Democracy in Action

So in a partial repeat of 2014, Bill Shuster (R-PA) is facing a vicious primary challenger from the right by the name of Art Halvorson.  In 2014 Shuster was able to fend off Halvorson’s challenge in a three way primary battle, with Shuster picking up 52.8% of the vote, Halvorson earning 34.5%, and livestock farmer Travis Schooley rounding out the race with 12.7%.  In the 2016 primary, Shuster and Halvorson will square off one against one for a seat in the US House that has been filled by a Shuster since 1973.  (Bill’s father, Bud Shuster, held the seat from 1973 until resigning in 2001 a few months before Bill won his first term.  Ah, political nepotism.)

The primary battle gives every indication of being a nasty one, with Halvorson running on a purely obstructionist platform, slamming Shuster for not shutting the government down to defund Obamacare, then ripping him for not shutting it down over Planned Parenthood funding.  If it gives you any idea, Halvorson’s campaign motto is “Rescue America.”  The candidates recently had a debate, which resulted in a very amusing write up in the Altoona Mirror as a conservative newspaper attempted to perform simultaneous fellatio on two candidates that seem to hate each other with the passion of a million white hot suns.

Art Halvorson, Republican primary challenger for the District 9 U.S. House seat, attacked incumbent Bill Shuster in a debate Saturday, calling him out for being part of a Republican failure to counter President Barack Obama’s liberalism and for alleged ethics problems because of his relationship with a lobbyist.

Shuster accused Halvorson of lying and of running a relentlessly negative campaign – to the extent of flip-flopping just to position himself opposite of the incumbent.

Shuster can’t duck responsibility for leaders in the Republican-majority House and Senate for failing to control spending, the national debt and taxes with a budget, a failure that has undermined the economy and damaged the nation’s confidence, Halvorson said.

That failure culminated in the $1.1-trillion “Cromnibus” spending bill passed in December – “an atrocity” – that failed to defund Obamacare, gave the president a “blank check” on executive amnesty for illegal immigrants and “caved” to Obama on Planned Parenthood, Halvorson said.

Shuster actually voted against a $1.5 trillion spending bill a few months earlier that had many of the same effects, according to an analysis by the Conservative Review.

Spending and revenue bills originate in the House, but the Senate needs to agree, and that’s been a stumbling block, Shuster said.

Still, Republicans over the last few years have cut $2.1 trillion, reducing it four years in a row, which had not happened for more than 60 years, he said.

They’ve also managed significant changes for cuts in the tax code, including some that have been made permanent, Shuster said.

I’m sorry, this is the most painful article on a political debate I believe I have ever read.  I’ve never seen a line by line recap of arguments for presidential debates, let alone House primary races.  Rather than writing anything original, it seems that the reporter just wants to avoid offending either candidate by making sure to repeat each of their talking points.  And it just keeps on going…..

The nation needs to pay its debt and most of the Obama-care spending is mandatory, Shuster said, adding that nevertheless, he has always opposed Obamacare and participated in successful efforts to eliminate or defund pieces of it, like the “death panels.” He opposes amnesty “in any way, shape or form,” opposes admitting anyone from “failed states,” favored building a wall along the Mexican border and the identification of illegal immigrants, followed by their processing for deportation.

Shuster’s not a true conservative, having received an F from the Club for Growth and the Heritage Foundation, Halvorson said.

Shuster is actually ranked 135 among the House’s 435 members by the club for 2014, a number that is broadly representative since 2005, in a chart on the club’s website.

The Club for Growth is “a bunch of millionaires and billionaires that have formed a little clique,” anyway, Shuster said.

It’s no credit to a lawmaker to try for a 100 percent voting record for any group, because you need to look at every piece of legislation, Shuster said.

He has an 86 percent rating from the American Conservative Union, a 90 percent rating from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a 100 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee, he said. He has an A rating from the National Rifle Association.

Look, my right wing cock is bigger than yours!  No, my right wing testicles are heavier than yours! Time for someone to play the religion card…..

Halvorson said he’s a born-again Christian who follows the Scriptures and “upholds the highest ethical standards,” while Shuster has “a close, intimate relationship” with a lobbyist who has access to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, of which Shuster is the chairman, and that Shuster has cavorted in South Beach, almost as if to celebrate their successful partnership.

He is referring to Shelley Rubino, a lobbyist for Airlines for America. Shuster has said previously that she doesn’t lobby his office or his staff directly, and that legal counsel has cleared their handling of the matter.

The personal attacks and “misrepresentation” of his record is “disgraceful,” Shuster said.

“My campaign has been about me,” Shuster said. “Your campaign has been about me.”

Negative from start to what he expects to be the finish, he added.

Negative?  Where would he have ever got that idea?

The Republicans had the power of the purse, but have squandered it, surrendering to Obama, Halvorson said.

The nation is failing, confidence is low and the economy is weakening, Halvorson said.

“We’re supposed to be a city on a hill, but there’s nothing to look up to,” he said. “Two more years is not warranted.”

Confidence is low?  Hell yeah, because of Republicans like Halvorson is swearing he will be who think compromise is failure.  This guy is a True Believer, who seems to honestly think the nation would have rose up in support of the House Freedom Caucus if they would have shut the government down over Planned Parenthood.

“I represent conservative values,” Shuster said. “I’ve worked hard to find solutions.”

He’s faced election successfully eight times, he added.

And that is possibly the weakest rebuttal in the history of debates.  In 2010 this Congressional district was rated the most Republican district in the state.  Our last Democratic Representative lost his re-election bid……in 1939.  The GOP candidate could blow coke off a stripper’s ass on national television the day before the election and still draw 60%.  Shuster did make one strong point without trying, showing every moderate voter listening exactly why a GOP presidential win would be disastrous.

The key to the kind of accomplishments Halvorson is hammering him about will be getting a Republican president, which will enable Congress, working with that president, to drive down taxes, control spending, harness debt and appoint a conservative to the Supreme Court to replace the late Antonin Scalia, Shuster said.

The absolute worst part about this all?

Pennsylvania has a closed primary, so only registered Republicans get to decide between these candidates.  No Democrat has filed to run in opposition in November, although to be honest, why even bother when you know your opponent is going to pull 60% of the vote no matter what?  So 40% of the district gets to hope the Republican primary voters aren’t crazy enough to primary Shuster, who, for all of his failings, at least gets things done for the district.

So yeah.  Democracy in action.  The districts registered Republicans will choose our district Representative with no outside input.

What a system.

The Honesty Was Nice While It Lasted

So here is the title of the original post I was writing about this:

Trump Says Something Anti-Abortion Activists Have Been Drooling for Decades to Hear a Politician Say, Anti-Abortionists Promptly Do What They Do Best: Lie.

Yeah, that’s a mouthful.  But since this is Foster Disbelief and not The Daily Mail, I decided to scrap it and start over.

For some reason Donald Trump, the(gag) front running candidate for the Republican presidential (I just threw up a little) nomination, had a sit down interview with Chris Matthews the other day.  I didn’t watch it.  I actually stayed as far away from the television as I possibly could when MSNBC aired the interview.  No thank you.  I can suffer through a Trump interview to see if anything is newsworthy.  I can tolerate watching Chris Matthews on MSNBC because I respect the other voices that make up MSNBC’s political coverage.  Matthews interviewing Trump is just a black hole of idiocy that I won’t even pretend I would willingly put myself through.    (Seriously, listening to Matthews go on about the possibility of a Clinton/Kasich unity ticket during one night of MSNBC’s primary coverage had me contemplating either switching to Fox News or puncturing my ear drums with an ice pick.  He’s the liberal answer to Bill O’Reilly.  Something that, along with the ideological purity police, is something we really don’t need.)

And seemingly for no reason but to punish me and force my poor ears to hear clips of the interview all week, Trump decided to show anti-abortion activists that he really was one of them, honestly, scout’s honor, no take backs, no crossed fingers, he swears.

At a taping of an MSNBC town hall that will air later, host Chris Matthews pressed the Republican presidential front-runner Trump for his thoughts on abortion policy. Trump said he’s in favor of an abortion ban, explaining, “Well, you go back to a position like they had where they would perhaps go to illegal places, but we have to ban it,” according to a partial transcript from Bloomberg Politics.

Matthews asked if there would be a punishment for women who received abortions if they were made illegal. Trump responded, “There has to be some form of punishment.” He elaborated that the punishment would have “to be determined” and the law will depend on the upcoming Supreme Court confirmation battle and the 2016 election.

Matthews, to his credit (I feel dirty for typing that), was all over Trump like a bad toupee rather than allowing the reality show star to word salad his way out of the question.  Progressives immediately held it up as yet another extremist view held by Trump,  Wow, that’s a surprise.  Liberals were going to disagree with Trump’s position on abortion no matter what he said.  Trump’s running as a Republican, which means he has to be “pro-life.”  (What a great political system we’ve built on the corpses of the founding fathers.  Sigh.)  What was surprising was the response by anti-abortion activists as they rushed to distance themselves from Trump.

The central goal of the pro-life movement may be to eliminate abortion, but to the vast majority, the responsibility doesn’t lie with the woman getting an abortion, but the doctor who is providing it.

Even the most staunch pro-life groups were quick to express their disappointment with Trump’s initial statements. Susan B. Anthony List and March for Life, two of the country’s most prominent anti-abortion groups, tweeted that women who have abortions need “healing and compassion” and that punishment is “solely for the abortionist who profits off of the destruction of life.”

Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League and a long-time pro-lifer, says that the responsibility of an illegal abortion “should fall on abortion providers, not the women who turn to them in desperation.”

“If Donald Trump is going to run successfully as a pro-life candidate, it’s time he started listening to the pro-life movement,” he says.

Trump’s Republican rivals said much of the same.

“But of course women shouldn’t be punished,” Republican candidate John Kasich said. “I don’t think that’s an appropriate response. It’s a difficult enough situation.”

Fellow GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz echoed Scheidler’s sentiments, saying in a statement that being pro-life isn’t just about the “unborn child,” but the mother as well – something that is “far too often neglected.” The movement, he said in a statement, is about “creating a culture that respects her and embraces life.”

“Of course we shouldn’t be talking about punishing women; we should affirm their dignity and the incredible gift they have to bring life into the world,” he said.

Me thinks the activists doth protest too much.  The only reason pro-life people claim they don’t want the woman punished is because that is a horrifically unpopular position in the larger population.  I am sure some anti-abortion activists honestly do not want the woman punished beyond being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, just as I’m also sure some of them really want to reduce the amount of abortions and would support proven programs such as Colorado’s IUD program,  and some of them think those who shoot abortion providers are murderers.

And if the majority of anti-abortion activists share those beliefs, if they truly want to end abortion and not punish women for being sexually active, if they’re “pro-life” position prohibits the assassination of providers and the bombing of clinics, then those people need to make that clear and stop providing cover for the more extreme members of their movement.

It is the same argument I make to “moderate” Christians.  Shrugging your shoulders and saying that the gay haters aren’t “real Christians” doesn’t cut it.  In fact, going from the Bible, most of the time the fundamentalists have more textual support for their position.  Hey “moderate pro-lifer?”  When you call abortion “murder” and insist it is the “American Holocaust,” you are giving coverage to the clinic bombers and doctor killers, just as the moderate Christian who argues for the infallibility of the Bible protects the anti-gay bigots.

Watching Ted Cruz attack Trump over this issue is even more rich.  The “Pro-Lifers for Cruz” coalition that Ted loves pointing out, is co-chaired by the president of Operation Rescue, Troy Newman.  Newman wrote the book “Their Blood Cries Out,” which was written before anti-abortionists began softening their language to find more support.  Here’s a telling passage (and I urge you to read the whole article from Right Wing Watch.)

While Newman never explicitly calls for the execution of women who have had abortions, as he does abortion providers, he makes very clear that he sees these women as equally culpable for the supposed crime.

He tells the story of a woman in California accused of paying two men $1,000 and some “sexual favors” to murder her husband. Both the woman and the men who executed the hit, he reports, received the same sentence. How, Newman asks, is this different from abortion?

There was no outpouring of public concern from the community declaring her a victim of society. There were no help centers set up to give aid to all future contract killers so that they might find alternatives to murdering their husbands. The churches did not welcome her on the condition that neither of the parties would discuss the crime. There was no legislation brought forward by the National Organization for Women to pardon her and all future murderesses. There was no sympathy publicly expressed for her — only the satisfaction that comes from witnessing justice.

Why, then, do we consider any differently the women who seek to hire killers to murder their pre-born children? Why the hesitancy to say that not only the mothers, but also the fathers who willfully abort their babies, are guilty of murder? Why is there such outrage expressed at the notion that those who know of the crime but do not intervene, like most of the churches in America, share a portion of the guilt?

Who holds the fathers, the mothers, the neighbors, the pastors, and the bystanders guilty? Who would dare?

God can! God does!

By comparing abortion directly to any other act of premeditated contract killing, it is easy to see that there is no difference in principle. However, in our society, a mother of an aborted baby is considered untouchable where as any other mother, killing any other family member, would be called what she is: a murderer.

..

When Newman endorsed Cruz, Ted was quick to play up the endorsement on his campaign website.
“I am grateful to receive the endorsement of Troy Newman,” Cruz said. “He has served as a voice for the unborn for over 25 years, and works tirelessly every day for the pro-life cause. We need leaders like Troy Newman in this country who will stand up for those who do not have a voice.”
How extreme is Newman?

“Today’s scheduled execution of Paul Hill is not justice, but is another example of the judicial tyranny that is gripping our nation. A Florida judge denied Rev. Hill his right to present a defense that claimed that the killing of the abortionist was necessary to save the lives of the pre-born babies that were scheduled to be killed by abortion that day. Our system of justice is based upon ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ but in Rev. Hill’s case, there was no justice because the court prevented him from presenting the legal defense that his conduct was justifiable defensive action.

“There are many examples where taking the life in defense of innocent human beings is legally justified and permissible under the law. Paul Hill should have been given the opportunity to defend himself with the defense of his choosing in a court of law. [Operation Rescue West press release, 9/3/03, via Media Matters]

How about banned from Australia extreme?

Troy Newman, the president of Operation Rescue, had been scheduled to begin a speaking tour in Australia on Friday. But immigration officials canceled his visa before he left the United States after Australian politicians raised concerns that he might encourage violence against abortion providers or women seeking the procedure.

He managed to board a flight from Los Angeles despite not having a valid visa but was detained by immigration officers at Melbourne Airport while trying to enter the country on Thursday.

[…]

Terri Butler, a Labor member of the Australian Parliament, had called for the government to revoke Mr. Newman’s visa this week. In a letter to Mr. Dutton, she cited passages from a book that Mr. Newman co-wrote that called for abortion doctors to be executed. [New York Times10/2/15]

Anti-abortion activists may spend the whole week screaming that they don’t want women punished for having an abortion.  Just like they claim they aren’t against contraception when it serves their purposes, just like they claim they are against violence in the aftermath of each clinic bombing or doctor assassination.

What matters is their language when no one is watching.  The stuff they say when they are surrounded by only true believers.  As they continue to escalate the debate with inflammatory language.  As they publish the names and home addresses of providers.  As they unscientifically claim one contraception method after another is actually abortion.

It is about ending abortion.  It is also about taking reproductive control away from women and forcing them back into the kitchen.  If it was honestly all about abortion we live in a nation that is rich enough to practically eliminate elective abortions.  Abortion could be nothing but a procedure that occurs only during the current “exceptions.”  Rape, incest and the life of the mother or non-viable pregnancy.  We could provide every woman of reproductive age contraception.  We could turn abortion into an incredibly rare procedure, rather than one that is more common than anyone realizes.  But there’s no slut shaming involved there, and it doesn’t serve to reinforce the patriarchy.

Trump says some insane shit.  Trump takes some extreme positions.  Don’t buy the lie that this (even though he did walk it back later) is one of them.  This is a mainstream belief in the GOP.  It just isn’t one they like outsiders to know about.

 

Pro-Life Honesty

From the Altoona Mirror’s Letters to the Editor section comes this surprising bit of honesty from  “pro-life” activist Richard A. Ruth:

Pro-life – what does that mean? It seems to mean a lot of things to a lot of different people.

Some think it means to be concerned for the poor.

Others think it means to do away with the death penalty. Others think it means to be civil with people at all times.

But when anyone active in the pro-life movement, including myself, uses the term, it means one thing, and one thing only, namely, anti-abortion.

We are against murdering a baby in its mother’s womb.

So, if anyone uses the term “pro-life,” but does not mean anti-abortion, please do not use that term, but rather coin your own phrase.

Much of the confusion was caused years ago by a cardinal in Chicago, whose name I am happy to forget. His concept of pro-life included many things, like the spiritual and corporal works of mercy and almost any good deed one can think of. This concept is called “the seamless garment.”

It did much to weaken the pro-life movement and caused much confusion.

Rarely have I seen an anti-abortionist state it so bluntly.  It isn’t about women’s health.  It isn’t about what is best for the child.  It isn’t about the sanctity of human life, it’s about the sanctity of the life of the fetus, nothing more.  After they are born?  Fuck ’em.  Dare suggest that “pro-lifers” care about more than the embryo?  Your name will be gladly forgotten.

Of course, embryos are much easier to care about apparently.  Especially if your world view includes this:

Those who are in sympathy with the poor should research the abuses in the welfare system. One that I am familiar with is this: Women are encouraged to have many children. The more children they have, the more money they get. Often a woman will have three to five children to three to five different fathers.

Ahem.  Citation fucking needed.  Also, wait.  If a few poor people play the system, then fuck ’em all?  What about those that are not abusing the welfare system?  Do they not exist?  Oh, I know, they just need to work harder, is that it?  You know, I understand people who are anti-abortion.  I don’t agree with them, but I understand where they are coming from.  But the above quote?  That’s just ignorance.  And prejudice.  And unless I have the Karl Marx version of the Bible, it’s pretty far from the teachings of Jesus.

If Richard Ruth takes requests, I would love to read his thoughts on #blacklivesmatter.  I’m sure they are well thought out and enlightening.

I have to admit however, that Mr. Ruth defeats me with his closing paragraph.

The Democrats are not concerned whether their clients lose their souls or not. They are more interested in getting their votes and their children’s future votes. The more kids they have the more votes they will eventually get.

Wait, what?!?  If that was true, wouldn’t they be anti-abortion then?  Let me see if I can break it down sentence by sentence and see what I am missing.

The Democrats are not concerned whether their clients lose their souls or not.

Good?  The Democratic party is a political entity, not a religion.  The United States is not a Christian nation.  We do not have a Biblical government.  The Democrats shouldn’t care about their members, voters, or “clients” imaginary ghost spirits anymore than they are concerned if their auras are out of wack or if the feng shui of their homes is out of alignment.  (Do political parties have clients?  Does he think Democratic field offices also provide abortion services?)  Maybe the Republican party would find a more receptive audience for their fiscally conservative platform if they stopped worrying about their “client’s” souls?  Pandering to members of a religion tends to turn off those who are not members of that religion.  As much as the GOP would love to pretend “Christianity” is one monolithic religion, it is really a diverse collection of sects, all with contradictory beliefs.  Some Christians are pro-choice.  Some Christians are for LGBTQ rights.  Wait, they aren’t real Christians?  Maybe you aren’t the real Christian.  How about we just stop trying to force others to follow our religious beliefs?  Just an idea.

They are more interested in getting their votes and their children’s future votes.

That’s a bad thing?  Once again, I would hope a political party cares more about votes than religion.  *shrug*

The more kids they have the more votes they will eventually get.

Nope.  Even sentence by sentence, my head explodes at this point.  Did Mr. Ruth write a different letter raging against the Quiverfull movement and somehow edit them together?  Can someone explain this to me?


While we’re on the subject of Altoona Mirror anti-abortion letters, I give you one from Arnie Calaba:

My question/writing here is “How can we, as one nation under God, our United States, expect to prosper/have blessings when we are destroying our little ones in the womb by abortion?”

1954.  That’s when “one nation under God” was added.  That’s all for now, because that is a nonsensical question, along the lines of “How can we, as one town infested with unicorns, expect to prosper when we insist on locking gnomes into their hovels at night?”

There are so many telling signs of the downward, slippery slope we are on as a nation. Our economy’s $19 trillion deficit and so much bickering and upheaval in Washington, D.C.

Wait.  That’s not “so many.”  That is two.  Both caused by pro-life Republicans, I might add.

How can we stand by and allow Planned Parenthood to sell aborted baby parts (lungs, brains, etc.) for a profit?

Lying is a sin.  If you would have written this letter the day those deceptively edited videos came out, I would give you the benefit of the doubt.  But it is March.  Everyone who cares about the facts knows that those videos were cut to make it appear the Planned Parenthood representatives were saying things that they were not.  All you had to do to prove that fact is watch the uncut videos.  Add to that the investigations launched by various states into Planned Parenthood’s practices, all of which cleared the organization from any wrong-doing.

The Bible doesn’t say “the ends justify the means.”  I’m sorry.  No matter how badly you feel it should, it doesn’t.  Lying is still a sin.

And you are a liar.

How can we remain a United States, one nation under God, if abortion – the destruction of “little ones” in the womb continues?

I’ll give you this Arnie, repeating the nonsensical question you opened with to close is better than whatever the fuck type of closing Mr. Ruth went with.

You’re still a liar.

(Edited to fix two three typos.)

 

 

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.

Move Over Todd Akin, It’s Pete Nielsen Time!

Remember Todd Akin?  Remember how he said that abortion restrictions didn’t need exceptions for rape because “legitimate rape” doesn’t result in pregnancy?  Remember how he lost a senate race that should have been a cake walk mainly due to that comment?

After the amazing crash and burn Akin performed for the nation back in 2012, you would think that Republicans would learn a lesson from the whole fiasco.  You’d be wrong, of course.  Why?  Damned if I know.  Maybe it’s because some of them really believe, with zero evidence, that, ahem, “legitimate” rape is too traumatic to result in conception.  Or maybe it is an “ends justify the means” situation, where as long as it results in punishing women for being sexual beings.  What, you thought I was going to strike that out and end the sentence with “less abortions?”  Why?  When has the so-called “pro-life” movement ever supported something with an actual chance of lowering the number of abortions?  They can say they care about the unborn child all they want, but until they stop opposing common sense measures, like Colorado’s long term contraception initiative for an example, measures that are actually effective at lowering the rate of abortion, why should any of us give them the benefit of the doubt as to their motives?  They aren’t just protesting Planned Parenthood’s abortion facilities; they want it all shut down, because this has much more to do with women’s sexuality than the fate of some fetuses.  Nothing should prove that faster than the speed at which they cease caring about the child upon birth.

Whatever their reasons may be, they keep beating that same old drum.  Today’s “Wait, What?!?” is brought to you by the Idaho legislature.  “I da Ho?  Well then close your damn legs, ya slut!”

From The Spokesman-Review:

During the hearing Rep. Pete Nielsen, R-Mountain Home, said, “Now, I’m of the understanding that in many cases of rape it does not involve any pregnancy because of the trauma of the incident. That may be true with incest a little bit.”

….

Nielsen stood by his remarks after the hearing, saying pregnancy “doesn’t happen as often as it does with consensual sex, because of the trauma involved.”

Asked how he knew that, he said, “That’s information that I’ve had through the years. Whether it’s totally accurate or not, I don’t know.”

He added, “I read a lot of information. I have read it several times. … Being a father of five girls, I’ve explored this a lot.”

Why, may I ask, has this man “explored this a lot”?  Hopefully it is for work, and not an attempt to figure out how likely his daughters would be to get pregnant if he…….

Moving on….

The scientific consensus on the issue is that rape is as likely to result in pregnancy as consensual sex, and some studies suggest the rate of pregnancy is higher in rape. A 2003 study that appeared in the scientific journal “Human Nature,” for instance, found that the rate of pregnancy from rape exceeded the rate of pregnancy from consensual sex by a “sizable margin.”

Is it any wonder if a percentage of the anti-choice brigade decides to ignore scientific consensus?  Members of the GOP already freely ignore the scientific consensus when it comes to evolution and global warming, what would make this a bridge too far?  Of course, in those cases the only people being called “liars” are scientists and biology teachers.  I wonder if they stop and think that by holding on to the “legitimate rape doesn’t cause pregnancy” thing that they are directly calling every rape victim who got pregnant from her attack a liar?

Something tells me they just don’t care.

Moderate Republicans Probably Still Exist, They Just Aren’t Running For President

There is a major difference between being “too moderate to win the GOP presidential nomination” and actually being a moderate.  John Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio is indeed, frighteningly enough, more than likely a member of the former category.  He may even be the most moderate member of the GOP to run for the 2016 nomination.   What he certainly is not is a moderate.

Don’t get me wrong here, compared to the other candidates, Kasich sounds like he belongs in a different party at times.  He used his faith as a reason to accept the ACA medicaid expansion, he doesn’t think deporting 11 million people is a realistic goal,  and he believes climate change is taking place.  Yay?

But check out all of his views.  Sure, his faith caused him to go along with the medicaid expansion, but it also seems to color his opinions on all the issues.  He believes the death penalty is compatible with Christianity, has a nice, fresh “A” rating from the NRA, seems to subscribe to the “just say no” school of drug policy. he supports tax cuts for “job creators” while he deceives people about the so called “death tax” that he wishes to eliminate.  I’m not going to spell out all his views for ya, if you are interested, click the above link.  I just want to point out one of his “moderate”moves as governor of Ohio, as seen on Wonkette today:

still drinking the delicious Kool-Aid flavor called “John Kasich is actually a moderate.”

We are here to tell you that flavor is garbage. That flavor is a lie. Witness Kasich’s latest super moderate action: defunding the ever living fuck out of Planned Parenthood in Ohio.

The bill strips state and some federal funding from health clinics that perform and promote “nontherapeutic abortions,” including Planned Parenthood facilities.

while the bill grants an exemption to abortions performed in cases of rape, incest and preserving the life of the mother, it jeopardizes the fate of other vital women’s health programs.For example, the $1.3 million in state grants that Planned

Parenthood is slated to lose was allocated toward HIV testing, cancer screenings and programs that help prevent domestic violence and infant mortality.

I really don’t give a shit about your views on abortion.  Why?  Because none of that fucking money was going towards abortions.  Cause it isn’t about abortions.  If it was, then the “pro-life” advocates would be screaming for universal access to long term contraception.  You know, something that actually reduces abortions.

Until proven otherwise I have to assume this war against Planned Parenthood is just what it seems.  The policy position that sexually active women do not deserve reproductive health care and cancer screenings because they are slutty slut sluts who should have kept their knees locked.

2015: When Dr. Frankenstein Discovers He Can Not Control His Creation

It’s almost funny.

Okay, I’m lying.  It isn’t “almost” funny, it is straight out hilarious.  But once the laughter dies out, we are left with the sad reality of a major political party imploding in front of our eyes with devastating effects on the nation.   Perhaps other democracies could weather a similar storm better, perhaps not, but what is undeniable is that our system, with its two major political parties accompanied by several meaningless “3rd” parties, is badly damaged when one of the two main parties, if you pardon my french, shits the bed.

I admit to having liberal pipe dreams of a reality where progressives held super majorities in both houses of Congress alongside the presidency, the same dreams I’m sure many conservatives have substituting in their own party, where economic and social reforms pass into law as fast as the Speaker can call the vote.  I also know that the scenario is not only unrealistic, but also not in the best interest of the nation.  The thought of the GOP with a rubber stamp, able to pass any legislation they desire rightfully scares me, but it’s not like I trust the Democratic party with that kind of power either.  They may give us a 15$ minimum wage and true nationalized health care, but we’d need it with all the unvaccinated kids running around, making sure there’s no GMOs out there, increasing yields and feeding hungry people.

Those are extreme examples of liberal idiocy, and I understand that there are anti-vax nuts who consider themselves conservatives as well, but the point is simple.  Conflict, argument, and debate yields better policy than rubber stamps.  No matter what party is in power, our system demands a strong opposition party.  We have ways for the minority party to affect legislation built in to the system.  I’m not running a civics class here, but the framework the founders set up encourages discussion and compromise, with the understanding that no matter how much members may disagree on issues, everyone is working for the betterment of the United States and its citizens.


Decades ago, when the GOP set “The Southern Strategy”in motion, no one understood what kind of monster they were building.  What they knew was that it worked.  The demographics at the time allowed Republicans to win elections on the strength of nothing but the votes of white men, as they routinely lost all other categories.   The cycle was now in place, as each election victory the Christian social conservatives delivered to the GOP caused the Republicans to cater to them more, counting on their turn out to get them the needed votes.  But when you court no one other than one narrow group, you risk irrelevance if that group ever falls out of power.  Perhaps in the 1970’s Republican strategists honestly believed the nation would always be majority Caucasian.  Perhaps they just didn’t care, figuring the strategists who came later would change tactics when the demographics warranted the switch.  Maybe they were just really racist.  Whatever the case was in the previous decades, today we live in a different country, both demographically and culturally.  The GOP has found itself in no-man’s land.

That “base” of the party that they spent so many years cultivating, through fear, xenophobia, and extremist rhetoric, makes up less of the population than ever.  After the 2012 election cycle, many members of the GOP admitted that in order to win the presidency, they would have to branch out and attract other groups.  No longer was “The Southern Strategy” a viable path to the White House.  Yet almost as soon as those words were printed, those who spoke them began to walk them back.  While that “base” wield less power than ever nationally, within the GOP it is an entirely different story. For in a country notorious for poor electoral participation, the so-called “base” exercises their right to vote yearly, and there are enough of them to cost GOP Congressmen and women their seat in primary elections if they are seen as RINOs, leading GOP representatives and senators to have to worry about challenges not only from the left, but from their right as well.

Who is this “base” that has taken control of the GOP?  They are the creations of right-wing talk radio, Fox News (Fair and Balanced!), and the Republican parties own propaganda.  They value ideological purity, not the ability to compromise.  They want what they want and are willing to watch the whole system crash and burn if they don’t get it.  They are poisonous to the party they claim as their own.  If you don’t see that, chances are you are one of them, as even many Republicans understand the damage they are doing.

Speaker Boehner resigned before teaming with the Democrats to pass a spending bill keeping the lights on in the Government til December, avoiding an unprecedented challenge to his leadership by “fellow” Republicans who want to shut the government down over deceptively edited hit videos on Planned Parenthood.  His almost definite successor, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, became much less definite after withdrawing from consideration yesterday.  McCarthy was just about as conservative as they come, as was Speaker Boehner.  They also believe in the system, and understand two vital rules in politics; you can’t always get what you want, and some hills are not worth dying over.  Why the hell would McCarthy take the job if he was destined to face the same attacks from his own party as Boehner suffered?

Perhaps the situation was best summed up by Representative Peter King (R-NY):

“This is unprecedented to have a small group, a tiny minority, hijack the party and blackmail the House,” said Rep. Peter King of New York.

Yep, sure is.  Wait til December when they shut down the government.

We’re living through history, boys and girls, make sure to pay attention.  The GOP has to deal with their creation, and no matter how they choose to do it, it isn’t going to be pretty, unfortunately, for either the Grand Old Party or the nation as a whole.  Sure it’s fun to watch them flounder and suffer the consequences of their own design, but those consequences affect all of us.

And the Winner for Most Misogynistic GOP Debate Participant is…..the One Woman on the Stage. Sigh.

Well hey, Trump showed that the way to get noticed in this crowded field is by being the most vile example of humanity of the group, so it came as no surprise that Carly Fiorina would say something vile to get people talking,  and since everyone and their mother on the right has latched on to those Planned Parenthood videos that were edited so deceptively that they make Expelled look like an honest film,  it was no surprise that she brought them up.  What was a bit of a shock was just how far she was willing to take the lie.  From Salon (Only cause it’s Digby):

In that same debate when she bizarrely combined an answer about Iran with the Planned Parenthood controversy, she also challenged Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, with a straight face, to watch a video showing “a fully formed fetus on the table its heart beating its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.”

Of course the debate moderator didn’t immediately ask her what the fuck video she was watching, or inquire about the new Planned Parenthood video apparently directed by Eli Roth.  No, that would be doing a service to the electorate.  Instead it fell to fact checkers which reach only a small fraction of the debate’s audience.

This claim was also thoroughly fact checked and proved her to be lying. None of the videos produced by the hoaxters who made the Planned Parenthood videos showed what she described.

Like Carly, or the GOP base for that matter, cares about what fact checkers say is true or false.  What is truth anyway when you’re fighting those evil feminists and all atheists favorite fast food joint, Planned Parenthood?

But instead of apologizing or just quietly dropping the subject, Fiorina’s Super-PAC has created an ad featuring some footage like that she described in a bold doubling down on the falsehood:

RH Reality check describes it this way:

A doctored video is being used to defend GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina’s false statements about a doctored video…

The video, according to a fact-check from Planned Parenthood, splices together five different video and audio sources from [the deceptive anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress]: an interview with a former tissue procurement technician, Holly O’Donnell; a photo of a Pennsylvania woman’s stillborn son that was used without permission; a video from a discredited anti-choice archive called the Grantham Collection; audio from a secret video of a doctor in Colorado; and audio from a surreptitiously recorded phone conversation with a man who works at another independent health-care organization in California.

The deceptive ad ends up showing a “fully formed fetus” with “legs kicking” (a stock image), an unrelated and completely out-of-context audio quote about a “heart beating,” and a mention of harvesting a brain.

The Grantham Collection is an anti-abortion archive which uses photos of still births or miscarriages, among other things, to deceive people into believing they are viewing aborted fetuses. According to Mother Jones, the group even claimed that a photo of basic medical tongs is an image of the tool used to pull apart the limbs of an aborted fetus.This stuff is so ghoulish you have to wonder what kind of person would spend their time making up such fantasies.

Of course, thanks to the infinite wisdom of our political system, Carly can reap all the positives effects of the video on the rabid right while maintaining perfect deniability in the face of moderate criticism since it was released by a pro-Fiorina SuperPAC.  How long has our democracy been the laughing stock of the world anyway?  But instead of playing the SuperPAC card, Carly instead played the “cancer survivor” card and then just continued to lie.

In response to a request for comment on the veracity of the video, Fiorina’s campaign didn’t take a strictly legal approach and say they have no relationship with the Super PAC and therefore cannot comment on the ad. Her campaign spokeswomen Sarah Isgur Flores replied to an inquiry from Mother Jones via email:

“Carly is a cancer survivor and doesn’t need to be lectured on women’s health by anyone. Over their long and factually incorrect letter, Planned Parenthood doesn’t and can’t deny they butchering babies and selling their organs [sic]. This is about the character of our nation.”

Actually, Planned Parenthood does and can deny “they butchering babies and selling their organs.” It is simply not true.

Unfortunately, Carly is discovering and taking advantage of a sad fact in American politics.  If you lie, and keep lying, never admitting you lied, repetition and ignorance will find many people believing your lie as the truth.

Dave Weigel at the Washington Post wrote:

Other campaigns have climbed down from similar claims about the videos. Fiorina and her allies have done no such thing. Three days after the debate, CARLY for America — the PAC that legally has to keep its distance from Fiorina’s actual campaign — put together a video that spliced the candidate’s answer with different clips. The viewer, hearing about the controversy but unaware of the original videos, might think that Fiorina nailed it.

That would be the idea. And it’s working. Think Progress interviewed some of her fans in South Carolina this week and they absolutely believe that Planned Parenthood is videotaping the butchering of babies to harvest their brains because this wonderful woman told them so.

Cleveland, Ohio resident Carol McDowell, who came to Fiorina’s event while on vacation in Charleston, said Fiorina’s debate performance really “won us over” — pointing to two of her friends. “I loved the Planned Parenthood response that she had. The things being done today — it’s gone way beyond just abortion and it needs to stop.”…

The message resonated with women in South Carolina. “Look, I got my first set of birth control pills from Planned Parenthood a long time ago,” said Lazar, who added that she is actually pro-choice. “I have nothing against them, but they should not be selling baby parts. As a country, we shouldn’t be doing that.”

It’s hard to believe anyone running for president believes she could get away with such blatant deceptions but never say Fiorina doesn’t have scads of chutzpah. She has refused to admit that she made a mistake and her Super PAC is now trying to cover her original lie with yet another lie. And even pro-choice GOP women are believing her. It’s enough to give you a migraine.

This is disgraceful.  This is a nightmare for low income women and their access to health care.  And it is politics as usual in the United States.

Hey Bigots! Can I Have Some Bigot Cake as Well?

Remember Melissa and Aaron Klein?  They are the owners of Sweet Cakes By Melissa, an Oregon bakery that shot to national infamy by refusing to bake a cake for the local Satanic cult’s 3rd Annual Fetus Cook-Off.  The cake was to celebrate the addition of Planned Parenthood as a Gold level sponsor of this year’s event, and….  Yeah, actually they refused to make a wedding cake for two women because Jesus said very plainly in that book the bigoted Christians really wish existed:

“And Thee Sayeth Onto Thou, Skip a bit, brother, and thee Woman folk I command thusly; Touch no man but thou husband; be pure and chaste in all, but slut in the bed of marriage; enjoy thee not sex, but suffer through it whenever your lawful husband, your master, wishes it; know that if your husband strays, it is your fault, oh woman, once tempted led to the fall of man; God created fellatio, as a way for woman to worship her superior, and you should provide your husband nightly; cunnilingus however, is the work of Satan, never ask it of your husband; and now woman, pay close attention, for this is the key to your salvation.  Thee are permitted, encouraged even, to lick, kiss, touch, feel, fondle, poke, rub, hug, and/or suck on any part of another woman ONLY for the entertainment and pleasure of your lawful husband.  For a woman marrying a woman robs two men of their rightful property.  So spoke Jesus the Christ.  Seriously.  That is what I said.  Jesus.  That’s me.  And that is what I said.  Honest. ” – The Book of “God We Wish We Had This,” chapter 5, verses 11 to 73.

See?  It’s right there in that made up quote from that imaginary book about the mythical sky daddy who tells these people to be bigots.  It’s not their fault!

So anyway, Sweet Cakes by Melissa refused to bake the nice couple a wedding cake and possibly also told them they were abominations in the eyes of god*.  The nice couple sued, and since our judicial system doesn’t base their decisions on what they think a 2000 year old mythical figure would do, Sweet Cakes by Melissa lost and was ordered to pay close to 150k.

So everything worked out alright in the end, right?  The couple, who just wanted a wedding cake, got compensated for being discriminated against, which kinda makes up for their unwanted infamy among the Christian right wing lunatic fringe, the courts did court stuff lawfully, and the cake bakers who refused to bake cakes for people in relationships they did not approve of had to pay a hefty fine.  All’s right in the world!

Until you read this:

Sweet Cakes by Melissa was kicked off GoFundMe earlier this year, but has since raised more than $350,000 on the crowdfunding site Continue to Give. The growing total, which far exceeds the couple’s $150,000 goal, is the largest individual campaign in the history of the three-year-old site, the Washington Times reported. The couple previously netted more than $60,000 from Go Fund Me before that campaign was taken down.

What good are fines at stopping discrimination when there are a whole bunch of bigots out there all too willing to send their bigot bucks to whatever bigot needs bigot bucks at that particular moment?  It’s practically an encouragement to discriminate, a bigot safety net, there to catch bigots who face complaints and lawsuits in a big pile of bigot bucks.**

Which leads us to our next chapter in this story; what the Klein’s decided to do with the leftover cash.

This week, the owners of an Oregon bakery ordered to pay $135,000 for refusing to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple sent out 10 specially made cakes to LGBT groups.

Sweet Cakes By Melissa sent the cakes, which say “We really do love you!” in white writing over a red heart. The packages also included a DVD copy of “Audacity,” an anti-gay film, according to The Advocate. The film’s website says it “delivers an unexpected, eye-opening look at the controversial topic of homosexuality.”

“Our purpose is to express our love for them as a Christian,” bakery owner Melissa Klein wrote in an email to the Oregonian. “We don’t hate them. We also included in the package the movie Audacity. I feel it is a well done movie that shows what being a Christian is about. My hope is that they will watch it and maybe just understand our heart.  We want to show them that it’s not about not serving them it’s about not being able to partake in an event.”

audacityPic credit: Equality California

Okay, three cheers to the Kleins for a textbook example of the second definition for “audacity”:

au·dac·i·ty
ôˈdasədē/
noun
noun: audacity
  1. 1.
    the willingness to take bold risks.
    “her audacity came in handy during our most recent emergency”
  2. 2.
    rude or disrespectful behavior; impudence.
    “she had the audacity to send GLBTQ organizations a cake with the hate flick Audacity.”

I mean, spot on use of language there.  Very impressive.  Second, you fucking sent them “Audacity”?  While claiming that you love them?  Holy mixed messages, Batman.  That’s like giving your kid a kitten then running the cute, cuddly ball of fur over on purpose,  then replacing said kitten with a puppy because puppy rape is what gets you going.  “Audacity” has an incredible amount of audacity (first definition) in even calling itself a film.  Half the damn movie is Ray Comfort clips from Youtube.  My feelings on “Audacity” can be summed up as follows; if Ray Comfort came up to me with a video camera and started asking idiotic questions about sexuality, I would fuck with him like no other.  But that’s not fair, I know who he is.  If a random stranger with a video camera came up to me and started asking me insane questions on sexuality in the same tone of voice and manner of speaking as Ray Comfort, I would say whatever I thought he wanted to hear to shut him up and get him away from me before he started to shoot or stab people.  If you torture yourself into watching “Audacity,” put everyone of his interviewees in that frame of mind.  If you want the full scoop on Ray Comfort’s masterpiece of Christian cinema, Eli, Noah, and Heath review this gem on The Scathing Atheisthere. (Review starts at the 23:45 part if you don’t like well written comedy. Not that you’ll like the review then either, but I still wanted to include the time stamp.)

So let’s see, we have spot on use of language, and inflicting a film that makes God’s Not Dead look both like  Oscar bait and a subtle, nuanced work of apologetic.  We’ll add that together, carry the one, divide by the square root, multiply by the ………

I got it!

Dear Melissa and Aaron.

Please take your bigot cakes, paid for with bigot bucks, and shove them as far up each of your bigot assholes as you each can reach, you passive aggressive, condescending, holier than thou, asshatted bigots.  While Jesus has surprisingly little to say about homosexuals, considering how much time and effort Christian bigots dedicate to all things gay, your god* could be the most homophobic deity in the pantheon and it still wouldn’t give you a legitimate excuse to not bake the cake.

When you bake a cake for a wedding, you are not giving your blessing and/or seal of approval on the match being made.  No one is asking that of you.  When they ask if anyone has any objection to the wedding, they don’t frantically look around to make sure the cake baker is in the room and giving consent.  It is the same as a county clerk, except even less vital; the clerk is also not approving or blessing the union, they are just verifying that the couple is eligible to get married according to the secular law, while you are just providing a decoration that will probably be shoved into at least one of the couple’s faces.

Melissa, you are a bigot.  Unfortunately, you happen to live during a time period in America where being a bigot pays.  You may have to move to a more bigoted location, or open up a mail order business, but it is beyond certain that while many talented and driven small cake shops will fail in the coming years, you will make a decent living either baking for bigots or speaking to bigots.  But do not let yourself be fooled.  Do not buy into the lie, that you are the one being oppressed, and that you are somehow fighting a fight for religious liberty.  You are not.  You are a homophobic bigot.

Why am I so comfortable in making that statement?  Well, partially this:

When one of the reporters called and asked if the business could make two identical cakes to help a friend celebrate the grant she received for cloning human stem cells, a Sweet Cakes employee simply laughed and said, “It’ll be $25.99 each, so about $50 to start.”

A request for a cake to congratulate a friend on her divorce was also happily accepted, with a Sweet Cakes worker saying, “We can definitely do something like that.”

Sweet Cakes was even happy to take orders for cakes for a pagan summer solstice fete — complete with a green pentagram decoration — and celebrating babies born out of wedlock.

But even more than that is the simple fact that all of you “traditional marriage” people are bigots.  No one is kidnapping the men off your block and forcing them into gay marriages.  You argue for biblical marriage, yet ignore the polygamy running rampant throughout the book.  Marriages were arranged for decent chunks of history, and while clans like the Duggars long for the days when women were passed like property from one man to the next, something tells me that even most Christians are not willingly going to accept arranged marriage.  While we’re keeping things traditional, are we bringing back the dowry as well?  I’ve recently been fascinated with medieval history, and the rare cases where a King or dowager Queen marry for love are often seen as scandalous.  (For one example, the dowager Queen Katherine and Owen Tudor. Or if we’re speaking of dowry, the marriage of Henry VI to “a Queen not worth ten marks”***, Margaret of Anjou.  Ah, traditional marriage.)  If you are that concerned about “traditional” marriage, why aren’t you freaking out about interracial weddings?  Cause you’re fifty years too late?  Cause that type of bigotry isn’t acceptable in polite, Christian circles anymore?  I guess it depends on what “polite, Christian circles” you run in, does it not?****

What about divorce?  You will bake divorce cakes, and something tells me you gladly bake cakes for people’s second (and third, and fourth, and….) weddings when Jesus, your whole fucking reason for refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding, was quite clear (for once) on divorce(my bolding):

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.

10 The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”

11 Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it. Matt 19

See, Jesus’ opinion isn’t “be fruitful and multiply,” it’s “keep it in your pants, but if you absolutely can’t stay celibate, which you definitely should, but if you can’t, I guess you can get married.”  And since he starts the chapter talking about how marriage was totes awesome according to god, who’s the enemy of traditional marriage in this story?  I’ll give you a hint.  It’s the same guy who’s on the other side of the glory hole.

Invariably, about this deep in any anti-marriage equality article, after the author has exhausted the weak arguments available to them, you find the anecdote about the author’s child (or friend’s child) finding out about gay marriage through tv/a magazine cover/ a newspaper cover/ an assigned book in school and that person having to explain something they are uncomfortable talking about to the child, and…..  Well, and then I’m not really sure.  I see this argument all the time I’m really not sure what they want.  The ability to hide reality from their child until that child is of legal age?  Here’s one recent example, from Right Wing Watch (although Wonkette covers it here as well.)

Ruse said that he started to worry when he realized that one of the chefs on Chopped “looked like a butch lesbian” and put his finger on the remote just in case he got exposed to gayness. “But this is the Food Network so we don’t have anything to worry about, right?” he said.

But it was too late. Despite his best efforts, Ruse and his daughter were forced to see a lesbian couple:

So I didn’t have my hand on the trigger fast enough when they did a hard cut to a backstory about this lesbian chef and don’t you know it she’s got her arm around her ‘wife,’ she refers to her ‘wife,’ and I was too slow in fast-forwarding. My eight-year-old Lucy, sweet Lucy, turned to me and said: ‘Did she say wife?’ And I said, ‘No, I think she meant girlfriend.’ And Lucy said, ‘I think she said life.’ God bless the innocence of this child. But they will not let us off the mat, the ideologies who want to cram this thing down our throats no matter where we go.

And it gets worse. Ruse laments that unwitting children may have had their vacations ruined by an edition of USA Today that featured a gay couple kissing:

The day after the decision of the Supreme Court was a full page photograph of two men kissing on USA Today. This is a paper that lands in front of hotel room doors all over the country, this is vacation time, families open that door, children may have opened this door to see two men kissing. They are making us explain things to our children that we don’t want to explain and they know what they’re doing, they absolutely know what they’re doing.

While Ruse complains about being persecuted by the Food Network, let’s remember that this is same anti-gay activist who condemned the United Nations for investigating “discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.”

I mean, I get the urge to protect your children.  If I had kids (and I do have nieces, a nephew, and a young cousin who’s pretty much a niece) I would want to protect them from Confederate battle flags, neo-nazis, Fox News, Westboro Baptist Church, Catholic priests, The 700 Club, guns, and poster sized pictures of aborted fetuses.  But these things all exist, and at age appropriate times, I think it is important to introduce children to the concepts.  I do not want the first time my daughter hears about a poster sized picture of an aborted fetus to be when she’s walking into a Planned Parenthood for her well-woman check and some protester is shoving it in her face.  “Traditional marriage” supporters will throw my own “age appropriate” comment right back in my face, but we aren’t talking about hardcore gay porn here.  We are speaking of the existence of a group of people who most certainly do exist.  Everyone knows a homosexual.  If you do not know a homosexual, it is more than likely because you are a bigot and the homosexuals you do know just aren’t telling you.  Chances are a few of the kids at your child’s school have gay parents.  A lesbian couple on Food Network is not an endorsement of that lifestyle.  A lip to lip kiss on the cover of a newspaper is not a religious statement.  They are just holding a mirror to society.  What evil lifestyle is the couple on Chopped displaying?  The one where you love someone and commit to them in marriage?  Those bastards.

Marriage equality is about love, consent, and equal rights under the law.  Freedom of religion means you do not have to get gay married.  Your church doesn’t have to perform gay weddings.  You and your pastor/priest can bitch about how gay marriage is going to lead to the end of the world all day long, and twice on Sunday.  You are even free, as sick as it is, to raise your kids believing that homosexuality is a sin and that gay marriage is wrong.  (Hopefully you’re not one of those bigots who will throw their child out of the house if they come out as gay.)

What you don’t get is the ability to force that belief on others.  No anti-gay prayers in school (or any prayers for that matter….and note, I am referring to official prayers, not non-disruptive silent prayers by individual students.)  If you hold elective office (or appointed office) you don’t get to refuse to do your job because Jesus.  You took an oath to obey and support the laws of our nation, not those of your book or church.  If you can’t do your job, then quit.  Save us all the trouble of firing you.  Especially when you are more than likely a “fiscal conservative” as well, and it is tax dollars you are wasting grandstanding for martyr points.  If you are a business, then you serve everyone or no one.  Simple, is it not?  Think that isn’t fair?  Well, how would you feel if I had a business and I refused to serve Christians?  Could you imagine what Bill O’Reilly would say about me?  He’d probably have David Silverman on as a guest, show the one picture of me posing with Silverman, and spend the whole segment yelling over David about how much of a treasonous bigoted scum sucking commie I was. But that whole thought experiment is meaningless to you, is it not?  Because you can not place yourself in another person’s skin.

Enjoy your bigot bucks.  Enjoy sending out your condescending cake with the bigger waste of a disc than “Free AOL” software.  Because on this front of the culture war, you lost.  You can pretend that you will out breed the progressives all you want, but most of your children will end up rejecting your bigotry.  The “Sweet Cakes by Melissa” kerfluffle will be a dark family secret, with their great grand children shockingly discovering those bigot were their ancestors, wondering what went wrong, eventually chalking it up to a different time, just as those of us did with ancestors who protested against things like interracial marriage, women’s suffrage, or ending slavery.

Now, get back to shoving that cake so deep in there that you see it in your santorum for the next year.

*While I never really thought of it before, after listening to this week’s diatribe on The Scathing Atheist, I am making a conscious effort to not capitalize “god,” except when it appears at the start of a sentence.  This is a habit I have had for ages, so please don’t mind the inconsistency as I retrain my fingers.

**Dude, I can not be the only atheist who’s retirement plan looks like this:

  • Fake conversion
  • Plead poverty/persecution due to my new found faith
  • Rake in the bigot bucks
  • Write book on my experiences in the Christian fringe movement.

Fucking ethics and morals.  I wonder how “psychics” and alt-med practitioners get rid of those pesky things.

***From the title of chapter 7 in The Wars of the Roses by Alison Weir.  Also from this book comes my personal favorite nickname for the future Queen of England, “la petite creature.” (pg 107)

****Bigotry against an “outgroup” is fascinating.  While I was growing up and during my teen years, bigotry against homosexuals was seen as the standard in my area.  It was the default assumption.  Unless you spoke up, everyone assumed you hated the “fags.”  Those who were different at all for any reason were labeled “fags.”  (Before Nirvana went mainstream, I think I was called “leather fag” more often than my actual name for a while.)  There was also a really strong undercurrent of racism, just not as automatically assumed as the homophobia.  Perhaps because while my school had (I believe, I am not getting out my yearbook) one African-American (in 1994!!!)  and two Indian-Americans in my graduating class, we were just outside of Altoona (and all hung out with people from each school) which had a much more diverse racial make up.

Now, with outright racism largely frowned upon by society and the acceptance of GLBTQ community members as actual normal people, we’re witnessing a strange outbreak of bigotry across multiple fronts as, I don’t know, bigots look for an acceptable place to release it?  From the resurgence of anti-black racism (see the comment thread on any story dealing with Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown) to the last gasps of those who desperately wish they could choke on a nice hard cock (see Brian Fischer, Ray Comfort, Kirk Cameron, et al.) to the shockingly counterproductive anti-Mexican immigrant hate coming from the GOP’s field of presidential candidates (see. well…all of them?) to the confusing issue of actual post 9/11 anti-Middle Easterner racism being lumped together and equated with legitimate criticism of the tenants of the Islamic religion, it seems society is determined to prove those who claimed we had moved beyond race, beyond bigotry as wrong as possible.  What’s the next group?  It can’t be women, although the GOP has made a go of it over the past couple of years, but women simply have too much voting power.  My guess, and we’ve definitely seen it in action before, I just think it will get much more mainstream: bigotry against the poor.  A group with almost no political power, with no money to buy politicians, that is so easily demonized (they buy steak with food stamps!  They get free phones!  Welfare mommas!  Your hard earned tax dollars, Rabble Rabble Rabble!!!)  It’s coming hard, from your local GOP candidate.  Bet on it.

***** Just a note here.  The piece on Jindal is over half done at the moment.  It hasn’t been the best week as it goes with my family and health, so I’ve been a bit behind.  I’m also just about to become unemployed,  hopefully for a very short period of time, which has been cutting into my time.  I will work on getting it up on Monday.  Thanks all for reading this!

Fight Back.

Saturday saw thousands of the War against Women folks take to the street to protest against Planned Parenthood.  They managed to get several anti-Planned Parenthood hashtags trending on Twitter as well.  While the Center for Medical Progress continues to release its deceptively edited videos to outrage the loud and proud ignorant fringe of the right, elected officials with actual power keep attempting to defund PP while wasting taxpayers money with investigations into PP that turn up no wrongdoing.

It is beyond time to fight back.

Abortion only makes up 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services.  Zero federal dollars out of Planned Parenthood’s funding goes to abortion services.  The federal funds go to the other 97% of services Planned Parenthood provides, stuff like STI testing, cancer screenings, contraception prescriptions, and FUCKING prenatal care.  Sure, there are other locations women can go to get these services, but there aren’t enough of them to handle the overflow that would occur if Planned Parenthood actually  disappeared.  Sure, rich and upper middle class women would still find someone to smear their pap, prescribe their birth control, provide prenatal care, or terminate their pregnancy.  These things are never in danger for the rich and upper middle class.  It doesn’t matter how conservative the state Congress gets, or how many clinics get shut down, rich girls from Texas or Mississippi can just get on a plane and fly wherever they need to go to get whatever service they need.

These attacks on Planned Parenthood are attacks on the health and family planning of all women who can’t hop on the jet for a quick trip to Cali for an IUD or an abortion.

The issue isn’t abortion.  It isn’t “selling” baby parts.

The issue is poor people having sex and the right’s quest to make sure they have to face the consequences.

Donate something to PP.  Write your Congress Critter.  Send out a tweet.

And smack down an anti-PP troll on social media.  Do your part for a great organization.