Wednesday, August 22, 2012


From My Own Little Corner  On Sunday morning, as I was preparing to leave for church, I was watching the Jaco report on FOX 2, something I do every Sunday.  Charles Jaco's guest was Todd Akin, the republican nominee and contender, for the Senate seat that is now held by Claire McCaskill.  As I was listening to this interview, I learned a lot about Mr. Akin's personal and political views and much has been made (rightly so) of his views on abortion and "legitimate rape".  I will get to that in a bit, but first,  let me see if I can try to understand some of his "less controversial" ideas.

He is against student loans, they are the "3rd stage cancer of socialism".  Really?   I have many relatives and friends that have college degrees because these loans were available to them, including a sister that works for a large company.  She has worked for this company her whole career (one that spans over 20 years), and her success would not have been possible if not for the student loans that helped her pay for her degree in mechanical engineering, and then let her pay it back after she got her job.  From what I gleaned from Mr. Akin he thinks that the student loan program should be run by private lenders and they should be the ones that control this program.  Oh, I see, then privately run, money making entities, the ones that are so upstanding, and "whose assets now exceed half the size of the US economy" (1), would be the ones that decide who gets the funds to go to college and who doesn't.  Oh yes, that is so much better than the federal government ensuring that ALL people have access to college funds.  Lets ask the general public and middle class, just how well  that has worked for them in other lending arenas, especially the minorities that wanted the funds to build a home.  I suspect that they might have a different opinion about how effectively  private banking entities would run the student loan program.

Mr. Akin is also not a fan of the federal school lunch program.  Here again, he thinks that the states should run this program, because the states are so much better at "sorts of things" than the federal government is.  My question would be where exactly the funds for this program would come from?  Would they come from federal grants or would there be a need to raise state taxes?  Or perhaps your real estate taxes will go up to cover these costs?  Would it be like the idea of "privatizing" social security or vouchers for medicare for those who are over 65 or are disabled?  Let me see...these vouchers could be used to buy insurance from any vendor (read private insurance company) you would like.  Wow...what a great idea, then the government wouldn't be in the insurance business, there would be be an open market, which would drive down insurance rates,  which in turn would reduce the federal deficit...or you could just stay in the medicare program.  What?   How exactly do they figure that would change anything?  The government would be giving the recipient of Social Security a voucher to pay for health insurance through private entities, and if the voucher amount wasn't enough for the insurance coverage you wanted, you would pay out of pocket.  If the voucher is for more than the insurance costs, you get the keep the extra. Wonder how many times the latter would happen? We have an open market system now, and we are experiencing just how well that works at keeping premiums down!  I suspect that if this proposal gains ground and is the future of medicare, you are going to see a lot of seniors that will have even less money in their pockets to pay for those annoying extras like groceries, utilities, and medicine.

As for his idea about how to fix the economy...well, duh!  Cut taxes for those businesses that are paying so much. If we do that, then the companies can hire more people, and those people that are hired will pay more taxes.  Huh?  Let's examine some of these companies that are paying so much in taxes that they have no money left over to hire more workers.

Poverty is rampant. Hunger is widespread. But don't worry about America's largest corporations -- they're doing just fine.

Fortune released its annual list of the country's 500 biggest companies this week, and it turns out to have been a good year for corporate America. In 2011, the Fortune 500 generated a combined $824.5 billion in earnings -- an all-time record, and a 16 percent jump from the previous year.

The report echos others indicating corporate America is experiencing boom times.U.S. corporate profits returned to pre-recession levels, according to the International Institute for Labour Studies released Friday, hitting 15 percent of gross domestic product.

The larger economic picture hasn't been so rosy of course. Twelve and a half million people are still out of work. Many of the new jobs that have been created lately arelow-paying food service gigs. A record 46 million Americans are in poverty, and millions more are only just clinging onto financial stability -- one emergency is all it would take to tip them into disaster.

But much like the too-big-to-fail banks -- whose assets now exceed half the size of the U.S. economy, and which have made more profits since the financial crisis than they did in the eight years prior -- corporations don't seem bothered by the bleak weather on Main Street. They just keep growing.

In fact, many have benefitted on the backs of workers that in some cases are underpaid or at risk of losing their jobs. Among the largest companies on Fortune's list is Walmart, at number two, which was recently hit with a $4.8 million fine from the government for allegedly failing to pay its workers overtime; General Electric, at number six, which may have paid an average federal tax rate of just 2.3 percent over the past decade, according to the group Citizens for Tax Justice; and General Motors, at number five, which amassed $9.1 billion in profits last year and recently froze pay for its work staff of 26,000.
Further down the list are Lockheed Martin, which recorded $2.6 billion in profits last year and offered buyout plans to more than 6,000 employees; and Pfizer, which took in $10 billion in profits and announced plans to lay off more than 16,000 workers.(1)

Let me get this straight...these companies need more tax breaks, so they can make more profits, so they can lay off more people??? GE paid a tax rate of just 2.3% over the last 10 years and they need bigger tax breaks, because their exorbitant tax rates are keeping them from hiring more workers. The CEO's of the insurance industry (you know, the industry that Paul Ryan and Todd Akin want us to use vouchers to buy health care coverage from, because it would be more fiscally sound) make an average of $4 million dollars a year, with the highest paid being Aetna's CEO, Ronald A Williams, at $38.125 million a year.(2) Interesting that there are those that think the middle class would get a fair shake from these guys.

Now, let's get to the part of the interview that really grabbed the nation's attention...the "legitimate rape" comments.

Charles Jaco:

“On abortion, you’ve been pro-life your entire career.”

Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.):


Charles Jaco:

“You’ve been very staunchly pro-life. Are there any circumstances in your mind in which abortion should be legal?”

Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.):

“Well, I think that sometimes people talk about life of the mother as a situation, Charles. And in my sense, one of the foundational things America is built on is a respect for life. So I would say you optimize life.

“So, for instance, a woman has a tubal pregnancy or something. Well, technically by my understanding life begins at conception, so you technically had conception. But the child doesn’t have a chance and will soon kill a mother, okay? So I would say in those kinds of situations, you try to optimize life.

“But, you know, my case in this, Charles, has been even if you sort of separate a little the whole abortion question out, one of the things I love about this country is the fact that Americans do consider life really important.

“And it’s not because of some theoretical thing – you’re on a talk show and somebody asks you about it – but you have Sept. 11 and you’ve got these guys that are running into a building that’s about to collapse. They find somebody in a wheelchair. They never checked their ID or anything like that or whether they’re important. They grab them and get them to safety, and they run back and get another one.

“Same kind of thing that we saw – Ollie North has some footage. You know, he’s been right there in the front with cameras taking footage. This is over in Iraq. And there’s a Marine – a big guy, and he’s got this guy who’s wounded over his shoulder and he’s running. The bullets are flying around. And there is a cameraman in a safe position saying, ‘Hey, that guy’ – and the guy’s fatigues are just up and you can see that this is an Iraqi citizen. This isn’t the U.S. soldier. Says, ‘Hey, that’s an Iraqi citizen. Why are you risking your life there?’ This Marine turns around and he looks straight into that guy’s camera and he said, ‘Because that’s what we do.’

“And that spirit of America, I think, is so important for us to protect that idea of the importance of all of us.”

Charles Jaco:
“Okay, so if an abortion can be considered in the case of, say, tubal pregnancy or something like that, what about in the case of rape? Should it be legal or not?”

Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.):
“Well, you know, uh, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, ‘Well, how do you – how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question.’

“It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.

“But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. You know, I think there should be some punishment but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

So, he thought that it might be okay to "optimize life" by allowing the mother to have a tubal pregnancy terminated. Well, it is my understanding (to borrow a phrase from Mr. Akin) that kind of pregnancy is going to terminate, whether it's okay by him or not, and in most cases will result in the loss of the fallopian tube where the embryo has embedded itself, which is outside the uterus. If the tube ruptures before the pregnancy is discovered, there is a real chance that the mother's life could be in jeopardy. But the most shocking part of this interview was his assertion that if a woman is a victim of "legitimate rape" she won't get pregnant, because "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." if the woman gets pregnant, then it wasn't really rape, she must have consented in some way.  Maybe she didn't fight hard enough or she had on lipstick that was too red?  Perhaps she forgot to lock her bedroom window or front door? Or maybe that 13 year old girl looked like she was 21 and was dressed inappropriately?  Who knows? The truth is that 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year. Medical estimates of a 5% pregnancy rate are for one time, unprotected sexual intercourse (4) is the same percentage of pregnancy that occur each year through this despicable act.

In my opinion, Mr. Akin is an ill-informed misogynist and there is no way he should ever have any kind of power to make decisions for the female population of this country, let alone sit on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. His views on rape and pregnancy are right in line with 13th century England, which held the legal position that pregnancy disproved a claim of rape, according to medical historian Vanessa Heggie. Hmmmm, that couldn't possibly have been because if  a woman accused a man of rape, he could deny it, except when a pregnancy resulted from that forcible act of violence. Pregnancy was proof,  so if you take away the ability to get pregnant when raped,  then there couldn't possibly have been a rape.  This is, of course, tied to the age old fable that you can't get pregnant unless you have an orgasm, and if that happens then you must have enjoyed it, hence, pregnant...NO RAPE!  Brilliant!  With advocates like Todd Akin, women don't need enemies.

I am sure that there are those who would disagree, and that is your right. This is what makes this country so great...we have rights, and that includes the right to choose who represents us. But more importantly, it gives us the right to choose what we do with our bodies. No one else has the right to tell us what to do with our bodies, but us and that goes for both women and men! That doesn't mean I am pro-abortion, it means that I don't feel I have the right to tell anyone else, male or female, that they have to agree with me, and live by my code of conduct.

May God bless each and every one of you!





Anonymous said...

Superb analysis! Why in the world would any woman vote GOP?

Stephanie (and Walter) said...

That is the real question, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

What is the status of the Senate race in Missouri? The GOP has shut up about it.