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The War on Women: More shots to our hearts

Here’s the other video from 2008 from youtubers Shut the Freud Up.  This one covered a different controversy and highlights two very prominent Democrats:

Ahhh, yes, you can’t make this stuff up, folks.  That was the week where Donna Brazile called us the “old coalition” and made it sound like we couldn’t speak without drooling all over ourselves.  Memories.

Don’t let the Democrats rewrite history.  They’ve got to make amends before they even attempt to claim the moral high ground in the “war on women”.  Otherwise, they’re just cynical bastards playing the political equivalent of a professional wrestling match.  They don’t mean a word they’re saying.

The Democratic party was destroyed in 2008 and women were the losers in that battle.  The party only looked united because the financial crisis in September of that year made voting for a Republican completely out of the question for many people, even the ones who didn’t give a damn what happened to Barack Obama and his party.  But the rift started to show up in 2010.  And now, the Democrats are trying to figure out how to get independent women back.  Let me remind them that some of those independent women were true blue, pro-choice, liberal Democrats before the Democrats cut us loose in 2008 and we are not happy about being tossed aside by the Democrats like some unclean things in 2008 only to be attacked in 2012 by the maniacs on the right.  We know what the Democrats are trying to do and they are going to have to Try. Harder.

We’d be insane if we accepted anything less than an apology and more vigorous pushback.  No more Chellie Pingree incidences.  That’s just to start.  And if your candidate can’t be bothered to pursue women’s rights as aggressively as he pursued the White House, replace him.  This summer is going to get really ugly for all of us because the Republicans are determined to get control.  If Obama’s schtick fails to work this year, tell him to step aside.

One final thing: The Republicans aren’t done yet with women.  There’s one big thing they can still hit before the end.  It’s the Family Leave Act.  Listen up all you pregnant working women.  Ask yourself how the Democrats are going to react when the Republicans go after this piece of legislation.  You might very well be told that you should go home to have your baby and not come back to work.  These are tough economic times.  Employers need to have the flexibility to hire workers when they need them.  This regulation is killing their bottom line and preventing them from hiring new workers. They can’t afford to have an open position for 6 months.  And there are a lot of men out there who are unemployed and need work.  That’s a burden on the state.  Folks, we are paying women to have their babies and stay home for six months eating bon-bons while some family man waits for his unemployment check.  Why don’t these women want to stay with their children and take care of them?  Why have children at all if you’re just going to turn them over to the care of strangers? <Insert metaphor comparing working mothers with some disgusting animal that gives birth and either abandons or eats its young and then goes on to have a lot more sex.>

Sick?  Crazy?  Au contraire.  The Republicans know their target audience all too well.

Maybe the Republicans won’t go that far.  But if they do, the truth won’t matter.  They’ll make it sound like a 6 month paid vacation instead of a guarantee of a job after months without pay.

And what will Obama do when confronted with the choice between employing guys and protecting the jobs of millions of women?  I don’t even want to think about it.  Remember, Michelle Obama decided to court stay-at-home moms when she became first lady.  She took a very low profile position, gardened and played June Cleaver when her two children were already in school full time.  She wanted to send a message and she has.  Working women are not important to the White House.  That was the message I heard loud and clear and the impression was reinforced with Ron Suskind’s book, Confidence Men, and every time women’s reproductive rights were sacrificed for Obama’s legislative “accomplishments”.

The Democrats and the Obama administration made all of these choices and may be very shocked when they come back to bite them in the ass.  They either weren’t thinking or they were thinking with very male brains.

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

The New York Times asks a very good question: Where is the next Gloria Steinem of the women’s movement?

And then buries it in the Fashion and Style section.

{{facepalm}}

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

Paul Krugman is worried about the state of employer based benefits since the beginning of the Lesser Depression.  The graph is ugly:

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to Paul.  My industry is busily shedding jobs as quickly as it can and hiring back some workers as independent contractors or at CROs where they do not have to provide benefits.  That’s for the employee to work out with the contracting firm.  The health insurance is expensive.  Many people try to do without.  And this is only going to get worse with the Affordable Care Act because when the mandate kicks in, there will be absolutely no reason why employers should hire in-house at all.  By the way, did you know that contractors who are self employed are also not entitled to any kind of employment protections?  Yep, the employer can discriminate against you and you have the right to walk away from the job.  That’s the extent of your labor protections.  So, to recap: laying off and hiring workers back as contractors is a very, very sweet deal for employers and they will take advantage of the ACA to do more laying off.  Do not expect them to pass the savings on to you.

If the last four years could have been worse for working people, I can’t imagine how.

For more information on your new work environment and compensation plan, check out the Freelancer’s Union.

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

Anyway, I’ve got a lot to do today so my comments may be sparse.

For those of you who missed the first video from Shutthefreudup from 2008, here it is:

Did I see this coming?

Yesterday when I was at OccupyWallStreet in Zuccotti Park, I was interviewed by a student from Columbia University who appeared to be conducting a real survey of the occupiers.  The last question she asked me was something like, “did you see this coming?”.  And suddenly, I remembered.  I wrote a post about it almost a year ago.  Here it is in its entirety:

Are you better off now than you were 40 years ago?

Mrs. Winters' third grade class, Bandini Street School, San Pedro, CA

I’m a child of the 60’s and 70’s.  Back when I was a kid, most mothers didn’t work.  Almost everyone we knew lived on one salary.  My dad was career military and although the work was steady back then, we weren’t exactly rich.  We moved frequently but always lived in nice lower middle class neighborhoods in townhouses and 3 bedroom ranches.  My family benefitted from socialized medicine.  Navy doctors saved my asthmatic sister’s life on more than one occasion.  In the summer, we went to day camp on the Navy base or to the all day activities at Bandini Street school in San Pedro.  You didn’t need to sign up or pay anything.  You just walked over to the school and dropped in without your parents and learned arts and crafts or competed in Chinese handball tournaments.

Meanwhile, the war waged all around us.  We watched Walter Cronkite on the CBS evening news tally up the dead in Vietnam and the dead in the streets of America after the riots.  But in our day to day existence, we were oblivious.  My classes were integrated and I never experienced the gender biased education of kids even a few years older than me.

By the time I reached middle school, the summer of love was long over.  The protest era had ended at Altamont Speedway but I barely knew who the Rolling Stones were.  I went to an experimental middle school in upstate New York, taught by those very same hippies who spent the summer in Woodstock.  They had traded in their long hair and bell bottom jeans for respectable attire and groomed hair but the spirit lingered on.  They taught us the old protest songs in assembly.  But for my generation, that was all ancient history.  We missed out.

My first protest was something entirely different.  It was on the steps of the Capital in Harrisburg, PA, when the legislature had was about to yank money from the state related university I was attending.  Reagan shortly followed, the cold war amped up to crazy heights and anyone who accepted anything from government was considered a parasite.  For kids like me on financial aid, life became very interesting.  Changes to income taxes meant I missed out on a lot of deductions my parents took for granted while I was saddled with a social security payroll tax hike that was guaranteed to keep the system running right through my retirement.

In short, I have never been able to break out of the class I was born into despite my college education and nice salary.  My salary buys me the same lifestyle my parents had.  On one salary in NJ, I have a nice townhouse in a middle class suburb and I pay for everything.  I don’t qualify for any governmental program.  My kid will never get a Pell grant and it doesn’t matter if I can’t pay her tuition myself.  I can’t save too much for her college education or my retirement.  I just pay and pay and pay.  Taxes, mortgages, my 401k and fees that are growing over time on everything.  The greedy have taken over and have decided to extract every last disposable dollar I have and there are no restraints on the unscrupulous or the criminal.

In the past 40 years, the country has been voting Republican and conservatively.  It has been one long pull to the right, at first starting slowly and now picking up steam.  The Democrats have been yielding ground as well.  The center is now where moderate Republicans used to be and the left is completely ostracized.

It should be obvious to people that they aren’t getting what they want by voting Republican but they keep doing it.  They do it because they are terrified and they do it because there was a generation before the baby boomers that also missed out on the cultural revolution of the 60’s.  There were the women who were slut shamed into believing their bodies were their enemies.  They were shut out of higher education and the workplace.  There are men who expected to be at the top of the pyramid and have had to steadily yield ground to the women and minorities of my generation who took advantage of the gains the babyboomers made for us.  The older generation indulges in its nostalgia for a simpler age and vote conservative because Republicans have their number.

But it’s pulling us all towards destruction.

It’s time we re-energized that protest age of the 60’s and this time let the ones who missed out carry that spirit forward.  That means the women and men of my age and younger and the women and men of my mother’s age and older.  Now is the time to hit the reset button.  You might have missed it the first time around.  But you can shake up the country now by sweeping out the powers that be that have a lock on our government now.

My voting strategy this year is to vote out every incumbent I can.

1.) I am not voting for any Republican.  I know nice Republicans.  Nice Republicans are friends of mine.  Unfortunately, none of them are running for office this year.  Republicans are determined to overturn the New Deal and cut social security for myself and my mother.  Oh yeah, they would do it.  They have no conscience.

Those of you who are planning to vote Republican because you are so angry should know what you’re getting yourselves and the rest of us into.  You are obligated to not throw us in front of a speeding train.  The Republican party is now composed of predators.  They’ve picked off the poor, the sick and the old.  Now, they are moving in for the kill.  Don’t let them do it.  You know what their plan is.  They offer nothing but more of the same but much, much harsher.  You know it will bring hardship and misery to millions of Americans and you know that Democrats are cowardly.  Don’t give the Democrats an excuse to punt and sell us all out.  Get tough.

2.) I am not voting for any incumbent Democrat.  Fortunately, there is one Democrat running in my district who is not an incumbent who shares my values.  That would be Ed Potasnak.  He gets my vote.  However, if any of your Democratic candidates were endorsed by Bill Clinton, I’d vote for him/her.  They’re going to owe him someday if they win.

3.) I’m going to seek out an vote for every left wing alternative party candidate I can.  We need new blood in Congress.  I may not share all of their goals but without substantial pull from the left, the government will continue its radical slide to the right.

My goal is to vote out as many Republicans as I can and replace them with people on the left.  My fear is that Obama and the Democrats are hoping the Republicans will take over at least one house of Congress so the Democrats get political cover for imposing an austerity plan on us that they don’t have the courage to fight.  And with David Broder banging the gong for another war in Iran, I’m concerned that they will give in to another bloody mess to distract us and ruin the lives of countless more innocent people.

So be it.  Now’s the time to restart the cultural revolution.  No matter what happens tomorrow, things will never be the same.  But going back is not an option.  If we want to have it as good as we did 40 years ago, we have to move forward in a radical new way.

Now’s the time all of you who didn’t participate the first time to wash out the old and bring in the new.

Throw the bastards out.

Monday Morning News and Views

Good Morning Conflucians! I know I’ve been a bit out of if for the past few days–is that why I have a feeling that there is no news worth discussing? Sure, there is another earthquake, this time in Turkey; there are elections in Iraq, there is a new “Al Quaeda” arrest in Pakistan, and there is the ongoing nightmare of “health care reform.”

So why do I feel as if nothing is really happening? Is it just me, or is this country paralyzed, waiting for–what? The other shoe to drop? Another depression er– “recession?” Is there anything that can get us moving? Can anything force this scaredy-cat President to do something–anything!–to change the disastrous course we are on?

In the big media and at “progressive” blogs Rahm Emanuel is being blamed for the paralysis. The Hill had a long piece by Sam Youngman about this “controversy” yesterday.

A spate of recent reports have portrayed Emanuel, known for his aggressive brand of Washington politics, as either the voice of reason in a weak, liberal White House or the wet blanket preventing President Barack Obama from pursuing the kind of change he promised as a candidate.

Emanuel has become the flash point in those arguments as liberals express betrayal over Obama’s failure to convince Congress to pass a public option in healthcare reform and close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

According to Youngman, “Democratic strategists” are blaming the netroots for the attacks on Rahm, but other anonymous sources say that efforts to undermine him are coming from inside the White House. The article references Huffington Post pieces by Dan Froomkin and Michael Moore. As we at TC know all too well, these “progressives” still can’t face the fact that they helped elect Bush III. They want to believe that Obama is being duped by Emanuel–and the subtext is that it’s the Clinton’s fault. From the Hill article:

But what Rahm represents to the left dates back to liberal anger with Clinton and his kindred spirits at the centrist Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). Emanuel is seen by some progressives as wanting to win, to a fault by sacrificing principles of the party.

“Rahm believes in being elected; not in the glory of losing or failing,” the strategist said.

In another “think piece,” at Business Week, veteran Village insider Al Hunt calls this “faux White House intrique.” Hunt doesn’t seem to want to blame Obama either, but he nibbles around the edges of doing that:

Yet there is a larger self-created problem for which Emanuel and Axelrod are only partly to blame. Go back to the remarkable Obama campaign of 2007-2008. More than any of its rivals, it had a strategic sense of what it was, where it wanted to go.

This provided a shield against setbacks: losing the New Hampshire primary, the candidate’s careless remarks about rural Pennsylvania voters or even the incendiary remarks of Obama’s pastor. These became speed bumps in the strategic narrative.

That is missing in the Obama presidency. Too often it seems situational rather than strategic, reactive more than proactive. Thus setbacks, from minor ones, such as the handling of the Christmas Day bomber, to major ones, like the loss of the Senate seat in Massachusetts, throw team Obama off stride, and leave voters confused.

Hint, hint…but no one wants to come out and say it: Obama is clueless–he has no idea how to lead our country and no goal in mind even if he could lead. How are we going to survive three more years of this kind of inertia? Continue reading

Sunday: Revolution Roll Call

Cold feet.

The reality of the election is creeping up on us.  Creep is a perfect word because I am starting to see some of our number starting to have second thoughts.  Some of you feel you MUST make a decision.  It has to be final.  Convert or die.  Tell me, PUMAs, who is forcing you to commit to one candidate or another?  And what is wrong with ambiguity?  Rest assured, there *will* be a winner on November 4.  It will be decisive.  But there is no reason why either side should feel comfortable right now.  And there is certainly no reason for the Obamaphiles to threaten to put you to the sword.  You don’t owe them anything, not even a conversation if you don’t want one.

But there is still a decision to be made.  Let me tell you where I am right now.  In my mind, I am trying to reduce each campaign to a single descriptive word.  I’m still working on McCain’s, which I see as treading a very fine line, carefully avoiding mine fields that would upset the fragile coalition it is trying to assemble.  It is very cautious and yet there is an element of adventurousness in Sarah Palin that says “risk taker”.  Getting the right balance is very tricky.  On the Democratic side, there is one word that comes to mind and it’s very strong:
pernicious.

per·ni·cious (pr-nshs)
adj.
1.
a. Tending to cause death or serious injury; deadly: a pernicious virus.
b. Causing great harm; destructive: pernicious rumors.
2. Archaic Evil; wicked.

The election of Obama will be the death of the Democratic party. His campaign has been nothing short of astonishing in its destructive power. We thought the party was the party that supported equality for women. Not so. Obama’s campaign has pandered to the worst impulses in testosterone fueled young and middle aged guys and the women who want to be loved by them. By first unleashing a vicious attack on Hillary and now Sarah Palin, Obama supporters have set women in the public sphere back by decades. Will we see a return to the Mad Men era of diminishing women to sub-adult status? If we let Obama win, we might.

His campaign has also used racism as a weapon.  Racism is a serious problem but unlike sexism, our culture is much less tolerant to public displays of racism.  But this campaign season, we are witnessing a redefinition of racism to mean whatever Obama says it means.  Any criticism of him is filtered through a black and white filter.  Obamaphiles have hurled the racism label at us since before January with great success.  They have offended the political junkies and voting population.  I predict a backlash.  But what is even more astonishing is that now even among ourselves, “the shrieking hordes of paranoid holdouts”, we are starting to attack each other with the label when there is absolutely no racism or intent to discriminate. We are even alienating ourselves.  That is destruction I couldn’t have predicted a few months ago.

It doesn’t stop there.  The Obama campaign has purged the party of the elderly, the GLBT community and working people.  For years, the party was once the champion of these groups.  It was its distinguishing characteristic.  Now, the Obama campaign taps into the resentment of its new coalition towards the old coalition.  “Those people” are not worthy of protection or courtesy or even enfranchisement.  The Obama campaign makes it OK to treat them as less than human.

“Those people” are us.

A couple of weeks ago, a group of us discussed how we could involve more people into the movement to reform the Democratic party.  We were wary of using the PUMA name because some groups felt squeamish about it and didn’t want to coexist under that umbrella, even though they were indistinguishable from us in every way.  Some of those people were rationalizing why they were different from us, as if there was a reason for why they needed to distance themselves.  The PUMA name, it seems, has become associated with all of the out groups of the old coalition.  We are the lunchtable where the stupid and the ugly people sit.  Well, I *know* we’re not stupid.

What’s wrong with getting old?  As my mother says, “it sure beats the alternative”.  It is an inescapable fact of life.  It will happen to Obamaphiles too.  Ooo, here’s an idea.  Next time you meet a young Obama campaign person, tell them they’re going to be 60 someday, if they’re lucky.  See what happens.

And what’s wrong with being a woman?  How about uneducated?  How many women my mother’s age were perfectly capable of excelling in college but never got the opportunity to go?  What’s wrong with being working class?  Most of the people in this country are working class.  I have one of those creative class jobs and I consider myself working class.  The working class has moved from the factories into the cube farm.  We still work with our hands, it’s just that now those hands touch keyboards instead of widgets.

But if we allow Obama to win, our power will be diminished, perhaps for generations.  And when I say “our” power, I mean most Americans.  If we allow Obama to win, we give our consent to stealing nominations by party manipulation.  We say that it is OK to conduct fraudulent elections, misleading voters about their self-determination.  We say it is OK to take taxpayer’s money to conduct sham primaries.  We give our permission to hooligans to be bussed in from other states to bully and intimidate voters during elections.  We capitulate to the diminishment of women, the elderly, working class people, gay people.  We participate in our own demise.

A few months ago, Dr. Violet Socks wrote one of the most insightful pieces of the whole election season.  In Archimedes Lever, she describes the situation we presently face.  We PUMAs and like minded people have a huge lever in front of us.  If we choose to throw that lever, we can change history.  We can bring this pernicious version of the Democratic party to its knees.  It is in the interests of the party to make us believe that we are helpless, that we can’t or shouldn’t pull the lever, hence the renewal of the haka against us.  The polls are going in Obama’s favor, they say.  We are racists, they shout.  We women are standing in the way of Obama’s victory.

Oh, really? How about this one: Obama is standing in the way of our personhood.  Obama stands in the way of our self-determination.  Obama stands in the way of our dignity and worth.  Friends, it is time we recognized our power, our amazing strength.  WE have the votes to swing this country in OUR election.  We have the ability to send this pernicious party apparatus to the level of Hell where it belongs.  We can give a new Democratic party four years to rebuild and put the remaining Democrats on notice that we expect them to represent US. We can start our own Revolution.

Are you with me, PUMAs?  Sound off.  Tell us which Great State you are voting from and what the power of your vote is going to do this November.

Monday: You say you want a Revolution

The maddening thing about Florida and Michigan is that the DNC has been sitting on these two states all primary season, deliberately withholding their critical mass so that Barack Obama’s delegate count looks inflated. All season long, it has appeared that he was ahead. This was by design. It gave his campaign the advantage of looking like an unstoppable force of nature and his supporters a million different ways of talking about the math, not the map.

But it *is* the MAP, not the math that counts here. Because without that critical mass of Florida and Michigan, every other vote from a state that went for Clinton doesn’t count. The DNC lowered the bar for the anti-Clinton candidate from 2210 delegates to 2025 by sitting on Florida and Michigan. It’s not just that Florida and Michigan have been disenfranchised, it’s ALL of the Clinton states including CA, NY, NJ, AZ, OH, TX, PA, IN, MA, NH, AR, NM, WV, TN, etc, etc. If you live in one of those states that went decisively for Clinton, your vote was just as much hostage as a vote in Florida and Michigan. It’s just one more insult to voters in a party where the primary process is more important than the people and where gaming the system leads to a predetermined outcome.

It’s one thing to get mad. But what can you do about it, you ask? What can one person do to make her vote count? Demand that Florida and Michigan be seated as is. The time for revotes has come and gone and Obama obstructed them anyway in order to maintain the perception of an insurmountable lead. He has forfeited any reasonable argument for less than full recognition. The voters of Florida and Michigan are innocent victims in all of the political shenanigans and so are we. See the links below to do what you can to bring Florida to a resolution or start a Revolution.

You wanna do even more? FDR has a rally…

Alright!!!

One other thing:  Some of you are getting a little PO’d about Obama’s use of the past tense when it comes to Hillary.  How many times do we need to go over this?  They are playing mind games, people.  Even if he does stupidly go in front of the cameras tomorrow night and crown himself king, he has to wait out the next three months because nothing is official until the balloons drop in Denver.  In the meantime, he’s going to be sweating bullets because *we* have something the DNC desperately wants. And they are not going to get it by continuing their bad behavior.  We all have choices.  You have a lot more power than you think. Now, turn off the news, re-register as an unaffiliated voter, send your old torn up registration card to Howard and Donna and send Hillary a ten spot.  Don’t make me come over there.  :-||

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