Tag: reproductive rights

(TRIGGER WARNING) Comparing Bernie Sanders to a domestic abuser minimizes domestic abuse

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post contains a tweet that includes an image depicting violence against women. Reader discretion is strongly advised.


The Democratic Party is being increasingly dominated by two forms of progressivism. One form of progressivism prioritizes human rights issues, especially in regards to women’s reproductive rights, over other issues. This form of progressivism is associated with very liberal voters who voted for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries/caucuses, who are the core base of support, although not 100% of the support, of the resistance to the Trump Administration. The other form of progressivism prioritizes economic issues, especially in regards to efforts to reduce income inequality, over other issues. This form of progressivism is very strongly associated with Bernie Sanders, in fact, Sanders has often by criticized by progressive critics of Sanders for having supported candidates for public office who oppose abortion rights (although Bernie himself has a very pro-choice voting record as a U.S. Senator) and not regarding reproductive rights as an important issue.

Sanders has come under extremely heavy criticism for publicly endorsing Omaha, Nebraska mayoral candidate Heath Mello, who, as a member of Nebraska’s unicameral state legislature, voted for legislation that required doctors to give women who consider terminating a pregnancy a list of ultrasound providers. Although Mello has publicly disavowed his past support for anti-abortion legislation, the bill that he supported as a state legislator was designed purely to shame women, and nobody can re-write history.

Sanders’s support for Mello has prompted a large amount of criticism from progressive critics of Sanders. While most of the criticism has been over the fact that Sanders has, despite being pro-choice himself, endorsed anti-choice politicians from time to time, as well as Sanders not regarding women’s rights issues as important, there has been at least one example of criticism of Sanders that goes straight into the gutter of American politics. This was a tweet that somebody going under the alias “BroStoogeRally” posted about Bernie endorsing Jon Ossoff, a pro-choice and anti-interventionist Democrat who is running in a special election in the 6th Congressional District of Georgia:

Really? Bernie endorses a candidate with a realistic chance of winning a U.S. House seat that was previously held by a Republican who is now a member of the Trump Cabinet, and this guy has the gall to compare Bernie to a domestic abuser? Bernie is, to my knowledge, not a domestic abuser, and comparing someone like Bernie to a domestic abuser minimizes violence against women, which is a serious problem in America. Although these statistics date back to no later than late 2014, nearly 5 million American women each year experience physical violence by an intimate partner, one in four American women will be victims of severe violence by an intimate partner, and over 38 million American women have experienced physical intimate partner violence at some point in their lifetimes. It is inherently clear that domestic violence is a major problem in America, and using graphic images of domestic violence to compare political figures who aren’t domestic abusers to domestic abusers minimizes the serious problem in America that is domestic violence.

Kathleen Vinehout for Governor of Wisconsin? NO WAY!

It’s become public knowledge in Wisconsin political circles that State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) really wants to run for the Democratic nomination for Governor of Wisconsin in 2018.

However, Vinehout is not a progressive, and, in fact, her views on some political issues are in line with far-right Republicans like Scott Walker.

Prior to being elected to the Wisconsin State Senate, Vinehout was a member of Democrats for Life, an anti-abortion organization. As a Wisconsin State Senator, Vinehout voted with Scott Walker and the gun manufacturers’ lobby for legislation designed to make it easier for off-duty and former police officers to carry out school shootings in Wisconsin public schools. While Vinehout is great on most economic issues and issues related to ending corruption in politics, her views on social issues are very right-wing and more in line with Republicans like Scott Walker.

While I will not move to Wisconsin to run for governor myself, after this year’s general election, I will write a blog post strongly criticizing a second potential Democratic candidate for Governor of Wisconsin. Make no mistake about it, the individual who I will criticize is the embodiment of a Scott Walker Democrat, and, if the individual were to run for governor, the individual would have a lot of support from the Democratic establishment, but I will not provide any more clues as to who the individual is at this time.

ENDORSEMENT: NO on Missouri Personhood Amendment

The Republican-controlled Missouri House of Representatives advanced a so-called “personhood amendment” to the Missouri Constitution out of committee on a party-line vote. If placed on the ballot by both houses of the Missouri General Assembly and approved by voters, the so-called “personhood amendment” would grant more legal rights to zygotes, embryos, and fetuses than women, and, in effect, ban abortion, many forms of contraception, and stem cell research in Missouri.

Should the so-called “personhood amendment” be placed on the Missouri ballot, I strongly encourage Missouri voters to vote NO on the proposed amendment.

The so-called “personhood amendment” effectively grants more legal rights to fetuses, which are dependent on the would-be mother for survival, than women. Unlike what Republicans and bible-thumping bigots claim, life legally and biologically begins at birth, not conception or at any other point before birth. The so-called “personhood amendment” would strip Missouri women of their legal right to control their own body and make their own health care decisions.

Voters in states like North Dakota and Mississippi have rejected similar measures in recent years, and I believe that Missouri voters should, if it appears on their ballot, vote NO on the so-called “personhood amendment”.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz launches condescending attack on pro-choice millennials

Ladies and gentlemen, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has, once again, insulted a large segment of her own party’s electorate. No, I’m not talking about Bernie Sanders supporters. I’m talking about millennials who support a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health care decisions, including the right to decide whether or not to have an abortion.

In an interview with The New York Times, Wasserman Schultz was asked a beltway media-type question about whether or not she thought there was a generational divide in regards to enthusiasm for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign among female Democratic voters. Wasserman Schultz didn’t directly answer the question (apparently because she’s supposed to remain neutral in the Democratic presidential race, although she’s not been truly neutral) and decided to launch a political attack against the future of her own party:

Here’s what I see: a complacency among the generation of young women whose entire lives have been lived after Roe v. Wade was decided.

I’m a proud millennial who supports a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, and I am deeply offended by Wasserman Schultz’s offensive remarks. Us millennials are not stupid, lazy, or complacent. Us millennials strongly believe in democracy and civic engagement, most of us are very progressive on many issues, and most of us regard protecting women’s rights to be very important. There are three Democratic candidates running for president, and all three of them are strongly pro-choice when it comes to reproductive health issues.

I think that it’s past time for Debbie Wasserman Schultz to leave politics altogether and let the future of the Democratic Party lead the way on protecting women’s rights and many other important political issues. It’s clear to me that Wasserman Schultz has a deep-seeded bigotry towards young people.

Anti-abortion politicians and activists are fueling right-wing domestic terrorism in America

Republican politicians and right-wing political activists have, by constantly railing against the idea that women should be able to control their own bodies and releasing heavily-edited videos as part of a political smear campaign, have encouraged terrorist attacks against the reproductive health care provider Planned Parenthood, two of which have occurred within the last month and a half.

The recent terror attack against Planned Parenthood that has received the most media attention was the recent shooting and siege of the Colorado Springs, Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic, in which perpetrator Robert Lewis Dear killed three people, Jennifer Markovsky, Ke’Arre Stewart, and Garrett Swasey, and wounded several others before surrendering to police.

However, another recent terror attack against Planned Parenthood that hasn’t gotten anywhere near as much media attention was an attack that occurred a little more than a month ago. That attack involved a hatchet attack at the Claremont, New Hampshire Planned Parenthood clinic, and the attack resulted in extensive property damage to the clinic, as well as water damage to an adjacent business:

A minor was arrested early on Wednesday after allegedly vandalizing a Planned Parenthood clinic in Claremont, New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.

“Today’s damage was particularly extensive including the use of a hatchet to destroy computers, furniture, plumbing fixtures, office equipment, medical equipment, phone lines, windows and walls,” Police Chief Alexander Scott said in a statement.

Officers spotted the suspect while checking the building. Scott added that the suspect also defaced the office’s walls with spray paint, and that his actions also caused flooding that affected a business adjacent to the office. As a result, the clinic was closed as of Wednesday afternoon.

By my definition of terrorism, any act intended to kill, maim, injure, and/or stoke fear in a large group of people in the name of a political ideology is an act of terrorism.

In the same way that ISIS is inspiring Islamic fundamentalist terrorists who aren’t officially affiliated with ISIS to carry out “lone wolf”-style terrorist attacks, Republican elected officials and presidential candidates are inspiring anti-abortion terrorists to carry out “lone wolf”-style attacks at women’s health clinics right here in America. In fact, it’s not proper to call these types of terrorists “lone wolves”, as some in the media have described the Colorado Springs terrorist. I prefer to use the term “stoked wolves” to describe terrorists who don’t have any known affiliation with a terrorist group or other entity, but are inspired by a terrorist group or other entity to carry out a terrorist attack.

 

GOP Congressman Adam Kinzinger owes Planned Parenthood an apology

Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger of the 16th Congressional District of Illinois (much of north-central and parts of east-central Illinois, stretching from South Beloit in Winnebago County to Sheldon in Iroquois County) falsely claimed that Planned Parenthood was wrong to claim that its Colorado Springs, Colorado office was the target of a terrorist attack that started earlier today:

The truth of the matter is that the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic was (apparently) the target of the Colorado Springs shooting (which is still an ongoing situation as I write this blog post), as ABC News is reporting that, according to law enforcement, the shooting began at the clinic. Planned Parenthood has every right to claim that they were the target of a terrorist attack, and Adam Kinzinger owes Planned Parenthood and the American people an apology.

Paul Ryan opposed abortion rights for women impregnated by rapists during failed 2012 VP bid

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the unsuccessful Republican vice-presidential nominee in 2012, is now officially considering a bid for U.S. House Speaker after previously having repeatedly refused to do so.

However, Ryan won’t negotiate with the House Freedom Caucus, a group of Republican right-wing extremists in the House that have refused to back a GOP establishment candidate for speaker unless said establishment candidate agrees to giving the Republican rank-and-file, which is chock full of right-wing nuts, more power in the House and cover-your-rear-end treatment from the GOP leadership every time someone in the rank-or-file says or does something incredibly stupid.

While Ryan considers whether or not to seek the speakership, I think it’s appropriate for me to mention that this is an actual quote from Paul Ryan from when he was running for vice president in 2012:

Well, I’m very proud of my pro-life record, and I’ve always adopted the idea, the position, that the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life.

What Paul Ryan effectively said was that he thinks that any woman who was impregnated by a rapist should be forced to carry the fetus(es) to term, even if she does not want to. That’s because Ryan was asked by an interviewer about his thoughts on whether or not women who are impregnated by a rapist should be allowed to seek an abortion, and Ryan said that he was strongly anti-abortion and that the “method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life”. That is an absolutely barbaric point of view. While there was YouTube video of Ryan’s remarks online back in 2012, the video has long since been removed from YouTube. However, I’ve been able to confirm that Ryan actually made the remarks, because the International Business Times, which is where I got the Ryan quote from, and several other websites with credible political reporting and/or commentary, such as the Huffington Post and AlterNet, reported on it back in 2012, and their articles are still online.

Paul Ryan’s view that women impregnated by rapists should be forced to carry their fetuses to term is barbaric and sexist. Now, he wants to be House Speaker so that he’s in even more powerful of a position to control women’s bodies by legislative fiat, especially if a Republican were to win the White House in next year’s presidential race.

Joe Biden’s “Susan Happ” problem

With Vice President Joe Biden likely to run for the Democratic presidential nomination, I do want to bring up an historical parallel between Biden’s likely presidential bid and Jefferson County, Wisconsin District Attorney Susan Happ’s failed bid for Attorney General of Wisconsin last year.

The parallel between Biden and Happ is this: Both Biden and Happ are/were, prior to running for higher office (or, in Happ’s case, after winning a statewide Democratic primary in Wisconsin), viewed favorably by voters not because of their actual track records or positions on the issues, but because they liked the candidates personally. In Biden’s case, he’s seen by many voters across the country as an approachable guy with an interesting personality. In Happ’s case, she was seen by many voters in Wisconsin as someone who rode a Harley-Davidson motorcycle in a television ad.

Happ’s campaign to become Wisconsin’s top prosecutor fell apart not long after Happ won a contested Democratic primary with a narrow majority of the vote. Republicans and the far-right corporate media in Wisconsin viciously attacked Happ’s record as a county-level prosecutor, making her look like a corrupt prosecutor who gave out light sentences to Democrats and political cronies, when, in reality, it was a major distortion of Happ’s record. The sustained attack on Happ damaged her campaign and allowed Republican racist Brad Schimel to be elected Attorney General of Wisconsin.

Biden has a legitimately awful record, especially as a U.S. Senator from Delaware, including, among other things:

  • Helping put right-wing extremist Clarence Thomas on the U.S. Supreme Court despite serious sexual harassment allegations against Thomas
  • Voting to repeal the Glass-Steagall regulations on banks and other financial institutions, which led to the Great Recession
  • Voting for the Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA), which prohibited federal recognition of same-sex marriages prior to being ruled unconstitutional by a conservative U.S. Supreme Court
  • Publicly claiming that “abortion is always wrong”
  • Helping enact legislation, signed into law by George W. Bush, that made it harder for Americans to file for bankruptcy
  • Helping enact legislation that expanded the prison-industrial complex in the United States
  • Voting for George W. Bush’s unjustified Iraq War

It wouldn’t take much for one of the Democratic presidential candidates already in the race to brand Biden as an awful politician, if Biden were to run.

I believe that there is an important lesson that is to be learned from the failure of Susan Happ’s campaign for Wisconsin Attorney General last year. When one runs for public office, his or her track record can, either fairly or unfairly, be used against him or her by any political opponent. While Joe Biden’s decision on whether or not to run for president is entirely Joe Biden’s decision to make, I would caution him that his record as a U.S. Senator would likely come back to haunt him politically.

Republican Wisconsin Assemblywoman Janel Brandtjen compares women to cars and refers to women as sex objects

In Wisconsin State Assembly debate on legislation to prohibit federal funding to be used for women’s reproductive health care, Wisconsin State Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menominee Falls) referred to Planned Parenthood as a maintenance garage and falsely claimed that Planned Parenthood treats women like sex objects:

Where the hell did Brandtjen get her expertise about women’s reproductive health? Motor Trend magazine? The truth of the matter is that Brandtjen, despite being female herself, has zero understanding of women’s health issues and apparently thinks that women’s reproductive health measures are like fixing a transmission on a car, which is obviously not the case, since women don’t have any kind of car parts inside of them.

Also, Planned Parenthood does not treat women like sex objects. Planned Parenthood, which Republicans and what few anti-women’s health Democrats are still in office have long wanted to defund at every level of government in this country, treats women like people who have a right to control their own bodies.

Women’s health care is a serious issue, and the Republican approach to women’s health care in this country would lead to more unintended pregnancies, more sexually transmitted diseases, and more pregnant women dying.

Wisconsin Republicans want to take the opportunity for cures away from people across America

In response to the recent release of heavily-edited videos by a right-wing smear group as part of a political witchhunt against Planned Parenthood, Wisconsin Republicans are pushing to enact an outright ban on the use of tissue from aborted fetuses in medical research.

Make no mistake about it, banning fetal tissue from being used in medical research would be disastrous, not just for Wisconsin, but the entire country. Not only would Wisconsin lose jobs if this legislation were to be enacted, the entire country would lose out on research, conducted by the University of Wisconsin System, that seeks to find cures for serious ailments like Parkinson’s disease, heart defects, various forms of cancer, and multiple sclerosis, just to name a few. This would make it far more difficult for researchers to find cures for serious ailments that affect millions of people in this country. I don’t think that there are any colleges or universities outside of Wisconsin that do medical research with fetal tissue, but I could be wrong about that.

The right-wing political witchhunt against Planned Parenthood and other pro-women groups is incredibly short-sighted. In Wisconsin, the right-wing witchhunt against Planned Parenthood has officially turned into a full-on attack against sick people and medical research.