Betty here, weighing in on Alito and the Democratic Party

Hello, Rebecca's out of pocket tonight and I'm filling in for her. Betty here and I spent the last two hours getting advice. Mike said open with a greeting and everything's easy from there. Kat told me I was making it too hard.

So let's get started.

I've got not sex to talk about, three young children may be the best known birth control, so let's move on to politics. Politics? How about this from Feminist Daily Wire?

Group of Senate Democrats Launch Filibuster on Alito
A group of Democratic Senators, led by Massachusetts Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, has launched a filibuster to block the confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) has called for a cloture vote on Monday at 4:30 p.m. to end debate and move to a vote on Alito. To win a cloture vote, Frist has to muster 60 votes in favor of ending debate."

Millions of people have called and emailed their Senators, urging them to save the Supreme Court for women's rights, civil rights, environment protections, civil liberties, separation of church and state, disability rights, and to stop a Bush power grab. The Democrats have heard this message loud and clear," said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority. "This filibuster is historically important because it is sending a message to the President -- people will not tolerate his packing of the Supreme Court."
TAKE ACTION Urge your Democratic Senators to filibuster Alito!
GET THE INSIDE SCOOP with The Smeal Report and the New Leif blogs at MsMagazine.com
DONATE Make an emergency contribution to the Feminist Majority's Save Roe Campaign. We must be a strong voice in this crucial fight to save Roe and the Supreme Court for women's rights.

So Monday looks like the big test. Are we going to give it our all and let our Senators know we won't stand for this? And will the Democratic Party listen to us?

This really is a line in the sand.

For Alito and for the Democratic Party.

I'll start with Alito. As a Black woman and a mother, I don't see a thing worth getting excited about. His record indicates a hostility to civil rights. Or maybe you think justice can be served without black people? Alito doesn't seem to think that we have a right to sit on juries. I guess Black people aren't necessary to justice. Or is it that we just can't understand things like "guilty" or "innocent?"

Here's one thing I can understand. If a police officer doesn't have a warrant to search a ten-year-old girl, you don't strip search her. And this isn't like CAPS. That's Concerned Alumini for Princeton which Alito was a member of as late as 1985 when he was putting it on a job application. He claims he has no recollections of it today.

Which is sort of funny if you think about how much time he spent at the hearings telling everyone why he probably signed up. If someone doesn't remember, you'd think, "I don't remember" would say it all. But CAPS wasn't happy that Princeton was opening enrollment to women and felt that people of color, along with gays and lesbians, were forgetting their place which, CAP seemed to think, was the back of the bus.

Back to the ten-year-old girl. Doe v. Grody was about the police being given a search warrant to search a house and the decision by the police that somehow a search warrent meant pull the clothes off a ten-year-old girl.

I was surprised that the press didn't attempt to go with this story. Every woman I know who is a mother responds to this story with, "He did what?" Because Alito was the judge hearing this issue and he didn't see a problem with it. And it was in 2004. Not in the eighties, not in the seventies.

Then there's the issue of who decides about our bodies. Women, of all races, may find themselves back on the plantation as our bodies stop being our own. Reproductive rights are women's rights. I'm glad, happy, thrilled when any male supports us on this but, in the end, this is about our having the final say about our bodies.

I've never had to face the decision of having an abortion. But the option is out there. And no one, male or female, should be able to take it away from the woman who finds herself pregnant.
Ava and C.I. were hoping to a do a piece, last week at The Third Estate Sunday Review, on how abortion is portrayed on TV but time ran out while everyone was working on that edition.

There has been this demonizing of a medical procedure. It used to be you'd see men on TV screaming about it but they seem to have learned that it's better to create a front group of women to push their words through.

So now we get "concerned" women. Any woman who is truly concerned about another woman doesn't try to limit her options. It's a medical procedure and unless you're the one contemplating it, you've really got no say in whether a woman has it or not. It's about as much your business if Jane Roe has one as it is whether she has her tonsils removed. It's her medical decision.

But instead, it's being demonized. A very good friend told me last week that she was opposed to abortion. I was shocked. Because she's very pro-choice. We were talking about Alito and about how reproductive rights need to be protected. In the course of conversation, she said she was going to tell me something she'd never told anyone. Right away, I'm curious. That's when she said that for her, she couldn't ethically have an abortion. (Ethically was the word she used.)

"But you're so pro-choice," I replied.

She is. And she's reached her own personal decision. But she thinks that's what you do, you keep the procedure legal and available and women who want to utilize it, can. She said she never talks about it because she fears it would be misunderstood and someone would lump her in with the anti-choice crowd.

She's not anti-choice. But she feels that a woman needs to make her own decisions. She's not for any limitations or erosions on reproductive rights. I have a family member who's the same way.

Abortion has been a huge issue in conversations I've taken part in during the last two weeks. I've always been pro-choice and I'd usually leave it at that. It's the sort of thing you toss out and that's really all for a lot of women my age. Abortion has always been legal in our lifetime.

Alito's anti-choice positions have resulted in many women who never went beyond "pro-choice" in their conversations having some serious discussions about it. I found out about two friends abortions in the past week. I wasn't aware them because I didn't know them when they made their decisions. One has four children and was nearing graduation. Her ex popped back into her life during spring break of her last semester. He'd "changed" and wanted to be with her and his children. He hung around for about half the week before he disappeared again. Right before graduation, as she was lining up job interviews, she learned she was pregnant.

He was out of the picture, again, and she was looking at not being able to find a job and having five children one of which would be an infant. She made her decision and she didn't regret it then or now. (And for anyone wanting to scream "Birth control!" she was on birth control pills.)
Women make these choices not because they're bored or wanting to try something new (like a hair cut) but because they seriously weigh the realities.

Another friend told me about why she had divorced. I never knew anything except for the fact that it wasn't a happy marriage. He liked rough sex. He liked a show of force. He raped her. She'd wake up in the middle of the night to him forcing himself on her. Before they married, they had slept together and it was never a problem. They got married and all the sudden everything she did was wrong and he'd tell her, "My mother . . ."

She thinks he had some issues with his mother and that's why he ended up not being able to have sex without it being rough or rape. He really had a need to degrade to get in the mood.
She ended it and kicked him out. (It was her house. She'd bought it before they were married.)
He whined about having left something at the house and kept calling her at work. She finally left the door in the garage unlocked and called him from work to tell him to get his stuff and get out.
She came home that night and was making dinner when it turned out he was still there. He raped her.

She told me her story and asked me to mention it if we did a roundtable on abortion at The Third Estate Sunday Review. When Rebecca asked me if I'd like to grab one of her blog days, I called my friend to see if it was okay to share it here and she was fine with it.

She wanted the man out of her life. She wasn't on birth control because she wasn't having sex. She had filed for divorce and was not in the mood to be around any man. After he raped her and left, she had a fear that she'd end up pregnant and that is what happened.

"Is it my obligation to explain to the world how bad my marriage was?"

That was her question. She didn't think so. She was embarrassed that it had gone on while they were married and that she had made excuses for it for three months. She'd talk to him about not liking the rough sex and he'd apologize but then he would do it again and the rough sex quickly turned to rape. That's when she knew she had to end her marriage.

She went into therapy to deal with the pain of her marriage and that was incredibly hard for her because she's a very private person. She didn't want a child with this man. She didn't want any connection to him, she just wanted him out of her life.

She had the abortion before the divorce was granted because she didn't want him trying to use her pregancy to get back into her life and she was told that the judge might ask her, as a formality, if she was pregnant before he granted the divorce.

She said that there are people like her who do not go on Oprah and spill every detail of their lives for public consumption.

I'll tell one more story. It involves a cousin of mine. We were all so proud of "Ralph" (not his real name) because he seemed to have his head together. He had goals and was pursuing them.
And among his friends, to be over 21 and not have one or more children was a big thing. My grandmother felt he was really responsible and mature "focused on the future."

Four months ago, Ralph became a father. None of us knew anything about it until after. He doesn't do anything he doesn't have to do. The child has some medical problems and that's how we found out. The mother of the child called my grandmother's one Sunday to ask that Ralph please show up at the hospital because the baby was having trouble breathing. That was our introduction to our newest member of the family.

Ralph does nothing for the child. He gives nothing to support the baby. He goes out of his way to avoid the mother and the child. We knew the mother when he was dating her. He dropped her shortly after she got pregnant. She is a nice young woman. We've seen her go from the most put together, turned out young woman to someone who has time only to focus on her sick child. Ralph still dresses nice. He just bought a new car two months ago. He's living fine.

She's had to quit her job because her child is in and out of the hospital and her employer told her she needed to think about her "priorities." She is struggling so hard.

We've welcomed her into the family as we should. We all try to help out. If the child goes back to the hospital, which is a weekly thing, we always try to make sure at least one of us is there with her. We're helping out as a family with money and time and we'd be doing that anyway if Ralph was stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility. But he's not doing that.

Which is one reason she's struggling. Another reason is, of course, because of the child's medical condition. She has support but it's still really hard. My grandmother has finally convinced her that she and the baby should move into my grandmother's house and hopefully that will lessen the load.

But these are the realities that women face and these are the realities they have to think through when they make their decisions. A lot of toads pass themselves off as Prince Charming. They turn back into a toad and leap frog away and women are left to do it all by themselves.
She's at the point right now where if Ralph showed back up, my grandmother has told him that until he can start contributing some money and spending some time with his child to stay away from her house, and was making promises, she would be willing to give it another try.

That's because she's tired. She's really worn out. Even when we watch the child and tell her to go take a nap or go see a movie or just get some time for herself, she's still worrying about her baby. And usually when we are at our weakest is when a boy like "Ralph" (he's no man), starts thinking it might be fun to be a daddy or starts getting ragged on too much by his friends, so he shows up all full of promises and sometimes carrying flowers. Most women I know, and maybe this is just true for Black women but I doubt it, can tell you that within a week or two the Ralphs split. They can't handle the reality, even if the child is healthy.

But when you're doing it all yourself and the father of your child suddenly tells you, "I made a mistake, I want to be here for you and my child" you don't say, "Yeah, right." You say, "Thank God." You trick yourself into believing it's true. And yes, it's happened to me too.

A guy at work was running down this woman and saying she was "tough." She'd shot him down when he'd asked her out. She's been through this cycle of Ralphs and she knows the score. I do as well which is why my focus is on my children and I don't date. When I shared that in an interview with The Third Estate Sunday Review, a few people took offense to that. A few thought I was saying, "This makes me a better mother than it does mothers who date." It does make me a better mother than I would be if I was dating. It makes me be a better mother. It doesn't make me be a better mother than any other mother.

That's the choice I had to make. Not because my family suggested it. They think I should be dating. I made the decision because I get too caught up in "romance" and fall for anything and everything. So, like the woman the guy was running down at work, I'm sure I'm seem as "tough." But we have to make the choices we make based on what we know.

And if a woman knows that she can't manage various things, she needs to make her decision and not be questioned on it. Whether it's my decision to postpone dating until my children are older and I'm a bit wiser or whether it's a woman's decision to postpone motherhood (or never become a mother). Reality is always around but circumstances make us evaluate and address it.

No woman owes anyone an explanation as to why they decide to terminate a pregnancy. She's made her decision and she's weighed the options and odds. No woman owes anyone an explanation of why she decided to have a child either. These are basic decisions and they should belong to us because we are the ones who live with them.

You can support a decision of whether or not to have a child but I don't think it's your right to question it. And when I see what Ralph's done, someone my whole family thought was responsible and was mature, I'm only reminded all the more of how the decision must be the woman's and only her decision.

Now let's deal with the Democrat. But let me apologize first because I started this entry late and I've gone on and on so it will post even later.

The Democrats have said they'd fight. They were going to make sure that "never again" would voters be disenfranchised after Florida 2000. Then, in the very next presidential election cycle, voters were disenfranchised in Florida and Ohio and there was no fight. They caved. I'm sure candidates will go before Black voters in 2008 and make promises of "never again" all over again. We're getting real tired of empty promises. We're getting real tired of a Democratic Party that won't fight.

Some pundits are saying that to fight when you might lose would hurt the Democratic Party. Did MLK hurt the party when he lost some rounds? No. His being in the Birmingham jail could be seen as loss. But he proved he was a fighter and he inspired us all with his dedication.

Anyone can win the easy battles. They're meaingless. Winning the easy win is like breathing, we expect that everyone will do that. But courage is what we're looking for and we haven't seen it in abundance from the Democratic Party.

If the party is attempting to send the message that they will buckle and give in, message received. But don't expect us to fight for you if you won't fight for us.

As a mother, I'm fighting every day. I'm fighting to make sure there's food on the table for my children, I'm fighting to make sure they're getting what they need. Those are the battles that I should win. But that's not where the fighting stops. If something happens that calls on me to stand up to entire school system for one of my children, I should be willing to fight that fight. I shouldn't say, "Well, I'll probably lose so I should save my energy."

You fight for a principle, not for an easy win. If your convictions are so hollow that you'll stay silent and roll over, that's sad. If you're an elected official who rolls over, you don't need to be in office. Black History is full of fighters and they didn't always "win." They didn't always live to see change. But they fought because it was the right thing to do. By fighting, they laid the groundwork for others. They inspired and they educated by struggling.

There's nothing inspiring in a member of Congress who won't stand up. Don't come to someone like me, a working woman with three kids, and expect me to give up my lunch hour at work to go down to the polls and vote for you if you aren't willing to stand up for me. We don't have a national holiday for voting (we should). I do have to sacrifice to stand in line on election day and vote. I go to that trouble because it's what I should do. It's part of standing up for democracy.
So Senators who think that they shouldn't filibuster because they might lose better think about the message they're sending out.

On election day in November 2006, maybe my candidate of choice could lose? By their logic, since I have other battles to fight, I should stay away from the polls and not vote. It's not "wise" for me to waste my time on a fight that I might not win, by their logic.

If they want to inspire me, if they want me to feel that I'm not just doing my duty but doing something worthwhile by voting, they need to show some fight and some spirit.

And, as C.I. said to me on the phone Thursday night, they're missing the best campaign moment. Filibuster Alito because it's the right thing to do. And don't be scared of losing. If you lose, that's your campaign moment. That's what you use to make the case to the American people for returning the Congress to the Democrats. "Look what happened in the Senate! If we'd been the majority party, we could have stopped the confirmation of Alito! That's why you need to help us take back the Senate!" That's your campaign slogan.

(And thanks to C.I. for letting me have that. When we were talking on the phone last night, I said, "Oh that's so great. Write it up so I can link to it when I fill in for Rebecca." C.I. said I was so impassioned about the slogan that I could have it. I will take it but, please note, it was C.I. who thought it up.)

You get on every chat & chew and you say, "Well if we'd be in control, we would have won the fight on Alito. We didn't have the seats to win it, but America saw that we will fight regardless and America liked what they saw which is why they're going to be returning the Senate to Democratic control." You repeat that at every campaign stop. "Why do we need to be in charge? Because we are fighters. We showed you we were fighters. What we need from you is the support to get enough of us back into office so that we can keep fighting and can actually win."

I'll say I'm sorry one last time for the fact that I started late and for the fact that I ran off at the mouth. Thank you to Rebecca for letting me have this opportunity. There's so much that I'd like to note at my site but never can because I'm dealing with an outline and writing in character. Rebecca told me that I'd enjoy this and she wasn't kidding. Thank you to her readers for putting up with my rants. I know her readers are already active on stopping Alito's confirmation and that they don't need me to tell them what to do or how to do it. So I'll just close by saying that I'm in this fight with you and honored to be standing with so many fighters who don't play the odds but stand up for what is right. Thank you.


john kerry is up for a filibuster

i thought i was done for the night but c.i. just called and asked me if i could work something in. i said i'd just posted but could do something if it was important. it is. from an e-mail that brandon sent c.i. from progressive democrats for america:

Kerry is filibustering Alito! Call Senators Immediately!
Call the Senators listed below, as well as your own, and tell them:
* a "No" vote is meaningless without a filibuster
* it is cowardly to only fight a fight when assured victory
* the American people need to see the Senate standing up for separation of powers and against the "Unitary Executive"

Use these toll free numbers to call the Capitol: 888-355-3588 or 888-818-6641. If you can't get through, look up the Senator's District Office number in your phone book or here: http://capwiz.com/pdamerica/dbq/officials/?lvl=C

First: Call the three Democrats (Mary Landrieu, Ken Salazar, and Dianne Feinstein) who oppose Alito but also said they oppose a filibuster. We must persuade them that a vote against Alito is meaningless if they don't support a filibuster.

Senator Salazar (D-CO) 202-224-5852
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) 202-224-5824
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) 202-224-3841

Second: Call your own Democratic Senator: 888-355-3588 or 888-818-6641.
If you can't get through, look up the Senator's District Office number in your phone book or here: http://capwiz.com/pdamerica/dbq/officials/?lvl=C

Third: Unbelievably, three Democrats (Ben Nelson, Tim Johnson and Robert Byrd) support Alito! Tell them to either support filibuster or at least "don't get in the way."

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) 202-224-6551
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) 202-224-3954
Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) 202-224-5842
888-355-3588 or 888-818-6641.

If you can't get through, look up the Senator's District Office number in your phone book or here:

Fourth: Call the "Red State" Democrats: (Message same as above -- "No" is meaningless)

Tom Carper (DE)
Kent Conrad (ND)
Byron Dorgan (ND)
Blanche Lincoln (AR)
Mark Pryor (AR)

Fifth: Call these "Blue State" and pro-choice Republicans: (Message: A "Unitary Executive" is dangerous to balance of powers--please do not get in the way of a filibuster.)

Lincoln Chafee (RI)
Susan Collins (ME)
Lisa Murkowsky (AK)
Bob Smith (OR)
Olympia Snowe (ME)
Ted Stevens (AK)

For extra credit, call all of the 2008 Presidential candidates who are sitting Senators--Evan Bayh, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Russ Feingold, and John Kerry--and tell them to either LEAD THE FILIBUSTER or KISS YOUR SUPPORT GOODBYE.
888-355-3588 or 888-818-6641.

If you can't get through, look up the Senator's District Office number in your phone book or here:

You can also send that message to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (202-224-2447) and the Democratic National Committee (202-863-8000).

that's your work for friday. i'll be doing it while i'm packing and before we leave for the airport. make time to do this. it's important and you know that. we can do this.

more dreamers not just fact checkers

1st things 1st. i won't be blogging tomorrow night. now for the good news.

filling in for me friday will be blog betty! that's right betty's doing me a solid and then some and what's she's doing for readers is more than a solid. i really think you will enjoy whatever she writes. she's excited but nervous.

i told her, 'don't do any pre-planning, we're casual here. just have fun with it.'

she has to work so damn hard at her site and every 1 who visits thomas friedman is a great man knows that. i'd been talking to her about filling in here if i took a vacation because i think she'd be great at it and i think she'd enjoy it. i also think it would be way easier than what she does at her site.

so i hope tomorrow she just has fun. i think she will and i think you will as well.

i think this is a chance for her to blow off some steam and not think about characters and text and subtext and where is she in her outline and ...

so it will be a treat for readers and, i hope, 1 for her too.

i told her my approach is you're on a team but you've just done research on the company, then at the presentation to the client, every 1 on the team is sick so you have to make the pitch. what do you do?

you wing it based on what you researched. you do your best and if any 1 gives you any crap you point out that your entire team flaked out and you were left holding the bag.

i got an e-mail from sherry asking 'what's the problem with yippies?' she explained why she was asking. like i've said before, as men get older and the waistlines expand, their beliefs, like their principles shrink.

what's the problem with yippies? nothing at all.

they provided street theater that helped get a message out. now some people aren't going to get any message no matter how it is presented. but they did get a message out.

and when we were working on '"How do you think a story can change a life?" (Laura Flanders to Robert Redford)' there were a lot of discussions about the way messages can get out and c.i. said the 'on the nose' approach is used too often. which led to c.i., jess and kat discussing how the abstract songs of the 60s led some people to think a bit more deeply and how, if you turned on the radio today - corporate radio, not only did you just hear songs about getting laid and wanting to get laid, you heard them in the most basic form, without subtext, without depth. and that's not doing justice to their discussion, which was a joy to listen to but far out of my depths.

but the point is that there's nothing wrong with yippies. now some sell outs might want to curse them and claim that there was all this energy expanded into fixing the damage done by yippies but they're usually the dlc types, the uptight types, the people who are anal and can only think in 1 way. but sherry, here's a question for you: what do yippies have to do with education? i thought that was the focus of the site you forwarded, didn't you?

you know what, sherry? abby hoffman had a purpose, he had a goal and he achieved. i don't think we can say the same about the person slamming yippies today.

which, if you think about it, is why he only tears apart.

i mean, think about, really think about it. c.i. steers you to things worth reading, watching, listening to. some 1 just tears apart. he probably broke his toys as a child and then whined until mommy bought him news 1s. maybe mommy didn't buy them quick enough and that's why he appears to have such issues with women? i don't know.

but i know i told more truth about what was done to al gore in 2000 in 1 entry last night than he has in how many years? but maybe if you're pissing all over yippies, you can't take joe lieberman to task?

the 60s had street theater. we could use some more of that today. we could use some more art and some more thought that breaks out of the box. and that's where elaine came in on the third estate sunday review discussion. she and c.i. were talking about how we need new ways of seeing things. as u2 once sang, in better days, 'we need new dreams tonight.' or as carly simon aptly put it, 'let all the dreamers wake the nation.'

i hope educators get that. i hope they get that far behind how well some 1 can spit out a fact they've had drilled into them, it matters that children can think and can think beyond the obvious. that's really the future of any nation and how progress can comes about. you have to go beyond the obvious and beyond the same though pattern.

most of the people i know who are creative or think outside the box are music listeners or actually have musical training. i wonder how worried we are that the cuts to music in school continue and that 'leave every child behind' is set on turning every 1 into robots because the testing and the teaching for the test leaves no time for creativity and really doesn't leave time for thought.

was there a meeting high up that decided the country has no future and we just need drones who'll do their mechanical jobs in a mechanical manner as they go through day after day by rote?

i think it's really frightening and i think we don't need anymore tests. i think we need teaching and inspiration for all ages.

so that's how i go out tonight and you should check back tomorrow for betty. i'll be back on monday and i hope every 1 has a great weekend.

the struggle continues

i'm having the worst time logging in tonight. i've tried and tried repeatedly for the last 1/2 hour. it's morning now, by the way. and i'm 'late' posting.

i'd intended to post at t's earlier this evening. but, as c.i. noted, blogger was out. they were doing some internal business which will hopefully make it more efficient. who knows? but t and her girlfriend, mike & nina and my ex and me had all planned an evening out together. which was a lot of fun and part of 'downtime' that every 1 should be grabbing right now.

we started talking about this in the middle of last week and we did pester trina and her husband to join us but by tuesday she was begging off because she was just too tired. for her the best way to have downtime was just to stay at home and relax.

we're all trying to not just dispense elaine's advice (free of charge, most people have to pay for it) but also set an example. it doesn't do any good to say 'do this' if i'm not doing it. it's just empty words.

and my readers have given a lot of themselves so they do need to take some time for themselves.

we're in year 6 of bully boy. we won't be able to stop every bit of legislation, every appointment over night. to do that we'd have to be a 24/7 task force dedicated to nothing but that. and we might be able to pull it off for a week or 2 or even maybe a month. but what would happen is you'd feel drained, you'd be tired, you'd be snapping at every 1 and beating yourself up and then you'd just give up hope and say 'i could be watching reruns of becker and eating pop corn balls!'

this has to be for the long haul. there's been a tendency to take orders from the leadership and when they tell us to mobilize, we do. and when they don't care, we don't.

and that's part of the reason our country is in such a bad state currently.

laura flanders says 'don't leave politics to the politicians.' we saw the perfect example of why not during the alito hearings where the dems on the committee couldn't work as a team and many were ineffective and ready to throw in the towel right after.

if you missed it, the message for democratic party leadership was 'no big deal.'

we made it a big deal. we made them realize that it was a big deal.

and i read the e-mails and know how many of you dug deep and forced yourself to do things you'd never done before. for some that was calling your senator's office. for some that was visiting it. but every 1 of you learned something from this.

even if you were too intimidated to do anything and i'm betting some of you were.

you saw what happened, that we moved the inert, lazy mountain and you heard some of the stories of people doing stuff so next time you have something to work with.

those of you who did do something know what you can do. and next time you'll be less intimidated to do something. you'll probably be willing to go a little further.

i don't know if the democratic party was ever really in touch with its base or if it just gave the appearance of being in touch.

but we've been on a bad road for some time. we've seen 'triangulation' of the clinton years that was at complete odds with what the party, the country is supposed to stand for.

sherry wrote about that in her e-mail this weekend. how things she wanted to fight, like welfare 'reform', the party was going along with. or take nafta or any other dlc cooked up idea that went against what we stand for. but the party didn't want you objecting and sent out the message of 'this is what we have to do, come on get with the program, the 60s are over.'

well, 1st of all, many of the programs we were destroying can be traced back to fdr and, unless i'm missing something, fdr was never a flower child. (his loss.)

i think it was greed. greed and wanting to be 'somebody' as defined by materialism as opposed to as defined by what we're supposed to represent which is lifting every 1's boat.

the clinton years were better than today but it's not hard for any 1 to beat the low expectations of today. but there were serious problems with the clinton years that the clintonistas don't want to deal with. they've turned bill clinton into their god and seem to think hillary will be the 2nd coming.

america can't take 4 years of clinton-ism again. if hillary's plan is to win the white house and continue the deregulation and privatization that her husband did, we don't need her.

the clintonistas want to act like the liberals just stayed silent while bill clinton was beat up by the republicans. actually, many of us were outraged by what bill clinton was doing. i don't mean phoney sex scandals. i do mean 'triangulating.'

there was a period where it seemed to be obvious that whatever we wanted, whatever we promised, would be watered down because bill wasn't going to fight it. he'd want us to rally behind him to fight off impeachment but there was no 'rally behind me to kill this disgusting policy.'

with those policies, it was 'well we have to be reasonable. we have to accept this.'

which is how you get the 1996 telecommunications act that your online clintonistas never want to talk about. a huge giveaway of our public goods and public rights to big business.

there's no defense for that. even if it has opened up low-fi which it really didn't.

it consolidated big media all the more.

the clintonistas don't want to talk about that or the feeling of helplessness that the clinton administration fostered while talking 'empowerment.'

bill clinton had many good points, but he wasn't fdr. he wasn't a giant among people leading us all to do more for 1 another. his adminstration wasn't as selfish as reagan's or poppy's but it wasn't a democratic administration to sing praises of.

clintonistas tend to confuse 'liberal' with 'democratic' and think that to be a 'liberal' you have to blindly support whatever the dnc is telling you. that's why some of them are so stuck int he 90s and can't let go. they want to tell you 'the right wing attacks all started with bill clinton!' because to them, every thing started with bill clinton. it's like he's the centerfold they beat off to each night and they'll never stop drooling over him.

of reagan, poppy and bully boy, bill clinton was obviously the best of the 4. and he had many nice qualities. but let's not distort reality.

his administration wasn't 'liberal.' he came into office, as c.i. has pointed out, with the reinventing government bandwagon, intent to have a tag sale on our public good. bully boy is that to extreme but bill clinton did it too.

pushing the burdens of working women off on them and denying the roots of the problem, which were systematic and not personal, led to welfare 'reform' which was nothing but carrying ronald reagan's myth of the 'welfare queens' all the way out. don't kid yourself otherwise.

today, most democrats will rightly recoil at the thought of joe lieberman but remember that after 8 years of bill clinton's policies, the party didn't think twice about making lieberman the vice presidential candidate. if the clinton administration were 'liberal' there's no way that lieberman would have been on the ticket without a huge outcry.

and what you saw in that campaign wasn't just the press beating up al which the clintonistas love to tell you about over and over. you saw joe lieberman undercut al gore repeatedly. when al wanted to talk about the very real economic inequalities in this country, there was joe lieberman running around to the press saying 'we're not talking class warfare' or whatever else.

he undercut al gore at every turn. he is as much responsible for al not being in the white house as is the press.

we were supposed to be shocked that al endorsed howard dean and not joe lieberman. i wasn't shocked. i was thrilled. al gore was stabbed in the back by joe lieberman repeatedly.

i'm not endorsing al gore for president here. but i am seriously interested in what he may say or do as a candidate. i think he saw what the dlc could do (which was sell him out) and i think he knows they aren't just a pain in the butt but truly dangerous. they put profits above the people.

when he speaks out now, on the war or whatever, you notice that the democrats don't come running to him. but then they didn't run to support him during the recount. they didn't come down hard on joe lieberman when he gave the election away on meet the press.

those may be 'hard truths' and it may be too hard for some clintonistas to deal with them but they really need to stop boring us with mythical tales of how bill clinton was the best president we ever had. they need to stop their cult of personality and start talking some hard truths.

but you don't see them rushing in to talk about that. you hear them whine again that the press ignored the speech al gore gave on mlk day. but you don't hear them point out that on the chat and chews none of the dem spokespeople cited it.

the reason i'm interested in al gore right now is because i think he went through something that pulled the blinders off. he seems outraged at the lies and the toady-ism. he was screwed over. and it's really easy to play it off like that happened from the press only but that's not reality.

during the recounts, he wasn't given the support he needed. he was told to take the high road and given no support. i firmly believe that he won the 2000 election and i think the go-along-to-get-along approach slapped him in the face.

the press played a part in it, no question. but the press wasn't alone and i'm getting real tired of hearing that fairy tale. the press wanted to drive bill clinton out of office. if i'm remembering correctly, usa today was the 1st to call for bill to step down.

clinton didn't step down. the people didn't want him too. if they could fight for that, and not worry what nasty things might be said about them in the press, then they could have fought for al gore's win. they didn't do that. they said things like 'we just want the process to play out.' weak little statements. they sent jess jackson packing because they didn't want to fight. time and again, they chose not to fight.

and the message trickled down.

what we've learned to do is to fight with or without our fearful leaders.

and we're going to need to keep fighting. democracy requires participation.

so if you're some 1 who needs downtime after working so hard to get democrats to do the job they're supposed to do without prodding, take the time you need because you've earned it.

the alito vote is pending and if you're ready to get back in the fight, we need you. but we need you for the future, not just for 1 fight. so don't burn yourself out.

i'll be posting later tonight (thursday) and am trying to figure out how to do so friday as well. but this weekend, my ex and i are going on our trip that we postponed during the hearings. (i will be blogging monday for sure.)

tomorrow, i'll be at t's salon again, with my cell phone, getting people, mainly women, to call in to their senators and say 'filibuster.' if you're up to it, you can start doing what you did before. we need to keep sending that message out.

i called c.i. at midnight hoping that it wasn't too late (huge time difference so i didn't think it would be, it was midnight for me, but knowing how much every 1 has given to this, i wouldn't have been surprised if c.i. had answered the phone groggy). i don't think there will be a post at the common ills tonight. when i realized that, my 1st thought was, 'i should have posted early today' but then i thought, 'you know what, we're saying take time, so it's good that i didn't.' but just as mike and i didn't post tonight due to blogger problems, c.i. wasn't taking time off. c.i.'s immersed in the church committee report. there probably won't be an entry tonight because c.i.'s taking notes and 'i am no where near the conclusions and recommendations.' no surprise, it's a thick report.

that's hardly downtime but i hope c.i. will not rush to get a post up on the church committee just to have something up. there is a lot of work to be done on a lot of issues. and we're seeing clearly that some elements in the democratic party do not give a damn about the base. take casey jr. from the feminist wire:

PA: Anti-Choice Democratic Senate Candidate Casey Supports Alito
Robert Casey, an anti-choice Democrat who is challenging Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) in November, has outraged women's rights supporters by announcing his support for confirming Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.

"It's very disturbing and should worry, I think, Pennsylvania women and civil rights advocates and people concerned about unchecked executive power to wiretap and eavesdrop on Americans," Kate Michelman, former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, told the Patriot News.
Casey's decision to support Alito shows that women "cannot count on a Senator Casey to protect our liberties," Michelman continued.
On the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Alito was the lone judge who voted to uphold a spousal notification requirement in Pennsylvania's Abortion Control Act, a bill that Casey's father, then-Governor Robert P. Casey, Sr., had signed into law. The case, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, was decided by the Supreme Court in 1992, which overturned Pennsylvania's harsh restrictions on abortion.
GET THE INSIDE SCOOP with The Smeal Report and the New Leif blogs at MsMagazine.com
TAKE ACTION Call your Senators and urge them to oppose Alito
DONATE Make an emergency contribution to the Feminist Majority's Save Roe Campaign. We must be a strong voice in this crucial fight to save Roe and the Supreme Court for women's rights.
Media Resources: Patriot News 1/25/06; Philadelphia Inquirer 1/25/06

this is who 'our party' selected. pennsylvania is not 'anti-choice.' arlen specter, a republican, is from pennsylvania. they can elect him to the senate with his pro-choice stance. but they made a real effort to force casey junior's opponents out of the race. elements in the party, the same 1s that are selling out our reproductive rights, wanted casey junior and they got him.

back on march 6th of last year, at the third estate sunday review, we (jim, dona, ty, jess and ava as well as c.i. and myself) worked on a piece about casey junior and the danger he represented.
if you missed it, it's 'Robert Casey Junior Doing Pop Proud.' a decision was made by democratic party leadership and it wasn't about what was best for the base, the supporters of the party.
the race in pennsylvania will be between 2 men, white, who both oppose reproductive freedom.
i never saw casey junior as anything but republican light to begin with. now that's he's demonstrated that's he's willing to break party ranks without even being in the senate, maybe others will worry?

probably not. probably you'll be reassured online and in print that he's really a good guy and we need him in the senate. i'm not exactly sure who needs him (or that he can get there, as we noted, he tends to lose races). apparently the bully boy does since he's willing to stand with the republicans to support alito. with that 1 announcement, he's confirmed all the warnings some of us have given you about him. i don't know if the gang will touch on that this weekend or not. i'll be missing out on working on the latest edition since fly boy and i will be going away. i'm going to miss working with everyone but i know they'll turn out a great edition of the third estate sunday review and i'll just look forward to reading it this edition.

but casey junior should demonstrate to you that we've got a lot of work to do and that we're going to need to be up to the battles in the future. so i hope you've taken time to rest because fixing things will involve a lot of work.


we moved the 1st mountain

Judiciary Democrats Vote Solidly 'No' on Alito
In a straight party-line vote (10-8), the Senate Judiciary Committee voted this morning to approve Alito's confirmation, sending the debate to the Senate floor.

"The strong statements from Democrats on the Judiciary Committee demonstrate that the confirmation of Judge Alito is too risky for a nation divided in a time of crisis," said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority.
"This unusual straight party vote on a Supreme Court nominee shows that the Republican Party has moved too far to the right, deserting basic women"s rights and individual rights, and it shows a willingness on the part of Republican Senators to give the President a blank check in expanding presidential powers, even to the extent of breaking the law, such as in the domestic surveillance," Smeal continued.
"Women in this nation must recognize that the dominant force in the Republican Party has decided to take away women's fundamental right to an abortion. We cannot continue to fool ourselves and call some Republicans pro-choice when they continue to vote to empower those who would take away our rights," Smeal said.
GET THE INSIDE SCOOP with The Smeal Report and the New Leif blogs at MsMagazine.com
TAKE ACTION Call your Senators and urge them to oppose Alito
DONATE Make an emergency contribution to the Feminist Majority's Save Roe Campaign. We must be a strong voice in this crucial fight to save Roe and the Supreme Court for women's rights.
Media Resources: Feminist Majority

good news above from the feminist wire.

i called c.i. to make sure i wasn't stepping on a topic. at present, c.i.'s goals are to 'eat dinner in a few hours and go to bed.' i'm going to hit on something that c.i.'s stressed in the gina & krista round-robins since they started their special 1s on the committee vote. if the democrats did not hold, if they did not vote in unison, it was over, alito was a judge.

if they broke ranks on this vote, they provided cover for the nelsons and every other spineless accommodating democrat to vote in favor of alito on the senate floor. the 8 held. they drew a line. 1 they were forced to draw.

and now that the line's been drawn, democrats in the senate are either going to have to prove they can work together and stop this nomination or admit that they have no use to the party.

the line is drawn.

so the nelsons better decide if they're a part of the democratic party or not.

the party better decide whether or not it stands for anything.

if they want to collapse from their own spineless nature, that will be noted. it will be remembered.

there is real anger over the fact that they didn't fight john roberts. there is real anger over their inept performance during the alito hearings. we've seen a pattern of promises that all quickly are broken. voters are fed up.

if the democratic party can not impose discipline and stop the confirmation of alito, there's little point in them making another tepid speech that we're all supposed to find 'inspiring' and 'firey.'

so where we stand after today's vote is that the 8 held together.

if there's some thought that 'now it's over' and they can go off and vote on the floor however they want, they better wet a finger and stick in the air to gauge the way the wind's blowing.

this anger won't disappear if the democrats on the floor of the senate can not hold together the way they did on the committee.

and i'm not sure that will give, for instance, 1 senator a pass if they vote no but the confirmation takes place. in fact, i think we'll take it out on many of those running in senate races.

for them to be effective, they need to work as a team and, if they're not doing that, i'm not sure what use they are.

harry reid is no leader. he needs to become 1 or step down. it's not just a title to put next to your name, it requires real leadership. that means imposing discipline. if he's not up to the job, hand it over to some 1 who is.

i want to think all my readers who've done their part. all your work forced the 8 to stand together. they can spin it any way they want but feingold stood with the 8 and he hasn't done that before. dianne feinstein went from her 'just because i don't like him doesn't mean he shouldn't be on the supreme court pass the iced tea, dear' comments to a no vote.

you did that.

we're not done yet.

but take a rest because this is going to be a big fight and we're going to need all of our energy.

you moved the mountain. the committee dems held. now we've got a bigger mountain to move and for that we'll need all of our strength and energy so take some down time and get ready for the big battle.

i know a lot of you reached down deeper than you ever had before and you did things that you'd never done before. i am so proud of you. we'll take it further in the next stage but for now, get some rest.


learning who your friends are

Judiciary Committee Votes Tomorrow on Alito; Filibuster Possible, Says Durbin
Tomorrow, two days after the 33rd anniversary of Roe v Wade, the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Samuel Alito, a Supreme Court nominee who in 1985 wrote that the Constitution does not protect a woman's right to an abortion. Women's rights leaders and activists rallied last night at the Supreme Court in support of the landmark Supreme Court ruling.
"Since we last gathered to commemorate Roe v. Wade, two seats have opened up on the Supreme Court, and George W. Bush has used both opportunities to nominate judges whose records show a disdain for privacy rights and individual liberties," said Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women. "The Senate is poised to vote on confirming Samuel Alito, who would replace Sandra Day O'Connor, a justice whose vote has upheld women's rights for nearly 25 years. How quickly the fate of women's reproductive rights could turn in this nation."
Already, at least nine Senators have come out publicly and strongly against
Alito's confirmation, including four who voted in favor of confirming John Roberts as chief justice. In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), the Democratic Whip, said that a filibuster was possible.
"A week ago, I would have told you it's not likely to happen," Durbin said. "As of [Wednesday], I just can't rule it out. I was surprised by the intensity of feeling of some of my colleagues. It's a matter of counting. We have 45 Democrats, counting [Vermont independent] Jim Jeffords, on our side. We could sustain a filibuster if 41 Senators ... are willing to stand and fight."
with The Smeal Report and the New Leif blogs at MsMagazine.com
Call your Senators and urge them to oppose Alito
Make an emergency contribution to the Feminist Majority's Save Roe Campaign. We must be a strong voice in this crucial fight to save Roe and the Supreme Court for women’s rights.
Media Resources: Feminist Majority; NOW statement 1/22/06; Chicago Sun-Times 1/20/06

that's from today's feminist wire.

c.i.'s noted it, elaine's noting it, mike's noting it. elaine's trying to be sure we all note it because we need to get the word out. they need to hear from us tomorrow, the senators. they need to hear from us before they vote, while they're voting and after they've voted.

they need to get that this isn't a minor thing or something we're going to forget.

it's past time to light a fire under them and make them show that they're representing us and not just taking our votes and money.

'what if they stab us in the back?' that's what jodi wondered in an e-mail. if the people who have counted on our support aren't there for us tomorrow then we've learned who we can count and who we can't. we've learned that even with people concerned about civil rights, civil liberties, reproductive rights and seperation of power screaming for their senators to stand up, that we won't be listened to, that our concerns and rights are of no interest to them.

will it make the loss any better? hell no.

but if they won't wake up, the people who are supposed to represent us, we still will.

if they're not going to be there for us yet again, empty words about what they'll do after the november elections will be revealed as empty words.

maybe that means some of us will vote green? or maybe we'll run other candidates against them in the primaries?

but we won't be fooled and we won't fool ourselves into thinking they're there for us.