Margaret Thatcher was no feminist

From The Guardian UK:

One woman’s success does not mean a step forward for women. Far from ‘smashing the glass ceiling’, Thatcher made it through and pulled the ladder up after her

The Guardian, Tuesday 9 April 2013

She was, of course, the first and so far only female British prime minister, Jon Snow reiterated on Monday night, insinuating that this achievement should in general be celebrated, never mind the specifics of her leadership.

“Yes and that was one of the many weird things about her,” smirked Alexei Sayle. In the pantheon of this comedian’s attacks on Thatcher, it was a retort that probably won’t be treasured longer than the best lines from The Young Ones.

This was hardly the first or even the worst example of a dig at Thatcher tinged so needlessly with sexism. Of all the things to criticise Thatcher for, calling her out for being a woman seems like something of a wasted bullet. Yet despite the attempts of some columnists to claim otherwise, Thatcher can’t really be seen as “a warrior in the sex war”, let alone as “the ultimate women’s libber“. Far from “smashing the glass ceiling“, she was the aberration, the one who got through and then pulled the ladder up right after her. On the same edition of Channel 4 News, Louise Mensch named only three successful female politicians as part of her defence of Thatcher – and only one of those was a Conservative.

In truth, Thatcher is one of the clearest examples of the fact that a successful woman doesn’t always mean a step forward for women. In 11 years, Thatcher promoted only one woman to her cabinet, preferring instead to elevate men whom Spitting Image memorably and, in certain instances, accurately, described as “vegetables”. You may not be a fan of Edwina Currie but, really, was she any worse than John Gummer? “You would see MPs who came into any politics after I had and who were no better than me being promoted over my head,” said Currie this week. “She had been offered the chance to get on and effectively she then refused to offer it to other people.”

As Matthew Parris evocatively put it in Monday’s Times, “She rather liked men (preferring our company, perhaps, to that of women), [but] she thought us the weaker sex.”

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Nearly 100 Percent Of American Women In Jobs That Typically Pay Men More: Analysis

From Huffington Post:


If you insist on celebrating Equal Pay Day, just admit it’s in name only. Because as late as 2011, 97 percent of full-time working women were in jobs that typically paid men more, an analysis by the Center For American Progress revealed today.

Certain professions exhibit particularly drastic gender pay gaps. Take female chief executives, who earn only 69 percent as much as their male counterparts. These 245,000 female chief executives end up earning an average of $658 less per week than the 745,000 men in their profession.

Indeed, of the 534 professions listed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women on average earn more than men in only seven of them, a group composed of 1.5 million working women, or only 3 percent of the full-time female work force.

And even here, in the seven occupations that women do earn more, the wage difference is quite small. Female operations research analysts, for example, earn just $68 more a week than men with the same job — almost 10 times less than the weekly wage gap between female and male chief executives.

Sarah Jane Glynn, senior policy analyst at American Progress, told The Huffington Post that breaking out the wage gap by occupation debunks the notion that women are earning less than men nationally because of “choices they make.”

“When you break the data down like this, it is really hard to make the argument that women want to stay home with their kids and are choosing lowering paying jobs,” Glynn said. “When you are talking about chief executives, for example, you can’t get there without a huge investment.”

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Mormon Apostle Warns That The Family Is ‘Under Attack’ From The ‘Tolerance Trap’

From Think Progress:

By Zack Ford
Apr 8, 2013

This weekend, Boyd Packer warned his fellow Mormons that the family is “under attack” from same-sex marriage. Packer is president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, making him the second most senior apostle in the Church. In a televised speech Saturday morning, Packer suggested there is a “tolerance trap” with “serious spiritual consequences” if Mormons support a violation of “God’s law of Chastity:”

PACKER: The family, The fundamental organization for time and eternity is under attack from forces seen and unseen… We need to be careful of the tolerance trap, so we do not swallow it up and get swallowed up in it. The permissiveness afforded by the weakening of the laws of the land to tolerate and legalize acts of immorality does not reduce the serious spiritual consequence that is the result from a violation of God’s law of Chastity.

(Watch it on Fox 13 News.)

Packer previously said in 2010 that gays and lesbians can “overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and unnatural.” More recently, the Mormon Church clarified some of its positions on homosexuality, admitting that being gay is not a choice, but still condemning it as sinful. To abide by their faith, gay Mormons are expected to be chaste, abandoning any experience of love or marriage in this life because “a just God will provide them with ample opportunity to do so in the next.”

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Chalcedon Pastor Claims There Is ‘a Place for Slavery in Godly Cultures’

From RH Reality Check:

by Vyckie Garrison, No Longer Qivering
April 8, 2013

In a recently posted You Tube sermon, the pastor of Chalcedon Presbyterian Church, Dr. Joe Morecraft says in a Biblical society, the godly must own “the fool who despises God’s wisdom” because it’s the only way to keep those with a “slave mentality” from ruining other people’s families.

Based on Proverbs 11:29, Morecraft makes a case for Biblically justified enslavement of a man who does not “trust in Christ” since slavery is the only way to “keep a fool under wraps.”

The dominionist pastor interprets the Proverb to predict that in a Christian theocracy, an unbeliever will “lose his family, his property, and his freedom,” and “his energies, talents and life will not be used as he himself pleases, but in the service of wise people who work hard to benefit the community.”

“Put him in somebody’s service where they can watch over him and make him do right even though he doesn’t want to do it.”

According to Pastor Morecraft, the consequences of being a “foolish person who is unwilling to live by the Word of God” is to “become a slave of somebody who is godly and who is wise.”

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Eddie Izzard: Religion, Science, The Bible, And Atheism

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Cut Social Security & Veterans’ Benefits? Cut the Pentagon Instead

From Common Dreams:

by Robert Naiman
Published on Tuesday, April 9, 2013 by Common Dreams

The boss organizes the workers, union organizers like to say.

Say what you want about President Obama’s proposal to cut Social Security and veterans’ benefits with the “chained CPI.” He did accomplish one thing for liberals that they often have a hard time doing on their own.

He united them – in opposition to his proposal.

Since Friday, the following groups, among others, have contacted me expressing outrage about and pledging to vigorously oppose the President’s proposal: the AFL-CIO, MoveOn, Progressive Campaign Change Committee, CREDO Action, Americans for Democratic Action, Democracy for America. Some of these groups are explicitly threatening primary challenges to any Congressional Democrat who supports the President’s proposal.

But that’s not all we have to celebrate. If, like most Americans, you prefer to cut what Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has called the “bloated” Pentagon budget instead of cutting Social Security and veterans’ benefits, you have even more reason to rejoice.

Because at this political juncture, everyone in America who says “no cuts to Social Security or veterans’ benefits” is effectively saying “cut the bloated Pentagon budget,” whether they do so explicitly or not. If the “grand bargain” is killed and Social Security and veterans’ benefits are spared – apparently these are all the same political event – then the Pentagon budget will be cut instead.

And that means that at long last, we’re effectively having the “guns vs. butter” debate in the United States that we have been so long denied.

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Down Is a Dangerous Direction

From Tom Dispatch:

How the 40-Year “Long Recession” Led to the Great Recession 

By Barbara Garson
April 9, 2013.

If you had to date the Great Recession, you might say it started in September 2008 when Lehman Brothers vaporized over a weekend and a massive mortgage-based Ponzi scheme began to go down.  By 2008, however, the majority of American workers had already endured a 40-year decline in wages, security, and hope — a Long Recession of their own.

In the 1960s, I met a young man about to be discharged from the Army and then, by happenstance, caught up with him again in each of the next two decades.  Though he died two months before the Lehman Brothers collapse, those brief encounters taught me how the Long Recession led directly to our Great Recession.

In the late 1960s, I was working at an antiwar coffee house near an army base from which soldiers shipped out to Vietnam.  One gangly young man, recently back from “the Nam,” was particularly handy and would fix our record player or make our old mimeograph machine run more smoothly.  He rarely spoke about the war, except to say that his company had stayed stoned the whole time. “Our motto,” he once told me, “was ‘let’s not and say we did.’”  Duane had no intention of becoming a professional Vietnam vet like John Kerry when discharged.  His plan was to return home to Cleveland and make up for time missed in the civilian counterculture of that era.

I often sat with him during my breaks, enjoying his warmth and his self-aware sense of humor.  But thousands of GIs passed through the coffee house and, to be honest, I didn’t really notice when he left.

In the early 1970s, General Motors set up the fastest auto assembly line in the world in Lordstown, Ohio, and staffed it with workers whose average age was 24.  GM’s management hoped that such healthy, inexperienced workers could handle 101 cars an hour without balking the way more established autoworkers might.  What GM got instead of balkiness was a series of slowdowns and snafus that management labeled systematic “sabotage” until they realized that the word hurt car sales.

I visited Lordstown the week before a strike vote was to be taken, amid national speculation about whether a generation of “hippy autoworkers” could “humanize the assembly line” and so change forever the way America worked.  On a guided tour of the plant, I was surprised to spot Duane shooting radios into cars with an air gun.  He recognized me and slipped me a note with his phone number.

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