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December 31, 2012

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I suppose it's a subset of "elections," but I think the most noteworthy were
- gay marriage propositions, for the first time, won at the ballot box. Quite a turn-around from the unformity with which anti-gay marriage propositions have won in the past.
- marijuana legalization won at the ballot box. Which (god willing) may mark the beginning of the end of our long national folly of Prohibition.

The war on women started in January of 2011 and reached fever pitch in 2012. It is continuing to this day.

tb, care to share some specific events that constitute a beginning? And that constitute reaching a fever pitch?

Yes. War on women - broadly construed - has been going since at least the 1950s (by personal memory), much longer in fact (by historical record). Women's progress through the 1970s has hit setbacks from time to time since then; generally worse when political conservatives are in power, but not always. 2011-12 were not particularly good years for women's rights/images, etc. , but far from being exceptional, in any kind of time perspective.

Regarding the war on women: the strangest thing for me is that I wouldn't have thought we'd have to fight these battles again. But, then, let's remember that women in Afghanistan in the 1980's thought that their enslavement was in the past. Same for Iranian women, pre-1979.

Sadly, people have to keep fighting for what they already have (and for what they believe). The challenge is how to keep it in mind, but remain civil and friendly. That's my New Year's resolution.

What happened?

More than we can comprehend from these look-sees:

http://www.space.com/18642-100-best-space-photos-2012.html

#17, featured at Andrew Sullivan's, puts what we think happened in our lives and our world in 2012 in mind-blowing perspective.

500 galaxies in just the small sliver of the universe pictured.

Our government took those pictures, for the most part.

You know, the one that can't do anything right, we're told.

And then forced me at gunpoint to enjoy the photos.

After forcing me at gunpoint to pay for the photography.

None of the pictures are of us though, said the real Americans, and thus a waste of our hard-earned photography budget.

Bad, oppressive government.

Sequester.

Countme-in, Happy New Year. You are so right (not "right"). Thank you so much.

XXXOOO to you, Countme-in, and to all ObWi folks.

It might be a lack of imagination on my part, but almost all of the events that could be construed as part of the war on women were related to the campaign. A quick list off the top of my head

-Sandra Fluke
-Mitt's binder full of women
-Akin's comment on rape
-Romney's plank of defunding Planned Parenthood
-Komen foundation withdrawing support from same

It might be a stretch, but Benghazi (with the attacks on Hilary and Susan Rice) also come to mind.

The Newtown shooting also had some talk about the absence of males and male role models as being part of the cause (sorry, no linkee love for that crap) which I mentally put in the Newtown folder rather than the war on women folder.

I guess the commentary engendered by the story about Marissa Meyer becoming Yahoo CEO when she was 6 months pregnant might qualify.

Bright spots: the fact that there are over 20 women senators means that there is some pushback, at least at the ballot box. Another bright spot (I think) was having someone like Karen Hughes saying

"And if another Republican man says anything about rape other than it is a horrific, violent crime, I want to personally cut out his tongue," she wrote. "The college-age daughters of many of my friends voted for Obama because they were completely turned off by Neanderthal comments like the suggestion of 'legitimate rape.'"

though that was at the end of the op-ed rather than the beginning.

This was also interesting, this roster of key women behind the scenes for the Democrats during the election. Maybe there were an equal number of women behind the scenes in 2008, but going thru the pictures and the descriptions of their responsibilities, it seemed like a chance in the zeitgeist.

It started in January of 2011 when the Tea Party Caucus took their seats.
http://ezkool.com/2011/04/in-four-months-republicans-introduced-916-bills-against-womens-right-to-choose/

They said jobs were the highest priority and then proceeded to introduce not one single jobs bill but 916 bills restricting womens rights in the first few months.
I thought it hit a fevered pitch when an all male panel was seated at a hearing, Sandra Fluke was demonized, and the Michigan Ledge banned two female representatives from speaking as punishment for using the word vagina. Things heated up even more when the campaign season started.

There's all the crap about denying access to birth control as a so=called freedom of religion issue.

But maybe we should just lump that along with all the other rightwing lies as part of the Repubican war on intellectual honesty.

Happy New Year to all. See you next sequester.

Laura, a number of leading GOP/TPers by now openly state that abortion is step 1 and contraception step 2. Either they believe that step 1 is already more or less done (in the states) or that their previous 'tepidness' was the reason for their lack of success (on the federal level) and that it now is all or nothing (anything in-between being a sign of lacking true conviction).

I wonder if there is in the offing an extension of step 2, or a step 3, to outlaw tubal ligation and vasectomy. That would make control of sexual behavior all the more complete.

"But, then, let's remember that women in Afghanistan in the 1980's thought that their enslavement was in the past"

I'm all for pointing out that the war between the Soviets and their communist allies in Afghanistan with the US-backed mujahadeen in the 1980's wasn't a simple morality play of good vs. evil--for one thing, it's a useful reminder that when we intervene on behalf of the fashionable good guys of the day that maybe they aren't so good as they are portrayed at the time. The communists favored women's rights--our allies didn't.

At the same time, roughly a million people died in Afghanistan during the 1980's, probably most killed by the progressive forces (i.e., the communists). I wonder how liberated the women in villages that were carpet-bombed by the Soviets really felt.

Really, is there a question?

The Giants winning their second Series in three years.

hsh, the steps after 2 are less distinct but point at a certain interpretation of 'biblical law' with female 'submission' at the core with the idealized final goal that women do it voluntarily (the way Winston Smith does at the end of 1984, the book). I can provide some quotes from theologians* praising that ideal as the true female liberty, if you are in need of a strong emetic.

*including Roman Catholic saints

It might just be hopefulness on my part, but I think the war on women heated up a lot this year because the RW knows demographics are against them: they're getting older, and the upcoming generations are overwhelmingly not on their side.

I wonder how liberated the women in villages that were carpet-bombed by the Soviets really felt.

I know a couple of them. They felt liberated compared to how they felt under the Taliban. Obviously, not a scientific poll, but there are people who were there, and who are here now, and can speak to that.

Ask these folks what happened:

http://nymag.com/news/features/republican-caribbean-cruise-2012-12/

The Shipping News, 2012.

The USS Grifter, listing to starboard, its crew wondering if the passengers can afford the tax and spend experience of a Coast Guard rescue.

One can't make up one's mind between wishing Sasha Baron Cohen's Borat on the assembled Gilligans (maybe running a $1000 per head "Let's visit Mitt's money while we're here" investment seminar as they approach the shallows of the Barbadoes) or perhaps opting for a fully arsenaled U-Boat sighting.

One observes Cal Thomas on the poop deck doing his best Davy Jones imitation, all facial tentacles and shiver thy timbers bluster, trying to rouse the downcast lunkhead pirates to some revolting tax revolts, while keeping in touch with his tax accountant land ho regarding the disposition of his municipal bonds.

We witness "Duane" (could it be any other name) proposing the now familiar hat no cattle watering of the tree of liberty with the blood of Democrats and all of the other Others (no sign of the patriot hemorrhaging called for in the original bluff) with, natch, GUNS, while motioning to the Filipino waiter for a champagne topoff.

One hopes for Poseidon to rise up and provide Jonah Goldberg the opportunity to release his inner Shelley Winters.

One awaits the signal from James Lileks to storm the helm and mutiny the ship, perhaps disembarking for life on Pitcairn Island to have attractive, but brown, women bring them breadfruit and durian cocktails.

Ralph Reed, still dingy from minority no-reach, in a dinghy.

Bruce, the Great White, jaws agape, bearing down on him.

Skipper, I think we're going to need a bigger boat.

The Killer Whale, Obama, porpoising nearby, bouncing a seal off his nose, as the Republican ghost ship, lights aflame from nose to stern, silently disappears into the mist-shrouded horse latitudes.

scanning the news today, I saw this and realized that the Penn State scandal didn't even pop into my mind. I'd like to say that I realized the scandal broke in Nov 2011, but I had to google that. It's probably also revealing that the foreign events like the Greek debt crisis, Syria, and the London Olympics were relegated to my background noise list, while Benghazi only makes it on the coattails of the election.

A couple of other observations before I take my kids out for a little day trip. Laura wrote
There's all the crap about denying access to birth control as a so=called freedom of religion issue.

My feeling is that this faux equivalence was pushed because it was perceived as part of the election campaign, and it seems that as the presidential election campaign is, like Christmas, getting longer and longer, we have a lot more of this to look forward to.

I see that linked up with thebewilderness' link to the Tea Party program, in that the 2010 elections were the opposite force to Obama's win, and I feel like any move, no matter how slight, towards the left is going to be greeted by a pushback in the off year election. Some googling suggests that it happened after Clinton's first election, but after the second, it didn't, but not for lack of trying. Still, was that because Clinton moved to the right by triangulating, or just that the Republicans overreached? And is Obama's deal on the fiscal cliff an indication of a similar notion of triangulation? I realize that history tells us what happens, until it doesn't, but that's the vibe I get when I read all the stuff about the fiscal cliff. If any regular would like to write something about the topic, as always, send it to me at libjpn at gmail.

Unlurking to say how much I enjoy reading here, especially Countme-in :)

The Olympics were only on the radio on your side of the pond due to the abysmal NBC coverage.

I was 13 rows back from the goal Steph Houghton scored against Brazil. Brazil! At Wembley!

Of course, I also got to endure the six months of torch-relay-on-the-news-every-bloody-night in the run-up, so perhaps we're even.

Sapient--I'm sure that women who lived in areas that weren't being flattened by Soviet firepower or taken to prison camps to be tortured to death preferred communist rule to fundamentalist rule. But the 1 million dead might poll differently, if they could be asked.

But the 1 million dead might poll differently, if they could be asked.

It's a hell of a choice, isn't it, Donald?

By the way, the women I know grew up in and lived in Kabul before the Soviet invasion, where many reforms concerning women's rights were already happening. Sure, like many other parts of the Muslim world (such as, even, rural Turkey) women's liberation wasn't an easy or sure thing. But these women were at least able to appear in public wearing what they wanted, and go to school (including college). So, really, I don't think the women I know see the choice as you have presented it.

Sometime in 2012 I lost most of my interest in arguing about politics.

I suspected they might have lived in Kabul. It's my not very detailed understanding that the educated urban dwellers sometimes supported the Soviet/communists, while the rural people who were being bombed and slaughtered were on the side of the rebels, but no doubt that's oversimplified.

" I don't think the women I know see the choice as you have presented it."

I cited the usual guestimate of the death toll and what I've read about how the Soviet/Afghan communists fought their war. Being a lefty, I've also read a bit in various places, even back in the 80's, about how the communist side was in favor of women's rights, and how the conservatives in their society were not--in some cases they threw acid in the faces of coeds who went around with their faces uncovered. So yeah, it'd be natural for people who were urban and educated and not living in free fire zones to support the communist side, while people whose villages and family members were blown up or tortured by the government and its Soviet allies would be supportive of the rebels.

There was an interesting NYT story today about how the Russians saw their war. which is what I've read before and what one would expect--they saw themselves as a civilizing influence.

link

Being a lefty, I've also read a bit in various places, even back in the 80's, about how the communist side was in favor of women's rights, and how the conservatives in their society were not--in some cases they threw acid in the faces of coeds who went around with their faces uncovered. So yeah, it'd be natural for people who were urban and educated and not living in free fire zones to support the communist side, while people whose villages and family members were blown up or tortured by the government and its Soviet allies would be supportive of the rebels.

First things first: I am a lefty too. Not your brand, perhaps, but you and I share that, and I won't let you own it.

Second, there are a lot of issues underlying the history of Afghanistan. As to Afghanistan's relationship with the Soviet Union although some credit Reagan (wrongly), it was probably the fundamentalist Islamic movement combined with nationalism that brought the Soviet Union down. I'm not a fan of what the Soviet Union was, so that's okay with me. I don't really enjoy "what if" conversations, for the most part.

But as far as women's rights are concerned, I do have an opinion about that. I've many times pointed to Ta-Nehisi Coates commentary on the Civil War - that it was the war of independence for African-Americans, and very much worth the fighting - as a good argument for what "just war" is all about. And, of course, we all know that the Civil War didn't get started because of abolitionism. But it did get started based on a conflict of cultures, and a test of which culture was more just. (Not which culture was, in the abstract, "just".) And I think that many women who are enslaved by religious fundamentalism might feel similarly.

It's always easy to point to blood and guts, and say that a war is never worth it. And, a lot of times it isn't. I'm not proclaiming success here. But if I were a woman in Afghanistan, I'm not sure that I wouldn't be in favor of bringing the whole thing down, frankly. Sometimes "culture" isn't an excuse for acid in the face, etc. I don't think I could live a life of having acid in the face whenever I tried to learn. Sometimes "civilizing" by an invading culture is a real thing - a good thing. In fact, there are areas of the United States that could use some civilization.

"First things first: I am a lefty too. Not your brand, perhaps, but you and I share that, and I won't let you own it."

I wasn't claiming ownership and don't want to. Much of the left is repugnant to me. Just explaining how it was that I was reading about the fact that there were two sides to the Soviet war in Afghanistan back in the 80's. That's how I knew it was more complex than American interventionists allowed for in the 80's.

I don't really go for the whole notion of destroying a country to save it, but obviously much of the left historically has done so. Using the term "left" in its broadest sense.

With that, I'm done.

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