Category Archives: Undead sexist cliches

Some responses to the Jeffrey Epstein arrest

Michelle Goldberg: “The Epstein case is first and foremost about the casual victimization of vulnerable girls. But it is also a political scandal, if not a partisan one. It reveals a deep corruption among mostly male elites across parties, and the way the very rich can often purchase impunity for even the most loathsome of crimes. If it were fiction, it would be both too sordid and too on-the-nose to be believable”

That was the good response, and I think it identifies two key issues: gender and money. Even when he taught high school, his flirting with students creeped others out. But he managed quite nicely to purchase impunity and redeem his reputation with a mix of PR, financial donations and a feeling people had that yeah, he’d crossed some lines but he’s done his time, no big. Plus he allegedly intimidated witnesses.

You know what isn’t an issue? That Epstein is Jewish. But men’s rights activist Stefan Molyneux, points to Epstein as a Jewish guy preying on Christian children. As noted at the link, Molyneux has apparently decided saying the quiet parts out loud won’t hurt his brand as a YouTube philosopher. Anti-semitic preacher Rick Wiles claims Epstein was a Mossad agent gathering blackmail material on powerful Americans.

And smug pundit Erick Erickson, who defended Roy Moore and Brett Kavanaugh, thinks the big issue is that liberals would defend Epstein if he were gay and a drag queen. Because, of course, defending the rights of gay people and drag queens is exactly the same as defending their right to assault kids (as others have pointed out to Erickson, there was no wave of liberals defending the molesters in the Penn State scandal. Or the Boy Scouts. Or the Catholic Church). I do expect biased coverage from the right, but Erickson’s take is dumb-ass.

Republicans and even some Dems are still supporting Trump Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, who gave Epstein his original illegal sweetheart plea bargain. According to what I’ve read elsewhere, some of that may be because Acosta’s not as aggressively anti-labor as his successor will probably be — although he has tried to gut 80 percent of the budget of one Labor program for fighting human trafficking. Trump’s response, though, seems to hinge on whether Acosta comes across badly on TV. But regardless, Acosta resigned last Friday.

Meanwhile the believers in the mythical Pizzagate pedophile ring are holding up Epstein as proof they’re right.

And Alan Dershowitz, Trump-supporting lawyer, has admitted he’s visited Epstein’s mansion (he was one of the attorneys on the original plea deal) and gotten a massage, but it was from a really old woman — he never saw anyone underage there, honest!

Epstein, meanwhile, is hoping for bail, while prosecutors warn he’s a serious flight risk.


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Civility, its merits and its limits

Former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, who oversaw the toxic-water nightmare of Flint and appointed the officials responsible now has a gig at Harvard’s Kennedy School. Why pick him? “‘Governor Snyder brings his significant expertise in management, public policy, and promoting civility to Harvard Kennedy School,’ Liebman said in a statement. ‘We are excited that he will be joining the Taubman Center and confident that he will bring tremendous value to us and our students.'” Snyder believes a “lack of civility” is the greatest threat to our country. Worse, obviously, than being a neglectful hack who put an entire town at risk for lead poisoning.

Meanwhile, over in Congress, Rep. Dan Crenshaw has implied Muslim Rep. Ihlan Omar is sympathetic to the 9/11 attackers. When he got blowback, his Congressional allies claimed Crenshaw was the one treated uncivilly.

All of which reminds me of the outrage the right still feels about Brett Kavanaugh: how dare women confront this respectable man and say he doesn’t deserve his seat. It also reminds me of several other examples of women being told to “be nice,” like Michigan Rep. Lisa Brown who was told it was uncivil to say the word vagina in a discussion of abortion.

All of which shows why civility is a double-edged sword.

I do believe civility, in general, is important. Being able to say “Hello, how are you?” and smile at people we don’t like — or at least try to ignore them — is part of what keeps society functional. If we openly said what was on our mind every time someone annoyed us, I think we’d be back in the days of blood feuds and duels fairly quickly (contrary to Robert Heinlein I do not think a willingness to shoot people who annoy us will lead us anywhere good). And a lot of people do wish our government were more civil; Joe Biden’s nostalgic memories of working with segregationist bigots were an attempt to express that (though a very, very badly phrased one).

But the other edge of the sword is when civility becomes an excuse for shutting people up. Or insisting they not judge you or avoid your company, even if you do support Trump’s white male supremacist regime (or you know, allow massive quantities of lead in people’s drinking water). Or that you’re entitled to insult and belittle people without any blow-back or criticism. In a lot of cases I don’t think it’s a calculated tactic, it’s just people assuming that of course what they said was reasonable — obviously it’s the people who said it was racist or homophobic who were uncivil!

In the case of people like Snyder (I’m sure the Kennedy School would find it horribly uncivil if they got flak over this) or Kavanaugh, I think it’s partly the arrogance of aristocrats: America’s lousy at holding people of power and wealth to account. No surprise if doing so feels like the height of incivility. So does any suggestion the system in which they’re so comfortably ensconced needs to change. To paraphrase MLK, everything was very civil in Egypt as long as the Israelites were content to bake their bricks. As soon as Moses demanded freedom — well, from the Egyptian point of view, that was way more uncivil than keeping them as slaves (just as for some people George Washington owning slaves wasn’t as bad as him violating the sabbath).

But as Frederick Douglass said, “Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation…want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters…. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” And power never thinks demands are civil.

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Undead Sexist Cliche: Rape is all about the attractiveness of both parties

As you’ve probably heard, E. Jean Carroll accused Trump of raping her in a dressing room. Trump’s response: “She’s not my type.”

Several people have pointed out that sounds like Trump isn’t denying he’d rape someone, just that she isn’t hot enough. On the right, however, you can find resounding agreement that she’s too ugly for a stud like Trump to have touched her. More likely she was begging for it! Likewise YouTube Trump-worshipper Bill Mitchell declare that “it just doesn’t seem plausible to me” that Trump would rape anyone that unattractive. (Mitchell also lies that this is just about Trump putting his arm around Carroll, which doesn’t matter because “I didn’t vote for Donald Trump to be my pastor or my spiritual guide.” As if not raping women required some massive level of spiritual evolution).

It’s an ugly argument, but not unique to Trump. Some people made the same point when Christine Blasey Ford accused Brett Kavanaugh of assaulting her: look how handsome he was! Look how ugly she was! He’d never have raped her! And I’ve heard the same argument made in other cases. For example in 2017, a Canadian judge declared that a 17-year-old assault victim was “a little overweight but has a pretty face” and that she may have been a “bit flattered” by the assault. Podcaster Aimee Terese dismissed one harassment case she heard about by saying the woman was so unattractive she should be flattered a guy wanted to ejaculate on it.

Rape is overwhelmingly about power, aggression and dominance. But the myth that it’s all about lust remains widespread. Men rape because women dress too sexy or act too provocatively so the me get horny and just can’t control themselves. Which leads to the assumption the responsibility for preventing rape lies with the victim.

In reality, women who aren’t attractive get raped. Old women get raped. Women who hide themselves behind “modest” dress or burkhas get raped. Because it’s not about being driven made by lust, it’s about men who want to rape.

The flip side of this cliche is the myth that men only rape if they can’t get laid otherwise. The pseudoscience explanation is that this is how otherwise frustrated men can pass on their genes (at the link, I explain why that’s bullshit). The simpler but equally inaccurate explanation is that if a man’s getting sex he doesn’t need to commit rape. I have a film book that makes that point about Errol Flynn’s statutory rape charge way back when: a handsome man like Flynn couldn’t possibly have needed to get laid! Similarly, when Arnold Schwarzenegger ran for California governor, a friend of mine dismissed the sexual harassment charges the media reported: he doesn’t need to assault anyone! Women fling themselves at stars like him (which ignores that he didn’t actually sleep with any of them, only groped, fondled and humiliated them, targeting women who were in a position where they’d have to put up with him)! Similarly, Terese and misogynist Paul Elam have labeled the bulk of #metoo accusations as “starfuckers” trying to get back in the spotlight.

And I’ve seen more than one work of fiction where the stud protagonist assures the female lead he’s never raped a woman — he’s never had to.

This is as much bullshit as “she’s too ugly/she should be grateful.” Lots of people who have no trouble getting laid still commit rape. Multiple movie stars and movie-makers have committed rape and harassment. Men rape women they’re dating or already sleeping with. Married men rape other women, and some rape their wives. Some men commit rape with blunt objects.

But it’s much easier to imagine it’s just horny guys getting a little over the line than to deal with the ugly truth.

P.S. LGM has a good discussion of why it’s important to cover stories like Carroll’s, even if it doesn’t change Trump voters’ views (and it won’t). And Roy Edroso looks at how right-wing blogs distort Carroll’s statement Americans are titillated by rape.


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I didn’t underperform, but I sure under-slept

So I got a little stressed for various reasons last weekend (nothing catastrophic), and as frequently happens when I stress out, I don’t sleep.

Sunday night sleep: dreadful. Monday night: not good either. Tuesday I was so zonked I took a Lyft to the writer’s group, then headed home without going out to the bar afterwards. Wednesday: more of the same. Finally Thursday I took an Ambien and got a spectacular nine hours of sleep. I feel much better today.

While I’m sure I wasn’t functioning at peak capacity, the added time balanced out for that, some, so at least it was a productive week.

I finished Impossible Things Before Breakfast, sent it off to Asimov’s and got it back the next day (which I appreciate — speedy responses are welcome, even with a rejection). The editor said she liked it, but it wasn’t right for her. I’d actually figured it was a long shot for acceptance, but it’s nice to start submissions with a top market. And today I sent it off again. I also submitted Rabbits Indignateonem and Fiddler’s Black to other markets.  I’m really pleased with finishing Impossible Things as I haven’t completed a story since January. It counters the fear that I’m just spinning my wheels and not accomplishing anything.

I might not have done as much but Leaf is wrapping up its current project. I only had a few articles to do this week, so that opened up vistas. I intend to make maximum use of the two to four weeks before the new cycle starts up.

I’d intended to incorporate my beta-readers’ comments on Undead Sexist Cliches into the manuscript this week. Instead I took my big folder of relevant bookmarks and incorporated that. It took a lot of time (there’s a lot of bookmarks). Next month I shall manage my workflow so I’m rewriting, drawing on the betas and adding bookmarked info each week. Just doing bookmark after bookmark left me numb. They had lots of good information and observation I didn’t remember though.

And that was it. I hoped to get more work done on Death Is Like a Box of Chocolates but I kept finding more Leafs to do (probably ones other people had claimed, then given up) and I hate to pass up the money stuff.

In other news, TYG and I hoped to dope Wisp’s food Thursday and cart her off to our vet. She’d vanished over the weekend but showed up Monday and then again Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday morning … not a peep. It’s like she knew. However we still want her sore/abscess/cut looked at, and she needs her booster shots, so we’ll try again. TYG and I will map out Plan B this weekend.

Oh and our dryer has been dead for a week. As we don’t have time to make it to the laundromat, clothes have been piling up in the dirty basket. The repair dude came yesterday, didn’t have all the parts, had to reschedule for today (TYG was not pleased. He’s lucky it wasn’t her at home waiting for him). Hopefully it’ll all go smoothly.

#SFWApro. Photo is mine.

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Undead Sexist Cliches: If she’s drunk, it’s her own fault she got raped

Working on my Undead Sexist Cliches book has made me aware what a common, and ugly rape-apologist cliche this is. To wit, if she was too drunk to give consent, it’s her own fault: she chose to drink, right? She chose to drink to excess, right? So isn’t that the same as freely choosing to put herself in a position where a guy can stick it in? So how can he be blamed?

New DC Circuit Court judge Neomi Rao, for example, declared back in Yale law student days (the 1990s) that  “a woman, like a man, decides when and how much to drink. And if she drinks to the point where she can no longer choose, well, getting to that point was part of her choice.” So if you want to avoid date rape, stay sober! Hopefully she’s not lying about having changed her views.

Susan Patton, the Princeton alumnus who thinks college women should marry in freshman year, similar sees it as a matter of choice: “If you are too drunk to speak, then you may be incapable of saying no or warding off unwanted advances. And then it’s all on you.” (No, it’s on the man)

We Hunted the Mammoth catches a man online claiming he raped a woman while drunk (he preferred to describe it as “I stuck my penis in a vagina”). Only he insists it wasn’t raped “unless you’re the ‘OMG I drank so much by my own volition, but it was rape!” Well yes, it was; drinking by her own volition does not mean having sex while out cold is by her volition. Despite which the rapist insists he’s blameless: “Have I forced someone to drink? Have I spiked someone’s drink? No.”

Ken Frezza, a fraternity leader and Forbes columnist argued that women who get raped while drunk at frat parties should accept some of the responsibility (“Drunk Female Guests Are the Gravest Threat to Fraternities.” After all, frats “have very little control over women who walk in the door carrying enough pre-gaming booze in their bellies to render them unconscious before the night is through.”  In the same Fox discussion segment where Frezza made his case, Fox host Andrea Tartaros agreed: “These girls show up at these fraternity houses, and the guys — what are they supposed to do? Lock them out? … It is a legitimate fear.” Feminists, she complained, think “we should be able to wear whatever we want and drink as much as we want and pass out in the streets.’ Well, it’s not really like that, girls.”

Kirsten Powers, another host, thought “the point is that the drunk woman is — she’s just not held accountable for anything. The drunk guy, however, is supposed to make all these amazingly perfect decisions, and not make any mistakes.” (To her credit, it appears she’s changed her views since).

Defense attorney Matthew Kaiser, in a May 2014 op-ed in Time, said he was “more concerned for my son than my daughter” because current college rules treated drunken consensual hookups as rape Kaiser claims he’s never seen any other kind of college rape case (I find this implausible).

In Asking For It, Kate Harding quotes someone witnessing the Steubenville rape of a few years back and wondering if the passed-out victim wanted to be raped. And two men in California actually got off on charges of raping a drunk woman because they were too intoxicated to know if she consented (this is California law, not a bad call by the prosecutor).

As Harding points out in her book, this is not a standard we apply to other crimes. If I murder someone drunk, I can be charged; even California law allows that (though it might lower a murder one charge to something less drastic). If I drive drunk and someone ahead of me, in Tartaros’ words, drinks as much as they want and passes out in the streets, I can’t claim “they were drunk!” as a defense if I run over and kill them. Only rape gets this kind of bullshit.

And if “she was drunk” is a defense, that gives rapists the green light to assault any intoxicated woman. Which is not what any decent person should want.

#SFWApro. The Scream is by Edvard Munch, all rights to image remain with current holder.


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Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere

So let’s have some injustice links.

Yes, we’re putting immigrants in concentration camps. And the Trump administration says not giving kids baths or somewhere to sleep beside cold concrete floors is acceptable. It’s not the first time we’ve gone this route, but that’s no excuse. Points to Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez for calling a spade a spade, and not backing down when she got flak from the media (among others) that she shouldn’t say things like that.

Radley Balko, a libertarian who actually says intelligent stuff, looks at how destructive being kept in jail before trial is for the poor. So bad, they’ll plead guilty just to get out and back to their jobs. LGM adds more.

In Tennessee, Sheriff’s Detective Grayson Fritts told his church the government needs to gather up and start executing gays. Subsequently, Cracker Barrel chose not to serve his church group. Over in Alabama, Mayor Mark Chambers also advocates for killing gays.

California legislator Evan Low has introduced a non-binding resolution opposing conversion therapy and asking for compassion for gays. The religious right’s response? Lie through their teeth.

Laura Ingraham, who claims legal immigration is destroying America now says Democrats are trying to replace the white population. That’s so close to the Nazis’ “You will not replace us!” that I wonder she doesn’t come out with a swastika tat.

“The religious right showed no mercy and no charity toward these groups when it had the power to impose its will, but when it lost that power, it turned to invoking the importance of religious tolerance and pluralism in a democratic society.” Adam Serwer on how some on the right, having failed to win that way, now reject democracy.

It’s not unusual to have lawmakers skip a session to prevent a vote. But threatening violence if you’re brought back?

The Minnesota Historical Society identified one state location by its old Native American name. To some Republicans, admitting the Dakota were there first is revisionist history.

In Alabama, the new forced-birth bill makes no exception for rape victims. And guess what, the state also gives rapists visitation rights to the kids.

The Trump Administration wants to charge stores a fee for accepting food stamps.

To end on a justice note or two, Sandy Hook parents have won a couple of court victories against the liars who claim the shooting never happened. And students at one Catholic School pushed back against the administration’s arguments that harassment was the fault of female students for dressing sexy.



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The rage over Kavanaugh

Last week I linked to a post on LGM, about the views of one well-connected Republican. Said Republican told the blogger that conservative rage is fueled by liberals criticizing Trump, resentment over Nixon leaving office (I’m strongly suspicious that he does not feel the same about Republicans trying to remove Clinton from office); and “the entire conservative establishment remains outraged about the attempt to block Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, which its members almost unanimously see as a weaponization of metoo# for purely partisan aims. He insisted that it was almost impossible to overstate how deeply held this view is. ”

Another LGM post concludes the interviewee was right: they are indeed still furious about Kavanaugh. Right-wingers Josh Hammer and Sohrab Ahmari have tweeted about how it radicalized them; Hammer describes it on Twitter as a “civilizational wake-up call.” He does not mean he woke up and realized a number of conservatives said that even if Kavanaugh had done the things he was accused of (including exposing himself to a woman, groping and assaulting Christine Blasey Ford and participating in drugging women for gang rapes) it was no big deal. Boys will be boys, everybody does this stuff (e.g., business professor Mitchell Langbert).  It’s just rough horseplay.  No the wakeup call was the opposition to Kavanaugh.

As LGM says, it’s no surprise right-wingers were furious at the time. A lot of them want to see liberals, Democrats, feminists all crushed and humiliated; that’s part of why they like Trump (I’ve had people on FB say “triggering libs” is the main reason they support the Shit-Gibbon). Our resistance pissed them off, even though Trump would have someone just as conservative and right-to-life if Kavanaugh hadn’t made the cut. But even though they won the fight, they remain enraged.

I doubt they’re really pissed about the supposed politics of it. As others have pointed out, nobody made rape accusations against Neal Gorsuch, and he was the Justice who took the seat Obama was entitled to fill. That would have been a logical place to try a smear campaign, but it didn’t happen. And it’s not as if they object to political hatchet jobs or even actual attempts to fake a rape charge (by inept right-winger Jacob Wohl).

True, I still see some conservatives pissed off by the Senate rejecting Reagan’s Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, even though Reagan went on to fill the seat. Resentment’s what right-wingers do. But they lost that one, just like Nixon’s defeat was a loss for them. Kavanaugh was a victory.

My theory? I suspect a lot of the anger is because they really do think the things he’s accused of were no big: being raped, groped or assaulted is something men, in general, have a right to do. Hammer didn’t think politician Roy Moore’s alleged interest in underage girls was disqualifying, and he wasn’t alone.

And some of them are undoubtedly thinking about what they might have done themselves. As one right-wing lawyer put it, “If somebody can be brought down by accusations like this, then you, me, every man certainly should be worried. We can all be accused of something.”  Actually those of us who didn’t do anything needn’t be worried. Fake rape accusations are rare.The only people who have to worry that accusations of sexual assault are a time bomb ticking under their careers are the people who’ve actually committed assault. And now look at someone like Ford and feel righteous rage at the thought they, or someone like them, would actually be held accountable for such a trivial act.

I don’t like thinking the worst of people, but in this case, I certainly do think it.

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The Shirley Exception and other links

SkepDick: “The Shirley Exception is a bit of mental sleight of hand that allows people to support a policy they profess to disagree with. It’s called the Shirley Exception because… well, I mean, *surely* there must be exceptions, right?” The post is talking about the belief that it’s okay to have extreme, harsh laws about immigration, abortion, etc. because in practice, on a case-by-case basis, the law will spare people who don’t deserve it: “Surely, they think, surely the leopards will know to only eat the “right” faces, the faces that need eating, and leave alone all the faces that don’t deserve that. But if we try to lay out rules to protect faces from being eaten by leopards, people will take advantage. Best to keep it simple and count on decency and reason to rule the day.”

And so they support a policy which has no exceptions or wiggle room in the conviction that “deserving” people will get some wiggle room anyway. And therefore figure they shouldn’t be criticized for supporting an abortion ban with no exceptions or an immigration ban or a medical policy that allows insurers to deny coverage to pre-existing conditions — sure, the law says that, and they support the law, but that’s not how they want it enforced! They should get credit for good intentions right?

I’ve seen similar arguments elsewhere. Libertarian economist Bryan Caplan, for example, argues that the absolute authority husbands had over their wives and their wives’ money in the 19th century didn’t affect women’s freedom: most husbands probably didn’t abuse it, or the couple worked out some sort of arrangement. So it’s not like he’s in favor of husbands beating their wives or spending their money, he’s just cool with them having the right to do it. Or consider Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, who argued that pre-existing health conditions are the result of people not taking care of their health. He implies at the link that pre-existing conditions that don’t result from unhealthy lifestyles should maybe sort of get an exception — but none of the plans the Republicans have proposed require insurers separate the sheep from the goats. And insurers are unlikely to do it: if they can exclude or charge higher prices for pre-existing problems, why wouldn’t they?

The simple fact is, laws which do not allow exemptions or exceptions are often applied without any exceptions or exemption. It’s like novelist Kristine Kathryn Rusch says about contracts: don’t sign if someone tells you “don’t worry that’s just boilerplate we won’t actually do that.” Assume they’ll actually do that, then ask if you can accept that.

In other news:

Religious conservatives suddenly discover Bill Clinton shouldn’t have been impeached.

What Republican controlled states and Democratic controlled states do differently. Vox explained the anti-BDS laws referenced at the link, which I hadn’t heard about.

Some states still allow marital rape.

LGM argues the driving force on the right is the desire to protect the social hierarchy (white and male on top). Perhaps that explains why they’re still sore about the fight against Brett Kavanaugh — how dare a woman block the path of an upper-class white dude just because he assaulted her!

The Supreme Court has made it easier for police to arrest protesters or people filming police misbehavior.

Someone suggest to anti-gay Pensacola state Rep. Mike Hill that we should have the death penalty for homosexuals. Hill’s response: “I wonder how that would go over?



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Link, link, link, for I tell you the night is coming

“it’s not helpful to try to understand Fox News as the right-wing version of CNN. That’s not what it is. It’s the news-and-politics version of the WWE.”

Back in the early 21st century, people sometimes suggested that to make gay marriage legal, we stop having the government authorize marriages. Conservatives are now down with this. Even though the purpose is to give local authorities a way not to issue licenses to gays, it seems like a reasonably workable solution (it doesn’t require the marriage be conducted by Christian or Jewish clergy to be valid, as a proposed bill elsewhere).

In response to the recent spate of forced-birth bills, the WaPo pondered what other legal rights fetuses might have — could parents claim them as a dependent before they’re even born? The ever batshit Federalist website (which once argued banning conversion therapy is the equivalent of banning the Bible) claims quite inaccurately that parents already can: if the baby is born in November, say, you can claim the kid as a dependent for the whole year so there you are! Actually if the baby is born, say, after the end of 2019, you can’t claim them as a 2019 dependent, so the Federalist is wrong, as usual.

There’s no excuse for the Democratic Party defending conservative, forced-birther Democrats from primary challenges.

Good news: Legislators around the country are pushing back against employers who require janitors and kitchen-prep staff to sign non-compete agreements, effectively trapping them in their current jobs.

Moby claims he had a relationship with a young Natalie Portman, but it appears to have been a creepy fantasy.

“The only problem with that as a reason for appearing on a network that is a propaganda organ for the White House is that it implicitly assumes that there’s just no other way to talk to conservatives besides going on Fox.” More here on why Dems are supposed to reach out to conservatives but not vice versa.

Shakezula celebrates a British right-winger getting doused with milkshake, and argues that no, this ain’t “political violence.”

A journalist tries mocking a teenage Elizabeth Warren supporter by quoting her with all the “ums” and “ers” left in. As The Mary Sue says at the link, it’s unlikely he does the same when quoting anyone he considers important.

Five children have died in detention camps since December. Right-wing pundit Ben Shapiro insists they’re all treated humanely. Of course, Shapiro wants to pretend white Judeo-Christians invented science.

“Jubilee is always a beautiful thing.”

Not a beautiful thing: jailing sexual assault victims to make them testify. Louisiana’s legislature is considering a bill to prevent this; state district attorneys want the bill killed.

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Ignorant or lying, but definitely unethical: forced birthers speak!

So last week I mentioned Rep. John Becker, the Republican in Ohio whose proposed bill bans private coverage of abortion or birth control methods that prevent fertilized eggs implanting. It also exempts efforts to transplant an ectopic pregnancy back into the womb — that will remain legal and insurable. Of course the procedure  doesn’t exist, but Becker’s a big picture: the details of exactly which birth control methods are uninsurable will be left to “people smarter than me.” (I suspect this is both a way to duck responsibility for the bill’s effects and that he doesn’t give a crap if women can’t get birth control).

Now it turns out Becker’s dug up a couple of medical journal articles, one from 1917, that say the procedure is possible, so he claims vindication. Sure, a doctor told him that this was pretty much pie-in-the-sky, but he didn’t say it was absolutely never going to happen, right? So Becker’s just being forward-thinking. I remain unconvinced he’s arguing in good faith, but perhaps he’s just an idiot.

Over in Missouri, ex-cop and Republican state Rep. Barry Hovis supports an anti-abortion bill with no rape exception, but explains it’s not that big a deal: “Most of my rapes were not the gentlemen jumping out of the bushes that nobody had ever met. That was one or two times out of 100. Most of them were date rapes or consensual rapes, which were all terrible.” Despite the “terrible” it seems he’s distinguishing stranger rape (the real rape) from date rape which is, you know, not real rape. Otherwise why bring it up? Hovis went on to say that rape victims could get a chemical abortion any time up until the no-abortion deadline kicks in, so it’s no big.

Right-wing male supremacist Matt Walsh meanwhile asserts that abortion after rape destroys evidence of the rape, so “Abortion restrictions can actually protect rape victims, whereas abortion clinics often exploit rape victims and can cause rape to continue.” Of course it’s quite possible to get DNA samples as evidence (which is presumably what he’s alluding to, assuming he’s alluding to anything) without a pregnancy. However this bilge lets Walsh pretend that advocating 12 year old rape victims be denied abortions is somehow compassionate rather than cruel.

Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick points out that some Alabama pols claim they support a rape exemption even though their new law doesn’t have one. If they’d put one in the bill would be less likely to get Supreme Court review, so there’s less likelihood of reversing Roe v. Wade. Rape victims, isn’t it nice to know you’re just political pawns?

And let’s not forget, while Republicans claim abortion is the moral equivalent of the Holocaust, many of them still think women using contraceptives is even worse.

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