The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘Womens’ Rights’ Category

The talk about fetal personhood bills, and especially Lauren Kelley’s point about the activists turning a health issue into a criminal one, got me thinking. So much so that I actually wrote her some feedback, which now, I guess, I’m going to turn into an open letter of feedback. (There’s a whole series in the NYTimes, a newspaper I’m terminally annoyed with, so I have most of this secondhand from public twitter feeds.)

Pregnancy is a health issue if women are people.

But they really can’t be people to those pushing fetal personhood. If women were actual humans in their minds, the pro-fetus crowd would know that personhood does not mean a guaranteed right to erase women.

After all, if an adult man is about to die for lack of a kidney transplant, we don’t send tissue-typing trucks to roam the streets until a match is found for him and the required spare kidney is extracted. Yet it’s a parallel case. A person (everyone agrees an adult man is a person) will die unless he can use another person’s kidney. If you wanted an exactly parallel case, the healthy person would be drafted to dialyse his blood for nine months. We don’t do that either.

That’s for the simple reason that the counterparty really is a person in that example. In the case of pregnancy, it’s necessarily a woman which somehow makes everything different.

But it isn’t. The only thing that’s different is that plenty of people are not used to thinking of women as actual human beings. They’re brood mares first, humans, maybe, second.

The real assumptions behind all this are important because they determine the ground on which you argue. Remember the old Roe v Wade days and the anti-choicers calling themselves “pro-life”? The size of the joke on us is becoming clearer by the day. At the time too few wanted to hear that accepting bogus terminology ceded the high ground before we’d even begun to fight. Now here we are, pleading for our lives, not our rights.

We need to be as clear as we can about the real terms of the argument. This isn’t really about anyone’s health. If it was, we’d have had those tissue-typing vans driving around ever since organ transplantation was feasible. This isn’t even about whether fetuses are persons. It’s about whether women are persons.

women.jpg

The #MeToo movement blasted the door off Hollywood like a tsunami. The first villain to go down was Harvey Weinstein, the notoriously vicious and deranged producer who produced some extraordinary films. In his wake many others have fallen, some perhaps unfairly (Al Franken is still hotly debated on Twitter.) The last couple of weeks saw the fall of 2 big CBS figures: the president of the network Les Moonves and the 60 Minutes’ chief Jeff Fager.

After Ronan Farrow’s article in The New Yorker discussed allegations against Fager, CBS journalist Jericka Duncan, preparing a report on the story, contacted Fager for comment. Fager wrote back via text:

If you repeat these false accusations without any of your own reporting to back them up, you will be responsible for harming me. Be careful. There are people who lost their jobs trying to harm me and if you pass on these damaging claims without your own reporting to back them up that will become a serious problem.

Once head of CBS News learned of this message, Fager was fired.

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Former CBS president Les Moonves

The bigger fall at CBS, however, was its very president, Les Moonves. Moonves has been accused of not just harassment, but assault, forcing women to perform oral sex on him. And, of course, he ruined many careers. Moonves (who is married to CBS host Julie Chen) carried a vendetta against Janet Jackson because of the “wardrobe malfunction” at the Super Bowl, and ordered MTV and VH1, as well as Viacom owned radio stations, to stop playing Jackson’s music. The “disappearance” of Janet from much of the music scene over the past decade is now being largely attributed to this. Before Jackson, Moonves set his sights on Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, the creator of the hit show Designing Women. Bloodworth-Thomason wrote a searing article in The Hollywood Reporter describing her relationship with Moonves and how he ruined her career. One story is that high on the success of Designing Women, she wrote a pilot for a new series (actually she wrote many pilots, all of which Moonves rejected, including one with Bette Middler) and arranged a reading of the script with big names, including Ileana Douglas. At the reading, Moonves sat across from Bloodworth-Thomason and just stared at her:

Having been voted most popular in high school, I felt confident that I would be able to charm him. I was wrong. He sat and stared at me throughout the entire reading with eyes that were stunningly cold, as in, “You are so dead.” I had not experienced such a menacing look since Charles Manson tried to stare me down on a daily basis when I was a young reporter covering that trial. As soon as the pilot was completed, Moonves informed me that it would not be picked up. I was at the pinnacle of my career. I would not work again for seven years.

When Bloodworth-Thomason finally left CBS after Moonves rejected all of her writing, his last words to her were “Go fuck yourself.”

Remember too that Les Moonves said this about Donald Trump in 2016:

It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS… Man, who would have expected the ride we’re all having right now? … The money’s rolling in and this is fun… I’ve never seen anything like this, and this going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going.

CBS Board of Directors – all men – tried their darnedest to save Les. Arnold Kopelson, who once upon a time won an Oscar for producing Platoon, said in a board meeting: “I don’t care if 30 more women come forward and allege this kind of stuff. Les is our leader and it wouldn’t change my opinion of him.” Another member fo the board, William Cohen (yes, Bill Clinton’s Defense Secretary in the 1990s) said: “We are going to stay in this meeting until midnight if we need to until we get an agreement that we stand 100 percent behind our CEO, and there will be no change in his status.” These are the type of men who protect other men’s perversions. They are why people like Moonves and Weinstein, and there are so many others, have thrived and will continue to thrive.

One other note on Arnold Kopelson: after Kathy Griffin’s debacle with the fake Trump head, Kopelson wrote Griffin a letter telling her how to get her career back. It’s one of the most shocking things I’ve read in a long time. He thinks he’s being helpful, but…

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Mr. Kopelson is no longer a member of the board of directors of CBS, incidentally.

Margaret Sullivan of Washington Post (and a former public editor of the NY Times, a position that paper got rid of) wrote a powerful column discussing the fact that the damage done by men like Moonves – and Mark Halperin and Charlie Rose – is incalculable. They have shaped our culture’s view of women for decades.

What if Mark Halperin, for instance, had not been a network commentator during the 2016 presidential campaign? (James Wolcott of Vanity Fair aptly described him as “a political kingmaker and narrative shaper” and “the most influential” of the men who were felled by sexual-misconduct allegations last year.)

What if Bill O’Reilly of Fox News hadn’t been the biggest cable TV star in the nation when a woman had a major-party presidential nomination for the first time?

[…]

A media figure doesn’t have to show up for a business meeting in an open bathrobe to do harm, though that strange practice has turned out to be something of a leitmotif.

He can help frame the coverage of a candidate’s supposedly disqualifying flaws. He can squelch a writer’s promising work. He can threaten an underling’s job if she doesn’t stay in line and remember who really runs the show around here.

All these little moments add up, though we’ll never know their full cost. Only that it’s very, very high.

So, the Mango Moron has nominated himself a Justice. Based on his writings, Justice Brett Kavanaugh is as conservative and Trumpy as any criminal traitor “President” on the verge of indictment could want. He has already gone on record against undocumented immigrants, against LEGAL abortion, against the Affordable Care Act and against the Consumer Financial Protection Board….and of course, has said he felt it would be disastrous for a President to be indicted.

What now? As DYB pointed out so eloquently, the Democrats have no procedural remedy to stop the confirmation of this asshole. Chuck Schumer cannot pull a Mitch McConnell and fakely claim that he is concerned about adding a justice at such close proximity to the election, even if he wanted to. (My point, that Drumpf is an illegitimate President, and shouldn’t get to nominate anyone because he did not legitimately win, is clearly not being embraced by anyone in power. SAD!)

As I write, protests are going on in front of the Supreme Court. People are truly fired up about this, and that’s great. I think calls and letters and showing up in front of Senators’ offices will be forthcoming, and will have an effect. But what will be the most effective, in my opinion, is this: Lobby the Ladies.

We cannot allow Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins to hide behind a pretension that they “don’t know” whether or not Judge Kavanaugh will overturn Roe v. Wade. The Federalist Society List ONLY contains people who will overturn Roe v. Wade. As conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin stated so eloquently,

It should not be more complicated than this: Voting for a nominee on the Trump list (either the original 20, or the wider 25) opens the door to the criminalization of abortion. Collins might break her pledge and vote to confirm one of these judges approved by Federalist Society. That is up to her. But she should fool no one that voting for one of these judges would not amount to reversing Roe. Oh, and the Federalist Society judge-pickers must be called to testify under oath, and all notes, documents and other materials relating to their selection process must be subpoenaed for review. I bet that’d be fascinating.

This, to me, is the key point. Every man and woman in the Senate who claims to be pro-choice should be told this over and over again: We ARE NOT FOOLED. We know that Kavanaugh was picked partially for his anti-choice beliefs and record. There should not be any pretension otherwise, and Susan and Lisa should be confronted with this reality by us, Democratic Senators and activists everywhere.

If ANYONE votes for this guy, they should know exactly what they’re getting: an ultra-conservative, corrupt justice who will overturn Roe v. Wade. As a special bonus, he will protect Drumpf if/when he is subpoenaed by Mueller. If this country were less screwed up, not a single Senator would even consider it. But these are desperate times. We must rise to them accordingly.

This is an open thread.

The good part is the Irish referendum to repeal their forced pregnancy 8th amendment. Marvelous photos of people converging to vote (they don’t have absentee ballots, I guess??). #HomeToVote. The hashtag is worth reading on the twitter machine, but have a box of tissues handy. The wonderful women and men of Ireland buried, just plain obliterated, the bigots who think women are a cheaper version of artificial wombs, who refuse to see that women are human beings.

+ – + – +

The appalling, horrible, devastating, dire, harrowing, terrifying part is the US government forcibly separating mothers and fathers and children. Some of the children are just a year old. One. year. old. And some have been handed over to somebody, anybody. Some unaccompanied minors given to human traffickers.

Earlier on my blog I had a post about the USA’s continued slide into depravity.

Burned mosque in Victoria, Texas. January 2017. (Bob Daemmrich)

But bad as a hate crime is against a symbol of religion, a hate crime against living, breathing children is even worse.

The sad thing is I think all of us screaming about the atrociousness of it are missing the point.

It’s not like they (the Bully in Chief, his administration, ICE, etc.) didn’t realize the suffering they would cause. It’s not like us pointing it out is going to lead to a big “D’OH!” moment and they’ll quit it.

The suffering is the point. That’s the worst of it. This is fully intentional.

The point is to stop immigration. And I can see where it could slow it way down. If the choice is murder by a local drug gang or losing your children to traffickers, I could see deciding to take a chance on avoiding the murderers. And then the monsters running the US will crow about how well their crimes of state worked.

I just … this has to stop … I wish I knew how. Yes, November. But November is not now. It has to stop now. It has to. It won’t.

Crossposted from Acid Test

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The histories of World War II and the Holocaust can never be told fully. Too many people did too many things – both good and evil – to give a full accounting. But there are stories that have been documented now for decades, and are still being documented by the Holocaust Museums around the world and by the Shoah Foundation. There are famous stories, like that of Oskar Schindler. And there are some that are all but forgotten. One person whose story is little known outside of her native Poland is Stanisława Leszczyńska.

Born in Łódź, Poland in 1896, Stanisława (maiden name Zambrzycki) lived like everyone else. She married, she studied to become a midwife, and she had children. Then, in 1939, Nazis invaded Poland. The city of Łódź had the second largest population of Jews in Poland. Nazis turned Łódź into one of its most infamous ghettos. Stanisława, her husband Bronisław, and their four children (Bronisław, Sylwia, Stanisław, and Henryk) were so appalled by what they saw around them that they began helping the Jews in the ghetto by delivering food and false documents. On February 18, 1943 Stanisława was captured by the Gestapo while making a delivery. Her husband and eldest son managed to escape; but her youngest 3 children were also arrested. The two boys were sent to perform slave labor in the Mauthausen concentration camp. Her husband Bronisław was killed during the Warsaw uprising in 1944; they never saw each other again. Stanisława and Sylwia (aged 24) were sent to Auschwitz on April 17, 1943, and tattooed with the camp numbers 41335 and 41336 respectively.

Because Stanisława had been a midwife and Sylwia studied to be a nurse they were sent to work in the “maternity ward” of the camp. The ward was run by “Sister Klara,” a midwife who had been sent to the camp for infanticide. Sister Klara – and her assistant Sister Pfani – was in charge of declaring children born – and then drowning them. They did not assist in the birth of the children; they only killed them. Stanisława was also told to kill the babies. She refused. For reasons that are unclear, she was not punished for refusing. She was even ordered by Josef Mengele himself to kill newborn babies and she refused again.

“Why they did not kill her then, no one knows,” said Leszczyńska’s son Bronisław in 1988.

So despite threats and beatings from Sister Klara, Stanisława and Sylwia helped the pregnant women give birth and provided as much comfort as they could, for as long as they could. Most babies were murdered almost immediately by Klara and Pfani. Some mothers killed the babies themselves. But mother and daughter continued to help, baptizing Christian babies, helping new mothers breastfeed until the child was taken away.  The women in the barracks called Stanisława “Mother.”

Starting in 1943 some babies were given to German mothers to be raised as Aryans. In Poland alone nearly 100,000 babies were taken this way. In Auschwitz, Stanisława and Sylwia tattooed the babies that were taken in the hopes that some day they may be reunited with their mothers. It’s unclear how many, if any, were.

Of the 3,000 babies delivered by Leszczyńska, medical historians Susan Benedict and Linda Sheilds write that half of them were drowned, another 1,000 died quickly of starvation or cold, 500 were sent to other families and 30 survived the camp. It is believed that all of the mothers and all of the newborns survived childbirth.

Stanisława and all of her children survived the war, and all became doctors. Stanisława retired in 1957.

On January 27, 1970 Stanisława attended an official celebration in Warsaw, where she met the women prisoners of Auschwitz and their grown-up children who had been born in the camp. She died on March 11, 1974 at the age of 77.

“To this day I do not know at what price [she delivered my baby],” said Maria Saloman, whose baby Leszczyńska delivered. “My Liz owes her life to Stanisława Leszczyńska. I cannot think of her without tears coming to my eyes.”

Stanisława has been nominated to be canonized by the Catholic Church. The main road of Auschwitz is named after her. So is a street in the city of Łódź, as well as several hospitals across Europe.

This is an open thread.

Good Sunday and Monday Widdershins!

Saturday January 20th 2018 showed us that the Women’s March of 2017 was not just a one shot deal of protest mainly against Donald J. tRump.  Once again women turned out by the hundreds of thousands in New York, Los Angeles, Oklahoma and even across the globe in Canada, the UK, Japan, Italy and other countries. Further, on the 21st of January there was a huge rally in Las Vegas with the theme of Power to the Polls with the goal of registering one million new voters ahead of the mid-term elections in November.

Also, the #metoo movement is staying strong, with the latest news concerning Las Vegas mogul Steve Wynn being accused of sexual harassment of dozens of women. Despite Wynn’s denials the story must have legs because Wynn has resigned as RNC Finance Chair.

So with these successes in mind, let’s take a look once again at songs dealing with womens empowerment.  While we’ve visited this type of songs before, it’s always great to take a look at them again.

(1) Beyoncé~Run the World (girls)

(2) Demi Lovato~Confident

(3) Aretha Franklin~R-e-s-p-e-c-t

(4) Meghan Trainor~NO

(5) Joan Jett~Bad Reputation

(6) Lady Gaga~Born This Way

(7) Reba McEntire~I’m A Survivor

So there ya go Widdershins – seven songs about surviving and empowering.  I know that you will have others that you’ll add in the comments below.  Open thread of course.

 

Who’s That Girl?

Hmmm. I’ll bet it’s a real mystery what I’m going to write about today!

That wonderful picture above is courtesy of our own Contrask, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where approximately 3500 people marched this past weekend both in support of women, and against Drumpf. Here are a few more of her pix.

Nice pantsuits!

They Persist

Grope ’em by the…

Not going to break US!

Two great signs

So think about that…in Tulsa, there were 3500 people marching, one year after the biggest single day of activism in the history of our country. If you went by most of the media last weekend, you might think nothing much happened. But the truth is, something huge happened, and it’s been happening ever since January 21, 2017. It’s #TheResistance, and it’s only getting bigger

Women’s March, Chicago: Credit Nancy Stone / Chicago Tribune

and bigger

Sam Boyd stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, home of the Nevada Women’s March. Credit: The Twitter feed of Analise Ortiz from KTNV.

and BIGGER.

The 600,000-strong march in LA. Credit: The Twitter feed of the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti.

And even though the largely white, male and oblivious masters of the Teevee screens don’t get it; the bros in Silicon Valley don’t get it; and the leaders of the DNC don’t get it; it doesn’t matter. Because we’re women, and we’re people who support women’s rights, and we’re taking this country back. And believe me, they’ll notice in November.

This is an open thread.


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Kellyanne Conway’s new job

Take the kids to work? NO!

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

You go gurl! h/t Adam Joseph

“The” Book

Nice picture of our gal

Time till the Grifter in Chief is Gone

Hopefully soonerJanuary 21st, 2021
22 months to go.

Mueller Time!

Wise Words from Paul Ryan

B-I-N-G-O!

Only the *best* politicans bought by the NRA

Marching for their lives

Perfect Picture

Rudy: oh shit the pee tape IS real!

Need Reminders?

Never too early to shop for Christmas

“Look this way”

Manafort’s Jail Photo

Indeed who?

Trump spam

IOW Dumb = Happy?

Simply Put

Ironic

Awrite! Here’s your damned wall

Dems are coming for ya