Nel's New Day

April 14, 2014

GOP Continue Bashing Women

Equal Pay Day, the day of the year that marks the additional time women need to work in order to match men’s pay the previous year, usually goes by with not much attention. Most people probably don’t even know that it happens. Not so this year, partly because of the Paycheck Fairness Act that failed in the Senate with 54 votes. The mere thought of equal pay released a firestorm of negative reactions from conservatives. These are some responses to gender equity pay from the far-right:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “[The Democrats just want to blow a few kisses to their powerful pals on the left.” It’s all part of the Dems’ “never-ending political road show.” [Is that what he’ll say when he runs against a woman this fall—if he wins his contested primary?]

Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX): “This whole thing is really backfiring on the administration and on our Democratic friends because people are seeing it for what it is: It’s a transparent political campaign. It isn’t actually about solving problems, because the law of the land is already paycheck equity.” [No, it isn’t.]

Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS): “[The bill is] “condescending . . . Some folks don’t understand that women have become an extremely valuable part of the workforce today on their own merit, not because the government mandated it.” [Translation: My pay is equal. Why should I care about anyone else.]

GOP Senate hopeful from Michigan Terri Lynn Land: “Well, we all like to be paid more and that’s great. But the reality is that women have a different lifestyle. They have kids, they have to take them to get dentists’ appointments, doctors’ appointments all those kinds of things, and they’re more interested in flexibility in a job than pay.” [And she expects women to vote for her?]

RNC Press Secretary Kirsten Kukowski: On a television talk show, she couldn’t manage to answer a question about what pay equity policies her party would support. [Probably because there aren’t any.]

Fox stalwart Bill O’Reilly: “I’m not buying this inequality business.” [No, but the women do.]

Another Fox … Megyn Kelly: “Now they think you’re anti-woman if you question that meme about equal pay.” [The position of a woman who Sheryl Sandberg, busy touting her new business-friendly book Lean In for Graduates, calls a “good friend.”]

Executive director of the Texas Republican Party Beth Cubriel: Women will get better pay when they learn to negotiate like men. [Then they’ll be called bitches.]

Leader of Red State Women Cari Cristman: Women are too busy to need equal pay laws.  [They might have more time if they received equal pay.]

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA): Avoiding reference to gender equity pay, he wants Democrats to “put the politics aside” and talk with Republicans about “things that we can do together, things that disproportionately impact women, without playing politics.” [As if the pay gap doesn’t “disproportionately impact women”!]

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI): His budget, just passed in the House by all except 12 Republicans disproportionately cut women’s benefits. [There’s that “disproportionately” again!]

Host of Fox Business, Melissa Francis, has the most bizarre rationale for women being paid less. For her, the gender pay gap is positive because women were better able to keep their jobs during the recession than men. To her, the less that women make, the better off they are. She’s even wrong with her belief that women kept their jobs because they get paid less. The recession hurt men more because jobs in the male arena were more likely to disappear. The rapidly-growing service industry employs a large number of women whereas manufacturing, mining, logging, and construction hire more men. And Francis is the host of a business program!

Republicans have found other ways to drive women away from the GOP:

Charles Murray, education advisor to GOP Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott, said he has found no “evidence” to prove that any woman had been a “significant original thinker in any of the world’s great philosophical traditions.” In his speech at the University of Texas, Murray also declared that women’s brains are smaller than men’s. Like most other Texas Republicans, he thinks that the gender pay gap is a “myth.” Abbott is now avoiding the press.

George Bush’s CIA director Michael Hayden, disturbed because the committee led by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) approved the release of a report on U.S. torture of prisoners, referred to her as “emotional.” He was talking about a report, passed 11-3, that he hasn’t seen and that is well supported by documents about the “interrogation techniques.”

The Florida House considers words such as “uterus” to be “inappropriate” language for young interns, who were all sent out of the chamber while the Republicans discussed more draconian measures against women’s reproductive rights. The teenagers were allowed back in to hear about “bleeding chest wounds” during a discussion on guns.

Rep. Vance McAllister (R-LA), caught kissing his aide six weeks after his election last fall, solved his problem by firing her. Married for 16 years with five children, the highly religious man plans to stick it out for the fall election despite opposition from his governor, Bobby Jindal, and the leader of the state GOP. On the other hand, the GOP stuck by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) who was re-elected after he admitted “serious sins” with hookers.

Detroit News’ editorial page editor and columnist, Nolan Finley, wrote about Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schnauer’s running mate, Lisa Brown. “She’s still milking the vagina business and is a minor celebrity among feminists.”

The GOP has one solution to help women get more money: marry a wealthy man. A paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research called “Marry Your Like: Mating and Income Inequality” places the blame for the ongoing increase of inequality on “assertive mating,” the tendency of similar people marrying each other. Their conclusion is that extreme income inequality will only grow worse because people with similar incomes marry each other. The paper does skip the disappearance of the middle class from lower wages and lack of job access and policies that favor the top one percent. Women should just marry up.

Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) also believe–wrongly–that marriage makes women wealthier. Ralph Reed makes it even simpler. His solution is to stop making divorce so easy.

The GOP also has a new initiative to attract women voters, the “14 in ‘14.”  The Republican National Committee wants to recruit and train women under 40 to talk about the GOP message in the last 14 weeks of its campaign. Candidates should put their wives and children in their advertising, make sure that women attend their events, and establishing a database of women who will campaign for them. The project started with “Project GROW”—which didn’t—in which the GOP would recruit women candidates for Congress. With fewer GOP women running this year than in 2012, the women will be the wives in the television commercials.

According to a CNN poll, 55 percent of people, including 59 percent of women, think that the GOP doesn’t understand women’s problems in current times. In addition to opposing the Paycheck Fairness Act, Republicans refuse to consider a hike in minimum wage. The GOP wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which helps far more women than men.

Because of the GOP, both in their policies and the way that they have forced Democrats to the right, the United States is #23 in the world behind Barundi and Lesotho. This information comes from the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Gender Gap Report that “examines the gap between men and women in four fundamental categories: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival and Political Empowerment.” Of the 110 countries in every report since the initial report in 2006, 95 have shown improvement over the last four years. Globally, women are living longer and healthier, gaining more access to education, and participating more in political decision making.

One state is trying to make a difference for women and families. The Minnesota House has passed Women’s Economic Security Act (WESA) on to the Senate despite a complaint from one GOP member who said it make women look as if they were “whining.” The bill improves parental leave, affordable childcare, gender pay gap, retirement security, and economic consequences of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault. It’s not a done deal, but it’s a start.

November 4, 2013

GOP Wants White Men–Like Christie, Paul?

White men—that’s what 95 percent of conservative Republicans want in Congress. Only 5 percent said that they wanted more minorities sent to rule the country. Only 26 percent of conservatives—and 23 percent of Republicans—even want more women in the House and Senate, according to the same ABC/Fusion poll.

christieGov. Chris Christie, New Jersey candidate in tomorrow’s election for a second term, wins my angry white man of the week. Mrs. Christie smiled blandly while Christie shouted, “You people! Just do your job!” His fury came public school teacher Melissa Tomlinson’s question on Saturday: “Why do you portray New Jersey Public Schools as ‘failure factories?'” Christie is a shoe-in for tomorrow’s gubernatorial election, but his presidential aspirations may suffer from his bullying behavior.

Yesterday Katty Kay pointed out on Meet the Press that Christie “has a problem in particular with women voters. I think what is seen as bullying, overbearing, perhaps a little bit thin-skinned, and he goes on the attack a lot.  I know that it hasn’t affected him in New Jersey, but I have a feeling that when he gets out into the general audience there is a character issue there that may put some women voters off.” Men, especially white ones, may not have any issue with his behavior as shown by Bill Kristol’s response to Kay: “He’s awfully impressive.  I like him.”

There were a few things not to like about Christie when Mitt Romney vetted–and rejected–him as a possible VP candidate last year. Mark Halperin and John Heileman cited a few of the problems in their new book, Double Down: Game Change. As an AG, his overspent travel monies without “adequate justification,” including stays at places like the Four seasons, followed his work as a lobbyist for the Securities Industry Association while Bernie Madoff was a senior official for them. A Congressional hearing resulted from Christie’s help for his donors and political allies, such as former AG John Ashcroft, in receiving large government contracts. A defamation lawsuit against Christie came from his 1994 ousting of an incumbent. His brother also settled for SEC civil charges by acknowledging making “hundreds of trades in which customers had been systematically overcharged.”

Other, more recent issues, show problems in electing Christie as president:

  • He cancelled the ARC tunnel, largely funded by federal aid, that would have provided tend of thousands of jobs.
  • He unilaterally gave the clean-up contract after Superstorm Sandy to a politically-connected Republican firm which charged more than twice as much for debris removal as other reputable firms.
  • He turned down federal aid to hire people in helping people to sign up for the Affordable Care Act, causing more loss of jobs.
  • He killed another 1,800 New Jersey jobs by unilaterally pulling the state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas initiative after a supposedly secret meeting with the Koch brothers.
  • He unnecessarily spent millions of dollars to have the special election for a U.S. senator just days before the general election.
  • He picked an inexperienced hedge fund manager and waived the salary cap when he appointed a superintendent for Camden’s schools.

Another issue is the slowness of disbursing charitable donations for Superstorm Sandy. One year after the disaster, 42 percent of the $575 million has still not been given to needy people. The Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund, with Mary Pat Christie as Board Chair, has been suspect in this area.

Maybe one reason that Gov. Christie has yelled at teachers is his contribution to stripping the state retirement for all New Jersey state and local employees. His first budget in 2009 skipped a $3 billion payment, and the state pension funds continue to pay out more in benefits than it takes in with contributions. The state saved some money by barring part-time public workers from the pension system. At this rate, the pension fund will run out of money in five years, making New Jersey the first state in the nation to do so.

Rand PaulAnother angry white man is Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) after it was discovered that he has plagiarized chunks of his speeches and writing. Rachel Maddow introduced the issue when she gave a couple of examples from Wikipedia. Her discoveries were followed by Politico reporting that he directly copied a 2011 report from the Associated Press for his 2013 speech responding to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address. He also used a 2010 passage from Citizenlink for his story about Ronald Holassie at Howard University. 

Another case was copying pieces of an article for his op-ed piece in the Washington Times and then using the same pieces in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. BuzzFeed reported that a passage of 1,300 words (more than the length of this blog) in his new book, Government Bullies, came directly from the Heritage Foundation. The book cites the source but doesn’t explain that it’s a direct quote.  

Paul attributed the copying to “sloppiness” and the reporting to “hackers and haters.” There might be graceful ways out of this problem, but Paul hasn’t taken them. Instead of admitting any wrongdoing, he said, “I think the spoken word shouldn’t be held to the same sort of standard that you have if you’re giving a scientific paper. I’ve written scientific papers, I know how to footnote things, but we’ve never footnoted speeches, and if that’s the standard I’m going to be held to, yes, we will change and we will footnote things.” That was before news sources started tracking a number of his plagiarized entries in written material.

The story went viral after he said—possibly in humor?—that if dueling were legal in Kentucky, if they keep it up, it’d be a duel challenge.” Kentucky takes dueling very seriously; it’s the only state in the Union that requires state officials to swear that they have not fought in, challenged for, or assisted at a duel “so help me God.” On yesterday’s ABC’s This Week, Paul asserted, “I take it as an insult, and I will not lie down and say people can call me dishonest, misleading or misrepresenting.”

Although Paul didn’t specifically name the potential dueling partner, the person was identified as female. On Fusion, an ABC/Univision cable channel, he said, “You know, the person who is leading this attack, she’s been spreading hate on me for about three years now, and I don’t intend for it to go away, but I also don’t see her as an objective news source.” We’ll make a wild guess that it’s Rachel Maddow. Someone should tell him that it’s not presidential material to declare a vendetta with a journalist.

For just a senator, his plagiarism and resulting hostility might not be a problem, but Paul has designs on the presidency. At least, he’s advertisers are making money off him; this advertisement for software programs to identify plagiarized material was posted at the top of an article about Paul.

grammar checker

[To avoid plagiarizing, I wish to state that the source for Rand’s photo is here.]

So Christie the bully yells at people, primarily women, and Paul threatens one with a duel. The GOP still doesn’t understand that this isn’t the way to win an election, no matter how much Republicans wish that women weren’t in Congress.

November 25, 2012

Religion Struggling with Its Government Takeover

I find religion to be a peculiar belief because it rules most of the world, including parts of the United States, and yet people have such vast diversity in beliefs. People don’t even know how often they attend a religious institution. According to a new study from the Pew Research Center, 79 percent of Americans identify with an organized faith group, making the people in this nation more deeply religious than in many other countries including those in Europe. But are people in the U.S. as religious as they say? NPR’s science correspondent Shankar Vedantam looked into this theory.

Although 45 percent of the people say that they regularly attend a church or other religious service, Philip Brenner’s study of their activities through a self-reported diary indicates that only 24 percent of the people actually do this. Perhaps they want to represent themselves as religious. This almost double over-reporting of regular attendance is in sharp contrast to very little over-reporting among people in Western Europe.

Perhaps because they want to look religious, many people in the United States tolerate the intrusion of religion into government matters, similar to the stocks in Puritan New England. States that diligently pass laws preventing the Sharia, the Islam moral code, in their law, are comfortable using Christianity in laws preventing abortion and marriage equality and in sentencing convicted felons.

Judge Mike Norman (Muskogee County, OK) sentenced 17-year-old Tyler Alred to church attendance for ten years—nothing more. Alred was convicted of manslaughter after he killed the passenger in his car when it collided with a tree. Although Alred’s blood alcohol level was under the legal limit, by law he was driving under the influence because he was a minor.

Circuit Court Judge Michael Nettles (Rock Hill, SC) did send Cassandra Tolley to prison after her conviction, but he added a provision to the eight-year sentence: mandatory bible study and a summary of the Book of Job. Tolley drove down the wrong side of a road and hit a car head on, seriously injuring two men. Her blood alcohol content was over four times the legal limit.

Fortunately, Gordon Klingenschmitt is no longer a Navy chaplain, especially after “don’t ask, don’t tell” was repealed. His claim is that that people who vote to support same-sex marriage are like those who wanted to crucify Jesus Christ. When asked if the election shows a movement toward “enlightenment” and that Jesus might approve of marriage equality, the chaplain responded that the interviewer confused “the Holy Spirit with a demonic spirit.”

In quoting Romans 1:32, Klingenschmitt said, “‘Knowing the judgment of God that those who commit such things, homosexual acts, for example, are not only worthy of death, not only for those who do them, but for those who have pleasure in those who do them.’” None of the 18 most common versions of this verse mentions homosexuality. In fact, that word does not appear in the bible.

The former chaplain also practices exorcism and has a new book—self-published—called The Demons of Barack H. Obama. When reminded that people in the military are supposed to support elections and democracy, Klingenschmitt said, “The only election in the New Testament was the election to crucify Jesus and let Barnabas go.”

With the winter holidays bearing down on us, the fundamentalist Christians are again lamenting the loss of Christmas. Pat Robertson got a head start when he said, “Christmas all over again. The Grinch is trying to steal our holiday. It’s been so beautiful. The nation comes together. We sing Christmas carols, we give gifts to each other. We have lighted trees and it’s just a beautiful thing. Atheists don’t like our happiness, they don’t want you to be happy, they want you to be miserable. They’re miserable so they want you to be miserable.”

Like Karl Rove, Robertson was stunned when President Obama won re-election. Last January he said that God had told him who the winner would be, but there seemed to be static in that communication. In talking about his confusion, Robertson said, “So many of us miss God, I won’t get into great detail about elections but I sure did miss it, I thought I heard from God, I thought I had heard clearly from God, what happened? You ask God, how did I miss it? Well, we all do and I have a lot of practice.”

The fundamentalist Christians have had a hard year. First they couldn’t get the candidate they wanted. Texas Gov. Rick Perry looked good back in the summer when he participated in a big rally in his state, but his odd behavior led them to conservative Catholic Rick Santorum who equally alienated most people. Mitt Romney survived only because he said very little and shifted with the wind.

The fundamentalists also failed to get any of the Catholics except the bishops riled after the free contraception kerfuffle. The “Fortnight for Freedom” campaign against President Obama was overshadowed by the “Nuns on the Bus” that showed the hypocrisy of Paul Ryan and the bishop leadership. In the end, 50 percent of Catholics voted for President Obama over the 48 percent that chose Romney.

During the crucial last month, fundamentalist candidates openly and frequently showed their ignorance. Senate Republican candidates Richard Mourdock (IN) and Rep. Todd  Akin (R-MO) helped people understand how extreme the conservative radical theology is. The candidates not only lost but most likely took others down with them.

In addition, fundamentalist Christians failed to turn out for this election, possibly because of the confident rhetoric from conservative pundits on Fox and other stations proclaiming Mitt Romney as a shoe-in for the presidency. Despite Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition that sent illegal voter guides to Ohio churches, the president improved his standing by three points with white evangelicals in that state over the 71 percent to 27 percent margin John McCain won four years ago.

The final blows for fundamentalist Christians were the loss of the presidency and the Senate and the wins for marriage equality in three states. Minnesota was a fourth state that refused to further legitimize bigotry. Even the massive “Vote Biblical Values” ad campaign from famed evangelist Billy Graham failed to stop the groundswells of support among other religious groups for marriage equality.

Far-right religious figures had earlier understood that they were losing the war against marriage equality. Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, reiterated this position when he said that the Religious Right should focus less on abortion and gay marriage and more on issues such as immigration reform, poverty, and increasing adoptions and foster care opportunities. We’ll wait to see if they go so far as to allow same-sex couples to participate in their grand schemes.

Meanwhile, the Church of England is having trouble with its own war on women after its laity rejected women bishops. Although the action was approved by the synod’s houses of bishops and clergy, only 324 synod members in the House of Laity voted to approve the ordination of women bishops, six short of the required two-thirds majority. As Williams said, “We have, to put it bluntly, a lot of explaining to do.” The next vote will probably not come until 2015.


September 9, 2012

The War on Women Continues

What do the Republicans think of women? Here are some fine examples of how little some men treasure the “fairer sex.”

Republican candidate Tom Smith of Pennsylvania, running for the House this fall, told an interviewer that having an unmarried pregnant daughter is the equivalent of having a daughter raped. Paul Ryan, running for the second highest office in the country said that rape and incest are just another “method of contraception.” This is after he refuted Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) explanation of “legitimate rape.”

After Caroline Kennedy spoke at the DNC convention about the new restrictions on women’s rights, Fox’s Bill O’Reilly criticized her speech and said: “I don’t see any women’s rights under assault at all. I don’t see it.” Karl Rove, his guest, claimed, “No one is seriously talking about ending abortion.” Obviously Rove had not read the 2012 GOP platform passed a week earlier.

One GOP goal, stated in their platform and by both Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney, is defunding Planned Parenthood. Shelby County (TN) did just that: in November 2011, officials took away the $397,000 in state funding for health screenings, STD tests, and birth control and gave it to Christ Community Health Services (CCHS), a religious organization that refuses to provide abortions or refer women to other organization providing them. CCHS does not offer emergency contraception, sometimes called the day-after pill, despite no proof that these cause abortions. They are supposedly trying to create more “crisis pregnancy clinics” that offer “counselors who can discuss adoption and other life-affirming options” with women. Obviously, there is not information about abortion at these clinics.

During the year between July 2011 and June 2012, CCHS failed to use over $500,000 of the $1.3 million grant it received. In early 2012, the health services averaged 51 Title X visits per month, compared with Planned Parenthood’s 841 visits in August 2011 before they lost the funding. Yvonne Madlock, director of the county health department, justified the drop by how busy CCHS was in its transitioning. At the same time, women’s services dropped 93 percent because the county failed to fund Planned Parenthood.

Trying to keep women pregnant is the goal of Quiverfull, a Christian organization that pushes the idea that women’s purpose on Earth is to conceive and bear sons; i.e., “arrows” for God’s army. Stars of TLC’s 19 and Counting, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, are models for this group. Citing several Biblical passages, Mary Price, leader of the organization, explains in her book The Way Home: Beyond Feminism and Back to Reality  that sex for women is unnatural and causes men “to abandon the natural sexual use of the women and turn to homosexuality.”

When single-mother Vyckie Garrison gave up the Quiverfull movement after seven children, she started a blog to explain the problems with what she calls a cult. It goes much farther than just the abuse of women who are encouraged to lose their health in bearing children and provides documentation for the Quivers’ belief that the primary goal of a parent is to subdue the will of their children.

Women’s buy-in to the anti-women movement in the country can be truly horrifying. Fox News co-host Andrea Tantaros said that “no woman should aspire to be” the women’s rights activist and former Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke, who conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh called a slut because she had advocated that birth control be covered by health insurance plans. Tantaros continued, “She claims to be this smart, successful woman and she can’t afford $9 birth control?” When guest co-host Juan Williams defended Fluke because she was a student, Tantaros replied. “She’s a lazy student. She won’t get a job and pay for her own bills.” Fluke was actually testifying on behalf of a lesbian friend who couldn’t afford the oral contraception she needed to prevent ovarian cysts from forming when her university refused to pay for the medication on religious grounds.

Another example comes from Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch (R-WI) who was initially horrified at Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) classification of rape as “abhorrent, insulting” and “disgusting.” She went so far as to say, “Rape is a rape. I don’t know how you can categorize it, and it’s disgusting that Todd Akin would have tried to categorize it.” That was before the interviewer told her that her own state’s GOP representative, Paul Ryan, had co-sponsored a bill with Akin to categorize some rapes as “forcible.”  She made a 180-degree turn: “Well, I think there is a way to have a more forcible rape, the same way there are different types of assault.”

Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) showed her disdain for raped and battered women when she called them “distractions” that represent only a “small portion” of South Carolina’s population. When vetoing critical funding for programs working to prevent domestic abuse and rape, she said, “It is only a small portion of South Carolina’s chronically ill or abused. Overall, these special add-on lines distract from the agency’s broader mission of protecting South Carolina’s public health.”

Another dishonest reaction came from the discussion of the GOP platform language that denies all abortions to all women even in the cases of rape, incest, and the women’s health. Several high-ranking Republicans have denied that the platform states this. Governor Bob McDonnell (R-VA) called the prevention of abortion a “detail” to be left up to states and Congress. On ABC’s This Week, he said, “The party didn’t make any judgment on that. It’s a general proposition to say we support human life.”

The GOP platform actually endorses a Human Life Amendment “to make clear that the 14th Amendment’s protections apply to all unborn children.” That means all abortions would be unconstitutional. When McDonnell appeared on the program, Romney stated that there would be exceptions for rape, incest, and the woman’s life. The next week he dropped rape and incest, and now he supports a ban on all abortions.

The icing on the cake comes from Jacqueline Hatch, an Arizona judge appointed by Republican governor Jan Brewer, when she sentenced a police officer who molested a woman in Flagstaff. Robb Gary Evans drove drunk to a bar, showed his badge to avoid paying a cover charge, and then ran his hand up a woman’s skirt over her genitals. Fired from the police force after an internal investigation, Evans was also convicted by a jury of sexual abuse, a felony with a maximum sentence of 30 months in prison. The trial judge gave him probation and 100 hours of community service. Evans is not required to register as a sex offender.

Hatch said she didn’t blame the victim but she did say that bad things can happen in bars. “If you wouldn’t have been there that night, none of this would have happened to you,” Hatch said. “I hope you look at what you’ve been through and try to take something positive out of it. You learned a lesson about friendship and you learned a lesson about vulnerability.” Hatch said that her mother used to say, “When you blame others, you give up your power to change.”

Hatch was not the only person who criticized the victim, a Flagstaff professional. Members of the community accused her of ruining the defendant’s life. “These people put their lives on the line every day,” Evan’s former partner said to the judge. “I hope you’ll be lenient on him. To me, this is one way we can give a little back to those in law enforcement who give so much to us everyday.”

“I don’t necessarily agree with the way this case got to be here,” former Flagstaff Police Lt. Randy Weems told the judge.

“When women got the right to vote is when it all went downhill,” Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show in July. “Because that’s when votes started being cast with emotion and maternal instincts that government ought to reflect.”

Republicans are now trying to dodge the growing opposition to the GOP’s control of people through banning marriage equality and women’s reproductive rights while creating a greater schism between the wealthy and the rest of the nation’s citizens. Denigrating concerns in this area through such sneering terms as “distraction” and “emotional issues,” they have generated a war against not only half the people in this country but also the poor and the minorities. The angrier the conservatives become, the more they will fail.

June 1, 2012

‘Hurl Some Acid,’ Says Conservative

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 7:41 PM
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As hate speech ratchets up around the country, the worst is directed toward women and ethnic groups. Jay Townsend, spokesman for Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-NY) has gone far over the edge in a Facebook post, starting out with snarky comments to a constituent critical of Hayworth in a question about gas prices.  He ended up saying: “My question today… when is Tommy boy [the constituent] going to weigh in on all the Lilly Ledbetter hypocrites who claim to be fighting the War on Women? Let’s hurl some acid at those female democratic Senators who won’t abide the mandates they want to impose on the private sector.”

Townsend’s reference was to the gender difference in the salaries of staffers employed by U.S. senators with Patty Murray (D-WA) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA) among the worst offenders. But throw acid into the senators’ faces?! Really?!

The Facebook page, NY19 U.S. House of Representatives Discussion Center, states that it encourages “civil multi-partisan discussion about issues impacting citizens of New York’s U.S. House District represented by Republican Congresswoman Nan Hayworth.” But “hurl some acid”?! Not civil!

A response from Annie-Rose Strasser to Townsend’s virulent ranting eloquently sums up the issue: “Acid attacks are particularly brutal, aimed almost solely at women, with the intent to maim and disfigure. I couldn’t imagine a worse piece of invective from someone who puts the Republican war on women in quotes.”

It’s not as if Townsend is a beginner. His autobiography claims he has “worked in more than 300 different campaigns in more than 25 different states” over the last three decades. Townsend also self-describes himself as “an adept wordsmith.”

A petition asking Hayworth to fire Townsend is circulating on the Internet.

Jay Townsend is not alone in his stupidity. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), who gained fame as the “deadbeat dad” who didn’t pay over $100,000 in child support for years, has taken on Hispanics and blacks. In his argument that Democrats want all these people dependent on the government, he said that civil rights activist Jesse Jackson “would be out of work if [African Americans] weren’t dependent on government.”

In April, Walsh said that Obama was elected because he’s black. About his opponent, Tammy Duckworth, he said, “She’s been the one working in Washington. She’s a bureaucrat.” Duckworth, now assistant secretary of veterans affairs, lost both of her legs and part of her right arm in 2004 after her helicopter was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade. Walsh describes her as “female, wounded veteran … ehhh … nothing more than a handpicked Washington bureaucrat.”

The LGBTQ community has experienced more open hate recently than in the past few years. A North Carolina pastor wanted to pen up all the gays and lesbians so that they couldn’t procreate, and a Seneca (KS) pastor recommended just killing all the gays and lesbians. An Indiana fundamentalist pastor cheered on a 6-year-old as the child sang, “Ain’t no homo gonna make it into heaven.”

As the election year moves on, events like these have become more and more extreme accompanied by crazy controlling laws from highly conservative state legislatures. According to some, these people do not take facts into consideration when they create their fantasies. As a result, they are unable to argue rationally or civilly, behaving like victims whenever anyone disagrees with them. Consider Mitt Romney who accuses President Obama of all Romney’s personal defects and misguided actions.

These conservatives also don’t like change. Think about Romney’s position of going backward. It’s impossible to keep change from happening, but the more that conservatives see change coming toward them, the more frightened they become and the more resistant they are. This resistance escalates, and they become like cornered animals, fighting tooth and nail toward anything. Eventually they must succumb to progress but not without great consequence to both themselves and the tide moving toward them.

The other position comes from the theory of the tipping point. People will only put up with only so much before the dominoes fall over, and we move in another direction. Just one tiny thing will cause this reaction, just one small “tipping point.” When it comes, we won’t know.

Now we’ll just wait to see if Jay Townsend gets fired for his outrageous statements.

April 13, 2012

Women Still under Attack–Unlike Caterpillars

Iowa parents (translate mostly women) who receive child support would be forced to have drug tests every six months if state Sen. Mark Chelgren got his way. Democrats openly laughed at him yesterday while Sen. Jack Hatch said that Chelgren’s proposed amendment is anti-woman and can be unfairly used by vindictive spouses. (No mention of unconstitutional.) Chelgren withdrew his proposal, but another Chelgren idea, that of drug-testing welfare recipients, was debated today. That’s the latest Republican salvo in the war on women that Republicans claim doesn’t exist.

David Weigel’s Slate article describes the birth and recent death of the war during the past year, but he’s evidently not following the media. If anything, the war geared up after Hilary Rosen’s statement about Ann Romney that she “had never worked a day in her life.” Despite Rosen’s apology that she meant that Romney had not worked outside her home while she raised five children, everyone from President Obama on down to Rosen herself criticized this statement.

Even the Catholic League got into the fray when its director, Bill Donohue, tweeted, “Lesbian Dem Hilary Rosen tells Ann Romney she never worked a day in her life. Unlike Rosen, who had to adopt kids, Ann raised 5 of her own.” There has been little negative reaction to Donohue about his putdown of adoptions–and lesbians. Meanwhile some Republicans are crowing that they just won the war on women. The idea is so absurd that some Republican pundits are supporting Rosen.

Romney the candidate is obviously so worried about the voting gender gap that he skewed statistics, saying that women have lost 92.3 percent of the jobs since January 1. His position  is so off target that it will take an entire blog to explain. Suffice it to say, he had to use a date 20 days before Obama took office because using his method beginning with Obama’s inauguration would mean that women lost 300% of the jobs, a statistical impossibility. (More about that in the next few days.)

Women know about the war on their freedoms: forced invasive ultrasounds,  inability to achieve equal pay, and other issues. Nancy Carter and Christine Silva wrote a three-part series for the Washington Post to show how the myths about women are bogus. For example, women ask for raises and promotions, but they don’t get as much in return. The gender gap in level and pay got even wider between men and women as their careers progressed. People take a much tougher position against women in negotiations, for example in selling cars, than against men.

Ryan’s budget that passed the House targets women and their families by gutting programs that help children get nutrition and education. The devastating cuts to SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, mostly affects women, children, disabled, and elderly while it boosts the economy. Budget cuts to Medicaid also hits low-income and middle-class women and families supporting the elderly. Ryan and his cronies would leave poor women to fend for themselves.

Issues keep rising to show this war—and not on caterpillars. This past week, Herman Cain, former Republican presidential candidate, explained why President Obama is over 20 points ahead of women in a recent poll: men are more familiar with policy and women know just about Obama’s family. Answer: men are much smarter than women, so Romney is losing between the two genders because women are dumber.

In Virginia, William Howell, past ALEC board chair and current Speaker of the state’s House of Delegates, was asked about the amount of money that Virginia taxpayers spend to send legislators to ALEC conferences, a place where they find conservative bills that they can take back home and force on the state’s residents. When he questioned the accuracy of a report from Anna Scholl, executive director of ProgressVA, about the expenditures and the 50 plus bills in the Virginia Legislature, including one that called for shutting down companies that hire illegal immigrants and another that would allow people to use deadly force to protect their homes, he said, “I guess I’m not speaking in little enough words for you to understand.” Howell apologized to Scholl after a video of the exchange went across the Internet and onto The Rachel Maddow Show.

Yesterday Arizona governor Jan Brewer signed a bill prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks. Although this new law sounds like those in several other states, it technically prevents abortions after 18 weeks because it calculates the fetus’s age from the pregnant woman’s last menstrual period. Republican males suffer greatly from an understanding of women’s reproductive functioning; they fail to understand that ovulation (Republicans, that’s when there’s a chance for pregnancy if the sperm hits the egg) occurs two weeks after menstruation. As always with Republicans, Brewer added a statement about protecting the health of women.

The new Arizona law also moves the mandatory ultrasound to 24 hours before the abortion instead of one hour. In addition, both Arizona and Kansas are passing bills that allow doctors to legally lie to pregnant women about any health issues in the fetus or pregnant woman.

Less than two weeks ago, Georgia also passed a 20-week abortion limit. In a classic statement, state Rep. Terry England compared pregnant women carrying stillborn fetuses to the cows and pigs on his farm. According to England, if farmers have to “deliver calves, dead or alive,” then a woman carrying a dead fetus, or one not expected to survive, should have to carry it to term. Illinois agrees that women are cattle. The bill that required asking women if they want to see an image of the fetus went through the House Agriculture Committee.

Last fall Heritage Christian Academy in Texas fired 29-year-old Cathy Samford, a teacher and coach, when she asked for a short leave. She and her fiancé had planned to marry a few weeks earlier, but the wedding was delayed. Samford, with two other young children, lost her health insurance. The headmaster said she was fired because of her “behavior out of wedlock” as well as her “being an unmarried mother.” Samford filed a charge of gender and pregnancy discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and is suing the school.

An appeals court in Atlanta is currently hearing the case of fourth-grade teacher Jarretta Hamilton, fired after the principal at her non-denominational Christian school found out that she was pregnant before getting married. Catholic school teacher Christa Dias was fired in 2010 by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati after it learned that she had used artificial insemination to conceive; her case is still in court.

Romney has a record of warring on women. He pledged to repeal funding for Planned Parenthood or repeal title X which provides important health services for poor women. When he was a Bishop in the Mormon Church, he went to a congregant’s hospital room and told a young single mother who had just given birth that she was shaming the church and should give her baby away. When Romney ran Bain Capital, less than 10% of the senior workforce were women. The reason, he said in his 1994 Senate race, was that he had trouble finding qualified women to be executives.

Two days ago, when Sam Stein of the Huffington Post asked a Romney campaign aide if the candidate supported the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a six-second pause was followed by the answer that he would get back to Stein.   The final answer was that Romney wouldn’t try to repeal it. That’s questionable because Romney’s four favorite Supreme Court judges, models for those he would select, all voted against the case that led to Congress passing the act, the first one that Obama signed. Romney also strongly supports Wisconsin governor Scott Walker who just signed the repeal of that state’s equal pay law.

How did Congressional Republicans feel about the Ledbetter Act? Only three House Republicans and five Senators voted for the act: one, Arlen Specter, changed to the Democratic Party; another, Lisa Murkowski, was teabagged by her own party in 2010; and a third, Olympia Snowe, just quit because of her party’s attack on women.

To put some of the war on women into perspective, Alyssa Rosenbert put together A Pop Culture Guide to Surviving the War on Women, “ten pieces of pop culture that will make you laugh, think, and keep you in the fight for women’s rights at a time when the war on women makes America seem more like The Handmaid’s Tale than a modern country.” She highlights satire and science fiction to show the insanity of what’s happening in the 21st century regarding women’s reproductive rights.

Sometimes black humor helps. I laughed out loud this morning when I read Ruth Marcus’ column about Romney’s attempt to have his wife solve his “women problem.” Here are some excerpts:

“Romney, asked last week about the gender gap, twice said he wished his wife could take the question. ‘My wife has the occasion, as you know, to campaign on her own and also with me,’ Romney told newspaper editors, ‘and she reports to me regularly that the issue women care about most is the economy.’ Note to candidate: Women aren’t a foreign country. You don’t need an interpreter to talk to them. Even if you’re not fluent in their language, they might appreciate if you gave it a try.

“On the campaign trail with her husband, Ann often talks about the old days when she would be at home dealing with her rambunctious brood and Mitt would call from the road. ‘His consoling words were always the same: Ann, your job is more important than mine.’ This story is supposed to buttress Mitt’s bona fides as supportive husband, and Ann is, no doubt, a more tolerant spouse than I am. But every time I hear that patronizing line, I imagine responding, ‘Great. If my job is more important, then you come home and do it and I’ll check into the nice room at the Four Seasons.’

Will we women continue to put up with the Republicans’ arrogant, controlling attitude toward us? Maybe we should incorporate our uteruses so that they have the same rights as corporations!

April 9, 2012

Women Aren’t Caterpillars

The war continues. Mitt Romney keeps saying that women are interested in the economy. Finally I agree with him. But he, like all other Republican conservatives, try to separate the economy from their legislation against women in the economy.

The most recent example is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signing the bill that rolls back the state Equal Pay Law that offered protection from discrimination based on race, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, etc.—and gender. Glenn Grothman, co-sponsor of the bill, thinks that women don’t need money the way that men do. “You could argue that money is more important for men. I think a guy in their first job, maybe because they expect to be a breadwinner someday, may be a little more money-conscious.” He’s overlooked the fact that 40 percent of women voters aren’t married.

Male conservative legislators opposing providing birth control for women use that key word “dependency,” a handy-dandy term showing how bad the safety net is. According to Michael Steele, former RNC chairman, government should not support women because then it would take over the role of husband and father. (Yes, I’m still shaking my head over that argument. Read it for yourself!) This follows Sen. Jim DeMint’s claim that the president wants to make people more dependent so that they will vote Democratic. According to Santorum and Steele, men who don’t have women dependent on them won’t be responsible to their children, their wives, and even themselves.

Mitt Romney has said “the issue that women care most about is the economy. They’re concerned about high gasoline prices, the cost of getting to and from work.” Romney doesn’t understand that women without birth control may not have jobs because they will be pregnant and then responsible for babies. The same with getting an education, useful in raising their wages and improving the economy. Women are also worried about whether they can live on their wages, even more of a problem if Republicans pass laws allowing men to be paid more than women.

Republicans have always had trouble getting women to vote for them; their recent actions are making this worse. Last week’s USA Today/Gallup Poll of voters in 12 swing states showed President Obama leading women by 18 percentage points—up 20 points from a month ago.

Both political parties hope that their sins will be forgotten by Election Day so that they can persuade voters with a fresh slate. The Republicans keep repeating their anti-women legislation. Last year, the first three votes of the triumphant Tea Party swarm in Congress were anti-abortion. This year, they continued to arguing about whether birth control should be covered as health care, a discussion that they consider more important than the eminent demise of the transportation authorization bill. Most women have noted Rick Santorum’s complaint that birth control allows lifestyles that are not “how things are supposed to be.” Of course, there’s also the infamous House committee panel on birth control with only men. Women are also concerned because of the Republicans’ determination to defund Planned Parenthood.

Where in the nation are women the worst off? In the states where they lack affordable hgher education, reproductive health care, and representation in Congress. And by coincidence in the South. Approximately 20 percent of women live in poverty in Mississippi, Oklahoma, Arkansas, West Virginia, and Kentucky. West Virginia is the only state in the nation that doesn’t give women the right to breast-feed in either public or private places. The state also joins Arkansas in having a median income under $30,000. One-fourth of the population in both Arkansas and Oklahoma lack health insurance.

Missouri is following Arizona’s lead with its bill that permits employees to deny insurance coverage for birth control pills unless employees prove that the pills are used for a “medical need.” The Missouri House passed a bill permitting health care workers from participating in anything that conflicts with their conscience.

National Review columnist John Derbyshire has a new book, The Case Against Women’s Suffrage, that declares the United States would be a better country if women could not vote. It’s  “bad for conservatism” and therefore “bad for society.” Countries that rank the highest in the World Economic Forum’s gender gap index (aka the most gender equality) tend to also rank the highest on the U.N.’s Human Development Index. Possibly conservativism and gender inequality is “bad for society.”

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has tried to diffuse the Republican problem with women by pointing out that the war on women is as mythical as a war on caterpillars. As David Sarasohn pointed out today in his column in The Oregonian, “In most states, caterpillars don’t vote.” Women comprise over half the number of people in the United States, and they vote at a higher rate than men do.

While male Republicans claim there is no war on women, that it’s all about religious freedom, female Republicans know this is a war on women’s rights. If high-profile Republican women such as Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) are angry at their party for attacking women, it stands to reason that conservative women across the nation are also angry. President Obama said that women are not a special interest group. Women are half of the American population, and any party that attacks them risks political extinction.

February 25, 2012

Protesting Conservatives Takes Odd Turns

In their protests against the men’s refusal to allow women to testify in the House hearing regarding President Obama’s decision to make contraception available to all women, Congresswomen boycotted the session. The ensuing publicity make the Congressmen who prevented women from having a part in their future brought the conservatives’ “war on women” to the forefront in a way that other protests have not been able to do.

An example of the conservative male mentality comes from Washington state Senator Michael Baumgartner, challenging Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) for her re-election, when he denounced her for signing a Senate letter supporting the position that the “morning after” birth control pill be available over the counter at pharmacies.  Baumgartner said that Cantwell was not qualified to talk on the issue because she isn’t married but claims that he is because he has two daughters. He said nothing about Catholic bishops not being married.

The 1,000 activists who kept a silent vigil at the Virginia statehouse to protest the proposed invasive transvaginal ultrasound bill (the probe is eight to ten inches long) was a solemn struggle against the attempt toward eliminating women’s rights, including access to abortion and contraception, while the Republican presidential candidates make hay with their homophobic claims about reversing this nation’s movement toward diversity.

Other methods of protest are a form of black humor, for example the lesbian judge in Texas who refuses to marry people. Straight people, that is. Tonya Parker recently told members of the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas that she would not marry heterosexual couples: “I use it as my opportunity to give them a lesson about marriage inequality in this state because I feel like I have to tell them why I’m turning them away. So I usually will offer them something along the lines of ‘I’m sorry. I don’t perform marriage ceremonies because we are in a state that does not have marriage equality, and until it does, I am not going to partially apply the law to one group of people that doesn’t apply to another group of people.’ And it’s kind of oxymoronic for me to perform ceremonies that can’t be performed for me, so I’m not going to do it.”

Two lawmakers have found even more creative approaches toward the male war on women’s reproductive rights. Constance Johnson, a Democratic state senator in Oklahoma, addressed the “personhood bill” brought forth in the state, which would give zygotes the same rights as adults, by adding a provision that would treat any sperm not intended to fertilize an egg as an “an action against an unborn child.” Her language read: “However, any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child.” Sad to say, Johnson later voted to table her amendment, and the personhood bill passed the Senate.

In Virginia, Democratic state Sen. Janet Howell introduced an amendment into the legislature that would have required men to obtain a rectal exam and cardiac stress test before they could receive a prescription for Viagra. Her amendment was in response to the bill mandating medical vaginal penetration before having an abortion even if women did not agree to the procedure. A few Republicans tried to explain that the consent at having sex carried over to the ultrasound penetration. Even if the explanation was at all rational—which it wasn’t—the rapes and incest were certainly not “consensual.”

Howell said, “We need some gender equity here. The Virginia Senate is about to pass a bill that will require a woman to have totally unnecessary medical procedure at their cost and inconvenience. If we’re going to do that to women, why not do that to men?” Fortunately, Virginia abandoned both the transvaginal ultrasound bill and the personhood bill—for now.

Texas has already passed a mandated sonogram law that requires women to have transvaginal ultrasounds because the majority of women get abortions during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, when the fetus is too small to be picked up on in an abdominal ultrasound. This law forcing vaginal penetration without a woman’s permission is in direct conflict to the Texas Penal Code that defines sexual assault as “intentionally or knowingly caus[ing] the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that person’s consent.”

Watching the insanity in other states, I’m grateful to be from Oregon where the Republican co-chair of the House, with the membership split 50-50 between the parties, said about the three important issues to discuss in the state legislature, “You have health care, you have education, and you have jobs.” What a refreshing change from the Republican-controlled states and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives where the “important” issues are eliminating voters with voter ID laws, making women second-class citizens through personhood and restrictive pre-abortion mandates, and eradicating unions to wipe out the middle class.

February 13, 2012

GOP Determined to Move Women Back a Century

During the past half century, the United States has been involved in a number of wars. First there was the War on Poverty. We lost that one. Then there was the War on Drugs. That seems to be in flux. Bush declared War on Terrorism and simply increased the problem. Conservatives accuse President Obama of a “war on religion” and “class warfare.” The war I’m watching right now is a subset of the culture war, the war on women.

For the past few days, the media has been filled with the “war on birth control” and the customary “war on abortion” as conservatives work diligently to control women’s personal behavior. The “war on women” is clearly exemplified by a Dallas (TX) school district that separated fifth-grade boys and girls: boys went to see the exciting movie Red Tails about the Tuskegee Airmen, black pilots trained in segregation during World War II by white officers. Meanwhile the girls stayed at school to see Akeelah and the Bee, the story of an 11-year-old girl competing in a national spelling bee.

There’s a huge irony in this segregation because the “boys’ movie” is about segregation, about blacks separated from the whites when they flew during the war. World War II was also a time of sex discrimination. One of the airmen depicted in the movie, 94-year-old Herbert Carter, told about his wife of almost 70 years, Mildred Carter, who was barred by the military but flew privately for decades. “My wife would turn flip-flops. She thought that all human beings were equal, regardless of sex, race, creed or color. She would take great offense to young women being denied this [opportunity.]”

School district spokesman Jon Dahlander said that the theater couldn’t hold all the students and that they thought that boys would enjoy the movie more than girls. The $57,000 cost of buses and movie tickets for the 5,700 boys came from federal Title I money, designed to educate low-income students, because of huge cuts to education by the state of Texas. Use of federal funding in sex discrimination violated Title IX, a law passed over 40 years ago, that prevents federal funding from going to schools that practice gender-based discrimination.

That case is in only one school district. Rick Santorum’s belief in sexual discrimination is on a much larger scale. This man who wants to represent the entire United States opposes birth control for all women because, in his mind, it leads to immorality. Women shouldn’t be allowed to be the president of the United States, according to one of Santorum’s staffers. Earlier this year, Jamie Johnson, the Iowa coalitions director Jamie Johnson, sent Santorum an email explaining that a female president would harm children’s lives. “The question then comes, ‘Is it God’s highest desire, that is, his biblically expressed will, … to have a woman rule the institutions of the family, the church, and the state?’ ” Johnson’s email said. Johnson is still a staff member.

Santorum’s demonstration of sex discrimination is furthered by his belief that military women should not serve in combat situations. The Pentagon announced last week that it would allow women service members to be permanently assigned to a battalion “as radio operators, medics, tank mechanics and other critical jobs” in an easing of the prohibition of women in combat situations.

The Pentagon had explained that it is formalizing situations that already exist because women have “temporary” assignments, not only to these areas but also to infantry foot patrols where they have engaged in direct combat. The women who are exposed to combat on these temporary assignments are prevented from receiving the same promotions as men get. Three-quarters of Americans believe that women should be allowed to engage in direct combat, and even 62 percent of the Republicans agree with this. U.S. partners in the battlefield–including Canada, Israel, France, and Germany—have women serving in combat roles.

Santorum is concerned that “emotions” would weaken the mission: “I do have concerns about women in frontline combat. I think that can be a very compromising situation where — where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interests of the mission because of other types of emotions that are involved. And I think that’s probably — you know, it already happens, of course, with the camaraderie of men in combat. But it’s — but it’s — I think it would be even more unique if women were in combat. And I think that’s probably not in the best interests of men, women or the mission.” [Following Santorum’s speech patterns is like wandering in a maze.]

Later Santorum backpedalled, as he does with all his stupid comments, and said that he just meant that men were naturally protective, resulting in problems during combat. But with all concern about protective men around, Santorum may believe that women should not vote, inherit or own property, have custody of their children after a divorce, gain higher education, hold professional jobs, keep any of their own salary, etc.

Right now Rick Santorum is leading in the national polls of the Republican voters. Even if he doesn’t become the nominee, however, all the Republican presidential candidates seem determined to set this nation back at least a century.

November 12, 2011

Conservatives Continue War on Women

What do conservatives have against women? I don’t know, but I do know how they oppose considering us as equal human beings. Let’s start with Herman Cain. He seems determined to protect himself against allegations of sexual harassment and sexual abuse while blaming everyone else—the liberal media, Rick Perry (who blamed Mitt Romney), the Democratic machine, some mythical network, the women themselves, … Who’s next?! Some of these aren’t even allegations: the National Restaurant Association settled the statements against its CEO, Cain, thus admitting the accusations.

Cain always declares that he’s joking when he’s being offensive, for example, his comment at a campaign stop in Kalamazoo (MI). When someone mentioned Anita Hill, the woman who was pilloried for accusing Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, to Cain, he responded, “Is she going to endorse me?” Not a horrible statement but certainly not appropriate, especially in light of statements from different women against Cain during the last two weeks. And an indication that he doesn’t believe in fair treatment of women.

As always, Rush Limbaugh manages to be the most offensive media representative. Consider his unbelievable statements about the women who have spoken out against Cain, for example slurping when he pronounced Sharon Bialek’s last name and repeating “buy-a-lick.” Limbaugh’s not alone in his offensiveness, however. On Fox News, Dick Morris asked when a Playboy spread would come. New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser was openly unprofessional, accusing Bialek of having “flirted like a tart” with Cain and declaring that “the gold rush is on” despite no evidence of her receiving money for coming forward. The Cain campaign trashed Bialek’s financial history, claiming that this proves that she’s lying.

Karen Kraushaar, the woman who was awarded money in her settlement after Cain’s sexual harassment, was treated in an equally shameful fashion. A pro-Cain website declared her an “ugly bitch,” and she has been criticized for having filed another, unrelated workplace complaint years later. When she asked for a joint press conference with other accusers, Limbaugh dived in again with his question, “Do they want to synchronize their menstrual periods? Why appear together?” He has a solution for women who are sexually harassed or abused: “You women, why don’t you just make it official and put on a burka and nobody will touch ya.”

Twenty years ago, Thomas declared himself the victim of media smears, and Cain is following his script. Yet the women end up suffering for coming forward, as shown two decades ago in the cruelly false responses to Hill’s openness about Thomas’ transgressions. Cain’s attorney, Lin Wood, knows that all he has to do to win his case is to spread slime over any woman who complains about Cain’s actions because most women cannot cope with this disgusting treatment.

Yet conservatives, supposedly the defenders of the country’s moral values, approve of Cain no matter what he might have done. Judson Phillips, perhaps one of the most extreme Tea Party leaders, writes: “Let’s assume for the moment, all of the allegations are true. Let’s assume for the moment Herman Cain, back well over a decade ago, made some inappropriate comments to some women who were coworkers and let’s say just for the sake of argument that he even propositioned one of those women as the New York Times claims. Does that affect my favorable attitude towards Herman Cain? No, it does not.”

Another example of the conservatives’ war on women comes from the far-right Family Research Council. Its pro-family 100% “True Blue” rating award went this year to Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), sometimes called “the deadbeat dad.” His consistent votes “to defend faith, family and freedom” have an inverse relationship with his personal actions. Walsh failed his first family by refusing to pay child support—over $100,000 as of last summer—and his second wife by rejecting the Congressional health insurance plan, despite her on-going bad health issues. Recently, a judge rebuked Walsh for his failure to even show up at a court hearing about the missing child support payments.

Despite the promise from the House of Representatives to find jobs for people and grow the economy, the conservatives there are spending their time—after protecting “In God We Trust”–ratcheting up its war on women. After Mississippi (one of the most conservative states in the union) failed to pass the infamous “personhood” initiative, a gaggle of Republican lawmakers introduced three separate bills extending “personhood” rights to fertilized eggs.

Sixty-three House Republicans, including Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) signed onto Rep. Paul Broun’s (R-GA) “Sanctity of Human Life Act,” which uses the Mississippi personhood language. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) cosponsored Rep. Duncan Hunter’s (R-CA) personhood bill, which would allow “the prosecution of any woman for the death of her unborn child.” Note that the Bachmann/Hunter bill doesn’t “require” prosecution,” which perhaps was the reason it has even more supporters, 91 to be specific.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) plans to introduce a bill again identical to the Mississippi personhood bill that would have amended the state’s Constitution so that “the term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof.”  If any similar bill ever passes, one wonders if its passage would affect such laws as the number of “people” (including fertilized eggs) who could be in an elevator or on a bus at one time.

It is encouraging to note that Cain has lost support among women, down to 15 percent, since late October when he had 28 percent of their support. Conservatives are also bailing out, from 30 percent to 23 percent, and Tea Partiers have gone from 32 percent to 19 percent. Meanwhile as Cain’s support shrinks, Newt Gingrich’s support is growing. His multiple marriages and reasons for divorce illustrate his personal war on women.


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