Tag Archives: Georgia

Make America Good Again

MAGA blue good again

I have to admit to being a bit tired from the firehosed gaslighting news of the week.  I am tired of explications of how Republicans in Georgia and North Dakota, being unwilling to submit their ideas to the voters of their respective states have decided instead to play untoward games with the electoral process.  Too many Black and other people of color voting? — just put their registration applications on hold, close their polling places, limit their voting hours…. Too many Native Americans voting?  Simple — require physical addresses for places that don’t have home mail delivery. Bonus: Rural voters may also be excluded from voting if they, too, “live” in their P.O. Boxes.

Here’s a clue. If it is necessary to play these kinds of games in order to win elections then it is quite possible the party doesn’t have a strong and appealing message for voters.

I am also tired of media whining about Democrats without messages.  I’ve no apologies on offer if the Democrats aren’t saying what the punditry want them to say, however I’m willing to guess that they must be saying something effectively or the GOP wouldn’t be fear mongering and vote suppressing to beat the band.

Democrats are talking about Health Care.  They are speaking about Republican plans to demolish the Affordable Care Act if they retain control of Congress.  They are speaking about Republican announced plans to shave Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid (in order to pay for their tax cuts.)  They are speaking about comprehensive immigration policy reform.  If they are not speaking is easily digestible sound bites and bumper sticker slogans, then why can’t the media spend the required one or two minutes to explain that there are some issues that don’t lend themselves to bumper sticker solutions?

What the media appear to bemoan is that Democrats aren’t “marketing” their ideas, not that they don’t have any.  Consider for a moment what happens when one side is all marketing and the other side wants to talk about governing.  Media loves media.  Marketing recognizes good marketing.  Few want to address the issues of governing, and thus we get Republicans who simply can’t govern.  They don’t like policy arguments, they don’t like nuanced discussions; they don’t like governing. They don’t like government.   They are rather like cooks, who once placed in a chef’s kitchen, want to do nothing more than make hamburgers.  They haven’t had many original ideas in decades.

Entitlement Reform?” That’s merely the latest marketing slogan/dog whistle for dismantling Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  Once more with feeling: We are entitled to these programs because we’ve been paying into them all our working lives.

“Eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse?”  This is more “Starve the Beast.”  We’ve been listening to the Starve the Beast rhetoric for decades.  The GOP idea is to spend  the money on the military-industrial complex, shut down revenue by cutting corporate taxation, and then announce we “have to” cut social safety net programs because we can no longer afford them.  Heaven forefend they’d discuss raising corporate taxes or closing loopholes to secure additional revenue!  These hoary ideas are as old as Donkey Kong.

Instead of listening to the old, stale, ideas rehashed and re-marketed for the electorate, how about we keep repeating:

  1. Health care is essential.  No one “decides” to get sick or get hit by a car.  Everyone should be able to afford health care insurance which actually covers health care expenses.
  2. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are social safety net programs which have proven successful.  They are expensive, but they are also essential if we want to avoid our elders in dire poverty, our elders dying without health care because they are priced out of the private market, and our fellow citizens without health care services such that they do become a burden on their families and their communities.
  3. Immigration policy reform is possible if we take the fearmongering racism out of the discussion.  We actually had a proposal enacted by the Senate. However, after the radicals began bellowing “amnesty” every time someone mentioned the notion that people who’ve made their lives here, and became productive members of the community should have a path to citizenship, the plan failed.  If the racists and xenophobes would pipe down we could probably get to a workable solution.
  4. The economy could be better.  It would be a lot better if we would stop rewarding the top 0.1% for investing in whatever happens to be the Stock of the Quarter and start rewarding people who actually spend their money buying things and services … homes, vehicles, clothing, food, movie tickets, electronics, etc.  We know who these people are, they are working, they are middle class, they are everyday Americans, and for the most part they are good people.
  5. We can get back to being Good People.  No, we don’t separate children from their parents at our southern border!  No, we don’t countenance the harassment and abuse of women.  No, we don’t condone the murder of our journalists in a Saudi consulate in Istanbul — or anywhere else.  No, we don’t declare Canadian dairy farmers a “threat to our national security.”  No, we don’t think all the citizens of Mexico are drug dealers and rapists.  No, we don’t think neo-nazis are “very fine people.”

So, let’s Make America Good Again.  Vote.


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Filed under Immigration, Politics, Vote Suppression

You Have My Condolences, but she was only your daughter?

It used to be really dangerous to be a woman.  It used to be even more dangerous to be a low-income woman.  The decrease in maternal mortality rates is a fairly modern thing, as the following graph of maternal mortality rates  illustrates:

The data on maternal mortality is complicated by the way statistics are collected and recorded, is the mortality the result of a complicated pregnancy (one in which the woman dies within 42 days of delivery)? Or, is it the result of a direct obstetric problem (omissions, or incorrect treatment)? Or, should the death be classified as an indirect obstetric death, one in which existing conditions or diseases were aggravated by the pregnancy? However the mortalities were classified, the results were the same.

Significant improvements in women’s health care since the 1930s have reduced the maternal mortality rates such that the topic doesn’t often appear in common discourse in developed nations.

One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition posited reasons for the decline in mortality rates:

“The sudden and dramatic decline in maternal mortality rates, which occurred after 1937, took place in all developed countries and eliminated the previously wide country-level differences in national mortality rates. The main factors that led to this decline seem to have been successive improvements in maternal care rather than higher standards of living. As a result of this decline in maternal mortality in developed countries, there is now no mortality for which there is a greater disparity between the developed and the developing world than the disparity in maternal mortality rates.” [Am.Jrnl Clinical Nutrition] (emphasis added)

Thus, it’s not just that we are “eating better,” the reduction in maternal mortality rates is connected to “successive improvements in maternal care.”  Cavalierly dismissing the inability to access general and maternal health care for women by saying, “There are other clinics…,” (yes, IF they are located in places where women need them, and IF they are affordable) or “Title X will cover the expenses…” (yes, if Title X funds are still available after all the Republican presidential candidates have promised to cut them), is an invitation to reverse the trends in those successive improvements which reduced maternal mortality rates in the first place.

Black Bordered Invitations

The Republicans at the state and federal level are doing their best to insure that the maternal mortality trend reduction is reversed.  Some samples:

“The Arizona Senate has approved a bill that would shield doctors and others from so-called “wrongful birth” lawsuits. Those are lawsuits that can arise if physicians don’t inform pregnant women of prenatal problems that could lead to the decision to have an abortion. The Senate’s 20-9 vote Tuesday sends the bill to the state House.” [AZCapTimes]

What’s wrong with this picture?  Are Arizona Republicans saying that if there is a condition or disease present during a pregnancy which could result in an “indirect obstetric death” it is allowable for a physician to withhold the information in order to avoid a possible decision to terminate the pregnancy?  And, the grieving husband will have no recourse to the courts if an obstetrician fails to tell the family a pregnancy could be fatal?

Is a physician supposed to ignore the potential complications related to hypertension and heart disease, or pituitary or adrenal gland problems which could be fatal, all in the interest of encouraging the family to carry the pregnancy to term?  What happened to “first, do no harm?”

Then there was New Hampshire 2011:

“In June, the state of New Hampshire exercised its right to decline renewal of a $1.8 million contract with Planned Parenthood of New England, which operates clinics – including those where abortions are performed – in the state,” the leader of the pro-life political group said. “It is well within the purview of the New Hampshire state government to decide not to continue to subsidize America’s abortion giant with taxpayer dollars.” [LifeNews]

The fact that only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s total services involve abortion procedures seems to have escaped them. [PP]  This would be the state in which approximately 64,500 women of child bearing age and who have maximum incomes of 250% poverty line level need help obtaining contraceptive medication.  This would also be the state in which the abortion rate was well below the national average.  And, this would also be the state in which unintended pregnancies cost the state and federal government about $27 million. [Guttmacher]

Deep in the heartlessness of Texas. Governor Rick “I can’t remember the third thing” Perry suddenly remembered that if he refused federal funding for women’s health services there was going to be a major hole in money for those “successive improvements in maternal care.”

“The health program provides care to about 130,000 low-income women statewide. It had been expected to close next week, when Texas begins enforcing a law passed last summer that bars state funding from clinics affiliated with abortion providers. The Obama administration has said it will stop funding the program because federal law requires women to be able to choose any qualified clinic. Perry spokeswoman Catherine Frazier countered that Texas has the right under federal law to determine qualified providers in the program.” [WaPo]

That’s a Texas Tall Order to fill a $40 million program without the usual 90% coming from the federal government.  It’s going to be a taller order since low income women tend to use Planned Parenthood Clinics as a source of health services (cancer screenings, contraception, etc.)  The “They Can Just Go Somewhere Else” argument falls apart quickly when we look at where women in Texas go to find affordable contraceptive prescriptions.

So, according to the Guttmacher Institute 78,490 women in Texas needed help from Planned Parenthood for contraceptive services, and now the Governor believes the state can “fund the gap?”  Did the Governor miss the part wherein if the services graphed above were NOT available Texas’s teen pregnancy rate would be 13% higher than it is now? [Guttmacher] It may well take more than a ten gallon hat to fill this void in women’s health care services in the Lone Star State, or “Ladies don’t let your daughters grow up and marry Cowboys…”  It will be hazardous to their health.

Just Peachy!  Female members of the Georgia Legislature walked out in protest.

“The Senate voted, 33 to 18, to prohibit state employees from using their state health benefits to pay for abortions.

And the Senate decided, by a vote of 38 to 15, that employees of private religious institutions have no right to demand that their insurance policies pay for contraceptives, as the Obama Administration wants to require.” [WXIA, C&L]

A statute enacted in 1999 requiring coverage for contraception hadn’t been controversial in the Peach State until now.   So, imagine a female employee of the state of Georgia faced with a pregnancy that could cost her very life, and note that according to this legislation  she cannot use state health benefits to terminate the pregnancy?  Additionally, even if the federal government requires that the insurance corporation which underwrites the health benefits cover contraception, a female state employee in Georgia can’t even ask for it? This carries “Let ’em die” to an entirely new depth.

At some point the Kipling Men who are promoting these, and other, egregious plans to reverse the improvements in women’s health made since the Depression Era, are going to electorally discover the truth in Kipling’s poem:

Man’s timid heart is bursting with the things he must not say,
For the Woman that God gave him isn’t his to give away;
But when hunter meets with husband, each confirms the others tale –
The female of the species is more deadly than the male.

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Filed under abortion, Women's Issues, Womens' Rights