Here & There on US Health Care

From Hillbilly Report:

After months of healthcare debate a bill has been passed in the Senate. A bill that stripped basically all that was good for working Americans out, and has become very unpopular among a majority of Americans. A bill that mandates millions of Americans at the mercy of the insurance industry, and allows them to continue to discriminate against folks with pre-existing conditions. Quite simply, a bill that was written for Corporate Welfare complete with backroom bribes to get it passed. And for many Progressives, the fact that we had not a champion in the Democratic caucus to stand up for us and vote against these junk reforms was painful enough, Harry Reid added insult to injury.  [more]

Wendell Potter at Huffington:

Although the effort to achieve health care reform has been arduous and ugly, progressives can’t merely brush off their hands, move on to other issues and hope the stars will align again for “real” reform. When you stop and think about the bottomless pot of money that health insurance companies constantly replenish by diverting part of our premium dollars away from paying for medical care, it is in some ways remarkable that we have accomplished as much as we have with this legislation.  [more]

David Sirota, also at Huff:

For those caught up in the obsequiously triumphalist bullshit coming from the DC elite – you know the crap about the Senate allegedly passing the most important piece of progressive legislation in American history today (an analysis I completely reject) – it’s important for us all to remember that the health care battle isn’t over – and specifically, the battle over the public option isn’t over.  [more, of course]

Ronald Brownstein at The National Journal:

The new Internet-based left, because it is so heavily reliant on college-educated whites generally less exposed to the economy’s storms, also has a blind spot on kitchen table issues. According to the Census Bureau, just 6 percent of college-educated whites lack health insurance, for instance, compared to 19 percent of African-Americans and 31 percent of Hispanics. But the idea that Democrats should just press restart after the grueling struggle to reach this point carries an air of fatal abstraction: If health reform fails now, the next chance for big change probably wouldn’t come for years, if not decades. “The universal rule of health care — there are no exceptions — is you get what you can,” says Brown University political scientist James Morone, co-author of The Heart of Power, a recent history of health care politics.  [more]

Letter to David Sirota at Open Left:

This is an excellent example of the “satisfying purity of indignation.” Millions will benefit from a compromise plan. Zero would do so from a more ambitious but unachieveable plan. I’ve no patience for this kind of impractical and bloodless stance. Please take me off your list.

Sent from my iPhone
Stephen Davis
Executive Director
Millstein Center
Yale School of Management

Sirota’s response

From Dan Sweeney, Huff again:

What the past several months have revealed, far more than the power of lobbyists (which we already knew) or the ability of senators to toss their ideology out the window for fun and profit (ditto), is the complete and total inability of the government to govern. Whatever your opinion of this health-care bill, whatever your opinion of Democrats or Republicans, put that aside for a moment and consider this: A charismatic president with a supposedly filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and a large majority in the House is completely incapable of enacting massively popular reform.  [he goes on]

Michael J. W. Stickings, the Huff goes on:

reality is reality, and politics are politics, and, given the Senate’s ridiculous rules and procedures that effectively require a supermajority of 60 to pass legislation, the votes just aren’t there even for a Medicare buy-in, let alone for a public option, let alone for a robust one, let alone for anything even more substantial.Like it or not, that’s just the way it is, and while I wish there had been a stronger push by progressives and liberals for concessions from right-leaning reform-skeptic Democrats like Nelson, Lieberman, and Baucus, specifically regarding subsidies for those who simply will not be able to afford the insurance they would be required to buy, and while I wish Obama, and the White House generally, had pushed for more substantial and transformative legislation (it’s still not clear to me what Obama is actually for, if he is for anything other than the Senate bill as is, which he may not be), we are left with a stark choice: pass the bill or kill the bill.

I think the choice is clear: PASS THE BILL.  [a bit more]

From Reed Abelson at the good ole Globe and Mail:

For many people, the result of the long, angry health care debate in Washington may be little more than more of the same.As President Obama once promised, “If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan.”

That may be true even if you don’t like your health plan. And no one seems to agree on whether the legislation will do much to reduce workers’ continually rising out-of-pocket costs.  [more]

Paul Krugman:

Now, in a hostage situation there are times when you have to just say no — when giving in, by encouraging future hostage-takers, would be worse than letting the hostages perish. So the question has to be, is this one of those times? I don’t think so, given the history: as Kevin Drum points out, health reform has come back weaker after each defeat. I’d also point out that highly imperfect insurance reforms, like Social Security and Medicare in their initial incarnations, have gotten more comprehensive over time. This suggests that the priority is to get something passed.

But what’s happening, I think, goes beyond health care; what we’re seeing is disillusionment with Obama among some of the people who were his most enthusiastic supporters. A lot of people seem shocked to find that he’s not the transformative figure of their imaginations. Can I say I told you so? If you paid attention to what he said, not how he said it, it was obvious from the beginning — and I’m talking about 2007 — that he was going to be much less aggressive about change than one could have hoped. And this has done a lot of damage: I believe he could have taken a tougher line on economic policy and the banks, and was tearing my hair out over his caution early this year. I also believe that if he had been tougher on those issues, he’d be better able to weather disappointment over his health care compromises.

So there’s a lot of bitterness out there. But please, keep your priorities straight.  [more]

Jon Walker at FireDogLake:

Today’s vote in the Senate to pass their health care reform bill was a big win for many people. It was a big win for the drug companies, the biologics industry, the hospital companies, and the for-profit health insurance corporations. They will all get billions of government dollars piled on to their ledgers, and and millions of Americans now forced to buy their products. The vote was also a huge win for the lobbyists who just saw their profits jump thanks to this great opportunity to show their clients just how powerful their hold on Washington really is.

This vote was also a political win. It was a big deal for politicians–like Barack Obama, Max Baucus, Rahm Emanuel, and Harry Reid–who cared more about putting up a “W” on the scoreboard than about the policy. It was also a big day for senators like Blanche Lincoln, Mary Landrieu, Ben Nelson, and Joe Lieberman. The incredibly broken rules of the Senate gave them an absurd amount of anti-constitutional power that allowed them to hold reform hostage for pork and industry favors.

It was loss for the country. Our broken health care system will remain broken and costs will continue to rise at an alarming rate. Things like drug re-importation and a robust public option, which would have helped bring down prices for millions of Americans, were stripped from the bill at the request of powerful industry lobbyists.

It was also a big loss for the progressive movement. We were out-gunned by industry lobbyists, and many of our movement “allies” failed us. A woman’s right to choose was thrown under the bus just to get something passed. The supposed “progressives” in the Senate refused to go all-out and use every tool to achieve the most progressive reform. Lawrence O’Donnell is right, most importantly, this bill will give liberalism a very bad name.

This is not progressive reform. This is a perverse Democratic version of Reagan style trickle down economics. Hundreds of billions will be given to poorly regulated private health insurance companies in the hope that they spend roughly 80% of that money on actually providing people with health care. It forces millions of people to buy very expensive insurance that they cannot afford to get actual health care, so that Democrats can proudly say millions more people are “covered.” Private health insurance companies are what have ruined our current system and are dramatically less efficient than public insurance programs, yet Democrats will use them almost exclusively. It is a massive reward for a history of terrible performance. Instead of reining in the insurance companies, it only enriches, empowers, and entrenches them further. The only “check” on the industry will be new regulations, but with extremely weak to practically non-existent enforcement, it is basically no check at all.

[there’s lots more over there]

So much to think about.  Likely I’m on the side of the lefty abstractionist naysayers.  Overall I’m just sad.  Though I was never a believer in the hopey-changey President.  I’m frustrated with those lefty abstractionists who were.  In any case, the American system of government and its flaws has been exposed in all its vain-glorious ingloriousness.  That’s what people should be paying attention to, whatever they think about health care “reform”.  Perhaps the problem is with the notion of reform itself.  Now there’s a revolutionary idea.

“Progressive” Gaslighting

President Obama rejected in an interview Tuesday the criticism that he has compromised too much in order to secure health-care reform legislation, challenging his critics to identify any “gap” between what he campaigned on last year and what Congress is on the verge of passing.

“Nowhere has there been a bigger gap between the perceptions of compromise and the realities of compromise than in the health-care bill,” Obama said in an Oval Office interview with The Washington Post about his legislative record this year. “Every single criteria for reform I put forward is in this bill.”  [more]

Hmmm.  Let’s see.

Candidate Obama:

The pharmaceutical industry wrote into the prescription drug plan that Medicare could not negotiate with drug companies. And you know what, the chairman of the committee who pushed the law through went to work for the pharmaceutical industry making $2 million a year. Imagine that. That’s an example of the same old game-playing in Washington. I don’t want to learn how to play the game better. I want to put an end to the game-playing.  [here]

Nevertheless, BigPharma’s superstar lobbyist Billy Tauzin says the President has promised not to pressure the drug companies to negotiate with the government for lower drug prices and has agreed not to allow cheaper drugs to be imported from Canada or Europe.

Candidate Obama also argued with Hillary Clinton about the virtues, or rather the lack thereof, of mandated health insurance which the health reform bill currently adopts.

… the head of this Administration pointedly attacking his opponent’s position on health insurance mandates during the primary campaign. In an effort to differentiate himself, candidate Obama attacked the Clinton plan of requiring citizens to purchase health insurance stating that people do not have health insurance not because they don’t want it, but because they can’t afford it. Mandating health insurance, in his view, would further burden the individual with fines and in the end the person would still not have health insurance. He called it a “substantive difference” with Clinton on the issue and made that point very clear.  [there’s more – video even!]

Candidate Obama addressed the issue of mandated health insurance more than once.

If a mandate was the solution, we could try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody buy a house,” he said on a CNN morning show on Super Tuesday during the election. “The reason they don’t have a house is they don’t have the money. So our focus has been on reducing costs, making it available. I am confident that if people have a chance to buy high quality health care that is affordable, they will do so. And that’s what our plan does, and nobody disputes that.

[there’s video here too!]

I guess we can expect mandated house-buying next.

Now here’s an article from April 2008 that explicitly takes on the comparison between health care reform plans outline by Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama.  It points out that there wasn’t much difference between them.  Except for this:

But the major difference between the two plans involves requiring people to have health insurance, the “individual mandate,” as it’s called.  Clinton’s plan, with an estimated $110 billion annual price tag for the government, would require everyone to have coverage. Obama would make coverage mandatory only for children.  [here]

Hmmmmm.  Let’s move on to the “public option”.  President Obama claims he didn’t campaign on the issue.  Aleks Koppelman points out that his claim is “at best on shaky ground”.

Obama’s summary of his healthcare plan was, “I have pledged to sign a universal health bill into law by the end of my first term in office. My plan will ensure that all Americans have health care coverage through their employers, private health plans, the federal government or the states. For those without health insurance I will establish a new public insurance program.”

Then there’s the Candidate Obama brochure that said this:

The Obama plan both builds upon and improves our current insurance system, upon which most Americans continue to rely, and leaves Medicare intact for older and disabled Americans. The Obama plan also addresses the large gaps in coverage that leave 45 million Americans uninsured. Specifically, the Obama plan will: (1) establish a new public insurance program available to Americans who neither qualify for Medicaid or SCHIP nor have access to insurance through their employers, as well as to small businesses that want to offer insurance to their employees.

It is true that Candidate Obama expressed a willingness to consider giving up the public option later in his campaign but it could be argued that he never pressed for the option and gave it up all too willingly.  In any case, there’s not much doubt that a big slice of President Obama’s base are experiencing an all too familiar sense of betrayal from their former candidate.  So much so that President Obama felt pressed to defend himself today.

I don’t share the sense of betrayal.  For one thing, I would have voted for Hillary Clinton.  For another, even during and after the world historical event that was the election of a black American to the highest office of the United States I thought the jubilation was unrealistic politically, even if necessary culturally, and I never bought in to the notion that Candidate Obama (or Hillary Clinton) was the great progressive saviour.

On the other hand, it really pisses me off that President Obama has decided to lie to his base and to the people who voted him into office.  Oh well.  They’re all doing a great job of calling out the gaslight.

NOTE:  I can’t seem to do anything about that blank space in the second quote, above.  If you want to see the whole thing I guess you’ll have to follow the link.  That is, if it works.  😦  NOTE II:  So now it’s fixed.  🙂

UPDATE:  I really really like this.

Is Something ALWAYS Better Than Nothing?

What are progressive Americans to do about the health care reform bill?

For the Left, healthcare reform might just become a Pyrrhic victory if it gets passed.After defeating the Romans in the battles of Heraclea in 280 BC and Asculum in 279 BC, King Pyrrhus of Epirus is reported to have said, “one more such victory would utterly undo him.” Pyrrhus’s armies were in ruins and most of his principal military leaders killed. Conversely the Romans–having garnered more losses–had the necessary reliefs, will, and supplies to continue fighting. Pyrrhus’s victories had cost him too much to continue.

If this bill, in whatever mutated form they deliver it, passes, it will drain the fever-swamp of the Democratic camp. Ideology will have triumphed necessity. This makes for a very good possibility of the Democrats wandering a political wasteland of their own design for decades too come.

There’s always more.

I’m glad it’s not my health care reform bill!

UPDATE:  From someone who never fell all the way in love with Barack —

As Congress stumbles toward some parody of health care reform, and the White House sends its talking heads out to parrot that this is the delivery of Obama’s promises, those who once provided the grassroots manpower for the President’s presidential campaign have finally started to voice their mass dissatisfaction.

[…]

Obama has taken no leadership and instead passed off reform to Rahm Emanuel, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Joe Lieberman, corporate centrists who shill to the same insurance and pharmaceutical interests who have caused the staggering rate of uninsured Americans — 40 million! — today. What use is a majority in both houses of Congress if you can’t pass the biggest social reform on which you based your candidacy?

I commend the SEIU and the deflated Obama campaign staffers for what they’re saying now. But shoddy health care reform is being signed into law before Christmas. These appeals, which I believe could have had great resonance, have come too late.

Daniela Perdomo has more to say at AlterNet.

A Christmas Gift for America’s Women

From Senator Ben Nelson:

NOW‘s Terry O’Neill on the latest manifestation of the desire to control women’s bodies, particularly their sexuality and reproductivity, in the United States:

The so-called health care reform bill now before the Senate, with the addition of Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Manager’s Amendment, amounts to a health insurance bill for half the population and a sweeping anti-abortion law for the rest of us. And by the way, it’s the rest of us who voted the current leadership into both houses of Congress.

Yes.  By the way …

UPPITY-DATE:  From Women’s Rights at change.org —

Take a look at Senate Majority leader Harry Reid’s new manager’s amendment’s proposal to keep innocent federal dollars from being tainted by helping to cover abortion through a separation of private and public funds. (I’d much prefer to see a little separation of church and state.) Of course, insurance companies aren’t known for enjoying added hassle or a positive approach to women’s health, so faced with the administrative nightmare of setting up two bank accounts to deposit two checks from each woman electing abortion coverage — one payment for the abortion pot and one for everything else —  insurance companies likely to chuck that option altogether. Hey, that’s just what anti-choicers wanted in the first place!

More on women’s bodies as bargaining chips – everyone under the bus!

Not Just Indifference to Reproductive Justice

I’ve often heard it said that the power of the Roman Catholic Church in countries like Canada and the US is waning.  The bishops hardly seemed powerless in crafting Nancy Pelosi’s health care reform bill in the US House of Representatives.  But the places where it’s clear that the Church’s power is actually on the rise and will continue to grow are developing countries.  The Church’s position on reproductive justice is having a profound impact on the quality of many women’s lives in those countries.  And has a negative impact on climate change activism among “faith groups”:

The Catholic Church has studied and worked on issues of protecting the poor from climate change disaster for at least the last ten years. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is one of four members of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment (NRPE), which also includes the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, the National Council of Churches of Christ and the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN). The NRPE is part of a broader non-religious coalition, the Alliance for Climate Protection, whose board chairman is Al Gore, and which includes progressive groups such as 350.org, the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative, Green for All and the U.S. Climate Action Network.

“Never has there been such conviction and commitment across the entire denominational and ideological spectrum as there is on this issue, and not least because of its impact on those who are most vulnerable to climate change but are the least responsible for it,” says Paul Gorman, executive director of NRPE.

But in some of those same vulnerable nations where Catholic Relief Services is often found caring for indigent communities, there are many unplanned or unwanted pregnancies—due to rape, lack of sexual and reproductive education, forbidden or faulty abortion procedures, or poor access to contraception. Most in the climate change struggle are not advocating for population control, but many agree that a reduction in unwanted pregnancies in destitute nations would help them better adapt to climate change problems. As RD contributing editor Michelle Goldberg wrote in a recent Daily Beast column, “Climate change isn’t a reason to force unwanted interventions on women. It’s a reason to mobilize an often-indifferent world to give women what they need.”

In a conversation with Dan Misleh, executive director of the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change (CCCC), which is affiliated with the Catholic Church, he championed the “rights of women.” Misleh maintained there “has to be empowerment of women and proper education… because those are the prime causes of poverty.” But he added that empowerment would not include women’s rights to access contraception and abortion.

More from Brentin Mock

And see Karen Hardee on climate change and reproductive health

Church Should Be SO Ashamed

A feminist theologian comments on the case of a nine-year old Brazilian girl impregnated by her stepfather.  The Roman Catholic Church publicly excommunicated her family and those involved in procuring and performing an abortion:

It is hard to find words sufficient to convey the moral indignation elicited by the Roman Catholic Church’s actions. As a Catholic feminist theologian who is pro-choice, I have dealt with abortion for decades. I thought I was inured to its callousness. Maybe it’s because I have an 8-year-old daughter that I find the Church’s actions in this case violent beyond defense.

By any measure, the family involved is in big trouble. The father is gone, the mother has at least two children, one of whom is handicapped, and the stepfather is a sexual predator. It is a recipe for a disaster. The pregnancy happened because an adult male assaulted a girl child; an oft-told story, tragic every time. The mother endeavored to do the best she could in a bad situation. Medical personnel handled it according to the law. But the Roman Catholic Church used the tragedy to make a theo-political point. Have they no shame? Are they so heartless as to kick this family while it is down?

Whatever their relationship to the institutional church, the archbishop’s claim that those who help procure an abortion are automatically excommunicated tells this family that the mother is unwelcome, unworthy to receive the sacraments. One churchman had the gall to note that the church in its infinite wisdom does not excommunicate minors, so the nine-year-old is still in full communion. Small comfort. What he failed to mention was that the perpetrator, the stepfather, never even made it to the ecclesial radar screen. I am not suggesting the man be excommunicated; no one should be. But it is sickening and morally repugnant to realize that abortion, in this case the most humane solution to a terrible problem, is the cause of excommunication while sexual abuse is not. Something is seriously wrong with this picture, and it is the Roman Catholic Church.  [more]

Right on.

UPDATEFetus and Pope-ish fetishism

Psychiatry & Scientology

Bruce E. Levine at AlterNet:

Scientology and establishment psychiatry have something else in common. They are both orthodoxies that deal harshly with their ex-insiders who have come to reject them. Currently, psychiatry is the more prevailing orthodoxy, and, as George Orwell explained, the mainstream press does not challenge a prevailing orthodoxy. Orwell wrote, “At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. … Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.”

It is my experience that psychiatry, Scientology and fundamentalist religions are turnoffs for genuinely critical thinkers. Critical thinkers are not so desperate to adjust and be happy that they ignore adverse affects — be they physical, psychological, spiritual or societal. Critical thinkers listen to what others have to say while considering their motives, especially financial ones; and they discern how one’s motivation may distort one’s assumptions.

A critical thinker would certainly not merely accept without analysis Fromm’s and my conclusion that American society is insane in terms of healthy human development. Perhaps a society should not be labeled insane just because it is replete with schools that turn kids off to reading, for-profit prisons that need increasingly more inmates for economic growth, a mass media that is dishonest about threats to national security, trumped-up wars that so indebt a society that it cannot provide basic health care, a for-profit health care system that exploits illness rather than promoting health, et cetera.

The whole thing is here

Oh Barack!

From Christina Page’s blog:

News story after news story reports that many Americans suffering through the collapse of the economy (like the 71,000 who were laid off yesterday) are, among other lifestyle changes, postponing having a child. Planning when to have a child based on whether you can support one seems like a pretty common sense approach. It could even be described as “responsible” — which, you will recall, was the overarching theme of our new president’s inaugural speech. One small part of the stimulus package the Democrats presented offered this family planning safety net for Americans who need contraceptive coverage but ordinarily would be ineligible for that assistance. The staged Republican freak-out revealed the degree to which they are out-of-touch with Americans’ lives, as if we needed another reminder. The more disturbing part is how quickly President Obama surrendered to this pressure. Without a single attempt to explain the importance of family planning in the lives of struggling Americans, the White House distanced itself from the provision. After a day of bizarre media misinterpretation of the proposal, Obama spokesman, Bill Burton, told Cybercast News Service that it was not Obama’s idea and that “the principles of what he thought should be in the package–that wasn’t part of that.”

Read all of it

Hoping Obama Will Help

My dreams have been full of the women of the Democratic Republic of Congo for months and months and my heart cracks a little more each time I think of them.  The Bush administration, the U.N., my country and the powerful countries of the world have been unsuccessful in ameliorating he conditions for women in Congo, to the extent that anyone has tried.  These days, I often push thoughts of those women aside out of feelings of despair.

Thus, it was with a sense of relief and great hope that I read the following open letter to President-Elect Obama at The Huffington Post:

On December 5, 2008, a few days before the 60th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a group of global and domestic women’s organizations gathered in New York to frame a shared agenda for advancing global women’s rights. Determined to use their collective strength and expertise to work together to advance a global agenda for women’s freedom, safety and agency, they crafted the following open letter to President-elect Obama and committed to working together to see their vision come true in this century.
Dear President-Elect Obama,

As a group of women leaders who have given our lives to the transformation, protection and empowerment of women in the United States and globally, we want to begin by congratulating you. We are honored and proud to have you lead the nation during this historic time. We also welcome your call to action, reminding us of what we have always known — that as global citizens we cannot solely rely on any one administration’s ability to bring about change, but must be steadfast in pushing forward our own vision and agendas.

We represent a historic movement for change: millions of women across the globe with innovative ideas, influential constituencies and collaborative solutions. We are calling on you to ensure that women are equally represented in everything, from your administration’s infrastructure to its decision-making and solution building. We are calling on you to exercise leadership in dismantling the structures that perpetuate gender inequality, impede women’s full participation in society and thwart real progress for people around the world.

As war rages in Gaza, it is clear that the time has come to dismantle militarism as the dominant ideology in world politics. We must ensure that women take the lead in building lasting peace in the Middle East, ending genocide in Darfur, stopping femicide in the Democratic Republic of Congo, fighting the War on Terror in Afghanistan, and ending the war in Iraq.

Though the select-few women who hold leadership positions in this country’s political system inspire us; women represent more than 50% of the population and deserve more than marginal representation. We believe that in order for your vision of change to succeed, women must be in positions of power. While US women gained the right to vote 100 years ago, to date only 14% of the US Congress are women. This must change.

The major economic, security, governance and environmental challenges of our times cannot be solved without the equal participation of women at all levels of society — from the home to institutions of national and global governance. Women’s voices must be central in all major discussions including the economic crisis, overhauling our education system. Long-term investments in women’s education, health and leadership development are equally critical. Economic structures continue to marginalize women. Consider this: women represent two-thirds of the world’s labor yet we own less than 1% of the world’s assets.

In addition, more than 500,000 women die each year because of inadequate medical and reproductive care. Violence against women is a pandemic that determines women’s realities, impeding their access to education and economic self-sufficiency. This global epidemic is undermining the future of the world, as women are at the heart of all communities and families; we literally carry the future in our bodies.

Yet these are not “women’s issues.” In fact, such investments are vital to economic growth and the well-being of all individuals, communities, societies and nations. Consider India’s economic transformation of the past 15 years: The World Bank finds that states with the highest percentage of women in the labor force grew the fastest and had the largest reductions in poverty.

As policy makers, activists, researchers, and grant-makers we have spent our lives investing in women and know that these kinds of investments have immeasurable and fundamental impact for the better. Worldwide, women are uniquely positioned to bring innovative insights and creative solutions to global leadership forums. If we hope to improve existing economic, peace and security, and human development frameworks women must not only be included, but must be at the heart of the discussion.

We are calling on you to be the President who ushers in the time of women. Our vision of the future is one in which women and men are equal partners, standing shoulder to shoulder in confronting the world’s challenges. We welcome, with hope and anticipation, your shared commitment to this vision.  [emphasis mine]

We represent more than half of the world’s human potential. And our time has come.

Sincerely,

Linda Basch, PhD
President, National Council for Research on Women

Mallika Dutt
Executive Director, Breakthrough: Building Human Rights Culture

Eve Ensler
Founder, V-Day

Adrienne Germain
President, International Women’s Health Coalition

Sara Gould
CEO, Ms. Foundation

Christine Grumm
CEO, Women’s Funding Network

Geeta Rao Gupta
President, International Center for Research on Women

Carolyn Makinson
Executive Director, Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children

Kavita Ramdas
CEO, Global Fund for Women

Zainab Salbi
President, Women for Women International

In February, V-Day will be in  five American cities with its “Turning Pain to Power” tour – New York, Washington D.C., Atlanta, San Francisco and Los Angeles.  Dr. Dennis Mukwege will be on the tour with Eve Ensler.  Dr. Mukwege runs the Panzi Hospital in the DRC, offering services to women and girls who have been raped and won the 2008 UN Human Rights Prize.

Check out the V-Day site for more information on the tour and for tickets.  Please!