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 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.
Geraldine Ferraro died today at 75 years old. We lost her way too young. What a champion she was – especially for women. She will be missed. I miss her already. Rest in peace, Geraldine, and thank you for all your hard work and service to our country.
Addendum: Here’s a NYT video interview where Geraldine talks about her life. It’s an historical rather than a controversial piece.
I published this post on May 30, 2008, comprised of the video Part 1 up top and Part 2 below, under the title of Geraldine on Greta: Tells It Like It Is:
Finally, Geraldine Ferraro is back! After being race-baited by the Obama campaign for saying that a majority of Black people were voting for him, being shamed off the air, going underground, writing articles, and fielding calls from Obamabots who published her number, she speaks for the many people who called to complain about the state of this sorry Democratic Primary process. On the May 29, 2008 10pm edition of FOX News show On The Record,Greta Van Susteren interviews Ferraro who discusses Hillary’s poor treatment by what I’m afraid have now become the usual suspects. Van Susteren seems to be one of the few talk show hosts who is giving Hillary supporters a voice. Isn’t that what Obama gets in the media every single day? Here’s the video in two parts. Enjoy, take a deep breath and cheer for the dedication, stamina, and forthrightness of one of our women leaders with the courage to stand up and tell it like it is.
Here’s former Presidential VP Candidate Ferraro’s op-ed piece in the May 30, 2008 Boston Globe.
All the rage, currently with over 22, 10, 7, 5 million hits on YouTube as of April 16, 2009 (number appears to have quadrupled in 24 hours), Susan Boyle stepped onto the Britain’s Got Talent stage and sang in full-throated glory I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miserables. I cried when I heard it yesterday, and still do watching the video. Admittedly, I kvell at lots of stuff like this, even at the theater when performers receive their applause—perhaps, it’s the unfilled performer in moi, but I’m just an emotional kind o’ gal. Back to story: Unfortunately, the YouTube is disabled for embedding by the evil entertainment conglomerates, but you can watch and come back.
I’m a true sucker for and believer in underdog stories, so perhaps it’s the dichotomy of her not-ready-for-camera looks and her diamond clear voice. (The very minor part of me that’s cynical says: Who knows, maybe we’re all duped and that was part of the act. However, the pre- and post- interviews belie that.) But, even when I close my eyes, the voice that did not break into a belt as its velvet slips up the stair-steps of “eternal dreams are shar-er-er-air-aired” gets me every time, every time.
Andrea Bocelli’s album Viaggio Italiano had a similar effect, but I’m that way about music: I get a tune in my head and it permeates my entire body and being. I find it extremely difficult to read when music’s playing and could never do homework while listening to music, because the music always, always wins.
As the judges put it, people were all very cynical and didn’t want her to succeed; they were laughing at her. The pervading cultural tone, in any culture, I’ll venture to say, is that Your Shell Sells. You must look the part. Anyone can chime in that its a female, sexist thing, and you’re welcome to discuss, but that’s only partly true. How many times has Dennis Kucinich, one of the smartest, most compassionate, hard-hitting, and liberal politicians of our time, been ignored or dismissed because of his height or his looks?
One could say it’s a Western cultural thing, but every culture has its norms, what and whom it considers beautiful, according to the times, the fashion, the roles of women and men in the society, women’s slave-like body image concerns. Now, that’s a huge topic, name-a-culture, bringing to mind Western contemporary culture as compared women who must wear burkhas, to the 1950s as compared to Victorian times, or to foot binding, for example.
About one half of the citizens of the US bought what the media and the power brokers sold them, and people swooned, oo-ed and ah-ed over the hip, new Presidential hopeful and his family. They heard what they thought was deep, and it was coming to America: Hope and Change. (“That means trouble right here in River City . . . “) No matter what the media was selling, many people (not us) bought the ideal rags to riches, dreams of their 60s fulfilled story. They thought they were buying substance, but they really were buying style and all the hype that goes along with it. I’d describe the POTUS’ governing style as crickets fashion; and nothing’s changed about “that one.” Flatterers and detractors of Michelle Obama’s style have opinions—and mind you, I AM a fervent, well-put together, “follower of fashion” and often wonder what’s she’s thinking in that department. But, what about what’s inside? What is?
In contrast, in my work I teach people that bringing into coherence their inner and outer mission and purpose for the good brings them into integrity, which makes them look and feel vibrant, alive, and centered. And it’s true. How the heck do I look so good at sixty-one, baby? So, while I am saying that it’s what’s inside that matters, and that our outer reflects our inner and vice versa, beyond that, what do our filters tell us about ourselves? What do the glasses through which we see the world tell us as individuals and cultures about who we judge and how we judge them?
Of course, Susan Boyle has been singing since childhood, and has practiced her art and craft. But really, for me, this story is about letting ourselves be touched. Period. In this case, by someone who is sharing a genuine gift of something very special given from the heart. As the judge said, I felt privileged. Cynics, and even a bit of myself, might say, “What a sap, look at the swells of music, and how the clip was packaged.” But nothing can take away from the artist, and how the clarity and care she emitted in her performance touched a universal, higher realm in people, which is what they really were applauding and fell madly in love with.
I’d venture to say that we each can experience these moments in our day, in the midst of our despair and fear, if we slow down, open our eyes, breathe, and appreciate, really appreciate people when they’re here, and just be with what is true—without having to guard or sacrifice what is true about ourselves. That simple act is one of life’s most freeing and most difficult, isn’t it?
Addendum: If you watch the Susan Boyle clip, when the judges interview her before she performs, you’ll notice that the audience’s biggest laugh at her came when she said her age: 47. It’s as if that age rendered her far too old to be discovered, a star, a hit, a wonder, a revelation, a gleaming light. Let it be known, I’m still going for it.
One of the most insidious -isms in our culture is ageism. Let this be a lesson to all those who ever doubted Hillary Clinton or any powerful woman who gives it her all and succeeds. Hey, don’t we already know that women live longer, peak later, and last for a long, long, long time? 😉
Many feminists were disgusted this past year by the sexist, misogynistic treatment that former NY Senator Hillary Clinton received during her Presidential run, at the hands of the mainstream media, the fauxgressive blogosphere, stalwart feminist organizations, and members of her party. This time, Republicans didn’t seem to have quite as much to add, because Clinton’s own Democratic Party, we were shocked to observe, outperformed them in maltreating her.
Amy Sewell, award-winning filmmaker of the endearing 2005 documentary, Mad, Hot Ballroom, is doing her part to help elect a woman President of the United States. Her latest thought-provoking 2008 release, What’s Your Point, Honey?, is the first social justice cause film that’s being marketed on amazon.com and on iTunes, too. I’d agree with her point that:
Feminism, gender inequality, is the longest revolution and the last social justice cause to have a great need to be brought to the surface and pushed out there.
Radio Interview Explores Feminism, Gender Equality, and Path to Politics
In January, 2009, I sat down with the dynamic and articulate filmmaker to record the audio interview from which this article is drawn. In the interview, Amy and I also discuss: women’s pay equality issues, the Lilli Ledbetter Act, gender inequality awakening of Baby Boomers as compared to the MTV generation. Plus, there’s an update about the lives of the seven diverse young women in her film, and their quest to run for political and organizational office.
Click arrow to play Lady Boomer’s interview with filmmaker Amy Sewell (1:41)
The Point of What’s Your Point, Honey?
The film’s title, What’s Your Point, Honey?, was inspired by a 2007 Jim Borgman cartoon in the Cincinnati Enquirer. The cartoon depicts Hillary Clinton standing, pointer in hand, appearing to school Uncle Sam in front of a chart entitled, “Countries That Have ALREADY HAD FEMALE Heads of State.”
Here’s the list: Haiti, Nicaragua, Panama, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Burundi, Liberia, Indonesia, Philippines, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, India, Germany, Serbia, Israel, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, England, Latvia, Iceland, Ireland.
And in response, a schlumpy-looking Uncle Sam asks Hillary,
What’s your point, honey?
In our interview, Sewell expands on the cartoon’s irony: The US is 71st in the world in women’s representation in government — we’re laggin’. We’re behind the -stans and Cape Verde. . . . Despite often horrible treatment in some of the countries that have had women leaders, women are proportionally better represented and lead other countries in far greater numbers.
The filmmakers set out to influence the younger generations with their film, and to create an awareness of feminism in them, because many young women “do not believe that they’re not equal.” Additionally, Sewell says that she and the film’s director, Susan Toffler, decided to reclaim the term “honey,” in order to devalue it when used by the oppressor, so to speak
Co-stars of the documentary, “What’s Your Point Honey?,” include Sewell’s twin daughters, the generation of girls “that doesn’t believe that they’re not equal.”
They made a movie for an audience that doesn’t want to hear it, Sewell asserts, because they think they’ve got it all in the bag. They see their moms going to work and just think that everything is equal—after all, mom’s working. Girls don’t really know what their moms go through at work, regarding career advancement, pay differences, harassment, and what is expected of them as compared to men.
Girls don’t grasp that women, despite feminist gains of the last forty years, are largely responsible for taking care of: the house, the kids, doctors’ appointments, day care, child care, shopping for groceries, supplies, and clothing, cooking, cleaning up, housecleaning, laundry, and more. Additionally, their moms are often caregivers for their elderly parents or in-laws. Yet, girls of today think that life is, and will be, the same for them as it is for the boys they’re growing up with.
Forget about equal pay: Sewell says that women should actually get paid MORE than men. After all, the mom does everything, and the dad “just goes to work,” as a young boy observes in the film. Yes, we’re swimming in the patriarchy, so much so that many fish don’t know it, haven’t seen it. However, girls are beginning to see sexism and inequality at home, and more women saw it in the political atmosphere of the 2008 Presidential election.
Eyes Wide Open—Lessons from Sarah
Sewell claims Sarah Palin lit a fire under many liberal women who thought, “hey if she can do it, why can’t I?” We should be running for local offices and positions that grow us into more and higher national prominence. A way to begin is to step up and get active about the projects and issues you really care about in your local community, and just go ahead and start to run things.
She enumerates three lessons women learned from Palin’s Vice Presidential run:
Women can be raising a family and become a major player, with the right support systems.
If you multiply out all the ways you run your household, you can do it on a larger scale in your community, city, state, and nation.
If Sarah can do it, why are we liberal women still on the sidelines, waiting for men or somebody to hand this to us?
The White House Project: “Beyond Gender to Agenda”
Wilson believes strongly in having a nonpartisan organization, because her philosophy is that all women bring the same basic life issues to the table, such as: child rearing, child and elder care, the wage gap, working in male-dominated fields, and, of course, who owns their bodies. The goal is to get more women into office. Women are 51 percent of the population, and 80 percent of the purchasing power. Women decide how 80 cents of every dollar in American households will be spent.
I questioned Amy: If women treat each other so poorly when running for office—as they did with Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin last year—will women be discouraged from running in the future, expecting that they might face a similar fate? Introducing the pipeline theory, she said that “it’s not about one. As long as you have only one woman running, everyone will always rip her apart.”
Sewell contends that if you have just as many women running as men, you get “beyond gender to agenda,” to quote Marie Wilson. There are many amazing, accomplished, powerful women out there; we just haven’t seen it happen in enough numbers yet, so we have to make our own way! But the environment is changing: Initially, Wilson asked women to run for office, because she knew that women needed to be asked. However, there seems to be an attitude shift in that women are beginning to step up and run. There were 100 applicants for the program in NY State, and several women who were in the film announced their plans to run for office right after completing their training.
Winners of the 2024 Project, co-sponsored by The White House Project and COSMOgirl, gather in front of The White House during the making of the documentary
The Key to Success: Fill the Pipeline with Young Candidates
As a way to keep the ball rolling and get younger generations involved, What’s Your Point, Honey? shows inequalities in their world today “wrapped around the metaphor of a woman running for President.” The filmmaker sees that girls can look up to the current women in power, like Hillary and Sarah Palin, but they don’t relate to them as they do to twenty year-olds, like those in the film.
If we build the pipeline, the more women we have wanting to come into political power, the easier it will be for all male political figures in the future to have a pool of applicants to choose from [for cabinet and other appointments.] [. . . ]
Our hope is someday that it won’t even be a question. We’ll have so many women in politics that we’ll de-genderize it.
Further, an educational pilot program is being rolled out by North Carolina Political Center for Women: the What’s Your Point, Honey? DVD and study guides will be used as part of high school programs in North Carolina. This will be followed by programs throughout the US in middle schools, high schools, and colleges, accompanied by study guides appropriate for each educational level. Amy has generously provided the Viewers’ Guide here for you to download FOR FREE, which you can use when you buy the DVD, or rent or buy the video-on-demand (VOD) download.
Women Have Power
Sewell sees little advantage in fighting with people who do not and will not ever agree fundamentally, and I agree! Women need to join together and get involved with whatever social justice causes that move them. Furthermore, WOMEN have the purchasing power. Money speaks, and we have power here. For example, ads and products that call for our attention to speak out against: Boycott! The PUMA and some of the feminist movement made a difference by boycotting MSNBC, CNN, PBS, NPR, and network television due to their commentators’ misogynistic and biased stances about then Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, and VP nominee, Sarah Palin.
The movie purposely uses a light touch to draw new people into wanting to be active, and has a carryover affect. Viewers report that they begin to notice more instances of inequality or sexism in their daily lives, whereas before they wouldn’t have seen it. I encourage everyone to see and discuss this film, especially families. Be sure to rate, comment, and see what others are saying.
This is such an enthusiastic, supportive article, you’d think I have an ulterior motive, or am receiving some kind of net gain. I hope I am and do. I believe passionately, based on my spiritual and community background, that the societal road forward, onward, and upward must be: positive, collective, supportive, have dignity—and—be ignited, and driven by and for women. We can accomplish this by expanding girls’ and young women’s horizons, education, and opportunities for governance, and yes, the Presidency. Elect a woman? . . . “It’s not about one.”
Coming up to the inauguation of the 44th President, as we’re still in the first month of 2009, thought I’d post the Top 10 Posts I’ve written, based on popularity. It’s my travelogue, so to speak, chronologically along the road of how we got HERE.
Secretary of State Designate Hillary Clinton’s Opening Remarks Pt. 1 — during Senate confirmation hearing
January 13, 2009 — Hillary Clinton delivered a one-two punch in her day-long confirmation hearing for Secretary of State in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. She was knowledgeable, compassionate, and well-spoken about both the global and local issues of foreign policy and relations. Her brilliance seemed so obvious, and she was treated with respect from both sides of the aisle. I think they got that, given what’s at stake, she’s real smart-like, and has a comprehensive view with plans to boot.
Um? So what else is new? Given that, and that our country is in deep sh*t no matter which way you turn, you’d think that the American people would understand that HRC’s the only one who can save our sorry a** right now. But, noooo, I had to turn on CSPAN after the hearing, which had totaled about six-hours, to listen to what “the people” had to say. (shaking my head) I was surprised to find that because of her IDEAS, and also being a non-threat because she’s not running against anyone, the people might hear her. (sigh) We really must focus on education in this country. People are not so smart. And this evening, Sean Hannity is slammin’ her. Have you noticed lately? FOX ain’t our friends no more, folks.
I’m a compulsive note-taker, sometimes — on those little legal pads. I guess I could have typed this in the first place to avoid the double process, but I didn’t. I took notes as I listened to most of the Q and A, and am recapping so you don’t have to listen to all 6 or so hours. And I’m compulsive enough to not be able to move on until I transcribe these things, so I hope you find them helpful. I’m not compulsive enough however to listen back. They just don’t pay me enough for doing this. However, I highly recommend listening to the whole Q&A. It’s seriously riveting. Anyway, here’s a transcript of what I can read of my notes. I had a good day!
Senator Bob Corker to HRC: We all know that everything has a season, and this is your season.
Hillary’s main role will be as a chief dealmaker.
HC: Wants to put the State Dept. (SD) on sounder financial and management footing. She has already filled two top positions: The Principle Deputy, Jim Stenberg will be Deputy for Resources and Management, someone in that position for the first time in 10 years. He’s currently Dean, LBJ School of Government. Total job focus will be to manage the department and USAID. Second Deputy will be Jack Lew, past OMB Director. This is someone who’s accountable and who will look at the gaps.
HC: On USAID — has 1/2 the staff it used to have. The contracting agency is not an operational agency with the abilityh to deliver. Congress has given the SD a new responsibility for rebuilding and redevelopment. She is looking at CERP. Under CERP (Commander Emergency Resources Program), soldiers are given money to use in Iraq. The setup is flexible with no accountability. Whereas the SD career professionals can’t get $500 for a project.
[Ed. note: Already, even at this point in the process, I’m feeling we — our country, our world will be so much safer with HRC as SOS. She GETS everything so well.]
Sen. Russ Feingold, D-WI: Praised HRC, and stated that the Al Qaeda fight is our major concern. He asked: How will you follow-up with Barack Obama’s promise to redeploy troops in 16 months?
HC: Said we’ll begin leaving towns and villages by June and also redeploying troops to Afghanistan, so will want to have Iraqi troops in place. She expressed gratitude for the leadership of the outgoing US Iraq Ambassador.
Feingold: Darfur — what are our options?
HC: Darfur: Do a review. Have and take steps for a bold new approach. In conjunction w/ the DOD, sound the alarm of this terrible human crisis, Let the world know our plans after the review.
Feingold: Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Iran
HC: How to look at not just military review of entire policy but use Pres. Elect Obama’s “More for More” strategy. If more troops, then add more to the civilian side. Military solutions alone can’t shift the elements of resistance. We must work with the friends of Pakistan and Afghanistan to persuade them it’s THEIR future at risk, not just our fight.
Sen. Charles Lugar is questioning re: nukes.
HC: We need a rules-based framework for non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, in collaboration with other countries, so bad actors like N. Korea and Iran will be seen as the exception. Talking to the Ukraine and Serbia about gas utilities gives us a broader framework to talk about other issues. Ministers will be meeting in Europe for the NATO allies meeting.
Barbara Boxer, D-CA: If more women were in power, we’d have a better world. Clinton and Boxer began a committee to look into sex slavery, wage discrimination, and education of women worldwide. Talks about women’s plight in the world and violence against women, and, basically as per Hillary, that women’s rights are human rights.
HC: These are central issues we must address. This is criminal. Women are uneducated, underfed. We cannot have a free and progressive world if women are treated in such a violent way. She wants to use the State. Mistreatment of women around the world is crime, not custom and tradition. “We cannot have a free prosperous peaceful world if women are treated in such a discriminatory and violent way.” Women are enslaved, abused, tortured in every way. “I take responsibility to do all I can do to end this modern slavery — sex, wage slavery, primarily slavery of girls and women.”
HC continued: Women of senate, actually, She started a committee in the Senate, “Vital Voices” – Laura Bush has been outspoken for Afghani women and Aung San Suu Kyi and this will be spun off under her watch. [Ed. I don’t know what the former phrase means.] She will have an active women’s office tracking slavery and discrimination against women worldwide.
She wants a partnership with Boxer to continue work on these issues.
Bill Nelson, D-FL: Reminded HC of issues arising in his state: Latin America, the rape of women working for contractors in Iraq, and a kidnapped contractor in Iraq who has a wife and seven kids.
HC: Does the US want to keep being a contractor or keep their contract services in house? Keeping services in-house would be cheaper and make things more accountable.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-AK: Question about will SD work with environment?
HC: State Dept. will work with environmental issues. Gives us a chance for cooperation between different departments. Cruise ships now go to Pt. Barrow, the northernmost part of the US. There will be disputes re: natural reserves ownership, and we need an international position on the oceans. Ratification of the “Law of Seas” is key. We need to figure out where our boundaries are, because these areas are now ice-free most of the year due to global warming.
Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-MD: Praising Hillary Clinton, “There couldn’t be a better person to represent our nation.” Spoke of Helsinki Commission, which he’ll now chair, and which HC was a member of. Commission was established by Pres. Gerald Ford, which then created the Helsinki Accord, which let to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
HC: Spoke of problem of refugees in Iraq and return of Iraqi refugees, of tackling the issues of population migration and refugees with a committee in the State Dept. Spoke of mineral wealth as a way to handle poverty and we must look at best practices, like Botswana.
Sen. John Kerry reported (to satisfy the reporters, he said) that an additional 138 questions were answered extensively by Sen. Clinton prior to the day’s hearing.
Sen. Jim DeMint, R-SC: How to coordinate private sector, foreign service professionals, and religious efforts with the State Dept.?
HC: Our security depends on: Defense, Diplomacy, and Development. It’s a government mission and a way of building relationship between them with governments. It’s not just foreign and civil service professionals: “Really, it’s all hands on deck.”
HC: There is no substitute for the USAID and the State Dept. She will streamline as much as possible and look at strategies, specific ideas, and partnerships. BUT, more than 10x the amount of money is going to the Defense Dept., and they are recreating the State Dept. This is because, when pressured, the military will move more quickly and they have the money. There is no substitute for seasoned diplomats and development professionals and they can work private and religious nonprofits.
HC: Stance on Israel remains that the US will not negotiate with Palestine unless it renounces violence against Israel and recognizes Israel’s right to exist as a state.
Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NY: Expresses real appreciation of Sen. Clinton. In the confirmation process, she has gone above and beyond the law in ethics. The Clinton Foundation has also shared its records above and beyond the law. He asked: Who will pursue the money and programs, fight for USAID and the State Dept. in Congress, and get foreign aid money to work as it should?
HC: Get handle on contracting out. Use committess we have in place, instead of appointing new commissions. Health, education, economic empowerment are thought of as old foreign aid. Reconstruction, rehabilitation, conflict resolution, peacekeeping is the new foreign aid. We must have both and make them efficient, and coordinated. We must move funds from the DOD to the SD, because the DOD is doing the job of the SD. In showing we can cooperate for redevelopment and diplomacy, we can change the focus of the State Dept.
[End of morning session, appx. 3 hrs. 16 minutes. I’ll post my notes of the afternoon Q&A session tomorrow.]
Apparently our efforts to rub salt in the wounds of the Democratic machine and MSM in 2008 are not as insignificant as our detractors have claimed (or wished) they were throughout 2008. On December 31, 2008, John Cloud of TIME Magazine named PUMA #8 of their Top Ten Buzzwords of 2008. Here’s his description, but hey, what can I say, it’s about TIME. The list is part of their Top Ten Everything of 2008.
An acronym for “party unity my ass,” this term was the rallying cry of Clinton supporters who backed her candidacy even after many party leaders called for consensus around Obama in order to ensure a unified Democratic front going into the general election. As Barrett of doubletongued.org points out, PUMAs hoped to bring the Clinton-Obama fight “to a head-to-head smackdown vote at the [Democratic] convention.” Instead, Clinton threw her support to Obama well before the convention. This word, which disproportionately described female voters, recalls TIME’s 2007 buzzword of the year: cougar, i.e., an older woman seeking younger men.
I especially like the last sentence, when PUMA is compared to hot ‘n horny older women who seek younger men. (they know me so well) Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the nomination. What kind of free publicity is that for us? Good, very good. However, isn’t the comparison the perfect illustration of what we’ve been saying all year about sexism, the supposedly liberal Dem Party, and the MSM?
Here’s the rest of the list, so you can see if you’d like to read the descriptions in their presentation. I’ll admit that I’m just getting caught up with some of the terms. For instance, Rickrolled. I didn’t get the meaning of an old Rick Astley music video in the middle of Uncle Jay’s year-end wrap up video (posted here at LBNYC.) That is, until New Year’s eve, when my 11-year-old friend, Dave, explained the whole phenomenon to me at his folks’ party, sending him into absolute hysterics. So PUMA is just under that on the list, and one of five politically-related terms.
Nuke the fridge
Hey, I think it’s great! Not bad for a movement that’s only been in operation for 6 months, all the while being discounted by the subjects of its protests.
It’s election time, so once again, just like the swallows coming home to Capistrano and geese flying South for the Winter, women’s bodies are being held hostage. It’s predictable.
One of the first signs this election cycle was when word came that Obama voted to not give life-saving measures to babies who survive late-term abortions. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Obviously, this was a vote to assuage his potential evangelical voter base. However, after Sarah Palin entered the race, those voters, knowing they now had the real deal, swung back to McCain, whom they were hesitant to support previously. Obama’s vote “No” was meant as a protest against late term abortion. So, then if life prevailed, kill it anyway? This makes no sense whatsoever.
A more recent sign of the “election-year women’s-bodies-as-hostage cycle” is today’s news that Rep. Nancy Pelosi will be given some schoolin’ on Catholic Cathechism by the San Francisco Archdiocese. It seems that the House Speaker made some controversial statements about abortion following Sarah Palin’s VP nom. Nancy was trying to show that although she’s Catholic, she’s pro-choice, so as to distinguish herself from the smarmy pro-life Palin who would have us revert to back room abortions. To Nancy, her choice about choice was as plain as day, but the Catholic Church thought otherwise: her views approached heresy. It was even suggested that perhaps Pelosi should not be offered Holy Communion if she was going to be that way. The uproar is due to Pelosi’s statement that she didn’t know when life begins, and that no one, even the Catholic Church, can know for certain.
The Church has replied: oh no you dit-‘nt. The Church has stated unequivocally that life begins at conception.
Now, I’m going to state something very, very controversial for a pro-choicer: I agree in part with the Catholic Church — life begins at conception. You know those carriers of life, the swimming little sperm and the big egg? Ever see them under a microscope, magnified, like on film? They pulse, they move, they form a zygote whose cells multiply and divide. The zygote beats with the mother’s heart, and grows into an embryo as it receives nutrients. What the heck else do you call it? Any woman who’s carried a fetus, whether it’s been born or aborted, feels the life within her. Way beyond religion, to call it anything but life defies scientific definition.
I’ve done a lot, I mean a lot, of transformational work in the process of becoming a body-centered therapist. I’ve literally experienced my parents’ emotional and psychological states leading up to my conception. Let’s just say they weren’t happy and knew as soon as they got married that they didn’t want to be together. They were among those post-war couples who “stayed together for the kids.” So my personal work, which has taken a long time, years, has been to unburden myself from that first cause of being a burden, somebody’s fault for being stuck together. Please, don’t worry. I’m fine.
So why am I delving into my past in this oh-so-revealing way? Yes, this is anecdotal, but I’ve seen it over and over again in my clients — the affect of one or both parents being unhappy during pregnancy and perinatally. Any psychologist can tell many of these stories. Although science has barely caught up, our memory, our life experience lives in our bodies. I am saying that our cells, the zygote, the fetus, are conscious.
Here comes the really controversial part: anyone who’s ever had an abortion knows that she is terminating the life of a baby. Otherwise, it would just be like having a period. Bloop and that’s it. There wouldn’t be the severe emotionally distraught feelings of fear, guilt, sadness, and trauma. Although we are determined to have that choice, who has ever had an abortion and felt happy about it? The fact of the matter is: a woman knows she is choosing to end a life AND that it is her choice.
Have you ever heard this point? No. Instead a woman is forced to either deny that she is ending a life when she has an abortion, or if she admits to herself, God, and Country that she is ending a life, then abortion must cease to be available. Isn’t that what the entire debate has been about — forever? So, Nancy Pelosi, by gosh, you did do something while in Congress! You made me come out about this topic. I say that both are true, and I stand by my right to choose, over and above all.
Of course, as we all know, if men had babies, it wouldn’t even be a discussion. Birth control and every other thing about reproduction, pregnancy, birth, and abortion would be highly studied, bought and paid for, and designed for his maximum empowerment, comfort, and control. And life would begin at birth, including for the Catholic Church, although I guess women would be running it.
Women I know, who lived on my same long-time hippy commune, where our policy was “don’t have an abortion,” are now staunchly pro-choice like me. Our solution back then was: instead, carry the baby to full-term, and if upon giving birth you still don’t want it, a family will take care of it for you. If you ever decide you want the baby or child back, you can have it. Of course, this policy created its own set of problems, but it tried to solve the “life vs. abortion, preggers but don’t want the child” conundrum.
So, yes, it’s election year, and women’s bodies are once again being held hostage. And so are our brains. We have to pretend that a sperm, egg, zygote, and fetus are dead, so we can do what we want to do with our bodies and the life we create that grows within us. Running for top office, basically, we have four pro-lifers, who say they won’t impose their views on their governance. Their churches would have them do otherwise. (Disclaimer: as a Jew, I don’t claim to know a thing about the Catholic Church or any other.)
As could be expected, during the campaign Obama once again voted present with his statement that determining when life begins “is above [his] paygrade.” Well, he was caught in a woman’s situation, because he was speaking at evangelical, Rick Warren’s forum, and didn’t want to alienate either side of his lady voter base. He actually was right: it is above his paygrade, but that doesn’t excuse his choosing ambiguity for expediency’s sake. As a Democrat, he was expected to come down on the side of pro-choice, but then how could he in that venue and not be cast out?
Pro-choice leaders, orgs, and Democrats are threatening that we run for our lives, because a woman’s right to choose will be removed from the table if the Repubs win, what with SCOTUS conservative appointees and all. Pro-life women are happy, because a woman of their own beliefs may come to national power, and life at conception might be recognized. Either way, women have to fake it once again. If we admit that we’re harboring life and abort, we’re baby-killers, murderers, plain and simple. This would make repeal of Roe v. Wade a foregone conclusion. If we divorce our brains from our bodies so as to simulate a dead zone, well then, I guess we’re alright. I don’t know about you, but doesn’t making judgments and taking control of women’s bodies remind you of how it was for us during those Salem witch-huntin’ days?
Not pretty, but in the end, who bears the responsibility, the shame, the guilt? Whose bodies and lives are at stake and held hostage because of it? You guessed it. This is a messy deal, this living thing and all.
Although a bit of a jog off the path, a few more things about the judgmental attitudes that other people make about bodies and lives not their own: We exist on living things — whether a plant or an animal. Anyone who’s ever raised an animal, or had a pet for that matter, knows they’re conscious. Many gardeners speak to their plants, and research studies show that plants respond to music and human emotion. Gardeners would agree. Whatever we eat has to die so that we may live. If we rid ourselves of pesky pests like bugs, rodents, or wildlife, we are killing. If we go to war or order others to go, we may end up taking a life or helping others to do so. Buddhists would have us not kill at all. In choosing what we eat and how we live, we are also choosing whether something or someone will live or will die.
In other words, to judge women as reckless for a choice about their own bodies denies the fact that in each moment we make life and death decisions.