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“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.

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Hell’s Grannies takeover NOW

Canvassing for votes
Canvassing for votes

The NOW convention in Indianapolis must have been off the hook.  You can find one version of events in the comments at Reclusive Leftist.  For another take on the events check out “Planes, Trains & Attack-Dog Feminism” at FemNation:

For example, all of those who thought the “dream team” of Latifa Lyles, etc., would win the NOW presidency and vice-presidencies…because we needed a youthful, fresh face for the aging, tired women’s movement…were wrong. Six votes – that’s all it took for Latifa, a woman of color in her early thirties, to lose to Terry O’Neill, a mid-50s white woman. (Race does matter – a lot – in the women’s movement.) Terry and her team may succeed in turning NOW around – I hope so – but I’m worried. There’s nothing fresh there. Policy ideas are stale and positions are delivered in a rote, scripted fashion. The veterans on the ticket – Terry and the Illinois NOW v-p – do not inspire me in terms of vision or practical skills or ability to deliver. The “new” faces on the ticket – two women in their late 20s, early 30s – have a lot to learn. A lot.

[…]

A few people have asked me to write more about the NOW elections. Both teams – Latifa Lyles and Terry O’Neill – had strengths and weaknesses. But it’s not about ideals or visions or even skills – it’s about who can turn out the most voters. Total numbers of voters – 404 (really). Late Saturday, people were coming in from California to vote for Terry – she was supported by a woman named Shelly Mandell of Los Angeles, who supported McCain-Palin publicly after Hillary lost the nomination. Shelly says she didn’t support McCain-Palin as a NOW person – but the press thought otherwise.

[…]

Really! The people who won were nasty. I wish I had been in the plenary when the vaunted Patricia Ireland (Terry’s treasurer) lashed out at Kim Gandy, questioning her budget figures – while supporters of the Terry team lined the back of the room, shouting at Kim to “tell the truth” – in reference to the budget situation. (I was working on credentialling so wasn’t in the plenary.) Financially, NOW is in bad shape. So we have reason to be worried. But is this feminism? Perhaps this is a new version – attack-dog feminism. How does that distinguish us from every other political group? It doesn’t.

The anger and bitterness of this crew – desperate to hang on to power, refusing to believe anyone else could run the organization – was shocking. (You’ve got to remember – these folks have a lot of history together – they’re like Chicago politicos – byzantine alliances – cross them at your peril.) There were people I like and respect on Terry’s side – people who felt she had the brains and experience to turn the membership decline around and that Latifa was just not ready for prime time. But they didn’t sway many voters (although granted, Terry was only in the race about 3-4 weeks!) – all they did was win by 6 votes. And what the hell were they doing in the past eight years to stop the hemorrhaging of members and money – or – as one Terry supporter said – the “death throes” that NOW is in? Come to think of it – what was the person who said “death throes” doing during the past eight years?

[…]

That wasn’t all – there also was the sideshow of the Hillary Clinton supporters who remain permanently (apparently) pissed off about her loss. The so-called “PUMAS” – Party Unity My Ass. Clinton seems to have gotten over it – why haven’t they. Some of these ladies are angry at NOW for not being supportive of Sarah Palin; apparently, the fact that she’s a woman is sufficient qualification. A few blame Kim Gandy for EVERYTHING they don’t like. I’d dismiss them as idiots except they are contributing to the anger within the women’s movement and the splintering of the women’s movement and they are very good at getting publicity.

Wow, where do I start?

First of all, Latifa Lyles was the establishment candidate endorsed by the outgoing Kim Gandy.  Secondly I’m increasingly disturbed by the emphasis on the “young black Latifa Lyles” vs. the “old white Terry O’Neill” meme I keep hearing from those who are unhappy with the outcome of the election.  It’s like someone is recycling Obama’s strategy from last year.  Where is the evidence that O’Neill supporters were motivated by race?

As for the allegation that “people were coming in from California to vote for Terry” here’s what Violet Socks had to say:

To attend the conference, you have to have been a NOW member for at least three months. And to vote in the conference, you have to be not only a member (naturally), but also a delegate from your chapter. There are a limited number of delegate slots, and the delegates are chosen by the chapter presidents. And once you get to the conference, you have to be credentialed, a byzantine process involving picture IDs, membership records, sign-offs, etc.

It is not possible for some alien group of infiltrators to just show up and take over the conference.

Last time I checked there were NOW chapters here in California so why shouldn’t they get to participate at the national convention? According to Violet, the Los Angeles delegation wasn’t allowed to vote anyway.

I’m gonna stop now. There is so much more “FAIL” to discuss but if I go any further I’ll want some hard liquor and it’s not even lunch time yet here in Big Smoggy.


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Terry O’Neill Elected NOW President

Terry O'Neill

Terry O'Neill

From the National Organization for Women website:

This weekend members of the National Organization for Women (NOW) cast their votes for a new team of leaders to direct the largest grassroots feminist organization in the country over the next four years. NOW delegates elected Terry O’Neill, who served as the group’s membership vice president from 2001 to 2005, to succeed President Kim Gandy.

[…]

“NOW is the organization that fights for the rights of all women no matter the circumstances of their birth, their race or sexual orientation, no matter if they live in poverty or are trying to escape violence,” said NOW President-Elect Terry O’Neill. “My experience with domestic violence, as an abused wife left me humiliated and embarrassed. I only began to talk about this publically five years ago as I realized that to keep quiet was to continue the abuse. I want to empower women and telling my story does just that. Women are fed up with persistent inequality and are ready for change. I am honored and eager to lead NOW in making that change.”

O’Neill cut her political teeth working to defeat David Duke’s gubernatorial campaign in Louisiana. She went on to serve NOW at the local, state and national levels. As an attorney, she served a clerkship at the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago before practicing law in New Orleans. She taught at the University of California Davis Law School and Tulane Law School. Currently, she is chief of staff to a Montgomery County (Md.) councilmember whose successes include a transgender equality law and Maryland’s first Family Justice Center for survivors of domestic violence. O’Neill’s national positions also include executive director of the National Council of Women’s Organizations.

The other members of O’Neill’s team are Bonnie Grabenhofer of IL, taking on the position of executive vice president; Erin Matson of MN, serving as action vice president; and Allendra Letsome of MD, incoming membership vice president.

Dr. Violet Socks reacts:

We won! We won! We won!

For an explanation of why Violet is elated:

NOW used to be an honorable and effective organization, and it can be again. I know some of you are too fed up to care anymore, but here’s the thing: NOW is still the biggest feminist group in the country. More to the point, it’s still the number one go-to joint when the media wants to know whether something or somebody (hint hint) is doing right by the women of America. So it would be really good to have someone other than Kim Gandy or her cohorts on the horn.

Which brings me to the subject of this post. Kim Gandy’s tenure as president of NOW is up, and the election for her replacement is in June. Kim’s hand-picked successor is Latifa Lyles, NOW’s current Vice President for Membership. I’ve got nothing against Latifa personally, though I do note that membership has dropped during her tenure as the membership director, which is possibly not an encouraging sign. But the main problem with Latifa is that she’s the choice of Kim Gandy and Ellie Smeal (they’re a team, you unnerstan). She’s their candidate. With Latifa we will get more of the same, only samer.

Score one for the good guys gals.

_____________________________________________________

UPDATE:

Violet reports that O’Neill’s winning margin was 8 votes.


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