Tag: Women

Paul Ryan and John Shimkus don’t understand the concept of insurance

It has become inherently clear that the Republican majorities in both houses of Congress have zero concept of how insurance is supposed to work. Broadly speaking, insurance is a method of protecting one’s self from financial loss, and insurance can be an individual policy (such as a car insurance policy through a private-sector entity like State Farm, GEICO, or one of their competitors), a group policy (such as group health insurance plans provided by employers through a private-sector health insurance firm to the employers’ employees), or a government policy (such as the federal Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program commonly called Social Security). Likewise, health insurance is a method of protecting one’s self from financial loss associated with medical expenses, and can be an individual policy, a group policy, or a government policy. In order for insurance policies to be financially sustainable, those who do not need the benefits of the insurance policy in question must, by buying into the policy (which can be by paying premiums, taxes, and/or other means), effectively subsidize those who do need the benefits of the insurance policy in question.

The problem is, Republicans, who want to repeal most of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), don’t understand how a financially-sustainable health insurance policy works.

At a recent press conference, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin bizarrely claimed that health insurance doesn’t work if healthy people have to effectively subsidize people people who are ill and/or injured:

…He even lost the suit coat and broke out the PowerPoint on Thursday. It was like watching something on cable access late at night, or a flop-sweaty rookie substitute teacher, and it was hilarious—except for the parts where people will lose their health insurance and die, of course. And this is what he said and, peace be unto Dave Barry, I am not making it up, either:

Paul Ryan said that insurance cannot work if healthy people have to pay more to subsidize the sick.

As if Ryan wasn’t far enough out of touch with reality, the person who legally represents me and several hundred thousand other people in downstate Illinois in the U.S. House of Representatives, John Shimkus, made the sexist motivation behind repealing the ACA publicly known in committee:

But Republican Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois took the cake on Thursday night when he questioned why men aren’t exempt from paying into insurance plans that cover prenatal care. “What about men having to purchase prenatal care?” the congressman said. “Is that not correct? And should they?”

Let me ask a similar question: Why should women have to purchase health insurance for prostrate cancer treatments? Clearly, men never need prenatal care, and women never need prostate cancer treatments. However, if only women had to pay for health insurance covering prenatal care, such a system, regardless of whether the public sector or the private sector were to administer it, would be financially unsustainable. The same problem would be the result if only men had to pay for health insurance covering prostate cancer treatments. This is because a large percentage of women will need prenatal care for at least several months of their lives, so it would be only women who never get pregnant effectively subsidizing those who get pregnant any number of times in their lives. Health insurance covering gender-specific health illnesses/procedures can only be financially sustainable if both men and women pay into a health plan covering prenatal care, prostate cancer treatments, etc..

While I’d never run for public office myself, John Shimkus may legally represent all people in the 15th Congressional District of Illinois, but a significant minority of voters in the 15th district, including me, understand that Shimkus doesn’t understand how health insurance works.

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Business pledging to donate half of proceeds to Planned Parenthood selling “nasty woman” t-shirt

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The author of this blog post is NOT receiving payment from Google Ghost or anyone else to write blog posts about their products.


Last night, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who is male, called Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who is female, “such a nasty woman”.

Trump’s “nasty woman” remark about Hillary has already prompted at least two businesses that I know of to start selling t-shirts with the words “nasty woman” on them. One of them is a business called Google Ghost (apparently not owned by Google or its parent company, Alphabet), which is selling this women’s T-shirt. The shirt, which includes the text “NASTY WOMAN” inside of a heart-shape, is available in sizes ranging from small to double extra-large, and Google Ghost has pledged to donate half of the proceeds from sales of the women’s shirt to Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides reproductive health services to women and men. There is also a men’s version of the shirt, with men’s sizes ranging from extra-small to triple extra-large, and Google Ghost has also pledged to donate half of the proceeds from sales of the men’s shirt to Planned Parenthood.

This sounds like a great idea to raise money for women’s health!

(TRIGGER WARNING) Donald Trump videotaped making pro-sexual assault comments in 2005

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post contains a description of part of a lewd conversation and information about a presidential candidate bragging about sexual assault. Reader discretion is strongly advised.


David Fahrenthold (link is to Twitter page) of The Washington Post has done some great investigative work on Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. Until earlier today, Fahrenthold has focused primarily on Donald Trump’s corrupt uses of his personal foundation.

However, Fahrenthold has now turned his attention to something that Trump did that was even more sinister than the corrupt dealings of the Trump Foundation.

Fahrenthold got his hands on a 2005 tape of Trump having a conversation with then-Access Hollywood host (now co-host of NBC’s Today show) Billy Bush, in which Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women. Here is just a small sample of the lewd conversation:

“I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her,” Trump says. “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”

“And when you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”

“Whatever you want,” says another voice, apparently Bush’s.

“Grab them by the (female genitalia),” Trump says. “You can do anything.”

Trump actually used a five-letter word beginning with the letter “p”, not “female genitalia”, in the actual conversation.

That conversation is a textbook example of how pervasive rape culture is in America. Donald Trump, in a videotaped conversation with a member of the media, bragged about sexual assault on camera and bragged about how famous people, such as himself, can get away with it. The truth of the matter is that no person in this country is above the law’s commands, and that kissing another person, grabbing another person’s genitals, sexual intercourse with another person, etc., without the other person’s consent is sexual assault, which is a criminal offense in every U.S. jurisdiction. Billy Bush is just as guilty of aiding and abetting rape culture as Trump is, because he goaded Trump into making degrading comments about women. NBC should fire him immediately from his current job.

I don’t have a wife, a girlfriend, a sister, a daughter, or a niece, but, if I had a wife, a girlfriend, sister(s), daughter(s), or niece(s), I would not let them anywhere near Donald Trump.

STRAW POLL: 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin Democratic primary

Recently, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) praised Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for…well, being the kind of presidential candidate who appeals to white male bigots like himself. These are Duffy’s actual words, as quoted by the progressive website ThinkProgress:

There’s a viewpoint that says, ‘I can fight for minorities, and I can fight for women,’ and if you get that, you make up a vast majority of the voting block and you win. And white males have been left aside a little bit in the politics of who speaks to them.

It is inherently clear to me that Duffy is supporting Donald Trump because he is a loud-mouthed bigot who would destroy America and everything that this great country stands for if elected. Duffy’s congressional district, while gerrymandered to make it a lot easier for him to win re-election, is not a total Republican stronghold, and Trump’s style of politics don’t play well at all in the Upper Midwest.

Unlike what I’ve done for races in the 3rd and 6th congressional districts of Wisconsin, where I’ve endorsed progressive-minded Democrats in contested primaries, I’m going to do something different for the contested primary in the 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin. I’m going to conduct a straw poll for the race for the Democratic Party’s nomination in the 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin. The candidates seeking the Democratic nomination are, in the order in which they will be listed on actual primary ballots and in the straw poll, Mary Hoeft of Rice Lake and Joel Lewis of Wausau. Here’s the straw poll:

The straw poll, which is completely non-binding, will be open for voting until 10 P.M. CDT on July 31, 2016 (the polling program I use does not allow me to geoblock the poll outside of the 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin). The actual primary, which is open to voters in the 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin who choose to vote in the Democratic primary, is August 9th. The winner of the real Democratic primary will face the winner of the Republican primary, also held on August 9th, between Duffy and Donald Raihala, in the general election on November 8th.

The percentage of rapes committed by white people is higher than the percentage of white Americans

Leslie Salzillo, a contributor to the progressive website DailyKos, wrote this piece about an online video showing a white woman, who was harassing a black man, falsely accusing the black man of threatening to rape her. You can view the video here.

I want to make a couple of points here.

First, rape and fear of rape have been used since before the founding of the United States of America in a racist manner against black people. Examples of this include Europeans in the 17th century falsely accusing black slaves of rape, accusations of rape being committed by black people being used to cover up crimes committed by white people, and the infamous Willie Horton ad that was aired on American television by a political organization supporting Republican George H.W. Bush’s 1988 presidential bid. Rape is a serious crime, and, if you’re using rape or the fear of rape to spew bigotry towards minority groups, you’re part of the problem when it comes to the pervasive rape culture in this country. While some black people are rapists (a famous example being former professional boxer Mike Tyson), and all rapists are criminals, black people are often falsely accused of rape, while actual white rapists often get no punishment or very light punishment for violating women.

Secondly, these are actual statistics on the demographics of American rapists, as well as the demographics of American aggravated assaulters and American automobile thieves:

For the sake of completion, 63.7% of the total American population is Non-Hispanic White, meaning that the percentage of rapes committed by white people in America (67.2%) is higher than the percentage of total white people in America.

Scott Walker’s hand-picked Wisconsin Supreme Court justice condoned date rape

In a 1992 column for Marquette University’s student-run magazine, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley, who is seeking a full ten-year term on Wisconsin’s highest bench, wrote that Camille Pagila, a misogynistic college professor at the (Philadelpha) University of the Arts who is noted for her anti-feminist screeds, “legitimately suggested” that women play a role in date rape:

State Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote that Camille Paglia “legitimately suggested that women play a role in date rape” as a student at Marquette University.

Bradley’s comment about the academic and cultural critic Paglia was part of a column she wrote for the fall 1992 edition of the Marquette Journal, the university’s student-run magazine.

I firmly believe that any judge or any other person who holds a public office, whether elected to that office or, like Bradley was, appointed to that office, is absolutely unfit for a judgeship or any other public office if they even think about condoning date rape, much less write about it in a magazine.

I strongly encourage Wisconsinites to vote for JoAnne Kloppenburg for Wisconsin Supreme Court on April 5.

Gloria Steinem and Madeline Albright offend women who support Bernie

AUTHOR’S NOTE: From this point forward in the 2016 race for the Democratic presidential nomination, “Hillary” refers to Hillary Clinton, and “Bernie” refers to Bernie Sanders.


This is really one of those times where, admittedly, I wish I had a female co-blogger to help push back against the offensive remarks by some of Hillary’s supporters towards women who support Bernie.

If you’re wondering what I was referring to in the above paragraph, I’m referring to recent remarks by women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright, both Hillary supporters. In both cases, offensive remarks were made about women who support Bernie.

Steinem went on the HBO show of Bernie backer Bill Maher (YouTube video here, Steinem’s remarks about Bernie supporters begin at the 3:50 mark) and claimed that women who support Bernie are only doing so to meet men:

The feminist icon made an alarmingly sexist remark on “Real Time with Bill Maher” Friday night, suggesting that young, female supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders only support him because dudes do, too.

Steinem was discussing Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Sanders. When Maher noted the Vermont senator’s popularity with young women, Steinem responded with her theory that women get more “radical” as they get older.

“When you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘Where are the boys?’ The boys are with Bernie,” she said.

I’m not going to comment on Steinem’s theory about men becoming more conservative, and women becoming more liberal, as they get older, since I’ve not seen any scientific study on that matter. However, what I will say is that women who support Bernie are not doing so because they want to meet men. After all, if they did, I’d probably have a girlfriend by now (in reality, I don’t have or want a girlfriend). Women who support Bernie support him because they share and support many of his values and ideas, such as restoring good government, making college truly affordable, raising the minimum wage to $15/hour, and significantly reducing health care costs.

Not to be outdone by Steinem, Albright claimed that women who support Bernie are going to hell:

Former Sec. of State Madeleine Albright attempted to shame young women voters at a Hillary Clinton campaign event on Saturday, repeating her now-famous line: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.”

[…]

The 78-year-old diplomat, who served in the Bill Clinton White House, complained that some young women “don’t understand the importance of why young women have to support Hillary Clinton.”

In my opinion, Albright’s remarks were even worse than Steinem’s remarks for one reason. To claim that women who don’t support a particular candidate are going to hell and saying that they have to support a particular candidate is basically a way of saying that you don’t believe in democracy, without actually saying that. Democracy is about choosing between political candidates, not forcing someone to support a particular political candidate.

While women make up approximately 56-58% of the Democratic primary and caucus electorate nationwide due to the institutional gender gap in American politics, you cannot completely run on shaming women into supporting a female candidate and win nationally, even in a Democratic primary or caucus. The Democratic Party cannot be seen as being condescending towards women who don’t see eye-to-eye with the party elites, or we’ll end up with a President Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, or some other Republican.

What is a badass woman?

Nearly two weeks ago, President Barack Obama said this while honoring the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT), which won the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup:

This team taught all of America’s children that playing like a girl means you’re a badass.

While it would probably be better for a woman, especially a woman who regards herself as a badass woman, to define what a badass woman is, I’ll give my own description of what I consider to be a badass woman.

In my opinion, badass women have four common qualities:

  • Badass women fight for what they believe in. Whether it be an athlete competing for an individual or team victory, a political figure fighting for a policy goal that she supports, or a woman in a different profession fighting for an important goal in her profession, a badass woman will do anything possible to achieve her goals.
  • Badass women know that they’re not perfect, but they do everything to the best of their ability. No person on this planet is truly perfect, but a badass woman does everything in the best way that she can.
  • Badass women stand up for themselves. Even in the face of defeat, criticism, bigotry, and so on, a badass woman stands up for herself and her values.
  • Badass women are strong and confident, but not whiny or overtly arrogant. Badass women don’t act like they’re perfect and don’t throw childish temper tantrums, but are the strongest and most confident people on this planet.

If one were to ask me what kind of women that I admire the most, my response would be that I admire badass women.

My thoughts about the first Democratic presidential debate

Having watched last night’s Democratic presidential debate, I’ll begin by saying that I believe that Bernie Sanders won the debate, with Martin O’Malley having the second-best performance, followed by Hillary Clinton, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chafee.

My thoughts about Bernie Sanders’s performance

The Good – He upstaged Hillary Clinton on an issue directly affecting HRC (the private email server “scandal” that has been concocted by the GOP). He also defended himself very well, especially on gun safety and on the Veterans’ Affairs health system scandal.

The Bad – He mentioned his campaign website twice during the debate.

My thoughts about Martin O’Malley’s performance

The Good – He came across as the strongest candidate on gun safety, invoking the story of a family who lost one of their own in the Aurora, Colorado theater massacre.

The Bad – He tried to defend his zero-tolerance policing policy from his tenure as Mayor of Baltimore, Maryland, which was one of several factors that have led to distrust between the police and the public in Baltimore.

My thoughts about Hillary Clinton’s performance

The Good – She came across as very professional during the debate without coming across as scripted or boring. She also cracked a joke at a very inappropriate remark from lead moderator Anderson Cooper about her bathroom usage.

The Bad – She twice invoked the fact that she’s a woman during the debate. She also gave weak answers on a number of issues, most notably marijuana legalization and financial regulation.

My thoughts about Jim Webb’s performance

The Good – He used his wife’s story on immigration very well.

The Bad – He used the NRA’s talking points on guns.

My thoughts about Lincoln Chafee’s performance

The Good – Nothing about his debate performance was especially good.

The Bad – He blamed his father’s death on his vote for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in the late 1990’s. Furthermore, he made an odd remark comparing himself to a block of granite at one point in the debate.

The big winners (other than the five Democratic presidential candidates debating)

The Democratic Party – All in all, the debate was a great showing that Democrats can have an intelligent, civil discussion about actual political issues between candidates representing various factions of the party.

Civic engagement – CNN’s telecast of the debate received the most viewers of any Democratic presidential primary/caucus debate in television history.

The internet – For the first time since the 1960 presidential general election debates, there appears to be a major disconnect between two media platforms on debate performance. In 1960, it was between radio (whose listeners viewed Richard Nixon as the debate winner) and television (whose viewers viewed John F. Kennedy as the debate winner). This time, it’s between television (which has been trying to spin a Hillary Clinton debate victory) and the internet (most people on social media view Bernie Sanders as the debate victor). I’d expect the newer platform (in this case, the internet) to come out on top.

The big losers (other than the five Democratic presidential candidates debating)

Anderson Cooper – Cooper, CNN’s lead moderator for the debate, tried to use his position to smear Bernie Sanders on a number of GOP talking points against him and failed, and he also made a very inappropriate remark about Hillary Clinton’s bathroom usage after one of the commercial breaks.

The mainstream media – See my remarks about the internet being a big winner above.

Mike Huckabee – Huckabee, one of many Republican presidential candidates, took to Twitter during the debate and made downright racist remarks about Korean people while attacking Bernie Sanders.

Joe Biden – With Hillary Clinton giving a strong enough debate performance to calm down those in the establishment who were fretting about Hillary, and Bernie Sanders solidifying the progressive base of the party, there’s not really a path to victory for Biden if he were to enter the race for the Democratic nomination.

Debate fairness – CNN shut out Lawrence Lessig from participating in the debate despite the fact that Lessig is a Democratic candidate for president.

Her body is amazing

I think that a woman’s body is absolutely amazing.

Sure, her body can produce children, care for children, cook, and clean, but her body can do far more things. Her body can walk, run, jump, swim, dive, dance, sail, play sports, coach athletes, lift weights, paddle boats, ride bicycles, ride motorcycles, and drive automobiles. Her body can write, draw, paint, take pictures, film, record videos, produce radio programs, produce television programs, sing, play musical instruments, talk, act, tell jokes, study, think, and teach. Her body can invent, explore the world, explore the universe, conduct experiments, preserve species, solve math problems, care for the injured, care for the ill, care for the disabled, and use technology. Her body can work jobs, own businesses, run businesses, run non-profit groups, advise people, manufacture things, build houses, build buildings, build infrastructure, farm, ranch, sell insurance, sell homes, and trade financial instruments. Her body can vote, participate in democracy, fight for democracy, fight for her rights, fight for the rights of others, serve in an armed force, work for government agencies, run government agencies, make laws, interpret laws, enforce laws, represent plaintiffs, represent defendants, lead communities, lead regions, lead nations, and lead the world. Her body can date, marry, love men, and love women. Her body can become his body, and his body can become her body. Her body can do many other things as well.

This is why I support progressive policies that value her and her body. I support requiring equal pay for equal work. I support requiring paid family, medical, and maternity leave. I support raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. I support protecting and expanding her right to determine what kind of health care she wants for her body, including what kind of reproductive health care she wants for her body. I support prohibiting all forms of discrimination. I support universal health care, so that she can afford the kind of health care she wants for her body. I support many other progressive policies that value her and her body.