end medicare

The Democratic Party Needs Keith Ellison

The American people have faced stagnant wages and rising inequality for decades. Many Americans voted for Donald Trump or decided not to vote at all because Democrats failed to communicate effectively with working people and turn out the vote - end of story. The fact is that shouldn’t have happened. The Democratic Party has long been the Party of working people, and needs to do a better job of making that case. No one knows this better than Keith Ellison, and we are proud to endorse him as the next Chair of the Democratic National Committee.

These are extremely challenging times. President Trump has put forward a nominee for Labor Secretary who openly disdains workers. Congressional Republicans are readying plans to roll back worker protections, repeal the Affordable Care Act and end Medicare as we know it. And in state capitals across the country, the assault on workers and unions has been fierce and swift. Now more than ever, working people need public servants who will stand up and fight for better jobs, higher wages, good benefits and a voice at work.

Keith knows how to win elections, and has a track record of defeating anti-worker forces wherever they are. When Keith was first elected to Congress in 2006, his district had the lowest turnout in Minnesota. Voters just didn’t feel engaged. They didn’t feel like they mattered. Keith decided to do something about it: he organized. He knocked on as many doors as possible. With labor at his side, he talked about the issues that mattered to people. It worked. Since Keith began his grassroots voter turnout campaign, his district is the highest performing in the state. And on top of all this, he’s been getting pro-worker candidates elected from the school board to the U.S. Senate, traveling to nearly 30 states just last cycle.

When nurses went on strike to keep their health insurance, Keith was there. When communications workers went on strike to protest pension cuts, Keith was there. When hotel workers went on strike for a decent wage, Keith was there.

He hasn’t done this alone. Keith has always organized alongside working people. He’s marched on our picket lines and offered support to our members. When nurses went on strike to keep their health insurance, Keith was there. When communications workers went on strike to protest outsourcing and pension cuts, Keith was there. When hotel workers went on strike to stand up for a decent wage, Keith was there.

Each and every time, he’s pounded the pavement, not for some sort of political benefit, but to stand in solidarity with those who want a better life for ourselves and our families.

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Republicans demand TV station yank ad claiming GOP plan would `end Medicare’

Attention, people, this is important: The battle over whether it’s true that the Republican plan would “end Medicare” is about to play out in a critical way in New Hampshire.

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which oversees House races for the GOP, has written a sharply-worded letter demanding that a New Hampshire TV station yank an ad making that claim. Whether the ad gets taken down could help set a precedent for whether other stations will air Democratic TV ads making this argument, which is expected to be a central message for Democrats in the 2012 elections. […]

I hope anyone who didn’t vote in a swing state already feels bad about themselves and continues to feel worse every day. We have an incoming Presidential administration talking openly about genetic superiority, eugenics, watch lists, suspending habeas corpus, indefinite detention of “terrorist sympathizers” without trial over internet comments, internment camps, ethnoreligious immigration and asylum bans, ending public education in favor of private religious schools getting federal funding, nationwide stop-and-frisk, the expansion of private prison use, more draconian drug laws, ending marriage equality, allowing businesses to discriminate against various groups, forming a new HUAC, ending Medicare for our senior citizens, gutting or eliminating the ACA and kicking millions off health insurance, ending federal subsidies for public housing, and using nuclear weapons in war. This is less than a month after the election.

If you can watch what’s happening and still say you honestly think both sides are remotely the same, you are so far beyond stupid that I don’t know how you manage to remember to breathe.

So there is someone out there using the tumblr ID of terfisaslur (I believe a sideblog for auntyorthodox) who asserts that the acronym TERF is dysphemic in nature.

Let’s look at that more closely, with an eye to history.

Mary Daly was one of the more influential writers of the early and mid 1970’s, and infamous for her dislike of men. She was a professor at a reasonably upper class school, Catholic in her religious upbringing, and a very vocal, very active proponent of something she called lesbian separatist radical feminism.

One of her protégés was a woman who was known to have had bad relationships with trans women named Janice Raymond. Also catholic in background, also upper class. Daly was allegedly her lover as well as her thesis advisor.

Raymond took Daly’s ideas about trans women and expanded on them, using methods and questionable concepts that would not stand up today to make an argument regarding the ethical and moral implications of trans women.

That thesis became a best selling popular book. It also suggested that the real solution to the problem of trans people was to morally mandate them out of existence.

Raymond also wrote a white paper on medical ethics, and I it describes trans surgeries as experimental despite there being 40 years of practice and skills. This is akin to saying that open heart surgery is experimental today.

She also described them as cosmetic, and popularized the notion of trans women as risks to women in spaces for women.

Admittedly polemic, Raymond’s work was used to end Medicare and Medicaid access for trans people to medical treatments that had been proven effective. It also served as the basis for the explicit exclusion of trans individuals from the ADA, despite it’s then listing as a mental health issue with disabling effects.

Indeed, her work was used as being of greater import and value than that of the scientists who she opposed in the political arena.

Both were lesbian separatist radical feminists. Both advocated for something called “political lesbianism”, whereby a straight woman would simply give up men and choose to pretend to be a lesbian.

Both noted that women who did not do such were entirely slaves to the patriarchy,and not worth the time or energy to support or try to draw out.

From these two women comes every major argument about trans women’s lives, and also the arguments against trans men and those who are not binary or otherwise.

Today, their arguments are used by the religious right, as well as the current genre ration of under 30 people who were born after the collapse of radical feminism as a whole in no small part due to the work of these two women and the divisive nature of it.

This young group, fed by the memories of a broader movement that had substantial impact (unisex restrooms, shifts in language such as mailman becoming mail carrier and related gender neutral terms that were part of the larger movement and which Daly and Raymond opposed), ignorant of the origin of terms like politically correct and oblivious to the ideas of lesbian separatism, latched on tot he popular conceptions and declared themselves the standard bearers of ” real” radical feminism.

This despite the way that radical feminism, in its collapse, spawned the third wave, which is entirely radical in its nature. They declare that sex positive feminism, which is one of the two divisions of radical feminism around sex work, is not truly radical, and sex positive feminism says the same about sex negative feminism, despite both outlooks coming from a radical feminist source.

They also pointedly ignored the common failings of radical feminism, especially the sort they promote, which were broadly and so unduly critiqued by women of color who had developed a separate form of feminism after the pointed exclusion of most women of color who did not ascribe to the ideas of white supremacy that were often part of the foundation for the radical feminist ideas.

This group, seeking out people to follow, inevitably found themselves drawn to the remaining holdouts, including Raymond herself, who generally tries to do everything she can to not comment on the Trans population or the book that made her famous in no small part because it is no longer ethically sound and was deeply influenced by her Roman Catholic upbringing and the restrictive morality she operated in as a Result.

To them were drawn other social misfits and outcasts, and the corruption of the ideals of radical feminism became enshrined, especially in and around the now greying old guard, responsible for such things as the michigan women’s music festival.

The core of the ideas here centered around two points of protest: sexual morality, and the existence of trans women.

The character also changed, retaining the divisive nature of the times at the collapse of radical feminism, so that policing of other women became a major aspects, enforcing a conformity that would have been abhorrent to radical feminists of the 1970’s.

So lesbian separatist radical feminism came to represent and effectively be the modern incarnation of second wave radical feminism, and rests on the laurels of people who would, for the most part, not agree with them.

So by the mid 2000’s, RadFems were being forced out of feminist spaces for being, well, not very feminist to other women, even as feminist spaces tried to grapple with then new reality of trans inclusion and involvement that had been ongoing already for decades, especially following the release of the book transgender liberation.

This drove them into more bitter spaces, and led to the current status of people who are so disconnected from the actual history of the movement they claim that they are radical feminists in name only.

Because of their desire to exclude trans women, they were named trans exclusionary radical feminists by radical feminists, in order to identify their own specific group and to effectively claim radical feminism for themselves.

This, then, is why they are called TERFS. They are the current standard bearers of lesbian separatist radical feminism as seen by daly and Raymond’s, and they are part of the unbroken chain of violence and hostility against trans people that has pervaded US culture.

So it is not a dysphemic term, but rather one of identification, and it inherently has a connotation of violence and hate towards trans people.