If the GOP Wins the War on Women, America Loses

cowboy hat womenCowboy hats were the perfect gift for the 9 girls who spent their Spring Break with us last week. Most had never been to Texas, so cowboy hats seemed the appropriate way to commemorate their visit. These girls are talented young women who share their athletic talents with my daughter on her college basketball team. Their team plays in Division III which limits the amount of time the coach can require the girls to devote to their sport, so that women basketball typicalacademics is their priority in college. These young women are gifted athletes, and will be bright, competent professionals in each of their chosen fields. Four are pre-med, one is an economics major, one is a political science major, and the rest are unsure at this time what will be the focus of their study. Each is working hard to achieve academic success and athletic success. None are involved or knowledgeable about politics. Instead of worrying about who will be the next Governor of their states, they are worrying about the next organic chemistry test.

Ieducationnstead of worrying about whether the Republican party will win the war on women, they worry about who will win the Final Four. These young women have their priorities straight. To excel in their chosen professions it is essential that they concentrate their efforts on studies. However if they are to have opportunities in the work place, and receive equal treatment under the law in America, it is up to their parents’ generation to ensure that their rights are protected. We provideded food, shelter, and education for them when they were younger. But our job isn’t done. As adults, it is our responsibility to provide for them a country in which they will be able to be treated equally to their male counter-parts. Every father of each of these girls wants their daughters to be treated fairly and with respect. They don’t want their daughters to receive special accommodation because they are women; only the same opportunities that the men receive.

war on women soldiersThe Republican Party has been described as waging a “War on Women.” I have been hesitant to accept that term as it sounds like the media sensationalizing a difference in policies that simply have adverse consequences for women. However after a great deal of review, of a great deal of literature, it is hard to reach any other conclusion. Let me be specific.

It’s been 50 years since the Supreme Court ruled that the right of privacy mandated the ability of people to choose whether they would use birth control, and the type. It has been 40 years since the Supreme Court ruled that women’s right of privacy included the right to women voters-demos winchoose abortion, in certain circumstances. Yet decades later the Republican Party continues to make contraception and abortion significant parts of their party’s platform. Moreover, members of the Republican Party have spoken out to demean and disparage women, and indicated their ignorance while doing so. It’s hard to forget:
1. Mike Huckabee, at the annual meeting of the RNC” saying that “they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government.”
2. Republicans call women “sluts” because women have asserted a right to contraception.
3. It was a Republican who suggested that there are some types of rape that are not legitimately rapes.
4. Some Republicans have the temerity to tell women that if a rape results in a pregnancy, it is a gift from God.
5. Clayton Williams is the Republican who suggested that if a woman was being raped she should “relax and enjoy it.” Mr. Williams is no longer running for office but he is raising money for fellow Republicans.

Republicans seem to be ignoring the facts. SEVENTY-EIGHT percent of all Americans agree that abortion should be legal. It is estimated that there are62 Million women in America in their child bearing years. The typical woman in the U.S. wants only two children, and thus she must use contraceptives for roughly 30 years. Thus, it is not surprising to learn that more than 99% of women aged 15-44 who have ever had sexual intercourse have used at least one form of contraceptive method. An estimate 62% of all women of reproductive age are currently using a contraceptive method. That means that there are approximately 38 Million women in the America who use some form of contraception. Yet Republican men insist on making contraceptives and abortions part of the national debate.

Suggesting that Medicare and the Affordable Care Act should not cover contraception for women is patently discriminatory. Medicare currently coverspenile implant surgery, 
and penile pumps. While Medicare isn’t supposed to pay for Erectile Dysfunction medications if they are prescribed to treat erectile dysfunction, physicians have prescribed war on women elephantthem for millions of patients who have had the cost of their medicines reimbursed by Medicare, for some unspecified reason. Thus even though women rely on the pill for other medical reasons such as lowering the risk of ovarian cancer, clearer skin, lighter, less painful menstrual periods, pms relief, and treatment of endometriosis, they are unable to obtain the pill because it is identified as a “contraceptive.” The number and frequency of prescriptions given for erectile dysfunction drugs to treat “other” problems is much more limited than the many uses of birth control pills, but men get their medicines covered, and women don’t.

Ignoring fundamental fairness, equal treatment under the law, and the U.S. Constitution, there is an economic reason to cover and encourage use of birth control. Even ignoring the societal and economic cost of unwanted children, the importance of women in the work force is critical!

In 2010 58.6% of women in the United States were labor force participants. That means 72 million women were contributing to the U.S. economy. Four years ago women comprised 47% of the total labor force in the United States. Unemployment rates for women have been lower than for men, 8.6% compared to 10.5%. Women-owned business have an economic impact of $3 Trillion dollars, account for 23 million jobs, and 16% of all U.S. jobs. If the American businesses owned by women were a separate country, those women would be the country with the 5th largest GDP in the world, surpassing France, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

The surge in the economic contribution of women didn’t happen until after the revolution caused by the pill. Women described the advent of the pill as“liberating” and “revolutionary.” As our national debt escalates out of control, part of the solution must be to grow the economy and increase jobs. The impact of the national debt, by definition, is a ratio of debt to the national GDP. Part of the solution to the economic crisis in America must be to increase the GDP. Because women have become a critical part of the economic future of the country, it would be economic suicide to implement any policy that would restrict women from the work force. Our families are dependant on income of women. In war on women stop sign2012 47.4% of all families relied on the employment of the male and female members to support the family. Eight Percent of all families relied on the sole income of the woman for support. Thus over half of all families in the country are dependant on the employment of women. That makes the American economy dependent on women.
If you are an American; if you are concerned about the economic future of the country; regardless of your political persuasion; regardless of your gender or sexual preference; then it is essential to demand that the war on women come to an end immediately. When women have the ability to control the economic future of the country, it is critical that they also have the ability to control their contraceptive needs.

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Election Reports – Western States – 3/31/14

grace NapolitanoCongresswoman Grace Napolitano represents California’s 32nd district and is seeking re-election for a 10th term. She once represented the overlapping 38th Congressional District. Napolitano has received a long list of endorsements for her re-election campaign, including U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Congresswoman Judy Chu, and labor unions such as AFSCME and SEIU.

Napolitano recently promoted the House agenda “When Women Succeed, America Succeeds” at a discussion forum with over 200 participants. We reported last week that California Congresswoman Judy Chu also participated in a separate discussion forum for this important House-led program for women. While speaking at the forum, Napolitano stated,

Equal pay would provide needed security and would put more money back into the local economy, which is good for individuals, families, and businesses. Believe in yourselves, mentor other women, and get involved. You need to not only help elect candidates that support these critical women’s issues, but write those who do not, and hold them accountable.

Congresswoman Doris Matsui has served five terms in Congress and is currently seeking re-election in California’s 6th district. Republican Joseph McCray Sr., who Matsui ran against and defeated in the 2012 general election, plans to challenge her again in November.

Matsui states on her election website:

Creating jobs, ensuring access to high quality health care, preserving Social Security and Medicare, bringing our troops home, funding our schools, and a science based response to global warming – must all be protected and fought for in Congress.

The Congresswoman currently serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee. She has been endorsed by numerous members of Congress, the Sierra Club, and the California Teachers Association.

Research by Anne Zurick

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Obamacare Videos by Mark Fiore

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Sucky S.C. State Senators Sack Schoolgirl’s Statute

Olivia McConnell is an eight year old third grader who lives in South Carolina. Olivia and her father eat at a local restaurant that incorporates all 50 of South Carolina’s official symbols into the menu. When Olivia noted that the menu did not have an official state fossil she decided to do some research.

What Olivia found is that 43 states have official state fossils, but not South Carolina. S.C. has an official state spider, 3 official state dances, 2 state marine mammals, a state dog, flower, snack, butterfly… they even have an official state Tartan!

After this all washes out South Carolina should have an official state schoolgirl, and someone needs to nominate Olivia who would win in a landslide.

When Olivia decided to do something about the lack of an official state fossil she wrote her local representatives, State Rep. Robert Ridgeway and State Sen. Kevin Johnson, Democrats from Clarendon, asking them to sponsor legislation to make the wooly mammoth the official state fossil of South Carolina.

“Please work on this for me,” McConnell wrote to Ridgeway, signing her letter, “Your friend, Olivia.”

Both of those fine Democratic representatives thought Olivia had a keen idea, and they commenced to submit the required legislation:

Whereas, giant mammoths used to roam South Carolina; andWhereas, scientists have identified the fossils of about six hundred and fifty species of vertebrates in South Carolina to date; and

Whereas, it has been recognized that fossilized mammoth teeth were discovered in a swamp in South Carolina in 1725; and

Whereas, this discovery has been credited as the first scientific identification of a North American vertebrate fossil. Now, therefore,

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

SECTION 1. Article 9, Chapter 1, Title 1 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

“Section 1-1-712A. The Columbian Mammoth is designated as the official State Fossil of South Carolina.

SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

Needless to say, Olivia was psyched that her hard work paid dividends:

“It makes me feel really good,” she said. “It’s exciting,” Olivia said after hearing that the lawmakers are taking her request seriously.

The bill cruised through the house with only 3 votes against passage. I think 3 votes against is remarkable, because it should have passed unanimously by voice acclamation.

Unfortunately for our young heroine however, her bill is stalled in the S.C. senate due to the religious objections of 2 Republicans who think Jesus would suffer the children to come unto him, but only if the kids pinky promise to not believe in science.

Republican Senator Kevin Bryant, tried to amend the bill to add scripture from the book of Genesis describing the fundamentalist view of creationism. When that amendment was ruled out of order because it would bring an unrelated subject to the bill, Republican Mike Fair placed an objection on the bill. Not that he wants to block the bill! He just wants to find a way to add a creationist amendment to the bill that will pass legal muster.

Keep in mind, the bill did not specify the age of the fossil or that mammoth fossils of themselves somehow prove evolution.  Evidently Republicans Bryant and Fair feel that their fundamentalist outlook is threatened by the state even acknowledging the existence of a fossil without them being allowed to force their point of view onto the subject. It is not like Olivia was trying to pass an official state theory that evolution and the big bang described our origins, but it is like the Republicans are trying to force creationist theory onto her bill.

Fair and Bryant may think they are fighting the good fight for their point of view, but they just make their side look bad. Wouldn’t it be great if Democrats could consistently be lucky enough to forward the extremely popular legislation of 8 year old schoolgirls knowing that local Republicans would make a spectacle of themselves in opposition.

Finally, the example being set by Fair and Bryant is hardly Christ like. Ask yourself, “what would Jesus do?” I  doubt the answer to that question is that he would act like a huge douche bag.

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The Fictitious Life of Rafael Cruz, Part 2: The Phony Immigration Story

ted-cruzs-fatherRafael Cruz is currently riding his son’s bogus “grassroots” coattails to stardom on the right. He receives speaking fees for his phony revolution/immigration tales, and the campaign pays his travel and expenses when he spews his nonsense at Ted’s political events. Rafael’s story has morphed over time, but he seems to have finally settled on a version that sells with Conservatives (and one that he can remember). In a D Magazine post about Rafael Cruz, Michael Mooney wrote:

“There’s no way to know for sure which—if any—parts of the story have been colored by the biases of memory…”

Seems even Mr. Mooney recognizes that parts of Cruz’s story are, in non-journalistic terms, so much b.s. There’s a big difference though, between embellishing minor details, and fabricating a personal history in its entirety, which is what Rafael Cruz has done. While there are plenty of reasons to doubt the extent of his role in Cuba’s revolution, the college issue is cut and dried: either Rafael Cruz is lying about his first year in America, or he committed immigration fraud in 1957. There is no gray area. Let’s compare his autobiography to facts and the law:

Continue reading

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“I’m a Republican, and You Should Get Covered”

From Whitehouse.gov with a hat tip to Joanmar on the Daily Kos rec’d list comes yet another inspiring story about how Obamacare is helping Americans, including those who do not normally support President Obama.

Mark D. Bearden is a retired psychologist living in Monroe, North Carolina. In February, he wrote a letter to the President letting him know what the Affordable Care Act has meant to him.

I am a staunch Republican, a self-proclaimed Fox News addict, and I didn’t vote for the President. And I’m here to tell you that Obamacare works. I’m living proof.

I’m a chemotherapy patient, and was previously paying $428 a month for my health coverage. I was not thrilled when it was cancelled.

Then I submitted an application at HealthCare.gov. I looked at my options. And I signed up for a plan for $62 a month.

It’s the best health care I have ever had.

So right now, here’s what I want to tell anyone who still needs health insurance, or knows someone who does:

 Sign up. Follow the instructions on the website. Apply, and look at your options. You still have time, and take it from me: This is something you want to do.

I wrote a letter to President Obama this past February to tell him about my experience with the Health Insurance Marketplace. I hoped he’d read it, and he did.

I may not be a supporter of the President. But now, I get mad when I see Obamacare dragged through the mud on television.

And even though I regularly tune in to conservative pundits, I’d like to tell them they’re getting it wrong. Obamacare works.

So one more time: If you still need health insurance, you have just three days to get it. Do what I did. Go to HealthCare.gov, submit an application, and pick a plan that works for you.

It just might change your life.

Mark D. Bearden, Ph.D.

Monroe, North Carolina

Whitehouse.gov should have an entire section dedicated to the testimonials of Americans who have had personal experiences that validate Obamacare.

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The Christie Internal Investigation Should Be Investigated

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was exonerated of any wrongdoing in the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal by an internal review that was released yesterday. The taxpayers of New Jersey paid more than $1 million for that internal review.

Christie is being investigated for spending Hurricane Sandy relief funds on an advertisement that featured him during an election year. What is the difference between that and spending taxpayer dollars on a report that everyone knew beforehand would declare Christie completely innocent? In fact he is not just innocent, the report positively fawns over Christie’s actions surrounding the GWB traffic jam his administration is responsible for.

It would be fine if the report was paid for from funds raised by a legal defense fund, but to use taxpayer dollars in such a heavy handed attempt to exonerate Christie? Not just exonerate, but show what a strong and compassionate leader he was during the events in question. How is the self-serving laughably biased review issued by the Christie administration yesterday different than some other form of paid advertising, which cost should not properly be passed to the taxpayer?

Imagine being one of the drivers who sat in traffic for hours due to the Christie administration acting like a bunch of spoiled children, and then finding out that your tax dollars had been used in an obviously biased attempt to provide political cover to Christie over the issue. It is literally insult to injury. Further the cost to the taxpayer is in pursuit of keeping the truth hidden, not in finding out what actually happened.

This report continues a tried and true tactic of Governor Christie: Being a huge a-hole (aka bully) to get his way. The report outs an affair that then Christie staffer Bridget Kelly was having with then Christie staffer Bill Stepian. While specifically refusing to point to a motive for the lane closures, the report is not afraid to ‘slut shame’ Kelly, intimating that this all was a result of her getting all emotional when the affair ended at Stepian’s request. Got that Ft. Lee traffic jam victims? According to the internal report just issued from Governor Christie’s office, that you helped pay for, your time wasted in that huge traffic jam was probably due to a scorned woman emotionally taking her frustrations out on you while the good Mr. Christie was innocently leading the ship of state in his truly admirable and sympathetic style.

The report also takes a crack at exonerating the Christie administration’s shakedown of Dawn Zimmer, the mayor of Hoboken. According to the report, pictures taken during the event which show the mayor yawning and smiling indicate that the office of the governor could not have been guilty, because pics of Zimmer yawning and smiling prove it… or something. The fact that the report show’s pics of Zimmer yawning and smiling as proof of their findings is indicative of how shoddy and ham handed the report is.

From my perspective, the report just proves that Christie deserves his reputation for being a bully and that he has no concern whatsoever in spending taxpayer dollars to improve his own image. Rather than exonerating him, the report confirms the tendencies that got Christie into trouble in the first place.

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7 Times Women Kicked Ass On Cable News

Media Matters for America posted this great clip featuring 7 women on cable news kicking butt and taking names in celebration of National Women’s Month.  And I’m surprised by the inclusion of (at 1:26) Megyn Kelly!  But my favorite part has to be at 1:24, “Hmmm, I’m gonna say no, Bill.”

Then swing on over to the National Women’s History Project website and check out the 2014 Honorees.

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More Volunteer Positions Available at All Things Democrat

We still have volunteer opportunities available. Follow the links for job details and apply at Jobs4Dems:

  • Two Video Bloggers – Posting the latest videos and campaign ads from numerous sources in our Videos pages. This is a new position that’s relatively easy. No blogging experience required, will train.
  • Writers: Women’s Issues – Some blogging or writing experience required. Topics include:
    • Women’s health issues: reproductive health, cancer, sexual assault, the Affordable Care Act, etc.
    • Women’s reproductive rights: abortion rights, birth control, state legislation and court rulings against abortion rights and birth control, etc.
    • Sexism in politics and the workplace, equal pay, etc.
    • Issues affecting the lesbian/bi/transgender community.
  • Writers – Election Reports
    We need motivated volunteers with an interest in spreading the word about Democratic candidates in their state and nearby states. Writers will collect updates on candidates and campaigns which include recent news and events, rallies, endorsements, polls, fundraising and more. Must have some writing or blogging experience, or relevant educational background in journalism, political science, business, history or language.
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Work for Sandra Fluke’s Campaign!

sandra flukeAs you probably know, Sandra Fluke is running for the State Senate in California’s 26th District. Marisa Kanof, the Fluke campaign’s Regional Field Director, posted two new positions in our jobs board (Jobs4Dems) that you should check out if you’re a Democrat living in the Los Angeles area:

  • Voter Contact Specialist – Part-time

    The Sandra Fluke for State Senate Campaign is looking for exceptional Voter Contact Specialists candidates for part-time, temporary roles to execute a dynamic grassroots campaign in West Los Angeles County. Sandra Fluke for State Senate Voter Contact Specialists will be the face of the Campaign in communities across the district. They will advance the movement to elect Sandra Fluke to the State Senate for District 26 through door-to-door canvassing and phone banking to persuade and turn out voters in support of Sandra Fluke. They must execute an aggressive field plan and have their finger on the pulse of what’s happening on the ground, carefully delivering campaign messaging to the voters in the district. Flexible schedules are available.

  • Campaign Internship

    The Sandra Fluke for State Senate Campaign is excited to be offering an internship that will teach participants the strategies and techniques of grassroots organizing. The skills learned through our program will be applicable far beyond the political sphere. Interns should expect hands on experience working on one of the most exciting races in Southern California! The internship will be a great primer for anyone considering a career in campaigns or politics, as well as anyone who is passionate about the ability to make real change in their community. No prior campaign experience is required. Applicants must be able to commit to a half day of training either Saturday April 12th or Sunday April 13th.

Both are great opportunities to get real-world experience in a campaign and to help elect a strong, smart Democrat. Click on the job links for more details and apply today!

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Election Reports – Eastern States – 3/27/14

Virginia Senator Mark Warner introduced healthcare legislation Warner, Mark-020209-18425- 0011to allow additional healthcare options to consumers. It includes a plan for “lower-cost, higher-deductible” options, a commission to look into ways to get insurance coverage to cross state boundaries, and to create an easier system for employers to report working hours.

The hope is that this legislation will make the healthcare system easier for families as well as employers, and allow for expansion and refining of the Affordable Care Act. Senator Warner spoke of the legislation, saying:

Before, during and after the debate over health care reform, I consistently said that The Affordable Care Act was not perfect, and that Congress would have to revisit the ACA to correct problems for consumers and employers as this new, improved system was implemented. We have listened closely to Virginia consumers, small businesses, providers and insurers to identify and work through some of these challenges. We have designed some targeted, commonsense improvements to keep what works and improve what could work better, and we will continue to look for places to make additional improvements.

Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts has written a letter to the Senate Finance Committee asking for the renewal of clean energy tax credits. The Senator, along with 28 of his colleagues, wrote how the tax credits are necessary for cheap, renewable energy and allow for the creation of thousands of jobs. More information can be found at Markey’s campaign website.

Delaware’s Senator Chris Coons chaired a hearing this week of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs. Senator Coons stressed the importance of America’s continued commitment to President Obama’s energy poverty initiative Power Africa. More information on the initiative and Senator Coons’s statement can be found here.

Representative Patrick Murphy of Florida’s 18th District spoke in front of the House demanding that the Administration protect seniors by preventing cuts to Medicare. Watch his full speech:

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Election Reports – Central States – 3/26/14

Paul Davis Democrat KansasThe latest poll numbers for the Kansas gubernatorial race show Paul Davis, the Democratic candidate, with a two-point lead over the incumbent, Republican Sam Brownback. Public Policy Polling found that Brownback has a 51% disapproval rating among all voters, and within his own party 37% disapprove of his job performance.

Education funding is an issue that has turned voters against Brownback. Public Policy Polling found that only 31% of voters believe Kansas schools are adequately funded. Brownback and the Republican-majority Legislature made steep cuts to school funding in 2009, then followed up with a $1.1 billion tax break for the wealthy in 2012, which further hurt the school budgets. Earlier this month, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the state is not fulfilling its constitutional duty to equitably fund all public schools, regardless of whether the districts are rich or poor.

To comply with the ruling, the state must restore $129 million in education spending. On Monday, Davis spoke out against a Republican proposal to make this much-needed funding conditional on educational reforms. Davis, who is the Minority Leader in the Kansas House of Representatives, said “Our children can never reclaim the opportunities they were denied as a result of state budget cuts, but we can act now and set things right. After years of waiting for Gov. Brownback to properly fund schools, Kansas kids deserve action.”.

Mary Burke, Democratic candidate for governor of Wisconsin, proposed a five-point plan for job growth on Tuesday. Her “Invest for Success” plan involves investing in entrepreneurs, investing in entire industries rather than particular companies, reduce government red tape, boosting the state’s international exports, and producing more college graduates.
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Parker Griffith, Democratic candidate for governor of Alabama, will be speaking at the third-annual Women’s Rights Rally in Huntsville on Sunday. Griffith has a tough race ahead of him in this deep red state, where Republicans currently hold every statewide federal, executive, and judicial office. Griffith’s top issues are Medicaid expansion, job creation, and the establishment of a state lottery to help fund education.

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