The Reasonable Language of the War on Women

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="900.0"]  Scott Walker  Scott Walker [/caption]


If it's Wednesday, someone thinking about running for the Republican nomination for president just said something dumb:

Potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said in an interview on Friday that mandatory ultrasounds for women hoping to get an abortion was "just a cool thing."

During the interview with conservative radio host Dana Loesch, Walker defended a bill he’d signed in 2013 that required women get the ultrasounds.

“The thing about that, the media tried to make that sound like that was a crazy idea,” Walker said. “Most people I talk to, whether they’re pro-life or not, I find people all the time who’ll get out their iPhone and show me a picture of their grandkids’ ultrasound and how excited they are, so that’s a lovely thing. I think about my sons who are 19 and 20, and we still have their first ultrasounds. It’s just a cool thing out there.”

Walker sounds so reasonable and that's how you know when someone wants to take rights away from women. It's as if he's living in a state divorced from reality.  It's as if he doesn't have a single competent adviser who can help him steer clear of giving away too much when it comes to taking away a woman's right to choose. When he defends the creation of a law that intrudes on the liberty of others and forces doctors to perform an unnecessary and invasive test procedure, he doesn't seem to understand that he's violating every tenet of conservatism:

“We just knew if we signed that law, if we provided the information, that more people if they saw that unborn child would make a decision to protect and keep the life of that unborn child,” Walker said.

That's the thing with white male conservative men--your liberty is meaningless. Your liberty--your legal right to get an abortion--means nothing to them. They will invade your space and force doctors to perform an unnecessary test in order to maintain their dominance. They want to tell people what to do with their bodies, and all you can do is note that they keep winning elections and they pay no political price for such things.

It would be easy to mock Scott Walker but, really, you have to question the wisdom of the Wisconsin voting public. They elected this man twice (three times if you count the recall) and they don't seem to mind having their liberty used as a doormat.

Do the voters hate the idea of giving women the right to choose what to do with their bodies? Plenty of them seem to love it when a conservative goes against conservative values just to confiscate liberty and throw it away.

Women on The Tonight Show



Sometimes, the best bits of cultural relevancyend up appearing in places where you would never expect to find them:


There's an interesting point to which she refused to appear on the Johnny Carson show because of how women were portrayed on his show. Ride explained to NASA that she wasn't interested, then took off for California to lie low. She didn't explain herself; she just acted.


Women were treated horribly on the Tonight Show; if you were beautiful or old enough to be Johnny Carson's grandmother, you could expect to get on. And even when you did get on, there would be no chance for anything reasonable or enlightened to happen.

The fact that Sally Ride turned down Carson is significant because she was part of a very vocal minority that complained about how women were depicted and treated on the show.

Save Your Own Treasures





















None of this belongs to the West. And yet, you'd think it did:


ISIS' seizure of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra early Thursday intensified fears that the 2,000-year-old site's archaeological treasures would become the latest to face destruction at the hands of militants.


The extremists' wanton carnage has also reignited debate about whether precious relics are best housed in their country of origin or stored — and in some cases protected — in overseas museums.


Syria's antiquities chief Maamoun Abdulkarim warned Wednesday that Palmyra looked likely to suffer the same fate as Nimrud in northern Iraq, the 3,000-year-old city which was bulldozed by insurgents in March as part of a campaign to eliminate relics that they consider heretical.


The destruction of history is tragic in and of itself, but the loss of life even more so. We lose sight of that fact when we bemoan the loss of a pile of ancient stones and ignore the slaughter of thousands. The misery of the Syrian people is more important than any historical site. And yet, as far as Iraq and Syria are concerned, these are matters of self pride and self-survival. If they truly want to stop the looting and the destruction, they're going to have to do it for themselves. We cannot send 25,000 troops and do it for them and we should get out of the nation building business.

If the Syrian and the Iraqi people, who number in the millions, can't figure out a way to solve their internal problems and protect their own cultural heritage, then there's nothing that can be done for them. This is the moment where they need to build their own nations on a foundation of not tolerating this way of life. They have to reject the ideology of ISIS and the creation of a civilization that would, effectively, take tens of millions of people back into the Middle Ages.

The U.S. interference in Iraq unleashed these forces, but their essential root was in the original Ba'ath party infrastructure left over from the Iraq War. These are the decision makers, using money from their backers, to drive the destruction of people, property and infrastructure. This is a clash of haves and have-nots--at no point have the people been allowed to profit from or have any pride in the treasures now being ground under the bulldozers. What connection would they have with sites that ended up in their laps because the borders of their countries were drawn by British diplomats?

The mistaken belief that deposing Saddam Hussein would lead to stabilization turned out to be wrong. But re-invading Iraq and then invading Syria would just compound the problem. These are Iraqi and Syrian problems, and they are driven by proxy interests in Iran and Saudi Ara bia.

Someone has made up their minds to tear the region apart and blame it on Israel and America. There is nothing in the Middle East worth the life of a single American service member, and there never was. The people have to save their treasures and I believe they can if they want it badly enough.

Ignoring the Debacle of the Iran Contra Affair





















I took notice of a small bit of intellectual dishonesty wedged into a review of a new hagiography of Ronald Reagan.


Similarly, Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker was a “gift” from his predecessor, Jimmy Carter. Volcker curbed inflation, leading to economic growth at “just the right time for Reagan.” Reagan’s overall economic policy and its ongoing impact merit more examination, as do the intricacies of the disastrous Iran-Contra affair.


Fewer than ten words for the single defining scandal of the Reagan era? Really? And how many words did Brands waste on Ollie North, he of the shredder and the office hottie? The fact that Oliver North still appears on television in anything but a prison jumpsuit is proof no one remembers what actually happened and that there has never been a real accountability moment for the Morning in America crowd.


This is quite relevant. In our modern political discourse, Reagan is accorded virtual sainthood and his conservative bonafides will be cited relentlessly in the 2016 election cycle.

What this amounts to is a virtual whitewashing of history. Reagan traded arms for hostages, and the arms went to the regime in Iran. He ignored the will of Congress. He was never held accountable for it, and President Bush pardoned nearly everyone who should have gone to jail.

Change Obama with Reagan, and he would have already been impeached. I laugh when they call Obama a tyrant because, brother, the real tyranny has been right under your nose for decades and no one has done a proper accounting for what went on.

This is an icon worth celebrating? Did any of these people actually live through the 1980s?

Racism is Insane







I like what Paul Krugman is getting at here:






“It has been disheartening to see some commentators still writing as if poverty were simply a matter of values, as if the poor just mysteriously make bad choices and all would be well if they adopted middle-class values. Maybe, just maybe, that was a sustainable argument four decades ago, but at this point it should be obvious that middle-class values only flourish in an economy that offers middle-class jobs.”

— The New York Times, Paul Krugman





It's nearly impossible for anyone to end up in a middle-class lifestyle when the city in which they live has been systematically dismantled in favor of tourism and suburban expansion. And that is what defines Baltimore--there's plenty to do downtown, but don't even think about living inside of the Baltimore beltway. 


For me, it comes down to tolerating a level of racism that isn't going to be sustainable anymore. There are plenty of poor whites in Baltimore, as well as a host of other ethnic groups. Their plight--and the plight of the African-American community--can be laid at the door of the idea that Baltimore can function as a downtown tourist trap with a great retail and eating district by the waterfront and nothing else. It's a city with tremendous potential that made terrible choices decades ago. 


For me, it begins with the idea that we should stop thinking poor people are the problem. They're the result of bad policies and not values or choices.


Couple all that with the crippling war on drugs and the dismantling of the police department, and you have what you have today--a dysfunctional city with enormous potential. Someone has to run the city in the right direction. Someone has to find a way to police the city without terrorizing the people being served. Someone has to run towards building middle-class jobs in areas that are falling apart. Some measure of political compromise and pragmatism is needed, but how are you going to convince people to stop feeding off of the enormous carcass that is the spoils system?


How do you get people to abandon the insanity of racism and embrace doing the right thing for the greater good? How do you reconcile deal making with solving problems for everyone?


Someone legitimate to the governing of Baltimore--and that means someone who isn't walking around with a billion dollars or a host of bought-and-paid-for lackeys--has to step up. There's a real moment here where people who haven't been hitting it out of the park have to find the strength to go long. It doesn't matter what they look like. But someone has to step up and do the job of fixing the city without ramming cash into their pants.


The media will try to destroy them of course. After all, that makes for a better story.