The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘Womens’ Rights’ Category

Hello, Widdershins! Well, we had our Independence Day here in America. It was marked by yet more preventable, tragic mass shootings, this time on the very Jewish North Shore of Chicago. The media is just so puzzled as to what his motive could be, despite his attempts to attack a synagogue two months before the attack and being a MAGA cultist extraordinaire. Yes, I canNazi what it could be!

As for women’s rights, the other disastrous SCOTUS decision we’ve had recently, I’ve seen a lot of this kind of sentiment online.

I understand the sentiment, and I, of course, agree that women have lost federal protection for bodily autonomy. I am full of the white-hot fury of 1000 suns. And yet with all of that, I still celebrated the 4th of July this year.

On Independence Day, I’ve always celebrated the American ideal versus the reality. The fact is, I’ve never felt safe in this country. I’ve had a difficult history with sexual assault, starting at the age of 5 and continuing through my childhood and into adulthood. At work, I’ve experienced various forms of harassment, including one co-worker staring at my chest for several minutes till I crossed my arms over my breasts.

I’ll bet every woman in America has similar stories, some a lot worse than mine. The bottom line is, men think we’re their property and it’s okay to do whatever they want to us. Because the Bible says we came from a man’s rib, and of course, we’re inherently wicked because we ate the apple in the Garden of Eden.

Unfortunately, their attitudes have their roots in reality. There actually is no protection in the Constitution for women, and it’s obvious why: it was written in 1787! In those days, women had no legal independence – we were legally considered property of our husbands – and the document reflects that. (Black people were also considered property; that is a whole OTHER conversation.) It makes an awful kind of sense that this country, despite its aspirations of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” being enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, treats women so poorly. When the document that is the foundation of our law does not even mention the word “woman,” there is a fundamental flaw that Christofascists can exploit. And so they have, for now.

While the talking point online is now to elect more Democrats so we can pass the Women’s Health Protection Act and other important bills that are stalled because of the filibuster, few people are talking about electing more Democrats to ratify the ERA, which I believe would be a lot more effective in protecting the rights of women and LGBTQ. The organization “Equality Now” was prescient in making the case for the ERA before the Dobbs decision:

While the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment has been interpreted to protect against discrimination on the basis of sex, that understanding of the Amendment is not assured or guaranteed.

The Fourteenth Amendment was passed in 1868 and it was not until over a century later, in the 1970s, that the U.S. Supreme Court began to apply the Equal Protection Clause to cases of sex discrimination. However, with its 1976 ruling in Craig v. Boren, the Court found that men and women could be treated differently under the law if such treatment served an “important governmental objective” without being in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Additionally, laws like Title IX and the Equal Pay Act are not permanent protections for women and can be rescinded or replaced at any time.

With the ERA, there is no room for doubt that discrimination on the basis of sex has no place in the United States.

That’s all very well, you might be saying, but, can we still pass the ERA? Yes, we can! There is a time limit for ratification; but after Virginia became the 38th state to ratify in January of 2020, a joint resolution was introduced in the House and Senate declaring that time limit removed. This happened on Day 1 of Biden’s Presidency. Once we elect more Democrats to Congress and get past the filibuster, it is entirely possible to get equality enshrined in the Constitution.

Don’t get me wrong, I agree that Congress should pass laws that protect all marginalized people from discrimination by the white supremacist minority. But let’s be like the QOP in one way only – let’s take a multi-pronged approach to achieving our goals. Passing laws, using obscure Constitutional language to limit the power of the rogue SCOTUS, AND enshrining the ERA – let’s do it all.

For example:

And someday, maybe our ideals will match our reality, and we’ll achieve true independence.

The liberals made my life miserable for 43 years. And I’m going to make their lives miserable for 43 years.

Clarence Thomas to his clerks in 1993

This is the petty schmuck who has led the charge to make all the people he hates – women, LGBTQ+, and non-Christofascists in general – into property of the State. I say “the State” because the federal government, in the person of six ideologues who never should have been confirmed to the Supreme Court, has removed basic privacy protections from all of us.

The State has decided that only women who live in blue states will have rights to their own bodies. In essence, when one person is denied the guarantee of freedom, it opens up the precedent that everyone can be denied the guarantee of freedom. Thomas and the five ChristoClowns have decided that no one has rights to their own bodies except white, straight, Christian men. (I think Clarence Thomas counts himself as white – that’s the only explanation for his buying in to this anti-American bullsh*t.)

As Quixote pointed out in comments, this is the re-establishment of slavery; but Slavery 2.0 casts a much wider net than the original. Friday’s decision removed basic human rights from 166 million women and girls. And each of those women and girls has many people that love her and will grieve her pain along with her. So when she is raped and has to bear her rapist’s child, or dies in childbirth, or dies from an ectopic pregnancy, or lives in poverty and misery because she can’t afford a child, this suffering doesn’t just impact her. It impacts everyone around her.

The horrors that will spread from this decision are unimaginable, and I think we are all incredulous that no one could see it coming in 2016. Young white people in particular should have come out in droves to vote for Hillary, but no. They couldn’t be bothered because “both parties are the same” and “Bernie woulda won.” Do y’all get it now, Gen Z and Millennials? You’re the ones who will actually be impacted by this. I’m going to be 55 this year and can no longer get pregnant, which oddly, makes me feel guilty that I won’t be directly miserable along with so many others. (Jewish guilt is rough.)

For those who say this will only impact women of color, and wealthy white women in red states will be fine because they can travel to other states, I think they’re in for a surprise. The Christofascists have thought of that loophole. They want to test women for pregnancy before allowing them to travel out of state. And, they want to criminalize miscarriages. Sounds like Slavery 1.0, doesn’t it? Will they be sending bounty hunters to capture runaway pregnant women if they cross the border “illegally” to states where they’re not considered property?

Based on the wave of protests that started on Friday and will likely continue, as well as the vast majority of Americans who disagree with SCOTUS, this terrible decision will drive enormous turnout in 2022 and the Democrats will increase their majorities in the House and Senate. (This doesn’t even count the impact the J6 hearings have had on the QOP – but that’s for another post. That will also be quite significant.) Nevertheless, I agree with Quixote, DYB and other Widdershins that every Democrat running for office in 2022 needs to be on message as to what they are going to do to fix this. I’d like to hear them say three things: 1) I will vote to amend the filibuster to make progress on legislation the Republicans are blocking; 2) I will vote to expand the Supreme Court and 3) I will vote “yes” on the Women’s Health Protection Act. None of these things can happen without two more Senate Democrats to nullify Manchinema’s inconsistent insistence on keeping the filibuster sacrosanct sometimes, whatever whatever.

The QOP has massively overstepped both their power and their mandate. They may be celebrating now, but they will be crying in November, and for decades to come. And Clarence Thomas, you will be f*cking miserable for the rest of your disgusting, pathetic life.

We are also celebrating (?) Women’s History Month. This is all too apropos, because women’s history is bursting at the seams with men wreaking havoc on us – and none worse than the evil monsters who start global wars, such as our not-so-dear Pooty-Poot.

There is a concept in activism called “Nothing About Us Without Us.” In other words, don’t make decisions about a marginalized group, such as folks with disabilities or Black people, without significant representation from that marginalized group. It strikes me that this concept has been largely absent from so much of the decision-making that has created the difficult conditions women live in today.

Its absence has been deeply felt. For example, how many women agreed when the Texas legislature effectively overturned Roe v. Wade in that state? How many agreed when the Supreme Court refused to put a stop to it? (The Supreme Court consults the Constitution, which is a woman-free document, thanks to the QOP men who refuse to pass the ERA – without getting agreement from women.) How many women agree to allow trans women to enter their safe spaces? How many women agreed that Putin should wage war on Ukraine?

I want to be clear that women in power are NOT the women who would need to agree to all of these actions that impact us; those women are far too likely to echo the men, as they benefit from the patriarchy almost as much. It is the marginalized and disenfranchised who need to be brought into the conversation. Joe Biden is a great example of how to do this right. He knows his base is Black women, and true to his promises, he has set about elevating Black women to positions of power they have never had before. Under his leadership, we now have a Black woman Vice President, and will soon have a Black woman Supreme Court Justice; he’s also appointed more Black women to appeals courts than any other President already. Way to go, Joe!

To me, “Nothing about us without us” seems to cut through the convenient excuses white male supremacy throws up when they make policies that hurt us. I’m going to keep it front of mind as I talk about women’s rights going forward.

Open thread, as always.

I can hardly believe it, but it’s Thanksgiving next week, Widdershins! I hope you’re all going to take some time to relax. Two viruses – the pandemic and the Republican virus of vaccine and mask resistance – have cast a pall over holiday gatherings this year. The pandemic is the one affecting Thanksgiving for me. I am thankful that my family is all vaxxed, AND, that I am seeing my aunt and uncle from Baltimore for the first time since the Rona reared its ugly head. We’ll still need to get negative PCR tests before we can go inside my brother’s house for Turkey and Tofurkey Day (my sister-in-law is vegetarian), but it’s worth it to keep everyone safe and healthy.

Despite the wretched Rittenhouse verdict, we had a lot to be thankful for this week. President Biden signed the BIF and Speaker Pelosi got the Build Back Better bill signed in the House. Now, the bill goes to the Senate, but thanks to the reconciliation process, only Democrats need to vote for it. Despite Manchinema saying they’ll wait for the CBO report to say how they vote, the report is coming soon, and I don’t think they’ll make a lot of trouble after what happened in New Jersey and Virginia. Oh, and remember how McConnell insisted a couple of months ago that he would absolutely, totally, NOT vote yes on raising the debt ceiling on December 15? Looks like he and Chuck are talking about it now. Something tells me Chuck will get what he wants.

I hope you all will indulge me as I take a minute to marvel at what the Democrats have accomplished so far. The Party has had full control of the federal government only since February 3, 2021, when Schumer and McConnell agreed on power-sharing in the Senate. Given that metric, it’s been nine and a half months.

We have been so traumatized and terrified by the hostile maladministration of Rethugs that we are not used to any good news coming from government sources. I believe this trauma, in combination with our blatantly fascist media, are what’s preventing us from appreciating the revolutionary nature of this time in our political history. There has not been a truly significant investment in the 99% since the Affordable Care Act – and even that was weak sauce compared to what’s being passed now. I can only compare the current furious activity to the New Deal, without the racism of that legislation. And Democrats are doing it all with a majority of 1 vote – the revolutionary, first Black and Asian woman Vice President Kamala Harris. (PRESIDENT Kamala Harris for a few hours this week! Incredible!)

I have often said that the job of President of the United States is the hardest job in the world. 350 million souls, so many of them suffering due to social and economic inequality; and the rest of the world, looking to Biden for leadership, aid and partnership – with a few countries trying to destroy him and America from the inside. Imagine coming into that job after almost 27 years of Rethug destruction, plus a global pandemic that has been botched almost beyond repair, with a forever war to end in Afghanistan and an ongoing attempted coup added in for good measure!

Leaders talented enough to take on this job successfully need two traits in combination. One is, the ability to communicate a shared purpose that people can believe in; and the other is the ability to build the right team to drive it forward.

I think Pelosi and Schumer have been able to wrangle the Democrats into passing these historic bills not just because they too are very talented leaders (they certainly are!), but also because Biden has convinced Congressional Dems that his purpose is the right one. (This doesn’t count the Squad, of course, but they’re DINOs.) His purpose to me is quite simple: let’s join the 21st century so China and Russia don’t destroy us. He’s looking ahead strategically and seeing how many of our people are mired in poverty, illness and incarceration without access to the Internet, child care, education and healthcare. This state of the Union makes us less competitive on the world stage, holding us back from making progress on difficult problems like climate change and clean energy. Every initiative Biden has put forward has been consistent with this purpose; whether it’s the American Rescue Plan, which included an increased Child Tax Credit that has already cut child poverty by 50%; or the BIF, which includes billions for clean water and renewable energy; or the Build Back Better Act, which in its current form regulates the cost of child care, provides four weeks of paid parental and sick leave for all American workers, provides free universal pre-K for all 3 and 4-year-olds, and boosts Medicare and the Affordable Care Act, as well as containing $500 billion to address climate change. Women’s rights are far from forgotten – the latest annual budget proposal drops the Hyde Amendment for the first time since 1976, as well as the less-known Weldon Amendment that works in tandem with it, and includes historic amounts of funding for Title X and access to abortion. And let’s not forget the executive orders he’s signed to mandate vaccines in workplaces through OSHA, and block the Keystone XL pipeline and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. For more details, this poster on Twitter always has receipts.

Biden’s ability to build a stellar team is on display all day, every day. From our marvelous VP Kamala Harris, who (despite getting the Hillary treatment from the media) is succeeding on multiple fronts, to his diverse and talented Cabinet, Chief of Staff and Press Secretary, all of his team are on point, on message and doing what needs to be done.

There is plenty of bad that’s going on in this world, but today, I’m thankful for what the Democrats have done for the American people. And today and every day, I’m thankful for all of you Widdershins who have kept me going through good times and bad, for lo, these many years.

Happy Thanksgiving all! Open thread as always.

Hello Widdershins! What a week. As usual, the Beltway press was salivating and the pundits were putting debt default countdown clocks on every show because McConnell Said The Republicans Wouldn’t Vote to Raise the Debt Ceiling OMG! We’re all going to dieeeeeeeee!

But that didn’t happen, mainly because the Democrats threatened to nuke the filibuster. Apparently, McConnell didn’t think Manchin and Sinema would withstand the pressure from the rest of the caucus, who all want to do SOMETHING about the 60-vote rule, in this very dire situation. McTurtle blinked, and 11 Republicans voted to raise the debt ceiling. And some members of his own Party are shaking their heads. Lady Lindsey, Ted Cruz and (of course!) der Drumpfenfuhrer are calling it capitulation. On the Democratic side, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer mildly and rightfully criticized all Republicans for bringing the U.S. to the point of financial ruin to try to win some pathetic partisan advantage. [Thanks for facepalming behind him, Joe Manchin – I don’t even have words at this point.]

Upon receiving bad reviews from the left and the right, McTurtle went on offense to try to make himself look less weak. In an embarrassing letter to President Biden, he sputtered in hypocritical fauxrage, lambasting Schumer and making hollow threats. Yeah Mitch, we know. You’re very powerful. Do you need some warm milk?

“[Schumer’s] tantrum encapsulated and escalated a pattern of angry incompetence from Senator Schumer … this childish behavior only further alienated the Republican members who helped facilitate this short-term patch. It has poisoned the well even further.”

Democrats argue it was McConnell who poisoned the well by refusing to co-operate with raising the debt limit, a step they took repeatedly with Donald Trump in power. Experts say a US default would be catastrophic for the global economy.

McConnell insisted: “In light of Senator Schumer’s hysterics and my grave concerns about the ways that another vast, reckless, partisan spending bill would hurt Americans and help China, I will not be a party to any future effort to mitigate the consequences of Democratic mismanagement.”

This is, of course, complete Kentucky Derby horse pucky. I’m sure you all know this, but I feel compelled to point out that all of the spending McConnell claims to be upset about has already been authorized! Indeed, $7T of it came from the maladministration of The Former Guy, and even if the Democrats hadn’t passed ANY spending bills in 2021, the ceiling would still have to be raised. This means that trying to prevent the debt ceiling from being raised doesn’t have any impact on future Democratic spending. At all.

The way this went down proves that the Rethugs are indeed terrified that the Democrats will alter the filibuster in some way, robbing them of any power whatsoever, and that McTurtle, despite all the ink and screen time the pundits give him, is not immune to that threat.

Let’s see what happens when the codification of Roe v. Wade, passed on a party line vote in the House in late September, comes before the Senate. Will the Democrats have the same energy to protect these existential threats to the health of hundreds of millions of Americans, as they did to protect existential threats to the economy? Will they finally nuke the filibuster?

When women’s rights are on the table, McConnell is armed with thousands of years of white supremacy on his side to defeat them. The Beltway press and punditry are already saying the House bill has no chance in the Senate. I sincerely hope they’re wrong, again.

Open thread, as always. DYB, this musical selection is for you!


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