Category Archives: feminism

To Our Republican Neighbors: You Don’t Get To Talk About Weinstein, Ever

Excuse me, but if Republicans are pleased to discuss the odious adventures of Harvey Weinstein, then I have one statement for them: STFU.  They have no room to talk. They have no credibility on this subject.  This isn’t a matter of “both sides do it.”  No, this is a matter of no one should do it, and it’s the Democrats, the Liberals, who are willing to back up their opprobrium with action.  The Republicans, not so much.

Where’s John Edwards?  Certainly not in a leadership position in the Democratic Party.  Compare to Sen. David Vitter, whose involvement with the DC Madam in 2007 was conveniently overlooked by Republicans in 2010 when he was returned to the Senate.  Where’s Anthony Weiner? Certainly not active in Democratic Party operations these days.  How long did Republicans attempt to cover for Rep. Denny Hastert?  How many blind eyes were averted from Rep. Mark Foley?   And, now we come to one Donald J. Trump,  who’s been accused of various forms of sexual misconduct by at least 12 women (as of October 2016), and while we’re on the topic … what’s on the rest of those Access Hollywood Tapes, the ones we’ve not yet heard?

The ultimate irony is listening to Ultra Snowflake Tucker Carlson present his whackadoodle theory that Sec. Hillary Clinton is somehow responsible for enabling Weinstein’s behavior while he’s sitting in Bill O’Reilly’s chair broadcasting on Roger Ailes network.   As at least one comedian has observed, this renders irony officially dead.

If Republicans want to discuss the widespread and inhumane instances of spousal abuse, sexual assault and harassment, and downright misogyny,  then they may do so — but they don’t get the “both sides” do it argument so long as the Misogynist In Chief is in the White House, and they don’t get to own it while their Secretary of Education is trying to make it harder to victims of assault on college campuses to report and sustain charges against their attackers.

Republicans don’t have the high ground while they make it more difficult for women to control what happens to their own bodies.  Please, don’t try to convince me that you have women’s interests at heart while removing contraceptive prescriptions from mandatory health insurance coverage.  Don’t tell me you care about women’s health while passing some inane bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks, especially not when reputable scientific reports indicate there’s no “pain” until at least after 29 weeks, and your evidence to the contrary is spurious at best.   We know why late term abortions happen, either the woman couldn’t get access to abortion services earlier because of unavailability or logistics, or there were serious complications which could be lethal for the fetus, the mother, or both.  [Gutt]

Spare me the rhetoric while Republicans can find every dubious argument under the sun why women don’t deserve to be paid the same as men for the same work.  Thank you, I’d already heard that claptrap back in the ’60s when I was told “men had to support the family,” and other, equally risible bits of self-serving chatter.  One of my favorite examples of the latter being “it’ll just open the way for frivolous lawsuits,” — yes, and now explain to me how a suit brought to gain equal pay for equal work is “frivolous?”  But, but, but, there will be thousands of them!  Thus admitting that the practice is general, and if that’s the case then there shouldn’t be thousands of cases, there probably ought to be millions.

So, spare me you Righteous Republican faux outrage. Spare me your pontification.  Spare me your indignation and alarm until you have called for all the women who have alleged sexual misconduct on the part of your standard bearer in the Oval Office to be acknowledged and recompensed.  Until then: STFU.

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Filed under abortion, domestic abuse, feminism, Politics, Women's Issues, Womens' Rights

Dear Tea Party Neighbor

Dear GOP/Tea Party Neighbor,

I can’t help you.  I can’t help you if you continue to get your information about politics and economics from right wing talk radio and Fox News. The misinformation you are receiving should be an insult to your intelligence.  [HuffPo] That you don’t find it insulting leads me to the conclusion that you don’t want to delve more deeply into political or economic topics lest you discover something that doesn’t re-enforce your biases.

You are worried about your freedom.  I’m worried about it too, but for entirely different reasons.   You’ve expressed your concern time and again that “we’re losing our freedom.”  “The Government is Taking Over.” “There’s too much Socialism.”

You want to be free! Free to what?  I’m getting the impression you want to be free to go back to a time when it was “better.”  When was that?

Was it when there were still restrictive covenants in real estate transactions which prohibited the sale of homes in some neighborhoods to people of color?  When you didn’t have to live next door to people you didn’t understand completely, and didn’t trust because they were ‘different?’ I can see your problem, you are no longer FREE to have the government protect you from having neighbors you don’t want.

Was it when schools were carefully segregated and white students didn’t mix with those of color?  Little wonder racially based mis-understandings are common, there are so many who having never shared common social institutions don’t know how to find common interests.  Or, did you attend a de-segregated school only to stick closely  with your own kind? Did you go home each day to a house in which the “N” word was common, and those who might be described by it were routinely denigrated?  I conclude from this that you are no longer FREE to use the “N” word in polite company, that your racial biases are no longer socially acceptable — you make that point each time you sneer about people who are “politically correct.”

Was it when ‘the little woman stayed home?’  (and followed orders)  After World War II women depicted in radio programs and a bit later on scripted television programs kept house and nurtured the children — This is an imaginary world that never really was.  Most women of color have worked since the age of slavery, most immigrant women worked since the day they hauled their worldly possessions down the gangplank, most farm women worked sun up to sun down.  However, you’re correct — because of stagnant wages and the increasing redistribution of income to the top 2% you are no longer FREE to have a home in which only one person is in the work force.

Was it when ‘women knew their place?’  Your definitions confuse me.  Your men are “assertive,” but your women are “bossy.”  Your men are “rational,” while protesting that there really were WMDs in Iraq.  Your women are “emotional” when they are concerned about homeless veterans.  It must be disconcerting to find that in this day and age you aren’t FREE to avoid having a woman as your boss.

Was it when only the worthy poor received assistance?  When private charity was sufficient to meet individual needs?   You seek what never was.  The English enacted Poor Laws beginning in 1601 requiring parish governments to tax households in order to care for the “worthy” poor.  The colonies followed suit. That’s right, the last time an English speaking country didn’t tax households to provide for public relief was in the 16th century.  You are no more FREE to avoid taxation to support public welfare than your very  distant ancestors.

Was it when only the right people could vote?  Would that have been during the Jim Crow era in the American south, when African Americans were prohibited from voting using a variety of statutes the interpretation of which allowed county registrars to void African Americans from the rolls for failing to pay a poll tax, or “failing” a test on the state constitution, or “failing” to know how many angels could dance on the head of a pin  or how many bubbles there were in a bar of soap?  No, you aren’t FREE to live in this kind of world anymore.

Was it before there was a sizable influx of Mexican and Central American immigrants to this country?  You are afraid they are taking “American jobs,” they aren’t. You are afraid they are using our health care system; they aren’t. You are afraid they are filling our schools? They aren’t. You are afraid they won’t assimilate.  Sorry, but the rule still holds that by the time you get to the third generation the ‘native’ language and culture is all but gone.  All but gone like the German in east central Missouri; like the Gaelic in Boston; like the Polish in Chicago; like the Czech in Pittsburgh.  Getting harder to find like the Italian in NYC, or the Basque in Boise.   We can tell in this country when a group has all but become immersed in Middle America — they start forming centers to teach the language to the 4th generation.   You have nothing to fear from recent immigrants any more than your grandparents had to fear  from the immigrants of their era.  But, no you aren’t FREE to castigate them as free loading lazy un-Americans — especially while they are desperately working (perhaps two jobs) to secure their own all-American Dream.

Was it when Christianity was the religion of the United States of America?  We’d have to go back some distance for that, especially since the Touro Synagogue was established in Newport, Rhode Island in 1658.  Well, the country was “mostly Christian,” but what of the religious tensions between the Puritans of New England and the Church of England adherents in Virginia and other southern colonies?  The English fought a Civil War between Parliamentarians (reformers) and Royalists (Church of England) in the late 17th century — a fact not lost on the framers of our Constitution. What of the Quakers in Pennsylvania and the Catholics in Maryland?  The Presbyterians in western Pennsylvania and the Dutch Reformed Church members in New York.  Little wonder the First Amendment prescribes a separation of church and state, had confessional politics been paramount during the founding of this country it would have made adopting a Constitution all but impossible.

Was it when prayer was required in public schools?  Whose prayers?  Evidently someone forgot to tell you about the 1844 Philadelphia Bible Riots which happened after Irish Catholic parents began complaining about the use of the King James version of the Bible in their childrens’ schools.  There are about 330 million people in this country split into all manner of religious groups; 78.4% describe themselves as Christian, but this group ranges from evangelical Protestant to Russian Orthodox; then there are Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox Jewish synagogues; at least three kinds of Buddhists, three kinds of Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, and Native American groups in our mix. 16.1% describe themselves as unaffiliated, some agnostic, some atheist, and some nothing in particular. [Pew] If we really respect minority rights in this country — then whose parents do we insult? No, I suppose you really aren’t FREE to cram your religion down some other parent’s throat.

Was it when you didn’t have to worry about someone taking your gun away?  When was that?  The United States of America has really light regulations on fire-arms, and it shows.   You are just as FREE to own an gun in 2012 as you were in 2000. Maybe even more so.

Was it when you didn’t have to worry about government regulations? From which regulation would you like to be free?  Would they be regulations regarding safe food and medicine?  How about clean air and drinking water?  Or, perhaps you would like to be free of regulations preventing lending institutions from practicing predatory lending?  Would you like to be free from regulations requiring the approval of health inspections for out patient surgeries, restaurant kitchens, or gas station bath rooms? When you complain about regulations in general the removal of the specifics would significantly affect your life.  But, no, you really aren’t FREE from regulations designed to protect your health, your children, your property, or your wallet.

Was it when you were free to use your favorite epithets about gay and lesbian persons?  Or, when it was socially acceptable among large groups of Americans to bully, taunt, or discriminate against LBGT persons.  Does their lifestyle seem “icky” to you, and you want to be protected from it?  That ‘s not the definition of Small Government —  when you want government to shield you from those who don’t share your gender orientation. Sorry, no you aren’t FREE any longer to use gender epithets in polite conversation.   And, no, the marriage of the gay couple down the street shouldn’t be causing any problems in your own marriage.   If you truly believe in individual liberty, then why is discriminating against members of the LGBT community acceptable?  If it’s uncomfortable for you to acknowledge the gay son in your neighbor’s family or the lesbian daughter of the family across the street, then how does this square with your “Live and Let Live” philosophy?  If they aren’t FREE then neither are you.

I suppose I can partially understand your frustration.  The government, you rarely call it OUR government, won’t protect you any more.  It won’t shield you, cover you, or applaud you when you behave as though you are the only person who matters. It won’t protect your individual prejudices, your predilections, your biases, and your fears.   It won’t reinforce your ignorance or sanction your lack of civic spirit.   It must feel confining to live in a world in which you are not FREE to exercise  those prejudices, predilections, predispositions, biases, and fears.  However, those are chains of your own making.  I cannot break the shackles by which you’ve bound yourself.


Filed under 2012 election, conservatism, feminism, Nevada politics, Politics

>Sharron Angle, The Eagle Forum, and Five Questions

>Nevada senatorial candidate Sharron Angle was pleased to tell primary election voters that she had secured the endorsement of Phyllis Schlafly and the Eagle Forum. Schlafly is still heading the opposition to what she and her group consider “radical feminism.” The definition of that phrase is contentious. Interestingly enough, only three elements of the current Eagle Forum web site litany address “radial feminism” directly: [Eagle Forum]

We support constitutional amendments and federal and state legislation to protect the institution of marriage and the equally important roles of father and mother.We honor the fulltime homemaker and her rights in joint income tax returns. Parsing along the way: “protect the institution of marriage,” evidently means heterosexual unions exclusively. How this connects to “feminism” is a stretch, it does, however, link easily to the Eagle Forum’s ultra-conservative perspective. “Equally important roles of father and mother.” Again, this sounds like opposition to gay marriage and unions, with a dose of “stereotypical” gender roles; missing the point that men in marriages with more equal divisions of total workloads and child care, live longer, are generally healthier, and enjoy better sex. [CBS] No one, at least no one recently, has suggested the return to the days of the “marriage penalty,” though this artifact remains on the Eagle Forum list.

We oppose the feminist goals of stereotyping men as a constant danger to women, while at the same time pushing women into military combat against foreign enemies. (1) Who says men are a constant danger to women? However, the statistics are clear in terms of physical danger. One in six women may be the victim of a sexual assault during their lifetimes, compared to one in thirty three males. We also know that about 60% of sexual assaults go unreported, but that the reporting of rapes and sexual assaults has (thankfully) increased since 1993. [RAINN] The initial statement constitutes a straw man argument, and has been corrupted in some quarters to mean that if a woman “dresses provocatively” she “led him on.” Realistically, some men are dangerous to women, no matter how the lady might be clad; and, no matter the woman’s age or socio-economic categorization. Unfortunately, there are some males who are simply dangerous – to themselves and others. Modernizing and rationalizing statutes on sexual assault, intimidation, and harassment, is helpful to both men and women, and doesn’t serve to sort the conservative from the liberal, but the perpetrators and the victims of any gender.

This isn’t the perspective displayed by Mrs. Schlafly in a recent post: “A good Father’s Day gift would be to reform the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), make it gender-neutral, and assure men that family courts will accord them constitutional rights equivalent to those enjoyed by murderers and robbers. VAWA will be coming up for its five-year reauthorization later this year, and that will be the time to hold balanced hearings and eliminate VAWA’s discrimination against men. VAWA illustrates the hypocrisy of noisy feminist demands that we kowtow to their ideology of gender neutrality, to their claim that there is no difference between male and female, and to their opposition to stereotyping and gender profiling. VAWA is based on the proposition that there are, indeed, innate gender differences: men are naturally batterers and women are naturally victims.” There’s a little problem with the logic herein. How should one seek to make the law “gender neutral” (first sentence above) and then castigate the law as “kowtowing to their ideology of gender neutrality?” Then, there are the statistics from the Department of Justice: “(a) While women are less likely than men to be victims of violent crimes overall, women are 5 to 8 times more likely than men to be victimized by an intimate partner. (b) Violence by an intimate partner accounts for about 21% of violent crime experienced by women and about 2 % of the violence experienced by men.

(2) The Eagle Forum hasn’t quite caught up to modern warfare either. With an all volunteer Armed Forces no one is forcing anyone to take up the occupation. The young men and women who serve us, and who are ready to give that “last full measure of devotion” on our behalf, are assigned to theaters of conflict in which 19th century definitions of “front” and “rear” no longer apply. The young woman driving a truck in the Middle East is “at the front,” just as a young man in a computer complex tucked in a “remote undisclosed location” working to prevent a cyber-attack is also “at the front.” Once more, the fundamental rhetoric of the Eagle Forum is more of an echo of an America decades ago than a clarion to future generations.

Eagle Forum successfully led the ten-year battle to defeat the misnamed Equal Rights Amendment with its hidden agenda of tax-funded abortions and same-sex marriages. Once more, the Eagle Forum looks backward rather than forward – except for the abortion and same sex unions message. If there was a ‘pro-abortion’ or ‘pro-marriage equality’ component in the ERA, it was certainly well hidden indeed, existing primarily in the minds of anti-modern opponents of the ERA. If there is one message that can taken from these three major elements of Eagle Forum philosophy on “radical feminism” it must be that the organization is out of step with current realities and out of date in terms of modern American life, roles, and occupational choices.

Current Activities

If the position statements of the Eagle Forum are antiquated, its filing of amicus briefs in recent court proceedings has been up to the minute. First, the filings have less to do with fighting “radical feminism” than with protecting property rights, gun rights, opposing bilingual education in Arizona, and alignment with the oil and fossil fuel industry and the hedge fund financial sector.

Ned Comer v. Murphy Oil USA — Eagle Forum filed an amicus curiae brief (PDF) in the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, May 7, 2010.
Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund urges the Fifth Circuit, sitting en banc, to end the silly lawsuit trying to recover money from energy and other companies for what is really a global warming hoax. Read our amicus brief explaining numerous reasons why the Court should throw out this global warming lawsuit. Judicial activism should not allow the looting of our productive, free enterprise system based on hokey, untestable theories of global warming. [Eagle Forum] (emphasis added)

Bilski v. Doll: Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund has filed an amicus brief in support of strong patent rights for inventors. Eagle Forum urges the Supreme Court to allow patents for useful new inventions even if they are not tied to a machine or physical transformation. Exactly how this particular case connects to a “family values” organization is a stretch because, “
The claim at bar is for a method of hedging commodities risk. Suppliers of goods would like to hedge their risk against a market drop in price; consumers of goods (such as manufacturers) would like to hedge their risk against a market increase in price. The pa-tent claim describes use of an intermediary, called the “commodity provider,” which would buy and sell at fixed prices as sought by the ultimate suppliers and consumers. The patent claim also extends beyond that to encompass the trading of options. The patent examiner rejected these claims (1-11) [Eagle Forum pdf] (emphasis added)

Mrs. Schlafly also offers some intriguing advice passed along from the Center for Marriage Policy, “Usher and McManus urge reforming welfare and child-support policies to remove financial incentives for non-marriage. Present policies of welfare-to-perpetual dependency should be replaced with policies that promote welfare-to-marriage because marriage is one of the best routes out of poverty. ” [Eagle Forum] (emphasis added) The image of the local social services and child welfare departments functioning as match-makers, adding shidduch to their list of duties is interesting if not quite credible. This might, however, increase employment levels for a community’s local shadchen?

Questions for the Candidate

(1) Does candidate Angle, in accepting and publicizing the endorsement of the Eagle Forum agree that the Violence Against Women Act should be repealed or significantly revised?

(2) Does candidate Angle, in accepting and publicizing the endorsement from the Eagle Forum agree that young women should not be “forced” by the military to accept assignments that might put them in harm’s way?

(3) Does candidate Angle, in accepting and publicizing the endorsement from the Eagle Forum, believe that global climate change is a hoax?

(4) Does candidate Angle, in accepting and publicizing the endorsement from the Eagle Forum, believe that hedge fund firms should be allowed to patent their investment models or strategies?

(5) Does candidate Angle, in accepting the endorsement of the Eagle Forum, believe that federal, state, or local laws should be changed to require welfare recipients to get married?

If any broadcast or print media outlet does get to interview Mrs. Angle — anywhere, at any time, by any entreaty imaginable — it might be nice to hear her answers to these questions.

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Filed under Angle, Eagle Forum, feminism