Women as chattel

 

Honestly, this stuff isn’t hard to figure out. We have all seen this photo:

All male birth control panel

An all-male panel testifying before Congress on birth control. An all-male panel that doesn’t include one doctor. When Democrats proposed women to be on the panel, they were told the women weren’t “qualified.”

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Rick Santorum’s biggest financial backer — and in the world of big-money politics, this means this guy has bucks, which in the US means he has power — “joked” that women should use aspirin as birth control.

“You know, back in my days, they’d use Bayer aspirin for contraceptives,” Friess said on MSNBC. “The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.”

Women, mind you, need to be the ones to say no. And if they don’t, well…it’s all their fault, isn’t it?

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The Virginia state legislature passed a bill that would require women to have an ultrasound before they may have an abortion. From the article: “There is no evidence at all that the ultrasound is a medical necessity, and nobody attempted to defend it on those grounds.” No, this is all about women being forcibly penetrated for no medical reason — under Virginia state law, the very definition of rape.

During the floor debate on Tuesday, Del. C. Todd Gilbert announced that “in the vast majority of these cases, these [abortions] are matters of lifestyle convenience.” (He has since apologized.) Virginia Democrat Del. David Englin, who opposes the bill, has said Gilbert’s statement “is in line with previous Republican comments on the issue,” recalling one conversation with a GOP lawmaker who told him that women had already made the decision to be “vaginally penetrated when they got pregnant.” (I confirmed with Englin that this quote was accurate.)*

They had already made the decision.

They made the decision once, and so therefore their bodies are now fair game. Women should only be allowed to make one decision in their entire lives, and then men will tell them what to do from then on.

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Senator Scott Brown, apparently trying to prove he’s not really from Massachusetts, cosponsored a bill “would allow employers and insurers to limit specific health care coverage, including contraception, based on religious or moral objections.” And yeah, Obama let the conservatives go to town on that one for a while before knifing it to death, because this election year kabuki is stupid. Lots of people have made jokes about “What happens when an employer decides on Sharia law for their employees?”

How about a much easier scenario than that, guys? How about when an employer decides that an unmarried woman who gets pregnant is clearly a whore and refuses to cover her medical bills unless she gets married?

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An entry on Alternet asked, “Do Conservatives understand how the female body works?” What the hell? Why are you even bothering to ask? The Republican/conservative mindset is that women are things that exist only to serve male needs. They’re not intelligent enough to know what they are, or what they want, or what’s good for them. Only men know enough about this stuff to testify, right?

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Twenty years ago I read that the entire war on abortion was no such thing — it was a war on Griswold v. Connecticut. For those of you who don’t know what that is, that’s the Supreme Court decision legalizing contraceptives. You know, because there was a time they weren’t legal.

And damn if that analysis hasn’t been proved to be correct over and over and over again.

We know that conservatives could give a flying fuck about actual pregnancies. They don’t want access to birth control (which, let’s face it, is framed solely as a woman’s problem here), they don’t want to fund medical care for the mothers, they don’t care about the psychological care of mothers who are pregnant unwillingly, they sure as hell don’t care about those kids once they show up in the world. So, if they don’t care about the pregnancies, the mothers, or the kids, why on Earth are they putting so much time and energy into making sure women get pregnant and stay pregnant?

Because if women don’t have control over their own bodies, they have no control over their own destinies. Yes, it is that simple.

Their actions and words are very clear: They want women to be second-class citizens, dependent on whatever help and ministrations men decide to bestow upon them.

Why do they want this? Well, it’s fun to have power over people, I guess. It’s reassuring to know that you’re superior simply because you happened to be born with a penis instead of a vagina. There’s no surprise that religion is strongly featured in a lot of these stories: Christianity and Islam have extremely strong anti-woman components to their theology, and regarding half the human race as, well, subhuman isn’t a bug, it’s a feature.

We live in a scary time where nothing is assured, and having control over another person is kind of like having control over your own life, I guess.

Who knows where this shit comes from. But this is what they want, and they are saying it OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

Listen up.

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All of these political moves by conservatives are a lot easier to understand if you follow this simple rule:

Whenever you hear the phrase “family values,” substitute the word “patriarchy.”

There’s an even better quote I am reminded of when I hear these Republican proposals

“The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

– Maya Angelou

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One of the main reasons we’re getting this deluge of bullshit now, of course, is that the economy is looking up. The Republicans have nothing — they can’t even wave the banner of gay marriage anymore. So they’re going straight to their book of greatest hits.

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And by the way, can we stop making jokes about all-female panels debating men’s health insurance access to Viagra? Women being pregnant and men getting erections are not equivalent. Let’s stop pretending they are.

Gay marriage

“Proposition 8 served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California.”

Today’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional

I don’t remember the first time I heard about the concept of gay marriage. As I recall, dimly, through the mists of my memory, it was something Andrew Sullivan proposed. Or maybe he was just the first well-known proponent with a large megaphone to speak through. Or maybe I’m wrong entirely, I don’t know.

I do remember thinking: Gays getting married? Wow, that sounds kind of weird. Then, about 30 seconds later, my attitude was pretty much at Yeah, whatever.

And that was before I realized all of the social and legal benefits that go along with legal marriage. I know, I know, I’m slow sometimes and need some things pointed out to me. When you’ve always had a privilege, you don’t think much about what it must be like to not have it and sometimes you need things explained to you from different viewpoints. Everything I take for granted as a result of my marriage, other people — who are just like me in every way, except the gender of their partner — do not get to have.

That is ridiculous.

That is wrong.

We, as a society, have to be better than that. We have to have higher aims.

I’ve never heard an argument against gay marriage that didn’t boil down to: my religion says it’s wrong, or the whole idea makes me feel icky so I want it go away.

These are bad arguments. There’s no two ways around it: if you’re against gay marriage, you want to take rights away from other people for no better reason than you think they shouldn’t have them.

Here is an accurate distillation of my feelings about social progress:

You know our motto here at Kung Fu Monkey: Everybody who wants to live in the 21st Century, stand over here. Everybody who wants to live in the 1800′s stand over there. Thanks. Good luck with that.

John Rogers, Kung Fu Monkey, “Prop 8 Overturned” (2010 edition)

 

 

SOPA/PIPA

You’ve heard about these acts. The Internet’s gone dark today. You haven’t called your representatives. Why should you do anything? Well, because you’re not asked to do that much in general, frankly. And sometimes you just have to stand up and be counted.

Call your representatives and say, “This is BAD. Vote NO.” Christ. Just do it, would you? (It’s hard living in an area where my congressman is always against this stuff, but yours might not be. CALL.) If you have zero idea of who your reps are and where they stand, Pro Publica has done the legwork for you.

An analysis of SOPA and PIPA from the right-wing Pajamas media. (Because when lefties analyze stuff, they’re biased.)

Oh, you want balance. Here’s the notoriously left-wing Cato Institute on why SOPA is a con. (The oh-God-don’t-send-me-to-Cato version.)

SOPA/PIPA are supposed to shut down online piracy of movies and other media and save jobs? Yeah, not so much. A Hollywood professional on why SOPA/PIPA are bad.

“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power”

– Benito Mussolini