Friday, March 03, 2006

"First they ignore you..."

First they ignore you.  Then they laugh at you.  Then they fight you.  Then you win.


These are the immortal words Mahatma Gandhi used to describe his fight against British occupation.  These are the words used by dissenting groups everywhere to inspire their followers and to judge the progress of their movement.


With that in mind, let me review some stories we've seen in the blogosphere just today.

Let's take Mike Stark of Calling All Wingnuts.  I remember when the diaries he used to write were merely recaps of his latest call into Sean Hannity, Bill O' Lielly or some other wingnut.  We were proud of him for taking the time and making the effort, but I can bet you the wingnuts in question didn't take much stock of it.  They just ignored it.  He was a minor inconvenience.  A thorn in their side.


But now look what has happened.  Bill O'Lielly made the mistake of calling for the replacement of Keith Olbermann.  Now, before going further, we need to understand the significance of this.


I work in marketing research.  In fact, my brother--you may know him as the popular diarist thereisnospoon--and I founded our own marketing research business together.  In marketing research branding, there is one fundamental rule:  if you are on top, don't mention the brands below you in your advertising.  The explanation is simple enough: mentioning your competitors only reminds your customers that there are in fact other options out there.  The only time you want to go directly on the attack against another brand is if you know you are losing marketshare and you feel the need to convince your customers to come back to your brand, as opposed to using someone else's.


What's the upshot?  The only reason Bill O'Reilly would have even attempted to call out Keith Olbermann is FEAR.  Bill O'Reilly attempted laughed at Keith Olbermann's "bad ratings"--the first step in Gandhis methodology of success.


But it gets better: because of the blogosphere, we've moved onto the next stage Gandhi talked about.  Fox Security is now engaging in legal threats against those who call in mentioning Keith Olbermann.  You can read some examples here by Adigal and here by FloridaVoter.  And now, Keith Olbermann has picked up on our story.  There's only one thing that could actually make Fox Security use jackboot tactics to attempt to silence any voice that even mentions Keith Olbermann.  You know what it is?  ABJECT RECOGNITION OF THE IMMINENCE OF DEFEAT.


So much for Bill O'Reilly.  Let's move on to another story:  Howie Klein and Joementum.


I should start by mentioning that I've met Howie Klein--you can visit his blog here.  I had the fortune of meeting him at General Clark's blogger meetings.


But let's move on to Joe Lieberman.  I'm not sure he ever really ignored us to begin with.  But he did laugh at us.  He called us names.  "Radicals."  "Out of touch."  "Angry activists."  The list goes on.  He did ignore Ned Lamont, though--something he can't afford to do any more.


But we've moved on from there.  The Lieberman camp has demonstrated its abject fear by making the effort to ATTACK HOWIE KLEIN!  Now, I like Howie Klein.  We're both in the same city.  I like his blog.  But let's be honest: he's not the biggest name in the blogosphere.  The Lieberman camp could have just as easily ignored or laughed off what Howie wrote.


BUT THEY DIDN'T.  They chose to attack.  And there's only one thing that this can be ascribed to:  once again, FEAR.  Only those totally lacking confidence in their position of strength would dare risk giving strength to a story by trying to stamp out the writings of a blogger with small circulation.  But they did anyway.


The reason they did?  As thereisnospoon so eloquently wrote, the winds are changing.  And they're not only changing because of O'Reilly's lies.  They're not only changing because of Joementum's treason against the Democratic party.  They're changing because of us--and we need to keep the pressure on.  Public opinion didn't change because the media actually started reporting the truth;  public opinion changed because we started reporting truth to the media.


Keep going, everyone.  Because there's only one possible result of our stories--it's the one part of Gandhi's story that hasn't happened yet:


We win.


[Cross-posted at Daily Kos]

Monday, February 27, 2006

Morning-after: Why MSOC has it wrong

Let me start by saying that I love MSOC's diaries--especially the one on D&X, which I will be quoting repeatedly in any future discussions I have on this issue with members of the Christofascist Zombie Brigade.

But MSOC's latest effort concerning emergency contraception is a wee tad off the mark, in my opinion. Not that she's not correct in everything that she was saying, but I don't think she and others realize the awful and terrible truth--and that is this. You see, the point is that they actually are following logic and reason with regard to the methodology of the morning-after pill.

THIS SB609 BILL IS MUCH WORSE THAN YOU THINK.

Let me start by restating the stipulations of SB609:

Employers cannot refuse to hire, discriminate against, segregate, or terminate a pharmaceutical professional because of their opposition to any service involving a particular drug or device that they have a good faith belief is used for abortions.


Now, of course it's true that most people who hear this are going to believe that all this law does is allow pharmacists not to dispense RU-486 if they don't want to--failing, of course, to realize that pharmacists don't dispense RU-486 to begin with.

MSOC is correct in pointing out that this is an assault on the availability of birth control, but what she failed, in my view, to realize is that this assault isn't being done only by engendering confusion among the populace between RU-486 and the morning-after pill--it's a cold, calculating logical maneuver.

You see, MSOC is of course right about the difference between RU-486 and progestin-based contraceptives: RU-486 ends an established pregnancy, whereas progestin-based contraceptives, like The Pill and the morning-after pill, do not.

But let's take a look one more time at how progestin-based contraceptives prevent pregnancy:

For those of you who aren't familiar, "The Pill" works to prevent pregnancy:

* By stopping the release of an egg from the ovary (ovulation).
* It may prevent the union of sperm and egg (fertilization).
* If fertilization does occur, it may prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb (implantation).

Since the "morning after pill" is the very same hormone as "The Pill," you might be curious as to how it works to prevent pregnancy:

* By stopping the release of an egg from the ovary (ovulation).
* It may prevent the union of sperm and egg (fertilization).
* If fertilization does occur, it may prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb (implantation).

Sound familiar? It should, because it's the same hormone, and it prevents pregnancy in exactly the same way.


All well and good, you say? Different from RU-486, you say? Not so. Let's take a look at postulate number three one more time:

If fertilization does occur, it may prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb (implantation).


Guess what that means? If one defines life as beginning with conception, as the Wingnuts are more than happy to do, the morning-after pill--and even The Pill itself--have the capability to cause a fertilized egg not to implant, and thus TO CAUSE AN ABORTION THAT IS BY THAT LOGIC NO DIFFERENT FROM THOSE CAUSED BY RU-486. It doesn't really matter that at least half of fertilized eggs fail to implant anyway, which by Wingnut logic would mean that God is conducting a perpetual and massive holocaust every single day. It just matters that by the "life begins at conception" logical standard, there is no difference between RU-486 and progestin.

If, at any future point in time, this bill becomes law and any other previous or future bill in the state of Missouri defines life as beginning with conception, any pharmacist anywhere will have the legal right not to dispense birth control--simply because progestin can sometimes prevent the implantation of a zygote.

MSOC is right: This is an assault on the availability of even simple birth control. But it's not coming from the platform of "lack of logic and understanding" that she thinks it's coming from. It's coming from a frighteningly well-calculated logical position. If we want to fight for availability of birth control, we need to realize what angle they're taking on this--and shut it down before it gets a chance to implant.