Thursday, October 30, 2008

Art update (I'm just churning it out this week!)

On the Silent Wings of Freedom

Sure, if you're a sexist, feminism has ruined your love life

One of my homies over at Feministing posted an article by Dr. Wendy Walsh, "How Feminism Hurt Our Love Lives". Oy. There's so much wrong with this article, but before I go into that, I had to do a little research on Dr. Wendy Walsh.

It turns out she's actually got a Ph.D in clinical psychology -- which means she's a therapist, well, actually, she's just overqualified to write self-help books because her undergraduate degree is in journalism. Although, I shouldn't criticize her credentials because I'm sure someday someone is going to criticize me for having my undergrad degree in art rather than something related to law. Bygones. Dr. Walsh has written two books The Girlfriend Test: A Quiz for Women who want to be a Better Date and a Better Mate and The Boyfriend Test: How to Evaluate his Potential Before You Lose Your Heart. I'm not going to go into these books, but suffice it to say, Dr. Walsh writes from a perspective of maintaining heteronormative dating standards, especially the ones that say you're not worth anything, as a woman, if you don't have a man. Perhaps I'm reading too much into it, but in my opinion anyone who asks "are you girlfriend material?" is going to place a value judgment on the answer.

Now, getting to why feminism ruins people's love lives. At the beginning of the article, Dr. Walsh makes it clear that she is indebted to feminism and she knows it. Good. Perhaps she should have done a little research about feminism, however, rather than just spouting off all of the misconceptions about feminism like...
"I think the whole feminist movement is a bit of a misnomer anyway -- feminism didn't liberate femininity. Feminism liberated masculine energy in women. It was a masculinist movement. This is a good thing. Because of masculism, er, I mean feminism, we can now procure income in the male dominated marketplace and buy ourselves any kind of life we want."
Feminism didn't liberate femininity. Funny, that. Before I go into how wrong she is on this point, let's look at the fallacy that is "we can... buy ourselves any kind of life we want", which in her mind does not include the so-called traditional lives that many, many women still live, even in a so-called liberated society. That's not to say that a great deal of the feminist movement hasn't disappointed women who prefer to be housewives, but "any kind of life we want" does not happen to preclude being a wife and mother -- you can even ask Gloria Steinem. But that's just a semantics argument, the real issue here is her insistence that feminism only liberated masculinity in women, but did nothing for femininity.

Let's go back to the femininity thing, in fact, let's go all the way back to sexism.
"Remember the chick you once broke down in tears in the office? How embarrassing, you thought. You vowed then, to never, ever act like a "girl" at work, right? By the way, I was that girl and made an even stronger vow that day. I swore that no one would ever see me as weak again. And, so I trashed my authentic self -- the girl who used to be vulnerable, honest, and aware of my feelings -- and I even began to distrust my own intuition. Intuition, a primal gift to women, now somehow seemed illogical in the workplace."
Feminism tells that woman that she's not weak because she cries. Feminism attacks this sexist principal (that women are weak and illogical because they are emotional) and attempts to slit its throat, but people like Dr. Walsh here keep applying first aid to the idea that woman=emotional=illogical=weak. Moreover, it applies the opposite standard to men: that masculinity is anything but these things, ergo the stigma around emotionality as a feminine trait persists to the detriment of individuals and relationships. This is exactly the opposite of what Dr. Walsh claims, that women becoming feminists, becoming strong, ruins relationships because now no one is crying, emotional, illogical, and weak.

Weakness is a sexual epithet. If you are weak, either physically or emotionally -- that is, if you show any sort of discomfort at physical or emotional trials -- then you are weak, no matter your gender. That is a societal stigma that feminism strives to defeat. Feminists like myself want to erase the idea that being emotional is a sign of weakness and thereby a sign of being less-than. Weakness leads to vulnerability, and while being vulnerable in the arms of one's lover is a good thing, while meeting new lovers it can be very dangerous. What feminism has done in dating is level the playing field (although, not wholly because women do tend toward showing vulnerability before men do), and taught women to be on their guard because some men are abusive assholes who will take advantage of you. Never forget, of course, that anti-feminism has done the opposite and taught men that any woman is to be taken advantage of because they're all going to use you for your money, trick you into getting married, and blah blah blah. While this could be considered a backlash, it's just misogyny making an attempt to take feminism down with it.
"Finally, feminism did a disservice to many women who weren't (and aren't) unhappy with traditional gender roles."
Really? Is that why all the sexism in the media has disappeared in the last 30 years? Is that why there are no dating websites dedicated to "traditional gender roles"? Is that why the population has gone down so dramatically, and the rate of reproduction since the Women's Lib movement of the 70s has decreased so much? Is that enough sarcasm?
"Feminism robbed them of their identities by devaluing their job description. Millions of women whose self esteem was derived from their role as a great mother or supportive wife were suddenly left with a low-ranking title. There are still many women, (indeed, the backbone of our country) who cringe at a cocktail party when that inevitable small-talk query pops up, "And, what do you do?"

Somehow it seems awkward to say, "I take pride in my soufflé, kiss plenty of boo boos, find joy in my garden, and I spend a lot of time helping my family with their emotional struggles." No, instead, the woman who does those very things everyday is forced, in public, to extol the merits of the part-time office job that brings her income and not much more."
No dear, that was unfettered, unregulated Freidmanite Free Market CapitalismTM. Because while many women seek to be more than just wombs and caregivers, there are a lot of women who enjoy being mothers and wives, but their families can't be supported on a single income like they could during the golden age of the middle class in the 50s. It wasn't feminism that destroyed this, it was deregulation of markets, outsourcing of jobs, and wages not keeping up with the cost of living. For centuries lower class women, who didn't have the luxury to remain housewives worked to support their families, and feminism allowed them to demand equal wages and equal opportunities. One of my heros, Mary Kay Ash, began her own feminism movement by starting the Mary Kay Cosmetics company, not because she wanted to be more than a housewife, but because she had worked all her life to support her family and saw men she had trained advancing far and ahead of her.

Mary Kay couldn't, even if she had wanted to, just resigned herself to being a middle class housewife, and by claiming that feminism has ruined it for middle class housewives is completely bogus because the majority of feminism's history has been all about the straight, white, middle class, housewife. Up until recently feminism has all but ignored women who didn't fit this mould, so don't tell me that feminism ruined everything for the wife and mother because she is now uncomfortable with the knowledge she has the privilege to be a stay at home mom.
"And, if you think that a married woman who is in touch with her femininity is a pariah in public, imagine a single woman who is developing hers: "Well, I read a lot of parenting and self-help books. I'm currently dating and hoping to encourage emotional intimacy in a man so that we can form a warm union and grow together." That statement just wouldn't fly, would it? Yet, I think this is what many of us are secreting hoping for."
If feminism has taught me anything it's that, as a woman, I should never be ashamed to ask for what I want. If I wanted to be a middle class housewife who takes care of children and is taken care of by my husband, I would have gone to a dating site that caters to people who desire those things. I would have had to marry rich, however, because like most American women, I wasn't born into privilege and I still have to work for a living, just like my boyfriend does. Women who are "secretly hoping" for someone to take care of us, who long for the Cinderella story, basically ignore the fact that in our capitalist society you don't just get a living wage because you have a 40-hour a week job. Middle class is miles away for many of us and that's what you have to be to have the luxury to be a stay-at-home mom. Your beef isn't with feminism, Doc, it's with unfettered capitalism which has destroyed a family's ability to survive on one income.
"It seemed with all the effort to conform and succeed in a male world we unknowingly threw out a crucial, feminine skill -- the ability to be the emotional conduit for a logic-locked man. For centuries, women have held the keys to the emotional locker in relationships."
If I wasn't certain Dr. Walsh was absolutely serious about this, I would be laughing my ass off right now. The notion that all men are logical is another of sexism's core principals. Let me offer a little anecdote here: my boyfriend is not logical unless he's programming. He's extremely emotional, and in the right company he's not afraid to let you know that. I, on the other hand, operating under the assumption that all women are emotional messes, am the opposite. My nature is to be very logical, his nature is to be very emotional. This particular gender-role is reversed, and it's not a detriment to our relationship. What would be detrimental to both our individual and relational well-beings would be to pretend that I am not logical and that he isn't emotional.

The detriment to relationships and the sacred love-life is not that feminism has allowed women to display their logical sides, it's that sexism and misogyny continue to force the idea on us that women are only emotional and "hold the keys to the emotional locker" and that men are not allowed to do this for themselves. So, yeah, I guess if you're a sexist, feminism has ruined your love life.
"In relationships, our retreat from any behavior that might be deemed submissive has caused us to throw out the baby with the bath water. We are so afraid of submission that we have forgotten how to be supportive."
Submission=!=support, for the record. I'm plenty supportive (and in some private instances submissive) in my relationship, but I'm not dumb enough to confuse or be afraid of either of them. My nurturing of the Mister is not subverting my will, and any emotionally mature adult knows the same.
"Indeed many of our Mothers, so inspired by the feminist ideal, deliberately forgot to teach us about love, relationships, nurturing, or -- God forbid! -- the power and creativity derived from running a loving household."
Once again, Doc, your beef isn't with feminism, it's with capitalism. Wanna know why my mom didn't have the opportunity to teach me about running a loving household? Cause she was working. She had to work, and she worked her ass off just to keep a roof over my head. It wasn't that she was inspired by the feminist ideal, it was that she didn't have the luxury of being born into privilege and therefore not having to focus all of her energy on paying the bills. She didn't forget: she was busy making sure I had food. I suspect that that is the case for most of these "Mothers" who "deliberately forgot". They didn't forget dick, working for a living sucks.
"Martha Stewart reminds us of what's missing in our lives, as we manage our hectic schedules, eating from take-out boxes, in our immaculate granite kitchens, wearing our own purchases, and juggling would-be suitors who don't happen to suit us this week."
Martha fucking Stewart. One of the most successful women in America. A woman so successful that she was punished for her success under the guise of "insider trading" and sent to jail. A woman so successful that her prison sentence was minimized when the federal facility was called "Camp Cupcake". Martha Stewart is not someone whose visage you want to conjure while demonizing feminism. Martha Stewart is a pioneer for feminists, even if she does support her empire doing traditionally feminine things, like crafts and baked goods. Good! She's doing what she loves and making a fantastic living at it! She's a perfect role model for capitalists and feminists! By the way, Martha is a divorced single mother. She doesn't exactly have the luxury not to be a brilliant business woman.

"In short, love has become a mystery. Relationships have an arcane quality that puzzles both genders. I personally think that most single men keep hoping that the right woman will come along with the keys to his emotional locker."

In which case he needs to grow up. Being in a relationship is not about replacing your opposite-sex parental figure with a spouse -- that's creepy. I'm not my boyfriend's mother, he's not my father. It's not my job to unlock his "emotional locker" (what the hell is that, by the way?), that's his job. Feminism, and more generally, pluralism, has taught us that we are all individuals (we are all individuals) and the life of each person is that person's responsibility. Having a pluralistic, and specifically feminist, view of the world and the self enhances one's ability to be a good mate. You can't be in an emotionally mature and satisfying relationship if all you're doing is parroting the gender roles that were prescribed to you upon your birth and classification as male or female. It's not possible.

There are a lot of people who find these prescribed gender roles comfortable, but the will do nothing but benefit from the self-searching that questioning gender roles provides. Why do I cook dinner for my boyfriend? Because I'm a good cook. Because I like it. Because he gets home later than I do, and feeding him is just as easy as feeding myself. Why do I do other domestic chores? Because they need to be done, and I have the opportunity. Asking ourselves why we do certain things helps us to be mature, better people. If you're doing something because society tells you to, not because you want or need to do it for your own personal reasons, you're going to be unhappy.

Feminism teaches women and men to question societal gender roles. Do I have to lift weights? Do I have to knit? Do I have to do these things that are prescribed for my gender in order to be happy? No. You don't. You can do things that aren't prescribed for your gender, and no matter which gender stereotypes you conform to, you're no less of a person for it. That's the point. Feminism doesn't just make women more masculine, it also makes men more feminine -- if they WANT to be. I mean, hey, just look at Martha Stewart.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Best picture of the whole campaign

Inflammatory things yelled at Obama rallies

Obama, saying something about McCain policies.
Audience member, "BOOO!"
Obama, "No need to 'boo', just vote."

Some other things I'm hearing while listening to the Obama rally in Pittsburgh:
"We got your back!"
"Change is coming!"
Small child's voice, "Obama! Obama! Obama!"
"We love you!"
"U! S! A! U! S! A!"
"Yes we can!"

Obama talks about bridging differences and coming together, while McCain talks about Bill Ayers. What a difference.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Did you catch this?

Orly? Ya, rly. Ex-chair of super right wing Freedom's Watch lambasted Barack Obama for going to Hawaii to be with his dying grandmother who may not live to see the election. What happened to "family values", Brad Blakeman? Doesn't making sure you spend as much time as possible with your gran when she's on her deathbed fall under the purview of "family values"? Or does it only count if you're getting a hundred people together to protest a court decision to have her feeding tube removed after she's been on life support for 17 years? (Oh, and it's a 757.)

How about this tid-bit? Banks Weighing Other Uses for Bailout Money
Several major U.S. banks are leaning toward spending a portion of their federal rescue money on acquiring other financial firms rather than for issuing new loans, the primary purpose of the government's $250 billion initiative to invest in banks.

Say what? Didn't Dumbya go on the teevee and say we had to do this 700 B-for-billion-dollar-bailout so as to alleviate the credit freeze? And they want to use the money for mergers and acquisitions? Say what? Did my worst fear come true? Has Milton Friedman come back as a Free Market Zombie?

No matter, Republicans are eating their own according to the Politico, Blame game: GOP forms circular firing squad. Blaming each other for everything while calling Barack Obama a grandma-loving socialist who wants to tax you and then give you money. Damn.

Finally, in news that will make my ailing boyfriend squee (then cough), Daniel Craig thinks Barack Obama would make a good James Bond.

“Obama would be the better Bond because — if he’s true to his word — he’d be willing to quite literally look the enemy in the eye and go toe-to-toe with them,” Craig told Parade magazine in an issue that hits newspapers on Sunday. “McCain, because of his long service and experience, would probably be a better M (James Bond’s boss).”

“There is, come to think of it, a kind of Judi Dench quality to McCain,” Craig added.

I believe Dame Judi would be offended by that last bit.

Here are a couple more news items you shouldn't have missed this week:
OPEC Cuts Oil Production and oil prices tank... signs that the speculators are out?
Ted Kennedy continues his duties while in hospital
Told ya so Former treasury secretary traces the see-through value of the dollar back to Friedman-omics
ripping her Louis Vuitton purse from her hands, 8-year-olds are totally capable of understanding that.
Surprise vote flipping!
Surprise! Al Qaeda wants McCain to win! And instead of ignoring the endorsement, the McCain campaign is saying that Al Q is using "reverse psychology". Rachel Maddow has more.
McCain concedes Colorado!
The truth about ACORN, for those of you who still watch Fox666 News.
Just read what Randi has to say about Michelle McCarthy -- erm, Bachman.

You have all weekend. I expect a summary Monday morning.

Choices you can live with huh?

"it's about CHOICES you can live with"


For my job I make many trips to the Seattle Municipal Building downtown. On their ground level there are a few businesses, a Starbucks, one other, and a KeyBank. Behind the account specialists is the above banner talking about "choices you can live with" while having scary black&white pictures of children and a baby (lower L corner).

As a student of art, especially Modern and Contemporary art, I got the semiotics (language of symbolism) lectures. Symbolism is important and powerful. The semiotics here is very clearly anti-choice. Why? Because in our culture when you pair the word "choice" with a picture of a baby or kid, it's automatically talking about abortion because the cultural semiotics, the cultural symbolism, has evolved to where that's the message.

"choice"+image of kid=abortion

So, "it's about CHOICES you can live with" in front of pictures of kids on a bank banner ad is kind of saying "our bank is anti-choice". At least, their advertising department is.

The thing that I don't understand is why this is in the Seattle Municipal Building. You can't tell me that the people who approved this banner didn't get what the visual language was saying -- I don't know anyone who wouldn't, at least on some level, understand that this ad is referring to "choices you can live with" as opposed to the choice to have an abortion.

Frankly, I'm frightened by this ad, and I wish I had had a better camera than that in my cell phone when I was down there today.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Barack O'Lanterns!

Have you run out of surfaces on which to display your support of Barack Obama? Well, good news! With Halloween coming up, many of us buy and carve pumpkins in a festive celebration of a holiday that no longer resembles the one that was appropriated for this great festival.

This year you can download and print pro-Obama patterns for your pumpkin carving by going to! They have a bunch of great patterns -- I'll post a picture of mine when I've finished it (we're getting pumpkins this weekend).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Top 10 worst Halloween treats? Really?

Ed Levine and Erin Zimmer put together this lovely little list that destroys my childhood. Or perhaps I just don't get the real point of Halloween: full-sized chocolate candy bars, giant bags of Skittles, and no candy corn. But I do agree with some of the things they say shouldn't be handed out.

Dentists and orthodontists should not be allowed to celebrate Halloween if they're going to get all tooth doctory on us. Do not bring your work home with you, folks! We all have a personal responsibility to brush, and maybe some of us will forget, but your complimentary bristles on a stick (instead of a Snickers) will not help us remember. It will make us despise you and your trade."

I've always thought that there's something wrong with this debate about whether toothbrushes are a legitimate Halloween treat. First of all, it's kind of condescending for someone to give you a toothbrush -- especially when you're a kid. Our parents bought us toothbrushes when we were kids, it wasn't up to the neighborhood dental specialist to provide those. On the other hand, you are eating a lot of candy on Halloween, so it's nice for them to want to promote the most essential part of our young heaths. Still, toothbrushes aren't cool. Unless they're the cool travel toothbrushes -- those say "go somewhere fun, but don't forget to brush your teeth".

Little boxes of stuck-together shriveled globs are not what little kids schlep around the neighborhood for all night.

Long before "poisoned candy" scares, evil people were handing out apples instead of candy on Halloween. ..."

The reason people hand out fruit on Halloween is just as condescending as the reason dentists hand out toothbrushes: they're "looking out for your health". Except that since the West appropriated the Pagan holiday Samhain, there has been nothing healthy about Halloween. Nothing. Kids wander around in cute costumes getting massive amounts of candy and eating it all in one setting, while adults dress up in slutty costumes and wander around getting massive amounts of alcohol and end up passed out in the bathroom of your best friend's boyfriend's apartment hoping that that creepy guy isn't going to come molest you. Halloween as we outside of the Pagan community know it is not a healthy holiday. And we like it that way.

Some other things that should be verboten for Halloween treats:

Religious Literature
Yes, I know, I have to accept Jesus in order to go to heaven... or something, and yes, I know that by celebrating Halloween I am giving into the Devil's desires for me to have a good time and it makes Jesus cry. Guess what, Church Lady, I don't care. Halloween is for fun, not Jesus and I'm Jewish anyway so I'm already going to hell. Stop trying to push your religion on me.

Bubble Gum
Squares of pink, hardened chemicals that kinda taste like... something do not count as candy. The worst ones are the kind that look like jawbreakers but are really gum. Nasty.

Breath Mints
People who go out and stock up on those LifeSavers mints and try to give them out for Halloween are cheap bastards. Levine and Zimmer get all huffy about Smarties and Necco waffers, but at least those taste like something. Breath mints are not candy, they're breath mints.

Plastic Spider Rings
Biggest. Waste. Ever. Every year you get a plastic spider ring and wear it for the duration of the Trick-or-Treat-ing and then it gets either A)thrown out with the candy wrappers, or B)lost in your room somewhere and you find seven of them three years later and get all flipped out because you think that somehow, they mated.

But for the record, Smarties, Necco waffers, Laffy Taffy, and candy corn are totally awesome. Unless...

"Candy corn Lewis, my mother would tell me, it's corn that tastes like candy. Except it tastes like SHIT!" -- Lewis Black

He makes a pretty compelling point, but the candy-corn pumpkins are still good... except when your drunk friends eat them all.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Funniest Obama internet-sticker yet

Care of Molly's Astrology -- who has an interesting take on the Election this year.

Meanwhile, if you haven't been paying attention

It's more like OILigarchy...

McCain campaign disrespects American flag

Via Americablog and KSDK St. Louis

I. Am. Livid.

For the last 5-7 years Republicans and other conservatively identified assholes in this country have question the patriotism of liberals like myself who questioned policies put forth by the Bush Administration. And now, during an historic presidential campaign, those taking down the United States flag after a McCain rally have the audacity to allow it, not just to drag on the ground, (an oversight that could be forgiven) but they drop it on the ground!

Now, listen, I know a lot of people are going to get all "why are you so mad about this, Rachel? It's just a flag". No, just stop, it's not "just a flag", it's OUR flag. This flag is a symbol of this country and I don't care who calls me a jingoist (which I'm not because I happen to exercise my right to dissent) or a Nationalist (fine, I'm a Nationalist, I believe in this country and I believe it can be this best country on the planet), but this is a big deal. It used to be that the single most disrespectful thing anyone could do was to throw our flag on the ground, and as far as I'm concerned, it still is.

What's worse, however, is people who are American citizens, who I assume revere what our country stands for, carelessly dropping the flag on the ground. I was in Girl Scouts and we were taught how to treat the flag -- and THIS IS NOT how you treat our flag.

The biggest thing though is that when I disagree with the invasion of Iraq, I was told to "move to Canada" (and I still haven't gotten an apology, despite the fact that I was RIGHT); whenever any of us on the so-called left disagree with jingoistic Repubicans, our patriotism is impugned with the most vicious and hateful rhetoric -- and yet, I will bet my rice that none of them is upset about this.

This is our flag, people. This is the symbol of our country and everything that's supposed to be right with it. You call me a traitor or whatever for refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance (which was mindlessly recited daily when I was in high school, I refused to say it because my Allegiance is to the Constitution, the substance, not the symbol), yet no one cares that people working for the McCain campaign don't even give enough of a fuck about the symbol of the country to have a couple people hold it while it's being taken off a crane. Nice.

Symbolism is important. Disrespecting the symbol of a country is analogous to disrespecting the country. Not giving a fuck about the symbol of the country is equally analogous to not giving a fuck about the country.

So much for "Country First", eh Johnny?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Yes on I-1000

This year there is a ballot initiative in Washington State called the "Death with Dignity" Act, which would allow an adult who is terminally ill to seek a lethal prescription from a doctor, effectively ending their lives at a time and in a means of their choosing rather than hanging on by a thread until they are in more pain than is humane, or are in complete vegetative states.

When this initiative was collecting signatures, I refused to add mine. I decided (much like I had with the smoking ban a couple years ago) that I wouldn't sign, but if it got onto the ballot I would at least consider voting for it. It took me a long time to actually make that decision, and even when I was looking at my ballot on Saturday I briefly considered voting against it, but in the end I voted for it.

Why? What were my concerns? Well, first let me tell you that seeking a lethal prescription is seeking to commit suicide, and that's not a decision I can support, even knowing that a person is going to die in a manner that is painful, dehumanizing, etc. However, it's not my choice. I am not terminally ill, and neither is anyone with whom I am close, and that means that it's not up to me to decide when and how a person should die.

So, like one of the reasons I am pro-choice (that is, it's up to the woman in question what to do with the contents of her uterus, not anyone else and certainly not the government), I ended up supporting this initiative because I am only in charge of my life and what I do with it. Not having had to face the dehumanizing effects of terminal illness in it's last stage, I don't have anything to look on here. And I believe that, as human beings, we ultimately want to live, and just seeking a lethal prescription which one administers one's self, does not necessarily mean that the patient will go home and commit suicide right away.

You see, the terminally ill are already planning their deaths. They are making amends, they are drafting wills, they are having parties, and saying goodbye, but after all of those things are done, they have to wait for death. I believe that the knowledge of my impending death would be so torturous that I, too, would seek some kind of way to know when and how. A quiet death in one's sleep is much easier on both family and patient... instead of having to watch your loved one deteriorate physically, mentally, until they are no longer the person you know and perhaps barely a person at all.

It was difficult for me to support this measure because I like to think that I am immortal and that whatever pain I am in I will live through -- that's been the theme of my entire life. But I, like everyone, am not immortal. I will die one day. You will die one day. I would hope that if my end was determined to be a slow and painful deterioration, I would not be forced to endure that torture -- that's what we're voting on here.

Live well, but die well too.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Voting tiiiime is heeere, brining loooots of cheer...

Our ballots, as well as my voter registration card, arrived this morning. Being the nerd I am, I couldn't wait to fill it out...

Saying it loudly, and with the most pride I've ever felt:

I voted for the person with the best policies, who also happens to be a black guy.

In short:

I voted for the black guy.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Target Women: Disney Princesses

Dear Senator McCain: the policies you're proposing didn't work in Chile, either

I've been reading Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, wherein she details (among other things) the coup in Chile that deposed Salvador Allende and placed Agusto Pinochet as the supreme executive and president of everything (along with Miss Chile, and Chile Idol, as well as winner of the Chile Chili Cookoff during all 17-years of his reign of terror and mediocre chili).

Agusto Pinochet, a cruel, evil dictatorial man once he realized how much he liked power, knew nothing (or, about as much as John McCain knows) about economics. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. But, luckily for him, there was a pocket of Freidmanite economists that the Ford Foundation and US Government had paid to educate at Chicago University as a means of trying to take Chile from the most prosperous Developmentarian country in Latin America to what they dreamed would become a Free Market Utopia -- it did not.

So, after the shock of the Pinochet coup, some economic shocks were put into place... lower taxes, no trade barriers, and a 27% cut in governmental spending -- wait, whose plan does that remind us of?

John McCain has proposed in all three debates 1)lower taxes, 2)more giveaways to corporations, and 3)a freeze on spending for everything but the military.

Wanna know what happened in Chile?

400% inflation.

30% unemployment.

Those who were employed ended up spending 75% of their income on fucking bread. Having to cut back on such luxury items as milk and bus fare to get to work.

"By 1988, when the economy had stabilized [after Pinochet made a radical turn back toward regulation and taxes] and was growing rapidly, 45% of the population had fallen below the poverty line. The richest 10% of Chileans, however, had seen their incomes increase by 83%. Even in 2007, Chile remained one of the most unequal societies in the world -- out of 123 countries in which the United Nations tracks inequality, Chile ranked 116th, making it the 8th most unequal country on the list."

Before Pinochet deposed Allende, the highest unemployment rate was 3%. The highest inflation rate was something like 10%. Chileans had healthcare, free education, and were manufacturing goods in their own nation, supporting themselves, growing their economy and succeeding! But the violence of the coup and the continuing shock of the economic policies pushed on them by someone who was in complete control of their country caused them to become a dependent child of US corporations.

No, John McCain, or should I call you McPinochet, we're not going to let you do that here. This bullshit ends now.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

More demeaning advertising on the 'Space

She looks happy, huh? Sports bra and jeans way bigger than she could ever fit into. Thumbs up! I lost an unhealthy amount of weight in two months! For free! That makes me happy! I was a size 8, but now I'm a size 2! That makes me happy! Boys like me! But what is this product that makes a person lose 6lbs per week for two whole months? Ebola? Tape worms?

This isn't even remotely the worst one I've seen. The pictures of girls who don't need to lose weight followed by pictures of them after having lost a significant amount... sad. Really sad. Meanwhile, Eva Longoria is still a size 0 even though she's stopped exercising... that tells me she doesn't eat. Size 0 isn't healthy. More importantly, the obsession with obtaining and maintaining it isn't healthy either.

A couple of blogs you should read

In this post Mistress Matisse puts the analogy of universal-health-care-as-slavery firmly to rest. It cracked me up, so I thought you should read it.

Cara at The Curvature has two videos about and spot-on analysis of McCain's scare quotes about the "health of the mother" in last night's debate.

And don't think that Hillary Clinton has gone gently into that good night. Here's a video of her talking about the debate on CNN last night. She's become a great surrogate for the Obama campaign.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Don't like abortion? Don't have one.

I have a question: where in Roe v. Wade does it say that women have to have abortions?


The operand language in the landmark decision says that a woman has sovereignty over her body because of the Ninth Amendment, which states that "the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people". That means, in simple language, you can't use the Constitution to deny people their rights. The Supreme Court has traditionally held that this Amendment also provides people with the right to privacy and that's why the Supreme Court in Roe said that the decision to have an abortion is between her and her doctor (up until the third trimester when it becomes possible for the potential-human to survive outside the womb).

Allow me to be more blatant: the decision of what a woman does with her pregnancy, to carry it or terminate it is between her and her doctor. Obviously there are two choices: to carry or to terminate.

And yet, the anti-choice crowd has not-surprisingly decided that there is no choice permitted in any circumstances. Either they win and there is no option to have a safe and legal abortion, or they lose and there is somehow no choice for young women to carry their pregnancies and either keep the eventual-baby or give it up for adoption. It is this extremist view (either everyone has an abortion or no one has it) is precisely why we call these people anti-choice. (Interestingly enough, they also have a long history of denying the choice to have children to poor women and minorities.)

Since we call them "anti-choice", they call us "pro-abortion". Funny, the only people I know of who are "pro-abortion" are the ones that force abortions and sterilization on poor women, minorities, and, of course, sex slaves. Those of us who maintain that what a woman does with her body and her pregnancy are between her and her doctor are not pro-abortion. We're pro-woman.

Being pro-choice means being pro-woman. You can still be against abortion and be pro-choice and pro-woman. But being pro-woman means that you believe:
  1. Women have the intellectual capacity to understand that knowing about sex does not mean you have to go out and have it right away.
  2. Women have the intellectual capacity to prevent unwanted pregnancy when provided the tools to do so.
  3. Women have the intellectual and emotional capacity to make the right decision for themselves when faced with a pregnancy, either wanted or unwanted.
  4. Women have the intellectual and emotional capacity to deal with the consequences of their decision either to carry the pregnancy or to terminate the pregnancy.
There are a number of other aspects to being pro-woman, but you get the idea. Being pro-woman involves being pro-choice, because you have to recognize that women have the ability to think for themselves without a man or a government deciding what she can and cannot do with her body -- whether it is taking birth control, having an abortion, or having as many kids as she feels she can support.

Meanwhile, the anti-choice/anti-woman crowd believe that there is no woman who can make this decision. Whether they believe that we Walking Wombs are too feeble to make such choices, or that God has endowed them with the ability to make us pregnant and thus the authority to make us stay pregnant; or whatever it is that makes the mostly-male anti-choice crowd think that they are permitted more control over women's bodies and sexuality than those women are they believe that they have the right to make that decision. It's not about life, it's about control.

Before I wrap this up, I also want to talk about Parental Consent laws. My parents and I fight about this all the time. Nevermind that there are no Parental Consent laws regarding a teenage girl keeping a child, nonono, that's preposterous! I've been told that "well, they shouldn't be having sex in the first place." Except, who is a parent to decide when their teenager has sex? And why, tell me why, parents never say this about teenage boys? Why should they be having sex? And who the hell are they going to have sex with if not teenage girls?! The parents who are frank and honest about sex, reproduction, abortion, and birth control are far less likely to have a pregnant teenager. The parents who simply tell their children "don't do it" (Sarah and Todd Palin, I'm lookin' at you), are more likely to end up having to deal with a pregnant teenager.

Parental Consent laws are not, as so many believe, the same as consent to other major surgeries. There's no anesthesia involved unless it's a late-term abortion, and as with any malpractice, if an abortion doctor causes the death of the woman recieving the abortion, there is a means of suing for malpractice. So, since I'm pretty sure that you don't have to parental consent (except for insurance purposes) to having a cavity removed (and I've had cavities filled and was pretty much given the same drugs you'd get during an early-term abortion), and no one's going to push for Parental Consent laws for cavities because they don't want their teenage daughter eating sugar behind their backs and going to a dentist to have the result of their "poor choices" removed, I can safely put to rest this idea that parental consent laws regarding abortion are really about the health and well being of the child.

Rather, Parental Consent laws regarding abortion are just one more means for parents to try to control and own the sexuality of their teenage daughters -- but not their teenage sons. The parent who says "well, they shouldn't be having sex anyway" isn't going to win the trust of their teenage daughter. If a parent is not the type who will go off the handle in the event that their teenage daughter becomes pregnant, the daughter, seeking comfort in a time of uncertaintly will tell her parents. She will. You don't need a law to tell a 16-year-old that she can get the comfort and guidance she seeks by going to the parents whom she trusts. But the parent who will go ballistic? Who will throw the girl out? Who will beat her, ground her, punnish her because she "shouldn't have been having sex anyway"? Why does that parent have more rights than the girl? It could be argued that the parent who will punnish the pregnant teen has more rights than the one who has earned the trust of the teen before the pregnancy occured, because they have been granted a right that the trustworthy parent would never have taken by force.

Parental consent laws take the right to choose away from the teen girl and give it to her parents. They have the final say over whether she has an abortion. They have the right to know that she is pregnant. The trustworthy parent doesn't take that right -- the trustworthy parent has earned something that the parents protected by Parental Consent laws have not.

Parental consent laws protect no one other than the parents who will punnish their pregnant teen for being whores... for being teenagers; and it gives them the control over their daughthers that they seek, just one other thing that the trustworthy parent would never take by force. Of course, there's no parental consent laws for a pregnant teenager to give birth -- a procedure that is by far more life threatening than having an abortion. Why is that? Should there be one? Of course not, that's ridiculous -- but that just undercuts more this argument that parental consent laws regarding abortion are about the health and wellbeing of the pregnant teen.

I'm not a teenager any more and I've never been pregnant. If I had been sexually active and gotten pregnant when I was still a teenager, I would have told my mother who would have been with me when I had the abortion. Want to know why? Because when I was a teenager my mother was frank and honest with me about sex, reproduction, abortion, and birth control. You know who I wouldn't have told? My father. He would have beaten and then banished me. I don't think that there should be laws protecting someone who would do that to a person seeking comfort and guidance -- I don't think that there should be a law that mandates I tell someone who would punnish me for making my own choices.


Monday, October 13, 2008

More Maddow goodness...

In a story about Paul Wolfowitz and pals, Maddow said:
"If these guys were selling a no-calorie-bacon-flavored aphrodisiac, nobody
would buy it."

And if you missed it (as I did), here's Rachel on Leno.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Look at dictatorship on my own block

When I was walking home from the bus stop today, these signs had been torn down. Whomever tore them out and hid them under a sandwich board is a fucking coward. A mother fucking COWARD.

Not unlike the McCain/Palin campaign, who have no fucking ideas of their own, McCain supporters are turning to tearing down, in this case literally, Barack Obama, his family, and his campaign.

The next time someone tears out these signs, I'm coming back with two. After that, 4. Keep tearing them out. Keep hiding them. I know where to get more. Meanwhile, you don't know where to get any goddamn courage to stand up for what you believe in, so you're hiding behind the politics of destruction. Face the issues.

And I swear to god, the next person who calls Barack Obama a "nigger"* better come to my house and call me a "kike" to my face, cause I need to sit those fuckers down and give them a good talking to about white privilege, racism, and having some goddamn class. Stop calling a United States Senator and Presidential candidate by that word -- stop calling anyone by that word. It's hurtful and it's completely inappropriate. Moreover, anyone who would call someone that word is a coward. A fucking coward. Just like the fucker who tore out the Obama and Gregoire signs.

Fuck you, you fucking cowards.

*My sincere apologies for actually using that word in full. I don't understand its full impact, but I do know that it is a very harmful word. If I have offended by using it, please understand that I say it out loud for effect, and I do so only with great pre-consideration and obvious disclaimer. I would never use it to describe anyone because, as I've stated, it's not appropriate. Again, I'm sorry I had to resort to articulating such a hateful word.


Pro-life feminists?

The question is: can you be a feminist and be anti-abortion? I believe that Cara at Feministing answered the question quite well:

"One does not have to believe, as I do, that having an early abortion is morally neutral, or be willing, as I would be, to have an abortion at the drop of a hat should they find out they were pregnant. One doesn’t have to be willing to choose abortion for themselves or even be morally okay with the idea of abortion in order to be pro-choice — by definition, they simply have to support the right to that choice for each and every woman."

I agree with her. You don't have to be willing to have an abortion yourself in order to be pro-choice, the thing that defines those who are pro-choice as pro-choice is that they believe that each woman has a right to do with her own body what she believes is best, and that it's not her parents', neighbors, state, local, or federal governments' decision what she does with an unplanned/unwanted pregnancy. People who are pro-choice believe it's up to each individual woman what they do with their uterus.

You don't have to be "pro-abortion" to believe that I can do with my body what I think is right, and my being pro-choice and willing to have an abortion doesn't mean that I think you should have one if you have an unplanned/unwanted pregnancy -- I'm all about the choice. I think most people are.

Most people, that is, except Sarah Palin.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"that one" and "kill him"

Edit: Belledame222 at Fetch Me My Axe has a plethora of links to stories about John McCain being a hateful racist sonunvabich.

Were you offended by this? I sure was. Because while McCain said "that one", but he might as well have said "that n****r over there". That's what I heard. That's why I'm pissed. Why did I hear it that way? Was it because that's what I wanted to hear? Maybe, but not because I approve of the use of racial epithets, but rather because I want the American people to see John McCain for the hateful man he is.

Yes, John McCain is a hateful man. But why would I say that? Well, in Cliff Schecter's book The Real McCain he relays a story wherein John calls wife Cindy a "cunt" back in 1992, after she made fun of his thinning hair in front of press. That's not something that a man with a calm heart says to his wife.

And of course, there was the last debate, wherein McCain wouldn't dare look at Obama. One more instance that McCain despises his Democratic opponent: at the end of the debate last night, Barack went to shake John's hand -- John turned away and Barack ended up shaking Cindy's hand instead. It was a brief moment, but even those of us watching MSNBC last night saw it happen. How is that not evidence that John McCain is a hateful man who can't even be bothered to show courtesy to his opponent?

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin is doing her job working up the racist fervor among the base. While in Florida on Sunday, Palin brought up the William Ayers thing, saying
"And, according to the New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, 'launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol,'" she continued.

"Boooo!" the crowd repeated.

"Kill him!" proposed one man in the audience.

Now, "it's not clear" whether the man in the audience wanted to kill Ayers or Obama, but I'm pretty sure we can all guess... Palin, rather than doing what any sensible person who isn't trying to whip up a racist fervor would have done (that is stop, say "what the fuck, dude?" and have the guy removed by the Secret Service, who should have then arrested him for making a death threat on a US Senator!), simply kept up with her remarks, ignoring the horrific statement and the awful, hideous human being who said them. (This is a day after McCain worked a crowd up into calling Obama a "terrorist" with his "who is Barack Obama?" line.)

Of course, the one thing we learned from the way Hillary Clinton's campaign was run is that by the time they started going negative, Obama had already won, and the more negative the Clinton campaign got, the more WIN was won by Obama's camp.

Racism is a horrible thing, but in this case, let the racists be racists -- let them do it loudly. Racism always hurts its own cause. The rest of the country can see who the racists are and defy them, and vote for the person with the best judgement and the best policies -- who also happens to be half-black.

We have the power to resist fear

This article scares the bejeezus out of me. The fact that still-president Bush has first suspended the law that prevents him from stationing American military forces on American soil, and then the deployment of a brigade of 4,000 soldiers on American soil under the auspices of "crowd control"; makes my imagination run wild. It makes me wonder what they're preparing for... riots caused by the stealing of the election? riots caused by something so much more sinister that I dare not publish the thought on a public blog? Bread riots? What?

And then, I wonder what would happen to me... would I courageously participate and be imprisoned, rendered, tortured? Would I participate and fall victim to the lethal options that would be available to those performing crowd control? Or would I cower like those executing this bastardization of OUR country want me to? I don't know. I do know that I fear what would happen to me in either instance. If I participated, would I survive? Would I be held indefinitely? Would I be abused? Raped?

If I didn't participate would I run? Would I stay and try to resist whatever it is that happens next? Would I continue to cower until everything that I love no longer has meaning? Would I survive my own cowardice?

I fear these things. I fear impotence in the face of oppression. I wouldn't want to just go about my life in the event of a military coup. But the alternative seems equally frightening.

After oppressive regimes eventually topple, Nazi Germany, Pinochet's Chile, the Soviet Union, we learn about artists who resisted the regimes without getting into too much trouble because art can always have many meanings... slaves in this country developed what is one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard, gospel singing, as a means of communicating with each other without their overlords realizing they were planning their freedom, and keeping each other safe in the hope that they would one day taste that which all humans yearn for.

Art is resistance. I've been seeing a lot more graffitti lately. Resistance. If something happens and there is a military coup, resistance will crop up. Artists will take to the streets. You and I will become invisible, undetectable, but omnipresent, just as the overlords, but we are more powerful beacuse we have something they fear more: hope.

Tomorrow is Yom Kippur, the Day of Attonement. I, like millions of other Jews across the globe will be fasting, but tomorrow I will be praying, not for myself, but for my country. I will be praying that Barack Obama wins this election handily -- even though I know that will not be the end of our problems as a country -- because I have to hold onto the hope that so many of us have. With hope, with those three words that we pray will ring out from coast to coast, from sea to shining sea, "yes we can", we don't have to be afraid.

We have the power to resist fear. We have the power to save ourselves, our families, our country, and as long as there is hope in our hearts and a song from our voices those who would seek to oppress have no power over us. Ghandi said that the only power anyone has over you is the power you give them.

Let us keep our power. Let us keep our hope. Let us keep our country. Let us elect Barack Obama so that we can start on the path to rebuilding our country, our politics, and dispelling the fear that has been wrought over the past 8 years.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Reaganomics is responsible for this mess

Don't believe me? Why should you? I'm a scary evil liberal.

But you should believe Francis Fukuyama, a founding neocon who pushed Reagan-era policies until... well, until he wrote this article.

He says:
"Financial institutions are based on trust, which can only flourish if
governments ensure they are transparent and constrained in the risks they can
take with other people's money."

He also says:
"Signs that the Reagan revolution had drifted dangerously have been clear over
the past decade. An early warning was the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98.
Countries like Thailand and South Korea, following American advice and pressure,
liberalized their capital markets in the early 1990s. A lot of hot money started
flowing into their economies, creating a speculative bubble, and then rushed out
again at the first sign of trouble. Sound familiar? Meanwhile, countries like
China and Malaysia that didn't follow American advice and kept their financial
markets closed or strictly regulated found themselves much less vulnerable.
second warning sign lay in America's accumulating structural deficits. China and
a number of other countries began buying U.S. dollars after 1997 as part of a
deliberate strategy to undervalue their currencies, keep their factories humming
and protect themselves from financial shocks. This suited a post-9/11 America
just fine; it meant that we could cut taxes, finance a consumption binge, pay
for two expensive wars and run a fiscal deficit at the same time. The staggering
and mounting trade deficits this produced—$700 billion a year by 2007—were
clearly unsustainable; sooner or later the foreigners would decide that America
wasn't such a great place to bank their money. The falling U.S. dollar indicates
that we have arrived at that point. Clearly, and contrary to Cheney, deficits do

Look, I don't like Fukuyama's ideas. I disagree with him about 99% of the time because he often pushes classic conservative and neo-conservative ideas that I simply disagree with because, as you know, I'm an evil liberal. However, I tend to read things that he writes because he's really smart and knows what's going on. I suggest you read his article too, whether you agree with him or not.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

My impression of the veep debate

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Surprise! It's October!

I'm following the polls. I'm monitoring the politics in Washington. I've got electoral map info at my fingertips. I am waiting anxiously for the October Surprise. People keep telling me "well, Jimmy Carter was up substantially before October in 1980" or pointing out that the guy who ran against Poppy Bush was ahead before October too.

We remember the October Surprise from 1980. The botched rescue of the hostages at the American Embassy in Tehran -- later, we find out that people in Reagan's campaign had made deals with those who took the American hostages to make sure that the hostages weren't released until the day that Reagan was inaugurated (and that was BEFORE selling them weapons). And throughout the years, the October Surprise has been the political tac most feared by Democrats.

So what's it going to be this year? What despicable political strategem are going to allow the McCain/Palin campaign to snatch victory out of the hands of the capable and literate Obama/Biden camp?

I don't see anything that's going to make the American people change their minds about the fitness of McCain to survive or Palin to serve. We're into October now and Obama's numbers continue to climb. Short of capturing Osama bin Laden, there's not really any option here for fooling the American people into buying this load of garbage. And speaking of capturing Osama, this Administration can't find it's ass with both hands, what the hell makes anyone think they're going to crawl around in a gigantic cave system in Wyzeristan in order to find someone who might actually be dead of kidney failure?

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) suggested that the Republicans are going to use the bailout bill against Democrats, as a means of tethering the Democratic leaders in congress to George W. Bush. While possible, McCain voted the same way that Obama did on the bailout, so it's not going to stick, and while we're talking about that, Obama said in his floor speech that he's not really sure there is a crisis and that things might be fine if we did nothing, but he supported the bill because there was an equal chance that the sky would fall if they did nothing. McCain said nothing. He sat back on the sidelines and voted "Aye", even though he's "the sheriff" who despises pork (and there's some $150 billion in so-called pork in the Senate bill that he just voted for).

Moreover, Americans, as I've said many times, aren't as stupid as the Republican party wants them to think they are. Americans realize that it's been George Bush's economic policies that have got us here. Americans realize that Phil Graham, McCain's top economic advisor is responsible for this shit. Americans realize that Republicans want to do everything for the corporations -- for fuck's sake House Republicans were pushing for MORE corporate tax cuts and LESS regulation as a means of solving the so-called crisis -- and nothing for them. Americans realize that when it comes to money, "tax and spend" is way better for them than "borrow hundreds of billions from the Chinese and spend". And what is government supposed to do? Tax and profit? Hate to tell you, government isn't supposed to profit. And you're certainly not going to go without your roads, are ya? Gotta drive.

So, like I said, short of capturing Osama bin Laden (which they can't do) and putting his ass on trial (which they wouldn't do even if there was time enough for it), the only other option is cancelling the elections. In which case there would be chaos. Riots. This country would collapse over night. And then there would be nothing for the Bush Crime Family to steal, no places for them to steal from. Everyone would lose everything and we'd become a 3rd World country over night. Not even Dick Cheney in his man-sized safe would be... safe from financial devastsation.