Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Conservative Bullshit Debunked’ Category

As usual, in an election year, we are faced with an onslaught of political ads on TV and Radio.  These ads don’t necessarily “support” a candidate, they just go after one of the candidates in the race.  Meaning the ad is something for the other candidate.  However, the ads aren’t being run by a political party.  They are being produced and paid for by Political Action Committees.  The biggest problem with a PAC is that they don’t have to say from where or whom they get their money.

As we all know, this is called “dark money.”  In fairness, both sides use PACs to help their candidates.  However, there are far more “conservative” PACs than “liberal” ones.  Of course, most leaders of corporations are Republican because they want the “free market” system.  As a result, Democratic candidates are usually at a disadvantage in raising money because they have to fight their opponent and the PACs.

The Citizen United decision by the Supreme Court has made it extremely easy for corporations and/or other rich business people to literally “buy” an election.  And, they can do it in total anonymity.  The PACs don’t have to list their donors.  My question to this is why?  Why is it so important for people to be able to donate money without saying who they are giving to?  Is it possible that they are hiding something?

Now we get to an interesting thing.  The SEC has been looking into a new rule that would make it mandatory for all publicly traded corporations to release to their shareholders their political spending.  The rule first came up in a petition in 2011.  The SEC has held the rule open for public comment.  As of this month  more than 1 million comments — most of them in favor of the mandate have been received.

Thanks to that pressure, the Center for Political Accountability reports “almost 70 percent of companies in the top echelons of the S&P 500 are now disclosing political spending made directly to candidates, parties and committees,” and “almost one out of every two companies in the top echelons of the S&P 500 has opened up about payments made to trade associations.” The center calls that a dramatic increase from a decade ago when “few, if any, companies disclosed their political spending.”

However, the new rule would make such disclosure mandatory not voluntary.  This brings us to another question.  The Republicans have already passed laws that allow union members to “opt out” of having their dues used for political activity by the union.  If unions cannot use money from members who “opt out”, why can’t shareholders have the same option of opting out?  Why is it okay for corporations to hide their political activities from shareholders, and unions cannot?  Would the answer be because unions generally support Democrats and corporations generally support Republicans?

Let’s take this another step further.  Suppose you are a very good customer of a business.  If this SEC Rule becomes law, you discover that the business you have supported with your spending supports political issues that are against your beliefs.  Shouldn’t you have the right to take your business elsewhere to a business that more reflects your beliefs?  If dark money is allowed to continue, how can we make such decisions?

There has been a huge backlash against Burger King recently.  It has nothing to do with politics, but rather their intention to move their corporate headquarters to Canada in order to avoid paying U.S. taxes.  That type of business decision is made public by law.  Shouldn’t the political choices of corporations also be made public?

I know that most people do not make their purchase decisions based on political beliefs.  If that were the case, WalMart would probably be out of business.  But, the fact that these corporations are allowed to hide their political activity flies in the face of open democratic governance.  If the Supreme Court says that money donation is a form of free speech, there is no reason to hide who is donating it and to whom they are donating.

Of course, there are a lot of people opposed to this new rule.  Mostly groups like the American Petroleum Institute and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Those lobbying groups represent corporations that would have to disclose their political spending under the new rule — including the budget spent on those lobbying groups themselves.   As a result of pressure from these groups, the SEC has taken the new rule off of their agenda.  Meaning it will be a lot longer before any decision is made, if any.

The reason this rule is important is because it could be the first shot to end dark money.  The right is full of conspiracy theories.  The one conspiracy theory they seem to ignore is the fact that “dark money” allows billionaires to purchase candidates without being caught.  What could be more un-American than holding shady elections where candidates are for sale?

This new rule should become law.  Furthermore, I believe that this rule should apply to all companies whether or not they are publicly traded.  Customers have a right to know who the company is donating money to as well.  Whether you are a large corporation like Koch Industries or a small mom and pop shop on the corner.  After all, history has shown that only those trying to overthrow a government need secrecy!

Read Full Post »

There was a time just a short fifty years ago when the middle-class prospered.  It was a time when workers were protected and safety regulations were put in place.  Middle-class wages were rising, and injuries and death at the workplace went down.  The reason was very simply the unions.  Unions gave workers a voice at the table.  They helped usher in safety regulations.  They actually benefited the middle-class.

Then the Republicans started their campaign against unions.  They argued that it was the unions that were shipping jobs overseas by demanding a fair and livable wage for the workers.  They argued that all of the safety restrictions were actually hurting companies and keeping them from making money.  They said companies know what’s best for everyone.

So, what happens when corporations are allowed to regulate themselves?  We often hear Republicans complain about too much regulation on the part of the Federal Government.  They argue that companies and industries should be allowed to regulate themselves since these companies and industries “know better what needs to be done.”  As a result, there are a lot of industries that have fallen under the radar when it comes to regulations.

One example is the Electric Industry.  Specifically those companies that burn coal to make their electricity.  The by-product known as coal ash is mostly unregulated by the Federal Government.  As a result, the companies handle the coal ash as they see fit.  Mostly they are held in ponds, or empty mines.  The unfortunate side of coal ash is that it contains many toxic agents including arsenic.  These toxins have been proven to be hazardous to individual health.

In Ohio, 77 workers for American Electric are suing the company for failing to provide proper safety equipment while working with coal ash.  They state in their complaint:  “Repeatedly, individuals were not provided with protective equipment, such as overalls, gloves or respirators when working in and around coal waste,” the lawsuit says. “These working men and women, already exposed to the contaminants at the job site, then, in turn, carried the coal waste home to their families on their clothes and shoes, thus even exposing family members to the deadly toxins.”

In the complaint, the plaintiffs claim that they asked supervisor Doug Workman whether or not it was safe to work with coal ash. “By sticking his finger into the coal waste and then placing his fly-ash covered finger into his own mouth,” the lawsuit reads, ” [Workman] then misrepresented to the working direct claim plaintiffs that coal waste was ‘safe enough to eat.’”

Workers at the Gavin landfill in North Cheshire, Ohio were allegedly told that coal ash was only a mixture of “water and lime,” and that it contained “such low levels of arsenic, it made no difference.” The workers were allegedly told that “lime neutralizes the arsenic,” according to the [West Virginia] Record’s report.

The lawsuit offers a different argument.  “Coal waste contains a multitude of contaminants that are dangerous to human health, and individuals can be exposed through contact on skin, inhalation and ingestion,” it reads. “These toxins have been shown to be directly related to incidences of cancer, respiratory disease, heart disease, chromosomal abnormalities and birth defects, among others.” In addition, the physician-led organization Physicians for Social Responsibility states that coal ash toxics “have the potential to injure all of the major organ systems, damage physical health and development, and even contribute to mortality.”

In North Carolina this year tons of coal ash were dumped into the Dan River.  A few months later another “dumping” took lace in another river in North Carolina.  Since the state has control over the clean up, there are still tons of coal ash that have never been cleaned up and never will be.  The State argues that everything is just fine.  I wonder if that is because the current Governor is a former employee of Duke Energy who was responsible for both spills.

So as we can see, self-regulation does not work.  In Ohio, workers were refused the proper safety equipment needed to protect themselves and their families from these toxins.  In North Carolina millions of people are wondering if their drinking water is really safe to drink.  Yet, Republicans tell us that everything is just fine.  All we need to do is allow these companies to continue regulating themselves, and the world will be peachy!  That is one of the biggest problems we will face should the Republicans gain control of both houses of Congress.

The Republicans are marching us swiftly back to the 1890s when companies ran the country.  When workers were simple pawns of the rich to make more millions for themselves.  When it was just fine to allow millions of workers to die making money for their bosses.  These are the kinds of things that unions helped eliminate.  Plus, middle-class Americans prospered more when unions helped protect workers.  Why do you think  Republicans hate unions so much?

Read Full Post »

It is time to ask a very simple question.  At what point or age should children be allowed to participate at shooting ranges?  This is not about whether or not people have the right to shoot guns at shooting ranges.  It is more about the safety of children at shooting ranges.  We have laws in this country that says when a person is allowed to vote, drive a vehicle, or drink alcohol.  Most states even have an age limit when a person can own a firearm.

So, we need to question at what age we should allow children to attend and participate in the firing of guns.  In the last few weeks, we have had a couple of incidents of children either being injured at shooting ranges or killing an instructor.  It is common sense to be asking when children have the capability to fire a gun safely.

In the first incident, a 9-year-old child accidentally killed a shooting instructor in Arizona.  The child was firing an Uzi.  That is right, a 9-year-old child was actually firing an Uzi.  The gun’s kickback was too severe for the child to handle and the gun moved up and outward and she shot and killed the instructor.

In the second incident, a family had put together their own shooting range in California.  The whole family was present.  a 7-year-old and his father were each shooting single shot .22 caliber rifles.  Suddenly, the boy grabbed his chest and complained about pain.  When the father checked his son, he discovered that he had been hit in the chest.

Turns out that the boy was hit by a piece of a bullet that ricocheted off of something on the range and struck the boy in the chest.  Fortunately, it is reported that the boy will survive his wounds.  From all accounts the father and the boy were exercising caution during the shooting.  Their guns were pointed down range at all times.  This was a tragic accident.

But, it does bring us back to the original question.  When is it appropriate to have children at and participating at shooting ranges?  I guess the second question would be what “codes” are required for shooting ranges?  The second incident took place at a homemade shooting range.  I am not suggesting that the parents did anything wrong, but if you need a permit and pass inspections to add an addition to your home, shouldn’t there be stringent rules about homemade shooting ranges?

In my opinion these two cases exemplify the problem with our obsession with guns.  In the first, a little girl was allowed to handle and shoot an Uzi, which is an automatic weapon.  The result was the death of an instructor and the traumatization of a little girl.  In the second case, a well-meaning parent appeared to use proper safety practices while teaching his son to shoot, yet the result was an accident that was fortunate not to be tragic.

I think that everyone already knows what the argument against age limits on shooting firearms are.  I also believe we can guess about the argument of “anti-government regulations” should permits and inspections be required for homemade shooting ranges.  But despite the howling from the gun advocates, I believe these are topics that need to be addressed.

Safety laws are things that are required in our everyday lives.  Hell, if you want to go on a roller coaster ride, you have to be a certain height.  If you play Pop Warner football and are over a certain weight, you are restricted to what positions you can play.  There are restrictions on everything we do to help keep us safe.  Why aren’t there such safety regulations when it comes to shooting guns?

Or, if we can be subjected to having a permit and inspection if we want to add a deck to the house, shouldn’t there be permits and inspections required before allowing someone to use a homemade shooting range?  Shouldn’t we also use zoning laws to restrict where shooting ranges can be built?  Sorry, but putting an old stump out in the back 40 isn’t necessarily an ideal shooting area.  I live in a rural area and I hear guns being shot all of the time.  And, there are shooting accidents all of the time too.

These simple two incidents prove that guns do kill people.  More importantly, guns in the hands of children are even more dangerous because a child may not be able to control the gun safely.  If we have to start the conversation about guns somewhere, maybe we should start with when is it okay for a child to shoot a gun and what kind of gun they shoot.  And, where and how homemade shooting ranges are allowed.

Most people I know who own guns are reasonable people.  Even they will tell you that there should be restrictions on children handling and shooting guns.  They will even have no argument about codifying shooting ranges, even homemade ones.  Yes, these are only two examples.  But, how many more go unreported?

Read Full Post »

The president of the NRA has famously said “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”  Let us say for just one minute that he is correct.  The next question is then who constitutes being a “good guy?”  In most circumstances of criminal activity, most people would say that the police are supposed to be the good guys.

He also has said that criminals should not be allowed to own firearms.  That is something that most reasonable people would agree with.  So, to sum it up simply, only “good guys” without criminal records should be allowed to own firearms in the U.S.  I believe that is a fair analysis of Mr. La Pierre’s stance.

Then there are the “open carry” groups around the country toting their guns everywhere the go.  They argue that people should not be afraid of “law-abiding citizens carrying guns.”  According to them, everyone you see openly carrying a gun is a “law-abiding citizen” and you have nothing to fear from them.

That brings us to a small very underreported story in Georgia.  Being that Second Amendment Rights state that it is, they recently approved the “stand your ground” laws to allow people to carry firearms  into airports, libraries, churches, and nightclubs.  Now they have gone one step further in the Dennis Kraus affair.

For a little background,  Krauss, an ex-cop who was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman in 1999, regained his gun rights — despite the fact that he initially attempted to rape the woman with his gun!  Ian Millhiser at Think Progress Explains:

According to the record in Krauss’ trial, the former officer was dispatched to the home of a woman who called 911 alleging that her husband had hit her. Rather than arresting the husband, however, Krauss asked the victim to ride with him in his police car. Once she was in his car, “Krauss told the victim that he could take her to jail if he wanted to” or, if she did not want to be arrested, she could have sex with him instead. Krauss’ words, according to the court opinion, were “[w]e can go to the motel or you can go to jail.”

At the motel, Krauss drew his service weapon and told the woman that he wanted to anally penetrate her with the gun. When she refused, and began to cry, “Krauss then pushed her back, pulled off her pants, and had sex with her.” And then he drove her home to the same husband that led her to call the police in the first place.

In addition to his conviction for sexual assault, Krauss was also charged with several other instances of harassment or disturbing physical violence, including beating a prisoner “so severely the man’s brain bled” and threatening to file false charges against another man in order to have sex with his wife, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. But neither those allegations nor his sexual assault conviction have permanently prevented Krauss from owning firearms; he regained that right in 2013.

Kraus isn’t alone in getting his guns back either.  The state has reinstituted gun ownership privileges to some 400 convicted felons.  Included in those numbers  44 had committed sex crimes and 32 had killed another person. Whether those crimes were committed with firearms is not noted, but it also is not relevant.  Murder is murder regardless of how you killed someone.

Which brings us back to La Pierre and the “Open Carry” groups around the country.  Who constitutes a “good guy with a gun?”  According to Georgia, Kraus and the other violent convicted criminals apparently are considered “good guys with a gun.”  If these people fall under your definition, I would hate to see what a “bad guy with a gun” is all about.  We can thank Georgia for having the foresight to shed light on the utter stupidity of how states define “a good guy with a gun.”  Without their bravery, this definition would never have come to light.

But then, Georgia must be correct in their actions.  Mr. La Pierre and the Open Carry groups have been absolutely mute about this situation.  It can be construed, in this case, that silence from them means they agree with the rulings.

Read Full Post »

The right-wing war hawks are revving up again.  The usual actors are calling for a “big war plan” against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria.  Heck even Paul Ryan said that the U.S. military needs to “finish [ISIS] off because we will either fight them here or we will fight them there,” adding that the deployment of ground troops to Syria or Iraq or wherever should not be “off the table.”   Not to be outdone, Sen. Lindsey Graham said that President Obama “is becoming derelict in his duties as commander-in-chief to protect our homeland by not aggressively confronting ISIL wherever they reside, including Syria.”

The President has already assigned about 1,000 troops into Iraq as advisors.  The right-wing says that isn’t enough and more “boots on the ground” are needed.  Of course they complain that we didn’t keep a military presence in Iraq when we pulled our troops out.  Of course, they fail to mention that Iraq refused a treaty that would have kept troops there.  As a result, we could not keep troops in Iraq because the Iraqi Government told us they didn’t want us there.

When the problems in Syria kicked off, the right-wing was all for bombing and putting troops in Syria to help oust Assad.  But, just like in Iraq, they didn’t have an end game for after Assad was kicked out.  It was that lack of an end game in Iraq that led to the mess that is occurring there now.

President Obama recently has ordered surveillance planes over Syria to gather intelligence.  The war hawk Washington Post editorial board takes that to mean we will soon be shooting in Syria.  But, their advice is a little different from Graham’s.  The U.S. needs to launch a war on the cross-border Iraq-Syria theater and find partners: “Kurds in Iraq and Syria, Sunni tribal leaders in Iraq, the Iraqi government if it can become more inclusive, what is left of the Free Syrian Army.” That should be real easy to do with a few phone calls. “Aiding them does not require a U.S. invasion,” the editorial continues, “but it will need ‘boots on the ground,’ as Mr. Obama already has acknowledged by sending close to 1,000 special forces back to Iraq. They will be needed for training, to assist in air targeting and perhaps more.”  Aren’t “boots on the ground” the same as an invasion?

The White House’s main concern, at this point, doesn’t seem to be about getting involved in Syria — it’s about “how to target the Sunni extremists without helping President Bashar al-Assad,” as the New York Times writes.  As we know, you can’t have a nice little war without boots on the ground too.  But, there is a big problem with all of this war talk that no one seems to be talking about.  How are you going to pay for it?

President Clinton left President George W. Bush a surplus budget.  Two wars later we are $17 Trillion in debt mostly due to the cost of the wars that were not paid for.  Additionally, we are a war-weary country.  Our troops have spent their blood in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We know that the VA is  a mess and veterans are still having problems getting their benefits including health care and disability ratings so they can get their pensions.  Yet, the war hawks are calling for more war across international borders.  You know the same kind of borders that they claim Russia is breaking in the Ukraine, which he is.

It is amazing to me how the only “veteran” who is calling for more war is John McCain, and he should know better.  Regardless of what you hear from other forums, military personnel are not all gung-ho to go to war.  We are the ones who pay the price for war.  We would rather be a tool used to prevent war rather than a tool to force it.

I would like to think that all of these war hawks would encourage their own children and/or grandchildren to sign up for the military right now.  Maybe, they wouldn’t be so quick to send our troops into another war.  How about Sarah Palin telling Bristol she should join up as her patriotic duty?  Or Lindsey Graham tell his children or grandchildren to sign up.  I say that knowing full well that will never happen.  War hawks want a war, they just don’t want their families involved in them.

They like to keep it to the “little people” like us.  My father served in WWII and the Korean War.  I served 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard.  My son served in the Marines during the second Iraq War.  My grandson is going through the process to enlist in and serve in the Navy.  There are a lot of reasons why we have all served.  Mostly it is because we love our country.  Unfortunately, these war hawks don’t feel the same responsibility to serve their country.

I don’t know if we will be forced to join in a war against ISIS or ISIL whatever they call themselves.  But, if we are, it must first be voted on by the full Congress.  We must make sure that every single member of Congress either buys into another war or goes on the record against it.  And, it must include a way to pay for it!  We also must make sure that these veterans will be properly taken care of when the fighting is over.  Something that this country has failed miserably at for generations.

It was once said that war is hell.  It is!  I urge the President to force a vote on this issue in Congress.  Even if it is a bombing campaign.  There can be no doubt in November who was for and who was against military action in a foreign country.  I have no doubt that the men and women in uniform will do their job whatever the outcome of this debate is.  It is time for Congress, and especially the war hawks to do theirs first!

Read Full Post »

There has been a lot of talk lately about Libertarianism in the Republican Party.  Everyone seems to think that Rand Paul is a Libertarian like his father, Ron Paul is.  However, most people who refer to Libertarianism don’t really know what that really means.  First off, if one is a true Libertarian, then one has to decide if he is a Capitalist Libertarian or a Socialist Libertarian.  There are wide differences between the two.  For example, the Capitalist Libertarians advocate for laissez-faire capitalism and strong private property rights such as land, water, infrastructure and others.  While Socialist Libertarians seek to abolish capitalism and private ownership of means of production in favor of their common or cooperative ownership and management.  Then of course there is the minarchists who seek to abolish the state as an illegitimate political system.

I think it would be safe to say that those who claim to be Libertarians in the Republican Party wouldn’t consider themselves as Socialist Libertarians.  Nor, do I suppose they would be minarchists either.  I believe we can safely say that they are firmly entrenched in the Capitalist Libertarian wing.  Or, are they?

Libertarianism is based on the philosophy that individual liberty trumps government control.  There are a lot of ideas that Libertarianism have that fall in line with the current batch in the Republican Party.  There are also a lot of other items that fly in the face of true Libertarianism.  True Libertarianism believes that individuals and corporations are best suited to handle all of the economic problems in the world.  They believe that the government should play no role in business regulations.  After all, the people who are running the businesses know best.

This includes banking regulations.  Libertarians believe that all banks should be allowed to compete in anything they want.  Even though they were the main cause of the 2008 meltdown.  They believe that, although the ecology of the planet must be protected, they believe that the “owners” of the land are the best people to tend to it.  They believe that the government cannot and should not regulate pollution emissions or energy production.

Of course they also believe in “free trade” uninhibited by government regulations.  Oddly enough, they believe that people should be able to cross borders just like commodities.  They do call for some regulation at the borders to keep out criminals or others who would do the country harm, but they don’t seem to believe that immigration for the sake of work should be restricted.  Sounds like an open border to me.

Libertarians also believe that income taxes are illegal.  They advocate for the elimination of income and corporate taxes and they want the IRS abolished.  They don’t say how they plan to pay for their “limited” government, but definitely won’t be through income taxes.

Finally, they firmly believe that the government has no role in regulating wages or bargaining rights.  They say that corporations have the right to bargain with unions or not.  There should be no minimum wage law because it is the responsibility of each person to “negotiate” wages with the owners of corporations.

With all of this in mind, some current Republicans can call themselves Capitalist Libertarians.  But, there is a whole lot more to Libertarian philosophy than simply economic issues.  There are social issues as well.  This is where the current crop of Republican Libertarians depart from the Libertarian philosophy.

For example, true libertarians believe that if a person wants to use what is now defined as illegal drugs, they should be allowed to do so.  They want the “war on drugs” ended and all drug use made legal.  They also firmly believe that what a person does with his or her body is nobody’s business but the person.  This includes abortion.  Libertarians believe it is up to the individual to determine if abortion is right for them.  The government should have no role in allowing or disallowing abortion rights.

Libertarians also believe that consenting adults have the right to engage in sex or marriage with whomever they wish.  They are for same-sex marriage and say that the government has no right to deny civil liberties to same-sex couples.  All they want the government to do is recognize a marriage as a marriage regardless of who the parties are.

They are also against interventionist wars.  They only want a military of sufficient size to defend the country against aggression.  They are totally against intervening in foreign wars or troubles.  Basically, when it comes to military intervention, they are isolationists.  Let the world burn as long as it doesn’t affect us.

These are just some of the things that true Libertarians stand for.  Problem is, that there are very few real Libertarians in this country.  Like other groups, they like to cherry-pick the items they like and throw out the ones they don’t like.  But, since Libertarianism seems to be a hot button in the Republican Party, more and more are trying to align themselves with Libertarian philosophies.

The number one person in the party that is acclaimed to be a Libertarian is Rand Paul.  The only reason he is considered to be a Libertarian is because he is the son of Ron Paul.  Ron Paul was probably as close to a real Libertarian as anyone I know.  He even ran for president as the Libertarian Party candidate.  But, lineage is as close to a comparison as Rand can get to Ron in terms of Libertarianism.  Rand Paul is simply a right-wing conservative who is trying his best to masquerade as a Libertarian.

All you need to do is look at his speeches.  He waffles back and forth on issues like a wind-blown leaf.  First he is for immigration reform, then he is against it, then he is for it, and then he is against it.  It is the same on every issue he talks about.  Remember the “run and hide” gambit he did in Iowa?  When a “dreamer” wanted to talk to him and Rep. King, Paul almost choked on his hamburger and ran away.

I actually feel sorry for the Libertarian Party.  They have to stand on the sidelines and watch these con artists act like they are Libertarians when everyone who knows anything about Libertarianism realizes they are not.  When it comes to economic issues like abolishing government regulations, privatizing public schools, eliminating departments like the EPA, OSHA, and the Department of Education, right-wing Republicans are similar to Libertarians.  When it comes to social issues, the right-wing Republicans are totally opposite.

I think that whenever we hear about a Libertarian movement in the Republican Party, we only need to know that it is nothing more than a publicity stunt to gain ink.  There is no Libertarian movement in the Republican Party.  Like everything else, they are merely cherry-picking things they like and pretending to be something they are not.  Maybe the acronym GOP should stand for “Grand Old Pretenders.”

Read Full Post »

School is beginning.  As we know, there have been a lot of pieces about college rape.  Unfortunately, there have been too many fluff pieces that actually make the victim out to be the guilty party.  This phenomenon has made talking about rape even harder than it has always been.  Now Bloomberg has joined the chorus of men being taken advantage of by the rape issue.

Their headline declared that the hookup culture was waning “amid assault alarm.”  They seem to think that there is a massive hookup culture that is the root cause of these rape allegations.  But, Last year, a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association found that less than 30 percent of college students had more than one partner in the previous year. Which about equals data from surveys taken over the last twenty years. This means, as Time’s Maia Szalavits noted at the time, college students “aren’t hooking up more than they ever were, or even more than their parents did.”

Not to be swayed by these facts, the Bloomberg piece says:

Sex and relationships are always tricky terrain for college students. Those arriving this year are finding schools awash in complaints and headlines about sexual assault and responding with programs aimed at changing campus culture that has been blamed for glorifying dorm-bed conquests, excusing rape and providing a safe haven for assailants. For many young men, it’s an added dimension in a campus scene that already appears daunting, said William Pollack, a Harvard Medical School psychologist.

Pollack said a patient recently told him about making out with a girl at a party. Things were going fine, the student said, when suddenly a vision of his school’s disciplinary board flew into his head.

“‘I want to go to law school or medical school after this,’” Pollack said, recounting the student’s comments. “‘I said to her, it’s been nice seeing you.’”

And here again is the trouble with how we talk about sex, consent and sexual violence in the United States. There are so many ways to flirt and have really enjoyable casual sex without being predatory, but we never talk about them. Part of the problem is that the importance of listening to the person you are interested in having sex with isn’t being taught in schools.  Nor is being alert to non-verbal cues.  So we get a vacuum about relationships and healthy sexuality.  That vacuum gets filled by wackos like George Will, Caitlin Flanagan and the people on Fox News who can scream the loudest saying that much of what is called sexual assault is actually just “regretted sex,” a product of the ambiguities of the hookup culture.

But it is more than just a lack of proper education in schools.  It is down to pop culture as well.  It is also down to the antiquated religious beliefs of man’s entitlement!  The very idea that a man is entitled to whatever he wants, and a woman’s place is to be subordinate to a man, is at the heart of this problem.  How can we expect men to behave properly when they are subjected to years of this “a woman is subject” to a man theory?  It has been proven that men who objectify women are more likely to coerce a woman into having sex and/or raping them if they don’t submit.

During my life I have heard all kinds of “definitions” of what it is to be a man.  It is rare that any of these definitions include the phrase that a “woman is an equal” in life.  I have been married for a long time.  Yes, I do sometimes say “my wife.”  But, I never mean that she “belongs” to me or that she is “property” of mine.  She has been a partner in life.

Women are not objects.  They are not property.  They are people who deserve the same consideration that men deserve.  It is stupid pieces like Bloomberg that have men basically viewing their female peers as rape bombs just waiting to explode and ruin their lives. “Some men feel that too much responsibility for preventing sexual assault has been put on their shoulders,” according to one of the men interviewed for the piece.

The Bloomberg piece is mostly framed to support the idea that women cry rape and that asking men to assume any responsibility to prevent sexual assault is asking too much.  Of course, the Bloomberg piece also doesn’t mention that rape in committed by men.  Rape is a violent crime against a person.  It is not something that is an entitlement because a woman is supposed to be subordinate to a man.

I wrote once before that if you asked a man what he would do if his daughter or wife was raped, you would probably hear something like “I would kill the bastard!”  But, if ask you the same man what he thinks about his son being charged with rape, you would probably hear something like  “She asked for it”, or “The bitch probably had it coming!”

This is the attitude that needs to be changed before rape is treated as the violent crime it is.  This is the attitude that makes the victim the guilty party in a rape case.  This is what it looks like when women are treated as objects and not as people!

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 153 other followers