David Neiwert discusses eliminationist right wing rhetoric, domestic violence impacts minors, and the health care reform debate enters its baroque phase.
Links in this episode:
On this episode of Reality Cast, I’ll be interviewing David
Neiwert about the growing problem of eliminationist rhetoric on the right and
what that has to do with terrorism. Also, sex continues to confuse the issue of
health care reform, and domestic violence and its impact on minors.
Current TV’s Info Mania is having so much luck with Target
Women that they’ve added another segment that’s similar, called "That’s Gay",
with host Bryan Safi. Luckily,
it’s just as funny and works just as well.
You can find it on Current TV or on iTunes.
At this point, I might as well just admit that until health
care reform passes, I’m probably going to have enough material to do a segment
a week on it. The crazy is just
that out of control. Indeed, I
can’t wait for immigration reform, because that’s going to be off the hook in
terms of the crazy. But alas,
there’s not much a hook between our issues and immigration reform, so I won’t
be able to cover that as much. Or
will there? It seems that
conservatives are willing to inject sex and abortion into any legislative
effort they disapprove of, if they think there’s a chance of stalling or
This week, a number of Blue Dog Democrats joined up with
Republicans to use sex to confuse the issue of health care reform, and distract
people with sex hysteria from pushing for legislation to improve their health
care access. For instance, two
Democrats on the finance committee joined up with Republicans to amend the
health care reform bill to reinstate funding for abstinence-only programs. Jon Stewart took them on for supporting
an ineffective, unpopular program.
care 1 *
Spending money to encourage teenagers not to use
contraception so they’ll get more STDs and have more unintended pregnancies
seems like the single stupidest idea ever for reducing health care costs. STDs and unintended pregnancies cost a
lot of money, you know. And if the
pregnant girls decide to have the babies, it will cost a whole lot of money,
since childbirth doesn’t come cheap in this country. To make it all worse, anti-choice members of Congress from
both sides of the aisle are trying their damnedest to make sure that women
can’t get coverage for abortion, even if they want it.
care 2 *
Of course, the people taking a stand on this are either that
misinformed or they’re grand-standing on abortion because they object to health
care reform and see this as a way to stall it. Or they sincerely want to use health care reform as an
excuse to reduce pre-existing coverage for abortion women already have. Because they’re playing this like it’s
going to mean that the government will be paying for abortion. It’s not. All they’re doing is telling insurance companies that
already cover abortion that they can continue to do so. The proposed anti-abortion amendments
would force insurance companies who already cover abortion to quit doing
so. Anti-choicers pushing this use
misleading language about "government-defined" health insurance, but under most
proposed bills, that basically includes all insurance. All insurance companies would be in the
health care exchange, and therefore all insurance companies would have to stop
But the dishonesty inherent to claims about
government-funded abortions and abstinence-only pales in comparison to the sort
of stuff coming from the far right, who is in a full-blown paranoid panic over
health care reform. Recently, I
noted in a column that the far right was peddling conspiracy theories about how
health care reform would install abortion clinics in high schools so girls
could get abortions between classes.
This isn’t a conspiracy theory that we should poo-pooh, because lookie
here, Representative Michelle Bachmann is spouting it from the floor of the House.
care 3 *
I love how she calls it a "sex clinic", which implies that
you actually have sex on the premises.
But it’s great, because it’s yet more evidence that "abortion" is less
about fetal life for conservatives, and more a scare word that they use to
indicate that young women are having sex and they don’t have the power to stop
them. Stopping young women from
having sex outside of wingnut control is priority number one, it seems, and
Rep. Bachmann is willing to overtly state that.
But obviously, there won’t be abortion clinics in schools or
school field trips to get abortion.
In some states, young women can get abortions without telling their
parents, sure, and it should be all.
That’s because no matter what the right wingers would have you believe,
this should not be a country where we use our laws to make it easier for
abusive parents to beat their daughters senseless for having the gall to go
through puberty. But tying this
issue to health care reform is ridiculous, since no bill that’s been written
even touches it.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and for this
segment on domestic violence, I’m going to focus on young people, children and
teenagers. When we think of
domestic violence, we tend to think of full grown men and women, but children
can be victimized by it in a number of ways. Public News Service did a report on the way that witnessing
domestic violence at home can have profound effects on children.
violence 1 *
Turpin links the witnessing of domestic violence to a number
of bad outcomes, particularly if the children don’t get help. Outcomes such as drug abuse, chronic
unemployment, and sadly, repeating the cycle and abusing their own
partners. And while there’s help
out there, there is also a tendency to treat victims with children and those
children as one unit. Part of
that, I think, is a resource issue.
There’s not enough beds and counselors to go around for victims of
domestic violence, and so having a focused effort on children is a
problem. Nonetheless, Children’s
Defense Fund Ohio called for exactly that kind of intervention.
violence 2 *
I see that kind of intervention as an investment in the
future. Taking kids who have
serious problems and helping them become productive adults pays back huge
The other way that domestic violence affects young people
that’s getting more attention is through their own encounters with it while
dating. I think, for a lot of us,
believing that teenagers get into battering situations is a hard pill to
swallow, but unfortunately it’s true.
There’s also preliminary research to indicate that domestic violence may
play a hand in teen pregnancy, as girls who are abused may have partners who
interfere with contraception.
NPR did a report on attempts to reduce dating violence in
the high school years.
violence 3 *
The growing concerns over dating violence amongst teenagers
have been dealt with by these programs, and the one that NPR covers sounds like
they’re taking the right approach.
They’re not just detailing out the warning signs of abuse, such as being
with a partner who tries to control your movements and lays guilt trips on you
when you want to hang out with your friends or family. They’re also out to define what a
healthy relationship means, and what it should look like.
violence 4 *
Sadly, they interview a young man who claims he’s never seen
such a relationship, and he frets that they’re expecting perfection. That’s the kind of thinking that creates
the baseline of dysfunction that makes it easier to accept domestic
violence. Not that I disbelieve
him. I think way too many people have too low of standards, and it creates a
sea of dysfunction.
And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, I’m saying it but I’m
not edition. John Derbyshire wrote
the case against female suffrage in his new book. Now, he’s backing off and claiming he didn’t actually make a
case against female suffrage.
Except he did. Both. Whatever you need to believe.
The idea that suffrage should be questioned on the basis of
results is anti-democratic at its baseline, because it’s basically saying the
consent of the governed only counts if they consent to what authority
wants. Why not have ballots with
just one candidate on them, if that’s what you want?