Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Women's March Is Crucially Important, And... And But...


I don't go in for identity politics at all. Voting for someone because they were born a woman, gay, of any particular religion, Asian or black, for example, is not my cup pf tea. Nor is voting for someone who is a veteran, a scientist, a doctor or part of any age group. Take women. Women make up 51% of the population but just 22% of the Senate and 19% of the House. That's outrageous. And that's why when when two candidates-- one man and one woman-- are equally good, I'll vote for the woman. But, not all women candidates are good candidates or good political leaders. Some are absolutely horrible in fact. Look at the House. Arguably, the very best member of the House is Pramila Jayapal, a woman elected from Seattle. Katherine Clark (D-MA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Yvette Clarke (D-NY) have fantastic voting records too. And you want to find incredible leadership and courageousness in Congress? Look no further than Elizabeth Warren in the Senate and Barbara Lee in the House. Bad news though. The absolute rotgut worst Democrat in the House is a woman: Kyrsten Sinema, the head of the Blue Dogs who represents a nice blue district in the Phoenix area. And she isn't the only Democratic woman who is so horrible that no one who believes in Democratic values should support her. Stephanie Murphy (Blue Dog-FL), Cheri Bustos (Blue Dog-IL), and Jacky Rosen (NV) have amassed voting records that no one but Paul Ryan and EMILY's List could possibly like. In the Senate, the worst Democrat is Heidi Heitkamp-- yes, my friends, even worse than Joe Manchin. And who voted to throw the DREAMers under the bus-- or in this case onto a bus headed for Mexico or El Salvador-- Friday night? Heitkamp and Claire McCaskill (as well as Manchin and Joe Donnelly).

Among candidates for Congress this cycle, people such as Nina Ahmad (D-PA), Katie Porter (D-CA), Jenny Marshall (D-NC), Lisa Brown (D-WA), Jess King (D-PA), Antoinette Sedillo Lopez (D-NM)... are simply the best people running for Congress. It's stupid to call them the best woman candidate when they are just the best candidate, period. I remember how Joni Mitchell used to curse critics at reviewers who called her the "best woman songwriter." You can't imagine how offended she was by that. She was the best songwriter-- end of story. How about that? Those candidates are not the best women candidates; they are the best candidates. Period. You could say Nina Ahmad is the best woman candidate born in Dacca and, technically, you'd be correct. It makes more sense to say she's the best candidate running for Congress. Someone might want to argue with you-- maybe, say, proponents of Randy Bryce or Marie Newman, who might say one of them is better-- so fine, make the argument... but it's not about anyone's plumbing.

Another awesome congressional candidate, a woman, running in the Houston area, is Dayna Steele. She's amazing and would make a fantastic member of Congress with a unique and much-needed perspective. Yesterday she emailed he supporters about the woman's march: "One year ago, I marched with my husband and youngest son in downtown Houston. Expecting to see maybe 500 people, I was stunned to find over 30,000 women, men, and children. That scene repeated itself all over the world, where people gathered to take a stand.  When the march was over my young son asked 'What good will this do? What will you do moving forward?' After much thought and counsel, I decided to run for Congress. Today, with the government shut down because folks like Brian Babin won't do their job, I’m marching again with my husband and youngest son, this time as a candidate for the 36th district of Texas. If you support women’s rights, equal rights, healthcare for all, quality public education, DACA, CHIP, and making people‘s lives better, I’m asking you to support our campaign today." Support her here.

"Activists," wrote Michelle Price and Anita Snow, "are returning to the streets a year after a million people rallied worldwide at marches for female empowerment, hoping to create an enduring political movement that will elect more women to government office... A rally Sunday in Las Vegas will launch an effort to register 1 million voters and target swing states in the midterm elections. The 2017 rally in Washington, D.C., and hundreds of similar marches created solidarity for those denouncing President Donald Trump’s views on abortion, immigration, LGBT rights and more. Afterward, a wave of women decided to run for elected office and the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct became a cultural phenomenon. 'We made a lot of noise,' said Elaine Wynn, an organizer. 'But now how do we translate that noise into something concrete or fulfilling?' Linda Sarsour, one of the four organizers of last year’s Washington march, said Las Vegas was slotted for a major rally because it’s a strategic swing state that gave Hillary Clinton a narrow win in the presidential election and will have one of the most competitive Senate races in 2018. Democrats believe they have a good chance of winning the seat held by embattled Republican Sen. Dean Heller and weakening the GOP’s hold on the chamber."

Too bad [male] puppetmasters Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer handpicked one of the worst Democrats in the House, Jacky Rosen, as the Democratic candidate for that Senate seat. I'd vote for a pool of puke on the street before voting for Jacky Rosen. And the DCCC just endorsed a garbage candidate for Rosen's seat in the House, an incredibly wealthy, Mafia-connected socialite-- and Pelosi crony-- Susie Lee. If you want horrible-- albeit horrible without a penis-- you've got two to support right there in Las Vegas. And then you can feel like you've been cheated next year when they start voting like Heitkamp and McCaskill.

Instead, we should be putting our energy into electing great candidates-- many of whom are women-- who are shunned by corrupted slime like Reid and Schumer and the DCCC. Another Blue Dog in the House who is beyond horrible is Chicagoland walking garbage pile Dan Lipinski. He joined Paul Ryan to speak at the counter-rally against Choice on Friday. And his opponent is not just better than he is; his opponent is fantastic and someone who will make Congress a better place. Oh, and she happens be a woman: Marie Newman. Robin Marty, writing for Right Wing Watch wrote about that anti-Choice movement's rally and the horror of what's behind it. This is a lot more salient than electing crap candidates in Las Vegas.
When tens of thousands of abortion-rights opponents gather in Washington, D.C., this week to protest the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, many will be lobbying the Trump administration and Congress on measures that they hope will chip away at and ultimately lead to the repeal of Roe. But a smaller group of activists are taking a much more direct approach to their efforts to stop legal abortion. Quietly, the anti-choice “rescue” movement has been trying out new tactics to test the limits of the FACE Act, the 1994 law that stopped them from physically blocking the entrances of abortion clinics in order to deny women access.

“Rescues” or abortion clinic sit-ins, are nothing new to the anti-abortion movement. In 1991, as many as 500 protesters a day gathered in front of abortion clinics in Wichita, Kansas, blocking patients from entering the buildings. The anti-abortion “rescue” movement was at its height then, with thousands gathering at national events to shut down clinics, while dedicated local activists focused on regular daily or weekly “rescues” that involved barricading elevators, blocking the vehicles of abortion providers, even locking themselves to buildings, cement blocks or cars so they couldn’t be removed from the premises.

The FACE Act put an end to almost all of those tactics. Signed into law in 1994 by Democratic President Bill Clinton, FACE (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances) made it a federal crime to physically obstruct a clinic entrance or use force, threat of force or intimidation against anyone attempting to provide or procure an abortion, or to intentionally damage or destroy the property of a reproductive health services facility. (FACE’s rules also applied to anyone trying to block access to a place of worship.)

The FACE Act brought a quick end to the rescue movement as it existed in its heyday, ending the ability of anti-choice activists to physically prevent women from accessing abortion. But the strength of the law depends on how aggressively the federal government is willing to enforce it. In the five years that the FACE Act was in effect under President Clinton, the administration used it to file charges in 46 criminal or civil cases. During the two-term presidency of Republican George W. Bush, on the other hand, the Department of Justice had a 75 percent drop in criminal FACE Act violation charges, and filed just one civil case in eight years. Aggressive enforcement began again with the election of Democratic President Barack Obama, whose administration prosecuted 11 criminal and nine civil FACE Act violations in his first term alone.

With another Republican president in the White House-- one who anti-abortion groups worked zealously to get elected once they accepted the fact that he would be their inevitable nominee-- it is still unclear how aggressively the Department of Justice will enforce the FACE Act. Last year, the Trump Justice Department showed that it was willing to prosecute the most flagrant FACE violations after the radical anti-choice group Operation Save America attempted an old-school clinic blockade in Louisville, Kentucky. Police arrested 11 anti-abortion activists associated with Operation Save Americain May after they sat and directly blocked the front doors of the only abortion clinic in the state. Ten of the activists were ultimately charged with civil FACE Act violations, and a temporary restraining order was issued to keep them from the clinic property when they returned for a national event two months later. A full trial on the charges will occur this spring.

Whether the Trump administration will pursue less clear-cut cases remains to be seen. In response, anti-abortion activists appear to be nibbling around the edges of the law, trying out new strategies to test how far the Justice Department will allow them to go.

...More anti-abortion activist groups are staging marches and protest events like this outside abortion clinic doors to thwart patients from obtaining legal abortion care. If a patient approaching a clinic for medical care is confronted with a sea of thousands of protesters, that can hardly be seen as anything other than intimidation of a person attempting to access an abortion. Yet these marches, because they are currently being organized in a permissible way in public thoroughfares, often come with the assistance and tacit support of local government and law enforcement agencies.

While the Trump administration is in power, it remains very unlikely that we will see many activists charged with FACE Act violations-- that is, unless we see more blatant Operation Save America-style clinic-door blockades like we saw in the spring of 2016. But as for, more tentative steps into potential FACE violations pacifist clinic trespasses, city-issued and permitted mass marches and similar tactics-- it is safe to expect these to multiply, especially as federal authorities stick their heads in the sand and local law enforcement provide little more than wrist slaps in response.

And considering that this was how the original rescue movement grew from local nuisance to a national threat to access, that could be the most alarming development of all.
Goal ThermometerThis is Dan Lipinksi's world. Last Thursday, when the Republicans brought up the enabling legislation for another of their ugly and vicious anti-Choice bills, the so-called Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, only two "Democrats" voted with the Republicans to allow the bill to move forward, vile Blue Dogs Dan Lipinski and Collin Peterson. The DCCC will never quit Dan or Collin. But supporting Marie Newman and helping her replace Lipinski is a far more effective way to bring about real change than backing Reid's, Schumer's and the DCCC's godawful women candidates in Nevada. We're not asking you to support Marie Newman because she's a woman-- although I'm happy she is and that's a crucial part of who she is-- but because she is the best candidate and because will make Congress a better place because of what she's got between her ears. If you click the ActBlue congressional thermometer on the right, you'll find Marie Newman... and a whole slew of awesome women candidates-- and awesome male candidates. These are the people we should be supporting if we want a better country, not Jacky Rosen, not Kyrsten Sinema and not Susie Lee.

The choice couldn't be more clear

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At 6:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You again spell out why the democraps are shit and should be euthanized.

You claim to dislike identity politics.

Yet, no matter how horrible the democrap candidates in the general, you'll advocate voting only for them.

That's identity politics at its worst. And it will destroy the usa sooner rather than later.

At 7:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Democrat" is an identity, one which is co-opted by the DINO-Whigs so that the average voter won't recognize that what was once the Democratic Party is now just another corrupt group of corporatist lackeys. Their assigned task is to keep We the People from organizing a real resistance to the imposition of corporatist rule in America and across the globe. That so many of us discuss the failings of these opportunists indicates that their grip on us is slipping.

At 11:08 AM, Blogger Thomas Ten Bears said...

OK, I'll admit voting for Obama because he was a half-breed like me (sort of) wasn't the best of justifications. With his mother's mid-western background he has more of a claim to "American" than the monkeys in the white house.

At 3:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

TTB, anyone who was born to money or born to crave money or born to serve money (or born without any discernible EEG) is as American as they come these days. The definition of "American" is amorphous... just like "person", "crime", "treason" and "fraud".

What they all meant in 1975 ain't what they mean today.


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