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PeaceNikki

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Gender: Female
Current location: Wisconsin
Member since: Sat Apr 14, 2007, 05:49 PM
Number of posts: 23,758

Journal Archives

Here, Socialism meant honest, frugal government

Sanders' entry in the race and identification as a Socialist, combined with a thread about Milorganite got me thinking about a wonderful piece by a great local historian. I fully support Sanders, especially his alignment with Socialism. Full disclosure: I also support Clinton. I think that either would make a great POTUS, likely for different reasons. But, I digress... as the RW demonizes and completely mangles the definition of the word yet again, I thought this is a great piece to revisit.

"Are We All Socialists Now?" That was the plaintive title of a panel discussion at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. The word "socialist" is being heard all over America these days as the federal government takes over banks, tells automakers what to do and tightens regulations in an effort to pull our economy out of its current tailspin. The label is not generally intended as a compliment. To many Americans, socialism means being governed by the government - suffocating under layers of bureaucracy that sop up tax dollars and smother individual initiative.

And that's the positive view. Some critics carelessly lump socialism together with anarchism or even communism. After invoking the "s" word at the recent conservative conference, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said, "Lenin and Stalin would love this stuff." He conveniently forgot, or perhaps never knew, that most American socialists were sworn enemies of Soviet Communism.


The view from Milwaukee is radically different. I'm not a socialist and never have been, but I can testify that Socialism - with a capital "S"- was one of the best things that ever happened to this city. Without realizing it, even the most red-blooded capitalists are enjoying the fruits of their efforts, from spacious parks to clean streets and from a working infrastructure to an expectation, however frequently disappointed, of honest government.

....

Underlying their notion of public enterprise was an abiding faith - curiously antique by today's standards - in the goodness of government, especially local government. The Socialists believed that government was the locus of our common wealth - the resources that belong to all of us and each of us - and they worked to build a community of interest around a deeply shared belief in the common good.

The results were plain to see. After years in the political sewer, Milwaukee became, under "sewer Socialists" Seidel, Hoan and Zeidler, a model of civic virtue. Time Magazine called Milwaukee "perhaps the best-governed city in the U.S." in 1936, and the community won trophy after trophy for public health, traffic safety and fire prevention. The health prize came home so often that Milwaukee had to be retired from competition to give other municipalities a chance.

...

The Socialists governed well, and they did so without breaking the bank. Contrary to another popular myth, these were not tax-and-spend radicals intent on emptying the public coffers. They were, in fact, every bit as frugal as the most penny-pinching German hausfrau. The Socialists managed civic affairs on a pay-as-you-go basis, and in 1943, Milwaukee became the only big city in America whose amortization fund exceeded its outstanding bond obligations. It was, in other words, debt-free.

More at link: http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/42448437.html

Gurda also wrote: Socialism before it was a four-letter word and is interviewed here in John Gurda on How the Socialists Saved Milwaukee

I am pro-abortion, not just pro-choice: 10 reasons why we must support the procedure and the choice

I believe that abortion care is a positive social good -- and I think it’s time people said so ~VALERIE TARICO

Recently, the Daily Kos published an article titled I Am Pro-Choice, Not Pro-Abortion. “Has anyone ever truly been pro-abortion?” one commenter asked.

Uh. Yes. Me. That would be me.

I am pro-abortion like I’m pro-knee-replacement and pro-chemotherapy and pro-cataract surgery. As the last protection against ill-conceived childbearing when all else fails, abortion is part of a set of tools that help women and men to form the families of their choosing. I believe that abortion care is a positive social good. I suspect that a lot of other people secretly believe the same thing. And I think it’s time we said so.

As an aside, I’m also pro-choice. Choice is about who gets to make the decision. The question of whether and when we bring a new life into the world is, to my mind, one of the most important decisions a person can make. It is too big a decision for us to make for each other, and especially for perfect strangers.

But independent of who owns the decision, I’m pro on the procedure, and I’ve decided that it’s time, for once and for all, to count it out on my 10 fingers.

1. I’m pro-abortion because being able to delay and limit childbearing is fundamental to female empowerment and equality. A woman who lacks the means to manage her fertility lacks the means to manage her life. Any plans, dreams, aspirations, responsibilities or commitments–no matter how important–have a great big contingency clause built: “until or unless I get pregnant, in which case all bets are off.”

...

2. I’m pro-abortion because well-timed pregnancies give children a healthier start in life. We now have ample evidence that babies do best when women are able to space their pregnancies and get both pre-natal and pre-conception care. The specific nutrients we ingest in the weeks before we get pregnant can have a lifelong effect on the wellbeing of our offspring. Rapid repeat pregnancies increase the risk of low birthweight babies and other complications. Wanted babies are more likely to get their toes kissed, to be welcomed into families that are financially and emotionally ready to receive them, to get preventive medical care during childhood and the kinds of loving engagement that helps young brains to develop.


Much more that has me applauding in agreement here: http://www.salon.com/2015/04/24/i_am_pro_abortion_not_just_pro_choice_10_reasons_why_we_must_support_the_procedure_and_the_choice/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

Abortion: a moral & positive choice that liberates women, saves lives, & protects families

If they said it while most states were simultaneously closing clinics, limiting access to it and

preventative care, passing sweeping legislation to stop heart surgery, protesting and bombing clinics, killing heart surgeons, that would be a problem. No?

Also, they don't say that about cardiac surgery. It's not typical that a cardiac patient is judged for the history behind the surgery. They should have exercised, eaten better, oh, it is a genetic abnormality... We are only glad that the procedures exist to help those who need it. I feel the same way about abortion.

why I think fetal homicide laws are bullshit...

The "Protection of Unborn Children Act", fetal homicide, et al are pure BS.

A forced abortion or miscarriage is totally an assault against the woman, not the fetus. It should not center on the fetus at all, which is part of the woman's body. A woman's pregnancy becomes part of HER identity and personhood while she's pregnant. Laws that bypass her and give any status or protection to the fetus regardless of gestation are harmful and discriminatory against women, and devalue women as persons.

Also, I think the issue of 'choice' in this situation is a red herring. If an assaulted woman's pregnancy is unwanted - even if she gets assaulted on the way to the abortion clinic and miscarries, it's just as serious a crime as an assault against a woman with a much-wanted pregnancy.

Fetal homicide laws are a slippery slope and wrong.

Like "Unborn Victims of Crime Acts"

http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=171ab1e2-a77b-4791-a646-0ebc27512b9a

Fetal homicide laws are not the answer

Margaret Somerville ("New life matters, Nov. 6) and others in these pages have called for legal recognition for fetuses when pregnant women are murdered, which has occurred five times in Canada since 2004. The victims and families of such horrific tragedies deserve our deepest sympathy. However, creating a "fetal homicide" law that would allow murder charges to be laid for the death of a fetus would be an unconstitutional infringement on women's rights, and would likely result in harms against pregnant women.

When pregnant women are assaulted or killed, it's a domestic violence issue and it's well known that violence against women increases during pregnancy. What we need are better measures to protect women in general, and pregnant women in particular, from domestic violence. A "fetal homicide" law would completely sidestep the issue of domestic abuse and do nothing to protect pregnant women.

Canadian women have guaranteed rights and equality, while fetuses do not. Legally speaking, it would be extremely difficult to justify compromising women's established rights in favour of the theoretical rights of fetuses. The Supreme Court has ruled (in Dobson vs. Dobson, 1999) that a womanandher fetusareconsidered "physically one" person under the law. Separating a woman from her fetus under the law creates a harmful, adversarial relationship between a woman and her fetus. For example, if pregnant women are threatened with arrest for abusing drugs, they are less likely to seek pre-natal care.

...

In the U.S., pregnant women have been arrested even under fetal protection laws that exempt the pregnant woman herself from prosecution. That's because a law that recognizes fetal rights creates a confusing legal contradiction. If a fetus has the right not to be "murdered" in the womb by a third party, why doesn't it have the right not to be "murdered" by its own mother? In practice, these contradictory laws create a dangerous slippery slope towards criminalizing pregnant women for their behaviours while pregnant.



In Canada, the judicial system routinely takes aggravating circumstances into account. In the case of an assault or murder of a pregnant woman, even though a third party cannot be charged separately with harm to the fetus, prosecutors may recommend more serious charges, judges may impose harsher penalties and parole boards may deny parole to convicted perpetrators.

Exactly. Opposing bigotry is not bigotry.

“Tolerating intolerance is not, in fact, tolerance. It is merely the passive-aggressive enabling of intolerance.”

Abortion: Not easy, not sorry

Nearly one in three American women will have an abortion by age 45. Why are we so afraid to talk about it—or to acknowledge that our lives would have been so much less than we hoped for without it? Why are we pressured to feel that we should regret our choice, and that there's something wrong with us if we don't?

...

For a small segment of women—and the number is small, by any reasonably scientific account—abortion is indeed a tragedy, a trauma with long-lasting reverberations. But I want to tell a different story, the more common yet strangely hidden one, which is that I don't feel guilty and tortured about my abortion. Or rather, my abortions. There, I said it.

"Abortion. We need to talk about it," Pollitt beseeches in Pro. "We need to talk about it differently. Not as something we all agree is a bad thing about which we shake our heads sadly and then debate its precise degree of badness, preening ourselves on our judiciousness and moral seriousness as we argue about this or that restriction on this or that kind of woman. We need to talk about ending a pregnancy as a common, even normal, event in the reproductive lives of women."

...

How normal? Nearly one in three American women will have terminated a pregnancy by age 45, and six in 10 abortions are performed on women who are already mothers. They're not—we're not—"other." Those numbers are from Pro, and when I call it "revelatory," I want to add, oddly so. You can't live in the abortion-is-murder culture for all of your adult life and not have it affect you, even if you're pro-choice. So while I already knew much of the basic information Pollitt imparts, I'd "forgotten" some facts, and lost track of how the facts informed my pro-choice convictions.

...

In an interview with ELLE last month, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that she thought that the country would "wake up" and realize that the state-by-state restrictions on abortion were untenable and that we "can never go back" to the situation before Roe, when abortions were only "for women who can afford to travel to a neighboring state." Yet it seems to me that we have gone back to that time; right now poor women are in effect being denied abortions because they can't afford them, or can't afford the gas to get to a clinic that is hundreds of miles away—or can't afford all that and to stay overnight in a hotel to comply with a 24-hour waiting period.




Much more at link, a great read: http://www.elle.com/life-love/society-career/the-abortion-choice

I've heard it here on DU: "We don't have to *pretend* abortion is a good thing". I'm not pretending, it *IS* a good thing. Women have to control their fertility for 30-40 years. That is an awfully long time not to make mistakes, to not have any failure in process or judgement. Abortion allows us to decide the direction, to allow our education, careers and health to go the way that is best for ourselves. Abortion allows us to decide to become parents when we are ready to be good parents.

Abortion is a moral and positive choice that liberates women, saves lives, and protects families.

The Notorious RBG is correct. We need to wake up. We're losing our rights.

What Ben Affleck missed in the Islamophobia debate

http://ffrf.org/news/blog/item/21513-what-ben-affleck-missed-in-the-islamophobia-debate-with-bill-maher-and-sam-harris

The missing piece of this puzzle is a basic assumption about religion Ben et. al. are mistakenly making. Their analogy of religion to race fails. Religion is not like race. Religion is an idea—a faith-based idea lacking any evidence—or a set of ideas to which one willingly adheres. Race can't be changed; religion can. All you have to do is change your mind. Think for yourself and you can be free from religion.

.....

Ideas dictate behavior, skin color does not. And religion is a set of common ideas to which one willingly subscribes. The caveat to this, and perhaps the hang up for Affleck, was noted by Maher and has been noted by Harris many times in the past. Religion is often an accident of birth and, in the case of Islam, leaving that religion can be lethal. Maher correctly observed that some Muslims are afraid to leave their religion and are even "afraid to speak out because 's the only religion that acts like the mafia, that will fucking kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture or write the wrong book." This spiritual blackmail is disgusting, but it belies the simplicity of treating religion only as a set of ideas. In other words, leaving Islam and saying that you are no longer a Muslim—that you no longer adhere to that set of ideas—is not easy for that religion. However, this caveat is not enough to substantiate Affleck, Kristal, and Steele's claims of bigotry against Maher and Harris.

Affleck himself admitted that we must criticize bad ideas, "of course we do!" Harris and Maher see Islam, as Harris put it, as "the mother lode of bad ideas" and criticize those ideas. But Affleck sees Harris and Maher as attacking Muslims. Harris and Maher are attacking Islam, the set of ideas which Muslims self-identify as subscribing to. Without doubt, there are internecine conflicts within Islam—arguments about which is the true Islam. But both sides recognized this. Harris laid out concentric circles of people who consider themselves Muslims with the ISIS–like extremists at the middle. And Kristal and Steele noted people and friends they know who are in Harris's outer circles. But again, Kristal and Steele's anecdotal evidence does not invalidate Maher and Harris's criticism of ideas: such as the idea that apostasy should be a capital crime. An idea that more than 3/4 of Egyptian Muslims agree with (that statistic actually embodies the differences among Muslims and the anecdotes raised).

Of course Islamophobia exists. A self-appointed vigilante killing a Sikh after mistaking him for a Muslim—he wanted to go out and "shoot some towelheads"—is an example of that fear running wild after 9/11. But criticizing the religion itself, pointing out its barbaric tenets, and explaining the penalties for apostasy are not examples of Islamophobia. What Maher and Harris were saying was not Islamophobic, they were simply speaking critical truths about a set of cruel, misogynistic ideas.


- See more at: http://ffrf.org/news/blog/item/21513-what-ben-affleck-missed-in-the-islamophobia-debate-with-bill-maher-and-sam-harris#sthash.53QeJT85.KylQ0Dvb.dpuf

I agree with Andrew.

Are welfare, food stamps, open heart surgery and root canals not "good things" because they aren't

the ideal outcome?

These and abortion ARE all "good things".

Why Reverse Racism Isn't Real

This came across my FB feed this AM and I couldn't help but put it in the context of DU.

I spend a lot of time on the internet. I write in various places on the internet, I interact in lively and active commenting communities at different websites, and I partake in a multitude of online forums that have an ongoing and pretty continuous stream of communication between the contributors. Ya know what I’ve noticed? Any time a PoC starts to talk about their experiences with racism, a white person chimes in to derail the conversation and talk about their own experiences with ‘reverse racism.’ And yes, I’m going to say ‘any time’ and not ‘sometimes’ because I have never once been in an internet dialogue amongst commenters and observed a PoC bring up their experience with real, actual, systemic or overt racism and not encountered a white person trying to make it all about their experiences with perceived racism. Not once. It happens every time. Ya know what else? That shit is tired, played out, and incorrect. So let’s talk about why reverse racism isn’t real and why white people need to let that one go.

Racism exists when prejudice+power combine to form social constructs, legislation and widespread media bias that contribute to the oppression of the rights and liberties of a group of people. Racism is systemic, institutional, and far reaching. It is the prevalence of racism within social structures and institutional norms, along with implicit and explicit enforcement by members of a group, that allows racism to run rampant and unchecked. America is a country seeped in white privilege, and our social structure is built on colonization and forced slave labor that then turned into further systemic and ongoing oppression of PoC. We have a culture that presents whiteness as the norm and all else as ‘other’ or different. White is presented as the beauty ideal, the main face in the media (unless we’re talking about criminals, then PoC get unfairly misrepresented), the standard, the regular. It’s a structural problem that affects the perceptions of jurors in criminal cases, admissions to colleges, funding for public schools, welfare and food stamp programs, the redrawing of district lines that affect where we vote, who we see represented on T.V. and how, what schools people have access to, what neighborhoods people live in, an individual’s shopping experience, access to goods and services; it’s extensive and a part of the fabric that let’s whiteness remain dominant in American culture.

When I’m online talking to people and a PoC is sharing their experience with racism, I’m listening and I am learning. This is an experience I will probably never have in my lifetime, simply because of the skin I was born into. I need to know what I can do to be a better ally and to make the world a more equal place one interaction at a time. So I observe, I listen, I join the conversation, and I try to understand. Inevitably, here comes a white person either claiming that they have a similar experience because they grew up in an all black neighborhood and got chased on the way home from school a few times, or because their black friend tried to touch their straight hair one time without permission and OMG THAT IS SO RACIST and it is the exact same thing, or some other such bullshittery, and they expect that ignorance to be suffered in silence and with respect. If you are that kid who got chased after school, that’s horrible, and I feel bad for you. And if you are that person who had another person try to touch you without your permission, that was wrong of them, and I’m sorry that happened to you. But dudes, that shit is not racism.

The situations in which you, fellow white person, were involved were unfortunate and inappropriate, this is true. But to claim that these experiences were ‘reverse racism’ both diminishes and minimalizes the real and actual experiences of PoC who really do encounter racism. There is no system of oppression in America that actively works to oppress and subjugate white people. Sorry to break it to you, but your individual suffering is just that, individual. The individuals acting against you do not have the institutionalized power to actively oppress you in every facet of your life, nor would their racism be upheld and supported by government, media, and legislation if they did. Because you’re white.


More a link: http://feminspire.com/why-reverse-racism-isnt-real/

I wonder what her DU name is. I also think the same can and should be said about sexism.
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