Political suicide made easy

The Republican Party starts its quadrennial political convention next week. Such conventions have two purposes:

  • nominate the party’s presidential and vice-presidential candidates
  • publish its party’s political platform

We all know about the candidates’ work — it has dominated political news in America for the last year. However, the far more important aspect of the convention is the platform adoption.

And here’s where it gets interesting. The draft of the 2012 GOP platform, to be submitted to the convention next week, contains the following notions:

Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.

~~~

A serious threat to our country’s constitutional order, perhaps even more dangerous than presidential malfeasance, is an activist judiciary, in which some judges usurp the powers reserved to other branches of government. A blatant example has been the court-ordered redefinition of marriage in several States. This is more than a matter of warring legal concepts and ideals. It is an assault on the foundations of our society, challenging the institution which, for thousands of years in virtually every civilization, has been entrusted with the rearing of children and the transmission of cultural values.

~~~

That is why congressional Republicans took the lead in enacting the Defense of Marriage Act, affirming the right of States and the federal government not to recognize same-sex relationships licensed in other jurisdictions. An activist judiciary usurps the powers reserved to other branches of government and endangers the foundation of our country.

What would this mean if these and the other platform propositions were enacted into laws?

  • No civil unions or domestic partnerships for gay citizens
  • No birth control that involves expulsion of a fertilized ovum (almost all pills, IUDs, and “morning after” medications)
  • No IVF, frozen embryos, or other artificial means of conception
  • No stem cell research from embryonic sources
  • Arizona-style immigration laws
  • Reintroduction of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”  into the military
  • No judicial protection for cases of discrimination based upon sexual orientation

I’m not really sure how anyone going to the Republican national convention could look at themselves in the mirror.

And I don’t understand why any Republican could think they could win an election while standing on such a morally bankrupt platform.

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I hope he chokes on that answer

Wanna see how Paul Ryan answers a direct question about abortion in the event of rape?

QUESTION: Should abortions to be available to women who are raped?

RYAN: Well, look, I’m proud of my pro-life record. And I stand by my pro-life record in Congress. It’s something I’m proud of. But Mitt Romney is the top of the ticket and Mitt Romney will be president and he will set the policy of the Romney administration.

I hope he’s proud of that answer. I hope he chokes on it.

“A desire to bring every good thing to my child before I have another”

Melinda Gates and the Gates Foundation have announced a new initiative, and it’s one that might just bring a little mist to the eyes:

(The video is long, but like most TED talks it is well worth getting through.)

The Gates Foundation is working toward two new goals:

  • Make contraception available to anyone in the world who desires it
  • Instigate research into new forms of contraception, preferably methods that do not involve use of hormones

Indeed, the latter goal is something that has gone by the research wayside over the last 50 years. There has been no serious scientific work on new contraceptive methods since the advent of the birth control pill in the ’50s and ’60s.

Gates makes telling points in her speech:

  1. Controlled studies beginning in the 1960s in the Matlob district of Bangladesh have shown that villages that had regular access to contraception had healthier, longer-lived, and better educated children, and the villages were more resource-rich (arable land, livestock, and savings).
  2. Anti-contraception groups (such as the Catholic Church) attempt to attach the issues of abortion and draconian population control onto efforts at making contraception available to women in third-world countries, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and China. Gates states that those efforts highlight side issues that detract from the important ones. (Gates has also stated that she does not approve of abortion.)
  3. The “miracle” of Asian economic development in the 1980s was greatly fueled by the cultural shift in most of the affected countries to have smaller families.
  4. The most effective method to bring about the best conditions for children is to work on contraception as voluntary population control from the bottom up (at the family level) rather than mandatory efforts from the top down (government dictates and legislation).

Gates makes additional points here:

[She] believes that by focusing on the lives of women and children, and by making it clear that the agenda is neither coercive population control nor abortion, the controversy over international family-planning programs can be defused. Right now, she points out, 100,000 women annually die in childbirth after unintended pregnancies. Six hundred thousand babies born to women who didn’t want to be pregnant die in the first month of life.

and

Part of what Gates hopes to do is to re-create the former broad-based consensus behind global family planning, but in a way that’s focused on women’s needs rather than on demographics. “This is about empowering women to be educated and to make a choice that they want to make,” she says. “And if you look at what happens demographically because of that choice, you then get some of these outcomes that people were hoping to get worldwide.”

It was so nice to hear some good news about someone who has the power and resources to make things happen.

And that is one of those “every good things”.

And also, lest anyone get the idea that wingnuts might consider the notion that voluntarily controlling the size of one’s family might be a good idea…think again:

There’s a lollipop for anyone who can find a promotion of abortion or an attack upon Catholics in her speech.

(A bear hug and a warm soft kiss to The Spouse for bringing this one to my attention.)

It is all a matter of choice

From the Planned Parenthood site — patient care provided by Planned Parenthood affiliates:

So yes, PP does offer abortion services — for 3% of its over 11 million clients.

However, keep in mind that PP is the source of contraception material and STD screenings for the poor and students. My daughter uses PP for her birth control; without that, she could well have had one (or more) children for whom she would be financially unable to care.

Face it, folks. Anti-choice advocates are using their protests against Planned Parenthood to smokescreen the real issue:

They don’t want anyone giving the needy contraception options, disease screening and treatment, and the opportunity to prevent bringing an unwanted baby to term.

And don’t give me that song and dance about adoption being a viable option. The overwhelming (over 90%) number of prospective adoptive parents are white folk who won’t take anything but a completely healthy, Caucasian newborn with an impeccable record of pre-natal care. If you can’t deliver that, your baby will likely never be adopted.

(Thanks to Mike S. for the tip.)

“To be or not to be/That is the question.”

The Spouse asked an interesting question this morning:

“Why is it that many women feel they have the right to have an abortion with (or without) her male partner’s consent, but biological fathers are required by law to provide 18 years of child support with or without his consent? There should be a pro-choice movement for both sides of this situation.”

What do you think?

“This is the Patriarchy — a social-interactive construct that bombards us with misogyny.”

Rick “Frothy Mix” Santorum must not like sex very much.

His very name has become synonymous with the results of anal sex which I strongly doubt he indulges in, and would likely be horrified were he to encounter it. (Thank you so much for that, Dan Savage.)

And now he’s got a new sex gig. Yes, ladies of the audience, Rick Santorum has declared a battle on the “dangers of contraception“:

Frothy Mix also believes that women who are the victims of rape and incest have no right to request an abortion, claims that marriage equality will lead to incest, bigamy, and pedophilia, and has said all manner of unkind things about homosexuality and gay marriage.

And now he is heralding a call to return to the bad old days when the Pill put the stigma of “slut” upon women, doctors would only prescribe diaphragms to women who were married or about to be, and only married men could legally buy condoms. (Do not for one moment forget that condoms, an inexpensive form of contraception, prevents unwanted pregnancies and puts a brake on the spread of many STDs, including HIV.)

Many Republicans and teabaggers want women locked into a struggle on two fronts: on one, Frothy Mix and other political and religious nutjobs are pushing to limit or eliminate access to contraceptive materials; on the second, the same bunch of misogynistic wackaloons are also pushing to remove any sort of funding (public or otherwise) for abortion and contraception services. This double whammy places women into the position of risking pregnancy and childbirth, wanted or not, every time they have sex. This is just the sort of situation to make religious patriarchal pinheads happy.

But then you knew that Frothy Mix was a staunch colluder in the Patriarchy, didn’t you?

“Hey! You in New Hampshire, there! Quit having fun!”

NH executive councilmembers

New Hampshire is against frivolity.

It also seems to hate poor women.

The state’s Planned Parenthood has stopped providing birth control pills and other conception material, because New Hampshire’s executive council rejected almost $2 million in funding for PP. Other services such as OB-GYN exams are being done on a week-by-week basis.

That means that in addition to not being to provide abortion services (which is what those wackaloons in Concord were really after), Planned Parenthood can no longer distribute condoms, offer STD tests, educate on safe-sex methods, and test for cervical cancer.

This all happened because the anti-choice hysterics at the state capitol failed to get PP completely defund earlier this year by the legislature. Someone somewhere didn’t like that, and now the state executive council, which normally doesn’t get involved in such issues, has stomped their size-12s into it.

From Councilmember Raymond Wieczorek (#4 in the peanut gallery to the right), who voted to cut off the funding:

“I am opposed to abortion…I am opposed to providing condoms to someone. If you want to have a party, have a party but don’t ask me to pay for it.”

Believe me, you pretentious prick, abortion is not a party. Not even one tiny bit.

My daughter uses Planned Parenthood for her contraception because she and her boyfriend both work at jobs that barely pay the rent and bills. They cannot afford to pay for decent contraception on their own, and so they do their best to be good citizens and act responsibly about their love life. How DARE you make that bullshit statement, you self-righteous jerk!

A well-considered, polite letter or email or phone call to these privileged white male knobs is in order:

New Hampshire Executive Council, 107 North Main Street, State House, Room 207, Concord NH 03301–603.271.3632–gcweb@nh.gov

Remind them that the cost of a condom pack or a month’s worth of Lybrel is far cheaper than one crack baby, or one unwanted and abused toddler, or one teenage pregnant suicide.

Send a specially personal missive to the “Honorable” Raymond Weiczorek at rwieczorek@nh.gov. Tell him I sent you.

The latest moral outrage, part 2

(see part 1 to find out what the hell kind of outrage I’m outraged about this time) :o

The Marriage Vow then goes on to a 14-point pledge that The Family Leader is asking presidential candidates to sign.

~~~

The points!

  • Personal fidelity to my spouse (That leaves serial adulterer Newt Gingrich out in the cold. And if everyone consents to an arrangement, who the hell’s business is it of anyone else??)
  • Official fidelity to the U.S. Constitution, supporting the elevation of none but faithful constitutionalists as judges or justices. (Yeah, let’s get rid of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and any other form of socialized services. Be careful what you wish for, dimbulbs–you might get it.)
  • Vigorous opposition to any redefinition of the Institution of Marriage – faithful monogamy between one man and one woman – through statutory-, bureaucratic-, or court-imposed recognition of intimate unions which are bigamous, polygamous, polyandrous, same-sex, etc. (Which Institution, bunky? 20th century? 16th century arranged marriage? 5th century BCE Sparta? Please note how the idea of same-sex marriage has been lumped in with forms of marriage no one is asking for? Switch-and-bait, baby, switch-and-bait.)
  • Earnest, bona fide legal advocacy for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) at the federal and state levels. (Wait. You just said you wanted strict constitutionalists on the bench, right? Section 3 of DOMA has been declared unconstitutional. You can’t have it both ways.)
  • Steadfast embrace of a federal Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which protects the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman in all of the United States. (Whoa! The Constitution calls for due process in all legal matters. Excluding gays denies them the right to marriage without invoking due process. Again, you can’t have it both ways, dumbass.)
  • Commitment to downsizing government and the enormous burden upon American families of the US’s $14.3 trillion public debt, its $77 trillion in unfunded liabilities, its $1.5 trillion federal deficit, and its $3.5 trillion federal budget. (Not sure what any of that has to do with marriage, but how about the marriage of major corporations to those juicy, hot tax loopholes which allow major corporation to not only pay NO taxes, but to actually get a tax credit with the federal government? Hmmm?)

Note that many of these points are footnoted (oh, how scholarly!) with citations that supposedly support the points brought up. However, take a look at some of the sources cited–the Bible, the Institute for American Values (cited several times), the Heritage Foundation, and the dissenting opinion of a U.S. Supreme Court justice. This rogue’s gallery offers fine examples of what happens when you begin with your conclusion and manufacture “facts” to fit that conclusion.

Bob Vander Plaats, the "genius" behind The Marriage Vow. Bad combover, dude.

By the way, The Family Leader is now backing off the call for banning all pornography, as described here:

Humane protection of women and the innocent fruit of conjugal intimacy — our next generation of American children — from human trafficking, sexual slavery, seduction into promiscuity, and all forms of pornography and prostitution, infanticide, abortion and other types of coercion or stolen innocence. (emphasis mine)

Also, please note the anti-choice screed here. Women are not supposed to coerced into doing things they don’t want to do, but they are to be denied the (constitutional) right to rid themselves of a pregnancy they don’t want?

It looks to me like this document considers women to be children (“stolen innocence”?) who don’t know what they want or need, and depend upon big, strong men to tell them what to do.

Boy, are they confused.

~~~

My favorite part

Just above the portion of the Vow that politicos are supposed to sign is the escape clause:

Each signatory signs only in his or her individual capacity as an American citizen and current or potential leader; affiliations herein are for identification purposes only and do not necessarily imply formal embrace of this vow or the sentiments herein by any institution or organization.

Escape clause! “Did I sign that??! I didn’t mean to sign that! My political party doesn’t necessary endorse all of these points! I’m not sure I endorse all of these points! In fact I’m pretty sure I hear my mother calling me, so I have to go now!” You can already hear the scuttling sound of rats abandoning this ship when it sinks.

Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann, in pitiful attempts to suck up to these right-wing morons, have both signed The Marriage Vow. Well, at least we will know who the real wackadoodles are.

~~~

What a moral shambles. Confused and contradictory, this document is a straw house constructed from religious dogma, with patriarchal bullshit and predetermined conclusions filling in the holes and unsteadily trying to hold the entire thing together.

If anyone would like to state their opinions (firmly but nicely, please), contact the fundie wackaloons themselves.

Bob Vander Plaats

c/o The FAMiLY LEADER
1100 N. Hickory Blvd., Suite 107, Pleasant Hill, IA 50327
TheFamilyLeader.com · 877-866-4372

It all boils down to choice

PetitionsOnline has an interesting online entry:

I pledge the following to the members of the Susan B. Anthony List and the citizens of the United States of America:

  1. If I become pregnant and decide that ending the pregnancy is the best course of action, I will have an abortion.
  2. I respect the right to obtain a safe and legal abortion, even in situations where I would not abort.
  3. If I become pregnant and opt not to have an abortion, I will remember that my choice would have been meaningless without the right to choose, and will continue to defend that right.
  4. I will support universal access to affordable contraception and accurate sex education, with the full knowledge that it is easier and safer to prevent an unwanted pregnancy than to end one.
  5. If I am able, I will donate to Planned Parenthood and/or other organizations that defend my right to choose.

 

I have a quibble with #5. Planned Parenthood has a history of aggressively pushing abortion as the only solution for a patient who is ambivalent about carrying a baby to term. There *are* alternatives (newborn babies are at a premium in the adoption business), and (most) PP locations are not good about laying out all the choices. However, I heartily support all organizations that do educate and put all of the choices out on the table.

And as I say, it all boils down to choice. Informed choice.

“Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!”

From Indiana state senator Vaneta Becker, referring to Indiana’s passing of an stringent anti-abortion bill:

“Sen. Vaneta Becker, R-Evansville, said she didn’t understand why legislators would take a step of reducing women’s access to health service at some time the state is cutting funding toward programs for mentally disabled children.

If we are so concerned about pregnancy before children are born, why are we not as concerned after children are born?‘ Becker said.” (emphasis mine)

and

“If our goal is to prevent abortions, we should not be proposing this…this piece of legislation will increase abortions.”

Indeed. Conservatives seem obsessed with preserving all unborn children, even those who are not wanted by the mother; however, once the children are born, they’re on their own:

Definitely NSFW.

Tell Macchievelli to pay more attention to the facts

One of the most frequent lapses in moral behavior occurs when the offender takes a conclusion that suits irrational feelings and opinions, and attempts to jury-rig “facts” to match that conclusion.

Are you uncomfortable with the existence of homosexuals?

Use Biblical scripture or “facts” about public health and the safety of children (always a favorite of such folk) to justify criminalizing homosexuality, or even executing those who openly display gay preferences.

Are you uncomfortable with the legality of same-sex marriage?

Use Biblical scripture or “facts” about public health and the safety of children (“adoption by same-sex couples is just wrong!”) to prevent two people who love each other from getting married.

Are you uncomfortable with the legality of abortions?

Use religious scripture or “facts” about public health and the safety of children (“One-third of America’s children are dead due to abortion!”) to justify outlawing abortion, and/or criminalizing those who receive or give abortions.

Are you uncomfortable with socialized medicine?

Use religious scripture or “facts” about public health (“Keep the government out of my Medicare!”) and the safety of children to justify not working to ensure health care for those cannot afford it.

Are you uncomfortable with issues surrounding global warming?

Use religious scripture or “facts” to justify completely ignoring the accumulating evidence that our climate is changing. (Why it is changing is a different issue.)

Emotions and feelings have no business in rational decision making. Stick to the facts, ignore what was written by goatherds and child rapists 2000 years ago, and leave the “But it’s what I feel…” at the door.

That way, madness lies.

Calvinball politics in action

This is a conversation heard the other day. It refers to rape and a resultant pregnancy:

“Is not the child of that rape or incest also a victim?…It didn’t ask to be here. It was here under violent circumstances perhaps, but that was through no fault of its own…”

“…the hand of the Almighty [is at work]…His ways are higher than our ways…He has the ability to take difficult, tragic, horrific circumstances and then turn them into wonderful examples.”

Is this a conversation with someone who has taken the Wackadoodle Express to Religious Land?  “The hand of the Almighty”??? Since when does belief in an ultimate destiny dictated by Invisible Sky Fairies have anything to do with anything real? Is this some sort of religious nut who couldn’t see human tragedy if it barfed on his shoes?

Brent Crane

Apparently so. This was a conversation between two Idaho state legislators, Rep. Shannon McMillan (R-Silverton) and Rep. Brent Crane (R-Nampa), while discussing a bill that would outlaw all abortions after 20 weeks, even those caused by rape or incest.

While I do not approve of second- and third-trimester abortions (13 weeks is plenty of time to tell if you’re pregnant and do something about it if you choose), I’m appalled that anyone with an ounce of humanity would suggest that a mythological creature could take rape (or incest) and turn it “into wonderful examples”.

Idaho is known for its potatoes and its measurable population of pinheaded, loony citizens. A solid guess would be that Mr. Crane isn’t a potato.

Long on self-righteous sanctimony–short on logic and rationality

Former Pennsylvania senator and 2012 presidential whoremonger wannabe Rick “Frothy Mix” Santorum has a problem with logic.

Note the following fallacious syllogism, Santorum-style:

“The Social Security system, in my opinion, is a flawed design, period. But having said that, the design would work a lot better if we had stable demographic trends…we don’t have enough workers to support the retirees. Well, a third of all the young people in America are not in America today because of abortion.

“The second aspect, which is even more important, is the abortion culture in this country…these demographic trends are causing Social Security and Medicare to be underfunded.”

I’m not sure what he means by “stable demographic trends” (and I doubt he does either).

However, The birth rate in America is currently 13.83 per 1000 population; that’s down from a high of over 25% in the early 1950s (baby boomer time). That’s a 50% decline. Decline. As in “dropping in rate”, or “becoming smaller.”

As is usual in Big Government Land, no one wants to pay attention to facts: when you take in less than you’re spending, you’re going to go broke. Social Security coffer levels are being eroded away by inflation, increased benefit payouts, and fewer people working to put money into Social Security. Also, the surge of boomers who have been working since the ’60s are retiring.

More out, less in. Simple math.

The only relevance to abortion is solely contained within the scheming, grasping, covetous mind of Richard “don’t ever piss off Dan Savage again” Santorum.

(As a side note of curiosity, Mr. Santorum, how does it feel to be David Koch’s meat puppet? The personal lubricant tab alone must be substantial.)

Under the veil

Thanks to Mr. Englehart for the grim chuckle.

In addition to the moniker “Planned Parenthood” in the cartoon, you could add some other groups like:

  • women who have abortions (for getting automatically audited when they claim abortion costs on their taxes)
  • women who have miscarriages (to make sure the miscarriage was “natural”)
  • rape victims (whose attackers would not be prosecutors when there is no physical resistance to the rape because of proposed changes to rape laws)
  • women who seek abortions and are forced to watch ultrasound images of the fetus prior to the procedure
  • women who receive abortions whose personal details (age, marital status and education level of the woman; the number of previous pregnancies; a reason for the abortion; the method of the abortion and method of payment; the cost of the abortion; the type of medical health insurance; whether an ultrasound was given; and the nature of the mother’s relationship with the father) are gathered and published on a public web site

Every one of the pieces of legislation above were sponsored by Republithugs, and those who were signed into law were done so by Republithug governors.

I don’t know about you, tovarisch, but I’ve got no desire to return to the 14th century. And I sure as hell don’t want someone’s view of religious law running my life (unlike some people.)