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Harriet stands up to security in Denver 2008 at MSNBC-TV’s stage. Photo © by Lady Boomer NYC 2008

On Tuesday, October 8, 2013, we lost Harriet Christian, a lifelong and outspoken champion of equal rights. I came to know her after her honest outburst at the Democratic National Convention’s Rules and Bylaws Committee was captured on video and picked up by major media outlets. Hundreds of us had traveled to DC to picket and protest the committee’s slanted meeting that would decide the fate of millions of citizens’ votes in Michigan and Florida.

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton kept her name on those states’ ballots, whereas Dem party and media darlings Obama and (that guy who used to make the women swoon), John Edwards (who?), had removed their names from those ballots. As Harold Ickes said, although Hillary won those states, The Party, “hijacked” the votes–and later the election–by strong-arming delegates to switch their votes from Hillary–to whom they were pledged–to Obama.

Harriet wasn’t having any of it and courageously protested from the peanut gallery during the RBC meeting and outside in the lobby after being tossed out of the meeting. This meeting’s decision created the spontaneous citizens’ uprising, which immediately spawned the PUMA (Party Unity, My Ass) Movement. Lifelong Democrats, we had become Democratic Party refugees, saying we didn’t leave the party, the party left us.

We PUMAs had a pre-Denver convention in DC to plan our protest and media strategy, and in Denver, our headquarters and events were a hub for protests at the Democratic National Convention. There was lots of pre-convention press about the Dems plans to outfit cops on horseback in riot gear to control protestors by herding them into fenced cages and also by lobbing shit bombs (you heard me).

After all, Hillary Clinton had won the Democratic primary vote, and the party, basically, abandoned her. You may not have known or remembered this, but the language, tone, and accusations were brutal, sexist, and misogynistic. The media laughed at her when she cried, decried her for showing cleavage (eek, a Prez with breasts!), and slammed her for deftly answering debate questions. Tucker Carlson said he’d cross his legs when she walked by, and Keith Olbermann said someone should take her into a back room and only the man come back out. Hillary bloggers received death threats. Her Party made her withdraw from the race although she’d won it. It was shameful. Those were just a few tidbits of many, many more horrible references. That year, 2008, I, finally, became an ardent feminist.

Harriet entered our Denver HQ like gangbusters, the media lightening rod that she was, and she knew it too. This was her/our time, and she was in her element. She lifted everyone’s spirits.

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Harriet arrives at PUMA HQ in Denver, site of 2008 Democratic Presidential Convention

We then marched to the big outdoor MSNBC TV booth, where Hillary slammers Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann held court. When pressured by security to take the Hillary for President sign down and move out of the way, Harriet wouldn’t budge. She won.

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Harriet’s dear friend Deborah Schutt captures Harriet on cam

Harriet was not afraid. She spoke truth to power. I met her at a PUMA gathering/party in NYC at the home of her dear friends, Liz and Deborah, when she was there with her partner, Van. Turns out, I had captured a pic of Harriet and Van before I even knew them, when we attended a Hillary rally in February 2008 at Hunter College. It was a heady time, and we were ardent!

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My friends before I knew them: Hillary’s Hunter College rally–Harriet with her big hair (upper R), Van (to her L), Deborah Schutt (on phone cam), Liz Wiseman (in glasses)

After Harriet spoke out and got so much media attention, she was continually slammed by Obama supporters, who called her a racist for standing up for a woman, instead of stepping aside, “for a black man” as she put it. She well knew the history of America when suffragettes had deferred finally getting the right for women to vote, which had been imminent, in order to let black men go first–and she wasn’t having it happen again. It’s a shame that it had to be a choice–both times–and that women were relegated to last in line. Why couldn’t both be advanced?

Harriet battled cancer, but, still, she never gave up, and she worked up until a couple of weeks before she passed. I was delighted to be invited and attend her 2011 Christmas party and saw her a year ago when she hosted an Obama/Romney presidential debate party at a pub. I’d sent her my poem after Van died and when I learned Harriet had cancer, we spoke on the phone. I offered to do a healing session on her, so she could relax into her body, and, although it wasn’t her way, she began warming to the idea. “Interesting. I’ll think about it.” I knew she wouldn’t take me up on it, but I could tell, when I saw her at the debate party, that it had touched her. I thought she was getting better, but her death came suddenly, and as a shock to all.

I know you’re still raising a ruckus, Harriet. I’m honored to have known you and to have been touched by your strength and good-natured feistiness. Keep on, sister!

Heard on CNN about Obama’s strategy: if we can’t get the British, then go to Congress.

Horrendous deaths and a horrible dilemma. So much bigger regionally than a waffling president’s red line. We’re broke. People are suffering. Inhumanity abounds. There are forty-five million refugees worldwide. How could more bombing be the answer? We never talk anymore. Yoko: Imagine peace.

In a spontaneous virtual, non-violent uprising on Tuesday, January 31, 2012, U.S. women and men single-mindedly mobilized their forces to say “no” to the decision of Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure to defund Planned Parenthood.

The following day, New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg pledged $250,000 in matching funds to Planned Parenthood, which also received a record $3 million donations in two days. Seeing their formerly unquestioned ubiquity in women’s health care fundraising crumble, SGK’s CEO and founder, Nancy Brinker, hit the airwaves and intertubes to explain themselves. Instead, their not so flimsily veiled agenda was exposed. She posited that PP funding was shady and under congressional investigation. Oooo. It seems that one conservative, House Energy Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Cliff Stearns, R-Florida, had launched an investigation in Congress in September 2011, and SGK’s new bylaws prohibit funding of any orgs under investigation.

On Thursday, February 2, California Rep. Loretta Sanchez alluded to SGK’s new VP Karen Handel as having a hand in this decision. Indeed, when Handel ran for Governor of Georgia, during which she was endorsed by Sara Palin, she proclaimed that if she won she would defund PP because of their abortion services. Jezebel exposed Handel’s nasty disdain in her tweet (and delete) that protesters over the SGK decision could “Cry (her) a freaking river.”

On Friday, seeing their supporters fall away, SGK did a Rick Perry “oops” impersonation and reversed their decision, saying they would make a special rule to fund PP. Meanwhile, the underbelly of SGK’s conservative agenda has been revealed to legions of donors who have run races and bought pink paraphernalia for 30 years. In late 2010, Komen also exposed their stingy side when they began to legally pursue other non-profit charities to force them to desist from using their trademarked term “for the cure” and the color pink in fundraising efforts.

The defenders of Planned Parenthood rightfully stated that women, many of whom do not have access to primary health care, use their clinics for general checkups and breast cancer screening, that they would otherwise not be able to afford.

The shallow depth that TV journalists currently swim in was also made clear, when this week Brinker claimed during multiple interviews that PP’s activities would be shown to be illegal. Reporters merely needed to ask a follow-up question of Brinker to name one or two examples in support of the accusation, but the question was not asked.

In the end, when they reversed their decision, SGK proclaimed their original intent was not politically motivated. PP turned cheek, thanking SGK for its reversal to once again fund them. What else could they do? (This is why I’ll never be a politician.) Planned Parenthood was the only org to have its support withdrawn among the 2,000 that SGK funds. Ach!

In this “modern” era, when we spend billions of dollars to fight wars to extend the US penis promote and preserve Democracy around the world, women are now equal in health under the law. Obama announced Thursday, January 19, 2012, that insurance companies will be required to cover birth control without a co-pay. BIRTH CONTROL! Can you believe it? Are we not living in the dark ages?

In their article, the Hill quotes Planned Parenthood:

Birth control is not just basic health care for women, it is an economic concern,” Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement. “This common sense decision means that millions of women, who would otherwise pay $15 to $50 a month, will have access to affordable birth control, helping them save hundreds of dollars each year.

Of course, it’s the elephant in the room. We live with the unspoken irony that Viagra is covered and birth control is not. So, a man can have his turn-on paid for, yet there’s a cost for the recipient woman to not become pregnant? How does this make sense? I’ve always said this “arrangement” would be very different if men got pregnant.

It’s interesting that besides a thank you to Obama from Planned Parenthood (which I recommend you sign), the current coverage (and a good article) I found was from The Hill. Because it is a conservative blog, the comments were predominantly and extremely negative toward women being treated equally regarding reproduction.

Although this news broke last week, I didn’t want to let it go by without posting something.

Update: On Friday, January 20, the administration announced it would allow a year for religious institutions to comply. In their article, The Hill notes that Obama’s initial announcement was made after HHS Kathleen Sibelius rejected over-the-counter sales of the morning after pill, which outraged women’s reproductive rights groups.

Rocky Anderson appeared on MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan Show on January 17, 2012 and gave a great interview and raison d’etre for his candidacy and The Justice Party. This former two-time mayor of Salt Lake City tells it like it is “about the corrupting influence of money in our government” and his ideas about how to change the system. He makes the point for a spoiler candidate–why just move the players around on the chessboard? This guy makes sense!

Go to www.voterocky.org and show them some love. Do what you can to get the word out, donate, and get this third party going.

“In this day and age, where the Democrat and Republican parties are no longer the voice of Main Street, but the puppets of Wall Street, it is natural that a Third Party should appear to champion the traditionally conservative proposition that the Constitution is the blueprint for the operation of the government of the United States.” —Gatewood Galbraith (1947-January 18, 2012) in a stump speech during his 2000 congressional race

Perhaps there is a choice. Say what? …and we don’t have to vote for the worst of two evils. (Sorry Obama fans, if there are any of you left.)

Rocky Anderson for President! He’s running on the newly formed Justice Party ticket and telling it like it is: “I consider this a second party.” “We need a new paradigm where people are committed to representing the public interest.”

Here he is on Democracy Now! Listen to this 21 min. interview – you won’t regret it!!! He also had a very snappy, compelling interview on Dylan Ratigan today that I hope gets posted. When it does, I’ll grab it for here. (His interview on Ratigan’s show was the first I’d ever heard of him, and can you tell I’m impressed?)

It’s a grass roots campaign. Let’s help him out. If you agree with his views, please comment, share, and “Like” this post! Go to the Justice Party website and see what you’d like to do. It looks like they can use some help. Here’s Rocky’s wikipedia page, which you can reference any day but Wednesday 1/18/12, because wiki’s going dark for 24 hours in protest of proposed SOPA legislation.

I hope you had a blessed holiday season and wish you joy, peace, and the best in all things.

Have a happy, healthy, prosperous New Year!

Warmly,

LBNYC

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