Red State Feminist Blog:

CNN's Latest Revelation on Gingrich's First Divorce

Red State Feminists have blogged about Gingrich's slimy behavior with relation to his second marriage. It is well worth reading the Esquire interview with that second wife, Marianne. In what had become a recurrent pattern, he was having an affair with a young aide for some time before dumping her. Nonetheless, he kept up his political patter about family values all the while. Her summary comment is, "He believes that what he says in public and how he lives don't have to be connected. If you believe that, then yeah, you can run for president."

Now CNN offers new revelations about Gingrich's first marriage to his wife Jackie. All we have known is sound bites about how she was served with divorce papers while recovering from uterine cancer in a hospital. And the story was almost laid to rest by Gingrich's daughter, also named Jackie, stating that it was her mother who wanted the divorce, and that the papers were not served while her mother was in the hospital.

Apparently, daughter Jackie has been fed a load of baloney, too. (She was 13 at the time the events took place.) CNN found the court proceedings from the divorce case, and has made them public. It is very clear from the papers that Jackie (the wife) did not want the divorce and did not initiate it. Indeed, in one of the only interviews she has ever given, to the Washington Post in 1985, she said: "He can say that we had been talking about it for 10 years, but the truth is that it came as a complete surprise." Indeed, CNN states, "When Gingrich filed for divorce, he was already seeing a 28-year-old congressional aide, whom he married six months after his divorce was final in 1981. The second wife, Marianne Ginther Gingrich, told Esquire magazine last year that Gingrich even introduced her to his parents in the summer of 1980, the same time he filed for divorce." This, of course, was to be Marianne's own fate 19 years later.

Gingrich lied about what happened in his first divorce. He was committing adultery, and wanted to dump the mother of his children. Indeed, the treasurer of Gingrich's first congressional campaign, "Kip" Carter, said, "it was Newt Gingrich who wanted the divorce. "He (Gingrich) said, 'You know and I know that she's not young enough or pretty enough to be the wife of a president,' " Carter, who now lives in South Carolina, told CNN recently, relating the conversation he had with Gingrich the day Gingrich revealed he was filing for divorce. . . Carter, who was a fellow history professor when Gingrich taught at West Georgia College in Carrollton, said he broke off his friendship with Newt Gingrich because of the congressman's treatment of his wife during the divorce." Well, at least one conservative has the right idea.

But that is not all, no, that is not all. Gingrich would not give his first wife and daughters any money to live on. This is what CNN is reporting on that issue:

The same court filing in which Jackie Gingrich told the judge she did not want the divorce also accused Gingrich of failing to provide enough money for her and her two then-teenaged daughters to live on during their separation. Kathy was 17 at the time.

"Despite repeated notice to plaintiff and requests by defendant, plaintiff has failed and refused to voluntarily provide reasonable support sufficient to include payment of usual and normal living expenses, including drugs, water, sewage, garbage, gas, electric and telephone service for defendant and the minor children," she said in court documents. "As a result, many of such accounts are two or three months past due with notices of intent to cut off service and gas and electricity."

When Jackie Gingrich and her daughters moved from their other home in Fairfax, Virginia, back to their house in Carrollton, Georgia, there were "no lights, no heat, no water, no food in the home," former Gingrich friend and academic colleague Carter said.

Carter, who helped collect donations for the family, said Gingrich "wouldn't give them a dime" in the first months of the separation. "We had a food drive at First Baptist Church," Carter said. "The deacons went down and stocked her pantry."

Johnson, the former state legislator who was in Gingrich's Sunday school class, said when the church's minister asked him to donate money, he gave $100 to the fund. A judge ordered Gingrich to appear in court a week after his wife filed her complaint. The result was a ruling that he bring the utility bills up to date and begin paying his wife $700 a month in temporary support until the case was settled.

Gingrich's behavior was nothing short of abominable, it appears. The man is a hypocrite and a rank opportunist. That his daughter Jackie could write what she wrote also indicates that her own father has fed her a pack of lies. So he is a liar and an adulterer to boot.

But that is not the amazing part. The amazing part is that any conservative worth the name would support such a man to be president of the United States of America. Shame, we say, shame on any conservative that supports Newt Gingrich!

December 28, 2011 by Red State Gal


Dark Elegy: Art Worth Supporting

Red State Feminists are fans of art that both moves one's feelings and helps us see what is usually invisible. One of our favorite pieces of art is Dark Elegy. Never heard of it? You are in for a wonderful discovery.

In order to understand Dark Elegy, you need to remember the Lockerbie bombing, which occurred exactly 23 years ago tonight, December 21, 1988. Pan Am Flight 103 had taken off that evening from London's Heathrow Airport bound for JFK airport in New York. Less than an hour into the flight, over Scotland, a huge bomb exploded, destroying the plane, whose remnants fell into the town of Lockerbie. Counting passengers, crew, and people killed on the ground, 270 people lost their lives. Libya was formally charged with planning the bombing, though there is some credible evidence it might have been an Iranian job.

Suse Lowenstein of Long Island, lost her son, Alexander, who was 21. He was one of the 35 Syracuse University students who were returning on Pan Am 103 from a semester abroad in London. A sculptor, Lowenstein first began to work through her grief by making a sculpture of the moment she learned her own son was dead. She then reached out to other women--mothers, wives, grandmothers--whose loved ones had died in the Lockerbie bombing. Many agreed to recreate that same moment. Inside each scupture is a memento of the beloved dead. Lowenstein now has almost 80 figures in the installation. We urge our readers to explore the website dedicated to publicizing the scupture.

Lowenstein has captured that which is invisible--that with every dead person, there is more than one dead; the one who has died, and his or her mother. We never see what Lowenstein has shown us. We do not see the cost to the women of the death and destruction and hate of our world. We do not truly understand the cost, because this part of the cost is hidden from our view.

Congress denied their petition to make the scupture a commemorative memorial. Congress said the memorial was "too specific" to the Locerbie bombing, and that the poses of the naked women invited irreverent behavior by visitors. Good grief! What we really need is some reality--real depictions of the grief of real women. Lowenstein shows us the truth. We gather that Congress is not into "truth."

Dark Elegy needs a home. If there is someone who is willing to donate land for the placement of this incredible sculpture, contact Lowenstein at She plans to use the money gained from the Libyan restitution to cast each figure in bronze. There is no need for financial donations. What is needed is land.

Red State Feminists hope that Dark Elegy will live on. It is truly one of the most significant pieces of art produced in this country in a long time. Timeless art shows us what we have not been able to see before, but which was always there. We bow our heads in admiration to Suse Lowenstein for her great gift to all of us.

December 21, 2011 by Red State Gal


If Gingrich Can Betray His Wife (Actually, Two of 'Em), He Can Betray His Country

Red State Feminists are rolling their eyes over Newt Gingrich's ascension in the polls. No, i'ts not over his plan to mine the moon of its minerals. It's not over the disastrous role he played in shutting down our government years ago, or the ethics charges against him whie in office. It's over the fact that the guy is a total sleazeball morally. How can the Republican Party, which styles itself as the party of morals, give this literal two-timer (he's cheated on two wives at this point) the time of day?

Oh, but you say--he's repented. Well, sure, we've all met repentant souls before, and while we forgive, we are right to assume that there's a moral weakness there that could flare under certain circumstances--like becoming the leader of the free world with all the power that entails. Remember, Gingrich even had the temerity to be cheating on his wife while trying to impeach Bill Clinton for cheating on his wife! You have to have an extraordinary ability to totally disconnect from reality to do something like that. You'd also have to be completely reckless to assume that no one was going to find out. And why would recklessness and living in unreality be good traits for a president to have?

If you don't know very much about Newt Gingrich, oh, the baggage that man carries! We are all SO DARN TIRED of conservative leaders whose personal lives look like something from the nether regions of Dante's Inferno. Newt has the unpleasant distinction of dumping two wives for young aides he charmed as their boss. UGH. Furthermore, his second wife, Marianne Gingrich, married to him for eighteen years, had just received a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis when she got word he wanted to divorce her. In fact, according to Marianne, "He'd already asked [his now-third wife] to marry him before he asked me for a divorce. Before he even asked." Q: "He told you that?" "Yeah . . . " Not only that, but while Marianne was away visiting relatives, the soon-to-be third wife "was in her apartment, eating off her plates, sleeping in her bed"!

The Esquire interview goes on to relate,

He asked her to just tolerate the affair, an offer she refused.

He'd just returned from Erie, Pennsylvania, where he'd given a speech full of high sentiments about compassion and family values.

The next night, they sat talking out on their back patio in Georgia. She said, "How do you give that speech and do what you're doing?"

"It doesn't matter what I do," he answered. "People need to hear what I have to say. There's no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn't matter what I live."

What a stand-up guy, that Newt! Gosh, he's someone for conservatives to be SO proud of!

And this was no case of temporary insanity. This was actually part of a longstanding pattern. His first wife was in the hospital recovering from uterine cancer when he served her with papers so he could marry Marianne.

When Esquire told her Newt was considering a run for the presidency, Marianne was incredulous. But what she said really hit the nail on the head: "He believes that what he says in public and how he lives don't have to be connected. If you believe that, then yeah, you can run for president."

Well, Newt, true conservatives think that attitude is part of the reason why our nations is going to heck in a handbasket. Red State Feminists are conservatives, but there is no way on earth we would ever vote for an amoral slimeball like Newt Gingrich! Forgiveness, sure . . . forgetting, no way in hell, Mr. Gingrich! You have proved over and over again that you are not fit to be trusted with the things that matter most. American citizens--especially conservatives--actually care what happens to their country, and that means we won't be voting for you, Newt.

"I am not a hypocrite" will go down in history with "I am not a crook." We've learned our lesson, and we are no longer voting for contortionists who try to tell us they are not something that they plainly are. Though it's a terrifying sight to consider, Emperor Newt Gingrich has no clothes on . . .

And while Mitt Romney certainly has drawbacks, let's look at the guy's private life. Totally in love with his first and only wife, Ann, to whom he's been married for 42 years. Five kids who all turned out fine. And he totally stood by Ann when she received the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. We agree with one woman, Connie Schmett, quoted in the newspaper as saying, “If he is not going to abandon his wife, he is not going to abandon his country.”

Dear Newt, we don't care how much you've wowed the Republican wonks. There's not one Red State Feminist in the entire country who would vote for someone as slimy as you have been. We want a president whose personal life isn't going to be a gag on late-night television, or something that we have to talk about in whispers in case the kids are listening, thank you very much. Next to you, Barack Obama looks like a saint, a clean-cut upstanding guy. There's going to be a lot of people--Republicans included--who will hold their nose and vote for Obama because your own odor is just too foul to stand. If you really loved the Republican Party, Newt, you'd bow out of this race and save all conservatives a lot of mortification.

But you won't, will you? And that proves the point, doesn't it? It's all about Newt and what he wants--morals and country be damned . . . Well, get this straight, Newt, Red State Feminists will never back you. Never!

December 13, 2011 by Red State Gal


Gobsmack a Porn Troll Today

Red State Feminists have seen it, and you've seen it, too. Every time a new study comes out that links porn use to acting out in illegal and abhorrent ways, the porn trolls come online to comment. This happened recently in connection with an article entitled, "Link Between Child Porn and Sex Abuse is "Frightening and Powerful."

A study by the Department of Justice is cited. In this study, "up to 80 percent of federal inmates incarcerated for possession, receipt or distribution of child pornography also admitted to hands-on sexual abuse of children, ranging from touching to rape." The article goes on to say that, "The study also found that for every known victim, the convicted sex offenders, responding anonymously, listed dozens more that were unknown. Of the 155 child pornography offenders in the study, investigators knew of 75 victims at the time they were all sentenced. But those offenders reported crimes against a total of 1,777 victims in the course of the study."

Law enforcement officials are also cited: "Ken Wallentine, chief of law enforcement with the attorney general's office, said it was "unusual" for investigators and prosecutors to find a child sex abuse case that didn't originate with or involve child pornography. "Every time we find a child predator, almost without fail you can track back and find that pornography and child pornography was part of the picture," the chief of law enforcement with the Utah Attorney General's Office said. "The links are frightening and they are powerful."

The article even interviews an incarcerated child abuser: "Seager said he'd never touched child pornography until an accidental search of the history on a friend's computer showed him how simple file-sharing was — and how much child pornography there was to access. "It was incredibly easy," he said. "I saw some terrible, terrible things out there and as I kept searching, those things weren't so terrible anymore."

Ah, but then you go to the comments section, where the porn trolls live. These men--for they are all men, and all users of child porn themselves--feel absolutely driven to tell us there is nothing wrong with pornography. Take this "jewel" appended in the comments section of this article:

I find this rather ludicrous and irresponsible fear mongering hate. First they have to define pornography which has never been done and can't be done. Normal human behavior cannot be classified as pornography, at least not be people who still have some sanity and a sane mind. However, this mass induced paranoia can be forced on the unsuspecting to believe what a few want you to believe. Child abuse and pornography have no correlation and its time to put this paranoid idealist to rest. All people have some level of pornographic mind but not all people are child abusers that this man implies. Without a pornographic mind there would be no sex and no sex means no population. It's fine to believe this man if you want to induce population limits and controls but he is a wild card paranoid who hates himself for his own pornographic paranoia.

Uh, sure. Can this porn troll be any more transparent? Apparently, anyone who has ever had sex is a pornographer. So it's totally natural. And if we don't get on board, we won't have any more babies. Riiiiigggghhhhhttttt.

Here's the next porn troll. This one uses the standard sophistry of "there may be a correlation, but it's because those who would abuse children are also attracted to child porn. Child porn itself does not cause abuse. Just a certain personality type is at work." Here's this guy's explanation:

It's chicken and egg thing. Do people become abusers because of child porn or are abusers attracted to child porn? I think the latter is more common. It is like the anti-gun lobby claiming that all people with guns are criminals when in fact most people who have guns never violate. Or saying that water will kill you because all people who have died drank water some time in there lives.Yes, child porn in it's raw form is exploitation of a child, but many legal definitions would make most parents felony violators with that picture of little baby Billy in the buff in the family album. Cases should be based on what the person has done to a victim, not what they haven't done to a victim.

So now all parents are pornographers. So it's totally natural. Yeah.

We must not overlook the archteypal porn user's response. This one always takes the cake:

I could think of a number of things that are 'strongly liked" to sex abuse: breathing, eating, walking, traveling, shopping, driving, etc. Afterall, all sex offenders probably do all of the above. When attempts are made to find cause and effect most times the desired result colors the "research".

Amaaaazing. The link between child porn and child abuse is apparently completely ridiculous, because child abusers also all breathe! The illogic is stunning.

It's time for the mothers of the world to stand up and expose these porn trolls for what they are--utter sleaze bags. Hound them, keep commenting bak at them until they realize that the mothers of our children are not going anywhere, and are not going to give in to the stupidity and evil of the trolls. Show them how tenacious you are, because what they are counting on is that no one will care enough to follow through on efforts to crack down on these sleaze bags. Show them YOU care.

Want to do something to help the children of the world? Gobsmack a porn troll online today. And do it in the name of Red State Feminism.

December7, 2011 by Red State Gal


Canada Got It Right on Polygamy!

Red State Feminists have been eagerly awaiting the ruling of the Supreme Court of British Columbia on whether Canada's ban on polygamy can be considered constitutional. On Thanksgiving Day--how appropriate!--the judge ruled that indeed the ban is constitutional. Why? Because according to the evidence given at the trial, polygamy is inherently harmful to women and children! God bless the Canadians, is all we can say!

The lawsuit was brought by polygamists in British Columbia who view the ban as an unconstitutional infringement on their religious rights. The full decision, which is well worth the time to read, can be found here. The judge notes that the religious argument is not paramount; harm to women and children must be paramount in the eyes of the state: "polygamy is not to be protected by religious freedom, as the practice tends to deprive women and children of their own fundamental rights. "

Indeed, the judge goes even further: "the religiosity of the practice itself exacerbates the harm. The evidence that has emerged from expert and lay witnesses alike indicates that, the greater the religious fervor with which polygamy is intertwined, the more harmful it can expect to be. This is not so with any other case asserting a religious right to do something prohibited."

What about the argument suggesting consenting adults should be allowed to do as they please? The judge rightly rebuts this: "there are activities that are legitimately prohibited even though undertaken by consenting adults, citing duels, fist fights and incest." In fact, were there to be a right to practice polygamy, according to the judge, that would deny others the right to practice it! "The mathematics of polygamy when practiced in an insular or isolated religious society dictate that the right can only be exercised by depriving others who share the same beliefs of the same right." Ha! He's absolutely right, isn't he?

Importantly, the judge details the benefits derived from Canada's ban on polygamy:

The evidence demonstrates that polygamy is associated with very substantial harms. The prevention of these harms is salutary. Some of the beneficial effects of the ongoing prohibition of polygamy include:

a) Increased per-child parental investment, with the expected increase in the mental and physical wellbeing of children overall;

b) Reduced social strife, conflict and crime expected from more uneven distribution of the opportunity to marry;

c) Reduced average age gaps between husbands and wives, increasing equality in marriages;

d) Reduction in sexual predation on young girls;

e) Reducing incentives for male control over women and their reproductive capacity; and

f) Consistency with Canada’s international treaty and legal obligations.

The judge concludes that a ban against polygamy is "demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society." Chief Justice Robert Bauman of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, we in the United States doff our hats to you. Congratulations for your impeccable legal reasoning.

And congratulations to you for providing all of us, Americans included, with the qualitay of legal reasoning necessary to see polygamy for the evil it represents. This decision will give great pause to those polygamist groups in the US looking for their own chance to put forward a religious freedom lawsuit. Now they will have to think again. Hooray for Canada!

November 30, 2011 by Red State Gal


Thankful for the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia

Red State Feminists think about all they are thankful for on the occasion of Thanksgiving 2011. We're thankful for the freedom offered by our constitution. We're thankful for the roof over our heads and the food on our table. We're thankful we live in a land where all ethnicities and religions can live together in relative peace. We're thankful our homeland has been spared the devastation and destruction that has visited other lands. We're thankful for our families, and especially our children, whose goodness and brightness gives us hope for the future. We're grateful to God, who in His infinite mercy, has blessed us all with these good things.

Ad we're grateful for people who actually get up off the couch and do something to make our country better than it currently is. So on this Thanksgiving of 2011, Red State Feminists wish to give a big shout-out of thanks to the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia! Never heard of them, you say? Ah, well, then you are in for a treat.

These days we all talk about how we need more corporate responsibility. But the Sisters go further than talk--they buy $2000 worth of stock of the corporations they believe are behaving badly. This is the minimum amount necessary by law to submit resolutions at public shareholders' meetings of the corporation. The sisters don't use this "nuclear option" unless the chief executives refuse to meet with them. Most do, in order to avoid the public shaming the sisters can inflict at the shareholders' meetings. Their philosophy for corporations? "Social returns as well as financial returns."

For example, in meetings with Goldman Sachs executives, they offered this counsel: Protect consumers, rein in executive pay, increase transparency, and remember the poor. With grocery store chains, they may talk about the situation of farm laborers. With fast food chains, they'll talk about childhood obesity.

Here's some excerpts from an interview the sisters gave the New York Times:

“We’re not here to put corporations down,” Sister Nora said, between bites of broccoli salad. “We’re here to improve their sense of responsibility.”

“People who have done well have a right to their earnings,” added Sister Marijane Hresko, when the topic of executive compensation comes up. “What we’re talking about here is excess, and how much money is enough for any human being.”

Sister Nora nodded. “I can’t exclude people like Lloyd Blankfein from my prayers, because he’s just as much human as I am,” she said. “But we like to move them along the spectrum.”

Move them along the spectrum of humanity . . . we like that very much. We are sure that the Lloyd Blankfeins of the world don't often meet people who tell them to their face that there's more to life than making money. What a great work they are doing in the world, ministering to the poorest in spirit (who also happen to the the richest in worldly good)! This Thanksgiving, lift a glass to the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia . . . long may they be in the business of exhortation!

November 23, 2011 by Red State Gal


A Pledge of Allegiance for Corporations?

Red State Feminists have viewed the Occupy Wall Street issue with both interest and amusement. An example of what has us amused is this sign:

OK, admit it--that's hysterically funny! But more seriously, some interesting ideas have come out of the OWS movement. Even though police are clearing parks and squares of these folks, we have a feeling that the ideas aren't going to be dying out anytime soon. That may, in fact, not bode so well for Red State-ers efforts to put a Republican back in the White House next year. What was ominous was the first blush response by the Republican candidates to OWS--Romney called it "class warfare," and Cain told them to get off their lazy butts and go out and get jobs. Wow--totally out of step with the mood of the country. It was scary to see the Republican candidates fall flat on their face as their first reaction. Of course, their pollsters quickly got them to say different things as quickly as possible. But the fact remains clear: unless the Republican candidates can come up with some ideas to tap into the "pitchfork" attitude of much of the country, we'll wind up with another 4 years of Barack Obama. And that is not what we want.

So when Robert Reich came up with the idea of a Corporate Pledge of Allegiance as an idea for the OWS protesters, we Red State Feminists thought it would be a pretty darn good idea for the Republican candidates to pick up on. If you haven't seen the Corporate Pledge, here it is:

The Corporate Pledge of Allegiance to the United States

The [fill in blank] company pledges allegiance to the United States of America. To that end:

We pledge to create more jobs in the United States than we create outside the United States, either directly or in our foreign subsidiaries and subcontractors.

If we have to lay off American workers, we will give them severance payments equal to their weekly wage times the number of months they’ve worked for us.

We further pledge that no more than 20 percent of our total labor costs will be outsourced abroad.

We pledge to keep a lid on executive pay so no executive is paid more than 50 times the median pay of American workers. We define “pay” to include salary, bonuses, health benefits, pension benefits, deferred salary, stock options, and every other form of compensation.

Gosh. That's pretty simple, but it surely taps into the concerns of Americans that US corporations have lost sight of what an economy is for--to keep American on its feet and strong, its children fed and educated, its borders secure. It seems to us Red State Feminists that this is an idea that would show average Americans that the Republican candidates were looking out for all Americans, and not just their wealthy campaign donors. So here's a challenge, especially to the frontrunner, Mitt Romney, who made hs fortune with a vulture capital firm--Support the Corporate Pedge of Allegiance. Support social responsbility on the part of American corporations. If the Republican candidates will but do that, there will be a landslide in 2012 . . . and a new president in the White House.

And if the Repbublican candidates are unwilling, they condemn all of us to 4 more years of Barack Obama.

November 13, 2011 by Red State Gal


Time for the Pitchforks; Time for Jail

Red State Feminists have watched the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon with interest. It's pretty amorphous at this point, but it's probably time something like this happened. The reason?

To understand the reason, you have to go back to when Obama first took office, and had his first meeting with the Wall Street tycoons. He told them, "I'm all that's standing between you and the pitchforks." He was trying to impress them with the fact that if they didn't become better citizens, they'd all be thrown in jail.

Problem was--there were no pitchforks out in 2009. Everyone was still reeling from the layoffs and the body blow to one's savings. Obama's threat was hollow. No indictments for destroying the economy were forthcoming. No one was going to go to jail. Even the Tea Party, whose dominant emotion seemed to be anger, apparently wasn't angry at Wall Street, but only Washington.

But we've all had time to stem our panic and adjust to our new, lower expectations for our lives. We have time to think; we also have time to read. And the statistics that are coming out make people mad. Sure, mad at Washington for being toothless, but much more mad at Wall Street for destroying our free market economy and helping to destroy our democracy.

Let's take a look at some of the facts. Here's the first fact for your consumption:

Five banks that received federal bailout funds during the financial crisis didn't pay income taxes for one or more years between 2008 and 2010, according to an iWatch News analysis of a new study of tax dodgers. Wells Fargo & Co., Goldman Sachs Group, PNC Financial Services Group, Capital One Financial Inc. and State Street Corp. were among 78 of America’s largest and most profitable corporations that managed to avoid paying income tax in at least one of those years. Researchers looked at 280 corporations that reported total pretax U.S. profits of $1.4 trillion. The federal corporate tax code “ostensibly requires big corporations to pay a 35 percent corporate income tax rate, on average, the 280 corporations in our study paid only about half that amount.” All five financial institutions named were profitable, but still received funds in the form of stock purchases from the Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program. Wells Fargo received the greatest benefit among all 280 companies studied. If the bank were assessed at the usual 35 percent corporate income tax rate, it would have paid the IRS nearly $18 billion, the study said. The banking giant paid no taxes in 2009.

Here's the next fact, from the Congressional Budget Office:

In its report, the budget office found that from 1979 to 2007, average inflation-adjusted after-tax income grew by 275 percent for the 1 percent of the population with the highest income. For others in the top 20 percent of the population, average real after-tax household income grew by 65 percent. By contrast, the budget office said, for the poorest fifth of the population, average real after-tax household income rose 18 percent. And for the three-fifths of people in the middle of the income scale, the growth in such household income was just under 40 percent.

And here's another installment of fact:

Goldman Sachs, which received more subsidies and bailout-related funds than any other investment bank because the Federal Reserve permitted it to become a bank holding company under its “emergency situation,” has used billions in taxpayer money to enrich itself and reward its top executives. It handed its senior employees a staggering $18 billion in 2009, $16 billion in 2010 and $10 billion in 2011 in mega-bonuses. This massive transfer of wealth upwards by the Bush and Obama administrations, now estimated at $13 trillion to $14 trillion, went into the pockets of those who carried out fraud and criminal activity rather than the victims who lost their jobs, their savings and often their homes.

Goldman Sachs is able to carry out its malfeasance at home and in global markets because it has former officials filtered throughout the government and lavishly funds compliant politicians—including Barack Obama, who received $1 million from employees at Goldman Sachs in 2008 when he ran for president. These politicians, in return, permit Goldman Sachs to ignore security laws that under a functioning judiciary system would see the firm indicted for felony fraud. And it was all done so a few corporate oligarchs, the 1 percent, could make personal fortunes in the tens and hundreds of millions of dollars. Despite a damning 650-page Senate subcommittee investigation report, no individual at Goldman Sachs has been indicted, although the report accuses Goldman of defrauding its clients.

Goldman Sachs unloaded billions in worthless securities to its clients, decimating 401(k)s, pension and mutual funds. The firm misled investors about the true nature of these worthless securities, insisted the securities they were pushing on their clients were sound, and hid the material fact that, simultaneously, they were betting against these same securities—$2 billion against just one of their deals. The firm then had the gall to extort from its victims—us—to make good on its bets when the global economy it helped trash lost $40 trillion in worldwide wealth and huge insurance firms were unable to cover their bad debts.

Speculators like those in Goldman Sachs—who in the 17th century when speculation was a crime would have been hanged—must be prevented by law from again destroying our economy, preying on ordinary citizens, hoarding food so the poor starve and running our political process. We are paying for these crimes—not those who orchestrated perhaps the most massive fraud in human history. Our teachers, police, firefighters and public employees are losing their jobs so speculators like Blankfein can make an estimated $250,000 a day. Working men and women are losing their homes and going into personal bankruptcy because they cannot pay their medical bills. Our unemployed, far closer to 20 percent than the official 9 percent, are in deep distress all so a criminal class . . . can wallow in luxury with mansions and yachts and swollen bank accounts.

Red State Feminists are appalled. The Wall Street tycoons aren't free market capitalists--they are crony capitalists. They are like the casino owners, and the rest of us are the suckers. They own the joint--literally. And they apparently also own the Congress, the President, and the executive branch.

Red State Feminists are no socialists. We want free market capitalism. We just no longer think we have that in the USA. The rule of law has been suspended so that that the big operators can continue to haul in the cash. And when they can't haul in the cash due to their own greedy stupidity, then it's the little fellow who is going to have to pay their bills for them. That's just wrong. If Obama wants to be re-elected, or if Mitt Romney want to be elected, they'd better start telling the American people that some of these crooks are going to jail. Let's start with Lloyd Blankfein, shall we? $250,000 a DAY???

November 6, 2011 by Red State Gal


Orrin Hatch's Disgrace: David Nuffer and Warren Jeffs

(Note: Guest blogger Rebecca Kimbel, DTM, joins Red State Feminists again today.)

Brenda Lei Fischer was given to Warren Jeffs as a 12 year old bride. She was raped in the FLDS temple as assistants and onlookers participated in the child molesting ritual. She and several other girls were impregnated by Jeffs. How did Brenda Lei get into the hands of notorious Warren Jeffs? Brenda Lei had one chance for a normal life, but it slipped away when Attorney David Ogden Nuffer shattered the hopes of her blood relatives who fought to keep their nieces and nephews from being adopted into a polygamist family after their mother died of cancer.  Attorney David Nuffer was paid by the FLDS to represent Vaughn Fischer, an FLDS polygamist who had recently claimed Brenda’s mother as his third wife after FLDS leader Rulon Jeffs "gave" her to him. Fischer thus became Brenda's "stepfather."

It is this same David Nuffer who has been championed by Orrin Hatch to be appointed to the Federal 5th District Court.

In the trial over the custody of Fischer's stepchildren, attorney David Nuffer painted a squeaky clean fairy tale image of “Christian qualities” of polygamy. The children's aunt (sister to the dead woman) argued that the children would be harmed by living in a polygamist household, especially since the girls would be expected to marry as child brides. Astoundingly, the Utah Supreme Court was persuaded by Nuffer. Following the Utah Supreme Court decision to allow the Fischers to adopt all six of the children,  David Nuffer spoke of his success in helping polygamists adopt. He is quoted as saying, “It’s a decision that speaks of freedom." Freedom for Fischer and the FLDS, no doubt. Freedom for those little girls and boys? Freedom for 12 year old Brenda? Those issues were not uppermost in Nuffer's mind.

Polygamists--with Nuffer’s help--took a giant step in being free to do as they wished without public interference. But freedom as America’s know it was lost forever from the lives of the six adopted children. They were not allowed contact with their blood family. None of them finished high school, one was traumatically abused and became a “lost boy”, two were given as under aged brides to other polygamists, all were given away in assigned marriages and the oldest nephew received several wives as rewards for his cooperation in the court proceedings. All of these children were sentenced to a life of blind obedience and fear, serving and believing in a blood thirsty God who would destroy them for turning away from polygamy or its leaders. Wayne Alan Thornton Fischer, who became Brenda Lei’s fathre due to David Nuffer's courtroom sucess, gave 12 year old Brenda Lei to Warren Jeffs, in order to “strengthen his own position” with God’s prophet.

Who is responsible for perpetuating this enslaving ignorance? Attorney David Nuffer is an educated man. He has had many dealings and business deals with the FLDS. He has been paid handsomely by the FLDS for his time. Janet Johanson said the sum of money paid to Nuffer exceeds $600,000.00. (Janet is Brenda Lei’s aunt, one who couldn’t save her nieces and nephews.)

David Ogden Nuffer has now been nominated for US Federal 5th District Court--indeed, he may already have been appointed. He vowed to uphold the laws of the United States. He knew polygamy is against the law, but chose to ignore that fact and sentence those children to a life of human slavery. Why was this man even nominated to a federal court position? And why would Orrin Hatch be his champion? Could it be that the lives of women and children in polygamy do not matter to these high and mighty men who have "more important" things to do?'

Orrin Hatch is a disgrace for championing an amoral man like David Nuffer. And the Senate Judiciary Committee no doubt has not even heard what David Nuffer did to 12 year old Brenda . . . one can only hope that if they had known, they would never have approved such a man to uphold the law of the land. Nuffer has already shown that he has no integrity in that regard.

When people accept the idea that is right to deprive part of the population of their rights because of gender, age, race or creed, freedom itself becomes fragile. It is only a matter of time until some narcissist decides other men aren’t worthy of freedom. Freedom of religion is never justification to take freedom from others. It is never an excuse for human bondage, child molestation, and sex trafficking. Was David Nuffer actually “snowed” by these polygamists? Probably not. $600,000 speaks loudly, doesn't it? Thanks a lot, Orrin Hatch, for inflicting a man like David Nuffer on the people of the 5th District.

October 31, 2011 by Rebecca Kimbel


Ronan and His Dragon Mom

Red State Feminists were deeply moved by an essay recently published by the New York Times entitled "Notes from a Dragon Mom," by Emily Rapp. Not only is the essay moving, but it causes one to think, really think, about the purpose of human existence.

Meant as a riff off the recent "Tiger Mother" phenomena, where a Chinese-American mother details how she whipped her daughters into shape through a combination of tough love and what appears to be abusive treatment, the Dragon Mom is not gearing up her 18 month old son Ronan for a glorious and successful future. She is prearing him for death: Ronan has Tay-Sachs disease, which went undiagnosed by genetic testing (twice, no less: this soul was coming with Tay-Sachs, no matter what). Ronan is likely to die around age 3.

Rapp notes that American parenting is quite future-oriented; we want to maximize our child's IQ, starting in utero. We are already planning for after-school lessons before they are even born. What the parenting books don't cover is that some children do not have a future, as we commonly understand it.

It may be that our child is born with severe autism, and we may never truly know them, or they us, and they may never be able to take care of themselves or function in society. That is a kind of death for a parent's heart. And then there are cases like Ronan's, where the child will die at a young age, with no cure to stop the inevitable progression of the disease or condition. There is not only no normal future, there is no future at all, except to sit by a small tombstone for the rest of your life and wonder what might have been.

Is that really all? A complete, gratuitous waste? Would Ronan, or a severely autistic child, have been better off if their parents had chosen abortion?

Well, here is where we get into some deep waters. Let us first listen to Rapp:

But I have abandoned the future, and with it any visions of Ronan’s scoring a perfect SAT or sprinting across a stage with a Harvard diploma in his hand. We’re not waiting for Ronan to make us proud. We don’t expect future returns on our investment. We’ve chucked the graphs of developmental milestones and we avoid parenting magazines at the pediatrician’s office. Ronan has given us a terrible freedom from expectations, a magical world where there are no goals, no prizes to win, no outcomes to monitor, discuss, compare.

But the day-to-day is often peaceful, even blissful. This was my day with my son: cuddling, feedings, naps. He can watch television if he wants to; he can have pudding and cheesecake for every meal. We are a very permissive household. We do our best for our kid, feed him fresh food, brush his teeth, make sure he’s clean and warm and well rested and ... healthy? Well, no. The only task here is to love, and we tell him we love him, not caring that he doesn’t understand the words. We encourage him to do what he can, though unlike us he is without ego or ambition.

Ronan won’t prosper or succeed in the way we have come to understand this term in our culture; he will never walk or say “Mama,” and I will never be a tiger mom. The mothers and fathers of terminally ill children are something else entirely. Our goals are simple and terrible: to help our children live with minimal discomfort and maximum dignity. We will not launch our children into a bright and promising future, but see them into early graves. We will prepare to lose them and then, impossibly, to live on after that gutting loss. This requires a new ferocity, a new way of thinking, a new animal. We are dragon parents: fierce and loyal and loving as hell. Our experiences have taught us how to parent for the here and now, for the sake of parenting, for the humanity implicit in the act itself, though this runs counter to traditional wisdom and advice.

I would walk through a tunnel of fire if it would save my son. I would take my chances on a stripped battlefield with a sling and a rock à la David and Goliath if it would make a difference. But it won’t. I can roar all I want about the unfairness of this ridiculous disease, but the facts remain. What I can do is protect my son from as much pain as possible, and then finally do the hardest thing of all, a thing most parents will thankfully never have to do: I will love him to the end of his life, and then I will let him go.

But today Ronan is alive and his breath smells like sweet rice. I can see my reflection in his greenish-gold eyes. I am a reflection of him and not the other way around, and this is, I believe, as it should be. This is a love story, and like all great love stories, it is a story of loss. Parenting, I’ve come to understand, is about loving my child today. Now. In fact, for any parent, anywhere, that’s all there is.

She is right--no matter how normal, how beautiful, how talented, how wonderful our children are . . . they are all going to die. We may not be around to see it in the flesh, but our children will die.

Ronan's Dragon Mom just has to make sense of it sooner than some of the rest of us. Does the worth of our child rest in their healthiness? Does the worth of our child rest in accomplishments we believe they will perform in their life? Is the worth of our chld to be measured by their IQ? For all of it, in the end, is dust in the wind. Our children will be dust in the wind.

What Ronan has given his Dragon Mom is the truth--our children are of infinite worth, even if they come in broken bodies or with broken minds, even if they only breathe for a few minutes before they pass on. I like to believe that Ronan's mom would not have aborted him if the genetic testing would have identified his illness before birth. I am not going to ask, because I know the culturally accepted solution would have been to abort him. I choose to believe that Ronan's mom would have ambraced him from the start, even if she had known.

For Ronan has given his mother a pearl of great price--the knowledge of the truth of love, and the truth of life. She is free now, because of Ronan. He must love her very much to have been willing to offer such a hard-bought gift.

But there is more to the truth that sets us free . . . and that is the truth that beyond this life, Ronan and his mother will be together forever, in bodies with no flaw. They will walk the galaxies hand in hand, and they will be glad they were true to each other in the short expanse of time we call mortal life.

Here's our prayer for Ronan and his Dragon Mom: May they love each other without condition, now and for eternity. And may their story quicken the hearts of everyone in our culture, and help them to rethink the purpose, the meaning, and the value of life.

October 19, 2011 by Red State Gal


The Nobel Peace Prize Winners of 2011

Red State Feminists were thrilled to learn that the Nobel Peace Prize of 2011 went to three brave, immovable women. They are Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, currently the president of Liberia, Leymah Gbowee of Liberia (immortalized in the film Pray the Devil Back to Hell), and the Yemeni feminist and anti-government activist Tawakkul Karman. Here's CNN's photo of them:

These are some amazing women, and the Nobel committee was right to honor them. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, an economist trained in America who was imprisoned by the military regime, returned to her country to campaign as a woman. Yes, she did not try to imitate the men; she called upon the women and men of Liberia to elect her because she was not a man. Why? Because the men of the country had turned it into a charnal house of slaughter, rape, and pillage. She told the electorate that as a mother and grandmother, she could heal the wounds of war in a way that no male politician could. And she has made extraordinary efforts to live up to her promises.

Leymah Gbowee was one of the incredibly brave Liberian women who refused to let the warlords of that country continue their rampage. She and the other women of Liberia shamed the men by baring their bodies, and then formed a human chain outside of the room where the peace negotiations were being held. They told the warlords that they would not be let out of the room until they made peace. Rarely have we seen this kind of event--where the women of the country have stood up to the worst of the men and said, "Enough! We will have no more of this! Stop this, so that all of us, especially our children, will live in peace!"

Tawakkul Karman has been an out-of-place gadfly for many years. Being a feminist in Yemen is like being a vegan in a meat-packing plant. Little girls can be married off as young as 7 or 8; yes, this is the country that Nujood Ali hails from. Women are routinely forced into marriages, forced to drop out of school, and have very few rights in marriage or in society. Karman is the first Arab woman and the youngest person to win this prize, being only 32 years of age. When the women of Yemen attempted to rally in her honor in the capital city, they were attacked by men. Of course.

The Nobel committee is very political, of course--remember the 2009 Peace Prize for Barack Obama? How embarrassing. But this year, the committee's politics are right--Red State Feminists believe the committee is trying to tell women to stand up. That they are more powerful than they believe they are. That by women saying, "Enough!" and by women entering politics in order to change the dysfunctional world around them, that the world will become a saner, more peaceful place.

And so we doff our hats to Leymah Gbowee, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, and Tawakkul Karman--may God bless you for your example, and your strength! To echo the title of Gbowee's memoir, "Mighty Be Your Powers!"

October 11, 2011 by Red State Gal


Anna Rexia for Halloween?

Red State Feminists were aghast to discover that apparently our country's craze about Halloween has hit a new low. Apparently, one store sells a costume called "Anna Rexia." Yes, that's right--you can be Anna Rexia for Halloween. Here is what you will look like:

Yes, you can be a curvaceous blonde with a skeleton on your torso, complete with a measuring tape around your waist.

The store has since pulled the costume off its website due to the outcry from folks who view the costume on a par with being able to dress up like "cancer" or "leprosy" for Halloween. Anorexia is not a laughing matter. Anorexia is a horrible disease, and by no means is it sexy or funny. THIS is what anorexia looks like:

It is a very difficult road back to any semblance of health for these unfortunate young women, and many of them simply don't make it. Their bodies have been so starved that major damage to organ systems sets in. The death rate for anorexia is 20%. Of course, what makes it all so cruel is that as these young women lose weight, their friends will tell them how "great" they look and how envious they are of them.

The sickness, of course, is emblematic of how sick our culture makes young women. We tell them the only power they have is their sexual allure, and we tell them that allure is directly correlated with how thin they are. Models are airbrushed to be thinner than reality, and our girls see these fake images and take them for realistic goals. Of course they are not realistic--they are sadistic.

Dove has been running a campaign to get images of real women's bodies in the media, to correct the false conceptions out there. Want to see what a real woman looks like? Here's an example from the Dove ads:

What can we do as parents to help our girls reject a false and sick reality? I know that one important thing is for their mothers to model body acceptance. Mothers need to accept their own bodies if their daughters have any hope of accepting theirs. We must define beauty for our girls that does not include unreality. We must refuse to buy our girls the magazines that glamorize unhealthiness. And maybe we should even adopt the standards recommended by eating disorder specialists--no young woman should be able to work as a model if she is clinically underweight, with a BMI of less than 18.5.

Will the fashion industry police itself? Unlikely. Here's an excellent article detailing the fashion's industry's failure to instigate healthy change. This is clearly one area where government regulation is called for. The consequences for our daughters are simply too dire for society to ignore.

October 2, 2011 by Red State Gal


Thanks for "A Message to Women From a Man"

Red State Feminists stumbled across a very interesting blogpost entitled, "A Message to Women From a Man: You Are Not 'Crazy,'" written by someone who called themselves Yashar. A lot of other people have apparently stumbled upon it, too, because it has almost 40,000 Facebook likes at this point. The writer's main thesis is that women are very susceptible to being "gaslighted" because of prevalent cultural views of women as being less emotionally self-controlled than men.

[First, it is probably worth mentioning that these prevalent cultural views are off the wall. Think about it: which gender do we identify with the term "road rage"? Which gender is more likely to blow away their spouse and children when their spouse wants a divorce? Which gender do they have to send the SWAT teams after more, for being holed up in their house with an AK-47? What percentage of murders and assaults are committed by each gender? Point made. Why anyone would equate the male gender with emotional self-control is beyond me.]

Back to gaslighting. One of Ingrid Bergman's first films was Gaslighting, about a naive young woman married to an unscrupulous man. He wants to send her off to an insane asylum so he can steal her inheritance. He begins by having the lights (gas-powered; this is an old movie) flicker, and then when she says something, he tells her she is just imagining things. He gets her to doubt her own sanity, which makes her silent and compliant to his wishes. His plot is foiled in the end, but the term "gaslight" as a verb has come to mean someone trying to gain power over another person by convincing them that they are crazy.

The blogpost writer suggests that society condones the gaslighting of women. Because, as we have seen, society erroneously labels women as "overly emotional," women are much more susceptible to being gaslighted than men--although you can certainly gaslight a man, too. And those who wish to manipulate women know that society will nod in agreement as they gaslight one. Here's how the writer opens his post:

You’re so sensitive. You’re so emotional. You’re defensive. You’re overreacting. Calm down. Relax. Stop freaking out! You’re crazy! I was just joking, don’t you have a sense of humor? You’re so dramatic. Just get over it already!

Sound familiar?

If you’re a woman, it probably does.

Do you ever hear any of these comments from your spouse, partner, boss, friends, colleagues, or relatives after you have expressed frustration, sadness, or anger about something they have done or said?

When someone says these things to you, it’s not an example of inconsiderate behavior. When your spouse shows up half an hour late to dinner without calling—that’s inconsiderate behavior. A remark intended to shut you down like, “Calm down, you’re overreacting,” after you just addressed someone else’s bad behavior, is emotional manipulation—pure and simple.

Interesting. What is more interesting is the effect it has: "Whether gaslighting is conscious or not, it produces the same result: it renders some women emotionally mute." I have seen this. I have seen women told so constantly that their emotional reactions are inappropriate--when they are not--that these women start accepting any type of treatment without resistance. They get a glazed look in their eye, like someone who has been told over and over again that they are crazy. You can see that they begin to think they cannot trust anything that they feel or think.

The blogger continues:

These women aren’t able to clearly express to their spouses that what is said or done to them is hurtful. They can’t tell their boss that his behavior is disrespectful and prevents them from doing their best work. They can’t tell their parents that, when they are being critical, they are doing more harm than good.

When these women receive any sort of push back to their reactions, they often brush it off by saying, “Forget it, it’s okay.”

That “forget it” isn’t just about dismissing a thought, it is about self-dismissal. It’s heartbreaking.

No wonder some women are unconsciously passive aggressive when expressing anger, sadness, or frustration. For years, they have been subjected to so much gaslighting that they can no longer express themselves in a way that feels authentic to them.

They say, “I’m sorry,” before giving their opinion. In an email or text message, they place a smiley face next to a serious question or concern, thereby reducing the impact of having to express their true feelings.

You know how it looks: “You’re late :)”

These are the same women who stay in relationships they don’t belong in, who don’t follow their dreams, who withdraw from the kind of life they want to live.

Wow. He is right. We know these women. Once upon a time, we've all been those women. I remember reading an article that suggests that when married women force themselves to never get angry at their spouse, they are much more likely to die of a heart attack than women who express anger at their spouse. It's the self-silencing of how we really feel that kills us, even as it chokes off our voices--our voices that might raise important issues that should be urgently attended to by our society. Injustice can reign when the voices of women expressing deeply held and appropriately outraged emotions cannot be heard. How is that good for society?

As a man, the blogger reflects on how this situation came about. He says something very interesting: "When [men] are discouraged in our youth and early adulthood from expressing emotion, it causes many of us to remain steadfast in our refusal to express regret when we see someone in pain from our actions."

Actually, that's pretty profound. It is not just the way we socialize women, but also the way we socialize men that is at fault here. As mothers and fathers, we have a lot of work to do to ensure that the rising generation doesn't embrace toxic conceptions of what a man is or what a woman is.

A tip of the hat to this blogger . . . share the article with your significant other, and with your sons and daughters. Red State Feminists guarantee it will spark an important conversation.

September 25, 2011 by Red State Gal


Pat Robertson's Heart--and God's

Red State Feminists have previously bemoaned the seeming inability of self-styled men of God to behave as God would want them to--such as keeping their flies zipped. But at least in public they have preached what many would view as a Christian line.

But last week, Pat Robertson announced to his 700 Club viewers that since Alzheimer's Disease is a kind of death, it would be all right to divorce your spouse with Alzheimer's and begin another relationship. After all, Robertson opines, one's marriage vows say "until death do you part." From what we can tell, he was stating that if you are going to find companionship elsewhere, you ought to do it in a way that cannot be construed as adultery.

Or can it? We Red State Feminists are having a hard time seeing how divorce and widowhood are the same thing. After all, if there really was a death, you'd be a widow, right? You wouldn't have to file for divorce.

Isn't Alzheimer's just another fatal illness? What if your sweetheart lapsed into a coma? Do you divorce them? What if the doctor told you your sweetheart had only 6 months to live? Do you divorce them in anticipation of death? What if your sweetheart became completely paralyzed--would that be a kind of death, too?

Preachers are fond of warning us about the slippery slope of ethics. Wink at a white lie now and you may feel justified in winking at a big lie later on. Downplay the evil of porn and then find yourself downplaying the evils of sex trafficking and prostitution. Condone unrestricted abortion and then euthanasia may be the next frontier.

Sure seems like Robertson has slid down that slippery slope with pre-death divorce. What's ironic is that apparently he also said, "Get some ethicist besides me to give you the answer." I thought that was Robertson's job? Being a spiritual guide?

Marriage vows also say, "in sickness and in health." Alzheimer's is no picnic--caregivers have very high rates of anxiety, depression, and physical health effects from caring for a spouse with that disease. But sometimes we are asked to carry crosses . . . in emulation of the Master. The only way it is possible to carry a cross is if you love, and love deeply.

Robertson's opinion could be dismissed as just a blip. But it is such a telling blip. A Christian preacher, known for a more conservative interpretation of scripture, believes that divorcing a living spouse because they have a fatal illness is OK by God. Wow. That's gotta be one of those signs of the time, wouldn't you say? Something about men becoming lovers of their own selves, hard-hearted, lifted up in their hearts that God will justify whatever they feel to do?

Mr. Robertson, what would Jesus do?

September 21, 2011 by Red State Gal


Guest Blogger Rebecca Kimbel: Rebuttal to Polygamist Propaganda

Note: Red State Feminists welcome guest blogger Rebecca Kimbel (MscD, DTM) this week.

Polygamy is an adult choice?

We polygamist born children were taught from birth we had to live polygamy or lose our salvation. Only polygamists were accepted on our family, our society and by our God. To not live polygamy was to be damned. Our choice in marriage was confined to polygamy. Some had a choice between one of two older married men to be “spiritually” married to, but choosing any man outside of the polygamist culture was not a choice.

If we chose not to live polygamy, the basic doctrine of our “religion” said we would be “destroyed”and blood atonement to save our souls was sanctioned by God, even if the leaders chose not to carry it out. Some of us, like myself, had friends and family murdered in the name of “blood atonement”, the same blood atonement all fundamentalists’ polygamists include as the word of their “prophets”. To choose to not be obedient can be a dangerous choice in fundamentalist Mormon and Islamic polygamy.

There is no adult choice. Children are indoctrinated with fear to force them into polygamy.

Polygamy is voluntarily maintained?

Women stayed in polygamy because we had children when we were children. We were never allowed to think for ourselves or to learn to provide for ourselves, yet we had a houseful of children to provide for. Many women stay in bad marriages because they can’t support their children. Polygamist women have a double problem; few of them know how to support themselves. They stay because they don’t know any other way to survive and keep their children. Most of them are threatened if they try to leave and take their children. Fundamentalist polygamists teach that the children belong to the men.

Single mothers are often attracted to polygamy, believing it will be easier to provide for their children with the help of a sister wife. What they fail to realize is that the number of children to provide and care for will increase, not diminish. The emotional, financial and educational rescores will diminish. This attributes to the fact that polygamist women by percentage do not live as long as other women. Is this “voluntarily” maintained life style what they want to decriminalize as an adult choice?

There is no adult choice. The glue that binds them together is poverty and fear. They don’t believe they have a choice. The pathetic reality finds that those enslaved by fear soon perpetuate the same lack of choice onto their own children. Those who don’t understand this have not experienced the devastation and the life style most polygamist women experience. Polygamy is not an adult choice. When CHILDREN are indoctrinated with fear from birth to accept polygamy and have CHILDREN, to perpetuate polygamy. The fact that it involves the lives of CHILDREN makes it NOT AN ADULT CHOICE. The non coerced adult choices in polygamy are the male converts who have not been indoctrinated, but see an opportunity to expand their narcissistic behavior. If they are married, their wife has one choice; accept polygamy or be abandoned. For the wife, it is not an adult choice. It is a coercive threat.

The statement that men can choose another sex partner if one wife is unwilling, is a side show to distract attention away from what is going on in the main tent of polygamy’s “circus”. In the main tent, he always has all the sex he wants. Women are the ones who are lonely and unfulfilled. He is not a lover, he’s a breeder. He cares only about his own satisfaction. In his mind he’s a “cowboy” who thinks an eight second ride makes him a champion. Women are capable and entitled to sexual fulfillment but that’s against his religion. Fundamentalists teach women that sex is for propagation only. We were taught that it must be accomplished without lust. ( We were too uneducated to know that was a physical impossibility). His needs are “God’s commandments”, her needs are “weaknesses to over come”.

All humans find it stressful and emotionally painful to share their mate. Narcissistic men force women to share their mate, but they would never tolerate it for themselves. Women are not sexually inferior. If men had the sexual capacity of women, polygamist men would be prostitutes instead of polygamists. Polygamists justify their breeding practices by blaming the nature of bulls in cattle breeding. If they want to blame nature they should check out the life of a male sea horse. He is the one who carries the baby sea horses. Check out the black widow and the praying mantis. Some species have a built in responsibilities that go with breeding. Blaming animal behavior for human behavior is greed justified through ignorance. The right to breed carries a responsibility. Polygamy produces lots of people, but comparatively few responsible adults.

Polygamy offers career and a sister wife to help with the children?

The odds of a career for a polygamist woman are rare indeed unless you consider working as a cashier, house maid, or any other low paying job a career. I’ve seen many polygamist women work out of the home for long hours and little money and return to a home bulging with children where they try to fill in the gaps of motherhood which couldn’t be filled by the exhausted sister wife who tried to manage on the domestic front.

The economy of everyone living in the same house is not an asset of polygamy. Go down to a day care center and spend the day. Imagine four or five times more children in the room than were actually there. If you can imagine this, you get some idea of the joys of polygamy. My mother moved into a chicken coop with no heat, in Utah, because she had to be alone (with her six children). Massive numbers of people in the same quarters is difficult at best.

Polygamy does NOT help financially; on the contrary, it creates poverty. It is a financial disaster for the family and the nation. Polygamy creates an unusually high percentage of demands for Government funds, bankruptcies, and other means of assistance. Polygamy produces more children than it supports. In all countries where polygamy flourishes, poverty isn’t far behind.

Most polygamist women are poor. The big houses you see on TV don’t compute with the income levels. Follow the money trail and prepare your self for a shock.

Polygamy is a “pyramid” scheme. The one at the top is wealthy and the wealth spreads out and dwindles down, diminishing as it goes, until it reaches the wide base at the bottom which consists primarily of women and children who live below the national poverty level. Yet they are the base, the foundation upon which the pyramid stands. They are the means of its expansion. Women constantly produce more workers, tithe payers and believers into the system.

The one at the top (the prophet) receives 10% tithing from the wages of each person below him, plus the dedicated free labor they donate to ( him) God. Followers are encouraged to build their homes on church land ( held in title by the prophet, not the parishioners) and many also create businesses on church land, which puts them in a position of great lose if they question authority. Many men have lost their wives, children, homes and land when the “prophet” finds them “unworthy”.

Polygamy is a system that “fleeces its own sheep”, becomes a parasite to government coffers and violates the human rights America stands for. Polygamy is not a democracy. It is a dictatorship. When you are told you have freedom of choice and blind obedience, you can be sure your choices will be limited to what they tell you to do.

Polygamy and freedom don’t exist together. One inhibits the other and that fact remains true in every culture, every nation and in any century.

The concept that “traditional norms” of historical and modern polygamy, should vary across continents or centuries, is incorrect.

Polygamy carries the same percentage of dysfunction regardless of its place in geography or history. One fact of cause and effect remains constant; the degree of abuse is always in direct proportion to the degree of distance between the powerful and the powerless. Polygamy ALWAYS has a higher percentage of abuse than monogamy because it is a system based on inequality. In all human relationships, those who have no equality receive more abuse. This fact alone creates more abuse in polygamy.

Polygamy is notorious for propaganda. Propaganda and truth are not the same. Knowing the difference can determine your freedom or the loss of it. Our nation would be wise to educate itself about polygamy.

September 10, 2011 by Rebecca Kimbel, Guest Blogger


The Old New Problem of Teen Pregnancy: A Comment on Our Sexual Wasteland

Red State Feminists read an article not too long ago that got us thinking. It's by Gerry Garibaldi, and is entitled, "Nobody Gets Married Any More, Mister." The piece itself is heartbreaking--the story of a teacher in an urban Connecticut high school who tells of his best female students getting pregnant. He speaks mostly of Nicole, the bright 15 year old he thought was bright enough to go to college:

Then one morning, her head dropped again. I rapped my knuckles on her desk. “Leave me alone, mister,” she said. “I feel sick.” There was a sly exchange of looks among the other girls in class, a giggle or two, and then one of them said: “She’s pregnant, Mr. Garibaldi.” She lifted her face and smiled at her friends, then dropped her head back down. I picked up my grimy metal garbage can and set it beside her desk, just in case. A moment later she vomited, and I dispatched her to the nurse. In the years since, I’ve escorted girls whose water has just broken, their legs trembling and wobbly, to the principal’s office, where their condition barely raises an eyebrow.

The young father told Garibaldi he had no intention of marrying the mother of his child. The girl, in turn, said she didn't care if he helped out or not, she was keeping the baby. Nicole's mother and grandmother before her got pregnant as unmarried teens, and Nicole looks up to them. The girls tell him, "Nobody gets married any more, mister."

With few exceptions, we know a lot about this girl's fate. As Garibaldi points out, Nicole's mother and grandmother work at low wage jobs--more than one--so that they can barely make ends meet. Because her mother has to work at night, she was not there to stop Nicole from going out with boys and not coming home unil all hours of the morning. Nicole's mother is bone-tired and poor, and she cannot offer Nicole the kind of security and discipline that she could if she were making a better wage.

And Nicole's baby boy? Garibaldi cites some statistics he assigned Nicole to look up:

From the FBI: 63 percent of all suicides are individuals from single-parent households. From the Centers for Disease Control: 75 percent of adolescents in chemical-dependency hospitals come from single-parent households. From the Children’s Defense Fund: more than half of all youths incarcerated for criminal acts come from single-parent households. And so on.

But there is something Garibaldi cannot crack. Nicole knows that men do not want to be partners with women--she knows that men want sex without any commitment. And she knows something else--"As much as Nicole is aware of her mother’s sacrifices, she is equally proud of her mother’s choice to keep her. It’s locked away in her heart like a cameo." The only love she has ever known has come in the context of motherhood. Her mother loved her, sacrificed for her. No man has ever done that; why would she believe men were even capable of such love? Nicole's only chance to love is to love a child--her child. This is the only transcendent meaning her life offers. Of course she's pregnant.

Pundits talk about sex education, and they debate the pros and cons of offering state assistance to young unwed mothers. In a sense, all that is beside the point. The real problem is the sexual wasteland we have passed down to our children. Men and boys have trained women and girls to believe that sex and love don't go together. Men and boys have trained women to realize that you cannot expect any type of sustained commitment from a man. The only place a woman can find love is in motherhood--single motherhood.

What amazes me is that we women have allowed men to train us in this fashion. In the comments section to Garibaldi's article, Leticia Velasquez has this to say:

Gerry, this is exactly my experience as an urban middle school teacher. When I was working 12 hour days to pay for my wedding, the girls in an in-school GED program for felons, looked at me with disbelief, "You mean you are only going to live with ONE man your whole life?". "That's the idea", I replied. I polled the rest of the class. Not one had among their friends or family a married person. I invited them to come to the wedding ceremony at the church. None came.

I knew from the wistful eyes of the young women who worked the streets that my experience, even though I was marrying a recent immigrant with little education and less money, was beyond their wildest dreams. No one would ever propose marriage to them. Their best hope was to find what seemed like love in the eyes of a man who was theirs for the night, or, more likely in the innocent eyes of their baby. And who could blame them?

When I called their home numbers, more often or not, a stranger answered who didn't even recognize their name. One of my boys committed robbery in time to spend Christmas with his friends in Rikers Island. I can hardly imagine what his house was like, if a prison felt like home. So, please remind me why it was when President Bush attempted an initiative to encourage welfare recipients to marry that he was condescendingly rebuffed from the elites? Do they not have access to the stats your students used in their reports?

She's right. Our sexual wasteland has not produced happiness for men, women, or children. There is something deeply wrong in the relations between the two halves of humanity in our society. We've let men train us this way. The only solution, as I see it, is for women to start training men. Train them that sexual irresponsibility hurts everyone, and that our society simply will not tolerate it any more. Only when men accept responsibility for their sexual behavior will we have a chance of saving children like Nicole and her baby. Until then, all the condoms and food stamps and abortion clinics in the world won't change the devastation to our society that men's delinking of sex from love and commitment have caused.

Who are the men willing to lead out in this most important of causes?

September 6, 2011 by Red State Gal


Drew Westen on Obama as a Failure

Red State Feminists certainly did not vote for Barack Obama for president. Nevertheless, of course we wished him well in his presidency, hoping that he would be up to the task of steering our country through a horrendous recession. Because we didn't vote for him, it didn't come as any great shock that Obama has not lived up to his hype. He's clearly not the Second Coming, folks.

However, our friends on the left have struggled to articulate the deep sense of disappointment they have felt over their chosen one. Drew Westen, a professor of psychology at Emory University, and a messaging consultant to various candidates in the Democratic Party, has written what we believe to be the best dissection of Obama's failure available. It's a must-read.

Westen's overarching thesis is that Barack Obama cannot create a coherent narrative of what is happening to America, either because he shies away from condemning those who have destroyed our economy because he cannot afford to alienate them, or because his actions completely undercut his rhetoric. Either way, the American people feel as if the ship of state has no captain whatsoever, and the boat is being tossed to and fro on the waves. We didn't need Spock right now--we needed Kirk.

A few choice paragraphs from Westen's analysis will illustrate Obama's problems--and remember, Westen is on Obama's side . . .

When faced with the greatest economic crisis, the greatest levels of economic inequality, and the greatest levels of corporate influence on politics since the Depression, Barack Obama stared into the eyes of history and chose to avert his gaze. Instead of indicting the people whose recklessness wrecked the economy, he put them in charge of it. He never explained that decision to the public — a failure in storytelling as extraordinary as the failure in judgment behind it. Had the president chosen to bend the arc of history, he would have told the public the story of the destruction wrought by the dismantling of the New Deal regulations that had protected them for more than half a century. He would have offered them a counternarrative of how to fix the problem other than the politics of appeasement, one that emphasized creating economic demand and consumer confidence by putting consumers back to work. He would have had to stare down those who had wrecked the economy, and he would have had to tolerate their hatred if not welcome it. But the arc of his temperament just didn’t bend that far.

To the average American, who was still staring into the abyss, the half-stimulus did nothing but prove that Ronald Reagan was right, that government is the problem. In fact, the average American had no idea what Democrats were trying to accomplish by deficit spending because no one bothered to explain it to them with the repetition and evocative imagery that our brains require to make an idea, particularly a paradoxical one, “stick.” Nor did anyone explain what health care reform was supposed to accomplish (other than the unbelievable and even more uninspiring claim that it would “bend the cost curve”), or why “credit card reform” had led to an increase in the interest rates they were already struggling to pay. Nor did anyone explain why saving the banks was such a priority, when saving the homes the banks were foreclosing didn’t seem to be. All Americans knew, and all they know today, is that they’re still unemployed, they’re still worried about how they’re going to pay their bills at the end of the month and their kids still can’t get a job. And now the Republicans are chipping away at unemployment insurance, and the president is making his usual impotent verbal exhortations after bargaining it away.

The average voter is far more worried about jobs than about the deficit, which few were talking about while Bush and the Republican Congress were running it up. The conventional wisdom is that Americans hate government, and if you ask the question in the abstract, people will certainly give you an earful about what government does wrong. But if you give them the choice between cutting the deficit and putting Americans back to work, it isn’t even close. But it’s not just jobs. Americans don’t share the priorities of either party on taxes, budgets or any of the things Congress and the president have just agreed to slash — or failed to slash, like subsidies to oil companies. When it comes to tax cuts for the wealthy, Americans are united across the political spectrum, supporting a message that says, “In times like these, millionaires ought to be giving to charity, not getting it.” When pitted against a tough budget-cutting message straight from the mouth of its strongest advocates, swing voters vastly preferred a message that began, “The best way to reduce the deficit is to put Americans back to work.” This statement is far more consistent with what many economists are saying publicly — and what investors apparently believe, as evident in the nosedive the stock market took after the president and Congress “saved” the economy.

The president tells us he prefers a “balanced” approach to deficit reduction, one that weds “revenue enhancements” (a weak way of describing popular taxes on the rich and big corporations that are evading them) with “entitlement cuts” (an equally poor choice of words that implies that people who’ve worked their whole lives are looking for handouts). But the law he just signed includes only the cuts. This pattern of presenting inconsistent positions with no apparent recognition of their incoherence is another hallmark of this president’s storytelling. He announces in a speech on energy and climate change that we need to expand offshore oil drilling and coal production — two methods of obtaining fuels that contribute to the extreme weather Americans are now seeing. He supports a health care law that will use Medicaid to insure about 15 million more Americans and then endorses a budget plan that, through cuts to state budgets, will most likely decimate Medicaid and other essential programs for children, senior citizens and people who are vulnerable by virtue of disabilities or an economy that is getting weaker by the day. He gives a major speech on immigration reform after deporting more than 700,000 immigrants in two years, a pace faster than nearly any other period in American history.

[One possible explanation] is that he is simply not up to the task by virtue of his lack of experience and a character defect that might not have been so debilitating at some other time in history. Those of us who were bewitched by his eloquence on the campaign trail chose to ignore some disquieting aspects of his biography: that he had accomplished very little before he ran for president, having never run a business or a state; that he had a singularly unremarkable career as a law professor, publishing nothing in 12 years at the University of Chicago other than an autobiography; and that, before joining the United States Senate, he had voted "present" (instead of "yea" or "nay") 130 times, sometimes dodging difficult issues.

Wow. And this guy is on Obama's side! Sounds like in Obama's quest to be a centrist peacemaker, he has managed to alienate not only his enemies, which was expected, but also his friends. We can't imagine a more devastating critique of Obama's tenure than his "friend" has given.

Which brings us to the 2012 election. The only way Obama could possibly win a second term is if Republicans nominate someone who makes Obama look like a safer choice to the American electorate. Republicans could win this . . . but only if they are willing to take someone less rigidly ideological than most of the current crop of Republican candidates.

You know what else we have on our wishlist? A Republican candidate who believes there were villains in the onset of the recession, and are determined to bring them to justice--not put them on his council of economic advisers. A Republican candidate who is not financially beholden to the wealthiest donors. A Republican candidate who understands that the purpose of an economy is not wealth accumulation, but the feeding, clothing, housing, and educating of the children of America. Wealth accumulation comes second, after our most important priority--our children.

Where is the Republican who represents Main Street, not Wall Street? Show him or her to us, so we can vote for them--because we still aren't going to be voting for Barack Obama!

August 31, 2011 by Red State Gal


The Epidemic of Military Sexual Assault

Red State Feminists are deeply saddened by the statistics concerning sexual assault in the military. In 2010, more than 3,150 sexual assaults were reported within the US military, and best estimates are that only about 14% of such assaults are ever reported. And this is not a problem that affects only women: of the 68,000 veterans being treated for the aftereffects of military sexual assault, 40% are men. Nevertheless, 1 out of 3 female veterans being treated by the VA has experienced military sexual assault.

This is unconscionable. Two questions immediately arise: why is this happening, and what is being done about it?

As to the first, researchers tell us that when groups of men bond within a context that is highly gendered male, such as the military, women will often be seen as either intruders to be attacked or as sexual resources to be exploited. That they could be seen as professional colleagues does not seem to appear in the playbook. When women are seen as intruders, the assault is usually a gang assault, and the purpose is to get the victim out of the unit. When women are seen as sexual resources, the men in the unit simply assume that the women is in the unit in order to service their sexual needs. The men may not view their actions as assault, but merely as taking something that is theirs to use.

Of couse, in discussing both of these mentalities, the fact that US culture is saturated in porn, and that 50-75% of men in the US access porn on a weekly basis. The average weekly use is two hours. Porn teaches men that sex is about power and appetite; it is not about having a relationship with a real person that you regard as a human being. Porn hurts men and women both, but that's a subject for another day.

Back to military sexual assault: so what is the military doing for victims of sexual assault? Apparently, not a whole heck of a lot. In fact, there are credible allegations that the military would rather victims just go away, and that the military often harasses victims, letting perpetrators walk with impunity. Recently, the Service Women's Action Network, or SWAN reported the following:

In recent weeks, SWAN has been hearing from increasing numbers of active duty women and men whose careers have ended after reporting their rapes and assaults. In these cases, servicemembers have been sexually assaulted, and then almost immediately after reporting their attacks, have been diagnosed by military medical providers with a "Personality Disorder." Why should we care? Personality Disorders make one ineligible for military service as well as veterans' benefits. Rape and assault survivors who are diagnosed with this condition are then routinely discharged from service. Their careers end practically overnight. What I want to emphasize here is that Personality Disorders are pre-existing conditions that do not appear out of the blue. As we have seen with combat veterans, sexual assault survivors are often times misdiagnosed with Personality Disorder, instead of being properly diagnosed with PTSD or another medical condition that accurately reflects their symptoms. Let's be clear. In the cases we are talking about, at both Military Academies and throughout the military itself, these are not diagnoses that correlate with the facts of a servicemember's military or medical record. In fact, all evidence suggests in these cases that the diagnosis of a Personality Disorder is meted out to a military sexual assault survivor as retaliation. It appears to be a way for the military to get rid of troops who are simply reporting a violent crime committed by a fellow servicemember.

Women victims talk about how the military punishes them, and not the perpetrators of the crime. The reason only about 14% of these crimes are even reported is that the vitcims know there will not be justice--they know that they will be seen as the problem. Victims haven't even had the right to transfer out of the units in which they were assaulted--leaving them prey for further retaliation by the perpetrators.

In summary, the military's handling of sexual assault within its ranks has been nothing short of disgraceful.

It looks like Congress will try to step in and force the Pentagon to do better. Reps. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, and Niki Tsongas, D-Mass.are sponsoring legislation called the STRONG Act, which would give all victims access to legal services, a chance to transfer jobs away from their attacker, and a promise that their private counseling sessions won’t be used against them in court. Also, Rep. Bruce Braley, R-Iowa, has introduced separate legislation to strengthen the punishment for military sex crimes. Want to learn more? Here's an excellent interview with the director of SWAN.

For example, in this interview we learn that,

when deciding case disposition, the instructions given to commanders is to first "consider the overall value to the service of the perpetrator" instead of looking at the facts of the case or listening to what the victim has to say. These policies are why such a huge number of perpetrators are not brought to trial and why close to 90 percent of victims do not report their assaults in the first place.

Amazing. Clearly, the newly proposed legislation is long overdue. But what does it say about the Department of Defense that Congress has to force upon it the right thing to do?

August 24, 2011 by Red State Gal


Disgraceful! One Out of Twelve on the Debt Commission

Red State Feminists were completely outraged to learn that the 12 member debt commission that is supposed to chart our government's economic future has ONE, exactly ONE woman on it! The Republicans did not nominate even one woman, and the Democratic Party--where the House is led by Nancy Pelosi--nominated only one woman senator, Patty Murray of Washington (who will also serve as co-chair).

Over half of the US population is female. Females comprise the majority of those living in poverty. Women face the immense task of bearing and raising the next generation, while also seeking to feed, clothe, and house those children. In the majority of households in the USA, it is the mom who balances the budget, obtains health care for her family, and tries to make sure her kids will get the education they need.

It is those who take personal responsibility for caring for others--rather than those who simply bring home the bacon--who know on an intimate basis what US families need from the government, and what they don't want from the government. And their representation on this debt commission? 8%. 8% of the vote for over 50% of the population--and the most responsible part of the population, to boot.

If that doesn't speak volumes about why our nation is so screwed up, I don't know what does. Those who keep it all together for the kids should have an equal voice at the table where momentous decisions are being made on behalf of our societies. Conservative voters above all should be outraged--we conservatives know how important moms are to the wellbeing of our society. How is it possible that conservative leaders nominated not one woman? For shame!

Many years ago, a wise woman said the following:

The penalties for inequality between women and men are very severe. And they are not borne by women alone. They are borne by the whole world.

Power, tempered by the wisdom and restraint of responsibility, is the foundation of a just society. But with too little responsibility, power turns to tyranny. And with too little power, responsibility becomes exploitation. Yet in every country in the world, power and responsibility have become unbalanced and unhitched, distributed unequally between men and women . . . The penalties of women's too-great burden of responsibility and their too-small slice of power . . . are hardship, sickness, hunger, even famine. But the penalties of man's disproportionate share of the world's power (without the intimate day-to-day knowledge of the effects of that power, or the responsibility for ensuring that the basic needs of the household are met) are just as great.

Of course, not all men are tyrants or despots and not all women are martyrs to duty and hard work. But masculine and feminine social roles have tilted the majority of men and women in those directions.

Bingo. We need not only the powerful, but the RESPONSIBLE on this debt commission. Unless that is the case, this commission will never produce what American society needs from its government. Let's hope Patty Murray has a very loud voice. And what a shame that conservative women have no representation at the table at all! ARGH!!

August 14, 2011 by Red State Gal


Texas Got 'Im: Warren Jeffs

Red State Feminists were thrilled by the conviction and sentencing of Warren Jeffs in a Texas courtroom. They may not hang 'em high in Texas anymore, but they jail 'em long. Jeffs got life in prison plus 20 years for good measure. He'd have to turn 100 to even be eligible for release. Hooray for Texas!

You may remember ol' Warren Jeffs--the guy with 78 wives. And almost all of these wives were 12, 13, 14, 15 when he "married" them. Of course, we may never know their true ages, because birth certificates are routinely falsified among these polygamous cults to make it appear that the girls are older than they really are.

These polygamous cults are a menace to society. The men don't support the women and children--no, the women and children are supposed to support the men! They are supposed to work their tails off to gain enough resources for the man to buy additional wives. Yes, buy. These girls are trafficked by their families within and between polygamous groups.

And, of course, the government also helps support the wives and children through welfare, food stamps, and other benefits. These are turned over to the men to support his lifestyle. The women and children are the men's work gangs. The men take and take and take--from the women, the children, and the government. They are utter blood-sucking parasites.

The men know they have to get rid of the boys in order to maintain their polygamous ways. Most of these cults believe you need at least 3 wives to make it to heaven. That means that at least 50% of the boys have to be kicked out of the group and torn from their families in order to make this work. Of course, Jeffs with his 78 wives didn't help the situation. The boys are disposable goods; they're used to make money through the group selling their labor, and then when they are around 15, that's it. They're kicked out.

The girls are goods, too, but the men don't want to dispose of them--they want to consume them. They consume them sexually, they consume their labor, and they even consume their children. The men try to get their wives pregnant as soon as possible, because as soon as she has a baby, she's a hostage. They will threaten to take away her child or children if she does not obey. Indeed, her children may be taken away temporarily if she is showing any signs of rebelliousness. The "Big Love" TV show hides a lie--the lie that women and children are treated well in these groups. It's not true--and the Warren Jeffs trial exposes just how sordid things can get.

Ironically, Canada is contemplating legalizing polygamy. Any nation that legalizes polygamy is just plain stupid. It gives the most evil of men a way to amass significant political and economic power. Indeed, polygamists have taken over the government of one county in Utah already. It's best to view these groups as racketeering mobs--for that is what they really are. Human trafficking, slave labor, pedophilia, incest, fraud, perjury--even murder.

Thank God Texas had the cojones to take these vile men on and put them away for good!

August 9, 2011 by Red State Gal


Primary Caregivers Should be At Least Half of the New Debt Commission Members

Red State Feminists have been watching the debt deal with great interest as have all Americans. The key deferred issue is further spending cuts. The debt deal suggests that will be handled by President Obama appointing 12 members to a new debt commission who will search for such cuts. The commission is intended to be bipartisan, meaning that both Republicans and Democrats will be represented.

But there another type of bipartisanship that must also be utilized in this selection: fully half the members of this new debt commission should be men or women who have spent years as the primary caregiver of another human being. That's right. Those who have raised children in a hands-on manner, and/or tended daily to the needs of the sick or the elderly. Indeed, such a selection would be more important to the work of the commission than party composition.

Why? For too long, power and responsibility have been divorced in this country. Those who actually take care of human beings have been marginalized and left voiceless by a world they were not in a position to help mold. It wasn't mothers, for example, who created a Social Security system that basically states that a woman who takes care of children is not working--even though without her efforts, the entire Social Security system would collapse within a generation. It wasn't mothers who created legal norms that states there should be no equality of living conditions for a husband and his ex-wife and children after a divorce, plunging women and children into poverty. Not only is the rate of child poverty among American children one of the highest in the developed world, but the biggest risk factor for poverty in old age is to ever have been a mother--not a father, but a mother.

And it was not women who created labor market norms that would keep them marginalized and dependent. Who decided that part-time workers were not entitled to the same rate of pay for the same work as full-timers? It wasn't mothers, who make up two-thirds of part-time workers. Who created a system in which it is impossible to do justice to one's children without completely marginalizing one's voice in society?

Why is power in our country largely int he hands of people who have never been the primary caregiver for another human being? When you really think about it, that is nuts. Keeping kids safe, fed, clothed, educated, and loved on a 24/7 basis is a self-sacrificing service to the nation on a par with what our soldiers do for our country. And given the rising rates of maternal mortality in our country, mothers also may lay down their lives in this service to their nation.

Primary caregivers can give you a perspective on political priorities that those who have not been primary caregivers cannot offer. They know that the purpose of a national economy is not, first and foremost, wealth accumulation. The purpose of a national economy is, first and foremost, that the children are fed, housed, educated, and protected--for they are the future of our nation. A society that beggars its mothers is beggaring its future, said Ann Crittenden.

We cannot allow this situation to continue--it is a recipe for national disaster. What would your mother have said to you if you had tried to pass off the line, "greed is good"? She would have washed your mouth out with soap. What would your mother make of the fact that big Wall Street firms were passing out multi-million dollar bonuses to the fat cats who destroyed the ability of middle class families to see their children go to college, get jobs, buy a house, and raise families of their own? She'd ground those guys, and make them pay back the money they stole from their brothers and sisters.

So after seeing the catastrophe created by people who wield power without ever knowing what it is to be a primary caregiver to another human being, we say ENOUGH! At a minimum, at least 6 of those appointees should be those who have had extensive experience as primary caregivers. President Barack Obama, are you listening? Do you want a new, less dysfunctional politics? Then put power in the hand of those who actually accept and honorably undertake responsibility for others.

August 3, 2011 by Red State Gal


"The Filter Bubble"

Red State Feminists have been reading reviews of a new book called "The Filter Bubble" by Eli Pariser. If what Pariser writes is true, then Google's slogan, "don't be evil," is a hollow and sick joke.

I think many of us know that Google and others (we'll shorten that to "Google," but understand that means Google and others, such as Yahoo, Microsoft, etc.) save every single search we do on their engines. Google keeps every email in your gmail account--even the ones you have deleted. Yes, Google will keep every little bit of you that you expose to the company. Got a Google phone? Google knows and tracks where you are.

Of course, the rationale that Google uses is that it is trying to get to know you so that it can assist you better. It can advertise to you products that you would be most interested in. If you are in a certain neighborhood, it can spontaneously show you what stores and restaurants are in the area. In other words, Google wants to tailor its response to you, that you may be most receptive to its blandishments.

This might be annoying but harmless when Google attempts to seduce you into opening your wallet. We're used to that; we were raised on it via TV. But Google and the others have gone further . . . further than you would think. Or like.

Apparently, if Pariser is to be believed, when two different people run the same search on Google, they are not going to get the same results. Since at least December 2009, using a new algorithm called PageRank, Google will select what it thinks you want to see, based on what it knows about you. You may be treating Google as if it were a gigantic online library, but that is not how a Google search functions. You will not receive all that is known about a topic--you will receive what Google thinks you want to know.

On the one hand, one could see how that might be helpful. On the other hand, the personalization of information search results is nothing other than Orwellian. Furthermore, on most sites it is both invisible and inescapable. You will not even know it is happening, and if you don't want your results filtered by what "they" think you want to know, there is no way for you to turn the filtering off!

Here's an experiment performed by a reader of the book:

Since reading the book, I've found myself compulsively testing one of its main case studies: Google's automatically personalized search results. Try searching for "guns": I don't see the NRA on the first page, but friends do. Huge differences on "abortion" too: some people see Planned Parenthood, other people see Even searching for "bias" shows different results to me vs my wife!

In other words, what you know of the world through a Google search increasingly becomes divorced from what the world really looks like. Google will create for you your own little world, never mind that your own little world might not be the real one we are all living in.

Now, humans have been creating their own little worlds from time immemorial. Google just puts that on invisible steroids for you. You need never see anything that disagrees with you, anything that tells you something new or dissonant about your world.

Red State Feminists are not the only ones who think that this is a corporate recipe for the production of a nation of sociopaths. Here's an excerpt from an interview with the author, Pariser:

Q: I like the idea that websites might show me information relevant to my interests—it can be overwhelming how much information is available I already only watch TV shows and listen to radio programs that are known to have my same political leaning. What’s so bad about this?

A: It’s true: We’ve always selected information sources that accord with our own views. But one of the creepy things about the filter bubble is that we’re not really doing the selecting. When you turn on Fox News or MSNBC, you have a sense of what their editorial sensibility is: Fox isn’t going to show many stories that portray Obama in a good light, and MSNBC isn’t going to the ones that portray him badly. Personalized filters are a different story: You don’t know who they think you are or on what basis they’re showing you what they’re showing. And as a result, you don’t really have any sense of what’s getting edited out – or, in fact, that things are being edited out at all.

Q: How does money fit into this picture?

A: The rush to build the filter bubble is absolutely driven by commercial interests. It’s becoming clearer and clearer that if you want to have lots of people use your website, you need to provide them with personally relevant information, and if you want to make the most money on ads, you need to provide them with relevant ads. This has triggered a personal information gold rush, in which the major companies – Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, and the like – are competing to create the most comprehensive portrait of each of us to drive personalized products. There’s also a whole “behavior market” opening up in which every action you take online – every mouse click, every form entry – can be sold as a commodity.

Q: What is the Internet hiding from me?

A: As Google engineer Jonathan McPhie explained to me, it’s different for every person – and in fact, even Google doesn’t totally know how it plays out on an individual level. At an aggregate level, they can see that people are clicking more. But they can’t predict how each individual’s information environment is altered.

In general, the things that are most likely to get edited out are the things you’re least likely to click on. Sometimes, this can be a real service – if you never read articles about sports, why should a newspaper put a football story on your front page? But apply the same logic to, say, stories about foreign policy, and a problem starts to emerge. Some things, like homelessness or genocide, aren’t highly clickable but are highly important.

Q: Which companies or Websites are personalizing like this?

A: In one form or another, nearly every major website on the Internet is flirting with personalization. But the one that surprises people most is Google. If you and I Google the same thing at the same time, we may get very different results. Google tracks hundreds of “signals” about each of us – what kind of computer we’re on, what we’ve searched for in the past, even how long it takes us to decide what to click on – and uses it to customize our results. When the result is that our favorite pizza parlor shows up first when we Google pizza, it’s useful. But when the result is that we only see the information that is aligned with our religious or social or political beliefs, it’s difficult to maintain perspective.

Q: Are any sites being transparent about their personalization?

A: Some sites do better than others. Amazon, for example, is often quite transparent about the personalization it does: “We’re showing you Brave New World because you bought 1984.” But it’s one thing to personalize products and another to personalize whole information flows, like Google and Facebook are doing. And very few users of those services are even marginally aware that this kind of filtering is at work.

Q: Does this issue of personalization impact my privacy or jeopardize my identity at all?

A: Research psychologists have known for a while that the media you consume shapes your identity. So when the media you consume is also shaped by your identity, you can slip into a weird feedback loop. A lot of people see a simple version of this on Facebook: You idly click on an old classmate, Facebook reads that as a friendship, and pretty soon you’re seeing every one of John or Sue’s posts.

Gone awry, personalization can create compulsive media – media targeted to appeal to your personal psychological weak spots. You can find yourself eating the equivalent of information junk food instead of having a more balanced information diet.

Q: You make it clear that while most Websites’ user agreements say they won’t share our personal information, they also maintain the right to change the rules at any time. Do you foresee sites changing those rules to profit from our online personas?

A: They already have. Facebook, for example, is notorious for its bait-and-switch tactics when it comes to privacy. For a long time, what you “Liked” on Facebook was private, and the site promised to keep it that way. Then, overnight, they made that information public to the world, in order to make it easier for their advertisers to target specific subgroups.

There’s an irony in the fact that while Rolex needs to get Tom Cruise’s permission to put his face on a billboard, it doesn’t need to get my permission to advertise my endorsement to my friends on Facebook. We need laws that give people more rights in their personal data.

Q: Is there any way to avoid this personalization? What if I’m not logged into a site?

A: Even if you’re not logged into Google, for example, an engineer told me there are 57 signals that the site uses to figure out who you are: whether you’re on a Mac or PC or iPad, where you’re located when you’re Googling, etc. And in the near future, it’ll be possible to “fingerprint” unique devices, so that sites can tell which individual computer you’re using. That’s why erasing your browser cookies is at best a partial solution—it only partially limits the information available to personalizers.

What we really need is for the companies that power the filter bubble to take responsibility for the immense power they now have – the power to determine what we see and don’t see, what we know and don’t know. We need them to make sure we continue to have access to public discourse and a view of the common good. A world based solely on things we “Like” is a very incomplete world.

I’m optimistic that they can. It’s worth remembering that newspapers weren’t always informed by a sense of journalistic ethics. They existed for centuries without it. It was only when critics like Walter Lippman began to point out how important they were that the newspapers began to change. And while journalistic ethics aren’t perfect, because of them we have been better informed over the last century. We need algorithmic ethics to guide us through the next.

Q: What are the business leaders at Google and Facebook and Yahoo saying about their responsibilities?

A: To be honest, they’re frustratingly coy. They tend to frame the trend in the passive tense: Google’s Eric Schmidt recently said “It will be very hard for people to watch or consume something that has not in some sense been tailored for them,” rather than “Google is making it very hard…” Mark Zuckerberg perfectly summed up the tension in personalization when he said “A squirrel dying in your front yard may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa.” But he refuses to engage with what that means at a societal level – especially for the people in Africa.

Feel worried? You're not alone. This is a recipe for social catastrophe. It may even be the recipe for the death of democracy in the United States; it certainly makes totalitarianism a cake walk. Red State Feminists just ordered the book . . . and we googled "how to turn off Google personalization." Here's the link--for what it's worth. Apparently, even when you follow these steps, Google will keep its own log of what you are doing, even if you don't want it to.

OMG. Maybe 1984 should be renamed 2024 . . .

July 27, 2011 by Red State Gal


Remembering Theo Van Gogh

Red State Feminists would like to pause this week and commemorate the birthday of Theo Van Gogh, the tireless defender of free speech who would have turned 54 this July 23rd. A Dutch writer and filmmaker, his most famous--or infamous--work was the ten minute film entitled "Submission, Part One," the vision for which was co-created by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a female Somali immigrant to the Netherlands who became a member of parliament.

The film asks how it is that Allah can sanction the use of violence against women in Muslim culture. And, indeed, the level of violence against women is remarkable for such a religious society. For example, in one survey, 87% of female respondents in Afghanistan said they had been physically or sexually abused by male family members. In Yemen, the legal age of marriage for girls is 8. In Muslim culture, a man can divorce his wife by saying "I divorce you" three times, while she may have to petition the courts for years to prove cause why she should be granted a divorce. Van Gogh's film asks a question that is very important: why would any God sanction such barbarous treatment of women?

And the film implies a parallel question, which is also very important: why would any society that prohibits barbarous treatment of women look the other way while religious minorities within their lands treat their own women this way? Are societies like the Netherlands so insanely tolerant that the abuse of women in the name of religious freedom is allowed? Which is ore important--religious freedom or the human rights of women?

These questions are not only Dutch questions. These questions confront not only Holland, but other Western nations where equality between men and women is a hallmark of society. Right now, as we write these words, the highest court in Canada is deciding whether to legalize polygamy, an institution almost inherently oppressive of women and children, which has been criminalized for over a century in Canada.

In the opinion of Red State Feminists, it is the nation of France which has taken the most admirable stance. Religious freedom cannot be used as a cover for the abuse of women. Polygamists cannot live polygamously if they want to live in France. Want to wear a burqa or niqab? Not in France, you won't. Every nation must draw the line on how far tolerance of religious freedom can go, and the French have sensibly drawn the line at the oppression of women.

Oh, cry the critics, but what if a woman wants to wear a burqa? That's an easy one. What do we say when a woman wants to be a prostitute? We say you can't, because it harms society and it especially harms women. We don't feel any guilt or shame for saying this. So why should we feel the least bit guilty saying the same to the woman who wants to wear a burqa?

Theo Van Gogh's 10 minute film was a critical catalyst for the discussion of these issues. It was also the catalyst for his murder. In Ayaan Hirsi Ali's autobiography, she recounts that tragedy:

One November morning in 2004, Theo Van Gogh got up to go to work at his film production company in Amsterdam. He took out his old black bicycle and headed down a main road. Waiting in a doorway was a Moroccan man with a handgun and two butcher knives.

As Theo cycled down the Linnaeusstraat, Muhammed Bouyeri approached. He pulled out a gun and shot Theo several times. Theo fell off his bike and lurched across the road, then collapsed. Bouyeri followed. Theo begged, "Can't we talk about this?" but Bouyeri shot him four more times. Then he took out onw of his butcher knives and sawed into Theo's throat. With the other knife, he stabbed a five-page letter onto Theo's chest.

This is why we must never forget Theo Van Gogh. He was a martyr to the proposition that God would not sanction the abuse of women. He was martyred because he believed that the tolerance of religion could become the sanction of abuse, and that we must be careful not to let that happen. He was amrtyred because he was willing to say these things openly--even loudly--in public, instead of being silenced by fear. He was martyred because he was a brave man, and we have an obligation to remember his sacrifice.

This July 23rd, lift your glass to Theo Van Gogh, and remember how he died and why he died. And commit yourself to speaking up instead of cowering in fear . . .

July 18, 2011 by Red State Gal


Why We Need More Sheila Bairs

Red State Feminists are always pleased to see conservative women profiled in the mainstream media. Of course, most of the time that coverage is mocking (think of how the media treated Sarah Palin). However, even the mainstream media is occasionally capable of seeing that conservative women have made a great contribution to our society. Case in point is the New York Time Magazine's article this Sunday about Sheila Bair.

Sheila Bair is a Republican who was appointed head of the FDIC under Bush 43. she has just stepped down from that position, and more's the pity. We are unlikely to get another head of the FDIC so committed to helping the little guy, in this case the bank depositor. Bair opposed the bailout of Bear Stearns, which signal told the rest of Wall Street that it would not be held accountable for its financial crimes and irreponsibilities. She aggressively pushed the idea--early, not late--that mortgage companies should be forced by the government to modify their bad mortgages rather than perform knee-jerk foreclosures on middle Americans.

But because she was only the head of the FDIC, and not the head of Treasury or the Fed, people like Timothy Geithner felt free to ignore her. After all, to Geithner, the important guys were the boys on Wall Street, not the families on Main Street. Indeed, Geithner and others tries to marginalize her by suggesting she wasn't a team player. Of course she wasn't a team player--the team wanted to help the big guys while shafting the little guys! At one point in her interview, she says:

“I didn’t start off being assertive and going public with concerns,” Bair said as our second interview was winding down. “But we were being ignored, and we had something to bring to the table. There’s been speculation: maybe it was gender or that I’m not an Ivy League person. It could be; everybody has their biases. But I found I had to become assertive when they just wouldn’t listen.”

They just wouldn't listen. Just as they had never listened to Brooksley Born, another woman who tried to tell the big boys that what they were doing was reckless and wrong. She was the chairperson of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission from 1996 to 1999. She fought for government oversight of deriviatives and swaps--and lost to Robert Rubin, Alan Greenspan, and Larry Summers, more big boys.

If anything has become clear over the last few years, it's that the big boys should not be the only ones overseeing the health of our economy. We need more Sheila Bairs, more Brooksley Borns, and more Elizabeth Warrens. Why? Because these women actually care about the little guys and the families that the big boys couldn't care less about. Indeed, the US government should make it a point that at least one of the two most powerful economic positions in government--head of Treasury and head of the Federal Reserve--should be women. If the head of the Fed is a man, then the head of Treasury should be a woman, and vice versa. Only in this way will short-term gain be balanced against long-term societal interests. The big boys by themselves are certainly not going to take any little people into consideration.

Case in point--the latest figures show that

"median pay for top executives at 200 big companies last year was $10.8 million. That works out to a 23 percent gain from 2009 . . . it far exceeded the median gain in shareholders’ total return, which was 16 percent, as well as the median gain in revenue, which was 7 percent. . . . In addition, cash bonuses for the highest-paid C.E.O.’s are at three times prerecession levels, the report said. . . . The average American worker was taking home $752 a week in late 2010, up a mere 0.5 percent from a year earlier. After inflation, workers were actually making less."

Great. Just great.

Red State Feminists will be looking to see if any presidential candidates are proposing splitting the top economic positions between men and women for the sake of our country. In the meantime, the consolation is that both Bair and Born were awarded the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award in 2009. At least someone sees what these women tried to do for the rest of us who aren't part of the big boys' club.

July 9, 2011 by Red State Gal


Utter Depravity in India: No Need to Abort Your Daughter--Just Have Her Surgically Turned into a Boy

Red State Feminists thought they had heard it all--all the possible depravity the world shows towards women. Test your knowledge--ever heard of gavage? Breast ironing? Widow cleansing? Maybe you have . . . but the depravity runs deeper than we even imagined.

You probably know that sex-selective abortion has become an Asian curse. The number of little girls born each year per 100 boy babies is dropping like a rock. Indeed, the birth sex ratio is now the worst it has ever been in the recorded history of the modern state of India. There are now tens of millions of young men and boys who are in excess of the number of females their same age. Something tells us this is not going to be a good thing for Indian society. Already, evils such as bride kidnapping, bride trafficking, prostitution, etc, have been growing by leaps and bounds.

But that is not all. Oh, no, that is not all. According to this news report, Indian parents are paying to have their baby girls surgically turned into boys:

Hundreds of girls – some as young as one – are having the procedure every year, it was claimed on Monday.

Wealthy parents in Delhi and Mumbai are flocking to the central city of Indore to pay £2,000 for children aged up to five to have surgery known as genitoplasty.

Some were said to have pressed for the operation despite warnings that the ‘converted’ boy would be infertile.

The procedure, normally used to correct a genital abnormality in fully grown patients, involves doctors building a penis using tissue from female organs before hormone drugs are administered. It has become popular because Indian society places a strong value on producing a son and heir. Sex determination tests during pregnancy are banned to stamp out the practice of women aborting female foetuses after alarming falls in the ratio of women to men.

Up to seven experts are believed to have each turned between 200 and 300 girls into ‘boys’. Critics voiced their anger yesterday after the ‘unprecedented’ trend was uncovered in a report by the Hindustan Times.

Author Taslima Nasreen wrote on Twitter: ‘Shocking! Not only do people kill unborn girls, they turn girls into boys by genitoplasty.’

Commentators say the system is unmonitored and open to abuse and have called for new regulations after legal experts said it was not against the law. ‘There has to be some guideline or law on how a child who is barely old enough to talk can undergo a life-changing surgery at the parents’ will,’ said Dr Anil Bhadoria, of the Indian Medical Association.

A parent whose child had genitoplasty aged two said: ‘I think he would not be confused over his gender when he grows up and can live a normal life as he would not have any memories of the surgery.’

As a mother, I cannot imagine allowing the surgeon's knife to destroy the perfect new body of my baby girl. I feel physically ill just contemplating it. It is akin to spitting in God's eye, taking the priceless gift of a healthy baby girl and mutilating her to erase her sex. What is ironic, of course, is that the mutilated girl will probably enjoy a much better life as a fake, impotent, and infertile boy than she would living her life as a girl in India.

How can anyone in their right mind claim India is a democracy? To treat individuals with two X chromosomes as if they had a horrific birth defect is one of the most barbaric societal attitudes possible. Perhaps one day the Indians will get what they want and they deserve--no baby girls at all. Civilizational death.

When you sow the east wind, you reap the whirlwind . . .

June 29, 2011 by Red State Gal


The Crime of Manufacturing Children

Red State Feminists believe that the manufacturing of children is evil. By manufacturing, we mean those techniques that commodify reproduction, buying and using the body parts and DNA of other persons without any intention for the child to have a relationship with those persons. Indeed usually the intention is to prevent the child from having a relationship with those whose bodies and DNA made their life possible.

This child manufacture is wholly different in kind from adoption, where (in most cases) a biological mother, faced with the prospect of raising a child alone because the father of the child will not commit to his lover and child, voluntarily seeks for others to care for her child. This is still a tragedy--but it is a tragedy between the biological father and mother of the child. Those who step in to care for the child have not commodified it, but seek to repair the wound that the rupture between the biological parents of the child have caused him or her.

No, what we speak of here is buying sperm and eggs, and renting wombs, in order to manufacture a child from the body parts of those who will then be denied a relationship to the child. In our brave new world, we try to pretend that this approach to reproduction is without moral cost. But that is an absurd self-denial. Of course there is a moral cost--and the cost is borne by the innocent; the cost is borne in the first place by the child who has been manufactured.

Red State Feminists have never seen a more eloquent exposition of this cost than a recent essay in the NYT by a young man just graduating from high school, Colton Wooten. His mother remained unmarried, and as her natural fertility waned over the years, she decided to become artificially inseminated by an anonymous sperm donor in order to give birth to Colton. We have no doubt that she was a good and loving mother to him. But that does not erase the deep wound she has inflicted upon Colton. We'll let him explain it in his own words:

The harder part, at least for that baby as he grows older, is the mystery of who that man was. Or is.

I didn’t think much about that until 2006, when I was in eighth grade and my teacher assigned my class a genealogy project. We were supposed to research our family history and create a family tree to share with the class. In the past, whenever questioned about my father’s absence by friends or teachers, I wove intricate alibis: he was a doctor on call; he was away on business in Russia; he had died, prematurely, of a heart attack. In my head, I’d always dismissed him as my “biological father,” with that distant, medical phrase.

But the assignment made me think about him in a new way. I decided to call the U.N.C. fertility center, hoping at least to learn my father’s name, his age or any minutiae of his existence that the clinic would be willing to divulge. But I was told that no files were saved for anonymous donors, so there was no information they could give me.

In the early days of in vitro fertilization, single women and sterile couples often overlooked a child’s eventual desire to know where he came from. Even today, despite recent movies like “The Kids Are All Right,” there is too little substantial debate on the subject. The emotional and developmental deficits that stem from an ignorance of one’s origins are still largely ignored.

I understand why fertility centers chose to keep sperm donation anonymous. They were attempting to prevent extra chaos, like custody battles, intrusion upon happy families (on either party’s side), mothers showing up on donors’ doorsteps with homely, misbegotten children with runny noses and untied shoelaces to beg for child support. It’s entirely reasonable, and yet the void that many children and young adults born from artificial insemination experience from simply not knowing transcends reason.

I don’t resent my mom; she did the best thing she knew how to do at the time, and found a way to make a child under the circumstances. But babies born of the procedure in the future should have the right to know who their donors are, and even have some contact with them. Sperm donors need to realize that they are fathers. When I was doing college interviews, one of the interviewers told me that he didn’t have any children, but that he had donated sperm while in college because he needed the money. He didn’t realize that he probably is someone’s father, regardless of whether he knows his child.

I’m one of those children, and I want to know who my father is. There are some programs like the Donor Sibling Registry that try to connect those conceived through sperm and egg donation with lost half-siblings and sometimes even parents. But I don’t have much hope that I’ll ever find him.

For my eighth grade project, I settled on fabricating the unknown side of my family tree, and not much has changed since then. I’m 18 now, today is Father’s Day, and I still hardly know anything about my biological father, just a few vague details that my mother remembers from reading his profile so many years ago. I know that he was a medical student at U.N.C. the year I was born. I know that he had olive skin and brown hair. I know that his mother was Italian and his father Irish.

I call myself an only child, but I could very well be one of many siblings. I could even be predisposed to some potentially devastating disease. Because I do not know what my father looks like, I could never recognize him in a crowd of people. I am sometimes overwhelmed by the infinite possibilities, by the reality that my father could be anywhere: in the neighboring lane of traffic on a Friday during rush hour, behind me in line at the bank or the pharmacy, or even changing the oil in my car after many weeks of mechanical neglect.

I am sometimes at such a petrifying loss for words or emotions that make sense that I can only feel astonished by the fact that he could be anyone.

For all the love his mother bore him, she wounded him deeply by manufacturing him with the body parts of someone she never intended to let the child have a relationship with. The wound is magnified logarithmically when the persons manufacturing the child go further and intend that the child believe he or she literally has no mother (when male homosexuals manufacture a child) or no father (when lesbians do). The erasure of the real fact that each and every human is descended from both males and females is a stunning crime robbing a child of his very identity as a member of the human race. If you wish to claim without seeming absurd that you love a child, you do not do this to him or her because of your own selfish desires, no matter that you feel you will be sorrowful otherwise.

Of course, the criminality is not only emotional. Start with emotional crime, and you often wind up with physical crime as well. The manufacture of children easily lends itself to other types of horrifying crime. Here's one example from earlier this month, as reported in the news:

Nigerian police have raided a home allegedly being used to force teenage girls to have babies that were then offered for sale for trafficking or other purposes, authorities said on Wednesday.

"We stormed the premises of the Cross Foundation in Aba three days ago following a report that pregnant girls aged between 15 and 17 are being made to make babies for the proprietor," said Bala Hassan, police commissioner for Abia state in the country's southeast.

"We rescued 32 pregnant girls and arrested the proprietor who is undergoing interrogation over allegations that he normally sells the babies to people who may use them for rituals or other purposes."

Yes, you heard right--among other things, the babies were sold in order to be killed, and their body parts used, in magic rituals. Their mothers were slaves whose sole use was to manufacture these children--their own children--for others to use as they pleased, without regard or respect for the mother-child relationship, or the well-being of either mother or child. The mothers and children were things to be used and disposed of at will.

So please don't try telling us the the manufacture of children is a liberation for women, or for homosexuals, or for lesbians, or for the infertile. Child manufacture is a crime, pure and simple. It is always an emotional crime, and because it is, it is easily turned into even grosser crimes of rape, slavery, and murder. The mark of a healthy civilization would be the banning of child manufacture.

But, of course, we are not living in a healthy civilization, are we? Since we have little hope the emotional wounding of children by their manufacture will be prohibited by law, all we can do is raise our voice and call it what it is--it is a crime.

June 22, 2011 by Red State Gal


The Internal Contradictions of Blue State Feminism

Red State Feminists see things differently from most who call themselves "feminist" in the USA. Blue State Feminism has asserted that it "is" American feminism, though the very existence of this website and blog belies that notion. One of the reasons that many have stopped calling themselves feminist (or never could call themsevles feminist in the first place) is because of Blue State Feminism's glaring internal contradictions.

Let's take a look at some of those:

If you say any of these things, you are not allowed into the club of American Blue State feminism.  Fortunately, feminism is a much larger club than mainstream American feminists, who are all Blue State Feminists, would have you believe.  Most feminists worldwide would have no trouble speaking truth about the issues listed above.  And there is a nascent strand of Red State Feminism in the United States that stands up on all of these questions.

As you can imagine, we Red State Feminists believe it's time to challenge the positions that Blue State Feminism has marked out. Are their positions really feminist? Do they really help women? At least on the points mentioned above, we Red State Feminists say NO!

Red State Feminism offers a different set of policy positions on the important issues mentioned above--and we argue that the Red State Feminist positions are more truly feminist, and much more in line with what feminists worldwide stand for. Time to reinvent American feminism along healthier, less internally inconsistent lines. Time for Red State Feminism!

June 8, 2011 by Red State Gal


1.4%: TrySexuality Means a Two-Way Street

Red State Feminists were apprised of an authoritative new study by the Center for Disease Control which examined sexuality among an interview sample of approximately 14,000 Americans aged 15-44. One of the more discussed findings has been that those who identify themselves as exclusively homosexual represent only 1.4% of the population. We've been told the figure "1 in 10 are homosexual" for a long time, but the new figures suggest the real tally is more like "1 in 100."

Also interesting was the finding that by the time they get to middle age, the rate of self-identified homosexuality among women plummets well below 1%. Furthermore, between 92% of women self-identifying as homosexual and 70% of men self-identifying as homosexual have had sexual intercourse with members of the opposite sex, while only 6% of self-identified heterosexuals have had sex with a member of the same sex.

This is a very eye-opening study.  We've all seen in the press how certain celebrities have called themselves "try-sexuals," or claim they "experimented" with homosexuality, but then ended up heterosexually attached--and openly so (think Gavin Rossdale). How does this square with the notion that homosexuality is genetic, and that one is "born gay"?

Red State Feminists are of the opinion that one may indeed be born with a genetic predisposition for homosexuality. But apparently, according to this study, a predisposition does not produce an inevitability. Furthermore, the study asks us to consider that sexuality for those who have had honosexual experiences is a two-way street. That is, it isn't a one-way street from heterosexuality to a realization that one "is" gay. Apparently, according to the findings of this study, the street runs the other way as well: from homosexual experiences, especially in youth, to heterosexuality later on. "Trysexuals" are not genetically determined to live a homosexual lifestyle.

This study asks us to consider is whether impressionable young people could be persuaded by seductive others that they are "genetically" homosexual, when in fact they are not--they have simply been sexually aroused by a member of the their own sex. The findings of hte CDC study seem to indicate that people, especially young people, can be aroused by a member of the same sex without that arousal signalling that they are "genetically" homosexual.  Indeed, that so high a percentage of homosexuals have had sex with members of the opposite sex means that such arousal with a person you are not "naturally" attracted to is possible.  After all, you can't have sex without any arousal whatsoever (at least for men).

The take-away, then,is not about numbers like 1.4% (though that's pretty illuminating)--the take-away, and it is a very important one for young people, is that if you feel aroused by a member of the same sex, that does not necessarily mean that you are "genetically" homosexual.  There's a small chance you are, but a much, much larger chance that you are not.  You are not stuck thinking you are gay even if you have had a same-sex encounter.  As Michael Medved puts it,

[F]or the minority who may have experimented with gay relationships at some juncture in their lives, well over 80% explicitly renounced homosexual (or even bisexual) self-identification by age of 35. For the clear majority of males (as well as women) who report gay encounters, homosexual activity appears to represent a passing phase, or even a fleeting episode, rather than an unshakable, genetically pre-determined orientation.

That is a very liberating message! We can contrast it with the message we have been hearing from gay activists that "if you have been aroused by a member of the same sex, then you have gay genes and there's nothing you can do about it since you are fated in life to be gay."  Can't say that anymore after a study like this. For the vast majority, youthful "trysexual" experiences mean very little in terms of eventual stable sexual self-identification. You are not "deluding yourself" to think otherwise.

There are many other interesting tidbits in this report that are worthy of discussion. For example, the less educated you are, the more sexual partners you have. Another finding: three times as many women as men reported same-sex experiences in the last 12 months (about 4% versus about 12%). We encourage readers to check out the report!

Red State Feminists conclude that taxpayers' money was well spent by the government in the production of this report by the CDC!

May 31, 2011 by Red State Gal


Why Do We Choose Jerks as Our Leaders?

Red State Feminists have been thinking a lot about leadershp lately, what with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Doinique Strauss-Kahn and John Edwards and Newt Gingrich . . . well, you know them all, too, don't you? How do we end up with jerks for leaders?

Well, some say it is power--that when a man obtains a fair degree of power, it corrupts him. But other researchers disagree. They suggest that we choose jerks to be our leaders, and we prefer jerks over normal, decent people when it comes to leadership. How could that possibly be? Here's one take on it:

For all their professed suspicion of autocrats, people tend to cede authority precisely to those individuals who want it most. Studies of group behavior suggest that the overconfident, outspoken individuals are the ones who tend to become the leaders. And the experience of being at the top only reinforces the person’s sense of control and self-centeredness.

Could it be true? Could we really prefer overconfident, power-hungry people to be our leaders? But notice the author uses the word "cede." Maybe it is not that we choose these jerks to be our leaders, but rather they go for the brass ring and we acquiesce. We don't want to fight to stop them from gaining the power they crave. Perhaps it feels inevitable to us that they will obtain what they desire, so why not let them have it?

But when we acquiesce, these jerks become even worse--by giving them power, we have given them poison:

In one recent study, researchers led by Adam Galinsky of Northwestern University primed participants to feel powerful by having them write about an incident in which they had control over others and then distribute lottery tickets to themselves and another study subject. These “high-powered” people were significantly less accurate in reading emotions from facial photographs than a comparison group of participants who were not primed in the same way. This and other experiments suggest that power can blind people to the emotions of those around them and lead to “objectifying others in a self-interested way,” the authors concluded.

When we cede authority to people who are power-hungry jerks, they become even less empathetic to others. They may even become sociopaths. They feel they don't have to play by the rules everyone else plays by. And they certainly don't have to treat other people as human beings. This is what our acquiescence buys us.

Researchers tell us that about 13% of the population are unhealthily obsessed with power. And about 4% are out-and-out sociopaths. That is a not insignificant proportion of the population. We don't just see them in powerful positions in government--we also see them in powerful positions in business, in the military,in medicine, in our neighborhoods. Each and every one of us has had to deal with someone who gets "high" off power, and uses it to abuse and oppress those around him.

Furthermore, once one of these jerks gets into power, he starts changing the institution so that "jerkness" is rewarded. Overconfidence, recklessness, cutting corners, not caring about other people . . . all of these jerk traits become institutionalized. That ensures that jerks will run things forever.

Is there any hope for human collectives not to be ruled by jerks, then? After all, they are less than 20% of the population. Surely 80+% of the people can stand up to the other 20% . . . can't they?

Red State Feminists don't feel very optimistic. Nevertheless, if we become aware that we tend to cede power to the wrong people, and that our institutions are set up to advance precisely those people to power, maybe that awareness could lead us to second-guess our leadership choices. And if we could get psychologists to create a scale to measure "jerkness" at a distance, we could rank our political candidates--or any candidates for powerful positions--on that scale, and use that information to weed out the very worst.

What do you suppose a society would be like without that 17% . . . ?

May 25, 2011 by Red State Gal


Tears for Maria Shriver: Why Can't Male Republican Politicians Live Their Values?

Red State Feminists are sad for Maria Shriver and her four children. As soon as your husband steps down from the governorship, he tells you he's had an affair with someone that has worked in your household for 20 years. And that 10 years ago, he fathered a child by her. Which he's been supporting since birth. Without ever telling you.

You fire the staff member and separate from your husband. Your 4 kids--your beautiful 4 kids, whom you hoped to raise as emotionally secure and psychologically intact human beings in a world where that is becoming ever more rare--are now going through trials that no innocent child should experience.

Can we conservative feminists howl with rage at this point? What the heck is it with conservative men? Why can't they keep their pants zipped? Here he is, a beloved movie star, a governor, a gorgeous wife from one of the most famous political families in the land, four wonderful children . . . and he throws it all away for a few minutes of pecker play? He betrays and breaks the hearts of those who loved him best . . . for what? What could possibly be worth more than the love and trust of your own wife and children?

And that question is not just for Arnold, is it? There's a rogue's gallery of conservative politicians who should have the decency to slink away into obscurity after destroying the faith of those who trusted them the most. Gingrich? McCain? Ensign? The list goes on and on. And don't get us started about conservative preachers caught with male prostitutes or preying on teenaged boys . . . God must hide His head in shame to be represented by such foul and slimy men.

Sure, they are plenty of politicians and preachers on the more liberal side of the political spectrum who have such problems, too, but then they don't even pretend that there is a universal moral code handed down by god that is binding upon them. Almost all conservatives do. We still believe in a God who makes a distinction between right and wrong. We still believe there is such a thing as sin.

We also believe the family is the absolute bedrock of all civilization. When you betray your family, you are also betraying your entire society as well as your God. How is that conservatism? Let's call it what it is--hypocrisy.

Do you think hypocrisy furthers the cause of conservatism? Or has no effects whatsoever? You're fooling yourselves, you conservative male political satyrs. Your hypocrisy is so blatant and so nauseating that the younger generation cannot even stand to look at you, much less look up to you. You've managed to also betray conservatism itself.

We conservatives look at our society and aren't happy with what we see. We look at you, Arnold, Newt, John, and the many others like you, and we realize you are a big reason our society is moving in such a lamentable direction.

The only question is when conservatives will have the guts to call you what you are and demand better leaders. Our motto should be, "Can't keep it zipped? Then you're gonna be kicked." Or, "If we can't look up to you, why should we vote for you?"

Time for conservative voters to stop settling for people you have to hold your nose to vote for . . .

May 17, 2011 by Red State Gal


The Persecution of Peter Vidmar

Red State Feminists were very upset to discover that Peter Vidmar has been hounded from his position as chief of the 2012 US Olympic Team. Some may be old enough to remember Peter Vidmar as winning two gold medals and one silver medal for the USA in gymnastics in the 1984 Games.

What happened to lead Vidmar to step down from this honorary position? He gave an interview in which he stated he felt that marriage ought to be between a man and a woman. And in 2008, he helped support the campaign for Proposition 8 in California, even donating $2000 and attending two demonstration in its favor.

Because he spoke his mind on this very important issue, gay athletes have called his remarks "disgraceful" and said he was unsuited to hold the position as chef de mission. The US Olympic Committee, to its credit, did not ask Vidmar to step down. But Vidmar said he did not want to be a "distraction."

Of course, it is worth remembering that Proposition 8 passed in California with 52.2% of the vote. It's worth remembering that during his presidential campaign, Barack Obama stated his opposition to redefining marriage. It's worth remembering that in a democracy we are supposed to have freedom of speech on the important issues confronting our country.

But in just 3 short years, it has become forbidden to state publicly that one opposes same-sex marriage. You can be stripped of your position, called all manner of names, and be completely socially ostracized. Gay rights activists have worked very hard to make sure that anyone that opposes same-sex marriage is vilified. And they're doing a bang-up job.

Is democracy strengthened by such bullying tactics? Of course not. Democracy works best when everyone feels they have the right to express their opinion and attempt to persuade others of the validity of their position--without fear of reprisal. Democracy thrives on such dialogue and debate. Democracy is the antithesis of a socially coercive silencing campaign.

Furthermore, almost all major Republican candidates express their opposition to same-sex marriage. You can run for president on the left (Obama) or on the right (Huckabee, Romney) and oppose same-sex marriage, but apparently you can't be the chief of the US Olympic Team if you do. Since the Olympics is neither a government legislature, nor is it a church that performs marriages, nor does it even have any official position on a topic so far afield from what it does . . . what the heck does Peter Vidmar's stance on same-sex marriage have to do with the Olympics at all?

This recent hounding of Vidmar, however, is causing a backlash. Even people who voted against Proposition 8 are saying, "enough is enough; the bully tactics must stop." This is not the American way. No matter how just the cause may appear, in the United States of America the ends do not justify the means. Americans are not willing to allow any group to bully and silence people who have every right as citizens to support whatever legal causes they choose.

Don't let anti-democracy bullies get away with it. Ask the US Olympic Committee to issue an official statement publicly proclaiming that TeamUSA athletes and appointees have the right to their political views without harassment.While such a statement no doubt will not change Vidmar's mind about stepping down, it will send a clear signal that important institutions in the United States will stand against any force that would undermine the precious freedoms of its citizens. Their email is .

May 11, 2011 by Red State Gal


Why We Watched the Royal Wedding of William and Catherine

Red State Feminists have a love-hate relationship with princess obsession. As many commentators have pointed out, a lot of those Disney princesses don't teach our daughters good life lessons. For example, please don't get me started on Belle. The last thing I want my daughter to believe is that by her love she can turn a man-beast into a prince. I've seen too many of my friends buy that line and then end up in horribly abusive relationships.

But yes, we watched the CNN footage of the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. Yes, we did. And it was a lovely affair; lovely groom lovely bride, lovely day, lovely kiss(es). But the princess wasn't the reason we felt compelled to watch. No, it was Prince William who was the object of our interest.


Actually, this wedding is a collective holding of the breath in hope. We know that William's father cheated on his mother even while they were engaged, though his very young mother did not even know until after the wedding. According to one biography, she found out on the second day of her marriage. She was told by her husband that he'd be damned if he'd be the only Prince of Wales never to have a mistress. We all saw how infidelity--and male presumption of privilege--destroyed what should have been a happy, wholesome home.

William looks just like this mom, and we know how much she loved him. We know that wherever she is, she is praying that her boy will be faithful to his wife; that William and Kate will forever be true and loving friends, and that no stain of unfaithfulness will taint their union. William and Kate have a momentous opportunity show the world what a happy marriage between a man and a woman can be. They can give their future children a wonderful and loving home life with an intact family.

We are all rooting for William to create what his mother most wanted, but was powerless to create. We are all hoping that William will be the man his father should have been. No wonder we are all riveted . . . We all want to know if there can be true love and happy, faithful marriage in this world. And I don't think many of us Red State folks are dispassionate about this. We not only want to know it can be true--we want it to be true. We want the young people of the world to say, "I want my marriage to be like William and Kate's."

Why? Because we want our children to find happiness, and this is the road that leads there. So, God bless you, William and Kate! May your marriage "make straight the paths to walk in." You can do so much good in this sad world just be being faithful to one another and happy to be with each other!

April 30, 2011 by Red State Gal


Can Conservative Men Start with Something More Important Than Abortion, Please?

Red State Feminists are pro-life, no doubt about it, though we feel there must be exceptions in the case of rape, incest, life and serious health consequences, and fatal fetal conditions. RSFs believe that abortion is one of the most important issues of the day. RSFs also believe, heretically, that the pro-life position can be completely consonant with feminism--because no woman wants an abortion.

But it is with a great deal of frustration that we find that the first issue pushed in new Republican-controlled state legislatures, are further constraints on abortion. Now that's not necessarily a bad thing. There are some reasonable constraints that might make sense. Standards for equipment and facilities, safety inspections, parental notification, and so forth may be seen by abortion proponents as harassment, but can also be argued to be important advances.

But, guys, if you really want to lead out as conservative men, can we talk about how abortion is a symptom of something much deeper and more important? What's going on with abortion is a barometer of what the state of relations between men and women in society is. And you know what? It's not good, guys. It's bad.

A recent article interviews young women about their relations with men. We were outraged by what we heard. Here's some excerpts:

One student said to me last year, "If I were fifteen pounds thinner, I think my boyfriend would stop looking at other girls." She didn't feel like she had the right to ask her guy to stop checking out other women in public. "You have to be gorgeous for a man to want to be with you and only you. I'm not, so I can't expect that."

A mentee of mine has a boyfriend who uses porn regularly and plays video games for hours. "Sometimes he'll just forget to call or text because he's gaming", she says. "I'm lucky to get a few minutes alone with him a week when we're not doing something sexual. But this is the way boys are - unless you're like freakin' Megan Fox, you can't expect a guy's complete attention."

Another girl told me that she doesn't feel like she can have a boyfriend – because she's not pretty enough. She has a lot of hook-ups instead. "I'm the girl you get with for a blowjob", she said; "I'm not the hot girl you hold hands with in public."

Words like these break my heart, because these bright and beautiful girls are blinded to their own worth. They don't see that they have the right to demand respect; that they have the right to set good boundaries; that they have the right to pursue a real relationship (if they want one). Believing that only women who meet an unattainable standard of perfection "deserve" to be happy sets girls up to settle for second-best in one area where they should never compromise.

This perfectionism dovetails dangerously with another theme in young women's lives: the "good guys are hard to find" narrative. This belief that reliable and loving young men are rare reinforces the pursuit of skinny, sexy, beauty: the fewer decent lads out there, the more "choice" those guys have. And even the decent ones, so the culture tells us, will make relationship decisions based on women's appearance. For some, that means all the more reason to compete - and for others, all the more reason to opt out and "settle" for what they've been told is the best they can reasonably hope for.

So what our young men are communicating to our young women is that they will not treat them with respect unless they look like Meghan Fox. If you look like a real human female, then you cannot expect any respect, any boundaries, any real emotional connection to a young man. The young man will be more interested in World of Warcraft or Call of Duty, online porn or poker, getting drunk or stoned with one's male buddies. Women who don't look like Meghan Fox are good for blowjobs, but not for relationships.

Conservative men, do you want a social cause that really cuts at the real problems in our society? THIS IS IT. Abortion is a consequence of this breakdown in the relations between the men and women in our society. So is same-sex marriage. Conservative male leaders need to be out there calling on young men to stop wasting their lives in virtual reality, getting their kicks off virtual sex, treating young women like dirt. Please stop thinking that being pro-life or anti-gay-marriage is your claim to walking the real conservative walk--it isn't. Until you call the men of our society to account for how they treat women, you can't really call yourself a conservative.

The article ends with a keen observation:

It's not a stretch to point out that the "scarcity model" combines with perfectionism to let men off the hook time and again. The less girls believe they deserve, the less they'll ask for - and the less young men need to provide. Until we ask who benefits from this cruel system, we're not getting close to solving the problem.

Amen. It's time for the conservative movement to embrace a standard of respect for women that will undergird a pro-life position. It's time for conservative men to lead out in the most important battle facing our society today: the battle for peace, love, and respect between the two halves of humankind. Our children will inherit a world profoundly shaped by the outcome of that battle--a world of life or a world of death.

Time to step up to the plate, boys.

April 27, 2011 by Red State Gal


The Duh Files: People Thinking About Death Like Intelligent Design

Red State Feminists love to read the latest research, and sometimes especially when it falls into the "duh" category. Here's a great example: researchers at the University of British Columbia have just discovered that if you ask people to think about their own death in the future, that they begin to have more sympathy for the stance of intelligent design, and less sympathy for pure evolution. Thanks, guys.

Now, what the researchers suggest is the proper interpretation of these findings is not what Red State Feminists would suggest. The researchers believe their findings prove that people who believe in intelligent design--which they judge as hogwash--do so because of emotional turmoil that they cannot control in any other way. In other words, it is a sign of emotional derangement that you believe in intelligent design.

But that isn't the only possible interpretation, is it? What if staring death in the face concentrates your mind in a way no other event can. What if confronting death strips away all ego, pride, vanity, and fears of seeming a social misfit to others, and leaves you just with reality and nothing more? What if your vision becomes clear when it's just you and death and no one else?

In that case, feeling within you that there is something more to this life might actually be the most honest expression of what you believe reality to be. In fact, it may be one of the only opportunities in your life to stop caring what other people think is "OK" to believe, and really ask the cosmos. Is there meaning, you ask, as you stare death in the face? And something both deep inside your spirit as well as surrounding you, says, "Good news! Yes, there's meaning!"

As the old saying goes, "there's no atheists in foxholes." But maybe what that means is not what some think it means. Maybe it doesn't mean that an irrational emotion like fear can make you irrational in your beliefs. Maybe, to the contrary, it means that being forced to confront reality with a capital "R" leads you to true insights about that reality that you otherwise would be too socially conscious to admit.

The researchers suggest that the cure is to explicitly teach students how to find existential meaning in design-less evolution. Now here you have to cue Elton John singing, "The Circle of Life," because apparently the meaning to be found in your life is that after death your atoms will be recycled into new living or organic matter. So, you see, you really are immortal--or, at least your atoms are. So what's to be afraid of death?

Those who confront Reality, however, understand that there is no meaning in death. All of the life wisdom you have gained through struggle and sorrow--zip, nada, nothing. All the love you have for your friends and family and lovers--zip, nada, nothing. All your hopes and dreams--forget about them. Death is something to fear if you love, if you hope.

So in that black space, when the Universe tells you that the Truth is that there is Good News, there is nothing more important than that understanding. When you understand death is a lie, and has been vanquished, and that love and hope really do spring eternal, you are simply not the same person that you were before. The Universe has given you the best "intervention" of which it is capable.

Now, I personally don't think evolution is incompatible with the existence of God. I think evolution is God's way of bringing things about. But of course, there's no room in this polarized debate for such a position, so I leave it for my readers as a dangling tangent.

So in conclusion, dear researchers at the University of British Columbia, your findings are right, but not for the reason you think. The purpose of death is to force one to confront reality and discover the truth about one's life. Death still does the job well--and that is exactly what you found. Red State Feminists will file this in the "duh" files . . .

April 20, 2011 by Red State Gal


The French Got It Right on Surrogacy

Red State Feminists are unused to seeing common sense on the issue of advanced reproductive technologies (ART). So it was a pleasant surprise to hear that France is refusing the recognize the practice of surrogacy. Amazing stuff, that. Indeed, the French banned it in 1994!

What is most interesting is that the French view the practice as inherently degrading not only of the child, but also the woman who bears the child and who is forever stripped of her right to be called the child's mother.

It is a fundamental principle of French law that the human body is inviolable, and no part of it can be treated like property. In its decision, the Conseil d’État reasoned that since altruistic surrogates usually receive some form of stipend, and since the nature of the relationship between the intended parents and the birth mother is necessarily contractual, then, in essence, surrogacy is a transaction, which treats the child like an object and the surrogate mother’s body like a commodity. This is a concern echoed by other French critics, such as philosopher Sylviane Agacinski, who view the practice as degrading, by definition. “To solely use [a woman's] belly is contrary to dignity,” she told the left-leaning website Rue89, “even if no money changes hands, because it places the very existence of one human being at the service of another.”

Agacinski is absolutely right, in the same way that the Swedes are right about the inherent degradation of the practice of prostitution. What is appalling is that with surrogacy, you don't just have "johns" that have purchased for a time and for their own pleasure a part of a woman's body. No, now we have "jills," too, women who would stop at nothing to use another woman's womb and then refuse to call that woman the mother of the child she has borne in her body.

And yes, of course we know that eventually France will wind up legalizing the practice. Recent polls show that 61% of French survey respondents favor legalizing surrogacy. But for one brief shining span of years, the French saw with clearer eyes than the Americans what the truth of surrogacy is--and it is an ugly truth.

Worth noting also is that the French still maintain a ban on same-sex marriage, though civil unions are legal for all couples, including same-sex couples. Once again, the issue is that the child must know from whom he or she really descends. Surrogacy takes that human right away from the most innocent among us. Same-sex marriage does the same for children acquired by the spouses.

What does it matter, some say, whether a child knows he or she is kin to both a man and a woman? Why, friend, it makes all the difference in the world. It is the difference between being heir to the fullness of humanity, or not. Surrogacy makes a lie of motherhood and fatherhood. Every child has the human right to know he or she has a mother and a father. To plan even before the child is conceived to deprive the child of this fundamental human right is to perpetrate a grievous wrong. There are plenty of things worse than infertility, and to commit such a grave crime against the humanity of an innnocent is one of them. That it is now women who are among those clamoring to use the body parts of other women for their own ends just goes to show that the male of the species has no lock on sexual misdeeds.

Surrogacy is also banned outright in most European countries, including Germany, Spain, Finland, Italy, and Switzerland. But the French have articulated the reasons for this rejection most eloquently.

And so we pause to doff our hats to the French: bravo! Thank you for giving us a beacon in the growing darkness, even if that beacon turns out to have been but only briefly lit.

April 6, 2011 by Red State Gal


The Painful Contortions of "I Am Not a Hypocrite!" Gingrich

Red State Feminists have blogged before over sorry Mr. Newt Gingrich. But that was last year, and the take is worth retelling now that Mr. Gingrich has loudly proclaimed that he is not a hypocrite on the eve of launching his presidential campaign.

Here are the painful contortions of a man who wishes to be the leader of the free world:

The former Georgia congressman, who has been married three times, also addressed his past indiscretions - a perceived weakness for the potential candidate - saying he did things of which he is not proud.

“I don’t think I’m perfect. I admitted I had problems. I admitted that I sought forgiveness,” Gingrich said. “But I also think over time, if you look at my record, I’m a pretty effective leader.”

When asked if his involvement in the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton for lying under oath was hypocritical given his own past, he said “no,” because he was focused on the law, not Clinton’s private life.

“It’s not about personal behavior … it’s not about what he did in the Oval Office. You can condemn that. You can say it’s totally inappropriate,” Gingrich said. “But it was about a much deeper and more profound thing, which is: Does the president of the United States have to obey the law?”

Did he ever think that he “shouldn’t be throwing stones?”

“No,” Gingrich said. “I thought to myself if I cannot do what I have to do as a public leader, I would have resigned.”

We suggest the man should have resigned. In disgrace. Let's replay the facts of the matter:

If you don't know very much about Newt Gingrich, oh, the baggage that man carries! We are all SO DARN TIRED of conservative leaders whose personal lives look like something from the nether regions of Dante's Inferno. Newt has the unpleasant distinction of dumping two wives for young aides he charmed as their boss. UGH. Furthermore, his second wife, Marianne Gingrich, married to him for eighteen years, had just received a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis when she got word he wanted to divorce her. In fact, according to Marianne, "He'd already asked [his now-third wife] to marry him before he asked me for a divorce. Before he even asked." Q: "He told you that?" "Yeah . . . " Not only that, but while Marianne was away visiting relatives, the soon-to-be third wife "was in her apartment, eating off her plates, sleeping in her bed"!

The Esquire interview goes on to relate,

He asked her to just tolerate the affair, an offer she refused.

He'd just returned from Erie, Pennsylvania, where he'd given a speech full of high sentiments about compassion and family values.

The next night, they sat talking out on their back patio in Georgia. She said, "How do you give that speech and do what you're doing?"

"It doesn't matter what I do," he answered. "People need to hear what I have to say. There's no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn't matter what I live."

What a stand-up guy, that Newt! Gosh, he's someone for conservatives to be SO proud of!

And this was no case of temporary insanity. This was actually part of a longstanding pattern. His first wife was in the hospital recovering from uterine cancer when he served her with papers so he could marry Marianne.

When Esquire told her Newt was considering a run for the presidency, Marianne was incredulous. But what she said really hit the nail on the head: "He believes that what he says in public and how he lives don't have to be connected. If you believe that, then yeah, you can run for president."

Well, Newt, true conservatives think that attitude is part of the reason why our nations is going to heck in a handbasket. Red State Feminists are conservatives, but there is no way on earth we would ever vote for an amoral slimeball like Newt Gingrich! Forgiveness, sure . . . forgetting, no way in hell, Mr. Gingrich! You have proved over and over again that you are not fit to be trusted with the things that matter most. American citizens--especially conservatives--actually care what happens to their country, and that means we won't be voting for you, Newt.

"I am not a hypocrite" will go down in history with "I am not a crook." We've learned our lesson, and we are no longer voting for contortionists who try to tell us they are not something that they plainly are. Though it's a terrifying sight to consider, Emperor Newt Gingrich has no clothes on . . .

March 30, 2011 by Red State Gal


The Inside Job and the Big Short

Red State Feminists spent this weekend reading The Big Short by Michael Lewis and watching Inside Job, the documentary film narrated by Matt Damon. They were a one-two punch to the gut, leaving you both astounded and nauseated. The topic of both was the financial meltdown of 2008.

I finished reading the book before I watched the movie. Lewis' style of writing reads just like a who-done-it, though it becomes very clear who done it early on. The cast of characters is amazing, such as the one-eyed Aspie broker who realizes what is happening in 2005, and makes a bet he has to let ride for over 2 years. But the colorful characters who catch on to the impending meltdown are no match for the much less colorful characters who create the mess in the first place. You see, all of these normal, un-colorful Wall Street types created a fantasy world completely divorced from reality. They could get away with it because they were normal and un-colorful and had credentials. But these people were stark, raving mad. Or they were morons. Or they were just plain evil. By the time you finish the book, you honestly can't tell which it was.

At its core was the premise that by shoveling money at low income Americans to buy homes, everyone on the food chain would take a cut. The lenders took their cut of the fees, and then sold the mortgages upstream. The brokerage firms packaged all these flimsy loans into Collateralized Deb Obligations--and by packaging them, obscured just how bad the loans were. The firms paid regulators--Moody's, S&P, and Fitch--to rate these CDOs, and the regulators took a fee from each CDO they rated. The more CDOs they rated, the more money they would make. But there would only be more money to be made if the CDOs were rated well--and so the regulators rated these crappy CDOs at AAA status. The brokers could then sell the CDOs to investors and take a fee from the sale. And these investors were entities like state and local pension funds, which were only allowed to invest in AAA securities, which supposedly were the safest bet with only a 1 in 10,000 chance of not returning the initial investment with profit.

But that was not all, oh no, that was not all. The brokers turned around and bet against their own investors making money from these CDOs! Even though the brokers no longer owned the CDOs, having sold them to investors, the brokers could take out insurance against the CDOs, which they did. They sold CDOs to investors while at the same time betting that those CDOs would go belly up.

The regulators were clearly prostituting themselves. To make money, they certified worthless garbage as AAA securities. They should be in jail right now.

The brokers and lenders were the pimps, who promoted completely risky CDOs to investors in order to make a buck on the fees and commissions charged.

But the brokers go even further than being pimps. Betting that the assets you are selling your investors will actually blow up in their faces is wrongdoing at a whole new level. It's evil. They also should be in jail right now.

Then the documentary film takes you further, interviewing some of the bit players (because the big players wouldn't be interviewed), and looking at the testimony of the regulators and brokers before Congressional hearings. You are told just how much wealth these crooks walked away with. You learn they spent money hand over fist on prostitutes just down the block on Wall Street. You learn from therapists of Wall Street clients that these men--and they were all men--were addicted to risk-taking and were incapable of seeing that what they were doing was immoral. You learn that the finanicial industory spends an outlandish sum of money on lobbying each year, and that our regulatory bodies are run by men on leave from the great brokerage firms. You leanr that the great economists of our country are paid millions of dollars each year to produce intellectual window-dressing that allows these crooks to justify their corrupt practices. You learn that Congress gutted every provision designed to provide oversight and security to America's financial system.

And you see with your own eyes and hear with your own ears the sheer arrogance of the men who were too big to let fail. When asked a direct question about the morality of what they were doing, they gape open-mouthed and then quickly deny they did anything amiss.

This is what our country has come to. Wall Street is run by arrogant crooks, and Wall Street has bought our government, which has given the crooks the key to the house. Our government has failed to hold any of these crooks accountable--indeed, they walked away from the destruction they had caused with even more money in their pockets than they had had before. They are lobbying as fiercely as they can to prevent any new regulation of their thievery.

Dear readers, read this book and watch this movie. Get your kids to do the same. Explain to them, shamefacedly, that this is the America you are leaving them with--an America rotten at the very highest levels of leadership and trust.

March 20, 2011 by Red State Gal


So, Egypt, What About the Women?

Red State Feminists were outraged to discover that despite the fact women stood shoulder-to-shoulder with men in Egypt's Tahrir Square to rid the country of authoritarian rule, they are being cast by the wayside as events play out.

First, the constitutional reform committee tasked with drafting the new Egyptian constitution under which elections will take place has not one woman on it, despite the fact that Egypt has scores of female judicial scholars and practitioners.

Second, the draft reforms included such verbiage as indicating the Egyptian president could not be married to a non-Egyptian wife. Yes, "wife," clearly indicating that the post of president in Egypt could not be held by a woman.

Third, the interim cabinet appointed by the military transitional element contains--you guessed it--not one woman.

Fourth, when Egyptian women through social media called for a "Million Woman March" in Tahrir Square to remind their brothers that the women cared whether they were represented and whether their rights would be protected under a new government, only a few hundred women were brave enough to show up. And they had good reason to fear, because they were met by a mob of male opponents who lambasted them for being un-Islamic, and urging them to go back into their kitchens. Then the male mob charged the women and chased them out of the square. What square? Yes, Tahrir Square; Liberty Square.

Red State Feminists have heard all the arguments about how the Muslim Brotherhood is really a not-very-religious lamb; no need for the West to fear its rise in Egyptian politics. But every single one of these voices calling the Muslim Brotherhood harmless and lamb-like have been male. Have you noticed? The women of Egypt remember that the Muslim Brotherhood opposed virtually any divorce rights for women, that they opposed the ban on female genital cutting in Egypt, that they opposed any sort of quota for women in the legislature. Yes, the women remember, and they are right to look at how events are unfolding right now and begin to worry.

Men hold the real power in Egyptian society. Now that power is in play, the men are in the back room cutting the cards amongst themselves--and the women are not invited to the party. Not only are they being actively cast to one side, we see by the ugly events in Tahrir Square that there is a good chance that Egyptian women will see a rollback of their hard-won rights as a "concession" to the Muslim Brotherhood by some of the male political players who need the Brotherhood's support. Heck, we just saw this in Afghanistan, where President Hamid Karzai was willing to sell out Shi-ite women and reduce them to virtual slaves to their husbands, in order tht Karzai might gain the Shi'ite vote in the recent elections.

What can turn this around? Pressure from the West and pressure from Egyptian women. Newsweek has recently celebrated the initiation of "the Hillary Doctrine"--the doctrine that what happens with women affects whether the nation is stable, healthy, and peaceful, and so the US should care about the women of the world. But we have not seen that male Egyptian politicians or the military are listening to Hillary. It is time for our male president, Barack Obama, to stand up for Egyptian women in his discussions with the powers-that-will-be in Egypt.

And it is time for Egyptian women to enlist their husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons to stand up for women's rights in the streets of Cairo. Let's have a Million Man March as escorts to that Million Woman March. Only women and the men who care about women can safeguard the rights of women in Egypt.

Will that happen? Red State Feminists aren't going to bet on it. Our prayers and thoughts are with the women of Egypt . . .

March 16, 2011 by Red State Gal


Mr. Michael Waters of Pleasant View, Utah: A David for Our Time

Red State Feminists have become aware of a true heroic saga playing out in US District Court of the state of Utah. Mr. Michael Waters, of Pleasant View, Utah, is fighting Bank of America without an attorney. He is fighting to keep his home, even though no attorney would agree to help him because Waters could never pay them what it would cost to take on Bank of America.

When Waters lost his job last year, he contacted Bank of America, which offered him a forbearance--that is, Bank of America offered to lower his monthly payments. They even indicated that he might be eligible for a loan modification.

But then Bank of America did a little more homework and discovered this was an FHA-backed mortgage. They could foreclose on Waters and get the full price of the mortgage from the American taxpayer because of FHA insurance. They didn't need to help Waters at all!

So they sent him a letter cancelling the forbearance, ostensibly due to a late payment. But the letter was sent before the payment was even due. Yes, Bank of America was that greedy to get taxpayer money. The bank started foreclosure proceedings against Waters.

After being turned down by attorneys, Waters realized he was going to have to represent himself. But it has been an ordeal: "Every time I go into courts, I'm shaking like a leaf. I'm perspiring. I'm nervous. I'm scared," he said.

US District Court Judge Bruce Jenkins is also an unsung hero in all of this. Jenkins told Bank of America to work with Waters on a loan modification--and so Bank of America promptly worked out a modification that would have raised Water's payments considerably! Jenkins reponse to Bank of America's well-paid lawyer was:

What has the bank really given up? All they've done is add up. I read the ads. I even read the Bank of America ads. And I get all the interesting material that you see on television taking about how willing people are to make a deal, and what they're doing by way of patriotic activity. I don't see any dollar shifting on their part at all."

The well-paid lawyer from Bank of America told the judge that Bank of America had to look out for its shareholders! The judge reminded the well-paid lawyer that if they foreclosed on Waters, the American taxpayer would be stuck with the costs of a mortgage that the mortgagee wanted to pay! And this was after the bailout of Bank of America, where the US taxpayers paid mega-bucks to keep it afloat! The judge said to him, "With all of that, they say, we're not interested in modifying our relationship, because FHA is on the hook, and we're going to get paid either here or there. That's just incredible--just incredible. They're not serious. . . . I know Mr. Waters is serious. I don't think your bank is serious at all."

Judge Jenkins granted Waters his right to a trial. Here's hoping Bank of America gets hung out to dry--and still has to pay their well-paid lawyers on top of it all! Michael Waters, the best of luck to you! And Judge Jenkins, you rock! This is the real spirit of America--and Bank of America should hang its collective head in shame to sully the good name of our great country!

March 8, 2011 by Red State Gal


We've Met the Industrial Vagina: Now Meet the Industrial Womb

Red State Feminists have expressed their disgust at sex trafficking, where women's bodies are used as the capital equipment to make money for their exploiters. Some have taken to calling this type of exploitation, "the industrial vagina." This term attempts to express the horror of enslaving a human being and turning that person's body parts into raw materials from which a capitalist can make money.

Imagine our horror, then when we learned that entrepreneurs have not stopped at the industrial vagina. There is now a business model based on the industrial womb, where women are enslaved and their wombs turned into factories for the purpose of making money. Just a few days ago, Agence France Presse reported that Thai authorities, acting on a tip from the Vietnamese Embassy there, raided two houses. They found women from Vietnam who had been enslaved, raped (which apparently wasn't tied to the business model, but was just a perk of enslaving them), and then forced to have an egg-sperm combination implanted into their womb. They were vessels used to sustain a pregnancy for childless individuals and couples, mostly from Taiwan, that would pay approximately $32,000 for their services.

Of course, the women were not paid. The slave masters were paid. Some of the women were told they would receive $5000 per birth, but, of course, never did. Horribly, some of the women had no idea that being an enslaved gestational surrogate was the work they were being hired to do. The women were kept locked up in the houses, and were not permitted to leave. Their papers and passports were confiscated. They were enslaved baby breeders.

Equally horribly, the business, called Baby 101, made a solemn promise to its customers: it promised "no connection between consignor (client) and surrogate mother." This promise reveals the true deth of depravity--the womb is everything; the woman the womb is attached to is nothing. They deny the connection between the woman and the baby she is carrying--which is undeniable, no matter whose egg and sperm were used. They have tried to erase the mother of that child. The incalculable harm done to both the mother and the child is enormous. By doing these things, these "entrepreneurs" have committed crimes against the very humanity we all share.

Red State Feminists believe the world will be judged by God on the basis of what is happening with the women and children--and from what we see, that judgment is going to be mighty harsh. People say that women are weak because they are full of mercy. Well, the longer a woman lives in this world, the more she longs for the justice of God. May the Father of all women justly and fully recompense those who have tried to destroy both women's bodies and women's souls for money or for pleasure!

March 1, 2011 by Red State Gal


DOMA Betrayed!

Red State Feminists have learned that today, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Obama Administration would refuse to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal recognition to same-sex marriages contracted in Us states or abroad where same-sex marriage is legal. The legislation passed 15 years ago, is still current American law. But the executive branch of government has decided not to enforce the laws enacted by the legislative branch of government.

We have seen this also in the immigration issue, where the federal government does not adequately enforce the laws of the land. But at least in the case of immigration, there is at least a tepid show of executive branch enforcement of the law. In the case of DOMA, the executive branch has, in essence, nullified American law. My understanding is that such a stance is not constitutional. Only the judicial branch may nullify federal law. That prerogative is not given to the executive branch. While we rightly descry "judicial activism," should we not also descry "executive inactivism"?

President Obama himself has said that he favors civil unions that carry all the benefits and obligations of marriage, but which do not wrest the term "marriage" from what it means to the vast majority of Americans--the legal covenant between the two halves of humanity, the mothers and the fathers, to support each other and their children. This legal covenant holds a special place of honor in all human societies, despite the fact that men often try to turn it into an instrument of oppression of women. But the intention behind marriage is anything but such oppression. The intention is to put men and women on equal footing, to make sure that the men of the society know how to live in love and equality with the women of the society. All women have a vested interest in preserving the special place of honor held by heterosexual marriage in its non-oppressive incarnations.

If the Obama Administration does not like DOMA, it should ask its allies in Congress to overturn it. Until that time, it has an ethical obligation to enforce the law of the land and defend it in court. The executive branch cannot pick and choose which laws it will support and which it will not. If it's a law, then, President Obama, it's the law of the land. You have complained about the dysfunctionality of our government--your own actions in this case demonstrate that it is your own administration that is at the root of much of the dysfunctionality we see.

President Obama, you might think of this as a throwaway issue--a bone you can throw to the left. To a majority of states and a majority of Americans, this is no throwaway issue. The Defense of Marriage Act is much, much more than that--and we believe pundits will assert that your betrayal of DOMA was one of the most important nails in your 2012 coffin.

February 23, 2011 by Red State Gal


Successful Fetal Surgery at 19 Weeks: Time to Open Our Eyes to Fetal Life and to the Responsibility of Men

Red State Feminists were amazed to find that medical science has progressed to the point where surgeons can successfully operate on a 19 week old fetus, sparing it the worst ravages of spina bifida.

So let's step back and think about this. What was operated on? "Uterine tissue?" Did the mother have spina bifida? Hmmmm, no. What was operated on was not the mother, and was not lifeless tissue. You don't operate on lifeless tissue. Was it a blob of cells? No, the surgeons closed an opening around the spine. So what was operated on was alive, it wasn't the mother, and it had recognizable body parts that could be surgically repaired to make the organism healthier.

Can we finally open our eyes and say it was a human being that was operated on?

Our technology is making it impossible to pretend any longer that what is in the womb is not a human. What we don't know is if our civilization is prepared to accept what our technology is showing us.

Now, by accepting that there is in fact a human being in there, we are not saying that we privilege fetal life over the mother's life. That would be nuts, and we have excoriated the Roman Catholic Church in a previous blogpost for excommunicating a hospital for performing an abortion at 11 weeks to save the life of the mother. That's pure misogyny right there. And it's also incoherent--if the mother dies, an 11 week old fetus cannot survive without her. So let's set that issue to one side--if a mother's life is at stake, we privilege her life. If the fetus is viable outside her body, we save the fetus, too.

Let's also set to one side the issue of rape and incest. If a woman has been so deeply violated, she must be given back the dignity of choosing whether to carry the child. Anything else is cruel and unusual punishment. But the older the fetus, the more the fetus has claim on its life in addition to the violated mother having claim on her choice. If the fetus is viable outside her body, we save the fetus, too.

Make no mistake, medical technology will force us to take another look at the issue of abortion. Ultrasound and fetal surgery make plain that there really are difficult moral choices to be faced, and we can no longer duck those by pretending we cannot see what is truly going on.

And when we do decide to look, it will finally be time to realize that ABORTION IS A MEN'S ISSUE. That's right, for too long we have assumed abortion is a women's issue. It's not. Men make women pregnant. Women don't make women pregnant. Can we open our eyes and see that reality, too?

It is the sexual incontinence of men that drives the vast majority of abortions in our nation. Men want to have sexual relations with no responsibility concerning what happens to their female lover--even if what happens is pregnancy. It's time for pastors and bishops and rabbis and imams to starting telling it like it is over the pulpit: "Men, if you made a woman pregnant, you are morally responsible for the abortion. God will hold you accountable that you sired a child in a context where you had no intention of taking care of the child and its mother." Isn't it time that we engaged the moral choices men are making that create the abortion problem in the first place? But most of these pastors and bishops and rabbis and imams are men, and so abortion wrongly remains a "women's issue."

If we are going to open our eyes to the reality of fetal life, then it's also time to open our eyes to the reality that it is men that are causing abortions. The next time your religious leader gives a sermon on the topic of abortion, listen carefully to see if they preach about both these realities. If they don't, then be a Red State Feminist and speak up!

February 16, 2011 by Red State Gal


Bangladesh: Hena Akter, Dead at 14

Red State Feminists note that when pundits compare Pakistan and Bangladesh, which used to be West and East Pakistan, that they usually conclude that the situation of women in Pakistan is far worse than that of Bangladesh. Apparently, thre is little difference in reality, and the tragic story of Hena Akter tells the tale.

Hena Akter, 14, was the daughter of a farmer whose family lived about 35 miles outside of the capital city of Dhaka. Because it is shameful for women to urinate and defecate outside during daylight hours, most wait until evening. Hena went outside to go to the bathroom, and her 40 year old cousin, who lived nearby, dragged her off to rape her in the woods. She screamed and eventually her father found her and rescued her.

While we in the West would not believe this, the man's family accused Hena of adultery. That's right--the 14 year old rape victim. The local village arbitration council decided the rapist would get 200 lashes and pay a fine, and the victim would get 100 lashes. That's right--the 14-year old victim. The rapist fled. The little girl did not. After 80 lashes, she collapsed. She was taken to a hospital and died a few days later.

A little girl raped, accused of a crime because she was raped, and then whipped to death . . . May the entire nation of Bangladesh hang its collective head in shame. And her sentence was issued as a religious fatwa under sharia law. May Muslims the world over hang their collective head in shame. More importantly, may Bangladeshis and Muslims everywhere repudiate this vicious and misogynist and heartless view of life.

Do you know what really divides civilizations? It's not what language they speak or what gods they worship. It's what happens when a little girl is raped. In some civilizations, that little girl would be given medical treatment and counselling, and her rapist would be lucky to get out of prison in 30 years. In other civilizations, that girl would be considered to be some type of criminal, and killed. THAT is the true dividing line between civilizations.

And the civilizations in which the little girl is taken under wing and healed are civilizations worth fighting for . . . no matter what the cultural relativists tell us.

February 9, 2011 by Red State Gal


Quick, What Do Elton John and the Roman Catholic Church Have in Common?

Did we Red State Feminists stump you? The answer is quite simple: both believe that mothers, simply because they are women, are dispensable.

The case of Elton John and his partner exploiting one or two women to provide a baby for them has been front page news for several days. Elton John declares that being a father is "enchanting." What is not enchanting, however, is how the mother of that child--and yes, there IS at least one mother of that child--has been deemed utterly dispensable by the celebrity couple. According to John and his partner, their baby does not need a mother. Why? Because a mother is a woman.

The Roman Catholic Church, of course, isn't about to be involved in the business (and it is a business) of creating motherless children for gay couples. No, it's actually in the line of work where mothers' lives can be sacrificed because mothers' lives are not as important as fetal lives. Sts. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix has been stripped of its formal association with the Roman Catholic Church by the local bishop, Thomas Olmsted, because it terminated the 11 week pregnancy of a 27 year old mother of four children who would have almost certainly died (taking her fetus with her) had the termination not happened. For those who wonder if the abortion was really necessary to save the life of the mother, who was suffering from pulmonary hypertension, here is a relevant quote:

A letter sent Monday from Catholic Healthcare West, signed by Sister Judith Carle, board chairwoman, and President and CEO Lloyd Dean, asks Olmsted to provide further clarification about the directives. Agreeing that in a healthy mother, pregnancy is "not a pathology," it says this case was different. The pregnancy, the letter says, carried a nearly certain risk of death for the mother.

"If there had been a way to save the pregnancy and still prevent the death of the mother, we would have done it," the letter says. "We are convinced there was not."

Olmsted had already excommunicated a nun, Sister Margaret McBride, who had approved the emergency termination. Now, he has also excommunicated the hospital.

In effect, then, both Elton John and the Roman Catholic Church have concluded that mothers are completely unnecessary in the lives of their own children. If you can get women to manufacture a child for you, you needn't concern yourself about making that baby a motherless child, because a mother is unnecessary. If a fetus' life is more important than the life of the mother of its four siblings, then who cares if those four siblings become motherless? A mother is dispensable.

Have men gone mad? Or are we finally seeing the truth of how many of them think? Germaine Greer once said, "Women fail to understand how much men hate them." Once men manage to perfect an artifical uterus, or a substitute uterus, having two XX chromosomes will appear as a fatal birth defect to them. The erasure of the mother will lead to the erasure of the female. Greer also said, "if they didn't need us for reproduction; men would long ago have exterminated women."

This Red State Feminist turned to her husband and asked, "You're a man. Can you explain to me how these men come to think in this appalling way?" And he gave a very wise response. He said, "Both Elton John and the Bishops of the Catholic Church have rejected women. They don't live with women, and they choose not to be with women." No wonder a mother is a dispensable object to them . . .

And where are women in all of this? Where they have always been--ready, if perhaps somewhat ambivalent, partners in their own exploitation and their own demise. Certainly one or more women were paid very well by Elton John to manufacture this motherless babe. Certainly women sit in the pews of the Catholic Church every Sunday, just as have their foremothers. Only women can stop this madness, but they seem unprepared for even the most fundamental of instincts, self-preservation. In Asia, it is the mothers who step into the abortion clinic when ultrasound reveals they are carrying a female fetus. If women are incapable of protecting their own sex, what can we possibly expect from men?

January 30, 2011 by Red State Gal


The Man Who Became Henri Salmide: A Case Study in Christian Conscience

Red State Feminists would like to spologize for not having noted the passing of the man who would become Henri Salmide when that passing occurred in March 2010. His story is an amazing one, and in case some of our readers are unfamiliar with the man and his story, we retell it here, as it was recounted in his obituary.

Henri Salmide was not born with that name. His name at birth was Heinz Stahlschmidt, and yes, he was German, and yes, he served in the German navy during World War II. He was a junior officer, and was posted to Bordeaux, France. In August 1944, near the war's end, his superiors ordered him to blow up the magnificent and critical port of Bordeaux so that it would be useless to the Allies.

At first, being a good German officer, he did as he was told. He stockpiled thousands of pounds of ordnance, which was to be set up throughout the city and port in order to rig the explosion. Not only did the Germans know this would destroy the city and the port, they also knew they would kill thousands of civilians. But that was "collateral damage" in war.

But Stahlschmidt thought about it. He realized the war was lost, and he could not understand how so many lives and so much infrastructure could be so wantonly destroyed for no reason. In an interview he gave in 1997, he said, "I acted according to my Christian conscience. I could not accept that the port of Bordeaux be wantonly destroyed when the war was clearly lost."

So instead of blowing up the port and its citizens, he blew up the stockpiled ordnance instead, before it was disseminated around the city. In that blast,about fifty Nazi soldiers and officers died. He then hid with a family tied to the French Resistance. He stayed in France after the war, and changed his name to Henri Salmide.

Naturally the Germans called him a traitor. What was interesting is that for many years, the French tried to deny his story, and to suggest that the explosion had been the work of the French Resistance, and not Salmide. Honoring a German was just not something that could be done in the aftermath of the war. Finally, in 1994, he was awarded the Legion of Honor by the French government for his choice not to destroy Bordeaux.

Small choices can be fateful. It takes a special kind of courage to not only refuse the orders of one's superior during wartime, but to do the opposite. But such is the power of a Christian conscience. May we remember the courage of the man who would become Henri Salmide.

January 17, 2011 by Red State Gal


A New Year, and a Hopeful Sign of Bipartisanship--on a Feminist Issue!

Red State Feminists welcome in a new year, 2011! May good things happen for our nation this year. One hopeful sign that perhaps partisanshp will not paralyze the US Congress has caught our attention, for it is an important feminist issue as well.

What is this issue? Lactation rooms on Capitol Hill--including one in the Capitol Building itself! When the Capitol was built, it did not even have restrooms for women, let alone lactation rooms. We have spoken in this blog before about the crucial issue of access for women, especially mothers, as they attempt to make their voice heard in our nation and our society. Our society cannot allow motherhood, which is so necessary to the survival of our nation, to become a disabling, cripplong condition that forever marginalizes the voices of those who have become mothers.

But since 2007--yes, when Nancy Pelosi became speaker--four, count 'em four, lactation rooms were created. Two are in the House building, one in the Senate, and one in the Capitol building. Apparently, each has its own moniker: the Lactation Lobby, the Lactation Station, the Milk Factory, and the Boob Cube.

Each room has an electronic lock, and have hospital-grade breast pumps,a sink, mini-fridges, and a TV for watching Congressional votes. Interestingly, one article suggests that this neutral territory has become the foundation for some bipartisan friendships among staff, congresspersons, security personnel, etc. And conservative women on the Hill have thanked their liberal colleague for making the rooms possible.

From our vantage point, this looks like great news all around. After all, breastfeeding is a bipartisan issue, and so is the issue of access to Capitol Hill for mothers. Our nation can only benefit from the participation of greater numbers of mothers on the Hill. Fortunately, John Boehner's office has denied any rumors that he was going to get rid of the rooms, and his office even announced plans for a new women's restroom adjacent to the House floor. This is great! Both Democrats and Republicans working to make things better for moms. Now that's a wonderful example of bipartisanship! And on a feminist issue to boot!

So we start our 2011 blog off on a happy and hopeful note, dear readers!

January 12, 2011 by Red State Gal