Another Thing To Add To The List

Normally I tend to shy away from the line, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”  Personally seeing something isn’t the best reason for belief, honestly, once you have an adequate understanding of how the human brain operates.  Let’s just say that if I saw a ghost or an alien spaceship, it wouldn’t necessarily result in me believing in ghosts and/or alien spaceships.  A preponderance of evidence is much more important to my acceptance of somethings existence than personal experience.  I hike/backpack quite often, and yes, I have seen and heard several things that could have possibly been sasquatchi.  (Fight the man!  Help make “Sasquatchi” the proper plural form of “Sasquatch.” Fuck “Sasquatches.”  No, not literally.  Well, I guess if you find one, if that is what you are into, and the Sasquatch consents, then take my comment as literally as you wish.  Who am I to stand in the way of consenting human/Sasquatch love?  Just make sure the Sasquatch consents, Bobo.)   They also could have been bears, bucks during the rut, or a myriad amount of animals so extensive that I refuse to list them all.  I could go around saying that I saw or heard Bigfoot, but reality and the preponderance of evidence suggest one of the other possible explanations are exponentially more likely.  Was that thing I saw in Wildwood Cemetery a ghost, a demon, or light reflecting from a car’s headlights?   Is that an alien spaceship, or am I misinterpreting something in the sky?  I can come up with a nice sized list of reasons to doubt what you personally witness before even bringing hallucinations into the discussion.  So yeah, I’ll accept/believe something not when I see it, but when I see a preponderance of evidence.

All of that being said, there are still a few things that I truly will only believe when I see it.  This election season seems to be the genesis of most of them.  One of them, that one of the two major political parties in the United States would actually nominate Biggest Loser contestant( I know it is the wrong reality show, but tell me it doesn’t fit), horrific hairstyle model, wannabe dictator,  bankruptcy claiming con artist, xenophobic misogynist, fascism tinged populist who claims to have way more money than he actually has, who espoused  fairly run of the mill liberal political positions up until a couple years ago Donald “Not Joking” Trump as their Presidential candidate, was witnessed yesterday when, anticlimactically, enough unbound delegates to put him over the top expressed their intentions to vote for Donald “The Death of Serious Politics” Trump, thereby saving any of the remaining states and territories the horrible distinction of being the one that clinched him the nomination.  Yep, I admit it completely.  Even with my low opinion of the Republican base, I would have bet a seriously large amount of cash against him.  I mean, sure, I knew the racism and xenophobia, along with his faux populist message was going to play well, sadly, among the white working class.  But I was positive a combination of evangelical Christians along side horrified moderates (well….those that still exist in the GOP) and embarrassed movement conservatives would find some way to stop his campaign.  I mean, I don’t believe in a religious test for office to be sure, but Evangelicals sure as hell do, and Trump is about as Christian as I am.  No, I take that back.  I could fake it much better than he could since I’ve read the Bible and studied apologetics.  There is no way they believed his religious pandering, especially with Ted Cruz, a man so wrapped in the faith that the Westboro Baptist Church thought he should tone it down a bit (I kid….Or do I?), running against him for comparison.

I was wrong.  So were quite a few Evangelical candidates.  All those years the GOP spent pounding the Bible while carefully playing their racist dog whistles and it turns out the equation for victory was simply exchanging the Bible pounding for half-assed pandering and the dog whistle for outright bigotry.  Who knew?

“That’s okay,” I thought.  Even if Donald “Goodbye, America’s Reputation” Trump manages to use insanely unrealistic campaign promises along with  the bigotry the GOP’s been seeding with the “Southern Strategy” for decades now to somehow win the nomination, all that means is at least 4 more years with a Democratic President.  I mean, you heard these high ranking members of the GOP during the campaign.  Trump’s middle name may as well be “Not Qualified for the Office of President.”  Fox News used the first debate and Megyn Kelly to try and take him down.  The National Review dedicated a whole issue to #NeverTrump.  The last GOP nominee was practically begging someone, anyone, else to get in the race.  The base may make him the nominee, but the elite members of the party realized that not only would a Trump presidency be a national nightmare, but even being associated with him would be an asterisk after their names in the history book.  Sure, it would cost them the White House, but they could come back stronger in 2020 and they would have the added admiration from independents and moderates for standing up against Donald “Not Qualified for the Office of President” Trump.

Did you see Megyn Kelly’s softball interview with Donald “She had blood coming out of her…..wherever” Trump?  She was harder on the Duggar’s.  Anyone else having fun watching people who insisted he wasn’t anywhere near qualified for the Presidency endorse him?  For as much of a jackass as he is, I really thought more of Chris Christie, and yet there he was, the first to cross the line.  I mean sure, there are a few members of the GOP who are more concerned with their personal integrity than victory.  Last I checked George Will was still writing anti-Trump columns.  I don’t see endorsements coming anytime soon from Romney or anyone named Bush.  Senator Ben Sasse has drawn the ire of his own state’s GOP leadership with his anti-Trump stance.  The communications chair of the Young Republican National Federation,  Katrina Elaine Jorgensen, resigned over his nomination.  And the Governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez, skipped out on Trump’s rally in her state the other day, and was vocal about skipping the convention until she realized her position as chairwoman of the Republican Governors Association kind of obligates her to be in attendance.  I doubt Glenn Beck is planning on jumping on the Trump train, and I believe at least one influential right wing news site is still #NeverTrump.

Other than that?  Watch them fall in line.  Anyone really expect Paul Ryan isn’t going to endorse Donald “nice tits, no brain” Trump?  A bit of advice for all the #NeverTrumpers now stampeding their way to his campaign?  Don’t neglect the balls.  If you do, he will fire you.  And don’t forget to toss the salad, although I would skip that on days he pandered to Hispanics by eating taco salad.

So what’s left this year for me to believe when I see?

I’ll only believe their are enough white men in this country to elect Donald “The Man Who Single-Handedly Caused the Entire World to Reevaluate Their Foreign and Economic Policies Towards the United States” Trump when I see ……  Okay, scratch this one. Thanks to 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting machines, I will never believe this one, no matter what happens.  (Are you stunned at the thought of 100% unverifiable voting machines?  Yeah, I was as well.  Go to The Brad Blog and follow his reporting.  Our elections are so shady they make corrupt dictators look honest.  )

I’ll only believe people in the United States are fucking stupid enough to either outright elect Trump, or come close enough that our rotten election system, through honest errors or malicious hacking, is able to tilt the count in his favor when I see the final election results, with 100% reporting.

I’ll believe the Justice Department is going to indict Hillary Clinton over those emails when I see her do the perp walk live on the network news.

And finally, and just as unlikely as the two above, I will believe Bernie Sanders is enough of a selfish fuck to give Donald “Pocahontas” Trump the priceless Christmas in June present of a televised debate when the only realistic chance Sanders has of winning the Democratic nomination is the previously mentioned extremely unlikely indictment of HRC, resulting in the only possible beneficiary of such a debate being Donald “that low life” Trump as he commiserates with Bernie over how rigged the Democratic nominating system is as he actively courts Sanders supporters, all the while saving any negative thing Sanders says about HRC for future campaign ads, when I fucking see it on my television screen.

Sorry.  I still have too much respect for Bernie to actually think he would go through with this horrid idea.  I’ve been wrong before, and if I am, believe me, I will be back to tear into Mr. Sanders with all the vitriol I can muster, but until then, I’ll chalk it up to a joke gone awry.

Maybe Republicans should debate with Democrats during the primary season.  Sanders floated that idea at the beginning of it all, and it is an interesting one to think about.  That debate should definitely not be between one parties Presidential nominee and the other parties second place finisher.

No matter how much it could raise for charity.


I love politics.  Love it.  I’m addicted.  It is just about all I read about.  Politics and ASOIAF.  Hell, half the reason I love ASOIAF so much is the political wrangling in the series.  But this particular election is getting hard to watch, and therefore, hard to write about.  My 80 year old mother, who largely ignores politics, is openly scared over this.  This 4’11, 93lbs little old lady brought up Hitler in comparison during a conversation yesterday.  I laughed and told her about Godwin’s Law, which made me think:  Is Godwin’s Law harmful in some instances?  If something really is Hitler like, then shouldn’t we be able to go with the comparison that makes the most sense without instantly losing the argument and being seen as a crank?  I’m not saying that Trump wants to kill all the Muslims and Mexicans.  He just wants to evict them from the country.  Which is how Hitler started with the Jews, by the way.  He didn’t start with gas chambers.

I am not saying that Trump could become a Hitler.  The United States isn’t suffering under an unfair treaty imposed upon us after a war that killed an entire generation.  We aren’t going to invade Canada.  There are never going to be death camps gassing Muslims and Hispanics.  In 2020, Trump is not going to declare martial law and put an end to free elections, declaring himself President for life, no matter how many right wing nut jobs were convinced Obama was going to do that by now.

I am saying, however, that there may be comparisons to be made and lessons to be learned that can only be discovered by scrapping Godwin’s Law for a period of time.  Perhaps I just found something to write about.

All I know for sure is this:  If you aren’t at all concerned about the wave of xenophobic bigotry and hate that Trump is currently riding, then you haven’t been paying attention.

 

I Wonder What They Talk About on “Gun Owners News Hour”?

Did you know that Gun Owners of America’s Larry Pratt hosts a show called “Gun Owners News Hour”?  Neither did I!  I wonder what they talk about on that show?  I bet it is about new products the gun industry is bringing out for law abiding, responsible gun owners, such as handguns that can fire legal armor piercing rounds, new triggers to make your AR-15 practically fully automatic (since the evil government has overreached and attempted to stop sales of the ARFA kit to make it full auto.  Thanks, Obama.), 30 round handgun clips (for self-defense.  duh.), youth rifles that come in pink, and children’s books such as “101 Things to Do in the Backseat with Mom’s Handgun.”  (Okay, I made the book up.  I was actually going to make up 4 or 5 crazy gun related products, but I kept finding real ones.  Sigh.)  Anyway, let’s see what the show is all about!

Conservative activist Jesse Lee Peterson appeared on the “Gun Owners News Hour” with Gun Owners of America’s Larry Pratt last weekend, where he repeated the thesis of his most recent book , which is that racism in America does not exist, but rather is a myth perpetuated by people like President Obama who was raised to hate white people and is incapable of feeling love.
God damn it.  Now there’s coffee all over my monitor.  What the fuck did they just say?

Peterson told Pratt that once Americans “dispel that notion that racism exists,” liberals will lose power because “their father the Devil” feeds on such lies.

The two then, for some reason, started comparing and contrasting Dr. Ben Carson, the former Republican presidential candidate, with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the pastor who became a right-wing lightning rod during Obama’s first presidential campaign.

Peterson told Pratt that African American voters didn’t support Carson’s presidential bid because they’re in an “evil state” and “prefer evil over good.”

“And yet, in their fallen state of anger, most blacks see Dr. Carson as the enemy and they see Jeremiah Wright as the good guy,” he said. “And even though Jeremiah Wright speaks evil, he is evil, but because they’re in that evil state, they identify with him over a good, decent man like Dr. Ben Carson. And blacks would never vote for him, the majority would never vote for him because any time a person who’s good like that, they see them as a sell-out, they don’t accept good, they prefer evil over good and they call evil good and they call good evil.”

So blacks who vote Democratic are in an “evil state?”  OMG!  If you add a “n”, it becomes the Demoncratic party!  Why didn’t I ever see that before!  The horror, the horror!

Earlier in the program, Peterson expounded on his theory that President Obama has been sympathetic toward the Black Lives Matter movement because he was raised by a mother who “hated her own race” and grew up without his father so “he doesn’t feel love, he has nothing but anger in his heart.”

Pratt evidently thought this was very perceptive and said that the president “has developed a very cold shell to cover that with and when I see him, it’s almost like looking at a robot, the lack of human emotion that’s on display.” Meanwhile, he said, the president has a “Mt. Vesuvius” of anger bubbling underneath.

Peterson agreed that “Obama is evil, he’s cold-hearted, he doesn’t care about anyone but Obama” but voters have never really understood “how wicked this man is.”

You know, as a 40 year old white man, I’m going to refrain from making the obvious point about who really “hated her(his) own race” and instead just wonder what the fuck any of this had to do with guns.  Oh, yeah.  I forgot.  Obama is coming to take away our guns.  Run for the hills.  Hide your weapons (and your white women).  The bad black President is coming to take them all away.

Any day now.
Definitely before the election.
Or maybe right after.
Or after he declares martial law and makes himself President for life.
Yeah, definitely that last one.  Bet the farm on it.

“Responsible” Gun Ownership. Wait, What?!?

Almost every time I hear an argument supporting private citizen’s right to own firearms, the citizens in question are referred to as “law abiding” and “responsible.”  After all, when defending the right of people to access deadly weapons, it helps to portray those people in the best possible light.  And in a perfect world, they would be right and all gun owners would treat their firearms with the seriousness and respect they deserve, rather than as grown up toys.

Of course, we don’t live in a perfect world, so instead of responsible gun ownership, we have 9 year olds firing weapons way too overpowered for them and killing their sloppy instructors, children shooting their siblings, kids shooting their parents, friends shooting their friends, and men shooting their explosive packed lawnmower…..wait, what the fuck was that last one?

Gruesome video footage has surfaced showing the moment a Georgia daredevil lost his leg shooting a semiautomatic rifle at a lawn mower packed with several pounds of deadly explosives.

David Pressley, 32, can be seen moving closer and closer to the explosive target as he peppers it with bullets. Moments later, the lawn mower suddenly explodes, unleashing a plume of smoke and shrapnel.

Authorities said one piece of shrapnel struck Pressley, severing his leg from below the knee, according to ABC affiliate WSB-TV.

The graphic video, recorded last week, captures blood splattering across the camera’s lens before Pressley yells, “I blew my leg off!”

Another voice says, “Call an ambulance!”

If it would have been his third leg, he would have won a Darwin award without a doubt.  As it stands?  Just more of that “responsible” gun ownership.

You Mad, Bro?

So what is the proper response to this piece at Salon, continuing their tradition of “If Bernie isn’t the nominee, I’m taking my ball and going home!” posts?

Democrats, you can’t vote for Hillary: The case for writing in Bernie Sanders If Hillary Clinton is the nominee

Can I be Frank?  (Which is only fitting since H.A. Goodman is oh so Ernest.<sic>)  This article comes very close to triggering my “Poe’s Law” alarm.

Yeah, I know it isn’t satire.  I know it is an honest argument against voting for HRC, written by someone who honestly feels that electing her President would be worse for the nation than either President Trump or President Cruz, who of course would be working with majorities in both congressional bodies.  I think that is nucking futs, but I understand how one could get to that belief.

Hillary Clinton as president would seamlessly merge Republicans and Democrats into one party on war and foreign policy, led by the same people who advised Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, and even Richard Milhous Nixon.

*eyebrow raise*  Really?  Seamless merger into one party on foreign policy and war?  Seriously?  I mean, I’ll admit it, HRC is a bit to the right for my tastes.  The entire Democratic party is too far to the right for me, to be perfectly honest.  Yes, I believe that the trainwreck the GOP has become, sending it so far to the right it threatens to come back around, has dragged the Democrats to the right as they attempt to pick up the moderates abandoned by the Republicans.  I believe progressives need to drag the party, kicking and screaming if must be, back to the left.  And we are.  Sure, it isn’t coming fast enough for my liking, but I didn’t think it would be easy.  And yes, I think we need to do it with our votes, in addition to other resources.  I just do not feel the proper time for that is during the general election.  But HRC is not Cruz or Trump.  Or did I miss her pledge to rip up the Iranian deal on day one?

I love Bernie Sanders as a candidate.  I love his ideas, while admitting that I don’t agree with every word that drops from his mouth.  (For the record, I think a national 15 dollar minimum wage isn’t currently a good idea.  I really think that is too high for many areas, including the Altoona, Pennsylvania area where I reside.  It needs to be higher, don’t get me wrong, and in many urban areas <and other locations as well, I’m sure> 15$ is a fair minimum, but instead maybe we should figure out a way to tie it to average housing and food costs. county by county, or some other equation?  12$ an hour would be perfectly fine right now in the Altoona area.  15$ could seriously shut places down.)  But he is my candidate of choice.  When the Pennsylvanian primary rolls around, I will be voting for Bernie no matter what the state of the race may be.  But when the general comes around, there will be no protest vote coming from these hands.  Whomever the Democrats nominate will have my presidential vote.  Why?  One last quote from the Salon piece.:

As for risking a Trump future, I explain why none of Trump’s plans would pass Congress during my recent appearance on CNN International with John Vause.

None of them? Hold on, let me watch his appearance quick and see what he is saying…..

Wow.  I wish I wouldn’t have watched that.  He seriously thinks that single payer healthcare could get through Congress, but none of Trump’s policies would?  I really don’t even know what to say to that.  Maybe his exact policies would run into trouble, but do you really believe he won’t be able to work out a deal on a tax cut for the rich?  That the GOP will block his judicial nominees?  Are we really so sure we should be underestimating Trump’s ability to get things done, when a year ago I would be laughed off the planet for predicting the current nomination battle?

I really don’t know how I should respond to these pieces.  I mean, isn’t rigid political ideology the GOP’s mess, with their pledges to never raise taxes, and their threats to primary anyone who dare compromise, with their House Freedom Caucus and their, well, with Ted Cruz?  Am I just missing the countless Democratic voices complaining about Dino’s at every turn?

Yes, I want the party to move to the left.  Yes, I support Bernie Sanders.  Yes, I think the whole political spectrum needs to move to the left.  But throwing a Presidential election to either Trump or Cruz?  I just don’t get it.  Even if the Supreme Court is the only reason you pull the lever.  Protest voting has a time and a place.  During the primary.

I don’t know.  Maybe its just being a voting progressive in 2000.  Gore won my state, so my vote for Nader didn’t really cost anything, other than running up the popular vote tally.  But if I lived in Florida and cast the same ballot, I would have been begging for the ballot back.  *shrugs*

 

A “Wait, What?!?” That Caused Me To Cover My Monitor In Coffee.

There is so many delusional people in the United States today that it is difficult to pick a most delusional faction of the populace.  Is it members of the GOP who insist they had nothing to do with the rise of Trump?  Members of the GOP who still think Marco Rubio will become the GOP nominee?  Voters who believe Ted Cruz wouldn’t strangle a puppy on camera if it got him the nomination?  Progressives who apparently think the Tea Party and the House Freedom Caucus are on to something and claim they will sit out the election if HRC wins the nomination, refusing to acknowledge that another Clinton in the White House would be better than the modern GOP having control of every branch of government for a few years?  Pro-lifers who honestly believe Planned Parenthood is selling baby parts out of the trunk of their car to the highest bidder?  Gun owners who seriously believe the authors of the Bill of Rights would agree that the private ownership of an assault rifle is a right, not a privilege?  Citizens that truly believe we are living in a post-racial society, even after being smacked in the face with the crime that is the poisoning of Flint?

Just when I think it is impossible to choose a winner, Ed Brayton rescues me, drawing my attention to indeed, the most delusion segment of the population, hands down.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you your hysterical overreaction of the day. In an article on Pat Robertson’s CBN website, unhinged anti-gay bigot Brian Camenker of MassResistance says that Christians today are being treated just like the Jews were in Nazi Germany because they’re being “demonized.”

 

Some say American Christians are paranoid, that they’re feeling targeted and persecuted. But is it possible America is facing a growing anti-Christian agenda?

Some on the frontline of the culture wars have responded with a resounding “yes.” They feel it up close and personal – right in their faces.

“I’m particularly sensitive to that because I’m Jewish,” Brian Camenker, with Mass Resistance, told CBN News.

“I saw what happened to Jews in the 1930s and 40s and much of that same thing is happening to Christians now,” he said. “There’s an organized movement to demonize Christians.”

Maggie Gallagher, with the American Principles Project, agreed.

“What we’re seeing very clearly is an effort to target them [Christians] legally when possible and then to humiliate or deprive them of social respect,” she said.

I’m honestly speechless.  Thanks Ed.

Blair County’s Idiotic “Justice” System, Take 217

Ya gotta love Blair county.  Our conservative judges think nothing of piling on sentences that beg to be overturned by a higher court, such as the Carter case, where a non-violent drug dealer was sentenced to 104 to 216 years in prison.   I’m sure you can tell that rehabilitation wasn’t high on the list of things the judge cared about.  Yet Blair county seems to have another disturbing trend when it comes to prison sentencing; wrist slaps for sexual assault of a minor.  If you follow the above link to a previous story here at Foster Disbelief, you’ll see that I was comparing Gene “Shorty” Carter’s sentence with the following sentence that was just announced at the time of publication:

A 39-year-old Centre County man who entered a no contest plea to indecently assaulting a 5-year-old Tyrone girl will be required to register his whereabouts with state police for the rest of his life.

Kevin J. Ross, 39, 1052 W. Fowler Hollow Road, Port Matilda, agreed to the requirement in Blair County court on Monday, where he also pleaded no contest to corruption of minors.

Judge Jolene G. Kopriva handed down the negotiated sentence of three to 23 months in prison, followed by five years probation. Because Ross already served five months in prison before posting bail, he was credited for time served and allowed to remain free.

3 months for “indecently” assaulting a five year old.  Full disclosure?  I was sentenced to 1 to 2 years in state prison for a probation violation.  I guess I should have had his lawyer….and judge.

Another wrist slap was recently handed down, and although the case isn’t the abuse of a five year old, it still involves a minor, this time with her creepy boss:

Samy El Masry, 64, who owned Samboli’s Restaurant at 25 W. 10th St., Tyrone, was accused 19 months ago of improperly touching, kissing and making sexual comments to male and female teens who were part-time workers.

The incidents occurred between April 1, 2013, and March 2, 2014.

On March 3, 2014, a 16-year-old girl and her parents reported to Tyrone police that the day before, when the girl began working at the restaurant, El Masry made comments to her such as, “I bet if I cooked you in the oven, you’d taste yummy.”

The girl said she was touched throughout the evening, and El Masry requested to kiss her. She replied, “No,” according to the police affidavit of probable cause.

He allegedly ignored the rejection, kissed her and then made a sexual comment.

He then paid her $20 in hush money and offered to buy her anything she wanted, including diamonds, the affidavit stated.

When her story came out, several other Tyrone Area High School students who had worked at the pizza shop said they, too, were harassed by El Masry.

Ew.  I mean, just….ew.  “You’d taste yummy”?

So we have a serial offender harassing teenage girls who work for him.  It appears that, luckily, nothing ever went beyond some groping and a forced kiss or two, but we can’t know that for sure.  We just know that among those victims who came forward, nothing more serious than the above occurred.  Some of you may even be reading this (and I really hope no one is, but…) thinking the guy may have been creepy but not criminal.  But the power differential between employee/employer is huge.  Saying “no” to your boss could cost you hours, shifts, good sections, or even your job.  Depending on how badly the employee in question needed the job, the pressure to do something they did not want to do could have been immense.  (And I hope I don’t even have to say this, but forcibly kissing someone and/or groping/touching someone when they don’t want you to be touching them is seriously not fucking okay.)

Now I’m not suggesting that this guy should be locked up for the next ten years.  I’m not actually sure what an appropriate sentence would be for him, to be honest.  But it deserves something, because this case just screams “potential rapist” to me.  He’s a repeat perv, and has already stepped over enough boundaries to make me wonder where, or for that matter, if, he would stop.  (Seriously people, if someone doesn’t want to kiss you and they don’t want you feeling them up, then don’t kiss them and keep your grimy hands off of them.  It really isn’t that fucking difficult.)  So while I am not sure what sentence I would hand down if I was the judge, this sentence is a joke.

El Masry was initially charged with 28 offenses. After spending seven months in the Blair County Prison, he entered pleas to one count each of unlawful contract with a minor, indecent assault, corruption of minors and harassment.

Blair County Judge Wade Kagarise sentenced El Masry to time served to 23 1/2 months in prison followed by 10 years’ probation.

“Priorities, people,” Judge Kagarise didn’t say after handing down the sentence.  “If we lock up all the sex offenders for long sentences, then we won’t have enough beds for the non-violent drug offenders.”

 

 

WotW-Gate: Why are We So Quick to Call Rape Victims “Liars?”

Unless your mind is unconsciously, or consciously for some reason, choosing to ignore reality, you have probably noticed that practically every rape case covered in the media includes some element insinuating, if not outright declaring, that the victim is lying about the crime in question.  In fact, if you were to form an opinion only from the information presented in the media, you could be forgiven for assuming that the United States was experiencing an avalanche of false rape accusations.  And yes, people do lie about being raped.  People have been known to lie about being the victims of just about every crime short of murder, and I’m sure a few enterprising liars figured out ways to claim they were murdered as well.  But the idea that we are experiencing an epidemic of false rape allegations would be laughable if it didn’t make it more difficult for the victims to get justice.

How many rape victims are lying?  The truth is, sadly, that we don’t know.  A quick spin at Google University  gives numbers ranging from 2% or 8% on the low end to 25% or 40% on the misogynist MRA end.  Megan McArdle  at Bloomberg View tried to make sense of it in 2014, yet, in my opinion at least, fell victim to her ideology filter, quickly dismissing the 2% number:

Here’s what we do know: The 2 percent number is very bad and should never be cited. It apparently traces its lineage back to Susan Brownmiller’s legendary “Against Our Will,” and her citation for this figure is a single speech by an appellate judge before a small group of lawyers. His source for this statistic was a single area of New York that started having policewomen conduct all rape interviews. This is not data. It is an anecdote about an anecdote.

In the very next line she goes on to praise a study MRA sites point to that sets the number at 41%, although to her credit she does point out that study’s incredibly small sample size.  (Small like the average penis size of MRAs.)  She then dismisses the 8% statistic as well as just about every other statistic, citing the ideology of the study’s author.

This number should be used only with grave caution.

But so should any other numbers, such as the 8 percent figure that is commonly attributed to the FBI. When you dig into the research itself, you find it is often heavily inflected with the authors’ prior beliefs about what constitutes the “real problem”: unreported cases of rape or false reports?

I agree with her to a certain extent.  Statistics can be made to say just about anything you want them to, and the higher percentages cited almost certainly owe much to author bias.  The problem, however, is that there are some good studies out there, and she seems to flippantly dismiss the lower numbers, especially the 2% number, which I have a hard time believing only comes from an old, minor speech.  The truth is probably somewhere in the 2% to 8% range, which is where most studies I have seen seem to put it.  I tend to think it is higher than 2%, not because women be lying, but because the vast majority of rapes go unreported, which I think would skew the data a bit.

From a South African site:

MYTH: Women say they have been raped to get revenge on a man.

The truth is that women very rarely do this, as reporting rape to the authorities and going through a rape trial are very traumatic. It takes a lot of courage to report a rape and go through with a rape trial. Other people often make rape victims feel ashamed or guilty about the rape, which makes it even less likely that a woman would lie about rape. Statistics show that number of false reports of rape is the same as any other crime.

TRUTH: People lie about all crimes, not just rape. The number of people that lie about being the victim of a crime is very small.

From a feminism 101 site:

For those who stubbornly wish to believe that bitches be lyin’, I can point them at studies. I have before and will again. But in the future, I will first make them chew on this “false” rape allegation statistic until their teeth break.

CONTENT NOTE FOR ABOVE LINK: Massive trigger warning for graphic description of violent sexual assault and horrific treatment by law enforcement

Now, some of them will spit out that report along with their shattered teeth and flap their bleeding gums at me: “That’s just an anecdote.” And that is true. It is just one data point behind the 2-8%. Since we are Good Skeptics™, we know to look beyond anecdotes.

So let me add in a study of police attitudes toward rape victims. It would seem EEB isn’t alone, then. And if we could factor in the victims who never reported at all because of shit like this, that “false” rape allegation statistic would drop like a rock. Since they don’t, the statistics are skewed, making “false” allegations look more prevalent.

Now add the horrific treatment victims experience from defense attorneys who believe they’re scum. I can tell you from experience this can be worse than the rape. It can be a form of torture, and like torture victims, some rape victims will recant just to make the pain stop. Magically, their allegation is now “false.” But they’re no less raped, and the rapist is no less a sexual predator.

Add in the fact that some rapists have the lock on society, and can crush their victims. If their victims had the courage to report, they’ve soon got their buddies to sweep the crime under the rug. And another several ticks are added in the “false” rape allegation column.

Add in children who receive such a terrifying reaction to their attack that they recant just to protect themselves. More “false” rape allegations.

What about victims who aren’t supported by friends and family because many cultures make it easier to believe the victims are filthy, disgusting, crazy liars rather than people suffering from sexual assault? I think you know what happens to the statistics by now.

Add in the fact that some police departments don’t make a distinction between “reports that are actually, genuinely, provably false” and “reports that can’t be prosecuted due to statute of limitations, lack of evidence, or some other reason, but no doubt the victim was assaulted.” Both numbers end up counting under “false” allegations, although a sizable percentage weren’t false at all.

Back in 2014, after the Rolling Stone rape article debacle, a graphic was making the Twitter rounds that claimed to visually show rapes, false accusations, trials and convictions.  While popular (no, I’m not posting it because it is huge and I’ve already taken up a lot of space for this post.  You can see it at the upcoming link.), it received 3 Pinocchios from the Washington Post’s fact check site, which claimed that it was misleading and contained incorrect data.  I bring this up not because of the infographic itself, but rather this quote the Washington Post made while slamming the chart: (bolding by me)

False reporting is a difficult number to measure. The Enliven Project uses 2 percent of “falsely accused” cases, out of the 100 reported cases of rape. There is an important distinction that must be made here, between accusations and reports. “Accusations” may refer to claims that were not made in official police reports, whereas “reports” generally refer to cases that were filed with law enforcement.

That, again, seems to be the lower end of the estimate range. The “Making a Difference” Project, which used data collected by law enforcement agencies over 18 to 24 months, found 7 percent of cases that were classified as false. That study is the “only research conducted in the U.S. to evaluate the percentage of false reports made to law enforcement,” according to the National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women. Other studies also estimate somewhere between 2 and 10 percent.

It’s quotes like that that convince me the truth is far closer to the 2% to 8% range than the MRA nightmare numbers.  Unless you called the police to report that your illegal drugs were stolen, I have a hard time imagining a crime where the victim is treated as poorly as we treat rape victims.  Even then, they wouldn’t ask you what you were wearing or if you asked the thief to steal your drugs then changed your mind.  Honestly, knowing the way victims are blamed, questioned, looked at, and outcast in many cases, along with the incredible likely hood that the rapist is going to get away with it anyway, I’m surprised the number of rapes reported isn’t, sadly, even lower.

When someone reports a burglary, we do not immediately assume the victim trashed their own house and hid the valuables in order to commit insurance fraud.  When someone is hit by a hit and run driver, we don’t immediately jump in with the thought that maybe they wrecked their car and injured themselves in an attempt at claiming disability.  When a store says they are having problems with shoplifters, we don’t assume they are lying so they have an excuse to raise prices.

Yet every single rape case that is covered by the media, I have to listen to someone accuse the victim of lying.  The women who are accusing Cosby?  They all just want money apparently.  Jameis Winston and Ben Roethlisberger?  Innocent little angels who almost fell victim to evil gold-digging whores.  It doesn’t matter what the facts are of the case, someone will claim the victim is lying.  Did a 14 year old girl get filmed being raped while passed out by three members of the high school football team?  (Hypothetical case here, not making mistakes about Steubenville)  Oh, that girl was a slut who consented before she passed out and just doesn’t remember.  And this isn’t only an issue with women victims, either.  Every time a new priest is accused of sexually assaulting a child in the past, the victim is accused of only wanting to cash in on the molestation gravy train.  Living as close to State College as I do, where Joe Paterno was treated at the minimum as a minor deity, I heard claims about the men accusing Jerry Sandusky ranging from the usual “they just want money” to the batshit tinfoil insane “they were paid by a shadowy Penn State booster who realized the team could never be great again with Paterno as coach to start a scandal that would force PSU to fire him, an act most locals considered unthinkable. Hell, it may even have been Penn State’s own athletic director!”

Even if the rape is believed, or in the cases where there is undeniable proof, the rapist can receive more sympathy than the victim.  I’ve heard very little sympathy for Jerry Sandusky after the facts of the case all came out, although it sadly still exists, but as a cultural Catholic I have heard many justifications for the child molesting priests, which, anecdotally of course, seem to mainly consist of “yeah, he made a mistake, but look at all the good he has done!  Doesn’t that kind of even it out?  And I’m sure he confessed his sins to God and was forgiven, so who are we to judge.”  And how can anyone forget this quote out of the Steubenville case?  (Hopefully no one can, and if they can, I will do my part in reminding people of it when I can.  Seriously, was CNN channeling their inner Fox News?

During the course of the delinquent verdict on March 17, 2013, CNN’s Poppy Harlow stated that it was “Incredibly difficult, even for an outsider like me, to watch what happened as these two young men that had such promising futures, star football players, very good students, literally watched as they believed their lives fell apart…when that sentence came down, [Ma’lik] collapsed in the arms of his attorney…He said to him, ‘My life is over. No one is going to want me now.'”

Aw.  Were their promising little futures all derailed?  O M G, we are so mean to convicted rapists, seriously!

How did we get to this point?  What can we do about it? WTF is WotW-gate anyway?

As many of you know, I am a huge fan of A Song of Ice and Fire, the book series that HBO’s Game of Thrones is based on.  I was a huge fan of the show as well, and I am not ashamed to admit that I only found the books through the show.  WotW-gate is just a fandom kerfluffle that, to be quite honest, is probably meaningless to most of my readers.  But I did want to touch on it mainly because of this “trend” our culture seems to be following now of insinuating that rape victims, even non-pregnant ones who are not seeking an abortion, are lying about the rape.  I want to be clear that I do not know any of the people involved.  I have had a few quick conversations (and even calling them that is a stretch) with the blogger at GoTgifsandmusings about other subjects, have had even shorter conversations with the blogger at The Cultural Vaccum, and started to get my news about Game of Thrones exclusively from Watchers on the Wall once they broke away from Winter is Coming, although my visits to WotW have shrunk significantly since the horror that was Season Five.  (WotW is way too show apologetic for my tastes, so I mainly avoid it now.  I don’t blame them for that though, if my actual job was running a GoTs fan site, I wouldn’t chase away my traffic by harshly criticizing the show either.  I’d like to say that I would quit instead, but that is an easy claim to make when you have no skin in the game.)  While I find myself occasionally enjoying a tweet from AngryGoTfan, we are pretty much opposites politically and have never communicated.  I also do not know the author of A Rape Victim Speaks Out on the Sansa Scene, which is the post that started WotW-gate.  Never met her, never talked to her, and have no idea as to her identity.  What I am saying is that I do not have proof to rub in anyone’s face over this idiocy.

Here’s the story in a nutshell.  (You can find much more information on it at GoTgifsandmusings, I am just giving the bare bones of the situation.)

  • The “Let’s rape Sansa Stark for no real reason” episode of GoT’s aired, causing several members of the fandom to give up on the show.
  • AngryGoTfan published an anonymous, long post from a rape survivor detailing the emotions watching that scene caused her to have.
  • Some show apologists in the fandom responded to this post in several ways, including comments like “shut up,” “nuh uh,” “people get raped in the books, why doesn’t that make you cry,” “grow a thicker skin,” and “wow, you are lying about getting raped to critique my show?  I call foul!”
  • A conspiracy theory evolves that states the whole 6500 word article was actually written by AngryGoTfan, sock-puppetting as a rape victim so he can…..? Continue bitching about a show he was already bitching about?
  • WotW’s Editor-in-Chief Sue the Fury decides that the above conspiracy theory is the truth and claims to have proof that AngryGoTfan is the author.
  • The author of the post, who has been in internet contact with GoTsgifsandmusing for a while now, attempts to convince Sue the Fury that she actually exists.  She is instead blocked on Twitter.
  • The author reaches out to GoTgifsandmusings, who attempts to contact Sue the Fury and is blocked.
  • Sue the Fury states these people are all AngryGoTfan’s minions sent to attack her.
  • The author of the article continues feeling marginalized and victimized, and now can’t even seem to convince people of her existence without outing herself on the internet or giving her personal information to someone she obviously can’t trust not to reveal that information.

Now I will admit that it is possible that Sue the Fury, and the conspiracy theory are correct.  But read that 6500 word post and ask yourself if it sounds like the words of a rape victim, or a conservative male pretending to be a rape victim.  If that is really AngryGoTfan, then I am impressed.  Disgusted of course, but impressed as well, because to me, it sounds legitimate.

So yeah, it is possible that Angry wrote that post just to add on to his criticism of the show, and I suppose it is possible that he then opened up a conversation with GoTgifsandmusing and convinced her, through in depth written conversations, that he was actually a woman who was raped in the past.  I just don’t think it’s very likely.  Criticism of season five wasn’t exactly hard to come up with.  Why take the risk of sock-puppetting the tale of a rape survivor?

But what really confuses me in this case, honestly, is Sue the Fury’s response.  The post wasn’t going to hurt Game of Thrones and then trickle down into hurting WotW’s page views.  Not only has the show survived criticism over rape in the past, but it remains the darling of critics.  Those of us book readers who feel the show jumped the shark are an extreme minority when compared to the massive audience that watches the show, legally and illegally.  I don’t see why this got a response from Sue in the first place.  Sure, if she really hated AngryGoTfan that much, if she had proof that he wrote the post and released it she could single-handedly  strip his site of all credibility,  but that proof hasn’t been posted, just the accusation.

And without that proof, I just do not see an upside for Sue, in a sea of possible land mines.

But that’s the rape culture we apparently live in, where every rape victim is a liar until proven honest.

Sigh.