Bad Ideas ~ Part II-A, Topics 1, 2, & 3 ~ Gov. Northam, right-wing newspaper ‘First-In-Freedom Daily’ & political strategies to make abortions illegal and unsafe

by faithgibson on February 11, 2019

Easy-to-share shortcut   https://tinyurl.com/y6bpyw7f

Note: I divided this material into two parts to make it more readable, so topics 4 & 5 are a seperate post. The link to it is at the bottom. Part ii-B has its own TinyURL, should you want to share the link with someone else.

Topic 1. (of 5)

99 years of surprising facts about the political history of family planning, safe and legal abortions and women’s reproductive rights ~ 1920 to 2019 ~

Knowing our own history
is the best foundation
for the future! 

 

Before the 1980s, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and access to women’s reproductive health services (including contraception and safe legal abortions services) were NOT partisan issues, except to note that historically, Republicans offered more support for the ERA, family planning, Planned Parenthood, and safe abortions services than did Democrats.

Political support for Planned Parenthood began in the 1920s, again with Republicans substantially outnumbering Democrats.

In the 1950s, notable conservatives like Barry Goldwater and his wife served on the board of their local office of Planned Parenthood, signaling that family planning was, politically speaking, a “family value“.

Legalizing access to contraception as provided by Planned Parenthood was broadly supported by both doctors and clergymen.

In 1960, Planned Parenthood’s Clergymen’s National Advisory Council issued a statement titled “The Ethics of Family Planning“. It described family planning as fulfilling “the will of God” by allowing “married couples to enjoy intercourse for the sake of love”.

When efforts to legalize abortion first began in the 1960s, it was not spearheaded by women’s rights organizations but the doctors, lawyers and clergymen that ran Planned Parenthood.

Dr Guttmacher, professor of Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Mt Sinai, President of Planned Parenthood

In 1962, Dr. Alan Guttmacher, chief of obstetrics at Mt Sinai Hospital in NYC, clinical professor of obstetrics & gynecology, and member of Planned Parenthood’s medical advisory board, also became the organization’s president and launched a campaign to secure federal funding for family planning programs that served low income women.

Dr. Guttmacher also sought to liberalize abortion laws while at the same time reducing the incidence of unplanned pregnancies. To that end, he worked to overturn laws that prevented pharmacies from selling forms of contraception, since it was well-documented that use of these products dramatically diminished need for abortion services

In 1965, former President Eisenhower and President Truman, a Republican and a Democrat, served together as co-chair of a Planned Parenthood committee, thus signaling a bipartisan commitment to contraception.

In 1969, President Nixon asked Congress to increase federal funding for family planning. That same year, George H. W. Bush, as a member of the US House of Representatives, pressed to make

“… support for family planning a household word”.

George Bush senior was so well-known for his support of family planning that he earned the nickname “Rubbers”.  

Between 1967 and 1970, doctors, lawyers and clergymen from various faiths pressured legislators in 16 states to lift restrictions on lawful abortion services.

One of those states was California, where the new law was signed by Governor Reagan

Also in 1970, Nixon signed Title X, which included family planning services and a provision that authorized physicians on military bases, both in the US and abroad, to perform abortions. That year, Nixon publicly declared that:

“No American woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition”.      

In 1972 the US Supreme Court extended the legal principle of ‘privacy’ first established in the Griswold Decision from married couples to also include individuals, regardless of their gender or marital status. 

Justice Brennan, US Supreme Court

Justice Brennan wrote:

“If the right of privacy means anything, it is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to beget or bear a child.” (ref #13, These Truths -History of the United States; J. Lepore, 2018)

During the mid-1970s, the most iconic and respected names in the Republican Party, including Goldwater, Reagan, Nixonactively supported family planning services in general, and Planned Parenthood in particular, as a right of personal privacy and a demonstrated method to reduce the need for abortion services.  

To ensure the woman’s safety, Goldwater, Reagan, Nixon all recognized its necessary place in society as an ethical and legally-regulated medical service.

Topic 2.

Going Backwards: Gender-based Politics as a Partisan Strategy to Win Elections

The partisan dismantling of legal abortion began during Nixon’s first term. In 1971, senior White House adviser, speechwriter, and right-wing conservative Pat Buchanan told the president that his prospects for re-election would be improved: 

“if the President should publicly take his stand against abortion, as offensive to his own moral principles.”

Buchanan, who’d been born into an Irish Catholic family of nine and recipient of 12 years of parochial schooling, explained to Nixon that abortion had become “a rising issue and a gut issue for Catholics“. 

Both men knew that Nixon didn’t oppose lawful abortion. Nonetheless, a week later the president jettisoned his previous support of abortion and issued a public statement that referred to his:

personal belief in the sanctity of human life — including the life of the yet unborn.”

This strategy was carefully calculated by the Nixon Administration to deliver the entire Roman Catholic and Christian conservative voting block to him, and by extension, the Republican party.

Unfortunately the political hypocrisy of Nixon’s public statement was revealed in 1973, when he was caught on tape saying:

“There are times when abortions are necessary“, and when on to mention a pregnancy resulting from from sex between “a black and a white” (ref# 24; These Truths – A History of the United States by J. Lepore, 2018).  

Topic 3.

2019 ~ Weapons of Mass Distraction: Legal Abortion Services & Family Planning as a Political Football and other ‘wedge’ issues

Starting with President Nixon’s politically-predicated ‘moral’ rejection of legal abortion during his 1972 re-election campaign, the GOP’s official position has mirrored that of the Vatican’s.

When appealing to its far right base, some abortion restrictions promoted by the GOP are more strict than the Catholic Church’s position by not even recognizing the health of the mother as exception.

While the GOP describes its opposition to lawful abortion as based solely on morality, it uses access to abortion services as a political football and an important ‘wedge’ issue.

Whenever conservative Republicans want to distract their base from its problematic policies or politically embarrassing events, they launch one of their weapons of mass distraction“. From the GOP’s standpointthe abortion debate is one of their most convenient and effective political tools.  

But the anti-abortion issue is not the only WMD in their arsenal. When it comes to firing up anger and division as a political strategy, the GOP has a nearly endless list of topics to distract, infuriate and rile up their base. The list of WMDs is long and growing as controversial political issues evolve.

Here are a few of their favorites:

@ ~ Immigration, School prayer, sex outside of marriage, same-sex marriage, evolution, racial issues, guns, the 2nd Amendment, Supreme Court, voting rights, ERA, ISIS, terrorism, private schools financed by public funds, Muslims or Mexicans, LBGTQ issues, Black Lives Matter, military spending, statues of Confederate war heroes, integration, segrations.

And I didn’t even mention the best WMD of all —  climate change-global warming

The real problem for American democracy is what we are NOT talking about.

When the entire public discourse is focused on complicated or controversial issues or inconsequential distractions that can’t be solved by shouting at each other, the result is a ‘failed’ policy i.e. endlessly argument that leads nowhere.

Here is a short list out many excellent possibilities that we could and should be talking about:

@ ~ Repairing and upgrading our country’s infrastructure, actually making an immigration system that is fair and works for all of us, figuring out how to provide affordable health care, addressing the issue of expert computer systems and robots taking over the majority of American manufacturing jobs, improve our educational system, especially in low-income areas and ethnic populations, protecting civil rights and voting rights, the epidemic of mass shootings and the country’s relationship to military assault rifles

One of the most critical political issues is protecting against foreign interference in our country’s infrastructure by Russia and other hostile countries. These international “bad actors” can use cyber-terrorism anytime they please to shut down our electrical grid, water and sewer systems, airports, etc., resulting in transportation tie-ups and water and food shortages that would quickly wreck our economy. This should be a priority for our federal government.    

Understanding the conservative-liberal dichotomy:

In order to guard our democratic process, we need to understand the biology-based psychological differences built into the human species. 

Throughout history and all over the globe, this binary difference in perspective and temperament btw individuals naturally falls into one of two camps — traditionalists/conservative and progressives/liberals. The strengths and weakness of each social group, and how they interact with each other, directly influences how societies organize themselves, function, and whether they succeed in the long run.

This is true of all human groups, regardless of age, gender, social or economic status, or number of people involved. Even a group of just 5 or 6 people naturally split into two affinity groups as they socialize and discover that they have more in common with some people and less with others. Like gravitates to like. If you don’t believe me, hold a dinner party or kids birthday party and see for yourself.  

The largest group are traditionalists/conservatives, who honor our history and traditional values and methods, and actively work to see that neither are not forgotten. We need these people.

Liberals/progressives/futurists are a numerically smaller group are who are looking forward and ever inventing better or differently ways to do things. We also need these people.

Both ways of looking at and relating to the world are legitimate, both are necessary to a stable society, both support a fair and functional government, as the temperament and character traits of members of each group blend and balance the other in a win-win solution. Healthy, stable and economically secure societies embrace both.

When Americans decide to make others Americans into the enemies of America: 

At the end of WWII, Americans were very anxiety about Russian communism and the threat of Soviet aggression. 

But the passage of two-plus decades without Soviet offensive on the US helped build American confidence in the effectiveness of our military. Also it was common knowledge that communism in the USSR had devolved into a failed economy during the 25 year since WWII ended. 

While the Soviet Union’s  nuclear weapons remained a formidable threat, the Russian people regularly suffered from food shortages, breadlines, and being forced to live in cramped, colorless and soulless Soviet apartment complexes that by American architectural standards were patheticThe reputation of USSR went from the fiercest of our foes to being the brunt of jokes in Western Europe and the US. 

Hundreds of Soviet Tanks mothballed in a dusty warehouse outside of Moscow

Taken together, this helped dial back our country’s paranoia over the Soviet Union and the terrifying likelihood that Russia would invade or triggered nuclear war with the US.

GOP’s Enemy of Choice:

The GOP redirected its political focus from the waning threat of an external Cold War against our democracy by Communist Russia for a hot internal Civil War against Democrats & our own federal government  

For 25-plus years, the GOP had used the fight against global communism as a reliably way to galvanize their Republican  constitutes. But by the 1970s, the GOP could no longer depend on talking points about Russian communism to effectively mobilize their base.

As the threat of communist Russia continued to wane with each passing year, the neo-conservative branch of the GOP concluded that a new ‘enemy of the People’ would be politically advantageous. 

This sent GOP operatives shopping for a suitable enemy to take the place of communism and the USSR, something home grown in the American political landscape that could reliably organize and galvanize their constitutes and maybe even broaden the GOP’s base of loyal voters.  

Wealthy right-wing conservatives choose the ‘enemy’ that they least understood and most feared: the low and lower-middle class liberals who made up the bulk of America’s “working class” AND the bulk of the Democratic party. To accomplish this trick with smoke and mirrors, they portrayed all progressive liberalism as morally corrupt, and claimed that unpatriotic Americans of a despicable character were carrying out the Democrats’ plan to destroy capitalism and ruin our country!

In addition to its general opposition the Democratic party, the GOP’s list of irreconcilable differences included the historic fight over the ‘appropriate’ size of the federal government. 

The GOP objected to all federal ‘hand-outs’ for the ‘undeserving’, no matter what the circumstances. This included historic legislation passed the Roosevelt Administration’s during the Great Depression, in particular, the Social Security Act of 1935, which provided for unemployment insurance, old-age insurance, and means-tested welfare programs. It also included Medicare & Medicaid Act sponsored by President Johnson in 1965 as part of his “war on poverty’.  

Smear Campaign on Steroids: Starting with Nixon’s reelection campaign in the early 1970s, White House neocons dramatically upped the ante against members of the ‘other’ party.

For decades, the Republican Democratic Parties had seriously disagreed over the appropriate role and size of the federal government and always described Democrats as the “party of tax & spend”. Nonetheless, both parties respected  the classic civic virtues associated with public life and honored the idea of a “gentleman’s agreement”. Politicians of both parties knew how to bury the hatchet, work on joint ventures, and cooperate to pass bipartisan legislation **. As individuals and families, members from both parties regularly socialized with one another, attended sporting events, families dinners, birthday and holiday parties regardless of party affiliation.  

(** Note the early reference to former Presidents Eisenhower and Truman  Truman bipartisan ______ on family planning legislation)  

This began eroding at an increasingly rapid rate after the GOP playbook claimed that so-called liberals of all strips — progressives, independents and democrats — were actually treasonous pinko-commie socialists.

Should they take control of the Congress or White House, they planned to endlessly expand spending by the federal government.included welfare payments, extending unemployment coverage, freely disbursing surplus government food, assistance with college tuition, and free or low-cost family planning services. Hated most of all was the mere mention of “socialized” medicine, which would make healthcare and hospital services available to low-income families. 

Conservative Republicans warned that if Democrats were elected to Congress, their new social programs would trump FDR’s “new Deal” by orders of magnitude, while their fiscal irresponsibility would bankrupt the country. At the same time, the GOP operatives portrayed their right-wing conservatives as rejecting the idea of government handouts based on their strong belief in self-sufficiency for anyone who fell on hard times.

Small is Beautiful: These same rational and responsible Republican voters also supported a much smaller federal government as defined by the GOP. According to them, the right-size for our federal government would be restricted to maintenance of the United States military and a federalized border security force, plus modest funding for Congress, the executive branch and Supreme court.  Everything else – roads and highways, airports, food and drug safety, inspections of meat-packing plants, etc — should either provided by the private sector or in rare cases, regulated by state and local rules.    

Decades later, the GOP’s anti-big government message would be boiled down to the idea of:

“a federal government so small you could flush it down the toilet“.

This disgusting imagery was made slightly less objectionable by changing the punch line to: drown it in the bathtub“. 

Applying this pro-conservatism/anti-liberal metric was both unambiguous AND exceedingly simple — just be against anything the hated liberals/Democrats were for. 

The Nixon White House and Democrats as the New American Enemy: According to the Nixon Administration’s right-wing neocons, progressive-liberalism was the single biggest threat to democracy, worse and more devastating than communism or the threat of nuclear war. However, audio tapes and historical documents from the Nixon White House  give us a different perspective about the motives behind these beliefs.

Behind the closed doors of the Oval Office, members of the Nixon’s Cabinet, particularly Attorney General Mitchell, frequently expressed their belief that the Democratic Party, as a bastion of bastard liberals, was a lethal threat to the federal government and therefore a dangerous to our country.

The consensus of opinion by the Nixon Administration was that Republicans, and only Republicans, could ever be trusted to run the government of the United States and therefore ONLY Republican politicians should be elected for federal office. This handful of Nixon’s close confidants believed themselves to be virtuous Americans acting solely in the public interest; they also believed they had a moral (if not constitutional) duty to make sure that America never elected another Democrat to the White House, no matter the methods required or cost. 

The privately articulated goal of the GOP, circa 1971-73, was a permanent Republican presidency and majority Republican control of the Congress and Supreme Court. While these individuals did not use these exact words, they were describing an ipso-facto a one-party government.  Unfortunately for America, this is a singularly undemocratic form of governance, as well as unconstitutional. (ref: American AmnesiaHow the War on the Federal Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper; chapters 7, 8, 9, and 10; Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson) 

Industrial-strength Hate: In pursuit of this problematic goal, they proclaimed that all ‘good Christians/patriotic Americans**’ had a duty to reject what the GOP described as vile liberal ideas, which was to include hating all the people and political parties associated with those liberal democracy. 

*** Many Republican operatives of that era, and continuing im contemporary times define a “patriotic American” as being a good Christian.

Luckily for these GOP neocons (but not for the country), their plan to spread their political brand of conservative white male-dominated intolerance coincided with a technological leap forward in telecommunications beginning in the early 1980s. This provided them with cheap, round-the-clock access to cable news that was piped into virtually every house in America 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In addition, the 1949 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ‘fairness’ doctrine was revoked in 1987. Originally this regulation required broadcasters to provide a “reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views of public importance”  base on the premise that we Americans communally owned the airways. 

As part of the public domain, radio and television stations were required to purchase and regularly renew their FCC licenses and to meet certain criteria. When broadcasting news programs and reporting on political and other controversial issues, they had a legal obligation to present a fair and balanced view in its news programs.  

However, the fairness doctrine was overturned in 1987 during the Reagan Administration. This ‘perfect storm’ provided the GOP with unprecedented and unparalleled ability to influence the psyche of the American public thru the airways.

Now they could publicize the GOP brand almost for free. Even more important, they we able to systematically spread their hyper-partisan message of intolerance by creating and packaging a powerful new propaganda tool that was uncommonly effective.

The simple idea was that all God-fearing Republicans were honor bound to fight against anything the hated liberals/Democrats were for.  This matched perfectly with Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign.

For the small businesses and big corporations that owned local and national television and cable news stations, this was also extraordinarily profitable. Wealthy individuals and big corporate donors seemed happy to plow a significant portion of those profits back into GOP coffers, giving conservative neocoms even more ability to control their message and promote their partisan agendas far and wide. 

By the first year of the 21st century, the worldwide web and it’s super fast, super smart search engines amped up electronic media and communications to unprecedented levels. This made the business of reporting and distributing news almost as revolutionary as the space program’s first moon-landing and its “One Great Step for Mankind”.

All these serendipitous events together provided the GOP with a cart blanc access to cable television and interactive websites. Unfortunately, the message they broadcast was frequently (but not exclusively) an endless stream of outrageous partisan half-truth and whole lies and what I must describe as “hate speech”. Decades of this driving emotional energy turned the GOP, as an arm of partisan politics in the US, into a political religion based on the ideological agenda of the of Grand Old Party

When partisan politics become a religion, people no longer describe carefully listening to candidates and politicians, deliberating on what they said and then concluding that one particular candidate or policies of one party were the better choice based on the merits of their positions.  When partisan politics is a religion, its adherents “believe” in their party’s candidate or the party’s policies with religious fervor, loyalty, and unquestioning acceptance of ideologies taught by the leadership.

When partisan politics functions as a religion, its leaders claim to be infallibile ‘authorities’ who know and understand better than anyone else. This means its adherents dare not question its doctrines and dogma. For the faithful followers of a political religion, non-believers are infidels, which in turn justifies systemized intolerance

 

Partisan Civil War: The result of all this is a religious war between the two halves of “We The People” — conservatives & traditionalists versus liberals & progressives. Obviously this has disastrous results for our democratic process and our way of life. 

New Political Parties for the 21st Century  ~ Conservative Liberals and Liberal conservatives

I’d address this conundrum by introducing a new and very helpful way to view our political affiliations in the context of binary human temperaments — the two new categories of “conservative liberal and “liberal conservative”.

Personally, I describe myself as an Eisenhower Republican-Independent-democratic with a lower-case “d” who uses a balanced blend of both conservative and progressive principles. 


Returning to Gov. Northam & calls for his resignation as ‘collateral damage’ in the GOP’s political strategy to make abortions illegal and unsafe as a way to win elections 

Obviously the GOP’s abortion-related strategy has been running in the background for 50 years.

Calls in 2019 for Gov. Northam’s resignation was just part of the GOP’s long-game, abortion-related strategy. For sure, it was not based on the content of his yearbook. However, the yearbook provided a golden opportunity to turn an old photo of two unrecognizable people in blackface and a KKK costume into something the GOP could whip into a political frenzy and get strategic leg-up.

This plan was greatly helped by a North Carolina right-wing newspaper: First In Freedom Daily. The FIFD website regularly denounces all legalization of safe abortion and is not shy about its use of fake news/alternative facts. 

But even more useful to the GOP, was FIFD policy that promoted the use its internet platform as a systematic opportunity solicit ‘hot tips’ from readers and loyal fans. 

The banner below was used many different times in each of the FIFD’s daily publications:

 

The FIFD was specifically interested in collecting defamatory information on Democratic politicians that might help the GOP derail a Virginia abortion bill being voted on in State’s Legislature. Going after Gov. Northam was just part of their bigger, anti-abortion strategy. It’s far more accurate to see the call for the governor’s resignation as mere as “collateral damage” than to think he was a primary target.    

The headline in FIFD’s story about the Virginia abortion bill said:

Democrats in Virginia Propose Law Allowing Abortions Mere Seconds Before Birth”.

Did you notice the “… Mere Seconds Before Birth”?  This is not an ‘alternative fact’, but fake news at its very worst.

As a former labor and delivery room nurse, I can assure you that NO professional healthcare provider, and NO LAWS will ever, under ANY circumstances, authorize medical providers to perform abortions on laboring women or on pregnant women whose unborn babies are able to survive outside the womb.

The full length of gestation is 40 weeks. Viability is defined as 24 or more completed weeks of pregnancy. To do otherwise would be considered infanticide and is both immoral and illegal. 

This headline and the GOP’s opposition to legal abortion has nothing to do with the issue of family planning and access to safe, affordable and lawfully-performed abortions prior to 24 weeks gestation. 


Click here for Part II-B ~ Topics 4 and 5 — Ruthless Reality ~ Making Abortion Illegal or Unattainable as a political strategy to Win Elections, The Ultimate Nightmare, Endless Gender War, & copy of proposed changes to Title X

@@@

off with their head / Just the facts 


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