Where’d we go for six months?

21 Jan 2018 11:23 pm
Posted by: Admin

Hi, it’s your friendly admin here. Sometimes a girl needs a break. While Donna was taking a short hiatus from blogging, I took a short hiatus from administrative updates. We had a broken site for a while, but now it should be up and running again, and Donna has even started posting. If you notice any issues with the way the site is running, drop me a line. I’m trying to keep up with it and am even thinking of doing a site refresh. Wish us luck!

McSally announces Senate bid, fails to condemn Trump’s racism, still wants you to think she’s cool

12 Jan 2018 02:37 pm
Posted by: Donna

As I’ve mentioned lo these many times about Arizona Republicans, there is a highly successful subset of them who, despite their obvious lack of interest in competent governance of any kind, are impressively adept at what is known to political junkies as “working the refs” or “manipulating mainstream pundits”.

Martha McSally is one such Republican, and she brings something extra to the mix by not only being a female military veteran (fighter pilot!) but also in cultivating an image of herself as a feisty feminist who occasionally indulges in naughty profanity. (None of which is anything I’d hate on her for, except for the fact that she’s anti-choice AF, rendering her “feminism” largely self-serving bullshit.)

Today turned out to be a less-than-optimal day for Rep. McSally to make her official announcement to run for the Senate seat Jeff Flake is vacating this year due to some breaking news about President Trump saying he didn’t want people emigrating here from what he called “shithole” countries.

When asked about it, instead of issuing a straightforward condemnation of the remark, McSally chose evasion and an attempt to self-promote as a straight talking maverick who sometimes uses (wink wink) salty language!

Rep. McSally, what Trump said was racist, not merely indecorous, and you failed your very first test as potential U.S. Senator representing Arizona.

Yes, what she said was clearly aimed at not pissing off Trump’s base, which she needs to win the primary, but I also think McSally is fully aware of how the self-appointed Guardians of Civil Discourse and Nonpartisan Objectivity™ in the press here tend to conflate bigotry and misogyny with “vulgarity” and other forms of general rudeness. I’m picturing her making very public and theatrical shows of stopping herself from using profanity, fully expecting the plaudits and endorsements to roll in: “McSally seems to be growing naturally into the role of the mature Arizona stateswoman.” Barf.

Arpaio not off to an auspicious start

10 Jan 2018 01:39 am
Posted by: Donna

Why, oh why, for my first post back in months does it have to be about the bad stench we thought we had (at least) extinguished in 2016?

Going to throw a damper on the urgency expressed by ABC 15 reporter Jason Volentine in his tweet. This is hardly an exciting first polling result for former Sheriff Arpaio in the GOP primary. And some questions you, my esteemed friends in the local news media, could ask might include:

1. Is Arpaio remotely qualified to be a U.S. Senator?

Ha ha, no more numbers, that’s the only pertinent question. Really, is he?

You all know that the answer to that – on every single intellectual, moral, and basic competency level you could imagine – is NO. The average adult picked at random in Arizona would probably be a better choice to represent us in the U.S. Senate than Joe Arpaio. You know that.

So please, friends in the press, treat him the way you’d treat any 86 year old Democrat with a history of incendiary racist public statements, squandering tax dollars, cruelty, and a criminal record commemorating that cruelty. Or a 36 year old, impeccably healthy Democrat with a PhD in public policy and no criminal record! Literally any Democrat!

You know he is not in any way a reasonable Senate candidate. So don’t do your viewers and readers the disservice of acting like he is one. Don’t do yourselves that disservice. Maybe act like this election has consequences or something. Maybe to you.

Saudi Arabia is the model for the American Right

22 May 2017 05:07 pm
Posted by: Donna

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross is taking a lot of ribbing for what seems to be a willfully obtuse observation about the lack of protests of Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia. Anyone with a glancing familiarity with the nation knows it is a brutally repressive theocratic monarchy where the kind of protests accepted as normal in the West would be likely be punished with severe beatings up to death. I wouldn’t be so fast to assume Ross was just being clueless, though. If you’ve study the right wing here in the US at all, it becomes quickly clear they are big fans of suppressing dissent, particularly if justified by religion or in the name of “national security”. For all the blather about left wing PC culture stifling speech on college campuses and elsewhere, it’s not the Left threatening to jail reporters.

I honestly don’t think most people here grasp how much the American Right admires Saudi Arabia, despite how counterintuitive that may seem since they’re also on the forefront of the “war against radical Islam” and forever reminding liberals of how terrible the Moozlims are to women and gays. Trump himself during his campaign spared no effort in pandering to anti-Muslim sentiment, even going so far as to admonish LGBTQ people that he was the better choice for President (despite his full embrace of GOP culture war stances and selection of rabidly anti-gay Mike Pence as his running mate) because he’d be “tougher on radical Islam” or some such garbage. Better the devil you know, who’s merely denying you the right to marry and get a job, than risk the possibility of Sharia Law sometime in the future.

But, yeah, they frigging love the cut of Saudi Arabia’s jib, culture and government-wise, and Americans who find that appalling should not be lulled the false sense that the technological advances and social progress we’ve enjoyed in the last century will be a bulwark against them imposing their own (very similar) version of a strict Christian theocracy. Though the various right wing Christians groups differ in beliefs and tactics, they are bound by the common view that they are in a holy war.

What I suspect guys like Donald Trump and Mike Pence (not as much daylight between those two as you might think) love most about a place like Saudi Arabia is how the repressive rules are imposed vigorously on the lower orders while the men at the top enjoy many freedoms and privileges they deny to others. That is a feature, not a bug.

In the first episode of excellent Hulu TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale the main character Offred (played by Elisabeth Moss) sets the tone for life in the future fundamentalist Christian dystopia of Gilead (formerly the United States) in a wry voiceover where she watches the “Martha” (what housekeepers are called) knead bread dough in the kitchen. “A return to traditional values,” explains Offred, “That’s what they fought for.”

No women in Gilead are permitted to be in leadership roles over men and all women, regardless of status otherwise, are banned from reading. Female characters who disobey the rules or even verbally oppose them have a tendency to lose eyes or hands. Or worse. Meanwhile, the men in charge of Gilead own luxury cars and have access to the internet and to forbidden things like alcoholic beverages. There are frequent references to ongoing fighting, presumably with top-of-the-line military equipment. Like the real Saudi Arabia, fictitious Gilead is a wet dream to guys like Donald Trump and Mike Pence. So I wouldn’t be quick to dismiss what Secretary Ross said as an offhand gaffe. I take it as a genuine statement of what he and his cohorts want here: complete power and no opposition to it.

“Moderate” Martha McSally votes to yank health care from millions

04 May 2017 01:52 pm
Posted by: Donna


About ending protections from lifelong coverage caps on children born with illnesses, making being a rape or domestic violence victim a preexisting condition, etc. You know, cool stuff like that.

I’ve certainly mentioned a time or two the maddening kneejerk tendency of the civic and media establishment in Arizona to ascribe pleasant things like “moderation” and “reasonableness” to Republicans who don’t seem like they’re seconds away from biting the head off a bat on live TV. Arguably no one has benefited more from that tendency in recent years than Martha McSally, who represents the Tucson area CD2 in Congress.

McSally has ridden on a carefully crafted image of macho and feminist cred by touting her record as the first female air force fighter pilot while exhibiting the kind of squishiness on stating her (hardcore right wing) policy policy positions that Jeff Flake (who patented that maneuver) must envy.

That quote from McSally may seem like an uncharacteristically bold statement but it feels like staged political theater to me. The aim of which is people focus on how boldly she said “let’s get this fucking thing done!” and not what she actually fucking did, which was vote to kill people, literally.

McSally is also trying to distract with a bill she sponsored that would strip away the exemption the GOP Congressional majority wrote for members of Congress and their staff in Trump’s health care bill.

H.R. 2192, her bill to strike exemptions for members of Congress and their staff in the AHCA, passed out of the House today.

Normally, this is smart politics since Americans love to imagine Congresscritters suffering under the same punishments they want to inflict on Americans. McSally’s gambit doesn’t seem to be working yet, judging from social media reactions like this:

CD2 is definitely a seat Democrats should take back. And in a choice between (and you should view it as this choice) primarying Kyrsten Sinema or ousting McSally, I’ll emphatically go for the latter. Sinema pisses liberals off frequently, but she voted against the bill and votes with Dems most of the time. McSally is a radical right wing reactionary (voting record doesn’t lie) passing herself off as a moderate using third rate marketing tricks. Better two Sinemas than two McSallys.

And speaking of Jeff Flake, Arizona voters need to call him right fucking now and also John McCain to vote this turd down in the Senate.

Sen. McCain: 602-952-2410
Sen. Flake: 602-840-1891

Call your Rep and Senators Flake and McCain, now!

03 May 2017 07:24 pm
Posted by: Donna

I’m old enough to remember the outraged protests from the right against the Affordable Care Act as it made its way through Congress to President Obama in 2009-10. It was being shoved down our throats, we were told. No one voting on the bill had really read it, supposedly. Tyranny!

What we know so far about “Trumpcare” is that it will take a bunch of money out of the ACA (aka “Obamacare”) and transfer it to the rich in the form of tax cuts. It will also gut Medicaid and strip away coverage for millions with preexisting conditions.

IOW:

A House vote is expected Thursday. If it passes it will then go to the Senate, where it is not predicted to pass but remember this is relying on the GOP majority to be reasonable. Contact your reps at their DC numbers or at their local offices.

No Democrats in our state delegation are expected to vote yes but here are local numbers for Arizona Republican lawmakers:

Sen. McCain: 602-952-2410
Sen. Flake: 602-840-1891
Rep. McSally: 520-881-3588
Rep. Gosar: Couldn’t find a local phone number but here’s a contact form.
Rep. Biggs: 602-926-4371
Rep. Schweikert: 480-946-2411
Rep. Franks: 623-776-7911

What all “pro-life Democrats” must do to earn my trust.

26 Apr 2017 06:18 pm
Posted by: Donna


Oh yes, am watching this tonight.

There’s been an uproar on the left the past week over Bernie Sanders giving a full-throated endorsement to a Democratic Omaha mayoral candidate with a troubling anti-choice record (warning: autoplays) while seeming to give the cold shoulder to, then finally endorsing after much criticism, pro-choice Georgia candidate for Congress Jon Ossoff.

What has emerged from it, among other things, is confirmation of what we pro-choice feminists have long suspected about the econ populist wing of the left: that they view our reproductive rights as dispensable and a bargaining chip to win white voters in the Heartland. Viewing repro rights as a distraction (the word often used) is an astonishingly ignorant and tone deaf position to take on purely economic merits, since babies cost a lot of money and having them can greatly alter women’s earning prospects.

But even worse, these perennial demands on Democrats to be more open to abortion and (increasingly) contraception restrictions and to anti-choice Democrats running for office reflect a profound misunderstanding of the character and intentions of the anti-choice movement. Put simply, the organized opposition to abortion and contraception is a hate movement, every bit as dedicated to their particular brand of rabid misogyny as other hate movements are toward homophobia or anti-Blackness or anti-Semitism.

That may seem to be a shocking comparison but I would suggest people miss the obvious similarities for several reasons, among them leaders in the anti-choice movement being clergy or in other trusted authority positions. Also, antis find a disheartening amount of support for many of their views in the general public. It’s not difficult to convince a populace already disinclined to trust women with sexual freedom that some sensible measures are needed to stop irresponsible women from (say it with me now!) “using abortion as birth control” or aborting healthy 8 month pregnancies for no reason, even if they don’t buy the whole anti-choice program.

Make no mistake, though, anti-choicers fully intend to deprive all women of reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy, while brutally punishing (up to and including death) those they can for the “crimes” of being sexually active and rejecting compulsory motherhood. If you don’t believe me I don’t have time to educate you on this. Go read their websites and the comments sections.

Democrats, when you compromise with this movement on anything (and I’m not saying that’s always avoidable) know that you are helping to perpetuate their hatred. This isn’t a debate over marginal tax rates. Please stop believing you will find the magic compromise sweet spot that will finally put the debate to rest because I can promise you a committed group of organized sex-obsessed misogynists will never fucking rest! That “sensible” 20 week ban will be used to push for earlier bans, and also to prosecute women. Parental notification laws are used to terrorize young girls. Cuts to Planned Parenthood have devastating (intentional) outcomes. Et cetera and so forth

Anti-choicers are well aware of the consequences to vulnerable people of their policies. They want them. Don’t find common ground with them if at all possible.

But there are people who identify as both anti-abortion and Democratic, some of whom are politicians. There are areas of the country where full-throated support of abortion rights could be a problem for Democrats trying to be elected. There are people of all political affiliations who are uncomfortable with abortion because the anti-choice movement has done a damn good job convincing them they should be and also we live in a shitty patriarchy.

What to do about it? Is there, as we’re so often asked, room for pro-life Democrats in the Big Tent™? Sure there is. But if you want me to trust you and see you as an ally, you need to do this one thing. And I mean after you express support for all the parts of the Democratic platform that are good for women (and men and children too), such as universal health care, education, social safety net, equal rights, environment, etc. You need to oppose all abortion restrictions, especially if they involve criminal penalties of any kind.

Democrats describing themselves as “personally pro-life” who are already doing this include people like Joe Biden and Tim Kaine. It’s possible for Heath Mello to make the transition from a guy who sponsors mandatory ultrasounds and other anti-choice bills to an acceptable Democratic politician on choice (in behavior if not rhetoric).

Those of you considering yourselves pro-life Dems who can’t make the no-bans conversion? Sorry, but no. I’m unimpressed with your sincere commitment to economic justice and to helping women “choose life”. There is no political will at the national or most state levels to implement the European-style welfare system you insist would ameliorate that bans you also insist must be in place. It’s dishonest to pretend they would coexist. And even under this (purely hypothetical at this point) generous safety net, there will always be women who choose to terminate. Please stop assuming the default state of all persons with uteri is enthusiastic motherhood. You may have the best intentions but what you are really doing is playing Ivanka Trump, softening the image of a bunch of nasty misogynists.

Don’t be Ivanka.

Most Americans, despite aforementioned sympathies with anti-choicers’ views on women, don’t want to live in The Handmaid’s Tale. They want the space to be able to express their discomfort with abortion (which is in most cases really a proxy for female promiscuity) and, in the less-liberal districts, to have Democratic politicians reflect it back to them. It sucks, I know, but changing hearts and minds is the job of the pro-choice movement, not Democrats in tough districts. Democrats in those districts need to learn how to say things like, “I understand abortion is a difficult issue but it needs to be treated as a personal health and economic matter, not a criminal one”. And then not vote with the anti-choicers.

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