Archive for equal rights

"GOP politicians still care." Sure they do... about themselves.

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gop politicians Dear America I don't care

How much more proof do we need that GOP politicians care very little about us, but care very deeply about money, power, domination, and prestige? While Democrats fight for equal pay, equal rights, voting rights, women's rights, gay rights, civil rights, free public education, health care for all, and a safe, clean environment, GOP politicians do whatever it takes to benefit their donors. And the donors do whatever it takes to buy elections and destroy their competitors while clawing for status, increasing their own assets, and boosting their own clout.

It is not about caring. It is all about control.

This is not to say that Dems don't indulge in that kind of thing, too. Of course they do. But anyone can see by the restrictive, extremist laws attempted by and/or passed by GOP state and national legislators (racial, gender, sexual discrimination, trans-vaginal probes, personhood for blastocysts, and repeal Obamacare 50 times, anyone?) that the health and welfare of the American people are not exactly first and foremost on what's left of narrow GOP minds.

What makes it even worse is their blatant hypocrisy. We see them all over the media indulging in their self-righteous "pro-life" posturing. This as they support polluting (killing) our planet, using capital punishment to kill the (all too often wrongly) convicted, and Second Amendmenting anyone who looks at them cross-eyed. And their base eats it up.

GOP politicians boast about their "family values." Yet they play the base card while cheating on their wives in Argentina or concealing their own sexual orientation while pushing anti-gay initiatives.

All this because they care.

Think about it:

Which party is it that came up with the slogan "drill, baby, drill" despite the dire consequences and debilitating illnesses we're already seeing as a result of their deadly reverence of fossil fuels?

Which party is it that resorts to cheating (gerrymandering, Voter I.D. laws, cutting back early voting, caging) in order to win elections?

Which party is it that refuses to pay women the same salaries as men?

Which party is it that rallied around their "Patriot" O' the Day, racist scofflaw Cliven Bundy?

Which party is it that sworetogod they would turn over a new leaf and reach out to a more diverse spectrum of voters... and then did just the opposite?

Hint: Not Democrats.

And with that, here are today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re “Obama's Keystone trap,” Opinion, April 22

Goldberg writes: “GOP politicians still care about the environment, but they take their cues from public opinion, not the green lobby.”

Who does Goldberg consider to be the green lobby? The vast majority of climate scientists whose opinion is disregarded? If the GOP cares as much about the environment as he suggests, where are the party's environmental leaders?

Climate change is not simply another problem among the others (habitat loss, ocean acidification and more) that Goldberg lists; it underlies these problems.

Mary Clumeck

Santa Ana

***

We can all sleep a bit better knowing that “GOP politicians still care about the environment.”

And I assume that we can look forward to the GOP leadership on increasing the minimum wage, equal pay for women, contraceptive coverage in medical plans, increasing the marginal tax rate on the very wealthy, providing routes to citizenship for illegal immigrants, legalization of marijuana and recognition for gay marriages.

After all, Goldberg assures us that GOP politicians “take their cues from public opinion.”

Ed Grubbs

Spring Valley, Calif.

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Video- President's Weekly Address: Equal Pay for Equal Work

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Obama

President Obama speaks to the nation in his weekly address. The topic is equal pay for equal work.

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Time to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment

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nina turner portia boulger equal rights amendment voter suppression event

Back in 1972, the Equal Rights Amendment, which guaranteed equal rights for women, passed both houses of Congress but couldn't get enough states to ratify it. As a result, women today are still struggling for equal rights. In 2014. Still struggling to be treated equally. Um what? But... but... Republicans say there's no War on Women.

Luckily, women who are abandoning their binders have discovered they have many strong allies, including one with a particularly effective voice: Ohio State Senator Nina Turner, who is currently hoping to unseat Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted.

My Twitter pal Portia Boulger took part in a kickoff event at which Sen. Turner was the keynote speaker, a fundraiser calling for voters' rights and the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. She emailed me this enthusiastic comment:

Power! Unity! Magic! That’s what we all experienced as we sat spellbound listening to Ohio Senator Nina Turner speak. Those who were fired up when they entered were ablaze when they left. The lady is on FIRE! Because of her willingness to join us, there are many more who are joining our fight to build a nationwide campaign to extend Voter Rights and ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

Regular readers know how important fighting voter suppression and standing up for women are to The Political Carnival (scroll). The Progressive Democrats of America are helping us fight these battles:

equal rights amendment event voter suppression

Via Progressive Democrats of America (PDA):

Turner also supported the PDA in its efforts concerning the Equal Rights Amendment, calling it “a beautiful thing” and noting that the best way people can get their voices heard is when they go to the polls.

“We are all equal when we go to vote,” Turner said. [...]

“Women have been relegated to second-class citizens,” Turner said.

Tammy Simkins, co-founder of ERA Action, told attendees that people must be united and that her grassroots organization is seeking to “bring attention to the fact that women are not equal in 2014.”

She added that she believes voting rights “are under attack” and that change is needed.

The Tea With The Friends Of Alice Paul took place on March 22nd. At about 9:40 in the video below, Tammy Simkins said that 9 of the 15 unratified states are pushing ERA legislation at the state level. She also said that Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown are backing federal legislation, which brings the total number of senators supporting the bill to 34:

More at The Chillicothe Gazette.

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Our country is sick with the cancer of Conservatism. This may be your last warning, liberals.

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conservative, conservatism

Need a compelling tirade on conservatism? Meet our new guest ranter @Marnus3, who is graciously sharing posts from his site "The Poorly Written Political Blog." Marnus3, aka Joe Santorsa, aka one of my regular (and favorite) BLUNT video contributors knows how to sound off with the best of them. He does not write poorly, by the way. He's a hilarious, creative tweeter and BLUNT commentator, he's astute, and he's a really, really nice guy.

Welcome in, Joe! And his rant about conservatism and what we liberals need to do about it begins in 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...

Conservatism is like cancer, and like cancer it comes in many forms and levels of aggression.  Some are more subtle and mask the symptoms until it is too late. Some are more aggressive and have to be treated immediately. They range from the Republican party, to the Tea Party, to hate groups and Rush Limbaugh. But make no mistake, whatever form or no matter how aggressive, these diseases of society must be dealt with or they will kill.

There is a tendency in our society, as in the care of our own health, to ignore things and tell ourselves that everything is all right and bad things only happen to someone else. This is the advantage a cancer like Conservatism has. It hides in the shadows, hoping we don’t notice, and by the time we do, the damage is done. This happened to liberals not too long ago, and we are now struggling to survive and hang on to the life that used to be our great country.

Ironically, it started with the election of Barack Obama. Euphoria spread through our ranks and we felt we had finally slayed the twin dragons of hate and war and were headed toward a better world. We felt good. We felt invincible, so we celebrated, perhaps too long. Then came the first sign of the disease, the Tea Party. At first we ignored it, we laughed at it, we said to ourselves it’s nothing and just ignored it. That was our first mistake. It grew, feeding off the hate, greed and bigotry that was built into its DNA.

The cancer first manifested itself as resistance to helping the victims of the greed of Wall Street, then later spread as opposition to the Affordable Health Care Act. By some miracle, though, we recovered for a while. Some relief was given to the casualties of the Great Bush Recession and a form of health care was passed. So we told ourselves those symptoms were nothing. Everything was all right. Except it wasn’t. The temporary relief of symptoms only meant the disease was regrouping and would come back with a vengeance. That was our second mistake, ignoring the mid-term elections of 2010.

Liberals stayed home in November, 2010 basking in the glow of our new president and his recent legislative achievements. Life was good, the symptoms had abated and we felt safe. So we went on vacation. Conservatives did not. They went to the polls in great numbers and by the time we recognized the disease was back, it was in control. They won the House of Representatives, state houses and legislatures, school boards, and city councils. The disease of Conservatism had metastasized to every level of our government.

Now we were really sick and the manifestations of the disease were many. Women’s rights to health care, the right to marry whom you pleased, even the right to vote was under attack. Aid to the hungry, help for the unemployed all that made us human was waning. Every cell in our body politic was being ravaged by this malignancy. So we went to the doctor, but medical science could only do so much at this stage. We managed to save the presidency, but the disease already had taken its toll.

So this may be your last warning, liberals. Our country is sick with the cancer of Conservatism. Much has been lost in the time since 2008, when we felt so good about our health. But like cancer of the body, there is always hope when there is life. It is getting late, but it is not too late. Pay attention, educate yourself on the issues, do the same for your friends and neighbors. Tweet a tweet, warn your Facebook friends, volunteer for a liberal candidate, and most of all, vote this November. Vote like your life depends on it, because at this late stage of the disease, it does.

whistleblower warning

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Equality vs. mutuality

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mutual equality

My former student and dear pal Lucia Fasano has submitted a post about equality vs. mutuality for your consideration (all of her posts can be found here). You can also see Lucia in my BLUNT VIDEO: Not Guilty– The George Zimmerman Verdict.

Please link over and read what this involved twenty-year-old has been writing. Here's her latest:

Mutuality an Actuality?

I’ve been actively involved in the feminist community since I graduated from high school and moved out on my own in 2011. I started reading feminist literature, went to rallies, made feminist friends and made feminists out of friends, praising the movement of “equal rights”. Recently, I was struck by the term “mutuality” and what it entailed. It was defined as a reciprocal relationship between interdependent entities-- and that, is what Bell Hooks and others would say, should be the ultimate goal, not equality.

It was a word that encapsulated the type of feminism I have believed in and strive for, but couldn’t properly articulate. Making your whole movement about equality was the problem with many approaches to various progressive movements to end oppression or educate others, because the opposition will always argue that total equality is unobtainable, so why even try? Or that if gay people can get married, or a woman gets the same pay as a man, isn’t the struggle over? And that’s just not true.

In the introduction to her book, “Feminism Is For Everybody”, by Bell Hooks, she writes: “Imagine living in a world where there is no domination, where females and males are not alike or even always equal, but where a vision of mutuality is the ethos shaping our interaction.” To me, mutuality is a demonstration of an ideal America and an ideal planet.

Another aspect of mutuality that makes it so perfect for the actualization of harmony and beloved community is the acknowledgement, in total mutuality, that we all need each other. The problem is, that doesn’t jive with Western Metaphysical Dualism. When mutuality is achieved, we all acknowledge that what feeds and helps the community enriches and strengthens the community as a whole. That one person’s job isn’t worth more than the other, that some people have more worth than others. Our government is supposed to have a welfare system, social programs, taxes, to create a safety net when members of our system need help-- implying that we’ll be there to catch each other and support each other in times of need. We all meet each other’s needs at one point, we all are parts of one big machine, and all should be oiled correctly.

People will put bumper stickers for equality on their cars or say from places of privilege that they wish for everyone to be treated entirely equal, when the truth is that people aren’t born into equal situations and to wish for that is unrealistic. So it’s easier to say than to actually achieve or work for-- because to really want total equality, you need to be very conscious of what goes into that and who actually wants that. But to be pro-mutuality, and to work for mutuality, all that takes is critical consciousness.

If you let go of your assumptions and separative-thinking, you’re giving yourself over to a world/community where everyone is playing a part or has the potential to. If you’re more conscious of what you consume and what you do and how  you treat people, then you’re closer to realizing how  truly dependent each individual is on each other. Even the richest people are dependent on the poorest. If feminists aim for “total independency, total equality”, then that makes it easy to ignore the people that aren’t reaching those goals once you achieve it for yourself.

I hear the term “equality” thrown around as a blanket term so often that its potency does feel diminished, when it was once a term that evoked a great fire in me and motivated me to stand up for myself and others. What is hard is that when we talk about equality, everybody has their own different thought and definition, usually influenced by the media, social status, political leaning, etc. Some people think it means being the same, some people think it means being treated the same-- but when we speak for everybody in our movements, and wish to include everybody, we have to acknowledge that not everybody wants to be treated the same, not everybody is the same, nor is it realistic to treat everybody the same.

Politicians would rather support an impossible or not serviceable goal like the idea of total equality than actually working toward better health care for the poor, raising minimum wage, or national mandated maternity leave.  Those things are seen as unnecessary in the world of “total equality” and “meritocracy” that is America, because they’re easily labeled as “special treatment.”

The idea of Mutuality is a way of both trying to make reform within our system but in a revolutionary, radical way.

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Hop On The Feminist Porn Band Wagon, Ladies and Gents

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feminist porn

Well, it seems there's straight porn, there's gay porn, there's interracial porn, there's bi-sexual porn, there's sado-masochistic porn, there's good porn, bad porn, soft porn, hard porn, illegal porn and now we've got a new one to add to the list. Feminist porn.

Yup, that's right. In these days of relaxed or eased restrictions on allowing people to be who and what they are, there's progression in the porn industry as well. For a while, there was something referred to as "porn for women." It seems that's now been replaced.

HuffPo: 

As people such as James Deen have pointed out, claiming that women need specially-made pornography just because of their gender seems to lump all women's sexuality together. Feminist porn, on the other hand, sounds like something we could get on board with.

Well, it seems you can't get much more authoritative in the porno business than star, James Deen. I'm not a prude. I've done my homework. I know who he is. But I'm not so sure I know what he means by feminist porn. So, I turned to that bastion of all things women, Cosmo:

Feminist pornographers are committed to gender equality and social justice. Feminist porn is ethically produced porn, which means that performers are paid a fair wage and they are treated with care and respect; their consent, safety, and well-being are critical, and what they bring to the production is valued. Feminist porn explores ideas about desire, beauty, pleasure, and power through alternative representations, aesthetics, and filmmaking styles. Feminist porn seeks to empower the performers who make it and the people who watch it.

Feminist pornographer and sex educator Tristan Taormino (love her name, BTW) sums it all up:

Feminist porn isn't "porn for women" at all -- just ethically-made pornography that shows women enjoying themselves.

Now with that kind of endorsement, I'm going to go check out some viewing for me and my wife but I'm going to look to make sure it's got the Feminist Porn Seal of Approval.

Gosh, I wonder what that icon looks like?

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What is Conscience Creep And How's It Affecting All Of Us?

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new wordsDahlia Lithwick in her recent essay for Slate, describes the new term that we should all be aware of:

The problem isn’t conscience clause legislation so much as what we might call conscience creep: a slow but systematic effort to use religious conscience claims to sidestep laws that should apply to everyone. 

Recalibrating who can express a right of conscience (i.e do corporations have a conscience?) and what the limits of that conscience might be, may well be the next front in the religious liberty wars being waged in courts around the country.

So what does that really mean to all of us. We know there are always provisions written into our US laws, specifically the 1973 Church Amendment, that makes exceptions for considering one's religious beliefs in how and to what extent laws affect them.

Recently and with more frequency religious and moral convictions became a catchphrase and explanation for law violations. It can be understandable when used legitimately. But therein lies the rub. Lately right wing organizations, under the guise of religious beliefs, have called upon this clause to stop just about anything that they don't like. The justification is the gray area.

Churches, Synagogues, Mosques, have all applied the church amendment. There it's much more cut an dry as they stand and exist for religious reasons only. But what about colleges, hospitals and prisons? Do they get the same religious protections. They don't deal primarily in an orthodoxy that these laws might violate. And they receive federal funds.

Last year, for instance, a prison guard withheld an abortion pill from a prisoner who’d been raped on the grounds that it violated her personal religious beliefs. And it hasn’t stopped at abortion, birth control, or sterilization, but may include activities like counseling rape victims or teaching AIDS patients about clean needles.

What about with adoption agencies claiming for religious reasons they won't allow a same sex couple to adopt or give a black child to a white family? Here again, the doctrine of religious conscience is being used to circumvent the thrust of the law.

Now this doctrine of religious conscience is moving into corporate headquarters. For cost saving purposes, but under the "excuse" of religious beliefs, companies are determining which laws they want to observe, and which they wish to void. These are not entities that by their identity are religious, but rather their owners are.

It doesn't stop  there. The military. Our military, made up of every race, creed, religion. States have passed laws that ban same sex marriage based on religious dogma. Yet same sex marriages by National Guardsmen/women are acknowledged by the federal government but not by the states. So to get ID cards, medical care, family counseling, other military benefits, the same sex couples must travel to Federal bases. They're denied their rights within the states. And the basis is religious conscience creep, not national security.

military silhouette

This past summer, Republicans in the House tried to amend the National Defense Authorization Act to "protect inappropriate, defamatory, and discriminatory speech and actions" in the military. The amendment broadened a "conscience clause" that protected the right of troops and chaplains to hold anti-gay views so long as they did not actively discriminate against gay service members.

Are corporations, the military, fast food chicken outlets, hospitals, colleges, liquor store chains, burger joints, qualified to get these exemptions. Are corporations people? Do they have a conscience? The Supreme Court will ultimately decide as more and more conscience creep is experienced.

But ask yourself this, where do we draw the line?

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter: @Linzack

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