Tag Archives: Bush

Reclaiming the Means of Reproduction


Lilith Magazine asked me to review Michelle Goldberg’s The Means of Reproduction. The book waspublished earlier this year and at first I thought this review would be a bit dated. As it turns out, given the health reform debate in which women’s reproductive health is once again the battering ram for Republicans who want to kill reform and controversial fodder for the pundits, the subject matter couldn’t be more timely. In particular, Goldberg’s discussion of the damage done globally to women’s health by the Helms amendment shouts the warning about what might well happen in the U.S. if the Stupak-Pitts amendment prevails.

Michelle Goldberg’s captivating book, The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power, and the Future of the World (Penguin Press, 2009) is perfectly timed to remind those who came of age post-Roe v Wade and might think they can relax under an Obama administration, just how much work is left to do. An investigative journalist and author previously of Kingdom Coming: the Rise of Christian Nationalism, Goldberg has imbued this long-running story with fresh power by telling it in her young feminist voice.

The Means of Reproduction is a sweeping history of U.S. foreign policy on international family planning that spans four continents and the covers issues such as birth control, abortion, HIV/AIDS, their intersections with environmental concerns and economic development, and the gender politics of all, while staying in intimate touch with how America’s policies affect real women globally.

The story begins during the 1960’s cold war when Republicans like John D. Rockefeller and, yes, George H.W. “Rubbers” Bush led the charge to secure U.S. funding for international family planning, convinced that population pressures threatened national security. Then as now, family planning proponents met predictable adversaries. Goldberg writes, “There is one thing that unites cultural conservatives throughout the world, a critique that joins Protestant fundamentalism, Islamists, Hindu Nationalists, ultra-Orthodox Jews, and ultramontane Catholics. All view women’s equality and self-possession as unnatural, a violation of the established order. Yet in one society after another, we can see the absence of women’s rights creating existential dangers.”

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A Little Light Music: George Bush’s Presidential Library

My friend Malcolm Friedberg sent the following, and it was too good not to share. This post-election, mid-holiday season seems like a good moment for a little lightness and humor, some spoof, some all too accurate. Soon enough the Washington …

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Will the Long National Nightmare Be Over?

I early-voted in Arizona a couple of weeks ago. It was almost like praying. I spent a long time on the ballot, which was quite extensive–in Arizona as in many Western states there’s always a raft of ballot initiatives to …

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Moose, Mousse, and Spalinism by Robin Morgan

Guest posting again! This was just too good not to share, especially with some folks who  have been commenting on Heartfeldt. recently. Award winning author of 21 books, and feminist leader Robin Morgan takes laser-beam aim at a few “feminists” …

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Snidely McCain Bullies as Usual but Fails to Tie the Final Knot

Remember the bumbling villain Snidely Whiplash in the Dudley Do-Right animated series?  But for the absence of mustache, John McCain might well have been mistaken for Snidely in the final—thank goodness—presidential debate. I could imagine him rubbing hands together, cackling …

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Why Appearances Matter–and Corrupt

In response to comments both pro and con on my previous post here, I have been thinking a lot about why it matters that Sarah Palin uses her looks, her cutesy down-home phrases, her flirty moves. All politicians use whatever …

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Picture Worth 1001 Words: Bush’s Legacy on Reproductive Rights

This impromptu collage just happened to be on the desk of Dr. Jim Hill, director of the Honors and Centralis Scholarship Programs at Central Michigan University when I spoke there on March 17 with the WomenGirlsLadies panel. Could there be a more perfect representation of where politics gets personal?

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MIDNIGHT AT THE PING PONG PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY

Ping . Vermont’s presidential primary with its 15 delegates split 9-6 is called as expected for Obama.

I’m watching CNN and thinking about my first and only Texas precinct convention, in 1972. I’d learned from the League of Women Voters how my natal state’s Byzantine primary system worked, and I’d decided to participate from the ground up. As I recall only a few dozen people showed up; we met in someone’s living room; consequently, though I was a first time attendee I was elected to attend the county convention. I did attend that convention, but realized it would be impossible for me to participate further because of family obligations. So despite the friendly county judge who offered to put my name in the hopper for the state convention (that’s how it was done and probably still is), I declined.

Just as the predominantly Democratic Texas I grew up in changed its stripes to majority Republican (I allege that after I left for Arizona, the state went to hell) the current Texas Democratic party rules in which 2/3 of delegates decided in voting primaries and 1/3–the superdelegates—decided in precinct conventions or caucuses could well have changed over the years. But some fundamentals stay the same.

Pong. Early in the evening John McCain was declared the far and away winner in Ohio and Texas.

Republicans don’t have to pretend to be democratic. They understand elections are about gaining or retaining collective political power. That’s their big advantage. The Democrats turn themselves inside out trying to look democratic while in actuality their convoluted rules shore up the entrenched power of the party operatives as much or more than the Republicans. Their pronouncements express their egalitarian principles but their results tilt toward the political machine.

The Republicans will fall in line behind McCain, just as McCain sucked it up, accepted Bush’s hug and carried his water after being viciously assaulted by the Bush-Rove disparagement machine in 2000, and just as Mike Huckabee submitted himself graciously after the Texas numbers put McCain’s delegate count over the top and sealed him as the Republican presidential nominee.

The Democrats, says pundit Paul Begala, want to fall in love. More than that, I think, Democrats want to believe they are voting for the best ideas and ideals. And they love to put a fine comb through the arguments about who has them in purest form.

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What Does the Election Mean?

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A VOTE MAKES—BUT WILL IT?

So now President Bush wants to cooperate. Now he wants to reach across the aisle. Now he wants to work together with the Democrats, finally to show he can be that “uniter not divider” of his 2000 campaign promises. That perhaps he isn’t even the sole decider of everything after all. What? Why would any Democrat in his or her right mind give this man the time of day?

Bush puffed and preened and bared his teeth before the election. But once he “got thumped”, as he put it, all that puffery deflated in a nanosecond just like you might see with any other bully. Rummy (who could do no wrong 24 hours previously) was shown the door the day after the elections, Congresswoman and probable next Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi–taunted throughout the election season as the very personification of liberal, liberal, liberal evil–was invited to lunch at the White House, and the president allowed as how he wants to work with the same Democrats he’s been wringing out and hanging up to dry for the last 6 years. And all too often, they have been complicit in their humiliation.

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Harriet Miers: Is the Right protesting too much?

Last week, I happened to see a lawyer who runs an association of women judges and has a long history of national leadership in the legal field. She basically knows everyone who is anyone in the legal profession. I asked her what she thought about Miers.

“Well”, she replied in all seriousness and after some thought, “she’s not a monster.”

This hit me like a ton of bricks–that in this era of hard-right conservative grip on our nation’s political institutions, “not being a monster” could be a qualification for the highest court in the land—the United States Supreme Court, the final arbiter of the Constitution, the nine men and women who decide how laws can intrude upon or enhance our lives, our liberties, our fundamental civil rights.

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