Contact Me

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Fight to defund Planned Parenthood a la ACORN hoax

There is a new development in the abortion fight. If you remember the ACORN video during Obama's presidential campaign, you might feel a sense of deja vu.

Before we get into the controversy, let me say that this war on Planned Parenthood (as you know, this is not the first attempt to defund or shut it down) makes no sense to me. Besides the whole problem I have with others being involved in your choices affecting your family, sexuality, and body and NO ONE ELSE'S, there are other absurdities. Planned Parenthood offers many services to low income people as well as sex education, birth control, and treatment and aid when women are raped. Why would you want to block other people's access to these, in some cases, life saving services?? Sure, you may have a great health care plan and insurance, low co-pay, first rate doctors you can call as soon as you get the sniffles, but many people don't. Supporting movements to block access to that is heartless and hypocritical, especially since many who support this are SUPPOSED TO BE CHRISTIANS and should want to 'do unto others' and love their neighbors, love the adults as much as the fetuses.

The sources on the right, predictably led by Fox News, have cast this as 'OMG Planned Parenthood is selling babies!!!' But of course the truth is quite a bit less sensational. They want us to believe Planned Parenthood is either pressuring women to have abortions or pressuring women to sell fetal tissue so either they or the organization can make money. So instead of examining the sketchy video and submitting the rookie sting to any kind of scrutiny, Republicans want Planned Parenthood shut down (big shocker, as they have been trying to do this for ages) and a massive investigation be conducted. Makes sense, right? No.

Here is Planned Parenthood's statement:

So if you want to see the slant and the videos, you can probably find some here:

There were highly edited clips released (making the employee sound cavalier, making it sound as though something illegal might be going on) then the full versions were released, where it was made clear there is no trafficking in fetal tissue and in which some jokes in bad taste were made. Probably not the best way to talk about it, but not illegal. Also, when you are talking about something difficult, you sometimes make jokes, so this could have been the case. Doctors and professionals who deal with these things on a daily basis have a much greater ease in talking about them than the general public and this could be interpreted as callousness to the uninitiated. And not to mention, if we broke down every medical procedure to this level, we can make any of it sound extremely gruesome.

So of course what follows is that there is a rally in a few days in support of defunding Planned Parenthood, a long fight, not specific to this new video hoax or all new.

Now here are some sources that can shed some light on the situation, or tell the other side of the story, if you want to look at it like that. Apparently, Planned Parenthood is reimbursed for travel and transport of the tissue donations and this was cast as "illegal sale" and trafficking, which would be quite the scandal. If it had any basis in fact.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The racist disclaimer, decoded

I've seen a lot of good things about equality through the discussions of shooting of unarmed black men, the Charleston massacre and the confederate flag fuss*. And I've also seen some bad. So here's another rant.

I don't like talking about race. I'm a much better listener anyway. I don't have the experience to talk fluently about discrimination, but even I can see some of it and it's disgusting. I mean sure, people assume things about me because I'm quiet, we all have these types of struggles, but I'm not talking about those. I'm talking about real discrimination based on something arbitrary and seen immediately (like skin color, duh).

One meme making the rounds of social media says white people are not responsible for things their ancestors did.

 Hmm. Ok. . . That may be true on the surface. You don't own slaves, good on you. But sometimes you need to look a little deeper and break the code. (Side rant, excuse this- Like when you are told to be a Christian in and out of the voting booth. Are they telling you to be a Christian or are they telling you to vote Republican- or I'm sorry- not Republican, how dare I assume!, but rather the candidate, whatever party (see how open minded I am!), who opposes abortion and gay marriage and is for making the Bible our civil law) This kind of thinking not only exonerates them from crimes of their ancestors (they assume), but kind of (they hope) gives them a blanket amnesty from any racist thought or action on their part today. They are trying to disengage and wash their hands of this matter, racism, as though it doesn't exist or doesn't matter. They don't experience it, so why bother. They won't be pulled over for being black or searched in a normal traffic stop or be considered suspicious for walking home with too many people, so we are post-racial.

Black people are dealing with the consequences of slavery (even though they are not slaves currently) still and yet white people bear NO responsibility because they don't currently own slaves?? There is something seriously wrong with that thinking. Racism is learned and passed down. Racism is alive and well unfortunately. I certainly WANT to be fair and impartial, but am I consistent in that? I have no idea. Probably not. But I'm trying. That's an important difference. Your parents and grandparents may have had racist ideas, but you can break out of the bubble and decide you want to contribute to making the world better. Doing nothing encourages the status quo, the broken system.

You can't wash your hands of this and say I'm not responsible for your misfortune. We need to be asking instead how we all can succeed. We need to be striving for equality and justice FOR ALL. And to do that we might need to ask what it's like to be driving while black or what it's like to explain to your kids the injustice that exists that is part of life, that they will have to work doubly hard to succeed or be doubly "non-threatening" (using this as I have heard it used, hoping I can get the point across and not be offensive) to be heard, the things they have to be aware of so as not to be shot- not by criminals- but by the police.

[7/26/15 edit- In recent events, at the Netroots Nation conference, it was said black lives matter, all lives matter, which is kind of the same - though more of an attempt at solidarity - as the 'I don't own slaves meme.' Of course all lives matter, but the issue we are having very obvious problems understanding in actions if not ideology is that black lives in particular matter as much as everyone else's and that is the reason for the hashtag and movement. If that was an attempt at solidarity, we need to try something else.]

Also included in this self righteous racism are the political games, like the anti affirmative action argument- we just want real equality, why do black people get all the breaks? What do you even say to that kind of ignorance??

And then there are black comics like Bill Cosby (I guess he's lost some credibility, but there are probably dozens who fit the mold) who tell boys to pull up their pants and tell white people they should be able to say the "n word" too and any number of more offensive actions. See? He's black! It's ok to be racist- or- it's not racist because I'm quoting a black guy!! Wrong.

I know you don't own slaves, but you still have to think for yourself and take responsibility for your own garbage TODAY.

Silence is complicity. I don't know who said that.

*fuss= 7/26/15 edit= looking back, this seems not a serious enough word. I only meant that it is a no brainer to me that if something is as offensive as a flag under which slavery was fought for, we should take it down immediately, why was it flying anyway, especially since it doesn't represent the US or the unity we seek even aside from slavery and especially considering it.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Israeli politics and a soapbox

The Trouble With Israel

I don't know that I want to quote everything behind the pay wall; I don't know the rules there. I will put in a plug for supporting the forms of media, radio and print that are as intelligent and delve into the issues you care about, like Harpers is for me. Free is great, but supporting the musicians and media doing good things is also pretty sweet.

This article may help you if you are as confused as I am how Netanyahu got elected AGAIN, even though he seems to be bad for the times and his people.

He also nailed an assessment of US Republicans and made a fun observation of Netanyahu:

"They know that they cannot say they are for keeping things as they are, which would make them advocates for plutocracy and inequality, for which there is no majority. So instead they say that they are only against “government,” and act in ways to resist or sabotage the workings of the state apparatus. Ordinary people start saying that Washington is broken, journalists flock to valorize the voice of the frustrated citizen — and Republicans win. It’s the perfect con."

"He may fancy himself a new Churchill given another chance to preempt Hitler in 1938. But he sounds more like Curtis LeMay, the Air Force general who headed the Strategic Air Command and said in 1965 that China would have the capacity to deliver bombs as soon as twenty-five years in the future, and that therefore the United States should entertain the “destruction of the Chinese military potential before the situation grows worse.”

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

What is propaganda?

Haaretz: Close encounters: A glimpse of Palestinian reality few American Jews ever see

This explains the problem with educating people on the conflict!  

"I think the instinct to talk to Palestinians is important, but I find the propaganda spin artificial to the point where you can't know anything like the real story because what they are saying is clearly not the whole story."  

When Americans hear the Israeli side, we sympathize, think about their struggle, accept it as fact and value it as a person's experience. When Americans hear the Palestinian perspective, they moan about balance, why are we only getting one perspective, why don't you write about other human rights issues (I used to get that one a lot), they consider it propaganda, and immediately explain away Israel's role in Palestinian hardships.

The answer given in the article was perfect and one I have given, too, in a way, when asked about my "one-sided" blog or writing. I always tell them you already have access to the Israeli Jewish perspective whether you are Jewish and visit there or just listen to the news here, so I have read a lot about this and know a Palestinian and this is the other side of the story. Not to mention, why should a program designed to educate about the Palestinian perspective be "equal"?? - and you can take equal to mean pro-Israel. If you didn't actually want to know the Palestinian perspective, you should have stayed in your little bubble and and not signed up for such a trip that doesn't promise you pro-Israel bias and apologetics sold as equality and justice!