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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Michael J. Sakara, one of an endangered species.

Michael Sakara was my friend. We lived a couple of blocks apart in New York City. We met in 1969 around the time my mother was dying. The circumstances of our meeting were awkward and highly charged. They are not relevant to anything that will follow here.

In time, after we met, we had a few conversations, and found ourselves liking each other a lot in spite of a rocky beginning. We became friends. I became one of a group of his friends that would get together, usually at his place, for a few drinks and conversation. I enjoyed his other friends, and we became a circle of sorts. My feelings for Michael deepened, as his did for me. We talked on the phone a couple of times a week at least, and got together very often. We were only a sneeze apart.

His other friends were all far above me in education, and mostly in economic status also. I may have actually been the least solvent of the group. They were mainly involved in the arts. Music, theatre, writing…. They were fascinating, warm, accomplished individuals.

I met an opera singer there, who has since become well known. I will not name her because I would prefer to have her permission to do so. But I’ve heard her sing on recordings, and she sang for us once while another friend, Stewart, played the piano. Michael’s shiny black grand piano sat at the end of the living room in front of large windows. It was a beautiful scene, with her singing against a backdrop of New York lights and big potted plants.

I liked all those people. They were so intelligent, clever and funny, and they accepted me immediately as one of them. It was a new experience for me, being at the center of that much intellectual energy and wit.

So many years later, I am finally aware that I had some talents myself, even at that fledgling level of my development. One of his very close friends, a composer(this man is well known in the field of music, and again I don’t have permission to name him, so I can’t for the sake of his privacy) set a poem I'd written to a piece of his music, another, a writer, sat in my apartment one night reading my poetry, brutalizing it, but found the pieces he felt were good, and told me why they were. Today I think I love him for it. His name was Tom.

Michael was aware of my ugly-duckling, un-dated, un-courted existence of the time, and began taking me to dinner often, always picking up the tab. We would dress up, and go. It would be like a date, and it made me feel happy. I was in mourning for my mother, and he understood that I needed some cheering up, some getting out and away from it all.

We spent so many days, and even nights together, when I’d fall asleep on his sofa, because we had talked until we were nearly unconscious.

We played chess. I never won. I’m not a player, but it was such an elegant game, and Michael was an elegant man. It was a classy thing to do together. I loved it. He never criticized me for playing poorly.

Michael loved good food.

The first time I ate escargot, it was with Michael. He gave me one to try, and I loved it. The first time I ate frog’s legs, it was with Michael, I tasted his. The first time I had Banana FlambĂ© it was with Michael. My first glass of Cointreau…. There were so many sophisticated adventures between us. I felt as though I were being groomed in a sense.

He gave me good wine, and we smoked good grass together. We listened to good music, and I learned to become me. He was the only person I knew who would lie down on the floor wearing headphones to hear music, while feeling the vibrations of it through his body. I got a pair of headphones as a gift eventually, and almost always listened while feeling the music through the floor. Michael taught me about good electronic equipment, and to this day I buy the best I can afford. He showed me quality in places I wasn’t aware of before knowing him.

It was with Michael that I took my first hit of mescaline, and he pulled me across the divide toward recognition that I was in fact, safe and sane in his arms in spite of my terror of the moment. He held me until I got back to the world uninhabited by nightmare visions. I have never regretted that first hit. We both learned that I would do better on a half tab, and hysteria never devoured me again when I was tripping. I almost always did it with him. When I was alone, it was never fun. Together, the world was hilarious, music was something divine, and introspection was sacred.

No matter what the attitude of these times may be, and no matter how comfortably I might be viewed with distaste for my drug ventures, I will challenge any critic to reach the places of deep understanding I reached when under the “influence”.

I would never have gone there without Michael being my guardian and guide. I will always be happy that I went on those mind journeys with my friend.

I will also always remember the sun rising across the water as we rode the Staten Island Ferry back home to The City during my first trip, as the drug’s effect wore off. I will always remember the flowers I bought at a sidewalk stand, and carried with me, just to look at the color of them all through the night. I will always remember the early breakfast at The Brasserie on 53rd St. as we made our way back to so-called real life. I can taste the coffee, I can hear our laughter at the night we’d passed as strange wanderers, and I can see his smile…. He had a cheerful absolute smile.

Michael was murdered in July of 1993. I found out about it during one of my searches on the web, looking for lost friends. He was cut into seven pieces after he was eviscerated. He was left here and there in plastic trash bags. He was thrown away.

I discovered it just a couple of hours ago, and I am going mad from it.

Writing this isn’t about me and this terrible grief that is eating my heart. It’s about Michael, and maybe someone you love.

Michael died because he was gay. It’s just that simple. He was gay. He loved men instead of women.

But he loved me, and I’m a woman. I was his friend. He loved his sister, and I suppose his mother, and I know he loved the women friends of the little charmed circle.

He could be difficult, who can’t? But he was a giving friend, and a kind one, and he could be very comforting to a newly orphaned 29 year old. He had great beauty within, and he shared all the good things about himself. He was often the center of a group, but it was always okay that he be so.

Years after I left New York, I spoke with him. I called him out of the blue. My marriage had fallen into ashes, and I was moving to a new place. I bought a small dwelling for myself, and wanted to tell him. He was sorry about my marriage, but very happy for me about my new home.

Things didn’t go too well for me right after that, and there were many economic woes and close calls to deal with, and everyone from yesterday faded in the face of new disasters.

When I finally got a computer in 2000, I discovered eventually that I could find people on the web, but his number wasn’t listed anymore. He had moved away it seemed. I’d tried to call but the phone was disconnected. I figured he’d been gone too long for a forwarding intercept. So I kept trying the Internet.

I never quit looking, but I didn’t do it obsessively. Every couple of years I’d search for one friend or another. Search engines weren’t what they are today, and today I got a taste of high technological excellence when Google dropped two old New York Times articles from the sky into my brain.

When I searched this time, I just typed in Michael Sakara, no initial, and there they were…two articles about the murdered Michael J. Sakara. I knew there was no mistake in identity. It was him.

And now my bookmarks contain a lot of things about it that I can’t deal with at the moment.

When the righteous among us revile gay people it makes my stomach turn to a bile filled sack. Who are they to judge anyone else? I hope I don’t hear any anti-gay rhetoric from anyone soon, because I’m liable to become very vehement and vicious, and maybe even physically unwise. This would serve no purpose whatsoever.

My friend will never call to invite me to dinner again, or to rove the midnight streets just looking in store windows. The family he left behind will feel his absence at the holidays, and on his birthday, and on the anniversary of his death, and every time they recall something he said that was funny, or kind, or even hateful. If he left a lover behind, that man will always feel the pain.

When we love deeply, I think it tends to stay with us in one way or another until we die. And there’s always a time that comes when the light is a certain color, or a breeze touches you with a familiar scent that evokes a shade of melancholy, and we mourn for a moment for the lost loves…child, sibling, parent, grand-parent, uncle or aunt…spouse, lover…friend….

Michael, I know I hurt you a long time ago. I was too dense to ever tell you how much it bothered me. So I want to say here, I am so sorry my friend.

If you, the reader have a gay person in your life, please be aware that they are always in potential danger because lunatics prey on them the same way they prey on children, or defenseless women.

They beat. They rape. They hack. They slash. They shoot. They pulverize. They drown. They dismember. They torture. They do it all, and they are out there in the guise of the respectable. The man who murdered Michael was a surgical nurse for many years at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York. He was working there when he killed Michael.

Yes, a very respectable man, just having a drink in a quiet gay bar, just having a conversation with another man he didn’t know. Just a serial killer who cut my friend up and threw him away like garbage. My friend was not garbage; he was a human being of worth.

The murder, Richard W. Rogers, got life in prison. If he’s still living, I hope he suffers every single day of his miserable existence, and if he ever gets out, as they often do, it would be nice to imagine a fate of an ugly unexpected nature awaited him. But I am not such a dreamer. All I can do is curse him in my razor sharp rage, and call hell down on him. He’s getting old now, if he’s still alive. I can’t find anything that indicates he isn’t. He’s an old murderer.

I am a newly minted mourner. If my hatred can reach into his heart like an ice pick, I send it his way.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Fresh air.

I feel so much better now.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Pissed off Prez

President George W. Bush arrives for a news conference in the Rose Garden at the White House, in Washington, Friday, Sept. 15, 2006. Bush pushed back at dissenting Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee and renewed his call for legislation to interrogate and prosecute terrorism suspects. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

President Bush responds to dissent among Senate Republicans during a news conference in the Rose Garden at the White House, in Washington, Friday, Sept. 15, 2006. Facing a GOP revolt in the Senate, President Bush urged Congress on Friday to join in backing legislation to spell out strategies for interrogating and trying terror suspects, saying "the enemy wants to attack us again." (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

President Bush pauses during a Rose Garden news conference, Friday, Sept. 15, 2006,where he confronted a Republican rebellion in the Senate over tough anti-terror legislation led by Sen. John Warner (R-Va), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

President Bush urged Congress on Friday to join in backing legislation to spell out strategies for interrogating and trying terror suspects, during a news conference at the White House, in Washington, Friday, Sept. 15, 2006. "Time is running out," Bush said in a Rose Garden news conference. "Congress needs to act wisely and promptly." (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Senate Panel Defies Bush on Terror

Sep 15, 2:59 AM (ET)


WASHINGTON (AP) - A rebellious Senate committee defied President Bush on Thursday and approved terror-detainee legislation he has vowed to block, deepening Republican conflict over terrorism and national security in the middle of the election season.

Republican Sen. John Warner of Virginia, normally a Bush supporter, pushed the measure through his Armed Services Committee by a 15-9 vote, with Warner and three other GOP lawmakers joining Democrats. The vote set the stage for a showdown on the Senate floor as early as next week.

In an embarrassment to the White House, Colin Powell - Bush's first secretary of state - announced his opposition to his old boss' plan, saying it would hurt the country. Powell's successor, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, jumped to the president's defense in a letter of her own. (Naturally. What else does a good handmaiden do? Appended by Redwolf)

President Bush is greeted by former Secretary of State Colin Powell before making remarks at the Initiative for Global Developments 2006 National Summit in a Thursday, June 15, 2006 file photo in Washington. Former Secretary of State Powell endorsed efforts to block President Bush's plan to authorize harsh interrogations of terror suspects Thursday, Sept. 14, 2006, even as Bush lobbied personally for it Thursday on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

All this played out after Bush started his day by journeying to the Capitol to try nailing down support for his own version of the legislation - and by issuing a threat to the maverick Republicans.

"I will resist any bill that does not enable this program to go forward with legal clarity," Bush said at the White House.

The president's measure would go further than the Senate package in allowing classified evidence to be withheld from defendants in terror trials, using coerced testimony and protecting CIA and other U.S. interrogators against prosecution for using methods that may violate the Geneva Conventions.

"The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism," Powell, a retired general who is also a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in his letter.

Powell said Bush's bill, by redefining the kind of treatment the Geneva Conventions allow, "would add to those doubts. Furthermore, it would put our own troops at risk."

Firing back, White House spokesman Tony Snow said Powell was "confused" about the White House plan. Later, Snow said he probably shouldn't have used that word.

"I know that Colin Powell wants to beat the terrorists, too," he said.

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow reacts to questions during his daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2006, about former Secretary of State Colin Powell's endorsement of efforts to block President Bush's plan to authorize harsh interrogations of terror suspects. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

The administration also produced its own letter from Rice. She wrote that narrowing the standards for detainee treatment as Bush has proposed "would add meaningful definition and clarification to vague terms in the treaties."

In addition, CIA Director Michael Hayden wrote a letter to his employees saying he has asked Congress "to help define our responsibilities so that we and the Department of Justice can judge the appropriateness of any procedures we would propose to use" whle questioning terrorism suspects. He said Bush's bill did that.

In the committee vote, Warner was supported by GOP Sens. McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Susan Collins of Maine. Warner, McCain and Graham had been the most active senators opposing Bush's plan. The vote by the moderate Collins underscored that there might be broad enough GOP support to successfully take on Bush on the floor of the Republican-run Senate.

As the battle mushrooms, it threatens to undermine campaign season assertions by the administration that it has shown a steady hand on security matters and that Republicans should be trusted over Democrats on such issues.

Bush still has many congressional allies, including House and Senate leaders and conservatives, who want to align themselves with the president's tough stance on interrogation and prosecution. The House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday passed a bill that supports the administration's position by 52-8.

But that support is not universal. Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., said he told Bush during the president's visit that he should heed the military's top uniformed lawyers, who have previously opposed some provisions of the president's plan.

Buyer and other Republicans are expected to align themselves with McCain, who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war during Vietnam. Last year, he overcame Bush's objections to pass legislation banning cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees.

Leaving his closed-door meeting with the House GOP caucus, Bush said he would "continue to work with members of the Congress to get good legislation." He complimented a House bill but did not mention the Senate version.

"I reminded them that the most important job of government is to protect the homeland," he said. Bush was accompanied by Vice President Dick Cheney and White House political adviser Karl Rove.

The White House also released a letter to lawmakers signed by the military's top uniformed lawyers. Saying they wanted to clarify past testimony on Capitol Hill in which they opposed the administration's plan, the lawyers wrote that they "do not object" to sections of Bush's proposal for the treatment of detainees.

Two congressional aides who favor McCain's plan said the military lawyers signed that letter after refusing to endorse an earlier one offered by the Pentagon's general counsel, William Haynes, that expressed more forceful support for Bush's plan.

The aides spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. Asked if Haynes had encouraged them to write the letter, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said, "Not that I'm aware of."

Another Bush bill would give legal status to the administration's warrantless wiretapping program. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill on a party-line vote Wednesday, but it is stalled in the House amid opposition from Democrats and some Republicans concerned that the program violates civil liberties.
During his daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2006, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow responds to a reporters question about former Secretary of State Colin Powell's endorsement of efforts to block President Bush's plan to authorize harsh interrogations of terror suspects. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

Associated Press writers Robert Burns and Katherine Shrader contributed to this report.

IAEA: U.S. Report on Iran 'Dishonest'

IAEA: U.S. Report on Iran 'Dishonest'

Sep 15, 2:56 AM (ET)


VIENNA, Austria (AP) - A recent House of Representatives committee report on Iran's nuclear capability is "outrageous and dishonest" in trying to make a case that Tehran's program is geared toward making weapons, a senior official of the U.N. nuclear watchdog has said.

The letter, obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday outside a 35-nation board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, says the report is false in saying Iran is making weapons-grade uranium at an experimental enrichment site, when it has in fact produced material only in small quantities that is far below the level that can be used in nuclear arms.

The letter, which was first reported on by The Washington Post, also says the report erroneously says that IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei removed a senior nuclear inspector from the team investigating Iran's nuclear program "for concluding that the purpose of Iran's nuclear program is to construct weapons."

In fact, the inspector was sidelined on Tehran's request, and the Islamic republic had a right to ask for a replacement under agreements that govern all states relationships with the agency, said the letter, calling the report's version "incorrect and misleading."

"In addition," says the letter, "the report contains an outrageous and dishonest suggestion that such removal might have been for 'not having adhered to an unstated IAEA policy barring IAEA officials from telling the whole truth about the Iranian nuclear program.'"

Dated Aug. 12, the letter was addressed to Rep. Peter Hoekstra, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. It was signed by Vilmos Cserveny, a senior director of the Vienna-based agency.

An IAEA official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the letter, said it was written "to set the record straight."

Jamal Ware, a spokesman for the House committee, confirmed they had received the letter and said the chairman had referred it to Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and Rep. Rush Hold, D-N.J. They will review it and issue a formal response if necessary, he said.

"All IAEA complains about is a photo caption. If you read the report, it's very clear that what it is saying is that Iran is working to develop the capability to enrich uranium to weapons grade, not that they have done so," Ware said. "They use a string of adjectives, while not pointing to any substantive criticism of the report. There are areas where we would disagree with them. A disagreement does not make what we say erroneous."

The dispute was reminiscent of the clashes between the IAEA and Washington over whether Saddam Hussein was trying to make weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear arms. American arguments that Saddam had such covert arms programs were given as the chief reason for invading Iraq and toppling Saddam.

ElBaradei's criticism of the U.S. standpoint on Iraq and subsequent perceptions that he was soft on Iran in his staff's investigation of suspicions Tehran's nuclear activities may be a cover for a weapons program led to a failed attempt last year by Washington to prevent his re-election.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Take Our Country Back!

Don't Let Osama bin Laden Tell You How To Vote.

Dump the Republican fearmongers.

Living in Republican Hell is getting pretty damn old.

Let's get real again.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Abortion-Go-Round - Reprint

January 22, 2003
Thirty years ago the case of Roe v Wade was decided, and abortion became legal in America.

It was a victory for the women of this country. America...a little behind the times as usual, but better late than never. Other countries had legal abortion. If an American woman could afford it, she could have an abortion done in safety, under sterile conditions, in a hospital or clinic outside of this country.

I have been listening to NPR today, and there has been a fair amount of coverage on the issue of abortion because there are demonstrations going on all over the country, both for and against legal abortion. Now why is all that so familiar? It's still the same old song after all these years. It should not be sung anymore, but it is, over and over again.

If you follow the commentaries at this site (refers to original site) with any diligence, you will know what my stance is regarding abortion. It's nobody's business except that of the people immediately involved.


That should be the stance of government.

Abortion may or may not be a moral issue for a woman contemplating having one. If it's a moral issue for a woman, it's her moral issue. She will deal with, cope with, or grapple with it. Not you.


Government is not in place to guard morality. Morality itself can not be legislated, only the outward expression of morality, or alleged lack of it, can be legislated by laws that effectively suppress that outward expression.

Government is not in place to stick its nose into our private lives.

To be a true Liberal, you must recognize the rights of others even if it chokes you. NOTE: Since the term "Liberal" has become a dirty word, I will couch the phrase differently. In order to be "fair and balanced" in outlook, you must recognize the rights of others, even if it chokes you.

My personal belief is that we don't exist as individuals until we're born and breathing. Up to that point we're floating around like fish. The rights of the fetus are the rights of the woman who carries the fetus. If a fetus is harmed in, let's say an act of violence, the violence was directed toward the woman not the fetus. If the fetus does not survive the attack, but the woman does, it is absurd to bring a charge of manslaughter or murder against the assailant. Doing that imposes a religious belief on the legal system.

Self admittedly, I am unsentimental. I question the gushy diatribes regarding inherent motherly love. I think it's more a matter of falling in love with that cute squiggly little baby once it's there in your arms. I may be wrong. A woman in the grip of an unwanted pregnancy is not too likely to be feeling instant love for the fetus when she discovers to her dismay, that she is pregnant.

My mother said she grew fond of me as a result of a certain pity for my utter helplessness as I lay there squirming, howling, red as a beet, and scheming up ways to get things I wanted with minimal delay.

She may have been in a masochistic state of mind at the time, since she informed me eventually that: A- I never slept. B- I had the lungpower and vocal range of a hog caller.

But this isn't about motherly love, or cute babies. It's about death.

Prior to the legalization of abortion, women had abortions illegally, and therefore, dangerously. If the woman was caught after having had an abortion she was charged with committing a crime. (Usually she was turned in by the medical community because she needed help due to complications.) The police grilled her relentlessly, attempting to force her to divulge the name of the "fiend" who'd performed it. She could be jailed, fined, or both. She had broken the law.

She was spared no indignity. Treated as a criminal act, the story would be published in the newspapers, even in big cities such as Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, etc.

The well to do never had that problem. Their abortions were performed discretely by an abortionist or doctor of choice in America or elsewhere. They recovered in a day or so, and none were the wiser. For the wealthy (read connected) these things are always simple.

As always, the suffering was mercilessly meted out to the poor, and as usual, the defenseless.

The middle class, because they were not poor (this was true back in the good old days before Corporate America swallowed the worker for a snack), had the chance to resort to psychiatrists who declared them in mortal danger of killing themselves if they had to bear the child, and the magical legal/medical doors opened. It was a bit more complex, but usually it worked out for them.

A friendly doctor could claim the woman's life was in danger if she tried to have the child she was carrying, and once again, the magical doors opened. All it took was money. As the poor tend to rely on clinics, such "personal" attention was/is denied them.

The minimum wage in the year 1956 was 65 cents per hour. An abortion was in the area of $125.00 for a non-surgical procedure. More of course if it was a surgical (D&C) procedure. Much more.

At 65 cents an hour, the wage for a forty-hour week would be $26.00 before deductions. It would take over five weeks to save the money for a "cheap" abortion if the woman didn't spend a cent for anything else. She was supposed to live on air while trying to accumulate the money I guess.

Even with help, it was a lot of money for poor women to raise.

In 1961 you might have been able to get an abortion done for around $250.00 if you were lucky enough to find someone to perform a non-surgical procedure, but the average rate was around $400.00 to $500.00. They went as high as $2500.00.

There was an abortion ring in Mexico operating a clinic at that time. A woman was given anesthesia, had the abortion, stayed for a day or two, and returned home in great health.

This clinic charged $2500.00. There was just one problem about that place, and it had nothing to do with drinking the water.

The ring did not perform abortions. They did nothing at all. You were knocked out for a while, you woke up feeling terrific because you were healthy, you were happy, and you were going home free of pregnancy. Cute Huh?

Of course they got away with it. Who was going to tell? It was like getting ripped off for a big bag of dope...were you going to the police about it? Of course not.

The Means To An End

Way, way back in the good old days down on the farm, one method of self-induced abortion was to dip a turkey quill into turpentine or kerosene, insert the quill into the womb somehow, and hope you aborted. A quill has capillary action. It fills, as does a straw, when placed in fluid. And then there was that old standby, the knitting needle, or coat hanger. Anything a desperate woman or maybe the friend helping her could get into her womb. Women did help each other.

Desperate people do desperate things.

Feeling a little queasy?

On the slightly less violent side, there were scalding hot mustard baths, massive doses of quinine and gin, ergot of rye capsules, lifting injuriously heavy objects, ingesting turpentine by the teaspoonful poured over sugar, using powerful laxatives... Many of these were tried in conjunction with each other. None of these methods were especially safe.

As far as I know, during all the recent razzmatazz marking this thirtieth anniversary of Roe v Wade, not one mention was made of these grisly facts while discussing the pros and cons of legalized abortion.

Let us progress.

Some abortions were done by nurses. One had a chance at reasonable sterility with a nurse. Often a catheter was inserted into the womb, and left in place to act as an irritant that would cause a miscarriage, and expulsion of the fetus. A straightened clothes hanger was employed to give the catheter enough rigidity to pass through the cervix, and then the hanger was pulled out leaving the catheter (you hoped) in position. This was usually an overnight ordeal. You were in labor until it was over. If it worked.

There was also the method of having various fluids injected into the uterus. Chlorine bleach was one favored ingredient.

Then there was dilation and curettage, often done by a nurse, a medical student, a renegade doctor, or an old lady with dirty fingernails. Probably 90% of these were performed without the benefit of any anesthetic.

Doctors worked alone for the most part, with no one to monitor anesthesia administration. The other abortionists were in a hurry, and had no anesthesia. All of them expected you to lie there, hold still, and keep your mouth shut.

They were performed in doctor's offices in the middle of the night; in the homes of the women; in hotel rooms; in filthy slum apartments; in abandoned buildings...

They were done on floors with newspapers under the woman as a dubious concession to cleanliness; on kitchen tables; on filthy bare mattresses-no sheets that could be laundered for the sake of sanitation. The lucky ones were lying on a gynecological table with their feet in stirrups.

Women were held down or tied down, and at times blindfolded to protect the identity of the abortionist. Since silence was of the utmost importance some women were gagged, or had a hand held over their mouths. If there was a "helper" he or she dissolved into the mist as soon as it was over. Sometimes, if the woman was blindfolded, she had no idea of who actually performed the abortion. She might have contracted with a doctor, but was it a doctor?

Women died of perforated wombs, sepsis, severe blood loss, shock, and possibly, in the case of a weak heart let's say, of sheer terror and pain.

Their bodies were disposed of in dark hallways, cellars, dumpsters, on roofs, in alleys, into rivers, and wherever else one throws something that is of no value.

The women were left behind, or sent away as soon as the procedure was completed. If they were left where the abortion was performed, usually no one was there to see to them, to make sure they were all right. No one cared about them once it was done.

Many died right where they were. Alone. They died in an alley where they were dumped in the case of complications, or in their beds with their lives flowing like a river, out and away. They died in hospitals, and bus stations, train stations, in hotel rooms, in their cars trying to get home, or on the street where they fell.

Abortionists, like hookers, always got paid up front. They disappeared as soon as the job was done. The abortionists were protected by the women. Who else would help them if it happened to them again, or to a friend, or a relative?


Who is telling that part of it now?

Women have had abortions since time immemorial. They will have abortions whether they are legal or not. That cannot be stopped.

So what's better? To allow them a safe abortion, or to kill two birds with one slip of a hanger or curette, or knitting needle to satisfy the religious urge of a nation gone mad on the subject?

Again, the moral issue of abortion is a personal issue between the people involved and their god if they have one. It is not your business. It is not my business. Neither of us will pay the piper, nor go to hell for the actions of someone other than ourselves.

But we will pay the price extracted by our own unforgiving hearts that will not allow us to forget the terrible deed we will have done, if we consign women to the hell of illegal abortion again.

To be more specific, in the knowing of these realities I have spoken about here, we will be in hell every time we hear of a woman dying because of a dirty abortion.

Because we were silent.

Because we didn't tell the government to back off.

Because of some distorted ego, some almighty/divine attitude that tells some of us we know what's best for everyone.

Because this insanely distorted attitude allows us to demand the right to say no to women, no to their safety, no to their right of choice...through the edicts of this corrupt, draconian, hypocritical political administration presently in place.

Part Two

In The Afterglow of Victory

February 24, 2003
All these years later, after the legalization of abortion, I can't help but think about the innocence of women today who are of childbearing age. It is amazing in a sense to realize that women have enjoyed for so long, freedom from the danger of an abortion gone terribly wrong, or the consequences of having been "caught" by the police and being thrown into jail, that struggling with an unwanted pregnancy isn't a normal topic of conversation among them any more.

I was astonished to discover that the methods and means of aborting in the past were completely unknown to young women today. That's how far removed we are from the legal scourge of yesteryear. There was a time, especially during the '60's, when asking women you knew whether they knew any abortionists, was a completely natural thing.

There was an abortion information underground. Many women had a file of known abortionists containing data on what they charged, what method they used, whether they themselves, or a friend, had used that person, and how it went for them. They warned each other about the dirty ones, who'd leave you half dead, and the exceptional ones who did their best to insure you of a clean procedure. There were some good ones out there; finding them was like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Today, I was talking to a friend who is in her thirties. I mentioned the previous article to her and for some reason I asked her if she had any idea of what having an abortion was like in the bad old days. She didn't have a clue. I mentioned a few details, and the expression of shock on her face told me something important.

Abortions of the past are a very carefully skirted issue in these times. The media, which could do so much to promote awareness of just how horrible things were then, is completely silent on the subject. And it comes as no surprise to me that as a result of this silence, how many young people are against legalized abortion today. The young men infuriate me most especially. What do they know? Absolutely nothing. The "Good Christian" model has probably never been nearer to a vagina than sitting beside their female family members on the couch. I think of them as the great unfucked.

When I hear one of those sanctimonious, wet behind the ears male virgins excoriating those who support the right to a legal abortion, all I can think is, that particular little know-it-all never had a sister, cousin, or friend go through the ordeal of an illegal, rather barbaric abortion that almost killed her, or that did kill her.

If that happened to any one of these youngsters, you'd see an abrupt about face regarding attitude. Not all of them would change their thinking of course, some would feel vindicated knowing the sinner had suffered so much, but I'd put my last dollar down that the majority of them would give the issue some damn serious thought, and probably stop being such judgmental little experts on the right and wrong of something they know nothing about.

We peaceful souls are against the death penalty, but if a person we loved was murdered, we'd cry for blood, at least in the beginning. It's human nature. All you need is for it to happen to you. That goes for almost anything.

It would be interesting to see how these young people today would handle watching a D&C performed with the woman fully conscious, trying to hold still, and keep quiet. It would be interesting to see how they would react to a woman dying of sepsis, or bleeding to death in front of them because of a perforated womb. Especially interesting if the woman or girl was someone they loved. Yes, very interesting indeed.

These young people today don't even realize there was no suction method back in the wonderful days of yore. The whole deal was a gritty, and very real-time horror show in its nature. It was furtive, terrifying, and totally risky. It was extremely difficult to get hooked up with someone who did abortions, and the paranoia of both parties justifiably saturated the atmosphere.

When Ronald Reagan was elected, I had only one comment. I said, "welcome back to the dark ages", and abortion was the thing I had on my mind.

It's taken the conservatives a long, long time to get into a position where the threat to make abortion a crime again is closer to reality, than simply being lip service. Some afterglow huh?

And one other thing: I wonder how it comes to pass that so many men are completely comfortable politicizing the wombs of women? Particularly "those" men, the so-called lawmakers of our society, the legislative body, now Republican in the majority.

I always think of Republicans as having been grown in test tubes. They're so fastidious (oh yeah?) I can scarce imagine them in the clutch of passion, tearing off a piece of ass. Allow me to state here, that if one of them got their girlfriend preggers, the very best abortionist would be available at the drop of a hat, legal or not (especially if he happened to have a wife tucked away at home).

And don't naively imagine for a moment that they don't have girlfriends.

I found a wonderful comment by Helen Forelle that sums things up so succinctly:

"If men got pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament."
Helen Forelle
The Truth About The Guys in Charge is...

You really wanna know? Mmmm, my link baby! .Right here.
(Things have changed. It is 2011, and we have a whole new group in charge. The original was the song, "You're an Asshole".It was so fitting, with a slide show with photos of the former, now silent Prez Bush. Now it's Obama on YouTube. Haven't watched it.)

If you're on the job, don't do it. If language upsets you, visit The Rude Pundit for your immunization shot. I love that guy.(Changes or not, The Rudd Pundit always sparks things up. And you can always depend on your Red Wolf to blow the shit out of propriety.

Most special thanks to Dave at Midnight Mecca for this gem, which has spread like measles all over the web by now.

This is a repeat posting. We need to view these things now and again.
NOTE:Things may never be the same. So little raunch, so few laughs.