Monthly Archives: October 2011

“Let Women Die” Bill Will Go To Senate; Conservatives Say “Nothing to See Here”

How does HR 358 create jobs? It doesn't. John Boehner.
The effort to criminalize birth control and make legal abortion impossible to access continues. Over 1,000 bills introduced in 49 states aim to achieve these goals. On the national level, H.R. 358 (aka the “Let Women Die” Bill) and its bizarre provision allowing hospitals to refuse to give a life-saving emergency abortion—and refuse to transfer the patient to a hospital that will—passed in the House by a vote of 251 to 172.

There were 15 Democrats who voted yes on the bill; all were male.

Groups like Family Research Council and the American Family Association, as well as conservative bloggers and politicos like Towhnall.com’s Katie Pavlich, have been hard at work misrepresenting the stance of opponents as well as the content of the bill itself. Conservatives are painting H.R. 358 as a bill that simply “stops abortion funding in Obamacare.” (and here.)

From the Family Research Council:

Despite misleading comments by abortion proponents, the Protect Life Act simply removes abortion funding and funding for health plans that include abortion. It ensures that Americans who want health care insurance with abortion coverage or supplemental abortion coverage can purchase it, but not with federal dollars. This was the long standing policy of the Hyde amendment until Obamacare bypassed this 30 year-old provision by directly spending money on new programs without any abortion funding restriction and creating tax subsidies for plans with abortion. The Protect Life Act restores this principle. (frc.org)

But here’s what the FRC doesn’t want you to know: Continue reading

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Occupy Wall Street Braces for Confrontation: Bloomberg Wants to Clean House

Bloomberg at Zuccotti

Photo by Reachout

Update: The cleaning has apparently been delayed.

A couple days ago, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he wouldn’t be attempting to evict Occupy Wall Street demonstrators from Zuccotti Park, OWS’s base of operations. But Wednesday Bloomberg visited the Occupy Wall Street encampment in privately-owned Zuccotti Park, and then promptly issued a declaration that Occupiers will be forced to leave the park Friday to allow it to be cleaned.

Bloomberg previously used cleanup and maintenance as a pretext for shutting down Bloombergville. I suspect that city officials have been working on ways for officials and police to shut down the Zuccotti Park encampment since the owners, Brookfield Properties, allowed demonstrators to remain on their property. I am assuming that city officials stand to gain from this situation regardless of the choice made by demonstrators.

Let me just say that for the record I believe Occupiers are right to refuse to leave the premises, instead offering park officials to oversee the Occupiers clean up the park themselves. Continue reading

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Congress to Vote on Allowing Hospitals To Let Women Die Rather Than Give Them an Abortion

This is a quick repost to give folks a primer on what’s going on with H.R. 358. There’s still time to stop this bill in its tracks.

TPM’s Evan McMorris-Santoro writes:
 

A bit of backstory: currently, all hospitals in America that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding are bound by a 1986 law known as EMTALA to provide emergency care to all comers, regardless of their ability to pay or other factors. Hospitals do not have to provide free care to everyone that arrives at their doorstep under EMTALA — but they do have to stabilize them and provide them with emergency care without factoring in their ability to pay for it or not. If a hospital can’t provide the care a patient needs, it is required to transfer that patient to a hospital that can, and the receiving hospital is required to accept that patient. In the case of an anti-abortion hospital with a patient requiring an emergency abortion, ETMALA would require that hospital to perform it or transfer the patient to someone who can. (The nature of how that procedure works exactly is up in the air, with the ACLU calling on the federal government to state clearly that unwillingness to perform an abortion doesn’t qualify as inability under EMTALA. That argument is ongoing, and the government has yet to weigh in.) Pitts’ new bill would free hospitals from any abortion requirement under EMTALA, meaning that medical providers who aren’t willing to terminate pregnancies wouldn’t have to — nor would they have to facilitate a transfer. The hospital could literally do nothing at all, pro-choice critics of Pitts’ bill say. “This is really out there,” Donna Crane, policy director at NARAL Pro-Choice America told TPM. “I haven’t seen this before.” Crane said she’s been a pro-choice advocate “for a long time,” yet she’s never seen anti-abortion bill as brazenly attacking the health of the mother exemption as Pitts’ bill has. NARAL has fired up its lobbying machinery and intends to make the emergency abortion language a key part of its fight against the Pitts bill when it goes before subcommittee in the House next week.

You can call (202) 730-9001 to be connected to Planned Parenthood, who will redirect you to a Washington operator board so that you can tell your Representative to say no to H.R. 358 and focus on jobs creation instead. I recommend knowing your district/Congressperson’s name before calling.

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The 99%: Should We Be Aligned with Killers and Bigots?

With the exception of a tendency toward reformism, I support the general idea of Occupy movements; that is, I don’t oppose it, but many potential participants would like to see a better, more cogent analysis of class from the movement. The analysis of the 99% of society vs 1% of the top owners and controllers of wealth and resources is a start, but it begins with a flaw: much, much more than the top 1% of the wealthiest people in the U.S. are a part of “the problem.” (Corporatism cannot be fixed by reforms, as capitalism itself is the problem, and is the perpetual crisis, but that is a subject for another post.) To begin with, if I remember correctly about 90% of the wealth in the U.S. belongs to about the top 5% of the population.

In addition to this issue, when you say “We Are the 99%” you are including the following groups and individuals. But, do we really want to be aligned with:

  • Cops who have killed people? Done terrible things to people on a daily basis, because it’s part of State policing? Police departments are composed of people who have systematically assaulted, intimidated, harassed, stolen from, framed, sexually assaulted and committed any other number of degrading, traumatic and immoral things to us. They’ve squashed our freedom of speech, preyed upon people of color and poor people, and protected each other against accountability for their actions. According to the Occupy analysis, they are the 99% and therefore “one of us.”
  • White supremacists? White nationalists, racist civil-libertarians, members of the Ku Klux Klan, racists who are not part of a group, Minutemen border patrollers and other nativists, citizen groups that seek to oppress groups because of racist viewpoints, anti-immigrant groups, well-connected bloggers who call for violence against Muslims and other people they oppose. There are Holocaust deniers and historical revisionists like Mark Weber and followers of David Irving. They are all part of this 99% category.
  • Religious groups and their members which advance an agenda of oppression? Groups like the Family Research Council, Abiding Truth Ministries. There’s “gay conversion therapists,” the Heritage Foundation, the 700 Club, and plenty more anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and otherwise xenophobic religious groups, members and followers falling into the 99%.
  • Individuals who promote hate? I doubt Glenn Beck falls into the top 1% of all wealth-owners in the U.S. There’s Tony Perkins, Bryan Fischer, Robert Spencer, Pam Geller, Mat Staver, Harry Jackson, Jerry Boykin. Are these our allies?

Here I have provided just a handful of examples of groups and individuals who Occupiers may want to reconsider being aligned with. There’s plenty more, and I’d like to hear your examples, as well as rebuttals and ideas about the 99% class analysis. Please leave your comment below.

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Message to Occupy Movements from a White Male Writing on No One’s Behalf

Resistance is something the pacifist left hates.I have a piece of self-criticism about the subject of my writing on Occupy and my inexperience in organizing which can be found here. As I wrote in that piece, in relation to speaking about Occupy movements:

…since I have white male privilege on my side, chances are that more people will listen [to me] than if I were a woman, trans- or cis-gender, if I were a person of color, and many other things in our society that disempower others and thus [result] in empowering me. This is a huge part of what we are fighting.

So, as a reminder to myself as much as to anyone, I am a single person, with white male privilege, writing from a location of and perspective of relative isolation. In other words, these views and words are not intended to represent anyone except myself.
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A couple days ago I wrote a piece of alarmist propaganda raising the issue of infiltration by Ron Paul and Ayn Rand types into the Occupy movement.

While I stand by saying that these free-market capitalists should be given no quarter within the Occupy movements, it has come to my attention that the true enemy of the Occupy movements is an age-old enemy of uprising and revolution: liberal reformists, authoritarian self-appointed organizers, their “Peacekeeper” bullies/snitches, and anyone else trying to stifle opposition to the police and the use of civil disobedience in the movements. (It is absolutely amazing to me that most civil disobedience tactics are being disallowed in the Occupations of many cities because the particular tactics, such as taking the street, marching unpermitted, linking arms in the street and so on, are illegal.)

Due to my ignorance on the past roles of official Left/anti-war organizers/student leaders and similar groups in squashing uprising and revolution, I was unaware of what was in store for Occupy. Continue reading

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