Tuesday, June 19, 2012

THIS PRESIDENT Why no respect at all from the right?

Last week Neil Munro of a internet rag called the Daily Caller heckled the President during a speech.  The rag, which is the brain child of attention whore Tucker Carlson has a reputation for being sensational in its reporting but this is a symptom of something much worse.  This is just another in a long line of people who seem to show no respect for the office of the Presidency since President Obama was elected.  But first let's go back to Munro.  His low-life tactics have been roundly criticized by the likes of Chris Wallace and Bernie Goldberg, two conservative news people who frankly I don't have nice things to say about usually but they got this right.  Goldberg went so far to say that if he was his boss, he would have fired Munro before he got back to the office.  But what did Munro's real boss, Carlson do? He tweeted:   “We are very proud of, @NeilMunroDC for doing his job.” 

Really?  You are proud of him for being a rude child during a Presidential speech?   At the White House Rose Garden?  Really?  Well Tucker, maybe your bowtie is too tight because if you truly were a newsman you would see where the line is between being an aggressive reporter and punk.  Yeah, You and Munroe are simply punks with funding and a webpage.  Nice.  You think you are some how relevant,  I guess if that were the case maybe your friends wouldn't have to continue to distance themselves from you.  But then someone who criticized a comedian for not being a proper reporter in the past probably doesn't understand the duty of a reporter.

Now the right wing noise machine jumped on the Munroe bandwagon right away, calling him some kind of hero.  My favorite was likening it to Sam Donaldson's famous questioning of Reagan.  I will make a donation to one of Karl Rove's anti-Democratic Super PACs if anyone can produce evidence that ever happened.  But if you suggest it did and fail to prove you must donate to Obama for America.  You see while people like Donaldson and later Gregory and President Bush had heated exchanges, they never interrupted the President during a speech at the White House.  I remember the era of Reagan and the fundamental disgust some reporters had for his unwillingness to answer tough questions.  But I never saw the President get treated like this.  

However it is not the first time.  Rep. Joe Wilson yelling out during a joint session of Congress calling the President a liar.  He is a particularly interesting character having once lied on C-Span when another Congressman mentioned that the US helped provide Iraq with chemical and biological weapons in the past.  Wilson's response was   "This hatred of America by some people is just outrageous. And you need to get over that."   He later had to apologize for this lie and for the smearing of a great many Americans who were troubled by the efforts to prop up Saddam under the Reagan Administration.  He was seen as a right wing hero.  Then the is Rep. Joe Walsh who said the President got elected because he was black, who takes every waking moment to be critical of anything the President touches, who is a darling of the conservatives and yet is among other things:  a.  a critic of veterans even attacking his opponent for Congress, a disabled veteran and former Black Hawk pilot asking "What else has she done?" and of course saying any veterans in the Occupy movement are anti-American.  b.  Owes over $100,000 in child support, (family values seem to be keeping what I value from my family) for him.  c.  He defaulted on a mortgage and then had the nerve to say it makes him more in touch with the average person.  He too is a hero of the right and I have no doubt that when he loses this fall he will have a nice chair at the right wing think tank and probably a noise machine radio or TV gig. 

This is what the Presidency has become and it makes me wonder.  Through LBJ's abrasiveness, Nixon's criminality, Carter's almost comical micromanaging, Reagan's arrogant detachment, Clinton's various scandals and Bush's election fiasco there were many who questioned the Presidents of my lifetime and even their legitimacy.   But I do not recall the way the office was trashed by people inside the system.  Yeah some nuts burned President Bush in effigy, I wore pins questioning President Reagan's mental stability, and Late Night comedy thrived over cigars and interns under Clinton but we never saw Bob Woodward try to shout down the President, we never saw Howard Metzenbaum question President's Reagan during a speech.  These were just not done until Obama came to office.    

But the climate is ripe.  Leaders in the Republican party have said he lied about his birth record calling the government of the state of Hawaii liars as well as the President.  We have seen people like Franklin Graham, an insider in GOP politics suggest the President is lying about his religion and we have seen the GOP candidate for President of the United State who lost to President Obama say just this past Sunday that attacks on him that were unfair 4 years ago are find for this guy.  So I have to ask, can some one please point out to me why THIS PRESIDENT who while we can easily disagree on policy with is not being attacked on policy but as a person.  Why have so many people felt the decorum that comes with the office can be ignored and why those people are becoming heroes.  HELP.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Silencing women, a new Republican value

If you haven't heard the Michigan State representatives have revived the dying story of the Republicans' continued war on women.  In this case Reps. Lisa Brown of West Bloomfield and Barb Byrum of Onondaga were banned from speaking by the Republican leadership.  It turns out in a debate about new restrictive abortion laws, Brown, who voted against the abortion regulations, told supporters of the bill: "I'm flattered you're all so interested in my vagina. But no means no," referencing the proposal.

Byrum was gaveled out of order after she protested when she wasn't allowed to speak on her amendment, which would have required proof of a medical emergency or that a man's life was in danger before a doctor could perform a vasectomy.

Both were silenced, not allowed to speak, to represent their constituents in a draconian and unconstitutional attempt to silence women once again on the issue of women's health. (In a twist, Brown's debate was going to bring up her Jewish heritage which demands abortions if the birth of the child would likely take the life of the mother so disallowing that debate would also be a violation of her 1st amendment religious rights and those of a Michigan Jews by the GOP leadership).   It continues to be remarkable to me that anyone could look past this idea that women should sit down and shut up when it comes to their own bodies, not even allowed to say the anatomical name for part of their genitalia.   Again, if you haven't read Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale go and get a copy now.  

If the GOP decides this is okay that women can simply be silenced for asserting their opinions then let us show them outrage.  My friend Emily Suess is promoting a campaign to show the Michigan GOP that vaginae (yes the correct plural form)  are not dirty, that women should be allowed to speak for their district and that we will no longer sit back and allow the staunch male conservatives to try to control women's bodies while not being able to use anatomical terminology when speaking of it. (Google transV and West Virginia).  Stand up and be counted in the easilest way possible.  Use twitter and social media to make your point.  But let's go further.  Attend GOP town halls and ask every member of the party if saying vagina should get you silenced.  Question candidates and representatives if women's bodies should only be spoken about in euphemisms by men.  It is time to stand up to these people.  Even if you disagree on abortion and frankly I respect many people who have a different view than I, this issue is bigger than an abortion debate.  Stand up for women and their rights. We don't want to go back to the 19teens again and I don't think most American do not either.  Let's make sure that we don't just like the right wing noise machine control this debate.  Women's voices must be heard, let's make sure the GOP remembers that. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Abortions...not a simple story

Recently a woman here in Indy tried to kill herself and her unborn child with rat poison.  She survived her unborn child did not.  She is charged with murder and infanticide based on Indiana law.  Her defense will be the law is unconstitutional so once again Indiana will be at the center of a controversial decision.  I don't right now have an opinion on this case but that is not what I am writing about.  I follow on Facebook a local reporter/pot stirrer Abdul-Hakim Shabbazz.  One of his other followers said this, “Sometime maybe you can help me understand a local story where a woman used her right to choose to end her own life and her unborn baby with rat poison and is charged with infanticide and murder. If she went to a clinic and had an abortion the same day she would be a hero. Can you explain that one?”
I am always struck by the comfort the anti-abortion crowd has with suggesting they know what I think as a pro-choice advocate.  A hero?  Really?  I have been an advocate for abortion rights for almost 30 years and I have met no one who cheers abortions.  Most people believe they should be safe, legal and rare who identify as pro-choice.  Abortions in fact have been on a slow and steady decline since 1990.  Part of the reason is that we are doing better comprehensive sexuality education.  Teaching young people about the responsibility of their sexual behavior is important.  Raising our children to not only embrace who they are as sexual beings but showing them how to respect it up to and including things like birth control, honoring one’s body by acting safely and of course honoring whoever one chooses as a partner.  These are the things that will make unwanted pregnancies and abortions reduce in number.  The other benefit is later first intercourse, less disease and more positive choices about sexual behavior as a young adult and into middle age.  Understanding the sex is a positive thing but something that comes with responsibility will eliminate the need for many abortions.  But it might be easier to simply lob simplistic bumper sticker slogans.  I know it takes less thought. 

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