Batshit of the Day!

Question: answered!

(Warning: clicking on the link is likely to make you hate your fellow Americans.)

Gee, it only took God 70 years to punish the wicked Japanese for Pearl Harbor. Old man’s losing his touch. I guess that means I won’t be punished for my premarital sex, heathenism and foul language until I’m well into my 90s, by which point I’ll be lucky to be alive anyway. No, no, wait, I’ve got it! God will punish my pro-choice arguing by giving my grandchildren cancer in their 30s. That’s the way it works, right?

Damn, you people suck so hard. We need God for morality like we need cotton candy for nutrition.

No, Bobby Franklin, you do not get to rename your state “Gilead”!

Your blogger just devoted precious neurons to reading the text of Georgia HB1, which legislates against “prenatal murder.” The arrogance at work is really quite astounding. Do all state-level bills involve this much posturing?

The essence of Rep. Bobby Franklin’s (R-eprehensible) big-talk is basically summed up thus:

(12) The United States Supreme Court had no jurisdiction to hear or decide the case of
64 Roe v. Wade or any other case pertaining to a state’s punishment of the crime of prenatal
65 murder;
66 (13) As it had no jurisdiction to hear the case, certainly the United States Supreme Court
67 lacked the authority to pass, or order all states to strike or refuse to enforce, a law that is
68 outside of its subject matter or federal jurisdiction;
69 (14) Even if the United States Supreme Court had jurisdiction, its authority is limited to
70 the case or controversy before it, and its opinion extends no further than between the
71 parties to the case or controversy;

[snip]

(24) As the United States Constitution confers to no federal branch either the authority
99 over the definition or prosecution of murder, or the power to nullify the laws of a state
100 that do the same, Roe v. Wade is ‘no law,’ is a nullity, and carries no legal effect in
101 Georgia;

Shorter version: “The state of Georgia is going to disregard Roe v. Wade because the SCOTUS doesn’t get to tell us what to do! You’re not my mother! You can’t send me to my room!”

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Assassins for Family Uterine Conscription

In the latest round of Satire Is No Longer Possible, there is a law under consideration in the South Dakota legislature that says abortion providers’ lives are forfeit. Kate Sheppard reports at Mother Jones:

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Phil Jensen, a committed foe of abortion rights, alters the state’s legal definition of justifiable homicide by adding language stating that a homicide is permissible if committed by a person “while resisting an attempt to harm” that person’s unborn child or the unborn child of that person’s spouse, partner, parent, or child. If the bill passes, it could in theory allow a woman’s father, mother, son, daughter, or husband to kill anyone who tried to provide that woman an abortion—even if she wanted one.

Let’s spell this out here: if you are the parent, spouse/partner, or child of a woman who is planning an abortion, you may kill the abortion provider before the procedure, and get away with it.

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Christofascist Dumbfuckery

Oh, this is freaking rich. Ed Brayton shows us this gem (and by gem I mean turd) from Bryan Fischer, warrior for Jebus:

That Bryan Fischer column saying it was okay to slaughter the Native Americans because they were so immoral has been pulled down from the AFA site and so has the response column written by another AFA staffer. Fischer rationalizes the whole thing:

So this is a conversation that needs to take place. But based on the reaction to my column of Tuesday, America is not mature enough right now for that robust dialogue to occur.

Fortunately it’s late enough in the morning that I’ve already finished my coffee, or else it might have been sprayed into the keyboard.

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No, Scientology, you are not the underdog.

*blinks*

Your blogger just got finished with several hours of reading Lawrence Wright’s article on the Church of Scientology in the New Yorker, told mainly through the experiences of recent apostate Paul Haggis. (Note to self: trying to read a piece of that length all in one go just shows how pathetic my attention span really is. Where’s that online Adderall I keep hearing about?)

This is my favorite part:

I asked Haggis why he had aligned himself with a religion that so many have disparaged. “I identify with the underdog,” he said. “I have a perverse pride in being a member of a group that people shun.” For Haggis, who likes to see himself as a man of the people, his affiliation with Scientology felt like a way of standing with the marginalized and the oppressed. The church itself often hits this note, making frequent statements in support of human rights and religious freedom. Haggis’s experience in Scientology, though, was hardly egalitarian: he accepted the privileges of the Celebrity Centre, which offers notables a private entrance, a V.I.P. lounge, separate facilities for auditing, and other perks. Indeed, much of the appeal of Scientology is the overt élitism that it promotes among its members, especially celebrities. Haggis was struck by another paradox: “Here I was in this very structured organization, but I always thought of myself as a freethinker and an iconoclast.”

Church of Scientology, the underdog?

No. Just…no.

We could sit around in our armchairs and talk until we’re all blue in the face over whether Scientology’s belief system is more absurd than that of any older, more accepted religion. I am not interested in having that conversation. What I will point out is that one of Scientology’s most effective strategies—perhaps the organization’s central act of genius—is that it is so happy to be the new religion of the rich and famous. If we want to talk about its adherents being marginalized and oppressed, we can surely look at Sea Org volunteers, who are systematically controlled, abused and enslaved by the Church of Scientology. I’ll give y’all a hint: you don’t get to be the religion of the marginalized and oppressed when it’s the leadership of the Church that’s doing the marginalizing and oppressing.

Being a Scientologist in Los Angeles doesn’t make you an underdog. It just makes you another one of Those Assholes.

What I find most entertaining (and by entertaining I mean frightening) about the history of a group like this (see also: Mormonism) is that it takes so little substance to create a new religion. No miracles, no good works, no ancient relics, just come up with a weird story, put it out there, and wait for folks to start latching on. Once you get a critical mass of followers, they take care of the hard work of recruitment, indoctrination, and enforcement. It’s a perpetual feedback loop; a brilliant system. If I published Charlinder’s Walk as anything other than fiction, how many people would think I was a Prophet, and how would they determine who would be among the select few to survive the coming pandemic and start the world over again?

What it means to lie

When we talk about lying, we usually assume we’re talking about outright fabrication: making a statement of fact which directly contradicts reality, but actually there are several different ways to lie. One might exaggerate or distort, or lie by omission. One might distract from the issue by weaseling around the question. All of these are effective ways to coerce people to behave in certain ways, which is the purpose of deception. It wouldn’t occur to anyone to lie if it made no difference in the way other people respond.

But then there is the good old-fashioned, straight up lie, in which you simply make shit up because the truth gets in the way.

Exhibit A: Andrew Wakefield.

What do you call it when people in positions of authority get together and create an outright falsehood for the purpose of pursuing a lucrative lawsuit over a problem that doesn’t exist? What do you call it when they turn that falsehood into hysteria that leaves thousands of people—especially small children—vulnerable to otherwise preventable disease, which inevitably kills some of them? What do you call it when they make a career out of lying to parents of young children about the health risks facing their kids, out of demonizing the big bad corporations that make products which actually keep people healthy?

What do you call it when you promulgate a lie that spreads disease that used to be vaccinated to near-nonexistence, without making the slightest dent in autism rates?

Because that’s what I call evil.

“Respect mah authoritah!”

Via RD.net, who got it from Ophelia Benson, we have Bishop Olmsted’s letter to Catholic Healthcare West. It is a beautiful piece of correspondence, if we are to define “beautiful” as “exemplifying the enjoyment of watching an old man lie down and beat his fists on the floor.”

The story is basically that, some time last year, a young mother staggered into St. Joseph’s Hospital with end-stage pulmonary hypertension precipitated by her 11-week pregnancy. The hospital ethics committee approved an abortion to save the woman’s life. The result was that the hospital sent a living woman home to recover with her husband and four already-born children, a nun on the ethics committee was demoted and excommunicated by the Diocese, and now Bishop Olmsted is throwing a tantrum, shouting “Respect mah authoritah!”, beating his fists on the floor, and threatening to take his ball and go home.

Shorter version, if you just don’t have time to slog through the letter: the Bishop makes the rules, anyone who disagrees with the Bishop is out of the club, and the Bishop says that next time you see a woman with a life-threatening complication of pregnancy, you had better let that woman die. It is better to let four other kids lose their mom than to deny a nonviable fetus its right to kill its mother.

Unclear on the Concept

There is a lot of evidence that this Birth or Not business is a load of bullcrap, an anti-choice hoax, a prank, a setup for a pro-quantity conversion, etc. None of that evidence is actually necessary. The premise itself gives away the game.

Here’s the problem with the “Vote On Our Pregnancy” stunt: the pro-choice position, that of reproductive freedom, says that the decision to terminate a pregnancy should be private. It belongs first and last to the woman who is pregnant. The opinions of any number of thousands of people on the Internet are irrelevant.

So, if you want us to think you believe in a woman’s right to choose, then…

DO NOT CREATE A WEBSITE TO PUT YOUR REPRODUCTIVE DECISION UP FOR A POPULAR VOTE.

The pro-choice answer to the poll is not to vote at all. The people voting to abort are anonymous jackasses who wish to communicate that the Arnolds are a couple of ridiculous pieces of shit. I’m inclined to agree that they are, in fact, ridiculous pieces of shit, but I’m also inclined to think there isn’t even a real pregnancy here.

This is what they mean by “pro-life.”

Jezebel points us toward LAHT’s story of Mexican women doing prison time for abortions. Selected highlights:

The women, all poor and with little education, have served between three and eight years of the 25- to 30-year sentences handed down by state courts.

Of these seven cases, one was a spontaneous abortion, two others were undertaken because of rape and the rest were for accidental pregnancies, Cruz said.

“All the men that got them pregnant abandoned them and accused them” of getting the abortions, said the activist.

“The government always has denied that it imprisoned people for the crime of abortion. We had to go from prison to prison to verify it,” said the Centro Las Libres director.

In recent years – during which the right-wing National Action Party has governed the country – the conditions under which women can have abortions have become more difficult.

Conservative-led Guanajuato was the only state in the country that refused to promulgate a law against gender violence, as had been federally mandated.

“It was said that violence against women in Guanajuato doesn’t exist and that (such a law) was not necessary,” Cruz said. Some years ago, she noted, the authorities tried to eliminate rape as a justifying factor for having an abortion but the opposition of activists prevented that.

Guanajuato – with Mexico’s highest rate of teen pregnancy – refuses to teach sex education in the schools.

There are several unsurprising factors at work here:

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