Obama and the AARP — partners in crime

A consensus seems to be growing that the ObamaCare bill does not bode well for seniors.  Aside from the mandatory “counseling” for all seniors, counseling that’s only worth doing if it’s meant to steer seniors away from obtaining treatment, simple common sense dictates that the health care cannot work without rationing — and rationing will always affect first those who use the product most.  In this case, seniors are not merely the health care system’s biggest users, they’re also the ones the government sees as most expendable.

This being the case, why then is the AARP, which ostensibly exists to advance the interests of seniors all over America, enthusiastically supporting ObamaCare?  The answer might lie in AARP’s management.

The AARP is an interesting organization, because membership is automatic, provided that you pay your dues.  This means that most of its constituents pay no attention to what it’s doing (they just like the benefits).  Few of them, I’m sure, realize that AARP’s management is extremely far Left.

How do I know this about the management?  Well, aside from the AARP’s bizarrely enthusiastic embrace of a legislative policy that will radically decrease its membership by depriving large segments of decent medical care, one of the AARP’s major players is John Stoltenberg.  It is Stoltenberg who manages the magazine that’s sent to every senior in America.

Stoltenberg’s name probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but his deceased wife’s name is one you might recognize:  Andrea Dworkin, radical man-hating Leftist feminist.  (And it must have been an interesting marriage, because Stoltenberg is openly gay.)  Here’s Wikipedia’s bio on Stoltenberg (links omitted):

John Stoltenberg (1945[1]-) is an American radical feminist activist, scholar, author, and magazine editor.[2] He is the managing editor of AARP the Magazine, a bimonthly publication of the United States-based interest group AARP (formerly American Association of Retired Persons), a position he has held since 2004. Although he formed a relationship with and eventually married Andrea Dworkin, he considers himself gay.[1]


He holds degrees in divinity and fine arts. He is well known as a feminist activist and author. He has written a series of books and articles criticizing traditional concepts of manhood or maleness, such as “Refusing to Be a Man: Essays on Sex and Justice” (Meridian, 1990), “Why I Stopped Trying to be a Real Man,” [1] and “The End of Manhood: A Book for Men of Conscience” (Penguin USA/Plume, 1994).

He created “the Pose Workshop,” which entailed men adopting the poses that women strike in pornographic shots (intended partly for men attending Christian retreats), a version of which was broadcast on BBC television. He was Andrea Dworkin’s life partner for thirty-one years. They began living together in 1974; in 1998 they married. He was a founder of the group ‘Men Can Stop Rape’ [2] and conceived and creative directs the group’s ‘My Strength’ [3] campaign which aims to educate young men on sexual relationships, consent and rape.

Stoltenberg is credited with the quote “Pornography tells lies about women. But pornography tells the truth about men.” The quote is from the essay The Forbidden Language of Sex in his book “Refusing to Be a Man: Essays on Sex and Justice” (Meridian, 1990).

It’s possible, of course, that just as the Dworkin and Stoltenberg had competing sexualities they also had competing political outlooks, but I somehow doubt that.  It’s infinitely more likely that the man charged with pouring policy data and opinion into the home of each senior in America is every bit as Leftist in his outlook as his wife was.

Kind of makes you think, doesn’t it?

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  • kali

    That explains so much–I just received the dreaded application in the mail, but threw it out. I’d like to believe it was my visceral dislike of the organization’s politics, but more likely it was my refusal to believe that I’m actually fifty :)

  • suek

    We already know that Statists use established political activist movements by infiltrating and diverting – perverting, actually – their purpose by taking over the leadership. They are truly parasites – even taking over their hosts.

    There’s no question in my mind that like the feminist movement, they moved in and have changed the intent of the original AARP movement.

    I’ve read that if you do a AARP ACORN search, you’ll come up with more hits than you have time to read in a day. I haven’t done it – haven’t had reason to. I already don’t belong.

  • kali

    suek, I have to agree with you about the way socialism hijacks movements. They’ll subvert any passion for justice or equality in order to get a hook into people’s psyches.

    I remember when it happened to feminism, back when I was a noodly undergraduate. Between one year and the next, instead of women’s history, we suddenly had to worry about the effects of colonialism on Latinas. All I wanted were lectures on the female merchants of the Hansa, instead, I got Rigoberta Menchu. In my mind, it was not an equal trade.

  • Oldflyer

    Actually AARP membership costs a nominal annual dues. I joined, as Book says, for the benefits; primarily discounts. After several years I resigned because of their politics.

    Glenn Beck just did a bit on his program about the interweaving of ACORN, Green movement organizations and labor unions. His guest (forget his name) maintains that all of these leftist organization across the spectrum are banding together and pooling their enormous funding. He also points out that the leaders have unprecedented access to the White House and other governmental agencies. Their avowed goal is to remake America. I don’t usually watch GB (although my wife loves him), but this was pretty compelling.

    It has become clear that we better support our conservative state governments (where we find them). Any hope of preserving the society we have known lies with their asserting themselves, and pushing back against the Feds.

    [Thanks, OldFlyer, for the info about dues. I edited the post to add mention of that fee. — Bookworm]

  • Zhombre

    Was Stoltenberg gay before or after the nuptials with Dworkin?

  • BrianE

    Don’t forget the Communist Party USA!
    These must be heady days for American Communists. Never since the era of FDR have they seen the potential to move the country so far left.
    Does this speech serve as marching orders for the faithful? Webb is being realistic. He doesn’t see the goal of a fully socialized state in the short term– since his goal is a Marxist America.
    He is making the case that half a loaf will keep the working class fed in the meantime.

    Change is Here, Change is Coming
    by Sam Webb, national chair
    Communist Party USA
    July 1, 2009

    I make no attempt to be comprehensive in these remarks. My aim is much more modest, as you will see.

    Let me begin with a simple observation: If the last 30 years were an era of reaction, then the coming decade could turn into an era of reform, even radical reform. Six months into the Obama presidency, I would say without hesitation that the landscape, atmosphere, conversation, and agenda have strikingly changed compared to the previous eight years.

    In this legislative session, we can envision winning a Medicare-like public option and then going further in the years ahead.

    We can visualize passing tough regulatory reforms on the financial industry, which brought the economy to ruin.

    We can imagine the troops coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan while U.S. representatives participate in a regional process that brings peace and stability to the entire region.

    In the current political climate, the expansion of union rights becomes a real possibility.

    Much the same can be said about winning a second stimulus bill, and we sure need one, given the still-rising rate, and likely long term persistence, of unemployment.

    Isn’t it possible in the Obama era to create millions of green jobs in manufacturing and other sectors of the economy in tandem with an attack on global warming?

    Can’t we envision taking new strides in the long journey for racial and gender equality in this new era, marked at its beginning by the election of the first African American to the presidency?

    And isn’t the overhaul of the criminal justice and prison system – a system steeped in racism – no longer pie-in-the sky, but something that can be done in the foreseeable future?

    All these things are within reach now!

    I make this observation because in the ebb and flow of the first six months of the Obama presidency, it is easy to lose sight of the overall dynamics and promise of this new era.

    Obama’s role

    The new conditions of struggle are possible only – and I want to emphasize only – because we elected President Obama and a Congress with pronounced progressive and center currents.

    So far Obama’s presidency has both broken from the right-wing extremist policies of the Bush administration and taken steps domestically and internationally that go in a progressive direction.

    At the same time, the administration hasn’t gone as far as we would have liked on a number of issues. On economic matters as well as matters of war and occupation we, along with others, advocated bolder actions.

    All and all, however, the new President in deeds and words – and words do matter – has created new democratic space for peace, equality, and economic justice struggles. Whether this continues and takes on a consistently progressive, pro-people, radical reform direction depends in large measure on whether the movement that elected him fills and expands this space.
    The question

    People aren’t sitting on their hands. Anger is out there, hardship is widespread, and the fight back is taking shape.

    And yet, it is fair to ask: does the level of mobilization of the diverse coalition that elected President Obama match what is necessary to win his administration’s immediate legislative and political agenda – let alone far-reaching reforms, such as military conversion to peacetime and green production, a shorter work week, a “war” on poverty and inequality, democratic ownership of critical economic sectors, and a retreat from empire?

    I think the answer is no – not yet. A favorable alignment of forces exists and mass sentiments favor change. But political majorities and popular sentiments are consequential only to the degree that they are an active and organized element in the political process.

    And herein lays the role of the Left. Its main task, as it has been throughout our country’s history, is to persistently and patiently assist in reassembling, activating, uniting, educating, and giving a voice to common demands that unite this broad majority.

    The Left’s political analysis, its solutions to today’s pressing crises, and its vision of radical democracy and socialism, rooted in national realities, will receive a fair and favorable hearing from millions of Americans to the degree that Left activists are active participants in the main labor and people’s organizations struggling for vital reforms today — jobs, health care, retirement security, quality public education, equality and fairness, immigration reform, a foreign policy of peace and cooperation, and a livable environment and sustainable economy.
    Likewise, communists of our generation should draw from the example of our Depression-era comrades. Because they were guided by a sound strategy that accented struggles for economic and social reforms and because they employed flexible tactics, and because they didn’t conflate their mood with the mass mood, they were a vital part of this process too.

    Struggle for health care reform

    The mobilization that the labor movement and others carried out tirelessly last year in the elections is exactly what is needed now. How else can health care for all, the Employee Free Choice Act, economic relief, comprehensive immigration reform, a transfer of funds from military spending to massive green job creation, and a tax policy that weighs heavily the wealthiest families and corporations be won?

    The Right Wing, the American Medical Association, the pharmaceutical and insurance companies have drawn a line in the sand on health care. They hope to defeat any legislation in the near term and in doing so to fatally weaken the administration’s legislative program in the longer term, much like they did in the Clinton years.

    The core of this struggle, whether we like it or not, turns on the inclusion of a public option in a health care bill. President Obama reaffirmed his support for such an option and the Congressional Progressive Caucus recently expressed its full support for a public option that is government run, covers everyone, and goes into effect right away.

    Meanwhile, Republicans, with help from some Democrats, are ganging up against any public option, while at the same time introducing measures to weaken health care reform and confuse the American people.

    True to form, the right-wing media is the megaphone of this effort.

    Mass mobilization is needed

    Over the summer this fight will be waged like an election campaign by the labor movement and progressive forces. Across the country activists will be asked to knock on doors and make phone calls to build a massive groundswell for health care reform.

    This campaign provides a great opening to strengthen our clubs and build the broader movement. Some of our clubs are in the thick of the fight; some are looking for ways to become engaged.

    Each district and club should discuss how to carry this fight forward in a way that results in new friends, new readers of the People’s World, and new members of the Party and Young Communist League. A few ideas:
    • speak to neighbors and friends about their health care stories and suggest what they can do.
    • share coverage of the Peoples World in either its print or electronic form and ask if they would like the paper every week in one or another form.
    • prepare a special agenda for your club meeting with invited guests.
    • help build participation in rallies and events of unions and other organizations.
    • organize speak-outs and town hall meetings with others.
    • collect signatures on petitions, make phone calls, employ the internet, and organize visits to your elected officials.

    While we support HR 676 as the most advanced demand in the current debate, it should not be counterpoised to a Medicare-like public option. In the single payer movement and the campaign for a public option, our role isn’t to sharpen differences, but rather to build maximum unity against the health care industrial complex and its supporters (Democratic as well as Republican) in Congress and for meaningful health care reform.
    Another observation that I want to make is that because of McCarthyism, the Cold War, and the long economic expansion following WW II, the Left has been on the edges of politics for more than a half century. During this time, our ability to impact on broader political processes in the country has been narrowly circumscribed – nothing like the 1930s, nothing like the Left in many other countries.

    While we stubbornly fought the good fight and made undeniable contributions over the past half-century, we were not a major player; we didn’t set the agenda or frame the debate; we didn’t determine the political direction of the country; we were not a decider.

    But this could change. Because of the new political, economic and ideological landscape, the Left has an opportunity to step from the political periphery into the mainstream of U.S. politics. It has a chance to become a player of consequence; a player whose voice is seriously considered in the debates bearing on the future of the country; a player that is able to mobilize and influence the thinking and actions of millions.

    Whether we do depends on many factors, one of which is our ability to shake off a “mentality of marginalization” that has become embedded in the Left’s political culture over the last half of the Twentieth Century.

    How does this mentality express itself? In a number of ways – in spending too much time agitating the choir; in dismissing new political openings that if taken advantage of could create the conditions for mass struggle; in thinking that partial reforms are at loggerheads with radical reforms; in seeing the glass as always half empty; in conflating our outlook with the outlook of millions; in turning the danger of cooptation into a rationale to keep a distance from reform struggles; in enclosing ourselves in narrow Left forms; and in damning victories with faint praise.

    In this peculiar mindset, politics has few complexities. Change is driven only from the ground up. Winning broad majorities is not essential. There are no stages of struggle, no social forces that possess strategic social power, and no divisions worth noting. Finally, alliances with unstable allies and distinctions between the Democratic and Republican parties are either of little consequence or disdainfully dismissed.

    Unless the Left – and I include communists – sheds this mentality, it will miss a unique opportunity to grow and leave a distinct imprint on our country’s direction.

    emphasis is mine.


    John Stoltenberg (1945[1]-) is an American radical feminist activist, scholar, author, and magazine editor.[2] He is the managing editor of AARP the Magazine, a

    bimonthly publication

    WHAT AN UNDERSTATEMENT (sorry, it just seemed so bi-funny and it kinda made me giggle).

    My point is, if you are gay fine and so what..buy why get married to a woman who hates men and if she hated men, she would also hate gay men.

  • Lulu11

    Now, now, Sadie, I’m sure it was a very healthy relationship.

    This is a reminder that we must all pay attention to the organizations that supposedly represent us. Seniors are correct to believe that the lobbyists who speak for them from AARP actually have their interests at heart. The result is that few check if that is actually the case. Why would they? And it’s not just the AARP. Look at the AMA, which doesn’t seem to represent either doctors’ or patients’ interests but rather those of El Presidente.

    I’ve never been one for conspiracies but recently I’ve been wondering…


    You are right Lulu11 (oh, not about their relationship, sorry still giggling here) but who is representing who.

    I try to read as much as I can about each and every individual group and rarely take someone at their spoken word, but it’ getting more and more difficult lately with layer upon layer of organization upon organization, blending into yet another entity.

    Recently, a lot of us have been wondering…

  • Charles Martel

    I have an Andrea Dworkin story.

    Sometimes in the 1990s—can’t remember the exact year—I went to our local leftist bookstore to hear Dworkin read from a novel she’d just written.

    I went out of fascination. Dworkin was the first public person I had ever encountered who railed against nature itself. She considered intercourse to be rape even though nature had decreed it. I could imagine her standing at the throne of the Creator, sputtering and fuming about the injustice of Tab A and Slot B being the order of the universe.

    There was a fairly good crowd there, maybe 60. Most were women—I was probably one of five men.

    Dworkin stood at the lectern dressed in a T-shirt under work overalls. Very dykey/proletarian. As she began to read, I noticed something strange happen to her T-shirt. A tiny discoloration appeared near her collarbone. I was puzzling over it when a second discoloration, a slight darkening of the material, appeared around her sternum. The puzzle was solved when the discolorations were quickly joined by others: Dworkin was sweating profusely. I don’t know if it was stage fright, or existential nausea or the fact that there were men in the audience.

    By the time she finished her reading, her sweat had turned the entire visible part of her T-shirt damp and dark.

    I didn’t speak to her, having nothing to say to somebody so looney. But I did leave wondering if she later that night railed against nature for giving her sweat glands.

    I don’t even want to think about her opinions on teeth and what she might have done with them to poor little Stoltenberg.


    Charles..what a ghastly experience.

    I hope no one in the room can top that Dworkin encounter. Of course, my imagination runs wild thinking about what they (Mr. & Mrs.) bantered about other than the injustices of Tab A and Slot B

    I am sure there’s a clever script writer who could give it a go and then submit it to AARP for pubication.

  • suek


    Darn, Sadie…

    Are you punning again???



    GOOD CATCH – not even a chance of a pun that time.

    Anyway, we all know a pubication is when the president invites a professor and cop over for a beer and announces to the press when it’s gonna happen.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Kind of makes you think, doesn’t it?

    Now we know. Now we know that the ‘democracy’ advocated by the Left has little to nothing to do with majority rules or even the representation of the people. In the Left’s world, ‘democracy’ means the rule of an elite and select few over their peons, peasants, and house slaves. It is not the rule of the people, Book, it is the rule of tyrants. A small, select, minority of tyrants.

  • suek

    Now Sadie…

    We all know that a vowel followed by a consonant followed by another vowel is pronounced with the long vowel sound…!

  • suek


    Of course it’s a democracy. In fact, the government will do everything for you – even vote.

    Just ask the Hondurans!

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    You could also ask the Rhodesians. The ones that survived Zimbabwe’s ethnic purge, that is.

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