half of all black babies are aborted.” Oh, and Rush Limbaugh made fun of Michael J. Fox because he cares so much about humanity.

Just who is voting for politicians like this? Thinking about the possible answers to that question gives me the creeps.

And speaking of forced servitude, why don’t they just set Tilikum the serial killer whale free?

Three years ago, Russ Rector, a Fort Lauderdale dolphin trainer turned marine mammal activist, said he wrote SeaWorld a letter warning it was pushing its show mammals too hard to wow audiences, thereby inviting attacks on trainers.

On Wednesday, a killer whale named Tilikum implicated in two previous fatalities attacked a trainer during a show at the Orlando theme park, dragging her around like a toy and drowning her in front of horrified visitors.

“I warned them this was going to happen,” Rector said. “Happy animals don’t kill their trainers.”

Another opinion:

Naomi Rose, a senior scientist for the Humane Society of the United States, which has campaigned at marine parks, said Tilikum’s reputation was well known and that SeaWorld specifically forbade trainers from entering the orca’s tank.

“He clearly has some sort of issue with people in the water with him,” she said of the orca.

Rose and many marine mammal activists believe the stress of life in a tank is acute for orcas, large animals that roam deep waters in close-knit pods.

“They’re moody,” she said. Rector, who has campaigned for years to free Lolita, a female orca that has spent nearly four decades in captivity at the Seaquarium in Miami, says it leaves them “demented.”

Lolita, Rose said, has not been linked to any serious attacks on trainers, but its old tank-mate, Hugo, died of a cranial bleeding in 1980 that activists blamed on the orca ramming its head against the sides of a small tank.

Can you blame a whale for getting mad when he is kept in a tiny container and forced to perform tricks for humans instead of being able to swim freely in the ocean? And get this, another trainer says Dawn Brancheau’s horrible death was all her own fault.

A former co-worker told the station that trainer Dawn Brancheau was to blame when her hair floated over the mouth of killer whale Tilikum. The massive creature responded by dragging her under Wednesday, and she drowned.

Thad Lacinak, a former head trainer at SeaWorld, said the trainers knew to stay away from the whale’s mouth. “The protocol was not to be around Tilikum’s mouth while you’re laying down,” he said.

Reporter Emily Turner explained that Lacinak said Brancheau “became too comfortable with the animal she loved so much.”

And can you believe there are still pictures and video on-line of Breacheau’s last moments? What is wrong with us? Set these beautiful, intelligent animals free!

Did you know that Matt Taibbi and an expat named Mark Ames ran an alternative newspaper in Russia for years? I didn’t. Yesterday I posted a link to an article by Ames on Ayn Rand’s obsession with a vicious serial killer who liked to dismember little girls.

From there, I was directed to Ames’ website and learned that this month’s Vanity Fair has an in-depth story on the “The unlikely life and sudden death of The Exile, Russia’s angriest newspaper.” Ames is also the author of a book on workplace and school shootings in which he argues that Americans don’t want to face what is really going on in this rage killings–that bullying and alienation in schools and workplaces are driving both kids and adults to the point where they just can’t take it anymore. Sounds controversial yet interesting. I reserved it at my local library.

President Obama got up really early this morning so he could offer more “compromises” to Republicans in his weekly radio address.

“I am eager and willing to move forward with members of both parties on health care if the other side is serious about coming together to resolve our differences and get this done. But I also believe that we cannot lose the opportunity to meet this challenge,” Obama said.

“The tens of millions of men and women who cannot afford their health insurance cannot wait another generation for us to act. Small businesses cannot wait. Americans with pre-existing conditions cannot wait. State and federal budgets cannot sustain these rising costs.

The President didn’t mention that the bill he supports doesn’t do anything to help lower health care costs for ordinary Americans or prevent insurance companies from refusing to pay for care for people with preexisting conditions.

This article in New Scientist reports on research suggesting that ancient humans may have communicated in a written language much earlier than previously thought: The writing on the cave wall

Until now, the accepted view has been that our ancestors underwent a “creative explosion” around 30,000 to 40,000 years ago, when they suddenly began to think abstractly and create rock art. This idea is supported by the plethora of stunning cave paintings, like those at Chauvet, which started to proliferate across Europe around this time. Writing, on the other hand, appeared to come much later, with the earliest records of a pictographic writing system dating back to just 5000 years ago.

Few researchers, though, had given any serious thought to the relatively small and inconspicuous marks around the cave paintings. The evidence of humanity’s early creativity, they thought, was clearly in the elaborate drawings.

While some scholars like Clottes had recorded the presence of cave signs at individual sites, Genevieve von Petzinger, then a student at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, was surprised to find that no one had brought all these records together to compare signs from different caves. And so, under the supervision of April Nowell, also at the University of Victoria, she devised an ambitious masters project. She compiled a comprehensive database of all recorded cave signs from 146 sites in France, covering 25,000 years of prehistory from 35,000 to 10,000 years ago.

What emerged was startling: 26 signs, all drawn in the same style, appeared again and again at numerous sites (see illustration). Admittedly, some of the symbols are pretty basic, like straight lines, circles and triangles, but the fact that many of the more complex designs also appeared in several places hinted to von Petzinger and Nowell that they were meaningful – perhaps even the seeds of written communication.

I’ll wrap this up with a feel-good story from a few days ago about a 3-year-old girl who was saved from freezing to death by her dog Blue: Police Credit Dog With Saving Lost Girl’s Life

“She was able to stay warm with the dog. And it probably was one of things that saved her life. It was extremely cold out here,” Sgt. Jeff Newnum of the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office told KPHO, a CBS news affiliate in Phoenix. “God watched over her last night.”

Victoria Bensch vanished while playing outside with the family’s Queensland Heeler around 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. Search teams scoured the rocky terrain surrounding Victoria’s Cordes Lakes, Ariz., home, but as the night wore on, and temperatures dipped into the 30s, there was still no sign of her.

When the sun rose Friday morning, a rescue helicopter spotted movement below. It was Blue, hovering close to the missing girl, nearly half a mile from their home.

Even as medics approached, Blue kept Victoria, who was only wearing a T-shirt, pants and tennis shoes, safe.

“I think the dog was initially apprehensive of me. I was a little concerned he might bite me when I first walked up, but as I just walked right past the dog, the [animal] realized I was there to help,”

Awwww….

So what are you reading this morning?

HAVE A STUPENDOUS SATURDAY!!!!!!!

Christmas Day News and Views

Peace on Earth

Merry Christmas Conflucians! I hope everyone has a lovely day today. News events march onward, of course, despite the holiday season. Here are some stories that caught my eye this morning. Please add your own important and interesting links in the comments.

If you haven’t see in it already, please go read this excellent post at Corrente by Tony Wikrent: How the status quo can kill: the example of free trade

Boy, was this writer’s talent ever wasted on the progs at dailykos! There is really no way to provide an excerpt that will do this piece justice. You really do have to read the whole thing.

A woman leaped over a barricade at midnight mass at the Vatican and knocked Pope Benedict onto the marble floor. Here is some amateur video of the events.

More Vatican news:

NYT: Vatican Defends Status of WWII Pope

In an effort to calm growing tensions with Jewish groups, the Vatican said Wednesday that Pope Benedict XVI’s decision moving the wartime pope Pius XII closer to sainthood was not a “hostile act” against those who believe Pius did not do enough to stop the Holocaust.

Really?

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, issued a statement saying that the beatification process evaluated the “Christian life” of Pius, who reigned from 1939 to 1958, and not “the historical impact of all his operative decisions.”

Moving Pius toward sainthood “is in no way to be read as a hostile act towards the Jewish people, and it is to be hoped that it will not be considered as an obstacle on the path of dialogue between Judaism and the Catholic Church,” Father Lombardi wrote.

That sounds a little odd and hypocritcal to me, but then I don’t really believe in the concept of sainthood. The Catholic Church made Maria Goretti a saint because she supposedly forgave the man who raped and murdered her. That tells me that the Church’s decisions about sainthood actually do send messages.

Amy Sullivan, Time Magazine: No Churchgoing Christmas for the First Family

But there’s one common Christmas practice not on the First Family’s schedule: a visit to Christmas Eve church services.

Why am I not surprised?

Church, in fact, has been a surprisingly tough issue for the Obamas. They resigned their membership with Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago in 2008 after Obama renounced the church’s controversial former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. And while the First Family intended to find a local church to attend when they moved to Washington, concerns about crowds and displacing regular worshippers has prevented them from finding a new religious home during their first year here.

The Obamas have attended Sunday services in Washington three times this year — once at the predominantly African-American 19th Street Baptist Church, and twice at St. John’s Episcopal Church across Lafayette Square from the White House.

Three times in a whole year! Amazing, for such a deeply religious man {snort}

At Huffpo, the ever-hopeful Cenk Uygur argues that progs can move Obama to the left! {hysterical laughter}

There are many debates among progressives now on the true nature of Barack Obama. Did he mean anything he said on the campaign trail? Is he really a progressive? Did he ever mean to challenge the status quo or was he using the word “change” as a campaign gimmick? Is he just a corporatist like most other politicians?

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha! That’s funny. I know Cenk can’t possibly think there’s a chance in hell that Obama actually meant any of the promises he made while campaigning. Come on!

Does he mean well or does he have bad intentions? Come on, don’t be ridiculous. Of course, he means well. But in his own mind, George Bush thought he meant well too (for the most part). I’m positive that Obama thinks that he is doing the best he can to bring about as much change as he can within the limits of this system.

Ooops! I guess Cenk has a way to go before he finally gets all that Koolaid out of his system.

Is he a true progressive or a corporatist sell out? Well, that depends on what you mean. Has he wound up helping corporate America tremendously through health care “reform,” finance “reform,” etc.? Well, Wall Street certainly seems to think so (and so do most progressives). Did he do that because he thought, “I can’t wait to help corporate America and screw over the little guy”? No, I’m sure he thought he had to accommodate the powers that be in order to affect any change at all in this system. But the bottom line has been the same, either way – the system has been tweaked but corporate America chugs along with even more government largesse than before.

I’m sure Obama is a progressive that would help the average American if he thought he could. But apparently he thinks he can’t. He can only bring them a small amount of change because of what he thinks the system will allow.

Uh huh. Keep on telling yourself that, Cenk. Maybe it will somehow make you feel better about being hoodwinked into voting for Bush III.

Paul Krugman thinks that the Heath Care bill will save millions of future Tiny Tims–after 2014, that is.

Krugman scolds people like us who think the bill is nothing but a big mess of corporate giveaways and efforts to control women’s bodies:

Finally, there has been opposition from some progressives who are unhappy with the bill’s limitations. Some would settle for nothing less than a full, Medicare-type, single-payer system. Others had their hearts set on the creation of a public option to compete with private insurers. And there are complaints that the subsidies are inadequate, that many families will still have trouble paying for medical care.

Unlike the tea partiers and the humbuggers, disappointed progressives have valid complaints. But those complaints don’t add up to a reason to reject the bill. Yes, it’s a hackneyed phrase, but politics is the art of the possible.

Oddly, Krugman never mentions either the anti-abortion language in both the House and Senate versions of the bill; nor does he address the shoring up of the Bush conscience rules in the Senate version. How very very strange. I guess Krugman thinks it’s just fine if Congress passes a health care bill for men that allows the government and health care workers to control women’s choices.

The News side of Krugman’s paper isn’t as sanguine as he is.

Health Care Changes Wouldn’t Have Big Effect for Many

what about the roughly 160 million workers and their dependents who already have health insurance through an employer? For many people, the result of the long, angry health care debate in Washington may be little more than more of the same.

As President Obama once promised, “If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan.”

That may be true even if you don’t like your health plan. And no one seems to agree on whether the legislation will do much to reduce workers’ continually rising out-of-pocket costs.

Chris Good at The Atlantic: Insurance Industry’s Reaction: Senate Bill Would Raise Costs


And some Christmas-oriented stories:

BBC News: In pictures: Christmas around the world

Longmont Times-Call: The true Father Christmas: Before there was a Santa Claus, there was the generous St. Nicholas

BBC News: Christmas in Iraq: Muslims buy Christmas decorations in a Baghdad market, where both faiths have worshipped side by side for centuries

China View: World pray for peace on Christmas Eve in Bethlehem

NYT Op-Ed: Everyone Is Invited

Kansas City Star: Excerpts from Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’

Christmas Eve in West Fargo, North Dakota

HAVE A FABULOUS FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!

The abortion “compromise” doesn’t make the health care reform bill good

Nebraska: Allowing gender inequality one state at a time!

Time has the lowdown on what Harry Reid had to offer Ben Nelson in order for him to sign on to the health care reform bill:

In addition to getting a sweetheart deal for his home state, Ben Nelson also got Harry Reid to offer more than the Casey abortion language in the manager’s amendment. In addition to providing stronger conscience protections for medical institutions and health workers opposed to abortion, and expanding adoption tax credits, the manager’s amendment segregates funds and gives states the option of excluding from their insurance exchanges any plans that cover abortion. In essence, that allows states to adopt the strict Stupak provisions without requiring that states do so.

I think there’s a bit of reverse psychology going on with respect to the issue of abortion.  Let’s dispense with the term anti-abortion, shall we?  Let’s call it what it really is: The movement to deny women the ability to decide for themselves whether to be parents as most persons endowed by their creators with unalienable rights have the right to do.  With anti-abortion measures, women are not just subject to the state, they are forced to recognize a religious presence in their lives whether they have faith or not.  Men do not need to recognize any faith.  They are allowed complete freedom of conscience.

In fact, a crisis of conscience is only respected when women decide to end a pregnancy.  If religious people decide to kill innocent civilians as the collateral damage in a proxy religious war halfway around the world, the rest of us still have to pay taxes for this endeavor regardless of our crisis of conscience.  If fundamentalists insist on an eye for an eye with respect to convicted murderers, even if some of those people are victims of mistaken identity, those of us who oppose capital punishment of innocent people are not allowed to segregate our tax dollars from theirs when it comes time to purchase materials for a lethal injection. One would think that their god would have more consistency when it comes to life ending procedures but for some unfathomable reason, he only objects to women doing it when it affects their own personal lives.  If that’s not the definition of inequality, I don’t know what is.   In fact, if we’re going to continue to fight about Roe v.Wade for the duration of the Republic, let’s just get rid of it now and re-decide the case based on equality instead of privacy.  Are women equal persons under the law? Do they have the unalienable right to decide for themselves if and when they will be parents? Bart Stupak, would you like to answer that question so the women of Michigan can know what they’re voting for in 2010?

This is at the bottom of Ben Nelson and Bart Stupak’s argument in favor of anti-abortion language in the proposed bills.  They feel their priesthood status in their chosen Christian faith charges them with ordering everyone’s lives according to their worldview.  Who appointed them their very narrow and specific, fundamentalist and authoritarian Judeo-Christian God’s authorities on earth?  Apparently, the people of Nebraska and a district in Michigan did.  I thought the Constitution guaranteed us no state religion but I guess the founders weren’t thinking about the extra specialness of Nebraska and a district in Michigan.  Nebraska has a population density of 23 persons/square mile and decreasing.  To put some perspective on that, New Jersey’s population density is 1,134 persons/square mile.  Now, I know that we have a new Republican governor  who could conceivably decide to impose his own conservative stamp on the health care reform act in NJ and take the Nebraska Compromise but if he does, he probably shouldn’t be surprised if women here send their friends around to break his knees.   And then they’re going to be really angry at Congressional Democrats for making it possible for a handful of religious hardasses in Nebraska to control the equal and independent women living in the crowded suburbs of New Jersey.

Look ahead, Democrats.  Do you really want to piss off more women in New Jersey?  Remember what happened to Corzine.

It’s important that we separate abortion from health care reform if for no other reason than there are buggers inside Congress that are trying so damned hard to conflate the two.  So, here’s the deal, guys.  There is no deal. We don’t like this bill.  You apologists for the Democratic party can rationalize it 6 ways to Sunday but there’s no denying that it doesn’t go far enough.  It’s not the New Deal type legislation we desperately need and everyone knows it.  It’s going to saddle a lot of people at the edge with another major expense they can’t afford to pay.  It will rob Petra to pay Paula and even though Petra and Paula are friends, Petra gets relatively little out of this deal.  We aren’t going to end up with a Canadian system, heck, we’re not even getting Germany or Switzerland.  We’re getting a uniquely American system where the middle class and everyone under it is going to be forced to buy from virtual monopolies that will join the cable companies and telecomm giants and banks in screwing them out of every disposable dollar they have.  It’s socialism for the insurance industry.

There were a multitude of permutations that would have succeeded in covering poor and sick people but the Democrats picked the one that is most likely to piss off their own constituents in the highest numbers.  Congratulations, guys.

But this abortion thing?  I gotta wonder why it wasn’t sufficient to stick the knife into health care reform without adding the agonizing poison.  You should have never even entertained Stupak and Nelson no matter how much they howled and screamed.  That’s going to come back to bite you.  And no matter how much theater comes up on the floor of the Senate during debate in the next couple of days to try to remove the amendments and compromises, taking them out is not going to make this bill smell any sweeter.  The jig is up.  We see through the distraction.

Leave the Nebraska Compromise in and you’re massively screwed next year by all of those involuntary female converts to fundamentalist Christianity and Catholicism no matter where they live.  An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere.

Take it out and you’re still going to alienate all of the Democrats who now have your number.  Either way, your failure to deliver a truly transformative health care reform bill is going to bite you in the ass.

Put the champagne flute down and sober up.

Update: The official talking points troll has arrived in the comments and has a message prepared in the best marketing, manipulative language the Democrats can buy.  It’s obvious that it’s prepared because the commenter didn’t really bother to read the post.  So, here is a summary for those of you too lazy to read the whole thing:

Here’s the bottom line:
If you don’t take the time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?
The answer is never. The Democrats are shooting their wad right now on an insufficient and fatally flawed bill because they are afraid they will lose their majorities in congress in 2010.
We want to decouple abortion from this bill, not because leaving in the restrictions are abominable but because it distracts from the badness of the bill.
And don’t tell me about how non-profits have to now take care of the abortion needs of women. American women are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan for this country. They deserve to be treated like independent persons with dignity and respect, not like fucking second class citizens and beggars.
The equal rights issue is going to last waaaay past the resolution of this bill. Democrats should be a lot more careful about these things. They WILL pay for it.

Addendum: We need to dump Roe v. Wade. All it has ever done is empower the religious right and allows both parties to use it as a political football.  It is time for the country to decide once and for all whether women are equal persons under the law entitled to equal pay, equal rights and the equal ability to decide if they are going to be parents.  Dump the damn POS.  Put the politicians of both parties on the hotseat and make them defend their primitive inequitable treatment of women. Repeat after me: “I will not support any politician who invokes Roe v. Wade in order to get my vote.”

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Live Blog: Senate Health Care Debate

Senator Ben (not a moderate) Nelson

I just got home and discovered that the Senate debate on the “health care reform” bill is still on. I’m not sure how long they are going to keep debating today. Senator Ben Nelson (who is not a moderate, media!) has proposed his Stupak-clone anti-abortion amendment, and much of the debate today will focus on abortion, according to CNN.

The amendment by moderate Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska would mirror language from the health care bill passed by the House last month that prevents any health plan receiving federal subsidies from offering coverage for abortion. It was unclear if a Senate vote on Nelson’s amendment would occur Monday.

Anti-abortion legislators say the House language that Nelson seeks to adopt maintains the current level of restriction by preventing any federal funding for abortion, except in the case of rape, incest or a threat to the life of the mother.

Opponents of the tougher language say the amended language would expand the current level of restriction because women receiving coverage under a federally subsidized health care plan would be barred from purchasing abortion coverage with their own money.

According to John Walker at Firedoglake, the Nelson bill is every bit as bad as the Stupak-Pitts amendment that is included in the bill passed by the House.

What have you heard? You can watch the debate on C-Span 2 or get the live stream here.

John Cornyn (ugh!) just finished a ridiculous rant and right now Barbara Boxer is speaking about women’s health issues. Please document the atrocities in the comments.

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