Archive for Politics

Wonder Woman based on Margaret Sanger

Wonder WomanOver the weekend, I saw an article on largely unknown facts about comic books or comic book characters. I can’t find it right now, but it was on a click-bait site. It included a fact about Wonder Woman that I hadn’t heard before.

The fact I hadn’t read or heard before? That Margaret Sanger was the basis for Wonder Woman. It may be something that has been widely reported at some point, but I’d never heard it. The creator of the comic even did his best to hide that fact for as long as possible.

A 2014 article in Smithsonian magazine by Jill Lepore confirms the report. In 1942 it was reported that Wonder Woman’s creator was Dr. William Moulton Marston, “an internationally famous psychologist.”

The article includes a quote from Marston that, “Frankly, Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who, I believe, should rule the world.”

Smithsonian notes that Marston’s attitude was a response to the popularity of sexually violent comic books:

But at a time when war was ravaging Europe, comic books celebrated violence, even sexual violence. In 1940, the Chicago Daily News called comics a “national disgrace.” “Ten million copies of these sex-horror serials are sold every month,” wrote the newspaper’s literary editor, calling for parents and teachers to ban the comics, “unless we want a coming generation even more ferocious than the present one.”

Marston was hired as a consultant by the founder of All-American Comics, Maxwell Charles Gaines. Gaines wanted to use Marston to shield him from criticism.

A staff writer named Olive Richard interviewed Marston at his home for Family Circle magazine in 1940.

From that interview, via Smithsonian:

“Some of them are full of torture, kidnapping, sadism, and other cruel business,” she said.

“Unfortunately, that is true,” Marston admitted, but “when a lovely heroine is bound to the stake, comics followers are sure that the rescue will arrive in the nick of time. The reader’s wish is to save the girl, not to see her suffer.”

Lepore goes on to note that “Olive Richard” is the pen name for Olive Byrne, who already lived with Marston and his wife. More on Olive Byrne:

She was also the niece of Margaret Sanger, one of the most important feminists of the 20th century. In 1916, Sanger and her sister, Ethel Byrne, Olive Byrne’s mother, had opened the first birth-control clinic in the United States. They were both arrested for the illegal distribution of contraception. In jail in 1917, Ethel Byrne went on a hunger strike and nearly died.

Marston and Byrne met when she was a senior at Tufts and he was her psychology professor. They fell in love and he told his wife, Elizabeth Holloway, that Byrne could move in with them or he would be moving out. Marston fathered two children by each of the women in the household between 1928 and 1933. Holloway finally admitted  to Byrne’s sons in 1963 that Marston was their father. Gaines knew none of this when he hired Marston.

In case you’re having trouble keeping up, Lepore notes (via NPR), “So there was his wife, Elizabeth Holloway, his mistress, Olive Byrne and another woman named Marjorie Wilkes Huntley, who kind of was in and out of the family.”

Lepore discussed Sanger as inspiration for Wonder Woman in more detail in an NPR interview from 2014. That interview also notes that the costume for Wonder Woman was inspired by erotic pinup art.

Wonder Woman debuted in All-Star Comics in 1941 and appeared on the cover of Sensation Comics in 1942. In the Smithsonian article, Lepore notes that controversy ensued:

But in March 1942, the National Organization for Decent Literature put Sensation Comics on its blacklist of “Publications Disapproved for Youth” for one reason: “Wonder Woman is not sufficiently dressed.”

From the NPR interview:

But one of the things that’s a defining element of Wonder Woman is that if a man binds her in chains, she loses all of her Amazonian strength. And so in almost every episode of the early comics – the ones that Marston wrote – she’s chained up or she’s roped up. It’s usually chains. And then she has to break free of these chains, and that’s, Marston would always say, in order to signify her emancipation from men. But those chains are really an important part of the feminist and suffrage struggles of the 1910s that Marston was – had a kind of front-row seat for.

Also in the NPR interview, host Terry Gross and Lepore discuss the “big kind of fetishistic, sexual aspect to the bondage and the chains in Wonder Woman.”

A woman member of the advisory board for Gaines’ comics even sent a letter of complaint about Wonder Woman’s”“sadistic bits showing women chained, tortured, etc.” and Lepore agrees with her in the story:

She had a point. In episode after episode, Wonder Woman is chained, bound, gagged, lassoed, tied, fettered and manacled. “Great girdle of Aphrodite!” she cries at one point. “Am I tired of being tied up!”

Marston shrugged off the criticism and when Dorothy Roubicek, an editor who actually worked on Wonder Woman, complained, he said:

“Of course I wouldn’t expect Miss Roubicek to understand all this,” Marston wrote Gaines. “After all I have devoted my entire life to working out psychological principles. Miss R. has been in comics only 6 months or so, hasn’t she? And never in psychology.” But “the secret of woman’s allure,” he told Gaines, is that “women enjoy submission—being bound.”

Marston was hiding his relationship with Olive Byrne, his connection to Margaret Sanger, which tied into the images of bondage:

Hidden behind this controversy is one reason for all those chains and ropes, which has to do with the history of the fight for women’s rights. Because Marston kept his true relationship with Olive Byrne a secret, he kept his family’s ties to Margaret Sanger a secret, too. Marston, Byrne and Holloway, and even Harry G. Peter, the artist who drew Wonder Woman, had all been powerfully influenced by the suffrage, feminism and birth control movements. And each of those movements had used chains as a centerpiece of its iconography.

More details on the use of similar art in Sanger-related publications is included on the second page of the Smithsonian article.

Lepore sums up that section with this:

When Marston created Wonder Woman, in 1941, he drew on Sanger’s legacy and inspiration. But he was also determined to keep the influence of Sanger on Wonder Woman a secret.

More on Margaret Sanger:
the Inspiration for Wonder Woman

Wonder WomanMargaret Sanger was the founder of what is now the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.

Sanger was known as a free love (e.g. the arrangement already mentioned that her niece was involved in) and birth control activist, but what her supporters want to cover up now is her support for eugenics.

Much of the quotes have been cited before by the modern pro-life movement. I’ll get to them in a moment but I thought that quoting her Wikipedia entry might be a good thing to do, since any edits to her biography there are highly scrutinized due to the controversy surrouding her.

From Wikipedia:

In “The Morality of Birth Control,” a 1921 speech, she divided society into three groups: the “educated and informed” class that regulated the size of their families, the “intelligent and responsible” who desired to control their families in spite of lacking the means or the knowledge, and the “irresponsible and reckless people” whose religious scruples “prevent their exercising control over their numbers.” Sanger concludes, “There is no doubt in the minds of all thinking people that the procreation of this group should be stopped.”

Sanger’s eugenic policies included an exclusionary immigration policy, free access to birth control methods, and full family planningautonomy for the able-minded, as well as compulsory segregation or sterilization for the “profoundly retarded”. In her book The Pivot of Civilization, she advocated coercion to prevent the “undeniably feeble-minded” from procreating.

 

National Right to Life has written more about Sanger and eugenics:

But if someone is truly “unfit,” he or she is too stupid or out-of-control to stop reproducing voluntarily. So, as Sanger wrote in 1921, governments should “attempt to restrain, either by force or persuasion, the moron and the imbecile from producing his large family of feeble-minded offspring.”

Now you understand Sanger’s support of forced sterilization of the “unfit,” something enthusiastically promoted by many of her friends and collaborators, such as former Planned Parenthood president Alan Guttmacher (after whom Planned Parenthood’s former research arm is named) or Clarence Gamble, who used his fortune to set up sterilization clinics throughout the South and Midwest.

Gamble was proud of his work promoting involuntary sterilization but complained in 1947 that there was much more to do: “For every one man or woman who has been sterilized, there are 40 others who can continue to pour defective genes into the State’s bloodstream to pollute and degrade future generations.”

Some Sanger quotes, from Life News (here and here):

  • “The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”
  • “Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race.”
  • “We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities.  The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”
  • “[We should] apply a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring.”
  • “I accepted an invitation to talk to the women’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan … I saw through the door dim figures parading with banners and illuminated crosses … I was escorted to the platform, was introduced, and began to speak … In the end, through simple illustrations I believed I had accomplished my purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered.”
  • I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world – that have disease from their parents, that have no chance in the world to be a human being practically. Delinquents, prisoners, all sorts of things just marked when they’re born. That to me is the greatest sin – that people can – can commit.

The creator of Wonder Woman was living with two lovers, his wife, and their children. He thought women want to be submissive and bound and he admired Sanger, an advocate of free love and eugenics. I can see why he hid all of this from the people behind what became DC Comics.

Catholic graduation speaker is Planned Parenthood supporter

graduation

In the April 2016 edition of The Bulletin of Notre Dame of Maryland University (NDMU), President Marylou Yam announced the commencement speaker for graduation exercises this Sunday May 22, 2016, would be Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen. Dr. Wen, pictured at left in blue holding the sign, will receive an honorary degree from the university.

A few sentences on Dr. Wen’s biographical data is included. Areas focused on include her work with youth health and wellness, opioid overdose prevention, and violence prevention.

Some of Dr. Wen’s other advocacy work, that goes against Catholic teaching, remains unmentioned:

  1. She is a supporter of federal funding for Planned Parenthood and wrote that the group is “saving lives”
  2. She is health commissioner in a city that has taken action to persecute pro-life pregnancy centers.
  3. She has been praised by the local NARAL director and the director of the Baltimore Abortion Fund.
  4. She supports giving contraceptives to elementary school students at city schools without their parents’ consent.
  5. She wrote that physician-assisted suicide is an “important aspect of care” and that “assisted death” is “compassionate.”

If you want to let Dr. Marylou Yam know what you think about Dr. Leana Wen being honored by NDMU, you can email her at  or call her office at 410-532-5300.

She was appointed to her post by Mayor Stephanie-Rawlings Blake in late 2014. Rawlings-Blake has been a long-time friend of both Planned Parenthood and NARAL. As City Council President, Rawlings-Blake introduced legislation regulating pro-life pregnancy centers that became law. The law required the centers to post signage saying that they did not provide referrals for abortions or face penalties. The Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns filed a federal lawsuit. The law is not currently being enforced until the matter is settled.

Dr. Wen’s City Department of Health falls under the purview of Deputy Mayor Dawn Kirstaetter. Kirstaetter served as the executive director of a Berea, Kentucky affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She was also President of the Kentucky Association of Planned Parenthood Affiliates.

On September 29, 2015, Wen made a Facebook post that included several pictures (including the one above) showing her at a rally in support of Planned Parenthood in downtown Baltimore.

Her message read (emphasis added):

As a doctor, I applaud Planned Parenthood for improving health and saving lives. As a public health leader, I join officials across Maryland including Congressman Van Hollen, State Senator Nathan-Pulliam, and Delegate Rosenberg to #‎standwithPP. As a woman and a citizen, I am proud to stand strong for ‪#‎pinkoutday to support reproductive rights.

In June 2015, she wrote a letter to Members of Congress asking them not to cut funding to Title X programs including Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. Wen said the cuts “would have grave impacts on Baltimore’s public health.”

Dr. Wen was praised by the director of NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland and the board president of the Baltimore Abortion Fund in a letter to the editor in The Baltimore Sun in June 2015. The writers thanked Wen for increasing the availability of contraceptives in city schools. They also chastised City Councilman Carl Stokes, who compared offering Norplant and Nexplanon in city schools to the Tuskegee syphilis experiment.  Stokes also was criticized in the letter for calling the issue of giving out contraceptives without parental consent a violation of parents’ rights.

That letter came after a news story that Wen’s health department had started implanting Nexplanon in girls at health centers in Baltimore City Schools. Nexplanon is a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) like Norplant. Baltimore City Schools were the first in the nation to provide Norplant for students in the 1980s.

LARCs are not the only contraceptives being distributed at the health centers in city schools. Condoms, oral birth control pills, Ortho Evra patches, Depo-Provera shots, NuvaRing, and Plan B are also available in the school-based health centers.

Despite claims to the contrary by some activists, the Food & Drug Administration requires labeling for Plan B to note that the “morning-after pill” as it is known can inhibit ovulation or implantation. NuvaRing has been the subject of controversy and lawsuits related to pulmonary embolisms that led to the disabling and death of women using it.

African-American ministers have also been critical of the Implantation of Norplant and Nexplanon in Baltimore City schools. One of them, Rev. Gregory Perkins, even made allegations of racism and asked why African-American girls were being targeted.

Dr. Leana Wen is also well-known for starting “Who’s My Doctor?” which advocates for the Total Transparency Initiative. Among other things, this initiative wants doctors to disclose information about payments from pharmaceutical companies and other sources of potential conflicts of interest.

One author writing for Forbes was critical of the part of that initiative that asks doctors do disclose their political viewpoints. Wen responded with a list of views on healthcare issues that were all that was included in that disclosure. Two of them were “end-of-life care” and  “women’s health.” We already know that Dr. Wen advocates for positions against church teachings on women’s health. In 2006, Leana Wen was president of the American Medical Association. She made a statement then that “physician-assisted suicide is an important aspect of care” and that “assisted death is an extension of compassionate medical care.”

Despite her advocacy for positions against church teachings, Dr. Leana Wen is scheduled to receive an honorary degree and speak at commencement exercises on the morning of May 22, 2016 at Royal Farms Arena

NDMU was founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1873. It became the first Catholic four-year college for women in 1896.

Other graduation speakers at Catholic schools

The University of Notre Dame in Indiana was criticized for plans to honor Vice President Joe Biden at its commencement this  year. After the controversy ensued, former House Speaker Boehner was also invited as a joint recipient of the Laetare Award. Previously. the school in Indiana was criticized for honoring President Barack Obama at its graduation.

The Cardinal Newman Society has more on Catholic colleges and their graduation speakers.

Michael Graham returns to DC

Michael Graham
In case you missed reports earlier this week, Michael Graham is returning to Washington as creative director for MediaDC. MediaDC is the parent company for Red Alert Politics, The Weekly Standard, and The Washington Examiner. Graham already hosts a podcast for TWS.

From a FishbowlDC report:

Graham is tasked with overseeing and promoting MediaDC’s social and multimedia efforts. “My job will be to raise the level of MediaDC’s audio/video and new media offerings up to the high standards its writers and reporters set every day,” said Graham in a statement. “I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Since 2014, he has been working for NewsRadio 106.7 in Atlanta. Prior to that he worked in talk radio in Charlotte, Charleston, Washington, and the Boston area.

Graham previously left DC after WMAL management was pressured to drop him by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) about comments he made.

Graham also wore a INS t-shirt to a CASA de Maryland rally and was told to leave or wear it inside out when he was working at WMAL. He had just started working at WBT when I first met him when I was orking at The Andy Thomas Show as a political reporter. I started Palmetto Journal a few months prior to that.

Michael Graham: Standup Comedian to Political Consultant to Writer

Graham graduated from Oral Roberts University after growing up in the small town of Pelion, South Carolina. He was a standup comedian and, as a political consultant, worked for Pat Buchanan in the 1992 SC Primary. He also worked for Harold Worley in the Republican primary in 1996 against Strom Thurmond.

When Graham worked for the SC Secretary of State, he also hosted a weekend radio show on SC Public Radio. After comments he made on his radio show angered members of the state legislature, they wrote his job in the Secretary of State’s office out of the state budget. This resulted in his first book – Banned from Public Radio.

Graham also wrote a laugh-out-loud funny weekly column that appeared in the Charleston City Paper and in Columbia’s Free Times. His second book, Clinton & Me, featured a picture of Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky on the cover. At a book signing, he inscribed my copy to “South Carolina’s Matt Drudge.” He wrote another book called Redneck Nation after that and has written ebooks as well.

 

Catholic bishops criticize transgender letter

Catholic

Catholic bishops who are chairmen of committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) released a statement today responding to the Obama administration’s Justice and Education Departments’ directive sent out Friday to schools across the country.

The statement was issued by Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo and Archbishop George Lucas. Bishop Malone is the Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. Archbishop Lucas is Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Catholic Education.

The statement from the bishops quotes Amoris Laetitia, an apostolic exhortation on love in the family written by Pope Francis and released in April.

One mention from Amoris Laetitia:

The guidance fails to address a number of important concerns and contradicts a basic understanding of human formation so well expressed by Pope Francis: that “the young need to be helped to accept their own body as it was created”

An excerpt from the statement:

Children, youth, and parents in these difficult situations deserve compassion, sensitivity, and respect. All of these can be expressed without infringing on legitimate concerns about privacy and security on the part of the other young students and parents. The federal regulatory guidance issued on May 13 does not even attempt to achieve this balance. It unfortunately does not respect the ongoing political discussion at the state and local levels and in Congress, or the broader cultural discussion, about how best to address these sensitive issues. Rather, the guidance short-circuits those discussions entirely.

The Obama administration directive and the statement in response from the Catholic bishops came amidst reaction to the debate nationally over a state legislative matter in North Carolina. HB2 became law in North Carolina after it was signed by Gov. Pat McCrory. The law itself was a reaction to local legislation in Charlotte.

 

Full Text of Statement from Catholic Bishops

The Catholic Church consistently affirms the inherent dignity of each and every human person and advocates for the wellbeing of all people, particularly the most vulnerable. Especially at a young age and in schools, it is important that our children understand the depth of God’s love for them and their intrinsic worth and beauty. Children should always be and feel safe and secure and know they are loved.

The guidance issued May 13 by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education that treats “a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex” is deeply disturbing. The guidance fails to address a number of important concerns and contradicts a basic understanding of human formation so well expressed by Pope Francis: that “the young need to be helped to accept their own body as it was created” (Amoris Laetitia [AL], no. 285).

Children, youth, and parents in these difficult situations deserve compassion, sensitivity, and respect. All of these can be expressed without infringing on legitimate concerns about privacy and security on the part of the other young students and parents. The federal regulatory guidance issued on May 13 does not even attempt to achieve this balance. It unfortunately does not respect the ongoing political discussion at the state and local levels and in Congress, or the broader cultural discussion, about how best to address these sensitive issues. Rather, the guidance short-circuits those discussions entirely.

As Pope Francis has recently indicated, “‘biological sex and the socio-cultural role of sex (gender) can be distinguished but not separated'” (AL, no. 56, emphasis added). We pray that the government make room for more just and compassionate approaches and policies in this sensitive area, in order to serve the good of all students and parents, as well as the common good. We will be studying the guidance further to understand the full extent of its implications.

‘Little Obama’ ice cream for sale in Russia

Little ObamaAccording to The Moscow Times, a new ice cream product called Obamka, or Little Obama, is on sale now in the Russian republic of Tatarstan.

It went on sale last month in the city of Naberezhnye Chelny.

A Soviet-era cartoon called Chunga-Changa, about an island inhabited by African children, is reportedly the inspiration for the product.

The product is currently only available locally.

The name of the product isn’t political, according to the manufacturer:

Deputy development director at the Slavitsa ice cream factory Rasil Mustafin, said that the name was not political but chosen due to the product’s chocolate flavor. “There’s no political underpinning. We have no intention to offend anyone,” he said. “Someone at the factory came up with the idea.”

Little Obama not the only Obama product overseas

little obamaIn 2014, it was reported that Chinese vendors near the Great Wall of China had been forced to temporarily stop selling Obama-Mao t-shirts. The reason for the moratorium was a visit to the area by First Lady Michelle Obama. These shirts depicted President Obama dressed as Chinese Communist icon Mao Zedong. Plenty of other “Obamao” products have been for sale in the People’s Republic.

Obama isn’t alone in this regard there:

As I walked through one hutong, I saw a paper fan sporting the late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s face beside the caption: “Do not miss me, I’m already a legend.”

During a 2009 Summit in Russia, there were nesting dolls featuring Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, and Dmitry Medvedev.

When President Obama visited Kenya in 2015, it was seen as, “a prime opportunity for otherwise impoverished citizens to make some fast money selling Obama souvenirs.”

The Wall Street Journal‘s lede in a story on this subject goes into further details:

Kenyan street hawker Enokh Mulure and two friends recently spent about $1,300 on a truckload of Barack Obama mugs, calendars, baseball caps and T-shirts. Mr. Obama is making his first trip to Kenya as president this week, and to Mr. Mulure that means one thing: “Business.”