Category Archives: Women’s rights

The Politics of Silliness

Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Allen West in Joe McCarthy's Neighborhood

Allen West in Joe McCarthy’s Neighborhood (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

The latest news on American politics has President Obama declining to play any more games with the Republican opposition, and member of that opposition thinking about how they are going to force the president over a barrel with their intransigence on raising the national debt level in the new year. I hate to point out to the GOP that they lost the election, Mitt’s not in the White House, and both the senate and the house are going to welcome some more Democrats in January. Yet they still think that they have leverage. For what, I wonder? For ‘entitlement’ cuts?

They’ve essentially got nothing left to work with. Boehner and his merry band are going to be held responsible for any rise in taxes that may take place if the White House and the House of Representatives can’t come up with a bargain. If they hold the debt ceiling hostage again and bring the country to the point of default, they will have abrogated their right to govern. The GOP at that point should cease to exist.

Why are they pursuing such silly politics? Can they not separate running for office from governing? We’ve got a country out there that is rife with problems, that needs responsible leaders who try to work together to actually help solve problems. Why is this such a difficult concept for Republicans to understand. More and more they remind me of Captain Queeg in “The Caine Mutiny”, a marvelous film ( about a mentally unstable ship’s captain who is finally relieved of his command. I mean, how much more craziness do Republicans have to show us before we need to remove them from power? Por ejemplo:

  • ”And what a bizarre time we’re in, when a judge will say to little children that you can’t say the pledge of allegiance, but you must learn that homosexuality is normal and you should try it.” Michele Bachman

  • ”This was a war of Obama’s choosing. This is not something the United States has actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in.”

    Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, rewriting history while speaking at a Connecticut fundraiser about the war in Afghanistan, which President Bush launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks (July 2, 2010)

  • ”I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.”

    Mitt Romney, after being asked whether he follows NASCAR racing (February 2012

I haven’t even bothered to quote Todd Akin or Richard Mourdock on their ideas about rape, pregnancy, and women. Or Allen West, a completely bat-shit crazy black conservative who believes Obama is a marxist. This club seems to have an endless supply of loonies.

And then, of course, there are the Republican governors who, through serendipitous happenstance, find themselves in a state government controlled by their own party. What do they do? Well, for one they want to gut unions under the guise of making their state a ‘right-to-work’ state, where, as so disingenuously put it, no one can force a worker to pay union dues. They appear to be ignorant of the fact that all workers can opt out of unions right now, without this further legislation, so that can’t be the reason. Of course, it has to be to gut the unions, which traditionally vote democratic, and to get the same work for less pay. There is no evidence that Michigan’s hastily passed legislation will do workers any good.

When a governing party puts members in charge of committees they are antithetical to, when it lies blatantly to the people it is supposed to help, and when its leaders are prepared to allow the country to default on its bills (bills this party helped run up in the last 12 years), then it’s time for them to go. So GOP, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!

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Filed under Barack Obama, Congress, Conservatism, Conservatives, Gay rights, Hatred, Human rights, Hypocrisy, Misogyny, Political, Politics, Republicans, Tea Party, Women's rights

Kinde, Küche und Kirche, Teil Zwei

In the late 1890s, a travel writer by the name of Marie Remick, in a book called A Woman’s Travel-Notes on England, made the following observation:

After Germany, where women apparently take no interest in public affairs, and seem to obey to the letter the young emperor’s injunction “Let women devote themselves to the three K’s, — die Küche, die Kirche, die Kinder“(kitchen, church, and children), the active interest and influence of English women on all great questions were refreshing.

Liberal writers used the triple K phrase numerous times throughout the 1890s and it became fairly well-known in the English-speaking world. The Nazis never used the term officially, but by deed they demonstrated that it still held sway in the Reich. For example:

Adolf Hitler in Yugoslavia.

Adolf Hitler in Yugoslavia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Hitler came to power in 1933, he introduced a Law for the Encouragement of Marriage, which entitled newly married couples to a loan of 1000 marks (around 9 months’ average wages at that time). On their first child, they could keep 250 marks. On their second, they could keep another 250. They reclaimed all of the loan by their fourth child. –Wikipedia

The phrase is reminiscent of the American concept that women should be kept ‘barefoot and pregnant’, and suggests that the speaker/writer believes women should be minimalized into birthing machines.

Republican Party (United States)

Republican Party (United States) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The German phrase indicates a woman’s place is with children, the church, and the kitchen, and nothing more. Clearly, a woman is not expected to have a career and a life of her own, and if she did work she should not expect to make as much as a man for the same labor. (Republicans do not support the Lily Ledbetter Act, giving women equal pay for equal work.) Is that not the same philosophy that drives the Republican right to pass 31 bills restricting or outlawing abortion but not one bill on job creation to date? The conservatives seem obsessed with controlling women’s bodies, passing laws requiring women to have transvaginal probes inserted in their bodies so that they may confront the fetus they plan to abort face to face, as it were. (Virginia) And are they not possessed by the fear that their Christian churches might be damaged by some federal law? (They don’t care a fig about synagogues and mosques, because they have convinced themselves that Christianity is the only correct religion.) And what argument do they make against same-sex marriage? That gay people can’t have children. So they are fixated on children, too. (They’re really off on this argument, given how far science has come.)

Of course, they are frightened. Their way of life is changing, the nation is moving from white domination to a mixed bag, and they fear that. So they want to keep those white Christian children coming. And they seem to want the mom to stay home, out of the workforce, and take care of the kids. How different is that from Kinder, Küche, und Kirche?

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On Immigrants and Vaginas

Marco Rubio - Caricature

Marco Rubio – Caricature (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

Last Friday, President Barack Obama apparently stole Mitt Romney’s thunder by announcing a version of the Dream ActLite. Ordering the Department of Homeland Security to not deport children of immigrant parents up to the age of 30 and allowing them to apply for a work permit is a

Mitt Romney - Caricature

Mitt Romney – Caricature (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

major step forward, even when many would hope for the whole enchilada of immigration reform. According to news reports, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) was supposed to be working on the conservative version of the Dream Act, which Mitt Romney had agreed to support in public to show he could actually take a stand on an issue and reach out to the Hispanic voters he alienated during the silly season this past year. But Sen. Rubio dillied and dallied and failed to produce any product for months, leaving the Mittster  with nothing to stand behind. I don’t know if the White House knew of this plan, but it certainly scuppered it. And when Bob Schieffer asked Mr. Robme five times during a CBS interview whether he would revoke the order if elected, sure enough he (Shieffer) got no direct answer.

Rubio also had the arrogance and/or audacity to complain that Obama derailed his version of the Dream Act. He said that the President never called him to discuss this development or involved him in the planning. Now, call me stupid, but I have never seen it written that a sitting president should consult with a junior senator in his second year on matters of national importance. Obama’s directive to DHS can certainly be considered a political move, a huge outreach to the sensibilities of the Hispanic voters of this country. Rubio does not represent those sensibilities. He is the American-born son of Cuban parents who emigrated to the United States in 1956, when Fulgencio Battista was Cuba’s leader. They travelled back and forth between the two countries until 1959, when Castro came to power, and they decided to move to the US permanently. Rubio was born in Miami, Florida, and the Cuban community there was known for years for being ultra-conservative. The vast majority of Mexican immigrants did not have Sen. Rubio’s experience, nor do they support him today, as he has turned out to be a conservative beacon. Univision, the Spanish-language television station, ran an interview with Rubio that was, to say the least, combative.

The positive result of this kerfluffle is the news that both parties were working on doing something about the immigration mess in this country. It was a hell of a lot easier for my great-great grandfather to emigrate from Germany in 1850 than it is today. It shouldn’t have to be that way.

But the immigration mess is only the latest example of ways that American politicians deal with issues poorly. See what Amanda Marcotte, in  Slate’s Double XX Factor: What Women Really Think  had to say about the appropriateness of language in politics:

I personally want to thank the Republicans in the state House of Michigan for banning two female Democrats last week for their temerity to testify against the mega-bill trying to run abortion providers out of the state. With state Rep. Lisa Brown, it appears that the concern was she used language that Rep. Mike Callton called inappropriate for “mixed company,” aka the word vagina, which is apparently so filthy a term it must not touch the ears, much less the lips of ladies. I usually have to build a careful case that opposition to abortion is based not in any concern for fetal life, but instead in a prudish and sexist hatred of female sexuality and fear of female empowerment. This week, Michigan Republicans did that work for me. So I want to offer my thanks.

How is it possible that Republican legislators can write some of the most obscene legislation that would extend state control over women’s bodies, but can’t bear to hear the word “vagina” in mixed company? The hypocrisy is suffocating me. I thought the response, a public presentation of The Vagina Monologues by Rep. Lisa Brown on the steps of the Michigan capital was spot-on. And I hope this shakes more women out of their torpor and makes them angry at a political party that would seek to extend male hegemony back to the level it was when it could truthfully be said to be a man’s world.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Congress, Hispanic, Human rights, Hypocrisy, Immigration, Immigration reform, Philosophy, Politics, Women's rights