Sharpening My Pen
In Indiana, a woman has been charged with homicide and feticide because, during a suicide attempt, she lost her fetus. She has been jailed without bond.
In Iowa, a pregnant woman accidentally fell down a flight of stairs. She was arrested for attempted feticide after telling ER personnel that early in her pregnancy she had contemplated abortion.
In Utah, a bill that would have imprisoned women for life for endangering their fetus through "reckless behavior" was proposed and then withdrawn (only for Constitutional reasons).
In Kansas, a bill advanced in the state Senate removes the "mental health exception" for late term abortion (the exception under which women with nonviable fetuses could abort) and at the same time removes the power of any physician from declaring a fetus nonviable.
In the US Congress, a bill has been introduced that would have IRS auditors force women who aborted because they were victims of rape to prove that they were raped.
Indiana Representative Eric Turner called the rape/incest exception a "huge loophole" and insisted that women would actually lie about being raped to obtain an abortion.
The antiabortion forces in this country have stepped up their game. They are no longer targeting just abortion doctors and clinics, they are targeting women. These laws and proposed laws are draconian and they are horrific. The toll they will take (and are taking) on women; mentally, physically and emotionally, cannot be told. They are wanting to jail women for being pregnant, unstable on their feet and falling down a flight of stairs. They are targeting victims of rape who can't prove they were raped. (There are ancillary bills being introduced with this. In Georgia, legislation was introduced that would change the legal language from calling victims of rape "victims" to "accusers", the only crime class that would be changed.)
Will they reduce legal abortions? By all means. But at what cost? Rape victims, already traumatized and victimized by one violent act, will be forced to bear the babies of their attackers, another violent act. Women will be jailed simply for voicing the idea that they may not want their baby. Women pregnant with babies with no hope of survival will be forced to carry those babies for months, only to see it be born and die. The Kansas bill is called the "fetal pain bill". There is no consideration for the fact that by making a woman carry a nonviable fetus they could actually be forcing that fetus to undergo months of pain and torture due to it's physical anomalies, only to die at birth. This puts the face to the lie that this bill is to "spare fetal pain". The purpose of the bill is to control abortion, even at the cost of causing pain to those the bill is claiming to protect.
The human costs of these bills and laws on the already born and even the unborn, are unacceptable. They prove that there is nothing "compassionate" about them and make a mockery of the term "prolife". They are not "prolife" laws, they are "antiabortion" laws and they prove that government will stop abortion at any cost, even if that cost is to those they are swearing they are trying to protect.
There is a political storm brewing on both sides of the aisle and I don't think either party is seeing it. There are now eight people who want jobs for every job opening in the United States. Oddly, there is every indication that they are being ignored by the government at every level. The GOP is too embroiled in "social" legislation; legislating and restricting abortion, cutting social programs and cutting taxes for the top 1% in the nation. The jobless, who voted for these people on the promise of "jobs", are seeing no benefit from this and, in fact, are feeling betrayed as many of the social programs being cut are the same programs supporting them in their joblessness, including food stamps and WIC. Those that do have jobs are hanging on to them tightly and see efforts by the GOP in multiple states to smash unions, both public and private, as threats to their livelihood. In the last ten years the Middle Class has shrunk and those that used to belong to it and want to rejoin it are angry, and getting angrier, that legislators they elected are not only not following through on their promises but act like they never made those promises in the first place.
The GOP swept into power this past election cycle on the promise that economic relief was coming. Many voters are upset and disappointed that, to date, they have yet to see a single piece of legislation addressing it. Even support for the Tea Party is waning as the large numbers of retirees that made up it's membership are seeing their pensions threatened and alarmed at proposed Social Security cuts coming from the party they supported.
The Democratic side of the aisle is in no better shape, although they have the excuse that their efforts are being blocked by partisanship moves by the GOP. The most recent joke is that, "If President Obama came out in favor of oxygen, Republicans would suffocate themselves." When people see this type of extreme partisanship, they despair that anything will get done and, indeed, to date, the Federal government has had to pass stop gap temporary legislation on the budget three times. However, I don't blame just the GOP for this. Both sides of the aisle are engaging in this kind of behavior.
Does this mean that I think the Wisconsin Democratic senators were in the wrong for leaving the state? Yes and no. That was a case where the Democratic legislators were so ignored and their voices silenced so badly that, as their was absolutely no effort to compromise, they did what they felt they had to do. Walker made it plain he was passing the legislation with them or without them, and in the end he did do it without them. Worse, to date, even though an injunction has been issued by state courts to prevent the legislation from going into law, the Governor is acting as though the injunction doesn't exist. This is a situation where elected officials are quite literally running roughshod over their own electorate. Much the same is happening now in this state to the horror, dismay and frustration of the very people who elected these legislators.
What I truly find amazing is that these legislators, voted in on a wave of desire for "change", a hope that politics wouldn't be "business as usual", seem to be completely oblivious to what they are doing. The general attitude isn't, "Let's get to work.". The attitude is, "We won! And boy are we going to make you PAY!" And the general wave in the direction of the electorate is, "Thanks, suckah!".The very idea that they could be "one and done" doesn't even seem to enter their thoughts. All of them seem to believe that their very election was a mandate to do as they pleased. There are probably a number of people who did vote for them with that mandate. However, I don't think anyone realized or expected how that mandate would manifest or it's result.
One thing is for sure; the unemployed, the under employed and those who see their employment threatened are fast becoming a voice to be reckoned with. As the Tea Party wanes, the Coffee Party gains. Believe me, it's not too early for elected legislators to start paying attention.
Wow. You know it's got to be getting bad when one main stream news source actually goes so far as to call out another news source and call them bald faced liars on international TV.
I don't think I can recall in all of my years anything like this ever happening. I grew up with TV news. Our very first TV was acquired in 1955. It had a cabinet that took up half of the wall and the screen was the size of a dinner plate. We got two stations if we were lucky and you had to constantly mess with the antenna. Our TVs grew with the times and by the sixties we had color and could reliably get the three networks. Vietnam became the first televised war and it was on all three networks every night.
My parents tended to watch CBS the most. They adored Walter Cronkite. Throughout that time, TV news was always dignified and without fail, trustworthy. The three networks competed, but never did they impugn the integrity of another network's news. CNN joined the pack and was welcomed into the brotherhood. They were "different". They were cable and never really threatened the stability of the "big three". CNN followed the rules, competing by always going for the story and not the reputation of it's competitors. Then Rupert Murdoch came along and (literally) set the "fox" loose in the hen house.
The evolution of FOX broadcasting has actually been fairly gradual. Murdoch tested the waters and kept pushing the envelope of his partisanship but made it very clear from the beginning that he bought FOX for one purpose and one purpose alone; to reshape and influence political discourse to the right. He didn't care how he did it and he had every intention of using every dirty trick in the book.
FOX News lies. Multiple nonpartisan sites on the internet have pointed out the outright lies that FOX News has put forth before the public over and over again. Along with that, it has been pointed out multiple times by multiple sources that FOX News slants it's stories, sometimes by withholding information crucial to the story or showing only part of a sound bite and taking the utterance completely out of context. Murdoch has achieved his goal. He has turned the FOX network into his personal propaganda machine. So big has his juggernaut grown that it commands a place at the table with every other large news organization.
Which begs the question. Everyone knows FOX News lies. It's the elephant in the room; an elephant that has grown so huge that it's to the point where other media sources are actually calling FOX on their lies, an act that thirty years ago would have been unthinkable. So why do people watch it? Why are people so desperate to believe this one, lone news source to the extent that they will vilify every other major televised news source in this country? Somebody have an answer?
This was done by a group called The Christian Left, picked up by Daily Kos. Permission was granted to lift the image as it was made downloadable. They have no problem with anyone spreading their message and say so.
I just found out that the original chart came from this article for The Center for American Progress: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/02/tax_breaks_infographic.html
I have to smile. Only the LJWorld would completely ignore what happened in Wisconsin yesterday.
The events in WI are not just "national" news, they are international. Every newspaper from Bangkok to Bangor is reporting on it but the LJW stays tight lipped.
I have a personal friend who lives in Madison. He's had a front row seat of the events for the past 25 days and has been blogging about it pretty regularly.
Recall efforts are already underway for eight of the Republican senators. The others won't be eligible for recall until November. Walker won't be eligible until November either but efforts are already being organized for his recall as it will be a much larger effort and will take more time. Once the intent for recall is filed they will only have sixty days to collect over 250,000 signatures so they want all prep work done and set up; office space, phones, forms printed, etc. All of this is coming from grassroots organizations within the state.
To quote a friend, "So this is what political suicide looks like."
Interestingly, a recall drive has been setup for the Democratic senators that have quit the state. The huge difference is that it's being set up and funded by a PAC out of Utah whose main source of funding comes from various corporations.
There are mutterings in the wind that national unions may call for a general strike in support of the WI unions, although I fully expect Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly to refuse to participate, despite the fact that they are card carrying members of AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists), an AFL-CIO union. There hasn't been a general strike in this country since 1934. It could get seriously ugly.
To quote another friend, ""One should keep in mind that if you push masses of people, you should expect that they will push back."
No wonder the LJW won't touch this with a ten foot cattle prod.
In honor of awards season, I decided to create a new award.
Nominate and vote now for your personal favorite wingnut along with an explanation of why you feel they should get the top spot.
My personal nomination is Georgia state rep. Bobby Franklin, R-Marietta. Here's a sample of some of his legislation:
1. He sponsored a bill that would require rape and sexual assault victims -- but not the victims of any other crimes -- to be called "accusers" unless there was a conviction in their cases.
2. He introduced a bill that would do away with drivers licenses, stating that "free people have a common law and constitutional right to travel on the roads and highways that are provided by their government for that purpose. Licensing of drivers cannot be required of free people, because taking on the restrictions of a license requires the surrender of an inalienable right."
3. He introduced a bill making all unauthorized and unmonitored vaginal bleeding a crime scene. (I'm not making this up.) All unattended miscarriages are to be treated as crime scenes and fully investigated by a coroner. Seriously.
So who are your favorites? Vote and tell us why.
(And why we should be if we aren't.)
72% (nearly three quarters) of all American wealth is controlled by the richest 10%. (This is the highest it has ever been since statistics started being kept. This actually includes the "Robber Baron" years of the "ultra rich" before Congress started regulating business.)
The bottom ninety percent control only 28% of the wealth.
The average annual income of the top 1% in the country is $1,137,684.
The average annual income of the top 10% is $164,647.
The average annual income of the bottom 90% is $31,294.
Your chance of being a millionaire - 1 in 22.
Your chance of being a millionaire if you are in Congress - 1 in 2.
The ten richest members of Congress control over 2 billion dollars between them.
In the last two years Wall Street profits gained over 700%. The unemployment rate went up over 100%. American's home equity went down over 35%.
The average CEO salary is 185 times that of the average worker.
Due to tax cuts, the tax rate of the average millionaire is now the lowest it's been since 1930.
Sources include: University of California, Berkley; Harvard Business School; Duke University; US Census; Center for Responsive Politics; Bard College; New York State Comptroller; Federal Reserve, Bureau of Labor Statistics; The Tax Foundation; The Economic Policy Institute and (amazingly) The Senate Joint Committee on Taxation.
I copied the bulk of this from an article in Mother Jones Magazine.
Other research was done independently on the internet and can be verified from the listed sources.
All Democratic representatives have left the state capitol of Madison (some sources are saying that many have actually left the state) to prevent a quorum from voting on the state budget.
This takes brass. Will be interesting to see if Kansas Dems have as much in the way of ethics and that much courage.
I'm still pulling information in from all over the web about this as it appears to be an ongoing developmet. George Bush was scheduled to give a speech in Geneva, Switzerland on February 12th. Apparently the speech was canceled due to what are being called "security concerns" by his handlers. The actual "security concern" is a 2500 page document that Amnesty International prepared to introduce into the International Court at the Hague with a request for the Swiss government to issue a warrant for the arrest and detainment of Bush for war crimes. The charge for the arrest is being based on the fact that Bush admitted in his own book that he personally approved the use of waterboarding at the detainment facility at Guantanamo Bay. Amnesty International is pointing out that, as Bush is no longer an active head of state, he is no longer subject to diplomatic immunity. They are basing the legality of that claim on the precedent set by the arrest of Auguste Pinochet in London in 1998. One needs to realize that a majority of the European Union doesn't view the previous administration in the same light that Americans do. In fact, it would appear that the only country willing to welcome him with open arms at this point is Israel. Bush's "team" is claiming they canceled the speech out of "security concerns" that huge numbers of protesters would show up at the speech. There may be a grain of truth in this as Bush was always pretty squicky about protesters, always keeping them at least a half mile away from him while he was in office. But I have no doubt that proposed arrest warrant had a lot to do with it too.
I really think Westboro Baptist should bear in mind that in many ways Arizona right now is a pretty lawless state (one friend likened it to Mississippi in the '60's). Tucson, where the massacre happened, is a spot of blue in a sea of red. Gun laws in Arizona, including concealed carry, are extremely liberal (in the actual, not political sense.) It put a semi-automatic in the hands of Jared Loughton. I highly doubt he is the only crazy there with access to a gun. Kansas is a very conservative state as well. When WBC protested at the funeral of a Marine in Wichita (edit: was informed in comments this was in McAlister, OK, not Wichita) they had their tires slashed. But Kansas is also a bit inured to them because they home base from Topeka and they've been around all over the state. We're used to them. Arizona is not. WBC angered a lot of people with their protests at military funerals. They agreed to drop their protest at the funeral of the nine year old (in exchange for air time on two radio stations) but fully plan to carry it out at the funerals of the judge and the Congressional aide. They frequently bring their own children to these protests. The very fact that there is a funeral for a nine year old should be a wake up call. This could be a set up for a second tragedy. Frankly, this scares me. No matter what excuses people make there is a climate of hate in this country. WBC contributes to that climate and in fact may have been one of it's first contributors. There is an old saying, "Live by the sword, die by the sword." I am no defender of the WBC but when the collateral damage is children, people who have no real control over who places them where and in what line of danger, I feel compelled to say something.