Sunday, August 26, 2012

Where Do YOU Stand On Rape? And Where Do The Haters Stand? (Republicans Declare Support for Rapists As Unending War on Women Picks Up Speed)

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(Hush! Do I hear the wind whispering "Jebbie?")

On day before GOP convention starts, the once Republican former Governor of state in which it is held endorses the Democratic President. Can you say "Awkward?"

The GOP War Against Women just keeps breaking out. No matter how they keep stuffing it "back in the closet." And now that they have a ticket without a Protestant member, we see exactly how ideology trumps religion with these religionists (or are they?).

Men Who Father Through Rape Are Able To Assert the Same Custody and Visitation Rights To Their Children (Even Girls!) That Other Fathers Enjoy

Politico broke a story on Sunday that a group of Republican congressmen, their staffers, and families had gone for a rowdy dip in the Sea of Galilee on an official trip to Israel last summer, with a representative from Kansas, Kevin Yoder, swimming in the buff. Is this a mini-scandal worth caring about?
What interests me about it is that two of the three founders of the GOP’s self-styled “Young Guns” — Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy — were on that junket, if not skinny dipping themselves. It’s also interesting that they kept this mini-scandal secret for a year. It makes you wonder what else happened on this junket or other outings by this cohort. Perhaps the third founding “Young Gun” — that would be Paul Ryan — can tell us.
. . . In an NBC/WSJ poll released last night, only 12 percent of registered voters said they approved of the job Congress is doing, tying the all-time low. And most of the survey was taken before the Akin comments and the Sea of Galilee news. If you were John Boehner, how would you be feeling right now?

Probably that I need a smoke.

. . . But this is a far bigger immediate problem for Romney than Boehner. By putting Ryan on the ticket, Mitt can’t escape his association with the Republican House, and next week many of those congressmen will descend into a Tampa full of strip clubs and other temptations where dress is optional.
. . . Women are second-class citizens in the Church of Latter-Day Saints, where the entire top brass is male and where women are forbidden to assume leadership roles open to Mormon boys starting at age 12. Mormons are also major financial contributors to anti-gay-rights initiatives, most notoriously the successful Prop 8 campaign in California. Was Romney among those donors? That’s yet another question that might be answered if we saw his tax returns.

Oliver Burkeman, Guardian UK
25 August 2012

Hurricanes, alligators, Donald Trump and some of the worst-case scenarios GOP operatives will be hoping to avoid.

As a woman who has had more than a passing acquaintance with rape, this essay seems to stand the test of time (with me at least).

These candidates don't.

(It seems to me that these are some of the same rationales we hear when countries led by people without ethics attack their enemies).

Paul Ryan On Exceptions for Abortions: Rape Is Just Another "Method of Conception."

Courtesy of the Raw Story:

“Specifically where you stand when it comes to rape, and when it comes to the issue of should it be legal for a woman to be able to get an abortion if she’s raped?” WJHL reporter Josh Smith wondered. 

“I’m very proud of my pro-life record, and I’ve always adopted the idea that, the position that the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life,” Ryan explained. “But let’s remember, I’m joining the Romney-Ryan ticket. And the president makes policy.”

“And the president, in this case the future President Mitt Romney, has exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother, which is a vast improvement of where we are right now.” 

MSNBC’s Steve Benen noted that responses like this were probably the reason that Romney is refusing to take any questions about Akin or abortion.

You know one has to wonder how Ryan would feel if it were his wife or daughter that was the victim of a rape, and then found themselves pregnant with their attacker's child.  Would Mr. Pro-Life demand that they carry that potential life to term?

To be clear rape is not a "method of conception" it is an act of violence. The greatest outcome that a rapist could hope for is that their victim be forced to bear their child, so that they can be humiliated and shamed even further.

And apparently they have a partner in that endeavor in the form of Paul Ryan.

P.S. To be clear I in NO WAY wish for Mrs. Ryan, nor her daughter, to suffer the humiliation of rape, in ANY of its forms. I have worked as a crisis counselor and rape prevention instructor and know full well the life long effects of rape.

My point is that Congressman Ryan does not seem to have that kind of understanding, and that I imagine his opinion would dramatically change were he to be confronted with the effects that having a member of his immediate family raped and impregnated would have on them, on him, and on his family.

 Nothing will cure these people.

Except for momentous defeats at the polls.

Frank Rich, New York Magazine
24 August 2012
Todd Akin rebuffed pressure from Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Karl Rove, and pretty much the entire GOP Establishment, refusing to exit his Senate race against Claire McCaskill after saying that "legitimate rape" rarely leads to pregnancy. Akin has been ahead in the polls. Is he delusional that he can still win?

Assuming he doesn't get out after all, perhaps after extracting some back-room favors, there's a chance he could still win. Missouri is the generally red state that gave us John Ashcroft. Akin’s base has now been energized by his martyrdom at the hands of the despised GOP Establishment (or what’s left of it). He still has strong support from both the national and local family values Ayatollahs, led by Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. That the national GOP and Rove’s PACs have pulled their money out of the Akin race may prove meaningless.
He can recruit his own billionaire sugar daddies, starting with Foster Friess, the Santorum bankroller who “joked” earlier this year that “gals” might best practice birth control by putting aspirin between their knees. And other money may find its way to Akin too this fall if that one seat is really all that stands in the way of Republican control of the Senate. While the Beltway commentariat may now be busy declaring Akin “unelectable” (as the Cook Political Report put it), let’s not forget that much of this same crowd prematurely declared the death of the tea party.

The truth is that Akin is typical of today’s GOP, not some outlier; only a handful of the House’s 241 Republican members differ at all from his hard-line stand on abortion. And on women’s rights, the Senate caucus is barely different: Only one of that chamber’s 47 GOP members voted against the so-called Blunt Amendment, another Republican jihad against women’s health care this year.

The Republican War Against Women never went away — it hasn’t gone away for a quarter century. But in presidential years, the party tries to stuff it in the closet so women in particular and moderate voters in general won’t be frightened off. After the earlier eruptions this year — the Congressman Darrell Issa convening a men-only panel on birth control in the House, Limbaugh calling the Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke a “slut,” Romney vowing to cut all federal support of Planned Parenthood — GOP Establishment types predicted that the ruckus would soon fade and that the little women of America would stop worrying their pretty little heads about it.
“Nobody thinks it will matter in a couple of months,” was how the former GOP congressman and Romney supporter Vin Weber put it in March.  But because there actually is a GOP war on women, it will keep erupting. Let’s not forget that the chairman of the platform panel that just ratified the absolutist abortion plank is none other than Bob McDonnell, the Virginia governor who earlier this year endorsed a bill subjecting women seeking abortions to a state-mandated invasive vaginal ultrasound test. (Does this procedure meet the Ryan-Akin definition of “forcible rape”?) And Romney is no less committed to the war on women than all the rest.

He has also called for the elimination of Title X, the federal program that provides birth control, pap smears, and breast-cancer screening, among other preventative health care, to poor women who otherwise could not afford it. Yet somehow the GOP still believes post-Akin that its war on women can be stuffed back into the closet. It’s revealing that on the morning after Akin announced his decision to stay in the race, both Murdoch papers, the
Wall Street Journal and New York Post, buried the news in their inside pages and ran no editorials on the subject. But wishing won’t make this go away.

Well, they don't hate women like Bachmann or Palin or even Mitters' wife (but they aren't crazy about them either).

Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, right, a Republican currently running for the US Senate, listens to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., before a news conference on Ryan's budget agenda, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Marshall Auerback, AlterNet 
25 August 2012
Romney and Ryan envision an anti-woman economy and society, but women are increasingly key to winning elections. 
issouri GOP senatorial candidate Todd Akin's absurd comment that women's bodies can prevent pregnancies in cases of "legitimate rape" is disgusting. It also points to a deeper problem within the GOP.

Plainly, this is a party that hates women. And given the huge gender gap opening up in favor of President Obama over the presumptive GOP candidate, Mitt Romney, this has important implications for economic and social policy going forward. Because if they win, the Democrats are less likely to embrace the draconian fiscal austerity proposals now advocated by Romney's advisors, along with the party's regressive social agenda.

The current Republican Party is a perverse coalition of the top 1 percent and the socially conservative right. The latter are not well off for the most part. The Koch brothers (and others of that ilk) have managed to convince the have-not religious fundamentalists to vote against their own economic interests and support their internal colonialism through economically regressive policies which are exacerbating the country's mounting economic inequality.

This is untenable over the long run. Skewing income distributions by shoveling money to the top always ends in a big political upheaval. The social conservatives are older and aging and becoming less of the total electorate. Someday the GOP's infernal combination will blow apart because the top 1 percent will be rejected by the masses and the numbers of the social conservatives will dwindle too much.

Why? Largely because of today's new generation of women who, although they represent varying degrees of economic progressivism to conservatism, is largely rejecting the social conservatism of the Creationists and hardcore fundamentalists on the right. President Obama continues to outpoll Mitt Romney by substantial margins among women voters. I would guess that this will more than offset the appeal Romney holds among angry white males, increasingly alienated by a country that is becoming less white, more socially diverse, a veritable rainbow coalition of different ethnicities rather than a Caucasian-dominated nation. An older generation of women who saw no other way than to be dependent and kept and sexually repressed is dying out.

This will change the economic landscape. Why? Well, take a look at the latest bit of "economic wisdom" from the Romney campaign (I owe this observation to economist Bill Mitchell), which has just put out an economic paper, The Romney Program for Economic Recovery, Growth, and Jobs, written by Stanford's John B Taylor, Harvard's Greg Mankiew, Columbia's Glenn Hubbard, and Kevin Hassett from the American Enterprise Institute. These men make the following claims:

America took a wrong turn in economic policy in the past three years. The United States underperformed the historical norm shown in the administration's own forecasts, and its policies are to blame . . . These short-term stimulus packages were ineffective, leaving the nation with higher debt, which acts as a drag on long-term growth because households and businesses understand that the administration must raise taxes significantly to pay off that debt.

Romney's economic team also claims that "uncertainty over policy" (i.e. the large deficits and the private fear of large tax hikes) is preventing a sound recovery in private spending. This has been a common theme among the conservatives since the governments decided to deploy fiscal stimulus.

True, President Obama also retains an unhealthy obsession with "long-term fiscal sustainability" and "entitlement reform" (i.e. shredding the social safety net). But for the most part, he has avoided the worst of the excesses of the fiscal austerity fanatics in Europe and those of the Tea Party in the U.S. As a consequence, the U.S. economy has continued to grow. True, it is below trend, but it is still growing and generating some jobs, in marked contrast to what is occurring on the other side of the pond.

Mainstream economic theory claims that that private spending is weak because we are scared of the future tax implications of the rising budget deficits. But the overwhelming evidence shows that if you own a business, you're not going to invest while consumption is weak. And households will not spend because people are scared of becoming unemployed and are trying to reduce their bloated debt levels. Above all else, businesses need sales to encourage them to hire workers. A restaurant doesn't lay anyone off when it's full of paying customers, no matter how much the owner might hate the government, the paper work, and the health regulations; a department store doesn't lay off workers when it's full of paying customers; and an engineering firm doesn't lay anyone off when it has a backlog of orders.

And guess what? Women are not only more than half of the electorate, but they are a huge part of the overall aggregate demand for goods and services. Under the Republican agenda, women could well revert to a kind of economic serfdom, whose labor expended can be considered surplus to that required to maintain the survival of the man and his family.

In fact, if Romney's plan were to be introduced now or, worse yet, the automatic budget sequestration cuts proposed in the Budget Control Act from last fall were actually implemented, (which mandates across-the-board cuts to reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion over 10 years), then we'd likely experience a double-dip recession in the U.S. next year. Support for this view has been expressed by no less than the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) which argued in a report the other day, that the U.S. economy would slide into recession in fiscal 2013 if Congress fails to act to maintain current tax rates and avert deep cuts to federal spending.

Austerity advocates like Romney and Ryan are obsessed with putting the squeeze on public spending, especially broad social welfare and education. Their plans mean that workers get trapped in a low-skill, low-pay circle of disadvantage. The increasingly casualized labor market is reinforcing that pathology, particularly for women.

So keep "squeezing" that public spending, guys.

Cause you've got the money to last it out - and buy everything left on the cheap?

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