Sunday, January 27, 2013

Carry his rape-baby or go to jail.

One of the reasons that the Republicans couldn't win the election in 2012 was that they were continuing to appeal only to the white male demographic.

They didn't bother worrying about hispanic vote: look at their reaction to the Dream Act. Or their "walls, razor wire and armed guards" view of immigration policy. Or the continued push toward "English-only" legislation.

They didn't give a tanned damn about the black vote: check out their full-throated support of George Zimmerman, who apparently felt threatened by the existence of skinny teenagers armed with Skittles. For that matter, note the dog-whistles (and occasional open racism) distributed through their attacks on our first black president.

And going into the home stretch of the election, the GOP seemed to double down on their "War on Women," with lawmakers talking about "legitimate rape" and trying to make it harder for a woman to get a legal medical procedure, than it is for a convicted felon to buy military-grade hardware.

Full disclosure: I am not a big fan of the term "War on Women," but I'm at a loss what else to call it. The opposite of "Women's Lib" would be "Women's Enslavement," but that's a bit hyperbolic, so I'm not going to even touch it. In fact, "War on Anything" is pretty well over-used, because they can be such a convenient shorthand. Will some linguistics major please look into this for me?

In regards to the GOP policy toward women, they have a radical portion of their party who keeps trying to turn back the clock to a mythical Fifties, where the blacks and hispanics were all happy in their low-paying jobs, and the few women in the work force (the ones who weren't staying at home baking) were available to be chased around the desk playing hard-but-not-impossible-to-get.

See, in their views, a Woman's Purpose (subtitle: "Assigned To Her By God") is to be forever in a subservient role, helping Her Man, cleaning, cooking, and procreating. If she gets a job, she's still expected to get home in time to get the kids from daycare and cook dinner. And this is pretty obvious by how they try to legislate.

Hell, at least blacks were considered three-fifths of a person. In some quarters, women are lucky to get that much appreciation today, especially in in the paycheck.

(And I'm not saying that the melanin-enhanced peoples have it much better; I'm just trying to make a rhetorical point here...)

And one of the things they want to avoid is even the possibility that a woman will have control of her own genitals.

Simple logic and actual scientific studies have shown that adequate sex education and access to contraception both decrease abortions (and we even have the actual examples of places like Denmark, where abortion is available, but almost unheard of), but we still have the insane cognitive dissonance of opposition to abortion, and contraception, matched up with support for abstinence-only education.

Which brings us to my own (adopted) state of New Mexico.

Now, I'll admit that I have little or no use for Huffington Post. There are a number of reasons for this, but I'm going to give them credit for one thing: they were the first news outlet to break this one.
A Republican lawmaker in New Mexico introduced a bill on Wednesday that would legally require victims of rape to carry their pregnancies to term in order to use the fetus as evidence for a sexual assault trial.

House Bill 206, introduced by state Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R), would charge a rape victim who ended her pregnancy with a third-degree felony for "tampering with evidence."
Now, since Huffpo broke the story, it's been picked up by other news groups, and the public outcry against this brain-meltingly obvious idiocy has made Representative Brown very sad. She's now trying to explain to everybody how she was being "misrepresented."
Rep. Cathrynn Brown, a Republican from Carlsbad, said Thursday she will revise the bill, which she said was intended to target perpetrators of rape or incest who try to cover their tracks by forcing their victims to have abortions...

Although the clause regarding intent would seem to preclude rape victims from being charged, several critics read the bill as possibly including them. Brown said she will clarify the language to remove any ambiguity.
Yeah, but while that may be the way she tried to sell it (and I'll give a tip of my hat to Ted for pointing it out to me)... well, in her defense, she's an idiot. Just how often, exactly, does a rapist drag a woman to a doctor to abort his rape-baby?

Because, yeah, the way she was selling this to her friends and supporters probably sounded just like that. The version on her own website has been undergoing daily changes since it went up, but has been warm and friendly to the poor beleaguered victim since day one. But the one that was introduced to the state legislature had some... well, let's just call them "inconsistencies" from the story Ms Brown has been trying to sell.

See, here's how it was presented:




SECTION 1. Section 30-22-5 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1963, Chapter 303, Section 22-5, as amended) is amended to read:


A. Tampering with evidence consists of destroying, changing, hiding, placing or fabricating any physical evidence with intent to prevent the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of any person or to throw suspicion of the commission of a crime upon another.

B. Tampering with evidence shall include procuring or facilitating an abortion, or compelling or coercing another to obtain an abortion, of a fetus that is the result of criminal sexual penetration or incest with the intent to destroy evidence of the crime.

C. Whoever commits tampering with evidence shall be punished as follows:
It then goes on to explain, if you're curious, what crimes will be added (or applied) to everybody involved, with no question about who it is (the rapist, the victim, or the doctor). And that's it. Short, sweet and stupid.

So, if you get raped, and then you get an abortion, you go to jail. It's a simple equation.

"Ah," but the calm, rational side of you explains, "it's right there in the bill! You have to have 'the intent to prevent the apprehension' of the rapist! Obviously, a victim isn't going to do that, right?"

Well, aside from the fact that "calm" and "rational" can rarely be applied to the anti-abortion lobby, let's consider for a minute. There's a term that needs to be applied here: "Thought crime." It's illegal to get an abortion that might tamper with evidence. Unless you can prove that you hadn't intended to tamper with evidence. You have to prove what you'd been thinking about.

"But... but... but..." your calm, rational side sputters, not yet willing to give up. "That isn't true! The state has to prove that you were planning to tamper with evidence!"

No, afraid not. The state has to prove that you did tamper with evidence, and then show that you might have still harbored feelings for the rapist. (Not hard to do, if it's, say, your dad, or some guy you haven't actively attacked with a knife...) After all, you got the abortion. They can prove that happened.

A woman still gets blamed for getting raped if she dresses "too provocatively" or goes to the wrong part of town. We tell women how to avoid getting raped; we don't tell men "don't rape."

We just assume that the natural state of man is "rapist." Since he's going to try to have sex regardless of any other factors, it's her job to avoid getting in that position.

If you then factor in the concept of "Stockholm Syndrome," please try to explain where this won't go wrong. Women already get accused of fabricating rape charges because they had sex, but then had "second thoughts" the next day.

Our society has some seriously messed-up priorities when it comes to rape.


Update (1/28/2013): So, I just corrected the formatting in the text of the bill. I tried to show it the way it was presented on the legislative website (with paragraph B underlined and the rest of it) and just managed to make it invisible. So now it's just shown as text, because some people shouldn't be allowed to use HTML.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hillary vs. the Man-Child

I don't know if you heard, but on September 11, 2012, there was an attack on the Benghazi Consulate that killed 4 Americans. Since then, the GOP, who's always been jealous that Bush had his "My Pet Goat" day over a decade ago, has been trying to spin it into some kind of monumental failure of intelligence. They've also been trying to claim that it's evidence of the incompetence of President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton.

Let’s look at it from a clear-eyed perspective, though. It occurred at the same time as riots across the Middle East, because of the trailer for a film called Innocence of Muslims, which was seen to be blasphemous by followers of Islam.

The timing of the attacks caused some confusion, which the Republicans have been trying to exploit politically ever since.

Secretary Clinton set up an Accountability Review Board to investigate the actions of the various players, and while it pointed out some failures in the process, none of the problems were the fault of the Secretary of State.

Despite the fact that the review had already taken place, the Congressional GOP wanted to waste time holding their own hearings on the attack. Because if there’s one thing that Republicans enjoy, it’s getting to waste their time and other people’s money while getting to act like massive dicks on television. And one of the biggest dicks at the hearing was Rand Paul (whose hair looks suspiciously pubic anyway), who decided that he didn't need to ask questions, he was just going to lecture his betters for just under 2 minutes.

(You have to appreciate how, at right about the 40 second mark, Hillary realized that somebody had pressed his "bag of douche" button, and just closed her notebook, put her chin in her hand with a bored look, and just let him hump her leg until he was done.)

Couple of thoughts on that.

First of all, it isn't the job of the Secretary of State to read every cable from every one of the 285 embassies, consulates and other diplomatic facilities worldwide.

Second... well, let's put it this way.
For fiscal 2013, the GOP-controlled House proposed spending $1.934 billion for the State Department’s Worldwide Security Protection program — well below the $2.15  billion requested by the Obama administration. House Republicans cut the administration’s request for embassy security funding by $128 million in fiscal 2011 and $331 million in fiscal 2012. (Negotiations with the Democrat-controlled Senate restored about $88 million of the administration’s request.) Last year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that Republicans' proposed cuts to her department would be "detrimental to America’s national security" — a charge Republicans rejected.
But really, that's not the best part here. Let's consider just five short sentences from the middle of Little Randi's spew.
"I'm glad that you're accepting responsibility. I think ultimately with your leaving that you accept the culpability for the worst tragedy since 9/11. And I really mean that. Had I been president and found you did not read the cables from Benghazi and from Ambassador Stevens, I would have relieved you of your post. I think it's inexcusable."
Isn't that great? He thinks this is the worst tragedy since the original 9/11. You know, I'm curious how he came to that conclusion. Really. I am.

Is it because it was an attack on an embassy? Well, we've had seven embassies and consulates attacked since 2001.

Was it because four Americans were killed? Well, hell: we lost 4,409 military, 13 DoD civilians and 2 journalists in Iraq since we invaded in 2003; we've lost 2,047 US military personnel, 3 DoD civilians and 27 journalists (of varying nationalities) in Afghanistan since 9/11. And little Randi, who's served a big two years in the Senate, supported the war in Afghanistan and was opposed to withdrawing troops from Iraq.

And bear in mind, Junior said "worst tragedy" - we have to consider hurricanes, fires, floods, shipwrecks, car pileups, school shootings, and cases of horse-induced arson or airborne fire extinguishers.
Had I been president... I would have relieved you of your post
We should just ignore the monumental ego that it takes to cough up a joke like that, and just be thankful that Rand Paul has less chance of getting elected President than his father ever did.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Dear Josh,

As a side note, I honestly intended to send this out. Unfortunately, I found 6 Joshua Bostons in Kentucky, two of whom were in Louisville, and I don't randomly spam people just because they MIGHT be the right person. If anybody finds an actual physical (or email) address for him, please advise. (Just like in school, be sure to show your work.)

So, just after Christmas, an ex-marine named Joshua Boston posted the following open letter to Dianne Feinstein on CNN's attempt at social media, CNN iReport.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, I will not register my weapons should this bill be passed, as I do not believe it is the government's right to know what I own. Nor do I think it prudent to tell you what I own so that it may be taken from me by a group of people who enjoy armed protection yet decry me having the same a crime. You ma'am have overstepped a line that is not your domain. I am a Marine Corps Veteran of 8 years, and I will not have some woman who proclaims the evil of an inanimate object, yet carries one, tell me I may not have one.

I am not your subject. I am the man who keeps you free. I am not your servant. I am the person whom you serve. I am not your peasant. I am the flesh and blood of America. I am the man who fought for my country. I am the man who learned. I am an American. You will not tell me that I must register my semi-automatic AR-15 because of the actions of some evil man.

I will not be disarmed to suit the fear that has been established by the media and your misinformation campaign against the American public.

We, the people, deserve better than you.
Respectfully Submitted,
Joshua Boston
Cpl, United States Marine Corps

There. Now you have the backstory, in case you missed it.

Mr Boston,

You don't know me, but, just like you, I was in the military. Unlike you, I did more than just two tours - I retired after 21 years. On the other hand, I only had two vacations in the Middle East, to your four. So, things even out, I guess.

I read your "open letter" on the CNN website with some interest. I get the general impression that you don't support the idea of gun control: if I'm wrong about that, please tell me.

Oh, and congratulations on learning to use Spellcheck: so many of your fellow lunatics can't manage even that much. But next letter, maybe you should see about getting somebody to help you with the punctuation. I know that's hard for a Marine (or even an ex-Marine), but we all need help sometimes.

I could argue with you on the subject of gun control - it's actually not that difficult to refute every one of the NRA's talking points. The hardest part of the debate is keeping you guys from yelling; you seem to feel that your arguments are more valid when they're louder.

Now, since then, you've become something of an internet celebrity. Your letter has gone viral. You've appeared on Fox News several times, you've been interviewed by Piers Morgan (that one seems particularly popular), and there seem to be people lighting candles and incense under your picture. You're another Internet celebrity. Enjoy it while it lasts, I guess - those 15 minutes die out pretty fast.

I'll tell you the truth, though: I'm not impressed. To be honest, other marines aren't impressed. But I'm not going to try to argue the Second Amendment with you, despite the fact that even the most extreme right-wing Supreme Court justice has said that it's not as all-encompassing as you seem to think.

I could even argue history with you. You seem to ignore the first half of the second amendment, because the full text is "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

See, back then, every town had a militia. Where we've got the National Guard, they had the local militia. And when they said "well-regulated," they meant it. They had volumes of regulations covering the behavior of the militia.
The founders had a simple reason for curbing this right: Quakers and other religious pacifists were opposed to bearing arms, and wished to be exempt from an obligation that could be made incumbent on all male citizens at the time.

When the Second Amendment is discussed today, we tend to think of those “militias” as just a bunch of ordinary guys with guns, empowering themselves to resist authority when and if necessary. Nothing could be further from the founders’ vision.

Militias were tightly controlled organizations legally defined and regulated by the individual colonies before the Revolution and, after independence, by the individual states. Militia laws ran on for pages and were some of the lengthiest pieces of legislation in the statute books. States kept track of who had guns, had the right to inspect them in private homes and could fine citizens for failing to report to a muster.

(Saul Cornell, author of "A Well-Regulated Militia: The Founding Fathers and the Origins of Gun Control in America")
Yeah, but, see, that kind of argument doesn't do much for you. Logic has left the building. The historical reasons for the Second Amendment don't matter so much as your ability to take out your automatic weapons and blow the shit out of everything in the neighborhood, does it?

I just want to point out a couple of little things you should consider, outside of the Freudian glories of firing off your boom-stick.

First off, Senator Feinstein doesn't carry her gun everywhere. She just happens to own one. That's not hypocritical: she isn't trying to ban all guns everywhere - she wants some simple, common-sense laws to be instituted. Are you aware that out of the 23 executive orders the president just signed into law (yes, they're legal and they're constitutional, despite what you'd like to believe), one of them made it legal once again for the CDC to look into gun violence?

Yes, did you know that the NRA had gotten some of their trained Congressional poodles to make it illegal to even examine one of the 15 most common causes of death in the US? That's how afraid they are of reality.

But, of course you'd see Senator Feinstein's actions in the worst possible light: after all, she's a woman, and I hate to break this to you, but you're sexist.

Yeah, I know. You'd like to deny it: either to call it a lie, or to attack the messenger (it's a pretty common tactic: "liberals always call conservatives racist," as if simply denying it makes it less true).

I mean, it's pretty obvious just from your choice of words. "I will not have some woman... tell me I may not have one," or "I am the man who keeps you free... I am the man who fought for my country. I am the man who learned."

Those are your own words. But that's just subtext, so maybe that's too subtle for you. Let's look at some of your other words. "I will not register my weapons should this bill be passed, as I do not believe it is the government's right to know what I own. Nor do I think it prudent to tell you what I own so that it may be taken from me..."

That's adorable. Paranoid, but adorable. So I suppose that your car doesn't have a license plate, right?

Let me explain what you've done with your idiotic little rant. You made this statement on a nationally-read website. You told the American public that you weren't going to comply with the law. Now, hypothetically, some members of that same public might just work for the government. And they might just file your little letter away for future consideration.

And then, later, a couple of people might just knock on your door. With pictures of you at a shooting range, firing an unlicensed weapon. Since you aren't listed as owning, say, an AR-15, that could very well be considered "probable cause." And then you get a citation: even then, the government would be unlikely to confiscate your guns - they'd just take them as evidence, and you'd end up with a fine.

Of course, if you still didn't register your weapons, then they would be perfectly within their rights not to release the weapons back into your custody. Which may seem like "confiscation" to you, but it's something that they wouldn't be able to do if you'd just complied with the law.

I'm not saying that this is a likely scenario. I'm just pointing out the obvious flaw in your logic. The most likely way that your stubborn ignorance would turn around to bite you would be if you ended up arrested on, say, drug charges, or suspicion of being a terrorist: some charge that resulted in a search warrant against you.

Licensing your guns doesn't put you on a "confiscation list," despite what you read in The Turner Diaries. It just keeps you from getting further charges filed against you when the guns turn up in your possession.

But mostly, I'd like to thank you. When people see the immediate and illogical overreaction of people like you, to the mere suggestion of guns getting at least as much regulation as a car? It highlights the insanity of certain parts of the American public. And maybe suggests to them that there are some people who probably shouldn't be allowed access to firearms. People like you, Josh.

So thanks for your efforts to get some common-sense gun laws put into place.

Bill Minnich
TSgt, United States Air Force

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Winning the messaging wars.

Our Republican friends seem to be fond of bumper-sticker ideology. Well, let's give them simple statements, and use their own catch phrases against them.

Here's my current favorite. Feel free to spread it as far as you can.
Copy it and post it on Facebook. I'm not proud. Go crazy. Take credit for it yourself, if you want. I'd just like to see it out there.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Poor, poor Pammycakes

There are, to be honest, a number of bat-shit insane people in America today, who somehow manage to continue to walk among the normal citizenry as if they were useful, contributing members of society.

But we're talking about one specific drooling lunatic at the moment. And her name is Pamela Geller.

Ms Geller, most famous for blogging in a bikini, is a woman of many talents. She's a raving racist and a willing contributor to any conspiracy theory to come down the pike. She was an early birther, a right-wing blogger, and, two years ago, she was added to the stable of contributors to that Mecca for right-wing conspiracy theories, World Net Daily.

Experience, though, doesn't necessarily lead to wisdom, despite what many people want you to believe. I suspect that she's had full-blown syphilis for so long that she has relatively few brain cells that don't misfire on a regular basis.

As evidence, I present this little essay, entitled The end of America: Why Romney lost.

Most of us are pretty clear on why Romney lost: because Mitt Romney was roughly as electable as Vermin Supreme. But not to the rabid Republicans. To them, Obama won because he was giving out "free stuff." It's their latest idiotic catch-phrase.

It's also the thrust of Pammy's argument here: Obama won because of "free stuff," and America is now being destroyed from within. And then she pulls out some random rabbi, who has the most fascinating non sequitur ever: because Obama was elected, the Jews have to leave America.
And given Obama's relentless hostility to Israel, Pruzansky says, "this election should be a wake-up call to Jews. There is no permanent empire, nor is there is an enduring haven for Jews anywhere in the exile. The American empire began to decline in 2007, and the deterioration has been exacerbated in the last five years. This election only hastens that decline. Society is permeated with sloth, greed, envy and materialistic excess. It has lost its moorings and its moral foundations. The takers outnumber the givers, and that will only increase in years to come." His conclusion for American Jews is stark: "We have about a decade, perhaps 15 years, to leave with dignity and without stress."
See, that's another insane meme that they like to peddle: "Obama hates Israel." Because, you know, ignoring the billions Obama gives Israel in foreign aid and the fact that US-Israeli relations are at an all-time high, Obama must hate Israel! Because... because... because blacks don't like Jews, right?

(At least, not since Sammy Davis, Jr. died...)

In order to get to the conclusion that Obama hates Israel, you have to blatantly, openly ignore reality, but that's what they do best at Whirled Nut Daily. Reality and its left-wing bias have no place in their dark, fetid imaginings.

Which is when Pammycakes decides it must be time to openly break Godwin's Law.
And scarier still is the tenuous status of Jews in America. It’s hard not to draw parallels to persecuted Jews in once-friendly nations and their subsequent persecution, expulsion and slaughter. To think that Poland was once the Israel of Europe. Millions of Jews made Poland their home and had a long history there of over a thousand years. And in three short years … complete annihilation.

German Jews, meanwhile, were so very vested in the motherland they considered themselves Germans before Jews. They were war heroes for Germany in World War I.

How long do Jews have in Obama's America? How long before we can't walk down the street with a kippah or a Star of David? This is already reality for Belgium Jews, Swedish Jews and French Jews. Large portions of Norway are already Judenrein.
Judenrein - "clean of Jews." It's a Nazi term from the Holocaust.

Yes, that's right. Pammy thinks that Obama will be setting up concentration camps now. Because... because... I don't know. I'll be honest: her "logic" broke down so thoroughly that I have no idea how she got from the top of the page to the bottom. Her rambling and gibbering looks a lot like English, but you can almost see the crazed eyes and the drool pooling on her tits.

Let me see if I can help you out a little, though. That last little bit there, where she's talking about the terrible fate of Jews in Belgium, Sweden and France? Yeah, I don't know where she gets that. But that bit about "large portions of Norway are already Judenrein"? Yeah, I tracked that one down: it's from an urban legend that was going around, mostly on email, that there were only 800 Jews left in Norway, and they were preparing to leave because of anti-semitism. No less an authority than the Anti-Defamation League already smacked that one down. But hey, just because it's a lie doesn't mean we shouldn't keep it going, right?

Fortunately for Pammy, the Affordable Care Act that she hates so much will cover psychiatric counseling. Maybe now she can get the help she so desperately needs.