A Chance To Fight Back

Categories:  Attempts to Make Abortion Difficult, Fighting Back, Health Care, Planned Parenthood

The state of Indiana has passed a law making changes to Indiana Medicaid, including banning funding to Planned Parenthood.  As we know, very little of what Planned Parenthood does is abortion related (3% from the Planned Parenthood 2008-9 annual report), so the effect of this change is to deny basic healthcare services to many women.  In fact, according to the Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood and other family planning centers are the primary or even exclusive sources of health care for many women.

The Obama administration is pushing back. HHS sent a letter to Indiana informing them that their plan will improperly bar beneficiaries from receiving services.  Specifically, Medicaid Administrator Donald M. Berwick wrote, “Medicaid programs may not exclude qualified health care providers from providing services that are funded under the program because of a provider’s scope of practice.” If Indiana chooses to continue down this path, then the federal government could conceivable cut off all Medicaid funding to Indiana.

Obama has shown time after time that he is not willing to stand firm on any issues and is always looking to find a compromise, but my fervent desire is that he will decide to use this case to break that pattern.  I know that many people will be harmed if Medicaid is shut down temporarily in Indiana, but every time he caves in to these right wing wackoes, many other people are harmed and the wackoes are encouraged to come up with even more harmful plans.  This is a heartless numbers game of picking your stands where they do the least harm. In this particular case, Obama can stand firm against a bad idea and limit the damage to one state.  He should be able to sell it as yet another republican attack on Medicaid since that is exactly what this is. 

Indiana has 60 days to appeal, but so far they haven’t shown much interest in changing their law. We will monitor this one over the summer and update it as new changes occur.

Activist When They Want to Be

Categories:  Fighting Back, Republican Insanity

Many of you may have heard of this legal case that’s been making its way through the courts. A high school cheerleader in Texas (where else) was raped by a member of the basketball team. He  plead guilty to a reduced charge and was let back on the team. Later, the cheer squad wanted to cheer for him specifically by name in support of a free throw attempt. The rape victim refused to cheer for her rapist and stood silently with her arms crossed.  This being Texas, of course she was expelled from the sqad. Her parents sued and the case made its way to the supreme court which refused to hear it. So the net result – tacitly supported by the highest court in the land and explicitly supported by the 5th Circuit Court is:

  • The rape victim is denied a high school activity because she won’t cheer her rapist
  • The victim’s parents will be forced to pay the school district $45K in legal fees
  • The rapist is allowed a high school activity because he copped a plea
  • The official policy of the USA is that this is just peachy

The legal case as I understand it essentially pitted the girl’s assertion that her right to free speach was violated when she was forced to cheer her rapist against the district’s assertion that she agreed to be an agent of the cheer squad and therefore was required to participate in any cheer they came up with.

I’m not a lawyer and I have no idea what the legal precedents would dictate in this case. What I do know is there is a clear cut Moral and Seeker of Justice position here and that is to allow the victim to non-disruptively recuse herself from cheering her rapist.  But as we’ve seen on a number of recent occasions (particularly the Citizens United case), this Supreme Court doesn’t give a rats ass about legal precedent either. They’ve had not problem going way out of bounds to rule in favor of their big business cronies and they don’t seem to believe that they should ever recuse themselves no matter how involved in a case they are. Apparently they don’t think anyone else should be allowed to recuse themselves either.

This is one of those cases that is just obviously wrong. The victim got some additional victimization piled on and the people that should have been penalized weren’t.  I’m not counting the rapist here as he went through the courts and received a sentence that may or may not have been appropriate, but at least he was punished for his crime (disclaimer – since he plead down he is probably an alleged rapist not an official rapist). Here are the people that should be penalized in this case:

  • The cheer leader coaches for trying to force the victim to cheer for her rapist. This is a small town in Texas. I’m sure they all knew what went down but didn’t care or wanted to punish the victim
  • The other cheer leaders. This would have been a great opportunity to back up their teammate and all refuse to do this particular cheer.
  • The school officials that pushed this case and kicked the victim off the squad. They are clearly a bunch of dickheads for their actions. I hope the citizens they represent drum them out of their jobs but I’m guessing that won’t happen.
  • All the courts that ruled in favor of the district.  The 5th Circuit Court stated that the victims act “constituted substantial interference with the work of the school“. Give me a break. I’ve been to a lot of high school athletic events and I’ve seen a lot of cheerleaders that got out of sync with the rest of the squad and didn’t complete the cheer.  None of these games were cancelled, none of the athletes were denied scholarships due to subpar cheerleading, none of the school districts went insolvent due to lost ticket revenue, …
  • The Supreme Court. Just another good reason why our representatives in congress should be trying to impeach a few of them. I know we don’t have the votes right now, but everytime a “regular” (i.e. not a millionaire or celebrity) US citizen is denied justice it damages our country.
  • Rick Perry (R), Governor of Texas. Just because.

Straight Talk At Last

Categories:  Fighting Back

I’ve been watching and listening to the debates in congress over the budget, Planned Parenthood, and aside from Bernie Sanders, there don’t seem to be many senators or congressmen that are willing to say anything in plain english.  But yesterday was finally a bit better. 

Nancy Pelosi (D CA) spoke at the Feminist Majority Foundation’s Women, Mondy and Power Summit and said, “There is actually a war on women”. 

Later in an interview with CNN, she said, “If you are talking about jobs, their pay in the workplace, health care … no longer is being a woman a pre-existing medical condition. They want to change all of that. So in every aspect — whether it is employment, whether it is education, whether it is health care, whether it is retirement, whether it is collective bargaining, which affects women as well — women have a lot to lose with the ideological old-style agenda of the Republicans.”

Patty Murry (D WA) said, “We are not going to throw women under the bus to give them an agreement to keep this government open.”

Dianne Feinstein (D CA) said, “It’s an opportunity for the right wing in the House to really sock it to women. I don’t usually use this language, but I really believe this is true.”

Rob Andrews (D PA) said, “We value medicare”.

Of course while they probably fended of the most recent attempt to cut Planned Parenthood functing  (I read one analysis this morning that suggested Boehner didn’t actually agree to pull the rider), they still won’t drop the gloves and go after the blatant lies that the republicans keep spewing.  Case in point, John Kyl (R AZ) keeps claiming that Planned Parenthood spends 90% of its funds on abortion when he fully knows that the real number is around 3% and that no federal funds are spent on abortion related services.  When will someone stand up on the floor of the senate, call him out as a liar, scold him for his actions and propose that he be censured.  Its not that hard. And don’t tell me they are not allowed to be uncivil.  Nothing happened to Joe Wilson when he called the President a liar and nothing happened to Dick Cheney when he told Patrick Leahy to “Fuck Off”.  But both of those comments got a lot of press.

Don’t Give Up – Our Kids Have Our Back

Categories:  Fighting Back, Planned Parenthood, Uncategorized

My daughter posted this on her facebook page. We’ve so failed as a generation that our children have to refight battles we thought were won, but I’m so proud that they are willing to.  Thanks to Coffee Party for putting this out there. Take a look.

Now You Can Own Your Uturus

Categories:  Fighting Back, Republican Insanity

This is Great!  After the idiocy over the state legislature declaring that uturus is a naughty word, the ACLU in Florida set up a web site so that you can incorporate your uturus.  As they explain on the site, you can’t really incorporate your uturus, but they have set up the ability for you to virtually incorporate it.  Check out the site here.  It also gives updates on on what’s going on in the Florida legislature and other info of interest to the incorporated uturus community.