Tropes vs. Women: #6 The Straw Feminist

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The Help: “You’ve Come a Long Way Baby” Or How a Slightly Liberal White Woman Discovers the Noblity of Black Maids.

I haven’t seen the movie.  I really don’t want to see the movie.

I have read about the movie.

Don’t get me wrong.  It was terrific to see Octavia Spencer take home an Oscar last night.  How can you not think that is a good thing?

Do you know who the first African American person male or female to get an Academy Award as star or supporting star was?

It was Hattie McDaniel and the movie was  that total white wash of the Civil War, “Gone With the Wind”.

The year was 1940 and Hattie McDaniel got that award for playing “Mammy”, a maid.

Seventy-two years.

Seventy-two years.  As a child I grew up with a combination of images of Black people that I saw in the movies.  The horribly racist images from Tarzan movies and the nobility of actors like Sidney Poitier and the beautiful Dorothy Dandridge.

Mostly though Black people in films were in the back ground.  Musicians playing in Jazz bands or the help.

I grew up during the Civil Rights Era.  I remember the images I saw on television and in the magazines like “Life” and “Look”.  I remember the Movement, hell the Civil Rights Movement was part of the reason I became a left wing activist.

The reason I am left wing is because the white supporters of the Civil Rights movement were left wing, hell in the period between the 1930s and 1960 many were full fledged Communist Party members, something that has been whitewashed out of history.

Indeed “Nigger-Loving Commie” was a standard slur thrown at the white people who actually put their bodies on the line and marched with African American people during that turbulent era.

But showing the level of hatred and bigotry, the terrorist campaigns waged by the same sort of right wing assholes who make racist slurs about President Obama, his beautiful wife Michelle and his lovely children  gets erased from history.

Along with the bigotry that gave us Jim Crow Laws.  The same bigotry that is behind the war the conservatives are presently waging against public education.

Seventy-two years between Hattie McDaniel getting an Oscar for playing the wise Black maid and Octavia Spencer getting an Oscar for playing a wise Black maid.

Come on people…  We can do better than this, but first we have to be honest about racism just like we have to be honest about how misogyny handicaps women and how the Class War the rich have been waging on working people and the poor has destroyed our hopes for a just society with equality and dignity for all.

Peace Love and Understanding

Philadelphia: Court filing: Cardinal Bevilacqua ordered shredding of memo identifying suspected abusers


By John P. Martin
Inquirer Staff Writer
Sat, Feb. 25, 2012

Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua ordered aides to shred a 1994 memo that identified 35 Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests suspected of sexually abusing children, according to a new court filing.

The order, outlined in a handwritten note locked away for years at the archdiocese’s Center City offices, was disclosed Friday by lawyers for Msgr. William J. Lynn, the former church administrator facing trial next month.

They say the shredding directive proves what Lynn has long claimed: that a church conspiracy to conceal clergy sex abuse was orchestrated at levels far above him.

“It is beyond doubt that Msgr. Lynn was completely unaware of this act of obstruction,” attorneys Jeffrey Lindy and Thomas Bergstrom wrote.

Their motion asks Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina to dismiss the conspiracy and endangerment charges against Lynn, or to bar prosecutors from introducing Bevilacqua’s videotaped testimony at trial.

The cardinal died Jan. 31.

The revelation is likely to further cloud Bevilacqua’s complicated legacy in the handling of clergy sex abuse and could shape what happens at the historic trial, the first for a cleric accused of covering up sex abuse. Jury selection began this week. Opening statements are March 26.

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Santorum: Separation Of Church And State ‘Makes Me Want To Throw Up’

From Huffington Post:


Rick Santorum on Sunday took on of separation of church and state.

“I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state are absolute,” he told ‘This Week’ host George Stephanopoulos. “The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country…to say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes me want to throw up.”

The GOP candidate was responding to comments he made last October. He had said that he “almost threw up” after reading JFK’s 1960 speech in which he declared his commitment to the separation of church and state.

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Go sign the petition Below

500,000 Strong Against the Republican War on Women

House Republicans have launched an all-out war on women since taking the Speaker’s gavel. In just the last year, Republicans have:

  • Proposed redefining rape to limit women’s access to health care
  • Voted to defund Planned Parenthood
  • Repeatedly tried to restrict women’s health care choices

Now, Republicans are trying to silence women who stand against their radical agenda. House Republicans even held a panel on women’s access to birth control coverage with five men and NO WOMEN.

Sign our petition today telling Republicans to end their War on Women and ensure women’s voices are heard in discussions about women’s health care.

UPDATE: Less than 55,000 signatures to go until we hit 500,000!

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Ghastly Outdated Party

From The New York Times:

Published: February 25, 2012


IT’S finally sinking in.

Republicans are getting queasy at the gruesome sight of their party eating itself alive, savaging the brand in ways that will long resonate.

“Republicans being against sex is not good,” the G.O.P. strategist Alex Castellanos told me mournfully. “Sex is popular.”

He said his party is “coming to grips with a weaker field than we’d all want” and going through the five stages of grief. “We’re at No. 4,” he said. (Depression.) “We’ve still got one to go.” (Acceptance.)

The contenders in the Hester Prynne primaries are tripping over one another trying to be the most radical, unreasonable and insane candidate they can be. They pounce on any traces of sanity in the other candidates — be it humanity toward women, compassion toward immigrants or the willingness to make the rich pay a nickel more in taxes — and try to destroy them with it.

President Obama has deranged conservatives just as W. deranged liberals. The right’s image of Obama, though, is more a figment of its imagination than the left’s image of W. was.

Newt Gingrich, a war wimp in Vietnam who supported W.’s trumped-up invasion of Iraq, had the gall to tell a crowd at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., that defeating Obama — “the most dangerous president in modern American history” — was “a duty of national security” because “he is incapable of defending the United States” and because he “wants to unilaterally weaken the United States.” Who killed Osama again?

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Infiltration to Disrupt, Divide and Misdirect Is Widespread in Occupy

From Truth Dig:

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers
Posted on Feb 24, 2012

In the first five months, the Occupy movement has had major victories and has altered the debate about the economy. People in the power structure and who hold different political views are pushing back with a traditional tool—infiltration. Across the country, Occupies are struggling with disruption and division, attacks on key people, escalation of tactics to include property damage and police conflict as well as misuse of websites and social media.

As Part II of this discussion will show, infiltration is the norm in political movements in the United States. Occupy has many opponents likely to infiltrate to divide and destroy it beyond the usual law enforcement apparatus. Other detractors include the corporations whose rule Occupy seeks to end; conservative right wing groups allied with corporate interests; and members of the power structure including nonprofit organizations linked with corporate-funded political parties, especially the Democratic Party, which would like Occupy to be its tea party rather than an independent movement critical of both parties.

On the very first day of the Occupation of Wall Street, we saw infiltration by the police. We were leaving Zuccotti Park and were stopped in traffic. We saw the doors of an unmarked van open and in the front seat were two uniformed police. Out of the back came two men dressed as Occupiers wearing backpacks, sweatshirts and jeans. They walked into Zuccotti Park and became part of the crowd.

In the first week of the Occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., we saw the impact of two right wing infiltrators. A peaceful protest was planned at the drone exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution. The plan was for a banner drop and a die-in under the drones. But as protesters arrived at the museum, two people ran out in front, threatening the security guards and causing them to pepper spray protesters and tourists. Patrick Howley, an assistant editor at the American Spectator, wrote a columnbragging about his role as an agent provocateur. A few days later we uncovered the second infiltrator, Michael Stack, when he was urging people on Freedom Plaza to resist police with force. We later learned he was from the Leadership Institute, which trains youth in right wing ideology and tactics. We were told he had also been at Occupy Wall Street provoking violence.

There have been a handful of other reports around the country of infiltration. In Oakland, CopWatch filmed an Oakland police officer infiltrating.

In another video, CopWatch includes audiotape of an Oakland police chief, Howard Jordan, talking about how police departments all over the country infiltrate, not just to monitor protesters but to manipulate and direct them.

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Santorum: Obama is ‘a snob’ who ‘wants everybody to go to college’


Why is it snobbery to want people of all races and classes to have the opportunity to go to college?  Especially at a time when education often makes the difference between a job and a life time of unemployment, crime and prison.

Rick “Frothy Mix” Santorum wants working class both white and minority kids to be condemned to a life time of virtual slavery and poverty.

Ergo Rick “Frothy Mix” Santorum hates hard working Americans.

From Raw Story:

By Andrew Jones
Saturday, February 25, 2012

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum once again attacked President Barack Obama on wanting students to go to college Saturday morning, calling the president a “snob” on the campaign trail in Troy, Michigan.

Santorum spoke the tea party group Americans For Prosperity’s Michigan branch and received a round of applauds for his latest eye-brow raising statements.

“President Obama wants everybody in America to go to college, what a snob,” he said. “There are good, decent men and women who work hard every day and put their skills to the test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor. And trying to indoctrinate them.”

 Santorum doubled down on his comments from Thursday, saying “the indoctrination going on at the university level is a harm to our country” thanks to Obama.
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Martha Plimpton: Stop Undermining Women’s Health With Personhood Amendments and Ultrasound Laws

From Slate:

Posted Friday, Feb. 24, 2012

The Senate is slated to vote soon on legislation proposed by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) that would make it legal for any insurer or employer to deny insurance coverage for any medical treatment or service to which it has a “moral” objection. Obviously, this legislation is designed with one goal in mind:  To undermine the fundamental principle behind the Affordable Care Act––that all Americans deserve a basic standard of health care coverage. Senator Blunt was inspired by the fight two years ago over the birth control benefit as part of women’s health care packages. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops took issue with this provision of the act, even though the Obama administration had already put in place exemptions for religious institutions similar to those in effect in multiple states for years. The president further amended the benefit to the satisfaction of religiously affiliated institutions like the Catholic Health Association.

Still, the Republicans had found their ideal wedge issue. And now, they are going to run with it.

But notice who is getting the most heat: women. Once again, amazingly, a culture war over women’s health, specifically, their sexual health, has been ignited. Without any serious economic argument against the provisions in the ACA, “matters of conscience” becomes the rallying cry. And women, as always, make the best target. It’s easier to lecture women on sexual morality than it is to explain why all Americans shouldn’t have comprehensive, fair, and equal health care coverage. And it’s easier to wage a campaign of dis-information about Planned Parenthood and the Girl Scouts than it is to bring jobs back to your state.

It’s long been accepted as fact that the availability of family planning services saves lives. Where women have access to these services, children and families are healthier, and society at large benefits. So the question becomes, what is it exactly about family planning that upsets so many conservatives?

Most of the time, when you ask a conservative, their answer doesn’t even attempt to address matters of public health, or economics, or science, or even medicine. Instead, the moral concept of “consequences” gets thrown up. We are expected to believe that using birth control or the decision to have an abortion––for any reason––prevents us from learning the “consequences” of our actions, namely, of having sex. In other words, the argument goes, women are too ignorant, too thoughtless, and too confused to make decisions about their own bodies, so the state has an obligation to step in and teach them a moral lesson.

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Dow and Monsanto Join Forces to Poison America’s Heartland

From Reader Supported News:

By Bill McKibben, The New York Review of Books
26 February 12

In one sense, the analysts who forecast that “peak oil”-i.e., the point at which the rate of global petroleum extraction will begin to decline-would be reached over the last few years were correct. The planet is running short of the easy stuff, where you stick a drill in the ground and crude comes bubbling to the surface. The great oil fields of Saudi Arabia and Mexico have begun to dwindle; one result has been a rising price for energy.

We could, as a civilization, have taken that dwindling supply and rising price as a signal to convert to sun, wind, and other noncarbon forms of energy-it would have made eminent sense, most of all because it would have aided in the fight against global warming, the most difficult challenge the planet faces. Instead, we’ve taken it as a signal to scour the world for more hydrocarbons. And it turns out that they’re there-vast quantities of coal and oil and gas, buried deep or trapped in tight rock formations or mixed with other minerals.

Getting at them requires ripping apart the earth: for instance, by heating up the ground so that the oil in the tar sands formation of Canada can flow to the surface. Or by tearing holes in the crust a mile beneath the surface of the sea, as BP was doing in the Gulf of Mexico when the Deepwater Horizon well exploded. Or by literally removing mountaintops to get at coal, as has become commonplace across the southern Appalachians.

Or, in the case of the books under review, by “fracking” the subsurface geology in order to make natural gas flow through new cracks. The word is short for “hydraulic fracturing” and in the words of Seamus McGraw, it works like this: having drilled a hole perhaps a mile deep, and then a horizontal branch perhaps half a mile in length, you send down a kind of subterranean pipe bomb, a small package of ball-bearing-like shrapnel and light explosives. The package is detonated, and the shrapnel pierces the bore hole, opening up small perforations in the pipe. They then pump up to 7 million gallons of a substance known as slick water to fracture the shale and release the gas. It blasts through those perforations in the pipe into the shale at such force-more than nine thousand pounds of pressure per square inch-that it shatters the shale for a few yards on either side of the pipe, allowing the gas embedded in it to rise under its own pressure and escape.

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Fur is Murder: Get a Feel for Fur

I’m not a fan of PETA because of their misogyny, but I am also not a fan of murdering animals so some fashionista can wear fur.

Who decides how farm animals should live?

From Twin

By Tom Webb

After decades of acrimony, the ground shifted this month in the debate over animal welfare.

First, Hormel Foods agreed to phase out the use of gestation stalls for hogs. Confining pregnant sows inside metal stalls has been an emotional and controversial topic – defended by farmers as protecting the animals, attacked by critics as being inhumane.

But now Hormel officials concede that consumers dislike the practice, so they’ll end it – a sea change for the Austin-based company famed for pork products like Spam, Hormel bacon and canned ham.

Then an even bigger player, McDonald’s Corp., announced Feb. 13 its suppliers must end the use of gestation stalls for pregnant hogs.

Meanwhile, the egg producers finally cracked, too.

They agreed to double the size of cages for egg-laying hens. Surprisingly, that deal was hatched by two longtime foes, the Humane Society of the United States and the United Egg Producers, who are now asking Congress to ratify the deal.

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Meet Us On the Street 2012 – Holly Kearl

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SF Bay Area: Sex Crimes Pass Under the Radar on Public Transit

From The New York Times:

Published: February 25, 2012

Riding a Richmond-bound train last July, a Bay Area Rapid Transit employee noticed a middle-aged man across the aisle looking at him and rubbing the crotch of his jeans. He tried to ignore it by checking his e-mail on his phone, but when he glanced up, the man had exposed himself and was masturbating, according to the police report.

Two days later, the BART employee reported seeing the man again and pointed him out. When confronted by a BART police detective about exposing himself, the man, Ronnie Lim, 50, asked if the detective was referring to the time he “urinated into a Gatorade bottle” on the train, noting that he “always turns to the side when he does it.”

Mr. Lim pleaded not guilty to indecent exposure and is awaiting trial in Alameda County Superior Court. His public defender declined to comment.

Bay Area public transit riders, especially women, said in interviews that they often face unwanted sexual advances from strangers in the form of masturbating and groping on buses, on trains and in stations. Rider advocates and others who study such behavior on mass transit say the crimes are vastly underreported and so police statistics understate the problem.

Mr. Lim’s case was unusual because these crimes are rarely reported to the police and do not normally result in arrest, sexual assault experts and daily commuters say.

BART, the San Francisco Municipal Railway and Alameda-Contra Costa Transit together had 370 million riders last year on buses, trains and trolleys that cover San Francisco, the East Bay and beyond. The police documented 95 sex crimes on those three public transit systems, including 35 cases of indecent exposure, often masturbation; 25 cases of sexual battery, which includes groping; one rape; and other unwanted lewd behavior. Forty arrests were made.

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When big business and human rights collide

From The Los Angeles Times:,0,4288698.story

A case before the U.S. Supreme Court may deny victims abroad recourse against corporate-sanctioned abuse.

By Ka Hsaw Wa
February 26, 2012

Among the thousands of interviews I’ve conducted as a human rights investigator over the last 24 years, one of the most difficult was in 1996, outside a refugee camp along the Thai-Burma border. I was no stranger to suffering in my country. I had fled from Burma (also known as Myanmar) just a few years before, escaping the brutal military regime after being arrested and tortured. I had gone to the camp to investigate reports that villages were being uprooted and brutalized to make way for a natural gas pipeline built by U.S. oil giant Unocal and other multinational corporations. There, I met a young mother from my Karen ethnic group whose baby had recently been killed by Burmese troops providing security for the pipeline.

That was Jane Doe, as she would later be known. She would go on to help establish the legal principle that U.S. corporations can be held liable for complicity in severe human rights abuses abroad. Now, a case being argued before theU.S. Supreme Courton Tuesday may mean that future Jane Does will have no such recourse against corporations.

Jane Doe 1 was a poor farmer whose great misfortune was that she was living in the path of the project when Unocal — now owned by Chevron — and its French and Thai corporate partners began building the pipeline. Their other partner was the Burmese military regime, and the corporations contracted with its army, despite its abhorrent human rights record, to provide security for the project.

The soldiers forced thousands of villagers to provide slave labor for the project. One of those villagers was Jane Doe’s husband. As Jane Doe told me in the camp, the military forced her husband at gunpoint to clear the jungle and carry heavy loads. When he escaped, the soldiers came looking for him. They found Jane Doe instead, nursing her baby near a cooking fire. She told them she didn’t know where her husband was. The soldiers beat her into unconsciousness and kicked her and her baby into the fire. Jane Doe recovered from her injuries; her baby died.

I remember trying to comfort her and thinking: How is it possible that foreign companies can come into Burma, hire a rogue army, make billions of dollars and have no responsibility for what their business partners do? There have been positive changes in Burma recently, but at that time, justice was impossible; the courts served the military. But Unocal was a U.S. company, and I had met American lawyers who believed that U.S. corporations were not above human rights laws.

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