“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.

President Re-Election Does the Vision Thing: A Play in One Utopian Act.

No, You Cannot. Have a Nice Day!

No, You Cannot. Have a Nice Day!

THE SCENE: A five-star hotel suite somewhere in America. (What – you thought he’d actually be at home, doing his job?) PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA and FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA are sitting at a linen-covered table set with heavy silverware and a pink rosebud in a crystal jar, sipping coffee and discussing the challenges and benefits of Presidenting. A four-poster bed can be seen slightly behind and to the left of where the Obamas are sitting.

MICHELLE: Well, I think things are going great, Barack. You haven’t had a Cabinet appointment scandal in a couple of days, and everyone seems to be getting used to the whole idea of spending hundreds of billions to fix Bush’s mess. Plus, your speeches are still killing!

OBAMA: Yeah, and I have all this cool stuff that shows I’m the President! Air Force One. A nifty jacket. The White House. Man, this job rules! But there’s one thing that’s getting me down.

MICHELLE: Listen, Barack, if it’s that whole smoking in the house thing again, I TOLD you -

OBAMA: Nah, nah, it’s not about that. This is something even MORE serious. (standing up and pacing) People are accusing me of thinking small on health care just because my entire plan consists of computerizing medical records! I mean, what do they want, single-payer health care or something? I never, EVER said I was going to do anything like that!

MICHELLE (watching him, sighing sympathetically): Yeah, honey, I know. Where do they get these stupid ideas about you?

OBAMA (lying on the bed, hands behind his head): I honestly don’t know. Maybe Axelrod told some of his operatives to spread that nonsense – I just gave up on keeping track of all the things he was promising my fans in the blogosphere. (pats the space next to him on the bed to indicate MICHELLE should come lie down beside him)

MICHELLE (crossing to the bed and lying down): So, is that it? You’re catching flack from a bunch of keyboard commandos over health care? Sounds pretty small-time to me. (suddenly worried) Unless – the health insurance companies aren’t threatening to withhold funding for 2012, are they?

OBAMA (laughing): Of course not! No worries there. They couldn’t be happier that I won. (sobering up) No, the real problem is that I’m being accused of not having a vision for this country. Can you believe that? Don’t they know that this medical records idea is just a small step along the way to a better, brighter, more efficient O-merica? Here, let me show you my vision…

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Fascism and Obama For America

See That Flag? It Means We Are Patriotic!

See That Flag? It Means We Are Patriotic!

Boy, this working thing really cuts into my blogging time. What’s up with that?

Never mind. I’m home for a few hours, and today, I’m thinking about Fascism.

Fascism is usually defined as a merger of corporations and state. Since we have deregulated our financial institutions to the point of insanity, they made a lot of bad lending decisions and are leveraged out the wazoo. We are now forced into bailing them out with taxpayer money because they are “too big to fail.” Other corporations, like the Big Three automakers, now expect taxpayers to pony up more cash to pay for their poor competition in the market of ideas.

When you nationalize key industries and institutions, that’s a large part of what makes up a fascist state (well, that, and things like The Patriot Act and warrantless wiretapping, which we have also allowed to happen). I thought we Murkins were dead-set against this type of economics, being so in love with “the free market” and all?

In reality, which despite reports to the contrary actually exists outside of Ayn Rand’s brain, a truly competitive market needs to be overseen and regulated, or the corporations will run amok, taking our economy – and the world’s – with it.

We have seen this actually happen over and over again, yet ideology continues to trump common sense with voters from all sides of the political spectrum. We keep allowing our politicians to loot our pocketbooks and direct trillions of our dollars into their cronies’ bank accounts, with nary a peep of protest from us.

The people this year who were likely to enforce regulation and transparency on the giant wealth-transferral machine that our government has become, were driven out of the race by the corporate media and deserted by their own political parties; while Barack Obama, the most unelectable candidate I have ever seen in my lifetime, was elevated to the status of Jesus.

And only the PUMAs asked why. Why did the corporate media love Obama so much, when he had friends and associates that would have driven anyone else, of any political party, out of the race before he was even allowed to become a candidate? Why did the Chicago Machine politician, the ultimate insider who married into The Family, pass the Democratic Party’s vetting process? We received no response other than wild accusations and rejection by friends, family members and former blogging communities for asking these obvious questions.

Since I’m talking questions, let me ask two more. What will happen once Barack Obama is inaugurated? Will we keep going down this road of merging the private and the public sectors of our economy?

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