Trump’s Promise to be America’s Most Dangerous, Divisive President

Today, both President Obama and President-Elect Trump have urged America to keep calm and united. But despite these overtures, many Americans are experiencing a sensation akin to shock following one of the nastiest, most vitriolic elections in American history. One in which Trump repeatedly scape-goated women and minorities in a bald attempt to pander to some of the most harmful social undercurrents existing in our country.

Given the ugly tone of Trump’s campaign and his loss in the popular vote by 200,000 and growing despite apparent wins in the electoral college, Americans and people abroad alike now feel a very valid sense of deep concern for the future of a fractured Nation and an increasingly threatened world. For what Trump has pledged and promised to do during his Presidential campaign represents a very real risk of severe political, climatalogical, physical, and economic harm for this country, her people, and to the people and living creatures of this world.

(Berkley students chant ‘not my President!’ in protest walk out on November 9th. Across America and the world, similar protests were underway. Michael Moore, meanwhile, was urging continuous acts of civil disobedience in opposition to Trump’s election. Currently, over 100,000 people are protesting in New York City alone.)

Disturbing Threats to Jail Political Opponents

Threatened with incarceration for presumed crimes no-one has convicted her of, Hillary Clinton must be among those feeling the shock. Trump threatened to jail her if he was elected President. And many of his followers took up the cry — posting ‘jail Hillary’ signs on the sides of roads or demanding unjust incarceration of a political opponent loudly on twitter.

Unfortunately, if Trump’s current diplomatic demeanor spoils, these election campaign threats could very easily turn real. Trump has the power to appoint a special prosecutor. The power to appoint an Attorney General who agrees with his views. The power to, in effect, ‘rig’ the judicial and prosecutorial system to favor his opinion that Hillary should be jailed.

Trump’s uttering of these words during the campaign has already been deeply damaging. Never before in modern memory has one U.S. Presidential opponent publicly threatened to jail another. But carrying out such an action would be as unprecedented as it would have a terribly chilling effect on U.S. democracy.

An Angry Finger on the Nuclear Button

As Clinton reflects on Trump’s threats to haul her off to trial, others around the world are looking fearfully back at the rage-filled rhetoric of a man who is soon to be equipped with the full might of America’s considerable arsenal. During the campaign, Trump claimed to ‘love war,’ asked, multiple times, during security briefings why the U.S. doesn’t use nuclear weapons, and pledged to ‘bomb the shit’ out of Isis and steal their oil. He’s expressed a desire to turn NATO into a protection racket meant to extort fees from allies. And he’s shown a disturbing affinity toward other aggressive leaders like Vladimir Putin.

If Trump’s belligerence and seeming lack of sense continues post-campaign, there’s a valid concern that he might order a nuclear strike with little in the way of provocation. The President does hold the nuclear codes. And though aides, advisers and a substantial military chain of command provide a buffer between a bad decision and disaster, the fact that a hot-headed Trump ignorant to the devastating consequences of the use of such weapons is the final say in the matter is a serious worry.

Killing Climate Treaties, Promoting Fossil Fuels

As nations around the world look to the U.S. with fear and concern, a number of climate bad actors stand to be empowered by a Trump Presidency. Trump has effectively pledged to cut all funding to climate science and renewable energy research and development. In one fell swoop, this action would remove NASA and NOAA’s ability to track climate change even as the main competitors to fossil fuels — wind, solar, and vehicle battery technology — are effectively stymied. It’s a 1-2 punch that would dramatically harm this nation’s already flagging resilience to a rapidly worsening global climate crisis.

Meanwhile, his board of energy advisers are hand-picked from these bad actor fossil fuel companies and include a long list of climate change deniers. Trump has pledged to bring back coal while heightening U.S. oil and gas production and consumption. He has also promised to kill Obama’s Clean Power Plan, de-fund the EPA, and back out of the Paris Climate Treaty.

earth-under-fire

(Trump, according to Joe Romm over at Climate Progress, appears likely to go down in history as the man who single-handedly pulled the plug on the potential for a livable climate. I agree with Joe’s lucid but stark assessment — without some kind of significant outside action, we are in a very tough spot now due to this set-back by Trump. We really have been given no rational cause to hope otherwise. Image source: Ring of Fire Network.)

Combined, these actions would have a devastating effect on the currently building but still not sufficient global response to climate change. Backsliding by the U.S. will likely also cost reduced commitments by such varied states as India and China even as other countries like the UK, Australia, and Canada are likely to take U.S. climate inaction as their own excuse to renege on past emissions reduction goals.

Overall, a Trump Presidency that follows through on its anti-stable-climate agenda could cost the world as much as 1-2 C in additional warming this Century (on top of what’s already locked in) by keeping the U.S. and other nations on a business as usual emissions path longer and essentially dismantling much of the progress that was achieved under the Obama Administration. To be very clear, current bad climate outcomes are occurring under just 1 C above 1880s level warming. Meanwhile, greenhouse gas reduction commitments under Paris are setting the world on a path to about 3 C warming by the end of this Century. Trump’s policies, when all is said and done, could easily push that to 4 C or more — which would be utterly devastating.

Prospects for escalating climate policies to achieve a less than 2 C warming this Century are now also pretty bleak as Trump rolls in. In my opinion, it would take a wholesale rebellion by energy investors through the necessary act of divestment in fossil fuel industries and reinvestment in renewables to achieve this goal — first by sapping the political power of the agencies that keep putting people like Trump into office and also by removing capital for current and future projects.

David Roberts over at Vox is rather less sanguine:

The truth is, hitting the 2-degree target (much less 1.5 degrees) was always a long shot. It would require all the world’s countries to effectively turn on a dime and send their emissions plunging at never-before-seen rates.

It was implausible, but at least there was a story to tell. That story began with strong US leadership, which brought China to the table, which in turn cleared the way for Paris. The election of Hillary Clinton would have signaled to the world a determination to meet or exceed the targets the US promised in Paris, along with four years of efforts to create bilateral or multilateral partnerships that pushed progress faster…

 That story is gone now. Dead. The US will not provide leadership — it will be an active, and very powerful, impediment. Under unified Republican leadership, progress on lowering emissions in the US will halt and reverse and US participation in international efforts to combat climate change will cease.

Deregulation + Trickle-Down Isolationism is Bad Economic Policy

Following the Great Recession, Obama and a number of effective economic leaders managed to save the world from complete financial disaster. Helpful polices by Obama and the democrats, including the maintenance of Wall Street oversight, now serve as a thin veil protecting the U.S. and the world from another financial collapse. However, Trump’s pledges to bring back pretty much all of the failed republican economic policies promoted by the Bush Administration that were so destructive while adding still more of his own trouble to the brew risks severe economic consequences.

Trump has pledged to deregulate Wall Street — enabling economic bad actors to have the same free reign that set up conditions for the financial crash back during 2008. He has threatened trade wars with China and other partners — a policy that would have a chilling impact on global markets. He and his republican allies have promoted policies that would hobble the Federal Reserve in ways that would deeply undermine the national economy. And he has promised to produce a massive tax cut for the wealthy while slashing supports for the faltering middle class and poor in this country — further worsening the systemic inequality that has already so deeply harmed and divided our nation.

Economist Paul Krugman is not optimistic — warning of a global recession arising from a Trump Presidency:

Under any circumstances, putting an irresponsible, ignorant man who takes his advice from all the wrong people in charge of the nation with the world’s most important economy would be very bad news. What makes it especially bad right now, however, is the fundamentally fragile state much of the world is still in, eight years after the great financial crisis… So we are very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight. I suppose we could get lucky somehow. But on economics, as on everything else, a terrible thing has just happened.

While the threat of a new global recession may not be immediately imminent, Trump’s overall economic stance doesn’t provide much in the way of benefit to anyone but the super-rich while adding to the risk that bad actor financial agencies will again crash the markets at some near or long term future date.

Building the Wall

Related to this likely damaging set of economic views is Trump’s continued pledge to deport millions of Hispanics while erecting a physical barrier between the U.S. and Mexico. Following through with the promise would turn the U.S. into a closed society for the first time in its history as a nation even as it risks the economic collapse of a country along our southern border. And just the expectation of fallout after Trump’s election today has already sent the Peso into free-fall.

Historically welcoming to immigrants, U.S. innovation and competitiveness has been driven by a constant influx of new people, new cultures, new ideas. Trump, like the rest of us, hails from immigrant roots. Following through with such a walling off of our neighbors and the creation of a ‘fortress America’ would steer away from a policy of openness to neighbors that has lasted for the better part of two Centuries. And while trade agreements with Mexico should certainly be managed to keep the needs of the American people (and not international corporations) firmly in mind, a wholesale shutting off of our relationship with that large and developing neighbor would ultimately be harmful to U.S. interests.

No Electoral Mandate

In the spirit of unity, I’ve done my best to strike a conciliatory tone. But this is difficult when there is so much at stake and when so many greedy corporate hands are now ready to manipulate majority republican congressmen, senators, and the President. To be very clear, Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary. So this country didn’t elect Trump. As with Bush in 2000, the electoral college did the deed. This means that more people in this country wanted Hillary’s presidency and policies than those who wanted Trump’s agenda. As a result, Trump can claim no solid electoral mandate.

Overall, despite a pause in the hostilities coming from Trump, severe underlying policy dangers present themselves from a Trump Presidency. An enabling majority in Congress amplifies the risk that these dangerous policies will emerge and that an electorate that has been at least somewhat disenfranchised by Gerrymandering, voter suppression on the part of republicans, and overall intimidation and abuse, will continue to generate harmful and worsening fractures in American society. As with everything else, a worsening climate crisis further threatens to exacerbate these problems even as it generates serious issues all on its own. And the ushering in of yet one more climate change denier into office only serves to create more of a disconnect with public desires for renewable energy access and climate change related action.

Overall, this is a tragic day for America and the world. One with ever-more threatening clouds on the horizon.

Links:

Donald Trump Could Jail Hillary Clinton

Exxon Concedes it May Need to Declare Lower Value for Oil in the Ground

Economic Fallout From a Trump Presidency

Trump Lost the Popular Vote

Trump Already Having a Damaging Effect on Mexico

Hat tip to Colorado Bob

Hat tip to Climate Hawk

(Note this is RS post #1000. One that will live in infamy.)

Advertisements

Election 2016: A Portrait of America Under Siege

“Donald Trump is an ignorant man, a vulgar man, a man who reminds me of Adolph Hitler and Josef Stalin in his arrogance and thirst for power.” — Bernie Sanders

A Bizarro Reality

To look at Donald Trump’s version of what makes America great is to take a retrograde step through a rip in space-time and enter a fake populist bizarro land. To venture into an alternate dimension where a once-mighty and enlightened nation was strong-armed into taking the downward-sloping path into crisis and collapse. And like the bizarro land of the Superman mythos, this alternate reality is trying to inflict itself on the real world. It will succeed if we let it.

Trump’s a man who’s angrily proud of the fact that he does not pay taxes to support the safety, security and prosperity of the nation he seeks to lead. He’s a billionaire pandering to white workers’ fears of economic disenfranchisement while fighting to cut the very social and economic supports that these voters often rely on. A red-faced fear-monger blaming innocent immigrants and African Americans for economic woes his party — the republicans — engineered through forty years of trickle down economics. Policies that party is seeking to enforce through an unjust suppression of voters in places like North Carolina and Florida.

trumpdystopia

(A portrait of America under siege. What would America under Trump look like? This smokestack shanty town under darkening skies and surrounded by walls topped with barbed wire fences sitting in the shadow of gilded corporate towers just about says it all. Image source: What Would Jack Do?)

Donald Trump has often sought the populist mantle Bernie Sanders rightly bears. But Trump, Sanders says, “is an ignorant man, a vulgar man, a man who reminds me of Adolph Hitler and Josef Stalin in his arrogance and thirst for power.” And as Bernie Sanders goes to bat on the campaign trail for Clinton, pledging to make Trump —  “start paying his fair share in taxes,” the rage-filled corporate mogul tars the career public servant Hillary Clinton, attempting to smear her with the same Wall Street trappings Trump of Trump Towers ignominy has worn since the day of his birth. In other words, it’s one thing to take campaign donations from Wall Street, but another thing entirely to live, eat, and breathe the Wall Street mantra. To support, as Trump has throughout his life, the same harmful tax cut, deregulation, and anti-minimum wage policies that created the problem of Wall Street vs Main Street in the first place.

Entering the Dystopian Upside Down World of Donald Trump

To live in Trump’s reality is to live in an America under a strange kind of upside down siege. If the real economic problem in America is income inequality — then Trump promotes more of it. If the real threats to America’s foreign policy endeavors are increasing isolation and alienation of our allies — Trump seeks to build a wall. If dictators imperil our country or disrupt our elections, then Trump praises them. And if the very real climate change spurred threats such as coastal inundation facing cities like Miami, Norfolk, and Elizabeth City and drought losses threatening the water supply of the Colorado River states are ever-worsening, Trump seeks to burn more coal, oil and gas, attacks renewables, and denies that climate change is actually happening.

(As bad as the effects of climate change currently are today, Donald Trump’s combination of anti-science, anti-renewables, and pro fossil fuels policy will result in a reversal of critical climate change mitigation at exactly the time when they are needed most. Leonardo Di Caprio makes an impassioned appeal for us to do our part and vote for politicians that support responsible climate change policies and against those like Trump who hurt pretty much everyone by pandering to harmful fossil fuel special interests.)

If abuses by the powerful have created harm in America and abroad, Trump talks up abusive strong-men like Russia’s Vladimir Putin. And Putin, for his own part, appears to have done everything he can to help Wikileaks hack Hillary Clinton’s emails or even post fake versions of emails to further misinform the American electorate.

Trump makes fun of dying polar bears, pretends Obama has no birth certificate, mocks reporters with physical disabilities, panders to white supremacists, and has turned himself into a wretched caricature of misogyny. There’s not a victimizable person, animal, or class he doesn’t appear willing to take advantage of.  Bully may describe him, but it doesn’t fully contain his apparent rage-filled ardor for exploitation, for wrecking lives, for running rough-shod over people or things he has labeled ‘loser.’

Praying to America’s Darker Angels

Trump seems to believe that we can transport ourselves back to a mythological past when America was greater than it is today. To promote the illusion that we are, somehow, not far better off now than we were at a time when African Americans were held as slaves, or suffered under the abuses of Jim Crow, when scientists were persecuted, when there were no labor laws preventing the exploitation of children or protecting workers’ rights to fair pay and treatment, when women had no right to vote, when the abuses of state-supported corporate exploitation by such entities as the East India Trade company led to the real Boston Tea Party and wholesale continental revolt, and when a policy of systemic genocide was enacted against the natives who lived on American soil for thousands of years before the colonists came.

What Trump’s lack-vision fails to see is that America’s aspirations for greatness led her out of a very dark time scarred by these ills and into the far more enlightened age of today. An age that is now under threat by the retrograde narratives and policies promoted by people like Trump who seem to push ever on toward a return to the old dark days of injustice and oppression. And this mindset, the abusive and revisionist view of history, is something we must reject if we are to have much hope of navigating the very serious troubles that are coming in this age global climate change and increasing dislocation. We must embrace new ways of doing things. We must turn to new leaders. We must reject the political violence of an old, angry white man, and the system of dominance and harm that he promotes.

A Necessary Endorsement of One of Our Nation’s Strongest Women

This is my endorsement for Hillary Clinton. A woman whom I admire for her strength, her tenacity, and her clarity of purpose. I may not agree with every policy she stands for or admire every aspect of her life. Like the rest of us, she is human and imperfect. But she is a true American who has served her country with honor. A lady who supports our America not just with her words, but both through paying a fair share of her substantial earnings and through her considerable life’s work. A leader I can stand behind. Someone who has already done many great things for this nation and who I believe, with the help of people like Bernie Sanders, is capable of so much more. In a day when we face off against so many abuses both at home and abroad, I think America would benefit from the steady hand of this strong woman — who has the potential to be a truly historical figure and to lead our nation out of a sea of troubles.

Donald Trump represents the worst sins the old world, but if we give Hillary the right kind of support, she can stand for the better virtues of tomorrow and serve the vision of an age that confronts its problems rather than spiraling ever deeper into self-destructive denial, anger, and isolation. That’s what this election means to me — risking an almost assured disaster by electing Trump or creating a very real possibility for reducing and escaping present harms if we elect Clinton. The choice, for me, couldn’t be clearer.

hillary-stormborn

(Throughout his campaign, Trump has impuned the dignity of women, calling them nasty and bragging about objectifying them. As a strong woman, Hillary is exactly the kind of person who should face down Trump’s misogyny. Image source: House of Clinton. )

So I urge you to lift your voices in this election. To be heard and to make your power and capacity to promote justice known. I ask you to stand strong against the intimidation, against the pervasive misinformation coming from those who would inflict so much harm. You are capable. We are capable. We can do this. We can release America from the siege that a fake Tea Party promoted by corporate interests and that people like Trump have placed her under. And we can make a strike against the underlying systemic mysogyny of our nation by electing our first female President of this United States of America.

I have listened to your voices and I know that you are strong. So be heard! It is time for the real America to shine through.

Growth Shock Launch: “I Have a Confession to Make … We are in Trouble”

Some of you may have noted my absence. I’ve been nose-deep in completing the launch of a book that has been about 10 years in the making: Growth Shock. It developed both from my experience as an emerging threats expert for Jane’s Information Group and related consulting efforts, later from my connection to thousands of wonderful young people, many of them disadvantaged, through a 6 six year schools campaign, and finally through participation in the direct actions that were Occupy Wall Street and the 2012 Stop the Pipeline demonstration sponsored by 350.org in Washington, DC.

At some point, in the support of these direct actions for positive change, I developed the notion of channeling my energies and talents into works as actions. Growth Shock is the first of these. (Learn more in Growth Shock, Going on Offense and Setting an Example for Kindness Economics.)

Growth Shock Cover Art

(Growth Shock now available)

In support of these efforts, at least 60% of the book’s proceeds will go to 350.org (40%) and to direct funding for freedom from fossil fuels (FEFF) for individuals, localities and communities (20%). But I’m not stopping with these actions. An upcoming third speculative fiction novel in the Luthiel’s Song series will be re-named The Death of Winter and I will be organizing a campaign to raise energy transition funds for public schools around the sales campaign for this book (more on this later). Another publication effort examining the loss of glacial and sea ice and its consequences will direct funds to scientific research through the Dark Snow Project and to help support  James Hansen’s continued work at Columbia University. A fourth and still unnamed publication will also be directed toward reinvigorating policy efforts to rationally and benevolently restrain human population with an ultimate goal to bringing it, along with consumption, back into balance with Earth Systems and to back out of our current and dangerous overshoot. These efforts will likely take years to complete. But they are now on the table.

The Death of Winter

Luthiel’s Song Book III to be re-named: The Death of Winter

This is not at all to denigrate the need for direct action, campaigning, and demonstration. When possible, I will continue to participate in these efforts. But my goal will be to organize my life and my means of life support to also support systems that re-invigorate, restore, renew, and enlighten. This is the basis for the kindness economics proposed in Growth Shock — that our life works re-weave humankind back into the web of life, that we stop breaking it, and that we develop human technologies and thought systems that support life, rather than harm it.

But we’re a long, long way from any of that. And, at this very late hour, some of us are only just beginning to respond as others still languish or remain trapped, captives to systems of harmful consumption and harmful action. Meanwhile, climate change, overpopulation, resource depletion and the institutionalized and greed re-inforced systems that lock the technologies, policies, cultures and thought-systems that cause such harm in place are now in a critical phase of crisis, a phase where harm from these four forces is ramping ever higher, causing great fractures through the structures of modern civilization. Like the metaphorical lemmings, we still run headlong toward the precipice. Sooner or later, we will go over.

Unless we stop. Unless we back away.

We haven’t done this yet. We haven’t even slowed down. And, for this reason, we are in deep, deep trouble.

What follows is an opener to the book Growth Shock. But for you, I’ll provide a bit of qualification. The situation is a shade or two worse than even what I describe in the intro. Though I still believe it is possible for us to stop, to turn around and to make the needed changes, the effort required will be so great that the difference between the death-fed and destruction-creating human world of now and the vital, healthy, sustainable, and reinvigorating the heartbeat of nature human world of our best future is a vast chasm. A great rift that may well be impossible to cross for individuals, communities, and nations. This does not diminish our need to try, to at least make a grand attempt before being overwhelmed by the darkness. To level all our intellect, creativity and tool making abilities toward effecting a positive change, toward reversing the terrible disaster we’ve now set in motion that has already been, for many of the innocent creatures of our world, a horrible apocalypse…

***

Excerpted from Growth Shock:

I have a confession to make. One that is not easy to vocalize. One that is equally difficult to listen to. My confession is not one of a personal nature. I am not revealing my own, petty, individual sins. Instead, I’m making a confession for us all. A revelation of the ongoing and maturing tragedy of our race. One we will each need to be made aware of soon if we are to effectively act. For the age of excess is rapidly coming to a close and we are now entering a difficult and hard to manage age of consequences.

My confession is simply this: we are in trouble. A kind of trouble that is both typical to all living creatures and beyond the scope of anything we humans have yet witnessed. A kind of trouble that is both born of the natural world and directly caused by us.

Our trouble is that over the course of the next century we will run head-long into a number of very difficult to manage shocks that are the result of our unsustainable growth. How we confront these shocks will determine whether or not human civilization survives to reach the 22nd, 23rd, or 24th centuries or whether we, at the very least, encounter a coming age of darkness and decline.

That we will encounter some trouble is now unavoidable. At this point, all we can do is seek to reduce the scale of that trouble and lessen the harm that is its inevitable result. A decade or two ago, if we had acted sooner and with due urgency, we might have prevented harm. But harm is already upon us, growing worse with each passing year. And though our trouble has already become apparent to many, we still languish, squandering the time and effort needed to manage the emerging shocks even as they grow more deadly and dangerous.

If we decide to confront these troubles, what lies before us are many decades or more of sustained effort to reduce the damage we have inflicted upon ourselves efforts from which may arise a new golden age should we overcome these troubles. For pushing beyond our current limits through renewable energy systems, providing direct supports to heal the living world we depend on, establishing more kind and inclusive economic systems, and undergoing the general transition to sustainability necessary to deal with our current crisis results in an ever-expanding justice and prosperity. The potential for a true world without end.

If we do not act, a massive and rapid decline of human civilizations, a mass extinction in the oceans and on land, and a radical re-shaping of the Earth’s environment to a state far more hostile to humankind are all in the offing.

This is my confession. For it is the truth or our age. It is our dire tragedy, and our great hope. For we are living in the age of Growth Shock.

Will W. Romney, P. Ryan Remove Women’s Reproductive Rights if Elected?

Major news media seems to have been utterly hypnotized by W. Romney’s endless vacillations and changed policy positions. But taking a step back from the enormous cloud of smoke currently being produced by the Romney campaign, we can look at clear signals via both his chosen staff and his past preferences to see which way key policy choices are likely to go.

The first, and most critical, issue is women’s reproductive rights. As a haven for leaders who are willing to let their religious beliefs transfer to laws governing women’s bodies, the US has had a very rocky history of women’s rights. Key reproductive freedoms like access to birth control and family planning services were only won during a brief period of renaissance during the 1960s and 1970s. The establishment of an abortion freedom via the Roe v. Wade decision put the capstone on women’s reproductive freedom in America and ushered in a world-wide age of expanded rights for women around the globe.

Even as these new freedoms were put in place, though, enemies of women’s rights gathered in a generations-long attempt to return America to the dark days of back alley abortions and to a time when certain forms of contraception were illegal. This backlash gained steam during the 1980s and continues to this day in the form of, likely, four conservative Supreme Court justices who are ideologically disposed to overturning Roe v. Wade. It also includes a massive influx of legislators who have fought vehemently in Congress to curtail women’s access to birth control, family planning, key health services, and to overturn abortion rights in even the most damaging and harmful cases.

In total, Republicans in the 112th Congress have voted 55 times to curtail women’s rights. This includes 17 votes to allow health insurance providers to discriminate against women, 11 votes to cut women’s access to preventive care (breast screenings etc), 10 votes to restrict access to abortion or roll back abortion rights, 7 votes to cut funding for women’s nutrition, 3 votes to block access to reproductive and maternal care services, 3 votes to undermine Medicare and Medicaid services to women, and 14 votes that undermine environmental laws protecting pregnant women from toxic substances (Source).

It is also worth noting that President Obama has indicated he will never acquiesce to the extreme anti-woman tendencies of the right wing and has threatened vetoes on any such legislation that crosses his desk.

These Republican anti-woman votes accounted for about 5% of all time spent by the 112th Congress. Among the leaders of this legislative war on women was none other than Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan. Ryan voted yes on almost every anti-woman bill submitted and has pushed for legislation making it illegal to perform an abortion even in cases of rape or incest. Ryan also pushed for a personhood bill that would make abortion even in the event of saving the mother’s life illegal. Ryan’s anti-woman votes parallel those of extremists Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock who have both said that even in cases of rape abortion should be illegal. Mourdock was recently quoted as saying that ‘God intended rape pregnancies’ (Source).

Riding in on this wave of Republican anti-women sentiment is Mitt Romney. Romney claimed as recently as a month ago that he would support legislation overturning Roe v. Wade. And his choice of running mate, Paul Ryan, is among the most anti-woman of a very anti-woman Republican House. Romney earlier noted that he would also overturn the Fair Pay Act. His campaign seems to sense a growing outrage among women and, so, over the past few weeks the Romney campaign has obfuscated past extreme anti-woman positions, attempting to appear kinder and gentler to women. But this is merely the desperate smoke screen of a candidate in jeopardy of losing and seeking to pander to all voters in hopes of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat (Source).

As we saw with Bush, promises of compassion made on the campaign trail have been about as valuable as a bucket of spit. And Romney, who has shown us only the endlessly changing face of a doppelganger, is certainly far from worthy of engendering trust.

In the case of a Romney election, there would be a very high risk that many women’s freedoms would be overturned. Romney-appointed justices would almost certainly be anti-abortion. Further, Romney would likely work with Republicans in Congress to continue to draft and expand anti-women legislation. A long march back to the days where women were treated as objects and property would have begun and much of the hard work of the brave American women of generations past is in dire danger of being removed should Romney be elected. Romney’s assurances to the contrary are merely empty words — a half-hearted and unclear pledge which holds no honor. To stake women’s future on such false promises and to ignore the Republican legacy of an endless war on women would be the very epitome of folly.

Links:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/11/paul-ryan-personhood_n_1767760.html

Take Action:

http://www.barackobama.com/splash/choice-signup?

Total Failure of Integrity: Romney vs Romney

The following is an illustration of the Romney campaign’s endlessly changing stance on the issues in an attempt to manipulate voters. It also shows how it is basically impossible to determine what Mitt Romney stands for except his own personal advancement.

Mitt Romney on Women’s Rights:

“I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years we should sustain and support it.”

“Roe v. Wade has gone too far.”

“I respect and will protect a woman’s right to choose.”

“I never really called myself pro-choice.”

Mitt Romney on the Auto Bailout

“Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”

“Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check.”

“I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry’s come back.”

Mitt Romney on Privatizing Social Security:

“I’m not in favor of privatizing Social Security or making cuts.”

“Social Security’s the easiest and that’s because you can give people a personal account.”

Mitt Romney on Health Care Reform and the Affordable Care Act:

“If Massachusetts succeeds in implementing it, then that will be a model for the nation.”

“What works in one state may not be the answer for another.”

Mitt Romney on Capital Gains Tax Cut:

“It’s a tax cut for fat cats.”

“I believe the tax on capital gains should be zero.”

Mitt Romney on Osama Bin Laden:

“It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.”

“He’s going to pay, and he will die.”

Mitt Romney on How Conservative He is:

“I was a severely conservative governor…”

“Relative to the leading candidates, some people see me as being more conservative.”

“I’m not the most conservative candidate.” “I’m not the most conservative candidate.”

Mitt Romney on Bank Bailouts:

“The TARP program… was nevertheless necessary to keep banks from collapsing in a cascade of failures.”

“When government is… bailing out banks… we have every good reason to be alarmed.”

Mitt Romney on Desire to Serve in Vietnam:

“It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam.”

“I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there.”

Mitt Romney on the Minimum Wage

“I think the minimum wage ought to keep pace with inflation.”

“There’s no question raising the minimum wage… causes a loss of jobs.”

Mitt Romney on the NRA, the Second Amendment and Firearms

“I don’t line up with the NRA.”

“I’m a member of the [NRA].”

“I supported the assault weapon ban.”

“I don’t support any gun control legislation.”

“I’ve been a hunter pretty much all my life.”

“Any description of my being a hunter is an overstatement of capability.”

Mitt Romney on Carbon Emissions:

“These carbon emission limits will provide real and immediate progress.”

“Republicans should never abandon pro-growth conservative principles in an effort to embrace the ideas of Al Gore.”

Mitt Romney on ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’:

“When I first heard of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, I thought it sounded awfully silly.”

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has worked well.”

American Outrage at Rush — A Warning to the Powerful

Nearly two weeks after Rush Limbaugh ignited a public firestorm by bullying Sandra Fluke over national airwaves for three days running, calls to advertisers and radio syndicates to have Rush taken off the air have only grown louder. Many in the mainstream media seemed taken aback by such a strong public response, shocked that so powerful a figure could be shaken to his very foundations by public outrage. Some, including Bill Maher who has born the brunt of republican attacks for his own off-color jokes targeting some women, have even defended Rush.

What the media seems to be missing is context, the deeply abusive nature of Rush Limbaugh’s public bullying, and the dreadful harm the slut shaming of a defenseless law student inflicts on us all. Nor does the media seem to fully realize how what Rush says and does is directly linked to the political activities of republicans in Congress and the ongoing conservative war on women’s health and reproductive freedoms.

Scared of Rush

As recently as two weeks ago, republican leader John Boehner admitted at a Congressional press conference that republicans, members of the most powerful government in the world, were scared of Rush Limbaugh — a powerful political radio pundit who sometimes hides behind the title ‘entertainer.’ The big man, issued an honorary position in Congress in the 1990s, wields vast political power through his 15 million radio viewers and his incessant calls for political action. He has been at the forefront of many republican political campaigns over the breadth of his reign as EIB pundit and, at every turn, he has challenged liberal power-brokers. In many ways, Rush is the hand that wields conservative power in Washington and this is done through the scope of his far-reaching radio show.

Gagging Sandra Fluke

Then came Sandra Fluke, the woman who was supposed to testify.

Back in late February, the republicans had doubled down on their war on women’s reproductive freedoms. As recently as mid-month, they had waged a disastrous campaign to defund Planned Parenthood. Republican attacks were spear-headed by the Susan G. Komen Foundation which had become a political arm of the republican attack through the actions of its right-wing CEO.

But this action back-fired. Massive internet and media campaigns were waged against Komen for their denial of Planned Parenthood funding. The result was that Komen lost many of its major donors and top execs at the foundation threatened to resign unless the policy was changed.

Failing this avenue of attack, republicans opened a new front, attempting to legislatively deny health care coverage for women’s contraception and reproductive services. In a political insult that is likely to resonate for decades to come, House Republicans called an all-male committee before a Congressional panel to discuss the reasons for rolling back women’s reproductive freedoms. Democrats attempted to call their own witness — Sandra Fluke. But, citing an arbitrary rule, republicans refused to allow her to speak.

This all male panel was a stark and blatant symbol of who was making these critical decisions about women’s reproductive freedoms — old white men. But added to this insult was the fact that even a single female voice was denied testimony. So, for days, Sandra Fluke was the woman who wasn’t allowed to speak.

Speech Draws Bullying

But women and liberals in Congress would not be completely silenced. A few days after the all-male panel testified, Sandra Fluke was called to speak in Congress by democrats who believed it was wrong to only hear one point of view. Ms. Fluke testified eloquently, passionately and openly — describing how valuable contraction and reproductive services were to women of her age. She provided a poignant personal narrative that drew a sharp contrast between the political posturing on the right and the real lives of ever-day Americans. And she made a strong intellectual and compassionate argument for continuing women’s freedoms and not to return to a narrow age of institutional bigotry.

Almost immediately, her testimony drew attacks from the right. They accused her of lying. They attacked her character. And they began to openly call her a slut for wanting access to contraception.

Rush Leads the Attack

Among the most loud in this slut-shaming was Rush Limbaugh. For three days straight, Rush used his massive radio infrastructure as a platform from which to attack Sandra Fluke. He repeatedly called her a slut, a whore, and a prostitute. He baldly stated that she must want contraception because she was having so much sex. He demanded that Sandra post sex videos on the internet in exchange for access to contraception.

Not only was Rush engaging in a most ugly form of character assassination against Sandra Fluke. He was also exploiting the notion of her femininity, rabidly engaging in the most lewd and obscene of sexual fantasies on the airwaves. His show made her the object of a vicious political pornography.

But the most egregious element of this assault was due to the nature of Sandra Fluke herself. She was not a political figure — a persona with the power or platform from which to defend herself from Rush’s abuse and character assassination. She had no individual power to repel or even respond to this level of media assault. She was one of the rest of us, thrust into her obligatory 15 minutes of fame on a slide lined with right-wing razors. And they were tearing her apart.

Women and People Who Love Women Rise Up

Witnessing this terrible abuse, the modern equivalent of an unjust public torture and execution, many people were no longer able to remain silent. For years, bearing the assaults of Rush and other right-wing ideologues, women, feminists, and their supporters rose up. A call for a Rush advertiser boycott rang out, was picked up, and went viral. Thousands of bloggers, hundreds of thousands of social networkers, the Occupy movement, and many, many more all began independent campaigns targeting Rush’s radio advertisers.

And their message was this: you can attack the powerful, those who are strong enough to defend themselves. But if you attack one of us, one of the meek, one of the powerless, one of those who deserve our care, our love, our compassion, then we will rise up. If you do this, we will do everything we can to remove you from power and responsibility. If you cannot exercise your power with decency and kindness, then you will suffer revolt and loss of power.

They say the meek shall inherit… Then do no harm to the meek…

http://www.change.org/petitions/advertisers-take-rush-limbaugh-off-the-air-for-bigotry-against-sandra-fluke-women

 

Please help support our continuing efforts.

Please help support our continuing efforts.

Advertisers Flying From Rush Misogyny

Just two weeks after Rush slut shamed Sandra Fluke and continued attacks on women across the political and media spectrum, more than 141 advertisers have dropped his program. Furthermore, all national advertising has been suspended from Rush Limbaugh’s program for two weeks.

http://thinkprogress.org/media/2012/03/12/442673/141-companies-advertisng-rush-limbaugh/

http://thinkprogress.org/media/2012/03/12/443195/breaking-rush-limbaugh-syndicator-suspends-national-ads-for-two-weeks/

Rush’s misogynist attacks led to numerous calls for advertisers to drop his show with many angry callers threatening boycotts. Much of the backlash began on the internet and then went mainstream as petitions popped up like March daffodils. If you want to join them, here’s a link to one:

http://www.change.org/petitions/advertisers-take-rush-limbaugh-off-the-air-for-bigotry-against-sandra-fluke-women

Calls from angry listeners and offended persons alike resulted in the mass exodus which Rush compared to losing a few french fries at the drive through. But, at this point, looks like there’s only a few ‘fries’ left in the bag. Seems advertisers don’t like being compared to junky fast food.

Meanwhile, the Premiere Radio Networks, which provides national syndication for Rush’s show has announced that it is suspending national advertisements for two weeks. Rush’s loss of national affiliates suggests that his sexist comments have done severe damage to the program. Lifelock and Lear Financial, among the few companies still standing by Rush, have been asked to take up the slack for loss of national advertising spots.

It seems an irony that the kind of political free speech and free market choice that Rush claims to champion is resulting in his being removed from the air. This is the result of Rush Limbaugh’s nastiness toward women everywhere — advertisers and listeners walk. No government censorship required.

 

Please help support our continuing efforts.

Please help support our continuing efforts.

Rush Stops Bullying Sandra Fluke, Issues Meager Apology

After spending more than three straight days bullying Sandra Fluke and losing eight of his advertisers for the attacks, Rush Limbaugh finally issued a meager, quibbling apology today. Here is his ‘apology’s’ intro:

“For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week. In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke. I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities.  What happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Where do we draw the line?”

Rush begins with a self-congratulatory statement as a backward way to remind the listener of his importance. He continues by saying that he made an error of word choice and didn’t intent to harm Sandra. Then, he continues along his original line of argumentation, restating the ideological line of thought that resulted in the personal attack on Sandra in the first place. He then pontificates about accountability. The real apology? We’re still waiting for it…

“If this is accepted as the norm, what will follow? Will we be debating if taxpayers should pay for new sneakers for all students that are interested in running to keep fit?”

At this point, Rush descends into babbling and making false comparisons in an attempt, once again, to re-assert his argument. Is this ‘apology’ starting to look like another rant from an ego-maniac to you? You’re not the only one. After listening to all this nonsense, one wonders if Rush even has the capacity to make a full-hearted apology. And so we continue:

“In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone’s bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a Presidential level.”

At this point, one has to comment on how disingenuous Rush is being here. He lead the attack on President Clinton’s own embarrassing personal/bedroom story. He talked for weeks and weeks about the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Where was his sense of propriety then? But now it suddenly crops up when republicans are waging an all-out war to deny women reproductive freedom. Now we shouldn’t hear about how important those services are to women?

After listening to another monologue, it becomes obvious that Rush isn’t apologizing at all. He is simply using a fake apology as another platform from which to launch political attacks. Obviously, Rush’s statement isn’t worth listening to, since he’s using it in an angling and purely self-serving fashion. But since we started this, we might as well finish:

“My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.”

And at last we come to the ‘apology.’ By itself, it is pretty pathetic and lame. Like the apology of a man who is too egotistical ever to admit he’s wrong and needs such qualifiers as ‘my choice of words’ and ‘attempt to be humorous’ and ‘insulting choice of words.’ All these qualifiers serve only to distance himself from ‘I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke’ and further lessen these paltry six words — offering only a glimmer of contrition in a 150+ word self-congratulatory, political, and quibbling puff piece.

After such a vicious and long-lasting attack, this back-handed apology is hardly worthy of reply much less, acceptance.

http://www.change.org/petitions/advertisers-take-rush-limbaugh-off-the-air-for-bigotry-against-sandra-fluke-women

UPDATE:  Rush is once again escalating his attacks on Sandra Fluke saying her response to his ‘apology’ was ‘uncalled for.’

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/05/rush-limbaugh-apology-sandra-fluke-advertisers_n_1321450.html\

 

Please help support our continuing efforts.

Please help support our continuing efforts.

Don’t Let Rush, Bigots Win! Stand Up and Fight For Women!!

As the firestorm over Rush’s slut shaming of Sandra Fluke continues, advertisers are beginning to drop the misogynistic right winger. According to news reports, six advertisers have withdrawn support for Rush’s show. They include: Quicken Loans, Sleep Number Sara, The Sleep Train, The Cleveland Cavaliers, Legal Zoom, and Citrix Systems. If you want to encourage those who are still standing on the sidelines, here is a petition and a list:

http://www.change.org/petitions/advertisers-take-rush-limbaugh-off-the-air-for-bigotry-against-sandra-fluke-women

Meanwhile, Bill O’Reilly threw his hat into the misogynist ring with Rush in a new series of attacks on Sandra Fluke. O’Reilly didn’t go as far to slut shame Sandra. But he did use the euphemism ‘social life’ to conflate women’s reproductive health with kids just joshing around. And, of course, O’Reilly returns to the old, worn fallacy, saying that Sandra wants everyone to pay for her play. But O’Reilly’s worst offense, along with the rest of republicans, was his support for Rush’s bigoted attack on Sandra and, by extension, all women.

Republicans’ support for Rush, either through statements or through tacit silence, is nothing less than proof positive they approve of attacks on Sarah together with an ongoing battle to roll back women’s reproductive freedom. But we don’t have to stand for this abuse. We can let our voices be heard and show these republicans that we won’t suffer further attacks. Protection of women and reproductive freedoms is a cornerstone to civil society. Suffering those protections to be withdrawn would be a return to a cold, hard age of barbarism and exploitation.

Please help support our continuing efforts to defend women from vicious, politically motivated attacks.

Please help support our continuing efforts.

Rush Goes Nuclear in Republican War on Women

Around the country and in Congress, Republicans are engaged in an unprecedented battle to restrict women’s freedoms and protection under the law. The Blunt amendment sought to curtail women’s rights and access to birth control, legislation in Virginia sought to force invasive ultra-sounds, legislation in Georgia is attempting to redefine rape victims by calling them ‘accusers,’ and in South Dakota republicans proposed a bill that would make it legal to murder an abortion doctor.

This war on women and women’s rights is as shameful as it is extreme. But perhaps the most shameful occurrence has come in the form of Rush Limbaugh’s own statements made against women generally and Sandra Fluke in particular.

Ever since Sandra Fluke was brave enough to testify before Congress and to share her thoughts on the importance of birth control, she has been subject to a series of vitriolic and inhuman attacks aimed at smearing her integrity, character, and sex. By extension, these attacks are indirectly aimed at all women, the virtue of the sex act, and the integrity of loving relationships between men and women everywhere.

Rush has plainly stated that women who use birth control are ‘sluts.’ This direct attack against women is but the latest use of an age-old slur. It implies that a women who has sex is guilty of some undefined crime and is somehow inferior. But the sex act is as natural to humankind as breathing. None of us would be standing here today without that physical expression of love between our parents. This insidious shaming of someone for doing something so human is not only an attack on women, but on nature itself. It turns something that should be beautiful into an indignity and it casts half of humankind into the shadows. It is at the root of a wretched and heart-breaking ‘original sin’ doctrine that has so divided us one against the other — age after age after age.

But Rush doesn’t stop at invoking the ancient indignity. He goes on to suggest that anyone who provides access to birth control is a ‘pimp.’ In this single statement, he has denigrated the entire health care industry or anyone who has worked to expand the reproductive freedoms of men, women, and families. Continuing with the harlot metaphor, Rush completes his hate-rant by suggesting exploitation. Rush, in his concluding statement today said that, in order to pay for their birth control, women should post sex videos on the internet.

I suppose Rush doesn’t realize the level of harm the porn industry inflicts on women. How ignorant he seems to the many women exploited by this industry and to the numberless films made using the modern version of slaves. Perhaps he encourages this kind of exploitation? His rhetoric, sadly, seems to indicate just that. His suggestion that 99% of America’s women are sluts who should be filmed on the internet to earn their birth control is an awful verbal weapon aimed at those fairest, most compassionate, the gentlest among us.

I suppose Rush, at the apex of his wealth and power, feels invulnerable to the responses of little people like women and those who care for them. But, in my view, this is the height of hubris. It is time, long past, for this bigot, fear and hate monger, this peddler of little lies to be taken down. It is time we stand up and demand his resignation. To demand that he be taken off the air.

His freedom of speech does not extend to a right to a massive platform which he uses daily to impugn and diminish our economic, social, and sexual liberties. It is, indeed, high time we take down this petty radio dictator and his little kingdom of extremist serfs. We should no longer suffer corporate slobs who are paid billions to divide us and to attack the rights of our mothers, lovers, wives, and sisters. No good woman or man should suffer it.

Please join our rebellion against the misogynist Rush by signing the petition to have all his hatred taken off the air. Please tell all your friends, family and anyone you meet. We should no longer suffer ourselves to be threatened by this bully!

http://www.change.org/petitions/us-congress-fcc-radio-sydicates-take-rush-limbaugh-off-the-air-for-bigotry-against-sandra-fluke-women

Please help support our continuing efforts.

Please help support our continuing efforts.

%d bloggers like this: