Saturday, April 21, 2012

Two-Tiered Fight

Like I said the other day, the GOP is acting so abysmally, they're gonna make this man right here personally knock on doors for the Democrats. In Chicago. Progressives in Chicago - let alone those of us to the left of progressives - don't tend to trust Democrats. We've seen enough of the Daleys, the Emanuels, the Berrios...

Yeah. Many of these Republican leaders are that bad. Really, really horrible people. I'm not saying this as a political thing. I'm not saying this to volley shots in the game of presidential year politics. I'm saying this because what they are doing affects negatively the lives of millions upon millions of people already living on the edges in American society. The most vulnerable are daily offered as sacrifices for their head-games.

It's just. Not. Funny.

Their main man is a vulture capitalist who made his multi-millions buying companies, pushing them into bankruptcy, laying off their workers, having the government bail out their pensions (for millions of dollars), and cheating the workers out of severance packages before netting hundreds of millions of dollars in profit for their investments.

Other leaders, like Eric "#2" Cantor are following a formula of F+(sUckers)(2) as evidenced by this clip:
CANTOR: We also know that over 45 percent of the people in this country don’t pay income taxes at all, and we have to question whether that’s fair. And should we broaden the base in a way that we can lower the rates for everybody that pays taxes. [...]
KARL: Just wondering, what do you do about that? Are you saying we need to have a tax increase on the 45 percent who right now pay no federal income tax?
CANTOR: I’m saying that, just in a macro way of looking at it, you’ve got to discuss that issue. … How do you deal with a shrinking pie and number of people and entities that support the operations of government, and how do you go about continuing to milk them more, if that’s what some want to do, but preserve their ability to provide the growth engine? … I’ve never believed that you go raise taxes on those that have been successful that are paying in, taking away from them, so that you just hand out and give to someone else.

Nevermind that these 45% - if they make any income at all - already pay a much larger percentage of their income (income that they can not really afford to give away when they are on the verge of losing their homes or barely eating) into payroll taxes than the Romneys or Cantors. As long as Cantor can continue to pretend that these scum-of-the-earth types are living off the fat of the land while the virtuous super-rich (like Romney, who paid a whopping 12% of his income back to Federal Income Taxes last year) are sacrificed on W2 crosses.

And then there's the War Against Women. Consecutive attacks against the rights, bodies, wages, and health care of women - some under the pretense of pro-life (though rarely ever thoughtfully pro-life), but many others are deliberately and purposefully and blatantly anti-woman.

Here are some highlights of anti-woman legislation from a list compiled by a friend*:

Attacks from the GOP's War on Women

  1. Republicans not only want to reduce women's access to abortion care, they're actually trying to redefine rape. After a major backlash, they promised to stop. But they haven't yet. No bueno.
  2. A state legislator in Georgia wants to change the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to "accuser." But victims of other less gendered crimes, like burglary, would remain "victims."
  3. In South Dakota, Republicans proposed a bill that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortion care. (Yep, for real.)
  4. Republicans want to cut nearly a billion dollars of food and other aid to low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids.
  5. In Congress, Republicans have a bill that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life.
  6. Maryland Republicans ended all county money for a low-income kids' preschool program. Why? No need, they said. Women should really be home with the kids, not out working.
  7.  And at the federal level, Republicans want to cut that same program, Head Start, by $1 billion. That means over 200,000 kids could lose their spots in preschool.
  8. Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women, and Republicans are taking aim at them too. A spending bill would cut funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens.
  9. Congress just voted for a Republican amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers, one of the most trusted providers of basic health care and family planning in our country.
  10.  Republicans are pushing to eliminate all funds for the only federal family planning program. (For humans. But Republican Dan Burton has a bill to provide contraception for wild horses. You can't make this stuff up).
  11. Reauthorization for the Violence Against Women Act is currently being debated in the Senate. In January of 2012, it passed through the Senate judiciary committee. Every Democrat on the committee voted yea, while every Republican voted nay. The act was to be extended to give protection to same sex couples as well as women on Indian Reservations.
  12. Wisconsin state senator Glenn Grothman (R) said "unwanted or mistimed" pregnancies are the “choice of the women” who should learn "that this is a mistake." Grothman recently introduced Senate Bill 507, which would formally consider single parenthood a contributing factor to child abuse if passed into law.
  13. The sweeping anti-abortion bill working its way through the Kansas legislature would levy a sales tax on women seeking abortions, including rape victims. Under the proposal, women who end up receiving abortions would not be able to deduct the cost of the abortion as a health care expense if they had not purchased special abortion insurance. Last year, Kansas enacted a law removing abortion coverage from health insurance plans in general. Women can purchase a special rider to cover the procedure in advance of a pregnancy.
  14. Idaho GOP Lawmaker Suggests Women Use Rape As Excuse For Abortions
  15. Arizona Senate Passes Bill Protecting Doctors Who Withhold Information In Order To Prevent Abortions The Arizona Senate passed a bill Tuesday that will prohibit medical malpractice lawsuits against doctors who withhold information from a woman that could cause her to have an abortion.
  16. Nebraska Republicans Aim To Pass Freedom Of Conscience Clause That Targets Women’s Health Nebraska Republicans have made it a priority to pass a freedom of conscience clause that would allow doctors to refuse to perform procedures they object to such as abortions and just about any other procedure they have a religious, ethical, or moral objection to.
  17. Arizona Senate Committee Endorses ‘Tell Your Boss Why You’re On The Pill’ Bill Arizona has taken up yet another draconian law for women’s health – this time replicating but broadening the federal push to let employers deny women access to birth control. The bill stipulates that, unless a woman brings in a note proving she is not using it to avoid getting pregnant, an employer .
  18. Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania Governor, On Ultrasound Mandate: Just 'Close Your Eyes' During a discussion of a far-reaching mandatory ultrasound bill, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) on Wednesday dismissed off-handedly the insinuation that the measure goes too far, saying, "You just have to close your eyes."
  19. A North Carolina county commission turned down about $9,000 in state money for contraception. The Commissioner says, "If these young women were responsible people and didn’t have the sex to begin with we wouldn’t be in this situation." 
  20. Georgia Rep Wants To Force Women To Carry Stillborn Fetuses…Like Cows Do Georgia’s state representative Terry England wants to force us to carry stillborn fetuses to term–just like cows and pigs do, he says. Yet another expert on women.
  21. Idaho Senate Passes Forced Ultrasound Bill Idaho Senator Chuck Winder proposed a bill which would force every woman to undergo a mandatory ultrasound prior to having an abortion. But it's a good thing the Transvaginal Rape bill isn't being pursued in Rhode Island. Amirite? Nope? Shoot...
  22. New Hampshire House Republicans Pass Bill Forcing Doctors To Tell Women That Abortion Causes Breast Cancer. Republicans have successfully pushed an anti-abortion bill through the New Hampshire House of Representatives that would require doctors to lie to women in order to scare them from having an abortion. Yes, lie. Because there is no proof that doing so causes breast cancer.
  23. Wisconsin State Senator says that women make less money than men because money is more important for men. Um... Yeah. This happened when Wisconsin "Governer" Scott Walker (R) quietly repealed his state’s equal pay law last week, a decision that will make it harder for victims of wage discrimination to sue for lost earnings and back wages. You know, that one discrimination that makes women get a whole freaking 75 cents for every dollar a man makes for equal work and equal seniority.

Now, granted, most of this mess is political parlour tricks. It's a way of ginnying up the base and sticking it to The Other Side (in this case, Democrats). In a bit, they'll grow weary of fighting and report to their fan base that they gave it the ol' college try but those rascally DemoNcrats blahblahblah... And we'll all think we're safe and go on supporting whoever it is we supported, but meanwhile they've let a couple of these elements in and they've moved the conversation further against equity and equality.

I think we should and we need to fight these political ploys. But notice what this is: It's a social, a personal, a community issue that affects the lives of millions and millions of innocents. And they have the gall to play games with it (much like they do with their other wars).

Game Over
Game Over, by MarcXphotography found via Flickr

In a sense, reducing it to the level of games (of politics rather than policy) means that they win. The GOP can say they were just doing their job defending American liberties or patriots or freedoms or whatever other catachresis** they want to mean they're not very good people and they're afraid of extending the rights and access already guaranteed to a few to the many because they're a part of the few and they want to be in the good graces of the even-fewer.

And therein lies the rub. I've long wondered why some/many/most politicians and pundits have fought so hard to deny equal rights to everybody. Giving every person equal access could be scary for the uber-privileged few because it means they would have to share the stuff they stole. But then I discovered if we give equal rights to everybody, equal access follows.

And we can fight this game for a million years and gain the slightest bit of traction. Voting, calling, writing, marching, petitioning - these are all important, but they may do little more than protect the equality that we already have. I think we need to start thinking at a whole 'nother level as well. We need to be the change. We need to retake the property. We need to make sure every single person in our communities is fed, is clothed, is housed properly. That every grown man or woman has the opportunity to work and provide. That every child receives a proper and good and rewarding and relevant and self-actualizing education. Neither Washington nor our state capitals will provide those for us. Providing equal access goes against the political and social systems' nature. We can and must seek them for basic protection of basic human rights. But we're also gonna have to take this thing to a different tier.

*Thanks, Linda N!
**Thanks, Michele.


  1. Anonymous2:43 PM

    Wow, what a powerful statement. I quit collecting anti-women bills after I reached five pages. Last count, there are 916 bills produced by the GOP that attacks women.

    Thanks for putting it together like this.

    1. Thank you, Linda, for the list in the first place. I think we need more compilations so we can more easily see the patterns of misogyny.


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