Tag Archives: birth control

Movie Review: The Three Faces of Reed

(Reblogged from Siskil and Egbert’s Movie Reviews.)

A review of “The Three Faces of Reed”, (a remake of “The Three Faces of Eve”) newly released in the NY 23rd Congressional District.

Starring Jason Alexander (George Costanza of the Seinfeld TV series) as the inimitable, playful and sometimes a little off-center Congressman of NY’s 23 Congressional District, Tom Reed.

This film is set almost entirely in the psychiatric offices of an anonymous shrink in the Southern Tier of New York state. The shrink takes the Congressman back in time through hypnosis (since he cannot otherwise remember what he said or to whom he said it). It is a fascinating study of multiple personality disorder, otherwise know as PAU complex (Politics As Usual).  Jason Alexander does a wonderful job  (an Academy Award nomination is in the works,  I do believe) of portraying a politician who is able to assume different personalities almost at will. A man, who is short, balding and stubby but sees himself as tall, rugged and tough.

There is the (in his mind) tall, rugged, no nonsense, strong-jawed Congressman who is wined and dined by ALEC, the Hydrofracking industry and the NRA. He makes it clear to these lobbyists that he is at their beck and call. For example, a scene in which a widow  sits outside his office waiting for an appointment to see him about his vote to destroy the ACA.

(Scene:) Widow sitting quietly as secretary gazes into a computer screen. Muffled noises from the inner office slowly become louder and more distinct.

“Yes sir. …..Yes , sir…..Yes , sir……. Whatever you say , sir……. Of course, sir……. Just leave the bill on my desk and I will sponsor it…Yes, sir….Yes,  sir….Yes, sir…Oh, no need for that….Well,  if you insist…Thank  you so much , sir….Yes, sir… ”

Three middle aged men,  wearing Armani suits, emerge from the office, glance and sneer at the widow and give each other high fives. “He belongs to us, no doubt about it”. (End of scene)

Then there is the Constitutional scholar whose career as a mortgage broker has made him an expert on the Constitution, foreign affairs and women’s physiology. Another scene from the movie illustrates this Tea Party personality.

(Scene): The Congressman is standing in front of a group of carefully selected “constituents” and delivering one of his most profound and thoughtful speeches. Reed sees himself as 6 foot 5 inches tall and wearing an American flag draped over his shoulder as he peers, steely-eyed, into the carefully selected crowd.

“Founding fathers. 2nd amendment. Safe Act unconstitutional, I don’t care what the courts say. (applause) Obamacare BAD, unconstitutional.(thunderous applause) I  don’t care what the courts say. Heroes. We need to do more for our heroes. Our Veterans. (applause and standing ovation) We need to give them better care. We need to stop spending tax dollars on health care.(applause) We need to give our heroes better health care. Stop spending tax dollars on pork. I brought millions of dollars of federal aid to NY. We need to eliminate pork.

I support health care for our females. Stop Planned Parenthood. (standing ovation, thunderous applause, Star Spangled Banner playing in background) No more funding for abortions.  Not on my watch. Stop funding services for women. We need better health care for our women. Stop Obamacare. Keep government out of our lives. Make abortion illegal.   No more welfare. (applause) Love the unborn. End welfare for children. End birth control. 2nd amendment. No deal with Iran. No nukes for Iran. Nuke Iran. (thunderous applause along with a few “Heehaws”)Founding fathers. OK. Gotta go now”. (End of scene)

Then there is the third personality. The moderate. The sensible Mr Reed who only wants to do what is best for all of us.

(Scene): The Congressman appears at a photo op at the opening of a new gas station.

” I support small business. I love small business. I love America. I support women’s rights. I support sensible government. I support the flag and America. I think we can do better. We need to do better. I support those who support doing better. We can do better if we can only strive to do better. Liberty for all.  Let’s do better together. Together we can do better. Is that better? Don’t be scared. I really mean it (wink)” (end of scene).

So, who emerges at the end of the movie when all the personalities are finally joined? Will it be the “you wash my back and I’ll  wash yours” politician in the pocket of the fossil  fuel industry and the NRA? Will it be the Tea Party crazy who can’t decide if he wants to destroy health care for the poor, scuttle the arms deal  with Iran  and take away a woman’s right to choose or all of the above? Or will it be the smooth talking, say nothing,  do nothing , just get re-elected politician who has no real values or ethics?

We won’t tell you the ending. In the original film it was said that Eve and her personalities were finally joined. But a few years later she again disintegrated back into the multiple state. (Now called DID “Dissociative Identity Disorder”).So, she was never “cured” of her affliction.

What will happen to the Congressman in the end? Will his true personality ever emerge? Stay tuned. This reviewer suspects that there is a very lucrative lobbying career on the horizon at the end of the Hyrdofracking Rainbow for one of those personalities….

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Filed under ACA, Foreign policy, GOP, government, healthcare, Iran, Iran agreement, Neoconservative, nuclear weapons, Obamacare, Politics, right to life, SCOTUS, Supreme Court, tea party

Contestant #1: President Ted Cruz and Liberty

(This is the first in a series of articles about the contestants for the presidency in 2016. As they throw their hats (or toupees) in the ring I will be attempting to figure out what kind of president each would be. Keep in mind, of course, that many of these candidates are actually auditioning for jobs on Fox News and are not really serious about the presidency).

Ted Cruz announced that he is, by the grace of god, going to become president of the USA. And the key word in Cruz’s philosophy has been LIBERTY.

He wants liberty for himself. Liberty for those who follow his fundamentalist religious beliefs. It is all about freedom and god.

For starters, he made his announcement at Liberty University in Virginia. What could be more appropriate than to announce a Liberty campaign at a Liberty University? And the entire 10,000 member student body showed up to hear him. Well, actually they were forced to see him. You see, at Liberty University students are not free not to attend campaign speeches. Any student who failed to show up was going to be fined $10 and given official reprimands (demerits?) on their record. I guess you might say that where Liberty University is concerned “Freedom Isn’t Free” !

Cruz’s web site (www.tedcruz.org) has four major areas. First, he supports the US Constitution. That is certainly commendable. Second, he supports a strong America. So far he has my vote. He believes that life and families are good things. And finally he wants people to have jobs. With those ideas he should win by a landslide!

The devil, always, is in the details. So, based on his actions and the details of his website these are the kinds of things President Cruz would be in favor of.

1. Eliminate the ACA. And replace it with nothing at the federal level. While he opposes the ACA his only response to the chaos that would cause is to make all health care insurance the responsibility of the individual states. The bill he sponsors (you can find it on his Senate website) provides no guarantees for consumers. None. It is, in fact, nothing more than a repeal the ACA along with some vague idea of maybe giving people some vouchers. Under a Cruz presidency we go back to having massive numbers of uninsured. With no consumer protection.
2. Stop gay marriage rights. Cruz, the defender of liberty, would take away the freedom of a significant number of Americans to marry. Because it offends some people. He is very clear that only states have the right to decide who can marry. Based on his view of liberty a state could institute laws preventing blacks and whites from marrying. Or Jews from marrying non-Jews. It all depends on what the current state government decides. Liberty to take away liberty.
3. End the constitutional right to an abortion. A woman would no longer have the right, (guaranteed under the Constitution) to have a medical procedure if the state was opposed to it. Again, the king of liberty would take way the liberty of others. This man devoted to the Constitution would allow individual states to void decisions of the Supreme Court. President Cruz, not the SCOTUS, would decide what the Constitution says. Liberty.
4. Allow anyone to defy any law if that person had a “religious” objection to the law. Once again, while Cruz talks the talk of supporting the Constitution, he walks the walk of destroying the Constitution. Liberty.If I don’t like Jews I don’t have to serve them in my restaurant. If I don’t think homosexuals deserve to eat I can refuse to sell them food in my grocery store. Of course, the SCOTUS long ago established the Constitutional principle that if you are a commercial enterprise you must be open to all citizens. Not Ted. Not Mr Constitution.
5. Finally. What if President Cruz does not get his way? TANTRUM TIME! As a Senator he has abused his power to try to shut down the government because the rest of the Senate would not go along with is ideas. What would a President Cruz do? Would he simply abolish Congress? After all, he does have a pipeline (pun intended) to god.

A president Cruz, the defender of “liberty” would take away liberty from all except a fundamentalist few. He would throw folks off of health care, tell state governments that they can decide who can marry (marriage is not a federal right), tell pregnant women that big government will control their health care decisions, and allow people to use their personal beliefs to avoid following the law in any area they deemed “religious”.

Orwell would be smiling.

Or, as an American hero once said, “Give me liberty or give me Cruz.”

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Filed under ACA, blacks, Christianity, Conservatives, Elections, gay rights, GOP, healthcare, homosexual, Neoconservative, neoconservatives, Politics, Religion, Republicans, Senate, tea party

What’s Eating Gilbert’s Textbooks?

I applaud the wise and generous school board of Gilbert, Arizona. They have ordered the destruction of a page, well, 2 pages, of an AP Biology textbook. And they continue to search and destroy other Biology textbooks which may be harboring information destructive to the youth of Gilbert.

If you haven’t been following the news. This school board,  by a 3-2 margin, has demanded that 1 sheet (2 pages) be ripped out of an AP Bio book. Why ? Because it has a section about abortion and birth control. Unfortunately for sperm, the other side of the sheet has information about sperm, including a cute photo of an anonymous little critter.

Of course , some folks might think this is wrong. In fact, 2 of the board members who voted for the destruction of evil were just kicked off the board by the voters. Their term ends in January. Still, the uninformed electorate needs to applaud, rather than criticize these Tea Party geniuses.

So, on that note I have composed an open letter to the Gilbert School Board:

Dear Tea Party Brethren in Christ:

I, for one, fully support your desire to keep the youngsters of Gilbert as ignorant of the real world as possible. If we can keep them from knowing about stuff, then that stuff does not exist. For example, if we would stop talking about global warming, poverty, terrorism and penguins I am certain they would all go away. Especially penguins.

While I applaud your intentions I have to say I think you may have miscalculated what the outcome will be. Destroying an academic treatise is always good, for sure. And in this case you have performed a double duty, a two-for-oner, killing two birds with one stone. Or one rip, as it were.

Not only have you destroyed any information about abortion and birth control, but you have also laid to rest sperm. There is very little that is more exciting to a teenage boy than frontal views of the Dalkon Shield or a discussion of condoms. I can still remember sneaking copies of Gynecological Weekly into my bed at night. So, we can all agree on that. And when teenage girls are exposed to actual photos of sperm. Well. Their hormones go crazy with lust-filled thoughts about pregnancy and child rearing and so on. Instant sluts. So, I have no complaints about the destruction of information. Good work.

For example, take my case. When I went to Catholic school back in the late 1960s we had something called “Religion” class. One kid, I will call him “Jim” did a project on birth control He explained the various methods and even brought in condoms, IUDs, the pill, etc. While it was informative I am sure it lead to the sexual revolution. Until then we had no teen pregnancies. (Although a great number of the Catholic School girls did take long vacations to visit Aunties and returned a few pounds slimmer). Would we have had AIDS had Jimmy just did a project on the Ten Commandments instead ? I think not !

So. I am on your side. But I fear you may have made things worse instead of better. For a couple reasons.

First, all those kids who would never have read the textbook in a million years are now going to read it. Plus, they are going to go first to the very pages you do not want them to read. One best thing a teenager likes to do is anything an adult thinks he should not do. So, probably ALL the kids (not just Hubert and Emily, who read EVERYTHING) have already read those passages by now. As Homer Simpson would say, “DOH !”

Secondly. A guy named Al Gore invented something called the “interweb” not long ago. Weird as it seems, kids can get on this “interweb” from their computers and learn things NOT in the textbooks we so generously deface for them. They can learn about sperm and IUDs and abortion and even penguins. It is difficult to rip out pages on the “interweb”. I know. I have tried. Does not work.

So, my fellow keepers of the public morals and purveyors of ignorance. I applaud your intent. However, I fear that kids may somehow learn about abortion, birth control and sperm OUTSIDE the school setting. I fear they may even learn about penguins. I call it bad parenting ! Still, best of luck in the future. And while you are ripping up pages I suggest you look at Amendment 1 of the US Constitution. Sharpen those scissors !

Sincerely, The Old Liberal.

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Filed under birth control, Conservatives, Education, healthcare, Neoconservative, Religion, Republicans, tea party

Corporate Rights #3: The Hobby Lobby Fact Sidestep

A third aspect of the Hobby Lobby case bears mention. This is covered quite extensively in a March 21, 2014 article from Mother Jones (Are You there God? It’s Me, Hobby Lobby by Stephanie Mencimer). The article points out a couple of problems with the Green family claims. I call them Fact Sidesteps. (Picture a Vaudevillian with a cane shuffling off stage right)

Fact Sidestep 1. Hobby LObby claims as fact that it has longstanding, strong religious objections to covering IUDs and Plan B contraceptives. But, in fact,  Hobby Lobby HAD been covering these two contraceptives BEFORE the ACA was passed and implemented. The questions becomes: How sincere are the religious beliefs of this corporation/family? Did they have a new revelation from god AFTER the ACA was approved? Nice little shuffle.

Fact Sidestep 2: Hobby Lobby wants to deny covering these contraceptives as part of an overall health plan for their employees because they oppose these contraceptives. Yet, their own pension fund is INVESTED in these contraceptive manufacturers. Their argument could well be that since the pensions funds are part of a group, they had no choice but to invest in them as part of a group investment. So, they MAKE money off these companies (against their own religious beliefs) but refuse to SPEND money to cover these contraceptives. Interesting shuffle.

Fact Sidestep 3: Some commenters  (on Yahoo) have insisted that Hobby Lobby has no choice but to invest in these companies because they are part of a set groups of investments. Yet, at least since 1994 there have been specific funds for “anti-contraceptive” fundamentalist Christians to invest in. Evidently, the Greens did  not find those funds as profitable. Keep a shufflin’ right off stage.

All in all,  this corporate sidestep should be seen for what it is. Using a religious argument to attack the ACA…and save a few bucks . If “sincerely-held” beliefs require “actions”, the Green family/corporation fails the religious test. But, the Roberts court has not been one to let a little shuffling get in the way of the majority decisions.

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Corporate Rights #2: The Hobby Lobby Religion

Central to the Hobby Lobby case before the Supreme Court is whether a corporation can exercise the right to religious freedom. And thereby excuse itself from laws it finds religiously offensive.

We have a long history of allowing religious institutions and sometime even individuals exemptions from the law. Or parts of the law. For example, the Affordable Care Act exempts religious employers from paying for health insurance costs related to some areas of contraception and abortion. The principle, not really tested yet in court in the case of the ACA, being that legitimate religious beliefs trump this part of the law. While I personally do not agree that any institution or individual is above the law, the Congress disagrees. Perhaps the lobbying power and financial clout of non-tax paying religious organizations may be part of the reason for this exemption. At any rate, it is there. It exists. It is legal.

But other times the courts have ruled that certain practices of religious groups are not above the law. Polygamy, for example, was considered essential for the leaders of the Church of Latter Day saints. But the government ruled otherwise. Even though it was, at the time, a central doctrine of the faith. The Mormons believed in it. The US government said “No”.

And no one would argue that child marriage, slavery, human sacrifice  or actions which obviously harm individuals should be protected, no matter how sincere the beliefs of the religious group that holds them. So, the courts have ruled that religious freedom has  limits, as does  any right.

Individuals who may object to joining the military can apply for conscientious objector status, which precludes them from taking part in combat. But even in this case, it does  not exempt them from military service. They are given other jobs to do. So,  in that sense, they are not exempt.

What about Hobby Lobby? It is not a religion. It is not a church. It is a junk store. It does business in the United States as a multi-million (perhaps billion dollar) corporate entity. Not a mom and pop operation. Not your local Jewish deli. It is a corporate chain, like a MacDonalds or a Dollar Store. What is it’s claim to a religious exemption?

The family that owns Hobby Lobby has sincere religious beliefs. As do the owners of thousands of businesses. And the CEO  of Exxon  or GE or Boeing.  But Hobby Lobby is claiming that the beliefs of a few people, because they are owners of a business enterprise,  somehow allow them to impose their terms on a secular labor contract. While the law says that any business must provide certain things…overtime pay, safe working conditions, minimum wages and now minimum health care benefits, Hobby Lobby is claiming that it does  not have to  abide by those laws. While it uses a religious argument, the actual substance of the case is about money. After all, no one is forcing the Green family to pay for anything out of their own pockets. They have the legal protections of a corporation, but do not want to fulfill the responsibilities of a corporation under the ACA.

The workers earn benefits. Can a corporation limit or reduce or deny benefits based on some new and radical idea of “corporate religion”? If so,  any reasonable person can follow the thread and see where it leads. Any corporate lawyer worth his salary will be codifying “religious beliefs” for Wendy’s and GM before the ink dries on a favorable court decision.

Of course a corporation cannot claim religious freedom to avoid labor laws. A corporation is an artificial , man-made legal construct.  Can anyone claim with a straight face that the original intent of the Bill of Rights was to shield business entities from the powers given Congress in Article 1 ?

Perhaps. After all, some members of this court have already turned the Constitution and themselves  into a logical pretzel with the Bush v Gore decision and the Citizens United decision. While both were obviously politically motivated the majority managed to mangle the interpretation to mean “whatever I say it means”.

So, while an honest interpretation of the law (which already exempts religious groups) and the Constitution would seem to indicate a 9-0 decision against Hobby Lobby, there is no telling how far some members will go in their homage to corporate power. We shall see. Just as Citizens United has turned our elections into a livestock auction,  (“twenty dollar, eighty dollar, five thousand dollar, two million dollar…SOLD, to the two brothers in the back of the room slinking in the corner”) this court decision could eviscerate any worker protection and undercut Article 1 of the Constitution. Believe it.

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Filed under ACA, Conservatives, healthcare, neoconservatives, Obamacare, Religion, Supreme Court, Taxes

Corporate Rights#1:The Sexual Deviants at Hobby Lobby

Quick background. The company  called Hobby Lobby,  owned by a family called the Greens,  does not want to pay for part of the health care for some of it’s workers. This is basic preventative health care covered , by law,  under the ACA. They don’t like some of the forms of birth control, which they claim are abortions. While the medical and scientific evidence refutes that claim, that is not the point.

The point is that the Greens want to exempt themselves from the law based on their personal  religious beliefs . This raises a number of issues, only one of which I will touch on today. There are other issues to be examined at a later date. But today the issue is the Green support for “sexual  deviance”.

Are the owners of Hobby Lobby trying to force deviant sexual practices on their employees? And should a company be able to encourage their employees to engage in sexually deviant behavior, directly or indirectly?

Let me explain.  The Greens oppose the idea of abortion. They also oppose having to pay for any contraceptive that they consider to be abortion inducing .  They reserve the right to define the drug and then refuse to  pay insurance costs associated with their findings. It should be noted that at least some of the contraceptives they find to be abortion inducing are not . But the court did  not delve into the scientific validity of their claims, only their genuinely held beliefs. So be it.  Some folks believe that dinosaurs walked with man. So be it.

So,  what the Greens are saying is that if their employees participate in sexual activity that could lead to pregnancy, the Greens oppose providing the means to  prevent or abort that pregnancy. Keep following this. So, if an employee of Hobby Lobby and her husband have sexual relations in which the husband carefully (or not so carefully) inserts his penis into the employee’s vagina, then the Greens get upset. They will not pay for certain contraceptives that might lead to the sexual act NOT producing a bouncing bundle of joy. So, the Greens are telling their employees that every personal sex act between a husband and wife is now the business of the Green family, because they employ one of the parties at their store. OK.

Oddly, however, the Greens are actually using an economic incentive to encourage couples to engage in non-copulatory sexual behavior. Oral sex will not lead to pregnancy. The Greens are encouraging it. Anal sex will not lead to pregnancy. The Greens are saying  to their employees. Go For It. Homosexual activity will not result  in pregnancy. To the  Greens,  that is A-OKAY in their book. I must suppose that bestiality must be number one in the “Hobby Lobby Guide to Employee Sex Practices”. After all,  the ACA does not cover vet bills.

So, we must ask ourselves. Are the Greens,  under the guise of  religious “freedom” actually encouraging their employees to engage in all kinds of sexual activity. Do they get a vicarious thrill from the thought of their workers going home and engaging in a variety of sexual practices, many of which were illegal only a few decades ago ? Does it excite their corporate religious fervor ? We cannot know and I am only asking. I am not sure where this will lead, but I suspect in the end it will unravel as a communist plot to ensure deviant sexual practices are mandated in America. Obama’s fault. I can feel it coming.

Next up, another essay on the corporate rights.

 

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Filed under ACA, healthcare, homosexual, neoconservatives, Obamacare, Religion, Supreme Court