Anti-Burka-Crusaders and Anti-Choicers: Common Threads

As the Anti-Burka tide rises in Europe (hahaha, Anti-Islamic politics?  What religious minority will those wacky Europeans go after next?), I was struck by problems in the law’s reasoning, as well as similarities with the anti-choice anti-abortion nuts here at home.

The law is ostensibly about protecting dignity and equality:

“Given the damage it produces on those rules which allow the life in community, ensure the dignity of the person and equality between sexes, this practice, even if it is voluntary, cannot be tolerated in any public place,” the French government said when it sent the measure to parliament in May.

Much like anti-abortion folks are all about protecting women and their weak little women brains from themselves, this carries an element of that sexism firmly entrenched in the law.  Even if a woman makes the choice freely, there is something wrong about it, and she needs to be forcibly freed from her choice by legal means.

Look, I’m personally not a fan of the Burka.  I also don’t go around aborting fetuses (well, every weekend anyway).  You don’t see me crusading against a woman’s control of her own damn body now do you?  Take a lesson from that Europe.  Hell, if you hate Muslims THAT much just pass a toothless resolution and be honest about your bigotry.  You handled your anti-semitism phase so well, the world is just dying to see how you manage this little hate-fest.

Religious Conservative Incestual Rape Apologists

Sharron Angle is making public a textbook psychotic position on the horrible matter of incestual rape that leads to a pregnancy.  Digby Reports:

Sharron Angle has a plan for girls who are raped by their fathers and get pregnant. Force the little girl to have a child and then adopt both of them out to a new family!

Angle: I think that two wrongs don’t make a right. And I have been in the situation of counseling young girls, not 13 but 15, who have had very at risk, difficult pregnancies. And my counsel was to look for some alternatives, which they did. And they found that they had made what was really a lemon situation into lemonade. Well one girl in particular moved in with the adoptive parents of her child, and they both were adopted. Both of them grew up, one graduated from high school, the other had parents that loved her and she also graduated from high school. And I’ll tell you the little girl who was born from that very poor situation came to me when she was 13 and said ‘I know what you did thank you for saving my life.’ So it is meaningful to me to err on the side of life.

No word on what happened to the incest victim, but that’s really not something anyone should waste much time worrying about.

And anyway it just shows that God provides many good alternatives to abortion for for young girls who are raped by their fathers — perhaps we could just bend the rules a little bit and the little girl could marry her daddy so they could make a new family all their own.

That she leaves out the rape victim – aka the baby carrier (you know, the non-woman as per fellow Republican Christianist David Vitter) – is telling.  Nuts like these really don’t give a shit about mothers.  They aren’t anti-choice, they are anti-mother.  And God help you if you become a mother against your will, or if becoming a mother poses serious health risks.  Because they sure as hell won’t.  At that point you cease to be a woman, cease to be a rape victim, and become an incubator.

Let’s put the positions of these religious nuts who advocate forcing raped girls to bear their father’s children into context.  Consider the biblical story of Lot and his daughters.  He offered them up to be raped by strangers, and later had offspring with them.  Is this what religious conservative mean when they suggest using the Bible as a basis for law in our country?

Quick Thoughts on Abortion, Choice and Language

I was browsing the America Speaks Out website (created by the Republican party at taxpayer expense).  Its a goldmine of funny.  But it also offers up some rather useful insights.  Take these two quotes:

the sanctity of life should support whatever of woman wishes to do with her body. Without this right freedom is meaningless

vs

Abortion is a complex, difficult moral issue. It is not the proper role of the government to make our moral decisions for us. Let people make up their own minds and take responsibility for their decisions. If we are to be the party of small government, less government intrusion, and personal liberty, we must stop trying to legislate abortion away. It’s not the government’s place to be a nanny that chooses our morality for us.

The first has 2,710 votes, largely against it (but relatively close).  The second has 1,960 votes hugely in favor.  Both are pro-choice statements.  One is effective.

What makes it effective?  It deftly makes use of conservative goals and language to make the case for a supposedly progressive cause.  What it reveals is reproductive choice is not simply a progressive issue.  It is a universal issue, and conservatives not under the thrall of theocratic dictate are allies.

The Problem With Calling Abortion Murder

Let’s say I said administrators at a school were routinely picking out high school students teachers didn’t like, and killing them.  Let’s say in addition, they had the full complicity of our legal system.  Would you be in the streets protesting?  Would you be writing articles or blog posts?  Or would you be in that school trying to rescue the kids, and shooting the administrators?

The problem with lying and calling abortion murder is that it leads directly to shit like this: An abortion provider was shot to death in Kansas.

Make no mistake about it, calling abortion murder is a lie.  One that anti-choice activists do not believe:
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Republican Confluence Doesn’t Get Palin

The Confluence has become a hotspot for closet Republicans looking to slash Democrats from within.  But their latest bit of chicanery is inexecusable.  They are defending Sarah Palin!

Do you see the problem with the way the Democrats are arguing this time? Sarah Palin and her husband are NOT SCARY to swing voters. Neither is Barack Obama, Joe Biden, or John McCain. They see all the candidates as politicians, neither inherently good nor inherently evil. Wrap your partisan brain around THAT one!

Actually, independents and bitter Hillary Supporters are concerned by Palin:

“And that ticks me off because I do not want Obama,” said Democrat Annette Kocsis, 68, a former Hillary Rodham Clinton supporter from Clearwater, scoffing at “the pit bull in lipstick,” as Palin has called herself.

Palin, who makes her first Florida campaign stop Sunday in a Republican stronghold in north-central Florida, has generated enthusiasm among conservatives. But at least with this randomly selected group of swing voters, she appears to be an obstacle to McCain’s winning over disillusioned Democrats or moderates.

“That was almost insulting,” Democrat Rhonda Laris of Temple Terrace, another strong Clinton backer skeptical of Obama, said of the Palin pick. “Do they think we’re really stupid? … I’m definitely leaning toward the Democratic side now. Sarah Palin scares … me.”

madamab at the Confluence takes Democrats to task for believing:

She will take possession of every female uterus in the United States and force it to become pregnant, then return it to its previous owner with a little something extra inside;

She will force every school to teach abstinence-only education and creationism;

Sarah Palin is virulently anti-choice.  A McCain/Palin administration is the best shot the conservatives have at overturning roe vs wade.  Dismissing that concern with a quip about taking “possession of every female uterus in the United States” is nakedly dishonest.  Swing voters who value reproductive choice are quite concerned.  Democratic Hillary supporters just are not buying the steaming piles of bull coming from the Confluence.

The fact is the Confluence just doesn’t get Sarah Palin.  Not when they think a candidate with ties to a militant apocalyptic cult isn’t scary.

I’d post a comment, but the Confluence has a nasty habit of censoring and editing comments.

Obama and the Anti-Choice Whisper Campaign

Most of America doesn’t like what Sarah Palin represents.  She’s so extreme on abortion she’d favor mandatory birth even if her own daughter were raped.  That simply isn’t in line with the American public.

The Republicans know this, and they’ve begun an urgent whisper campaign to paint Obama as a baby-killer to try and push Obama’s perceived positions out of the mainstream and into the fringe with their own.  This goes beyond the standard “Every Fertilized Egg is Sacred” line the most radical of the anti-choice movement parrot.  They’ve dug up a vote and deliberately and maliciously warped it into a rumor designed to feed into the worst fears of people on the reproductive rights fence.

I logged onto facebook today to notice a conservative Catholic friend had promoted a website shamelessly flaunting the irony in its name.  A cursory look at conservative blogs sees a frenzy of eager-to-slander bloggers jumping on this chance to regurgitate the rumor (Read this for an insight into the kind of person behind these attacks).  Seeing this come from a friend was unsettling, so I figured I’d take some time and break down why Obama opposed the bill.

First of all, and I’m going out on a real limb here, I’m pretty sure actual infants are already protected by law.  Now, onto fetuses (Dana Goldstein via Feministing):

But BAIPA isn’t really about protecting infants; it is anti-abortion rights legislation crafted by the hard right. BAIPA targets the abortion procedure known as dilation and extraction, which anti-choicers have so successfully re-branded as “partial birth abortion.”

Wait, its a misnamed piece of legislation crafted by the hard right?  Haven’t we seen that somewhere before?  Back to the bill, it was a crafty attempt by the anti-choice movement to mask their intentions (they seem to have a lot of trouble when they are upfront and honest):

The antis want to redefine these fetuses as “born alive” and require that doctors provide “resuscitation.” As a state senator, Obama saw BAIPA for what it was: an ideologically-motivated ploy to vilify women and doctors who choose abortion. On the state Senate floor on April 4, 2002, he explained, “This issue ultimately is about abortion and not live births. Because if there are children being born alive, I, at least, have confidence that a doctor who is in that room is going to make sure that they’re looked after.”

The horribly misnamed pro-life movement tried to pull a fast one on reproductive choice, and Barack Obama saw clear through it.  The “Born Alive” act wasn’t about protecting babies.  It was about using lies to force a religious viewpoint on a secular nation.  Obama stood up to it.

And in the fall we’re going to stand up to Palin and McCain.

Analyzing Governor Sarah Palin

If we were to sum up McCain’s politics since 2000 a single word would suffice: hypocrasy.  The same can be said of Governor Sarah Palin.  She was picked primarily to shore up support in the conservative Christian community.  Because of this, I don’t think either of her scandals around pregnancy will really hit home (or cause McCain to drop her).

On the one hand, she may have faked her 5th pregnancy for the sake of her daughter.  The same daughter who is now pregnant and plans to have the child and marry the father.  The key here is that both pregnancies led to a birth, and I see that playing very well with the anti-choice crowd.  Life isn’t about perfection, its about making the right choices with what you are given.  And while the rest of the US looks on in shock, I’m willing to be the conservative Christian community will look on in admiration.  In their view Bristol Palin shouldn’t have any moral choice other than caryring to term, and thus her mother’s efforts to hide the first pregnancy, and her determination to carry through with the second, are examples of her pro-life position in action when it hits close to home.  That can only engender trust that she is completely pro-life.  Add in her support of creationism, and she seems like a great choice to cater to the religious right.

So that takes care of the religious base.  But Governor Palin brings more to the table for McCain, and not all of it is beneficial for the Republican Presidential campaign.  She’s supposed to be a reformer, a paragon of principled politics.  Turns out she is in the middle of an investigation for sketchy firings of State Troopers for personal reasons.  Alaskan newspapers openly question whether she’s fit for the position.  (Not that the McCain camp would have known this, it seems like they never checked local papers to vet her in the first place!)

This is the kind of stuff that can upset anyone, but particularly independents (whom Obama appeals strongly too, and McCain needs to win the Presidency).  It is here that his choice of Palin cuts him deep.  Because Palin isn’t just pro-life.  She’s crazy pro-life:

In November 2006, then gubernatorial candidate Sarah Palin declared that she would not support an abortion for her own daughter even if she had been raped.

Granting exceptions only if the mother’s life was in danger, Palin said that when it came to her daughter, “I would choose life.”

At the time, her daughter was 14 years old. Moreover, Alaska’s rape rate was an abysmal 2.2 times above the national average and 25 percent of all rapes resulted in unwanted pregnancies. But Palin’s position was palatable within the state’s largely Republican political circles.

You don’t need to be a feminist to see that this is a seriously fucked up position to take.  She is in fact, to sum things up, an extremist.  In addition to opposing abortion, she (edited the html to remove formatting and fix a link):

She supports teaching creationism in schools.
She denies global warming and opposed listing polar bears as an endangered species because it might prevent off-shore drilling.
Speaking of drilling, she supports drilling in ANWR.
I guess not surprising, Palin is in big oil’s pocket.

On top of it all her lack of experience makes McCain’s attacks on Obama look ridiculous by comparison.

She was essentially chosen to tackle three problems the McCain campaign faced.  How to get the religious right fired up, how to reinforce his appeal as a “maverick” and reformer, and how to somehow get former Clinton supporters to jump in.  I don’t see that happening:

I have a piece up at TAP:

Palin’s addition to the ticket takes Republican faux-feminism to a whole new level. As Adam Serwer pointed out on TAPPED, this is in fact a condescending move by the GOP. It plays to the assumption that disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters did not care about her politics — only her gender. In picking Palin, Republicans are lending credence to the sexist assumption that women voters are too stupid to investigate or care about the issues, and merely want to vote for someone who looks like them. As Serwer noted, it’s akin to choosing Alan Keyes in an attempt to compete with Obama for votes from black Americans.

Now would anyone really fall for that?  Yes of course they would:

As for Governor Palin, her supposed views on abortion and lack of national security credentials are supposed to make her unsuited for the office of the Vice Presidency, yet Barack Obama’s actual views on abortion and lack of national security credentials are supposed to make him perfectly suited for the Presidency.

Supposed views on abortion?  (Riverdaughter has really outed herself as a Republican on this one.)  An actual Clinton supporter would never vote for someone with the positions on reproductive choice, and the environment Palin has.  (Nor would they feel much affinity for a politician who called Hillary whiny.)

Governor Palin is sure to boost McCain’s rating with the religious right, and if he holds on, might just be enough to keep that piece of the Republican party from drifting off.  However that comes are the expense of independent voters and disaffected Clinton voters.  He couldn’t be doing more to turn them off.  It also might come at the expense of Republicans who have had enough of lobbyists and rampant corruption.  Governor Palin is not clean when it comes to lobbyists:

Palin’s relationship with Alaska’s senior senator may be one of the more complicated aspects of her new position as Sen. John McCain’s running mate; Stevens was indicted in July 2008 on seven counts of corruption.

Palin, an anti-corruption crusader in Alaska, had called on Stevens to be open about the issues behind the investigation. But she also held a joint news conference with him in July, before he was indicted, to make clear she had not abandoned him politically.

Stevens had been helpful to Palin during her run for governor, swooping in with a last moment endorsement. And the two filmed a campaign commercial together to highlight Stevens’s endorsement of Palin during the 2006 race.

Given all of this, there is understandable speculation that Palin will be dropped from the ticket (perhaps in favor of Mitt Romney).  I highly doubt this, as dropping his VP pick would be a disasterous admission of poor judgment and weakness by McCain.  That is a perception he cannot afford to reinforce.  Additionally given his stubborness, I doubt he’d be able to bring himself to admit he’s made a strategic error.

Choosing Sarah Palin as his VP may have cost McCain the election, and there’s no way for him to back out without damaging his chances further.