2012 — Year of the Republican Legislative Assault on Women & Privacy 4

It is only March of 2012 and already this is turning out to be the year Republicans took their war on women to entirely new heights.

It might seem like it all began when the powers that be at the Komen Fund decided it was time to get into the game of shutting down Planned Parenthood. Shutting down Planned Parenthood has been a goal of the right since the abortion wars began. Controlling the type of healthcare available to women, effectively renders us children to the state, it’s right out of A Handmaid’s Tale, it is scary how far some of the foes of reproductive health will go. They do no only employ intimidation through threats of bodily harm, they have coupled that with enacting legislation effectively curtailing the rights of women to be full and total citizens of this country.  It’s shameful.

The quest for full citizenship for women has been ongoing since the founding of our nation, certainly the 19th amendment were the efforts of a very long struggle. We had to wait a longer time to gain control over our bodies. We are now losing that fight.

In 1965 women began to gain our own right to privacy over our own bodies, men somehow were born with that right, we had to fight to gain those rights. Griswold V Connecticut, established that a  couples had the legal right to make family planning decisions, it established individuals have a fundamental right to privacy.  This is why Griswold is so important and this is why Republicans attack Griswold, it wasn’t Roe V Wade that established the right to privacy, it was Griswold V. Connecticut and if they can successfully neuter Griswold state by state Roe v Wade can be effectively overturned.

William O. Douglas argued in the majority opinion that marriage is defined as an “association” and argues that because the Supreme Court had already found a right to privacy in associations, marriage was likewise protected. But it wasn’t on those grounds alone, Douglas also noted that the Third Amendment’s prohibition against forced quartering of soldiers, the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, the Fifth Amendment’s self-incrimination clause, and the Ninth Amendment’s provision that rights not specifically named are reserved to the people combine to create a broad constitutional right to privacy.

In 1972 those rights were extended to unmarried couples Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972) extended Griswold to unmarried couples. If married couples had a  “right of privacy” then unmarried couples and individuals have the same right under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.  Justice Brennan writing for the majority, ” If the right of privacy means anything, it is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision to whether to bear or beget a child.”

Then came the 1973 Roe V Wade decision. What is particularly telling about this decision is that the Justices knew that this would cause a firestorm of criticism. Let’s look at what Justice Blackmum wrote for the majority:

We forthwith acknowledge our awareness of the sensitive and emotional nature of the abortion controversy, of the vigorous opposing views, even among physicians, and of the deep and seemingly absolute convictions that the subject inspires. One’s philosophy, one’s experiences, one’s exposure to the raw edges of human existence, one’s religious training, one’s attitudes toward life and family and their values, and the moral standards one establishes and seeks to observe, are all likely to influence and to color one’s thinking and conclusions about abortion.

The decision itself is a highly technical decision siting decisions that went as far back at 1891 in establishing an individuals right to privacy as an implied requirement of the constitution as it is not explicitly stated.

Part VIII of the decision begins this way:

The Constitution does not explicitly mention any right of privacy. In a line of decisions, however, going back perhaps as far as Union Pacific R. Co. v. Botsford, 141 U.S. 250, 251 (1891), the Court has recognized that a right of personal privacy, or a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy, does exist under the Constitution. In varying contexts, the Court or individual Justices have, indeed, found at least the roots of that right in the First Amendment, Stanley v. Georgia, 394 U.S. 557, 564 (1969); in the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 8-9 (1968), Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 350 (1967), Boyd v. United States, 116 U.S. 616 (1886), see Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 478 (1928) (Brandeis, J., dissenting); in the penumbras of the Bill of Rights, Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. at 484-485; in the Ninth Amendment, id. at 486 (Goldberg, J., concurring); or in the concept of liberty guaranteed by the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment, see Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 399 (1923). These decisions make it clear that only personal rights that can be deemed “fundamental” or “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty,” Palko v. Connecticut, 302 U.S. 319, 325 (1937), are included in this guarantee of personal privacy. They also make it clear that the right has some extension to activities relating to marriage, Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, 12 (1967); procreation, Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541-542 (1942); contraception, Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. at 453-454; id. at 460, 463-465 (WHITE, J., concurring in result); family relationships, Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158, 166 (1944); and childrearing and education, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 535 (1925), Meyer v. Nebraska, supra.

They went further to state the the right to privacy is not absolute and site other cases as to why it is no absolute and then go on:

We, therefore, conclude that the right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision, but that this right is not unqualified, and must be considered against important state interests in regulation.

Their summary reviews their decision defines viability as the first trimester and sites the fundamental individual right to privacy.

And then all hell broke loose and ever since there has been a drumbeat to take reverse Roe V Wade.  Roe was decided at a time when legislatures and courts around the world were showing increasing respect for women’s right to self-determination in all aspects of life, including in deciding whether or not to bear children. Slowly the right wing has been winning the fight to restrict our fundamental right to privacy and control of our bodies by attempting to chip away at that right state by state.

Webster V Reproductive Health Services (1989) was the first Supreme Court decision that began to curtail Roe V Wade and chip away at the individual right to privacy. The Webster v. Reproductive Health Services ruled to what extent any state can impose restrictions on abortion by, for example, specifying at what stage in the life of an unborn fetus abortions might be obtained or whether government funds or facilities could be used to perform abortions. They did this under the watchful eye of Sandra Day O’Connor, she was the cover the Rehnquist Court needed and she willingly participated in the War on Women. Although she would never let them touch Roe V Wade, she did in this case allow a conservative supreme court to begin chip away at the edges of Roe V Wade.

It’s been downhill ever since. Think Progress has this great interactive map of current legislation in state legislatures to curtail women’s reproductive rights.

Let’s look at this map:

Legislation 2009 – Present

(incomplete I am sure)

Alabama SB 20: This bill would be known as the Abortion Coverage Prohibition Act.
SB 5:  This bill would define the term “persons” to include all humans from the moment of fertilization and implantation into the womb.
SB 12:  This bill would require a physician to perform an ultrasound, provide verbal explanation of the ultrasound, and display the images to the pregnant woman before performing an abortion.
HB 18: Abortion, prohibited on or after 20 weeks post-fertilization, exceptions for health of mother, Legislative findings regarding pain felt by unborn child, reports to Office of Vital Statistics, civil and criminal penalties, Alabama Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
Alabama has not repealed its ban on abortion, enacted in 1852, last amended in 1975.

Alaska: SB191  An Act requiring an ultrasound before an abortion

Arizona: HB 2865 A bill to restrict women’s access to birth control and abortion care.
HB 2036 Prohibiting abortion after twenty weeks
HB 2625 Allows businesses to refuse to cover contraceptive coverage
HB 2800 calls for a defunding of Planned Parenthood

Arkansas HB1113: “Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act”

Connecticut: HB 5635  Intended to restrict the practices of crisis pregnancy centers, which often attract women by offering free ultrasounds. The law prohibits anyone from performing an obstetric ultrasound unless it has been ordered by “a licensed health care provider” and is for a “medical or diagnostic purpose.”
HB 6247 An act requiring the administration of an ultrasound procedure prior to the termination of  a pregnancy.
HB 5099 Also requires the administration of an ultrasound procedure prior to termination of a pregnancy.

Florida HB 277: 20 week ban
HB 839 20 week ban, no exceptions
SB 290 20 week ban
HB 1327 would require a physician to sign an affidavit stating that she/he is not performing an abortion because of the potential race or sex of a fetus or because of the pregnant woman’s race.

Georgia: HB 954: Fetal Pain bill, seeks to ban abortions after 20 weeks. McKillip argues that this is the point when a fetus can feel pain.

Idaho: SB 1349 Mandatory Ultrasound prior to abortion
HJMO 10 Employers right  to refuse to cover contraception

Illinois: HB 4085Forced ultrasound
HB 4117  targets facilities in which abortions are performed for excessive and unnecessary regulation in an effort to shut down women’s health care in Illinois.

Iowa: HF 2298 An Act relating to the prohibition of terminations of pregnancy and abortions, providing penalties, and including effective date provisions. (This Act attempts to ban any and all abortions, and is meant to challenge Roe V Wade)
HF 2033 a bill for an act establishing prerequisites to the performance of an abortion.

Kansas: SB 238 Pre-Abortion Notification Requirement
HB 2598 no health care services provided by any state agency, or any employee of a state agency while acting within the scope of such employee’s employment, shall include abortion.

Louisiana: SCR 101 & 102: Urges congress to reject a “Freedom of Choice Act” (an act that has never passed)

Michigan: HB 5343 20 week ban/fetal pain act
SB 150 Ultrasound requirement prior to abortion

Missouri: SB 749 Provides protections for religious beliefs as to the imposition of certain health care services such as abortion, contraception, or sterilization
HR 294 Urges the United States Congress to summarily reject the enactment of the federal Freedom of Choice Act.

Mississippi:HB 857 Unborn Child Protection Act 20 week ban
HC 61 Constitution; amend to provide that the right to life is a fundamental right and “person” applies to all humans from conception.
SC 555 Legislation to protect the life of an unborn child and to prohibit the use of public funds to pay for an abortion, except to save the life of the mother.
HB 1107 Forced Ultrasound prior to abortion.

Nebraska:LB 540 the bill which prohibits funding under this bill from going to “any entity that performs or promotes elective abortion services or with any entity that affiliates with any entity that performs or promotes elective abortion services.”
LB 675 Requiring ultrasound prior to abortion

New Hampshire: HB 1653 It is the purpose of this act to protect as a basic civil right the right of all health care providers and/or institutions, to decline to counsel, advise, pay for, provide, perform, assist, or participate in providing or performing health care services that violate their consciences. Such health care services may include, but are not limited to, abortion, artificial birth control, artificial insemination, assisted reproduction, human cloning, euthanasia, human embryonic stem-cell research, fetal experimentation, physician-assisted suicide, and sterilization.

New Jersey: AB 848 Requires physicians to provide patients opportunity to undergo obstetrical ultrasound or sonogram within 48 hours of performing abortion.

Nevada: Initiative — Personhood

North Dakota: HB 1371 limitations on the performance of abortion and abortion reporting requirements.
HB 1445 A bill that requires abortion-performing doctors to inform their patients that the abortion will end the life of a “whole, separate, unique, living human being.”
HCR 3015 A concurrent resolution urging Congress to reject the bill known as the Freedom of Choice Act, which would invalidate virtually every abortion-related regulation enacted by the people of North Dakota through their elected officials.
SB 2394 Bill prohibiting pregnant minors from consenting to their own prenatal care except in limited circumstances.

Oklahoma: HB 1595 The measure requires physicians to provide detailed information to the Oklahoma State Department of Health about the abortions they perform.
SB 1433 a statutory measure asserting that human life begins at conception.
SB 1274 the Heartbeat Informed Consent Act.

Pennsylvania: HB 1077 An Act providing for ultrasound test requirements to determine gestational ages of unborn children.

South Carolina: S 98 20 week ban, fetal pain bill
H 3406 Prohibits insurance plans offered through a health care exchange from covering abortion except in cases of life endangerment; prohibits private insurance plans from covering abortions except through “abortion riders” paid for with a separate premium.
H3026 Mandates a 24 hour waiting period after having an ultrasound prior to an abortion.
H3408 Allows healthcare providers and employees and health insurance providers the right to refuse to perform, counsel, make referrals for legal medical procedures or prescribe or administer drugs based on conscience objections. Amended to include insurance ban described above.
S.102 Prohibits insurance plans offered through a health care exchange from covering abortion except in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.
S.165, S.245, and S.616 Establishes full legal personhood at the moment of fertilization, threatening access to legal abortion, contraception, and in vitro fertilization.

Tennessee: Amending the state constitution to restrict access to abortion.

Texas: 2011 Texas Legislature votes to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood leaving poor women. Some 130,000 low-income Texas women who get free exams and contraceptives through Medicaid could lose those benefits as a result of the dispute.
Mandatory Ultrasound Law: The impact of a controversial new Texas law that requires women to have a sonogram – and listen to a description of the fetus as well as its heartbeat – at least 24 hours before they can get an abortion is far from clear. Texas has at least 36 different pieces of legislation currently that will limit a what kind of health care a woman can receive in Texas.

Utah: HB 90 This bill amends the Utah Criminal Code by enacting the second degree felony of “criminal homicide abortion.”
HB 114 Mandates funding to defend HB 90 if challenged.
HB 222 requires that at least 24 hours before a physician performs an abortion of an unborn child who is at least 20 weeks gestational age, the woman on whom the abortion is performed shall be informed of any anesthetic or analgesic that would eliminate or alleviate organic pain to the unborn child and any medical risks associated with the anesthetic or analgesic.

Virginia: SB 817 Choose Life License Plate Proceeds from these plates are directed to pregnancy resource centers
HB 1285 Virginia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act; penalty prohibits an abortion after 20 weeks gestation unless, in reasonable medical judgment, the mother has a condition that so complicates her medical condition as to necessitate the abortion to avert her death or to avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function. The prohibition is predicated on the assertion that a fetus is capable of feeling pain at 20 weeks.
HB 1 Provides that unborn children at every stage of development enjoy all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of the Commonwealth, subject only to the laws and constitutions of Virginia and the United States, precedents of the United States Supreme Court, and provisions to the contrary in the statutes of the Commonwealth.
HB 462 Requires that, as a component of informed consent to an abortion, to determine gestational age, every pregnant female shall undergo transabdominal ultrasound imaging and be given an opportunity to view the ultrasound image of her fetus prior to the abortion. Virginia’s governor signed this legislation on Wednesday March, 7, 2012.

This is a round up of some of the current assaults on reproductive health in state legislatures around the country. This is an indication of an all out war on the reproductive rights of women, including in some cases a war on contraception. Republicans all over the country should be forced to defend their party’s platform and what elected Republicans around the country are doing to curtail women’s reproductive rights. This is an assault on the constitutionally protected right to privacy. If we allow them to continue to chip away not-so-slowly at Roe v Wade it may be decades of legislative battles to to reassert those rights.

*The image above comes via the Guttmacher Institute.

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Today in Outrage: Old Male Pundits Unite to Exclaim Dismay About Stuff that Already Happens 2

Oh geez. Really? I didn’t really pay attention to this so-called outrageous action by HHS’s new regulation mandating the coverage of contraception for women without a co-pay. Those bastards, I didn’t know I should be outraged about something that already happens.

I also found out via Old Pundit Alpha aka Mark Shields, who exclaimed on PBS the other night, “This is going to be cataclysmic for the Whitehouse”. Waa… he continued on rather histrionically about how horrible this decision would turn out to be. Then I noticed Old Pundit Beta aka David Brooks, sitting there ready,leaning forward oh so hard and so ready to respond to this burgeoning controversy, the greatest mistake ever made by any administration, “This,” he said, “is the most under-reported story of our time all religious people resent this intrusion into their lives, even if it has already happened in 28 states!!!”

Check out the 30 seconds of amazing punditry which predicts an election over contraception and the simmering anger of Catholic women.   THE HORROR, THE HORROR, RUN FOR YOUR LIVES TO YOUR RON PAUL, END OF TIMER, BUNKERS OUR DEMOCRACY IS OFFICIALLY DESTROYED AND THE PRESIDENT LOSES NOW, HE SHOULD JUST WITHDRAW ALREADY. Umm, say what?

Disclaimer:

No Womyn, Catholic or Otherwise were force fed birth control pills in the writing of this blog.

CrossPosted @ DAGblog

The Political Power of Cable TV Shock-Jockery 9

While the exceeding cool members of this nation were celebrating some success, the cable news media was at it again. Let’s review for a moment and be thrilled about the events that took place, leading to the exhilarating events of last night,   Roy McDonald broke with his party, when he told reporters June 15, 2011 this: “F**k it, I don’t care what you think. I’m trying to do the right thing.” And with that, the line of demarcation was absolutely shattered. Then other members defected, and with a stroke of a pen Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law. Marriage equality now exists in NY State.  His speech was stirring. I predict he  will run for the Presidency in 2016, and he can win, if we don’t let the very powerful media destroy Democrats one more time. They certainly are attempting to

So, what happened to Rachel Maddow last night? Did she decide to take classes at Beck U, the propaganda arm of the Center for Shock Jockery? Umm humm, I am pretty sure she did make a stop by there to pick up pamphlets, because that BS meme she wants to push, “The President is against what happened today” (last night) is an outright lie. She too has crossed the line, one where she balanced on a thin line separating her from the other cable news shock jocks, and some decently researched stories. What the hell just happened? Did her rating reflect that the more Outrageous the story she can push about the President, the more viewers she gets? I would like to know, it seems to be a relevant question, is there a correlation between  a shocking bumper sticker slogan that says, “The President is against what happened today”, what? Come again? That is your astute analysis even though it is demonstrably wrong if we just take the DADT issue and the decision by the Justice Dept. not to defend DOMA on any grounds.  Geez, what trite, ridiculous drivel. I thought of  Maddow as one of the least offensive cable tv shock jocks, sometimes she even does some in-depth news-like stories.  She joins a list of people at MSNBC who take their shock-jockery seriously, first and foremost, one Chris Matthews, who is outraged on a daily basis, his new obsession is Michelle “wandering eye” Bachmann, “my hero! she is going to go all the way, he exclaimed excitedly to Bill Maher on Real Time June 17, 2011. What is that exactly, it feels like a dude who calls himself a journalist, is trying But the Matthews effect covers a large area at MSNBC, like its Fox nemesis,  outrage is the one and only agenda.  Keep this in mind, when I get to Ralph Nader and the Media.

When 1999 rolled around, scandal was everywhere, the country was eating up the Lewinsky scandal, it was on the News every evening still, we were being enveloped in scandal, the nations news were quickly becoming overblown National Enquirer Fluff.  I am convinced that the most conducted searches on Altavista, Lycos and Infoseek were all about blow jobs, casual khaki suits, Al Gore creating the internet, and Love Story! Al Gore was soon to be biggest feather in the cap of cable shock-jockery, he was a Beta Male, whatever that meant, I didn’t know, and he was certainly too wimpy to be President. While GWBush was quickly becoming the newest shiny object of these people, he was so upstanding they droned on and on about, his morals were exemplary! He was the epitome of what Al Gore was not, he even flew a plane during Vietnam in Alabamstan! He was a man! Al Gore, umm not so much. Rachel Maddow is just one more cable shock jock to pick up the reins of misinformation and run with them! If you don’t think I am right, type in Al Gore i and automatically you see, Al Gore invents the internet as a continuing top internet meme! Wow! It’s still a lie to this day, he never said that, and yet, it survives as one of the biggest lies of the 1990’s.  There has been a rather loud drumbeat by the press as of late to throw another election to yet another nutcase.It’s been happening a good deal lately,to this President too, and just as the wishy-washy lefties of that decade  failed to stand up for Al Gore, the same is happening today with our current President. In part we have to blame the shock-jocks of cable TV whose lives depend on the next manufactured outrage, and they are no better today than yesterday. Rating soar when there is a tinge of scandal or intra-party fight in the air. It is much more fun to discuss so called “moral failings than there were back then and their ratings soar when they can manufacture their next scandal. Name recognition is everything people,  Al Gore most certainly did not say the President has failed on Global Warming, he saves his most poignant criticism for media, notice how each and every one of them left that out! I’ll get back to the HuffPo’s take on Al Gore’s 7000 word essay after some background.

Things were great in 1999, the economy was still on fire, and it literally had nothing to do with deregulation, which as we now know would lead us down a path of returning our country to pre-Depression era nation! But that is another story for that others have covered far better than I.  We all know Republicans are trying to create their Libertopia! Well in the 1990’s the Clinton administration implemented smart policies, that stimulated the economy in a micro way, it was designed to broaden the number of minority businesses that could compete for government contracts, although it was a mere 5% mandated, it did work and stimulated a community minority owned businesses which of course effect their communities in the form of job growth, greater tax base it was part of the reason the economy of the latter 90’s was good, the Clinton administration implemented little policies that assisted job growth using a micro-economic model.  This policy was known as the The 1994 Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act.  Upon entering office, one of the first things the GWB administration did was roll this particular mandate back, using the power of executive order.  But I digress, certainly as so many people analyzed at the time, Al Gore=George Bush. Jokes on you folks! Al Gore was nothing like George Bush.   Al Gore as VP had his own successes to fall primarily his pet project, the Reinventing Government Initiative, which was a huge success, as it introduced modernization of the federal government, with the notable exception of  FBI director, Louis Freeh.    These were just some of the specific policies that Gore tried to run on, but guess what, it didn’t matter, because TV shock-jockery was going to have its way, and its way was to create a situation that allowed trivia to overtake a Presidential election, and that gave us the Presidency of George W Bush. Let’s remember this, the Bush administration was seeking to eliminate all those good programs implemented by the Clinton Administration that benefited our economy, and the media failed utterly to cover the important pieces of the Gore campaign that sought to discuss and explain just these issue, while instead they obsessed over Gore as Beta male and his khaki casual coat???? I still bristle at just the memory of this tomfoolery taking place right before our eyes.

Cable TV shock-jockery pushed the third-party run of Ralph Nader. To this day we often blame him and him alone for Gore’s loss, but I do remember how the cable TV shock-jocks could not get enough of Ralph Nader, they gave him a platform to sew the seeds of discontent among the electorate. They certainly never challenged his assertions that Gore=Bush, and that same meme goes around today among the many people who believe the world is black and white, that Obama=Bush, it isn’t any more creative or any more truthful than it was in 2000. Nor is it a creative analysis of our current political condition, however, the cable TV shock-jocks need more outrage,  for better ratings, and Nader being no different that the current line of go-to guests that parade daily on cable TV, who are most often known for their combative, bombastic personalities, in fact none of these people are any different from the Real Housewives that parade on BravoTV 7 days a week, as they’ve traded nuance for outrage and outrageous behavior. If this weren’t true, would Pat Buchanan still be a TV talking head? I think not! It is time we paid attention to these venues that seem go to for many people on both sides who are politically active, because they continue to sew the seeds of discontent and their intended targets are almost always Democrats. If things were equal, David Vitter would have been drummed out of Office for soliciting prostitutes, it is an illegal activity, yet, there he sits, in Office. My point is, Nader didn’t do anything that the cable TV shock-jocks didn’t continually push, the meme that America needed some drastic change, because things were going much too terribly in terms of our morals, and with that America elected a man, not terribly well suited for the Office of the Presidency.  Our cable TV hero’s saved us, or did they?

So now Rachel is the latest to  dip her toe into the very crowded “Outrage” pool, and you know she did it with some bombast of her own, claiming that the President “Doesn’t like what happened in NY”. This is a lie, an absolute complet lie, but she did it anyway. Why? That is the question. Why do they do it, they do it because it works and attracts a certain kind of angry viewer, one that thinks in terms of black and white, one that refuses to see the gray shades that direct our days and nights. Partly it is because of money, in order to remain on the air, one must stay relevant, and the way to stay relevant is to manufacture outrage to attract the angry believer. There is gobs of money in sharpening ones ability to manufacture Outrage for the sake of ones viewers, ask Rush Limbaugh, who I understand is a very nice dude IRL.  He lives a very comfortable life  because he is a master at manufacturing outrage. The rise and fall of Glenn Beck is the latest example of a dude who is a master at manufacturing outrage and literally selling it to his viewers via faux education programs, but his loyal listeners, viewers and readers have no doubt enriched him even more, by buying into his manufactured outrage, I don’t know what he is like IRL, but you know, no one is that bad, he just knows what works on his audience, well Rachel’s audience is no different are they, they thrive on outrage.

So let’s turn to the 7,000 word essay that Al Gore wrote in the Rolling Stone. My goodness, those on the left that manufacture outrage for a living were on a roll, they made assertions that Al Gore wrote that the President had “Failed”, he failed to lead on climate change, but you know who Al Gore took to task for the failure to educate people about the importance of doing something about climate change, our media, and these are the same people who are making claims that Al  Gore called the President a failure. A Time Magazine blog made claims that Gore “attacked the President for  his failure to lead“. HuffingtonPost never a place to be left behind in leveling attacks against the President made the claim that Gore blasted the President over failing to take the lead on the issue of Climate change. Each of these organizations hid the fact that Al Gore saved his criticism for media organizations, like theirs for failing to educate people on the truth of climate change. Al Gore  specifically indicts the media, corporate leaders, both political parties and by extension voters. To Gore their cumulative inaction on the serious challenges that lie ahead, which are exaserbated by climate change in some ways exonerates the President, because there is little one man can do to  alter the trajectory of our nation, where climate science deniers are granted equal status with the overwhelming evidence that climate change is occurring.

The fact is, Gore did single our the media not the president, in his excellent piece.   Reading the piece, one realizes he takes the media to task for indulgint in “debate” about whether the research indicates that climate change is real and human-made.  Gore goes on to make the point that the science is unanimous. But the serious subject has been changed into nothing more than entertainment. And the media has turned to manufacturing outrage about the subject rather than  devoting themselves to serious reporting on global threats, in search of bigger audiences. He specifically calls out Fox News as a 24/7 purveyor of disinformation and propaganda.  Instead of presenting the facts of Gore’s critique of their  methods,  the media prefers to say Al Gore is fighting with the President. It is just one more piece of evidence that as a whole our modern medias goal is to manufacture Outrage, as it keeps them relevant. And is seems no cable TV shock jock is exempt from the need to drive viewership through Outrage. Rachel, and her media colleagues seem unable to help themselves, and are more than willing to engage in the same tactics of the righties. They are leading us down the same path they did in 2000, they are trying to obfuscate their roll in driving politics, rather than reporting on politics.   If we continue to not call them out on this, we will end up like we did in 2000, with a politician of their choice, because it drives their ratings. We must keep our eye and them and force them to return to reporting facts.  Because at this point, they are merely a part of the problem.

Crossposted at DAGblog

Blogging While Female: Empowerment and Electronic Communication in a Civil Society 6

What is blogging while female? What is it about so many blogs, whether they are of the liberal, conservative or middle of the road blogs that sexism becomes the mode of what is deemed civil discourse? What is female empowerment and what constitutes an on-line civil society and how does it contribute to the overall meaning of civil society? In the end, how do we become more effective communicators and more inclusive of other voices.

I’ve been on-line so-to-speak since 1988, when I began participating in the EICBBS, with my 1200 baud modem and my interest in energy related issues. It was a civil forum run by professionals. We discussed energy and energy related issues, and most of us had more personal knowledge of those participating. The energy community at the time was small, so we knew each other personally. Since that time, the on-line world has evolved into a reflection of society at large and it isn’t reflecting a pretty picture.

E-communities can be terrific, when the participant is not on the outside of the active part of the community. Obviously like-minded people gather in these communities to discuss issues and life in general.  It seems however it is easy for these communities devolve into cliques or what I like to call “the bully posse”, where camaraderie is traded for ideological purity, where rational discussion is literally frowned upon, where some lie in wait for certain commenters or bloggers to begin their attacks, not letting up until said commenter just disappears.

As women, we’ve been dismissed and condescended to the entirety of our existence. I could tell you stories, because as women we weave the stories of our personal lives into how we communicate our ideas and how we form our worldviews. As some have surmised, it is how we gain our voice. We carry those stories with us, it is how we evolve as people, it is how we connect as humans. I realize this is only acceptable once you are truly a member of the group, it is only then that the overly male population of the blog allows that type of communication style. If you are not part of the group, this style is often referred to as meta and deemed unacceptable. But this is the method we use to coax women out of their shells, how they gain their voice in a world that intends them to remain voiceless. Knowing that men and society overall finds our style almost wholly unacceptable, leads us to form our own communities, where our style and our efforts to find our voice are nurtured and deemed acceptable. We have made gains, many, but there is much sexism that remains and permeates many e-communities, including this one.

More disconcerting of course is that the Presidents methods are deemed ineffective because of course he utilizes a less confrontational style, so here and many other blogs, certain bloggers call the president a coward, a wuss, a pussy,  much of the language used to deride him, even in the “liberal/progressive” community falls right into the trap of overt sexism and many women react strongly to those words. When I see them here in a blog, in a comment, I become depressed, because it is one more indication that women and our methods of being in the world are not acceptable. It seems to easy for so many in the so-called progressive community to use degrading feminine terminology to taint the President. Deeming him as unacceptable as most women, because we engage in community building, we seek to make change by compromise and building bridges, and daily on liberal blogs those methods are derided.

It depresses me because it indicates as a society we’ve made few gains in our efforts to become equal, even in the so-called liberal/progressive political movements. We’ve lost, because the majority of men then still see us as inferior to them and because this President seems to be one who believes, as many women do, that we should build bridges with those who don’t hold the same beliefs in order to build a better and more civil society. They seem to view him merely as a woman, who is inferior to them. If what I am writing were not true, why on earth would anyone in a professional capacity say that Hillary should loan the President one of her balls? Inferring one more time this President isn’t man enough to do the right thing, by fist fighting and arguing and making a spectacle of himself ala Anthony Weiner or Alan Grayson. There is rampant sexism in progressive e-communities and it turns women off. I realize it is merely a reflection of how our society has evolved. However it does make it difficult to fully participate in those communities. The words used against us and the President cut like a serrated knife, ripping us apart, reminding us we are not to be included in creating solutions because how we relate to the world is simply not acceptable.

I personally don’t know how to be a part of that kind of community I believe it is a concerted effort to erase women one more time from society. It is an effort to silence us one more time.  These are concerted efforts to limit civility and drive wedges into communities that might have once been more cohesive.   I have a stake in the future of this society, I don’t want a future where we our first instinct is to do nothing more than fight. We have to work hard to attain a truly civil society and I believe the same is true of any on-line community.   It falls to each of us as individuals to curb our tendencies to create disparate tribes that continually war with each other over ideology, if we do not, our society falls apart, and we only have ourselves to blame if this happens.

Crossposted at DAGblog