Conservative’s Orwellian Rape and Rewriting of History: The Rebranding of Susan B. Anthony for Anti-Feminist/Anti-Woman Purposes

The right wing and so called “Christian” organizations have been waging as concerted a war against feminism and women just like the racist slave owners waged against abolition.  Hell, Southern racists committed the ultimate act of treason by seceding from the United States and then waging war against it, one of the bloodiest wars in America’s entire history.

Now they have tried to repackage the Civil War as the War of Northern Aggression in which the noble south defended its way of life from the brutality of the industrial north.  After all the African-Americans benefited from the care and tutelage of the benevolent plantation owners who made great sacrifices to care for those poor ignorant children.

Don’t believe me…  Go study your conservative histories written by the neo-klan apologists like David Barton.

Suddenly, in a historical rewrite straight out of “1984″ all our Deist Founding Fathers are Fundamentalist Christians.  Forgotten is how the concerns of the Baptists were one of reasons why we have freedom of religion and  separation between church and state, lest we repeat the religious wars of Europe.

One of the vilest trends I seen develop over the past thirty or so years has been the rise of the anti-abortion “Emergency Pregnancy Counseling Centers” disguising themselves as offering full spectrum reproductive choices, while really offering anti-abortion propaganda.

It is an understatement to say these organizations are guilty of false advertising as the “counseling” they foist on women in crisis can have life destroying results.

One of the right wing/Christo-Nazis most recent outrages has been the stealing and repurposing of one of America’s greatest and best known Feminists, Susan B. Anthony.

Since the rise of the ultra right wing during the Reagan Regime the neo-con/Dominionist war on women has taken ever more onerous and Machiavellian twists and turns.  You have anti-woman/misogynist ultra right wing/theocratic groups disguising themselves as being feminist/pro-women organizations.

Organizations such as the Eagle Forum/John Birch Society spin off: Concerned Women of America and the Independent Women’s Forum

Starting in the 1990s a religious right anti-abortion group purloined and repurposed the name of one of our greatest Feminist heroines, Susan B. Anthony and set up an organization to target and defeat pro-choice candidates.

As the actual misogynistic goals of the anti-sex, anti-reproductive rights movement have come to reveal their aim is not to simply end abortion but to end contraception as well.

From Wikipedia:

The Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life organization, is named in her honor. Anthony’s position on abortion (or lack thereof) has been the subject of a long-running dispute.

(AmericansuffragistSusan B. Anthony‘s position on abortion has been the subject of a modern-day dispute, centered not around Anthony’s personal position on abortion, but rather around whether she worked or spoke against it and how she would fit into the modern debate over the issue. Scholars, pro-choice activists and journalists have said that the recent pro-life narrative is a case of invented historical revisionism.[2][3])

Anthony’s birthplace in Adams was purchased in August 2006 by Carol Crossed, founder of the New York chapter of Democrats for Life of America and affiliated with Feminists for Life (FFL).[33] The museum is operated independently of those two groups, though two FFL leaders serve on the museum’s advisory board. Anthony’s childhood home in Battenville, New York, was placed on the New York State Historic Register in 2006, and the National Historic Register in 2007.[34]

From Mother Jones:

Susan B. Anthony List Founder: Republicans Hijacked My PAC!

Why Rachel MacNair says she’s embarrassed by the now-powerful pro-life political action committee she launched 20 years ago.

By Kate Sheppard
Wed Feb. 22, 2012

Rachel MacNair is a Quaker, a vegan, and to the left of many Democrats on most issues. In other words, she’s just about the last person you’d picture as a founder of the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion political group so hardline that it targeted pro-life Democrats for defeat in the midterm elections because it didn’t consider them sufficiently anti-abortion. MacNair, who parted ways with the group in the 1990s, is the first one to tell you how far she thinks the group has strayed from her initial vision. When I called her and asked whether she was the same Rachel MacNair who helped to launch the SBA List, she replied, “Much to my embarrassment.”

In the two decades since it was founded, the group, and its associated political action committee, has grown from a shoestring operation that directed several thousand dollars to a handful of female congressional candidates to an anti-abortion juggernaut that plans to dump millions into the 2012 elections. The organization, which last week endorsed Rick Santorum, has drawn high-visibility support from conservative luminaries like Sarah Palin and can claim at least partial credit for renewing the GOP’s war on Planned Parenthood. That was not quite what MacNair had in mind when she co-founded the group in 1992 as a pro-life answer to EMILY’s List, the pro-choice PAC.

Just as EMILY’s List (an acronym that stands for “Early Money Is Like Yeast”) supported pro-choice female candidates, MacNair intended that the Susan B. Anthony List would do the same for pro-life women—and it would be bipartisan. Its first slate of endorsements, in 1994, was a mix of Republicans and Democrats. “We were proud of that,” MacNair says.

SBA’s three initial founders were also a political grab bag. MacNair, who had spent 10 years as the president of Feminists for Life, held liberal views on most every issue except abortion, while her cofounders were more conservative. Hers was a broad concept of “pro-life,” drawn from her Quaker beliefs—she is also anti-war, anti-nukes, and anti-death penalty. Through the SBA List, MacNair envisioned not just electing candidates who shared her pro-life position, but of getting more women in office—period. “My idea was that it was always going to be all women,” she says.

Soon after MacNair left the group in mid-1990s to pursue her doctoral studies in psychology, the committee’s new leadership jettisoned this and other founding precepts. SBA now backs male candidates, after opening up its endorsement criteria in the late ’90s to include pro-life men who are running against pro-choice women. “I was furious,” MacNair says. “But at that point there was nothing I could do about it.” Nor has the group remained bipartisan. The group has supported only one sitting Democrat in Congress in recent years—Rep. Dan Lipinski of Illinois—and has formally endorsed only two Democratic candidates for a federal election since 2003. In 2010, the SBA List specifically targeted pro-life Democrats who had voted for the health care reform law, which foes claimed provided taxpayer funding for abortions. The group ran ads against 20 pro-life Dems, and claimed credit for defeating 15 of them. It was the first time the group had actively campaigned against anyone—let alone politicians who shared the group’s views on abortion.

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Girls Scouts No Longer Welcome At Virginia Church Because Of Connection To Planned Parenthood

From Addicting Info:

February 22, 2012

As the Right Wing assault on the Girls Scouts escalates, individual chapters of the group are finding themselves unwelcome by those who object their inclusiveness. The latest insult to these young women comes from St. Timothy Catholic Church in Virginia which, until recently, had been the where several chapters had regularly met.

The Arlington Diocese has said that the pastor of the church did not believe the increasingly open nature of the Girl Scouts was compatible with the mission of the church. In recent years, the Girls Scouts have accepted gay and transgender children into its ranks. They have also provided age appropriate sexual education sometimes in conjunction with Planned Parenthood.

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Tanya Ditty from Concerned Women for America (Neo-Nazi Front Group) compares gays to pedophiles, necrophiliacs

“Agent Orange” Corn: Biotech Only Winner in Chemical Arms Race as Herbicide Resistant Crops Fail

From Huffington Post:

Posted: 02/22/2012

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is currently deciding whether or not to approve an application by Dow Chemical for its controversial genetically engineered (GE) corn variety that is resistant to the highly toxic herbicide 2,4-D, one of the main ingredients in Agent Orange.

Today, the USDA extended the public comment period on this issue until the end of April 2012, largely due to pressure from the Center for Food Safety (CFS), the nation’s leading organization in the fight to regulate GE crops. If approved, CFS has vowed to challenge USDA’s decision in court, as this novel GE crop provides no public benefit and will only cause serious harm to human health, the environment, and threaten American farms.

Dow’s “Agent Orange” corn will trigger a large increase in 2,4-D use–and our exposure to this toxic herbicide–yet USDA has not assessed how much, nor analyzed the serious harm to human health, the environment, or neighboring farms. This GE corn will foster rapid evolution of resistant weeds that require more toxic pesticides to kill, followed by more resistance and more pesticides–a chemical arms race in which the only winners are pesticide (aka biotechnology) firms.

The advent of Dow’s 2,4-D resistant corn is a clear indication that first-generation GE, herbicide-resistant crops–Monsanto’s Roundup Ready (RR) varieties–are rapidly failing. RR crops, which comprise 84 percent of world biotech plantings, have triggered massive use of glyphosate (Roundup’s active ingredient) and an epidemic of glyphosate-resistant weeds. These resistant “superweeds” are regarded as one of the major challenges facing American agriculture.

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Heartland Department of Education

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Screwed Unemployed Workers and Rising Concentrated Poverty

From Common Dreams:

Unemployment insurance and poverty

by Greg Kaufmann
Published on Friday, February 24, 2012 by The Nation

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, co-chair of the Congressional Out of Poverty Caucus, voted against the recent extension of unemployment benefits because it shortened the maximum number of weeks a jobless worker could qualify.

“Instead of scaling back unemployment benefits we need to be adding weeks to help people get by when there continues to be four workers in line for each job,” said Lee.

She makes a hell of a point.

While most of the media has focused on the Democrats “pretty much getting what they wanted,” it has given short shrift to what this deal means for the long-term unemployed, currently at near-record levels, with 43 percent of unemployed people jobless for more than six months. Under the new deal they will receive fewer weeks of unemployment benefits than was available between the end of 2009 and last year, with the maximum reduced from 99 weeks to 73 weeks by September 2012.

So what are the consequences of the Democrats “win” for the long-term unemployed?

A new report from the US Government Accountability Office (GAO)—“Unemployment Insurance: Economic Circumstances of Individuals Who Exhausted Benefits”—gives some indication of what might lie ahead for these folks and others not even fortunate enough to qualify for unemployment benefits in the first place.

The GAO notes that of the 15.4 million workers who lost jobs from 2007 to 2009, half received Unemployment Insurance (UI), half didn’t, and about 2 million exhausted benefits by early 2010.

That group of 2 million had an unemployment rate of 46 percent in January 2010, and a poverty rate of 18 percent compared to 13 percent among working-age adults. More than 40 percent of those who had exhausted their benefits had incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty line (below about $35,000 for a family of three), which is the level where many economists believe people start really struggling to pay for the basics.

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The “Feminism” of Maggie Thatcher

From Counter Punch:

Celebrating the Self-Empowerment of Elite White Women

Weekend Edition February 24-26, 2012

I usually like watching Meryl Streep, but I seriously hope that she doesn’t win an Oscar on Sunday for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher. I couldn’t stand the thought of more people going to see such a dreadful piece of right-wing propaganda.  I actually paid money to see The Iron Lady, a new film that is ostensibly about the life of Thatcher (nicknamed “the milk snatcher” for ending free school milk). All I could think about during the torturous 100 minutes, was what great timing this film is for the Republicans. Just as they try to sell neoliberal ideology to an increasingly impoverished working class, here comes a movie that celebrates one of their most ardent proponents. From the reviews, I expected a sanitized version of Thatcher’s hideously destructive policies, but this was so sanitized that you would have thought that this poor, misunderstood woman was in fact the best thing that ever happened to Britain since Marmite.

The film is mainly focused on the last few years where Thatcher’s increasing dementia makes her a kinder and gentler neoliberal. This was a clever ploy by the filmmakers since it would have been difficult to generate any empathy for Thatcher had it centered on her glory days of dismantling Britain’s welfare state. In place of the mean spirited, vicious shill of the elite that she was, we get a doddering old woman who has heart-warming conversations with deceased Denis. In flashbacks, she is depicted as the only Tory “man” enough to destroy the money-grabbing unions.

When we do get a glimpse, and mind you it is just a glimpse, of the hell she put the country through – from the miners’ strike to the Falkland’s war – the next scenes show her being celebrated,  because tough as she was, and however bitter the medicine, we are assured that her policies delivered Britain from socialist decay to prosperity. When the filmmakers show her critics, it is either hapless Michael Foot frothing at the mouth, or angry strikers screaming in her face as poor Maggie looks on pained and scared. The working class is reduced to a band of nameless thugs who are busy burning buildings, and too stupid to understand how her draconian cuts will, in the long run, save them. To be fair, there are scenes of police brutality, but these are overwhelmed by images of Thatcher shuffling around in her slippers talking to Denis.

One of the more interesting themes in the film is the idea that Thatcher saw herself as a trailblazer for women. Much has been written about her dislike of feminism, and the fact that women and children suffered disproportionally from her policies, and that during her time in office, she appointed just one woman to her cabinet. Of course, few feminists want to own Thatcher as a kindred sister, but in a way, Thatcher should be seen as an example of what happens when feminism adopts Thatcherism.

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Let Your Life Be a Friction to Stop the Machine

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How Opus Dei Influenced Rick Santorum

From The Atlantic Wire:

Elspeth Reeve
Jan 12, 2012

Rick Santorum sent two of his sons to a Washington, D.C. all-boys school affiliated with Opus Dei, the Catholic group whose members were portrayed as sinisterly weird in the sensationalistic Da Vinci Code but in reality only engage in some mild self-mutilation, “nothing traumatic,” as the group’s website says. Santorum says he’s not a member of Opus Dei, though he did go to Rome in 2002 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its founding, and he belongs to the St. Catherine of Siena Parish, “a favorite of Opus Dei,” the Washington Post says. Opus Dei has about 90,000 members, a third of which are “numeraries” who are celibate for life and wear a cilice — a garter belt with spikes turned toward the skin — every day. (The group is often criticized as elitist, but you can find a “three link, 1mm gauge, full-leg metal cilice with metal fastener” on sale for an affordable $69.) It might seem unfair to criticize Santorum for his religious affiliations, but Santorum wouldn’t think so. He convincingly argued it was okay in December 2007, after Mitt Romney delivered a speech on his Mormon faith. “[Romney's] supporters say it is akin to rejecting a Barack Obama because he is black,” Santorum wrote for the Philadelphia Inquirer. “But Obama was born black; Romney is a Mormon because he accepts the beliefs of the Mormon faith. This permits us, therefore, to make inferences about his judgment and character, good or bad.”

The New York TimesMark Oppenheimer reports that many prominent conservative Catholics involved in politics send their kids to The Heights School, which is not run by Opus Dei, Oppenheimer reports. Instead, the group appoints “appoints the school chaplain and provides to the faculty a traditional reading of Catholicism to teach students.” Sex ed is abstinence-only. That’s a relief to many parents, Oppenheimer reports:

Linda Maher, the school’s director of communications, sent her three sons to The Heights. Where the mothers at her sons’ swim team practice “would put condoms in their sons’ Christmas stockings,” The Heights mothers were different.

Urban legends about the depravity of the secular world spread like viruses through a lot of religious communities. The spreaders are apparently so insulated from outsiders that they don’t know that most secular people would find the idea of a mom giving her son condoms for Christmas to be extremely creepy. Some of that isolation is on display when Santorum says things that show a way of thinking pretty unfamiliar to most Americans. Example: On birth control: “lt’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.” Another example, from Santorum’s 2007 essay on Romney’s religion:

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The Warmth of Winter Is Casting a Chill on Ice Fishing

From The New York Times:

Published: February 18, 2012

NAVARRE, Minn. — In winter, little shacks appear seemingly out of nowhere here along frozen Lake Minnetonka, shelters for a die-hard group that does not let the small matter of season get in the way of fishing.

These fish houses, which have grown ever more elaborate with features like televisions and ovens, are hauled onto the ice every year. But this year there are fewer of them. Ice-fishing tours and sales of bait and the special short rods used for fishing inside shelters have slipped as well, merchants around the lake say.

If the nation’s unusually warm winter has left most people pleasantly puzzled, it has meant a gloomy slowdown in the world of ice fishing, a beloved long-held tradition in states like this.

In Michigan and Montana, ice-fishing classes have been called off over worries of unstable ice. Ice-fishing contests have been canceled in Iowa and Maine. Worse, in parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota, the authorities have reported cars and people falling through tenuous ice at miserable rates.

After six vehicles slipped under the ice here in a matter of seven days this winter, the Hennepin County sheriff banned cars, trucks and S.U.V’s from driving on any county lake, including Lake Minnetonka, until further notice. Snowmobiles, A.T.V.’s — and people on foot — are still allowed.

No one died in those episodes. But the sheriff, Rich Stanek, said the risks — including those to his deputies, who were spending much of their time speeding across the lake in airboats to rescue people — were too high, leaving some fishermen grumbling that they had no way to get to the fish houses they had set up far from shore.

“We’re losing cars literally left and right,” Sheriff Stanek said. “I’m not here to cancel winter in Minnesota. That’s happening all by itself.”

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Christo-Fascist and Dominionist Pat Robertson Warns of “Atheist Dictatorship”

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Celebrating ‘All That We Share’

From On The Commons:

Annie Leonard, Creator of ‘The Story of Stuff,’ Shows What’s At Stake with Commons Assets

by Jay Walljasper and Annie Leonard
February 23, 2012

Annie Leonard is one of the most articulate, effective champions of the commons today. Her webfilm The Story of Stuff has been seen more than 15 million times by viewers. She also adapted it into a book.

Drawing on her experience investigating and organizing on environmental health and justice issues in more than 40 countries, Leonard says she’s “made it her life’s calling to blow the whistle on important issues plaguing our world.”

She deploys hard facts, common sense, witty animation and an engaging “everywoman” role as narrator to probe complex problems such as the high costs of consumerism, the influence of corporate money in our democracy, and government budget priorities.

In 2008, she founded the Story of Stuff Project, to help people get involved in making the decisions that affect their future and to create new webfilms on critical issues such as The Story of Citizens United and The Story of Bottled Water. Her most recent film The Story of Broke , provides a riveting rebuttal to claims that America can no longer afford health and social protections.

Here Leonard answers a few questions from OTC about the importance of the commons in her life, work and the world.

—Jay Walljasper

What are a few of the most beloved commons in your life and community?

I asked this question to our Story of Stuff team over lunch recently and the conversation lit up as we each called out commons we cherish most. We identified cultural commons that add such richness to our lives (music, recipes, the amazing murals in San Francisco), physical commons that we use daily (the library, bike lanes and dog parks ranked high); social commons that make the broader society better for all (teachers, health care providers, the woman who helps pedestrians cross the street at a particularly busy intersection near our office). We also thought of another category, which I’ll call aspirational commons: hope, passion, commitment, the future. These belong to all of us, and it is up to all of us to protect and nourish them—because a society without hope and passion, and without a possibility-rich future, is a dreary society indeed. And, of course, our democracy: it belongs to all of us and only works when we all engage.

For us at The Story of Stuff Project, the commons is also an orientation; it is about how we do things, how we work together as much as the assets that we all share. It is the act of figuring out solutions together and ensuring diverse voices are engaged in planning processes. It is a commitment to collective action, collective wellbeing and having each other’s backs. It is the realization that no one is as smart as everyone. It’s the realization that we all do better when we all do better.

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Marriage equality and the civil rights inheritance

From The Guardian UK:

On the face of it, mixed-race and same-sex marriage rights are quite different. But look at who’s lined up in opposition and why, Friday 24 February 2012

In the small hours of 11 July 1958, three policemen entered the home of Mildred and Richard Loving, in Central Point, Virginia and found them in bed. When Richard pointed to his marriage certificate indicating that Mildred was his wife, they arrested them. Richard was white; Mildred was black and Cherokee. They were breaking the law, as laid down in Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act, which banned mixed-race marriage.

The case eventually went to the US supreme court, which, in 1967, ruled in favour of the Lovings:

“Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man’, fundamental to our very existence and survival. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.”

So, six years after Barack Obama was born in Hawaii to a white woman from Kansas and a black man from Kenya, mixed-race marriage was formally recognised as a civil right nationwide. (Some states kept their laws on the books, even if they were unenforceable. Alabama was the last to get rid of its anti-miscegenation law in 2000.) Said Mildred, many years later:

“Not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me. Even if others thought he was the ‘wrong kind of person’ for me to marry.”

Recently, a report by the Pew Research Center revealed that more than one in seven new marriages in the US is between people of a different race or ethnicity. The research revealed mixed-marriages now comprise 8.4% of all marriages in the US in 2010, more than double the proportion of 1980.

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Is Congress Going to Double the Interest on Your Student Loan?

More Republican Class War promoting rich white privileged kid affirmative action.

Because it is a level playing field when they have every advantage in life from the medical care their mothers go while the rich kid was in the womb through the private academies, prep schools and extras while the poor kids got scraps the rich deigned to throw them.

Now they want to take away college.

Maybe it is time for working people and the poor to fight back in this Class War.

From Alternet:

Millions of young people may have a much harder time paying for an education.

By Sarah Jaffe
February 22, 2012

Unless Congress acts soon, millions of college students could see the interest rate on their federal student loans double this summer—adding $5,000 to the cost of an education for students who pay off their loans in 10 years, and around $11,000 over 20 years.

Yet Republicans are claiming that keeping those rates low costs too much and isn’t the federal government’s job. Rep. Virginia Foxx, chair of the Higher Education Subcommittee, even argued that it’s unnecessary for any student to borrow money to go to college in the first place.

Of course, that’s entirely divorced from the reality students face today. “We’ve seen massive state divestment from education,” Rich Williams, higher education advocate at US Public Interest Research Group (US PIRG), an independent research and advocacy group, told AlterNet. “That’s on top of a bad economy which has caused families to have fewer resources, and then of course the dialogue around Occupy Wall Street and the reality of student loan debt–it becomes clear to anyone paying attention, that in this economy we cannot double the interest rates on student loans.”

Back in 2006, Democrats ran on a promise to cut interest rates on student loans in half during the midterm election—a midterm that swept them back into power in Congress. They kept the promise—sort of. But deficit hawks whining about the cost of the measure kept them from cutting those rates on all federal loans, or making those cuts permanent. What they actually did was enact a plan, the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, in 2007 that sliced the interest students pay on the subsidized Stafford loans, from the 6.8 percent it had been fixed at a few years earlier, down to 5.6 percent in 2009-2010, 4.5 percent in 2010-2011, and now to 3.4 percent. But the cut expires this summer, so next year’s borrowers would once again face interest rates of 6.8 percent.

Students with families making under $40,000 a year—those who can least afford to see their interest rates jump–are the primary beneficiaries of the subsidized Stafford loan, which is awarded based on need and lent directly from the government. Stafford loans make up almost half of all federal student loans, and help families who are often not eligible for the Pell grants that help the neediest students.

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