School is Now in Session

Greetings, students.  Please find your seat.  I’m not going to call roll today, but I will insist on enforcing our usual “no cross talk” policy.  Today’s lesson will be quick and hopefully, easy to understand.  Ready?

For arguments sake, let’s say that you run an establishment that hosts weddings.  To really crank up the realism in this scenario, let’s also say that you are a horrible bigot.  Now as a horrible bigot who runs a wedding hosting establishment, I am sure you are asking yourself who you are legally allowed to discriminate against.  You know how it is, life is short and you only get so many chances to ruin someone else’s day for no reason other than your own prejudice or outdated cultural beliefs.  The damn government already pissed in your Cheerios by forcing you to open your establishment to black weddings, and it was only by the grace of god that the resulting lingering odor of fried chicken and watermelon stained table cloths that you were positive would be the end result never materialized.  Thanks again, Jesus, for that small blessing.  Then that damn government went and forced you to open your doors to those unbiblical heathen sinners who were engaging in the abomination of miscegenation.

While you were certain god had a lightening bolt with your name on it for allowing that blasphemy to occur, Jesus apparently understood that you were forced by the evil, mean jack-booted federal thugs to permit these weddings, and approved of your little acts of protest (cranking the AC in the winter and the heat in the summer while claiming the system was broken) enough to spare you and your family.  Even though you managed to escape the fires of hell in that instance, when you saw those two carpet-munching man-haters trying to mock god himself by pretending their demon-possessed souls and father-abused bodies could feel love, god’s perfect gift to the world, you had to put your foot down.  After all, it was Adam and Eve, not Audra and Eve, and didn’t god send Aids down from heaven to deal with dykes like this?  And while Jesus himself may not have said anything about homosexuals, the Old Testament and Saul of Tarsus, who most definitely was not a sexually repressed closet case, both condemned the beast like act.

Imagine your surprise when, after honoring your hateful god and turning those sinners away, you found yourselves the proud owners of a 13 thousand dollar fine for discrimination.  You almost swear, before catching yourself of course, wondering what happened to this great nation when god-fearing Christians can’t even discriminate against a couple of queers anymore.  I mean, you weren’t going to stone them to death, even though, biblically, that’s exactly what you should have done.  You just didn’t want their icky gay germs to contaminate your beautiful wedding location.  What’s worse is that if you catch the Aids from breathing the same air as these god haters, the government probably won’t even let you sue them.  How is that fair?  Having not taken this class yet, you call up your lawyer to see if you can do anything about this horrible infringement on your religious liberty.  Your lawyer, after performing a ton of research on your bank account balance, assures you that you should give him a lot of money.  He definitely, without a doubt, is not telling his friends about the unwinnable case he just took on for a couple of rich religious idiots and how, counting appeals, he just paid for his first house, that sports car he always wanted, and an engagement ring for his soon to be trophy wife.  I promise that, after a couple of lines and beers, he never once said to his friends, “Hey, some people hit the lottery, some people inherit, and some people find well-off religious bigots; we all get rich in different ways.”

Now I totally admit that I made our hypothetical business owning bigots into a pair of ridiculous strawmen.  Yet cases such as this one are currently taking place, as students who clicked the above link now know.  Let’s look at that non-hypothetical case, shall we?  Once again, here is the link.

Owners of a New York wedding venue who were fined $US13,000 for violating the state’s anti-discrimination law are arguing Monday that they should be legally allowed to follow their Christian faith.

The owners of Liberty Ridge Farm north of Albany refused to host the 2013 wedding of Melisa and Jennie McCarthy, citing their own religious beliefs. Now the business, owned by Robert and Cynthia Gifford, is appealing a ruling from the state’s Division of Human Rights that it violated New York law and is seeking to have the fine reversed.

Now note first of all that the owners of this particular venue were fined for violating the New York state anti-discrimination law.  Why is this important?  Because if you take a look at that law you will notice that it applies to the following: “age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, marital status, or disability.”  Well, will you look at that?  Sexual orientation is included.  Unfortunately that is not always the case in the United States, but in New York state it is part of the law.  So let us see what the bigot’s Gifford’s lawyer is going to argue in this case.

“It would violate the Giffords’s faith to facilitate this union,” attorney Caleb Dalton told a five-judge supreme court appeals panel.

But Dalton, counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, said the Giffords’s faith did not allow them to participate in a marriage other than between one man and one woman.

So it seems that Dalton is arguing that this case sees two rights in conflict:  the McCarthy’s right to access versus the bigot’s Gifford’s right to religious freedom.  Or as the bigot Cynthia Gifford melodramatically puts it:

Cynthia Gifford told reporters they are asking the court to respect the freedoms upon which the United States was built.

“When the government tells you what to say and punishes you if you don’t, it’s very frightening,” she said. “And all of us Americans should be scared about this, no matter where we stand on the issue.”

Now churches, as far as I know, are exempt from anti-discrimination laws.  It would be kind of heavy handed after all to force a church to hire an atheist pastor.  I believe that exemption ends once the employees no longer have any pastoral duties.  My uncertainty on the matter is irrelevant, of course, because the homophobe’s Gifford’s business is not a church.  Their argument is absurd, which you can discover by substituting any of the other protected classes in place of homosexuals and see how long it would take their case to be thrown out of court.  If the Gifford’s bigoted viewpoint became law, you would immediately have various businesses not only refusing service to homosexuals, but also to blacks, interracial couples, women not accompanied by a man, Muslims, Jews, women, Catholics, the disabled, and white males over 50 (that would be my store.  Hey, they may be a Trump supporter, and I’m not taking that chance.), to name a few.  Perhaps the Giffords feel it should only be a narrow exemption allowing the discrimination against homosexuals, but there is not only no logical reason to limit the religious freedom exemption to only that group, it would also be ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court, especially after this year’s ruling on marriage equality.

Now I am sure I have some libertarian students who feel a business owner should be able to serve who ever they want, with the only possible punishment for open bigotry being from the free market.  To those students I kindly say, “Fuck off.”  (I have tenure.)  While they are kindly fucking off, they can remove their cars from the tax funded roads.  Every single business, no matter how small or large, benefits from the public coffers.  Be it the publicly funded roads that their customers travel on, to the publicly funded police force that protects their business, we all depend on public money at some time.  New York state has decided that one of the concessions they demand from people who wish to operate a business in their state is is adherence to the state’s anti-discrimination law.  If you are not willing to obey that law, then you are perfectly free to move your business to a different state or country with laws more to your likings.

We keep hearing people in these situations complain that their religious liberties have been violated.  Bull.  We have freedom of religion in this country, as we have freedom of speech, yet neither freedom is absolute.  I hate the “yelling fire in a crowded theater” example, so instead I will suggest you visit the nearest airport and joke about how long it took you to hide all the bombs in your suitcase.  From your jail cell, please write me and let me know what they said when you played your “freedom of speech” trump card.  Religious freedom has limits as well.  Even if I sincerely believe that the only way to please Jesus and get into heaven is by using copious amounts of heroin, the drug task force is not going to allow me to freely practice my religion.  Child sacrifice, ritual cannibalism, marrying multiple 12 year olds, and the withholding of medical care from minor children are just some of the “sincerely held religious beliefs” we have decided, as a society, are not to be protected.  Your religious freedom stops when it begins to affect the freedoms of other people.

You can march in bigot parades every weekend.  You can attend and tithe a church that preaches that Starbucks includes human semen in their lattes.  You can write internet post after internet post about how all homosexuals are going to burn in everlasting hell.  You can even preach that the bible calls for the death penalty for homosexuals, at an event with presidential candidates in attendance.

What you can not do, assuming you are in a state that protects people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation, is deny them the same services you offer to everybody else.  It really isn’t that difficult of a concept.

Quiz on Friday.  Enjoy the rest of your day.

 

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Insert Comment About Inmates, the Asylum, and Who Happens to be in Charge Here:

From ThinkProgress:

Two-thirds of North Carolina Republican voters would support immediately impeaching Hillary Clinton if she’s elected president, according to a poll released Tuesday.

Conducted by Public Policy Polling, the survey drew from the responses of 425 self-identified Republicans likely to vote in the 2016 presidential primary. Along with various questions about the Republican candidates, it asked voters if they would either “support or oppose impeaching [Clinton] the day she takes office.”

Sixty-six percent of respondents said they would support immediate impeachment for Clinton, while only 24 percent said they would oppose it. Ten percent said they were not sure, according to the poll.

This follows, of course,  congressman Mo Brooks (AL-Guess) making the following statement in a radio interview on The Matt Murphy Show:

“In my judgement, with respect to Hillary Clinton, she will be a unique president if she is elected by the public next November,” Brooks said. “Because the day she’s sworn in is the day that she’s subject to impeachment.”

There is a portion of the Republican party that doesn’t care anymore about democracy, the will of the people, or the United States’ system of government.  We’ve already seen members of Congress such as the House Freedom Caucus who oppose any compromise with the opposition party, which effectively breaks a two party non-parliamentary system of government, and we’ve seen congressional districts that will use primary elections to punish any Republicans not seen as “ideologically pure” enough.  (Ask Eric Cantor, former House Majority Leader, among others.)  This cycle we have seen even the “mainstream” GOP presidential candidates go overboard opposing church-state separation.  Several have spoken out against the 14th Amendment as a side dish to their race-baiting xenophobia while others claim that the president is free to ignore Supreme Court decisions with which he  or she disagrees.  So much for that document the conservatives all claim to love so much.  I guess the second is the only amendment they care about.

The current GOP takes every possible opportunity to move forward with the backdoor elimination of reproductive health services.  Pro-life advocates, emboldened by their success, move the goal posts suddenly start moving against multiple forms of birth control that they claim act as abortifacients.  (Just like we said they would.  And we were told we were crazy.)  They don’t want to stop abortions, they want to punish women for being sexually activeLook at Colorado if you don’t believe it.

They continue to push for voter ID laws, the stricter the better, in spite of study after study showing the laws disenfranchise large numbers of minority and lower income voters practically exclusively, some say by design, without any evidence that the law is needed or indeed, that the crime it is set up to stop, in person voter fraud, even happens outside of exceedingly rare cases.  Pennsylvania Republican House Leader Mike Turzai openly admitted the laws are a partisan political strategy and they still push these laws.  (Although watching the current US Congress, I guess that isn’t much of a surprise.  *cough*Benghazi*cough*)

Why would they accept a Hillary Clinton election victory?  Obama won twice and they never treated him as the legitimately elected President of the United States. They impeached her husband over a fucking blow job.  Why wouldn’t they use their power in the gerrymandered House to ignore the results of a legitimate election?

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.

I See Your “Moves Like Jaggar,” and Raise You “Lies Like Fiorina.”

100% legitimate question.  Is there any lie that could actually negatively affect a Republican presidential candidate this cycle?

While the beltway media continues the lie of “both parties are just as bad,” the GOP continues forging ahead into the era of post-truth politics.  While we all know about Carly “Of course Steve Jobs was sad to see you fired, you let him raid HP like a pirate and thanked him for the looting” Fiorina’s rank dishonesty when it comes to Planned Parenthood, this one kinda slipped underneath my radar.  (Hat tip to the Wonkette for pointing it out.)

We will start off all the way back in May.  Remember May?  I know, ancient history.  Anyway, it was before the Supreme Court decision that legalized the killing of Christians that forced all Christian men to get gay married that gave all Americans equal rights when it came to marriage, and some bigots were making noise about a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage (or some such, equally impossible to pass garbage) and Carly was asked her opinion.  (From Rightwing Watch):

In an interview with the Iowa conservative blog Caffeinated Thoughts this weekend, GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina said that she would oppose any effort to amend the Constitution to reverse a Supreme Court decision striking down bans on marriage equality.
This was apparently an evolved viewpoint for her on this issue:
(she) …said in a 2010 Christian Coalition candidate survey that she would support a Federal Marriage Amendment banning gay marriage.
Here, I’ll just let you hear her say it.

For those of you who can’t watch the video, in a nutshell she simply said that she wouldn’t support an amendment overturning the Supreme Court decision if it legalized marriage equality, that the government should not discriminate when it comes to benefits, and that people should accept the decision and work to make sure people’s religious freedom is protected.

Of course, now that we see what the GOP primary is going to look like with Trump in the field, it should be obvious that her conservative answer to that question is no longer conservative enough.  So what to do?  Well, when you got Lies like Fiorina, you do what comes naturally.  You lie.

(Once again, RWW)

Fiorina displayed her signature truthiness once again in an interview Friday with Iowa conservative radio host Jan Mickelson, who asked her to defend her statement that Supreme Court decisions like Obergefell v. Hodges are “the law of the land,” which he said would turn off voters in Iowa.

Fiorina insisted that she had never said that, speculating, “I think that is a quote from someone else, not from me,” and suggesting that Mickelson might be thinking of her Republican rival John Kasich.

Oh, Jesus H. Christ on a fucking pogo stick, Carly.  It’s on video.  Here’s the quote from the above video, for the sake of the truth:

“I think the Supreme Court decision will become the law of the land, and however much I may agree or disagree with it, I wouldn’t support an amendment to reverse it,” she said. “And I very much hope that we will come to a place now in this nation where we can support their decision and at the same time support people’s right to hold religious views and to protect their right to exercise those views.”
Now if this was the beltway, it would end right there.  “She said she didn’t say it, so she didn’t say it.”  Unfortunately for Fiorina, she was in Iowa on a show with a batshit insane conservative who probably considers her a moderate Democrat.

UPDATE: Fiorina appeared again on Mickelson’s program on Monday, where he confronted her a clip of her “law of the land” comments. Fiorina evaded the question, telling Mickelson that she had “no idea what reference that snippet was from,” but that if it was “about gay marriage” she was saying that “we profoundly disagree with this” and will focus on finding Supreme Court nominees who will overturn it.

What I said, for example, was we need to be, if that was about gay marriage, we profoundly disagree with this, we need to invest our political capital and our leadership now in protecting religious liberty all across this nation, which means every state needs to enact a religious freedom protection act, as we have a national act. And it also reminds us how important it is who’s on the Supreme Court. So, let’s focus our energies on making sure we have the right nominees and the right protections and liberties.

Looks like someone went to the “George W. Bush School of Politics.”

  1. Lie.
  2. Lie.
  3. Lie with confidence.
  4. Lie some more.
  5. Double down on the lies.
  6. Accuse your opponents of lying.

Can someone please escort the GOP to the timeout chair until they are willing to act like adults?

And I Grew Up Thinking Reagan Era Conservatives Were Scary…..

Just a couple of quickies as I recover from a vicious bug….


I’ll be honest.  I would not be surprised at all if changing the laws so that only property owners may vote became an official goal of the GOP.  Here’s Fox “News'” legal commentator, Judge Napolitano making some brilliant insights, from Media Matters.

NAPOLITANO: You know, there’s a lot of debate without getting too academic about what the right to vote is. Is it a fundamental right that comes from our humanity like thought and speech and association and worship and self-defense? Or is it a privilege given by the government? In my view, the Supreme Court has wrongly said it’s a fundamental right.

Yeah, he made the comment during a discussion on illegal immigration while lying like Fiorina about the effects of California’s new “Register Every Eligible Voter” law, so I’m sure the bobble-heads sitting at home, bobble-heading right along, think he is just talking about brown people’s “right” to vote.  So yeah, keep right on voting Republican cause of (racism/misogyny/sexism/homophobia/closeted self-hatred/abortion/guns), I’m sure they have the average citizens best interest in mind at all times.

As for the lyingest liar that’s ever lied (2015 edition), well we’ll deal with her next….

Really Rachel? Really?

I have to admit, I was so caught up shopping for a gay wedding present for the totes-legal-now-that-the-Supremes-said-that-everyone-needed-to-stop-kung-fu-fighting-long-enough-to-get-gay-married-everybody-even-puppies-goats-llamas-cable-news-shows-websites-and-straight-men-except-not-Jared-from-Subway-cause-seriously-fuck-that-guy impending nuptials joining The Wonkette and The Rachel Maddow Show in the bonds of holy matrimony, wondering what happens on the honeymoon for a website/cable news show marriage, who would get pregnant, and if they would give birth to little podcasts and oh my god this sentence ran on so long I got lost.

Okay, so I was busy doing that thing mentioned in the above sentence so I almost missed this little comment from Rachel Maddow on her show last night, and that would have been a shame because I so disagree with her for once.

There`s no reason to think that Jeb Bush is a terrible person.

I understand, Rachel.  You are always trying to get Republicans to come on your show, and those that do are always treated fairly.  Perhaps in the not too distant future (na na na), when elected Republicans can once again govern like adults without fear of being primaried for the sin of compromise, more members of the GOP will realize appearing on your show is not like a progressive on The O’Reilly Factor.  Of course, for that possibility to, well, be possible, you can’t exactly go around calling Republican candidates for President “terrible people,” now can you?

But I can.  Especially when the Republican in question actually is a terrible person.  In fact, one of the most pressing questions I hope to answer in my 17 part on-going series, Getting to Know the Trip, is if there is a non-terrible person in the field.  (Preliminary answer?  No.  They’re all pretty terrible.)  Things need to change if we have any hope of reclaiming our democracy and building it back up to something other than a world wide joke.  One thing that really needs to change is that the press needs to live up to the responsibility the Founding Fathers gave it by enshrining Freedom of the Press in the Bill of Rights.  The only bias a news anchor/reporter should have is an overwhelming bias towards reality. Stop covering politics like sports and stop being afraid of offending people if a political party takes a stance in opposition to objective fact.

While I am going to save most points for when I get to Jeb in my Goat Countdown, hearing Rachel last night compelled me to let you all know a few reasons why yes, Jeb Bush is a terrible person.  And we’ll start off with the two words that should immediately disqualify him from the Presidency:

Terry Schiavo

Raise your hand if you remember this ghoul trying to score political points by reinserting the feeding tube into a women in a persistent vegetative state, forcing her to “live,” against the wishes of her husband (and guardian) and, if you believe her husbands word, and I have no reason not to, against her own wishes as well.  Die with dignity? Not with Jeb on duty:

She had left no will. No written instructions. She was 26. To try to determine what she would have wanted, there was a trial, in the Pinellas County courtroom of circuit judge George Greer, in which Michael Schiavo relayed what she had told him in passing about what her wishes would be in this sort of scenario. Others did, too. She also had next to no chance of recovery, according to doctors’ testimony. Greer cited “overwhelming credible evidence” that Terri Schiavo was “totally unresponsive” with “severe structural brain damage” and that “to a large extent her brain has been replaced by spinal fluid.” His judgment was that she would not have wanted to live in her “persistent vegetative state” and that Michael Schiavo, her husband and her legal guardian, was allowed to remove her feeding tube.

But that was before the Jeb signal went up!

So on October 15, 2003, Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube came out. Judge’s orders. She would die within two weeks. This stage of the case looks in retrospect like the start of a test. Just how much power did Jeb Bush have?

HB 35E was filed after 8 at night on October 20. Many lawmakers already were gone for the day. Gelber, the state representative from Miami, put his suit back on at his apartment in Tallahassee and hustled back to the Capitol. Fellow Democrats gathered around as the attorney and former prosecutor began to read the bill one of Bush’s staff attorneys had helped to write.“Authority for the Governor to Issue a One-time Stay …”

Gelber looked up.

“I don’t have to read anymore,” he said. “It’s clearly unconstitutional.”

“The governor can’t just change an order of the court,” Gelber explained this month. “It’s one of the most elemental concepts of democracy: The governor is not a king.”

But the governor is Jeb!  He’s better than a king.  Letters poured into his office, each attempting to suck his dick a little bit better than the previous one.  Oh, it must have been good to be Jeb in those heady days.  Unfortunately, those pesky courts, you know, the ones who had earlier ruled in favor of Terri’s right to die with dignity?  Yeah, those ones.  Well, they were about to meddle around and ruin poor Jeb’s good day.

Back in Florida, though, the courts were focused not so much on what was “morally obligatory” but more on what was legally mandatory.

A circuit judge ruled Bush’s “Terri’s Law” unconstitutional.

Well, that’s only a circuit court.  Wait til it gets to the Florida Supreme Court.  They’ll see it Jeb’s way, I just know it.

The seven state supreme court judges took less than a month to dismiss unanimously “Terri’s Law.”

Oh.  Well, that was embarrassing.  Unanimous?  Damn.  The only thing worse would be if the Chief Justice released a written smackdown that Foster could mark up with bolding and italics on his blog, in this article.

“If the Legislature with the assent of the Governor can do what was attempted here,” chief justice Barbara Pariente wrote in her ruling, “the judicial branch would be subordinated to the final directive of the other branches. Also subordinated would be the rights of individuals, including the well-established privacy right to self-determination. No court judgment could ever be considered truly final and no constitutional right truly secure, because the precedent of this case would hold to the contrary. Vested rights could be stripped away based on popular clamor. The essential core of what the Founding Fathers sought to change from their experience with English rule would be lost …

But that was like, forever ago.  Surely Jeb has learned from his attempt to destroy the system of checks and balances to score cheap pro-life points.  No matter how many letters from supporters he received over the matter, he had to hear the overwhelming outcry in opposition to his privacy and self-determination shredding power grab.  Right?

No, not really.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Friday he had no regrets about fighting to keep Terri Schiavo alive, addressing the mid-2000s controversy on his second trip to New Hampshire this year.

“I don’t think I would have changed anything,” he told New Hampshire business leaders at St. Anselm College’s Politics and Eggs breakfast in response to a question about whether he would have handled things differently with the benefit of hindsight.

Speaking of the past, it turns out that Jeb longs for the good old days, back when adulterous women were forced to wear large letter “A’s.”

Public shaming would be an effective way to regulate the “irresponsible behavior” of unwed mothers, misbehaving teenagers and welfare recipients, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) argued in his 1995 book Profiles in Character.

In a chapter called “The Restoration of Shame,” the likely 2016 presidential candidate made the case that restoring the art of public humiliation could help prevent pregnancies “out of wedlock.”

One of the reasons more young women are giving birth out of wedlock and more young men are walking away from their paternal obligations is that there is no longer a stigma attached to this behavior, no reason to feel shame. Many of these young women and young men look around and see their friends engaged in the same irresponsible conduct. Their parents and neighbors have become ineffective at attaching some sense of ridicule to this behavior. There was a time when neighbors and communities would frown on out of wedlock births and when public condemnation was enough of a stimulus for one to be careful.

Bush points to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1850 novel The Scarlet Letter, in which the main character is forced to wear a large red “A” for “adulterer” on her clothes to punish her for having an extramarital affair that produced a child, as an early model for his worldview. “Infamous shotgun weddings and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter are reminders that public condemnation of irresponsible sexual behavior has strong historical roots,” Bush wrote.

Who’s a cute little misogynist?  Come on, Jeb, make that “grrr” noise.  It will go great with this quote from Alternet:

After all, we’re talking about a man who once put the life of a disabled woman who’d been raped at risk by intervening legally to force her to carry her child to term — a move a Florida court later found illegal.

We’re talking about a man who, as governor, signed a controversial abortion ban into law — and praised a similar measure passed by the House on Wednesday as “humane and compassionate.”

We’re talking about a man who likes to defend his anti-choice record by saying “the most vulnerable in our society need to be protected” — even though he’s shown he’s not above playing politics with a child’s body, once going so far as governor as appealing the decision of a court that ruled a 13-year-old girl could have an abortion when her pregnancy posed an extreme risk to her health.

We’re talking about someone who likes to talk a big game about how taxpayer dollars should never be used to fund abortions — even though he slipped millions in taxpayer dollars to Florida “crisis pregnancy centers” notorious for lying to and misleading women about their reproductive health choices. (This, in a state where 73 percent of counties have no abortion providers and crisis centers may be the only places women have to turn for the medical care they desperately need.)

And let’s not forget that Jeb once held $1 million in family planning grants hostage until the programs receiving the money agreed not to discuss birth control at all.

And since I want to save most of the ammo for my 6k or so word introduction of Jeb that is still probably a couple months away, I will leave you with this recent little gaffe.  Wasn’t Jeb supposedly the establishment candidate who wouldn’t make stupid gaffes?  From Correct the Record, though you can find it just about anywhere:

 Jeb Bush: “I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues.”

I know you were trying to be nice, Ms. Maddow, but he is a terrible person.

Now I’m going to do a knife hit to get the taste of yet another bush out of my mouth.  Have a good weekend, I’ll try to get a few posts up during the weekend.

For those interested, here is the order for the next few parts of Getting to Know the Trip

  1. Bobby Jindal
  2. Lindsey Graham
  3. Rick Perry
  4. Jim Gilmore
  5. George Pataki

I will try to have Gov. Jindal up on Monday, although his is going to be so much fun that it may take til Wednesday.  I mean, this is a Governor who has pissed off just about every single voter in his state in his hopeless attempt to win the presidential nomination.  A legitimate answer to the question “What is wrong with the United State’s method of electing a President?” would be simply pointing at Jindal.  He is a guy who got himself elected Governor of a state solely as a stepping stone to higher office, and every single decision he makes as Governor is informed by his higher goal.  Yes, it will be fun.

After I finish out the under 2% gang I’ll make a schedule for the other candidates.  I’m thinking of going by national poll numbers, which is meaningless, but hell, Fox News thinks they mean something, so why not?  We’ll see.

If you have a few minutes, I urge you to read the whole piece on Jeb and the Terri Schiavo over at Politico, titled “Jeb ‘Put Me Through Hell’.”  It’s worth checking out, if only to remind you of the situation.