Author Archives: Lee Leslie

Anyone Notice? Issuing a Metaphor.

Hard as it is to believe, we almost went to war because our president “issued” a metaphor. And how exactly do you “issue” a metaphor anyway? Our president knew it wasn’t an actual red line since he said it and didn’t draw it, but had it been real, couldn’t we have just gotten an eraser out, or just started with a clean slate? Oops, a clean slate is a metaphor – not something real. Fortunately for us and especially fortunate for those in Syria who would have been blown to paradise for being inside the metaphorical red line… damn, there I go again. I’ll start over, but not “restart” because they don’t mean the same thing since, “restart” is now a metaphor used every four years related to Israel v. Palestine “Peace” talks and is no longer just a word. Fortunately for us all, I didn’t choose “do over” since that is Hillary’s metaphor for publicly pretending that it is okay to start over without anyone noticing, which is cheating, which she’d never do. Bill did, but I digress.

Fortunately for all of us this time, President Obama chose to follow the Constitution, which, of course, is not something Congress was likely to do – they have actually only done it five times. Why wouldn’t they do it you ask? Because everyone in our government pretends crap all the time. See, the House of Representatives is run like a asylum with the patients in charge and they have the power and probably the votes to pass articles of impeachment at any given moment, but I digress. The Constitution specifically gave congress the power to declare war, not the president, but… yeah, there’s a “but” …the Constitution doesn’t’ exactly say what war is, when war would need to be declared and whether the president could toss a few hundred missiles, which cost $20,000,000 or more a piece at another country. The reason they don’t is that during war time the President gets a heap of new powers to wage it and could likely get away with doing unthinkable things – torture, killing of Americans without a trial, wiretaps without a warrant, etc. Wait, you say, didn’t Shrub do that? Well, yeah. How’d he get away with it, you ask? Our current president decided that we-the-people needed healing rather than acrimony. That, and should he, the president, do some bad shit, he’d want to get away with it, too – so he told the justice department not to pursue. Yeah, I know, hard to believe this AG has closed his eyes to all kinds of bad.

Getting back to the slime in the Congress… way back in 1973 when the Democrats ruled in Congress, but not trust the guy in the White House for some odd reason, and mostly, remembering that their guys made shit up about our police action in Vietnam for a decade, passed the “War Powers Resolution” which allow presidents to wage actions and war-like-shit for 60 days, without first getting permission from Congress with the caveat that we all ended up agreeing the “action” – a metaphor for war – was important, we were in danger of the stock market going down and such such. Everyone knows that this should be unconstitutional. But every congressperson seems to like that they don’t have to vote for war until after the polling comes in and after they have had time to meet with any lobbyist wanting to buy a vote. Should the lobbyists threaten to cut off the their election funding, Congress could always point at the president and say, “he did it.”

But that is not why President Obama asked Congress. Nor was it his fear that he’d be impeached. Facts be known, which they won’t be, I really don’t think he wants to bomb Syria although John Kerry really really really wants a war-like-action hoping that people will think he was as tough as Hillary (never). President Obama sent it to Congress thinking they’d have to vote for this turd and Boner and Company would have to raise the budget limit in the meantime.

Oh, I forgot to mention that the Teapublicans are planning to shut down the government in a couple of weeks now that vacation season is over and no one will care if the parks close. Plus, it they haven’t voted to defund Obamacare yet this month. I guess John Kerry will be remembered for the man who opened his mouth and shut down the country. Best of luck, everyone.

One last thought: there are those who believe this was all a plot to give Pooter a moment as “peacemaker” – a metaphor for someone popular with celebrities.

To my Republican friends:

I apologize. I had no idea.

I didn’t know what you did. All these years when I said with complete and utter disdain, “I don’t watch Fox,” I didn’t know that if I had, I might well have known what you knew to be true. Things that I knew to be “facts” you knew to be “theory” or worse. What a world? Seems nuts. I’m sorry. I repent starting now.

Learning that I’ve had my blinders on all this time has taught me a hard lesson. The fact that I didn’t read Drudge, couldn’t listen to Peggy Noonan* and wanted Karl Rove in jail, kept me from hearing the drone of truth that you knew. No balance at all. Certainly unfair.

The whole time I was reading newspapers, listening to the mainstream media and going from one site or book to another. Often “fact” checking. I was missing what you knew all along. Now it feels a bit like how a diabetic must have felt when they didn’t have sugarfree Kool-Aid at the last Jim Jones meeting.

Or how a North Korean must feel when a western newspaper blows across the DMZ. Or a child catching Santa. Or someone always home schooled. Stuff taken for granted turns out to be total unmitigated crap. I know. That must still sound like heresy, if there is such a thing. What is one to believe when everything they have known and trust now seems upside down?

So how was it that I came to see the light? A friend sent me a link to a story in, well, a “lamestream” site, the Atlantic. I naively just clicked the link and started reading. My jaw dropped. Saliva drooled from my mouth forming a wet spot that I didn’t even notice until I got up and… well, that’s another story. My point is that it never once occurred to me that you guys made a channel decision years ago for whatever reason and, well, let me just quote from the story:

Tuesday’s result was, for them, an unpleasant surprise. So many on the right had predicted a Mitt Romney victory, or even a blowout — Dick Morris, George Will, and Michael Barone all predicted the GOP would break 300 electoral votes. Joe Scarborough scoffed at the notion that the election was anything other than a toss-up. Peggy Noonan insisted that those predicting an Obama victory were ignoring the world around them. Even Karl Rove, supposed political genius, missed the bulls-eye. These voices drove the coverage on Fox News, talk radio, the Drudge Report, and conservative blogs.

Those audiences were misinformed.

Outside the conservative media, the narrative was completely different.

Or…

How many hours of Glenn Beck conspiracy theories did Fox News broadcast to its viewers? How many hours of transparently mindless Sean Hannity content is still broadcast daily? Why don’t Americans trust Republicans on foreign policy as they once did? In part because conservatism hasn’t grappled with the foreign-policy failures of George W. Bush. A conspiracy of silence surrounds the subject. Romney could neither run on the man’s record nor repudiate it. The most damaging Romney gaffe of the campaign, where he talked about how the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income taxes are a lost cause for Republicans? Either he was unaware that many of those people are Republican voters, or was pandering to GOP donors who are misinformed. Either way, bad information within the conservative movement was to blame.

The point is, I was intolerant and I despise intolerance. Jon Stewart and others tried to warn me, but I wouldn’t listen. I just assumed that you were stubborn and incapable of accepting a different point of view. I realize that you must feel just awful to have been duped so and for so long. So foolish. Especially when you did so publicly. In front of everyone you know. All your friends and co-workers. Your family. Your children. And you were sooooo righteous. Often telling us loudly and with absolute hatred that we were complete Godless idiots before slamming the door and going back into your cult to plan the overthrow of the heretics. I just want to say that I will forgive you. I’ll be kind. There will be no required “Hunger Games” as a result. How can I help? Perhaps I could suggest a good book?

 

_______________________

* I’d rather listen to fingernails on a blackboard or an endless loop of the best of Andy Williams than that woman’s voice. Makes me scream and pull my hair out. Aaaaaaaah! I’ll be alright. I just need some quiet.

The American People Have Spoken: We Like Things The Way They Are

In a historic election, President Barack Hussein Obama has been re-elected; the Republicans have been re-elected to a majority in the House of Representatives; and the Democrats have been re-elected to a majority in the Senate. Hurrah! We won! Nothing has changed. We are saved. Our leaders can get back to doing nothing.

The American people have spoken clearly: we must like the House passing bills that are never taken up in the Senate; that a single Republican can hold any bill hostage in the Senate; that our president rules by fiat with no functioning representative branch to hold him in check or provide input; we must like it that the our elected leaders are looking forward to the next election two years from now for clarity; and we must particularly like that we spend so much unproductive time talking about it just so we can hate the 48.1% who are on the other side (without it, how would we decide which Facebook friends to accept?).

It also seems that we would like to give “Obamacare” a chance since it has been law for what seems like forever, yet it doesn’t go into effect for two more years; that we would like to see what it would be like to have our troops home again and not be at war (so many our our citizens have never know peacetime); how it will be under Lilly Ledbetter; and most just can’t wait to find out what Donald Trump will say about this President next .

Yes, after enduring four terrible years of the Bush depression and finally seeing a glint of hope in the economy, we the people are looking forward to learning if it will lead to jobs, maybe even some good jobs; we want to see how it will be when the Dodd-Frank rules are finally written and if it will protect us from them; what it will be like when sequestration forces cuts to a government that was just a dare to the other side when it passed; and if anyone will give due credit to this election campaign for spending so much that it may stimulate the world out of recession ( don’t you ever stop and wonder what do the billionaires think they will get for their campaign money?).

Speaking for one, I’m a bit relieved that we don’t have to break in another newcomer (or their entourage – awg!) to the office of president. For all the accomplishments, this government is even more competent now for the experience of what we have been through. The campaign workers who wanted four years of real work experience on their resumes will leave in the next few months and will be replaced with more qualified leaders (and new campaign contributors and/or workers). Our president will have more “flexibility” after the election to do any great thing that can be imagined that does not require Congressional approval.

We assume a couple of the judges on the Supreme Court will ask to be replaced and we the people know their confirmation hearings will make good television watching (I suggest Hillary Clinton be his next nomination). We the people also hope that whomever ends up on the court takes their job more seriously than those who are elected or, at least, I think we do.

We hope the promises of the campaign will be remembered and honored. (Hah, just testing you – there weren’t any details promised during the campaign silly voters (how could they be elected if they spoke in specifics?), but it would be nice to think that the least this government could do in the next term would be: comprehensive immigration reform; leave women and GLBTs to their personal rights and privacy; arrest some of the bastards who screwed us and stole our economy (please take their lobbyist scum with them); leave the states alone on weed, but tell them what to do on early voting; prosecute the corporate tax cheats who are hiding money offshore; keep our water and air clean and our food and drugs safe; make us sustainable and energy independent; protect us from the effects of global climate change and hold accountable the greedy assholes who are making things worse and/or dirtier (though they may have already been arrested if they were caught when you rounded up the bastards or the cheats); live up to the Peace Prize; protect us from those who’d harm us;  and, yeah, keep the government from shutting down for no good f’ng reason; getting rid of the tax loopholes for those who don’t need it and fixing the AMT that hurt those unintended would be good, too; so would solving the problems with our education system; helping kids get out from under college loans should be on the list, too; and maybe you could do something about the mass killings from guns without pissing off those who want them to hunt or fondle; wait a minute, there’s a lot of real work that needs to be done so get off your elective asses and get to work on the people business before we vote your out of office again – just kidding, we don’t do that.)

Recapping, we have just elected a new lame duck government with a mandate to replace the current lame duck government that it is taking us off a fiscal cliff, but it is the best democracy that money can buy or stomach.

On a personal note: whew, that was close. We almost elected that rich white guy who liked to fire trees of a certain height and let his dog puke from top of his car on the Interstate.

On a more frightening note: he (the rich white guy) has kids. Lots of them and given their stance on contraception they might contend soon.

On less cynical note: what a wonderful night for our nation – we the people elected a new government and we did it together. This new government has begun with the President reaching out to the other side in the hope of reconciliation and compromise to solve our nation’s and the world’s problems. Let’s hope they do.

 

Obama Wins the 2012 Election: Obama’s Complete Presidential Victory Speech

Mitt Romney’s Full Election Night Concession Speech

Now Couldn't Be the Right Time

It seems as if every time a dozen or so people are murdered and six or so dozen are shot up in a movie theater, high school or college campus, the wacko leftist peacenik liberal elites start spouting that anyone who believes automatic weapons should be legal is either stupid, crazy, a mass murderer wannabe or has length challenged privates, and that our right to bare arms and bear arms, which even that Obama-loving SCOTUS Judge Roberts, admits that we have, has limits and that we shouldn’t be able to carry at airports, high schools, day care centers, bars, church and places where the President will be.

All the while, those reasoned and highly compensated voices from the heartland are reminding us that this is not the time to reflect, but is the time to grieve, remember the victims and praise Jeezus that we were not in the theater that night. This is the time to watch and listen to cable and entertainment news so we can learn every salacious detail about the shooter, and every emotion felt and articulated by neighbors, teachers, employers, lovers, movie critics, Batman fans or childhood friends who hadn’t seen him in 20 years. This is the time to be reminded of why an insanity plea doesn’t make a murderer innocent.

 Houston Gun ShowThis is the time to come together and not discuss if it makes sense that anyone can order 6,000 rounds of ammo, body armor or hundred-round clips on the internets, tax free. There will be time to talk about unregulated gun shows. There will be time to remember the police killed in the line of duty by Americans exercising their rights and time to appreciate the irony that the men and women whose job it is to protect us have been forced to become more and more militarized to be safer from all of our guns. There will be time for old 60 Minutes reruns where they buy hundreds, or even thousands of guns right there on teevee with no questions asked. There will be time when we will all pay attention to the drone of the Muslim Brotherhood’s moles in Congress as they finally admit that they want to declare Sharia, take away our God given and constitutionally protected freedoms by denying us our right to protect our homes and loved ones from suspicious looking people wearing hoodies. There will be a time to compare our gun deaths with other civilized countries, Somalia, for instance.

There will be time to remember that guns don’t kill people. It is people who are the problem. Ironically, more than half of all gun deaths are not from people protecting themselves. More than half the gun deaths each year are from people killing themselves — often the spouse or child of the gun owner. Suicide, not homicide.

Now is not the time. We need more perspective. More dead. More wounded. No, now couldn’t possibly be the time. It is an election year and the NRA doesn’t lose elections.

According to news accounts, now might be the time to go to the local gun super store, or better yet, a gun show (favored by felons, gangs, terrorists and the mentally ill), and stock up on guns, ammo and the latest bulletproof fashions – perfect for date night. But if you are one of those special gun owners who just can’t seem to maintain a healthy relationship, consider skipping the movies this weekend. The Olympic shooting competition is starting.


An afterthought for your entertainment: “The Sing-Along Second Amendment” by Roy Zimmerman

The Big Day

Breaking News: CJ Roberts tacks left to uphold mandate and Affordable Healthcare Law; then to the right to allow states not to expand Medicaid.

America must have some of the stupidest, least informed and most gullible people on earth, but that is another story. Today the Supreme Court finally announced their ruling that there will be comprehensive reform of our badly broken healthcare system during our lifetimes.

We learned that the 6 percent among us who don’t have insurance and don’t want it are required to have it or face a penalty*; and if the other 10 or so percent who don’t have health insurance, but want it can buy it.

John Roberts, as Zeus, ruling from on high. (DonkeyHotey)

Today we learned that the 20 or so percent of us with preexisting conditions will get to keep our health insurance or ever buy it again.

Today we learned our children up to 26 can stay on our policies or finally be forced to leave the nest and do without healthcare.

Today we learned health insurance companies will have to spend money on covering the people they insure and prove it.

Today we learned preventive care to save money (and lives) is something that can survive in our late stage form of capitalism.

Today we learned we are to get health insurance exchanges to allow us to simply and clearly compare policy costs and coverage.

Today we learned our seniors’ prescriptions will not again have a “doughnut hole” of coverage forcing countless people to do without.

Today we learned small business tax breaks will continue.

Today we learned that the 13 million adults and 3.7 million children living within 133 percent of the poverty level will be allowed access to healthcare through Medicaid – if the state in which they live isn’t so stupid as to opt-out of the 100% federally paid program – first three years and then matched on a sliding scale thereafter – today we learned that our federal government cannot penalize a state for not taking care of some of its least fortunate citizens, but we can penalize them at the ballot box.

Today we learned that those working Americans who cannot afford health insurance because they are within 400 percent of the poverty level, will get some tax credit help.

Today we learned that we are going to continue to provide healthcare to seniors, the disabled, government workers, prisoners and some of the poorest among us, while tens of millions of working and recently unemployed Americans will no longer be denied healthcare and receive help to afford it.

We already know that this is about Republican politics and the corrupt lobbying power of their masters and that any suggestion of an independent judiciary evaporated a decade ago.

We expect that Sotomayer, Breyer, Kagan and Ginsburg will, at the very least, vote to preserve most of the intent of Congress.

We knew that Scalia, Thomas and Alito would nullify the entire bill. Roberts would naturally join them unless Kennedy negotiates a narrower decision on the Commerce Clause or jumps to the other side. That didn’t happen. Kennedy stayed with the Republican nominated justices. Together they decided this was not a valid extension of the the Commerce Clause. It was Roberts who would cast the deciding vote. Citing Hooper v. California, Roberts felt “every reasonable construction must be resorted to, in order to save a statue from unconstitutionality” and concluding the law was Constitutional because it was within the right of Congress to levy a tax on individuals who do not have insurance.

The bill before the court was terribly flawed (see my Dew story when the bill passed, Hold your nose and swallow), but throwing out the entire bill with this Congress would have been devastating in lives and at terrible cost to our economy. However, a more limited ruling would have made for great political sport watching this or the next POS Congress try come up with a compromise bill to fix the problems.

In retrospect, it would have been so simple, if two years ago, President Obama had just fired Rahm Emanuel and asked Congress for a one page bill that allows all Americans to purchase Medicare at any age. Then a separate bill on expansion of Medicaid. Maybe next time.

A Draperesque Vision of America

MittRomney as Don DraperCan an anti-woman, anti-black, anti-senior, anti-sick, anti-worker, anti-unemployed, anti-poor, anti-immigrant, anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-education, anti-union, anti-peace, anti-environment, anti-science, anti-Wall-Street-reform, anti-Geneva-Convention, anti-world presidential candidate win?*

That seems unfair. Let me re-phrase it. Can a candidate wishing to robo-sign teapublican legislation to return us to some mythological Don Draperesque vision of America win against this incumbent president?**

Man, those early sixties were good times. When everyone was happy, white, middle class and smoked. The women were valium-laced and the men were drunk. And why not? The bomb was going to kill us anyway.

There were some good things. Not so many people or cars. Neighborhoods were safe for kids to play. People visited each other. Phone calls were important and brief. Photos were special. The air was clean. The difference between a poor man and one well-to-do was only a thousand dollars. The store on the corner was owned by the person who worked in the store on the corner. We believed what people said on television.

And then we found out. What they said on television was not true. Everyone wasn’t happy. Nor white. And certainly not middle class. Our schools were not equal. Our society wasn’t fair. Each small town was a fiefdom of power, corruption and meanness. Smoking was an addiction that killed you and they sold it to us anyway. Diet drugs didn’t keep you skinny. Booze didn’t help anything. Our parents loved in the American way, but mostly saved the good stuff for themselves. And the war just went on and on and on. And people kept dying.

With all do respect to Beaver, Opie and Willard, I’d rather we didn’t go back. Every step forward was measured in somebody’s blood. And really, we haven’t gone that far.

The 1959 Rambler with MittThe Rambler candidate of the old establishment Republican party, Willard Mitt Romney, appears to be the nominee – it is his turn. It took Romney more than $100 million to beat Santorum, Gingrich, Bachmann, Perry, Huntsman, Cain and Paul. When Santorum dropped out, Romney had only won four primaries by 50% or more – Massachusetts; Virginia (only Paul and Romney were on the ballot); Puerto Rico; and Washington, DC. Hardly a mandate. People don’t seem to like him. Must take after his dad.

You can’t pick up a paper or watch the news these days without learning of a new poll that makes this race seem close. How can that be? You have an unpopular candidate surrounded by the same advisors spewing the same talking points on policy that got us into the biggest mess of our lifetimes. Over and over again we are promised that we need to have more faith. We need to believe in the markets. We need to set the markets free. That the corporations know best. The bigger they are the more they know and we couldn’t possibly understand. That is why the government shouldn’t regulate them. The markets will take care us just like they always have. But first the corporate owners, the unimaginably wealthy, need a little more money. Just lower the tax rates a bit more. The poor would just waste it and the middle class don’t know they don’t have it. Another tax break and the rich will quit being scared, come out of their vast mansions and trickle on us.

Have enough people forgotten what it was like to live during the Bush years and what they did to us to give them four more years? The same advisors, the same talking points, the same sabres rattled, the same promise of trickling on us. How can a any voter expect the outcome to be different?

These people lied to us for war. They used our love for this country to enrich their friends, squander our wealth, waste a generation and kill many tens of thousands of people.

Have the Republicans found enough people to vote against their interests or is it possible there are that many voters who are just unwilling to admit how wrong they have been all along?

Sounds implausable, doesn’t it? It was less than four years ago that a one-term senator named Barack Hussein Obama took the nomination from Hillary Clinton and went on to beat John McCain. Of course, people like Barack Obama.

 


 

* For simplicity, the most recent candidate Mitt Romney was used. Were all versions of candidate Mitt Romney used, a more accurate lede would be: “Can a candidate who goes both ways on old women, working or unemployed, regardless of immigration status, country of origin, ethnic background, or religion; science, torture, war, banking regulation and or the future of the world, win the presidential election?” And that shouldn’t be correct.

As to the specific positions that the most recent candidate Mitt Romney takes:

  • He is not anti-woman. Along with the trees in Michigan, he reportedly likes women. He simply believes they should work unpaid in their homes and should not have control over their bodies – instead, asking their husbands. In the case of a single woman, they should ask their church for guidance about body issues and such.
  • Nor is he anti-black. He just believes people of color should trust their state and local government to protect their rights and that businesses and schools should be colorblind. If there’s discrimination, anyone should fix that in the voting booth.
  • Nor is he anti-senior. He just believes that all of us should work more years before we get to become seniors and then be ready to live on less, while paying more, a lot more, for healthcare.
  • Nor is he anti-sick. In fact, he really would like more sick people. That will make the free market work more efficiently and bring the cost of healthcare way down. Until then, sick people should save their money and be more responsible.
  • Nor is he anti-worker. He just likes to fire people. And he doesn’t think we need a living wage – the markets can determine that much better.
  • Nor is he anti-unemployed. He just thinks they should get a job and unemployment benefits are keeping them from finding one (they should have saved their money). And that we don’t need another government program that gets people back to work. That won’t create permanent jobs. The best thing for our economy would be for it to hit bottom. That’s when the free market will work best. Once we lower the tax rate for the rich, raise the bottom tax rate and get rid of all the regulations, everyone will be working and working and working. Once everyone has been foreclosed on, housing will take off again.
  • Nor is he anti-poor. He knows they are taken care of. That there are government programs for the poor and if those programs don’t work, he’ll fix them.
  • Nor is he anti-immigrant. He just thinks it is better for them to come here legally, unless they were fleeing Castro. And that anyone here without documents should have their property seized and be deported. If they have children who speak English and are willing to fight in our wars and survive, those children should be allowed to apply for citizenship.
  • Nor is he anti-gay. Not since prep school. He even had a gay person on his staff for a while. He just doesn’t believe they should have rights protected under the Constitution.
  • Nor is he anti-Muslim. He just wouldn’t hire a Muslim to work in a Romney administration because there are not enough Muslims in the US to worry about pissing off.
  • Nor is he anti-education. He just would get rid of the Department of Education and let the states take care of teaching our children. They know best.
  • Nor is he anti-union. Oops. Yes, he is. He believes that workers shouldn’t be allowed to organize and he recommends companies with union workers use bankruptcy to reduce their obligations for pensions and wages.
  • Nor is he anti-peace. He just thinks we should go back into Iraq. Stay in Afghanistan. Help in Syria. Keep Iran for nukes by any means necessary. Ditto North Korea. The “Soviet Union” is our biggest enemy. And that Jesus is coming back to Missouri.
  • Nor is he anti-environment. He just believes that the free markets will protect our air and water from pollution. That we should open more federal lands, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Outer Continental Shelf to drilling but wind farms off the Cape is bad. That oil companies can self-regulate.
  • Nor is he anti-science. Except that he is against Newt’s moon base plans, he just believes the typical Republican evolution is a theory, no proof we caused the climate change, etc.
  • Nor is he anti-Wall-Street-reform. Oops, again. Yes he is.
  • Nor is he anti-Geneva-Convention. Ditto.
  • Nor is he anti-world. He does like Israel and Canada.

One footnote on the footnote, once I subtracted registered voters of each alienated group, all that was left for Romney was .01%, which may just be enough to win.

** Romney’s vision does not include the progressive and higher taxes on the wealth, or the regulated financial industry we had during the sixties. Not to suggest this is a Goldwater vs. Kennedy rematch. Paraphrasing Lloyd Bentsen: Mitt Romney is no Barry Goldwater.

I must have missed the meeting

downton abbey-Repug versionThe Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) expired last year and has not been reauthorized. The law has been held hostage by the Republican men on the Judiciary Committee over some asinine pretexts that the law might could be used to expand protection of undocumented or LGBT victims and allow tribal governments to arrest paleface abusers.

VAWA is not your everyday-no-big-deal-who-cares-we-can-live-without-it kind of law. This law changed everything for victims of domestic battering, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking crimes. It also changed everything for those who were trying to help – law enforcement, courts, social services and non-profits. VAWA funded local grants, which brought together and coordinated victim response, funded shelters, rape crisis centers, legal assistance and prevention programs. VAWA made domestic violence a federal crime, and for the first time, began protecting victims with disabilities, victims held hostage by their immigration status, Native Americans, teenagers and families. VAWA became law in 1994, written by then Senator Joe Biden and signed by President Clinton, and was reauthorized in 2000 and 2005 with broad bipartisan support. Going back to 1994 is unthinkable.

Last week, the bill reauthorizing VAWA (S. 1925) finally got out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The vote was 10-8 with all Republican men voting against it. No telling when it could be scheduled for a vote or how many Republican men are planning to try and stop it.

If this isn’t about Republican men versus women, then they need to prove it.

Having spent last week listening to a debate about contraception that would have been out of place in episodes of Mad Men or PanAm, it seems now that the issue may not have been settled, at least not if Republican men have anything to say about it. Catholic Bishops, all men, are also not satisfied with the semantic compromise and now acting as if they wish to debate how their religious freedom extends to their corporate businesses and argue that their church’s freedom is more important than people’s freedom or equal protection.

This “religious” debate is about the minimum standards of coverage for health insurance policies — sort of like the minimum things in peanut butter to be labeled, “peanut butter;” or the minimum things included in a car to make it safe; or the minimum standards for clean air or water. In this case, it is about a list of zero-copay, preventive services and medicines, which have proven – yes, using facts – to lower the cost of health care and save lives. (Author’s note: I personally believe that saving lives is more important than saving souls, but realize there is not a bipartisan consensus on this issue.) Contraceptives are included in the list, not because of politics, but because they have been proven to save lives and money. But this debate is not about cost – inclusion of contraceptives is cost neutral and over time will save money.

There seems to be no “religious” argument about free condoms. Condoms are used by men. Men don’t get pregnant, aren’t at risk to die or endure complications while pregnant, don’t carry or deliver babies, and generally, aren’t even in a child’s life unless they want to be or are required by a court of law.

The “religious” argument is only about those working for corporate businesses owned by churches — churches are exempt from the law. The argument is only about contraception and only about denying access to poor working women, which could save their lives, while, in the opinion of their employer, could at the same time damn them to hell. Okay, it is also about individual privacy. Don’t forget, just last month, the Supreme Court confirmed that ministerial exception extended to church corporate businesses – women who decide they’d prefer to risk hell someday over death now, could easily lose their job without recourse.

If this isn’t about Republican men in cahoots with Religious men versus women, then they need to prove it.

What a time to be a woman? Forty years since ERA passed, but fell short of ratification,* we seem to be going backward. Fast. Traditional women’s issues are really family issues — equality, education, environment, healthcare, childcare, and peace — all under fire from the Republican right.

Also last week, we heard way too much clarification from Santorum, the Republican front runner, of his ideas on women —

On women in combat: “my concern is being in combat in that situation instead of being focused on the mission, they may be more concerned with protecting someone who may be in a vulnerable position, a woman in a vulnerable position.”

On rape: when asked by Piers Morgan, “Do you really believe, in every case, it [sic: abortion] should be totally wrong, in the sense that — I know that you believe, even in cases of rape and incest — and you’ve got two daughters. You know, if you have a daughter that came to you who had been raped.” Santorum responded with, “Yes.”

On unmarried mothers: “The notion that college education is a cost-effective way to help poor, low-skill, unmarried mothers with high school diplomas or GEDs move up the economic ladder is just wrong.”

On stay-at-home mothers: “Respect for stay-at-home mothers has been poisoned by a toxic combination of the village elders’ war on the traditional family and radical feminism’s misogynistic crusade to make working outside the home the only marker of social value and self-respect.’’

On equal opportunity: “Radical feminists have been making the pitch that justice demands that men and women be given an equal opportunity to make it to the top in the workplace.” — Washington Post

This week’s Republican front runner (Author’s note: at posting the decision had yet to be made whether to recount the Maine caucus results, which could either confirm Romney as the winner and this week’s front runner or make Ron Paul the winner and front runner. Should Ron Paul or Newt officially become this week’s front runner, I will add their hateful statements in an update.), Mitt Romney, is a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and once was bishop of his Belmont, Mass., congregation and later president of the Boston stake (Mormon for division or area). While he seldom goes on record, his beliefs on the roles of women are consistent with his church, “woman’s primary place is in the home, where she is to rear children and abide by the righteous counsel of her husband” (McConkie 844), but evolving. Anti-abortion, even at the risk of the life of the mother unless he’s running for Senate and then he’s supportive of women’s rights unless he’s running for the Republican presidential nomination.

Just two weeks ago, the Republican men in the House were, “mounting an assault on women’s health and freedom that would deny millions of women access to affordable contraception and life-saving cancer screenings and cut nutritional support for millions of newborn babies in struggling families. And this is just the beginning…

…include the elimination of support for Title X, the federal family planning program for low-income women that provides birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and testing for H.I.V. and other sexually transmitted diseases. In the absence of Title X’s preventive care, some women would die. The Guttmacher Institute, a leading authority on reproductive health, says a rise in unintended pregnancies would result in some 400,000 more abortions a year.” – New York Times

Even our beloved and trusted, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, took a stand against women before they reversed their decision and asked for another chance.

I keep asking myself, how is all of this possible? If there was an organizing meeting on this war against women, I missed it. Surely this isn’t coming from political consultants. There are more women than men, and more registered female voters. Seems like a political strategy destined to lose. It can’t be totally grass roots — I know some Republican men who treat their wives and daughters as if they were equal. There must be more to it.

The poor are always disproportionately women. How can any Republican person of faith or free thinker (forget that, they couldn’t be Republicans) conclude that good policy is balancing the budget on the backs of the poor? Yes, in the Bible, Jesus says, “ye have the poor always with you,” but that should not inspire Republican men to want to have more in poverty. Surely preventive medical care, adequate nutrition and quality schools costs less than generational poverty, prison and emergency room health care. Or is there more to this? Is it to keep wages low to attract industries and inspire real estate deals?

Or could it be the Tim Tebow corollary – God decides who wins, but won’t necessarily pick you every week?

Could it be that male Republican candidates are just trying to win the favor of God?

Does God really hate women or is the Old Testament God still mad about that garden of eden thing?

Or are Republicans trying to win the favor of religious voters fixated on a time way back when dominating men were relevant, though assholes?

Are Republican elected leaders and candidates really that stupid? How can they be pro-family and anti-woman?

Could the increase in partisan misogyny be a delayed reaction to mothers a generation ago switching from nursing to formula?

Then, I turn on the television. The role models for this type of behavior are all there. The stereotypes. The sexism. The boys club thinking. The wealthy who don’t need two working in a household. The idiotic singles sitcoms. Or Downton Abbey, oh, those were the best of times when all was perfect for the gentry – when roles were right and all others were beaten or jailed – when women could aspire to be a maid, but not a butler. All in prime time. Local news may be worse –  by turning a light on the personal tragedy of the hour and asking the “tough questions” of how battery feels or how could such a fine young man go wrong? And then, of course, there is the cable “news.”

Or is this really just about something Republican men are not able to understand? That women are people, too.

Author’s note:  And that’s just in the US. Around the world, …

*Full text, for those who might have forgotten why the Equal Rights Amendment was so controversial, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”) Just for the record, the ERA needed three more states. Here’s a list of those that did not ratify: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia.