August 2008

From NOW:

Not Every Woman Supports Women’s Rights

August 29, 2008

Statement of NOW PAC Chair Kim Gandy on the Selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s Vice Presidential Pick

Sen. John McCain’s choice of Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate is a cynical effort to appeal to disappointed Hillary Clinton voters and get them to vote, ultimately, against their own self-interest.

Gov. Palin may be the second woman vice-presidential candidate on a major party ticket, but she is not the right woman. Sadly, she is a woman who opposes women’s rights, just like John McCain.

The fact that Palin is a mother of five who has a 4-month-old baby, a woman who is juggling work and family responsibilities, will speak to many women. But will Palin speak FOR women? Based on her record and her stated positions, the answer is clearly No.

In a gubernatorial debate, Palin stated emphatically that her opposition to abortion was so great, so total, that even if her teenage daughter was impregnated by a rapist, she would “choose life” — meaning apparently that she would not permit her daughter to have an abortion.

Palin also had to withdraw her appointment of a top public safety commissioner who had been reprimanded for sexual harassment, although Palin had been warned about his background through letters by the sexual harassment complainant.

What McCain does not understand is that women supported Hillary Clinton not just because she was a woman, but because she was a champion on their issues. They will surely not find Sarah Palin to be an advocate for women.

Sen. Joe Biden is the VP candidate who appeals to women, with his authorship and championing of landmark domestic violence legislation, support for pay equity, and advocacy for women around the world.

Finally, as the chair of NOW’s Political Action Committee, I am frequently asked whether NOW supports women candidates just because they are women. This gives me an opportunity to once again answer that question with an emphatic ‘No.’ We recognize the importance of having women’s rights supporters at every level but, like Sarah Palin, not every woman supports women’s rights.


Do we really want another President who lives on some other imaginary planet? One who denies the troubling realities when they are not politically convenient? One who can’t admit to any mistakes…ever?

Today John McCain insisted that Iraq is a “peaceful and stable country now.”

Q: Some members of the [Iraqi] government have made it clear in the last month or two that they might want to withdraw before complete stability, before totally secure borders, before some of the completeness of victory as you described. Is there any change, do you think there is some wiggle room there because what you described with Petraeus was an end point that was rather complete – a peaceful, stable country.

MCCAIN: Its a peaceful and stable country now. (ThinkProgress)

Wow. This guy’s on the armed services committee? I can only imagine how the military servicemen and women and their families feel when they hear a statement like this.

It seems to me that at the expense of rambling and making yet another gaffe, McCain’s advisers have really muffled him. However, when sticking to short responses such as these, he comes off “prickly” and uninformed. Delusional, perhaps.

(From the ACLU)

On August 21, 2008, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released proposed regulations that could seriously undermine access to basic reproductive health services, including birth control and abortion.

The rule leaves open the possibility that — based on religious beliefs – institutions and individuals can deny women access to birth control. It also permits individuals to refuse to provide information and counseling about basic heath care services.  And it expands existing laws by permitting a wider range of health care professionals to refuse to provide even referrals for abortions.

The public comment period on these insidious regulations is open until September 20. Help generate a massive outcry. Submit your public comments to HHS by using the link above.

Let’s work together to keep individuals’ ideology separate from our health care.

Protect women’s health!  Sign the petition and pass it along today.

In a nail-biting pitcher’s duel today, it took the US softball team extra innings to defeat Japan.

If you follow softball, you can probably name some players on the team. If you don’t, you might be able to name one.

Jennie Finch may be the face of women’s softball but it is U.S. team mate Crystl Bustos whose heart provides the beat for the most dominating team at the Beijing Games.

While Finch and many of her team mates look as if they just walked out of swimsuit photo shoot (Finch turned down an offer to pose for Playboy), Bustos’s allure is on the baseball diamond and she makes no apologies for it. (Guardian)
So if Jennie Finch is the face, Crystl Bustos is the body, right? Well, no, because they not-so-subtly suggest here that it’s her teammates (not her) that look like they could pose in swimsuits. And why would she apologize for doing her thing on the field?
Looking as if she could bench press any one of her team mates with her thick tattooed arms, Bustos admits she was well known to local police growing up in California and was a regular visitor to the principal’s office for fighting.
So…she’s scary and mean and therefore a bad role model and that’s why she can’t be the face of softball?
But the woman Sport Illustrated as labelled the Babe Ruth of softball, is by all accounts a slugger with a heart of gold.
“She is probably the most giving, caring person I have ever met in this game,” U.S. coach Mike Candrea told Reuters. “She gives back much more than she ever takes from this game.
Oh.  Well, hmm…she really seems to be the total package on and off the field. What’s stopping Bustos from being the next face of USA softball?
See if you can guess from the following tidbits:
With her bruising physique and pulverizing swing, she’s been called softball’s Babe Ruth — with a braided ponytail. (NBC Olympics)
Bustos was born to hit, and no woman in the history of softball has ever hit home runs like she has. A skinny, left-handed slap hitter as a kid, Bustos made herself a power hitter through hard work. (NBC Olympics)
And on a team of women with sculpted bodies and refined features, the robust, 5-foot-7 Bustos stands out — and not just because of her tattoos. She’s the center on a squad of quarterbacks and running backs. (NBC Olympics)
For years, she has been painted in one dimension, as a bruising basher, the Babe Ruth of softball, a top-heavy woman wielding a wicked stick. She is an attention grabber, mostly because of her towering home runs and partly because she stands out among teammates that generally look as if they could have belonged to the same sorority. (NY Times)
Okay, and this one probably gives it away:
If you’ve seen even a moment of softball highlights, you’ve probably noticed Bustos, who is listed at 225 pounds, appears to weigh significantly more than that, and packs serious power at the plate. (Fanhouse)
These articles don’t exactly dance around the fact that Bustos isn’t skinny. They do this by talking about her strong arms, a physical feature that most softball players have. They use words like “thick,” “bruising,” and “robust.” They compare her to her teammates. They compare them in such a way that insults all involved, by focusing on their physical characteristics and reducing most of them to just “pretty faces,” rather than the world-class athletes that they are.
Crystl Bustos is the best example of an Olympian that there is, as evidenced by the praise of her teammates and her performance on the field. She comes through in clutch moments and is the epitome of a professional athlete. She will do more for softball off the field, by reaching out to kids and being herself, than any swimsuit spread could do.  The fans that are drawn in my the photo spread don’t stick around; they move on to the next trendy “face of the game.” Real sports fans know that it isn’t faces that win games, it’s hearts.
Photo by Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

Photo by Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

…but Bush wants them to be able to discriminate against women and girls.

The CA Supreme Court just ruled that doctors cannot deny medical care to same-sex couples based on religious beliefs. This is great news in a series of good news lately in California.

The unanimous decision came in the case of an Oceanside lesbian couple who are suing two doctors at a North County clinic. They claim the doctors would not perform a certain artificial insemination procedure because their strong Christian beliefs prevented them from impregnating a lesbian couple.

Hopefully, this decision will help defeat Proposition 8 on November’s ballot, the movement to deny marriage rights to same-sex couples.

The result of this case supports the argument that discrimination has no place in the doctor’s office. Clearly. Yet the Bush administration is currently trying to allow medical professionals to cite religious beliefs when denying reproductive rights, including emergency contraception and abortion services, to women and girls. They even propose to redefine abortion to include contraception. Many members of Congress have spoken out against this attack, yet the battle rages on under the radar of most mainstream media.

Where do we draw the line? If medical professionals are allowed to choose whom they want to treat, what is to stop them from refusing treatment to an entire race, or members of a religion they do not agree with? The government has no place encouraging such discrimination.

Hooray for California’s Supreme Court! Let’s keep fighting to assure that doctors can’t discriminate against women seeking reproductive health services as well.

Arianna Huffington points out that while Obama was on vacation in Hawaii he should have been reading up on how to attack McCain’s horrific record on National Security. Despite the numerous blunders and inconsistencies outlined in her post, many voters still say that they trust John McCain more on issues of foreign policy and national security. People favor McCain over Obama on issues like Iraq (!) and national security, can anyone explain that to me?

Here are some of McCain’s high(low)lights Huffington notes:

McCain has been among the most ardent supporters of the war in Iraq — the most disastrous foreign policy decision in American history.

McCain falsely claims that, from the beginning of the war, he called on former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld to resign. He should have, but he didn’t.

McCain thinks it’s “not too important” when American forces come home from Iraq.

McCain has repeatedly claimed that Iran was training members of al-Qaeda in Iraq, showing a fundamental misunderstanding of the key players in the war. He doesn’t understand the difference between Shiites and Sunnis, and even after being corrected he still doesn’t get it.

McCain falsely claimed that the surge was what led to the Anbar Awakening, even though the Sunni revolt against al-Qaeda in the province began months before Bush even announced his plan to send more troops to Iraq.

McCain falsely claimed at the end of May that American troops in Iraq were down to “pre-surge levels” (brandished as proof that the surge was “succeeding”) — even though two-thirds of the additional surge troops were still in Iraq. And, when called on his mistake, he refused to acknowledge that he was wrong.

McCain falsely claimed that the war in Iraq was “the first major conflict since 9/11″ — either forgetting about the war in Afghanistan or deeming it not major enough. This is not all that surprising, since McCain’s policies on Afghanistan — the real central front in the war on terror — have been all over the map. Indeed, McCain first attacked Obama’s policy on Afghanistan, then adopted it for himself.

McCain has a long history of paying lip service to supporting America’s troops but voting against their interests. His handling of the new GI bill was the latest example of his hypocrisy: he consistently and vocally worked to defeat it, then, once it passed, tried to take credit for it.

Need more proof of why McCain is not “ready to lead”? Do you want a president who thinks there is an “Iraq/Pakistan border”? Who believes Darfur is in Somalia? And that Czechoslovakia is still a country?

Someone please help me understand who would elect this man. That may seem rhetorical, but I’m serious. Why doesn’t the evidence above send people fleeing from McCain’s candidacy?

Maybe someone should make a YouTube video of all of these gaffes strung together. Would that make the message more clear?, which tracks money in U.S. politics, reports that contributions from deployed troops are six times greater for Obama than they are for McCain.

During World War II, soldiers crouching in foxholes penned letters assuring their sweethearts that they’d be home soon. Now, between firefights in the Iraqi desert, some infantrymen have been sending a different kind of mail stateside: two or three hundred dollars — or whatever they can spare — towards a presidential election that could very well determine just how soon they come home.

Though McCain touts his reputation with military personnel, this popularity is not reflected by campaign donations.

Army Specialist Jay Navas contributed $250 while deployed in Iraq, but it wasn’t over the Internet. “It took some effort to get that check. I had my mom send me my checkbook and I walked to the post office in Camp Liberty in Baghdad with an envelope addressed to Barack Obama in Chicago, Illinois,” he said. “He was right on Iraq long when others were jumping into the sea like lemmings, and that’s hard to do. We’re soldiers and we respect courage.”

Navas anecdotally confirmed that soldiers are often conservative but that many are making an exception in the presidential race. “Most of my friends are conservative Republicans and they say, ‘I’m voting for Barack.’ McCain does not have a lock on the military vote, that’s for sure,” he said. “We’ll complete our duty — I’m deploying next year — because it’s a commitment I made to the nation, not to a president. But we all know that Iraq was a big mistake.”

Despite the fact that “money talks,” McCain will continue to lie and say that he has support from all the veterans groups. He consistently disregards facts for whatever is convenient at the moment. He may continue to brag about the success of the surge, saying that Obama’s judgment on Iraq was faulty despite the fact that he did not support the war in the first place. Perhaps the troops also know that Obama supported the new GI bill, while McCain did not.

It has nothing to do with cameras or basketball. I think they just want to come home.

UPDATE: Contrast the post above with this one, from ThinkProgress, noting that top CEOs donate more to McCain 10:1.  Which candidate has your best interests in mind — the one  the troops favor or the one the CEOs of big corporations favor?  Which is more likely to have your financial interests in mind?

John McCain, you do not speak for me. I consider it very presumptuous for anyone to ever claim to speak for “every American.”

Your view that the use of force is the best option in many situations, and your promises of more wars, are not what I want in a President, nor even a Congressman.

Your posturing on the war between George and Russia disgusts me. It has given us a glimpse into how you would lead. I see that your decisions will not be based on measured reactions to intelligence or reflections on history. You consistently promote the use of force over diplomacy, and we’ve seen the damage caused by that approach during these last eight years.

UPDATE: And McCain can’t make up his mind from one day to the next if countries in this century invade each other (like he voted for us to do in Iraq).

Anonymous Liberal at Crooks & Liars wants Obama to respond to the “celebrity” attacks like this:

My opponent has taken to calling me a ‘celebrity’ in all of his commercials. The suggestion, I can only assume, is that all of you (gesturing to the crowd) show up at events like this and donate your time and your money to this campaign because you’re all adoring groupies who are obsessed with me. Now, that would certainly be flattering if it were true, but I’m not going to delude myself. The reality is I can’t act, I can’t sing, and my personal life is incredibly boring.

The truth is that no one would be paying any attention to me at all if I wasn’t talking about things that really matter to a lot of people. You’re not here tonight and you’re not watching at home because you want to be entertained. Lord knows there are plenty of things that you could be doing with your time right now that would be far more entertaining than listening to me. No, you’re here tonight because you love your country and you’re concerned about the direction it’s been heading over the last eight years.

You’re not here tonight to see what kind of outfit I’m wearing or to hear my latest hit single and if you are, I think you’re probably going to be disappointed. No, you’re here because you want change, you want a government that fights for people like you and not on behalf of powerful special interests; you want a government that keeps you safe by pursuing a rationale foreign policy abroad and keeps your family secure by creating jobs, ensuring access to affordable health care, and fighting for energy independence.

That’s why you’re here. That’s why you’re volunteering your time at record levels. That’s why you’re contributing your hard-earned money in record amounts.

So remember, when John McCain and his surrogates call me a ‘celebrity,’ they’re not insulting me; they’re insulting you. They’re insinuating that you are a mindless groupie rather than a concerned citizen, a fan rather than a voter.

But it’s not going to work. You know why you’re here, you know why you’re watching, and you’re much smarter than they give you credit for.

Agreed. I am insulted by the politics of nothing. I thought that this year the candidates would be forced to talk about real issues, seeing as how the vast majority of people in the US think the country is going in the wrong direction and want a change. Yet they have managed to lower the level of discourse, as usual, to things that I simply do not care about.

When you ask people what they care about, they say things like health care, the economy, and ending the war in Iraq. Let’s hear more about these issues. Not talking points, but what are you going to do about these issues? What makes your plan different? I’m all ears.

Stop insulting us. There is way too much at stake.

Check out Paul Krugman’s op-ed in the New York Times about how the GOP has morphed from being the “party of ideas” to the party of…


He said it. It’s not that Republicans are dumb…

What I mean, instead, is that know-nothingism — the insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there’s something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise — has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy. The party’s de facto slogan has become: “Real men don’t think things through.”

How else can we explain John McCain shouting “drill here, drill now” from the stage of a bikers and bikinis festival, after offering his wife up to a topless beauty pageant? The scary part about all this is that it’s working.

Sad to say, the current drill-and-burn campaign is getting some political traction. According to one recent poll, 69 percent of Americans now favor expanded offshore drilling — and 51 percent of them believe that removing restrictions on drilling would reduce gas prices within a year.

Question the lack of logic in the “drill here, drill now” policy, or even dare to counter it with facts, and they’ll call you names.

What about the experts at the Department of Energy who say that it would take years before offshore drilling would yield any oil at all, and that even then the effect on prices at the pump would be “insignificant”? Presumably they’re just a bunch of wimps, probably Democrats.

So, I hate to sound like an elitist or a wimp, but I’ll risk it in the face of chest-thumping, name-calling stupidity. There is nothing weak about thinking things through. Listening to a wide variety of opinions before taking action on an issue does not make someone less macho or more feminine. If we continue to paint measured, intelligent choices as pathetic options which are below us, we will be stuck with immature, increasingly misogynist, policies and leaders.

UPDATE: For a comical look on how the punditry is setting the bar increasingly low, check out this link.

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