Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Taking Down of a Soundbite.


I saw this cartoon this morning on Facebook, and I thought "wow, what a bunch of fallacies."  This cartoon embodies the majority of Democratic Talking Points since 2008 (with a notable absence of the "War on Women" theme... hmm... wonder why). 

The thing with this cartoon is, many of these arguments can't be boiled down into signs.  They aren't bumper sticker slogans.  They are real issues, with much deeper thought processes.  I'm going to take just a few.

1) We want dirtier air and water so CEO's can make more money.
This issue has to do with the Environment.  It stems from things like the Kyoto Protocol, and various other internationally pushed treaties to help prevent Global Warming, er um... sorry, Climate Change.  Recently our President made a deal with China, whereby we cut our Greenhouse Gas Emissions, while they commit to maybe, possibly, making changes 20 years down the road.  The problem with all of these solutions is that they cost the American Taxpayer a lot of money, while the benefits are a lowering of Global Temperatures by less than half a degree.  
NOBODY wants dirtier air and dirtier water, and contrary to popular opinion it has nothing to do with CEO's making more money.  (For instance, are you aware that both the Federal Government and the State Governments make more money off a gallon of gas than the Oil Companies?)  It has to do with Americans not wishing to be punished at the pump, or at their natural gas lines that heat their houses, for regulations that do little to combat the so-called pollution everyone is screaming about.   If we are going to have to pay astronomically more money, we'd like a larger return on our investment, than say, the EPA declaring the puddle in my backyard a "wetland". 

2)Send our jobs overseas.
Recently, there was a huge flap in the news when the Burger King Corporation bought out Canadian chain Tim Hortons, and proceeded to decide they were going to move their corporate headquarters to Canada. How un-patriotic of them. Of course, the un-patriotic part was that Burger King was taking their profits to a more friendly tax zone.  Canada's corporate tax rate is 26.7%.  The United States?  40%.   We have the highest corporate tax rate in the world.  Also, jobs being sent overseas has a lot to do with onerous regulation in the United States.  I think we need to elect people willing to give incentive for having businesses in the US, whoever those people are.  

3)Stop giving us benefits from our tax money.
This is the most ridiculous of the signs up there.  90% of the taxes I pay don't equal a single benefit for me.  Social Security and Medicare come out separate from the federal tax rate.  The ACA? raised my rates, my deductible, and my willingness to seek medical treatment.  2 years ago?  I didn't have any of those problems.  I don't qualify for a single government benefit.  So my tax money is paying for benefits for other people, not me.  I'd rather keep my money.   Not all of it mind you.  I realize a need for some social safety net, and of course, I'd happily pay more if we raised the salaries of our military.  But the surfer dude in California who doesn't want to get a job and lives off food stamps?  No thanks.

4) Pave our farmlands.
What?  You do realize that of industrialized nations, the US has quite a bit of open space?  Like vast swaths of the middle of the country and the northern part of the country, and...  There is the reason the East Coast is considered a population center.  There is a reason that we jokingly refer to everything west of Pittsburgh and East of Los Angeles "Flyover Country".   As a matter of fact, there are states where the Feds own more land than the rest of the residents combined.  Please explain to me what politician has advocated paving over farm land?  Is this even a serious argument?

5)Yes to costly healthcare.
I'm so over this one it's not even funny.  The ACA was supposed to bend the cost curve down, which no one now even admits to saying it was going to do.  Not only that, but my healthcare has become more expensive and needed medications have been tossed out.  Yes, needed medications.  My husband is not on his last legs.  He works 3 jobs, plays softball, and still does all the work around the house.  He's not dying anytime soon.  He's a productive member of society.  And his needed medication has been denied ever since the ACA took effect.  They don't think he needs  the medicine he's been taking for 4 years.  But my daughter can get her birth control for free!  As Mr. Gruber reminded us Healthy people have to pay more into the system so the sicker people don't.  That's right.  If you are healthy you are now paying for someone else's healthcare, and I'm doing it at the expense of my own.  (See, my unwillingness to go see a Doctor since my $8K deductible ensures I have to pay for it.)  And now, you can just pay the penalty for not having healthcare, wait until you get sick, and not only will you get coverage, but you won't have to pay a dime more than the person who's been paying for coverage for 20 years.  What a plan.  It didn't make healthcare cheaper, it really didn't insure that many uninsured people, and everyone else has sub-par healthcare.  

That's just five of those signs.  Other ones I can't even respond to, because at no point has it been an issue, raised by a single politician.  Just because Tom Steyer thinks "Climate Change" is the number one issue, doesn't mean it is, as his last election track record shows. (His "dark money" track record... to the tune of 60 million dollars.)

What people who don't live here don't understand, and may NEVER understand, is that the United States was founded on one major principle.  Freedom.  That principle runs through every phrase in our constitution.  Just because it's not your governing philosophy doesn't mean it's wrong, and honestly, if our philosophy is so bad, why do so many people risk their lives to come here?  They raft across open water, crawl through ditches and tunnels, and risk getting shot at by unhappy property owners, just for the chance to be here.  Freedom. This country, and it's ruling philosophy is unique, and I get that it leaves socialistic Europeans scratching their heads, but you don't live here.  And it appears that your arguments against our ruling philosophy are boiled down to a cartoon with a bunch of signs that are meaningless in US political debate.  Dude, they aren't even good arguments.



  

Friday, October 3, 2014

From the Desk of a Gamer Mom

I am not a Gamer.  I have to put that disclosure up front.  I play Candy Crush Saga on my phone.  Occasionally I play Guitar Hero or Need for Speed on the Xbox.  However, video games do not hold my attention.  I just happen to the mom of several gamers.  Two of those gamers happen to be female.  Now with all the disclosure out of the way, I am going to write about #GamerGate.

Wait, one more disclosure.  I had someone recently tell me that the entirety of #GamerGate was about a bunch of misogynistic, racist, MRA pondscum, or something like that.  I agreed to disagree with him, because frankly, he's a blogger who I generally like reading his things, and I didn't want to start a war in which I would wipe the floor with him.  His entirety of the subject came from a few feminist-centric gaming journalism sites, and the real point of #GamerGate is a knife in gaming journalism.  He's not about to get an unbiased opinion from them.

Towards the middle of August, I was reading my regular news sites, and I came across an article about Feminists bullying gamers and developers in the gaming industry.  This was my introduction to #GamerGate, the politics of gaming and gaming journalism, and a person who I had never heard of before, Zoey Quinn.  Zoey Quinn is an independent (indie) game developer who released a game on Steam known as Depression Quest.  If you are not in the mood to turn on Radiohead's Creep and slit your wrists, Depression Quest is not for you.  It's development is elementary, it's plotline is downright maudlin, and I'm pretty sure the entire thing was about Social Justice and less about actual, you know, gaming.  It's essentially a novel walk through.  Although widely panned, Steam allowed her to put her game up, and she had favorable reviews from some gaming sites, most notably, Kotaku.  

It seems that Ms. Quinn's personal life blew up in a very public way.  Her boyfriend posted a rather long blog detailing their relationship, and her proclivity to cheat on him with several well-placed names in both the gaming industry and gaming journalism.  Let me add that this particular blog, complete with screen captures of text conversations between the two, was the smoking gun that many gamers needed to prove that there truly were unethical relationships between the industry and the professionals tasked with reviewing the industry.

Gamers had long suspected it, when the simple act of reviewing Gaming based corporations and their individual games was replaced by a rash of Social Justice OpEd's about how the game industry was full of misogyny.  Not just the developers of games, but the actual people who played the games.  Zoey Quinn was a loud voice in the Social Justice Warriors (SJW) movement in gaming.  Another well known name was Anna Sarkeesian.  

While Zoey's rather diverse sexual activities were on public display, it was not about the sexual activities, but more who they were with, and why, in some cases, she refused to make her relationship with her then boyfriend public. (As in, don't want to piss off the journalist I'm sleeping with and get bad press.)

Beyond that, it was suddenly becoming taboo to speak out about this new smoking gun on popular sites such as reddit and 4chan.  Ms. Quinn claimed copyright infringement on a photo image used in a youtube video, an image available in public on the Steam site, to have a video removed that pointed out some of her more egregious actions.  Whole threads and comments were removed.

But still, the main outrage is not connected to Zoey Quinn or her sex life.  It's that her sexlife revealed an unethical connection between Game Developers, Game Publishers, and the journalists who were supposed to be reviewing them.

At first Game Sites simply ignored the entire episode.  Then, in a move that would leave most normal people scratching their heads, twelve to fourteen articles appeared on gaming sites all over the net declaring that "Gamers were dead".  Nothing like spitting on the very people who actually, you know, read your garbage.  It was this move, this blatant refusal to cover a story that had wide reaching implications for an industry, along with essentially crapping all over the audience, that began #GamerGate.

There are so many youtube videos about this, I could not begin to point you to all of them.  InternetAristocrat has some very good links in his descriptions.  He does a good job of telling the story, although the language is vile in parts, so consider that before watching.  There was also a series of articles out of Breitbart London written by







 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Michael Vick, Josh Gordon, Ray Rice and Absurdity in the NFL




No one should be surprised that I decided to weigh in on this subject.  I love football, and I've probably read more on the Ray Rice controversy than I'm willing to admit.

Ray Rice was caught on video dragging his then fiance out of an elevator.  She appeared to be unconscious.  There was no doubt there was an altercation and that Mr. Rice had done something that had rendered this woman unable to walk. As the crime took place in New Jersey, that is where he was charged, and was later accepted into a first time offender's program.  He was indicted, there was a police file, and he admitted to hitting her.  The NFL's Roger Goodell handed down a two game suspension. Baltimore's coach, John Harbaugh,  asserts that Ray Rice is a great guy.  He knocked her unconscious.  Unconscious. 

Fast forward a few weeks to the release, by TMZ, of a video from inside the elevator.  A video that showed him cold-cocking Janay Palmer in the face.  Well, now we know the exact act that caused her to be unconscious.  The NFL suspends Ray Rice indefinitely.  The Baltimore Ravens release him.  It was about time.

But did they really need to see the video of him punching her in the face to make the point that a two game suspension didn't quite add up?  Obviously, he had to do something, and it had to be pretty effective, to have knocked her out, to the point where he was forced to drag her out of the elevator like a sack of potatoes. Why was it, that the NFL needed the punch thrown in their face before they chose to actually, you know, taken a real stand against domestic violence of this sort?

Michael Vick was slapped with an indefinite suspension for dog fighting.  He did eventually return to the NFL after serving 19 months in a federal prison.  
Lesson number one from the NFL: Dog-Fighting Trumps Women Beating.

Josh Gordon, of the Cincinnati Bengals was suspended for a year, for a second time marijuana offense.  
Lesson number two from the NFL:  If you are going to hit something, it should be a woman.

After the video surfaced, it didn't take long for Roger to change his mind.  There are a lot of questions as to why, but the simple fact is:
Lesson number three from the NFL: If you are going to hit your girlfriend, make sure it's not on camera.

Am I being unfair?  Possibly.  Michael Vick deserved his suspension.  He broke the law.  Josh Gordon deserved his suspension, he broke a rule that isn't a secret in the NFL.  (It's not clear he broke the law since it's possible his marijuana use may have taken place in Colorado.) Ray Rice?  Should never be holding a football again.  And Roger Goodell ought to be a decent human being and resign.  For more than a few weeks, it was clear that domestic violence didn't stack up against dog-fighting and weed-smoking.  It sent the wrong message.  And frankly, no regular human being needed to see a video to know that.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

On Rockets, Missiles, and a Right to Exist.

On October 2, 2002, a man killed crossing a parking lot in Maryland would be the beginning shot in a 22 day long terror-filled shooting spree for residents of the Beltway. (For those of you who are unaware, the Beltway includes Washington D.C. and sections of Maryland and Virginia.)  Ten people were killed, three more were critically injured, and the only thing they were doing was going about their daily lives.  The rest of the country watched in horror, and the residents of the Beltway lived in fear.  On October 24, the FBI apprehended the two men responsible for all that terror.  If you lived anywhere near the Beltway it was a scary time.  Frankly, just a year after 9/11, it was still a scary time for everyone.  

Now imagine that instead of using a Bushmaster Rifle, Muhammad and Malva had been using bottle rockets, rocket propelled grenade launchers and missiles.  Imagine spending the day waiting for the sirens to go off so you could dash for your local bomb shelter and sit in fear while explosions rained down on your head.  Imagine the fear for your children, in schools, knowing that it was highly possible they were also currently under attack.  You are crying out for your government to do something.... anything.... to stop this.  But the government sits on their hands, because it appears that Muhammad and Malva are storing and using their weapons from buildings containing sick people and children.  (People who happen to be on their side.)  The government doesn't want innocent civilian casualties, so please, just continue huddling in your bomb shelter, and hope one of those rockets doesn't catch you in the street.

Do you think anything like that would ever stand in the United States of America?  What if Mexico started launching missiles into the southern states?  What if they were launching those missiles from schools and hospitals?  If your life was threatened, daily, by a group of people who's own political charter was calling for your complete and utter eradication, would you want our own government to do ... nothing?  

That's where Israel is right now.  The people of Gaza elected Hamas, a known terrorist organization, whose charter calls for nothing less than the complete destruction of Israel.  Hamas has been shooting missiles into Israel for days now.  They used international aid meant to help the people of Gaza out of poverty to build secret tunnels so their suicide bombers could gain access to Israel.  They have suffered under a blockade, because frankly, everything the international community sends them, they use to intensify their war on Israel.  They have missiles stored in United Nations buildings.  And the response of so many people in the U.S. is, so what?  Israel is killing innocent civilians and they have no right.  They have no need to be doing this.  Nothing justifies what they are doing.  Never mind that Hamas uses women and children as human shields, and conducts their wars from schools and hospitals.  Never mind that, the truth, that pesky little thing, is that Hamas is completely responsible for every civilian casualty. 

So do me a favor.  Go look out your window.  Now imagine a roaring rocket propelled grenade slamming through that window and killing your favorite pet.  And would you be willing to sacrifice the life of that pet, because your neighbor thinks your cherry tree is on property that belongs to him?  Even though your cherry tree isn't on his property, you moved it years ago.  Even though you've given him every concession in order to make your neighborly relationship easier? Even though the state gives him a check every week to maintain that property (and you are pretty sure he is using that money to purchase the grenades he is now shooting through your window).   Just tell Fluffy he has to die for the cause, because your neighbor has every right to shoot that rocket, and you really have no right to retaliate.

That's Israel and Hamas.  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

When in the Course of Human Events


America is not perfect.  As a country, we have made our fair share of mistakes.  Some of those mistakes were egregious, like slavery.  Some of them were mistakes of necessity, like the Civil War.  (Yes, I realize that many people would argue with me on the point of the Civil War.  Just hear me out.)  Whenever necessary, we seek to correct our most horrendous mistakes.  However, America cannot correct her past mistakes, by throwing out the rule of law in the present or the future. 

Recently, President Obama and other Administration Officials made it very clear that, since Congress was refusing to pass "Comprehensive Immigration Reform", the President himself would enact certain Executive Orders to accomplish that reform on his own.  I do not wish to discuss the legality of the President essentially re-writing laws, or writing his own laws, or refusing to enforce already written laws.  I am not a legal scholar.  However, when the President made it clear that he wanted to allow certain immigrants, who came here outside of the rule of the law, to stay, he was sending a message.  That message was heard loud and clear, and now we have a humanitarian crisis in one of the most prosperous countries in the world.  The reason for the influx of unaccompanied minors has been debated loudly, but I don't think it takes a Rhodes Scholar to understand that when the President promised amnesty to certain subsets of our illegal immigration population, he invited what is currently happening.  Get in quickly, and you won't have to leave.  How many parents, for whatever reason, stuffed their kids in the back of a truck and shipped them off to the United States in the hopes that some type of better life might be in their future?  As a parent, if I was living in a poor, crime-ridden place, and I saw any opportunity to get my child out, I might be tempted to try it.  I can understand that.  However, on the other side of that line, is the rule of law.

It was this same rule of law that kept Austrian, Polish and German Jews from being able to emigrate to the United States at a time when Hitler was calling for their broad extermination.  At the time, popular support was not in favor of loosened immigration for Jews, and also, there was some thought, after our entrance into World War II, that the Germans would be able to turn these former German nationals into spies.  (Someone could attempt to write a blog explaining why we thought people who were fleeing Germany to get away from Hitler would then want to turn spy for him.)  The point is, the rule of law prevailed at a time when it's possible we should have been having a discussion about allowing more Jewish refugees into our country.  It was either here or death, in many cases.  And not just "possible death" because of crime or poverty or drug lords.  It was death mandated by German law.    By 1952, this country had allowed 137,450 Displaced Jews into the United States.  Between 1936 and 1952, in case there was any confusion.

In 2013, we granted visas to 158,667 persons from North America. (For clarification, the INS does not have a Central American breakdown in their report.  It's either North America or South America.)

In one year we let in more immigrants from poverty-stricken, crime ridden countries than we let in persecuted displaced Jews in 16 years.  It doesn't erase the mistakes of the early 20th century, but it does show we have grown.  At some point, we figured out that "to whom much is given much is required".   We learned from our past mistakes, and we are not making that same mistake again.  However, we let in 158,000+ last year, and now there are somewhere around 50,000 unaccompanied minors who did NOT go through the legal requirements, and we are being told that the compassionate thing to do is just let them in.  Who takes care of them?  Who pays for their food, clothing, education, and health care?  Do we bring the parents here too?  And then who takes care of the parents?  These people have no jobs, no money, and no way to support themselves.  Those are things you have to prove you can do before we give you a visa to come here.  The law is, you can't be a drain on our system, which is already drained enough, considering we have somewhere around 10 million illegal immigrants in this country already that, in many cases, are collecting federal and state benefits.  We have laws for a reason.  

If we really feel it's compassionate to take in more people from these countries, then the proper way to do that, is to simply allow more people to obtain visas.  We have the ability to do that.  We, as a country, do not have the ability to federally support thousands upon thousands of people.  We are struggling to pay our own bills and take care of our own citizens (and the already entrenched illegal population).  We still have the lowest workforce participation rate since the Great Depression.  

Our President needs to acknowledge that this is a problem, and it's more than likely his pronouncements from his telephone and pen allowed people to believe that if they could just get in, they'd be allowed to stay.  These children need to be sent back to their parents, and their parents needs to be encouraged to follow the legal methods available for them to come here, and make an attempt to obtain the American Dream.

For those who think that I'm not compassionate, when you are willing to walk down to one of these holding facilities, pick a child, take them in, and take care of them as if they were your own, then you can play the compassion card.  When you are willing to pay for legal advisers to go to those countries and help these people through the red tape that is immigration, then you can play the compassion card.  Or you could simply volunteer to be a sponsor to an immigrant family.  But posting facebook statuses about how it would be compassionate to foist more people on the American Taxpayer?  Not compassionate.  Put your money where your mouth is.

Until then, our President and the rest of our government needs to do what we put them there to do.  Enforce the laws.  We have laws for a reason, and as you all keep reminding me, it's the law, deal with it. (Of course, I'm being reminded of that in reference to Obamacare, but.... )

*For those of you still wondering why I called the Civil War a necessary mistake, well, that's another blog for another time. :)

**The above picture is a group of 100 Displace Jewish Children who were rescued from certain death in Germany.  Let that number sink in... 100

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Fiction as Fact

From the Twitterverse:

Cecil Richards: Birth Control is basic health care used by 99% of women - unbelievable that we're fighting for it in 2014. #NotMyBossesBusiness

Lena Dunham: Women's access to birth control should not be denied because of their employer's religious belief.

Nancy Pelosi: Allowing CEO's to limit the medical procedures available to employees is a gross violating of workers religious rights.

Elizabeth Warren: Can't believe we live in a world where we'd even consider letting big corps deny women access to basic care based on vague moral objections.


I could go on, but it's not necessary.  Just those four tweets alone give me enough to write about, and that doesn't include all the facebook comments I had the pleasure *cough cough* of reading today.

I am simply amazed at either the wholesale lying, complete disregard for facts, or just plain low-information idiocy that has been connected to the Supreme Court decision today in the cases of both Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood. 

 Legally, this was a very narrowly structured decision, relating to contraception methods that could be considered abortifacients.  The majority opinion went so far as to say other medical procedures or medications were NOT covered by this decision, and by the way, at no point did the Supreme Court give carte blanche for corporations to deny employment or rights to gay people.  Let's just start with that.  The decision was based on closely held corporations, not large broad public corporations.  It is about as narrow of a decision as you can get.  Try finding a few reputable, non-partisan, SCOTUS related sites.  

At no point is anyone denied access to any method of contraception.   If they allowed your only local pharmacy to refuse to carry a product, that could be interpreted as denying access.  However, if you can go to a doctor and get an IUD put in, or you can go to your local pharmacy and get Plan B, you have access.  All that anyone was denied was the right to have someone else pay for it.

This is not a blow to women's rights.  Let me know where you find a right to free contraception in the Constitution.  

Also, for those of you who would like to comment and say "it's not my bosses business", and my favorite "stay out of my vagina", then explain why you are expecting them to pay for something that is none of their business and that they need to stay out of.

Those are the best arguments I've seen.

Here are a few that totally blow me away, to the point of complete insanity.

"Christians should be ashamed that these people are hiding behind the Bible."

"Hobby Lobby are a bunch of hypocrites because they invest in companies that provide the drugs they refuse to pay for and also companies that supply medical equipment necessary for abortions."

"The idea that Corporations are people is scary."

If Christians are ashamed that someone is taking a stand about their Bible-based beliefs, then those Christians ought to spend some time 1) reading the Bible and 2) praying.  You can disagree with them on the basis of Christian liberty, but I'm pretty sure taking a stand is an integral part of the Bible.  And you don't stop taking a stand simply because you happen to have the nerve to own a business.  Somehow, I fail to see God accepting the excuse "well, I didn't think that I should say anything or fight against that because I incorporated my business".  

Hobby Lobby has investments in both pharmaceutical companies and medical device companies through 401K's provided to their employees.  This comes from a recent Mother Jones "expose", and a Forbes editorial calling them hypocrites.  Let me mention, that as far as I know, Hobby Lobby does not have corporate investments in these companies.  The only investments they have in these businesses is through a 401K, that is, most likely, administered by an outside investment company.  I do not know how their 401K is set up.  I know that with my husband's, we were able to choose certain companies to invest our money in.  The choice was ours, and any matching funds from his company were simply distributed to the companies we chose in the amount we chose.  Other investment firms just have a standard plan where they choose the investments.  And yes, Hobby Lobby matches employee donations, but as part of the employees salary, that is their money to do with as they please.  As far as I am aware, the Hobby Lobby Corporation itself is not making money off of investments to these businesses, but even if they were, they are investing in companies that produce a wide variety of drugs and medical equipment.  And some of the same medical equipment used in abortions is also use in heart, brain, lung, and other surgeries.  A suction isn't bad simply because it's used in abortion.  It may also be used in removing blood clots.  If we all stopped buying products from a company because we dislike something else they sell, we'd stop buying pretty much...everything.  Hobby Lobby is no more hypocritical than those people screaming for privacy in the bedroom while demanding someone else pay for their actions in the bedroom.

What is a corporation? A corporation is a group of people, in association, who have certain powers and liabilities as that association distinct from it's members as individuals.  The most common reason for incorporating is so that the individuals are not assessed the liabilities.  The "corporation" is.  Also, as such the individuals assets are not the corporations assets.  But a corporations is made up of individual people, and as far as I'm aware, those people don't cease to have rights simply because they own a business and wanted their personal assets and liabilities separate from that of their business.  Especially in the case of small businesses that are not owned by the broader public, they have more leeway as to how their business is run.  They don't necessarily have to answer to hundreds or even thousands of individual investors.  If you work for a corporation, you are still a person.  Unless you'd like to give up personhood, as you seem to think that those people at the top of the food chain ought to do.  If corporations are forced to give up their first amendment protections, then they should also be forced to give up all the other ones.  And if you think this case was the nail in the coffin to that, you missed a bigger decision on this several years ago.

That case was Citizens United Vs. FEC.  And in that decision, the Supreme Court decided that it was unconstitutional to deny corporations and labor unions, whether for profit or non-profit, the right to political speech.  (It did not change the campaign donation laws, however, if the corporation or union in question wanted to produce their own political advertisement, they were entitled to do so under the First Amendment.)  In this free speech case, the Supreme Court treated corporations as individuals afforded the protections given to individual people in our Constitution.  

So scary, for those who think the whole corporations as people is scary, happened 4 years ago.  

My feeling is that the basis for the outrage is because this case was based in religious beliefs.  More and more, in America, the freedom to practice religion, is under attack, unless you practice it in a closet somewhere, where no one else can see you (and therefore not be offended by you).  At least if you are a Christian.  

You can object to the decision based on it's merits, but the objections made based on fear-mongering statements that contain nothing remotely close to fact?  They are hollow and will not wash with the majority of people who actually know the facts.  Try actually looking them up, please?

*side note:  Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood will both supply 16 forms of contraception.

*side note2: The second set of "facts" is not sourced, as most of those were on my personal facebook, and I have no desire to out people in public who may wish to remain private.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Numbers Don't Lie

Abortion is a passionate topic for me.  I am very anti-abortion.  I refuse to use the terms "pro-life" (because I am also pro-death penalty) or "pro-choice (that term is innocuous and wrong.  So many pro-choice people are only pro-choice about abortion).   I think if we are going to have an honest discussion about abortion, we have to be honest about the whole thing.  Throw off the pretty terms and state the truth.  So, I am very much anti-abortion.  If someone on the other side wishes to call me anti-choice, so be it.  They won't hurt my feelings. (I am totally pro-choice in a whole lot of other areas that don't include killing innocent unborn children.)  I tend to get loud when discussing abortion, and specifically Planned Parenthood.  

My problem with Planned Parenthood is that they are billed as a women's health services organization, but really, they are mostly concerned with women's reproductive systems.  In all fairness, that makes them about the same as your OB/GYN.  This isn't necessarily a problem, it's just highly dishonest advertising.  They mainly concern themselves with birth control, pelvic exams, STD screening, and abortion.  They are the largest abortion provider in the U.S.  

My biggest issue with Planned Parenthood stems from it's origins.  It was started by a woman named Margaret Sanger, and she was a rabid eugenicist who believed in forced sterilization, birth control and abortion for minorities, religious people, and basically anyone she deemed unfit to procreate.  

 We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities.  The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.
~Margaret Sanger in Women, Morality and Birth Control

Essentially, Planned Parenthood was based on the idea that getting rid of non-whites and whites with less intelligence than Ms. Sanger herself, was a fabulous idea.  Eugenics would become a cornerstone of Hitler's Third Reich.  Yes, I just compared Sanger to Hitler, and with a little bit of research into what she believed, the comparison is not hard to make.

Maybe today's Planned Parenthood leaders are not as overtly into eugenics as their esteemed founder, but little has been done to change that mission.  When Kermit Gosnell was arrested for murder (and previously sued for wrongful death), it wasn't white women and their unborn children he was butchering.  For more than 20 years he preyed on the less fortunate minorities in Philadelphia.  

80% of Planned Parenthood clinics are in minority neighborhoods.  Around 60% are in majority black neighborhoods.  

While black women make up just 13% of the population, they account for 37% of the abortions in this country. 

White people make up more than 70% of our population, yet account for only 34% of all abortions.  Minorities account for the other 66% (yes, my 70% figure is not as far off as I thought).  

Seems to me that Sanger's plan is moving along just fine, even though she's long gone.

A few more numbers that might interest you:

Planned parenthood claims that only 3% of their services are abortion.  That number is highly misleading.  In the case of abortion, they count all appointments as one service.  (Consultation, abortion procedure and any followup).  If you get your birth control through PP for an entire year, each month is counted as an individual service.  3 visits for abortion, 1 service.  12 packs of birth control, 12 services.  (Just a little misleading.)  And while not using their misleading statistics still only gives abortion a 12% rate of service, 1/3 of all their clinic revenue  most likely comes from....abortion.  (We can't be sure, because their statements are vague on where exactly their revenue comes from.)  Planned Parenthood claims to do breast cancer screening, however, that is a breast exam, similar to the one you get during your annual OB/GYN appointment.  (Or, one you can do at home.)  PP does not do mammograms.  They refer you to someone who does, the same way your OB or GP would do.  On top of that, the recommendation for mammograms is for people over 50 (currently).  The majority of Planned Parenthood's customer base is a whole lot younger than that.  Good business sense would say that providing mammograms would not be cost affective for an organization like PP.  

The numbers don 't lie.  And I'd love to have an honest discussion about abortion, where we admit that it unfairly targets minorities, and that Planned Parenthood plays a big roll in that issue.

*This whole though process was brought up as my daughter was working on studying for her AP Political Science Exam.  She was asked to point to something that denied a minority civil rights.  I thought abortion fit the question well, since it overwhelmingly denies the basic right of life to the minority population of the U.S.





 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

In Which Amy Makes People Angry

I am almost positive that part of this post will make a lot of people angry.  I was involved in a discussion on another site recently where the topic was "Rape Culture". 

I will start off by mentioning that I hate that term.  Part of the reason is, because until last night, I failed to fully understand the term.  Seriously, what the heck is "rape culture"?  Who determines what the definition is?  I have found several definitions, but I will post the one from Marshall University.

 Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture.  Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety.

I can admit that in times past, and still in other countries, rape is not treated as a crime.  However, if you live in the great USA, rape is a crime, and has been for quite some time.  I would also mention that our culture, while overtly sexual (and later we'll discuss how that fits into all this), is not a culture that condones or normalizes rape.  If you really think about it, if you even tried to normalize rape you'd be tarred and feathered in a public square.

Misogyny is defined as hatred for women.  I have this feeling that I need to explain this definition. It means someone who hates women, simply because they are women.   My need to explain this may stem from the fact that modern feminists believe if you dislike any woman, or even a certain type of woman, it makes you misogynistic.  (In the same way that some people think if you dislike a single black person you must be a racist.)  In the simple definition of misogyny, I think it's clear what would qualify as misogynistic language.  It's language that directs hate at a women or group of women, based on the simple fact that they are female.   I sit here and think of the last 5 television shows I watched (since media is pointed to as one of the places that rape culture is normalized and excused).  Grey's Anatomy - where Christina Yang was just nominated for a prestigious award and offered her dream job.  Modern Family - where Phil is the bumbling idiot and his wife Claire is smarter, more together and just plain better.  House - where House is a jerk, Chase is a pretty boy with a complex, Foreman is egotistical, and Cameron, the female is caring, wonderful and perfect. (House, by the way, is a feminist's dream example of misogyny.)  Justified - where the criminal mastermind is a woman, who has spent plenty of years selling drugs and running a local organized crime syndicate and her goofball son is the one who destroyed it.  Continuum, where the lead, Kyra is a strong female police officer who basically can conquer the world all on her own.  Not seeing any misogyny there.  In reverse, I would generally say, with the exception of Grey's Anatomy (who treats men as smart and capable, of course, they are mostly surgeons so they have to be), modern television elevates the woman at the expense of men.

The objectification of women's bodies is something that I have a slight issue with, although not in the same way that other people do.  I think it's perfectly fine for a man to appreciate a beautiful woman he sees on TV or in the mall or at the local grocery store (or what he thinks is a beautiful woman).   That's how guys are wired.  But where is all the outcry over the beautiful naked women on the covers of pornography magazines, who are there solely to be objectified.  How about the ones in the movies that you have to get in stores where 18 is the minimum age for even stepping foot in the store?  How about the whores on the street corner?  Or the girls who waitress at Hooters?  All of those things are extreme objectification of a women's body, and yet time after time, the loudest voices yelling about rape culture will at the very least keep silent about those things, and at the worst?  Defend a women's right to participate in them.  Rape culture out of one side of the mouth, defense of a women's right to be objectified out of the other.  In normal circles we call this hypocrisy.

Maybe I don't travel in the same circles as other people, but I have never seen the glamorization of sexual violence.    I have seen the violence portrayed in a sexual light.  I think that happens all the time.  Violence is sexy!  Who didn't think Uma Thurman was sexy as anything in Kill Bill?  You know the movie where she stabs, slices, shoots, and beats people to death?  A lot of people. Rape Culture crazies can come talk to me about rape culture when they are decrying that.

According to Marshall, these three things disregard women's rights and women's safety.  

However, these same people who are screaming, wailing and having apoplexy over "rape culture" will tell you that condom distribution outweighs teaching kids that abstinence is the best way to avoid pregnancy and STDs.  

Remember when I mentioned our overtly sexual culture?   This culture encourages kids, at younger and younger ages, to be sexually active.  This culture uses sex to sell almost anything.  We have a hypersexual culture.  And much of that was started and encouraged by the very people who scream about rape culture.  Free love (which turned out to be disease ridden love), sex is just a natural physical reaction (have it all you want, with whoever you want, no commitment necessary), women can do anything guys can do (including become the go-to sex kitten at the Friday night party).  These same people sold the culture on the fact that outside of the sexual organs, men and women are biologically the same.  And while equal pay and equal rights are awesome goals, it wasn't just about that.  That movement has intended to produce equal behaviors.  One of the best ways to do that was to convince women that sexually they have the same goals, instincts and behaviors as men.  To really push it, we need to encourage those behaviors in younger people.  If we have a rape culture (and I still don't believe we do), the very people who are screaming about it, are the ones who started it.  And if you sit back and poo poo their crazy ideas (and let me tell you, they have crazy ideas), you are a rape apologist.  

In a hypersexualized culture, there is most likely more rape.  But if you want to change that,  you don't do it by "teaching our young men respect for boundaries."  I'm pretty sure most parents do that.  You teach that sex isn't a game, or a passing fancy, or something to do on the weekend when you are bored.   And in case you are wondering, you don't just teach that to young men.  When you factor in the FBI definition of rape, men are as likely to have been raped as women, and nearly half of those men report their assailant as female.  You teach people to be smart, to be aware of their situations, to never put themselves in a situation to become a victim.  Don't go to a frat party and get so drunk you don't have a clue what you did last night.  Don't leave your drink unattended at a bar.  Don't walk down a dark alley at night by yourself.  (Just me saying that is perpetuating rape culture, by the way.)   And you teach them that sex is sacred, beautiful, and not something you hand out like candy on Halloween.  

The idea of rape culture is born out of a culture that in truth should be labeled the "sex culture".  And until these saints, these future Mother Teresas, are willing to change that, they should shut up about their precious rape culture.  They created this society, and now they aren't too keen to live in it.  Tough crap.

  

Monday, April 7, 2014

The New American Way

Adam Weinstein, a blogger at Gawker, thinks that anyone who is not on board the Climate Change Train should be imprisoned.

Katherine Timpf, a reporter for Camus Reform, was told that a feminist leadership conference was "inclusive" and she was "not welcome here".  

Charles Murray is a white supremacist for holding views on Education that don't fit within the platform of the Texas Democrat Party.

It's anti-free speech to allow people to contribute as much as they want to political campaigns.  

The very people who passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act now want us to forget they ever passed it.

Lois Lerner faces contempt charges for refusing to speak (after already giving testimony, which is what she did when she proclaimed her innocence) on the IRS targeting certain groups.  Mostly conservative groups.

The Anti-Koch Harry Reid funneled thousands upon thousands of dollars, illegally, to his granddaughter.

And there is that California State Senator, champion of gun control, who was, quite possibly, running illegal guns to Chinese Mobsters.

Last, there is that guy...you know the one who brilliantly helped create Mozilla Firefox, who was forced to resign because he gave money to Proposition 8 back in 2008.  Proposition 8 was the ballot initiative for traditional marriage in California.  You know who else favored traditional marriage in 2008?  President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton.  

This is the new American Way.  People who are brilliant in their field of business can't have a job because they don't support gay marriage.  If you dare to question the orthodoxy on Climate Change, you should be imprisoned.  The Koch Brothers are evil and trying to buy elections (but please don't pay attention to my illegal funds transfers to my family).  Free speech!!! (Unless that speech comes from people I don't like and supports positions I don't support).  Oh, and citizens should NOT be allowed to own semi-automatic weapons (but, fully automatic weapons and rocket launchers are just fine in the hands of organized crime.)  

Yeah, that's all I have to say.




Thursday, March 27, 2014

Adding to the Noise




I should probably not be adding to the noise today, but shutting up has never been one of my better qualities.

I posted a minor status on facebook about a recent Supreme Court case, because there are a lot of uninformed people out there.  The case: Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby.  All you had to do was listen to the protesters outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday, and you got a very...interesting... take on this case.  You see, they are claiming that Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood are standing in the way of women's rights.  Their rights to contraception.  That these two businesses, by refusing to subsidize certain forms of contraception, are actually forcing women back into the 1960's, or something like that.

“The Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear arguments in a case that pits religious liberty against women’s rights.” 
~Adam Liptake, New York Times, March 24, 2014

So, we'll start with this premise.  Hobby Lobby would like to be exempt from Plan B and IUDs.  Both methods of birth control could cause already fertilized eggs to be aborted.  These methods of contraception comprise only 4 of the 20 available options under the Affordable Care Act.   Hobby Lobby is more than willing to cover the other 16.  Moreover, Hobby Lobby is not saying women cannot take Plan B or use IUDs.  They are simply saying that, as a matter of faith, they should not be forced to subsidize them.  So when discussing "women's rights", I'm pretty sure no one here is denying women the right to purchase these drugs.

Many of the protesters on Tuesday were holding signs said that contraception is a choice between a woman and her doctor.  I have no problem with that.  However, in this case, what they really want is the choice to be between the woman and her doctor, and the company to pay for that choice.  By demanding coverage be provided, at no cost to the employee, you are inviting your company to participate in your choices.  You don't really have a right to scream privacy while actively demanding that someone be "on the hook" for whatever it is you are doing "privately". 

How about those signs that said "stay out of my bedroom."  Gladly.  I have no desire to be in your bedroom and I'm sure the Greens (of Hobby Lobby fame), don't want to be there either.  So how about you stop demanding that they pay for your activities there?  It's simple.  If you truly want people to stay out of your sex life, don't ask them to pay for it.

Back in my 20's, my husband and I lived, literally, paycheck to paycheck.  On pennies, sometimes. (Literally, pennies at the bottom of the change cup.)  Our insurance did not cover birth control.  Somehow I managed to squeeze the money for it.  Maybe we didn't have dinner out one  night when we really wanted to.  We skipped seeing that movie in the theater and watched it when it came out on DVD.  But, since I wanted to control my own fertility, I made the sacrifices necessary to do that. 

 I have a hard time feeling bad for someone typing out statuses on facebook from their $600 iphone, about how they got drunk at a bar the night before.  A status full of typos because they just got their nails done.  And with the status is a picture of that new cut and color.   Today sacrifice means $15 bucks at the local clinic (which is about the cost of getting those nails done and about 1/4 of the cost of a cut and color). And yet, they gathered, like oppressed underdogs, in front of the Supreme Court, and tried to claim someone was violating their rights, their doctor-patient relationship and their privacy. 

Better yet, if this was a church, or a charity, or one of those dreaded 501(c4) organizations, we wouldn't be having this conversation.  They are exempt, based on their religious beliefs.  But if you happen to make a profit, well you're screwed.  You don't get to have morals.  Corporations that make money are run by individuals, who simply because they run a business, have somehow abdicated their Constitutional Rights.  That's what the current Administration, the Liberal News Media, and the left-wing activist base want you to believe.  

But wait, these same people, who say corporations are not individuals and thus don't have a claim to the first amendment (since it applies to individuals) will swear that the second amendment is a collective (or corporate) right, not an individual right.  

Individuals, regardless of their business ownership, do not cease to be afforded the protections of the Constitution.   You don't have to like it, but if you live in this country you do have to deal with it.  

This country has, since the beginning of time, been based on the rights of individuals, the freedom of individuals.  You are perfectly free to go to your local pharmacy and buy Plan B.  You do not have the right to insist that someone else pay for it, even if it goes against everything they believe in.  The Administration, Congress and the Senate would have done well to remember that when they cobbled together this atrocious legislation and rammed it down our throats.  The poor me crowd would do well to remember it, because if they win, this very decision could very well come back to bite them in the ass.