Todd Akin


Representative Todd Akin
has decided to stay in the Missouri senatorial race, bucking the national GOP, which desperately wants him tossed under the bus for the spectacularly stupid “legitimate rape” thing, and you know what? Good for him. Leaving aside my own love of political schadenfreude here, the dude did win the Republican primary fair and square, did he not? He is the plurality choice of Missouri’s Republican voters, isn’t he? He didn’t strangle kittens, set them on fire, and insert them into an unmentionable part of some adorable puppy’s anatomy, did he? No; all he really did was say out loud something that an apparently non-trivial number of conservatives seem to believe, i.e., that some rapes are rapier than others, and (probably less common, at least I hope) that at the rapiest level of rape, you probably aren’t gonna get knocked up. It’s appallingly stupid and wrong, of course. But that doesn’t mean he (up until Sunday, anyway) didn’t believe it, or that saying something appallingly stupid and wrong but entirely within the penumbra of conservative thought should disqualify him from participating in a race he earned the right to be in, through a democratic process. “You stupidly said out loud what many of us actually believe,” shouldn’t by any rational standard be a reason for his forfeit.

Yes, he’s embarrassing the GOP presidential candidate by staying in a race after Romney said he should drop out, and yes, the Democrats will use Akin’s comment and his extraordinarily restrictive anti-choice views (reflected, incidentally, in the official GOP platform) like a cudgel on the Republicans every single day that Akin stays in the race. But why is that Akin’s problem? By all indications, he was not the favored candidate of the national GOP anyway, so no skin off his nose. The national GOP says they’re not going to send him money, but if they want to take the Senate, they’re not likely to do it without him, so I imagine sooner or later they’re going to slip some cash his way regardless. So again, what impetus does Akin have to do anything other than run? For the rest of the GOP, it’s about control of the Senate; for Akin, it’s whether or not he has a job come next January. He sure as hell doesn’t have any reason to quit, and winning, should he win, will be sweet indeed.

And yeah, Democrats binging on schadenfreude, he could win. Even after the “forcible rape” flub, he was still up a point in the polls against Claire McCaskill. He might sink — as I understand it, making an ass of yourself on live TV takes a few days to sink in with the polls — but then again he might not. He apologized for his stupidity, and pitched it in a way that will resonate with evangelicals, for many of whom he is the ideal candidate. Don’t kid yourself that he’s lost the race already. And of course, that’s just one more reason for him to stay in.

I wouldn’t vote for Akin; I don’t know why anyone would want to vote for someone so heinously ignorant of human biology, which I suspect is indicative of other vasty swaths of ignorance in his mental makeup. I wouldn’t encourage anyone in Missouri to vote for him either, as we already have enough appallingly ignorant people in the Senate without adding him to their number. But do I think he should be the GOP senatorial candidate for the state? Absolutely. If Mitt Romney, the national GOP or anyone else has a problem with it, they should bring it up with Missouri’s Republican voters. He was their pick for the gig. I think you have to respect that, even if you shake your head that they could choose so poorly.

567 thoughts on “Todd Akin

  1. Thus proving he’s even stupider than we all thought he was. Of course, professional politician, so ….

    The way I heard it, McCaskill and/or helpers attacked all of his opponents in the primary, aiding in his narrow victory. That she appears to have “endorsed” his staying in the race must mean something … but then, professional politician.

    This is one of those days I think my grandfathers were correct. “There are enough smart, good people in this country eligible for office that we need not put temptation in front of anyone by re-electing them.” (Paraphrased)

  2. What if a World famous violinists is going to die? You have the only blood type in the world that matches her. The orchestra kidnapped you and hooks you up to her so your kidneys can clean out her blood and keep her alive. You need to do hooked up to the violinist for 9 months.
    This is the GOP platform on rape. If you are UNwilling to let this happen to you, I urge you to vote against the GOP at local, state, and national levels.

  3. This is where I point out that being so eminently reasonable overlaps entirely with the concept of “enough rope”.

    We will see, of course. But I keep hearing, “I am not a witch.”

  4. >> This is the GOP platform on rape.>>

    Except that “world famous violinist” can be swapped out for “NASCAR pit crew member,” “gay high school teacher,” “welfare mom” or “liberal pundit” and the argument is still the same.

  5. Three comments -

    Zero, he apologized promptly for what he thinks he did wrong (good) but doesn’t understand half of what he got wrong (bad).

    One, everyone else in the Republicans seems to have taken two steps away and insisted he quit the race, which is a good sign.

    Two, I am afraid that John’s comment that his ideas fit within the penumbra of current Republican thought is sadly true.

    If this were a lone nut, that would be one thing, but I think it’s entirely a tactical attempt to shove him out based on “The phrasing there gives the press and Democrats a club big enough to hit everyone in the party with until Nov 4th”, and not a lack of truth of the ideas being within the Republican tent.

    The current resurgence of the religious and social right is annoying; the party’s capture by them and the big-business / very rich is very annoying. There are legitimate big-picture issues in the world, country, and election that a rational conservative viewpoint should to be included in consideration. This party is not going to do that.

    My wife will kill me if I launch the socially neutral conservative-but-rational California Conservative party I keep dreaming about, but it may need to be done anyways.

  6. There was an infinitesimal movement toward decent thinking when the GOP censured him by asking him to stand down. (however hypocritical) Had he stepped out of the race it would have been another step in the right direction.
    Because being forced out of the race is a far more concrete thing in memory of GOP than the ignored request to stand down for saying out loud in a politically incorrect way what so many of the extreme wings of GOP think.
    Him not standing down is a tacit sign to the other GOP candidates that it is OK to say that. It is OK to think that there are rapes and then there are other less legit rapes.
    It’s not about whether he has the right. That’s not up for debate. It’s about whether or not that party has the decency it proclaims to have.
    It’s about a slow slow climb toward awareness and decency in thinking. And the difference between censure and being forced out of the race is huge in the mind of the next candidates.
    I hope he loses, but I don’t count on it. The American voter has a remarkably short memory and a gift for rewriting their memory. Many who were outraged will only remember he apologized. (sort of)

  7. As a recent Missouri transplant, I was thinking to myself “Well, it is time to go educate yourself about the candidates and decide who to vote for.” Then this happened.

    So thank you Mr. Akin, for saving me some time.

  8. I just find it odd that while there is so much rantng and raving against him, it appears that one ot the current GOP goals is a constitutional ammendment outlawing abortion in all cases.
    Seems a bit of a disconnect…

  9. Also:

    John:
    If Mitt Romney, the national GOP or anyone else has a problem with it, they should bring it up with Missouri’s Republican voters. He was their pick for the gig. I think you have to respect that, even if you shake your head that they could choose so poorly.

    According to at least one secondary source and some reporting*, much of the money spent in the Republican primary was allegedly by the local Democratic Party and nationwide Democratic donors, attempting to get the rightmost of the three candidates nominated, in hope that he’d be too far right. $1.7 million or so of the $3.7 million spent.

    ( * http://reporting.sunlightfoundation.com/2012/missouri-primary-outside-groups-wanted-Todd-Akin-and-got-him/ )

    I am not sure that he really does represent the pick of Missouri’s Republican voters, in a reasonable sense.

    This does happen all the time, both sides reach across the aisle to try and make the primaries harder for good main election opponents, but this was particularly bad.

  10. John B –

    That thought experiment doesn’t work with people who don’t already agree with you (which I do). Just some tactical advice. From working through this with family members who disagree with me, some of the key words are “innocence” and “order”.

    I’m related to people (who don’t live far from the Scalzi Compound, up by that big lake) who believe that an imposition on bodily autonomy is a small price to pay, in the case of rape, for continuity of society, and that is just a woman’s burden, if she’s so imprudent to put herself in a position to bear it.

    You don’t normally get it spelled out that way, because even the people who sincerely believe it know it sounds horrible. When I put it to a relative (who still votes, and is a very sweet and caring person) in more or less those words, her response was something like, “well, that sounds like propaganda. But men and women play different roles, and not everything is fair. God sorts that out.”

  11. I agree that his position on rape is the mainstream position of the national GOP, and of all of its loudest spokespersons. Unfortunately I also think that there is a large part of the Republican constituency who seem to believe that the rape abortion exception is a red herring thrown in to derail a perfect good prohibition on abortion – and this pseudoscientific explanation that a woman can’t get pregnant if she isn’t enjoying the intercourse gives them a disturbing circular justification for the laws they want to pass. “Rape can’t cause pregnancy because if she got pregnant, it wasn’t rape.”

  12. Itsathought2 writes:
    Him not standing down is a tacit sign to the other GOP candidates that it is OK to say that. It is OK to think that there are rapes and then there are other less legit rapes. It’s not about whether he has the right. That’s not up for debate. It’s about whether or not that party has the decency it proclaims to have.

    This isn’t entirely fair. There is no law or party rule in place which can allow outsiders to force a candidate out of the election. David Duke ran for a number of offices (in Louisiana and nationally) as a Republican, despite efforts from 49 other state Republican organizations and the national party to get him off the party primaries / unaffiliated.

    Our political parties are not structured in any practical legal manner as machines anymore, which is 99% good and proper. This case is perhaps an exception.

    Nobody else in the party is standing up for Akin, which is good and proper. But they can’t force him out.

    John’s comment that his ideas fall within the range of current Republican norms is sadly true, however.

  13. It’s worth noting that Akins and some guy named Paul Ryan co-sponsored legislation to limit the rape-exception for abortions to “forcible rape” *and* legislation that would attempt to define legal personhood as starting at fertilization. I’m sure this has nothing whatsoever to do with so many Repub leaders up to and including Mitt Romney calling for Atkins to withdraw from the race.

  14. The very idea that Akin would come out and say something like “a woman’s body would reject the sperm of a rapist anyway, so it’s not like she’d need an abortion” reminds me of nothing so much as the line horny teenage guys have been handing to their virginal girlfriends since time immemorial: “You can’t get pregnant, the first time!” Both statements are equally true. Someone should ask Mr. Akin how a woman’s body is supposed to know the difference between the sperm of a consensual partner, and that of a rapist?

  15. Bearpaw, it’s my understanding that the “forcible rape” description was so vague that it was likely that a woman would have to appear before a judge, and possibly a jury, to argue (and prove) that the rape did actually occur, and that it was forcible, in order to qualify for the exception. What woman in that position is going to want to go through that?

  16. He won’t get my vote. I don’t care whether he chooses to stay in contention. I don’t vote for idiots. His remaining in contention for office will hopefully keep reminding people just what his deranged, damaged, and deluded party stands for.

  17. @cvrick And, more to the intent of the legislation, how many would have the money to hire a lawyer, or savvy enough to go through the proceedings without one? How many can even afford to take an additional day off of work and find transportation to the courthouse (these seem like terribly small things, but can be huge barriers for very poor people)? How many have enough time to go through a legal process before their pregnancy is in the second trimester and an abortion becomes more expensive and more complicated?

  18. I couldn’t agree more, eselle28. The purpose of the legislation was clear – put more burden on victims in order to push an agenda.

  19. I believe his apology did not actually cover the “medical doctors say” part. He acknowledged he messed up by talking glibly about rape, and that “all” (what an asshole) rape is bad. But, when it comes to the woo woo, not so much.

    Most of the coverage I’ve seen on this addresses the GOP response, his apology and his initial stupidity. None of it really seems to address the part where this sort of justification (that it isn’t actually rape if you get pregnant) for an abortion ban is entirely common rhetoric in the pro-life movement. Unless I miss where he recanted on the scientiffery.

  20. I have only two real issues with this mess caused by Mr Akin. The first is that a member of the House Committee on SCIENCE, Space, and Technology ought to have a basic understanding of human biology — he should at least know what we expect tenth-graders to know.

    The second thought is that it drives me up the wall when people demand that no-one point out what they said, if what they SAY they said contradicts what they said. Mr Akin’s view is fairly mainstream for that camp, yet him being called out for saying it has sparked a flurry of criticism and namecalling because God forbid people actually make the connection between Mr Akin’s words and the legislation the Republicans support. It makes my head ache, all of it.

  21. “and (probably less common, at least I hope) that at the rapiest level of rape, you probably aren’t gonna get knocked up.”

    Which means if you say you’re pregnant because you were raped, you are most likely weren’t “really raped”, which isn’t very nice for the rape victim, but conveniently for Akin provides an excuse to deny abortion in the case of rape.

  22. I don’t think it’s fair to say that Akin’s horribly uneducated view about rape is the norm for conservatives. (Scalzi might be right about “penumbra”, I guess, that’s pretty vague.) Here’s why I don’t think it’s the norm: whenever I’ve talked about abortion with pro-life friends, what to do in cases of pregnancy by rape is always the part of the topic where the conversation gets hard and heart-breaking – not because they think it doesn’t happen, but because they know it does.

    I know it’s anecdote and not data. But, for whatever it’s worth, Akin’s view of rape isn’t one I’ve ever heard from any of the conservatives I know. (I’m a conservative too, but not nearly as politically active as many I know.)

    And, since I feel terrible for making my first comment here a political one, let me say: Mr. Scalzi, thanks for the books and the blog. I’ve been enjoying both for awhile now, and should have said so earlier.

  23. Cairsten wrote: “I have only two real issues with this mess caused by Mr Akin. The first is that a member of the House Committee on SCIENCE, Space, and Technology ought to have a basic understanding of human biology — he should at least know what we expect tenth-graders to know.”

    Apparently he did undergrad at Worcester Polytech in Massachusetts – some sort of engineering-related major, possibly engineering management. Then he worked at IBM for a few years, before going back to Missouri and working in some management position at a steel mill or something like that. A bit later, he left that job to get a master’s at a fundamentalist seminary.

    As Fred Clark of the slacktivist blog says, “Todd Akin is a product of Covenant Theological Seminary — that’s where you go if you want to be trained in patriarchal misogyny with a side of disturbing nostalgia for the Old South.”

    This combination- GOP-approved religious orthodoxy, with a somewhat technical background that happened long ago to remove the taint of modernity – is probably why he’s on that committee.

  24. “You, lady, take off your pants. I’m going to rape you!”
    “Will that be a Legitimate Rape, or an Illegitimate Rape?”
    “I’m not 100% sure…”
    “Here. Read this brochure, and fill out this form. You’ll need to attach your long-form birth certificate, a wiener-gram, and a waiver so that I can legitimately kick you in the crotch until your balls are Akin.”

  25. Jessica wrote: “I don’t think it’s fair to say that Akin’s horribly uneducated view about rape is the norm for conservatives.”

    It may not be the norm for conservatives as a whole, but there are entire, sizable subcultures where it is the norm. Like Akin’s denomination.

    Quoting Fred Clark again:

    “In Akins’ PCA community, no one blinks an eye at statements like that. Akins’ views are extremely common and typical in the ultra-reformed strain of Southern-Gothic Presbyterianism he inhabits.

    Todd Akin was a follower of the late D. James Kennedy. Kennedy, founder of Florida’s Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, was not a fringe character in American evangelicalism. He was well-known and well-respected — and his views on rape victims were the same as those expressed by Akin.”

  26. Jessica, you may find these two posts by Fred Clark at Slacktivist to be useful context. I don’t know what part of the country you live in, nor what religion you or your friends follow (if any), but Clark is an evangelical Christian with a front-row seat to what his politically conservative co-religionists believe and try to legislate for. Akin’s views are not very fringe at all.

  27. Jonathan wrote: “It may not be the norm for conservatives as a whole, but there are entire, sizable subcultures where it is the norm. Like Akin’s denomination.”

    I’m very sorry to hear that. If anything good comes out of this scandal, I hope it’s that it educates anyone left who believes women can’t get pregnant from rape. (I wonder if people who believe this can possibly have read any history? Rape and babies resultant from it happened to conquered people after conquered people down through the ages. How could you read history and miss that fact? I admit, I just don’t get it.)

  28. I was hoping that after bequeathing Ashcroft on this country a decade ago Missouri wouldn’t follow up with another nut so soon. I’ve been doing my part voting against Akin every two years, but I’m outnumbered in my district. Hopefully there are enough sane people in this state in November.

  29. I agree with Other Bill — his so-called apology didn’t contain any retraction of the biology error. What he _said_ was that rape can cause pregnancy — but now he’s not making a distinction of what kind, so I can hear him adding in his head, “…unless it’s ‘legitimate’ (i.e. violent) rape.” He kind of has to believe that to justify his position to himself.

  30. Putting aside the incredibly deep misogyny, ignorance, and willful stupidity of Rep. Akin’s statement, I’m curious to watch how this plays out on the national level.

    Clearly, as our host noted, that isn’t Mr. Akin’s problem; he is showing a complete disregard for the Republican establishment, including at both the state and national levels. While I’m sure his position, and his doggedness in the face of the mainstream media and political figures further endears him to his evangelical base, I think this race went from leaning in his direction to a tilt in the opposite direction when he opened his mouth.

    But nationally, there are huge implications. Democrats were already pitching several angles on the “war on women” before this happened; Rep. Akin reinforces that in the most graphic way possible. In an election when the economy is expected to be front and center, this pushes a social issue into the spotlight, in a way that will be helpful to the Dems.

    Dems can link this view directly to the Romney-Ryan ticket, since Rep. Ryan co-sponsored, along with Rep. Akin, an effort in 2011 (HR 3) to further limit federal funding for abortions to those instances when there was a “forcible rape.” Due to (understandable) outcry, the language was dropped. Doesn’t take a rhetorical genius to link the two items, and use it to bang on Romney-Ryan. I don’t believe that this is Governor Romney’s position, but it is in the Republican platform, which was put together more or less concurrently with the Akin eruption.

    Also, the fact that Gov. Romney explicitly called for Congressman Akin to step aside,and his subsequent refusal to do so makes Romney look weak and not in control of the party for which he is the standard bearer.

    Finally, this becomes an issue that Rs in swing districts will have to deal with. In some cases, it’s going to make the hill a lot harder to climb.

    PS- For someone on semi-hiatus in August, I note that Scalzi has been posting a lot of stuff requiring significant moderation. I think you’re doing the hiatus thing wrong.

  31. My question is: why are conservatives all up in arms about this?? If you are voting for a candidate due to the fact that you believe in their pro-life position (which I think it a horrible reason to vote for somebody but…) then I don’t know why you would pull your vote due to the fact that their position is TOO pro-life, or based on false science in regard to getting pregnant. If you don’t believe in abortion then you will not do it no matter what the situation. I was raped, I got pregnant, (and fortunately I had a miscarrage). I would never had gotten an abortion–I know that in my heart after going through my circumstances. My circumstances are an ancidotal example that what he said is untrue (unless maybe I wasn’t legitimately raped!?!-yeah right) but it wouldn’t cause me to NOT vote for him strictly due to his comment. People need to get a grip on the basics of the issues…

  32. itsathought2 wrote: “There was an infinitesimal movement toward decent thinking when the GOP censured him by asking him to stand down. ”

    No, the “censure” was entirely tactical. If Akin was genuinely far beyond GOP doctrine, the GOP platform wouldn’t sound like something Akin would write himself. It calls for an anti-abortion amendment, with no mention of it being allowed in case of rape or incest. (And why have such an exception, when Republicans like Steve King of Iowa say they’ve never heard of anyone getting pregnant through rape or incest. King might want to talk to Mr. Fritzl of Austria, who had seven kids by his own daughter, who he had imprisoned in a dungeon that he’d built under the house.)

    The ‘censure’ was almost entirely based on a panic that he would fail to take the Senate seat, thus making it harder for the GOP to take the Senate. The remaining basis for the censure was probably some concern that Akin had resurrected a troublesome topic that had somewhat died down, and as long as he’s in the race, that topic will get a great deal of attention.

  33. Sorry that this is off-topic apart from involving Republican shenanigans, but did you have any opinions about this local Ohio issue, John?

    http://shar.es/7Wp7K

    “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine,” said Doug Preisse, chairman of the county Republican Party and elections board member who voted against weekend hours, in an email to The Dispatch. “Let’s be fair and reasonable.”

    (Feel free to delete this for being too far afield… and I know you do.)

  34. Jessica wrote: “Rape and babies resultant from it happened to conquered people after conquered people down through the ages. How could you read history and miss that fact? I admit, I just don’t get it.)”

    They might well engage in “slut shaming”, and explain that the women must have enjoyed it in some way, or that they actually seduced the rapist, or the father is a boyfriend and the enemy was blamed out of embarrassment, or whatever.

    Pretty much the same sort of thing you hear from some when a pastor or priest or coach or other authority figure gets caught taking advantage of a young girl or boy. Some will often try to excuse the abuse by claiming the child came on to the adult, or that “the child must have enjoyed it since they didn’t fight back, so why get the pastor in trouble?”.

  35. Jonathan Hendry beat me to a citation from slacktivist (for which my highest recommendations will never be high enough – a thoughtful and critical look at current evangelical thought /from/ an evangelical with considerable cred in those circles who is in no way a wild-eyed revolutionary).

    The analysis there agrees with my reading of it – Akin had no idea he was saying anything beyond the pale, specifically because that viewpoint is common currency among practically everyone he actually relates to. It is a subculture thing – I know a number of people who are very sincere in their religious beliefs (BTW, what was God thinking while wiring the brains of electrical engineers so that they would be so disproportionally drawn to young-Earth creationism?). To a person, I think they would consider this viewpoint far too strong, it’s just not part of the heritage of their particular belief structure.

  36. Jessica Snell — Large swaths of fundamentalists (in the USA, primarily Christian; but don’t think the fundie Jews and Muslims are immune either) are profoundly miseducated in things biological. I don’t say uneducated, because this isn’t a simple matter of being taught nothing. This is a problem where people are actively taught inaccurate things, backed up by creative sophistry to make it appear to the untrained eye to have a grounding in reality.

    This is the sort of thing that drives “abstinence only” sex education, despite the strong statistics correlating such education with higher teenage pregnancy rates than proper, science-based sex education.

    It’s nearly impossible to cure ignorance when the ignorant don’t think they are. First you have to show them that what they think they know is wrong. However, like most humans, their psyches are going to resist that concept as hard as possible. Since their psyches are trained to tie themselves into doublethink knots that would make the Phrygians jealous, it’s pretty damn close to impossible to get through.

    The internet helps–kids are naturally curious and rebellious–but it’s an uphill battle trying to educate adults whose self-image and worldview require that they be scientifically illiterate. I find it tragic and frustrating in the extreme.

  37. Jonathan – sorry, I spoke poorly – I get why they’d be *motivated* to believe this, I meant that I didn’t get how they *could* believe it, if they’d read any history.

  38. -E – I don’t know, I think abstinence till marriage is the best choice, but I can also totally credit studies that say that this leads to higher pregnancy rates (because abstinence is hard, and if you can’t hack it and don’t know about condoms well, hey, pregnancy!). But then, I’m more of the “teach the controversy” camp. I’d rather hear both sides (e.g., teach the kids how birth control works, *and* teach them how abstinence works), and then let a person decide with both her brain and her ethical system/religion informing her.

    It is a problem when you get just an ethical system, and no facts. It’s also a problem when you get just facts, and no ethical system/religion. I think humans are body/spirit amalgams who really need both.

  39. Hmm.. Atkins was trained as an engineer and also supports the teaching of intelligent design. (aka. Creationism). I guess that’s another data point in support of the Salem hypothesis.

  40. Jessica: “…if they’d read any history.”

    –>Reading it is not the same as believing it. There are whole schools devoted to telling these people how the history books are lying to them. And the explanation for why millions of people would be conspiring to lie to them is… SATAN!

    No, I’m not kidding. It pretty much all boils down to “Because our magic book says so.” But few think to actually, you know, read their magic book, instead relying on their preacher to tell them what it says. (See, if they read history, they would know why Protestantism happened!) Those who do read their particular holy book(s) spend a lot of brainpower rationalizing why one bit or another should be followed, different bits should be conveniently not thought about, and contradictory bits are not actually contradictory because of various no-prizes.

    Like I said, tragic.

  41. Right now, the polls seems to suggest that Missouri Republicans don’t think they have a Todd Akin problem — and if you look at the PPP’s breakdown, you’ll see that his remarks only caused 2% of MO voters who identify as Republicans to decide against voting for him — and didn’t move the needle at all among independent voters. For a not-insignificant bloc of voters, the prevailing attitude appears to be, “Yeah, he REALLY shouldn’t have said that, but at least he’s not Claire McCaskill.”

    I’m reasonably convinced that, if he stays in the race, there is very little that could come out of Akin’s mouth that would actually drive enough voters AWAY from him and TOWARDS McCaskill to make a difference. As I put it earlier today, McCaskill’s challenge isn’t so much to convince any Missouri voters that Todd Akin’s wrong as to mobilize every one of those voters who already believes it. That, and Akin’s ability to replace infrastructural GOP cash infusions with funding from anti-choice zealots, will probably be the key factors.

  42. Jessica, I should note that I’m speaking specifically of the fundamentalist strains of religions, here.

    I myself am the product of a religious high school where we were taught proper sex ed, but yes, that abstinence was the only way to ensure pregnancy didn’t happen. The class was pretty much, “You’re not supposed to have premarital sex (but for goodness sake, if you commit that sin, go ahead and commit another. There’s no reason to be stupid).”

  43. One of the (few) things I don’t do is slag on other area’s representatives. They are “representatives,” in that they really do represent their electorate, and by slagging them, I’m slagging a whole slew of people that I don’t know. That is not correct, or compassionate, or respectful.

    I like my representative, and my senators; my county clerk, my governor. I respectfully disagree with our State Treasurer, but I voted for him (which I won’t do again, the rat bastard,) but he’s MINE, so I can be a little intemperate in my language, because I own the decision. And I respect the decisions of other people, in areas where I don’t live, facing hazards that I don’t share, to elect the appropriate representative for them.

    Many people (in certain conservative states, who happen to be related to me, thanks) think that Washington State’s Republicans are actually Democrats in disguise, and our Democrats are secret Socialists, and our Socialists are Communists, and our Communists are Satan. As a result, I’m hardly the right person to judge how Akin will fare in the general. He wouldn’t even have made it to city Council in my town. But if that is who Missouri wants, well, I wish them the best.

  44. Being from Missouri, I’m very embarrased to have to claim this guy as being from the same gegraphical area as me. I’ve even heard self labeled “conservatives” arguing against abortion and expressing similar views. Even if I did agree with most of his ideas on his campaign topics (which I incidentally most certainly do not), him making those comments would instantly keep me from voting for him since they uncover a willfully ignorant world outlook that is counter to the progress of society for at least the last 100 years. That this sort of Republican (including Sam Brownback in KS, Rick Santorum in PA) can be elected to office just reveals how pitifully incapable the people of this nation have become in being able to choose our leaders.

  45. Let me assure you that Akin’s comments do NOT reflect the thinking of a majority, or even a sizable minority of conservatives.

    I don’t know a soul who believes the nonsense he was spouting about a woman’s body having some magic mechanism to keep her from producing a child if she was raped. I do know conservatives who don’t believe in abortion under any condition. I’ve never heard this pseudo-science bullshit Akin spewed from any of them. They will tell you that it’s not the baby’s fault if she was conceived through rape or incest. It all comes down to them considering the fetus to be a living child from the moment of conception on.

  46. barbarienne – I’m sure there are schools like that, and that’s awful.

    There are also schools like the one I went to, where we studied the Bible along with, oh, everything. Starting with Homer and Plato and working on to Freud and Marx and such. Actually reading it all, researching context, etc. Seeing how it all fit together. The idea there was something along the lines of Lewis’ “the universe will ring true, whenever you fairly test it” – or, as one of my profs said, you ought to believe Christianity because it’s true, and if you learn that it’s not true, you ought to stop believing it.

    I just hate the idea of people thinking that only the first sort of school – or Christians – exist. It’d be like me thinking all liberals love killing babies, you know? It’d be terrible. That’s one of the reasons I like this blog – it’s reasoned dialogue and I can learn things from it – even if it’s just how to better understand why the people who disagree with me disagree with me.

    (just fwiw, I don’t think fundamentalism qua fundamentalism isn’t necessarily bad. If you believe something, well, I think it’s good to *sincerely* believe it. You just have to realize that someone’s wrong, and it might be you, and be willing to take that risk.)

  47. As someone who lives in Missouri, I see this playing out something like this.

    Claire McCaskill is generally behind in the polls because of some negatives around some financial shenanigans she pulled a few years ago regarding the use of a private plane and how it got charged in, among a few other very minor things. She “made it right”, paid the money back or whatever was necessary, and avoided any ethics charges for it. In many states, that makes things OK, but here we kinda hold folks in office to a higher standard, and wonder what she’s still getting away with that we haven’t seen yet (remember: our political standards here include a guy named Truman, who was about as much of a stand-up guy as you can get, and his home is in this district). Sure there’s a few significant policy things, but really a lot of the “swing voter” types are more concerned about her ethics than anything else. Yes, she voted for “Obamacare”, but I think that’s less of an issue than the ethics problems really. And the ethics problems really are “shenanigans” level problems, not like she had a freezer full of cash or something.

    Also to note in the polls is that the only people who knew anything about this Akin guy are the people who voted in the primaries, who were primarily staunch Republicans. The primary here was literally 2 weeks ago, and most middle-of-the-road undecided types don’t make up our minds until 2-3 days before we vote, and would reflexively vote against Claire on the “shenanigans” issue until we find out what a nutjob this Akin guy is.

    So the polls are very early polls, because we had a very late primary. Her numbers are realistically probably far better than that. We’ll see for sure in a few weeks.

    As a thought experiment, let’s say Akin’s getting no support from the party, and is behind 10 or 15 points in a few weeks. The GOP won’t throw him any money at all, because his baggage isn’t worth the very slight chance he’d pull off the upset. McCaskill’s sitting on a fairly big pile of campaign money, and she can elect to share that money with another candidate in a contest that’s really tight (Missouri has several districts that are pretty close, as usual) and possibly push them over the edge. At which point 2 things will happen: Akin will have managed to lose the republicans 2 contests, the Senate he was running for and whatever contest she can push over the edge for Democrats, and Claire will look like a political genius for being in the right place at the right time.

    The only way this goes bad for McCaskill is if Akin really really plays the Obamacare card strongly. Lots of people worried about that, some with good reason, and some because they’re told to worry about it and don’t think a lot for themselves.

  48. @ Jessica Snell:

    You would be hard-pressed to find any fact-based sex-ed curriculum in the US that didn’t *also* counsel that it’s best to wait for the context of a secure and committed relationship. Nobody gets “just facts”. The imbalance is all on the abstinence-only side.

  49. I wholeheartedly endorse Akin to not only be the GOP nominee to try and take the MO Senate seat but to be the true representative voice that exposes the GOP as rejecting things like women’s rights and science.

  50. You know, I’m pissed off when people say this bastard apologized. As usual, he “apologized” by saying he used the wrong word and was misinterpreted and he’s sorry IF anyone was offended. He has NOT apologized for the real offense, which effectively was saying that rape victims who get pregnant deserve it and should have to carry the child to term. Because if they weren’t “legitimately” raped, then they fall under the usual “well, you should have thought of that before you unknowingly bought the drugged bottle of Poland Spring in that store” kind of “responsibility” bullshit that “social conservatives”* believe.

    Also, the reason all the Republicans are hanging him out to dry is only partly because he wasn’t their pick. He’s also well known for his lack of willingness to help other Republicans in any way. He’s a selfish bastard even for a right-wing “social conservative.” He richly deserves what he’s now getting. I hope he stays in the race and loses so massively that he can never show his face in public again.

    Liz – Akin believes you weren’t “legitimately” raped. He believes that what happened to you wasn’t really rape. In other words, you “asked for it” or “secretly wanted it” or at any rate “enjoyed it.” You got pregnant, you see, and that’s not possible if you were “legitimately” raped. And he’s never retracted that part.

    I don’t know anyone that wouldn’t offend.

    Argon – I assume you mean (Congressman and Senate-candidate) Akin rather than (deceased diet doctor) Atkins.

    Billy – Thank you. I’m glad to hear that it’s rare, but it’s not new. From this article in the Atlantic:

    In 1980, attorney James Leon Holmes wrote, in a letter arguing for a constitutional ban on abortion, “Concern for rape victims is a red herring because conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snowfall in Miami.”

    I think the concern you state (that IF you believe a fertilized egg is a human being, that human being is innocent and deserves life even if its father was a rapist, coupled with genuine compassion for rape victims), leads to vulnerability to this kind of junk belief in the weak-minded; because the dilemma is unresolvable, they find a way (or are gullible when someone else finds them a way) to believe it doesn’t happen. Akin and his ilk are preying on the weak-minded.

    *’social conservative’ is a euphemism for “selfish bigoted asshole.”

  51. Jessica–I definitely don’t think that only the most ignorant sort of Christians exist. I just wish they hadn’t managed to shanghai large swathes of a political party and now use that power to try to establish an Atwoodian theocracy; and that the presumably more educated and sensible members of that party have, for reasons mysterious to me, chosen not to call out the ignorant as ignorant.

    (Or perhaps not so mysterious. The old story of the frog in the boiling pot springs to mind. Or the one about climbing aboard a tiger and then how do you get off without getting eaten?)

  52. Jessica Snell: “I know it’s anecdote and not data. But, for whatever it’s worth, Akin’s view of rape isn’t one I’ve ever heard from any of the conservatives I know. (I’m a conservative too, but not nearly as politically active as many I know.)”

    I live in Louisiana. I hear this all the time. I often get the “don’t punish the innocent fetus for the crime the rapist committed” argument. Hell, one of the DEMOCRATS running for governor this last time believed this kind of thinking. Of course, Republican Governor Bobby Jindal has run on this platform of no abortions with no exceptions since he has entered the political realm. Conservatives pushed the ballot initiative in MS that sought to ban oral contraception as well as all forms of abortion without exception. Such measures have been promoted by other conservatives in other states as well. And, as John pointed out, this is also going to be the official platform of the GOP, that we should ban abortions without exception.

  53. @mintwitch:

    I’m perfectly comfortable slagging another area’s reps if they’re part of a decision-making process that affects me, like a US senator, or a member of the Texas Board of misEducation.

  54. Xopher, It is a terrible dilemma, isn’t it? Particularly for conservatives who are worried about a huge centralized government infringing on their individual liberties, but also believe that life begins at conception.

  55. In 1962-63 or 63-64 the National High School Debate question was something like “Should Abortion be Legalized?” Early that season, someone somewhere found a paper that spread like wildfire for a month in the anti-abortion positions: medical research that showed women didn’t get pregnant from rape, was the claim. Um, no, that was the debating point. The paper’s actual claim was something like women did not frequently care for children who were the product of their rape. This is a very different statement, and there were other papers pointing this out, and what happened to those who were conceived through rape (those born alive mostly given to adoption, IIRC.) As a debating point, it became a loser. I would laugh out loud when it was brought up in a debate, and my partner would make shushing gestures at me.

    It appears that some never heard the refutation, or have chosen to ignore it.

    Sadly, there are some (well, were, it’s been two decades since I was a Republican) who fervently believed this nonsense. Some of them get it today in their churches. They preach it to me until I just shrug and walk away. If all of us are going to Heaven, the uproar is going to be loud.

    The Anti-Abortion plank may yet be modified, it hasn’t been approved by the Convention, only the Platform Committee. Sometimes it has been, sometimes it hasn’t. Sometimes three or four somewhat or totally contradictory planks are accepted. Not a binding document in any case on either party. Most people — even those running — never read their party Platforms; you’d be surprised at what’s in them. Ask the candidates questions about them.

    Both parties do this [redacted] Some Democrats are equally wrong-headed about firearms. Some in both parties are equally wrong headed about drugs. And … we keep voting for them. I really want binding None Of The Above; if NOTA gets the most votes in a race, every candidate is disqualified from running for the office in the subsequent election.

  56. You know, I’m pissed off when people say this bastard apologized. As usual, he “apologized” by saying he used the wrong word and was misinterpreted and he’s sorry IF anyone was offended. He has NOT apologized for the real offense, which effectively was saying that rape victims who get pregnant deserve it and should have to carry the child to term. Because if they weren’t “legitimately” raped, then they fall under the usual “well, you should have thought of that before you unknowingly bought the drugged bottle of Poland Spring in that store” kind of “responsibility” bullshit that “social conservatives”* believe.

    THIS. For all the attention that’s been heaped on Akin’s “poor choice of words” there’s been precious little of that spotlight shone on how Akin’s done nothing more than repeat exactly the same nauseating tripe that other GOPers like Paul Ryan have been pushing regarding rape victims and a woman’s right to choose with, for example, that “forcible rape” tripe. The only reason Mittens and the GOP establishment have been rushing to distance themselves from Akin is that Akin had the gall to open his mouth and state flat out that it isn’t rape unless a victim fights back “enough” to the point of being horribly injured or killed because otherwise (and apparently especially if she gets pregnant as a result of the rape), bitch must have wanted it or deserved it anyway, therefore, not “real rape”. *hurl*

    Which is nearly exactly what all the rest of them have been saying, in so many slimey, weasel ways. So if people are going to leap on Akin for what he said, they’re going to apply that same standard to the rest of his ilk pushing the same idea, no matter how polite or inoffensive the language, right? Right?? *crickets*

  57. Billy, I don’t think that part is as big a dilemma for social conservatives as it would be for you. They’re fine with government controlling other people, just not them; and especially women, because then it’s just the government helping the men control “their” women, as is the natural order of things. You and I have had our conflicts, but I know you’re better than that.

    I’d like to point out that I have compassion for that dilemma (which if it bothers someone indicates they have a heart). It’s the way of resolving it that I have no patience for.

  58. It’s true that the gedankenexperiment John B. posted about didn’t necessarily have to involve a violinist. He expressed it that way because that’s how it was written in the original paper that introduced it. (Judith Thomson, “A Defense of Abortion”, Philosophy & Public Affairs, Vol. 1, no. 1, 1971.)

    It’s a famous paper, as evidenced by the fact that people are quoting from it in an Internet discussion 40 years later. The basic argument is: even if you grant that fetuses are people, it does not follow that abortion is necessarily wrong. Additional reasoning is needed, and Thomson argues that there are in fact no good arguments that can get you from one to the other.

    I read “A Defense of Abortion” in one of my undergrad philosophy classes. It’s short, and much more clearly written than a lot of philosophy. If you’re interested in these sorts of things, the full text is available at http://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/Phil160,Fall02/thomson.htm

  59. Ron: “his remarks only caused 2% of MO voters who identify as Republicans to decide against voting for him”

    I wouldn’t be surprised if he still won the election.

    Liz: why are conservatives all up in arms about this??

    Because his comment plays well only in states that are already bright red republican states. The “battleground” states will likely recoil in horror at his comments. And Romney doesn’t need to worry about the bright red states, he needs to worry about the battleground states.

    I think the recoil effect will be even stronger if Akin is the favourite to win because folks in battleground states like Ohio will imagine Akin in office and it will rightfully terrify them.

    So, in short, they’re not up in arms because he said anything that didn’t fit the right wing platform. They’re up in arms because he said it in such a blatant way that it could actually hurt Romney’s election.

  60. I have never seen that Defense of Abortion paper before. But I have often used a very similar scenario to explain why the personhood of the fetus didn’t matter as an individual should always be able to remove themselves from some device that is connected to them that is enabling someone else to remain alive…. especially when the attachment of that device was not done with their consent.

  61. Voters in only 50 counties (not states) will likely decide the outcome of this presidential election. Akin should stay in for purely tactical reasons. The next president might appoint 3 Supreme Court justices.

    Voters in Missouri have the right to incur the wrath of decent people everywhere, without a doubt. I won’t despise them for being from Missouri, since they did not choose that. Internally-inconsistent religious beliefs, ignorance of science, and misogyny seem to me like fair game for scorn.

  62. In 1980, attorney James Leon Holmes wrote, in a letter arguing for a constitutional ban on abortion, “Concern for rape victims is a red herring because conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snowfall in Miami.”

    Wow. Who knew it snowed in Miami 32,000 times a year?

  63. barbienne – thanks – I didn’t think you did – just trying to explain my motivation in joining the conversation (I’m still sort of surprised at myself that I did). And politics and religion . . . how could they not influence each other? but I’d be lying if I said I knew how they *should* influence each other. I should probably go reread my deTocqueville!

    and, LiberalDan, just for clarity, I’m surprised at the idea of “rape precludes conception” being common, not at “abortion is always wrong”. The latter’s pretty standard.

  64. I don’t buy the “they’re someone else’s representative so I shouldn’t criticise them” argument. Like Bearpaw, I think that if they presume to affect me I should have a say, ideally legal influence over them. It’s bad enough for all the merkins who are effectively disenfranchised, and the non-citizens who live in the USA but can’t vote, but the USA prides itself on its global reach. Us poor sods in Australia get everything from Mickey Mouse copyright law to US radioactive waste dumping without even the pretense that we might be allowed a say. Both major political parties have a servile attitude to merkin imperialism.

    So absolutely, I feel free, even compelled, to critique many things about the USA.

    Billy Quiets says: a terrible dilemma, isn’t it? Particularly for conservatives who are worried about a huge centralized government infringing on their individual liberties

    I thought both major parties were absolutely committed to this? Even Ryan doesn’t want to end it, it just wants to fiddle with exactly how much infringing the govt does and to whom. Even if you’re part of his favored 1% you’ll still have to petition the government for the privilege of driving on the taxpayer-funded roads and a huge bunch of similar restrictions. Preferring a different set of restrictions is not the same as preferring no restrictions (and why is anarchy such a bad word to libertarians anyway? Is it the US preference for an ahistorical viewpoint?)

  65. Yeah. Well, not at all within the penumbra of conservative thought (that is, batshit crazy theories of biology are not respectable bases of pro-life (even in cases of rape) positions). But you must have conservatives fairly well pegged; you’re the professional author with high test scores and whatnot, and you surely couldn’t reach conclusions that were based on simplistic caricatures of conservative positions.

    That said, though I obviously think you’re self-righteous, close-minded, hypocritical (well, sometimes) and self-justifying almost any time you stray on political ground, love your writing.

  66. [...]that an apparently non-trivial number of conservatives seem to believe[...]that at the rapiest level of rape, you probably aren’t gonna get knocked up.

    Come on, John. I’m reasonably certain you’re being intentionally disingenuous with that ridiculous naked assertion. I think you’re probably smarter than that, but I suppose I could be mistaken.

  67. @Nick — if you scroll up to the Slacktivist links I posted (the second one in particular), you’ll find abundant evidence that a non-trivial number of conservatives do, in fact, believe that if you’re “really” raped, then you won’t get pregnant. Or rather — since I presume, based on your handle, that you are male — if I’m raped, my body will magically protect me from the consequences, so long as it was violent and therefore “legitimate” enough. (Other kinds of rape, of course, aren’t rapey enough to qualify.)

    You may not like the fact that there are people of the conservative persuasion who either believe that or are happy to talk as if they do. But pretending it isn’t true won’t get us anywhere.

  68. True, Rajesh – rape culture is all pervasive, and not simply the province of the GOP and the right. On the other hand, only one side of the political spectrum is using the idea to justify denying women the right to control their reproductive organs, restricting their right to birth control and so forth.

    Galloway’s comments about degrees-of-rapiness have also been thoroughly repudiated, even by many Assange supporters and people who believe that he’s being stitched-up. A large portion of the GOP, on the other hand just wishes Akin hadn’t said out loud what they believe, on account of it’ll be hard to sell in the swing-states come November.

  69. “There is no law or party rule in place which can allow outsiders to force a candidate out of the election. ”

    The rules are what the Party says they are. The Democratic National Committee vacated the 2 delegates for Lyndon LaRouche in 1996 by defining him as not a “bona fide Democrat”.

  70. just fwiw, I don’t think fundamentalism qua fundamentalism isn’t necessarily bad. If you believe something, well, I think it’s good to *sincerely* believe it. You just have to realize that someone’s wrong, and it might be you, and be willing to take that risk

    I was respecting your viewpoint for a bit there. Disagreeing, but respecting. This, though, is simply false. Reductive people will walk you through why suicide go-getters sincerely believe, and what that does to the world. Angry white people might tell you how conservative Christianity made them miserable. Black folk, well, there is a well to be tapped, still. We haven’t even left the US landscape that much, yet.

    Fundamentalism is the view that you have the news, and can use force to coerce others to at a least pretend that they agree with you. I won’t speak about other traditions I know less about, but that just doesn’t sound like Jesus to me. Although, of course, pick ‘n choose, there are Gospels you can use. It just seems like a sin of arrogance to do so, but there seems to be a lot of that.

    Thankfully, I do not care. I derive morals from my interactions with other humans, and we all seem pretty happy about it. You, of course, are free to so whatever you like, and please, do so.

    Cheers.

  71. A theory I read recently, elsewhere in the web, is that this isn’t something born of poor education but rather of ideological necessity, and that biblical literalists, because of the mental gymnastics needed to regard the bible as literally true, are more susceptible to it;

    “If you start from the premise that abortion is bad, you have to consider the possibility of a rape victim wanting to get an abortion. Since extremism is now the rule withing the GOP rather than the exception, the only ideologically proper response to this situation is to come up with some justification for why a rape victim should have to bear the rapist’s baby.

    Ultimately, this ideological necessity forces people into various highly uncomfortable positions: There is no such thing as rape (what people call rape is merely Surprise Sex With Strangers™ (in which consent is conferred through situational factors, such as provocative dress or poor life-style decisions involving one’s choice in parking spaces); rape exists, but Real Rape™ does not produce babies; or Real Rape™ does produce babies, but these blessed children are a beautiful life-changing gift from God, presented in a sort of “broken” way that only a lifetime of pious reflection can help us truly understand.”

    (Original post at http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=10648020#p10648020)

  72. @Marie – I read through the posts at slacktivist and even followed the links in those articles, but I couldn’t find a single shred of evidence or even a single quote from anyone that supported the notion that anyone else at all specifically believed that women couldn’t get pregnant from being raped. I guess the case could be made that technically even one person could be considered a non-trivial number, but I think that would be a pushing the envelope of contextual intent in this instance.

    There are plenty of good reasons disagree with the GOP. These sorts of disingenuous naked assertions compromise one’s intellectual integrity and simply aren’t necessary to make legitimate convincing arguments.

  73. Guys like this imbecile and Mike Huckabee are proof that fundamentalism and politics should be rigorously separated.

  74. I think this article is relevant to this issue (as is the article linked therein).

    http://rabbirami.blogspot.com/2012/08/my-akin-heart.html

    I am old enough that the ‘sex ed’ we had in school was mostly about STDs, which were called VD and which included syphilis, gonorrhea, and crabs. Well, that and a picture of a naked cartoon man and a naked cartoon woman (both of whom were bald all over). The embarrassed teacher pointed at the cartoon flaccid penis and then at the closed leg crotch of the cartoon woman and said “This goes there, and it makes babies when it does.”

    I always thought that one hour of sex ed that we went through was the Worst Sex Ed Evah, but if those two articles are correct, then abstinence education is worse, and not just because it advocates an approach that never seems to work, but because it teaches people that when a woman is raped, her body acts to prevent pregnancy.

  75. Update:

    Marie, I read back through those articles and was able to actually find one direct quote. so there’s that, but everything else, as far as I can tell, was anecdotal or just more naked assertions purporting that the actual evidence is available in abundance somewhere else.

  76. Seriously? This is the real debate? Whether or not a raped woman who gets pregnant has been ‘legitimately raped’?

    The meaning of legitimacy is ‘lawfulness’. Saying ‘legitimate rape’ is like saying ‘lawful child molestation’.

    The very thought is contemptibly abhorrent and demeaning to victims. As per ACOG:


    Any person forced to submit to sexual intercourse against his or her will is the victim of rape, a heinous crime. There are no varying degrees of rape.

    Hell, in a civilized world, this question shouldn’t even be asked. The very fact that you’re talking about this issues shows how screwed up women’s reproductive rights are in the US. A women gets to choose, we respect her choice. End of story.

    Anyone who thinks that an abortion is performed lightly and without consideration by any woman likely doesn’t understand what an abortion involves, both physically and emotionally, even in the best of circumstances.

    As for Atkin, this moron is not only a misogynistic asshole, he’s also uneducated with fundamental biology and history. He should never have made it out of middle school, let alone into senate!

    The rest of the western world is looking at this, shaking their heads and saying WTF.

    That this discussion is even happening in 2012 saddens me greatly. That this guy was actually elected by a body of people to be their representative blows my tiny little mind.

  77. Well said, as usual. You always manage to zero in on the response that requires thought rather than just an emotional reaction to stupid, stupid words.

  78. N wrote: As a recent Missouri transplant, I was thinking to myself “Well, it is time to go educate yourself

    I seriously doubt that educating yourself is a requirement for continuing your residence in Missouri, based on this post.

  79. If the pro-life movement was true to it’s beliefs, there would not be the obscenity of children waiting to be adopted.

  80. Akin is a product of Worcester Polytech? Color me not terribly surprised.

    This is not to say bad things about WPI, my husband went there, and they give an excellent engineering education – though engineering management? – soooo not the same thing. But the male/female ratio is high, and those of my husband’s classmates who came in with counter-factual, misogynistic views of the world and biology were not likely to have them challenged. There’s also a distinct asshole contingent. When we were dating, I could rarely socialize much with his classmates without thinking longingly of ways to ensure some of them could never reproduce.

  81. My comment on this is, “So, what did Akin apologize for?” His suggestion that there are multiple levels of rape? Or his insistence that women who were violently raped had a way of not getting pregnant? Did he apologize for voicing it? Or for voting in ways that suggested he thought it was true?

  82. @ JohnV: He apologized for expressing himself in a manner and context that hurt his odds of being elected.

  83. @ AC:

    For a thought experiment, I tried paring common right-wing rape adjectives up with other crimes:

    - forcible murder
    - legitimate assault
    - honest fraud

    Granted, this was an experiment on the order of picking a pen up and dropping it, just to see which way it would fall. Still, try to imagine someone using one of those terms not just once, but repeatedly. Try to imagine them being treated as a Very Serious, Well-Spoken Person in a political discussion.

    This is example umpity-billion-and-one of how rape culture warps the world.

    (Quoting myself from Shakesville.)

  84. Most Missourians I’ve met have told me that they’d planned to never return to that state. Given the populace there who think Akin is a really good guy, and that his ideas are correct, I can’t say as I blame them.

    Best I can say is that large portions of the state have been infected with malevolent idiocy, and I hope they get well some day. Worst I could say would probably get me malleted. But some forms of white hot rage don’t need to be shared with the class.

  85. @Jessica Snell -

    It’d be like me thinking all liberals love killing babies, you know?

    Well. The problem with that is that no liberals “love killing babies”. If by that you mean making sure that women have control over their own reproductive health, including and especially abortion rights, then we’re certainly all for it. But that has jack all to do with “killing babies”.

    But Akin’s horrifically wrong and misguided views are sufficiently common and pervasive in conservative thought that they show up in conversations with conservatives, and in their attempts at legislation. Even if they are not “mainstream” they are strong enough to shift the window of discourse sufficiently that other attempts to attack the rights of women seem a little less extreme by comparison, which is probably their purpose.

  86. One flaw is the conception to birth issue. Somehow, after that, you are on your own, and it is your fault if any predator victimizes you.

  87. Maybe Mr. Akin thinks legitimate rape only involves anal sodomy. In which case, it is very clear and every doctor would agree, there is no way to get pregnant from such a legitimate rape.

  88. I undersatnd that the Romney campaign has recently proposed a Personhood Amendment that covers people from conception to birth, and from incorporation to dissolution.

  89. Jessica Snell: Going back and reading your post I see where I misread what you had written.

    But even then, I havn’t seen any of my conservative leaning facebook friends say “you know what, he is a moron for saying that, women’s bodies do not work like that” and I have seen my conservative leaning facebook friends say “he is right, raped women are less likely to get pregnant because of….” and then they start spouting off some unscientific harble-garble. One was even a woman defending Akin and his flawed science views.

    Of course, the number that they presented as being the liklihood of being impregnanted from a single rape was no higher or lower than the numbers I found of the liklihood of being impregnanted from a single act of unprotected sex.

    So, does this mean that these people I know on Facebook are really believing this garbage? Or does it mean that they are willing to say or do anything in order to try and keep this from hurting their chances of defeating Obama? I would likely say that it is a little of both. Some likely believe this “science”. Others probably know it’s garbage but view the and result of beating President Obama as being more important than truth, honesty and itegrity. And to them, if you have to throw women under the bus to beat the black guy, then they will not hesitate to do so.

  90. Also, let’s be honest: there are a sizeable number of liberals who think some rape is rapier than others, or that it isn’t rape if the rapist is otherwise admired. It’s just that you don’t hear “But the US is persecuting him!” or “That was a long time ago and anyway he made some amazing movies!” as an excuse for eliminating abortion, and you don’t hear the Magic Fallopian Defense argument.

    (Which, you know, makes me a little sad and embarrassed for Mrs. Akin: her husband just got up on a national stage and announced that he doesn’t have the faintest idea about the basics of the female reproductive organs. Ouchmo, dude.)

    What it boils down to is that some people simply think abortion should be stopped, period, and whatever means get to that end is justified, whatever logical contortions to make 1+1=4 necessary are acceptable, and if that results in collateral damage, well, God will sort them out.

    @Jessica Snell: I really don’t get the “teach the controversy” argument. Do you believe that comprehensive education about reproduction is the opposite of teaching “but you should wait to have sex until you’re adults”, or that teaching kids what contraception is means telling them to run out and have sex? That’s not “teach the controversy”; that’s an alarmist and false understanding of what comprehensive sex education is.

    Abstinence-only is a bizarre way of approaching a subject that is applied nowhere else in the K-12 curriculum: don’t teach them now, hope they’ll learn about it later on when they’re grownups. As opposed to “Stop grumbling, someday you’ll be glad you learned [subject].”

  91. As a Canadian, when I look at a lot of issues in American politics my reaction is “what is this, I don’t even…”

    I just don’t get the logic of a party who is, at least in words, about fiscal responsibility and limited government and who also is working SO hard to legislate women’s bodies. The best joking phase I’ve heard about the GOP is that it “wants a government so small it’ll fit in a woman’s vagina”. It makes me laugh/weep.

    I always thought one of the defining things about American culture was how it respects and encourages individualism – to go out and create something with little government interference. It’s a shame to see that value so selectively applied that women aren’t trusted to make their own decisions about their own bodies.

  92. Two things that probably aren’t legitimately original thoughts:

    Akin’s “legitimate” remark got people’s attention. The really disgusting thought behind that is “if you get pregnant after being , you must’ve what then? Enjoyed it? Otherwise the “secretions” or dentate would’ve prevented pregnancy?

    The GOP asked/demanded that Akin drop out of the Senate race because they didn’t want him representing them in the Senate. No one asked him to resign from his current job, as the U.S. Representative for Missouri’s 2nd congressional district.

  93. The really disgusting thought behind that is “if you get pregnant after being not-legitamately raped” that is (stupid non-use of Preview).

  94. @Saint Timonious

    The GOP asked/demanded that Akin drop out of the Senate race because they didn’t want him representing them in the Senate.

    No, they asked/demanded that Akin drop out of the Senate race because they’re afraid he’ll lose and/or have deleterious effects on other races. If he wins he’ll be welcomed back into the fold with open arms and all of this unpleasantness will be swept under the rug.

  95. @ Mtythago – some people on the right do believe that all abortion should be stopped because they think all conceived babies should have the right to live; some people, like myself, believe that abortion should be limited to cases of rape, incest and to save the mother’s life or health in a medical emergency. What we generally balk at is attempts by the pro-abortion legal beagles to make the health exception so broad that you can drive the Space Shuttle through it.

    With regards to the abortion question in general, I tend to think that nuturing a system that encourages women who decide they don’t want a child or can’t afford to raise it can give it up for adoption is better than sustaining the system we have now, which doesn’t provide mothers to be with any palatable choice. Speaking as an adoptee that was given up at birth, I’m grateful that my birth mother decided to give birth to me and not have me flushed down the toilet because she couldn’t raise me or whatever reason she had. She had her reasons for not raising me and I respect those reasons. I’m just grateful she respected my rights enough to give birth to me and give me to my adoptive parents.

  96. “I always thought one of the defining things about American culture was how it respects and encourages individualism – to go out and create something with little government interference. It’s a shame to see that value so selectively applied that women aren’t trusted to make their own decisions about their own bodies.”

    That is what Akin is standing for. He doesn’t want government to interfere with the creation of “human life” that takes place when a woman is, according to him, not really raped. /sarcasm>

  97. Closer and closer to Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”.

    When I first read it ages ago, I never thought that type of society could ever happen in North America. Now it appears to be, if not in a violent coup, but a steady erosion of women’s rights.

  98. Saint Timonious: “The GOP asked/demanded that Akin drop out of the Senate race because they didn’t want him representing them in the Senate. No one asked him to resign from his current job, as the U.S. Representative for Missouri’s 2nd congressional district.”

    VERY good point. I will be stealing that. :)

  99. Anecdatally, I haven’t noticed any of the six or so Akins campaign signs being taken down in the corridor between home and work. I’m disgusted but not really surprised by this, nor by the fact that he’s still statistically tied with McCaskill, nor that people I know are undoubtedly still going to vote for him, though they’ll justify it as a vote against his opponent.

    How depressing.

  100. Christopher: “What we generally balk at is attempts by the pro-abortion legal beagles to make the health exception so broad that you can drive the Space Shuttle through it.”

    I find it better to trust women to determine what health conditions, and risks, she is willing to take instead of legislating them.

    “With regards to the abortion question in general, I tend to think that nuturing a system that encourages women who decide they don’t want a child or can’t afford to raise it can give it up for adoption is better than sustaining the system we have now, which doesn’t provide mothers to be with any palatable choice. ”

    You are right in saying that the system we have now is inadequate for women who choose to gestate to term. Hell, it can be inadequate for those women who want to have kids. But when a woman looks at her life and sees that she cannot handle missing work, the doctors visits, and the general medical conditions that come with being pregnant, I am not sure that even if we had such a system that it would increase, by any significant measure, the number of women who would choose to gestate .

    “I’m just grateful she respected my rights enough to give birth to me and give me to my adoptive parents.”

    I am not aware that anyone has the right to use the body of anyone else without their consent for any period of time, especially for 9 months.

  101. Jessica Snell @ 08/21 10:58:
    If anything good comes out of this scandal, I hope it’s that it educates anyone left who believes women can’t get pregnant from rape. )

    Amongst the sizable minority on the Right who believe that, the logic is that if a woman is pregnant then it wasn’t rape. This is the logic behind the nonsense of reclassifying exceptions to abortion to “violent” rape.

    See, you slut, you’ve got to prove you were really raped to get an abortion; and because you are pregnant, you weren’t really raped so you don’t deserve an abortion.

    I think my fingers just fell off typing that. Ugh.

    And that’s why hypocrites on the Right like Ryan are calling for Akin to leave the race. They all think that what he said is true; but God forbid he should say it in public because that strips the veneer from their coded words and exposes it for all to see. (And note, horribly, there are non-hypocrites on the Right who are lauding him.)

    Akins is apologizing for misspeaking “one word” and crying Woe Is Me about how pilloried he is being for just one wrong word.

    Completely ignoring, or worse maybe not even understanding, the fact that the real reason for the outrage on the Left is his woman-despising circular logic.

  102. “… seem to believe, i.e., that some rapes are rapier than others,”

    Which makes him Whoopi Goldberg’s uncle.
    .

  103. Just call him Borat.

    If he wins, he will be a walking stimulus package for Saturday Night Live. I really want to see a microphone put into his face as much as possible. I am dying to find out what other crazy things the guy thinks.

    To be fair to republican voters… if they don’t vote for him, then t hey are stuck with someone who they disagree with on virtually every issue. If the situation was reversed and there was a completely idiotic democratic candidate, you can’t really expect liberals to vote for the republican or stay home .That being said… I can’t see how swing voters would support him.

  104. I’ve never understood the argument that abortion should be illegal except in cases of rape. How exactly will rape be confirmed? Is the mother’s word good enough? Does she have to undergo a physical exam to prove “forcible rape”? Does she have to file charges against her rapist? Does she have to win in court? I have never found a reasonable answer to this. I believe the stance is meant to punish women who have consensual sex (which apparently implies consent to pregnancy) and to create absurd obstacles to delay and prevent women from getting abortions.

  105. @Christopher Shaffer: Pretty sure our host is not interested in this turning into Yet Another Abortion Argument. You can go ahead and put that bait back in the box before it gets really stinky.

    We’re not talking about whether abortion is wrong or under what circumstances, if any, a ban on abortion should include an exemption for pregnancies resulting from rape; we’re talking about the reprehensible view, put forth by Akin and his fellow travelers, that it’s OK to justify rape or lie about basic biology as long as it leads to the Greater Good of stopping abortion, and if some rape victims get run over in the process, well, hey, omelette and eggs, amirite?

    @Saint Timonious: I doubt that the GOP actually wants Akin to drop out; that’s a contested Senate seat. They want to publicly distance themselves from his views, which hurt them by association on the national stage, and which dragged the “War on Women” meme back to the front page. They’ll quietly funnel him some money through other channels, and if he’s elected they can shake their heads in disgust while they high-five about getting the Senate seat.

  106. I keep colliding the words “legitimate” and “rape” in my brain, trying to see if those two words could possibly have any meaning when put together. Still can’t get it to make sense, but I believe we’re close to discovering the Higgs Moron.

  107. Let’s don’t worry about the Republicans’ plank in their platform on abortion. Not all G.O.P’ers are as ignorant as Akin, and the LAST thing they want is to actually accomplish the adoption of a constitutional amendment on abortion. This whole display is just a gift that keeps on giving, helping them to gather votes from the well-meaning innocents who think that the Republican Party is on their side. Being anti-abortion politically is just a cynical device to keep their base in line. It’s much more valuable as a continuing “issue” than it would be as an accomplished political achievement.

    Even people who are strongly pro-life should take a hard look at their candidates, and try to measure how faithfully they actually intend to endorse your views while in office. Politicians — liberal and conservative alike — are accomplished liars.

  108. sandflake: I typically use that argument as well. If you allow for a rape exception, how is it enforced? You would either have to take the pregnant woman’s word (which means people at that point would lie about being raped (note, not falsely accuse someone of it, but lie that it happened so her body isn’t a slave to the state for 9 months) OR they would have to force the woman to prove it in court (which would cause a lot of raped women to not be able to receive abortion services because of the number of women who have been raped whose rapists walk free).

    At the end of the day, if you believe it is morally repugnant to force a woman who was raped and impregnanted to gestate to term, you have to support keeping it legal for all women because otherwise any hurdle to obtaining an abortion could prevent a woman who was raped from getting an abortion.

  109. Sandflake, interesting that you ask that question — because Akin’s latest “clarification” of his poor word choice was that what he meant by “legitimate rape” was that women lie all the time about having been raped in order to get abortions.

    As usual with the GOP’s “apologies”, he’s not sorry for anything he said, he’s sorry that he has to suffer the consequences of being an utter douchebag in front of a by now international audience…

  110. Liberal Dan

    Yep, with the added corollary that the woman may die or suffer permanent damage to her health as a result of her rights being dispensed with.

    I have to declare a personal interest here; I live in a country which does, in general, recognise that pregnancy carries risks and that it is no part of a free society to insist that someone else undergoes those risks. It’s a choice which an individual is free to make with her own life but not to impose on others.

    I get really pissed off with people who assume that, because they know that I spent a hefty chunk of both my pregnancy and post delivery in hospital trying not to die, I expect other women to make the same choice. I don’t. And since I know what it is like at the sharp end, up close and personal, I have nothing but contempt for people who want to force others to do that…

  111. Mythago, virtually everyone in the GOP has called for the guy to drop out of the race. From Ashcroft to Romney to Limbaugh. They absolutely want him to drop out so they can put another Republican up against McCaskill.

    When he refused the GOP reallocated all of the funds they were going to spend on his race to other contests. This is a fact.

    And Ultrugotha, pardon me but you are talking out of your ass. Paul Ryan has said that he does not believe a word that came out of Akin’s ignorant piehole about “legitimate rape”. By your tortured logic everyone who denounced Akin is a liar and a hypocrite.

  112. Jerome: While I do believe that there are some people who never actually want to see certain issues go away because then the people running the organizations would not be able to raise fund and collect paychecks, there are also a non-trivial amount of people who really do just want to treat women as second class citizens.

  113. Mythago is correct that I would prefer this thread not to become a general discussion on abortion. The topic is Rep. Akin, his race and what else is in the main entry.

  114. Yes, Rens, it appears that the GOP has been tilting at many windmills, from women with false rape accusations to Sharia law to voter fraud…

  115. Stevie: Exactly. Not only because of the various risks that could happen to anyone during a pregnancy, these conservative crazies don’t understand the fact that women’s bodies are all different and react to different things in different ways. So the idea that the state should be able to tell a woman what risks she should be required to take with her health is just baffling to me because the woman, and not the state, knows what is best for her and her needs.

    I believe someone brought up mental health “loopholes”. Well what happens if a woman with a husband and children is on some medication that helps treat some neurological condition? What if that medicine would cause severe birth defects IF she got pregnant again but going off the medicine would mean she might pose a risk to the rest of her family? She should be allowed to make the decision that she feels is the safest for herself and for her family. And if that means getting an abortion so she can stay on the medication, then so be it. That should be her choice and her right as an individual human being who can make autonomous decisions for herself.

    What just drives me crazy are these nutjobs who support a policy of no abortions, no exceptions. So far my wife’s pregnancy is going fine. But she knows that I would never want her to risk her life if she felt she was in danger and I know she wouldn’t want to risk her life and leave me alone to raise our son without a mother. These conservatives supporting such archaic and draconian policies would basically tell me and my son “too bad”. Yeah, they can go straight to their hell. If ta woman’s body was as magical as Akin believes it to be, why wouldn’t it reject pregnancies that would be a threat to the health of the woman as well?

  116. Mythago, virtually everyone in the GOP has called for the guy to drop out of the race. From Ashcroft to Romney to Limbaugh. They absolutely want him to drop out so they can put another Republican up against McCaskill.

    At least you’re admitting it’s not because they disagree substantially with his views on rape.

    And Ultrugotha, pardon me but you are talking out of your ass. Paul Ryan has said that he does not believe a word that came out of Akin’s ignorant piehole about “legitimate rape”.

    And yet, Ryan co-sponsored a bill with Akin that required women to prove “forcible rape” as an exception to banning abortion. A bill that literally every single GOP representative voted for. And the Romney-Ryan campaign says that Ryan still maintains support for banning abortion even in the case of rape or incest.

    So…”Who ya gonna believe, me or your lyin’ eyes?”

    By your tortured logic everyone who denounced Akin is a liar and a hypocrite.

    Well, yes. That’s the point.

  117. I would posit that McCaskill would love to have Akin stay in the race so she can beat on him for his stupid comments the same way that Ann Richards did in her race against Clayton Williams for Texas governor. That way she can deflect attention that she has pretty much voted for whatever the Obama adminstration put forth; most of which are pretty unpopular in Missouri and nationwide, i.e. Obamacare and his stimulus. And I’m sure Obama would love to have Akin as a handy straw man to distract from his horrible handling of the economy.

  118. @genuflett: do you have a legitimate site on this? By legitimate, I mean a newspaper, cnn, etc… I don’t consider the huffington post or the democratic part site to be a legitimate news source. Not saying this isn’t true… I would like to read the story.

    “And yet, Ryan co-sponsored a bill with Akin that required women to prove “forcible rape” as an exception to banning abortion. A bill that literally every single GOP representative voted for. ”

    =

  119. Paul Ryan has said that he does not believe a word that came out of Akin’s ignorant piehole about “legitimate rape”

    He should probably act like he believes it, then.

  120. Akin was quoted saying “The good people of Missouri nominated me, and I’m not a quitter.” But in actual fact, 36 percent of Republican primary voters (nominated him. That’s small even for a plurality victory. I’ve just located the official Missouri Secretary of State results for the top three candidates:

    Todd Akin 217,436 36.0%
    Sarah Steelman 176,163 29.2%
    John G. Brunner 180,802 30.0%

    I think it should be kept in mind that the Sarah Palin-endorsed candidate Steelman or the self-finanaced businessman Brunner, if they’d won, would have also been small-plurality candidates who themselves might very well have made a public statement damaging their own chances of victory.

    Oh, and the total number of Republican voters in the primary? About 603,000. From U.S. Census data, the population of Missouri over age 18 is 4,590,000. So of “the good people of Missouri” who Akin says nominated him, he got the votes of 36% of 13% = 4.73% of eligible voters. Just sayin’.

  121. And yet, the current RNC – GOP platform for the POTUS campaign includes a Great Big Plank that outlaws all abortion for everyone with no exceptions for anything. This Great Big Plank was included in the three previous RNC – GOP platforms for the POTUS campaign. So one can fairly state this is the position of the Republican party on this — what They have made into A Great Big Issue, though it was long ago settled by law.

  122. Karina said (at August 22, 2012 at 9:33 am):
    As a Canadian, when I look at a lot of issues in American politics my reaction is “what is this, I don’t even…”

    Another Canadian here (waves) — one could step back and say “thank you” to Dr. Henry Morgentaler and the other Canadians who fought many battles to overturn a system in which it was the decision of someone other than the women herself to whether she had a “right” to have an abortion.

    As Brian Dickson, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, wrote in the 1988 Supreme Court ruling that basically found Canadian abortion laws to be unconstitutional:

    Forcing a woman, by threat of criminal sanction, to carry a fetus to term unless she meets certain criteria unrelated to her own priorities and aspirations, is a profound interference with a woman’s body and thus a violation of her security of the person

    .

    Arguing about “rape exclusions” is ceding rhetorical ground to those who are not willing to recognize a woman’s sovereignty over her own body.

  123. @John Scalzi: Sorry — I hadn’t read your request that we not turn this thread into a discussion on abortion before I posted my comment. If you think deleting it would help to prevent thread derail please do so.

  124. To say that Akin’s comment was within “the penumbra of conservative thought” shows a pitiful lack of knowledge of conservative thought. It falls dangerously close to the pitifully poor logic of “I know a moronic conservative and therefore conservatisism is moronic.”

    Does Akin deserve the nomination? Clearly not. Can it be taken away from him? Apparently not. Should any thinking American demand that he not contribute to the governing of our country? Hell yes!

    But what the heck do I know. I think a late term abortion for any reason other than a medical triage is much more disgusting, damaging and unacceptable.

    Cheers,
    Rod

  125. Genufett, I’m saying the GOP heavyweights DO disagree with what he said about rape AND they want to put someone else up against McCaskill.

    I’m not going to argue abortion with you, other than to say there is a difference between believing that life begins at conception and believing in Akin’s ridiculous rape theory.
    99% of Republicans think Akin is a douche canoe and that he should get out of the race. Conservatives in Missouri do not want to be forced to choose between Akin and McCaskill.

  126. @Rod Rubert – http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/21/g-o-p-approves-strict-anti-abortion-language-in-party-platform/

    I hope that link is good good enough for you – I went to the GOP site, but I couldn’t find their platform there. Maybe it’s just me?

    Personally, I’m glad this is coming out in all its ugliness and allows fewer well-meaning conservatives to put their heads in the sand and say “well, they can’t ALL really be like this”.

  127. “…someone so heinously ignorant of human biology, which I suspect is indicative of other vasty swaths of ignorance in his mental makeup.”

    That quote is my take away from this article. I just do not understand people who listen to politicians like Akin and think “This guy makes a lot of sense, I want him representing me”.

    I’m also annoyed at the reporter. No follow up at all. Yeah, I know he apologized and said not following up was stupid but I just feel that’s what reporting has come to in this country, just ask your question, get an answer and no matter how stupid or just plain wrong there’s no questioning it, just move on to the next question.

  128. apparently non-trivial number of conservatives seem to believe, i.e., that some rapes are rapier than others

    Yeah, that’s just slander. Built on a weird series of justifications by the TPM guy starting with what Nancy Pelosi believes.

  129. Why shouldn’t he run? He just reiterated the Republican Party’s platform on abortion and on repealing its legality, and he’s a Republican. He legitimately won the primary election. The people of Missouri get to decide, not the party. Any Republican politician who came out and said that Akin is completely wrong while party policy is that he is completely right is a lying hypocrite. (Which isn’t really a surprise.) But really, there’s only one person whose opinion matters here for the Republicans and that’s Rupert Murdoch and whether he thinks Akin will make him more money one way or the other. And apparently Mr. Murdoch feels that Akin should leave makes him more money, at least for the moment. So Akin is running on empty. But still, he has a right to run — and take down as many Republicans with him as possible.

  130. Scorpius – as I think was discussed at-length upthread, every single House Republican supported a bill that separated “forcible rape” from some undefined other rapes. If that’s not saying that some rapes are rapier than others, I don’t know what is. And if every single House Republican isn’t a non-trivial number of conservatives, well, I don’t know what that would be either.

  131. Genufett, I’m saying the GOP heavyweights DO disagree with what he said about rape AND they want to put someone else up against McCaskill.

    Then why didn’t they object to the “forcible rape” language of HR3, which had 227 cosponsors (which included Todd Akin, Paul Ryan, and the entire rest of the GOP caucus)? If they disagreed then, then they were awful quiet about it, which is quite a moral failing. If they didn’t disagree, then they are–as you put it–liars and hypocrites.

    Yeah, that’s just slander. Built on a weird series of justifications by the TPM guy starting with what Nancy Pelosi believes.

    Nope. See above.

  132. Kat Goodwin, Wait a minute, are you saying Rupert Murdoch is the one?

    Hang on just a minute, My master in the dark arts of evil conservatism does not like that at all.
    Lord Cheney would like to have a word with you.

  133. Scorpius:

    Dude, before you accuse someone of “slander,” you should probably look up what the word means. It’s not slander. And it’s almost certainly not even libel.

  134. “If ta woman’s body was as magical as Akin believes it to be, why wouldn’t it reject pregnancies that would be a threat to the health of the woman as well?”

    You mean like having a miscarriage?

    In 1969 Norma McCorvey claimed she was raped in order to get an abortion in Texas, because that was one of the exceptions to the anti abortion law at the time. However, after an investigation turned up no evidence of rape (No Police Report, poor witness statement, etc) McCorvey admitted she lied. After failing to get an abortion (which was illegal at the time) McCorvey found representation (or the lawyers found her depending on whom you believe) and went on to become the “Roe” in Roe vs. Wade. Despite her claims, her pregnancy was not the result of rape.
    When Akin said “legitimate rape” he meant rape, as opposed to consensual sex that later is alleged to be rape. That his comment about the woman’s body shutting down has no basis in accepted medical knowledge is astonishing, but then again congress members on both sides the aisle have never been the best and brightest, no matter how much we think, want and wish they should be. However, as abortion is the most divisive topic in American politics these days it was going to be the biggest blurb in the news cycle for the next few days. The only thing more surprising than Akin saying what he said are his refusal to bow out. Politicians have dropped out for less, but then they’ve also been able to get re-elected for offenses just as egregious, if not worse. But that was before social media.

    Drew

  135. “apparently non-trivial number of conservatives seem to believe, i.e., that some rapes are rapier than others”

    When did Whoopi Goldberg become a conservative?

    Drew

  136. John,

    While “libel” and “slander” have legal definitions pertaining to libel and slander which you can be held legally accountable for, there are definitions of the two used outside the legal field. Just like I can call a person “insane” after he killed someone and that wouldn’t qualify him as having an “insanity defense” so too does the legal system co-opt terms in general circulation for their own use.

    So, yeah, I can say it’s “libel” without having to justify it using legal code.

    Then why didn’t they object to the “forcible rape” language of HR3, which had 227 cosponsors (which included Todd Akin, Paul Ryan, and the entire rest of the GOP caucus)?

    They did, they removed the rape redefinition on March 1 2011, long before it passed on May 4, 2011.

    That took two seconds of Google. Do better.

    http://www.opencongress.org/articles/view/2220-Republicans-Strike-Rape-Redefinition-Language-From-Abortion-Bill/

  137. Andrew @11:58 a.m. writes “Politicians have dropped out for less, but then they’ve also been able to get re-elected for offenses just as egregious, if not worse. But that was before social media.”

    In this case I think the traditional media have been reasonably vigorous in getting the story out. For example: The portions of the initial interview with Akin replayed on NPR’s news programs, and the reporting that surrounded these clips, would have been the same if there had been no internet.

  138. gottacook,
    You remember when Ron Paul went on Piers Morgan and said “No. If it’s an honest rape, that individual should go immediately to the emergency room.”

    I don’t either….but then Akin is a representative from the state I live in, and I’m not a big Piers Morgan fan…

    Drew

  139. Billy Quiets:
    And Ultrugotha, pardon me but you are talking out of your ass. Paul Ryan has said that he does not believe a word that came out of Akin’s ignorant piehole about “legitimate rape”. By your tortured logic everyone who denounced Akin is a liar and a hypocrite.

    I said everyone on the Right who thinks like Akin and Ryan is a hypocrite for asking Atkin to leave the race. I didn’t say or imply anyone was lying. You may want to go back and read more carefully.

    Atkin said he misspoke and meant to say “forcible” instead of “legitimate” rape. Which is a crock in and of itself.

    But anyway, Ryan certainly does believe this nonsense about “forcible” rape. He and Akin not only voted for HR 5939, they co-sponsored it.

    Here’s the bill. Is the Library of Congress a legitimate enough source for you?
    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.5939:

    `SEC. 309. TREATMENT OF ABORTIONS RELATED TO RAPE, INCEST, OR PRESERVING THE LIFE OF THE MOTHER.

    `The limitations established in sections 301, 302, 303, and 304 shall not apply to an abortion–

    `(1) if the pregnancy is the result of an act of forcible rape, or incest with a minor; or

    `(2) in the case where a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.

    Ryan and Akin also co-sponsored HR 212.
    (B) the life of each human being begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent, irrespective of sex, health, function or disability, defect, stage of biological development, or condition of dependency, at which time every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood;

    So yes. Ryan agrees with Akin and his denunciation of that “one word slip” is hypocrisy.

  140. @Matt Austern: “The basic argument is: even if you grant that fetuses are people, it does not follow that abortion is necessarily wrong. Additional reasoning is needed, and Thomson argues that there are in fact no good arguments that can get you from one to the other.”

    This reminds me of a frequent claim in gun-control debates that “guns are only good for one thing, killing.” My response is: “That’s not true, but assume it is. So what? Some people need killing.”

  141. @kilroy: “Maybe Mr. Akin thinks legitimate rape only involves anal sodomy. In which case, it is very clear and every doctor would agree, there is no way to get pregnant from such a legitimate rape.”

    Um, no, they wouldn’t, no offense, and if he thinks that, he’d still be demonstrating an appalling lack of knowledge for someone participating in such a debate. It’s quite possible. It’s very improbable, but it’s not impossible. If the man’s swimmers are determined enough and get half a shot at the Tunnel To Victory, they will do their damndest.

  142. “When Akin said “legitimate rape” he meant rape, as opposed to consensual sex that later is alleged to be rape.”

    That doesn’t make it any better. In that case he’s insinuating that women routinely lie about being raped, and, when you take the “legitimate rape” comment and examine it in the light of his (non)understanding of female reproductive system, he’s pretty much saying that as long as a woman gets pregnant, she wasn’t raped. If she says she was, she’s lying, presumably so she can get an abortion. It’s a deliberate manipulation to render any exceptions to abortion laws for rape victims meaningless.

    I’d go so far as to say that this interpretation is, if anything, slightly worse than if he meant to say that some rapes are rapier than others.

  143. You’re right, John. He’s actually being truthful of his beliefs, unlike the majority of those lying SOB’s (Hank Williams Jr. exempted, but he’s not a politician–yet). What gets me is that so many people in this country go along with those beliefs. I can only shake my head at the insanity.

  144. Scorpius: They were cosponsors before the language was changed, which implies support or endorsement

  145. Anyhow, I’ve read and watched Akin’s statement. Yes it was bone-headed. And yes, given our politics he should resign.

    But the last is only because it gives a campaign issue to the left.

    Seriously, Obama and Warren are now running on this. In a time of high unemployment (only kept from being higher since so many millions have dropped out of the labor force), failed stimulus, trillion-plus-dollar deficits expected till the end of the decade, cronyism, sexual harassment in the HHS and DHS against men, corruption, criminality all issuing forth from the WH and this is what you guys want to run on?

    At least Obama has changed his one-note campaign of “Ignore reality and let’s talk about Romney’s tax returns” to something, anything else.

    We (the American people) are going to roll-over you come November and give Obama his pink slip.

  146. “Anyhow, I’ve read and watched Akin’s statement. Yes it was bone-headed. And yes, given our politics he should resign.

    But the last is only because it gives a campaign issue to the left.

    Seriously, Obama and Warren are now running on this. In a time of high unemployment (only kept from being higher since so many millions have dropped out of the labor force), failed stimulus, trillion-plus-dollar deficits expected till the end of the decade, cronyism, sexual harassment in the HHS and DHS against men, corruption, criminality all issuing forth from the WH and this is what you guys want to run on?

    At least Obama has changed his one-note campaign of “Ignore reality and let’s talk about Romney’s tax returns” to something, anything else.

    We (the American people) are going to roll-over you come November and give Obama his pink slip”

    Amazing how much wrong can be packed into one blog comment. Keep on shining you crazy diamond.

  147. There has been a lot of talk about the Republicans’ hypocrisy on this subject. One thing I’ve been hearing from conservatives is the hypocrisy of the Democrats getting all worked over what Akin said, but not giving a damn about what Bill Clinton actually did. Seriously, I just heard this comment not ten minutes ago. Clinton is going to be speaking at the Democratic Party Convention and he was accused of rape by several women. Everyone knows that at the very least Clinton was willing to use his position as a powerful man to take advantage of a young woman, yet he is a hero in the Democratic Party. Doesn’t that bother any of you who are excoriating Paul Ryan and the Republicans over Akin’s remarks?

    Akin’s comments disgust me, do Clinton’s actions disgust any of you?

  148. I’ve been surprised to see Republicans turn on Akin. I don’t understand it. It seems that almost every day for quite some time now, a GOP politician says something like this and/or proposes legislation supporting such views. So why is THIS the grotesquely ignorant GOP politician statement they’re all turning on? What’s different about it or him?

    John is correct in noting that Akin’s anti-choice position is right in line with the GOP platform, and he co-wrote legistlation with the GOP’s VP candidate which was very similar to his non-sensical comments of the other day.

    Without meaning to be facetious (truly), it also strikes me that Akin’s obvious ignorance of basic biology is right in line with the GOP’s widespread vitriol toward science and science education. When you replace science education with anti-intellectual religious fundamentalism, then Akin’s bizarre notions about contraception is a realistic example of what you wind up with.

    So, in a long and ever-expanding line of GOP politicians making grotesquely ignorant, offensive comments and/or supporting appallingly backward legislation, I’m puzzled about why -this- is the guy the GOP has decided to hang out to dry for that. In what was is this guy different from all the others they’ve got who’ve been propounding the same sort of views and positions?

  149. A major problem with this is that I see a lot of cases of putting words into his mouth that he DID NOT SAY.
    Case in point: http://thepoliticalcarnival.net/2012/08/21/cartoons-of-the-day-todd-akin-says/akin1/
    Although I am pro-life, I don’t agree with his “legitimate rape” comment at all. However, I don’t think it should be warped into something else. The backlash has escalated into nothing less than assassination of character!
    The media has shown its liberal slant so baldly in its response. Rather than talking about all the issues and Akin’s views, they are focusing on this one thing to sway votes.
    Yes the comment reveals his way of thinking underneath, but we cannot slander him for things he did not say.

  150. @scorpious – and when the republicans controlled congress and had legislative control over various states … they focused on jobs?? I must have missed that in the middle of all the vagina-specific legislation being churned out by those same places.

  151. @Agusta,

    Women do lie about being raped. In fact, somewhere between 8 to 10 percent of reported rapes are later found to have been False, and that numbers been rising in recent years. That number is not “routine” IMO.

    @gleonguerro,

    I had a poli sci prof way back when speculate that if “Hitler – R” and “Stalin – D” (or switch the affiliations) were to be on a presidential ballet, they’d each get about 10% of the vote, because that’s how many in the electorate look at just the letter after a persons name.

    Drew

  152. @Andrew: Women do lie about being raped. In fact, somewhere between 8 to 10 percent of reported rapes are later found to have been False, and that numbers been rising in recent years. That number is not “routine” IMO.

    If (and that is a big if) one accepts the FBI figures for false reporting of crimes the rate for rape is about the same as for other crimes.

    There are some solid argument that the 8% figure is an overstatement (see http://www.ndaa.org/pdf/the_voice_vol_3_no_1_2009.pdf) given the subjective criteria often used by police departments to categorize the reporting as false.

  153. Billy Quiets:

    The subject under discussion is Todd Akin, not Bill Clinton, so please try to keep it focused there. This is not to say Bill Clinton doesn’t have many things to answer for, but rather that such a discussion will lead us far astray.

    Scorpius:

    “So, yeah, I can say it’s ‘libel’ without having to justify it using legal code.”

    You’d still be incorrect, but at least now that you’ve switched to “libel” your incorrectness is less incorrect.

    “They did, they removed the rape redefinition on March 1 2011, long before it passed on May 4, 2011.”

    Which elides the point that they put it in there in the first place, and removed it only after the optics of “forcible rape” caused an uproar. If I remember correctly, Akin used “forcible rape” language in his attempted back track from “legitimate rape,” so I don’t know if the argument that the term (and the thinking behind it) has been removed from conservative thinking on the subject is supportable. At the very least, I am skeptical.

  154. Jim -

    “Yes the comment reveals his way of thinking underneath, but we cannot slander him for things he did not say.”

    Glorious. Just stunningly, perfectly glorious.

  155. @Karina,

    The Republicans haven’t had control over Congress since January 2007. You know, the Bush years when Unemployment was much lower? It only started spiking a year after Pelosi and Reid took control of Congress and refused to reign in, or admit there was a problem with, Fannie and Freddie. Interesting “coincidence”

  156. Genuffet

    I agree; if someone sponsors a bill which uses a particular wording then I fail to see how anyone can reasonably subsequently claim that they did not want that wording.

    The perfectly justified outrage and incredulity over this has made it over the pond to newspapers here, where it’s lined up with an equally stupid comment by one of our MPs to the effect that Julian Assange was simply guilty of bad manners in having sex with a woman who was asleep, and that it wasn’t really rape.

    Just another day in Rape Culture, planet Earth; they really need to update the entry in the Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy to warn visiting aliens…

  157. Andrew, can you tell me if those studies differentiated between women who lied and women who were raped but decided to stop pressing charges because of family or friend pressure, or because of threats from their rapist, or because they thought the pursuit was futile, or because they just wanted to put it all behind them?

  158. @Billy Quiets — Show me where members of the Democratic Party have been attempting to legislate away my rights based on Clinton’s actions, and I will show you equal outrage. Otherwise, bringing up his behavior as some kind of deflector shield for Akin’s words (and those of other Republicans) is nothing more than a red herring.

  159. Scorpius:

    Seriously, Obama and Warren are now running on this. In a time of high unemployment (only kept from being higher since so many millions have dropped out of the labor force), failed stimulus, trillion-plus-dollar deficits expected till the end of the decade, cronyism, sexual harassment in the HHS and DHS against men, corruption, criminality all issuing forth from the WH and this is what you guys want to run on?

    Okay, I’m not actually addressing Scorpius directly, because that’s not a wise choice, and I’ve hung around here long enough to know that. Mostly I wanted to point out this beautiful example of “you guys shouldn’t care about those things you care about, you should care about these things I care about.” When a staggering number of women are raped at some point in their lives, I think we should all care about idiots in positions of power with ridiculous ideas about rape and really distressing perspectives on women’s autonomy. I can’t see that this is a less important issue than any other, particularly some of the made-up things on this list. But more importantly, why exactly, when I agitate for the things I think are important, do a lot of people think it’s reasonable to tell me to shut up because the economy (usually) or some other thing is more important?

    The fact that so many women are sexually assaulted that I tend to assume we all have been? That is a really big deal. The fact that my partner and I don’t have legal protections in a lot of places? Also a really big deal. In my life, which matters to me. A lot. I don’t want people in power who think I’m less of a person because of my sex, gender, or orientation. Why on earth does that make me blind to the really important things?

    As for whether Akin should step down: meh. Internal party decision, as far as I’m concerned. I rather like the idea that the people who picked him as a candidate should be stuck with him, though; I mean, you knew he believed this crap, so I kind of feel like you shouldn’t get a do-over just because he said it out loud.

    Kicking him off the science committee seems reasonable, though. Although the anti-science people would probably spin it as “people with unpopular scientific opinions are being silenced.” And they’d say it was necessary to “embrace the controversy,” as though there is actually a real controversy on this one.

  160. @Billy Quiets -

    Everyone knows that at the very least Clinton was willing to use his position as a powerful man to take advantage of a young woman,

    Everyone knows that he had a consensual relationship with a young woman, which is a different thing entirely. What does this have to do with a persistent decades-long program of Republican bigotry towards women?

    and he was accused of rape by several women.

    Yes, he was. Those accusations came out in a superheated witch hunt environment where every Republican apparatchik in the country was gunning for Clinton from the moment he won the election, making it difficult for a citizen to assess them (to the extent that we can outside the court system). What does this have to do with a persistent decades-long program of Republican bigotry towards women?

    Doesn’t that bother any of you

    Yes. The fact the Clinton treated his marriage vows that way bothers me. If he did in fact commit rape he belongs in prison for it; full stop, no quarter. What does this have to do with a persistent decades-long program of Republican bigotry towards women?

    Akin’s comments disgust me, do Clinton’s actions disgust any of you?

    As I indicated above; yes, the known facts (separate from Republican allegations of other crimes, Vince Foster, space reptoids, etc.) do indeed place him lower in my estimation than he would be otherwise. While we’re at it, the persistent decades-long program of Republican bigotry towards women disgusts me, does it disgust you?

  161. Is this the place to mention that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spent $1.5 million in ads pretty much begging GOP primary voters to nominate Akin?

    Sure. If the GOP is dumb enough to put up a loon with a serious chance of winning in its primaries, there isn’t any reason why the Dems shouldn’t try to take advantage.

    That doesn’t even register on the scale of political dirty tricks. Now what Rove did to McCain in the 2000 South Carolina primary, that registers.

  162. @ Tessuraea:

    What you said, seconded.

    It’s also worth noting that abortion rights and LGBT rights (&etc) are big important issues when treating them as big issues works to the Repubs’ advantage, but are shallow political distractions when they take hits on them. (Dems do this sort of thing too, of course, but less egregiously and not in as much of a lockstep.)

  163. Eric, I mentioned that I don’t think we need to go down the path of discussing Bill Clinton here on the thread, although I appreciate the attempts to tie it back in to the topic under discussion. Nevertheless, let’s go ahead and clip this off now, please.

  164. This certainly complicates things for Akin, Ryan and the GOP.

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/08/ryan-refuses-to-explain-forcible-rape-as-dems-attempt-more-akin-izing-of-the-gop-ticket/

    What IS “forcible rape,” exactly? I’m honestly and sincerely looking for a thoughtful answer here, not trollbaiting. If a woman is passed out or is so drunk she can’t fight back…does that kind of rape exclude “force.”? Again, I’m not looking to provoke Scorpius, Billy Quiets or anyone else. Just looking to have a thoughtful exchange on this topic (wow, this sounds like a Craigslist ad…sorry about that).

  165. Seriously, Obama and Warren are now running on this.

    Running on an issue that affects 50.9% of Americans? Sure they are, and I would hope that they continue to do so.

    We (the American people) are going to roll-over you

    And it’s nice to know how limited your patriotism is.

  166. Why are we wasting our time debating the Republican Party’s stand on abortion, whether or not Rep. Akin inadvertently put it out there for everyone to hear? Governments and the elected officials who direct governments have quite enough to do to improve how our country is run today and for future generations. So why do politicans have to spend so much time, effort and money on a subject that is so miniscule to the problems that need to be addressed in our country? While I want ALL U.S. governmental entities to let me decide what kind of medical treatment I want or need (I include abortion as a medical treatment), I DO want the government to prosecute anyone who does violence to me, including rape – whether it be physically beating my body or keeping me from leaving a room, building or situation where I express my desire that I do not want to be there or participate in any activity, including sexual intercourse.

  167. The Gyro Captain -

    What IS “forcible rape,” exactly?

    It’s a weasel word. It’s a rhetorical trick for minimizing or invalidating terrible things that happen to Those Who Need To Be Kept In Their Place. It’s a way of saying that unless the woman was beaten and/or overpowered, it wasn’t really rape. If she was coerced with threats, manipulated through fear, or exploited through some form of vulnerability, then it doesn’t count and she should just suck it up and walk it off (and if she gets pregnant she should, as Rick Santorum recently declared, “accept the gift that god has given her”).

  168. @sandflake,

    The numbers are based on reported rapes. If the person who made the report changed their mind afterwards, for whatever reason, and chose to withdraw the complaint, it was still investigated. Anywhere from 2 to 10% depending on which study you want to believe. The FBI’s numbers have been consistent for a number of years, despite the differences in numbers reported from year to year.

  169. @The Gyro Captain — the explanation I’ve usually seen is that “forcible rape” (or “legitimate” or what have you) is the classic, but in truth rather rare, scenario of the stranger in the bushes who leaps out with a gun or a knife or whatever and rapes a woman until she nearly dies of it.

    If a woman is passed out or drunk from alcohol, then she got herself into that situation, and therefore bears some of the blame for her own rape. (Or, if you want to be extreme about it, wasn’t “really” raped at all.) Much less cases where she’s verbally coerced into it, or is dating/married to the guy in question, or anything else that isn’t an armed stranger out of nowhere. It isn’t really rape unless you have the bruises and blood to prove it.

    Needless to say — well, not really “needless,” since after typing that I feel compelled to wash the ick off me by saying this — that kind of thinking is 100% repugnant to me.

  170. “Women do lie about being raped.”

    True. People do report crimes that didn’t happen, for one reason or another. But since about 95%* of reported rapes turn out to be “legitimate rapes”, it would seem prudent to show victims the courtesy of assuming they’ve been raped when they say they have. But that didn’t seem to concern Akin at all. He was connecting two things: Women sometimes lie about being raped (factually true, on its own). A woman who is raped, can’t get pregnant (blatantly untrue in any context whatsoever). Ergo, a woman who says she’s pregnant after a rape, has to be lying. So there’s no need to provide rape victims with the legal option to have the pregnancy terminated.

    So when I criticized Akin for insinuating that women routinely lie about being raped, I wasn’t accusing him of outright lying – as in “that never happens”. I was accusing him of being an insensitive, rude jerk to rape victims. That is opposed to him being merely stoopid, as in thinking that there are some rapes which are rapier than others (although I suppose that’s pretty insensitive and rude, too).

    *Using the figure 2-8% false reporting from The National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women

  171. I should add that the “bruises and blood” thing is key to the magical thinking of people like Akin. The violence of such a rape is what’s supposed to activate my awesome Rape Sperm Missile Defenses and keep me from getting pregnant.

  172. @The Gyro Captain & @Eric Saveau:

    “Forcible Rape” is a legal term of art. It’s the “official” definition of rape used by the FBI in its annual compilation of uniform crime statistics.

    Forcible Rape—Rape by Force (2a)
    Reporting agencies Definition: The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.

    “Carnal knowledge” is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary, 6th ed. as “the act of a man having sexual bodily connections with a woman; sexual intercourse.” There is carnal knowledge if there is the slightest penetration of the sexual organ of the female (vagina) by the sexual organ of the male (penis).

    “Against her will” includes instances in which the victim is incapable of giving consent because of her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity (or because of her youth). The ability of the victim to give consent must be a professional determination by the law enforcement agency. The age of the victim, of course, plays a critical role in this determination. Individuals do not mature mentally at the same rate. For example, no 4-year-old is capable of consenting, whereas victims aged 10 or 12 may need to be assessed within the specific circumstances regarding the giving of their consent.

    Reporting agencies must classify rapes or attempts accomplished by force or threat of force as forcible regardless of the age of the female victim.

    Terms of art like this are very common in legislation. (By one search engine, the term “forcible rape” appears five times in the U.S. Code.)

  173. The Gyro Captain, I’ve read elsewhere that the bill proponents were trying to differentiate between rape and consensual statutory rape. Hence “forcible rape.” Their thinking apparently was that if they allowed abortions in the case of rape, then any girl under the age of consent would be able to get an abortion by default because she was legally a statutory rape victim. At least, that’s my understanding of it.

    Of course, as Eric and Marie state above, by putting the term “forcible” in front of rape they opened up a whole bunch of nasty implications, from the assumption that non-consensual sex with a drugged or unconscious or sleeping person was a different type of rape because it wasn’t forced to the assumption that women must fight back against their rapists or it isn’t rape.

  174. @MasterThief — My concerns regarding that particular definition aside, not everybody who says “forcible rape” means it in the FBI sense. (Just as Scorpius, above, was using “slander” and “libel” in a sense that have nothing to do with their actual legal meanings.)

  175. Master Thief, I certainly concede that the term “forcible” does appear in legal code. But that does not in any way change the fact that it is also a long-standing Republican dog whistle for “bitchez be lyin and/or deserve it’”, and used in exactly that way by Akin and other prominent Republicans.

  176. “Forcible Rape” is a legal term of art. It’s the “official” definition of rape used by the FBI in its annual compilation of uniform crime statistics.

    I don’t know about their statistics department, but the official definition was changed earlier this year:

    Attorney General Eric Holder today announced revisions to the Uniform Crime Report’s (UCR) definition of rape, which will lead to a more comprehensive statistical reporting of rape nationwide. The new definition is more inclusive, better reflects state criminal codes and focuses on the various forms of sexual penetration understood to be rape. The new definition of rape is: “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” The definition is used by the FBI to collect information from local law enforcement agencies about reported rapes.

    “Rape is a devastating crime and we can’t solve it unless we know the full extent of it,” said Vice President Biden, a leader in the effort to end violence against women for over 20 years and author of the landmark Violence Against Women Act. “This long-awaited change to the definition of rape is a victory for women and men across the country whose suffering has gone unaccounted for over 80 years.”

    As a side note, the Violence Against Women Act that Biden mentions, which he wrote and has been supported by bipartisan groups prior to this year, is being held up in Congress because, among other things, it now includes language to protect victims in same-sex relationships and who are illegal immigrants. Two guesses as to which party is objecting on the grounds that it shouldn’t help “those people,” (and for that matter, have tried to block it before as feminist man-hating and defund it after passage) and the first doesn’t count.

  177. Marie and Eric

    And of course, countries outside the US do not necessarily have any terms of art regarding ‘forcible rape’; here in England the Sexual Offences Act of 2003 has no such concept.

    Rape here is defined as:

    ‘(a) A intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (B) with his penis;

    (b) B does not consent to the penetration, and

    (c) A does not reasonably believe that B consents’

    Of course not all sexual offenders possess a penis and there is therefore a separate and equal offence of ‘assault by penetration’ which also carries a potential sentence of life imprisonment…

  178. Sorry, Genuffet, I cross posted with you; I think the legislation here looks as if it is somewhat ahead of the trend you note…

  179. Andrew at 1:05 pm
    “I had a poli sci prof way back when speculate that if “Hitler – R” and “Stalin – D” (or switch the affiliations) were to be on a presidential ballet, they’d each get about 10% of the vote, because that’s how many in the electorate look at just the letter after a persons name.”

    Actually, if they were *both* on the ballot, I’d bet a lot more than that would vote for the “lesser of two evils,” according to their own viewpoint.

  180. Andrew: ” You mean like having a miscarriage? ”
    No. Miscarriage happens when something is vitally wrong with the pregnancy itself, not necessarily when there is a risk to the woman. Preeclampsia comes to mind as one example. If the womans body is such a magical place that knows how to prevent rape babies, why doesn’t it know how to stop pregnancies that would cause life threatening blood pressure increases later in the pregnancy?

    “When Akin said “legitimate rape” he meant rape, as opposed to consensual sex that later is alleged to be rape.”

    Then why not just say rape? No need for the qualifier. When you put a qualifier in front of something to describe it as one kind of something, you imply another kind of something.

    And you read his mind?

  181. As a side note, the Violence Against Women Act that Biden mentions, which he wrote and has been supported by bipartisan groups prior to this year, is being held up in Congress

    A side note because John doesn’t want us wandering too far off topic.

    The “Violence against Women Act” is a bad law that needs major reform.

    http://deanesmay.com/2012/03/15/uncomfortable-truths-about-the-violence-against-women-act/

    The law’s fundamental problems include sexist double-standards, ignoring (and even encouraging disparagement of) violence and abuse toward men, harming children by legally persecuting or even imprisoning non-abusive parents and leaving children with abusive parents, violates fundamental due process rights, and even sometimes violates the rights of the very women the act is supposed to protect.

    I seem to say this to lefties a lot lately: just because a law is called “support of X act” doesn’t mean it actually, you know, supports X and can very much be a law that hurts X. I can call an act “Everyone gets laid by a supermodel Act” which gives me $60 Billion and it still won’t land Rebecca Rojmin in your bed.

  182. Andrew: “Women do lie about being raped. In fact, somewhere between 8 to 10 percent of reported rapes are later found to have been False, and that numbers been rising in recent years. That number is not “routine” IMO.”

    Key word being “reported rapes”. Many more go unreported.

    This is not to say that false accusations of rape are right, fair or just OR that they should be ignored. But let’s make sure to not give undue weight to false accusations. Rape is a much larger problem.

  183. just because a law is called “support of X act” doesn’t mean it actually, you know, supports X and can very much be a law that hurts X.

    Yes, we noticed that with the Defense Of Marriage Act and the Patriot Act.

  184. The “Violence against Women Act” is a bad law that needs major reform.

    A men’s rights blog is not evidence of such.

    I seem to say this to lefties a lot lately: just because a law is called “support of X act” doesn’t mean it actually, you know, supports X and can very much be a law that hurts X.

    Yeah, I know what you mean. There was something called the “Protect Life Act” that would have repealed the requirement for hospitals that don’t provide abortions to transfer patients to ones that do in the event the woman’s life was in immediate danger. It was cosponsored by Todd Akin and Paul Ryan.

    And then there’s the “Sanctity of Human Life Act,” which would have made in-vitro fertilization and some forms of contraception illegal. It was also cosponsored by Todd Akin and Paul Ryan.

  185. And following up on Liberal Dan’s observations on false allegations of rape I will note that in England someone convicted of making a false allegation of rape will have an immediate custodial sentence ie. jailtlime.

    It is perfectly possible to give justice to both the victims of rape and the victims of false allegations of rape; these are not in any way mutually exclusive. Anyone suggesting that they are is either disingenuous or ignorant…

  186. Eric Saveau – sorry if I was unclear, I was using “liberals love killing babies” as an example of demonizing your political opponents.

    LiberalDan, thanks.

    mythago – no, I don’t think that that teaching the science of reproduction and birth control is the opposite of teaching kids that waiting is always or often good. I mean that there are two opposing viewpoints about how to teach kids about sex, and it’s worth acknowledging the fact when you do teach the kids about sex. If you teach them it’s best to wait till marriage, make sure they know there’s another choice. If you teach them having sex is fine as long as they’re emotionally ready and use protection, make sure they know there’s another choice. That’s all. (And I should probably stop talking about sex ed, as it’s off topic.)

    Jamie, you said, “Fundamentalism is the view that you have the news, and can use force to coerce others to at a least pretend that they agree with you.” – I think we have different definitions of “fundamentalism”. I meant people who agree with their religion’s traditional tenants sincerely. That means sort of the opposite of making everyone agree with you. When you take a real stand on an issue – political or religious or whatever – you do it knowing that there are now people in the world who think you’re really, really wrong. But there’s no way to really agree with one view of the world without automatically finding yourself in disagreement with another part.

  187. @Scorpius –

    Which were products of both parties.

    Yeah, I’m pretty sure the “lefties” noticed that, too. While pointing out what was wrong with said laws before they were even passed. Because, you know, “left” and “Democrat” are far from synonymous, though the right wing loves to lazily pretend otherwise.

  188. Also, Scorpius, the author of the blog you linked to makes this statement -

    “women are every bit as likely to be abusers as they are to be abused”

    - which doesn’t exactly inspire any confidence in his intelligence or integrity, or that of anyone who approvingly references him.

  189. @Genufett ,

    A men’s rights blog is not evidence of such.

    Did you read Mr. Esmay’s article? It’s pretty thorough. Or did you just dismiss him as one of those odious men who who have the gall to actually argue for “men’s rights”?

  190. @Billy Quiets: Indeed, every major political figure in the GOP has called for Akin to back off and his funding has been yanked. But while I am sure that many of those people do in fact find Akin’s comments, the calls for his head are not borne out of a sudden interest in protecting rape survivor, but out of political necessity. Do you think, if and when he wins, that Akin will be shunned by the national leadership? Dude is likely to win regardless, and now he can play the Washington Outsider card a little harder with his base.

  191. @Eric Saveau ,

    which doesn’t exactly inspire any confidence in his intelligence or integrity, or that of anyone who approvingly references him.

    Uhm, yeah, did you read through his links? there is a growing body of evidence that women are just as abusive as men, society just mocks men who report.

    I know it’s an inconvenient Truth but it is a truth.

  192. Stevie: “And following up on Liberal Dan’s observations on false allegations of rape I will note that in England someone convicted of making a false allegation of rape will have an immediate custodial sentence ie. jailtlime. ”

    In your experience, or from what you have seen, has the policy of an immediate custodial sentence if one is convicted of making a false allegation of rape had any sort of chilling effect on women reporting acts of sexual violence commited against them?

    “It is perfectly possible to give justice to both the victims of rape and the victims of false allegations of rape; these are not in any way mutually exclusive. Anyone suggesting that they are is either disingenuous or ignorant…”

    I agree with you 100%

  193. Did you read Mr. Esmay’s article? It’s pretty thorough. Or did you just dismiss him as one of those odious men who who have the gall to actually argue for “men’s rights”?

    I read it, and he is indeed an odious man who has the gall to argue for such.

    there is a growing body of evidence that women are just as abusive as men, society just mocks men who report.

    I know it’s an inconvenient Truth but it is a truth.

    There’s no evidence that men are abused just as much as women, at least from unbiased sources, so it’s not a truth (inconvenient or not). As I mentioned above, the official government redefinition of rape no longer specifies women as the only victims, so the fact that exists is acknowledged. But since it was leftist agitators that put it there…

    Anyway, there’s only one party whose entire elected coalition is trying to define good and bad kinds of rape, and only one ticket who has someone on it who supported that definition in direct partnership with Todd Akin.

  194. Scorpius

    Unfortunately the chap in question can’t make up his mind as to whether all women are just as abusive as men or some women are just as abusive as men, and you seem similarly challenged. Of course, if you could make your mind up which you are trying to argue I could tackle it, but you are flip flopping at such speed that I suspect you don’t actually have any arguments to advance at all…

  195. @Genufett,

    So, if he is an “odious man to argue for such” then you believe men should have no rights. Or you believe there is no concern about men being denied equal rights.

    Witness the irony of the left side of the Feminist movement.

  196. @MasterThief: It’s quite a bit more than a “legal term of art”. The requirement that it’s only rape if it’s “forcible”, as you know, goes all the way back to the bad old common-law definition, which also pretends an act is not rape if the victim is male or is the spouse of the rapist. (Or, in some jurisdictions, if the victim did not resist to the “utmost”.) Certainly it’s a legal term, but that doesn’t make it any less offensive or retrograde when a 21st-century law proposes it as a standard.

  197. So, if he is an “odious man to argue for such” then you believe men should have no rights.

    “non sequitir” is accurate, but so very very inadequate a term for the epic disconnect between premise and conclusion here.

  198. Matthew, you’re incorrect about the Republican Party simply being able to toss out their candidate. It’s not the same as the Democrats tossing out LaRouchie delegates, because delegates to a convention are a party internal matter. (And apparently the Louisiana Republican machine is tossing out the Ron Paul delegates who won their state’s caucus this year.) State election laws determine who can get on the ballot, and if the law allows parties to have a primary, generally the winner can’t be replaced easily. (In most states, the laws allow the Two Major Parties to replace candidates if their original candidate dies before the election, though not always, and this is Missouri, where John Ashcroft lost a Senate race to a guy who died two weeks before the election.) About the most the Republicans can do here is withhold their money.

  199. About the most the Republicans can do here is withhold their money.

    And they won’t really. They’ll likely funnel it through a wide variety of “independent” donors if the race is still close in October. It won’t look like it’s coming from the SuperPACs, but campaign finance law is so muddled by now that there will be nothing anyone can do about it.

  200. Liberal Dan

    Broadly speaking I think most women recognise that false allegations of rape make it harder to secure convictions in rape cases; that is certainly the rationale of the Lord Chief Justice who noted that jurors might be influenced by this. And of course false allegations are terrifying for the innocent victims of them.

    We need also to bear in mind that men can be, and are, raped and they are entitled to justice as women are; the vast majority of rapists are male but their victims may be male or female, young or old. Rape Culture is pervasive in its scope; the fact that the victims are mostly female doesn’t mean that everyone else is safe…

  201. “It is perfectly possible to give justice to both the victims of rape and the victims of false allegations of rape; these are not in any way mutually exclusive. Anyone suggesting that they are is either disingenuous or ignorant…”

    Only for very strange values of “perfect” and “justice”, or “disingenuous or ignorant”. Perhaps it’s a a simple failure of imagination.

    Suzie goes out with some of her friends, drinking and dancing with some of the guys in the club. Peter thinks she is just what he wants for a target, and slips a roofie into her drink. Meanwhile Suzie really hits it off with Sam, and they leave the club. A hot makeout session — but no sex — occurs in Sam’s car on the way back to Suzie’s place, there there is more fondling on the doorstep, up the stairs, into her apartment, and they decide they’re going a little too fast, exchange numbers — still no sexual congress — and Sam wanders back to his car, dreaming of what’s going to happen the next time he sees Suzie, while Suzie goes to bed with her dreams.

    Suzie doesn’t even really wake up until Peter, who’s broken into her apartment, begins raping her, and she never sees him, being knocked unconscious in the struggle. Peter finishes, does a hasty cleaning job, and leaves.

    Suzie accuses Sam of raping her. Sam admits to the dancing, necking, trip home, fondling … but denies drugging her or raping her.

    Odds on his conviction? Odds on the conviction being overturned? Of Suzie then being accused of falsely accusing Sam? On perfectly possible to give justice to both Suzie and Sam? To either of them?

  202. Yes; it was that so many were agreeing with the perfect justice idea that inspired me. It seems that those who want to write the laws want the world to be simple … and it’s not.

  203. The important things are that the GOP leadership and Romney have distanced themselves from Akin. (If they were supporting him, I would agree that it would be another matter.)

    Both parties are big tents; and that means that yes, they have their wingnuts. I seem to recall, from the campaign of 2008, a certain “spiritual advisor” of B. Obama who had a habit of shouting “G– damn America!”

    Did you perceive a moral crisis on the Left due to the fact that so many Democrats would hold such views, and that such views were arguably linked to the President?

    The point is: Obama distanced himself from Wright, and Romney is distancing himself from Akin. Neither candidate can or should be held personally responsible for the extremist views that inevitably work their way into *both* parties.

  204. Todd, your false equivalence won’t wash. Obama never co-sponsored legislation with Jeremiah Wright. JW isn’t in Congress, isn’t running for Senate, never won a Democratic primary.

    Compare Paul Ryan and Todd (hmm!) Akin, and you’ll see the difference. Paul Ryan holds beliefs quite similar to those of Todd Akin, and he’s Romney’s Veep candidate.

    If that’s the best you can do, I don’t know why you bother.

  205. So, one question that occurs after learning about HR 3, HR 5939, and HR 212: Just how many bills have Todd Akin and Paul Ryan co-sponsored?

    Another question: If Paul Ryan has worked that closely with Todd Akin and is only now getting the measure of his character, what does this suggest about Ryan’s fitness for office?

  206. As a Missouri independent, this makes my vote pretty easy. But yes, he’s still up in the polls. But in addition to his, ahem, merits, Akin was also benefitting from weeks and weeks of anti-Claire McCaskill TV and internet ads run by Crossroads GPS and other such folks. Two things about those ads 1) they were terribly amateurish- ominous voice, Claire McCaskill and President Obama’s black and white pictures suddenly tinged red, like a cheap horror movie, and 2) they were EVERYWHERE. As of Monday, the people funding those ads pulled out. It might hurt Akin, it might not, but at least the return of my Fall TV lineup will not be cluttered with cheesy melodrama- or at least the commercials won’t be anyhow.

  207. @Nick – very few, if any normal conservatives believe that there’s some kind of magical prevention of pregnancies from rapes. However, what calls itself the conservative movement today, and dominates the Republican party, is a front for theocracy, which, by almost any definition, is radical, and not conservative at all. Most of the garden-variety conservatives, like the moderates before them, have been driven out of the Republican party. Ask John about that – we’re talking about people not too different from. It looks like you have the good luck to mainly be in touch with the older, saner type of conservative. The people running the Republican party now are a very different bunch,

  208. Anyhow, back to Todd Akin.

    The language of “Forcible Rape” in the bill in question has to do with differentiating Rape from statutory rape. The difference being one is sex without consent and one is sex with a person the law says can’t give consent. So, a 18-year-old man having sex with his 17-year-old girlfriend even if it was “consensual” would be still considered “rape”. They wanted to differentiate between the two so public funds would not be used in a case that was just a technical consent crime.

    Do we really want to have public funds pay for abortions where a woman was only raped in the eyes of the law and not in her own eyes?

    Most Americans don’t want to pay for that.

  209. The validity of your read on what most Americans do or don’t want to pay for aside, scorpius, we can already tell the difference between rape and statutory rape because one of them has the qualifier “statutory” in front of it. Adding a qualifier like “forcible” only serves to further separate rapes into ones that are forcible enough to qualify for sympathy from the right, and ones that aren’t.

    In any case, nobody is suggesting that anyone be required to have an abortion. If your 17-year-old straw woman gets pregnant and wants to have the baby, that doesn’t have a thing to do with whether her 18-year-old straw boyfriend is a statutory rapist. (Usually not; I believe in many states the statute permits sexual activity in which one partner is over 18 and the other is between, say, 16 and 18, if the age difference between them is two years or less.) Because you know who else is just a statutory rapist? The guy who impregnates his thirteen-year-old cousin/niece/stepdaughter/neighbor/student/whatever, whom he didn’t have to force because she genuinely didn’t know she could say no.

  210. I don’t know why anyone would want to vote for someone so heinously ignorant of human biology

    I don’t know why anyone would want to vote for someone who is saying, clear as day, that women always lie about having been raped. He doesn’t care about human biology.

  211. “Do we really want to have public funds pay for abortions where a woman was only raped in the eyes of the law and not in her own eyes?”

    What we want–what I want, anyway–is either to have public funds available to pay for abortions where a woman decides she wants an abortion, no matter WHAT the circumstances leading to her decision may be, or, barring that, a guarantee that no woman choosing an abortion, whether it’s paid for by public funds, medical insurance, or private financial resources, risks criminal prosecution for having an abortion, and no medical practitioner risks criminal prosecution for performing an abortion with the consent of a woman who chooses to have one.

    What Todd Akins and Paul Ryan want is the criminalization of abortion.

    It’s not exactly complicated.

  212. @scorpius: Do we really want to have public funds pay for abortions where a woman was only raped in the eyes of the law and not in her own eyes?

    Short answer: “yes.”

    Longer answer: “The law does not compel the women to have an abortion it merely pays for a woman to have an abortion if she (or her guardians, given her age) feel the circumstances warrant it.”

  213. Reh Akin’s laws:

    I cannot claim Scorpius’ omniscience as to what most Americans want, but I can point out that people who can’t give consent has a rather wider scope than one might imagine from his post. For example, it is not uncommon for people with learning difficulties to be sexually abused, often by people in a position of authority, and since they have no ability to comprehend the nature of pregnancy or of giving birth their doctors may well conclude, in the cases of abused women, that an abortion is in the best interests of the women in question.

    Of course, that’s rather ickier than Scorpius’ fantasy about 17/18 year olds, but then his focus on this thread seems to have consisted of peddling fantasies. They sound so much better than the harsh realities…

  214. @Aunt Vixen,

    That was the intent of the language in the law. If you want to argue with that language, argue with the framers of the bill. But that was their intent.

    @Ron Hogan and mmy0,

    Well, we live in a free society where the majority don’t want to pay for “abortion on demand”. They want to pay it if the person was “forcibly” raped, or in the case of consensual sex, the person pays for it herself. But they do not want to have universal funding for abortion on demand.

    If you have trouble with that you really have trouble with our Democratic-Republic system.

  215. @Ron Hogan:

    Where do you place the rights and responsibilities of fathers in all this? (Let’s leave rape out of this example and assume consensual sex.)

    If I read you correctly: a.) Fathers should have no legal grounds for barring the abortion of children they have fathered, but b.) I assume you do not give men any legal right to “opt out” of a pregnancy situation.

    It seems to me that if women have an unlimited right to opt out, men should have this, too. Or…a man who has fathered a child within the context of a consensual sexual relationship should have a recognized legal stake in whether or not the child is aborted.

  216. I think this is on-topic but will defer to John’s judgement. In re the “forcible rape” discussion, I note that the defined term refers to the lack of consent of the woman. Within the last 5 years, Phyllis Schafly has stated that by definition forced sex within a marital relationship CAN’T be rape, because a woman has consented to sex automatically by way of getting married. I can’t figure out how to insert a link (sorry), but here’s the web address of the site with the relevant quote: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/todd-akin-receives-support-phyllis-schlafly-who-denies-existence-marital-rape

    Just another bit of evidence of the rather barbaric approach of at least some members of the right wing (or at least one prominent member thereof) towards women. Certainly makes me wonder exactly how Akin feels about that kind of issue.

  217. @scorpius: Well, we live in a free society where the majority don’t want to pay for “abortion on demand”. They want to pay it if the person was “forcibly” raped, or in the case of consensual sex, the person pays for it herself. But they do not want to have universal funding for abortion on demand.

    If you have trouble with that you really have trouble with our Democratic-Republic system.

    One of the key points in the constitution is that one’s rights are not dependent on the will of the majority. For example, the first amendment protects even speech that the majority of Americans would find offensive.

    If I, as a woman, am denied access to a medical procedure simply on the grounds that a majority of people don’t want me to have it then I would call into question your claim that I am living in a free society.

    Note: That was my opinion when I was living (and paying taxes) in the United States and that is my opinion now that I am living in country where the Supreme Court overturned the federal abortion laws as unconstitutional and where my taxpayer’s dollar goes toward (near) universal health care which includes access to abortion.

  218. @Todd
    “I assume you do not give men any legal right to “opt out” of a pregnancy situation.”

    The minute a man can become pregnant, provided Congress hasn’t passed an amendment making it illegal, than he to shall have a legal right to “opt out” of his pregnancy.

  219. Todd said:

    ‘Let’s leave rape out of this example’

    Why? The post is about rape. I get that you want to derail it but don’t expect people not to notice when you try it…

  220. @mmy0,

    You have a right to an abortion; you do not have a right for the taxpayers to pay for that abortion. That’s not the majority denying you a medical procedure; that’s the majority saying “no” to your demand that they pay for it.

    That’s the definition of a free society that you, by your absurd and addled comment, show you do not understand.

  221. @Mariam Watt,

    So if a woman has sex, gets pregnant and decides she doesn’t want to be a parent you’ll stand up for her right to refuse to be a parent. If a man has sex, gets a woman pregnant and decides he doesn’t want to be a parent you’ll squash his equal rights in this area, say “tough shit” and take a chunk of his income or imprison him if he can’t pay.

    That’s unequal justice before the law and not something that happens in a free society.

  222. Mariam

    And I shall woman the barricades alongside you, in defence of the pregnant man’s right to opt out of his pregnancy…

  223. @Scorpius: You have a right to an abortion; you do not have a right for the taxpayers to pay for that abortion. That’s not the majority denying you a medical procedure; that’s the majority saying “no” to your demand that they pay for it.

    If politicians make it impossible for anyone who is not wealthy to get to a hospital that will perform abortions and if they make it almost impossible for women to get heath insurance that would pay for an abortion — then they have effectively denied her the right to have one.

    In a country where corporations are deemed “people” and where money is equated with “free speech” that should be fairly obvious, even to you.

    A society in which only those with money are able to enjoy their “rights” is not a free society save for those with money.

    (@JS — I would say more but I don’t want to derail this thread. Akin (and scorpius) are both advocating policies that undermine the sovereignty of women over their own bodies however the discussion of that connection might be difficult to keep on point.)

  224. @Miriam Watt:

    Here is the issue you are ignoring: Pregnancy is nine months. Nine months. The responsibility to support a child (financially, etc.) is a commitment that lasts 18 years and probably more. On the other hand, there is also the issue of loss that accompanies an abortion of a child that a man has fathered. This can last a lifetime.

    You seem to believe that a man:

    1.) Should have no legal right, under any circumstances, to halt the abortion of a child he has fathered. A man has *no* rights in this area, but:

    2.) A man can and should be compelled to assume the financial liability for any child he has fathered, at the sole discretion of the woman who is carrying the child.

    3.) The man, in other words, has only responsibilities, but no rights once a pregnancy has occurred.

    This is basically the state of the law at present. Is this what you believe to be morally right and fair?

  225. Todd: You’re correct. Men who impregnate women can offer their input, but they should have no power to “overrule” a woman’s decision about her pregnancy; furthermore, should a man impregnate a woman, and the woman chooses to carry that pregnancy to term, unless the woman explicitly states that she rejects the man’s involvement in the raising of the child that results, he should be held accountable, by moral judgment if not legal compulsion, to contribute financially to that child’s development. (And a woman who chooses to carry a pregnancy caused by rape to term should have the option of compelling financial support for the child while refusing the man any other involvement in the child’s life or her own — through a blind trust, maybe?)

    Men know that pregnancy is a risk of having sex with women. If they aren’t prepared to accept the consequences, they should refrain from engaging in the behavior. Women have options for dealing with pregnancy, and should have the freedom to pursue any of those options without the fear of criminal prosecution. Todd Akin wants to criminalize one of those options. And so does Paul Ryan.

  226. Todd, I’m not Miriam, but yes, I do believe that’s morally right and fair.

    The only way to 100% avoid those consequences is to refrain from having sex…with women. It’s not MY fault if you don’t want to do the reasonable thing!

  227. @Ron,

    Let me put your regressive statement in a way you’ll realize how regressive and sexist it truly is

    “Women know that pregnancy is a risk of having sex with men. If they aren’t prepared to accept the consequences, they should refrain from engaging in the behavior”

    “If a woman gets pregnant, she has options, and should have the freedom to pursue any of those options without the fear of criminal prosecution.”

    So why can’t men have similar options? If he doesn’t want to be a father then he shouldn’t be able to have any say but he shouldn’t be held as a slave to people garnishing his wages.

    Why do you support the status quo that treats men as second class citizens WRT to parenthood?

  228. @RonHogan:

    We agree in regard to what the current law is.

    A few years ago there was a case in which a man attempted to establish a Roe v Wade for men. It was rejected:

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-11-06-roe-wade-men_N.htm

    When a woman decides to terminate a pregnancy, she also decides to opt out of parenthood. It seems that there should be some sort of a mechanism set up by which a man has the same choice. (For example, within a the first trimester of a pregnancy.) This would afford both sides the same right in regard to opting out of parenthood once a pregnancy has occurred.

    Also, a Roe v Wade for men would not constitute controlling a woman’s body.

  229. @Xopher:

    If you are the same Xopher who frequently posts here, I believe that you consider abstaining from sex with women to be an entirely reasonable thing under all circumstances… I will apply the same arguments when the next debate about same-sex marriage arises. I consider abstaining from same-sex activity to be *entirely* reasonable…I’m never tempted at all, in fact.

    No offense, my friend: But your position on this issue is a bit biased by your own inclinations, is it not?

  230. Guys, we appear to have devolved into a general and largely pointless discussion of abortion. Snip it off, now, please. I am taking time from family time at the fair to tell you this. Imagine my displeasure if my request is not heeded.

  231. Again, the right a woman has not to have something (or someONE, either way) growing in her body has no proper analogy for men. Women don’t have the right to opt out of being parents after birth (and for some time before). Men don’t have the right to opt out of being parents after conception. It’s a difference of a few months.

    Yes, women control and men have to pay between these two points. This is because of the absolute right to control her own body that every woman possesses.

    Now, if a man wears a condom every time and the woman saves them and freezes them and uses them to impregnate herself, that’s a different story. That woman should go to prison.

  232. Xopher:
    Todd, I’m not Miriam, but yes, I do believe that’s morally right and fair.

    I don’t believe it’s fair or morally right, but there’s no way to perfectly balance the scales on this one. The potential mother’s right to choose for herself comes first, and if she choses to keep a baby the father doesn’t want the baby’s rights supersede those of the father. The guy is probably the financially more productive of the two parents and per “easiest setting” the one with the most societal advantages otherwise; his support is the fairest choice from a societal point of view.

  233. Women don’t have the right to opt out of being parents after birth

    Ever heard of adoption? Women have every right to put a child they don’t want up. And considering many people are going overseas to adopt there’s a very high demand for these kids.

    OK, now I’ll stop.

    Sorry John.

  234. Men can’t have the same rights because that’s not how their bodies work. Men know what sperm can do, and should comport themselves accordingly. If men really don’t want to impregnate women, and refuse to limit themselves to abstinence or sex with other men, I believe there are medical procedures available; I would support the public funding of such procedures.

    I don’t know whether Todd Akin supports the criminalization of those procedures, though he would have to be if he wanted to be consistent in his “pro-life” politics. What I do know is that he has worked, in alliance with Paul Ryan, to restrict the personal liberty of the majority of the American population. And I know that, at least until Monday afternoon when the last polls were conducted, a plurality of voters in his state didn’t have a problem with that.

  235. Todd: Both statements are absurd. Mine was more obviously absurd.

    scorpius: As I’ve pointed out before, “dropping it” is a lot more convincing BEFORE you get in your last licks.

  236. The language of “Forcible Rape” in the bill in question has to do with differentiating Rape from statutory rape. The difference being one is sex without consent and one is sex with a person the law says can’t give consent. So, a 18-year-old man having sex with his 17-year-old girlfriend even if it was “consensual” would be still considered “rape”. They wanted to differentiate between the two so public funds would not be used in a case that was just a technical consent crime.

    scorpius, I don’t really care how much you want to foam about the Left, but I do care when you present flat-out misstatements of the law as if they were fact.

    1) Statutory rape is not a ‘technical consent crime’. The law already recognizes that there are situations where a person cannot consent – for example, I hope you would agree that a patient who has been put under full anesthesia is not capable of consenting to the anesthesiologist suddenly deciding to get his freak on. Statutory rape means that one of the situations where a person cannot consent is, “is a child”. If a pedophile asks a three-year-old to touch their privates and the three-year-old willingly does so, we don’t allow the pedophile to argue “But I didn’t force him, I just asked nicely and he agreed, so it was consensual!” You may disagree at whatever age the law sets that cut-off, but that’s very different than pretending it’s a “technical consent crime”, whatever the flying hell that means.

    2) As already explained above, “forcible” does not mean “all rape other than statutory”. It means exactly what it says, because at Anglo-American common law rape was ‘forcible sexual intercourse by a male, with a female not his wife’. Yes, there was a requirement that unless the female was actually incapable of giving consent (say, she was unconscious or a child), the act had to be forcible. (Remember in To Kill a Mockingbird when the prosecutor asks Mayella Ewell if she fought back as hard as she could? That wasn’t window dressing; it was because she had to show she fought back for the prosecution to meet its legal burden.)

    The most charitable spin you can put on the “forcible rape” bill is that most of the lawmakers who voted for it were off doing beer pong when they should have been paying attention in their Crim Law class, and so didn’t understand the actual meaning of that phrase. The most realistic spin is that the bill’s authors were trying to express exactly the sentiment Akin was dumb enough to voice: that only women who are attacked by violent strangers count as really raped, and the rest of them are lying strumpets.

    So, you know, if you want to make excuses for how it doesn’t count as rape if the victim came out of it with a pregnancy but no black eyes, or if you think ‘old enough to bleed is old enough to butcher’, please stick to facts instead of citing the legal traditions of Pulleditoutofmyassistan.

  237. Mythago – Just to be fair, I had some of the best lamb kebabs I’ve ever had from a small town (really, they’re all small there) in Pulleditoutofmyassistan. So, you know. They may have questionable legal traditions, but my oh my they’ve got some great food culture.

  238. @Other Bill: I dunno, I think the spicing on the lamb is a little weird, and who told them couscous and melon go well together? But yes, their cuisine is definitely far above their legal expertise.

  239. @Karina: Re: Handmaid’s tale.
    It’s as if politicians had used it as a How To guide instead of a Dire warning. The same is true of ’1984′. I feel sad just thinking about it.

    Was Atkin elected lawfully. Yes. (unlike some other notorious Conservatives, but that’s another story entirely.)

    Should he be allowed to run? Yes, if you believe in any of the principles of a free democracy.

    Why do you find yourself in this situation?

    http://www.calamitiesofnature.com/archive/?c=559

    Is why…

  240. Scorpius: “So if a woman has sex, gets pregnant and decides she doesn’t want to be a parent you’ll stand up for her right to refuse to be a parent. If a man has sex, gets a woman pregnant and decides he doesn’t want to be a parent you’ll squash his equal rights in this area, say “tough shit” and take a chunk of his income or imprison him if he can’t pay.

    That’s unequal justice before the law and not something that happens in a free society.”

    Actually, that is just biology. The woman takes on more of the risk, so the woman should get more time to have a say.

  241. It’s Missouri. I have full faith that Todd Akin will win there. If I remember correctly, Clair hasn’t actually won a senate election. She was appointed to the seat to fill out the term.

  242. teflaime, you don’t remember correctly. You are thinking of Jean Carnahan who was appointed in 2000 to the seat her late husband won posthumously. She was defeated by Jim Talent in the special election for the remainder of that term in 2002. Talent was defeated by McCaskill in 2006. Two different women senators from Missouri seem to have been conflated in your mind.

  243. Scorpius: “So if a woman has sex, gets pregnant and decides she doesn’t want to be a parent you’ll stand up for her right to refuse to be a parent.”

    I stand up for her right to control her own body, her own medical care and her Constitutional right to privacy as an equal person under the law, to not be forced to undergo the medical condition of bearing and giving birth to a child. Because she is not a breeder cow, she is a person. And she is not a parent legally until the child is born. Once the child is born, she has certain legal responsibilities. If she abandons the child, especially in a way that endangers it, she can be arrested, etc. Likewise, a man is not responsible for a fetus a woman carries in her body. But if the baby is born and it is his, then he also, like the woman, has some basic legal responsibilities. If a woman gives up custody of her child to the government or to another party, then she has fulfilled her legal responsibilities as parent and waives her rights as parent. Often the male parent must do this as well for an adoption to occur. If a woman retains custody of a child, she may sue a man for financial support for the child under abandonment laws, but she may not get anything or very little, as happened to even a married relative of mine in divorce. A man can sue a woman for custody of his child and for financial support of the child from the woman if he has custody under abandonment laws, etc. However, a man does not have control over a woman’s body just because he got her pregnant. He cannot force her to bear a child and he cannot force her to abort it. Parental rights and legal responsibilities occur at birth, when the fetus becomes a child and a person and is separate from the mother.

    Taxpayers don’t get to choose where their tax payments are used and what they pay for. Taxpayers don’t get to have control over women’s bodies and decide what medical care they can receive. Employers don’t get to have control over their female employee’s bodies and family planning and violate their female employees’ right to freedom of religion, including secular employees of religious corporations. The exception not to fund abortion services with taxpayer dollars is unconstitutional and violates the civil rights of women. The attempt to repeal abortion’s legality is also unconstitutional and operates from the idea that pregnant women are the property of the government, a property they have no need to take care of, rather than citizens and equal people, and the government can force them to carry and give birth as breeder units, not people. The attempt to ban birth control is a further attempt to take control of women’s bodies and, when pregnant, the women are considered no longer legal people with rights but under the control of the government. Currently, in several states, doctors are being forced to rape women in a medical procedure that is completely unconstitutional and medically nonsense, and violates the right to freedom of religion besides. Either women have control of their own bodies, like men do, or they do not. If they do not, they are property with no civil rights. That’s not democracy. Nor, in my view, is it moral.

    But all of that has nothing to do with Akin. Akin could care less about whether a woman has an abortion or not and he certainly doesn’t care about rape. He does care about getting a shot at the Senate and the evangelicals who pay his bills. He was given a talking point that is a major plank of the Republican party and the current Republican presidential and VP candidates, that has already repeatedly been said by far right politicians and media figures, and that has been the main focus of the Republicans in Congress for the last year. (Certainly it hasn’t been unemployment or even the deficit that they created.) And so far, it’s not looking like most of the citizens in Missouri care much about it, if they even know about it. So Akin will run.

  244. Oops, I may have missed a Mallet warning. I was looking at Liberal Dan’s response and didn’t check for green boxes. If necessary, please remove, with my apologies.

  245. I had some interesting exchanges on Twitter Wednesday with at least one Missouri conservative beginning to realize how backwards Akin makes them look (who, for all I know, may have voted against him in the primary). To wit, there seems to be some support in the state for Sarah Palin’s announced intention Wednesday morning to back a third-party candidate — presumably, the Republican she backed in the primary.

    Since splitting the Missouri conservative vote is one of the best chances McCaskill has of dealing with this narrow race, I’m all for it, but I’m still appalled by the GOP’s willingness to nullify the will of Missouri voters as expressed in a primary election.

  246. Kat Goodwin, et al:

    The paranoid part of me wonders if people see me tell people to move on, writes a response anyway, and then does a follow up “whoops” post to cover their tracks.

    BECAUSE YOU ALL ARE SNEAKY, THAT’S WHY.

  247. I, for one, have never done that. NEVER. Well, maybe not never. Okay. A few times. I know this isn’t on topic, but I feel like a confession about this might be good for the soul.

    [goes on at great length about earnestness and something about a New Year's resolution to be more duplicitous]

    Anyroad. ITS A PROCESS. Feel free to delete.

  248. I’m feeling a bit pathetic because I have NEVER done it. Clearly I am an inadequate person on the sneaky front…

  249. John: “BECAUSE YOU ALL ARE SNEAKY, THAT’S WHY.”

    If the hair on my goatee was longer I would twirl it and exclaim “MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!”

    Kat: I hope you are not confusing me with scorpius. :)

  250. Damn, I wanted to note the distinction between the rights of a woman for bodily autonomy and the rights of a child for financial support, but I can’t now because I am not sneaky enough…

  251. “Well, the will of about 20% of Missouri voters, per turnout figures…”

    Of the Missourians who cared enough about who would be their Republican Senate candidate to vote on the matter in a primary election, Todd Akin’s supporters carried the day. That’s how elections work, when “party bosses and DC insiders,” as Akin’s taking to calling them, don’t try to nullify the results because they suddenly decide a U.S. Representative who served them loyally for 12 years is a liability.

  252. Andrew: “somewhere between 8 to 10 percent of reported rapes are later found to have been False”

    Dan: let’s make sure to not give undue weight to false accusations.

    If he’d said 50%, that would be undue weight. Reporting an actual statistic is sort of the antithesis of giving undue weight.

    Stevie: I will note that in England someone convicted of making a false allegation of rape will have an immediate custodial sentence ie. jailtlime.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/04/girl-lied-about-father-rape_n_1402468.html

    23 year old woman confesses that she lied about her father raping her when she was 11. Says she was just mad and wanted to punish him after he got divorced. Man is released from jail after 9 years in prison. Cowlitz County Prosecutor Sue Baur says that the county will not take legal action against Kennedy, partly because authorities do not want to discourage individuals who have, in fact, suffered from sexual harassment from stepping forward.

    So, maybe in the England, they have an automatic prosecution and conviction of anyone making a false accusation of rape. But over here in the US, your point seems to be moot cause not everyone seems to be on the same point of the Blackstone spectrum.

    On what I would call the “left” side of the spectrum, there’s this thing called “Blackstone’s Formulation” which goes “better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer”. Benjamin Franklin stated it as, “it is better [one hundred] guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer”. John Adams said: “It is more important that innocence be protected than it is that guilt be punished, for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this world that they cannot all be punished.”

    On what I would call the “right” end of the spectrum is Otto von Bismark who said “it is better that ten innocent men suffer than one guilty man escape;” and genocidal leader Pol Pot who said, “Better to arrest ten innocent people by mistake than free a single guilty party.”

    I think given that folks like Franklin and Adams said stuff like that about justice in theory, I don’t think that when false accusations and innocent convictions are brought up in actual practice that it means the person is a knuckle-dragging neanderthal with a club.

    Personally, I think it would be possible to convict rapists without insisting we must cast the net so wide that it gets some innocent people as well. But that is in part a reflection of where I stand on Blackstone’s spectrum.

    And were I a gambling man, I would wager that for quite a few people who react strongly negatively to the mere mention of false accusations and innocent convictions, that they’re motivated to change the conversation, in part, because continued discussion might reveal just how far to the right they stand on that spectrum, how many innocent people they’re willing to put in jail because they think it’s worth the conviction rate.

    I absolutely think Akin tried to dismiss his “legitimate” comment and pretend that he was talking about “false accusations” in an attempt to cover his ass. But not everyone who brings up false accusations and innocent convictions is looking to cover their ass. I think some of them stand towards the left end of the blackstone spectrum.

  253. Greg

    As ever you misrepresent my observations as a whole but I’m not going to argue on this because John has asked us not to.

  254. Ron Hogan, as noted earlier, he really didn’t serve them loyally. He voted their way, yes, but that’s only one part of what the GOP expects from its officeholders. Have you heard the formula about Democratic and Republican voters? “Democrats fall in love; Republicans fall in line.” Akin didn’t fall in line; Republican members of Congress are expected to help other Republicans get (re-)elected. Akin didn’t do that.

    I think they didn’t like him in general, so they’re not going to defend him or help him defend himself; the right-biased Rasmussen Poll has him down by 10 points when he had been up by (IIRC) about that much; and they want that seat. Hence they want him to step down so they can put someone in who might beat Claire McCaskill. I don’t think that would work, but they think (and I agree) it has a better chance than Akin at this point.

  255. In a time of record unemployment and wretched economy, why are women NOT to be politically concerned with restrictions on their health rights, reproductive rights and autonomy, which includes access to all kinds of contraception — which does include abortion.

    To say these matters don’t matter when held up next to economic concerns demonstrates vast ignorance of the relationship between inability to control one’s reproduction and poverty — just for starters.

  256. Akin is a member of Committee on Science, Space and Technology with jurisdiction over non-defense federal scientific research and development. His demonstrated willful stupidity of science must result in him being booted off this committee asap.

  257. They didn’t ask Michele Bachmann to leave the Intelligence committee so it seems unlikely they’ll ask Akin to leave Science, Space and Technology. Maybe he acts as the loyal opposition.

  258. @ Tigerstripes

    When Senator Ted Stevens was Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, during a debate on the Net Neutrality act, he explained that “The Internet was not a truck, it’s A Series of Tubes.”

    Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee gave a speech in 2010 saying “Today, we have two Vietnams, side by side, North and South, exchanging and working. We may not agree with all that North Vietnam is doing, but they are living in peace. I would look for a better human rights record for North Vietnam, but they are living side by side.” In 1997, while on a tour at NASA, she asked officials whether the Mars Pathfinder photographed the U.S. flag that Neil Armstrong had planted on Mars.
    She currently sits on the Judiciary Committee and Department of Homeland Security Committee’s, and she’s the ranking member of the Transportation Security Subcommittee.

    During a House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Hank Johnson, who also sits on the Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, asked an Admiral if relocating 8000 Marines to the Island was going to be a problem. “My fear is that the whole island will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize.”

    What Akin said was terminally dumb. Unfortunately, as a member of Congress, he’s not alone.

    Drew

  259. Andrew, that’s absolutely croggling. I guess outright stupidity isn’t entirely limited to Republicans.

    I remember laughing at my sister, then 6 or 7, for expressing the same concern Johnson voiced. She was a child and had never seen an island before my parents announced we were going to one on vacation; nevertheless we thought it was hilarious that she believed that.

    Coming from a member of Congress, it’s positively chilling. Well, unless he was joking, but it seems he wasn’t.

  260. Since I’m French, I won’t discuss American politics for lots of reasons, one of them being: I have enough with our own set of politicians, I don’t need to look into other countries for more. But as a woman, I will say that, when I read this, I feel completely depressed. How can it still be so hard to be a woman in the twenty-first century? How can we still ask if a rape was “legimitate”? We still hear things like “she deserved it because of the way she dresses” or “it wasn’t rape because she’s ugly”. Rape is rape, whatever your opinion about abortion is.
    On a lighter note, can I ask what sort of credentials you need to be on a science comittee? Is basic biology optional?

  261. Ron Hogan wrote:

    but I’m still appalled by the GOP’s willingness to nullify the will of Missouri voters as expressed in a primary election.

    Um, really? I’m hearing people who can do the math — as far as I’m aware, there’s no plausible scenario for the GOP winning back the Senate that doesn’t involve McCaskill losing an incredibly tight race that was Akin’s to lose. Oh, and the “Washington insiders” aren’t feeling inclined to throw money and resources in the direction of a man who not only hacked up a hairball of idiocy that even managed to offend many CONSERVATIVES, but had lead to some inconvenient attention being paid to the golden boy presumptive Vice Presidential nominee’s own record on reproductive rights.

    Gee, why does that neither surprise nor outrage me?

  262. Craig, I agree. And the GOP can’t nullify the will of the Missouri voters in this case without Akin’s agreement. If he should decide to resign from the race (which seems unlikely at this point), it will be the outcome of his own calculations about his own future, and the Missouri voters would have no choice but to accept his going against their will, unless they want to write him in.

    Not that I think the Democrats would behave very differently in a similar situation (involving a different issue, probably needless to say).

  263. John Scalzi: “The paranoid part of me wonders if people see me tell people to move on, writes a response anyway, and then does a follow up “whoops” post to cover their tracks.
    BECAUSE YOU ALL ARE SNEAKY, THAT’S WHY.”

    1:22 a.m. Liberal Dan’s response to Scorpius with the quote from Scorpius was the last comment on the thread for me to see. I don’t usually respond to Scorpius, but I did one and put it up and then I went up the thread to see the rest of the comments, which is not how I usually do it. And then I realized I’d made a big mistake and was a very bad girl. By the time my apology post went up, I think there were four or five new comments already. I promise to read through comments before making one from now on, even the ones with icky stuff in them. I may even try a your blog on two tabs approach, just to keep up with the posts. Also, I pledge to not be up at 1:22 a.m. if I can help it.

    Akin did not say anything that Republican politicians have not been saying on camera for years and tried to introduce into legislation. He did not say anything worse than the official current Republican party platform on the issue of abortion, which wants to ban abortions even in cases of rape, which is also Ryan’s position. He just happened to say it at the wrong time and caused a problem for Ryan and possibly other races. Now they can’t tout their party platform with the faithful or ignore it with the independents because the media is paying attention. Social media jumped on Akin’s interview, which meant it was a sound bite for the mass media and so they ran with it and will continue till it loses juice for them. Murdoch and co. are trying to make a lone wild man argument out of Akin to protect Ryan and do general salvage for the drawbridge Republicans. But Akin’s funding comes from the wingnut Republicans. If he wins it, they’ll still give him things to do. The Republicans are probably doing more harm to themselves screaming about Akin than if they’d just tried a he’s our funny uncle Todd approach rather than the lone wild man approach. And Akin may end up with more funding — Bachman went McCarthy on government officials, accusing them of Muslim terrorist ties with no evidence whatsoever. Various party heavyweights condemned her while allowing the boogeyman argument to go on, and Bachman raised a million in funding. I’m sure someone reminded Akin of that. Of course, House races are very different from Senate races.

  264. Kat Goodwin, Todd Akin is not going to win anything. He will he have to pull out of the race before Sept 25th. He is trying to leverage his withdrawal to get a pledge that the GOP won’t back a challenger in his next race for the House. Of course it won’t matter what assurances he gets, he is going to have to face a Tea Party candidate no matter what the old line GOPers tell him.

    Akin is toast, because unlike the Democrats, the Republicans won’t put up with that level of stupidity from one of their own. So you can try and equate him to Ryan and the rest all you want but it simply isn’t consistent with the facts. Yes, many Republicans want to eliminate all public funding for abortions in all cases. Not because they agree with Akin’s crazy theory about female biological functions, but because they believe that life begins at conception.

    However, many, many Republicans backed other candidates in the primary. Akin won largely because McCaskill ran negative ads on every viable Republican other than him. Sarah Palin, for instance, endorsed Sarah Steelman and may back her for an Independent run if Akin doesn’t pull out.

    No matter what happens, Akin is finished in the Republican Party.

  265. Akin is toast, because unlike the Democrats, the Republicans won’t put up with that level of stupidity from one of their own.

    The Republican Party gave David Vitter a standing ovation on his return to the House. He still holds his seat today.

    When William Jefferson was caught taking bribes, the unanimous Democratic response was “let him rot in prison.” He’s in prison right now.

  266. Politicians have recovered from various offenses with varying degrees of success and failure. If Akin chooses to run again and the people in the district he is running think he’s the best option available, then they’ll reelect him.

    Drew

  267. Eric, I could do this all day with Democrats, all freaking day, starting with the William Jefferson (Clinton) that I mentioned up the thread, but John has advised us to keep it to Akin and that’s what I’m gonna do.

    Did you notice how many Republicans called for Akin to get out of the race? Even Rush Limbaugh! Didn’t that just warm your heart?

  268. Billy, I could do this all day with Republicans, all freaking day, starting pretty much anywhere. And so could dozens of other commenters here. And you know it.

  269. Billy, you do understand that there is already *ZERO* public, and by public I mean tax dollars, funding for abortions, right?

  270. @ Billy Quiets

    I don’t know what all Republicans think about “Akin’s crazy theory,” but it’s entirely possible that Romney believes it. Ref-US election: Mitt Romney met Todd Akin doctor John Willke during 2012 campaign:
    Mitt Romney met John Willke, the doctor credited with popularising Todd Akin’s controversial views on rape and abortion, during the current election campaign and told him they agreed on “almost everything,” Dr Willke said.

    Maybe Dr Willke is making shit up? I haven’t seen or heard Romney refute the words, and back in 2007 Romney featured an endorsement from Willke: “In 2007, Dr. Willke endorsed Mitt Romney for president, and the Romney campaign touted the endorsement in a glowing press release:

    Welcoming Dr. Willke’s announcement, Governor Romney said, “I am proud to have the support of a man who has meant so much to the pro-life movement in our country. He knows how important it is to have someone in Washington who will actively promote pro-life policies. Policies that include more than appointing judges who will follow the law but also opposing taxpayer funded abortion and partial birth abortion. I look forward to working with Dr. Willke and welcome him to Romney for President.”

    Considering Paul Ryan’s record of co-sponsoring legislation on the issue, *with* Akin, it’s not unreasonable to believe that at least the two men on the GOP ticket also believe that the female vagina produces scrubbing bubbles that wash away rapist sperm, but somehow magically know to let loving, Christian and/or Mormon sperm percolate up into the uterus.

    Personally, I think abortion should be safe, legal, accessible, and covered by insurance, whether private or public, no questions asked. If your (in the general, rhetorical meaning of you/r, not necessarily any specific you/r) religion says that a blastocyst, embryo, or fetus is a special snowflake that should never be interfered with in any way, good on you. Mine doesn’t. Do what you want with your blastocyst, embryo, or fetus, but keep your stinky paws off my silky drawers.

    I don’t want Sharia law, Talmudic law, or any other sort of religious law keeping me from having unwanted cells removed from my body, at my discretion. And that’s what I see it as, a bunch of religionists trying to impose their religious beliefs on my decidedly atheist ladybits. I’m not trying to legislate other people’s dining habits, and frankly, science has determined that pigs are more intelligent and self-aware than an infant human. So, why isn’t Akin out there legislating against the murderous horrors of bacon and barbeque? Oh, right, because his “religion” proclaims that only humans have souls. Bah.

    Hypocrisy, stupidity, and ignorance. The triumvirate of evil.

  271. By the way, Billy, a while back a bunch of people were asking you if you were capable of acknowledging the difference between costs and benefits; remember that? Have an answer yet?

  272. @Isabelle: Don’t be depressed. I feel encouraged by this summer’s discussions regarding Akin, the Readercon incident, etc. Just yesterday, I had my attention drawn to this excellent 2008 essay which I’d previously missed: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rebecca-solnit/men-explain-things-to-me-_b_1811096.html

    As women, it’s great to have these issues out in the open. Now we can all observe the elephant in the room, instead of feeling it blindly and exclaiming to each other how different it is. Take heart!

  273. mintwich, I expect to see a lot of questions for Romney during the debates about this very subject, we will see how he handles them. Nice post, btw.

    Eric, I don’t have any problem answering questions about my comments. You didn’t like the way I answered it, that’s your problem. Let me clarify it for you, though. I understand the difference between costs and benefits a lot better than Barack Obama. If you cut the payments to doctors (costs) for Medicare, then fewer of them will participate. The ones that do will probably not offer the same level of care, and will be the kind of doctors that can’t do better elsewhere. What will this do to benefits (patient care)? It will make it worse. You cannot arbitrarily separate the two to win political points. In the real world costs and benefits in medical care are interconnected.

  274. Interesting how the cost/benefits argument applies only to Obama. Ryan and Romney, of course, can cut benefits straight-up and it’s A-OK!

    Of course, the costs/benefits argument Billy’s making also happens to be false.

  275. Mjolnir descending, I’m stepping out of the way. I try to stay on topic, John, but they keep pulling me back in.

  276. @mintwitch: given that Dr. Willke apparently has no problem making shit up that contradicts basic, junior-high-Health-class-level facts about human biology, it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if he were…oh, let’s say misinterpreting Romney’s level of agreement with him, or if he took Romney’s newfound opposition to abortion to be as absolute as his own. Ryan, on the other hand, was a co-sponsor of the “forcible rape” bill supported by all House Republicans.

    @Billy Quiets: You do realize that some of us are conservatives and/or Republicans, and if we’re not, we’re acquainted with a few; so to claim that you have the True Ear of the Movement and thus one should believe you, rather than their lyin’ eyes, is really not going to convince anyone you are in the right. It may be fun, if your real goal is just to mud-wrestle with liberals, but as a means to the end of persuasion? Eh.

  277. For the record I personally believe that life begins at conception but that abortion should be safe and legal. The women I have known that have been considering abortion have found themselves in gut wrenching circumstances (with the relevant males conspicuously absent.) I have seen too many situations where (by my belief) killing an unborn child was the least worse of many bad options for the persons involved.

    I agree with John Scalzi that Akin should be allowed to run. On the one hand it does scare the crap out of me that control of the US Senate could hinge on this race. On the other hand, I think Akin did a service by getting this strongly held Republican belief into the national discourse. Mostly I think ‘ye gods!’ and want to vomit at the thought that any rational person could believe as Akin et al. do.

  278. Akin is toast, because unlike the Democrats, the Republicans won’t put up with that level of stupidity from one of their own.

    Heh heh heh. Sorry, I…no, Ah-hahahahahahahaCARRIER LOST

  279. Mythago, I know there are some other conservatives who frequent this site and I wouldn’t think of trying to say that I’m a spokesman for the Republican Party here, or anywhere else for that matter.

    That’s not to say that I don’t know a few things about what’s going on with the presidential campaign (on both sides of the aisle). I have occasionally worked with and for some of the people who are the subject of commentary, although neither Ryan nor Romney.

    And of course, there is my allegiance to Lord Cheney, may his new heart serve him as well and faithfully as I have.

  280. @Billy Quiets August 23, 2012 at 8:29 pm:
    “And of course, there is my allegiance to Lord Cheney, may his new heart serve him as well and faithfully as I have.”

    You are precious. Precious! Now I want to pinch your cheeks, and say Awwww.

  281. THAT IS THE ONLY FITTING PRICE FOR FAILING TO PROVIDE QUALITY SERVICE TO THE DARK LORD.

    ::coughs:: what just happened? why’s everyone lookin’ at me funny?

  282. Billy Q: “Todd Akin is not going to win anything. He will he have to pull out of the race before Sept 25th.”

    Well no, not necessarily. He might. But then that would be it for him. And since he has the wingnut Republican/evangelical backing, he can go forward. And if he does, he may very well win as his opponent is quite vulnerable and the Missouri voters who will vote him in generally don’t care what he said. If he then wins, he will continue his partnership in legislation with other Republicans.

    “He is trying to leverage his withdrawal to get a pledge that the GOP won’t back a challenger in his next race for the House.”

    I don’t think even Akin finds that possible.

    “Akin is toast, because unlike the Democrats, the Republicans won’t put up with that level of stupidity from one of their own.”

    Um, are you aware of how many stupid things the Republicans say on the air on a regular basis? Have you met Rep. Steve King? Rep. Allen West? This isn’t about the stupidity of what Akin said; it’s about how it may have hurt the party.

    “So you can try and equate him to Ryan and the rest”

    I didn’t “equate” him to Ryan. I said the drawbridge Republicans felt he was causing a problem for Ryan and for other sensitive elections, and that’s why they’re upset, not upset about what he said. Which he is, at the moment, from the looks of the media, though I really don’t think it’s as big a problem as far right media and drawbridge Republicans seem to think it is. Ryan co-sponsored with Akin a bill that presented the idea of forcible rape, which was only changed because it was considered too vague, not because it was wrong in concept. So Ryan was clearly okay with the concept of forcible rape. I’m guessing that Ryan probably does not believe that there is such a thing as forcible rape natural birth control. But he did approve of the concept of forcible rape, co-sponsored the bill with Akin about it, and he is on record as saying that women who become pregnant from rape have no rights to their bodies and should be forced to give birth. He has advocated for it numerous times. And Akin was answering a question about exceptions women might be granted from being forced to give birth re rape. And the same for the Republican platform, banning all abortions even if it will kill the mother. So for many people, Akin, Ryan and other Republicans don’t necessarily have the exact same views, but they are in the same ballpark on policy — Ryan and Akin believed in the concept of forcible rape and tried to legislate it, Republicans believe raped women who are pregnant should be forced to give birth and that pregnant women in medical danger should be forced to give birth and die, etc., and express their support for that plank of the platform. This makes people concerned not simply with Akin’s particular views, but with all of the views of the Republicans and with the views of Romney and Ryan on rape, forcible rape, abortion policy, etc., and they ask questions about what the views of politicians running for office exactly are, which is normal but which Republicans seem to feel is terrible alarming, to have to talk about their actual, detailed views and hold them consistently for two minutes. And a number of Republicans have expressed their concern that what Akin said and his remaining in the race hurts the Romney-Ryan ticket and maybe other Republican contests. Are you saying I shouldn’t believe what they say on camera, voluntarily?

    “Yes, many Republicans want to eliminate all public funding for abortions in all cases. Not because they agree with Akin’s crazy theory about female biological functions, but because they believe that life begins at conception.”

    I never said that they did agree with Akin’s rape birth control stuff. I said that they were worried about how Akin would reflect on their election contests, which they themselves have said is an issue. But the other things that Akin said — forcible rape, banning abortions even for rape — are things that many Republicans have stated on record as their views, including Ryan in legislation. I understand Ryan may have suddenly dropped the idea of the concept of forcible rape. Perhaps he decided not to be crazy, and good for him. Of course, Akin has also dropped the idea of the concept of forcible rape. The reality is, the Republicans don’t want to talk about their abortion policies with the media if they can avoid it, and because social media sent Akin’s interview viral, they can’t avoid it. That’s the problem; not what Akin actually said. It’s not like they give a crap about women’s rights. (And no, don’t bother giving me a conservative argument that they do. Save it for the zombie horde on your side.)

    “Sarah Palin, for instance, endorsed Sarah Steelman”

    Sarah Palin is dead in the party. She couldn’t even bring them ratings anymore and she’s been a problem for years. They would like her to go away. They definitely don’t want anyone she’s backing, as that’s a disaster for them most of the time. And if she backs the person as an Independent, that’s a disaster for them whether it’s Akin or someone else for the party. But she doesn’t really have the muscle anymore to significantly influence the party by threatening them that way. Having Romney-Ryan have to deal with the media on this is a much bigger concern.

    “and may back her for an Independent run if Akin doesn’t pull out.”

    You said he had no choice and would not be allowed to stay in. Make up your mind. :) Akin has passed the main deadline where he could voluntarily pull out. He’s never really had the backing and support of the party throughout the campaign so their threats are rather late, he has evangelical support that is not dependent on the party, and he’s stubborn. He has many reasons to stay in and little incentive to pull out. Odds are, he’ll stay in. Odds are still moderately decent that he’ll win, given Missouri is going redder. And then they’ll shrug and use him. But the hoopla shows the fissures going on in the party between wingnut Republicans and drawbridge Republicans. Ryan is a drawbridge Republican pretending to be a wingnut, which means he walks a difficult tightrope. And the Akin incident just made the tightrope go “boing!” whether Akin and Ryan still see eye to eye or not.

    “No matter what happens, Akin is finished in the Republican Party.”

    Not if the wingnut Republicans continue to take over the Republican Party while the drawbridge Republicans try to herd them like cats. Palin was toast once Giffords was shot, but all Akin did was “misspoke” about bogus research he’d been given. That doesn’t even cause Republicans to blink — they use bogus research talking points all the time. But, unfortunately, it struck at the wrong time and was broadcast way too widely. And so it became part of the issue of distrust of Ryan precisely over his social conservative views in the general populace and in media coverage’s desperate drive for juicy stories. If Akin stays in, though, look for a lot of forgiveness of him coming from Murdoch’s media, etc., as a man who made a mistake and now should be allowed to go on with his campaign variety, to minimize any further damage he can do to other candidates.

  283. Personally, I’m astounded that in the week running up to the GOP Convention, the entire week of a news-cycle, 75 days out from the general election has been focused on Mr Akin.

    What speaks volumes is that the Republican candidate for President hasn’t been on every single show on every news station talking about how he has nothing to do with this. The interviews he has given today he was clear he wouldn’t speak on the subject.

    I can’t wait to see next weeks polling.

  284. “Sarah Palin, for instance, endorsed Sarah Steelman and may back her for an Independent run if Akin doesn’t pull out.”

    My understanding–and if anybody from Missouri or who knows its election laws wants to correct me, jump in–is that Missouri has a law which prohibits the losers in a primary election from getting on the ballot as independent candidates in the subsequent general election. (I didn’t realize this last night when I suggested Palin might back Steelman as a 3rd party candidate.)

    Beyond that, I’ll repeat what I said last night: “Since splitting the Missouri conservative vote is one of the best chances McCaskill has of dealing with this narrow race, I’m all for it.” Again, if anybody knows Missouri better, you tell me, but I can’t think of anyone who could win a 3-way race with, based on Monday’s poll, either:

    A) ALL 44% of the Missouri voters who still supported Todd Akin as of Monday, or
    B) ALL 13% of the undecided Missouri voters, and at least 30% of those supporting Todd Akin.

    Obviously, you can split the numbers in B a few other ways, but no matter how you do the math, as long as Todd Akin has the firm support of the evangelical/anti-choice right, McCaskill almost certainly wins any 3-way race between Akin and the Party Machine’s candidate.

  285. Kat Goodwin,

    Ok, Akin first. When I said Akin would be out of the race by Sept. 25th it was a prediction; one that I will stand by. I didn’t say he had no choice. I did say that he was finished in the Republican Party and I’ll stand by that as well.

    Now on to the other crazy Republicans you mentioned. I can’t speak to much of what Steve King has said but I’m happy to talk about Allen West. On second thought, let’s listen to him. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkGQmCZjJ0k

    If that sounds stupid or crazy to you, there’s not much point in us discussing it.

    Palin. This is where you are really misinterpreting the Tea Party and average conservatives. We all know how she is perceived in the media and on the left (which is the same thing) but you could not be more wrong about how most conservatives feel about her. Most of us did not want her to run. That doesn’t mean that we hate her, it’s just because we know how strongly she has been savaged and how hard it would be for her to overcome the negative perception. Sarah Palin might look “dead in the party” from the outside, but let me assure you, she is still a force to be reckoned with. Here’s a laugh line for you, they said the same thing about Churchill.

    Personally, I don’t need Palin’s endorsement to pick the right candidate, but if you look at her record she is kicking Obama’s ass in the endorsement department.

  286. Yeah Billy they did indeed. However, by that time Winston was a long standing Member of Parliament in his late 50s who had already held positions as: Chancellor of the Exchequer (1924-1929), Home Secretary (1910-1911), been a member of parliament for about 30 years, serving multiple constituencies for several political parties. He had served in the armed forces in an actual war. Written a few dozen books and built a bloody long wall.

    Do NOT compare Winston Churchill to a failed sportscaster and small town mayor who was too caught up in her own fame to serve out a SINGLE term as a governor of a small state.

    Good grief, do you really think this stuff sounds good or something?

  287. Billy Quiets: “…but if you look at her record she is kicking Obama’s ass in the endorsement department.”

    What does this mean? Sarah’s not running for President. Who could possibly be endorsing her, and for what? (What does she do these days, anyway? I seem to recall that she quit her public sector job to do a reality show. Is that still on?)

    I’m pretty sure Obama’s got more endorsements, whatever Sarah is running for these days, if anything, because he’s the President, and pretty much every elected Democrat, past and present, still living, has endorsed him, plus the usual round of rich, private sector Democrats, has given their endorsement to “Four More Years.”

    Or do you mean that Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Steelman is more existentially ass-kicky than Obama’s endorsement of… whom, exactly? The Democratic candidate actually running? Since Palin’s candidate didn’t even make it out of the primary, I’m not sure she–or her endorsement–was relevant. If she was, then it demonstrably was not in a positive way. Missouri Republicans, or at least the majority of a representative and voting sample, were not swayed by the opinion of Sarah Palin to vote for her chosen candidate.

  288. Other Bill,
    Palin is no King Henry, or Churchill either, but her endorsement is more valuable than Obama’s. Yes, I know that Steelman lost in the primary to Akin, but she may still end up on top, and Palin wins either way because events have proven that she was certainly right about who would be a better representative for the Republican Party in Missouri.

  289. Billy Quiet: “When I said Akin would be out of the race by Sept. 25th it was a prediction; one that I will stand by. I didn’t say he had no choice.

    I think you’re a little confused here. If I’m understanding it correctly, you feel that Akin is lying about staying in and will drop out because Republicans will make him. Which means he has no choice. Or, he has a choice and we don’t know if he will stay in or drop out late, which already is an enormous problem for the party, since the main deadline has passed. Or, you’re predicting that he has a choice and will chose to drop out because….. something, something. In which case, the Republicans have no control whatsoever on what Akin does, which is actually the case since his main support is not the party. And so far he has no clear incentives to drop out — it gets him nothing — and a lot of incentive to stay. If he stays and he wins, history in the Republican party has shown that they will use him as a Senator and he’ll be perfectly active in the party.

    “I did say that he was finished in the Republican Party and I’ll stand by that as well.”

    You just said that doesn’t mean anything since they said the same about Winston Churchill. So again, make up your mind. If Akin is a Senator who helps get the Republicans the Senate, or at least helps them filibuster in the Senate in a minority government and keep the Senate from getting anything done, while doing like fifty bills focused on abortion instead of jobs, etc., then he’s not at all dead in the Republican party. If Romney gets the presidency, nobody cares about Akin. If Akin loses the Senate seat, then it is true that he probably is finished as a politician. He’s not a spring chicken after all and he gave up his House seat. And if Akin drops out of the race, he’s finished as a politician. But that doesn’t mean that he’s finished in the Republican party. There’s consultancy, lobbying, corporate liason, super PAC funds organizing, conservative think tanks, media speaker, conservative universities, etc., which are all part of the Republican party and use it or work with it, allowing Akin to continue to be quite involved if he wants. The real money isn’t in politics. The real money comes after, although you can also be a string puller like Rove. Akin can get more after as a Senator than he can as a Congressman. So again, he has every incentive to try to stay in the race and win it and very little to drop out. Unless they give him a payout and that won’t be for a House race.

    “If that sounds stupid or crazy to you, there’s not much point in us discussing it.”

    These people are trying to harm my daughter and my family and they lie every five seconds. I don’t give a crap what you think about them. I don’t see why you care about what I think anyway. I’m female and I’m property in your world view.

    “but you could not be more wrong about how most conservatives feel about her. ”

    Conservatives are not one monolithic group — many of them loathe her and many of them blame her for McCain losing the election and have said so publicly. But in any case, I said nothing about how wingnut Republicans feel about her. I said she’s dead in the party politically and she is. As soon as Gifford was shot and Palin bungled the response to it after having painted a gun target bullseye on Gifford’s face as a campaign gambit in 2010, her political prospects — assuming she had any real interest in them, which I don’t think she does — died a quick death. She wisely concentrated on being a media person and speaker — the lucrative afterlife in politics — but died on reality t.v. She pissed off Roger Ailes royally, though they are still stuck with the contract they gave her on Fox for another year. She pissed off Karl Rove. She gets paid by evangelicals to support candidates and they trot her out as a show pony. Mostly her interference in these elections messes up their media strategies and complicates primary elections occasionally, which makes her more trouble than Akin. The media adores her as spectacle, but she’s not pulling in the ratings she used to. She’s not without influence in her media spectacle capacity, but Bachman and others stepped in to take her stuff in politics and they’re not too happy with Bachman right now either. Romney hates her. She’s a problem and a celebrity, not a game player.

  290. @Billy Quiets, again, when you say things like “Republicans won’t put up with that”, what you’re really saying is that everyone should discard what they actually observe because you said so, even of what you said is implausible or wrong. And again, PvP politics may be an end in itself for you, but it’s not really moving the ball down the field.

    As to Palin, the best thing about her nomination is that all the conservative Republicans who whined about those awful “working mothers” suddenly had to STFU. It was a glorious thing.

  291. Kat Goodwin,

    Relax. I believe Akin has a choice, I also think he will choose to get out before Sept. 25th.
    You lost me with the thing about people harming your daughter and thinking you’re property because you are female.

    You do know that I’m not actually a minion of the Dark Lord, right. Cause that was a joke, OK? This may be a spoiler for you, but I don’t think there really is a Dark Lord.
    Dick Cheney, Rupert Murdoch, and Roger Ailes are just some guys that you don’t agree with.

  292. “Yes, I know that Steelman lost in the primary to Akin, but she may still end up on top…”

    ONLY if Akin withdraws, which he shows no sign of doing, or dies in time for the state Republican committee to replace him on the ballot, which he also shows no signs of doing. Or, I think, gets convicted of a felony before then? (By the way, fun fact: Todd Akin HAS been accused of voter fraud due to alleged discrepancies between his home address and the address under which he was registered to vote.)

    Anyway, Steelman can’t be a write-in candidate, because Missouri doesn’t let the losers in a primary try again with a write-in campaign.

    And, for the reasons I outlined above, Steelman would be highly unlikely to win a three-way race against Akin and McCaskill, even if she were legally permitted to take part in one.

    “…and Palin wins either way because events have proven that she was certainly right about who would be a better representative for the Republican Party in Missouri.”

    Events have proven no such thing. The only people with the authority to say who best represents the Republican Party in Missouri are the voters of the Missouri primary, and a plurality of those voters made their choice clear. Sarah Palin’s opinion is, in this as in so many things, irrelevant.

  293. Billy Quiets: I confess I can’t take Sarah Palin seriously at all when it comes to policy. And I have a hard time taking her seriously when it comes to politics. But, I’ll be god damned if I say anything negative about her skills in brand management and earning maximization.

    More seriously, you’re conflating the power of endorsement with a prediction of effectiveness. I’m not sure Akin proving himself to be, undoubtedly, an ignorant jack hole impacts whether or not her endorsement was “right”. Successful politicians endorse winners.

  294. Billy Quiets:

    Dick Cheney, Rupert Murdoch, and Roger Ailes are just some guys that you don’t agree with.

    Bullshit.

    You “don’t agree with” people about which football team is better, or whether The Avengers or The Dark Knight Rises was the better piece of cinematic work, or even which economic model is more likely to bring prosperity.

    When the other party is actively trying to erode your rights or even villainize you, you can’t really “agree to disagree” anymore.

  295. Ron: Anyway, Steelman can’t be a write-in candidate, because Missouri doesn’t let the losers in a primary try again with a write-in campaign.

    If only Connecticut had such a law! We could have had a Democrat in Joe Lieberman’s seat this whole time. *sigh for better worlds now lost*

    Rens, I agree with you about Cheney, Murdoch, and Ailes. They’re monsters. The Republican Party as a whole is grotesque at this point. There are a few Republicans who are not. I have friends who vote Republican and aren’t trying to erode anyone’s rights. I’ve been trying to convince them that voting Republican will tend to do that, because the party’s been co-opted by the monsters and morons, but so far with little success.

  296. I would like to take this opportunity to recant the silly statement where I disavowed the Dark Lord.

    Lord Cheney, Bringer of the Drone
    Forgive me, even as thou hast forgiven Obama.
    For lo, though Barack spoke against thee whilst in Chicago
    He has embraced thy dark purpose
    Only more so, for he hath killed a citizen from afar.

    Though falsely I spoke against thee to curry favor
    my enemies smote me mightily with empty words
    Even as Obama,embraces Gitmo
    and the awesome power of the Patriot Act
    He is only a shadow of your own dark glory

    And now, Oh Prince of Dark Capitalism
    I must away to bed, anon
    for I have posted once too often
    while in the soft embrace
    of Dionysus

  297. Billy Quiet: “Relax.” — Your insinuation that I am overwrought is weak sauce, Billy.

    “I also think he will choose to get out before Sept. 25th.” — You still haven’t offered any very convincing reason why he would. Meanwhile, several hundred political scientists I know who study this stuff for a living say it’s very unlikely that he’ll drop out. However, if he gets a lucrative lobbying deal, there’s a possibility that he might. But they don’t really need to do that as they don’t have anyone to replace him with really and the media have already moved on mostly to Gawker’s Romney’s money stuff.

    “You do know that I’m not actually a minion of the Dark Lord, right.” — You are a minion, yes. But there’s no one Dark Lord, I would definitely agree. However, I would go with Paul Ryan as mini Vader.

    “Dick Cheney, Rupert Murdoch, and Roger Ailes are just some guys that you don’t agree with.” — No, they’re not. They are people who have caused my family a great deal of harm and they continue to seek to do harm and destroy my daughter’s future. The repeal effort for Roe vs. Wade, restrictions in abortion and other health procedures, the attempt to ban birth control — which includes denying treatment for ovarian cysts and other major health conditions; the medical vaginal rape in Texas over abortions and attempts likewise elsewhere; the deliberate and largely successful attempts to close health clinics removing healthcare for millions of women; the other attempts to remove women’s civil rights; the continued attempts to deny gay citizens their civil rights; the Jim Crow voter suppression laws; the union busting laws; the decimation of our public schools; the refusal to deal with crumbling roads and structures; the corruption with private contractors; the attempts at suppressing freedom of religion and de-secularization of the government; the gutting of welfare and the attempts to end Medicaid and gut Medicare and Social Security; the deliberate efforts to keep millions of citizens from healthcare and health insurance; the deaths of thousands of Americans needlessly from Republicans blocking healthcare reform and even basic regulation of the health insurance industry; the insistence on unneeded corporate subsidies as corporations horde cash; the gutting of environmental regulations and the pollution, climate change damage and illness that follows it; the efforts to block development of alternate energy; the refusal to give any disaster relief to farmers or pay for enough firefighters, resulting in billions of damages in wildfires; the disaster around Hurricane Katrina; the Bush administration’s mockery of a controlled corporate bailout; the deregulation that led to the speculations that caused the crash — and still are doing so with Libor fiddling and other delights; the efforts to block government stimulus programs, hurting small businesses and keeping them from credit; the efforts to slash funding for soldiers’ families and veteran healthcare while insisting on increased defense spending for contractors that the military itself says it doesn’t need; the tax cuts for the rich that helped run up the deficit and the efforts to continue them while raising taxes on the middle and working classes; the slashing of unemployment benefits; the persecution both in legislation and rhetoric of Muslim, Hindu and Sikh citizens — all of these and so many more have had very real, hard, disastrous consequences both directly for my family and in general for the future of my daughter and my nieces and nephew. These efforts have killed enormous numbers of people, destroyed lives and turned the country into a crumbling heap over the last thirty years. Instead of forwards, these people want to go backwards, beating the drum of a financial shell game that not only has continually made the economy worse every time it’s given its head, but is also one of the most inefficient, unproductive forms of capitalism ever; and presenting a social agenda that is starting to make Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale seem naive. Those who used to be considered the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party by the Republican Party are now its Congressmen.

    Like Akin. I don’t care what happens to him. I did enjoy watching them freak out about Ryan over it. I’m sure the candidate Palin advocates is even worse. And I’m sad that Missourians wants to turn themselves into Alabama, but I can’t do much about it.

  298. @ Kat

    “But they don’t really need to do that as they don’t have anyone to replace him with really and the media have already moved on mostly to Gawker’s Romney’s money stuff.”

    Gawker. Wait, that’s the company that’s part of Gawker Media Group, a shell company based in the Cayman’s, but most of it’sinternational revenue is routed through Hungary? Or is there another Gawker?

    “The decimation of our public schools; the refusal to deal with crumbling roads and structures; the corruption with private contractors….. the deregulation that led to the speculations that caused the crash — and still are doing so with Libor fiddling and other delights…”

    You do realize that both sides of the aisle are to share for the problems in your post, right? Trying to assign more responsibility to one side or the other is the functional equivalent of saying “OK, sure, We’re bad, But were just not as bad as them!” (Which, as an aside, is what the political spectrum appears to be sliding towards). I could pick apart the rest of your arguments and show you that. But, at the end of the day, that would be a waste of my time and yours. I doubt I’d be able to change any of your beliefs any more than I could change any Akin’s beliefs.

    Drew

  299. @Drew: ““OK, sure, We’re bad, But were just not as bad as them!””

    It’s nothing like that. And, frankly, I’m tired of seeing this used as an argument.

    What either side did in the past doesn’t matter versus what they say they’re going to do moving forward. Dodd Frank is inadequate protection against bankers, but it’s at least a start. When the alternative is LESS regulation, then there’s no discussion.

    When one side is Abortion is a legal procedure left to women to decide for their own bodies and the alternative is fantasies about how the body works and a view of women’s rights that takes society back decades, then there’s no discussion.

    You are entitled to your own opinions, but you are NOT entitled to your own facts.

  300. Akin didn’t say anything that isn’t part and parcel of the republican right wing theocratic machine. Life begins at conception. Aborting a fertilized egg is murder. The morning after pill is murder. Abortion of any kind is murder. The life of the mother is expendable.

    And all of this, ALL of this, is sourced by their particular religious interpretation of their particular strain of christianity. Usually, the theocrats try to find secular reasons and justifications for their nonsense. Exactly the same way they try to spin their religious young earth creationism into some flat earth pseudoscience that is “intelligent design”.

    Akin’s “A woman can’t get pregnant from rape” is exactly the same sort of pseudo science used to cover up the underlying religious beliefs. Akin’s problem, however, is that while the immediate ramifications for something like dinosaur fossils are rather esoteric for most people when they think about creationism versus evolution, Akin’s pseudo science that a woman can’t get pregnant from rape is immediately provable false in the here and now. Dinosaur fossils don’t have any direct impact on people’s lives today. Women getting pregnant from rape does have a direct impact on people’s lives today.

    Akin’s pseudoscientific justification was stupid and republicans are mad at him for saying something so blatantly stupid.. But the underlying theocratic beliefs are not any different than any other right wing theocrat’s beliefs.

    Anyone saying the right wants to drum out Akin because they disagree with Akin is kidding themselves. They agree with him and his underlying beliefs on abortion. They’re just mad that he used a dumber-than-usual bit of pseudoscience to try and justify it. Because it puts a spotlight on all of them that their beliefs on abortion are religious beliefs with a layer of pseudoscience on top.

  301. Billy @ 10.41: “We all know how she is perceived in the media and on the left (which is the same thing)”

    Wow! Fox Media is left-wing? Could have fooled me.

    You might want to check out this thing called ‘confirmation bias’, Billy.

  302. The Ballad of Todd Akin (or, I cannot leave well enough alone)

    There are strange things done in the Missouri sun
    By the men who would office hold;
    The campaign trails run off the rails
    When Vagina-gate takes hold;
    The leading lights take up States Rights,
    In the quest to be nominee.
    But when Akin cried “Charge!” by and large,
    McCaskill holla’d with glee.

    Now Akin is from the City–New York, as everyone knows.
    Why he left his home to run in the South, only God (or Satan) knows.
    He acted the toad, but ran unopposed, to hold the district from hell,
    Though he’d often say in his homely way that “he thought he’d done quite well.”

    Then one bright day, while musing away, on the Missouri trail,
    A thought took hold, and through reason’s fold, it stabbed like a driven nail.
    Right under our nose, a Dixie rose, if only we’d eyes to see–
    “The Senate’s more fun! I can make a run! The blastocysts need me!”

    And that very night, as women slept tight, Todd Akin took aim at Roe.
    Yea, we lay abed, the hazards ahead, as yet we could not know–
    The bitter sea, a poisonous tree—our lone hope the fickle press.
    What do we do against claims untrue that certain sperm is blessed?

    It seemed apropos that Akin didn’t know how an embryo is grown;
    His words were bold, bright as Fool’s Gold, but wrong right down to the bone.
    Sperm do imbed, despite female dread, as sure as Seattle rains.
    Todd Akin take care, all the ladies fair are mocking your lack of brains.

    A woman’s need is a thing to heed, and this time we will not fail.
    Steinem lead on! We’ll march at dawn! This campaign we must derail–
    The voters we’ll sway with our passion play, in the shade of the old oak tree,
    To reinstall, once and for all, McCaskill, and set our ova free!

    There are strange things done in the Missouri sun
    By the men who would office hold;
    The campaign trails run off the rails
    When Vagina-gate takes hold;
    The leading lights take up States Rights,
    In the quest to be nominee.
    But when Akin cried “Charge!” by and large,
    McCaskill holla’d with glee.

    A little shorter than Sam McGee’s story, but then, I have less material to work with.

  303. Andrew: “Gawker. Wait, that’s the company that’s part of Gawker Media Group, a shell company based in the Cayman’s, but most of it’s international revenue is routed through Hungary? Or is there another Gawker?”

    And Murdoch is Australian and uses the Caymans too. Plus he’s financially backed by Saudi Muslims. What’s your point, other than to bang the drum of xenophobia? It is a fact that Gawker released data that they claim are financial records of Romney. It is a fact that the media is now doing tons of stories about this. And this moves the spotlight off of Akin but not where the Romney-Ryan campaign would really like it to be.

    “You do realize that both sides of the aisle are to share for the problems in your post, right? ”

    No, they are not. Official party platforms (Democrats for marriage equality, Republicans against it, Republicans wanting to make abortion illegal, etc.) official voting and bill sponsorship records (Ryan and Akin produced a bill stating forcible rape, etc.) and actual, factual data says you’re blowing smoke up your ass. Akin is on record and freely admits that he wants to appeal Roe vs. Wade for all cases. Nearly every Republican politician has also gone on record saying they also want to do this. It is part of the official party platform. Ryan is on record as wanting to appeal abortion. Ryan and Akin together co-sponsored 33 bills restricting rights to abortion. Republican-run state legislatures passed 92 anti-abortion measures last year and 39 this year so far; Texas has as law that any woman seeking an abortion must first be vaginally probed against her will — a law created, sponsored and voted in by Republicans. Romney deliberately sought the endorsement of Dr. John Willke, an anti-reproductive rights activist who provided Akin with his rape birth control pseudoscience. Over fifty bills repetitively and unnecessarily denying taxpayer funding for abortion and other medical procedures for poor women (despite the law doing this already being in place,) have been launched by Republicans. Akin proposed legislation concerning the Ten Commandments in violation of the First Amendment. Republicans supported the Catholic Church being able to control the religious beliefs, family planning decisions and medical care of their secular female employees and the Church’s goal to have laws passed to ban birth control. They held a Congressional hearing on birth control in which celibate male bishops railed against women’s rights and no woman was allowed to speak. Every Jim Crow voter suppression law has been created, sponsored and voted in by Republicans and these laws and regulations deliberately target voters likely to vote Democrat.

    These are facts. They are facts that the Republicans, particularly Romney’s campaign, do not want the media to focus on because they are pretty appalling, but they aren’t facts that they deny either. And those facts show that they are trying to hurt my daughter. And since you are also trying to hurt my daughter if you support the intent of those factual efforts, Andrew, yes, you would be wasting your breath arguing that Republicans have not been doing things that they are factually and officially doing and freely admit to the public that they are doing. Akin did nothing that was out of keeping with Republican policy. He reiterated the official Republican party position on abortion and rape pregnancy. He repeated a science lie created and endorsed by prominent Republican financial backers and activists, as plenty of Republicans have done before him. He just had bad timing. And he may not even lose the race for it.

  304. Every Jim Crow voter suppression law has been created, sponsored and voted in by Republicans and these laws and regulations deliberately target voters likely to vote Democrat.

    I assume we’re talking the modern versions like in PA, FL, and OH, where the proponents and sometimes authors of the law have publicly mentioned that the laws are there to suppress certain voter populations (almost all of which are Democrats).

  305. Genufett: “I assume we’re talking the modern versions like in PA, FL, and OH, where the proponents and sometimes authors of the law have publicly mentioned that the laws are there to suppress certain voter populations (almost all of which are Democrats).”

    Yes, that is what I am referring to.

  306. @ Daveon,

    “It’s nothing like that. And, frankly, I’m tired of seeing this used as an argument.”

    When Treasury Secretary Geithner was in front of Ryan’s committee on the tax proposals Ryan had put forth, and said “We don’t have a plan, we just know we don’t like yours”, then yes, it’s everything like that. And both sides are guilty of using such an argument. Dodd-Frank was an effort to “Do Something!”, never mind the fact that Dodd and Frank were two of the people responsible for the mess in the first place. Maybe the thinking was “you’ve seen the problem we created, now get ready for the solution!” The Patriot Act and the Department of Homeland Security were an effort to “Do Something!” because “something” needed to be done. Neither side of the aisle is a clean as they want to be when it comes to the issues, but the M.O. has been to minimize what party “A” has done and point out what Party “B” has done worse. Get in done in a 30 to 60 second soundbite, and you’ve got Dukakis personally freeing Willi Horton and Romney killing Ranae Soptic.

    @Kat

    Al Gore is a friend of Fred Phelps. There are plenty of photo’s of him standing in front of Westboro and other locales with the man. Does that mean Al Gore “hates fags”, and by extension Bill Clinton does as well, seeing as how Gore was the VP, and invited Phelps to both the 93 and 97 inaugurals? I don’t believe so. Does every Republican believe the same thing about abortion that Akin does? No. In fact, the campaign platform the party decided on recently uses the same language the platform used in 2008. And 2004. And 2000. And that language is different then the views Akin has.

    The majority of the American public believes abortions should be legal under limited circumstances only, and that majority has been pretty consistent since 1975. On an interesting note, about the same percentage of people who do believe that abortions should be legal but limited also think it morally wrong. GO figure that one out…Anyhow, Akin’s views, and those with the same views, (and those with the exact opposite of Akin’s views) are a minority, a loud, vocal minority.

    Drew

  307. Andrew August 24, 2012 at 5:44 pm: “Al Gore is a friend of Fred Phelps. There are plenty of photo’s of him standing in front of Westboro and other locales with the man. Does that mean Al Gore “hates fags”, and by extension Bill Clinton does as well, seeing as how Gore was the VP, and invited Phelps to both the 93 and 97 inaugurals?”

    Error of both interpretation and fact. F. Phelps was a loyal Democrat for 40+ years, but could not necessarily be called a ‘friend’ to anyone. “In 1988, Phelps housed campaign workers for Al Gore’s first presidential run; in 1989, his eldest son, Fred Jr., hosted a fundraiser for Gore’s Senate campaign at his home…Because of their years as loyal Democrats, the Phelpses have even been invited to — and attended — both of Clinton’s inaugurations. They protested at the second one. But Phelps’ campaign against homosexuality actually began in earnest just before the 1992 campaign, when politicians, especially Democrats, began to openly court gay voters.”

    Circa 1991: ‘Gore has earned Phelps’ ire because, according to Phelps, his son “sold his soul to the fag agenda.”‘
    [http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&ved=0CEMQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.motherjones.com%2Fpolitics%2F1999%2F03%2Fman-who-loves-hate&ei=_wA4UIWMNqT8iwKDrYHwDQ&usg=AFQjCNFu9LkdJ9TfcGSOUT7a9b2f1uSdIQ&cad=rja]

    Early in his career, Fred Phelps was a well-known civil rights attorney, who worked to overthrow Jim Crow laws in his area. He was disbarred in 1979 for being too abusive to witnesses. He proceeded to run for office until the late 80s. Phelps never won, and eventually turned to his current career of professional hater.

    The claim of close friendship is based on campaign photos from 1988, that in 2000 were re-released by both Phelps and the Log Cabin Republicans in attempt to discredit Gore in the Bush vs Gore race.
    [http://www.georgialogcabin.org/news/Fred-Phelps-Al-Gore-Westboro-Baptist-Church-God-Hates-Fags/200010251159.shtml]

    Based on the timeline, it’s reasonable to interpret the facts to read that Phelps hid his hate under a bushel, in hopes of gaining political office, until 1991; that coincides with the activities of the WBC and Phelps’s Jerry Springer appearance. The Phelps’s would have stayed on both regional and national Democratic supporter and fundraising lists until they removed themselves, and/or became too odious to tolerate, circa 2000, when Phelps went full-bore anti-Gore. The feeling, apparently, was mutual.

  308. Andrew: “And that language is different then the views Akin has.”

    No, it’s not. The language of the official party policy very plainly states that abortion is to be made illegal, with no exceptions. And Ryan is on record as agreeing with this view. These people are on record. These people have voting records. The Texas law forcing women to be raped by their doctors if they seek an abortion is a fact. Trying to pretend that the platform does not say what it says and that these politicians haven’t said what they said is ridiculous. The only thing Akin said that other Republican politicians like Ryan haven’t said is the rape birth control bit. But making abortion illegal with no exceptions? That’s what Ryan has said he believes should occur. If it kills women, he doesn’t care. No exceptions. And Ryan also put forth a bill using forcible rape. So he agreed with Akin on that point too. Akin’s view that abortion should be illegal with no exceptions is the majority view of the Republican party, according to the official, factual record.

    Even if the Republican party changes their platform language to illegal with a few exceptions, that doesn’t change the fact that such a law would still be unconstitutional and violate women’s civil rights, including her right to control her own body and her right to privacy. Women would no longer be persons under the law and subject to equal protection under the law as such. The government would have legal guardianship over all pregnant women, poor or rich, and can force them to carry pregnancies and give birth, dispensing waivers only as politicians see fit (i.e. never.) The “majority’s” desire to control others is not the decider on civil rights issues in a democracy where people are considered equal citizens. If it was, black people would still be drinking from separate water fountains. We have rights, you don’t get to take them away just because you have bigger numbers.

    So, anyone who believes that abortion should be illegal, in whole or with exceptions, is trying to harm my daughter and destroy her civil rights as a person. And the entire Republican party has officially announced that is its platform and are trying to harm my daughter. So let’s stop pretending Akin is some alien creature, please. You’ve been very clear about what all of you want.

  309. Sorry to doublepost, but I just learned that Akin had a press conference and officially announced that he is staying in the race. So it’s not looking good for Billy Q’s bet.

  310. @Drew, nice name, but I don’t think you made your point very well: You seem to be defending Romney for having offshore bank accounts to avoid taxes by implying that Gawker is untrustworthy because, well, they also have some offshore finances…
    Several people have already pointed out some problems with your assertions, but it’s further worth pointing out that you’ve taken Geithner’s words out of context and mis-quoted him.
    Your comment about doubting you can change someone’s mind does tie this back on topic: Most posters here do listen to a well-reasoned argument. However, making false equivalence arguments and simply misrepresenting facts are unlikely to convince anyone. Unless you’ve got some hard evidence about how many of the conservatives who support Akin’s bills do so without sharing his beliefs, I’d suspect John’s explanation is far more likely than yours.

  311. And that language is different then the views Akin has.

    How amazing. You’re so embarrassed by your party’s position that you have to deny it exists.

  312. David August 24, 2012 at 8:15 pm: “How amazing. You’re so embarrassed by your party’s position that you have to deny it exists.”

    This. This is what drives me crazy about the apologists. That’s not what he meant. Just because it’s the Party’s Platform, that doesn’t mean anything. Those “crazy people” with “radical views” that “most Republicans don’t share” just happen to be the current holders of elected office. The ticket running for *highest* office. If “most Republicans” don’t share the views held by Akin, Ryan, Romney, Bachmann, et cetera, why aren’t “most Republicans” voting? WTF are all these allegedly sane, reasonable, and invisible Republicans doing?

    I call bullshit. If you, any of you out there who happen to be reading this, do not share the official party platform of the GOP, then you are not Republicans. Because that is what the Republican Party believes. If that is not what you want the GOP to stand for, then you should have said so. But since the GOP platform hasn’t changed in 12 years, and you haven’t changed parties, guess what? You are lumped in with the radical crazies, because you helped sew that banner, and now you are carrying that banner.

    If you, out there, currently identifying as a Republican, do not believe that scrubbing bubbles in the female vagina somehow neutralize rapey sperm, then you are in the wrong party. They don’t want you, they don’t represent you, and they should not be getting your money or your votes. Anything else makes you the worst kind of hypocrite. Own your choices, stay or go, but this straddling the fence BS, trying to explain away the xenophobia, misogyny, bigotry, and magical thinking that is demonstrably and actually the Republican party, isn’t fooling anyone.

  313. Kat Goodwin, I will stand by my prediction that Akin drops out before Sept. 25.

    As far as your analysis of the Republican Party, I think you lose some credibility when you assert that,

    “The Texas law forcing women to be raped by their doctors if they seek an abortion is a fact.”
    followed by,
    “the entire Republican party has officially announced that is its platform and are trying to harm my daughter.”

    You know, I haven’t read the whole platform, so maybe in Section 3B, Subsection 44, Paragraph 3, of the national platform it does say, “and let it be known that by these provisions and covenants we specifically and knowingly direct harm done to daughters across the nation.”

    Frankly I’m just not seeing the slim percentage of undecideds in the country believing that your analysis is accurate.

  314. @ Billy – come on.

    It’s not a difficult line to draw from “no abortions in any situations” to that means I’m dead if I have a dangerous pregnancy. As in, no abortion to save my life.

  315. Billy

    Kat isn’t losing credibility; the vast majority of doctors in Texas are horrified by what they are being forced to do because they know damn well that penetrating a women’s vagina without her consent is rape. And since this is the Republican national policy if they get elected it will be every doctor in the US who will be forced to do this. It’s kind of hard to build up a rapport with one’s patient if you are doing painful and invasive procedures which have no medical justification whatsoever…

  316. I’m sorry that you don’t feel that declaring women to no longer be legally persons with equal protection and sovereignty over their own bodies is causing harm, Billy. I’m sorry that you don’t see women as equal to you or as persons and don’t see that viewpoint as harmful. I’m sorry that you feel that the government forcing women to undergo pregnancy and give birth against their will and despite any medical risks is not “harm.” A ban of abortion — a regression of thirty years of civil rights for women — will harm my daughter and all women, and a ban on abortion without exceptions is part of the official Republican party platform:

    “Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed,” the draft platform declares. “We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”

    Therefore, they are trying to harm women, including my daughter and myself, and violate our civil rights to legally reduce our status as persons as part of their official policy and political goals. And you support them, so you share their view or help them accomplish it. Therefore, as I said earlier in our conversation, you do not see me as a person, equal to you in society and law, but as secondary and property. Either I am a person or I am not. A ban on abortion says that I am not a person. If you don’t like women being seen as property, not people, then work to change Republican party policy that seeks to legally make them property. But as long as the Republicans seek to repeal Roe and ban abortion with a constitutional amendment, then they are coming after me and my daughter and our legal and civil rights. That’s not an interpretation; it’s a legal fact and it has been borne out further by actual legislation in numerous states that removes women’s civil rights, such as Texas’ ultrasound rape law.

    Which is why we have Roe vs. Wade in the first place, because the ban on abortion was unconstitutional and a violation of women’s rights. So make all the sarcastic jokes you want. It’s still an attack. Akin and Ryan have the exact same views on abortion and have stated them publicly and on record, and that is also the stated decision in the Republican party platform. The Romney campaign also seeks to ban abortion with waivers which is no different from banning abortion without exceptions for women and their legal status and civil rights. So take your rape waiver, your forcible rape waiver, your incest waiver, your life of the mother waiver (yeah, like they care, talk about death panels,) and shove them all up Ryan’s ugly, robotic ass. And while the odds aren’t great, I hope McCaskill whomps Akin in the election. If Akin does drop out? (Which I think you’re dreaming.) Well, she has an even better shot. Which is why the Republicans have moved on to concentrate on the Wisconsin race.

  317. Timmy, you didn’t respond to this when I posted it earlier so obviously you must have missed it; I’ll repeat it here:

    ‘I get really pissed off with people who assume that, because they know that I spent a hefty chunk of both my pregnancy and post delivery in hospital trying not to die, I expect other women to make the same choice. I don’t. And since I know what it is like at the sharp end, up close and personal, I have nothing but contempt for people who want to force others to do that…’

    My doctors advised me to terminate the pregnancy as soon as it became obvious that there was a very real chance that I would die. Unlike Mrs Santorum I did not terminate my pregnancy, though I note that the Republican party was fine with her choice. I chose to disregard my doctors’ advice, since I have a lot of experience in not dying over the years, and I thought I could hack it. They pulled together an amazing team and we all set off on Mission Impossible; that was a gamble I came very, very close to losing, on a number of occasions.

    But unless you have been very seriously ill for many months you have no comprehension of what it is like, just as you will never have to pay the price of your life because you have no access to safe termination of a pregnancy. Telling people that this is somehow a good thing when you cannot suffer as a result of it means that you have no moral legitimacy…

  318. I can only suggest that those of you interested in how Party Platforms are created should run for offices in your political party, progress up through the ranks of County, District, Region, State, and National Platform Committees, and participate in attempting to make the sausage. From listening to my wife’s comments, the Donkey’s process is different than the Elephant’s … and the typical voter has the same effect on the process: none.

    Get along and go along … I eventually couldn’t. I’m an extreme pro-choice advocate (“Life began long ago, and we inherit it from our parents”), and they could not stand me, either. ‘Bye, Elephant.

  319. Karina, Stevie, Kat, et al
    Hey, if ya’ll think this works keep it up. I’m just saying it sounds crazy to regular people. I know you are talking about the trans vaginal ultrasound requirement, but in politics, once you have to explain the reference you are already in the weeds. Most uninformed voters are going to think you are a nut job if you tell them that half the people they know are advocating that doctors in Texas rape women. It’s just stupid.

    Take the whole Republicans hate women thing. You guys are pushing the idea that the Republicans are waging war on women when at least half of the Republicans ARE women.
    If I’m Joe Undecided, and somebody tells me that Republicans hate women when my mom, my sister and my aunt are all Republicans, I’m going to tune that person out, because it is obviously bullshit.

    How do you feel when some dipshit Republican starts saying that homosexuality is evil? It’s so stupid you tune it out, right?

    Well homosexuals make up what percentage of the population? 3% 5% 10% whatever.
    Half of the Republicans are freaking women. 50%. We all know that Republican women do not want other women to be raped, denied birth control, subjugated etc.

    So when you say stuff like this it just makes you sound like an extremist wacko.

    It makes you sound just like Todd Akin. (see how I tied that in there?)

  320. @ Billy: “How do you feel when some dipshit Republican starts saying that homosexuality is evil? It’s so stupid you tune it out, right?”

    No. Is this you projecting? Because you’ve demonstrated throughout this thread that you listen, but you don’t care. You support those beliefs, despite the fact that you agree that they “sound crazy.”

    “You guys are pushing the idea that the Republicans are waging war on women when at least half of the Republicans ARE women…Half of the Republicans are freaking women. 50%.”

    No. Neither party reports which percentage of their registered members are female or male, because census voting data doesn’t break down along those lines. Self-collected data are widely inaccurate. There is no way to know what percentage of the Republican party is female.

    However, we can know that women are 52% of the population, and of that population, (Gallup, 2010) 41% of polled women report as Democrats, 27% report as Republicans, and the rest are Independent or margins of error. Judging from voting results, Independent women skew almost entirely Democratic.

    Therefore, just over one quarter of the women who vote, may vote against their own interests. People do that, it’s one of the factors that makes political types crazy when trying to craft effective PR.

    “If I’m Joe Undecided, and somebody tells me that Republicans hate women when my mom, my sister and my aunt are all Republicans, I’m going to tune that person out, because it is obviously bullshit.”

    Cool that you can read Joe’s mind. I can’t, but I can hope Joe is a smart guy, who might end up having conversations with the women in his life, about how they might be supporting a party that does not support them, in turn. A teaching moment, perhaps.

    “…when you say stuff like this it just makes you sound like an extremist wacko.”

    Well, to you, obviously. And apparently all the people whose minds you are able to read. I gotta say, though, I can’t give much credence to an argument based on psychic phenomena, particularly psychic phenomena that you alone experience.

    Also, way to use the classic derail tactics of attempting to portray the other party as insane, trivializing the concern, and the tone argument. Good job! No one has ever tried any of those before, really.

  321. Also, I would like to point out that it is statistically unlikely that three women in a room will all be Republicans, so that strawman is further bullshit.

  322. We all know that Republican women do not want other women to be raped, denied birth control, subjugated etc.

    That’s nice. They should do something about their political party, then.

  323. Billy

    Well, it’s past 4 am over the pond here in England, and I should get off the laptop and get some sleep, but I really want to know why you think that my giving a factual description of my pregnancy and post partum period would make people think I am whacko, extremist or otherwise. Please explain just what part of it would have this effect, because I really cannot see anything in it which would lead any reasonable person to conclude that I’m nuts. Other than the fact that I didn’t follow Mrs Santorum’s example, of course.

    It may be that you know some very unreasonable people but there still has to be some sort of explanation why this should be the case. Please provide it and I will tackle it in the morning…

  324. Stevie, I was talking about the Democrats’ theme that Republicans hate women and statements like this one from you:
    “the vast majority of doctors in Texas are horrified by what they are being forced to do because they know damn well that penetrating a women’s vagina without her consent is rape.”

    I don’t presume to tell you what motivates people across the pond, and I think it’s safe to say that I know more doctors in Texas (my sister for example) than you do.

    My comments had nothing to do with your pregnancy or post partum period.

  325. “Hey, if ya’ll think this works keep it up.”

    It does actually. We just got htom. :) When you explain actual legal facts to people and how these actual laws and proposed legislation effects actual people, they usually don’t like it. That’s why the Ryan budget gutting Medicare was a disaster with seniors and Medicare is called the third rail of American politics. That’s why marriage equality has had rapid progress and now more than 50% of the populace is in favor of marriage equality. That’s why the Republicans are absolutely panicked over Akin. It doesn’t sound crazy to regular people at all. That’s why Romney has a terrible problem — he’s supposed to move towards the center for the main election to win the Independents — who are less conservative overall than the Republicans. But because he doesn’t have a firm grip on the Republican base, he hasn’t done that and it’s hurting him with women voters.

    “I know you are talking about the trans vaginal ultrasound requirement,”

    The law forcing women to be raped by their doctors and their doctors to rape them in order to obtain an abortion, yes, the law enacted by politicians who you support and therefore you support the law that women should be raped by the government. That’s not crazy — it’s fact. It is what the politicians who you support, who make the laws, did as fact. What you’re trying to say here is that facts don’t matter to people. Sometimes that may be true. But if so, why do you and Andrew keep trying to lie about facts? You must be a little worried that some people might pay attention to them and not like them. And in fact, this is what occurred in Virginia, where I have relatives. They tried to enact the same ultrasound rape law there and there was a public outcry and they had to back down, although they are trying again. So not ignoring these factual attacks and talking to people about them can counter these unconstitutional laws and even boot politicians who enact these crazy laws out of office.

    “Most uninformed voters are going to think you are a nut job if you tell them that half the people they know are advocating that doctors in Texas rape women. It’s just stupid.”

    But they are advocating it and the law does exist. Doctors in Texas are forced to rape their female patients who want an abortion. It’s a fact. It’s quite easy to prove. Many people in Texas are quite unhappy about it. And showing that this law is a fact, not just political rhetoric, is driving a lot of people out of the Republican party. And that the Republican party wants to ban abortion and force women to give birth is a fact. So yes, the Republicans are crazy, but reality is perfectly real.

    “Take the whole Republicans hate women thing. You guys are pushing the idea that the Republicans are waging war on women”

    Because they are. It’s a fact. That they have women in their party and let them run for office does not somehow magically negate the actual laws they are making that effect us all and take away our legal status and rights.

    “If I’m Joe Undecided, and somebody tells me that Republicans hate women when my mom, my sister and my aunt are all Republicans,”

    It’s not a matter of hate. It’s a matter of power for Republicans. To Ryan, people are simply tools. Explaining to Joe Undecided that his sister would be forced to give birth even if it would kill her if abortion is banned is a fact. Now Joe may tune out that fact. He may tune out but I’m not going to lie and pretend the facts don’t exist, like you are. If your guys win, and they ban abortion and take our civil rights, it has bigger implications beyond women. The laws they are enacting or trying to enact on deregulation, union busting, protests, environmental pollution and no alternate energy, the tax cuts only for the wealthy, etc., all will cause you harm, You may hope that you are spared any impact, but you are not protected (as Akin well learned.) And the impact even if not directly aimed at you will still effect you because the financial costs of building an enormous underclass of undereducated, starving, ill people who can’t get jobs hits the whole system. You can explain the very real consequences of very real local laws locally and people seeing that are sometimes swayed. They don’t hate their kids’ teachers, or firefighters, or their female family members. Well, most of them don’t. Which is again why the Republicans panicked over Akin.

    “How do you feel when some dipshit Republican starts saying that homosexuality is evil? It’s so stupid you tune it out, right?”

    The Republican is a Congressperson, or state congressperson or governor or President. The Republican and his party makes the laws. The Republican denies the gay person his or her civil rights unconstitutionally. Many Republican politicians have stated that homosexuality should be illegal again, meaning that gay people would go to jail. Why would I tune that out? Are you saying that we should ignore people in power attacking us? And if you think the Republicans are dipshits and stupid, why are you supporting them and their party policies? Obviously, you agree with their views and also want these laws that harm people and take their civil rights. Gay people are not equal persons under the law right now. It leaves them very legally vulnerable. It has destroyed many of their lives and torn their families apart. Some have lost their children. Many people have gay relatives, friends and co-workers. Gay people serve in the military. They are troubled by these loved ones explaining how these laws effect their lives. This effects all of us. And these laws are facts.

    “We all know that Republican women do not want other women to be raped, denied birth control, subjugated etc.”

    On the contrary, many female Republican spokespeople and politicians are on record for supporting banning birth control, preventing poor women from being able to get birth control even for medical conditions, supporting the Texas ultrasound rape law, supporting the ban on abortion with or without exceptions, supporting the inclusion into law of the Christian biblical notion of women being subservient to men, and have supported and voted on legislation to do just that. Republican Congresswomen supported the bill using the forcible rape concept. Conservative female pharmacists and doctors have refused to do emergency abortions when the mother could die, provide morning after or birth control pills or medicines for other medical conditions on the grounds that they might really be for an abortion on moral absolution grounds, and female Republican politicians have lobbied for bills that would legalize and protect them doing this. Republican Congresswomen have in the majority supported all Republican legislation aimed at reducing and restricting women’s civil rights and reducing their own legal status. They have money, they have power, even if abortion was illegal they could get one — so apparently they don’t think anything is going to happen them or don’t care. Their voting record on these issues is public fact.

    You seem to be saying here two things, Billy. 1) it’s not possible that Republican politicians are doing this, even though you know that these things are fact. You know that the Texas law exists, you know Republican women’s voting records, you know that banning abortion without exceptions is part of the party platform. So you know that they are doing this and this is fact and that these are the factual effects of what they are doing. It doesn’t matter if it’s stupid or not — I agree that it’s stupid — they are still doing it. (And it gets them a lot of money too.) And 2) even though those are the facts, you’re saying ha, ha we get to do whatever we want because Joe independent and Joe Republican are too dumb to understand and care and believe our lies over you telling them facts.

    And you may be right. That’s why Akin may win the election. Bu if we don’t bring up the facts at all, then you’ll be even more right and the laws will take away our rights even further and we’ll be further harmed. And so we do bring up the facts, which is why the Republicans are very worried about the elections at the moment and were freaked out that Akin is so closely tied to Ryan in Congress. They’re worried about the female vote and they should be. Akin is their boy — factually it is true. You support the dipshits and the dipshits are destroying people. If you’re okay with that, you’re okay with that. But that makes you the extremist, not me.

  326. Billy

    Thank you for your response; I can certainly see that if your sister is happy to perform painful and invasive procedures which have no medical justification whatsoever then the standard of medicine practised in Texas is somewhat lower than one would have hoped. Though of course she’s being paid for it, which no doubt makes a difference.

    I ran the ethical question past my daughter who is a doctor here in England and she shares my view that it contradicts the most important principle of medicine; it cannot do the patient any good and it subjects her to the risk of a hospital acquired infection which may kill her.

    My daughter is not an extremist whacko, and has the qualifications to prove it. You may wish to bear in mind that the legislation has been discussed quite extensively in medical journals and there are plenty of doctors affected by it who, unlike your sister, do strongly object to being turned into de facto rapists on the orders of the state.

    And whilst you may not wish to discuss the practical example I offered from my own history I suspect that is because you want to keep on pretending that the laws you support won’t result in poor women dying or left with permanent health problems. The laws won’t affect rich women because they will simply go elsewhere to have their pregnancies terminated in much the same way that Mrs Santorum managed to get her own pregnancy terminated in the US.

    Note to self: when you’ve turned the laptop off don’t pick up the IPad…

  327. First, let me say for the record, Todd Akin.

    Now, on to my comment which is only tangentially related to Todd Akin and his big, stupid mouth.

    Stevie, The law in Texas does not specify a trans vaginal ultrasound, it is entirely up to the doctor what kind of ultrasound they use. Also, I’m pretty sure abortion doctors use ultrasounds about 99% of the time to figure out what’s going on in there, so the woman is going to get one, whether she sees it or not. The Texas law says the doctor has to show it to her. That’s it.

    I know it’s not as rapey when you look at the facts, but there you go.

    Also, Todd Akin.

  328. Billy: Wrong again.

    …the 2011 Texas bill forces women to receive the medically unnecessary and intrusive “transvaginal ultrasound.” This is because the majority of women get abortions during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, when the fetus is too small to be picked up on in an abdominal ultrasound, so a transvaginal probe must be used. In other words, Texan women in need of abortion services are forced to be vaginally penetrated without a choice of whether to consent. Notably, Texas Penal Code defines sexual assault as “intentionally or knowingly caus[ing] the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that person’s consent.”

    The Texas law is more strict: It requires women to have a sonogram at least 24 hours ahead of an abortion, and the doctor to play the heartbeat aloud, describe the fetus, and show the woman the image, unless she chooses not to view it. Although the Texas law doesn’t specify what kind of ultrasound — belly or transvaginal — abortion providers say they almost always must use the transvaginal probe to pick up the heartbeat and describe the fetus at the early stage of pregnancy when most women seek abortions.

    The law then requires the physician to go over a politicized list of so-called dangers of abortion, like “the risks of infection and hemorrhage” and “the possibility of increased risk of breast cancer.” Then there is the mandated ultrasound, which in the first trimester normally means a vaginal ultrasound. Doctors sometimes seek vaginal ultrasounds before an abortion, with the patient’s consent, but it’s different when the state forces women to undergo the procedure.

    It is, in fact, state mandated rape. Shockingly, I don’t think Akin has told us whether that is considered “legitimate” or not, but I would hazard a “no.” Fortunately, there is no chance of getting *more* pregnant from the practice.

    That’s me, always lookin’ for the silver lining! “Hey, if your state rapes you, it’ll use an inanimate object, and since you’re already knocked up, it’s all hunky-dory!” Or whatever. I honestly cannot fathom the reasoning behind this steaming pile of unwholesome rationalization. Who wants to go through the necessary contortions to pretend any of this is okay? Why? What possible gain is there from tying yourself in knots to make up excuses for utterly noxious strangers?

  329. mintwitch, I don’t know what sources you are quoting but the first one is flat out wrong, the second one says that it is up to the doctor which ultrasound to use, and the third one actually confirms what I said.

  330. The GOP’s just upset because he said the secret words out loud. His party wants to take us back to 1972 (at a minimum), and ban abortions. This ham-fisted statement isn’t the point. The energy behind it remains. Akin is not a fluke. He’s the new GOP mainstream.

  331. mintwitch: If “most Republicans” don’t share the views held by Akin, Ryan, Romney, Bachmann, et cetera, why aren’t “most Republicans” voting? WTF are all these allegedly sane, reasonable, and invisible Republicans doing?

    They’re supporting Billy Quiets in email.

  332. @Kat … no, you didn’t. I’m even more disgusted with the Donkeys than I am the Elephants. I try very hard not to vote for members of either of those parties (which I actually consider to be merely two faces of the same abusive-parent party.)

  333. Also, I’m pretty sure abortion doctors use ultrasounds about 99% of the time to figure out what’s going on in there

    Billy: “I’m pretty sure” is right down there with bragging about posting drunk on the No You Should Totally Believe Me Srsly failed Jedi-mind-trick scale.

    How do you feel when some dipshit Republican starts saying that homosexuality is evil? It’s so stupid you tune it out, right?

    It would be nice to have the option of simply tuning out people as whackos. What you don’t seem to get is that for other people besides you, political positions are not fun abstracts, like control points in a MMORPG where it sucks if you lose but it doesn’t exactly matter in the real world. You got yours, amirite? Laws and policies that target women are something you can ‘tune out’ because, while I’m sure you love your mother and sister and all, you aren’t them. You don’t care, except insofar as it gives you something to scream at liberals about online.

  334. I think there should be more discussion about the fact that Todd Akin is a member of the Science and Technology Committee, a committee that guides Federal funding of projects to keep our nation competitive in the world of science and technology. AND he is an engineer, of all things. I shudder to think how he sees the physical world. I think the GOP’s anti-intellectual bent of the last 12 years is coming back to haunt us. And Akin is that ghost. That is scary.

  335. OK, I just want to say that while I’m as anti-Republican as anyone here, I don’t really think it’s quite fair to say that if you vote for someone, you’re responsible for all the legislation their party passes.

    A bunch of Democrats voted for the Patriot Act. I was pissed about it, but what could I do? Vote Republican? They voted even more heavily for it! Not vote? No, because that would mean I’m responsible for whatever crap the ruling party decides to drool out.

    We make the best choices we can, and live with the result. Yeah, I have my small bit of responsibility for the USA PATRIOT Act (one of the most horrific reverse-engineered acronyms ever). But I have to make my three-way choice as an American Citizen. There’s nothing that leaves me entirely clean.

    None of which is to say that voting for any Republican anywhere isn’t supporting the Republican party platform. It’s just not a statement that you agree with every bit of it. I bet I don’t agree with every bit of the Democratic platform either.

  336. @ Xopher:

    We make the best choices we can, and live with the result.

    Agreed. My thesis is simply that one should own those choices. Billy, et alia, keep reinterpreting the words, policies, voting records, and platform of the GOP, saying it doesn’t matter, or they tune it out, or such-and-such used the ‘wrong word,’ or didn’t mean it. Why the bends? Own your choices. If you can’t own them, GTFO.

    I’m perfectly willing to own my choices. I hate that both of my state Senators voted Yea on the Patriot Act. Both of them heard from me and a many other voters, and have–over the last decade–consistently introduced, co-sponsored, and supported legislation that would amend, remove, and not extend various provisions, as well as launched investigations into the execution of the Act. Invasion of privacy, secret detention, and torture did not become part of the Democratic platform. But I don’t say, “they didn’t mean it, it’s not worth paying attention to,” or “hey, look, shiny thing,over there!”

    The Democratic party has not written civil rights violations into the platform. Candidates don’t run on violating or abnegating my rights. I can be proud of 9/10ths of the legislation introduced, sponsored, or supported by my elected representatives. I don’t make excuses for when I think they are wrong; I don’t need to.

    I voted for a Republican State Treasurer, last election. I believed, based on his past record, that he would be fiscally responsible, and care for our budget. I was terribly wrong. He’s wasted millions pursuing a partisan agenda that is not supported by the voters of this state. He straight up lied to the electorate, and I bought into it. It is my fault that he is draining our coffers, hog-tying legislation, and putting state safety nets in jeopardy. I am an asshole for believing that he would be a neutral and fair administrator. I am deeply sorry about that, it makes me unhappy, and I feel bad for my fellow voters who also got taken in by this jerk. Mea fuckin’ culpa.

    I own my choices, whether they be who to vote for, what I eat, or whether an abortion is necessary, for me. Sometimes I will make mistakes. I don’t need to make excuses for those mistakes, pretend that I was somehow right in an alternate universe. I don’t claim that Cheetos are actually a health food, when I get my annual exam, or that I when I bought that pack of cigarettes it was because I thought the warning on the side of the box meant something entirely different. Because I am a grown-up.

    I am not going to try to insist that “sometimes, under doctor’s advice, if a woman consents” is the same as “always, by mandate, regardless of consent” are the same thing, as Billy does above. That an entire political party is dedicated to conflating those two things, is enough to make me aware that party is not for me. It is not a party I want to go to, and I don’t understand the sort of person, or mentality, that rationalizes “I don’t like any of you, I disagree with 9/10ths of what you stand for, and I spend X amount of time bending over backwards trying to explain the crazy.” It’s masochistic.

    I don’t really think it’s quite fair to say that if you vote for someone, you’re responsible for all the legislation their party passes.

    What’s fair? Life is demonstrably not fair. You may not be directly responsible, but you and I are accountable. Politics is not middle management, but we do a 360 review every election cycle, and as a voter, as thinking, reasoning, money-donating members of the polity, we are accountable for our representatives and their actions.

    To give an example, I happened to live in North Carolina for a few years. While I personally disagreed with Jesse Helms on many issues, he nonetheless represented NCers faithfully and well. Few in the state disagreed with his God, Guns, and Gays agenda, and in addition to pursuing that agenda, he also saved vast swathes of state wetland from development, ensuring the survival of habitat and species, as part of his “conservatism.” I was too young to vote, but the voters in the state didn’t generally feel the need to reinterpret Helms. The owned him, supported, and approved of him, and the Party. That is honest. I may disagree, but I respect that stance.

    I do not, and cannot, respect apologists and hypocrites.

  337. *sigh* ok Billy, I can accept that you don’t agree with all the Republican platform – just don’t be under illusions of what it actually is or means. I can accept other things are more important to you, but don’t try to deny what they’ve laid out in black an white!

  338. Some douchebag on my professional forum said he agreed w/Akin, plus some tripe about “all those” false rape accusations. It was all I could do to limit my insults to “ignorant and credulous”.

  339. Up there in the comment thread I see a bit of neo-puritanism: does hedonism have such a bad name here at Whatever? No screwing for simple fun in the mid-west?

  340. mintwitch,
    I’m not denying or apologizing for anything the Republican Party does. The fact is that virtually everyone in the party who matters, Romney, Ryan, Limbaugh, Billy Quiets, slammed Akin for what he said and tried to get him to withdraw. What more would you have us do?

    Like you and Xopher and Karina, Mythago, and everyone else, I have certain things that are important to me. Smaller, more efficient, less wasteful government is pretty far up my list. So I have to vote Republican because the Democrats think more government is the answer to everything when I believe the reverse is true. I believe capitalism works and that the biggest obstacle to a REAL economic recovery is the federal government. I also believe that a baby is alive from conception forward, but I understand this is disputed by much of the population, and I don’t vote based on the candidate’s abortion beliefs. If the government left abortion entirely up to the private sector I would be fine with that. Who am I to tell you to carry a rapist’s child in your womb for nine months? If you asked me for my opinion I would say that the child is innocent, but what you do is your business.

    This thread is about Todd Akin, what he said, and what the consequences should be. We all agree that he should go. I disagree that Romney and Ryan should be censored for what Akin said.

    I think Xopher’s post was accurate. I’m not on the damn ticket, and they don’t always listen to me, but I’ve got to vote for the candidate who I believe will do the least harm.

  341. Wait, Billy, who is saying that Romney and Ryan should be censored under any circumstances? I don’t see that sentiment anywhere in this thread. Maybe you meant censured?

    And I must say that, even though I could be said to be defending you, in a sense, having you agree with me is…disQuieting. *flees amid hail of rotten vegetables*

  342. Billy, I was just unable to resist the pun. I’m wayyy on the left but I think the good guys should be fair. You haven’t hurt my street cred at all, that being the case!

  343. Billy Q: “it is entirely up to the doctor what kind of ultrasound they use.”

    And as has been explained to you, no, factually, it isn’t. The doctor must do an ultrasound and get the sound of the heartbeat and a decent image with it to comply with the law and 88% of abortions are done in the first trimester. The doctor cannot get the heartbeat and do the ultrasound properly unless it’s transvaginal in the first trimester. So the doctor has no choice — the doctor must rape the patient. The patient has no choice and no say. (Even if it’s a later abortion and a non-rod rape one could be done, it’s still a medically unnecessary procedure done to her body without her consent, so it’s still violating her civil rights and making her legally not a person. Of course, numerous state laws are in effect restricting women from getting a later term abortion even sometimes if her life is in danger.) And as Stevie explained to you, these transvaginal rapes put the woman at risk for infection, an infection that could give them significant long term health problems or even render them infertile for the rest of their life. (Oh, the irony.)

    And Republicans, if they can get in enough positions of power, want to spread this law and make it tougher in as many states as possible, like Virginia. So already the government is violating woman and threatening doctors with firing, license revoking and jailtime if they don’t rape their patients. But according to you, we should not worry about it?

    That insistence that we not worry about it is how wingnut Republicans win. More center independents and Republicans assume that the Republican politicians cannot possibly mean what they are saying and everything will be peachy and so vote for them. Meanwhile the drawbridge Republicans have less and less control over the wingnut Republicans (and sometimes find their positions useful financially and strategically,) and have to cater more and more to that base to keep it. Which means they then do pursue those policies the centers think are unimportant or unlikely and more wingnuts take office and control and civil rights and financial stability are eroded. Which still appears, Billy, to be your goal, I’m sorry to say.

    htom: “I’m even more disgusted with the Donkeys than I am the Elephants. I try very hard not to vote for members of either of those parties (which I actually consider to be merely two faces of the same abusive-parent party.)”

    Well then, I’m screwed. Because if you don’t vote for the Democrats (or the rare occasions where a Democraticish Independent can realistically win,) or don’t vote, the Republicans win and solidify their powerbase from the school boards on up and most of that powerbase is now wingnut. Which means more and more of my, my daughter’s and your wife’s civil rights will be legally removed, the country will become less of a democracy, and there will be a massive recession again. Once upon a time, there was some bipartisan dealmaking but that’s mostly gone now in favor of war and hostage strategies that Gingrich started in the 1990′s. And so individual politicians don’t matter much anymore. Party ideology, numbers and legislation matter. And the ideologies are civil rights, marriage equality, small business loans, middle class tax breaks, jobs, investment in infrastructure and education, etc., on one hand and erosion of civil rights, repression of religious freedom, trickle down economics with no trickle down, gutting of regulations, environmental protections, alternate energy development, a super conservative Supreme Court, etc.on the other.

    Yes, Democrats in vulnerable positions voted for the Patriot Act. The reality is that a number of what would have used to be ideologically moderate Republicans fled to the Democrats because the Republican party ideology went to wingnut. But the majority did not vote for it because of Democratic ideology — which you can persuade more and more Democrats to follow in line with the party when more Democrats are winning office and know they have enough backing in their district areas to vote according to that ideology. If you want the Republicans to be less wingnut like Akin, then voting Democrat also will help with that. The wingnuts are taking over because the Republicans are dependent on them as the base and they have a lot of backing now (before they were fringe,) and others who are more moderate have been driven out or are being driven out. For the Republican party ideology to become less crazy, there has to be an alternative to that dependence — an alternate that is super financially lucrative. The more Democratic wins there are, the more the Republican party ideology has to shift center and the less they need wingnut voters. So it really does come down now to two platforms and visions. In one vision/platform, I am a person. In the other, I’m not. If the Democrats lose, it doesn’t punish the Democrat politicians. It punishes the people they would have represented. And I lose my civil rights. I don’t care how nice the individual Republican politician may be — and that New York Republican state senator who threw up his hands and said “I reject the ideology/platform even if I now get kicked out” and voted for marriage equality, giving it to New York, was a pip (and also ideologically no longer Republican at the moment) — the more Republicans there are, the more I lose my civil rights. The less likely my sister’s kids will have access to healthcare, the more likely it is that my mother will be screwed, that my gay cousin-in-law could end up in jail or legally discriminated against from taxes to jobs to having kids, etc. The more recessions we’ll have. Any political scientist will tell you, it’s about numbers and how solid a position those numbers are in.

    Which is why Akin won’t be kicked out of the Republican party if he wins. His wingnut group has way too much control now, and they control most of the party platform/ideology and they need the numbers. And the support he lost on this little venture from that foundation and the party? Look for a lot of that to creep back in during the last part of the election. But in any case, Akin is an excellent example of how the Republicans can be nudged more center if they think it will help them — witness Republican politicians and spokespeople desperately trying to claim that the party platform does not seek to ban abortion in all cases. In fact, Akin may have finally started Romney’s move towards center to try and win the main election. But the ideology of the party — ban abortion without exceptions — remains and will be pursued to satisfy the wingnuts as long as it is financially and electorally viable. As Billy noted, about 60% of the populace support banning abortion and making pregnant women owned by the government. That’s less than it used to be because some people now understand — and care — that it forces women to give birth, risks their health and takes away their sovereignty and civil rights. But it’s still high, and a percentage of that amount really wants to control women’s rights across a whole range of issues including abortion. And so the Republican party will pursue that agenda for them. If Democrats win more, if more people understand and give a shit, unlike our pal Billy here, then there’s less force towards pursuing it and less chances for people like Akin and Ryan to take office.

    Or you can whine about the Democrats, Akin and Ryan will win, the Republicans take over the White House, the Senate, keep the House and I lose my civil rights quite rapidly over the next several years and the economy goes into the toilet. Your choice. I’m glad I still have that choice. I’m not sure I’ll have it my whole life though — voting rights is the new favorite Republican toy.

  344. Kat Goodwin,

    “As Billy noted, about 60% of the populace support banning abortion and making pregnant women owned by the government.”

    Uh, Billy didn’t say either of these things. Billy is in favor of smaller government, which precludes the option of government owning pregnant women.

    Billy could get into this third person narrative, though. It’s kind of cool.

  345. Billy, as long as you don’t start referring to yourself as “we” or “one.” When one uses ‘one’ habitually, one begins to give the impression that one is a toffy-nosed jackhole.

  346. @Kat — Well, yes, I think we’re screwed. I think we started down this road with the requirement that the Senate be popularly elected, the consolidation of news media, radio, television, the twenty-four hour news cycle, the internet, … (there are a lot of things left out, of course) … the world of Max Headroom begins to look more and more prophetic. The way out is to never vote for an incumbent. If we were to do that for twelve years, maybe then we could start on the bureaucrats (I’ll suggest a four-year max in any federal office, and twenty years total.)

  347. Billy, “mintwitch, I don’t know what sources you are quoting but the first one is flat out wrong, the second one says that it is up to the doctor which ultrasound to use, and the third one actually confirms what I said.”
    That’s quite a reading comprehension fail – mintwich’s post had links in it, just click on them and you’ll see the sources. Also, if you followed them, you’d see that her quote from the Texas penal code, which you claim “is flat out wrong” is, in fact, accurate. And so on with the others.
    Now this sort of thing is important, and lets us carry on the third person narrative: Later Billy rails against inefficient government (when, for example, medicare is far more efficient than equivalent private providers) and “that the biggest obstacle to a REAL economic recovery is the federal government”, when -back in reality- it was a (rather flawed) intervention by the federal government that stopped a repeat of the great depression. The reason we don’t have people starving in the street is because of the government. One of the larger factors holding back the recovery is the big cut in TOTAL government spending that has happened over the last few years.
    Now, in my opinion this is why many conservatives (and certainly all objectivists, such as Ryan) are really just like Akin. They start from what they want to be true (such as not wanting to pay taxes) and then invent a justification for why that must be right, without any real regard for the evidence. That’s another reason why they are mad at Akin; he was just too obvious.

  348. Billy Quiets: What more would you have us do?

    I’d have you all stop putting your damn voodoo into legislation, including, but not limited to:

    1) sex is evul!
    2) teh gay is evul!
    3) god created teh world 6000 years ago and planted fake dinosaur fossils to test the nonbelievers.
    4) The invisible hand of capitalism gonna spank your socialist ass!
    5) Life begins at conception, but ends the moment the slut becomes pregnant.
    6) War, for lack of a better word, is good.
    7) Holy War is even better
    8) Rapture! Mother fuckers!
    9) Government is evil!
    10) Social Security will be bankrupt in 10 years!
    11) Medicare in 15 years!
    12) Bomb, bomb, bomb… Bomb, bomb Iran!
    13) If teh government restricts my god given right to carry a concealed anti-aircraft missile, it’s only a matter of time before they put us in gas chambers!!!
    14) Corporations are people my friend!
    15) But people, acting together in a constitutional democracy, can only lead to tyranny!
    16) If we just cut taxes, the government will bring in more money.
    17) up is down. 2+2=5.
    18) The Founders put “under God” in the pledge of allegiance and “in God we trust” on our money.
    19) abortion is murder.

    And that’s just what I can come up with off the top of my head.

  349. Billy Q: “Uh, Billy didn’t say either of these things.”

    You didn’t say that the majority of the populace wants abortion banned, I apologize. That was Andrew. In my defense, you both sound exactly alike. (Also it is factually true and therefore was relevant to the point I was making.) You do seem in favor of making pregnant women the property of the government and banning abortion and supporting those politicians for whom that is a major goal (certainly over things like jobs.) If you’re looking for a shrinking government, the Republicans aren’t it. (Obama, though, has actually greatly decreased government spending and the number of public jobs has greatly shrunk. Which is why recovery has been so slow. But there wasn’t much choice the way the government is now structured.)

    I want a democratic government that gives aid to its people and regulates business to protect its people, not simply a government that is a rubber stamp for global corporations for whom the U.S. is just one more chip on the board. That way, I get to keep my civil rights and clean water and I get to see the economy grow for everyone, not just a small bunch of executives who are screwing over their shareholders, customers and employees and taking my tax money from the government and hording it besides. Government as a piggy bank for business execs — which both drawbridge and wingnut Republicans love most of all — means they will harm my daughter. And your desire to have that government, Billy, again, means you support harming my daughter. And that you support these Republicans getting into power — whether you believe that ideology yourself or not — harms my daughter.

    htom: “Well, yes, I think we’re screwed.”

    No, WE’RE not screwed. You are screwing me. And harming my daughter. Is this sinking in at all yet? Billy at least is an ideologically pure conservative libertarian from what he keeps saying. I know where I stand with Billy then, (I’m not a person, he doesn’t care if me and mine die in a ditch and Texas women are raped by their doctors, etc.There are a number of libertarian ideas that can be very useful — yeah, yeah, I have some libertarian friends — but kneejerk conservative objectivism shrink the government libertarianism is just a gangster philosophy which — you guessed it — harms my daughter.)

    But you are the bigger problem because you are the type of person who decides elections. And you do see me as a person. And you’re voting in such a way as to allow the Republicans into power who will take my rights as a person away. Billy is just being more upfront about it. So I’m glad that you don’t like Republican ideology anymore, because it is quite crazy. But anyone who doesn’t vote and vote Democrat is trying to harm my daughter. That’s the reality of the world and electorate in which we live. And it’s happened because independents have refused to stop it, to take a stand and vote Democratic, shifting the entire spectrum of folk who are making the laws back towards the center. And so that spectrum has shifted ever more rightward, as Republicans cater to the far right, totalitarian wingnuts who now have real power when before they had little, and Democrats then have to move towards the center to get votes. Because the conservatives are nuts and the independents don’t care or don’t believe the wingnuts will be able to take over — which is how we got government controlled doctor rape in Texas — because Republicans were in office. Which is how we got massive deregulation of banks leading to the Great Recession — because Republicans were in office. Which is how we got Akin as a U.S. Congressman and possibly now Senator. So I do hope you listen to your wife and she gets to stay a person. But I’m not holding my breath anymore. If Romney wins and worse, if it’s a Republican Congress, my family is in a great deal of danger. And I’m tired of people sticking their fingers in their ears and trying to pretend that’s not happening just because they don’t think it has touched them directly yet. If you actually do want to clean up the mess, you vote Democratic. Otherwise, you’re just making it a bigger mess, in my book.

    Maybe one day the elephant can be saner again. I hope so, as the push-pull of two main parties tends to keep things healthy. But it’s not going to happen when you’re handing power over to the wingnuts. As for shifting politicians in and out every five seconds — no. As again political scientists will tell you, it’s highly ineffective and very costly. That philosophy is exactly how we got the Tea Party freshmen. The Republican incumbents, the old war horses, knew how to get things done because they’d been there, had built up working relationships and actually knew what bipartisan negotiation was, which is why they’ve been forced out because people didn’t vote Democratic and the Republicans then had to cater even more to the wingnuts. The drawbridge and wingnut Republicans want nothing to do with bipartisanship. They’ve almost got the government thoroughly broken and have raided lots of the money for the U.S. itself into global corp coffers (but they want more — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc.) The state Republicans are busy selling state resources off to corporations (such as in Wisconsin to the Koch brothers,) who are not going to return them and will move the movable ones out of state, tanking the state economies further. It’s a fire sale and the Republicans are the auctioneers. The people will be left with nothing and no way to get anything. The wingnut freshmen come in knowing nothing, they learn nothing, they go out again to be replaced by politicians who are even more far right. Like I said, if you don’t vote for Democrats, you are not punishing the Democratic politicians. You’re punishing the people in your district, your state and your country. Which again, means you are trying to harm my daughter. If Democrats don’t keep the presidency and the Senate, most of us are toast. And the Republicans know it, which is why they are frantically pretending they’ve never said anything about abortion so they can take the seats.

    I hope you don’t let them, but I’m resigned. My daughter’s generation is different and they’ll change things eventually (though environmentally there won’t be much left.) But they are smaller and crippled by debt and poor prospects and so it will be awhile and my daughter can lose all her rights before then. On the bright side, in the wake of Akin, lots of Republican candidates are now being grilled on whether they support banning abortion and their voting records if they have them, which usually shows that they’ve actively worked to ban it. So maybe it will do some good, maybe not.

  350. Kat, I suggest that the ‘ownership of women’ phrasing you keep using is highly overstated, and counterproductive. You do not need to go there to make your point. Indeed, the point is stronger without going there.

  351. @ drachefly

    Kat, I suggest that the ‘ownership of women’ phrasing you keep using is highly overstated, and counterproductive.

    Commandeering the body and labor of another person is slavery (ownership of a person). Sugarcoating it is counterproductive.

    @ Greg

    Well, I’m pretty certain even the majority of GOP legislators and convention delegates don’t quite live up your stereotype of them, but I get that you were going in part of Lewis Black-esque humor. Just for fun:

    1) sex is evul!

    Could you be a little more vague?

    2) teh gay is evul!

    Accurately represents the GOP national and state platforms, and most GOP legislators. Authoritarian infringement of liberty and free association when embodied in legislation (as opposed to merely being an asinine opinion).

    3) god created teh world 6000 years ago and planted fake dinosaur fossils to test the nonbelievers.

    Fundy BS that seems to be gaining traction among the GOP as a whole, especially in my home state where Republicans are trying to exclude basic knowledge of biology from public school curricula.

    4) The invisible hand of capitalism gonna spank your socialist ass!

    Farcical oversimplification of Adam Smith’s thesis, expounded by morons across the political landscape who have never read Wealth of Nations and whose knowledge of the history of economics is limited to talking points. Wrong when Republicans say it seriously. Wrong when Democrats strawman it.

    5) Life begins at conception, but ends the moment the slut becomes pregnant.

    Accurately represents the GOP national and state platforms, and most GOP legislators, as well as a disturbing minority of Democratic legislators for the first phrase in the sentence. Authoritarian infringement of body sovereignty (i.e. slavery).

    6) War, for lack of a better word, is good.

    Inaccurately represents the express sentiment of the GOP national and state platforms, as well as most GOP legislators. Also does not represent the express sentiment of the Democratic national and state platforms, as well as virtually all Democratic legislators. Sadly, in the case of legislators in both major parties, their actions contravene their express sentiments, and have done so for nearly a century.

    7) Holy War is even better

    Please.

    8) Rapture! Mother fuckers!

    Which legislation has this been put it, exactly?

    9) Government is evil!

    Strawman.

    10) Social Security will be bankrupt in 10 years!

    Probably more like 20, barring major reform.

    11) Medicare in 15 years!

    Medicare is an entitlement program, not a government investment strategy; it can only go bankrupt if the Federal government goes bankrupt, which is a rather more complex affair than a private citizen or corporation going bankrupt.

    12) Bomb, bomb, bomb… Bomb, bomb Iran!

    Partially accurate. One of Dubya’s few saving graces was his insistence that neither the US nor its ally Israel bomb Iran, opting instead for sanctions and cyber-ops. The GOP’s efforts to distance themselves from his legacy have freed their more hawkish chickenhawks to advocate air strikes. How many dumbasses does it take to make a consensus?

    13) If teh government restricts my god given right to carry a concealed anti-aircraft missile, it’s only a matter of time before they put us in gas chambers!!!

    Strawman.

    14) Corporations are people my friend!

    What else would they be made of? Romney’s a political nightmare, but he’s not so divorced from reality as to think a group of people is a single person. Either he does, or he flubbed his meaning.

    15) But people, acting together in a constitutional democracy, can only lead to tyranny!

    Strawman.

    16) If we just cut taxes, the government will bring in more money.

    Accurately represents the GOP national and state platforms, and most GOP legislators. Is not even wrong, in the Wolfgang Pauli sense.

    17) up is down. 2+2=5.

    Strawman, though obviously meant as one.

    18) The Founders put “under God” in the pledge of allegiance and “in God we trust” on our money.

    Historical inaccuracy that nevertheless seems to have an astounding number of believers among a party that claims it values tradition.

    19) abortion is murder.

    Accurately represents the GOP national and state platforms, and most GOP legislators. Fundamentally irreconcilable philosophical difference save for the fact that, even if they were correct (which they are not), declining to render material aid to anyone for whom one has not voluntarily assumed responsibility is not murder, but forcing the aid is slavery.

  352. AND he is an engineer, of all things.

    The mind of an engineer can be a fragile, memetic immune system compromised thing so in fact it is not only not surprising that he is an engineer, it is to some extent what one might expect.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Salem_Hypothesis

    The Salem Hypothesis is the observation of the apparent correlation between the engineering trade and creationist beliefs (possibly due to crank magnetism, this can also include climate change denial and other crackpot beliefs). It holds that people who claim science expertise, whilst advocating creationism, tend to be formally trained as engineers.[1] This hypothesis does not address whether engineers tend to be creationists (the converse); however, it has been speculated that engineering predisposes people to a creation science view.

    There is some evidence that this can actually be extrapolated out to fundamentalism and quackery of all kinds.

  353. For the record, Akin’s BS is in Management Engineering. Apparently, WPI lets students who start in a technical field switch majors to business, w/o losing credits towards a degree.

    From WPI’s site: “The MGE major allows students who begin in one discipline, such as engineering, science, or mathematics, to switch majors without losing too much of their prior course work.”

    When I went to college, we called majors like this “[X] for Dummies,” although with a certain degree of fondness and humor. There was no shame in flunking out of Organic Chemistry II or Advanced Theoretical Physics, for example. Funnily enough, we did call hitting one’s personal comprehension wall “meeting your maker.”

    Rep. Akin seems to have taken the following path, minus the solution…

    There was a young man from Trinity,
    Who solved the square root of infinity.
    While counting the digits,
    He was seized by the fidgets,
    Dropped science, and took up divinity.

  354. I’m presently on the Akin Diet. I read or hear something he says and lose my appetite for a day or two.

  355. RichVR,
    Tell us more about this diet. Does your body automatically know which calories you want to keep and which to eliminate? Would you say that it’s a “legitimate” diet?

  356. @ Xopher Halftongue

    Being made of people is not the same as being human.

    Quite. There is, however, still only two logical possibilities. Either Romney meant to say that corporations are made up of people (like Soylent Green), or he really did mean that a corporation (which is a group of people) is a person. For all that I disagree with Romney’s atrocious politics, I doubt he is incapable of basic arithmetic. YMMV. As you so correctly pointed out, the good guys should be fair. For although it is often pointed out by people on all sides of political debates that life isn’t fair, that is never a moral license for being unfair ourselves.

  357. Gulliver
    This is where profoundly different legal systems make it difficult for me to comprehend how someone could believe that corporations are people. One of the fundamental points about corporations in English law is that they are not people. Clarification would be helpful…

  358. David

    Thank you.

    The Wiki you linked to says:

    ‘The doctrine does not hold that corporations are “people” in the literal sense, nor does it grant to corporations all of the rights of citizens.’

    which suggests that it cannot be the basis for Romney’s statement. The precedents quoted in the article seem to refer to private corporations; it is difficult to see how shares in a company could be traded if the company is merely an associations of individuals since one would be buying and selling people…

  359. Stevie: The basis of Romney’s statement is vapor. He was merely repeating a slogan. It is doubtful that his understanding of corporate personhood is any better than yours. He’s got lawyers to handle comprehension.

    Saying “corporations are/not people” has become something that certain types of human-people throw out into the ether since Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. It’s the 1%s version of cogito ergo sum.

  360. which suggests that it cannot be the basis for Romney’s statement

    Oh, it surely is, flattened and simplified for political discourse.

    And note that the doctrine does apply to publicly-held (as in stock-issuing) corporations.

  361. David and Mintwitch

    Thank you.

    To someone accustomed to English law that’s really bizarre. Of course buying and selling people in England was held to be illegal rather before the cases cited which may explain part of this extreme divergence…

  362. drachefly: “I suggest that the ‘ownership of women’ phrasing you keep using is highly overstated, and counterproductive. You do not need to go there to make your point. Indeed, the point is stronger without going there.”

    Stating a fact is not overstatement. The government being able to force pregnant women to give birth means that the woman has no legal rights as a person and is owned by the government. So please spare me the you’re an overwrought female bullshit. I’m long past worrying about making people who are trying to attack me and my family with unconstitutional laws comfortable. That’s how we got into this mess in the first place — the request that we be reasonable with people who are being unreasonable. Anyone who is not pro-choice does not see me as a person and is gunning for me. I don’t like it anymore than anyone else and I’m going to point out what they are doing to me and mine, the real damage being done to real people so they can’t run away from it. And no, they don’t listen more if you’re nicer.

    You know what does work — facts and screaming outrage. That’s what happened with Akin. Again, the Republicans don’t give a crap what Akin said. He could have said the moon is made of green cheese. This is the party in which half the politicians don’t believe evolution theory is correct. What freaked them out was the reaction to Akin’s words and the media astonishment over them. They frantically tried to paint Akin as somehow radically different from the rest of them, a bad boy, and flatly denied that their platform was trying to ban abortion with no exceptions, even though the language was right there as public record. Because of the “highly overstated” and “counterproductive” outrage to not only Akin’s rape birth control bit, but to his forcible rape concept (which Ryan and he put in legislation,) and banning abortion. That salve they gave their base just became a millstone around their necks because people screamed. And that’s how you start moving them back towards the center — by making far right positions not worth the risk of mass screaming outrage from the majority. And the same with Occupy changing the dialogue from debt ceiling hostage taking to why are the rich getting tax cuts we can’t afford. Same with gay rights activists screaming outrage enough in protest that Obama was able to push for ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” because he had backing — and because the military then had backing and wants gay soldiers, translators, etc. They need the bodies for future. And same in Virginia when screaming about the rape ultrasound law there in concerted campaign caused them to back down.

    But not in Texas, and maybe not elsewhere. Arizona gets its “papers please” law passed and completely damages their economy, but those laws are popping up everywhere Republicans control the legislature. And voter suppression laws, etc. All of these laws are unconstitutional and immoral. They are factually removing people’s civil rights. And we’re going to keep saying it until people start getting it and realizing people they know — and themselves — are effected by these laws and by putting the Republicans in power. In order to fix the Republican party, you have to boot the Republicans out of office and make the positions they take that destroy civil rights and the economy too risky.

  363. @Kat No, WE’RE not screwed. You are screwing me. And harming my daughter. Is this sinking in at all yet? …

    Oh, yes. It’s possible the message sinking in is not the one you think you’re sending, though, and I don’t know how to explain to you that those of us that are not you, or not female, or not Democrats, are as thoroughly screwed as you and your groups are. I think in your rational fear of rape you can’t see others’ rational fears, and thus blame those others for your fears because they don’t share them. Conversation about who is doing the screwing isn’t unlikely to be productive in that state for either of us.

    Long ago, I was taught by my parents that I had to master my fears … or be ruled by those who would exploit my fears to be my master. Like, but different, than the Bene Gesserit litany —

    I must not fear.
    Fear is the mind-killer.
    Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
    I will face my fear.
    I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
    And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
    Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
    Only I will remain.

  364. To someone accustomed to English law that’s really bizarre. Of course buying and selling people in England was held to be illegal rather before the cases cited which may explain part of this extreme divergence…

    I wouldn’t hold up English law as an exemplar of sensibility.

  365. “If I’m Joe Undecided, and somebody tells me that Republicans hate women when my mom, my sister and my aunt are all Republicans, I’m going to tune that person out, because it is obviously bullshit.”

    Well, we haven’t yet determined that Joe’s mom, sister, and aunt aren’t self-loathing, nor have we established that any other Republicans actually like them, nor that they’re smart enough to recognize when they’re being played for suckers. So Joe would tune out the discussion at his peril, I think.

    Speaking of women who are Republicans, I think it’s interesting that the two loudest voices for putting a third candidate into the Missouri Senate race are Sarah Palin and Mary Matalin, both of whom should perhaps be primarily regarded as failed campaigners using the media to extend their 15 minutes, especially if this is their idea of a brilliant strategic move.

  366. David

    Well recovered, Jane Austen’s novel is the exceedingly obvious way to distinguish between the two.

    The corporate veil in English law is exceedingly hard to penetrate; I used to take a professional interest in it since it was one of the major drivers in complex tax avoidance schemes and it is very hard indeed to prove that a company is a sham…

  367. Kat Goodwin,

    Where to start, and why do I bother? These are the two questions I’m asking myself right now.

    I’m sorry you are so angry, and that is the truth. It must be hard to carry that kind of unhappiness and fear around all the time. If I were as religious as all the Republicans you worry about I would pray for you. I’m of a more skeptical mindset than most of my conservative friends so I want to try and comfort you with reason, but I feel it would only serve to anger you more.

    I can’t even joke about Lord Cheney because you have embraced your anger to such an extent that I feel uncomfortable kidding about the Dark Side.

    So, here you go. This is what I’m feeling right now. Have a hug from the other side.

    http://imgur.com/7pbeY

  368. And just because it seems apropos: Civility in Argument by Scott F. Aikin and Robert B. Talisse

    But a civil tone is not always required, and there are occasions where aggressive language is called for. Argument is a form of confrontation, one with words instead of weapons, and any norm that prevents argument from displaying the critical edges of disagreements undercuts what inspires the argument to begin with. Furthermore, it is possible to fail at proper argumentation and yet maintain a calm and respectful tone of voice. In fact, under certain circumstances, one patronizes one’s interlocutor precisely by sustaining one’s composure. If civility of tone has a purpose, it is to maintain conditions under which proper argument can commence; thus it is not itself a component of proper argument.

    [...]Thus we see that civility in argument is not a matter of being nice, calm, or even polite. It instead has to do with being a sincere arguer. Civility is consistent with sharp tones, raised voices, and other forms of adversariality that would in other contexts be inappropriate. But our model of civility also holds that name-calling, impoliteness, and hostility are to be avoided when they would obstruct or undermine properly run argument.

  369. Preview is my friend, especially if I could read correctly. Please change “isn’t unlikely” to either “is unlikely” or “isn’t likely” in your minds, as you prefer.

  370. htom: “It’s possible the message sinking in is not the one you think you’re sending, though, and I don’t know how to explain to you that those of us that are not you, or not female, or not Democrats, are as thoroughly screwed as you and your groups are.”

    I’m fully aware that you and I are screwed together by Republicans on a number of other issues. Nonetheless, those issues were not what I was talking about when I said that I was screwed. I was therefore clarifying. That you are being screwed by Republicans along with me on a number of other issues does not change the fact that you not voting Democrats into office screws me over and puts my family and me at risk. This is not about anger or fear (although we all have plenty of both,) so painting me as the overwrought, hysterical angry woman really doesn’t do any good. The facts are the facts. The more people who don’t vote for Democrats, the more offices the Republicans will win and the more they will pursue their agenda of raiding the Treasury and eroding civil rights. Which does effect all of us.

    I wish it weren’t the case. I wish that there was bipartisanship, that the Republican party platform did not contain crazy stuff not only on abortion but many other issues that touch many people’s lives. But the reality of the numbers is, as my husband likes to remind me, that if we want to save the Republican party to make it a normal, slightly conservative, bi-partisan party again, then Republicans need to lose in big numbers and Democrats have to win. If we can get back to a two party system, then you can certainly explore making a third party, voting for individual candidates on how much you like them, etc. You can do a lot of work on reforming problems in the Democratic party then as well. But we don’t have a two party system democracy right now. We have one party in a democracy in a continually precarious position and one totalitarian party engaged in an ideological civil war but which has been nonetheless very effective at the local and state and now congressional levels at making unconstitutional destructive laws. And they will continue making them and more of them if they are voted into office. Which they will be if you and others in enough numbers don’t vote for Democrats. Now, you can ignore reality because you don’t like my tone, but I still have to live with what is. We’ve been forced into this position and we may get out of it even if Republicans win, but I and other women, like your wife, will then have to refight the battle to be legally declared equal people. We’re already refighting it right now on many fronts, and often fighting against women, as has always been the case. So we need the numbers and those who won’t help with that then are wins for Republicans and the effect is the same. It’s statistics, not personal.

    Billy Q: “Where to start, and why do I bother?”

    As I said before, I don’t know why you bother, since you support seeing me as a non-person. It’s like you’re talking to what you believe politically to be a horse.

    “I’m sorry you are so angry, and that is the truth.”

    Oh look, the overwrought, hysterical angry woman derailment line again. (Otherwise known as the uppity woman argument.) I’m trying to protect my family. Ryan (and Romney and Republicans) wants to get rid of Medicaid and the WIC — that means my sister is screwed. Ryan (and Romney et. al.) wants to gut Medicare and Social Security and give the money to his corporate pals — which means my mother is screwed. Romney et. al. wants to prevent marriage equality, which means some of my relatives are screwed. Romney et. al. wants to make massive tax cuts to the rich even bigger and more permanent, which means most of my family is screwed. And so on and so on and so on. So since you support them and all those things as good things, the reality is that you either want to hurt my family or just don’t care and will hurt them anyway. Because I don’t get to escape the facts, Billy. I and my family will have to live with them. If that seems like irrational anger to you, then I’m probably going to have to put you in the just don’t care column.

    I really don’t know why so many people want to shoot themselves — and others — in the foot. It’s not that Democratic ideas are the only ideas — shudder the thought — it’s this willful blindness that what the Republicans are putting into law — which is hurting and killing people and eroding their civil rights — are somehow not terribly important and so we should vote them into office so that they can keep doing it. So if you don’t understand my thought processes, I certainly don’t understand yours.

    “I can’t even joke about Lord Cheney because you have embraced your anger to such an extent that I feel uncomfortable kidding about the Dark Side.”

    Don’t be silly, I called Ryan mini-Vader. And I also called you a minion of the Dark Side. I am fluent in Star Wars. Trying to call me a humorless bitch as a derailment is not real effective either. We can joke — we do joke here. (Which reminds me, B.W. if you’re reading, I’m going to take you down for inviting those Vex folk or whatever they’re called into this thread while Scalzi is busy.) But that doesn’t change the facts and the laws that we have to live with and the consequences if the Republicans take over further. I’m trying to get you to see the seriousness of your actions. I’m trying to get htom to understand the actual political system we’re dealing with.

    Take our friend Akin here. Some of the drawbridge Republicans are indeed mouthing off that they’ll run Ann Wagner, so I can see why you had that view. But the deadline for third party candidates in the race has passed. While the evangelicals and wingnuts who voted for Wagner may be concerned — which is why Palin popped up her ugly head for the money and attention — the ones who supported Akin are furious and the Tea Partiers are on the warpath to go after more drawbridge politicians and take them down in primaries where they are most effective at it. So the Akin debacle has deepened the civil war fissures in the party, which should move the party even further to the right in later elections as elites compete for who can appear the most ideologically pure to the wingnut base. (This is what happened in 2010, partly because we elected the first black president in 2008.) And Akin still has solid support from his base which are now even more rabid. If you win your bet, Billy and Akin drops out and Wagner is in, riding roughshod over the base to try to get center backing to take the Senate, Wagner is basically the exact same as Akin on the abortion issue:

    “Ever since that time, Ann has continued to support pro-life causes and is proud to be endorsed by the Susan B. Anthony List and pro-life leaders like Governor Mike Huckabee and Attorney General John Ashcroft.

    Ann believes that life is truly our greatest gift from conception to natural death. In Congress, she will fight for the day when abortion is not only illegal but unthinkable. She will support the Hyde Amendment to bar federal funds from being used to pay for abortions and will work to defund Planned Parenthood and similar organizations.”

    That’s why she and Akin both had Huckabee’s endorsement. So again, if Wagner or Akin wins the Senate seat and the Republicans take the Senate from it, they will work to make me legally a non-person and keep poor women from cancer screening and that will be just the start of it. They’ve got forty years of women’s civil rights and attempts at economic equality to take apart. On the bright side, McCaskill is currently up 9 points against Akin.

    If you want to talk about issues, Billy, we can do that. We’ve been doing that. But arguing that I should be just fine with candidates who want to turn me into a non-person and if I’m not and disagree with you, I’m a ridiculously angry woman — you can do better, Billy. I know you can. Even if you’re okay with the law treating me like I’m a horse. And you can make Star Wars jokes. I have to say, though, I liked Other Bill’s “these are not the facts you’re looking for” joke the best. (Sorry my posts are long — I come in sporadically and then try to respond in one post, like Scalzi prefers. Plus, I ramble.)

    Mintwitch: “It instead has to do with being a sincere arguer.” — I’m hoping this means me to you because in my book, you and Stevie and some others are about as sincere as it gets. :)

  371. Kat: Yes, you read me correctly.

    I should say, since I’ve thought it often over the past week, that I sincerely admire your persistence, reason, and passion, in the face of nearly intractable privilege-blindness. I haven’t the patience. Also, I get incoherent and enraged when someone who plans to vote GOP insists “I just have to choose the party that will do the least harm.” My knee-jerk response is Are you kidding me? Least harm to whom? Certainly not the female 52% of the population, the 5-10% who are gay, the 13% that are African American, the 1ish% Natives, the 17% that are Hispanic, and the 13% living below poverty level. In other words, as long as your 23% gets all the loot, everything is hunky-dory. Thanks. Really. Love ya, mean it.

    Ahem.

  372. David: Corporate personhood has been the settled doctrine of American legal jurisprudence for most of our history

    But lately, folks have been pushing the metaphor a weee bit too far and trying to say that a corporation has rights as established in the constitution and its amendments. The favourite one of late being the first amendment to the right to free speech, thereby allowing corporations the right to spend bajillions of dollars on political contributions, political advertising, and political stumping, all under the guise of the First Amendment.

    Only problem is, this metaphor is broken. If corporations are “persons” with the right to free speech as spelled out in the first amendment, then they are also “persons” with the right to vote as spelled out in several other amendments. And if corporations can cast a vote, goodbye democracy, hello plutocracy.

    Thing is, if corporations have the right to free speech, it’s STILL goodbye democracy, hello plutocracy.

    Corporations are invented notions, created out of thin air by legalese. They grant limited liability in exchange for encouraging people to invest in businesses. As an artificially created entity, they have no natural or innate rights. They are not people. People can own stock in a corporation, they can work for a corporation, but that doesn’t mean the corporation must have the same rights as the people who compose them. You might as well say that a Greyhound Bus has “rights” because it is owned, operated, and ridden on by people. It’s just as silly.

    Kat: so painting me as the overwrought, hysterical angry woman really doesn’t do any good. … Oh look, the overwrought, hysterical angry woman derailment line again.

    Well, “overwrought” and “hysterical” are words that have only been used by you on this thread, leaving only “angry”. And I find it hard to believe that you honestly think you’re not angry.

  373. Thing is, if corporations have the right to free speech, it’s STILL goodbye democracy, hello plutocracy.

    Actually, there’s another crackpot notion needed to complete the formula: that money is a kind of speech, and therefore spending your money any way you want is protected by the First Amendment (even for actual human beings, let alone for corporations).

  374. Rats, hit Post Comment too soon. The problem isn’t that Kat is angry, it’s that when a woman is called angry it’s supposed to somehow invalidate her points. Like if a woman is angry that means she can’t also be right.

    YOU may not have intended that, Greg, but you don’t comment in a vacuum.

  375. @ Stevie

    I can definitely see how the dialogue over corporate speech must seem pretty bizarre to someone unaccustomed to the way our legal system handles corporate entities. As David pointed out, it is a legal fiction which enables corporations to trade financial instruments, sue and be sued, and other legal and economic activities as a group entity. Let’s say a town decides to files suit for damages against a company guilty of unlawful pollution. By suing the company instead of the individuals comprising it, the town can go after as many of the company assets as the court deems proper.

    I am not a lawyer. I spent almost eight years as part owner in a small business (less than 50 employees + around 20 contractors during my tenure) and even I don’t begin to fully understand the intricacies of corporate law. Fortunately we had an excellent law firm that did, but not every business can find or afford competent counsel. I’m sure Mythago or another of our resident legal experts could explain it far better than I.

    However, corporate personhood is only tangentially related to what Romney was saying.

    Historically, Federal election laws set limits on the amount any individual or corporation could spend on campaign contributions. There were and still are limits on hard money, i.e. direct donations, for both individuals and corporations. And, for corporations but not individuals, soft money, i.e. money spent by the corporation itself on campaign activities such as ads and rallies without actually giving money to the campaign or directly coordinating with them. In other words, an individual US citizen could spend as much as he or she wanted on ads singing the praises of candidate X or slinging mud at candidate Y and, as long as none of it was libelous, it is protected by the First Amendment of our Constitution as free speech. A corporation could not.

    The recent Citizens United case:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._Federal_Election_Commission

    …changed that for soft money by giving a corporation or union the same latitude as an individual. The US Supreme Court ruled that because:

    The majority argued that the First Amendment protects associations of individuals in addition to individual speakers, and further that the First Amendment does not allow prohibitions of speech based on the identity of the speaker.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._Federal_Election_Commission#Opinions_of_the_Court

    …prohibiting the amount a corporation or other association could spend on ads was tantamount to prohibiting the amount an individual could spend on ads, and therefore a violation of the right to free speech. In other words, whether the individuals say it solo or together, it is now legally protected by the First Amendment.

    The problem I have with this ruling is simple. To quote from my own list of changes I want to see:

    10) The legal fiction of corporate personhood eliminated. If a board of directors wants to contribute to a political campaign, they can pay themselves the money and use the after tax dollars to do it in their own personal names. If corporate income tax is transferred to a corporate consumption tax as outlined in #8, this makes political stumping all the more costly and means corporate executives can’t use their for-profit incorporation as a liability-proof sock puppet.

  376. Mintwitch: “I should say, since I’ve thought it often over the past week, that I sincerely admire your persistence, reason, and passion, in the face of nearly intractable privilege-blindness.”

    I would not say that htom suffers from privilege-blindness exactly. Everybody would like a multi-party democracy, I think.

    Xopher: “Actually, there’s another crackpot notion needed to complete the formula: that money is a kind of speech, and therefore spending your money any way you want is protected by the First Amendment (even for actual human beings, let alone for corporations).”

    I think that was the argument. That corporations are run by people and those people have the right to commit money from the corporation to support which candidate they feel will serve the corporation’s interests best. That otherwise you are telling the corporation and people in it that they can’t invest as they see fit, which is suppression of free speech. It would follow that if corporations are people, then the same limitations on individual donors would apply to them, but of course not. It’s probably the most successful thing the drawbridge Republicans have ever pulled off. And there will be more of it if they win again.

    Xopher: “The problem isn’t that Kat is angry, it’s that when a woman is called angry it’s supposed to somehow invalidate her points. Like if a woman is angry that means she can’t also be right.”

    It’s not so much being “right,” as in making an argument, as simply, brutally stating fact. It’s just not a fact anyone wants to hear. It’s easier to say that I’m angry and therefore let’s ignore me, then deal with the fact that most of the woman’s movement that is still going on has been women trying to get themselves legally defined as persons, equally protected under the law. The entire gay rights movement has been about gays, bisexuals, etc. getting themselves legally defined as persons, equally protected under the law. We look at people and see people. It’s hard to accept that they are not legally and their rights removed if the law says so. But if abortion is banned again, then my daughter is only a person if she doesn’t get pregnant. And if birth control is banned or heavily restricted, then she is not legally a person at all. Before women had the right to vote, they were not persons legally, they were minors — legally seen as children. And before that, they were legally seen as property. Currently women are legally persons, but still not equal persons, equally protected under the law. And gay people are basically still non-persons, but it’s getting better. The Iaws that Republicans have gotten enacted and are trying to enact effect our legal status in every way. And this involves economic issues as well. Financial and social issues are not separate at all.

  377. mintwitch: when someone who plans to vote GOP insists “I just have to choose the party that will do the least harm.” My knee-jerk response is Are you kidding me? Least harm to whom? Certainly not the female 52% of the population,

    I don’t know if you get to define what everyone else’s “least harm” is measured by. If the Democratic party took up the “Bomb Iran!” song and the Republicans opposed it across the board (and everything else remained in their current political parties), I’d have to consider switching my vote to the Republicans, even if it meant voting for racists and sexists and homophobes, because, as shitty as putting racists and sexists and homophobes in office is, I think a war with Iran would be the end of the United States.

    Xopher: when a woman is called angry it’s supposed to somehow invalidate her points. Like if a woman is angry that means she can’t also be right.

    When anyone gets angry enough, they become biased. When someone becomes biased, they’re no longer able to judge events accurately when those events remind the person of whatever it is that makes them angry. And Kat strikes me as someone unable to render an unbiased decision as a member of a jury on a trial involving sexual harrassment, rape, abortion, and similar types of cases. Not because women in general can’t be on such trials and she’s a woman, but because Kat Goodwin specifically is biased around these kinds of topics.

    The presence of anger is just a red flag to look for a potential bias. And yes, being angry doesn’t mean you’re wrong. The thing is, Kat is angry around these topics (something I don’t think anyone denies), and she’s biased.

  378. A direct case I meant to mention: my husband is not going to a major conference in New Orleans this year, partly because he is busy, but also because there is a boycott because the conference is in Louisiana. In Louisiana, gay couples, even if married in another state, cannot enter hospital rooms, make medical decisions for, etc. their partners. So if gay professors go to the conference in New Orleans and get sick or hurt, their families can do nothing because in Louisiana — thanks to Republicans — they are not legally persons and have no rights. Nobody has any grudge against poor New Orleans. The boycott is to protest the organization picking a place for the big conference that is dangerous for many of its members to travel to. Similar things have happened to Arizona because the Arizona laws declare Latino citizens to have no rights, not to mention legal immigrants. People often think taking away the equal legal right of others is fine because they think it doesn’t effect them. But it always effects everyone. It is the difference between a free democracy and various forms of dictatorship. Right now, the U.S. is largely being held hostage by a minority of the population, and unless that’s opposed, it’s likely to get worse.

  379. And I don’t read Kat as angry, at all. I read her as refusing to equivocate or soften her language, which women are trained to do. When a minority refuses to equivocate, to defer, often the more privileged choose to interpret that as angry. This is the core of the tone argument, the multitude of cataloged “too angry” derails.

    When a SWM says “this is true,” the default is that he is stating a fact. When a non-SWM says “this is true,” they are angry. The only acceptable non-SWM argument is “well, imo, when X is done, then Y is the result, but YMMV.” Then it might be allowed by the dominant culture to be an opinion worth considering, possibly, if the non-SWM can cite [ever-shifting target of # of acceptable sources of pure enough pedigree] sources. Maybe.

    And, by extension, I read those using the “angry/tone” argument as patronizing and entitled. Funny how that works out.

  380. Kat: making an argument, as simply, brutally stating fact.

    Fact?

    Before women had the right to vote, they were not persons legally, they were minors — legally seen as children. And before that, they were legally seen as property.

    Just so we’re on the same page as to what you mean by the word “property”, at what point in time were women bought and sold as property?

    Stating a fact is not overstatement. The government being able to force pregnant women to give birth means that the woman has no legal rights as a person and is owned by the government.

    Stating a fact is one thing. Stating that a person is “owned” by the government when they’re not actually owned is something called hyperbole. Saying they’re “property” when they’re not actually property is hyperbole.

    If they do not, they are property with no civil rights.

    Again, property? And no civil rights whatsoever? For real? Or for a hasty generalization/Strawman?

    The attempt to repeal abortion’s legality is also unconstitutional and operates from the idea that pregnant women are the property of the government,

    And given enough hyperbole all in the same direction, it starts to occur as bias.

  381. @ Greg

    When Billy tells Kat to, in effect, calm down, he’s attacking her character rather than her arguments. This is intended to de-legitimize her arguments ad hominem by painting her as a hothead, but in fact it makes him look like a weasel for dodging the issue by deflecting.

    Simply because the appropriation of people’s bodies makes Kat angry, that does not invalidate her arguments, as Billy would like us to believe. It makes me angry too, and I’m not even the one who’s body their trying to appropriate…this week. But as Kat said so very well:

    People often think taking away the equal legal right of others is fine because they think it doesn’t effect them. But it always effects everyone. It is the difference between a free democracy and various forms of dictatorship.

    Everyone is biased, Greg, including you and me. To suggest that anytime anyone gets angry it automatically undermines their arguments, is absurd.

  382. ” To suggest that anytime anyone gets angry it automatically undermines their arguments, is absurd.”

    THIS WILL NOT STAND! HOW DARE YOU! YOUR MISUSE OF COMMA HAS OFFENDED! OR MAYBE IT’S YOUR GRAMMAR. SENTENCE FRAGMENTS? I DON’T KNOW. BUT I AM ANGRY! OR, AT LEAST, DISCONCERTED?

  383. Stating a fact is one thing. Stating that a person is “owned” by the government when they’re not actually owned is something called hyperbole. Saying they’re “property” when they’re not actually property is hyperbole.

    Yeah, looks like some of our brethren from the Manosphere had a similar problem with describing vaginal ultrasound as rape. But if I could get pregnant and my autonomy were to diminish as a direct result, I think I’d feel ownership a pretty fair metaphor for what the PTB were exercising.

    Perhaps we should take time out for some gratitude that it’s not quite in the same league as slavery.

  384. “Have you seen a doctor about that?”

    I was thinking maybe less caffeine. Or sugar. BUT I DON’T KNOW. I’ve got emotion, I think. Now, to find a glass box.

  385. But lately, folks have been pushing the metaphor a weee bit too far and trying to say that a corporation has rights as established in the constitution and its amendments

    The Supreme Court has held that corporations have constitutional rights since the late 19th century. Citizens United is an abominable decision, but it’s an abominable decision with long precedent in SCOTUS jurisprudence.

  386. I’ve been away and it seems like all y’all have been amusing yourselves properly in my absence, so I’ll just make a general handwave toward the direction of, hey, if you want to swing back onto topic sometime soon, that would be cool with me.

  387. Gulliver: Everyone is biased, Greg, including you and me.

    You may have noticed that when I realized I was biased around the “false accusations of rape” conversation that I apologized and explained my bias. I got wound up about it because of how it affected me personally. Saying “everyone is biased” doesn’t mean anything. It certainly doesn’t mean that when I’m obviously biased about something that everything I say is still just as accurate as everyone else. Kat is clearly biased around certain topics such as rape, sexual harrassment, and abortion. A lot of what she says is accurate, but consistently some of what she says is nothing more than an outcome of her bias. And in those moments, she’s way biased.

    And I’m truly sorry for whatever happened to her that caused this bias. But pretending she isn’t biased, or pretending “everyone’s biased, therefore no one is biased” is just silly.

  388. @ Greg August 27, 2012 at 8:43 am: I know this is going to sound totally radical and off the chain to you, but being born female in a world of Todd Akins is quite enough to happen to a person to be accused of “bias.” Remember the default setting? Yeah, that’s the SNAFU that privilege considers objective, unbiased, and totally rational. Oh, and it contains folks like TODD AKIN and PAUL RYAN, who are unreasonable freakshows.

    Outrage is not anger. Outrage is a perfectly reasonable, objective, unbiased response to outrageous attacks on personal liberty and integrity. Pretending it is not, simply because your own body, integrity, privacy, and civil liberty are not under attack is unreasonable and totally, profoundly biased. The facts, in actual really real reality, are outrageous.

    Also, neener.

    @ John: Hi, welcome back! Hope you had a nice weekend.

    @ Hurricane Isaac: I’m not wishing evil on anyone, because that would be wrong, and I don’t roll that way, but I wouldn’t object to a little teaching moment being visited upon some of our friends in the GOP who’ve said stupid, stupid shit about Katrina. A reality check, you might say. If it’s no trouble…/anthropomorphization

  389. So, Todd Akin is a Republican. Running on the Republican ticket for debatably the highest legislative position in the country. And while “legitimate” may not be a party platform qualifier, rape is decidedly a qualified crime as far as the Republican party platform is concerned. Why is there a debate about whether or not this legitimate party representative is representative of the party line?

    Parties aren’t comprised of the views with which you agree; they’re comprised of all the views. And the notion of “forcible” rape and no abortions under any circumstances represent foundational blocks of the party platform. [Romney's "I'm againstiforit" policy promising representing the minority position on this.]

    It’s interesting that on this topic, Republicans tend to think it’s important to put the government between patients and doctors pursuing wholly legal medical care, particularly in the wake of a noxious, evil crime. I think that must be where all the resistance comes from. It’s a profoundly disruptive bit of cognitive dissonance. Rhetorically speaking, at the least.

    Also – Virginia stopped the mandating of a *transvaginal* ultrasound prior to an abortion as a result of the public out cry. But, it retained a mandatory ultrasound none the less. To the best of my knowledge.

  390. @ John Scalzi

    Mea culpa. I derailed things when I did a point-by-point on Greg’s laundry list. Well, I suppose Greg and I derailed it together, but I knew what I was doing and he was merely replying to Billy Quiets.

    @ Greg

    A lot of what she says is accurate, but consistently some of what she says is nothing more than an outcome of her bias.

    That is your interpretation. And you interpret her psychological processes through your own biases. That is my point, not everyone is biased, so nothing counts. My point is that you have your opinion of Kat and many others, which is fine, but that doesn’t make your opinion correct. We can all speculate on each other’s biases and remote psychoanalyze each other until the sun novas, and we will get nowhere. Or we can deal with the arguments themselves, the validity of which is independent of the bias and/or sincerity of whomever presents it. This is precisely why ad hominem arguments are considered a logical fallacy.

  391. You all are totally ruining the lurid, tragic, imaginary sex crimes background story some people are inventing for me! Pout. Or maybe I’m just having my period and that explains everything of course. It’s why I think legal history is factual, I’m sure.

    Things are getting interesting in the wake of Akin. It’s not looking good for Billy’s bet:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/24/us-usa-campaign-akin-idUSBRE87N02A20120824

    Meanwhile, Mitt is frantically backpedaling towards the center, from Chris Hayes:

    “A policy adviser to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Sunday that the Republican activists who write and adhere to the party’s platform, and who will gather in Tampa this week to formally nominate Romney for president, will have “very little” purchase on a Romney presidency if the former Massachusetts governor is elected. Avik Roy, a health care policy adviser to the Romney campaign, said the GOP platform — which includes provisions like a “human life amendment” to the Constitution that would ban abortions with no exceptions for rape, incest or to save the life of the mother — should not be considered a reflection of Romney’s personal views.”

    That’s telling the wingnuts to fuck off, which is a big policy change for Mitt. But since appeasement hasn’t worked and the center tars him with Akin et. al. because of his constant flip flops, the Romney campaign has decided to fight the wingnut threat at the convention — i.e. Ron Paul. There’s a battle royal going on with Romney’s camp changing convention rules so that Romney gets to invalidate state delegates he doesn’t like and the whole controversy with Paul’s speech. With Ryan being a drawbridge pretending to be a wingnut, he seems to be counting on Ryan appeasing the wingnuts who count most. But usurping state rights re the delegates is a big wingnut issue.

    Mintwitch: “A reality check, you might say.”

    Yeah, no. The cancellation of the first day of the convention from the hurricane has allowed them to toss out Huckabee, an Akin supporter, from speaking and get around the slight to Latinos when they were bouncing Rubio for Ann Romney. Also the forecasting and oceanic observation agencies that warned the Repubs on Isaac are ones Romney and co. want to get rid of, as part of their ant-science/climate change push, so that’s unlikely to change. It is standard Republican practice now to insist on the elimination of agencies and services as unnecessary they themselves are using. It’s never seen as a disconnect. That’s why the very people who insisted on cutting all funds for firefighters then complain that there aren’t enough fighters fighting the wildfires. I have to think that if Akin had said what he said a month earlier — before Ryan was named V.P. — or a month later even perhaps, after the convention — that the Republican response would have simply been to shrug and say that Akin misspoke on rape birth control and what’s the big deal and they’d all go on. He just happened to pick the absolutely worse time to say what he did. That, and because more women’s groups are mobilizing ever since the Catholic bishops went on the war path and Congress started talking about outlawing birth control, meaning it gives the media juicier talking points on Akin and more importantly, Ryan.

  392. Kat, I have been frankly impressed at the degree to which you have kept your cool on this thread. There have been points where the dogwhistles were so loud my ears were bleeding.

    To talk a bit more directly about Akin: I think the fact that his career has gotten as far as it has says a great deal about the anti-intellectual streak that certain elements of the US political Right wear as a badge of pride. Utter ignorance of a subject is no obstacle to making pronouncements on, or even decisions about, it. Personally, I’d love to see competency tests introduced as necessary for membership on various committees and subcommittees.

    Anyone who thinks my uterus is magic doesn’t get to have an opinion on anything related to science. (And no, I’m not suggesting we prosecute thought crimes — you can read “doesn’t get to have an opinion” as shorthand for “doesn’t get to expect that anyone, anywhere, for any reason should give a damn about hir opinion, and should probably refrain from voicing it out loud so as not to embarrass hirself.” I mean, I’m allowed to have an opinion on the Packers’ chances of winning the Super Bowl this season, despite the fact that the sum of my knowledge about the team is 1) they’re owned by a lot of people instead of just one person and 2) they were in the Super Bowl some time in the first few years I was legally able to buy alcohol. I just shouldn’t think my opinion actually counts.) And the idea that people who could not pass a basic developmental biology exam get to make policy decisions about developmental biology scares the hell out of me.

  393. Well ideally the idea is that those Congresspeople on committees would then listen to experts in the field (and by experts not just corporate executives with special interests or those paid by them,) and then use that to make informed decisions and policy. That’s basically what the “tsars” are — people who can act as a brain trust to advise the presidential administration and the Congress on the issues they need to know about or go get the information and other experts for them. Republicans like to use tsars while railing that a Democrat president should not have them. And they’re not big on the informed adviser thing. Instead of having health professionals who know about women’s health issues and things like ovarian cysts, and women who know what the women’s health policy issues are, the Repubicans brought in celibate Catholic bishops who know nothing about medicine for a hearing on birth control and kept out all the women. That’s pretty typical these days.

    But Akin may have been topped! Check out the Senate Repub candidate in Pennsylvania:Tom Smith, who, in trying to distance himself from Akin while still agreeing with Akin’s ban no exceptions policy, said at the Pennsylvania Press Club to all the reporters that pregnancy from rape was similar to pregnancy out of wedlock. That’s probably going to get more media attention than Ryan, who last week in a Virginia interview, when asked about Akin and his own view of ban no exceptions, said that rape was a “method of conception.” But that will get a pass, I suspect. But philosophically, it’s all pretty much the same — if a woman gets pregnant by any means and no matter the risks to her health and life or if she is very young — she no longer has rights to her body or her life. She is legally an incubator. And if it kills her, it kills her. Even if the baby has no chance of living if born. Most Americans who want to ban abortion want to ban it with exceptions — those conditions that they’ve decided are morally okay. Which actually is, morally, the worse position, and removes even more of the woman’s civil rights. Romney is returning to his 1990′s stance, though, maybe, which is that it’s been settled by the courts for decades and so we should move on from it. (He blames the Democrats for bringing it up every four years. Which is, you’ve got to admit, ballsy. He really is Sarah Palin made male presidential candidate with more money.)

  394. Kat -

    “Which actually is, morally, the worse position, and removes even more of the woman’s civil rights”

    I’m not following this part of your argument. Would you mind clarifying?

  395. @ Other Bill: As far as it being a morally worse position, “exceptioneering” makes it even more clear that opposition to abortion is about controlling women’s bodies and punishing women for having sex. If you believe that having an abortion is the moral equivalent of killing a baby, then there shouldn’t be exceptions in which it’s okay. Nobody says “smothering infants is wrong, but sometimes it should be legal.”

    And as regards women’s civil rights, compare “You can’t have X” to “Maybe you can have X, but first you have to jump through a whole bunch of (expensive, unpleasant) hoops to prove to me, and to the world at large, because you don’t have or deserve privacy in this, that you are sufficiently deserving of X. Then, once you’ve gone through all that, I’ll decide whether you can have X. Be sure to allow lots and lots of lead time, because if it takes you too long to jump through all those hoops, you automatically lose.”

  396. @ Other Bill: Becky ‘splained pretty good. There is also an additional complication–rape/incest/mortality allowances in abortion bans mean that the state (or, if you are a libertarian, The State) is deciding which embryos must be carried to term, and which *might* not be, so once again women don’t actually have the right of personal autonomy, just an illusion of choice.

    The hazard of exceptions, in re the moral authority of the rule of law, is that they require women who desire an abortion to lie and commit at least two crimes. False rape accusations, anyone? Step right up to the window… The bogie-man of a false accusation becomes mandatory. Hobson’s choice, with terrible consequences.

  397. @Kat and Mindtwitch – YES!

    This is always the point I try to raise – whatever your position on abortion, the question is: who gets to decide?

    If you believe the woman should make the determination, which would mean that you have to believe women are actually capable of making moral, ethical decisions about THEIR OWN lives and bodies you actually are pro choice. You have to accept that those decisions may not be what you would do in the same situation, but you don’t live with the consequences. She does.

    It’s easy, or at least tempting, to “armchair quarterback” these decisions, but again, who’s the person in the best position to make the determination on what’s best for her life? I have a hard time believing it’s any country’s legislature.

  398. All that above from Becky and Mintwitch and the additional thing in that the government then dictates what the woman must believe, including her religious beliefs, what she is allowed to consider moral and not moral. It is not only attempting to legislate away control of her body, but legislate away control of her mind as well and establish a theocracy. The woman still has no rights to herself. The government determines how and if she will breed. Because the decisions of exceptions are arbitrary and can be rescinded whenever, a woman who thinks she’s getting an exception and has an abortion can then find herself and her doctor on trial for murder or manslaughter. Banning abortions with exceptions is a legal quagmire. But it doesn’t give pregnant women their civil rights in any way.

    With abortion banned, with or without exceptions, pregnant women who don’t seek an abortion are also legally vulnerable to becoming under the control of the government. If they miscarry, if they accidentally fall and harm or lose their baby, even if someone else pushes them down a set of stairs, if the unborn child develops a medical condition, etc., the woman is legally vulnerable of being accused of murder, manslaughter, trying to abort, etc. If unborn children are considered persons under the amendment, then the mother is not only just an incubator but the instigator of anything that happens to the unborn child, or at least it can head that way in a court of law. Which means that if you’re pregnant and you have a scare and your neighbor hates you — guess what sort of accusations can be made to the cops? So we’ll have false accusations of attempted abortions too.

    (The Texas delegates at the Repub convention seem to be mutinying over Romney’s rule changes.)

  399. @ mintwitch That’s the part that always gets me — the stance of Akin and his ilk is more morally and logically defensible than the mainstream “okay in some circumstances but not in others” view. If embryo = fetus = baby = person, then terminating a pregnancy should only be okay in circumstances that would make it legal to kill an adult. “Danger to the woman’s life,” as in ectopic pregnancies, would presumably fall under self defense. “Danger to the woman’s health” might be an allowable circumstance under the “reasonable fear of serious bodily harm” part of the castle doctrine, and would therefore presumably not include things like future fertility or mental health, but might cover a diabetic woman in serious danger of losing a kidney.

    As much as I loathe Akin’s beliefs, and as horrified as I am by his ignorance, I can actually understand his position better than I can the positions of more “moderate” conservatives.

  400. Kat, I felt that you were not hearing my position, and thought it was because of your fear of Republicans and the evil you think they are trying to do. I still do (both, not hearing, evil wanna-doers.) Both anger and outrage are entirely reasonable reactions to the plans of some of their plans. Both anger and outrage interfere with communication. I was trying to back away from the conversation because I didn’t really want to come here.

    Most people (of either major party) don’t agree with my position on abortion. My position runs back to ancient law, The Code of Hammurabi. The baby lives when it breathes air. There’s a change in lung tissue (a literal bright pink line) that can be observed with careful autopsy, you can accurately tell if the dead infant was still-born or not. I think Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided; the USSC “split the baby” in law, and they should not have. Abortion should be legal until live birth. Pregnant women (and men, if that ever happens) should be allowed to consult with anyone they want about pre-birth termination … and need not take any of that advice. They decide. Life started long ago, and we inherit it from our parents. The miracle is live birth, not conception.

    Not the only reason I left the Republicans, but it was the loud one. Akin was not one of those who disapproved of my belonging, but he has many fellow-thinkers on that topic there.

    It’s not the only bad idea the Republicans have; the Democrats (and other parties) have equally bad ideas they’d like to implement. As long as we want to trust the law, trust the regulations, trust … anything other than our neighbors, we’re going to fail. We have to be trustworthy, and trust.

  401. Kat – Thanks for expanding on that. Becky and Mintwitch as well. I think our positions on this overlap quite a bit. That sentence is part of a position that I hadn’t previously considered (the notion that one is more morally problematic than the other). I’m not entirely sure that I agree with that. Though I’ll note it’s uncertainty which stems predominately from not having previously considered it at length.

    I’d previously considered the exceptions position as problematic largely because as it seems logically inconsistent with the principles supporting the ban in the first place, I took it as mostly a rhetorical trick to avoid jamming the attempt to rewind time. And that was the extent of my thinking. I see there are additional layers to consider.

    I plan to give it some thought over the next few days. Sincere thank you to all three for expanding my understanding of the subject.

  402. OtherBecky: That’s the part that always gets me — the stance of Akin and his ilk is more morally and logically defensible than the mainstream “okay in some circumstances but not in others” view.

    I’m prochoice. That said, I don’t think a simple moral system is neccesarily good and a complex moral system is neccesarily bad. Simple does not equal morally better.

    I think a lot of human morality is mostly based at the emotional level and then we put a layer of cognitive-level explanation on top of it. We have an emotional level response to something that “repulses” us first, and then we come up with some explanation later that explains why that thing that repulsed us is “bad” or “wrong”. Or we react to something with “anger” and then come up with some post-hoc explanation as to why that thing makes us so angry, and not surprisingly, our post-hoc explanation always justifies the anger.

    Studies have shown a number of species of animals appear to hold concepts that we would say reflect a notion of “fairness”, without any ability to self-reflect on whether their notion of what is “fair” is logically consistent or not. Without language, the concept of logic doesn’t really exist.

    I was recently talking with a guy doing some research on human morality that was finding that humans will decide that something is morally wrong based in part because they’re in a space with something that is generally considered disgusting on a visual or aromatic level.

    So, it’s not entirely surprising that some people will find abortion immoral at the same time making an allowance for abortion in the case of rape. If they’re reacting at an emotional level, at a level of what they are disgusted by, then abortion might disgust them, but rape might disgust them even more.

    But if its emotional first, cognitive later, then that means getting someone who is reacting at an emotional level to see that their reaction makes no logical sense is almost impossible. They are disgusted by the thought of gay sex, therefore gay sex is wrong to them and should be outlawed. They are disgusted by straight sex and therefore think straight sex is wrong and should be outlawed except in the exclusive case of het sex for a married couple for procreation only. Or they are angered by the thought of something taking away their personal power or personal advantages, so they oppose vehemently something like affirmative action intended to counterbalance systemic racism.

    These people are adamant, but they’re almost never entirely logical. And yet, because they’re operating in part at some emotional level, logic has almost zero effect on them. They often respond to logic with a “how dare you” or a “think of the unborn” emotional pleading.

  403. I was going to come in with some opinionation about the “life of the mother” exception…but then I realized that we’ve devolved into a general abortion discussion, which John asked us not to do. So not going there.

  404. @ Xopher: Well, actually, he said, “if you want to swing back onto topic sometime soon, that would be cool with me.” I took that more as a suggestion, should tempers boil. Strangely, this is one of the few posts in which a commentariat digression into rape and abortion is not completely OT.

    So, I’ll offer the following: if “life of the mother” exemptions really counted for shit, then all abortion would be cheap, legal, and readily available. The very definition of “Choice” is the life of the mother. Or non-mother, should that be the woman’s choice. It’s all about being allowed to make choices, w/o armchair, theocratic, quarterbacks dictating women’s lives.

  405. htom: “the Democrats (and other parties) have equally bad ideas they’d like to implement. ”

    I disagree that they are anywhere near equally bad. But again, it comes down to the numbers of a two party system. If the Democrats don’t win, the Republicans do and can enact their agenda. That has hard, serious consequences for my family and millions of others. Economically, it’s disaster. And if the Republicans win, they won’t shift to the center (any shifting to center for the election will be tossed as they’ve done repeatedly the last thirty years.) They will shift further and further right. Demographically, that’s a disaster for them in the long term. But in that period before getting to that point, the damage may be so severe that we will take decades to recover, if we can, especially because the Democrats will have to shift more center during that time and may support policies — corporate sponsorship, tough national security stance that tackles rights, etc. — to match the Republicans and gain office. These are patterns that are studied. We had about forty years of Democrats controlling the political agenda of the system. But for the last thirty years or so, since Reagan, Republicans have controlled the agenda at federal, state and local levels. We’ve had thirty years of deliberate environmental destruction, so now, as my husband says, we’ve passed the point where we can fix/reverse the climate and damage, we can only now try to manage the new climate — and Repubs don’t want to do that either. We’ve had thirty years where young people find it harder and harder to get jobs, stay or move up in the middle class, get higher education, and have more and more debt. We’ve had thirty years of deregulation, voodoo economics, Republican government spending, and bubble and crash economic cycles. We have less and less aid, so we have more and more children living in poverty, the health care mess — all of it is due to Republican policies and Democrats having to go along with them to keep corporate backing and shift to center for electoral politics.

    So if you were driven away from Republicans because of their far right economic and social positions now (which again developed with the shift right over thirty years of letting more and more Akins into the party,) not voting for Democrats simply allows them to do more of the Repub economic and social positions you don’t like. You are working against your own interests. It’s not that I’m not hearing you. It’s that you are committing a common fallacy. Almost all political science models say your strategy is ineffective. And if you pursue that strategy, increasing both Republican control at all levels and their shift to the far right and an agenda based on the far right, then that puts my family in danger. The problem is that many people want to minimize the danger and say, hey, don’t demonize anyone. I don’t care about demonizing Akin (although I guess it’s useful in elections.) I care what legislation Akin will put into motion or block if he and all his buddies are in power. Even if he is the cuddliest grandpa ever, it doesn’t matter because the individuals no longer matter in large party ideology shifts. It’s the collective agenda and what legislation may be enacted, and not simply on civil rights, although re-fighting civil rights battles becomes very difficult.

    Todd Akin is now not a far right Republican. He’s an average Republican. His people control the Republican agenda. We are shifting further and further from democracy. And as long as Republicans are winning, that’s going to increase. And if Akin wins Missouri, it can give the Republicans control of the Senate. You can complain about my tone all you want, htom, but again it’s not going to change the situation or how the numbers work. Competition of elites for vote blocks is very specific. We go way right or we go center/slightly left, and center is only an option at this point with Democrat votes. Billy Q, frankly, knew this. That’s why he and Republicans were so upset at Akin — not because Akin is far right — they’re almost all far right now — but because it might mean losing the Senate. The person they mentioned to replace Akin is no different from Akin, just without as much media baggage now. Akin was a fair haired boy and legislation pal of Ryan’s before all this. It’s because he threatens their numbers that they are miffed, but they’ll back him if he wins the Senate and adds to their numbers.

    Maybe it’s that we’re in a constitutional democracy two party system instead of a multi-party parliamentary democracy system that makes it hard for people to get this, I don’t know. But that lack of understanding by center voters is responsible for the past three devastating recessions we’ve had, the lack of income growth for the average American family, the shrinking of the middle class, the current high rate of unemployment, the crumbling of our education system, roads, safety nets and public services, our falling behind on alternate energy, etc. And they are responsible for there being a law in Texas that forces doctors to rape patients seeking an abortion. Because you let the whole system keep shifting right and more far right politicians gain office and control of the party agenda. You kept Baby Bush in office for another four years. All while saying those somewhat left of center were being too alarmist. And you may boot Democrats out so bad that the Republicans can have their very own bomb party (not entirely metaphorical.) So I think it very likely that Akin may win, but I hope he does not.

  406. htom: As long as we want to trust the law, trust the regulations, trust … anything other than our neighbors, we’re going to fail.

    I’m not sure what you’re saying here, but it reminds me of the Republican notion that we shouldn’t have government welfare and instead we should have private charities take care of people in need. And that’s wrong in so many ways that I don’t know where to start.

    Kat: Maybe it’s that we’re in a constitutional democracy two party system instead of a multi-party parliamentary democracy system

    As someone who is currently quite a ways to the left of Obama at the moment (assassinating Americans from secret kill lists being something I can’t agree with), I’m noticing the American process of having parties pick their candidates in primaries and then allowing the voters in general to choose between the parties has an interesting side effect. It basically means that the party that the president belongs to (right now its the Dems, but it coudl be Reps too) most often chooses to endorse the sitting president because inertia seems to work for political office and incumbents seem to have a home-field advantage.

    And the effect of that is that someone who is left-leaning like me doesn’t get to hear anyone who is left-leaning challenge the president for the office. At the moment, there is no left leaning politician who is challenging Obama for presidency, or criticizing his actions in office, such as the assassination program.

    Why? Because the party nomination process forces the party to endorse the president all-or-nothing. And any criticism of the president from the left can only push voters to the right. The primary process removes any other left-leaning candidate.

    I don’t know if condercet voting (instant runoff) process is any better as far as the actual voting process is concerned. But if nothing else, it would have the advantage of allowing Left-Of-Obama candidates to campaign against Obama without pushing voters to the right. It also would allow someone like me to vote first for the leftier candidate and Obama second, and even if my candidate doesn’t win, it gives Obama a signal that he’s too far right for someone like me without having my vote get thrown away and help the Republicans.

    Third party voting in a majority-wins system is a throw-away vote.

    At least with condercet/instant runoff, people could vote for smaller parties first and then the bigger parties second, and not throw their vote in the trash.

    As it is, the “Anyone slightly left has to support Obama unconditionally until after the election” outcome from the majority-wins system, means that no one on the left can criticize Obama because it might push voters to the right.

  407. Well, watching the reports of the Republican Convention it seems pretty clear that Todd Akin’s views are fairly typical of those attending the Convention so John’s analysis appears to be realistic. One of the things I find fascinating, as someone living across the pond*, is that the only way to enforce that legislative programme would be by confiscating the passports of all female citizens of the US between the ages of, say 10 to 60.

    There are obvious difficulties in reconciling this with the theme that government should stay out of people’s lives, and yet the people who are the most passionate about the latter also seem to be the most passionate about the former. It is at times like this when my inner Spock comes to the fore…

    *The parallel is with the Republic of Eire which has endeavoured to prevent Irish citizens travelling to England and elsewhere to seek terminations; since the Republic is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights there is some check on government agencies, so in practise it has boiled down to trying to prevent women under the age of 18 from leaving the country.

  408. The counter-example to the “third party is a throw-away” is Jesse Ventura, of course. One of the things this did was cement in my mind the idea that the Democrats and Republicans are really one party, presenting two faces to the public, so they can talk out of both sides of their mouth. I will not support either face of the abusive-parent party, I consider it immoral. Your views are yours.

    All of the voting systems can be gamed. All. Math > Want; cf Alternative Voting Systems, and for a less rigorous presentation, Wikipedia, Voting Systems.

  409. Well, I don’t think very many of them believe they’ll ever be enacting the policy. They’re just going with the wingnut base. But, the reality is that the base is moving more and more politicians who are more determined into office, shifting the party right. At the presidential level, you can criticize the president or the presidential candidate all you want and it’s a great idea to do it in public, etc., but he or she has to have the votes or the other party takes the entire house. At the lower levels, you can maneuver candidates more in line with your ideology in the primaries, depending on the district, which moves party platforms in the direction you want if you’re successful. The Repub far right has been very good at it. Criticism can be a highly effective tool for effecting platforms and for the politicians in office. Obama, for instance, has used and encouraged gay rights activism and outcry in order to be able to move effectively to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and not defending DOMA in court in prep for eventual legal challenges that will be brought for repeal. Politicians are pressured by both public outcry and voting successes and losses. That’s why Occupy was able to change the media dialogue and some of the dialogue of some politicians who otherwise might have moved more rightward. If the far right is winning elections, then other politicians have to shift less left in order to comply with what works for the vote, especially if they want to get any legislation through at all and especially if they’re Republicans. If more liberal politicians are winning, things shift that way. The problem is that while we had a shift to the left in 2008, the far right was able to win within the Repub party, shifting it again to the right, and win enough state legislatures and block enough legislation that the shift was short lived. The economy did the rest in 2010. But the Blue Dogs also lost in 2010, which shifted the Democrats somewhat left and on many issues, the public outcry and voting rumbles has been towards the left. But the Repubs are caught between a rock and a hard place because the far right wingnuts have gotten themselves in office and are also really good at public outcry. Which is why a lot of Republicans believe Romney will lose and the big guns are waiting till 2016 — Romney can’t successfully shift center (leftward) or rightward (wingnut) enough. But if the wingnuts are willing to get behind him enough in order to not lose the White House to Obama, then Romney can move centerwards to get Independents, as he’s now doing as he solidifies being the nominee. If he wins the election though, the shift rightwards will continue again. So if you’re liberal, you want Obama to stay and Democrats to win, so that you can then actually get the Democrats moving more left because they have the votes and the public outcry enough to do it.

    I don’t know the exact situation in Ireland, but I’m sure the economic mess didn’t help.

  410. @Gulliver, I’m not a corporate lawyer (for which I am deeply grateful) and so can’t really explain the intricacies of corporate law. Generally speaking, a corporation is a fictional entity that’s created for the purpose of a liability shield; if ABC Corp. does something bad, normally you can only punish ABC Corp, not any of its owners. It is a fictitious ‘person’ for some purposes, but not others (last I heard, SCOTUS had dispensed with the idea that corporations have rights to privacy as natural persons do).

    @Billy Quiets: Really? The best you can do for a derail and an insult is ‘calm down, lady’? Maybe that passes for super tiger dragon debate skillz in your conservative circles, but FFS, we expect better here.

  411. “The counter-example to the “third party is a throw-away” is Jesse Ventura, of course. One of the things this did was cement in my mind the idea that the Democrats and Republicans are really one party, presenting two faces to the public, so they can talk out of both sides of their mouth. I will not support either face of the abusive-parent party, I consider it immoral. Your views are yours.”

    They are two different parts of one left-right spectrum and Independents are also on that spectrum, not separate. The Democrats range from far left to liberal to centrists to the equivalent of moderate Republicans (the Blue Dogs.) The Republicans used to range from centrists to moderates to conservatives to far right, but now they’ve gotten rid of the centrists and just about eliminated all the moderates. So the overlap between the two parties is much less than it was, hence increased polarization. The shifts right and left don’t have to do with there being two parties. The shifts right and left occur in all democracies where elites are competing for votes of a populace that will vary in views but at times will lean more one way or another, depending on defined interests.

    As I said before, in rare circumstances Independents can win seats in the U.S. (not the presidency though,) especially at lower state levels, and then the question is where they are on the spectrum, not that they are Independent. If they are more left, they ally and vote with Democrats and if they are more right, they ally and vote with Republicans. Jessie Ventura ran off the last of Ross Perot’s sponsors’ money (the coalition of groups in that party fell apart soon after,) and won largely by being a celebrity wrestler with the younger male vote. Michigan isn’t a particularly red state, but Ventura’s conservative libertarianism winning in the late 1990′s signaled the growing shift right, not a new kind of politics. Likewise, Lisa Murkowski, who won out of the unusual circumstances of her split with the party that backed wingnut Joe Miller, for Alaska’s Senator, may have signaled a continued shift to the left for the overall spectrum. Demographically, things should shift left — non-whites, women, young people all shift that way. And that’s shrunk the Republicans base because they have not shifted leftward. But the wingnuts have been so successful in winning office and enacting or blocking policy that the Republicans are stuck shifting right — and the conservative, libertarian Independents with them and that’s constrained Democrats and more left Independents towards the center. Except in some districts where they have enough vote backing, they go left. That Elizabeth Warren is running in Massachusetts and fairly successfully is a shift left, etc. The tougher stance of Democrats on some policy issues signals such shifts too, and the rapidity with which Republicans agreed to a postponement on finance issues until after the election instead of another debt ceiling hostage situation is a good sign. But the wingnuts are also very successful — and a lot of the Independent conservative libertarians are with them.

    There may yet be a viable third party in the U.S. one day. It may even happen because the Republican party splits. But it will still be on the left-right spectrum, as in other countries and it will make the same sort of deals, alliances, etc. as the Democrats and Republicans and with them, according to its right or left leanings. Independents can split votes and that can shift elections in opposite directions. Ralph Nader running meant Baby Bush was elected. And we still live with the consequences of that. Nader had no intention of winning — it was just a protest. He simply handed the election to the Republicans and they destroyed every issue dear to him. So if the question is an Independent, the question is how much of a decent shot the Independent has of winning for the district depending on the particular circumstances of that district for the election. If the Independent has a good shot — and matches you on the spectrum — then voting for an Independent is not a wasted vote. But otherwise, if you vote Independent over Democrat, you’re simply voting Republican. Protest votes that seek to punish say Democrat politicians and send them a signal in circumstances where the Independent candidate doesn’t have a good shot again instead punish their constituency and instead of sending them leftward, send them rightward since the Republican beats them, while the Republican gets to enact policy and law and move rightward. And vice versa. Which is again why Independents often decide elections. Which is again why they freaked out over Akin because Independents tend to be centrists and many lean left. .

    Mike Huckabee apparently was given a new speech slot at the Repub convention, despite his support for Akin. This is not a surprise. Again, the Republicans are straddling a very delicate tightrope.

  412. . Jessie Ventura ran off the last of Ross Perot’s sponsors’ money (the coalition of groups in that party fell apart soon after,) and won largely by being a celebrity wrestler with the younger male vote. Michigan isn’t a particularly red state, but Ventura’s conservative libertarianism winning in the late 1990′s signaled the growing shift right, not a new kind of politics.

    The Minnesota Reform Party did have some funding from the old Perot campaign. Minnesota is a very red state (or is it blue? anyway, liberal.) And Jesse a conservative? The only thing really conservative about him was that he wasn’t a member of the DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) Party, the local name for Democrats. What it really signaled was that over a third of those who vote in Minnesota had had it with both parties. That election had record turn-out, and record registration. People in their sixties and seventies who had never voted in Minnesota came out, registered, and voted. Jesse’s total came first from presumably new voters (most of them not young), and second from liberals.

    Politics is — or at least can be — much more complicated than left-right. If that’s how you see it, red and blue, all I can say is that there’s a whole color solid you’re managing not to see.

  413. Kat

    Since the Irish constitution was amended in 1983 to ban all terminations other than when the life of the mother was at grave risk I doubt the economic mess had anything to do with it. You might like to look at it when you have time to spare…

  414. htom: The counter-example to the “third party is a throw-away” is Jesse Ventura, of course.

    one anecdote is not indicative of a larger pattern. If you could point to a number of third party candidates winning elections at the state or national level, that would be something else.

    I wrote up a post about third party voting in the US here:

    http://www.warhw.com/third-party-vote/

    If I missed your particular argument favoring third party voting, let me know.

    I admit that Obama’s assassination program and his continuation of torture and indefinite detention frustrates the hell out of me, but that doesn’t mean voting third party in the US will actually affect anything.

  415. htom: Ventura has described himself as a Goldwater Republican — libertarianism, many of his policies were libertarian and he ran on an anti-government platform for the Reform Party, which used much of the Perot apparatus (Perot was also largely libertarian.) So he was a moderate on the spectrum. But mostly he won because he was a celebrity. He served one term, the Reform Party reformed nothing and fell apart into bickering groups. But more importantly, that was fourteen years ago before the Republican party shifted even further right towards Bircherism. His election was a signal that there was likely going to be a shift right, towards moderate libertarianism. His sort of libertarianism, however, was overtaken by Ron Paul’s deeply far right libertarianism. Minnesota is currently still a centrist/moderate state, as it’s pretty much always been, but Republicans control the legislature and they’ve been doing a lot of damage legislatively, shifting things further rightward for the political society.

    “If that’s how you see it, red and blue, all I can say is that there’s a whole color solid you’re managing not to see.”

    It’s not red and blue — red and blue mean shit. It’s a spectrum of political beliefs that goes from far left through the middle to far right. (You’re a moderate who’s leaning towards centrism now.) Independent candidates have political beliefs and those beliefs will be somewhere on the spectrum of political beliefs. Even anarchists are on the spectrum of political beliefs. Independent candidates can do well, especially at the local level — if the circumstances are right. But if they are not, they simply split the vote depending on their political beliefs on the spectrum. Ross Perot was a moderate/conservative libertarian and so he drew votes away from Bush/the Republicans in 1992 and again in 1996. Ralph Nader is far left libertarian and so he drew votes away from Gore and the Democrats, costing the election. So that’s always an issue with an Independent candidate — can the person because of the particular circumstances of his district’s political beliefs, his financial backing and the other candidates being faced have a good shot at winning. If not, then the Independent candidate simply draws off votes from that candidate’s part of the political spectrum. It’s numbers again. The two big parties’ ideological platforms represent the big shifts on the spectrum because they have the most numbers and the politicians then have to deal with those platforms, even if they are Independents. (And those platforms are not static — they shift.) Not being registered for a party doesn’t mean you’re not on the spectrum of political beliefs.

    Right now, the platform of the Republican party has shifted further and further right. That means the Republican politicians have to go with it, and the Republican politicians who are getting into office enact harder and harder right legislation. The Democrats therefore had to move rightward too to a centrist position (Obama is a centrist.) But because of public outcry and success in elections and having the White House, they are shifting back left on their platform (marriage equality, etc.) So the Independents (who already know their political beliefs pretty much as Billy Q pointed out,) are the big deciders. If the majority of them support the Democrat platform ideology (and more leftish Independents who can win but not the ones who can’t,) then more legislation in the country shifts left to a somewhat left/centrist position. If the majority of the Independents support the Republican platform (and more rightward Independents who can win but not the ones who can’t,) then more legislation in the country shifts towards the far right. If Democrats lose the White House and the Senate and remain a minority in the House, if more Republicans control state legislatures, my family is fucked legislatively, and the Democrats won’t clean up any abuses you feel they have — they’ll get more abusive because they have to swing rightward again. You can proselytize all you like, but people are dying because of the shift toward the far right — my aunt died from it — and they don’t have to be.

    Stevie: And getting civil rights back is hard. But I meant that I didn’t know how rightward leaning the legislature is in Ireland right now. I imagine they are having another exodus of young people because of the economic situation, though.

  416. @ Kat Goodwin -

    Ralph Nader is far left libertarian and so he drew votes away from Gore and the Democrats, costing the election.

    A world of “No.” Al Gore cost the Democrats the election all by himself and walked a looooong way to do so:

    1. He distanced himself from a popular President and so took no advantage of the campaign clout he could have gained from Clinton.

    2. He chose a known far-right extremist as his running mate.

    3. He adopted the language of the Republicans with regard to commerce and legislated personal morality.

    4. He stood on stage next to his opponent and talked up one side and down the other about how much he agreed with him.

    Al Gore was, for better or worse, an intelligent and reasonably articulate man whose legislative and VP record was that of a slightly right-of-center Democrat, and he was put up against a smirking goon who could barely put together a coherent sentence of more than three words. The tiny percentage of voters who cast their ballets for Nader did so only because they wanted to vote for someone other than a Republican, and both major party candidates appeared to be campaigning as GOP. It’s a safe bet that Gore wouldn’t have governed as a Republican, but he convinced a percentage of voters otherwise. Nader didn’t draw those votes away, Gore drove them there. If he hadn’t campaigned in such a bone-headed way, he would have won the election by at least as much margin as Obama did over McCain, and probably more.

  417. >>htom: The counter-example to the “third party is a throw-away” is Jesse Ventura, of course.

    >Greg: one anecdote is not indicative of a larger pattern. If you could point to a number of third party candidates winning elections at the state or national level, that would be something else.

    One (a non-zero number) is a counter-example to a universal. Many would be a pattern or collection of counter-examples.

  418. Eric: I agree that Gore did not do a decent campaign which made the election his to lose. He didn’t actually lose, but he didn’t win it by any amount to save him from the Supreme Court. But if Nader had not been running, some of the votes he got would have gone to Gore anyway. and given the very tiny margin involved at the end, that would have been enough that it would never have gone to the Supreme Court. So Nader was a major factor in Bush’s victory. And Nader wasn’t trying to win, just start a public outcry and there was no way he could win. So those votes for Nader were essentially for Bush, Bush was given the presidency and did the damage he did. Any citizen has a total right to vote their conscience, but statistically, they helped Bush win. And so, again, they harmed my daughter. They didn’t mean to, but in my opinion, they lost sight of the bigger picture to throw a hissy fit about Gore and we all have to live with the consequences of that, the consequence being not only Bush and the environmental and financial damage he did, but a Republican Congress on steroids, an increase in Republicans controlling state legislatures, and a huge lurch of the Republicans further right, with legislation to match. And also importantly, the Democrats forced to go further right to centrist, vote for an illegitimate war, etc. We can argue about this forever, but I’m not going to agree that statistical modeling and elite competition factors mean nothing when I’ve had to watch the results for twelve years. So if you’re working for the Republicans, even if it’s inadvertently, then we’re all going right when we need to shift left. Ryan just lied his ass off in the convention speech and the media doesn’t give a crap mostly. I will not be watching Clint Eastwood’s baseball movie. My position is, either help me and my family or don’t expect me to thank you and regard you as an ally. And that means Republicans out of office (which will hopefully eventually shift the Repubs left so that they can return to sanity and we can have an actual constitutional democracy again.) I’m done doing the sugar-coating thing. I’m sick of the damage the “all parties are bad and the same” philosophy has done to the country, shifting it further and further right. I don’t care if it bugs you.

    As for Akin, if the Repubs get their wishes, he’ll start looking like a liberal in another 4-8 years. And this will not even be remembered under the flurry of abortion, birth control and other bills that try to sneak in the legitimate rape concept again: http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/056ffa6b76/legitimate-rape-pharmaceutical-ad I think this bit by Judith Thurman in The New Yorker expresses the issue very succinctly (as opposed to me): http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2012/08/todd-akin-and-the-second-sex.html On the bright side, the federal court struck down the Texas Jim Crow voter i.d. law.

  419. @Kat Goodwin -

    So Nader was a major factor in Bush’s victory.

    No. He was an exploitable statistical anomaly. The major factor in Bush’s victory was Gore effectively throwing the campaign to Bush. Had Gore done anything, anything at all, to run an even marginally competent campaign, Nader would have been nothing more than a momentarily raised eyebrow, and then forgotten.

    I’m sick of the damage the “all parties are bad and the same” philosophy has done to the country, shifting it further and further right. I don’t care if it bugs you.

    It doesn’t bug me at all, because I agree completely. I’m not arguing against that position, nor am I making excuses for those who do. What I am saying is that though I recognize that Nader makes a handy scapegoat for that particular moment in history, a scapegoat is all that he is. He’s not the problem, nor are the people who voted for him. Saying that Al Gore ran a bungling campaign that gave advantage and opportunity for malfeasance to Bush is not even remotely the same as painting the Democrats and Republicans with false equivalence, it’s simply putting blame where it belongs for that specific situation.

  420. @Kat — I campaigned for Goldwater/Miller, more than a few decades ago; two months too young to vote for them. What you see as a swing to the right I see as a slowing of a long-time swing to the left.

  421. Eric: I understand what you are saying. I disagree on Nader being an inconsequential afterthought and a lot of the political scientists I know disagree. More to the point, Nader didn’t care if he drew votes away from Gore or not long before Gore made any fumbles. He didn’t care what damage he might do or what votes he might split, letting the Republican win. So yeah, I do not regard him and those who voted for him as blameless. (And I have some friends who did.) Cumulatively, all of that behavior has put us in the bad position we’re in now. And frankly, I’m not going to pat on the head those who didn’t vote at all or voted for Bush because they didn’t like Gore’s campaign messes either. Because they put Bush in office. And that could have not happened if people had simply considered the wider view of ideology.

    htom: “What you see as a swing to the right I see as a slowing of a long-time swing to the left.”

    You see forcible rape, banning abortion and birth control, marriage inequality, open racism, voter suppression laws, criminal deregulation of finance, abandoning poor children, raiding Social Security, starving schools, union busting, demands for theocracy, massive lay-offs, letting thousands die from lack of healthcare, gutting Medicare and rape birth control, just for starters, as a slow down of left going? Okay. So you’re not a centrist/moderate then. I believe in the words of Gilda Radner, “Never mind.” But I will do one more quote, from Owen Glieberman’s movie review in Entertainment Weekly of the film 2016: Obama’s America:

    “2016: Obama’s America brings to mind the side of Republican thinking that prompted Bill Maher to quip, “The Republicans aren’t a party anymore — they’re a cult.” The film may, in its way, be the moral equivalent of the old anti-Semitic propaganda hoax The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. This, make no mistake, is the lunatic fringe of right-wing thought. Except that the fringe and the center can no longer be separated — not when Mitt Romney is making birth-certificate “jokes” from the stump (as he did earlier this week). The extraordinary crossover success of 2016: Obama’s America indicates that the appetite for racially tinged conspiracy theory, all served up under the “civilized” imprimatur of Dinesh D’Souza’s genteel smirk, has never been more mainstream. Some may say that the movie is just “preaching to the base,” and obviously the film is candy for Obama-bashers, but it’s also designed to prey on the fears of those in the middle who feel that something has gone terribly wrong in this country and are looking for someone to blame. In a political-cultural-electoral war zone increasingly dominated by advertising, 2016: Obama’s America is, in a sense, the ultimate Super PAC attack ad — a 90-minute infomercial that’s selling the idea of Obama the betrayer. And it could work. The battle lines being drawn for this election may not, in the end, be between “left” and “right” so much as they are between “reality” and “unreality.” The success of a movie like this one indicates that a vicious, larger-than-life racist lie may be more seductive to a lot of people than a truth that doesn’t so easily let them off the hook.”

    The right fringe is now the mainstream center. And it will get worse if Repubs take more offices instead of less. I’ve said my position, I’ve made my pitch for consideration, I’ve commented on Akin’s situation. But the reality is Akin will probably win, will not at all be a pariah in his party, and Romney if he wins will have very little control over the Republicans in Congress.

  422. d he was put up against a smirking goon who could barely put together a coherent sentence of more than three words.

    You know, Democrats kept saying that about Bush and he kept winning elections against them. The man never lost a major election, I should note.

    It is also possible to think both that Gore could have managed a better campaign and that Nader is a narcissistic self-absorbed moron who helped swing the race Bush’s way.

  423. You see forcible rape, banning abortion and birth control, marriage inequality, open racism, voter suppression laws, criminal deregulation of finance, abandoning poor children, raiding Social Security, starving schools, union busting, demands for theocracy, massive lay-offs, letting thousands die from lack of healthcare, gutting Medicare and rape birth control, just for starters, as a slow down of left going? Okay. So you’re not a centrist/moderate then. …

    OK, let’s go way off topic.

    History. Both abortion and birth control used to be illegal. There used to be underground railways that took pregnant women to places they could get abortions safely, or legally, or if they were rich and lucky — both (not all of those places were on the North American continent.) Women used to go to Canada to get IUDs. Condoms were sold under the counter at only a couple of the drugstores in town, sometimes only with a doctor’s prescription. (The Pill didn’t exist.) Gay sex used to be illegal. Being gay used to be illegal. Being beaten to death for being gay did not used to be news; it happened too often and besides, we didn’t talk about people’s sexual desires in the press or the courts. Marriage across religions and races is now legal. Gay marriage is becoming legal. Children are treated a little bit better in divorce (I’d say they can’t be treated well in divorce but some parents … all children are damaged by the parents, usually only slightly, but some should not be allowed to continue to severely damage even their own children.) In some parts of the South, over half of the population of legal age was not allowed to attempt to register to vote. Open racism I don’t think you’ve ever seen in the USA. I’ve been thrown out of restaurants for having a companion of the “wrong” color (he was, too.) I’ve been beaten for having a date of the “wrong” color. … These changes, and more, I’ve advocated for, marched for, bear scars from. I hope you can keep those changes. The world isn’t yet perfect and it can never be so.

    Schools — Goldwater campaigned on the notion that the way to ruin the American school system was to let the federal government control it. Oops, maybe he was right about that? I used to tutor math to college graduates twenty years ago, using my seventh grade algebra text. My first quarter of college, tuition was $us99, minimum wage was $1.25 (IIRC.) Yes, you could finance a big ten engineering degree in the early 1960s working minimum wage without a loan or a scholarship (although either made it easier.)

    Social Security (and the rest of the entitlement scam) has always been a Ponzi scheme, do the math, the only way it works is an infinitely increasing population to pay into it.

    This is the longest I’ve seen Romney speak. He reminds me of his father (which is both good and bad), he has some of the same facial gestures and speaking rhythms, especially ending a sentence with his head tipped to the side, and then turning his head so it faces where his eyes were looking.

  424. @htom Wait, so your perception is that the move away from, say, birth control being illegal is a move from right to left? And you want things to swing back rightward?

  425. @David — I think many of the changes I listed approvingly were in the direction of freedom, away from the left-right axis, brought about to a great extent by “left thinking”. “Right thinking” has brought some other freedoms. Usually, either kind of thinking reduces freedom.

    Of the universe of human acts, some acts are required by law, some are not required. Some are forbidden by law, some are not forbidden. You can make two axis, describing a plane, put each act in a quadrant. Freedom is a name for the quadrant containing those acts that are neither required nor not forbidden. The quadrant where an act is both required and forbidden is called “You’re screwed”. (In a vast generality, the left wants to require, the right wants to forbid, but like all generalities this is frequently wrong.)

    Orthogonal to that legal plane is a moral plane of wrong and right, where acts can be characterized by moral judgements, “moral freedom”, rather than by legal requirements.

    There are doubtless other ways to divide and characterize human acts. It appears to me that both left and right usually are wanting to move things from the freedom quadrant. This is what convinces me that the two parties are actually two faces of the same party; what one removes from the freedom quadrant is not restored by the other when it comes to power.

  426. @ htom: Your reminder of the course of recent American history gave me pause, and made me think about my gut reactions (thumbs up!), but your axis of freedom is silly to the point of meaninglessness (thumbs down!).

    Any law can be seen as both a requirement and a ban. E.g. one must treat people equally, regardless of skin color=one must not discriminate on the basis of skin color. Or, one must carry a fetus to term=one may not terminate a pregnancy. Another: one must wear a seat-belt=one must not play Russian Roulette on the Interstate with a unit of the national labor force. Almost any position may be reframed in either of these terms, so your X-Y model of right vs left is in itself ideological.

  427. @mintwitch — I think of left-right as an interrupted pseudo-random curve that runs through the solid I described. Laws (in general) remove freedoms, rights (in general) establish them. It may be good or ill that the freedom is removed or constrained, but it’s no longer free. “Unit of the national labor force”, indeed; treating people as if they’re objects. Not a good thing to do. (I hope you were being a bit sarcastic with that phrasing.)

  428. Ran across this earlier and thought I would leave it for your consideration since it concerns Republicans’ continued funding of Akin’s campaign.

    “During a private fundraiser with top Republican donors, Karl Rove sought to explain how he intends to use his super PAC, American Crossroads, to defeat President Barack Obama in November. At the same event, Rove noted the need to “sink” Rep. Todd Akin, the congressman now infamous for his comments about “legitimate rape.”

    “We should sink Todd Akin,” Rove said, according to Bloomberg Businessweek’s Sheelah Kolhatkar. “If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts!”

  429. It appears to me that both left and right usually are wanting to move things from the freedom quadrant.

    And yet all of things you mention in that first paragraph were in the direction of increasing freedom, and all were created and pushed forward by the left.

    Social Security (and the rest of the entitlement scam) has always been a Ponzi scheme

    That old chestnut? I thought better of you.

  430. htom to mintwitch: “Your deconstruction of the socio-political model, that I must have spent at least 20 minutes coming up with, is highly inconvenient. I shall therefore ignore said deconstruction, revise my model in such a way that no one could possibly deconstruct it (because no one could possibly understand it), and then redirect the conversation away from the model. For my next trick, I shall pull a rabbit out of this hat.”
    Good jorb, dude. Thumbs up.

    Billy:
    Assuming Rove really said that and you didn’t just quote The Onion, that level of hyperbole leads me to question Rove’s sincerity regarding “sinking” Akin.

    David: “That old chestnut? I thought better of you.”

    I know, right? I’m always amazed that people believe that without being paid to do so.

  431. Laws (in general) remove freedoms, rights (in general) establish them

    How about a law recognizing a right?

  432. @ htom:

    “Unit of the national labor force”, indeed; treating people as if they’re objects. Not a good thing to do. (I hope you were being a bit sarcastic with that phrasing.)

    Only as sarcastic as the various interest groups and courts who have ruled that the state has an interest in all viable (post 20-week) fetuses. The reasoning is that the state has an interest in potential human life as a future economic and political unit, i.e. a voter, taxpayer, and laborer. Exemptions for the “life and/or health of the mother” grant that the fetal incubator (mother) is a current economic and political unit, while the fetus has only the “potential.” Exemptions also acknowledge that maternal mortality prevents future incubations by the bearer, therefore possibly decreasing the supply of future workers and/or voters.

    In contrast, removing bans for life/health of the incubator means that the primary economic and political purpose of the womb-bearing half of the population is to incubate fetuses, and that purpose supercedes all other economic and political contributions that she may make to the state, i.e. the potential person’s potential contribution to the state is the paramount consideration. Of course, in this scenario, if the fetus turns out to be female, her primary political and economic purpose becomes the same as her bearer’s. The logical conclusion is, of course, obvious.

    You may not like the phrasing or terminology–most people don’t–but when courts release their decisions, this is the logic behind such lovely rhetoric as “the state’s compelling interest in protecting viable unborn children.” What do those words mean? What is the state’s interest? Why would the state have an interest? Because a state is made up of economic units, embodied in either discrete individuals who labor, vote, and pay taxes, or groups of individuals with combined interests, who do the same, and are therefor recognized as a single economic unit, e.g. married couples, families, and (to some extent) corporations.

    You object to the phrasing because it “treats people as objects,” which in your view is inherently “not a good thing.” I disagree. Phrasing doesn’t “treat people” in any way at all. Phrasing frames an argument. Phrasing can be used to elicit an emotional response, or to suppress emotion. In some cases, the latter is not only good, but necessary, in order to discover the good.

  433. Latest poll has McCaskill up by one point with only a two percent Republican oversampling (the last poll had 8% Republican over sample I think). The freaking over sampling thing drives me nuts. It makes it difficult to compare the polls to get a real feeling of what’s going on. Many of the national polls over sample Democrats by up to 12%, for example. Go figure.

    Anyway, if this trend continues Akin may win without any funding from the national party. I guess people are pretty sick of McCaskill. The Rove quote was not from the Onion, btw. He made the comment at a private fundraiser. The vast majority of Republicans really want Akin to go, but it may not matter if the voters in his state are more willing to forgive his one comment than they are McCaskill’s voting record.

  434. Htom

    You don’t know what a Ponzi scheme is. Admittedly, that is pretty common but nevertheless if you want to use it in an argument there is some obligation on you to look it up. You are confusing it with a pyramid scam.

    As for the alleged inevitable failure of a communal insurance scheme it does seem to me that you need to learn some history as well as some maths. When Galileo went on trial for heresy the city states of Italy had been providing free medical care for centuries; I usually point this out when people announce that the NHS is doomed to failure but I might as well note for your benefit that without this neither the Renaissance nor the Enlightenment would have happened.

    I suspect that the visitors from VD would attribute this to the city states being run by leftist vermin, and thus it would be much better if we were all living in a Christian country in the early part of the 12th century, but they would be wrong; the plague provided an excellent demonstration of the fact that we are all in this together and the people with the power to do things recognised that fact.

    Kat

    I am sorry to introduce yet another layer but the Irish constitution can only be changed by referendum; the politicians have less influence than otherwise would be so. Following a case in which the Supreme Court held that suicide represented a threat to the life of a mother, and thus a suicidal 14 year old rape victim was allowed to go to England for a termination, there was a referendum on excluding suicide from the definition. It narrowly failed.

    It is arguable that the abuse scandal has reduced the power of the Catholic Church in Eire, and certainly the police are now less inclined to defer to it, but the real difference is the guarantee of freedom to travel; no government will mess with that because Eire could not survive outside the EU. Which brings me back to my original comment that the only way to enforce the Republican programme would be by confiscating the passports of all women of child bearing age…

  435. David,
    Naw, I’ll stick by the prediction. Let’s just say I’m happy I don’t have a lot riding on it, though.

  436. @Stevie — Ponzi scheme because it’s an investment fraud, the sucker provides more and more money expecting promised returns later; the Ponzi manager shuffles funds about, not making real investments. A pyramid scheme calls for the sucker bring money, and to keep bringing in more suckers with money, payout depends on how many other suckers are brought in. It can be argued that a Ponzi is a subset of the more general pyramid scheme, but it’s a specific kind of scheme. Money goes “into” Social Security, is shuffled about, and handed back to the “investors”. Legal because the government is doing it; if ABC Insurance did this, the government would close it down. The SEC explains better.

    @David —

    @David — I think many of the changes I listed approvingly were in the direction of freedom, away from the left-right axis, brought about to a great extent by “left thinking”. “Right thinking” has brought some other freedoms. Usually, either kind of thinking reduces freedom.

    @mintwitch — I feel we’re singing in the same choir, only I’m grunting, while you’re singing an ornamental descant.

  437. Whoa. I thought that looked right in preview. Mucked up the closing LT slash a GT in the SEC link, it looks like. But why is the @ David not blue? Ahh, browsers.

  438. @htom I understand what a Ponzi scheme is, thanks, and I’ll stick with my original answer: I thought better of you.

  439. @David — You thought I’d go along with the crowd, believing the politicians rather than the math? Yowsers, I have an image problem here.

  440. You thought I’d go along with the crowd, believing the politicians rather than the math?

    I’m not sure I would brag about holding the same mathematical position as Rick “2 out of 3 ain’t bad” Perry.

  441. @ Kat Goodwin -

    And frankly, I’m not going to pat on the head those who didn’t vote at all or voted for Bush because they didn’t like Gore’s campaign messes either. Because they put Bush in office.

    Dammit, Kat, you’re still missing the actual problem. The rightward shift in the Democratic Party you have been so rightly decrying in this thread was neither caused, nor contributed to, by the small percentage of voters who cast their ballots for Nader; they are a symptom only. Gore tacked sharply to the right in his campaign, and THAT was what set the trend we’ve had since (and some of it started under Clinton). Yes, those voters should have voted for Gore. But for fuck’s sake, Gore shouldn’t have spent his entire campaign acting like he wanted Bush to win! And when the state of Florida rigged the final outcome right in front of the whole country, he should have stood his ground and said, “Fuck, no.” I’m not letting Nader voters off the hook; you’re letting Gore off the hook!

  442. @BW — Read your link again, especially the math part, where benefits have to be cut and government will have to kick in additional funding. Ponzi schemes can run for a long while if investors keep kicking in more funds. Eventually … math > want.

  443. Change of plans: I will be seeing the Clint Eastwood baseball scout movie. Oh Clint, you wonderful empty chair dude, you!

    htom: From what you’re saying, you’re a mildly conservative libertarian. Which means we mightily differ on just about everything. :) So I will stop trying to persuade you to vote Democrat and we’ll let it go at that. Also, when the schools are all privatized, and the private-run charter schools make all high school girls be tested for pregnancy like the ones in Louisiana are doing while ripping off the government for money and failing the kids, (assuming that kids over a certain income level will get schooling at all,) let us know how that goes on your freedom axis.

    David: “The man never lost a major election, I should note.” — Yes he did. He lost the 2000 election and it was handed to him anyway. And then he proceeded to gut every regulatory and environmental protection agency and long term planning agency and science agency in the government, ran through Clinton’s surplus with tax cuts for the rich and his illegitimate war, deregulated finance which led to the great crash, sucked at foreign policy, lost millions of dollars in cash in Iraq while 25 year olds tried to run the place, destroyed the school funding, messed up Medicare, etc., etc. He was an idiot run by neocon assholes. May he rot with all his strategery. Worst president ever.

    Stevie: That’s interesting about Eire. I will be curious to see which way things will go in that country, given the many different factors they face right now. I hope it will go in a better direction for them on all fronts.

    Eric: “Gore tacked sharply to the right in his campaign, and THAT was what set the trend we’ve had since (and some of it started under Clinton).”

    Yes, of course they did. The shift right has been going on for thirty years, since Reagan took office by selling his party to the far right and the Republicans began their domination (before that, the Democrats had most of it for several decades.) The Democrats started shifting right towards center in the 1980′s because the Republicans took the White House. The Republicans then took the Congress in 1994 and began the most vicious campaign of law blockage we’d seen since the 1800′s while the wingnuts took more and more power in the party. The electorate did not provide support for staying leftward as a way to get into office or to get deals done on legislation on all levels of government. Gore had no choice but to go more center to counter Bush and try to get enough of the center Independents. Which he basically did. If he’d had even part of the Nadar votes too, the Supreme Court would not have taken it from him. But he didn’t, because they were all throwing a hissy fit that he wasn’t bowing to them. And Obama has had to deal with the same shit because people confuse presidents with their daddy and don’t understand that it is platform ideology and voting block leverage that are key. The President has to deal with the whole electorate, not one piece. The President has to deal with Congress. The President is not a John Wayne, Clint Eastwood gunslinger who can threaten everybody to behave like in the movies (especially when he’s the first black one.)

    So no, Gore did not tell the Supreme Court to fuck off and try to fight it further. He was tired and it wouldn’t have done any good. It would have instead further destroyed the Democrats and given the Republicans even more opportunities. He bowed out. And then where was the freaking far left when Bush ran again? Complaining about Kerry, who yes, also bungled his campaign. It doesn’t matter because the goals of the party are way more important than just the presidential candidate. The far left has had a decent role in helping this country shift right. It needs to wise up, as far as I’m concerned. (And if it wants to do more Occupy protest, etc., great, let’s do that.) This is not just about presidents, but Congress, governors, state legislatures, town councils, school boards. The more Republicans win, the more the Democrats have to go rightwards towards the center. If they get support for going leftward, they go leftward. If the Republicans are going to ever shift back towards the center, they have to lose at every level of government as much as possible.

    Right now there is a civil war going on in the Republican party between drawbridge and wingnut. So they are both competing for who can seem the most rightward for the party base (elites compete for voting blocks.) At the same time, Romney, since he’s running for president, has to move left towards center to try to get the Independents. He put it off for awhile because he did not have a firm grip on his party. That’s why he made up rules on the delegates at the convention — Ron Paul’s army was a problem. And he made Ryan V.P. candidate to solidify with the base (Ryan is a drawbridge who poses as wingnut.) But what Akin showed in high relief was that Romney had to go center fast, which he did — our new kinder, gentler, still constantly contradicting himself Romney.

    Likewise, the Democrats have been able to go more left a bit this year after the disaster of 2010, (when the left didn’t turn out to vote and turned the government over to Republicans,) depending on their district, because of public outcry and situations where the Republicans have been vulnerable, and so they’ve been bolder (such as putting marriage equality in their platform.) Show them the support is there, vote them into office, give them back the House and to keep the Senate, and while they will not be perfectly left, they will — as they have been — go leftward in legislative goals. There are a lot of Democrats itching to take down DOMA, for instance, but they can’t unless there’s enough backing and ability to maneuver. This is how it works. This is how it works in parliamentary democracies too, just a bit more split up with more parties in the mix. Vote Democrat (or a liberal Independent who can actually win their district,) or you’re just handing it over to an increasingly far right party. If you get the Democrats into office, you can work to make them even more leftward. But if they can’t get into office, they’ll go right to get votes. Meanwhile the Republicans will be making the laws and stocking judges in the courts. It would be nice if we had two healthy parties for balance, but we haven’t for the last twenty-five years. So please stop bitching to me that the Nader voters didn’t matter. They mattered.

    Billy Q: Yes, the Rove thing is part of the interesting civil war going on. Apparently, Akin was in Tampa for the conservative conference pre-convention. They are pissed at Rove (drawbridge engineer who’s finding it harder to control wingnuts,) and really pissed that Rove went after Akin. So that conference is where they told Akin they would back him and fight against Rove and so he decided to stay in the race then. He left Tampa though since he would not be welcome at the convention. Akin does have support from a substantial sector of the party, a sector trying to take more and more control (and doing very well at it.) So Akin does have party backing and financial support — he just has it from one block. So he’s good to go. I don’t know if he’ll win or not, but I do know that McCasgill is up more than 1 point. However, the polls are all over the place, so it’s going to be an interesting race.

  444. Gore tacked sharply to the right in his campaign, and THAT was what set the trend we’ve had since (and some of it started under Clinton). Yes, those voters should have voted for Gore. But for fuck’s sake, Gore shouldn’t have spent his entire campaign acting like he wanted Bush to win!

    That bastard Gore! He never should have arranged for Reagan to win, either!

    (Seriously, blaming Al Gore for the rightward trend in American politics is so fucking stupid that I can’t even resist swearing).

  445. htom, the point made in the article is that a Ponzi scheme is set up intentionally to defraud, and the Soc. Sec. system was not.

  446. Okay, when we start analyzing Gore’s campaign we’ve seriously gone off topic. I mean… Gore. Yes, I agree, EVERYONE WAS ROBBED in that election, but come on, that is O-fuckin’-T.

  447. “Social Security (and the rest of the entitlement scam) has always been a Ponzi scheme, do the math, the only way it works is an infinitely increasing population to pay into it.”

    Yes, because Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme in the same way taxes are a Ponzi Scheme. Social Security is unsustainable because MATH–>Ponzi schemes involve money and sustainability issues–>Social Security is a criminal investment scheme concocted by the G-Man Gang.

    This is the same type of logic path that results in magical birth control powers for women because BIOLOGY.

  448. “Social Security (and the rest of the entitlement scam) has always been a Ponzi scheme, do the math, the only way it works is an infinitely increasing population to pay into it.”

    So weird. It ate half my post. The TL;DR of the missing text is basically:

    The serious with which I take your thoughts is inversely proportional to the seriousness of that claim. You can’t expect to be taken seriously if you start with a supposition and reimagine your way to a new rhetorical world order because AMERICA.

    Well, you can. Because people that don’t take those claims seriously just aren’t informed. Because they’re being lied to by the MAINSTREAM THAT DOESN”T KNOW AND IS PART OF THE CONSPIRACY TO BRAINWASH AMERICA INTO COMMUNIST ROBOTS ALL HAIL MEGATRON.

  449. Taxes don’t have to be a Ponzi scheme (although they could become one.) I don’t think of them as theft unless they actually are. Supposedly, you get immediate value (not promises of increased value a long way down the road) for what’s collected. Roads, bridges, … military. Schools. Goldwater was not advocating private schools, he was advocating local schools. The “desired” power bureaucracy was teacher -> principal -> elected local district school board (-> maybe, state school board to advise, not a committee of the legislature.) That’s all. Yes, some schools would have done evil things. Now all of the schools in the state (or nation) can be required to do so, as Akin et all desire. This is an improvement? I’d rather have a hundred evil schools than ten thousand required to be evil, and hoping for a million heroes to stand against it.

    @Kat. Peace. On most tests I come out as social liberal, fiscal conservative. RAH’s “Rational Anarchist” really appeals to me; make what laws will make you happy, if doing the right thing means I follow those laws, well and good; if not, I usually try to do the right even if the law forbids it.

  450. @ htom:

    Yes, some schools would have done evil things. Now all of the schools in the state (or nation) can be required to do so, as Akin et all desire.

    WTF? What are you saying, here? That every school in the US is buggering it’s 5th graders? I do not even understand your base premise.

    Also, still OT, so Akin, asshole, blah blah blah, asshole, constitution, rah!

  451. “The “desired” power bureaucracy was teacher -> principal -> elected local district school board”

    See, this is what I’m getting at. This is the actual state of public education. And, if that doesn’t suit you and you’ve got cash, there are private schools. But, if you start with a supposition and then just start saying words that blithely support the initial supposition you get pretty far down the rhetorical rabbit hole where your logic has to get all twisty and confusing. So, eventually you have a moment where you calmly state to someone outside that weird conversation: “What? Rape doesn’t get women pregnant. I don’t know how that works, but that’s why we don’t need exceptions to an abortion ban. Obviously.”

    So, yes, htom. Fighting over standards of education and curriculum enforcement at the federal and state levels is demonstrably better than not having things like integrated schools and title ix.

  452. Other Bill — You might want to look at who the school board sends reports to in addition to the local voters, whose standards they and the schools must meet, where the funding comes from, where tests are designed … the local school board has become a form of middle management, where it used to be the top of the pyramid.

  453. Htom

    Tosh. You still haven’t bothered to look up Ponzi scheme, have you? The fact that the SEC uses an explanation aimed at people who wouldn’t know a stripped bond from a hole in the ground is unsurprising; the fact that it appears to have been written by someone who wouldn’t know a stripped bond from a hole in the ground tells you a lot about the dumbing down of the US.

    I suggest you start with Ponzi himself unless you are content with the dumb…

  454. htom, I don’t understand why you keep saying your political views don’t lie on the left/right spectrum. Regulation/deregulation or over-regulation/laissez-faire is standard left/right political spectrum stuff. The “Right” is pretty much for deregulation and laissez faire of everything. Except when it comes to anything related to sex, When it comes to sex, the Right is far more regulatory than anyone who would consider themselves a “Lefty”.

    Akin wants to regulate abortion to the point of outlawing it even for someone who got pregnant from being raped. Most poeple on the left want abortion dereglated.

    Everything you’ve said about freedom, about choices, about regulating schools being “evil” and having deregulated schools having some schools be evil rather than having all regulated schools be evil is nothing but the stock-standard left/right political spectrum that is regulate-versus-laissez-faire. And what you’re espousing is the far right end of the spectrum that is laissez-faire, zero regulation.

    You said you believe that life begins after the baby is born and takes its first breath. That’s laissez-faire applied to the topic of sex. Just because Akin wants to totally regulate and control abortion doesn’t mean you’re no where on the left/right spectrum. It means you’re on the far right end of the regulate/laissez faire spectrum, even about abortion.