Letters to the Editor – March 2017

98

Status Quo at the DNC

By Yezdyar S. Kaoosji

The expected has happened! Tom Perez was just elected to chair the Democratic National Committee.

The earlier re-election of Nancy Pelosi as House Minority Leader, and the election of Chuck Schumer as the Senate Minority Leader, ensures that the neoliberal establishment retains its strangle-hold on the Democratic Party.

In the background three other neoliberal victories have been accomplished. The DNC has successfully neutered the three top leaders of the party’s progressive wing. The clever mechanizations started early in the 2016 Primary.

First, Elizabeth Warren was successfully courted by the Clinton campaign to work against like-minded progressive Bernie Sanders.

Second, after the shenanigans of the Democratic Primary defeated Bernie Sanders, he was coerced to work for the Clinton campaign to defeat Trump. Following the general elections, Sanders and Warren have been further muzzled. Sanders has a vague appointment as “Chair of Outreach” while Warren was elevated to vice chair of the Democratic Senate Leadership Group. Sanders’ appointment guarantees he will be busy inside the party shouting at Trump, instead of being outside and building a progressive movement in the country, or even starting a new progressive party.

Third, today (February 25, 2017) Keith Ellison was neutered after losing his fierce campaign for DNC Chair, when he accepted an appointment as a vice chair to Tom Perez in a kumbaya moment.

Thus, the three most likely leaders of a new progressive movement in the country have been neutralized.

Where do progressives go from here? Sanders and Warren both have name recognition and can command a significant following if they wish, despite their current flirtations with the Democratic Party establishment. If they or someone equally charismatic and trustworthy does not assume the mantle of leadership very soon, the mass national momentum will fizzle and the chance in a generation to create a real progressive third party will have been lost.


 

Who’s Afraid of Planned Parenthood?

Rally to Support Planned Parenthood on Fulton Street in Fresno on February 11, 2017. Image by Drea Cerda.

By Mike Starry

U.S. economic policies are among the most “conservative” in the developed world. Why, then, do we rank so low in terms of social mobility, child poverty, and economic inequality? Why do Scandinavian countries enjoy a higher mean quality of life than us? Why do they report higher levels of happiness? Why do their schools perform better? Why has median household income in the U.S. been stagnant for the past 40 years?

Using psycho-social foundations like white tribal fears and authoritarian motivations, the Republican propaganda machine has become an insurgent outlier in American politics.  It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition. By being an extremist clown representing these characteristics, President Trump has exposed all of their elitist degradations of democracy.

White tribal fears and authoritarian motivations are the old glue holding together the fears of voters with extreme needs to feel superior to others. In contrast to the performance economic basket cases like red state Kansas, California, Oregon and Washington have prospered while rejecting the conservative economic model. In fact, California’s prosperity may be attributable to its wholesale repudiation of that model. Stop being suckers, America.

For example, “Why do conservative men fear Planned Parenthood and women going to work?”  A manifestation-answer is “They want women who stay at home to feel that it is okay to do so.”

Consider the source, the conservative male. One singular who feels that his experience, not with his wife, but with his mother, could have been better.  In fact, the mother at home and the anti-Planned Parenthood attitudes have one possible conservative male subconscious convolution similarity. Mommy maybe was not loving, was possibly abusive, and did not want to be the wife of a domineering, unaffectionate, asexual conservative husband. To get even she maybe took it out on the son(s) who grew up over-compensating a psychological justification for being unloved as a child, who wondered if he should have been born at all, thus the Planned Parenthood hostility. The anti-working woman psychology is simple: Maybe forcing women to stay at home will produce more loving mothers.

I am willing to bet this concept explains 90% of the conservative male motivations. It is not all political and cultural. Human motivations run deep for the individual as we should see that the SOURCE of political behavior has an explanation revealed by an analysis of the individual, not superficial political manifestations.

At what point in their careers do Republican politicians actually say to themselves, “I am going to help rich people get richer and keep winning by hurting working people.” In what point in their planning to destroy the earth’s atmosphere with fossil fuels do the petroleum executives say to themselves, “It’s no longer the money. I’m rich. I just like winning and that includes hurting billions of the little people. Anyway, I’m so old, I’ll be dead soon. My grandchildren will just have to figure it out.”

In a 2002-2003 survey of women and their providers in 33 hospitals in eight states across Nigeria, 2,093 patients were identified as being treated for complications of home abortion or miscarriage or seeking an abortion. Of women with serious complications, 24% had sepsis, 21% pelvic infection and 11% instrumental injury; 22% required blood transfusion and 10% needed abdominal surgery.

U.S. physicians and politicians had watched women die from illegal abortions for decades without being willing to do anything about it. Beginning in 1969, feminists held speakouts on abortion, at which hundreds of women went public with their own experiences. The most recent Pew poll found that 69 percent of Americans support Roe 1973, the highest in years. Twenty-eight percent by contrast, would like to see it overturned.

The birth-control provisions of the Affordable Care Act are hugely popular and millions of women have obtained contraception, including expensive but effective long-acting methods like the IUD. The lowering of the abortion rate in recent years is mostly due to more widespread and better birth control.

So, will conservative politicians respect the majority? Do they hate women, sexual pleasure, the ability to choose the timing of or avoidance of parenting or all of the above?