Okay, I know, I probably should have been blogging during the run-up to the election. My only excuse is that I’ve been working on a couple of manuscripts while holding a day job. But if you people elect Romney/Romney today (or allow them to be elected by not voting) I’m going to have to get back to this. And that will get in the way of my other creative efforts. So go vote, everyone! And not for Romney, ‘kay?

Romney Style video

jane


Contrary to popular belief, I am in fact still around. Just haven’t been posting much lately. Expect that to change as the presidential campaign heats up!


Okay, I can’t figure out how to make my blog go completely dark, so this is going to have to do for now. Stop SOPA/PIPA! Fuck censorship!


Take this conversation that I just overheard in a McDonald’s off I-80:

Redneck A: I’m telling you, if we wanna solve the problems in the Middle East, we gotta go into places like Eye-ran and Afghaineestan and start educatin’ the wimminfolk!

Redneck B: We’re already doin’ that.

Redneck A: Yeah, but we’re only doing it this much [holds fingers about an inch apart], and we gotta be doin’ it this much [holds hands apart at arm's length].

Redneck B: You got that right.

Yes, Redneck A really pronounced Iran and Afghanistan like that, and he really said educatin’ and wimminfolk.

That’s not the point.

The point is, here are two rednecks of apparently no prior acquaintance, discussing the Middle East loudly in an interstate rest stop, and they have keyed in on the lack of education of women in that part of the world as being part of the problem there.

Sadly, I have no idea what they were talking about prior to the snippet above, because I have a regionalist tendency to block out redneck accents when they start talking politics, on the unfair assumption that I’m not going to like what they have to say. A tendency that it all the more unfair when one considers I grew up in a Republican stronghold in Southern California, where people who pronounce words the same way I do still say all sorts of things I disagree with.

What can I say? I’m working on it. This conversation was a great reminder that I can hear useful things from all sorts of sources.

I know the odds of either Redneck A or Redneck B ever reading this are miniscule, but wherever you are, guys, I’m going to have a smile on my face all day because of you.

--jane


Fed up with the astroturf-funding multibillionaire Koch Brothers? Check this out:



I’ve always viewed New York as the classic “nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there”…but part of me wants to move there just so I could vote for Anthony Weiner in the 2012 election:


There are a lot of men who want to tell women what we can and can’t do with our bodies. Sadly, many of those men can be found in the Senate and the House of Representatives in D.C., and in state legislatures all across the country.

Speaking as a random sample of the female of the species, let me just say this: back the fuck off, gentlemen.

And I mean that in the most literal sense of the word. Don’t want to provide funding for Planned Parenthood? Fine. But don’t think you’ll be getting any in the foreseeable future.

Of course, if I’m being honest, none of the gentlemen (and I use that term loosely) in question would have had a shot with me anyway. But presumably they have women in their lives, or would like to. Though they also, for the most part, seem to be a bunch of homophobic bastards in public, kind of causing one to wonder if they’re hiding a male lover or twenty in the closet.

But I digress.

If you’re the kind of woman who ordinarily would be dating, marrying, or otherwise having sex with one of the men who is supporting cutting funding for women’s health services, here is your big opportunity to strike a blow on behalf of low-income women everywhere.

And all you have to do is, well, stop doing it.

At least stop doing it with the sort of men who want to cut funding for women’s health care.

Hell, you probably won’t even be giving up all that much. The uptight moralizing bastards probably aren’t any good in the sack anyway. I don’t speak from personal experience, mind you, but I’m guessing we’re talking strictly missionary with the lights off.

Lie back and think of England, sweetheart, it’ll be over quickly.

And if you can’t imagine giving up sex for any prolonged period of time, well, it’s not as if there aren’t alternatives.

Not comfortable with indulging those bi-curious impulses? Well, let’s just say diamonds aren’t a girl’s best friend, sisters.

The word is vibrator.

And if you simply must have a partner of the male persuasion present to get your freak on, well, there’s a whole lot of guys out there who do support adequate funding for women’s health care (and a woman’s right to choose when and if she wants to have a baby).

They’re called liberals.

Mark my words, though, a few weeks or months without the pussy, and we’ll be hearing a change in tune in state and federal legislatures across the country.

Either that, or be witness to the largest Republican “coming out” party in history. Which would itself be a Very Good Thing. Maybe then our LGBT friends would finally get the same rights and protections straight people enjoy.

Major h/t to Crooks and Liars for the video link.

-jane doe

P.S. Hell, as long as we’re at it, why stop with funding for Planned Parenthood? Let’s demand equal pay for equal work, adequate funding for childcare for low-income working women, and mandatory insurance coverage for the pill and other forms of birth control. And state-subsidized chocolate for when we’re PMSing.


Apparently, if you let one administration off the hook for war crimes and for violating our constitution and laws, the next guy to occupy the White House gets to thinking that it’s okay to issue an assassination order against an American citizen.

Hey, it’s not as bad as lying us into a war, right? Or torturing people to force false intel out of them to support a personal vendetta against Iraq. Or killing thousands of Iraqis or Afghanis or Pakistanis (and we’re not even at war with Pakistan!)…It’s just one guy. One American guy.

Apparently, Obama has gotten the impression that presidential performance is graded on a curve, and that as long as he does better than the previous guy, he’s cool.

Except that’s not the way it works. Or at least, that’s not the way it’s supposed to work…

For those who don’t obsessively follow the news but somehow do follow this blog (probably a null set, I will concede), the New York Times reported today:

The Obama administration has taken the extraordinary step of authorizing the targeted killing of an American citizen, the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is believed to have shifted from encouraging attacks on the United States to directly participating in them, intelligence and counterterrorism officials said Tuesday.

The article goes on to remind us that al-Awlaki has been linked to both Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the gunman in the Fort Hood shooting last year, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the famed “underwear bomber” from last Christmas. Clearly, from an American perspective this dude is not on the side of the angels (speaking metaphorically, because hey, buddhist here). He may even be guilty of treason.

Does that mean it’s okay for an American president to order his assassination?

Hell no.

Let me remind you, no matter what activities this guy is guilty of, he is an American citizen. Like all of us, he should be held accountable for his crimes. I am not arguing against accountability.

What I am doing is arguing in favor of the rule of law. Remember, that concept – that fundamental principle of our system of government – that Obama campaigned on returning us to?

In taking this action, the Obama administration has started us down a very dangerous slippery slope. If we’re allowed to assassinate Americans overseas for engaging in terrorist activities, why not assassinate them domestically, as well? So much neater than actually trying and convicting them, after all. No chance they will be released because the prosecution dropped the ball.

But then, why stop there? Why not go after anyone who encourages others to rebel against the government? Again, if someone is truly inciting others to violence, we can lock them up (something Glenn Beck would do well to remember, as some of his rhetoric seems to be skating closer to the Brandenburg standard by the day). But they might beat the charge. A bullet or two would solve that problem right quick.

Sure, we might fuck up occasionally, and kill someone who didn’t deserve it, but it’s all to keep the country safe, right? Just call the innocent victims collateral damage and move on.

What led the Obama administration to believe it could get away with deciding to act to deprive this al-Awlaki character of life without due process of law?

I would argue that it is Congress’s failure, during and since the Bush administration, to rein in the power of the executive branch of government and reassert itself as a check on the authority of the president.

If our national political system were working the way it ought to, Bush and/or Cheney would have had to face the consequences of their various illegal and unconstitutional acts. At a minimum, following the last election, Congress would have imposed new constraints on the executive, or at least increased its oversight activities.

It’s what happened after we got rid of Nixon. It’s what should have happened in 2008. Actually, it should have happened by sometime in 2002 or 2004, but no use crying over spilled milk…

But a curious thing happened in 2008: voters were so fed up with the Republicans after eight years of Bush malfeasance and misfeasance that they voted in powerful Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress as well as the White House.

As a result, Congress apparently perceived very little need to rein in the executive branch. They were all on the same side, after all…the side of the angels (there they are again)…right?

Riiiiiiight…

It is a simple fact of political power dynamics that almost no one in a position of power will voluntarily relinquish that power to another official or branch of government unless forced to do so. Why would they? Even if they don’t intend to use the power to do some specific act (say, torture detainees, or hold them without trial) right now, well, there’s no telling whether circumstances might arise in the future where they would want to be able to do so.

Which is why we haven’t seen some changes that we were promised when we voted for Obama.

Remember habeas corpus? Yeah, I don’t either. Seems like we should have gotten that back by now, though, doesn’t it?

How about basic privacy protections? Like being able to trade e-mails or IMs or texts without thinking about how some computer was storing the information just in case someone got it into his head to use that information to build a federal case against you. Or maybe sell it to the tabloids. Whatever.

Remember how President Obama talked about Due Process back when he was candidate Obama? I miss that.

I could go on. And on. About the powers that Bush 43 grabbed that Obama hasn’t relinquished. About how wrong it is for our government to be targeting American citizens for assassination, no matter what those individuals are accused of doing. About what a freaking disappointment Obama is for progressives (no matter how much the Republicans may scream “Socialist!” about the man).

I could. But as usual, Glenn Greenwald has done a much better job than I could of explaining just how fucked up the whole thing is. Spencer Ackerman has some good thoughts on the subject, too.

Seems like this would be a good time to flood the White House e-mail servers with messages expressing concern about this change in policy.

We need to remind the Obama administration that if Congress won’t hold him accountable, we will. That we voted for him based on certain claims about what he would do if and when he was elected, and we can vote him out if he doesn’t at least try to live up to the hype. That he works for us, and has a duty to uphold the laws and constitution. And not some convoluted John Yoo interpretation of same, but an interpretation that would likely persuade a few Supreme Court Justices if it ever came down to that.

Speak up. Speak out. Do something.

-jane doe


Okay, credit on this one goes to, I’m guessing, a Rosie O’Donnell reader. At any rate, this is posted on her site, and the context suggests that it came from one of her readers. I don’t ordinarily do reposts in this space, but in this case, I’m making an exception — if nothing else, maybe my mom will see the source and give it some serious consideration instead of dismissing it out of hand because I said it:

We had eight years of Bush and Cheney, Now you get mad!?

You didn’t get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.

You didn’t get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy.

You didn’t get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed.

You didn’t get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.

You didn’t get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.

You didn’t get mad when we spent over 600 billion(and counting) on said illegal war.

You didn’t get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq.

You didn’t get mad when you found out we were torturing people.

You didn’t get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.

You didn’t get mad when we didn’t catch Bin Laden.

You didn’t get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.

You didn’t get mad when we let a major US city, New Orleans, drown.

You didn’t get mad when we gave a 900 billion tax break to the rich.

You didn’t get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark.

You finally got mad when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick.  Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all okay with you, but helping other Americans…oh hell no!


Inevitable, but worth watching if you haven’t seen it already:

Whoever is running against Rep. Boehner for his House seat this fall should just play this video as their campaign commercial. That’s probably all it would take to get his weirdly-orange face out of national government.

-jane doe


Today, President Obama signed the much-fought-over health care reform bill into law.

Almost immediately, a group of thirteen Republican state attorneys-general filed a lawsuit in federal district court seeking to overturn the law.* I suppose we should be grateful that their rationale for overturning the statute has nothing to do with alleging that Barack Obama is secretly a Kenyan Muslim and thus not eligible to be president.

While the new law represents an improvement over the current system, and it will make health insurance available to many who are currently regarded as uninsurable due to pre-existing conditions, I do not believe that it will truly halt runaway health care costs.

The main problem, of course, was that the Obama administration and Congress would not look outside the current mostly for-profit health insurance paradigm for more effective ways to provide health care to the people of this country.

Someone please explain to me how insurance companies add any value to health care services? When did adding a middleman to any transaction ever drive costs down? Their role, if they want to be profitable, is to deny and/or place limitations on the health care services ordered by patients’ physicians.

And in exchange for this, they claim a hefty share of every health care dollar.

Yes, if we are doomed to retain the insurance company paradigm, the health reform bill represents a marked improvement over the existing system. But will it truly provide insurance coverage at a reasonable rate to everyone who needs it?

Somehow, I doubt it. Especially since the public option did not survive the legislative process. But the individual mandate did survive the process, so now those of us with no employer-sponsored insurance are at the mercy of all those mostly-for-profit insurance companies.

If we were serious about fixing our broken health care system, Congress would have given serious consideration to moving to a single-payer system. Take the profit-driven insurance companies out of the equation, and you will find that costs drop significantly, while consumer satisfaction will increase (so long as the system is adequately funded to meet public needs, that is). Plus, health care dollars will actually go primarily to providing health care, rather than to driving up insurance company shareholder profits.

Of course, talk of a single-payer system prompts the teabaggers – excuse me, Tea Partiers – and the sort of people who actually believe what they hear on Faux News to panic and scream about socialism and death panels. (Do they really think insurance companies don’t deny care – even though denial will mean a patient’s death – on cost/benefit grounds?)

Call it socialism if you must. I assure you, my feelings will not be hurt if you call me a socialist, as I don’t view it as an insult or a badge of shame the way certain people (cough*teabaggers*cough) do. Heck, while you’re at it, call me a liberal and a feminist as well. No skin off my nose.

But some services should be socialized. We already have a number of services that fall into this category at either the state or federal level: Medicare, Social Security, police and fire protection, public education, road and highway maintenance, and food safety inspections, to name just a few. We have the government provide these services because it is the most efficient and cost-effective way to ensure that everyone benefits from these services.

Why shouldn’t health care be in the same category?

-jane doe

* A copy of what purports to be the district court filing can be found here, though I question whether it is the lawsuit as filed – the document contains numerous errors that should have been caught at the proofreading stage.


The House Committee on Energy and Commerce just released a report that breaks out the impact of the health care reform bill on a district-by-district basis so you can tell what it’s going to mean (and cost) in your area.

I would say this should be required reading for the Teabaggers — I’m sorry, I mean, Tea Party members — except that, judging by some of their signs, I’m not sure all of them can read.

Cheers!

-jane doe

Comment Policy

Thoughtful comments from all viewpoints along the political spectrum are welcome. Abuse and ad hominem attacks are not, and may be deleted. Got a problem with that? Start your own damn blog.

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janedoe.tcm [at] gmail.com or follow me on Twitter: @janedoe_tcm
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