Does the Media Finally Get That Anti-Choice Is About Far More Than Abortion?

From RH Reality Check:

By Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check

Amanda Marcotte has an excellent Blog at:

February 22, 2011

The mainstream media has always, shall we say, struggled to understand that the anti-choice movement is anti-contraception, anti-STD prevention, and anti-sex education.  It just doesn’t fit the official narrative, which posits that anti-choicers are somehow “pro-life,” people who are deeply invested in fetal life, but who, for some mysterious reason, mostly don’t extend their concern for life into opposition to war or support for life-saving health insurance reform.  Even in explicitly pro-choice media outlets, the narrative tends to be about abortion, without little acknowledgment that attacks on contraception are part of the larger agenda of the anti-choice movement, even as news stories about abstinence-only and conscience clauses keep trickling out.

This was by anti-choice design.  Anti-choicers realize that if they make their arguments about sex and female liberation, and especially if they attack contraception overtly, they lose.  Contraception is just too mainstream and too popular, and 95 percent of Americans have premarital sex, making the anti-choice view (roughly, strictly controlled sex within heterosexual marriage should be the only legally sanctioned sex) a form of crankery that surpasses even theories that the moon landing was faked or that 9/11 was an inside job.  But by fronting on fetuses, anti-choicers get taken seriously in the mainstream media, and have been able to get to a point where they basically control the conservative movement.  And lately, with victories on both state and federal levels, they’ve been feeling invincible. Which led where hubris often does, to overplaying your hand and exposing your true self to the public.

The House using the continuing resolution as an opportunity to defund Planned Parenthood is a classic example of overreach that exposes someone’s true motivations.  The cuts to Planned Parenthood are an attack strictly on contraception, cancer and STD screening, and other non-abortion services.  But it was clear that anti-choice Republicans thought they could still play the game of calling everything they don’t like “abortion,” and figuring they could get away with it.  Even though the cuts had nothing to do with abortion, supporters of the cuts kept yammering on about abortion in the hopes that people wouldn’t notice that they were giving a big kiss to the radical and tiny minority of Americans that oppose contraception.

It’s not working this time. Even though most media organizations are still filing this one under “abortion,” the actual content of the reports focused on the fact that this was about contraception.  The Twitter hashtag #thanksPPFA lit up again with women and men sharing stories of getting contraception, cancer screening (and treatment), and general health care from Planned Parenthood. Bloggers spoke out about their experiences. Hiding our heads in the sand and pretending this was about “life” was no longer an option when the policy was a direct assault on access to contraception for millions of people, a move that will hurt men and children, but is clearly at its heart a war on women.

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See Also: No, seriously, they want this to be the Republic of Gilead

At Pandagon:

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Hope and Change? Not for Americans

From Ted Rall:

Turmoil from Mideast to Midwest

by Ted Rall

February 22, 2011
NEW YORK–If irony were money we’d be rich.

“You’ve got to get out ahead of change,” President Obama lectured a week ago. “You can’t be behind the curve.” He was, of course, referring to the Middle East. During the last few weeks there has been a new popular uprising every few days: Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Bahrain, Libya.

And now, Wisconsin.
In Madison, where a new Republican governor wants to gut the rights of state workers to form unions and negotiate for higher wages, tens of thousands of protesters have filled the streets and sat in the State Capitol for days. “It’s like Cairo has moved to Madison these days,” said Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI).

Revolutionary foment is on the march around the globe, but Mr. Hopey Changey is nowhere to be found now that it’s here in the U.S. Whatever happened to “get ahead of change?” What’s good for the Hosni isn’t good for the Barry.

Deploying his customary technocratic aloofness in the service of the usual screw-the-workers narrative, President Obama sided with the union-busters: “Everybody has to make some adjustments to the new fiscal realities,” he scolds.

“Everybody,” naturally, does not include ultrarich dudes like our multi-millionaire president. Obama, who declared a whopping $5.5 million in annual income for 2009 (the last year available), has neither reduced his salary nor donated a penny of his $7.7 million fortune to the Treasury to help adjust to those “new fiscal realities.”

Hard times, doncha know, are for the little people. “We had to[my italics] impose a freeze on pay increases for federal workers in the next two years as part of my overall budget freeze,” said Obama. “I think those kinds of adjustments are the right thing to do [in Wisconsin].”  “Had to.” Interesting pair of words. They imply that there was no other choice. What a brazen lie.

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Report: Indiana Democrats Flee State To Shut Down Union-Busting Proposal

From Talking Points Memo:

Evan McMorris-Santoro

February 22, 2011

Illinois is about to become the state of refuge for another band of legislative Democrats fleeing their home state to shut down a union-busting proposal.

The Indianapolis Star reports that Democratic members of the state House are heading out of state to prevent the Republican majority from moving forward on a bill “that would bar unions and companies from negotiating a contract that requires non-union members to kick-in fees for representation.”

In scenes reminiscent of those in Wisconsin, the Indiana Democrats are using the legislature’s quorum rules to stop the GOP, despite being outgunned in the legislature and in the governor’s mansion, where potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitch Daniels currently resides.

The breakdown of the quorum rules and the battle in the state House, from the Star:

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Why Monsanto Always Wins

Monsanto is trying to establish a monopoly upon seeds via genetic  modification, copyright/patents and anti- piracy laws that make it illegal for farmers to have crops tainted with Monsanto seeds.  Their genetic modification permits them to use Round-up, an herbicide used to eradicate weeds.

From Truthout:

By Mike Ludwig

Tuesday 22 February 2011

The recent approval of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa is one of most divisive controversies in American agriculture, but in 2003, it was simply the topic at hand in a string of emails between the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Monsanto. In the emails, federal regulators and Monsanto officials shared edits to a list of the USDA’s questions about Monsanto’s original petition to fully legalize the alfalfa. Later emails show a USDA regulator accepted Monsanto’s help with drafting the initial environmental assessment (EA) of the alfalfa and planned to “cut and paste” parts of Monsanto’s revised petition right into the government’s assessment.

 It’s unclear if such internal cooperation continues under the current administration, but regulators still openly rely on data and research provided by the biotech industry when approving GE technology.

A federal judge temporarily banned the alfalfa in 2007 as a result of the CFS lawsuit, but last summer, the Supreme Court ruled that the USDA could reconsider deregulating the GE alfalfa after completing an environmental impact statement (EIS). The USDA fully deregulated the alfalfa on January 27, 2011.

Like the GE corn and soybeans that now dominate agribusiness, Roundup Ready alfalfa is genetically engineered to tolerate glyphosate-based herbicides like Monsanto’s Roundup. Farmers can plant Roundup Ready crops and blanket their fields with the herbicide knowing that weeds will be killed and the Roundup Ready crops will be spared.

Back in 2003, USDA officials were concerned about “deficiencies” in Monsanto’s original petition to deregulate the GE alfalfa seeds, so they drafted a letter with about 90 questions for Monsanto. In several emails, officials working with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) asked Monsanto officials to comment and “suggest improvements” on at least three drafts of the “deficiency letter.” Monsanto was happy to redraft the letter point by point.

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Notorious Pro-Corporate Group ALEC’s Hidden Role in Stoking Class War in Wisconsin and the Rest of America

From Alternet:

The American Legislative Executive Council works behind the scenes, using state-legislative stooges to implement the agenda of giant corporations and the super-rich.

By David Rosen

February 22, 2011

AlterNet writer Joshua Holland recently identified ALEC as one of the behind-the-scenes players in the Wisconsin showdown. It’s important to shine a bright light on ALEC to reveal how one aspect of the class war gripping America today is being fought out.

ALEC has unprecedented influence in Washington and state capitols throughout the country. According to Jonathan Williams, ALEC’s fiscal policy director, “Wisconsin has become ground zero.” He adds, “What happens could serve as a domino, win or lose, in either direction.”

Williams, like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, hides his union-bashing politics behind the threat of fiscal crisis. In an interview of PBS’s New Hour, he elaborated: “Wisconsin is a state in serious fiscal problems right now. So, the question is, is, you know, the budgeting as usual isn’t working here, and, so, what are the major reforms that we can accomplish to solve this budget shortfall without going back to the taxpayers and asking for more?”

Union busting is part of the broader campaign to eviscerate the middle class. Corporations and right-wing ideologues are promoting stringent right-to-work provisions. In Virginia, along with Montana, Ohio and Wisconsin, bills have been introduced to incorporate such laws into the respective state constitutions.

Efforts are also underway to end the union dues check-off, which the right-wing calls “paycheck protection” laws. Such legislation has been passed in Alabama, Utah and Idaho; it is being pushed in Wisconsin as well as in Arizona, Kansas, Mississippi and Missouri.

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Confederate Speaker Compares Himself to Rosa Parks

Can you say the word, hubris?  If you are an ignorant white southern cracker, do you know what it means?  If your study of language was as flawed as your racist version of American history perhaps you should Google it.

Or maybe you are just the same old neo-Nazi white racist scumbags we had to fight against in the 1960s.

Buy a clue.  Right wing, white racists like you are no more victims than your Nazi cousins during WWII.  Comparing yourselves to Rosa Parks only shows what whiny ignorant self centered immoral slobs you are.  You are not fit to call yourselves Americans.

The Civil War was about slavery and the treason of the South.  You are quick to red bait but totally ignore the largest act of treason in American History.

As for me, I will celebrate the Sesquicentennial victory of the brilliant Union General, William Tecumseh Sherman and his march to the sea in 1864.

From Truth Wins Out:

by Wayne Besen

Posted February 20th, 2011

The Civil War had very little to do with slavery.

Well, at least that is talking point spewed by nearly 1,000 historical revisionists that descended upon downtown Montgomery, Alabama on Saturday. The group of Confederacy worshipers raised the rebel flag on the capitol lawn and had a mock swearing-in of Jefferson Davis. As the fake Davis sashayed up to the podium, some of the pro-Confederacy crowd bellowed, “God bless you, Mr. President” and “Long live Dixie”.

Like today’s social conservatives, the Confederate crowd tried to play the victim. According to The Advertiser, Lt. Commander in Chief Kelley Barrow compared his movement’s alleged persecution to that suffered by civil rights icon Rosa Parks.

He went on to mention Rosa Parks, stating while she moved from the back of the bus to the front, the “people of the Confederacy have been forced to move to the back of the bus.”

These poor misunderstood victims. How will they go on and survive in such a hostile climate?

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When a Country Goes Insane

From Common Dreams:

by Robert Freeman

February 21, 2011

This must be what it’s like when a country goes insane, when it falls down a rabbit hole and tries to pretend that everything is normal.

It can’t tell truths from lies. Hucksters pose as upright men, and people imagine they are Solons, avatars of insight come down from the ages. Sleazy operators pass themselves off as statesmen, as thinkers of deep gravitas, and the crowds, unable to distinguish sanctimony from sincerity, bravado from bullshit, lap it up.

Let’s be clear. It was the Republicans who wrecked the economy. Both their people and their policies drove the economy into the ditch. They wrecked the economy not once, but twice in the last eighty years.

So Republicans condescending to instruct Americans about how to fix the economy is like the captain of the Titanic lecturing shipping operators about safe procedures for navigating the north Atlantic. No sane society would tolerate it. But this one does.

How bad is it this time?

Six million people have lost their jobs. Twenty five million are underemployed. Many will never work again. Eight trillion dollars of middle class wealth has been destroyed in the housing collapse. One out of four mortgage holders are under water, owing more on their home than it’s worth. Fifty million people are living in poverty. One out of eight Americans are on food stamps. One of every two children will be on food stamps at some point in their lives.

How much worse can it get?

And the rich? Corporate profits are at an all-time high. But corporate taxes — not the imaginary “nominal” rates they whine so bitterly about, but the taxes actually paid — are among the lowest in the industrial world. Income inequality is at its highest level since 1917. Between 2000 and 2006, two thirds of all the growth in the entire economy went to the top 1%. And the “too big to fail” banks, those that wrecked the economy and extorted trillions of dollars from the government to rescue them? They are now even bigger.

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China Does Not Do Unions, It Does Sweatshops

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To End Secretive Political Ads, Shareholders Must Pressure Media Companies

From In These Times:

By Ron Freund
February 21, 2011

Last month marked the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Citizens United decision, which struck down restrictions on independent political spending by corporations. President Barack Obama strongly criticized the ruling, saying “I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.” And although the ruling also allows unlimited independent political spending by unions, Anna Burger, chair of the labor federation Change to Win, said, “the Court has given corporate managers the green light to … use unlimited amounts from the general treasury—funds that should be used to increase the value of the business or pay dividends to shareholders.”

In the wake of the decision’s impact on the 2010 elections, a major controversy erupted over the use of independent or third party organizations to channel millions of dollars in secret political donations. Among the largest recipients of undisclosed corporate donations was the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which spent at least $32 million in the 2010 elections, much of it in advertising campaigns against pro-labor Democrats.

After legislative efforts to require organizations like the Chamber to disclose the source of donations failed in the Senate in September 2010, several large investors unveiled an effort to pressure public companies to “review and disclose… expenditures…made to trade associations, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, or political and other organizations that can hide any contributions.”

In late January, a larger group of institutional investors, including the AFL-CIO, sent letters to many of the public companies represented on the Chamber board of directors, urging them to “evaluate their role and to assess the risks and benefits of Board membership.” Representatives of more than 100 companies sit on the Chamber’s board. Given this large number, it will be a daunting task to get a critical mass of companies to change their practice on political contributions.

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Class Warfare in Wisconsin: 10 Things You Should Know

From Tikkun Daily:

By Josh Healey
February 17th, 2011

For most of the last decade, I lived in the crazy, cold, contradictory state that is Wisconsin. I wrote research papers in Madison, performed poems in Milwaukee, walked picket lines in Jefferson, organized student conferences in Eau Claire, led artistic workshops in Green Bay, spoke at my roommate’s wedding in Merrill, and went camping with my future wife at Black River Falls.

A big-city kid from the East Coast, I never fully got used to the overwhelming whiteness of Wisconsin – the winter, and yes, the people. But I eventually learned how to wear five layers in February, and that amidst the farms and abandoned factories, there was a working-class people with a strong populist ethic. As my freshman roommate from Wausau once told me, “Josh, I don’t follow politics. I just hate corporations.”

Fast-forward to 2011: the new Republican Governor, Scott Walker, has declared war on my old roommate and all Wisconsin workers. Under the guise of a budget deficit, Walker just put forth a bill that would destroy the unions that represent teachers, social workers, and over 100,000 public employees. He’s also making huge cuts to schools, health care, public transportation, and anything that actually helps people live.

Want more crazy? Walker ordered the National Guard to get ready to respond to a strike or any resistance to his plan. The last time Wisconsin called in the National Guard was way back in 1886, when they shot on a rally of Milwaukee workers advocating an 8-hour work day. Five unarmed workers were killed in the massacre.

I loved living in Wisconsin. Truth be told, I hated it many times too, especially when its ugly side came out, like now. I was fighting this same struggle during most of my junior and senior years at UW. Our campaign demands were nothing new: lower tuition for students, better health care for workers, higher taxes on the rich, and a real investment in public education over private incarceration. That was with Jim Doyle in office. But now with this dude Walker, it’s at a whole new level.

Of course, the people aren’t going down without a fight. There have been unprecedented demonstrations at the state Capitol in Madison every day this week – from 1,000 the first day to over 25,000 yesterday.

I wish I could be out there on State Street with my Badgers in the struggle, but at the very least, I can do my best to spread the word. So for all my old students and roommates taking to the streets, and for everyone else wondering what the hell is going on in America’s Dairyland, let’s clear some things up:

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Dirty F*cking Hippies WERE RIGHT!

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