Tag Archives: Republicans

PUTTING A PRICE ON THE HEADS OF OUR CHILDREN,BY Louise Annarino,December 18,2012

18 Dec

PUTTING A PRICE ON THE HEADS OF OUR CHILDREN,By Louise Annarino, December 18, 2012

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What price do we put on the heads of our children? If there were not so much money involved, the U.S. could have regulated the gun industry long ago. Following the money we learn:

– “Net sales from continuing operations for the second quarter were a record $136.6  million, up 48.0% from the second quarter last year,” states a press release by Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation. While market drops for other industries it escalates for the gun industry. This is one business where uncertainty increases profit.

-As of 2011, there were approximately 5,400 licensed firearms manufacturers and 950 importers in the United States, The United States Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reports. THis does not include miltary armament sales.

-Arms sales (agreements), by Supplier, 2003-2010 (in billions of constant 2010 U.S. dollars)

Supplier Total Sales in US Dollars (billions) Percent of total sales
United States 170.764 39%
Russia  81.059 18%
France  37.4 8%
United Kingdom  29.803 7%
China  15.272 3%
Germany  22.807 5%
Italy  15.134 3%
Other European  47.024 11%
Others  23.654 5%
Source: Richard F. Grimmett, CRS Report for Congress; Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2003-2010, September 22, 2011If you are viewing this table on another site, please see http://www.globalissues.org/article/74/the-arms-trade-is-big-business for further details and context.

-”Industrialized countries negotiate free trade and investment agreements with other countries, but exempt military spending from the liberalizing demands of the agreement. Since only the wealthy countries can afford to devote billions on military spending, they will always be able to give their corporations hidden subsidies through defence contracts, and maintain a technologically advanced industrial capacity.

“And so, in every international trade and investment agreement one will find a clause which exempts government programs and policies deemed vital for national security. Here is the loophole that allows the maintenance of corporate subsidies through virtually unlimited military spending.”— Stephen Staples, Confronting the Military-Corporate Complex, presented at the Hague Appeal for Peace, The Hague, May 12th 1999.

TAXES GENERATED IN THE UNITED STATES

TAX IMPACT                                  BUSINESS TAXES                                 EXCISE TAXES

Federal Taxes                                  $2,503,904,614                                     $487,998,107

State Taxes                                       $2,071,203,685

Total Taxes                                      $4,575,108,309                                     $487,998,107

Chart from (National Shooting Sports Foundation) NSSF website www.nssf.org/.

-in 2010, Dun and Bradsrteet listed 661 U.S. manufacturers of small firearms or parts. It is estimated these private companies generated approximately $1.2 billion per annum.

-Gun dealers foster political uncertainty to boost sales as illustrated by the following comment by Rick Gray, owner of Accuracy Gun Shop in Las Vegas: “Clinton was the best gun salesman the gun manufacturers ever had. Obama’s going to be right up there with him.”, International Herald Tribune; November 8, 2008. Fear-mongering of Democratic candidates, including the scary African-American president, creates political advantage for the Republican candidates and increases profits for gun manufacturers. Using race to divided the country only increases uncertainty and fear, driving up sales. Is it any wonder Republican- and some Democratic-congresspersons not only refuse to regulate gun and armament  manufacturing and sales; but,also support shadow corporate welfare within defense spending bills?

STAY TUNED:OBSTRUCTIONISM IS STILL ON THE TABLE,By Louise Annarino,November 9,2012

9 Nov

STAY TUNED: OBSTRUCTIONISM IS STILL ON THE TABLE,By Louise Annarino, November 9,2012

 

 

Team,
This victory is a testament to you. Take pride in your hard work over the past 18 months: the countless calls you made, the doors you knocked, the people you inspired to support our president.
I know it wasn’t always easy. But through your perseverance, you proved that a strong, grassroots organization could overcome powerful interests on the other side.
You built this organization from the ground up. You helped this country stay the course. Enjoy this victory for now and rest up. There will be more work to come. Stay tuned.- Jeremiah Bird, Obama For America

 

”Stay tuned” We have heard this before from OFA, the grassroots organization which continued to work in support of President Obama after they did so in the 2008 election. It was OFA who announced to those of us who had already started organizing marches and rallies, collecting signatures on petitions, and garnering support for single payer health care that we must cease, and instead, push for The Affordable Health Care Act-Obamacare. We joined the effort to see near-universal health care passed,hoping it would be a beginning,understanding that if the votes are not there in Congress, compromise is necessary. But it does not sit well with those of us who understand that the most affordable health care system is one which eliminates profit for investors, and delivers dollars to direct service. Built into Obamacare is the 85% required delivery of direct care; with refunds to patients whose insurance carriers spend less than 85% of money collected on direct care. Still, this allows a 15% overhead for administrative costs,which exceeds that of medicare. The amount of difference could fund more direct service rather than to investors for profits off our illnesses. But, it is a start.

 

Yesterday, Speaker of the House, Rep.John Boehner (R-OH) responded to Diane Sawyer during an ABC interview when asked about his desire to repeal Obamacare:

“It’s pretty clear that the president was re-elected ,” Boehner added. “Obamacare is the law of the land.” But, he then added that there were parts of the law congress would try to change. Shortly following the interview his spokesman said,that repealing the law ‘would be on the table.’ Clearly, the re-election has not changed Boehner’s attitude, nor his operational style.

Stay tuned: Obstruction by Boehner and the GOP is still on the table.

Obstruction takes many forms: It blocks bills in committee,not allowing them to be voted out of committee for floor vote. It refuses to put a bill or discussion of a bill on the calendar. It refuses to discuss bills with both parties in attendance, Republicans locking out Democratic members who retreat to a separate room for discussion. It holds votes in the middle of the night when the public and news media are not paying attention to the machinations of voting irregularities; such as, stopping the vote at the last minute when it appears your side is losing and holding the vote open for hours while arms are twisted and votes are changed. It requires a supermajority to override a filibuster,which is an impossibility with the number of current party members. It walks out of bipartisan meetings with the President and holds a news conference belying the president’s efforts to find a compromise. It is the party of walk-backs,confusing reporters and the public as to what GOP’s true position is, or if it has ANY position other than OPPOSITION.

If you thought the ugliness and lies were over, you are wrong. GOP has learned nothing from the 2012 election. They campaigned with no respect, dignity nor integrity. This is how they intend to govern. Do not expect Republicans to govern with respect, dignity,and integrity.

Already,I am disgusted by newspersons concern over the fate of the Republican Party, the endless hours of commentary suggesting how it can change and grow. Where is the discussion about what this country needs to do NOW and what this country has a right to expect from the GOP to see that what we need happens? I say to the GOP what I say to those who discriminate against women and people of color, “Heal yourself! I have enough on my hands doing what I can for the betterment of my fellow citizens. I must heal my own pain at your insensitivity to the needs of my fellow citizens;I have no time to heal yours.”

Our focus should not be on the improved chances of Republicans to win future elections but their failure to support the efforts being made by Democrats in Congress and by President Obama to stimulate economic growth, create jobs, protect our environment, educate our children, reform immigration, reduce poverty, assure health care for all, reduce the deficit fairly,increase taxes on the top tier of income and capital gains, end useless and harmful wars, solidify and extend diplomatic gains etc.

The morning after the election I awoke with a smile on my face, a feeling of increased security, with no fear that my civil rights were in jeopardy, knowing our president is one who sees a future full of promise and has a plan for leading us in the right direction. It was a place of calm I had not been in since January 20, 2009. I needed that peace of mind to last longer. It ended too soon. It ended when I realized the direction media is leading us: away from serious discussion of issues of governance and on to the 2016 election. Shame on the Third Estate for failing us…again. Stay tuned.

 

IT’S NOT ABOUT IRRESPONSIBLE OHIO VOTERS,By Louise Annarino, November 4, 2012

4 Nov

IT’S NOT ABOUT IRRESPONSIBLE OHIO VOTERS,By Louise Annarino, November 4, 2012

Now the counting of provisional ballots in Ohio shifts to the Republican theme that 47% of us refuse to accept responsibility for ourselves. On Friday Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted added reasons to reject a provisional ballot with incorrect or missing information as to the type of Identification used by voters casting a provisional ballot, SHIFTING RESPONSIBILITY for checking the appropriate boxes on the provisional ballot affirmation form from poll workers to voters.

Husted spokesman Matt McClellan said the provisional ballot affirmation form  (above) is the same that’s been used in this year’s spring primary and a special election in August. This is NOT the point. What matters is that it is contrary to Ohio law and violates court decree.

Ohio Rev. Code § 3505.181(B)(6) provides that, once a voter casting a provisional ballot proffers identification,  “the appropriate local election official shall record the type of identification provided, the social security number information, the fact that the affirmation was executed, or the fact that the individual declined to execute such an affirmation and include that information with the transmission of the ballot . ..”

This is an overt effort by Ohio Republicans to avoid a previously entered court decree as described by plaintiffs in Case: 2:06-cv-00896-ALM-TPK Doc #: 346 Filed: 11/01/12 Page: 1 of 11 PAGEID #: 12588. In the earlier decision and consent decree filed before US District Court Judge Algernon Marbley, it was agreed by all parties, including Republican SOS Husted, that he direct Ohio’s 88 county election boards to count certain provisional ballots WHERE POLL WORKERS MADE MISTAKES such as: 1. Allowing or directing voter to cast ballot in the wrong precinct, but correct poll location. 2. Allowing voter to cast ballot without completing or signing the ballot. 3. Failing to complete the application for the voter,as required by Ohio law.

As a former poll workerI can attest that it is not uncommon to overlook a missing piece of information when polls are busy; but,it is the poll worker’s duty to assure each voter’s ballot will be counted by correctly completing information requested on the ballot envelope. Poll workers,not voters, are trained to understand the language on the provisional ballot envelopes and trained to assure the form is complete. Voters do not second-guess poll workers;but, simply follow the directions to the best of their ability. They rely on the competence of poll workers. Plaintiffs’ counsel Subodh Chandra explains, “Judge Marbley’s decision ensures that legitimate voters do not  lose their right to vote when government workers make mistakes.”

SOS Husted is attempting to make sure such ballots are not counted,despite his prior consent to Judege Marbley’s decree by throwing sand in our face and making the issue VOTER IRRESPONSIBILITY, rather than poll worker error. Disrespect for the constitutional rights of voters to cast a ballot which will be counted is just the latest effort to undermine the Ohio election by confusing Ohio voters, and stealing their votes.

Our solution is simple: GET OUT THE VOTE. A huge turnout is the only way to assure a clean decision on election night, rather than an election dragged through the courts ad infinitum. BUT BE WARNED: Even if we elect President Obama on election night by overpowering Republican vote theft with an exceptionally high turnout, Republicans will use continued court involvement as a sign that President Obama is NOT REALLY the winner. Al Gore backed away from such an argument to  preserve our union and uphold the election process. I doubt Ohio Republicans will behave with such respect. They have not for the past four years;so don’t expect a sudden change of heart.

Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Ohio-provisional-ballot-voting-order-criticized-4005729.php#ixzz2BGkeXgHQ

A MORE PERFECT UNION, By Louise Annarino,October 29,2012

29 Oct

A MORE PERFECT UNION,By Louise Annarino, October 29,2012

 

One question on two fronts: “Where are we now in the election?” and “Where are we as a move forward as a nation?” President Obama’s interview this morning on “Morning Joe” answered both questions.

 

First we are in the final days of Obama’s final race for elected office. From his first campaign when he sat around a his kitchen table with four people creating a flyer to be copied at KINKO to the current campaign where hundreds of thousands of supporters in every state sit around kitchen tables to phone bank, cut turf for door-to-door canvasses, plan events, organize volunteers, order and distribute buttons/bumper stickers/yard signs, and schedule GOTV activities the energy and momentum has grown with the size of the crowds who attend his rallies. President Obama has re-energized interest in campaigns, registered huge numbers of new voters,and turned our record numbers of voters by connecting with Americans in a way we had not seen before in our lifetimes. He has connected and energized both those who respect and love him, and those who disdain and hate him. But, most importantly, he has taught us what a republic requires of its citizens.

 

There is a bittersweet feel to these last days of the Obama campaign. It is as if we are holding our breath while running one hundred miles per hour. The final sprint may not look pretty, but all that matters now is getting over the finish line first. Those who vote early are free to help the last runners make it over the line. While some of the drama is lost, the race is thus won. We can do this! We will do this working together.

 

Second, President Obama offered his description of where we are now as a nation when he stated the next president will answer two questions: “How big a government do we want? How will we pay for it?”

 

If we want  a smarter but more affordable and smaller government, President Obama is the candidate of choice. As an example,he explained that the U.S. spends 17% of budget on health care, while other industrialized nations spend only 11% (and have better record on outcomes). That 6% is our deficit. (Obamacare has already reduced the percentage of annual increases in health insurance premiums, and when it becomes fully operational and more competitive in 2014, cost is expected to drop even lower).

 

The Obama strategy of cutting what does not work and redirecting dollars to programs which are more efficient and save even more dollars illustrates how cuts can be done in a balanced and effective manner while reducing budget expenses. He reiterated that the money he saved (not stole as Mr. Romeny claims) within medicare was then spent within medicare to increase free preventive care which reduces costs, and closed the donut hole so medicare recipients can get their meds, further reducing costs.

 

He also suggested in the interview that we could become more efficient and cost-effective by creating a Secretary of Business, a one-stop shop replacing nine current divisions which create a headache for businesses. The only thing blocking such streamlining, he suggested, is Congress protecting its jurisdiction over various pieces of government. He reminded Joe Scarborough that he has created far fewer regulations than George Bush and is conducting an on-going review of current regulations to eliminate or redesign those which simply do not work.

 

President Obama believes his mandate for the next four years is to reduce the deficit. He also understands this cannot be done in an unbalanced manner which fails to consider how to make government more effective while maintaining necessary services. His focus is to “make things work” better and at reduced cost. When asked why he thinks he could get Congress to work with him when he has been blocked (by Republicans) the last four years he said he must “first clear away ideology by reducing the deficit”. Once that is accomplished he expects Congress to work on issues that have historically not been ideological: infrastructure – we have a lot of deferred maintenance of roads and bridges, immigration – both because neither party can ignore the fastest growing demographic AND because it is the “right thing to do.” He then asked Joe, “When did roads and bridges become ideological?”

 

The President has learned a lot over the past four years. despite obstruction, he has made government smaller, more efficient, work smarter and reduced costs. Every year things cost more. It is the rate of increase we must look at. The rate of increase has been subdued by President Obama. Employment has grown every year; job less rates have slowed. I cannot think of another time in history when an American president who has accomplished so much against such odds would not be re-elected by large margins. But, we have never had an African-American president before, either.

 

An article in yesterday’s “Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch” discussed a study which disclosed racism has increased during the Obama administration. I would reframe the findings differently. White Americans are recovering racists who must fight their way through racial stereotypes, acceptance of preference as a natural right, and subliminal need to feel superior to someone, indeed anyone, in our self-proclaimed “classless society”. Most of us do keep up the good fight against our inherent racism and prejudice. We know it is wrong, have learned to acknowledge that fact, and rejoice that we,too, have “overcome” it. But, it raises its ugly head most when we experience “congruence”.

 

Congruence is the coming together of two “things”.It is a powerful force. When white people see Black people as congruent it stirs up the deep need to feel superior. We justify that feeling by resorting to old stereotypes and acclaimed prejudices. It seems to me we are not increasingly racist; but, increasingly afraid of a loss of preference. When we see that an African-American man and woman can be president and first-lady, our preference as superior beings to an imagined inferior is lost. That is why we are seeing more racism. That is what we must fight; not one another, and certainly not Pressident Obama nor First-Lady Michelle Obama.

 

This is what we see within the Obama campaign. People of all races, ethnicities, ages,sexual orientation forcefully unconcerned about who may be superior or inferior but simply working together as equals. That is the where we are in this campaign. That is where we are in America today. That is how we are moving forward. President Obama has already made America a more perfect union (established more congruence). That is why we see more open displays of racism today; not because we are failing as a nation, but because we are succeeding. Imagine the power of congruence if republicans would see democrats,and our president, as equals instead of inferiors and worked together moving forward. That is what a second Obama term could look like. Thank you President Obama! We will move forward with you.

 

 

THE DUMB BLONDE VS. THE ELITE,By Louise Annarino,October 27,2012

27 Oct

THE DUMB BLONDE VS. THE ELITE, By Louise Annarino, October 27,2012

This morning I watched a political add running in Arizona against an “activist” judge whom the ad also described as “violating the constitution because he made law”. The self-described middle-class housewife in a McMansion kitchen went on to say “the elite think we can’t understand, but we do.” I wanted to  shout out,“NO, YOU DON’T !” Her smug look, smiling that she had proved she was not just a “dumb blonde”, made me sad for her. Somewhere along the way, she had come to accept but resent the sexism directed toward her by those she trusted to love and support her. They used their own sexism to make her vulnerable to their manipulations, and to use her to attack candidates who know the law, are well educated and professionally competent; but, make her feel stupid. The ad makers play on the anger which has built up over time, the resentment toward real oppressors which they re-direct toward their opponents. I felt sorry for the woman in the ad and all those she represents. I felt sorry for all of us.

The first quarter I taught Business Law at Ohio University I learned a disturbing fact while grading my students first mid-term exam. They could not write a sentence. The essays were impossible to grade since sentence fragments could not sufficiently show my students had grasped the concepts I had been discussing with them for over a month. Mine was an upper-level course open to juniors,seniors and graduate students. How could they have gotten so far without being able to write, I wondered.

After returning their tests to moans and gasps of disappointment I wrote a simple sentence on the board and asked someone to come up to the front and diagram it. Blank stares and no volunteers was the response. My pleas for someone, anyone to speak up about why this was such a problem provided the answer: no one knew what I meant by “diagram a sentence”. It took a  moment for that information to sink in. Surely, I had heard incorrectly. But, no, they did not know what nouns,verbs, adverbs did within a sentence. A few students identified the adjective, and understood its function. They explained they had not had to write because all of their exams were multiple choice tests.

I found an empty class on the evenings my law class was not scheduled and invited students to attend my English class. They would need it because my exams would require them to write, and passing the test meant it was in their interest to attend the extra classes. I did not do this out of altruism, but out of desperation. I wanted to make it easier to grade those tests with certainty that the grade reflected a student’s full grasp of the subject matter. I wanted to shorten the time I spent grading! We helped one another in our common cause.

The other disturbing discovery that first quarter was that while in high school my students had not taken an American History course (no longer required), nor a Principles of Democracy course (not offered, or not required). It is extremely difficult to teach law to those with neither of those courses under their belts. What examples can one use to explain court decisions? Why do courts make the decisions they do? What guides the court?

Since every night of the week was now filled with Business Law and English, and since my “day” job was Associate Director of OU Legal Affairs ( I taught on overload contract because I love teaching AND had to pay back my school loans), I could not add more classes. Thus, I expanded my curriculum to include American and World History and P.O.D. Also, since racial and sexual discrimination is another topic they would need to understand but had never been taught, I used one week of class to run them through workshops I had designed. This complex amalgam of coursework became my template for all of my future classes: School Law,Law and Medicine,Social Welfare Law,Vocational Education Law, and my on-going Business Law courses. Each piece helped my students understand law with such depth that I am convinced they would not be easily duped by the ad I saw this morning.

What worries me is that too many Americans are being duped. They have no idea how a bill becomes a law, the role of committees, the power of committee chairs, Roberts Rules of Order and Congressional rules of House and Senate, difference between states powers and federal powers, how courts function, the role of the judge, grand-jury  and jury. I could go on and on. Such ignorance of basic governance by executive,legislative and judicial branches applies to members of both parties. The base of each party expects more than can or should be delivered by a governance system which relies on compromise and consensus to accomplish anything. We can see where this has gotten us.

Term limits have only made incompetence in governance worse. In term-limited positions the newly-elected representatives don’t stay in position long enough to learn the ropes and develop nuanced strategies within the rules, develop trust and create alliances with colleagues across the aisle, and grasp the long-view of what is good for the country they serve. They are focused on short-term celebrity and fund-raising for the next campaign.

Shortening the Congressional work week and schedule, to free up time for such fundraising and celebrity-building appearances has contributed to the problem. During 2012 the House was in session only 122 days (http://thomas.loc.gov/home/ds/h1122.html);the Senate, 123 days (http://thomas.loc.gov/home/ds/s1122.html). This is not to say members are not on the people’s business 24/7 because they are. However, it does mean they are not focusing on building a collegial enterprise for the good of the country. The Teapublicans found it quite easy to block any effort at consensus and cooperation between conservatives and progressive, between Democrats and Republicans. And the newly-elected Teapublicans  arrived with little appreciation or understanding for the historical and social context of cooperation which Congress had learned over time was necessary for good government. They came with the intent of stopping cooperation, blocking the first African-American president’s determination to build a “more perfect union” where Blue and Red states worked together for a common good. They are playing the role of the marginalized  and demeaned “dumb blonde” taking on the marginalized and demeaned “elite”.  And the Republican Party fell right in-step with them. Some decided it was time to retire.

I need another classroom!

RACIAL SHAME IS THE NAME OF THE GAME,By Louise Annarino,October 26,2012

26 Oct

RACIAL SHAME IS THE NAME OF THE GAME,By Louise Annarino,October 26,2012

“Ms. Annarino, are you white?” asked the toddler leaning against my back as I sat on the ground, her hands over my eyes so I could not see her. “Yes, I am,” I answered. What prompted such a question I pondered. I was new to her neighborhood, a neighborhood which housed a single white family composed of a mother and her three children, among the families of two-hundred plus African-American children who spent most of their day on the playground I supervised. The only other white adult I saw all that summer was the mailman. This little girl only knew I looked different. When she heard talk about “the white girl down at the playground,” she looked for the one girl who looked different. She made no judgments about me. My color was simply an identifier.

This was not the case within my white community. Race and color were not simply used as an identifier; but also used as instruments of power and self-aggrandizement. Noticing and or pointing out skin color and race was done  in a derisive manner, accompanied by stereotypes, meant to make the speaker feel superior. It was ugly. It made me cringe. It made me feel ashamed to be part of this tribe.

Children’s tribal instincts were strong back then. There was only 1/2 hour of the nightly news each evening to connect us to the larger world outside our neighborhoods. There was no internet, no cable news, no electronic social media like Facebook. My connection to larger world weakened my tribal ties. My mother was from New York City, not small-town, Ohio. We spent summers there with cousins who lived in the projects among people of every religious faith, every race and ethnicity, and every color. It was magnificent! When I saw racism I was perplexed. How could anyone believe these stereotypes?  I still ask the same question 60 years later. Racist beliefs make even less sense today, when we have access to more information and greater racial interaction.

We now are interconnected with the entire world, and yet, we cling to tribalism. The racism Obama volunteers experienced while canvassing in 2008 has intensified. It has become an accepted political strategy of the Republican party. There was a time in this country when racists would be shamed by the larger white community in the north. Visiting the south thirty years ago, I was surprised by the lack of shame, and the unwillingness to challenge racism  by those who knew better. Now, white Americans both north and south are shameless. Racism may be in its final throes but it is still too easily spread.

I have written often on this blog about the racism displayed during this campaign. It is now so overt I don’t even feel the need to repeat what you are seeing and hearing as examples. But, tonight I felt compelled to remind us all that it is not President Barack Obama who has created racial division in this country; but those who say he has done so. The very act of  calling Barack Obama racist is racism itself. The next time you hear someone like Palin use words “shuckin’ and jivin'”, John Sununu suggest Colin Powell supports the president because both are black and  he “wish(es) (Obama)knew how to be an American”, Newt Gingrich/Sean Hannity/and other Republicans say Obama is the “most racially divisive political figure”, and Trump says Obama is “lazy,slick and un-American”  remind yourself how RACIST this is…and how useless.It does nothing to help America select the best leader for this country. It is used to distract us from the discussion.

Racism is a grand distraction from a failed campaign. It has been used to some effect for many years. It is not a fluke, but a planned strategy. I won’t hold my breath while waiting for Mr. Romney, nor Congressman Ryan to find the moral courage to stop their campaign from using this tired old strategy and speak out against it. If they think it can improve their chances at the polls, they will continue to use it, and their supporters will continue to give racist tactics tacit approval. It is shameful.

 

 

SACRIFICING WOMEN, CHILDREN, AND RAPE, By Louise Annarino,October 25,2012

26 Oct

Sacrificing Women,Children and Rape,By Louise Annarino,October 25, 2012

The chart below by Brainwrap ,published today at Daily Kos illustrates how the GOP reframes the violence against women we call rape as simply another method of conception rather than criminal behavior. If rape is discussed as a method of conception rather than criminal violence it allows Republicans, Roman Catholic bishops, and others to exclude its consideration as a reason to allow an abortion exception for rape victims. After all, why should we allow abortion for any mere act of conception? Once we describe the question as one 0f conception only we can forget

about the need to protect women and to keep them safe. Thus, we are free to  criminalize abortion, even in the case of rape. Consequently, the  only person in need of our protection is the fetus; not the mother.

This is not new; nor is it necessarily partisan politics. Too often and for too long, we have allowed men to define rape as a sexual act, rather than a violent criminal act. Susan Brownmiller wrote of this   dismissive rhetorical formula in her book AGAINST OUR WILL: Men, Women And Rape, 1975 ,she wrote “Rape is a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear.” I would add that rape is also used against children. Wrongly defining it affects children as well as women.

Rape is not a sexual act. Rape is not a method of conception. Rape is an act of violence meant to intimidate, control, and weaken women and chldren. It is an act of domination and control by violent attack. It is often, though not always, perpetrated against women. Men can also be raped. Rape is a crime committed by an individual, or by a group of individuals (gang rape) which is not uncommon, nor rare.

Recently, we have learned that children are often victims of rape by priests, clergy, Scout leaders etc. Unfortunately, those who knew of these rapes perceived and reacted as if the incidents were sexual acts rather than violent criminal acts which should have been immediately reported to the police for criminal prosecution. Instead the rapist priest or troop leaders were re-assigned as if the behavior could be stopped by removing the rapist from the temptations of his sexual partners. Rape is never a sexual act. It is an abuse of power meant to dominate and control another human being. It destroys human beings. It is violent. It is terrifying.It is soul destroying. I live with its memory every day, and dream it every night.

The position of the Republican party is that a woman who is the victim of a criminal rape should be forced to give birth.Vice President Paul Ryan and at least 12 of 28 Republican Senate nominees, including Republican Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel running against Democratic Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown take this position. Paul Ryan redefines rape and dismisses it is an act of criminal violence when he articulates this position,”I’ve always adopted the idea, the position that the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life.” But defining rape by criminalizing abortion this way vaccinates the horror of rape and re-injures its victims by denying the reality of their experience. It demeans  the victim and dismisses the crime. Ignoring the victim of a crime, re-victimizes the woman or child who has been raped.

During the past weeks as I heard the comments listed in the above chart, I found it difficult to sleep,eat,laugh and feel safe. I felt re-injured. I felt terror lurking beneath my skin, ready to bring me down. By calling rape “another method of conception” my experience with violent sexual assault was transformed into an innocuous,even harmless, sexual encounter. In effect, we are being told, “We see no reason why you should ask to be protected or kept safe from a mere method of conception. Asking us to do so, asking us to ALLOW you any CONTROL over your own safety, security or life itself will soon be a criminal offense, because we intend to make abortions,even in the case of rape, illegal. Women who are victims of the violent crime of rape are being told that we are the real criminals.

Why do Republicans need to define rape this way? To connect rape to contraception via  an act conception. Thus, they can justify access to birth control, allow employers to refuse to offer contraceptives coverage in insurance plans, to justify Catholic hospitals and clinics refusal to allow insurance company policies for their employees to cover contraception. Rape is yet again being used to dominate and control women, to intimidate us and bring us in line by redefining it as a method of conception. We feel re-injured by the Republican positions because we are being re-injured! These men declared their power over women and children in a new way; by refusing to allow us even the right to define our victimization as violent crimes. Any woman or parent of children should think long and hard before voting for ANY candidate who calls rape a method of conception.

The chart above paints a rosy picture of what Republicans intend for women and children. It seems to describe the types of rape. However, it is far worse. more insidious, and far more dangerous to our safety  because it does not merely define the type of rape; it removes the core, elemental use of violence which is at the heart of rape; instead defining it as an act for sexual pleasure or conception, not an act to dominate, threaten and control. Rape cannot be a crime if it just another method of conception, as defined by Paul Ryan, Josh Mandel, and the Republican platform. Women and children will lose their right to be safe, maybe even their lives, to protect a fetus and to insure continued male domination.

President Obama’s comments on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno explain why he deserves our support, “I don’t know how these guys come up with these ideas. Let me make a very simple proposition: rape is rape. It is a crime.This is exactly why you don’t want a bunch of politicians, mostly male, making decisions about women’s healthcare.”