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Is it the Y chromosome?

Honestly, I know enough biology to know that it can’t be. It just can’t. And yet how else to explain the sudden ignorance of a guy as sharp as Bob Somerby? He’s talking about Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow beating up on Stupak for tribalistic, Village reasons.
Somerby finds that inappropriate.

For ourselves, we think pro-choice groups have every right to bail on the bill if they decide it ends up affecting choice in unacceptable ways. But then, we also think that anti-abortion groups have the right to make the same sort of decision. That is, to jump ahead just a bit: We assume that different people, acting in good faith, may judge the morality of a measure in different ways.

Leaving Olbermann and Maddow aside, this is the first time I’ve seen Somerby completely miss a question of right and wrong.

What if the amendment read, “Hair straightening is unnatural and immoral. No medical costs associated with complications can be paid for using any Federal tax dollars.” Would he be as tolerant of that viewpoint? Male circumcision is an unnecessary procedure whose only health benefit comes from compensating for poor hygiene (or, in the case of AIDS, from the unnaturally thickened skin of the glans). Would he be as quick to understand people with moral objections to the deformation of men? (Note to the humor-challenged: I’m paralleling anti-abortion attitudes, not actually arguing for a specific kind of anatomy.) If I felt it was immoral and harmful to everyone to overpopulate the planet, and attached an amendment saying that no Federal money should ever be spent on pregnancy, childbirth, or infants after the second child, would he sagely say my morality could become law if I had the votes?

I could have all the morals I want about these things. As soon as I tried to make anyone else live according to them, I would be wrong.

Stupak and Pitts deserve disgrace for trying to take away our rights. It has nothing to do with morals, Stupak’s, mine, or the man in the moon’s. Rights. The right to control our own medical procedures. The right to control our bodies. Rights. Get it?

So, no, “different people, acting in good faith” may not judge a law about rights in different ways. Not even when it’s a law about women’s medical rights.

What is so hard to understand about this? Even with the handicap of a Y chromosome?

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66 Responses

  1. Speaking for someone with a Y, no, it’s not the Y. It’s the lack of a brain. Or perhaps the lack of imagination. If we instead change the argument to be about restricting people of some other race or ethnic group, people just like Bob in the past were perfectly fine with that too. But over time they learned that it was bigoted and very uncool, and some even figured out that if you can restrict one group, you just might be able to restrict any group.

    Flash forward to now. We have groups that it’s perfectly acceptable to be bigoted towards. Women being a major one. But there are lots and lots of other groups that are also open to hate with little or no repercussions.

    So my opinion is that Bob is a complete idiot here and is blinded to the issues and has not used is imagination to get past his default bigotry towards women.

  2. Well I think Stupak and Pitts etc have every right to put forth their viewpoint. But a party that presents itself as a leader in securing equal opportunity, individual rights and improving the status of women has to know that selling out the women is going to cost them. If the system is working, then the consequences must be allowed to follow. Thus Stupak and Pitts and the Democratic Party need to know that if they are going to sell out women, women may leave them. If they sell out seniors, seniors may leave them.

    • Yup. They are free to eject women and people that car about human rights from the party if they wish. Best of luck with that.

    • Exactly. Somersby is right in the sense that anti-choice groups can do whatever they want. The problem is that the Democratic leadership is always demanding our votes for people like Stupak, claiming they’re not going to be allowed to do any harm, and claiming they’re the party of women’s rights.

      • The anti choice dogma of Stupid Stupak has to do with religion — and the separation of church and state. What Stupid Stupak did was insert his RELIGIOUS dogma into legislation and that should be unconstitutional — and morally wrong.

        Correct me if I’m wrong — but this anti-choice BS is religiously based — it has to do with religion and not science.

        Thank YOU quixote for blogging about the extreme stupidity of Somerby — I could not believe what I was reading from a usually sane voice.

        I blogged about this yesterday — because I just had to — Somerby’s ignorance was so — well why are some males so stupid?????

        Every fundamentalist cult/religion aims to control women in one way or another. Somerby has revealed himself as just another misogynistic patriarchal jerk. Stupid Stupak is selling his religion — which includes the subjugation of women.

        ERA — we need the ERA.

      • I don’t mean he’s morally right, I agree with quixote’s argument (great post, btw). I just mean from a practical standpoint, he has a point in the sense that they can walk away or not walk away and we can’t do anything about it. We wouldn’t be in that position, though, if we hadn’t been urged to support these people believing there was a quid pro quo, we give our votes and $ and in return they respect our basic rights, when clearly to them no such bargain exists and there’s nobody looking to see that it’s maintained.

  3. IMHO, if you think abortion is wrong then you shouldn’t have one.

    • Ayup. What is so hard about that concept? What?

    • That’s one of the reasons why I stopped watching tv — because when a stupid “anti-choice” male made stupid remarks (always covered by the male dominated media) I would scream at the tv — WELL DON’T HAVE AN ABORTION — I AM NOT MAKING YOU HAVE ONE. My bright husband would say — “he can’t hear you.” Nightline would always have MALE spokeMEN speaking about women’s issues etc.

      So now I’ve eliminated a whole lot of stupids by not having a tv.

      Yes people do have right to their own opinion — but NOT when they are forcing the religious opinion on others — that is where their “right” ends. Any more I really do not care to even listen the the diarrhea coming out of the mouths of the rabid anti-choice crowd. They worship the scared sperm — I get that –and they believe world is flat and that Jesus will return on a cloud and scoop them all up to go to heaven.

      OK fine — Jesus will you please hurry up and take these raving nut cases up to heaven and leave us normal folks here on earth?

      And all of these fundamental/evangelical religions are male dominated –even the ones supposedly started by female prophets.


  4. Somerby is doing what he does criticize the media.

    • Exactly – he tries not to deviate from that.

      • I was an avid reader of dailyhowler, Bob Somerby opened my eyes to what was going on in the print and broadcast media.
        The problem is although the Maureen Dowds and Tim Russerts undoubtedly read him, nothing changed and they are still the sorry excuses they were 10 years ago.
        Not only that you have the wanna-bes at Kos and TPM trying for that grand house on Nantucket.

    • His critique of the tribalist basis of KO & RM’s critiques I agree with. But I’m appalled that he can couch it in a “all viewpoints are equally valid” narrative.

      No, they are not.

      The law in question is about taking away people’s rights. That is not acceptable. There can be no valid opposing viewpoint to that, and Somerby is smart enough to know that.

      Like Dandy Tiger said, he’s not using those smarts. He needs to start.

      • All view points are equally valid for your consideration. How you act on them is up to you.

      • He didn’t say all view points are equally valid, he said everyone has a right to their viewpoint.

        • Sure

          However, having a viewpoint and inflicting that viewpoint on others that don’t share that viewpoint are two different things.

          I’m surprised Somerby can’t tell the difference.

          It is as quixote said, the equivalent fo me saying my viewpoint is that anyone with the name Bob should not be entitled to write anymore. If I had that viewpoint would it be fair for me to then utilize that viewpoint to take away his right to write? I don’t think so.

          We aren’t talking about Stupak and Pitts just having a viewpoint, we’re talking about their right to propose their viewpoint become law for all of us(even those of us who have an opposing viewpoint). That simply isn’t right or fair.

          Like I told my conservative neighbor today, “where do I go to opting out of funding Iraq since I disagree with it.”

  5. SF activists plan to mail coathangers to Dems who supported abortion restrictions. I hope that includes Nancy Pelosi.


    • The tone of that article and many of the replies lead me to believe Pelosi has nothing to worry about as SF gate seems to have gone over to the Obama side.

    • Pelosi did not vote for the amendment altho she let it happen so maybe she gets 2 coat hangars—those wire ones that rust, not the new age plastic ones with sateen padding.

  6. I love that idea!

    • Back when I had welding gas I used them for fill rod on my projects. But that was so long ago that I’d have to send my regulators out to be rebuilt and tested. Now it’s cheaper to buy new which I can’t afford anyway.
      Has nothing at all to do with the topic at hand but is an indicator how many of us lower middle class are losing ground.

    • The Patriot Act increased penalties for sending forbidden objects through the mails. Check it out before you send anything, it might be considered a threat to send them.

      • I think a wire coat hangar is pretty basically non-lethal except when used in a back alley. But there are always the plastic new age ones and I guess you could consider those padded ones. On the other hand, let the Patriot Act hunt you down and give them a good old shoulder flick.

      • So why am I thinking of drilling holes in a plastic vibratoe and putting Mr. Potatohead parts on it and sending it to Pelosi?

      • I believe coat hangers are legal since you can order them online and have them shipped to you.

  7. Just made a mistake and read a piece at thinkprogress. What a miserable mistake it was to look in on the comments. I swear that a couple of hundred comments could have all been written by one silly 12 yr old with an IQ lower than a tomato.

    Talk about ugly group think. Yuck, just yuck.

  8. OOPsss he did it again
    & hes not that Innocent



  9. Whenever I see the name Olbermann I grit my teeth. What a misogynist he is. A couple weeks ago he called a female columnist with whom he ideologically disagrees “a mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it.” Notice the use of the neuter pronoun, as though she’s un-human. Then, of course, there’s the violent imagery. I’m surprised there wasn’t a scandal about this, that he wasn’t forced to apologize. No play of the incident in the msm or even the puma blogs.


    • Don’t you remember when he suggested someone take Hillary in a back room, and only one of them comes out (and he didn’t mean HRC)? He got away with that too.

    • puma blogs did report that comment by KO.

  10. an oldie but seems to fit for the past week

  11. FYI: Hillary on Meet the Press tomorrow.

  12. How much do I love IBEW Local 103 and their giant jumbotron billboard for Martha Coakley? I love them so very much. 🙂

  13. Elizabeth Warren for President! I just don’t get tired of saying that. She’s really super.


  14. Elizabeth Warren. Yes, indeed. There’s another person I could see as a real President.

  15. Obama’s “charm offensive” in the Asia-Pacific region brings few tangible results:

    “Apec leaders drop climate target”

    In a joint declaration issued at the end of their two-day annual summit, they said: “We firmly reject all forms of protectionism and reaffirm our commitment to keep markets open and refrain from raising new barriers to investment or to trade in goods and services.”

    They also agreed to keep stimulus spending in place until a recovery was seen.

    But leaders have failed to agree a target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) forum.

    Officials said the leaders – including presidents Barack Obama of the US and Hu Jintao of China – now viewed the Copenhagen summit as a “staging post”, and not an end point, in the search for a global deal to cut emissions of greenhouse gases.


  16. Well actually people don’t have a right to reproduce without limits.

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