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Ear to the Ground

Women as Wedge Issue

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Posted on Apr 6, 2012
AP/Carolyn Kaster

President Barack Obama speaks at the White House Forum on Women and the Economy on Friday in Washington.

It’s high election season, and that means the leaders in this year’s presidential battle need a good wedge issue or two to get voters all exercised and in touch with their innermost convictions (read: Get them to the polls). Why not seek that in the collective form of roughly half the nation’s population?

Yes, we’re talking about women—and whether that means trotting out the trusty Trojan horse that is the reproductive rights debate, at least as it is often misused in these contexts, or conjuring up poll data indicating this or that candidate isn’t connecting with female-identified Americans, suddenly the image-conscious campaign teams from both Democratic and Republican ranks are all about the ladies.

But lest we misunderstand him, President Obama wants us to know that “women are not an interest group.” That’s settled, then.  —KA

ABC News:

In the thick of a battle over women, the White House is seizing on the Republican Party’s struggle to woo female voters by inviting scores of them to Washington to tell the administration what they want.

The White House’s overture included President Obama himself, who told his female supporters today that they mean more to him than just some “monolithic” interest group; Attorney General Eric Holder, who empathized with women who are working to help victims of domestic violence; health secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who talked to women about health care; and a host of female advisers like Valerie Jarrett and Cecilia Munoz who promised that the administration has their back.

But it was Republicans who struck first in the morning, as the monthly employment report showed that 120,000 jobs were added in March, fewer than expected. Sharon Day, a cochairwoman of the Republican National Committee, tied the number to women’s issues explicitly.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, April 8, 2012 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment

prisnersdilema, April 8 11:34 am - OWS would be a formidable
third-party, but they aren’t one and even if they started now, they
could not be a formal political force in elected office for two more
years.  And they had better get started now to be a political party
if they are serious about making a difference.  Course then their
spontaneity disappears in the mist of ordinary politics, through
the principles of assimilation. 

They will need some charismatic spokespersons.  Someone who
can articulate their political agenda, which far as I can tell is financial
reform legislation!  They can still put pressure on the corporate world
and others in the 1% with what they are doing.  Are you on their email
notification list?  Here is the website to keep up with their heroic
activism: http://occupywallst.org/  Sign up!  There is always some-
thing one can do even if they are not in New York or one of the big
cities where they protesting.  Just have to read the websites to see
what it might be.  I am not as pessimistic as you are and I don’t think
the demise of the Democrats is in the near future.  It is The Party of
the People.  I’ll be like the black knight of Monty Python fame and
keep fighting even though all my limbs have been hacked off by
the Right and the Left!  Pugnacious might be my middle name.

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prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, April 8, 2012 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment

Thanks Shenonymous, for encouraging divestment.

I understand why working within the Democratic party, would appeal to you, and I wish
you good luck. For me the Democratic party is not what it used, to be, I think at this
point, its not salvageable. Political parities come and go when they no longer represent
anyone, it’s time for the Democratic party to go.

What I see, is a party that has become completely comfortable with saying one thing and
doing another. From my point of view, there simply isn’t time to wait for reform, because
this country is approaching a tipping point, both economically, politically, and in terms of
Global warning, Time has run out.

With or without political action, the world is facing some dire shocks.

OWS is a third political party, one that represents those caught in the corporate maw, 
without them the political apparatus of the one percenters, would speedily convert this
country into little more than a slave state, with which to protect their wealth, their
privilege, and political control of both parties. 

The destructive political, economic, and social policies, of the one percenters  
jeopardize, the well-being of all the billions of people that inhabit the earth. Because of
them, many billions endure extreme daily privation, and hardship. Their life from birth to
death is one of suffering and pain.

Its clear they believe they have the mandate to do what ever they feel like with “those
other people” - the useless eaters, and with the biosphere of the whole world. Even if it
means the total destruction of this planet.

People have a chance, and a choice to change. Now is the time,  we may not have
another opportunity.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, April 8, 2012 at 8:39 am Link to this comment

prisnersdilema, April 7 at 8:16 pm – Surely you strongly
suspect all political parties, even the allegedly Robin Hood third-
party ones, con voters, it is their job to convince voters their ideology
is the better one of all the others.  That is not for me enough of a
reason to abandon the party that represents my liberal values.  Your
value that political action is necessary against insurance companies,
regardless how that is done, i.e., divesting investment in their stocks,
is basically a liberal value since you want to benefit the general
population and certainly not the corporatocratic insurance industry. 
Public activism is happening in our country in the form of the Occupy
Movement.  The Movement is becoming more and more “organized” as
time goes by since the occupiers are seeing they are too ineffective in
their unorganized configuration, but if united can make that difference
you speak of. 

Aside from the fact that I am a liberal Democrat and you are an ex-
Democrat, it is most likely we are not too different in our beliefs,
judgments, and opinions on the issues. Perhaps where we are
different is how we effect change.  I do not see anyway around
stopping the Ultra-Right-Wing Conservative Tea Party Republicans
other than using a political party that has enough members to have
the clout to defeat them. The only party with even a hint of possibility
is the Democratic Party.  The magic is in the numbers and that is why
I am working within the Party to change, meaning replacing, the
Democratic politicians who are not actually representing the people. 
There are a number of crucial issues and diminishing the power of
the insurance companies is just one of them. I don’t think I really have
to list those issues.  But perhaps with civil discussion between us and
possibly attracting others to do the same we can as a coalition start
making the difference that will start to modulate the government of
this country to be one that really does reflect the needs and wishes
of its citizens?

For my part, I will most definitely encourage anyone where I work (in
academia I won’t have much of a problem there) to withdraw any and
all investments in any insurance company stock.

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prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, April 7, 2012 at 9:16 pm Link to this comment

I can understand loyalty, even if I believe it’s misplaced.

I at one time was also a Democrat, and would have a hard time voting for a Republican.
I am no longer a Democrat, because in my view the Democratic party has used the
ideology to con voters, just as the neo cons used conservative values and then
betrayed them.

I believe that political action is necessary against the insurance companies, in the form
of divesting investment in their stocks.

This was effective in freeing south Africa, and can be again.  Please encourage those
that manage investment in the company you work for to withdraw any investment in
insurance company stock.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, April 7, 2012 at 6:52 pm Link to this comment

Indeed I yam a Democrat, that I yam, prisonersdilemma.  This is not
anything I’ve ever hidden and actually have declared such many times. 
I’m not only a Democrat, I’m a fundamentalist liberal!  About health care. 
Well I am convinced that Obama took the road of least resistance even
though his base, including me, were quite troubled and infuriated.  He
had to contend with what he could get away with as the Republicans
were pigheadedly unbending and no health care legislation would have
been possible.  Such is life.  Telle est la vie   I happen to be one of the
few who thinks the mandate is better as long as there is no single payer. 
Reason is I would be paying more for emergency room treatment of
patients who need care but have no insurance nor money to pay for it. 
Hospitals and doctors for patients like that charge exorbitant fees and
medications are comparably astronomical.  I know several people who
need very expensive in America medicines that they can get at a fraction
the cost in Mexico or Canada.  Guess where they go to get their meds? 

“Red or blue. Republican or Democrat. Conservative or liberal.“  A
clarifying article at
http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/24/6/1426.full
“The Political Divide In Health Care: A Liberal Perspective” gives a
good case for the liberal perspective.  While I am concerned what
the Democrats in Congress does and there are too many I am not
happy about their voting record, that does not mean I will abandon
my liberal political principles.  Nor can I say it enough that The
Republican Party is the Party against the People” in general and in
particular.  The destiny of my vote is preordained.

EmileZ, I will certainly mull over the options.  Anyone who would refer to
the dharma is a fine individual indeed and must be given an audience. 
There is much gravitas to consider.

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prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, April 7, 2012 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous you must be a Democrat. Because you sound like your repeating a
political advertisement for Opanna’s re election.

I disagree, of course. Especially in one area, health care. Opanna’s betrayal on
health care, should have turned all women against him. It was a slick job, give a
few cosmetic changes, but ignore the fundamental structural changes, that would
have been the basis, for a revolution in health care, that could have caught us up
with the rest of the civilized world.

The Health care industry, pushed for the legislation, that he put forward, they
wrote it, and they have made record profits in the billions on it. What do they care
if they lose a few dollars here an there, on cosmetic change.  Thats the
Democratic style, bait and switch. 

But, no matter.. Health care will be gone, soon enough. I fully expect that if the
supreme court doesn’t overturn the law, there will be a constitutional amendment  
easily passed by the states to revoke it out right.

Because this legislation is some of the most unpopular ever passed, and it should
be.

As to health care, it will be gone in a few years anyway, it’s collapsing as we speak, 
the insurance industry, can no longer generate the massive profits it needs by the
usual tricks of laying off their workers, cutting back on services, and shipping,
contract work overseas. They’ve done all that already, and there’s no place to
merge either.

The drugs they peddle, are coming off patent, with steep decline’s in their use.

I suggest you watch Sicko again….. for a refresher….

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, April 7, 2012 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

@ Shenonymous

Well… mull it over.

There are still many long months to go and you know how rapidly public opinion can change.

They say the dharma is like a fine mist. Over time it begins to seep in and saturate.

Also, never underestimate the power of savior faire.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, April 7, 2012 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment

EmileZ - don’t you know I am the utilitarian pragmatist who has no
heart?  Least that is what I’ve been called.  Naw, my heart knows
no bounds. From the data coming in from all the states, the women
even Rethuglican ones are going by staggering numbers for that
much hated by lots of redneck men, wealthy and provincials alike,
and Evangelicals too, black man in Washington DC again.  Even Repugs.  Watchagonnado?  But good luck anyway, EmileZ.

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, April 7, 2012 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment

@ Shenonymous

I don’t know how it breaks down by state, but if all women (of legal age) turn out and vote for me as a write-in candidate, I am pretty sure I can win by a landslide, especially if you consider the fact that the male vote will be split between the D’s and the R’s.

Think about it, that is all I ask.

And look into your heart, that is important as well.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, April 7, 2012 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

prisnersdilema, April 7 at 5:02 am

If they really want to help women, then they should
rid themselves of the parasites ?that feed on women’s
labor, devalue their work, and pretend to be their best
friend ?in a manufactured crisis.

And that would be the corporatocrats, not the Democrats, who fund the
Republicans who in turn legislate in their favor.  Many many Democrats
are women and they will be making voting tsunamis in November.

EmileZ much as I enjoy your posts, I will not be voting for you. 
Republicans could win if too many votes are siphoned off and that
would be the end of any progress women have made in 150 years and
that spells disaster for women.  I used to post The Republican Party is
the Party Against the People
, but I will now have two slogans, The
Republican Party is the Party Against Women

2004 Democratic Platform:

We will defend the dignity of all Americans against
those who would undermine it. Because we believe in
the privacy and equality of women, we stand proudly
for a woman’s right to choose, consistent with Roe v.
Wade, and regardless of her ability to pay. We stand
firmly against Republican efforts to undermine that
right. At the same time, we strongly support family
planning and adoption incentives. Abortion should
be safe, legal, and rare.

2008 Democratic Platform:

The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally
supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose
a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay,
and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine
that right.

The Democratic Party also strongly supports access to
affordable family planning services and comprehensive
age-appropriate sex education which empowers people
to make informed choices and live healthy lives. We also
recognize that such health care and education help reduce
the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also
reduce the need for abortions.

The Democratic Party also strongly supports a woman’s
decision to have a child by ensuring access to and availability
of programs for pre- and post-natal health care, parenting
skills, income support, and caring adoption programs.

In 2008, the Democratic Party platform included language borrowed
from Hilary Clinton’s 1995 speech to the United Nations Conference on
Women in Beijing:

Our policies will recognize that human rights are
women’s rights and that women’s rights are human
rights.” Reflecting Obama’s own long-standing interest
in international development, the documented continues,
“Women make up the majority of the poor in the world. So
we will expand access to women’s’ economic development
opportunities and seek to expand microcredit.”

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’S IMPACT ON AMERICAN WOMEN
AND THEIR FAMILIES at http://www.democrats.org/people/women
2012 - President Obama has been a staunch advocate for women,
working to protect and advance policies that promote fairness, equal
opportunity, and a level playing field. From working to ensure equal pay
for an equal day’s work to expanding access to quality, affordable health
care, childcare and education, the President’s agenda showcases his
belief that women’s issues are America’s issues.

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, April 7, 2012 at 7:27 am Link to this comment

I thought I might try to beef up my credentials as “the ladies write-in candidate” by posting a youtube video of a Mecca Normal song called Joelle, but I couldn’t find an acceptable version.

Instead I found this, and I realized it has probably been twenty years since I have seen Mecca Normal.

Now I am depressed.

But don’t worry, I need no encouragement, no affection.

I just need your vote on November 2nd.

Mecca Normal - 20 Years No Escape

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuaRH1PbX_0

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prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, April 7, 2012 at 6:02 am Link to this comment

It must have been politicians who invented holding people for ransom. For they
are expert in taking hostages and then negotiating their release.

Both political parties, have held women hostage for years, because they want the
support of women’s groups, yet at the same time don’t want to alienate, those that
oppose those interests.

So, they will offer whole hearted attempts to bribe, without ever getting to the root
of the problem. For they themselves are the cause of all the miseries, that they
never quite manage to address.

The democratic party has mastered the art of being anything you want it to be.


The Republicans, on the other hand, offer decoys that target groups can identify
with, in this case women. Their hope is that people will vote for the person and
forget about the issues.

Something the Democrats are trying out for the first time with Obama. A trend
that’s likely to continue, for a while, even if Obama doesn’t manage to limp into
the white house a second time. 

If they really want to help women, then they should rid themselves of the parasites
that feed on women’s labor, devalue their work, and pretend to be their best friend
in a manufactured crisis.

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, April 7, 2012 at 4:49 am Link to this comment

Prince - I Wish U Heaven

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzHrQFl5JZ8

EmileZ in 2012!!! (a special write-in candidate for ladies only)

Prince - 7

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuHrEUN0Lvg

Savoir Faire - a French noun phrase that means being adaptable and adroit, knowing what to do in any situation.

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, April 7, 2012 at 1:45 am Link to this comment

Lou Reed - Women

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fafxyFEE_oE

“What a nightmare to have no women in the world”.

Unlike some, EmileZ loves women for who they really are.

Lou Reed - The Heroine

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jBNzQqjKJI

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By Margaret Currey, April 6, 2012 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Women may have enter the work force in large numbers and keep households working but most women do not get equal pay for equal work, same goes with health insurance, insurance companies (some) give viagra to men but wnat to limit women but birth control is a plan to control pregnancy but also used for certain health issues, I get what is called preventative medicine to control blood pressure, coloustrol and thryoid issues which keep me healthy, insurance companies don’t want people who smoke, I’ll bet more women don’t smoke than men who don’t smoke.

Obama also stated that women pay more for their dry cleaning bill, blouses cost more money to lander than men’s shirts, I say how dare they a lot of women are smaller than men so there is less material to process.

But what really makes me mad is that corporations have moral issues and can deney birth control pills to women and since when do corporations have moral issues, is this the middle east.  Will we eventally be arrested if we want to divorce husbands?

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