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And Now from the Department of Y’all Should Really Just STFU

10:19 am in Politics by dakine01

Caricature of Todd Akin

Caricature of Todd Akin

During this year’s silly season aka the stretch drive to the November elections, I have been watching the self immolation of various Republican campaigns around the country with a bit of fascination. The topic of rape and incest as exceptions allowing a woman to have an abortion has caused great consternation amongst the chattering classes. From Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” to Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock’s “pregnancy from rape something God intended” (a variant on Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s rape is just another “method of conception“) to Oregon Washington US House candidate John Koster’s “the rape thing” to Wisconsin State Rep. Roger Rivard’s “some girls rape easy,” the topic of rape and abortion has been making headlines across the nation. But as Mr. Pierce notes, these sentiments are not the exception but:

…close to the mainstream of Republican thinking on the subject of abortion, which it is. (It is precisely the position maintained in the Republican platform, which did away with the exception for rape and incest with much fanfare down in Tampa.)

And of course, we also have Connecticut Senate candidate Linda McMahon chiming in to continue the “short ride” tradition first offered us by Senator Joe Lieberman as supporters of amendments allowing hospitals to refuse to provide emergency contraception for rape victims.

Rape, to me, is one of the three most heinous crimes going, along with Domestic Violence and Child Sexual Abuse. These crimes often go unreported, in many instances because the victim is not believed and is made to feel victimized repeatedly after reporting the crime. I loved my father deeply but I remember him telling me that he had served on a rape trial jury one time probably 30 plus years ago and they found the defendant not guilty because “she was asking for it” and that response always has bothered me.

I am a late middle-aged white male and the odds are pretty good that I will not be raped in this lifetime. But as the NY Times reported back in December:

Nearly one in five women surveyed said they had been raped or had experienced an attempted rape at some point, and one in four reported having been beaten by an intimate partner. One in six women have been stalked, according to the report.

With that information, I can confidently say that I would wager that more than a few of my female relatives, friends, and acquaintances have been raped or assaulted. I don’t know who or how many nor do I want to know as that pretty much fits the definition of a “Nunya.” And this is why I decided I needed to speak out about these idiot statements about rape. As heinous as rape is, the main point to remember about all of these statements is the desire to limit a woman’s freedom of choice, freedom to terminate a pregnancy or not. At this point, rape is a symptom, not the underlying problem. The underlying problem is the on-going, seemingly never ending desire for a bunch of old men to control what women do with their bodies. By even discussing “exceptions” that would “allow” an abortion, we lose sight of the primary issue and that is:

no one should be allowed to tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her own body.

As I noted above, I am a late middle-aged white male. I’m even less likely to become pregnant in this lifetime than I am to be raped. I have no authority or need to tell a woman what she should do. If a woman is raped, becomes pregnant, and decides to carry the baby to term, BRAVA! That is what choice is all about. It is her choice and her choice only. Just as terminating any pregnancy or having a child is the woman’s choice and the woman’s choice alone.

Such a simple concept yet so very difficult for so many to understand.

Update: Fixed state for John Koster. H/t Teddy Partridge

And because I can:

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Just put the damn pedophile enablers in jail already.

11:04 am in Uncategorized by dakine01

Father Groeschel being seduced? (photo: patsw / flickr)

When I write blog posts, I usually try to stay away from certain hot button issues. I try to write about things that have a somewhat global impact such as the (execrable) state of the economy. But every now and again, I see an article or series of articles where the claims made are so egregious and the conduct so reprehensible, that I have to respond, even if it means burning a bridge. An example of this is this diary I wrote over at MyFDL 2 1/2 years ago after the Archdiocese of Denver banned a child from enrolling in one of their schools because his parents were lesbians.

Today, I have had another one of those moments when I saw this article from Huffington Post. The headline alone was enough to cause my blood pressure to spike:

Father Benedict Groeschel, American Friar, Claims Teens Seduce Priests In Some Sex Abuse Cases

WHAT THE FCK?!?!? How do we even respond to shite of this nature? This goes way beyond “blame the victim.” The HuffPo article quotes from the original article at National Catholic Register but it appears the original has been taken down. The link in the HuffPo article now goes to a dead comments page and though a search on the NCR site looks to bring up the original interview, clicking the links also goes to the same dead comments page.

Even without the original, just the pieces that HuffPo has, has me shaking I am so angry:

Pressed for clarification, the New York State-based religious leader explained that kids looking for father figures might be drawn to priests to fill an emotional hole in their lives.

Furthermore, Groeschel expressed a belief that most of these “relationships” are heterosexual in nature, and that historically sexual relationships between men and boys have not been thought of as crimes.

“If you go back 10 or 15 years ago with different sexual difficulties — except for rape or violence — it was very rarely brought as a civil crime. Nobody thought of it that way… And I’m inclined to think, on [a priest's] first offense, they should not go to jail because their intention was not committing a crime.”

What fucking universe does this man inhabit? “Their intention was not committing a crime?” So what? Children were sexually abused and the Catholic Church hierarchy across the world condoned and covered it up by shipping offending priests to a new parish. Treating these acts as a “civil crime” is part of the damn problem.

If this rant comes across as a bit incoherent then forgive me but in my world, there are certain crimes that I find unforgivable and sexual abuse of a child is right at the top of the list. I studied Sociology my first time through college but recognized that I did not have the temperament to be a good social worker. One of my earliest posts here was on how I consider Child Welfare workers to have one of the most thankless jobs going. I spent a good part of the time in the late ’90s and early ’00s testing child welfare systems and became quite conversant with the federal reporting. This link will take you to the HHS/Administration for Children and Families page where you can access a PDF for the 2010 report National Child Abuse and Neglect Data Systems report if you care to delve into the statistics on child abuse and neglect.

I usually end a post with some music but not today.

Cross posted from Just A Small Town Country Boy by Richard Taylor

Where has the Federal Reserve been?

2:19 pm in Economy, Government, Jobs, Unemployment by dakine01

As many folks know, I spend a bit of time each day perusing various news sites. My postings have been light the past few weeks and months as I’ve been working through issues after my sister’s death. More recently in the last week I’ve gotten a small piece of good news in my personal life (and not saying anything further as I try to nurture this news and make it grow – but it’s not a job) as well as further bad news for my extended family, so the roller coaster ride does continue.

But then I go and see a headline like this at NBCNews.com:

Fed ready to help economy ‘fairly soon,’ minutes show

Turns out, the article was from Reuters though their headline wasn’t much better:

Fed looks set to ease fairly soon barring swift rebound

Earth to Fed! Earth to Fed! Where in the holy hell have you been for these past few years?

(Reuters) – The Federal Reserve is likely to deliver another round of monetary stimulus “fairly soon” unless the economy improves considerably, minutes released on Wednesday from the U.S. central bank’s August meeting suggested.

While the meeting was held before a recent improvement in economic data, including a stronger-than-expected July reading for U.S. employment, policymakers were pretty categorical about their dissatisfaction with the current outlook.

…snip…

The Fed held policy steady at that gathering, but signaled a renewed readiness to act amid lingering softness in the economy. The minutes showed the central bank is actively considering a “flexible” bond-buying program, which could suggest that no upfront amount will be announced.

Let’s see. The “official” time frame for the Great Recession had a start in December 2007 and ended officially in June 2009. Last June I wrote a blog post where I predicted a double-dip recession. Officially, I was mistaken as the economy has managed to maintain just enough headway to avoid the term “recession.” But also last summer, I wrote a blog post asking Mr Bernanke just where the hell he has been these past few years. I and all the other people in long term un and underemployed situations have the same concerns. We want jobs. The Fed still has a “Mission Statement” that begins with direction for “…pursuit of maximum employment…” So we sit here with the official unemployment rate at 8.3% and the rate of un and underemployeds at 15%. These number still translate to nearly 13 million unemployed and another 10 to 15 million underemployed. And again, these numbers do NOT include new college grads trying to find their first full time jobs in their chosen fields. The numbers do NOT include all the millions who have been forced to become “self-employed, independent contractors. Add these groups into the official numbers and we are probably looking at (as a guesstimate) another 10 to 15 million people. Labor force participation was at 63.7%.

But have no fear! All is not lost. Why just today, one of Willard Mitt Romney’s top economic advisers proclaimed that The Benbernank is doing a smash up job as Fed chair and deserves to remain in the position while the Republican Party has added a plank calling for an annual audit of the Fed. My guess is this is the sop to Ron Paul. And to be honest, I can see this is a good plank. Of course, we still have the Todd Akin Memorial Anti-Abortion Plank Human Life Amendment so some things never change. After all, one of the reasons the Republicans re-took the US House in 2010 was because of the lack of jobs. Yet from the very start, the House concentrated on anti-abortion legislation that included “re-defining rape.”

Todd Akin isn’t an aberration in today’s Republican Party. He is the epitome of today’s Republican Party and Paul Ryan is right there with him. Meanwhile, the denizens of the Beltway wonder what all the fuss is about with jobs and millions of un and underemployed people wonder how they will survive.

And because I can:

Cross posted from Just A Small Town Country Boy by Richard Taylor