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Grandma Sarah May Want to Rethink Her Position on Sex Education

11:38 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

"BusyBodies Sex Education Resource for Parents"

"BusyBodies Sex Education Resource for Parents" by crisispregnancyprogramme on flickr

Written by Martha Kempner for RHRealityCheck.org. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

Track Palin gets far less attention than his now famous sister Bristol, his nephew Tripp, and even his little brother Trigg who was born just five months before the family was thrust into the national political spotlight. Even I, who seems to write about this family every week, pretty much forgot about him. I even missed the announcement in May that he had married his high school sweetheart Britta Hanson in a small, family-only ceremony on an Alaskan ski-slope.

Last week, Track made headlines again when it was reported that his new wife is expecting and seems to be rather far along. Though the couple has only been married for two months, pictures of her on Facebook show her very pregnant and surrounded by what appear to be baby shower gifts (something most moms-to-be don’t get until somewhere around month eight). Gossip headlines screamed shotgun wedding but that doesn’t seem exactly fair.

First of all, they’re adults; Track, 22, was on active duty in Iraq for a year and is currently an Army reservist and commercial fisherman in Alaska, Britta, 21, is a nursing student at the University of Alaska. And, from all accounts they’re in a stable, long-term relationship that spans most of their lives. So, it does not surprise me that they had sex before they got married (in fact, it would surprise me if they hadn’t). The fact that she probably got pregnant before they got married does, however, suggest that the pregnancy was unplanned and once again makes one question the Palin family’s views on abstinence education. Read the rest of this entry →

Dear Sarah Palin: A Giffords Cousin Speaks Out

10:26 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Lynn Paltrow for RHRealityCheck.org – News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

See all articles on this issue at this link.

Dear Sarah Palin:

I am writing today about how you are responding to and how you will respond to the assassination attempt on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the murders of six other people.

By way of introduction and background, I am a cousin of Congresswoman Giffords. I am also an ally of Dr. George Tiller, the Kansas doctor who provided abortion services and who was assassinated on May 31, 2009.

When the Congresswoman’s offices were vandalized after her vote on healthcare reform, I wrote to her. As I recall, I congratulated her on her strong spirit in the face of that attack and other threats. I told her that I was proud of her courage on behalf of health care reform and sorry that she had to show the same courage as those who provide health care to pregnant women who need abortions and other reproductive health care services. Both have been the subjects of hateful, vitriolic language. Both have been put in rifle crosshairs.

In the aftermath of the murder of Dr. Tiller and the attempted murder of Congresswoman Giffords, many have spoken out about the role that hateful language played or might have played in encouraging these acts of violence. Immediately after Congresswoman Giffords was shot, many people voiced concern about such things as your “Take Back the 20” map targeting congressional districts of those representatives, including Congresswoman Giffords, who voted for health care reform by placing their districts in the crosshairs of a gun sight. Commentators have also noted your advice to people disappointed in the outcome of the 2008 elections to “lock and load” and “don’t retreat, reload.”

As I am sure you are now aware, Congresswoman Giffords herself had expressed concern about your map in particular. She said: “We need to realize that the rhetoric, and the firing people up and … for example, we’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list, but the thing is, the way she has it depicted, we’re in the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they’ve got to realize that there are consequences to that action…”

Your response so far, has been to defend the images and language you use. Read more

Bristol and Levi, Together Forever?

7:45 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Sarah Seltzer for RHRealityCheck.org – News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

Teen mom and abstinence spokeswoman Bristol Palin has risked the disapproval of two feuding families to romantically reunite with Levi Johnston, the repentant, formerly spurned (and spurning) father-of-her-child. Ironically, the glee that this clandestine second betrothal causes among Palin detractors (her mom must be so pissed!) contrasts with the fact that once again, the pair have embraced one of the cornerstones of conservative family values: the shotgun marriage, or in this case, the really, really long rifle marriage.

It’s hard to resist the saga of the Palin clan. Rivalries, teen pregnancies, breakups and makeups, rumors of meth-dealing relatives, tabloid gut-spilling and facebook name-calling. A young couple who embrace abstinence, reject it, then embrace it again. For the liberal media elite, the pursuit of this Alaska-to-Washington soap-opera has been intense and unyielding, encompassing both scorn for the clan’s seemingly-lowbrow ways and absolute fascination with same. That attraction-repulsion far eclipses any reaction to other conservative political foes who might pose a more substantial threat at the ballot box (Tim Pawlenty… eh).

As we debate whether the young Alaskan parents’ brand-new return to affianced bliss is for real or for reality TV, whether it’s an act of rebellion or Sarah Palin herself is its scheming puppet-master, what we’re actually left once again facing is the cultural threat that the Palins and their proud way of life seem to pose. This, in my opinion, is the true reason they get under our skin. It’s not so much that Sarah Palin will be president–she probably won’t–but we’ve now learned that are millions of people who embrace the Palin method, melodrama, accidental babies and all. It’s a way of life that, like anti-choice policies and hatred of government programs, rejects reason and evidence for dogma, even when confronted with the failure of that dogma in everyday life. Hot-button political disagreements like birth control, abortion, even the nature of marriage have real life consequences for the health and wealth of families–and the Palins and their ilk don’t seem to care.

Bristol and Levi, detours aside, represent a life-path that’s far from foreign or alien to conservative Americans–in fact it’s intimately familiar. This is why, when Bristol’s pregnancy was discovered, no eruption of fury or cry of “hypocrite” from within the conservative movement materialized–it was to be expected, and even applauded for not ending at the abortion clinic. This is how the Palin way generally proceeds:

  • 1-Grow up without sex-ed, with abstinence touted and contraception only marginally available.
  • 2-Initiate sexual activity at a hormonally-appropriate time, without consistent or proper protection.
  • 3-Get pregnant, but don’t consider abortion because of religious values, lack of access, or parental notification laws.
  • 4-Attempt to do “the right thing” by getting married or engaged.
  • 5-Nevertheless experience a higher poverty, divorce, and single parenting rate, and lower educational achievement and health index as a result.
  • 6-Rinse, repeat.

This cheeky little rundown of mine is actually borne out by the numbers. In  Red Families vs. Blue Families: Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture by Naomi Cahn and June Carbone, (Oxford University Press) the authors tease out the way our vast cultural differences translate, statistically. In an excerpt for Alternet, they write (emphasis mine):

Driven by religious teachings about sin and guilt and based in communities whose social life centers around married couples with children, the red family paradigm continues to celebrate the unity of sex, marriage, and procreation… Yet, red regions of the country have higher teen pregnancy rates, more shotgun marriages, and lower average ages at marriage and first birth.

Cahn and Carbone point out the “paradox” in the heart of so-called family values territory: family stories often include sins like divorce and out-of-wedlock births. The other side of the paradox? Rhetorically open-minded, pro-sex, love-makes-a-family blue state clans  model stable, two parent (gay or straight) homes with parents who have waited until adulthood and the arrival of financial stability, rather than the onset of sexuality in the late teen years, to begin having babies. These two factors–more than one caretaker and slightly older parents– of course, are proven by the numbers to be strong indicators of the emotional, financial, physical and education health of families. (The authors stress, and I repeat, that this is statistically-based generalization, and in no way negates the many real stories we’ve all seen of triumphant teen and successful single parents and two-parent, financially stable households that wreak havoc on their kids’ well-being.)

This paradox ultimately, is what provides the frustration for Palin-watchers–and conversely, the fad of Palin-mania and the success of shows like “16 and Pregnant,” which show the workings of the red-state family up close, uncensored, and personal.  But our way works, we think. Why do people keep choosing the other way? With our abundance of sexual freedom and contraception and abortion and gay-friendly policies, we actually have more solid family structures than you do, and yet somehow you still see us as sinful!

Carbone and Cahn believe that our ideological differences can’t be smoothed away. So they posit that more important than differences over sexuality and abortion should be the common goal of delaying marriage and childbirth. They suggest practical (and for the most part, feminist-friendly) solutions which they believe are more likely to help people on both sides of the gap than sparring does. For that reason, they support government and social programs focusing attention on contraception instead of abortion, promoting family-friendly workplaces instead of arguing over the ideal family, and expanding relationship and marriage education instead of arguing over sex vs. abstinence education.  They note that:

New efforts at marriage promotion suggest that delayed marriage, financial planning, more-effective communication, mutual respect and commitment, shared interests, and recognizing the warning signs of domestic violence (both in oneself and in potential mates) all enhance relationship stability.

Levi and Bristol have actually achieved some of the desired results here: they’re older, more financially stable thanks to their careers as celebrities and spokespeople, their shared experience as teens thrust into the spotlight is uniquely theirs, and they’ve now weathered a few life-experience storms that they wouldn’t have encountered even a few years back. Now that their red-state values have merged with media savvy and exposure to the wider world, they have a little more blue state flavor in their union. Whether or not they will buck trends and forge a successful family on either paradigm, is obviously a complete mystery–but we’ll all be watching. As Salon’s Amy Benfer writes, “their private choices will eventually be served back to us as political parable.”

For those of us on the blue side of the divide, theoretically if not geographically, the Palin family saga reminds us that we’re not just fighting an abortion war, but we’re up against an entire way of life built on a deep foundation of contradiction.

Soldier Up, Feminists: SP’s in Town

6:57 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Kathleen Reeves for RHRealityCheck.org – News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

Rebecca Traister wrote last week about Sarah Palin’s recent use of the F-word and the feminist response. Traister points out that as feminism has no clear platform, it “does not make for great sound bites” and is therefore up for grabs—even (or especially) by the right, which loves to lay claim to empty signifiers in order to rally the faithful.

Traister writes:

"What we are talking about is a battle over language. And the left — perhaps because of a commitment to expressing a considered, thoughtful take on issues or perhaps because we are pansies — does not have a winning history when it comes to battles over language."

It’s true that progressives’ appreciation of complexity, uncertainty, and nuance makes us thoughtful people but poor soldiers in the language war. I’m particularly interested in Traister’s critique of the word, “choice”—and I find myself agreeing with her:

"Years ago, women’s rights activists ceded words that tied reproductive freedom to life and morality and were left with the limp language of"choice" – a word so fungible that it is now used to stamp everything from getting an abortion to getting a boob job as a "feminist" act. It’s the very word that is being used as a weapon by conservative women who not unreasonably wonder why, according to the language to which feminists cling, their "choices" to support gun rights and religious teaching in schools are less valid than the "choices" of their feminist counterparts."

If “choice” is problematic, then perhaps a better place to start is “freedom.” Because, indeed, Sarah Palin has touted her own kind of choice: the choice to pursue an ambitious career in politics while raising children, the choice to give birth late in life, the choice to extract oil at the expense of her home state’s ecology. Her most famous daughter then made her own choices: the choice to be a single mom, and the very interesting and perhaps half-thought-out choice to make at least an overture towards comprehensive sex education. Bristol’s messaging was quickly retooled after February 2009, and we heard not a word more from her against abstinence. But that moment of mild chaos illustrates the power in the idea of choice, as feminists have traditionally used the word: the right to do what you believe to be best for yourself, and to define yourself how you wish, even if it’s not how your mother defined herself or if it doesn’t jive with what your mother believes. This kind of choice is always in line with freedom, with flexibility and adaptability, which make wisdom possible.

Imposing a minority-held religious belief on children in public schools (because the people who tend to push religion in schools are not “mainstream” Christians at all), or claiming that respect for life must include bans on abortion but exclude social welfare programs or health care—these “choices” compromise freedom. It is Sarah Palin’s choice to have as many children as she wants; it is not her choice to tell other women whether or not they can.

I’d also like to zero in on Traister’s claim that the feminist movement long ago “ceded” the language of morality. I’m not sure if she’s right, but I do know that right-wingers seem to think they own this language. But I think this might be changing (particularly with the passage of health care reform, which at least began to link moral rhetoric with progressive legislation). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the left can take back morality, and it should, and soon. Before Sarah Palin steals our NOW buttons.

Sarah Palin’s Great Feminist Magic Trick

7:14 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Amie Newman for RHRealityCheck.org – News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

Sarah Palin is the latest in a string of conservative women and equally conservative advocacy organizations (“Feminists for Life”) to wrap themselves in the amazing technicolor coat of feminism. In a Washington Post article on Palin’s feminism grab, the writer notes:

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin told a group of women who oppose abortion rights that they are responsible for an "emerging, conservative, feminist identity" and have the power to shape politics and elections around the issue.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing underneath the flashy coat Palin and her fellow "emerging, conservative feminists" are wearing (unfortunately, at least, for the majority of women and girls in this country who are counting on real change in the form of equality. If the idea of Palin baring all under a multi-colored robe excites you, I can offer you nothing more at this point than a farewell). And though the co-opting of "feminism" as a movement is worthy of analysis, why should we be surprised? Sarah Palin is nothing if not a savvy strategist and she’s keyed into a brilliant strategy: her base of supporters is her “Sisterhood” and she’s ready to rally them. As Jessica Valenti writes in her satisfyingly on-point Washington Post article entitled “The fake feminism of Sarah Palin",

It’s not a realization of the importance of women’s rights that’s inspired the change. It’s strategy. Palin’s sisterly speechifying is part of a larger conservative move to woo women by appropriating feminist language. Just as consumer culture tries to sell "Girls Gone Wild"-style sexism as "empowerment," conservatives are trying to sell anti-women policies shrouded in pro-women rhetoric.

There is nothing new about Sarah Palin as a feminist. Not only is it likely that most people see Sarah Palin as a feminist already, she was rockin’ the feminism boat while she campaigned for Vice President. Sure, she’s anti-choice, and has done nothing noteworthy related to actual grassroots or political advocacy for women’s equality and in fact has actively worked to limit women’s choices. But Palin is a strong, independent, extremely successful woman who balances career and family – the world is her oyster and the women’s movement would want this for any and all women.

Obviously, conservative, Republican and independent women can be – and are -  feminists in some senses of the word. Many are successful professionals or are firmly seeded in the outside-the-home working world as the breadwinners in the family, some take advantage of maternity or paternity leave so that they can be both professional and parent, most have access to – and use – contraception that allows them to make choices about their reproductive lives, maybe they even run for Vice President of the United States having walked the path forged by the feminists who came before them.

But here’s where I get tripped up with the “feminism” Sarah Palin and her ilk are peddling. Women in the United States, on the whole, are looking for change in the form of equality and justice, says the National Women’s Law Center:

When women volunteer the most important issues facing American women today, they are most likely to cite: health care issues (including women’s health issues); pay for women and the issue of equal pay; opportunities for women in the work place; education; child care issues; and women’s rights in general.

Regardless of age, income, and education, more than half of women (55%) feel that the government should do more to solve problems and help meet people’s needs.

But how does Palin’s idea of “feminism” address answers to these obvious problems? Feminism, for Palin and her sisterhood, isn’t related to the long line of veteran women who came before them who broke barriers in the workplace, in the military, on the home-front. It isn’t about healthcare for undocumented immigrant women. It isn’t about the women (and men) who work every day to ensure access to the safe contraceptive methods that allow them to plan for their families. It isn’t about the feminists who have (and continue to) work towards pay equity for all women so our hundreds and thousands of women in the workforce, especially those single mothers, are paid fairly for the work they do. It’s not about recognizing how hard the women’s movement has worked to raise awareness of issues around sexual assault, domestic violence and rape. It’s not about the work of women’s rights advocates on behalf of women globally who are dying during pregnancy and childbirth. And, of course, it most certainly is not related to the feminists who have and do work daily to ensure access to safe, legal abortion care. As Valenti writes,

It isn’t a structural analysis of patriarchal norms, power dynamics or systemic inequities. It’s an empty rallying call to women who are disdainful of or apathetic to women’s rights, who want to make abortion and emergency contraception illegal, who would cut funding to the Violence Against Women Act and who fight same-sex marriage rights. As Kate Harding wrote on Jezebel.com: "What comes next? ‘Phyllis Schlafly feminism?’ ‘Patriarchal feminism?’ ‘He-Man Woman Hater Feminism?’ "

No. This is the feminism of conservatives – it’s akin to the, “I raised myself up by my own bootstraps and so can you.” The “I didn’t get any help from (chose one): welfare, affirmative action, government funded health care” and so therefore neither should you. It’s the “I decided not to have an abortion when I find out I was carrying a baby with Down’s Syndrome and so you shouldn’t be allowed to have the freedom to make the decision that’s best for you” type of feminism (never mind that Palin had the free choice to decide her fate and the fate of her child- without government interference and with much greater than average resources at her disposal.)

Somehow the statistics that provide us evidence (One in four girls drops out of high school. More than 14 million women live in poverty, and more than 17 million women have no health insurance. Women still earn only 77 cents for every dollar paid to men) that women and girls are in desperate need of an immense overhaul of societal and governmental structures, bypass conservative feminists completely.

What’s more, when the problems are allowed to make it into their line of vision, conservatives blame them squarely on the traditional feminist movement:

Palin, whose teenage daughter Bristol is also a mother, criticized abortion rights advocates for delivering the message to young women that they don’t have the strength to go through with pregnancy and motherhood.

"Our prominent woman sisterhood is telling these young women that they are strong enough to deal with this," Palin said.

"They can give their child life, in addition to pursuing career and education and avocations. Society wants to tell these young women otherwise. These feminist groups want to tell these women that, ‘No, you’re not capable of doing both.’ . . . It’s very hypocritical."

With a few well-worded phrases, Palin simply wipes away decades of sweat, toil and hard work and instead reworks feminism as a movement that limits women’s choices instead of expanding them.

Sarah Palin and her supporters choose to ignore, then, the millions of young, teen mothers who have no access to quality prenatal care, no access to quality childbirth services, limited financial resources, limited or no access to public schooling, and limited or no access to a job that would allow them the paid or unpaid maternity leave to care for their babies. But, again, this is a conservatism that falls back on an astounding lack of empathy, believing that the options, choices and opportunities available to oneself are automatically available to others – and if they aren’t, it’s only through the fault of those who do not have them.

Perhaps the most amazing part of Sarah Palin’s feminist rallying cry is related to abortion access. Palin was particularly passionate about her “feminism” at a gathering for the Susan B. Anthony List – a group that works to elect anti-choice politicians. They are so named because some believe that Anthony’s stance on abortion was akin to the anti-choice movement’s political stance today.  It is an unbelievably courageous and arrogant co-opting of one of the most admired women’s rights advocates in U.S. history. Anthony hardly was an anti-abortion advocate and there is, in fact, what amounts to zero evidence that she would be opposed to safe, legal abortion today. Not only is there no evidence to support Anthony’s opposition to legal abortion, there is no evidence to support Anthony’s opposition to abortion, period, in this day and age.

So, then, Sarah Palin’s faux-feminism is what cubic zirconia is to diamonds. It’s cheaply produced, low-quality counterpart. For women who want a feminism peddled by Palin, any sort of concrete advocacy or legislative action eludes them. Will Palin’s feminism translate into support for and action on behalf of the Global MOMS Act to improve maternal health? The International Violence Against Women Act? Action to eliminate environmental hazards for pregnant women and children? Will Sarah Palin and her feminist “sisters” work to ensure expanded access to contraception and high-quality, affordable childcare? Prenatal care for all women? Will they advocate for legislation that would help pull women and their families out of poverty? Will they step up and speak out when the Vatican launches an “investigation into the proliferation of feminism and activism” amongst Nuns? Will Sarah Palin and her conservative, feminist sisterhood respond to Pat Robertson’s claims that “feminism…encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians?” Or is this not quite the type of feminism they were hoping for?

There are some for whom the word feminist means very little – though women of every economic and social strata, ethnicity and race, religion and age align themselves with the idea that (and desperately want to see) women have the right to equity, equality and justice. There is a hesitancy, at times, to embrace the feminist label completely. There are also many who do not see their priorities adequately represented by the more mainstream feminist organizations. What would be most refreshing, then, would be to see Palin’s grab for “feminism” provide the spark to feminists to evaluate just how the women’s movement can become that much more enticing and relevant to the women and men of this country who fall firmly on the side of equity and justice for all– not just those women and girls conservative, Republican women believe “deserve” them. Sarah Palin’s brand of feminism is just that – a branded ploy, behind which there is nothing more than a wink and a smile.

Arizona’s Immigration Policies: Racism and Collective Hypocrisy

8:13 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Aziza Ahmed for RHRealityCheck.org – News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

Arizona’s Governor Brewer is on a roll with anti-immigrant law-making. Under S.B. 1070 racial profiling may worsen (or be more easily justified) and with H.B. 2281 schools could justify not teaching students about a variety of historical injustices if these lessons could be understood to “promote resentment” towards a particular race or class. Not only are the courses under attack, but the teachers as well: the Arizona Department of Education has begun a process to remove teachers with accents from classrooms.  

Hatred towards immigrants is masked in a variety of discourses: “national security”,  “border security”, “high unemployment”, or if you are Pat Buchanan it is disguised in the subtle subtitle of your book “State of Emergency: the Third World Invasion and Conquest of America.”  Okay, so maybe it is not hidden at all.  In fact, alongside the current debates in Arizona, one of the more obvious examples of our disregard for immigrants (particularly undocumented immigrants) was President Obama’s health care reform speech of September 2009. It was at the precise moment President Obama was reassuring us that undocumented immigrants would be left without healthcare that Representative Wilson shouted, “You lie!”  And then everyone got mad.  For good reason of course, because aside from Representative Wilson’s outlandish and disrespectful behavior – Obama was telling the truth: we had all agreed to deny undocumented immigrants healthcare.

Of course, this anti-immigrant sentiment emanates from all sides of the debate and manifests in horrific ways for many.  Take for example the shocking case of Miriam Mendiola-Martinez shackled to her hospital bed after giving birth because she was undocumented and in police custody. Amnesty International has documented the impact of racism on immigrant women negatively affecting safe childbirth and delivery.  In addition to racism, a fear of authorities, an inability to speak English, and inability to navigate the health care system by immigrants also served to lessen women’s abilities to receive adequate health careIn 2003 the Committee on Understanding and Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care highlighted discrimination as a key factor in racial and ethnic health disparities.

Who is Governor Brewer’s staunchest supporter in this anti-immigrant frenzy? None other than Sarah Palin –this time attacking immigrants only a few short months after admitting to crossing the border into Canada for health care.  Brewer and Palin even have a website which offers oddly pieced together facts and statistics alongside a seemingly amateur YouTube video about the need for border security.  Their law, the website proclaims, is being misrepresented and unfairly attacked.  However, while Arizona’s laws are rightly under fire for their racist underpinnings, there seems to be a convenient collective amnesia on the side of those claiming a moral upper hand in this argument (the less racist hand, the more accepting hand).  After all, didn’t everyone just finish agreeing (compromising) that there are some things that immigrants, especially undocumented immigrants, just shouldn’t have some of – like healthcare?

It’s possible that at the end of this odd debate consisting of forgotten hypocrisy and poorly made websites helpful information may emerge.  I mean, maybe Sarah Palin has some tips on getting the more than 11 million undocumented people that have little to no healthcare access in the United States into Canada legally for healthcare?  It was her own family’s solution after all. Perhaps that’s a project for the Brewer-Palin amateur video production team?  I bet that one would go viral.

 

Death, the GOP, and the Politics of Health Care Reform

9:27 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Scott Swenson for RHRealityCheck.org – News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

Fear is what the far right is. Fear is what they do. The same people who bring you fear and misinformation about sexuality education, contraception, family planning and abortion are once again stirring up fear about death.

We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.

There is no better way to stir up fear than to talk about death — unless you combine talk about government and death. Most people don’t want to think about death. The far right tried this in 1998 and 1999 in Congress when the party that touts "states’ rights" tried to overturn the popular will of voters who twice passed Oregon’s Death with Dignity law. The far right tried it twice in the federal courts, ultimately losing a 2006 Supreme Court case in a 6-3 decision allowing Oregon’s now 12-year-old Death with Dignity law to stand. Last year Washington voters made their Death with Dignity law the top vote getter in the state, at 59%, besting even President Barack Obama.

The last time the far right stirred up public fear about death they used extraordinary means to prevent a husband from carrying out his wife’s wishes not to be left in a persistent vegetative state, intervening in a family’s personal and private life decision. Remember Terri Schiavo? The GOP lost their House majority after voters saw how they exploited that situation, so for Sarah Palin and others to be scaring people now about a "death panel" in health care reform legislation demonstrates they care less about dying people than they do about cheap political manipulations.

Voters are consistently rejecting far right efforts to stir up fear about death, and at Read the rest of this entry →

Culture of Lies

11:29 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Social conservatives cannot complain that their issues have not been heard in the 2008 campaign, in exactly the fashion they wanted.

John McCain selected the far-right’s hand-picked candidate as his running mate, Sarah Palin, instead of either of his preferred choices, Joe Lieberman or Tom Ridge. McCain used one of the far-right’s most egregious and most thoroughly debunked attacks, that Barack Obama supports infanticide, in the final presidential debate. The Republican Party platform is recognized as the most extreme platform in history on cultural issues. Palin has talked up "Culture of Life" issues in her very few interviews, and John McCain has as well, going on record saying he believes life begins at conception. The Republican National Committee, several pro-life lobbying groups, at least two independent expenditure campaigns and the McCain campaign have used television, radio, mail, internet and robo-calls to deliver what appears to be a coordinated message on the "Born Alive" infanticide charge.

The McCain-Palin campaign attacked comprehensive sexuality education, supported bans on gay marriage, and several fundamentalist Christian churches openly defied tax and election law by endorsing the ticket from their pulpits to further energize their base. Everyone is talking about the importance of the Supreme Court and attacks Read the rest of this entry →