The Republican Party: Dreams of the Confederacy.

October 15, 2013

Source: Wikimedia Commons. Author: By Donald Lee Pardue (Flickr: Still Waving).

Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Author: By Donald Lee Pardue (Flickr: Still Waving).

Conservatives are out in force on social media this week after a Tea Party protest included protestors waving Confederate flags at the White House of the first African American President. The conservative response has typically taken two directions; either the suggestion that the man with the flag was planted by a devious Democrat Party in an attempt to undermine the Tea Party and paint them as racist…. or that it is just one man who does not represent the Tea Party in general. Both presuppose that this is an anomaly. It isn’t.

In June this year, Rand Paul – potential Presidential candidate for 2016 – had to fire the co-author of his book, and his 2012 campaign blogger Jack Hunter, after Hunter penned an article with the by-line “Abraham Hitler“, in which he compares the Lincoln Presidency to the Third Reich. In it, Hunter neatly rewrites history to make the Confederacy seem freedom loving, State’s rights protecting heroes with a goal to be proud of:

“Dissuading the South from seceding by promising to protect slavery didn’t work, because the issue was secondary to the primary issue of constitutional government and states’ rights.”

– This is simply untrue. The Southern States seceded, because of the issue of slavery. There is no other way to spin it without completely disregarding the actual history itself. Any other ’cause’ was simply a device to win over more moderate forces. We know this, because Mississippi’s Declaration of Secession states:

“Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world … a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization.”

Perhaps most tellingly of all, is the Confederate Constitution. Section 9 of which states:

“(4) No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.”

– This shows how little the Confederacy cared about State’s Rights. The State’s have no right to abolish Slavery. No individual State can pass a law impairing the right of property in slaves. The Confederate Federal Government did not care for State’s Rights. They cared only about maintaining and spreading African American slavery.

Hunter isn’t the first to express sympathy for the Confederate cause. In 2009 – and only a month after the inauguration of the United States’ first African American President, Rep. Bryan Stevenson (R) of the Missouri State House said in reference to the Freedom of Choice Act:

“What we are dealing with today is the greatest power grab by the federal government since the war of northern aggression”.

– Yes, a Unite States, State Representative genuinely referred to the war that ended the hideous institution of owning human beings as slaves, as ‘northern aggression’.

Four years later, House Republican for Texas’s 36th District, Steve Stockman invited Ted Nugent to the 2013 State of the Union, noting in a press release:

“I am excited to have a Patriot like Ted Nugent joining me in the House Chamber to hear from President Obama.”

– We should perhaps then examine just what credentials Republican House Representative Steve Stockman believes a ‘Patriot’ must have. In 2012, the ‘Patriot’ Ted Nugent said of anyone that supports President Obama:

“Pimps whores & welfare brats & their soulless supporters have a president to destroy America.”

In a 1995 interview, the ‘Patriot’ Ted Nugent said:

“I’m on top of a real America with working hard, playing hard, white motherfucking shit kickers, who are independent and get up in the morning.”

– In the same interview, when asked why he specifically mentions white people, and if he believe African Americans are equally hard working and independent, the ‘Patriot’ Ted Nugent responded:

“Show me one.”

In 2012, the ‘Patriot’ Ted Nugent told us all just how much he adores the United States, in the Washington Times:

“I’m beginning to wonder if it would have been best had the South won the Civil War.”

In 2000, during controversy over the displaying of the Confederate flag at the South Carolina State House, Nugent said that those objecting:

“Can take the flag down, but I am going to wear it forever.”

– A “Patriot” to Tea Party Confederates & Republicans like Steve Stockman, wave Confederate flags, wishes the South had won the Civil War (thus upholding slavery), believes African Americans are not hard working, that only white people are true Americans, and anyone who votes Democrat is a “whore” and “Welfare brat”. Sentiments like that spewed by Nugent are not condemned by Republicans as completely unacceptable, offensive, vile, and entirely contrary to the American sense of justice and liberty; but are instead treated with either complete indifference, or promoted as the words of a Patriot.

On January 22nd 2013, whilst Sen. Henry Marsh (D) – a veteran of the Civil Rights era – was attending President Obama’s inauguration, Senate Republicans in the 20-20 split Virginia Senate sneaked through a redistricting bill essentially ensuring a Republican Senate in 2015. Republicans in the Senate went even further that day. Not only did they manipulate the absence of a civil rights veteran to ensure a majority in 2015… they called a halt to the day’s proceedings with the following announcement in the minutes of the day:

“On motion of Senator Stosch, the Senate adjourned in memory or [sic] General Thomas J. ‘Stonewall’ Jackson at 4:10 p.m. to convene Tuesday, January 22, 2013”

– They called a halt to proceedings not because the President had just been re-inaugurated a day before, but instead to honour a Confederate general. Furthermore, Senator Henry Marsh was a lawyer during the Civil Rights days. His law practice focused on civil rights cases. At the same time, Virginia’s Republican Senators were organising resistance to desegregation. That was the 1960s. In 2013, the children of those Republicans use his absence to advance their cause, and pay their respects to a Confederate general. Times change, attitudes and sentiment apparently don’t.

The spectre of the Confederacy follows the 21st Century Republican Party everywhere they go. The Tea Party Confederates aren’t just one man outside the White House waving a flag, it is a growing number of Party members in general, with an apparent air of Confederate nostalgia attaching itself to everything they do and everything they say. A man outside of the White House waving a flag, is simply a drop in the ocean of the thoughts, words, and actions of the Tea Party dream of Confederacy.


The Republican Party: From Lincoln to Romney.

August 26, 2013

Lincoln_O-60_by_Brady,_1862

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”
— President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864

“Corporations are people, my friend… of course they are.”
– Mitt Romney, 2012.

There is a rather neat simplicity in Republican circles that insists upon the populace, that the Republican Party of the 21st Century, is a continuation of the Republican Party of President Lincoln. In 2010, Christine O’Donnell, running for Senate seat for Delaware, was one of those running for Congress, asserting that the Republican Party that she belonged to, was the Party of Lincoln. It is as if they believe that had Abraham Lincoln, or Teddy Roosevelt (another name often used to link the GOP to its roots) existed today, they would find a similar Republican Party – in tone, and in policy – to the GOP they left behind, when in fact the history of the Republican Party renders it a completely separate entity from its late 19th early 20th Century counterpart.

It isn’t difficult to draw parallels between Texan Governor Rick Perry’s subtle call for secession, on the re-election of President Obama, shouting States Rights, to the same calls upon the election of President Lincoln in 1860 and the same States demanding secession, shouting States Rights (the Civil War was never about States Rights, as I point out in a previous article here).

Indeed, had Lincoln lived today, I would go as far as to say that the Republican Right might categorise him as a liberal who should be opposed at every opportunity. It would be the Republicans calling for secession. The GOP in 2013 is simply anti-government intervention for the most vulnerable. It is a fundamentalist position. It does not take into account context, or indeed, facts.

In contrast, President Lincoln was not anti-government intervention. Far from it, he pressed for state sponsored subsidies for railway building, canal building, road building amongst other Federally financed projects – a stimulus, as you may call it today. A vast swarm of States at the time – including Maine, Iowa, Minnesota, Maryland, Kentucky – had State constitutional bans on Federal subsidies for infrastructure. In fact, it was such a contentious issue splitting the progressive, Government-spending attitude of Lincoln’s northern Republicans with the Democrats in the South, that the Confederate Constitutional Drafters included the particularly conservative, anti-Federal clause:

“… neither this, nor any other clause in the Constitution shall ever be construed to delegate the power to Congress to appropriate money for any internal improvements intended to facilitate commerce”

– The Confederacy – with logic similar to today’s Republicans – considered internal improvements to be a matter for the individual states, not the Federal government. Lincoln disagreed. To the South, Lincoln was the very epitome of the power of central Federal government. Lincoln believed the Federal government to be a force for good.

In 1862, the Lincoln Administration signed into law, the Revenue Act. What this did, was to create the Commissioner of Internal Revenue; the IRS. Furthermore, the law created the USA’s first ever progressive income tax. If your annual income was less than $600, you paid nothing. If your income was greater than $10,000, you paid 5% (this was increased to 10% in the Revenue Act of 1864). It was designed to aid those who couldn’t afford to pay, whilst placing an increasing burden on those who could most afford to. For its time, this was an incredibly progressive step. We can contrast this today to Republicans in – for example – Wisconsin, who are currently pushing for a State flat tax, that independent analysis suggests is simply a massive tax cut for the wealthiest, whilst increasing the burden on the most vulnerable. The exact opposite of the Lincoln plan.

But it isn’t only Lincoln. Republicans will also mention their party’s ties to Teddy Roosevelt. “We’re the Party of Lincoln & Roosevelt!” is the cry from the Republican faithful. And yet, it is difficult to find any similarities between the Republican Party of 1901 – 1909, and the Republican Party in 2013. For example, in the 2012 campaign, Romney set himself up as the anti-union candidate. For Romney, unions were the problem. They hampered corporate power (the corporate power Lincoln – and in fact, Jefferson – were fearful of). For Romney, any legislation that empowered working people over the managerial classes, was only going to create bigger economic problems. This is no surprise given that when Romney was in control of Bain Capital, his company took over Marion, Ind, laid off one fifth of its workers, sharply cut health benefits, cut wages, and abolished its retirement plan. Romney got rich, by hammering working people into the ground, destroying unions, and fostering poverty.

By contrast Teddy Roosevelt supported United Mine Workers, when they went on strike in 1902 for higher wages and better conditions. The Republican President’s support for unions led UMW to a pay increase, for less hours. This, a year after Roosevelt delivered a speech to Congress demanding the curbing of power of large corporations, earning him the title of ‘Trust Buster’. He then signed into law the Meat Inspection Act making it illegal for a label to be misleading, and banned harmful chemicals. With his trust busting, and his dedication to food safety, Monsanto’s abuses certainly wouldn’t have lasted very long. To today’s Republicans, Teddy Roosevelt is far more to the left, than President Obama.

Moreover, Theodore Roosevelt wished to regain the Presidency in 1912, from his Republican ally William Taft, whom he now distrusted and considered anti-progressive. Failing to do so, Roosevelt then went about setting up the very short lived Progressive Party. The Progressive Party proposed the following; strict regulations on campaign contributions (Senate Minority Leader in 2013, Mitch McConnell has very good reason to oppose campaign finance reform; his loyalties lie entirely with big business); A universal healthcare system, proposed 40 years before the British NHS, and still not realised to this day whilst Republicans spend an incredible amount of money on constant repeal-Obamacare votes in the House; Minimum wage for women; social security to provide for the elderly, disabled and unemployed (all threatened by 21st Century Republicans); an inheritance tax (repealed in Indiana by State Republicans in 2012).
Naturally the Progressive Party died horribly, after funding ran dry given that Corporate interests didn’t particularly favour a progressive position. Nevertheless, in 1912, hundreds of progressive Republicans ran for office.

Let us also not forget that whilst the Republican Party today appears to be having a problem appealing to minorities, and giving the impression that it is willing to suppress voting rights of African Americans the moment the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act; the defining feature of the Ulysses Grant Republican administration, was one of extending voting rights, and progressing civil rights for African Americans. Grant was the first President to sign a Civil Rights Act, in direct conflict with rising anti-civil rights groups in the South.

On the issue of race, it appears to me that the period following the 1876 election, which saw the removal of Federal Troops from the South, allowing Democrats to again mistreat African Americans, lead to Southern Republicans trying to win over those white folk who were naturally drawn to the Democrats, thus we see Republicans actively abandoning the cause of civil rights.

The Democrats had a similar struggle to become the more progressive party we see today. As late as the 1950s we see a Democratic Party that included Hubert Humphrey who strongly advocated a shift in Democrat policy, by including the idea to end racial segregation, at the 1948 Party Platform at the DNC. This moment marks a huge shift for the Democrats. Humphrey took to the DNC floor and demanded that on racial segregation, the Democrats abandon their old position, and:

“…walk into the sunshine of human rights.”

– As Humphrey was making his way through the Democratic ranks, forging new ideas for the Party, another Democrat – Strom Thurmond – was actively fighting the change. Thurmond supported Jim Crow, and segregation. This split eventually lead to Thurmond joining the Republicans, and supporting Nixon’s vastly racist southern strategy. It is incredible to note than in less than a century, the Republican Party went from passing the 13th, 14th & 15th Amendments, reconstruction, and pioneering the way to bring African Americans into politics….. to supporting, and violently enforcing racial segregation. The Eisenhower Republicans of the 1950s, were completely different to the Lincoln Republicans of the 1850s.

By the 1960 election, we see a clear shift of powerful rhetoric, defining what the Democrats now stood for. Less than 100 years after the end of the Civil War, the Democrats were now firmly the party of the progressives, the heirs to Lincoln and Roosevelt. We see this, with Kennedy’s nomination acceptance speech in New York:

“If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal,” then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.” ”

– This could easily be repeated in 2013, and the same lines of division between liberal and conservative, Democratic and Republican, would apply.

The Republicans we see today started to crop up around the time of the Roosevelt New Deal era, having been stirring for around the previous 60+ years since the end of Reconstruction. According to Nancy Weiss in “Farewell to the Party of Lincoln: Black Politics in the Age of FDR” writes:

“Roosevelt and the New Deal changed the voting habits of black Americans in ways that have lasted to our own time.”

– For a number of years before the New Deal, both Parties were promising some sort of help for the most vulnerable, via the enlarging of Federal Government. The northern Democrats of the Roosevelt era knew fully that the Great Depression gave them the opportunity to reconstitute the entire Democratic Platform. It is only during the New Deal era that the Republicans start becoming the Party of small government, and pressing ahead with much more racially divisive ideas. It is around this time too, that the Republicans start to become involved far more with the Christian Right. President Lincoln did not advertise his religious beliefs, and often questioned Christian dogma. Not as much as Jefferson, but certainly enough to render him the devil in the eyes of a fundamentalist like Rick Santorum.

The name “The Republican Party” is empty & meaningless for the sake of recalling its history. It is the attitudes – conservative or progressive – inclinations, beliefs and policies that form a Party, not its name. The big business, anti-progressive, anti-welfare, rabid obsession with small government fundamentalist vision of the Republican Party in 2013, cannot be identified in any way with the early Republican Administrations, and certainly not with that of Theodore Roosevelt. The Democrats & Republicans of the 19th Century are in no way comparable to their 21st Century counterparts. It is important to point our the complete 180 degree turn the Republicans & Democrats have gone through over the past 150+ years, when confronted with those who claim that today’s GOP is the “Party of Lincoln!“.

21st Century progressivism is the natural heir to the 19th and 20th Century progressivism of Lincoln and Roosevelt.


Republican Round-up

July 6, 2013

Every week, the extremes of the Republican Party just wont go away. Like a christmas gift you really dislike. You didn’t ask for it, but you can’t take it back, or if you did take it back, you’d get home, and it’d be sat on your kitchen table, to your utter horror. There has been a spectacular array of irritating headlines on offer from the Grand Old Party this week. Here is a quick summary of five of those stories, that caught my attention:

Sex Education is for Soviets:
Louie Gohmert (R-TX) isn’t a stranger to over the top, strange statements to back up political points, as we see with his statement on gun control:

And I pointed out, well, once you make it ten, then why would you draw the line at ten? What’s wrong with nine? Or eleven? And the problem is once you draw that limit ; it’s kind of like marriage when you say it’s not a man and a woman any more, then why not have three men and one woman, or four women and one man, or why not somebody has a love for an animal?

There is no clear place to draw the line once you eliminate the traditional marriage and it’s the same once you start putting limits on what guns can be used, then it’s just really easy to have laws that make them all illegal.

– He managed, effortlessly, to link a slippery slope gun control, to a same-sex marriage slippery slope. That’s impressive by any Republican standard. Not least because it contains two fallacies rolled into one. Both his arguments are the equivalent of: “Well you eat chicken meat, so why not eat human meat?” … completely absurd.

But Gohmert’s obsession with sex didn’t end there. This week he made more wondrous statements, this time on the subject of sex education:

“Mankind has existed for a pretty long time without anyone ever having to give a sex-ed lesson to anybody,”

– This could be used to restrict progress in any subject known to man. Mankind existed for years with slavery, so why not reinstate it? Mankind existed for thousands of years without airplanes and cars, so let’s scrap them. Progress is defined by moving from a primitive stage to a more enlightened stage of human existence. Sex-education, according to Gohmert is fine as it is. It’s not necessary to educate our children. I mean, it isn’t like we’ve had millennia of Patriarchy, sexual oppression, with growing numbers of sexually transmitted diseases whilst an old white man’s womb controlling Republican Party continues to push anti-women sentiment, anti-homosexuality sentiment, anti-contraception sentiment, anti-transgendered sentiment, that absolutely leads to sexual discrimination and bullying in school and beyond and perpetual patriarchy. That’s never happened. Why would we need to educate children away from primitive ideas on sex? Thanks Gohmert.

He goes on to inform us about the time he spent in the Soviet Union:

“I was shocked when they were saying ‘no, the children don’t belong to parents, they belong to the state.’ And if any parent said anything in front of their children negative about the wonderful Soviet Union, then we will take their children away and give them to somebody more deserving. And I just thought how horribly shocking that was, that of course parents were the ones who love the children, not the state. And I thought thank God that we don’t have that in our country.”

– Here, he suggested that sex-ed takes responsibility away from the parents, and places it in the hands of the State. I’m not sure why this only applies to sex-ed, and not, say, geography? And there is no comparison. The purpose of sex-ed is to ensure children have all the available information on their bodies, on contraception, on relationships, on their developments, on the risks and so on. It is not the purpose of sex-ed to take children from their parents, if their parents criticise the President.

The Republican Party: The Party of Poverty.
In my previous article I noted the damage inflicted upon the most vulnerable, when Republicans are in control of the State. In it, I point out:

In Mississippi, child poverty rates are at a shocking 32%, one child or teenager is shot and killed every single week, and infant mortality is higher than anywhere in the country. This, as well as around 60,000 uninsured people living in Mississippi, and yet, Republicans in the State have decided to tackle all of these problems…….. by harshly regulating abortion inducing pills, whilst attempting to make it easier to carry a gun in public.

– Not to be outdone, North Carolina’s Governor Pat McCrory will sign off on a plan to strip 71,000 long term unemployed people of their unemployment checks. This comes after cutting weekly unemployment benefits by 35%, and repealing an important tax credit for families on the lowest incomes. The extraordinary move to the economic far right was enabled after the Republicans won both chambers of the General Assembly and the Governorship.

This is all possible, because the moment Governor McCrory was elected, the new official appointed Art Pope as State Budget Chief. It’s no great leap to see how the libertarian Pope managed to secure this position, given that, according to The Institute for Southern Studies, Pope (through groups linked to himself) spent $2.2 million on winning 18 out of 22 legislative battles in North Carolina in 2010, spending three quarters of all spending by independent groups in the State that year. The Governor thanked him, by giving Pope free reign to attack whomever he wished; Punishing those who lost their jobs during the recession, further immiserating the lives of the most vulnerable, North Carolina’s Republicans are really trying to challenge Mississippi’s as the winning poverty State. A State that is now privately owned by Art Pope.

On the subject of North Carolina, lawmakers in the State are currently working to suppress minority voting, after the Supreme Court killed the voting rights act. Their proposals include an end to early voting, same-day registration, and a new provision requiring I.D at the polls. All methods to harshly and disproportionately affect African American voters in North Carolina, who tend to vote Democrat.

The GOPs horrifying War on Women:
In a previous article I referred to a number of attacks over the years on women, committed by GOP lawmakers in their continued war on women. This week, Republican Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker took it one step further. Walker signed into law a Bill that forces a woman who wishes to have an abortion, to have a transvaginal ultrasound, for no medical purpose, whether they want it or not. Walker is quite literally asking for Republican politics to be inserted into a woman. Talia Frolkis, a young pro-choice activist in Wisconsin said:

“That’s part of the reason this is so important to me. It is a violation. It is unnecessary penetration, and for some women who are seeking abortions because they’ve been violated already, it’s just going to repeat the trauma.”

– The anti-women attacks by the Republican Party are becoming darker by the day. They are a Party that believe it less intrusive to insist on a vaginally probing a rape victim, than checking the credentials of would-be gun owners. Nothing says “small government” like a Republican Governor insisting that pregnant women have a piece of metal inserted into them without their full approval. Every time a woman in Wisconsin is forced to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound without medical reason, and without her actually wanting to undergo it….. Scott Walker and the Republicans of Wisconsin should be guilty in all of our eyes of sexual assault.

Beware, the ‘Rabid Radical Homosexual Activist Movement’.
Republican nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia, E.W Jackson is angry this week that his comments on homosexuality have been taken out of context. To recap, in the past Jackson said:

“Their minds are perverted, they’re frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally and they see everything through the lens of homosexuality. When they talk about love they’re not talking about love, they’re talking about homosexual sex.”

“Homosexuality is a horrible sin, it poisons culture, it destroys families, it destroys societies; it brings the judgment of God unlike very few things that we can think of… It’s an authoritarian, totalitarian spirit.”

– Usually, ambiguity leads to words being taken out of context. The “their minds are perverted, they’re frankly very sick people” and “Homosexuality is a horrible sin, it poisons families, it destroys culture” lines don’t scream ambiguity to me. So, we should really see why Jackson believes his words were taken out of context, and what he really meant. I’m sure we’ll all be surprised by his declarations of love, and compassion:

“I don’t believe that there’s any second-class citizens in Virginia. I don’t treat anybody any differently because of their sexual orientation. But I do think that the rabid, radical homosexual activist movement is really trying to fundamentally change our culture and redefine marriage and do a number of things that I just think are not good at all.”

– In essence, what he’s done here, is cloaked his inherent homophobia behind more creative – but just as unambiguous – language. He’s rephrased the words that were ‘taken out of context‘ to appear less brutal on the surface. He has clearly been told “probably don’t say words like ‘poison’ and ‘they’re frankly very sick’ “. And so he’s omitted the blatantly vicious rhetoric, with slightly more subtle but equally as vicious rhetoric.

In the past, Jackson has suggested that Medicaid is worse than slavery, that LGBT rights groups are worse than the KKK and that President Obama has “Muslim sensibilities“. In summary, E.W Jackson should not be allowed anywhere near a position of power.

Can’t win on merit? Say something that no one has any interest in hearing:
Alison Lundergan Grimes, Democratic Secretary of State of Kentucky has a tough road ahead of her if she is to beat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in the 2014 Senate race. McConnell is ruthless, he’s very wealthy, and very negative. He is not a good person. As noted in a previous article, McConnell is loyal to the interests of big business and those who donate to his considerable wealth. In it, I note:

“A couple of years back, McConnell attacked Democrat attempts to prevent foreign companies from financing US public figures and elections. He claimed laws already exist to stop this from happening. He of course failed to mention that existing laws do not prevent foreign corporations with US subsidiaries from channelling money to preferred candidates. This omittance shouldn’t come as too much of a shock, given that McConnell, from 2005 to 2010, received around $21,000 from BAE Systems Inc. BAE Systems Inc is a US subsidiary of the World’s 2nd largest defence contractor, BAE Systems, based in the UK. In 2010, McConnell asked for $17,000,000 of Federal funds to be earmarked for BAE defence improvements, at the exact same time as BAE was under State Department investigation for alleged widespread corruption (including the bribery of public officials). Of course, any link between McConnell’s apparent passion for outspokenly opposing campaign finance regulation from foreign companies who are under investigation for bribing public officials, at the same time as one of them is funding his own campaign – and in fact funding the Mitch McConnell Centre at the University of Louisville to the tune of $500,000 through a subsidiary – is just speculation.”

– Though, McConnell, as of April was only leading Grimes by 4 points according to Public Policy Polling, he is likely to pull out all the dirty tricks at his disposal to make sure he retains his long held seat for the State of Big Business Kentucky. And he’s already begun. Soon after Grimes announced her plans to run against McConnell, his team released this video. Perhaps it might contain his policy plans? Perhaps it might contain his record in office working for Kentuckians? No. Instead, it attacks Grimes, already, for not having a campaign banner and, oddly, having no air conditioning in the room.

Grimes not having air conditioning, pales in comparison to McConnell’s very dirty tricks McConnell has used to ensure Federal dollars keep flooding into the pockets of his donors. McConnell lead all but five Senators, in 2012, to kill the Veteran’s jobs bill, designed to provide training and jobs to Veterans. Similarly in 2012, McConnell lead a Senate filibuster movement to block the “Repeal Big Oil Subsidies Act”, an Act that offers tax breaks to big oil, to the tune of $24bn. Unsurprisingly, McConnell received $131,500 from oil donors in Midland, Texas.
I hope the Grimes team can make issue out of where exactly Mitch McConnell’s loyalties lie.

The Republican platform can be summed up thusly: Those without money have too much and need less. Those with money have too little and need more. Every policy can be attributed to that summation of Republican ideals. The GOP war cry of “Take back America” is sounding more and more like “Take back America….. by about 60 years” every day.


The Elephant in the Womb

June 25, 2013

If the Republican Party left 2012 hoping to start afresh – following a President election defeat that quite comically they were certain that they’d win – in an attempt to broaden their base, inclusive of both the Hispanic community, and women that abandoned them in huge numbers; by mid 2013, they’ve failed horrifically on both of those counts.

As noted yesterday, in my article on immigration reform, the obvious attempts by a few outspoken Republicans to put a halt on legalising 11,000,000 undocumented workers only works to narrow their base even further. They appear wholly antagonistic, when they need to be appearing far more inclusive. It seems they’ve learnt nothing in past seven months.
67 votes in the Senate yesterday secured proceeding with the immigration bill on the basis of the Border security amendment.

Today, the focus is on their renewed war on women. The 21st Century Republican Party appears to be based on one simple sentence: “Get Government out of everything (except a woman’s womb)“. Yesterday, Republicans in the Texas State House of Representatives cowardly voted to restrict access to abortion by 97-33 on an anonymous Bill made up of past Bills that had failed in the House during the regular session. The Senate had already passed the Bill, but the Amendment to restrict access to abortion was added at the last minute by House Republicans. The Bill was voted on and passed at 3:23am. It must now return to the Senate. Cries of ‘Shame on you’ could be heard as the Bill was passed in the dead of night by cowardly Theocrats.

State Democratic Senators have today announced they will filibuster the vote in the Senate until Midnight tonight, when the session officially ends. If that happens, Governor Perry, a pro-life advocated, but on whose watch 250 people have been killed by the State’s death penalty, which he so shamefully boasted of during the Primary debates, could call for a special session of the Legislature to take place, for further discussion of the Bill. We shouldn’t be surprised if he does this.

If the Bill were to pass, it would threaten the running of abortion clinics across the State. Many may close. Again, Republicans promoting very dangerous anti-women policies.

The bill to restrict safe access to abortion is quite obviously not the first time Republicans have taken aim at women. It is a growing trend for the GOP. We see the nature of the debate on abortion from the right winged fringes, when presented with campaign literature like this:
babies-guns
– I’m not even sure what he’s suggesting here? Give guns to cells? Maybe just a knife to sperm, in an attempt to stop masturbation? Linking guns and children probably isn’t the most sensitive of campaign slogans the Republicans have ever came up with. But then, ‘National Association for Gun Rights’ and ‘Gun Owners of America’ are two of Stockman’s key campaign contributors, so it shouldn’t surprise us.

Stockman goes one further. He doesn’t just take aim at women, but also the transgendered community, and why he believes the Violence Against Women Act should not include them:

“This is a truly bad bill. This is helping the liberals, this is horrible. Unbelievable. What really bothers—it’s called a women’s act, but then they have men dressed up as women, they count that. Change-gender, or whatever. How is that—how is that a woman?”

Similarly, in 2010 Medina County Republicans put out a leaflet that included this little gem:
bettysutton

It isn’t just Republican men that are obsessed with both patronising, and controlling women. Republican women seem to be just as awful. Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) wants to recruit women to the Republican cause in 2014. She says:

“Women need to be asked. They have to be told of the opportunity and be encouraged to run.”

– That’s right! Women need to be told of the fact that they can run for public office. Really slowly. So the pretty things can understand. Perhaps their minds are too filled with getting dinner ready for the man of the house, in between thinking of kittens and flowers.

Ann Coulter, reflecting a general Republican anti-women stance once said:

“If we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have to worry about another Democrat president. It’s kind of a pipe dream, it’s a personal fantasy of mine, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. ”

– Even female Republicans, are anti-women. Some, cloak their inherent anti-women sentiment, behind creative, and horrendously offensive statements. The level of debate in the Texas House of Reps can be summed up quite wonderfully, by the statement of State Rep. Jodie Laudenberg (R):

“In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits, where a woman can get cleaned out,”

– Cleaned out? Really? That’s what you’re going with? Let’s also not forget that beyond the horrendous sentiment, she’s also entirely wrong. A ‘rape kit’ is used primarily to collect evidence, it isn’t used to perform an abortion. She is using the issue of rape, in order to pass an amendment, by blatantly lying.

A couple of days ago, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) stated that problems with the US education system began, when women started working outside of the home.

During the debate, Texas Congressman Michael Burgess (R) told us we should ban abortion, because fetuses cannot stop masturbating:

“Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful … They stroke their face. If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to believe that they could feel pain?”

– What’s most worrying about this, isn’t the level of stupidity that public debate has seemingly fallen to, but the fact that Burgess is a doctor of obstetrics and gynecology. Here is what the GOP would call an expert in their ranks, on the subject of reproduction. Would anyone let this man check you over?

It seems pretty obvious, private citizens do not want Republican Senators and Representatives taking ownership of their wombs.

In 2012, Wisconsin voted to repeal the Equal Pay Enforcement Act; a law that helped to address the growing pay gap between men and women. Upon repeal, Republican State Senator Glenn Grothman said:

“You could argue that money is more important for men. I think a guy in their first job, maybe because they expect to be a breadwinner someday, may be a little more money-conscious.”

And then we have the mouthpiece of mad, ranting, misogynistic, Tea Party Republicans, Rush Limbaugh. When it comes to women, Limbaugh said:

“So Miss Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”

– Wealthy, white, conservative, male attitudes to women are simply a reactive response against a growing modern, progressive, liberal inclusive culture that they very much dislike, because it threatens their unjustifiably privileged position in life. Whether they’re consciously aware of that or not. We can attach this reactive response to almost every group conservatives take aim at. They are a threat to privilege, and Republicans are the protectors of archaic and regressive privilege.

Republicans apparently agree with Rush, given their 2011 attempts to not just cut levels of funding to, but completely cut Title X. Title X offers family planning funding and services including breast and cervical cancer screenings and preventative healthcare to millions of low income women and families. The Republicans, not content with trying to cut Title X entirely in 2011, then sought to ban Title X funds reaching the Planned Parenthood Program. A program that also offers: contraceptives; emergency contraception; screening for breast, cervical and testicular cancers; pregnancy testing and pregnancy options counseling; testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases; comprehensive sexuality education, menopause treatments; vasectomies, tubal ligations, and abortion. Naturally, because of the last in that list, the Republicans believe Planned Parenthood deserves no funding whatsoever, for any of its services. Some States have already completely defunded Planned Parenthood, including Tennessee, despite no State money going to support Planned Parenthood abortions. In Wisconsin, nine of the State’s 27 Planned Parenthood clinics were completely defunded by State Republican legislatures. The nine clinics provided 12,000 uninsured women with low cost, and easily accessible health care. The Women’s Health Program in Texas receives 90% of its funding from Planned Parenthood… Texan lawmakers reduced its funding from $111 to $37. Wealthy State Republicans took that away. And they ask themselves why women have a problem with Republicans?

In 2011, Republicans also wished to cut funding to The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. A program designed to help low income mothers, and pregnant women. Despite WIC funding leading to lower infant mortality, and higher birth weights, the GOP are unhappy with it, and demanded a cut of $747 million. This, alongside a $50 million cut to the Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant, which helps millions of impoverished and low income women and children every year. That’s not all. They demanded a $1 billion cut to Head Start, $39 million from Child Care Development Block Grant. 368,000 estimated to lose learning support in their early years, along with those mothers who rely on child care, in order to work.

When political and religious ideologies are used to not just tell others, but force others to live their lives according to that ideology, and especially when it pertains to that individual’s body, your Party cannot then claim to be a Party dedicated to individual liberty. You are a Party dedicated to control.

From Mitt’s “binders full of women” to Akin’s “legitimate rape” to Chambliss almost whimsically shaking off the seriousness of sexual assault in the military by claiming it’s simply down to young men’s “hormone level created by nature“, to the anti-women bills and underfunding of important health services; the GOP really has a problem. It isn’t just the perception that they are anti-women. They can’t just ‘re-brand’ and hope people will forget. The things they say and do, are so blatantly anti-women, that there is no other possible perception. The GOP has an extremely long road ahead of it if it wishes to be an electable force again. At the moment, an all out, relentless attack on women’s health and reproductive rights, renders the GOP the same fringe Party of mad bigots that it was before the Presidential election.