Justice Ginsburg is right about Roe

It looks like my writer’s block is over.

The NYTimes has an editorial about Ruth Bader-Ginsburg’s thoughts on Roe v. Wade.  This is prompted by her tepid approach to marriage equality and that a grand sweeping ruling may become the new political football that provokes a backlash.  I’m not sure that’s true in this case because as I wrote in my previous post, the right has some potentially good reasons for trying to steal the gay voting bloc away from Democrats.  They may try to present marriage equality as a fait accompli to their more religious base that is dying out anyway.

At any rate, half of the gay population is already in the privileged class simply because they are men.  As long as they kept their sexual orientation under the radar, there was nothing stopping gay men from partaking of all of the benefits of being male in this society.  In a way, I think the success of marriage equality depends on men standing their ground and refusing to give up those privileges.  The fact that lesbian couples may also benefit is just icing on the cake.  So, maybe Ginsberg’s concerns are less grounded this time around.  Besides, what are the Bible Belt states going to do?  Become more obstinate, belligerent and Republican than they already are towards gay couples?  Is that even possible?

But it’s a different story when it comes to Roe v. Wade.  My theory is that Roe dealt a huge blow to the movement for women’s equality because once it was decided, many women had the mistaken idea that the battle was won.  Instead, Roe became the political football for BOTH political parties.   It’s the primary criteria for which party voters decide they belong.  It’s the fear tactic that Democrats use to corral women to vote against their economic interests as much as it is the tactic that Republicans use to rally their constituents to feel power and control over other people’s lives.

Not only is Roe a political football, it has had major repercussions in setting back women’s equality.  Because abortion has been such a cultural hot potato, we tend to see women as a collection of body parts, primarily reproductive body parts.  We are uteruses and vaginas and breasts and all of our discussion is about who gets to control those body parts.  I am not a man or a male hiring manager but I have to wonder what crosses men’s minds when they see a female colleague.  Do they consider her intelligence, determination, ingenuity and hard work or do they secretly thank god that they weren’t born with ovaries that are subject to religious and governmental regulation?  There are things the state can compel or forbid a woman from doing that men don’t have to worry about.  I cannot believe that this doesn’t have an effect on how women are perceived in all the various aspects of her life.  Maybe if she were a bit smarter, she wouldn’t have to put up with that.

I do not agree with the NYTimes editorial board that women wouldn’t have won their reproductive freedom without Roe.  This is going to sound weird but when I was on the cusp of puberty back in 1970 when New York allowed abortions, feminism was vibrantly alive and kicking, unlike 2013 when it’s barely visible, tepid and calling yourself a feminist is outré and derogatory.  You younguns don’t even know.  You had to be there.  Women were on a roll. I was brought up in a religiously fundamentalist household and yet I was a raging feminist back in the early 70s just like many of my friends.  The world was our oyster and we could do anything. The zeitgeist was definitely and defiantly feminist.  Roe brought that to a screeching halt.  If Roe had failed, there would still have been states where you could have gotten an abortion and the fight would have intensified, not slackened because the effects of abortion restrictions elsewhere would still be vividly real.

So, if Bader-Ginsburg’s concerns are that Roe short circuited the political drive and momentum for women’s full equality, then I totally agree with her.  There were a million reasons why Roe should have been decided as the law of the land but the best one is that women are free and equal persons whose rights should not be abridged simply because they have different genitalia.

Instead, what we have is a hollowed out right to abortion and no equality because we stopped fighting.

Dump Roe.  Revive the ERA.

The Chicken or the Ovary

Take a look at this startling graphic from a recent article at the NYTimes on the brick wall that equality for women has hit in the US.  This graphic represents official policies around the world for paid maternity leave:

I can’t believe this is accurate.  In my mind, there is absolutely no way in Hell we could lag behind Afghanistan.  It makes me want to move to Canada.

But even if Afghanistan is not as progressive as this graphic purports, it is absolutely true that we lag behind the most developed countries of the world and those which have the highest standard of living.  There have been other studies that show that the greater the number of female elected representatives in a country, the higher standard of living.

What Stephanie Coontz, the author of the article, does not explain is how things got to be so bad here in the US.  Why did the progress towards gender equality stall here in the US as this graphic shows?  What factors caused it to hit a brick wall in the US but not in Britain or France or Canada?  If I reach back into my memory banks to when progress stalled, I think the problem started right around the time I was in college in the 1980s.  Those were the Reagan years.  That’s when Anita Bryant was touting the virtues of orange juice and the vices of homosexuality and Phyllis Schlafly hit her stride.  It was also a period of intensification of the Cold War and the rise of the religious right.

I think there is something else going on here that has allowed the forces of reactionary conservatism dig its talons into American society to the point of imperiling it permanently.  I think it is the mythology that we grew up with that we’re number one.  That attitude that we’re free and have liberty in greater degree than other countries might just be an artifact of the case that we have enough power in our nuclear arsenal to blow the rest of the world to smithereens.  We’re “free” because no one dares mess with us.  Of course, that is only one possible interpretation of the word “freedom”.

But if our concept of freedom derives from our military strength, then is it any surprise that the genders are unequal in this society?  And now that women are allowed in combat, will gender equality improve?  After all, up until this year, women were precluded from being equal participants *officially* in activities that have been highly prized in our country since the cold war.  If we are a military society, is full participation the only route to equality in the US until it is achieved?

And what about the role of international billionaires, the James Bond villains that have now taken over the world? Do they see gender inequality as a means to breaking labor protections and bringing workers to their knees?  Will we see an uptick in gender related issues in places like Spain, Ireland and Greece or were the seeds of their current economic problems already present because of endemic gender inequality compared to their neighbors?

Just curious.  Other perspectives welcome.

One other thing that this graphic says to me is that as far as the US workforce is concerned, we are already at the bottom of the pile when it comes to labor protections.  There really isn’t any barrier to employers ripping the economic floor out from under us and they’ve done just that in the past decade or so.  That’s because women now make up a good proportion of the workforce and our wages are lower, our employment protections are there in theory but not in practice and paid maternity leave is just an illusion.  If you’ve got it from your employer, know that it’s a gift to you, not your right.  It’s probably calculated based on how much vacation and sick time you have, if you get any at all.  You come back to work exhausted and impoverished from spending your money on daycare.  And in this employment climate, you may not come back to a job at all.  What were you thinking by getting pregnant when there is so much to do and a zillion people waiting for your job?  If you can afford a kid, you can afford to stay home and give some other breadwinner your job.  Right?

The only solace there is to this workplace environment is the knowledge that it can’t last.  The MBAs and business majors are evolving the workplace so rapidly to optimize as much efficiency out of each worker that it’s getting to be impossible to get any work done at all.  We see this in the banking industry and the pharma industry most significantly.  Change for change sake is not necessarily a good way to do business.  There are limits and we are reaching ours.

Why don’t more women ask the Democrats “What’s in it for us?”

Melissa McKewn at Shakesville wrote a brilliant post four years ago that is even more relevant today.  At the time, the Clintonistas and other deeply concerned feminists were troubled by the use of misogyny by both political parties but particularly the Democrats and even more particularly, the Obama campaign.  Oh, you thought it was only the PUMAs that got poo flung at them?  No, indeedy.  It was any woman that had the temerity to speak up.  Anyone who threatened to harsh Obama’s mellow was accused of being traitors, whiners, insignificant, stupid, and bringing catastrophe on the whole country.

We’re going through the same thing again this year.  The past four years have been a disaster for women.  It hasn’t been Christmas and Easter and New Years for women under this version of Democrats.  It’s been more like Halloween.  If you weren’t paying attention last time to the myriad ways that Obama bowed and scraped at the feet of evangelicals to get their votes, then the Bart Stupak amendment might have been your wake up call.  Or maybe it was the retention of the Bush Administration’s conscience rule.  Or maybe Rick Warren’s sexist, homophobic version of prosperity based Christianity pissed you off during the inauguration.  Whatever it was, you figured out you had been screwed after it was too late to do anything about it.

But now that you know, what are your options going forward?  Well, read Melissa’s post from four years ago that she republished a couple of days ago.  It’s basically the same thing I’ve been saying for four years.  You have the option to walk away.  Also, Roe is dead, ladies.  We didn’t fight for equality first and now, we’re back to the pre-Roe days where states could make their own rules.  Pretty soon, abortions will only be available in a handful of coastal states, just like it was in the years immediately preceding Roe.  And there are already 5 votes on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe.  Kennedy will vote to eliminate it when the time comes.  So, there is really no compelling reason to pay any attention to the Democrats’ argument about Roe and the court.  They might get more traction if they focused on the rights of workers or inequality in general or voting rights but, you know, that’s just not this version of the Democratic party’s thing.

One thing is for sure: if you don’t wring some concessions and explicit promises and sincere preliminary steps from the Democrats, and Obama in particular, BEFORE the election, you’re sure as hell going to get the shaft afterwards because the Democrats’ concern with your welfare extends only as far as getting your vote.  Once they have that and get the power they want, you’re history to them.  Don’t make it so easy.

Oh, sure, the party will start to incite panic.  “What are you dooooooing?!?  Don’t you know that there is an election this year?  Why are you bringing up your rights now?  You’re being selfish, stupid, old, unpleasant, unattractive.  You’re collaborating with the Republicans, you’re a Tea Partier, you like that dunce Sarah Palin.  If we don’t win it will be all your fault.”  That is a guilt trip, my friends.  That’s the sound of people who suddenly realize that the urgency on their part does not constitute an emergency on yours.  Oh my god! You might actually *believe* in that stuff about bodily autonomy and agency and complete equality under the law.  It will be very inconvenient for them to stop what they are doing to either pacify you or cater to you.  I recommend that you make the Democrats kiss your asses.  Forget about Republicans.  They’re a lost cause.

Here’s how Melissa puts it (but go read the whole thing):

Forward movement for women can happen even in dictatorships, and can be reversed even in democracies—because women’s equality is inextricably linked to so many other cultural variables, like religiosity. To presume that greater democracy will de facto mean increased equality for women is to tacitly buy into Bush’s line about freedom magically emanating from any country deemed a functional democracy. It just doesn’t work that way. A democratically-elected conservative American theocracy would, for example, be anathema to feminism/womanism.

I have many good and important and personal reasons for not wanting the US to become any less democratic than it is now—not least of which is because those agitating for increased authoritarian control of government are simultaneously agitating for increased control of women’s bodies. I also have many good and important and personal reasons for fighting for my equality. Some of those good and important and personal reasons overlap. Some of them don’t. 

The important point here is that, while most USian FWs are undoubtedly interested in voting for the most democratic candidate, it is wrong to reflexively conflate “more democratic” with “more feminist” (even though that’s historically a safe bet). FWs may, in fact, for reasons outlines above, have to votecounter to feminist/womanist principles to vote for the most democratic candidate of the two major parties. That is not a small thing, and it should not be treated as though it is.

I would remind Democrats that what happened to Jon Corzine in NJ could very well happen to Obama.  Corzine as a governor was meh.  He did nothing to reform the highly regressive property tax system here.  He conducted a study and basically threw up his hands and said, “Well, what do you want me to do about it?”  Then he gave away our delegate votes to Obama at the convention.  Um, Obama didn’t win NJ.  Not even close.  Hillary won it by 10 points.  In general, Corzine looked like a Wall Street banker and governed pretty much the same way.  Democrats here are still smarting from his loss to Chris Christie.  It really shouldn’t come as a surprise though.  NJ has a history of electing Republican governors.  But that election should have been Corzine’s because, let’s face it, Christie isn’t a moderate Republican that would suit New Jersey’s tastes otherwise.  He’s  kind of crude, loud, a bully, a sexist asshole and definitely out to please his rich friends.  There’s no expectation that he will reform the property tax system, only that he will strangle local governments from growing.  And voters knew that going in.  He’s been a disaster for New Jersey.

But Corzine lost anyway even though he was the favored Democrat in 2009 in a year when Democrats should have had an easy run.  The local Democrats think it was a Christie revolution.  I disagree.  There was a third party candidate on the ballot that year.  His name was Chris Daggett, an independent, and judging from his debate performances, one of which I was able to attend in person, he was the best candidate we had.  Of course, the two major parties have a strangle hold on the ballots and every ballot in every county is different, so Daggett’s name wasn’t easy to locate.  You want to know how it turned out.  Here are the results?

Candidate Chris Christie Jon Corzine Chris Daggett
Party Republican Democratic Independent
Running mate Kim Guadagno Loretta Weinberg Frank Esposito
Popular vote 1,174,445 1,087,731 139,579
Percentage 48.5% 44.9% 5.8%

You’d think the Democrats would have learned their lesson but apparently they haven’t.  It doesn’t take much of a defection to flip a race to your opponent.  And right now, there are a lot of women who are angry enough at the passivity of the Democrats and their arrogant attitude towards the voters that it might be better for US to take our votes elsewhere or split our ticket or not vote at all.

So, you gotta ask yourselves, Democrats, will November 6, 2012 be your lucky day?


Friday: Unfinished business

For a long time now, I’ve been thinking that feminists dropped the ball after they won Roe v. Wade.  Everyone took it down a notch and went back to whatever it was they were doing.  The ERA officially died in 1982.  I was at Point Park in Pittsburgh at a rally the day it happened.  It was important and it was no doubt a very bad thing when it died.  But I was young and stupid and I thought at least we have Roe and cheap, plentiful oral contraceptives.

And that’s where we fell into a trap.  The right wing had us just where they wanted us.  Instead of protecting us, Roe has been used as a political hammer by both parties and as a result, its no longer the protection it was assumed it was.  I say assumed because it never was supposed to be a proxy for true equality.

Today, Louise Trubek, one of the plaintiffs in an earlier contraception case in Connecticut pre-Griswold, seems to agree that we lost the plot in her post in the NYTimes:

Why are issues that the courts decided so long ago still unresolved? Maybe it is time to recognize that law alone is not enough to effect social change. It must be linked to social activism on behalf of women’s rights.

[...]

We can celebrate Griswold, Roe and all the cases that stemmed from the Poe litigation. They are important landmarks in American jurisprudence. But as I look back I am dismayed by how few of the issues I was fighting for at the time of Poe are resolved. To be sure, we have important rights and more legal privacy. But we still have not provided all the support women need to combine rewarding careers and healthy families. Planned Parenthood is under siege and poor women who are seeking comprehensive reproductive care are still at risk. Presidential candidates can get away with saying that all contraception should be outlawed. Comprehensive child care services are difficult to locate, and fully financed family and medical leave is still controversial.

In short, we won the legal battle but not the war. Women are still not guaranteed control over their lives, because the necessary social supports were never secure. The initial goal of Griswold was to help women — and even though the precedent has helped with same-sex marriage laws, those initial needs, especially of poor women, have been left largely unmet.

The universal coverage plan outlined in President Obama’s Affordable Care Act is a good step forward, and we should do all we can to ensure it. Perhaps if activism had been linked to the lawsuits, the aims I fought for would have been secured, and we would be spared the spectacle of Republican candidates threatening, yet again, a woman’s right to control her own fertility.

She’s right.  After we won Roe, we just assumed that social equality would follow on its own.  But that was never going to happen if the activists stopped being active.  I blame my own generation for this.  We straddled the gap between the end of the baby boom and the Gen Xers.  We were children during the activist days and too busy breaking new ground in college and careers to pay any attention to what was happening to our rights.  It was hard enough to get some professor to notice us or some supervisor to recognize our achievements to go out after work and organize.  But without that activism and organization, our accomplishments were illusory.  There was no permanent change in the culture except these two flimsy supreme court rulings.  That is all we had.  And as the right wing started to chip away at them, we didn’t get alarmed enough.  Now the right has almost got its way even with the rulings in place and our rights and equality looks like a matrix of swiss cheese.

So, it’s back to the trenches for us or our daughters will not have the privileges that we had in the 70s and 80s.  If we’re wondering why we get treated badly at work, it’s because the old boys club knows that there are things society can force women to do that can never be forced on men.  It makes us look weak and easy to run over.

It’s still a man’s world out there and we were stupid to think an abortion ruling was going to change that.

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Craig Crawford has a great post on the fallout over Rush Limbaugh’s “Slut” broadcast.   If you missed this fecal vomit from Rush, here’s an excerpt:

[O]n his radio show today, Limbaugh showed no remorse and instead reveled in the attention. Referring to Fluke, Limbaugh demanded that women post sex tapes online if they use insurance-covered birth control:

LIMBAUGH: So Miss Fluke, and the rest of you Feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex. We want something for it. We want you post the videos online so we can all watch.

 And here’s Rush’s followup.  He just can’t seem to stop himself.  This man needs help.  Or a stiletto shoe in his face.  I just can’t decide…

Craig has a handy list of sponsors that you can contact and includes this little tidbit:

The Rush-Romney Connection
Limbaugh’s daily radio show is syndicated by Premier Networks, which is owned byClear Channel, which is co-owned by Bain Capital.

Folks, you can’t make this up.

Yesterday, I wrote a response to a post by Sarah Lane on google+.  Sarah Lane is the bubbly tech blogger who’s a mainstay at Twit.tv.  I love Sarah Lane but I don’t like the idea that Carbonite is a sponsor of Twit AND Rush Limbaugh.  So, I wrote to ask her what she thought of that?  No answer yet but I’m hopeful.  I might try Gina Trapani next.  Or Leo Laporte, although Leo can come off as a sexist jerk himself on occasion.  In fact, I might just want to abstain from Twit and remove its app from my iphone and ipad until they have a word with their sponsor.  For sure, I am not using the Twit offer code from Carbonite until Carbonite disassociates itself from Rush.

ProFlowers also sponsors Rush.

Now would be a good time for Barack Obama to overcome his Mike Dukakis impression and stand up for women agains this evil bully.  It could be a twofer because Rush may push the nuclear option with a really vile racist remark and then we’ll see how far gone the American public truly is.  It’s one thing to think uncharitable, ignorant things, things you know are not socially acceptable.  It’s quite another thing to say them to the President of the United States.  Barack Obama might be an unprincipled schmoozer and a lousy president but that has nothing to do with his race (which is only a social construct anyway).

This is an opportunity for him to act like he’s got some backbone.  Someone needs to step in here and level Rush.  Maybe Hillary can lend Obama one of her balls.  Schedule a news conference and condemn him in the harshest terms.  Take a note from Bill Clinton’s evil cowards speech after the Oklahoma City bombing.  It’s the right thing to do and I guarantee that it won’t cost the election.  It’s not censoring Rush to tell him that his remarks are uncalled for, destructive and reflects badly on American values.  Call him out.  Do it now.

*****************

In science, it looks like you can teach stale eggs new tricks.  A new study in the journal Nature shows that human ova can be created from ovarian stem cells:

Previous research had suggested that a woman is born with all the egg cells she will ever have in her lifetime.

But in recent experiments, scientists discovered a new type of stem cell in the ovaries that—when grown in the lab—generates immature egg cells. The same immature cells isolated from adult mouse ovaries can turn into fertile eggs.

Stem cells, found in embryos and certain adult body tissues, have the potential to grow into many different types of cells.

(See “Liposuction Fat Turned Into Stem Cells, Study Says.”)

The finding reinforces the team’s previous experiments in mice, which had identified a new type of ovarian stem cell that renews a female mouse’s source of eggs throughout its fertile years.

That study, published in the journal Nature in 2004, was the “first to reach the conclusion that this long-held belief in our field—that young girls are given a bank account at birth that you can no longer deposit eggs to, just withdraw from—was no longer true,” said study leader Jonathan Tilly.

This is good news because if you can collect your stem cells early in your reproductive years and store them, there won’t be as much pressure to have kids before your expiration date.  You can have a backup plan and can get back to work doing something else, like research or starting your own business or writing books or something that requires your full attention.  Biology isn’t destiny until you’re ready.  It’s a good thing.

*****************

This is just cool.  Or disturbing, depending how you look at the idea of small flying objects:

*****************

Blame the user:

NEW YORK -(MarketWatch)- AT&T Inc. T +0.88% is taking a step closer to doing away with unlimited-mobile data-plans.

Under a new policy, AT&T will slow download speeds for unlimited 3G and 4G smartphone customers who exceed 3 gigabytes and 4G LTE users who exceed 5 gigabytes of data in a given month. AT&T had previously been slowing speeds, or throttling, customers who were in the top 5% of data users in their respective market.

AT&T has been trying to manage capacity on its network in the face of heavy data consumption by Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPhone users and a limited supply of wireless airwaves, or spectrum. The carrier is spending billions to build out a new fourth-generation mobile-broadband network that can handle more data traffic.

A spokesman said the new guidelines were necessary because of confusion among unlimited customers over when their download speeds would be slowed. He declined to say by how much the speeds would be decreased.

If you want to know why you’re losing the unlimited data plan on your iPhone, you can blame deregulation of the phone business years ago.  I guess when they decided to break up the monopolies to encourage competition, they never thought about whether they should require the phone companies to invest some of their ungodly profits into improving their data networks.  So, scarcity, like, you know, works in their favor.  They can make you slow down and use less and still charge you a fortune for crappy service.  I have ATT and I can barely get a signal in parts of central NJ and in NY City?  Fuggeddaboudit.  Covering the Occupy events in Zuccotti park was nearly impossible in real time and just drained the battery as the iphone uselessly pinged the sky looking for a signal.
Wherever Steve Jobs is, I’m betting he’s not amused.

Timmy’s Tantrum vs. the Mosuo Matriarchy

0,1020,1534447,00mWhile reading Dakinikat’s post on Geithner’s profanity-laced rant against Sheila Bair and Mary Shapiro I could not help but wonder how the dynamic would have been changed had either Bair or Shapiro been in Geithner‘s position and vice versa. This lead me to wonder if their gender might have influenced his performance tactic or if his control issues manifested themselves in a gender-neutral fashion. Then, having recently read a piece in Der Speigel on the Mosuo matriarchy, I wondered how differently the whole episode would be playing out, if the Mosuo matriarchy’s institutional structure was guiding their behavior.

At the outset, it is worth noting that the Mosuo matriarchy is only one of potentially myriad forms of matriarchy. This brief mainstream media-derived post should not be seen as claiming that all matriarchies would carry similar features based upon a specific essentialized version of human femaleness in its socially-dominant context.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is Mosuo society a paradise for feminists?

Coler: I had expected to find an inverse patriarchy. But the life of the Mosuo has absolutely nothing to do with that. Women have a different way of dominating. When women rule, it’s part of their work. They like it when everything functions and the family is doing well. Amassing wealth or earning lots of money doesn’t cross their minds. Capital accumulation seems to be a male thing. It’s not for nothing that popular wisdom says that the difference between a man and a boy is the price of his toys.

Hmm. I think it fair to suggest the Mosuo’s take on the role of the Federal Reserve Bank, and Wall Street in general, would proceed along a vastly different tack then it did in the aforementioned meeting. Given the downplay of capital accumulation, how does this cash out in terms of social organization?

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What is life like for a man in a matriarchy?

Coler: Men live better where women are in charge: you are responsible for almost nothing, you work much less and you spend the whole day with your friends. You’re with a different woman every night. And on top of that, you can always live at your mother’s house. The woman serves the man and it happens in a society where she leads the way and has control of the money. In a patriarchy, we men work more — and every now and then we do the dishes. In the Mosuo’s pure form of matriarchy, you aren’t allowed to do that. Where a woman’s dominant position is secure, those kinds of archaic gender roles don’t have any meaning.

Continue reading

Geithner and Summers: Economic Disaster Deja Vu

g + s

Timothy Geithner’s profanity-laced rant against Sheila Bair and Mary Shapiro for their rational, reality-based concerns about increasing the power of Federal Reserve Bank, as opposed to increasing oversight of the system, should elicit a kind of déjà vu because the scenario has been played before. (Note: Increasing oversight does not mean policy disclosure.)

In 1997-8, Brooksley Born, the head of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, tried to open a discussion about introducing oversight measures into the OTC derivatives market by producing a memo because she could see that:

“There was no transparency of these markets at all. No market oversight. No regulator knew what was happening,” Born says. “There was no reporting to anybody.”

Summers, Rubin’s deputy (and now director of the National Economic Council), said the memo had “cast the shadow of regulatory uncertainty over an otherwise thriving market, raising risks for the stability and competitiveness of American derivative trading.”

History, in the form of the role these derivatives played in this economic disaster, has proven that she was right to undertake that initiative. Unfortunately, Greenspan, Leavitt, Rubin, and Summers, to name some major players, were effective in pushing legislation that ended the CFTC’s ability to undertake oversight.

Born assailed the legislation, calling it an unprecedented move to undermine the independence of a federal agency. In eerily prescient testimony, she warned of potentially disastrous and widespread consequences for the public. “Losses resulting from misuse of OTC derivatives instruments or from sales practice abuses in the OTC derivatives market can affect many Americans,” she testified that July. “Many of us have interests in the corporations, mutual funds, pension funds, insurance companies, municipalities and other entities trading in these instruments.”

Notwithstanding, her concerns were dismissed and her ominous predictions came to pass.

Geithner is a protégé of Summers.

Is it not an ironic twist of fate, and a testament to Geithner’s blind faith against oversight, that he, like his mentor before him, is assailing intelligent, moral, qualified women for pointing out the  folly of his ways.

{Note: I defer all economic inquiries to our resident expert, Dakinikat.  My interest in the situation is the social dynamic.}

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Why It Will Never End (Part 1)

Don't let their Vaginas eat you!

Don't let their Vaginas eat you!

Sarah Palin is not qualified to be the President of the United States. She is dreadfully inexperienced. She is a Fundie. That alone is normally a disqualify, but let’s continue. When it comes to women’s reproductive freedoms and choices, she disappoints. Her energy policies are mediocre at best, and her obsession with drilling in ANWR is at times annoying. She doesn’t get that there isn’t much oil there to begin with, and drilling there will degrade the natural habitat. She is not as supportive of LGBT rights as she should be, and she would probably sell out our Health Benefits to jackoffs in the Insurance Industry, given the opportunity. I could go on, but you get my point.

But she has also, correct me if I’m wrong, taken on her own party Establishment and been elected as the youngest and first lady Governor of the largest and most beautiful state in the union, raised taxes on oil companies and created a state budget surplus, which she gave back to Alaskans. Her first veto in office was a bill that would deny gay couples health benefits (and you know how those lesbians love Alaskan Cruises. Good call, Sarah!). She appointed a pro choice member of Planned Parenthood to the Alaskan Supreme Court in favor of a bible humping Fundie Blowhard, and she supports funding Head Start. She is, contrary to popular belief, pro-contraception, and has said so many times. She is a Feminist. Her husband is an Eskimo Union man who owns a commercial fisherman business. She is personally socially Conservative, but based on her performance as Governor, does not use her office to inflict those beliefs on her constituents. She has stated that she believes in Science and Evolution. In fact, her father was a Science Teacher and track coach, and her mother was a school librarian, so she likes books too.

Let’s face it: Bible Spice isn’t all that Conservative. Oh sure, she says she’s a Conservative, but in today’s political environment, that’s what you say if you’re a Republican. The word “liberal” has probably not been uttered by any politician for about 40 years. Not to say that Sarah is liberal, Goddess no. “Maverick” is code for “Moderate.” Like Riverdaughter always says, we have to pay attention to what politicians say. But honestly, it’s more important to pay attention to what they do. If Teleprompter Jesus taught us anything, he taught us that.

On the fourth of July, Violet Socks said it best when she marveled at the phenomenon that is Sarah Heath Palin.

The only thing Palin is commonly accused of that is actually true is her anti-abortion stance, though, as I’ve pointed out several times, her political position is that “the will of the people” should decide the law. She has also expressed sympathy for women choosing abortion and has said that she is totally opposed to any woman ever being criminalized for it. I’m not pretending she’s anything other than what she is (an adamant “pro-lifer”), but I am trying to be as clear and honest as I can be about her actual stance.

The fact is, that stance alone is not enough to explain the kind of frenzied hatred and feminist repudiation that Palin has attracted. Notice the example of Hugo Schwyzer, who, as I pointed out in my comment at IBTP, is allowed to call himself a feminist and even cross-post at RH Reality Check — while Sarah Palin is endlessly slandered and ridiculed for having the same beliefs. Notice, too, that the Republican Party (and even the Democratic Party) is full of other “pro-life” politicians, none of whom have ever been crucified and slandered Palin-style.

Speaking of slander, that brings me to my next big puzzlement: what is it with the feminists who just freely make shit up about Palin? The lies had to start somewhere, and they didn’t all hatch in the bowels of the Obama campaign (though a bunch of them did). Some of them were incubated by feminists, particularly the ones about Palin being an anti-sex “purity queen,” the kind of batshit Christian who believes in Purity Balls and abstinence pledges and is opposed to sex ed. None of that is true.

When I first started investigating Palin, I was very relieved to discover that she’s not nearly as nutty as she might be, given that she’s a Christian. I was pleased to learn that she’s not one of those fundies who thinks wives have to submit or that Adam and Eve rode on dinosaurs. She’s not into that whacked-out purity or abstinence-only stuff. That’s good. It’s good that she’s not a nutjob. So…why aren’t other feminists also happy that she’s not a nutjob? Why do they, in fact, spread lies to make her seem worse than she is?

Are people simply confused about the differences between Christians? Do they think all Christians are alike? I doubt it. I’m no godbag and I personally wish that Christianity would evaporate from the face of the earth, but I still recognize that not all Christians are alike. I think most other people do, too. I think most people in this country understand that Tennessee snake handlers don’t go to Catholic mass, and that the Quiverfull people are not the same as the Episcopalians. Being a Christian, even a conservative Christian, doesn’t automatically mean you’re a young earth creationist in a calico dress with a purity ring on your finger.

But to get back to the original point, Sarah Palin is not qualified to be President of the United States. And I think most everyone here, including me, would probably not vote for her, depending on the alternative. She is qualified to be VICE President of the United States, as is our current Disappointment in Chief. When we all thought the Democratic Nomination wasn’t going to be jacked from Hillary in a rigged nominating process, many of us here thought he would make a good VPOTUS. He could run around on Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien, making fun of the Special Olympics and talking about who would win in a fight (Ninjas or Pirates?!) while Hillary busied herself with ramming Single Payer Healthcare through Congress and down all of our collective grateful throats. So vital were his potential talents for distraction.

To reiterate, Sarah Palin is, in fact, no more qualified to be President of the United States than Barack Obama is. As David Harsanyi says

Can you believe the gall of these Sarah Palin cultists? Presidential aspirations? This is a woman who named one of her kids “Track,” for God’s sake. (Well, if it really is her kid.)

William Buckley once wrote that he rather would “entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.”

But running government is no longer a suitable vocation for the bumbling proletariat. It’s for folks with schoolin’ and such. It’s a job for herculean thinkers with degrees from Ivy League schools. In other words, no one from Alaska need apply.

Former sports reporters certainly won’t do. We need former constitutional scholars. Who else, after all, has a better understanding of how to undermine the document?

He’s right of course. Our last “Herculean Thinker” President from an Ivy League School was Dubya. And he was the greatest a great President. So the fact that Governor Palin doesn’t have a pretty Harvard degree is just a point against her, as far as America is concerned. In fact

If Palin were president, chances are we’d have a gaffe-generating motormouth for a vice president. That’s the kind of decision-making one expects from Miss Congeniality.

The job of building generational debt is not for the unsophisticated. Enriching political donors with taxpayer dollars takes intellectual prowess, not the skills of a moose-hunting point guard.

The talent to print money we don’t have to pay for programs we can’t afford is the work of a finely tuned imagination, soaring gravitas and endless policy know-how.

Palin is so clueless she probably would have rushed through some colossal stimulus plan that ended up stimulating nothing.

If Palin were president, no one doubts this nation would have continued the Bush-era policy of indefinite detention of enemy combatants and the CIA’s program of transferring prisoners to other countries without legal rights. Be thankful you have a president who makes you think this nation doesn’t.

If Palin were commander in chief — and, again, can anyone imagine anything so preposterous? — the United States still would be fighting endless and expensive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It’s true that Palin’s first veto as Alaska governor was of a bill that would have blocked state employee benefits and health insurance for same-sex couples, but does anyone doubt her true intentions?

If she were president, brave American soldiers still would be living under the dark specter of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Palin even might have instructed her Justice Department to file a brief in defense of the Defense of Marriage Act. Such is the depth of her depravity.

Does anyone believe that Palin possesses the competence to nationalize entire industries without the consent of the people? A housewife from Wasilla isn’t equipped with political brawn to shake down banks and bondholders.

Palin never would be able to convince Americans that a trillion-dollar government-run health care plan would save taxpayers money or have the rhetorical ability to convince even a single person that a European-style cap-and-trade scheme has any benefit at all.

Palin is such a goofball that she probably believes oil will continue to be a vital American energy source.

And how is anyone as simplistic as Palin going to help change the habits of all these fatsos in America? We need a mommy … but, you know, not a real mommy.

It’s fairly obvious to everyone with a shred of certifiable sanity that Obots are one fry short of a Happy Meal. Projection is a common psychological phenomenon, and Obots seem to use it often. They have called Sarah Palin silly, narcissistic, bumbling, rambling, and an intellectual lightweight who cannot utter three consecutive sentences without the aid of a teleprompter. Gee. I think one could make a lot of money in this recession by declaring themselves kool aid prevention counselors.

Ever since Sarah Palin resigned (and again since she gave her farewell speech) an enormous, slightly pointless debate has erupted on the PUMAsphere about Sarah Palin. It is very easy to say, “I do not support Sarah Palin politically, even though I like her and will defend her against personal, misogynistic, and unfair attacks.” Bam. Done. Simple Pimple. In fact, I have yet to meet anyone on this blog who has not stated that as their official Palinpalooza position.

The fact is, Sarah Palin, like Hillary Clinton, is provocative. I don’t mean their personalities are provocative. They both seem to be pretty normal, straightforward women. Hillary taught Sunday School at her Church in Little Rock, and she grew up in 1950′s Suburbia, playing softball, wearing poodle skirts and trying to convince her dad to let her go on dates. She goes shopping with Chelsea and watches Hospital Dramas with Bill on weekends.

Sarah Palin was a point guard basketball champ. She won the “Miss Congeniality” Award in the Alaska Beauty Pageant, which helped her pay for college. She eloped with her childhood friend because she was in a family way, and it would have embarrassed her dad. She goes to a normal Fundie Church, emails her mom on her blackberry and listens to Gretchen Meyer on her morning jogs.

But like Violet Socks says

it is striking to me how much of the political discourse in 2008 revolved around people who don’t exist. The main players last year, if you recall, were Obama, the genius messiah whose perfection and purity would save the planet; Hillary, the evil racist lesbian who killed Vince Foster with her bare hands before plotting the Iraqi invasion and then attempting to have Obama assassinated; and Sarah Palin, a crazed dominionist who hates polar bears and personally arranges for Christian girls to be raped by their fathers just so she can charge them for their rape kits.

Think back to the reactions to Sarah Palin’s speech at the convention. Remember the gal at Jezebel whose head throbbed with hate blood as she listened to Palin speak? The one who said she wanted to “murk that cunt”? What the hell is that? I cannot figure it out. I look and look, and it’s like trying to see someone else’s hallucination. No matter how hard I squint, I can’t see whatever it is they’re looking at. What is so horrifying?

Violet couldn’t wrap her head around it, and neither could her commenters. What is it about Sarah Palin (and even Hillary Clinton) that drives people into such frenzies of lunacy? So many took a crack at it. It’s Sarah’s working class background. It’s her hot husband. They’re upset because she chose to have her child.

The truth is, it’s not any of those things. Hillary and Sarah are two very different people who evoke the same violent, misogynistic reactions from people. I call bull shit on people who claim Sarah has it worse than Hillary did. Bull. Shit. Not that it matters, since misogyny is something that has to be called out no matter how varying the degrees.

Remember the Nineties? Remember Rush Limbaugh holding up a picture of Chelsea and saying she was the White House Dog? Remember all those reporters sniffing through Arkansas (the same way they would later sniff through Alaska) looking for dirt and a list of Hillary’s lesbian lovers? Remember John McCain calling Hillary and Chelsea ugly pigs? Remember the Internet graphics showing Hillary being raped by a donkey and flying on a broom? Remember Newt Gingrich’s mother calling her a bitch? Remember Hickman Ewing, one of Ken Starr’s goons, saying she was “a little woman,” and claiming the whole Whitewater “scandal” was just a cover up for her love affair with Vince Foster, who she later murdered? Late night comedians have and still do make countless nasty, unfunny jokes about her. I could go on and on, but that’s only the Nineties. 2008 was worse, as we all know.

And it will never end. Sarah Palin suffers the same fate as her. I could list the offenses against her too, but it was exhausting enough listing the ones against Hillary, and I don’t want to be in a bad mood. The point is that it is a fate Sarah Palin will continue to suffer, for as long as her political career lasts. But why?

Never fear, I have the answer for you, but I’m not telling yet. You’ll have to wait for Part 2.

To Be Continued….

Cross posted at Age of Aquarius

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It’s about who decides

This has been brought on by a comment thread at Reclusive Leftist. The post was about feminism, but the thread kept veering off into abortion. Could you be a feminist and be antiabortion?

Folks, that is the wrong question. And asking the wrong question can never lead to the right answer, any more than looking for your socks in the bedroom when you lost them in the dryer is going to help you find the things.

So let’s start by asking the right question.

Maybe the first thing to do is figure out whether abortion really does kill babies. (I’m using “babies” as shorthand for “legal person with the same right not to be murdered as everyone else.”) If it does, even that’s not the end of the matter, as we’ll see in a bit, but first let’s figure that out. It’s a sticking point for many people.
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This is what a feminist looks like

Spare me the “she’s an anti-choice conservative” bullshit.  So is Obama.

Sarah said more in defense of women than NOW did.

From Transcript (unofficial):

Here’s the problem, Matt – the double standard that has been applied here. One, let’s talk politically, the double standard. First, remember in the campaign, Barack Obama said the family’s off-limits – you don’t talk about my family. And the candidate who must be obeyed – everybody adhered to that and left his family. They haven’t done that on the other side of the ticket, and it has continued to this day. So that’s a political double standard. But here again, the double standard when it comes to acceptance of a celebrity being able to get way with a disparaging comment that does erode a young girl’s self-esteem and does contribute to some of the problems that we have in society.

[...]

He doesn’t have to apologize to me.

I would like to see him apologize to young women across the country for contributing to that–kind of that thread that is throughout our culture that makes it sound like that it’s okay to talk about young girls in that way. Where it’s kind of okay and accepted and funny to talk about statutory rape. It’s not cool. It’s not funny.

FIRE DAVID LETTERMAN

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What is your female empowering equivalent to these songs?

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