Rep. Kevin Cramer wants Native women to be as unsafe as possible.

RawStory pointed me to this article regarding Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N. Dakota), and now I want to crawl out of my skin.

While at the most recent state coalition membership meeting held on March 26, 2013, two of North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s staff and North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer were on the agenda.  They were brought in to listen to the Directors of programs throughout North Dakota.  We were instructed to voice our concerns, needs, and other issues that are affecting our programs.  We had a lot to discuss. The recent passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), including Tribal provisions giving limited jurisdiction over non-Native perpetrators, was a long, hard-fought battle that many are grateful for.  The sequester was looming over all of the Directors’ heads.  Senator Heitkamp’s staff were great.  They listened, took notes, and asked questions.  We all expressed our thanks for Senator Heitkamp’s support.  Immediately following Heitkamp’s staff was North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer.  A couple of Program Directors spoke, then I followed.  Knowing that Cramer spoke out openly against the constitutionality of the Tribal Provisions in VAWA, I thanked him for his support and proceeded with my concerns including how the Tribal Sexual Assault Services Program (TSASP) was taken out of the CTAS grant solicitation that went out to Tribes.  I said that our state, because of the oil boom, has been impacted negatively.  I mentioned that the program in Fort Berthold, for example, has seen drastic changes.

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*noisemaker*

This is my fourth presidential election since I reached voting age, and I will tell you, it is the first one in which I woke up to find LOTS OF GOOD NEWS.

We get four more years of Obama, AND we get Maryland, Maine and Washington in the Marriage Equality Club, for the first time by popular vote! I called it, motherfuckers! 2012 is the year we broke the streak!

*celebrates*

Two states with legal marijuana! We got Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, Tammy Duckworth in Illinois, Mazie Hirono in Hawaii!

Team Rape Apologist got legitimately shut down!

Maryland also approved in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants, because we love our newcomers!

Minnesota declined to join Team Hate!

I’m so proud to be an American.

 

Get a load of this horse’s ass!

There’s new content on Pottermore as of tonight, and I start my NaNo-Do-Mo’ tomorrow, so I don’t have time for more than a quick note before bed, but the under-control-of-fertility crowd just keeps it comin’. The latest one to jump in the clown car is John Koster, running for Congress in Washington state:

“Incest is so rare, I mean it’s so rare,” Koster explained. “But the rape thing, you know, I know a woman who was raped and kept the child, gave it up for adoption and doesn’t regret it. In fact, she’s a big pro-life proponent. But, on the rape thing it’s like, how does putting more violence onto a woman’s body and taking the life of an innocent child that’s a consequence of this crime, how does that make it better?”

Koster added that “crime has consequences” and that “killing a child” wouldn’t make up for it.

Dude, you do realize that the one who decides to “take the life of an innocent child” (is it really so difficult to call a fetus a fetus?) is the same person who is receiving “more violence” onto her body, right? Rape is something that happened to her, establishment of pregnancy happened to her, and if you had your way, full-term pregnancy and childbirth would happen to her. Abortion is a decision she made. One might get the impression that you only sympathize with a woman when she’s a helpless vessel for someone else’s desires. It’s not brave, compassionate or nuanced when you talk about how the world would be a better place if women could be forced to produce more children to the extent that their legs can be forced open. It makes you really effing creepy.

 

Roger Rivard: “Bitches be lyin’.”

Keep on putting that foot in your mouth, Wisconsin state Rep. Roger Rivard! While we’re at it, what do you think of this lovely length of rope I’m holding?

He told the Journal Sentinel that his father had advised him not to have premarital sex, and he took that seriously.

“He also told me one thing, ‘If you do (have premarital sex), just remember, consensual sex can turn into rape in an awful hurry,’ ” Rivard said. “Because all of a sudden a young lady gets pregnant and the parents are madder than a wet hen and she’s not going to say, ‘Oh, yeah, I was part of the program.’ All that she has to say or the parents have to say is it was rape because she’s underage. And he just said, ‘Remember, Roger, if you go down that road, some girls,’ he said, ‘they rape so easy.’

“What the whole genesis of it was, it was advice to me, telling me, ‘If you’re going to go down that road, you may have consensual sex that night and then the next morning it may be rape.’ So the way he said it was, ‘Just remember, Roger, some girls, they rape so easy. It may be rape the next morning.’

“So it’s been kind of taken out of context.”

Dude honestly thinks that this explanation makes his earlier remarks seem less offensive. He’s just elaborating on his father’s advice that young women falsely report rape to escape the stigma of having sex.

“Oh, no, I was stupid enough to open my legs with a dude, and now I’m knocked up! People are going to judge me for enjoying peen, and my social standing will never recover. You know what’ll make this go my way? I’m going to accuse my partner of a violent crime,  and assuming the police actually do anything to pursue the case, I’m going to spend months with my vagina under scrutiny! I want to be asked how many guys I’ve boned. I want to hear people discussing what I was wearing at the time, how I must have provoked him, and why I was stupid enough to ‘let’ him do it. I want my name to be dragged through the mud for months if the prosecution gets far enough to take the case to trial. That’ll be so much better for my reputation than admitting that I let a guy into my pants.”

SAID NO WOMAN EVER.

Do you think that our culture really needs to be more suspicious of survivors who report their rapes than it is now? Do you think we should be more skeptical in general of women’s reports of the violence they’ve endured? Do you think we should do even more to encourage women* to think extra-hard before they report rape? Do you think that women generally prefer the attention they receive in response to crying rape over the social consequences of having consensual sex with the same guy?

Because if those are your attitudes, then you probably don’t think very well of women and girls. If you’re an elected official who expresses those views in a public setting, a lot of female voters might even think they can’t trust you.

ETA: *The can of worms that opens up when a woman reports a rape is bad enough, but this goes double for men who are raped.

Amazingly enough, not all teenagers are horrible people.

It would have been so nice to go the rest of my life without talking about Mitt Romney, but something is bugging me and I need to get it off my chest.

You may have heard that this happened, and Mittens is unsurprisingly having to deal with a lot of bad press. At first I wanted to make some keen insight into how his teenage assholery relates to his current persona as a stiff, awkward, emotion-deficient robot, but no, what’s really getting under my skin at the moment is all these Internet commenters saying things to the effect of, “Oh, what does it matter if he bullied some kid in high school? We all know he’s an asshole anyway, so who cares?” Even worse are the ones saying, “Everyone’s an asshole in high school.”

Gee, how do I answer this? How about:

NO.

Holding another kid down on the floor and going at him with a pair of scissors is not some trivial, “We all do stupid shit when we’re young” fit of adolescent indiscretion. What Romney did to the late John Lauber was an act of violence, and a terrifying one at that. I’m willing to discuss the culture at the place and time, and how Romney didn’t get to be that way all by himself, but if you think Romney’s behavior was just typical teenage-boy bullshit, then you must have run with a really bad crowd. I never did shit like that in high school (though I suppose the expectations are different for girls?), my brother didn’t act like that, and I had a whole lot of guy friends and classmates who, amazingly enough, managed to get through their high school years without acting like bullies. Anti-social behavior is not inevitable simply because a guy is between the ages of 13 and 20, and when a grown man is called out for having attacked another boy at his prep school, he should show some remorse. He should, at the very least, admit that what he did was shitty and that he’s not proud of it. Such a resounding lack of acknowledgment is especially terrifying in a man who has raised five sons.

Free us from the tyranny of low expectations.

Jeff Sessions thinks the Dems FORCED him to show how much he hates women.

Jonathan Weisman of the New York Times has very nicely put together a handy round-up of people who hate women, as shown by their reactions to the latest renewal of the Violence Against Women Act. You’d think that protecting women from abusive, violent partners would be something that any politician would happily get behind, but this time, the Act includes some provisions that some GOP Senators and other defenders of Family Values just can’t stomach. The offending items include but are not limited to:

The legislation would continue existing grant programs to local law enforcement and battered women shelters, but would expand efforts to reach Indian tribes and rural areas. It would increase the availability of free legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, extend the definition of violence against women to include stalking, and provide training for civil and criminal court personnel to deal with families with a history of violence. It would also allow more battered illegal immigrants to claim temporary visas, and would include same-sex couples in programs for domestic violence.

Can you see where this is going?

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“I’m Rick Perry, and I fail at not parodying myself.”

Oh, now really.

Aside from the bald-faced lying like a cheap rug—no, Rick Perry, nobody is stopping you from openly celebrating Christmas! Just don’t do it in your capacity as a taxpayer-salaried public servant!—there’s the very not-subtle juxtaposition of “gays serving openly in the military” with the (fabricated) liberal encroachments on Christians’ freedom to worship. Once again cross-pollinating the Christian persecution complex with the majoritarian-American sense of entitlement, he’s transparently pitting his fellow travelers against The Rainbow Menace, making gay rights antithetical to freedom of religion.

I know that there are some people who will lap that shit up. The meme of gays as the enemy of Christians isn’t yet dead, but it’s putting him on the wrong side of history. For the younger generations—that is to say, those who will still be voting after Rick Perry and the rest of the GOP Clown Car bunch are dead—if you pit equality of civil rights for gays against Christianity, more and more people will chose the gays. Record numbers of Millennials are losing their religion because their churches have nothing to offer but hate.

Besides all that, it’s a crappy video. I could have chosen better background music. I do like the jacket, though. It’s very Jake Gyllenhaal meets Heath Ledger.

 

Anti-choice bill has idiotic name.

Our old buddy Rep. Trent Franks (R-idiculous) is riding that hobby-horse again, using his highly salaried time in Congress to write bills to combat problems that don’t exist.

The Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2011

restricts sex-selection abortion and race-selection abortion, and the coercion of a woman to obtain either. The woman seeking an abortion is exempted from prosecution, while abortion providers are held to account.

Right. There’s a real epidemic of abortion providers rounding up pregnant women and coercing them into aborting their female and/or black fetuses. Sure.

The use of Frederick Douglass’s name in the bill’s title, however, is especially hilarious. From what I recall of his writing, the rape and forced breeding of enslaved women was one of the horrors of slavery that he set out to expose. I don’t think he would have been on-board with this legislative hand-wringing over black women having too much abortion access.

I’ll say it again: Trent Franks does not care about black people!

 

Newt Gingrich, what is that I don’t even.

What exactly is this asshat trying to accomplish when he says shit like this?

I think what makes us different, and what makes us in some ways, when we have good leadership, much more ruthless and much tougher than any other country in world, is we don’t send soldiers and sailors and marines and airmen to war. We send our children. We send our fathers. We send our brothers and sisters. We send our mothers. And therefore there’s a preciousness to this decision unlike any other country I know of.

(I hesitate to call him an asshole; an asshole is useful.)

I’m sensing several layers of Wingnuttery being piled up here. If I’m not mistaken, Newt is telling this audience that,

1. Unlike any other country he can think of,

2. Americans recognize our armed forces as our family members, and furthermore,

3. That makes us more powerful and ruthless than other countries, so

4. We’re Number One.

I suppose it would be too much to ask of a GOPer to consider that after racking up thirteen figures’ worth of debt on invading Iraq and Afghanistan, maybe we should base our national self-worth in something other than our ability to wage war.

Does he honestly mean to say, though, that other countries don’t love their military personnel as family members? Does he think all other countries only enlist troops who don’t have families who love them? Or that everyone outside the USA ceases to love their relatives once they join the military?

Better yet, does he also really mean to say that America tops the charts in military might because our servicemembers are so much more loved by their families than in other countries, and not because, say, of the percentage of the federal budget we devote to defense?

Not that I assume Newt only says what he genuinely believes in front of his campaign audiences. I have no doubt this was a carefully crafted message tailor-made to suit his audience’s prejudices. That doesn’t make it less reprehensible, though. Regardless of how deeply the candidate believes such things, people do choose to listen to their messages, and those messages have consequences. I’m sure it must be very comforting to believe that American casualties in wars that we orchestrated from the ground up are so much more tragic than, say, the deaths of Iraqi and Afghan civilians and combatants, because we’re the ones who love our troops.

Mention rape survivor and Cardinal makes no sense.

Can someone please tell me whether this is sloppy journalism, or just a case of the Cardinal behaving nonsensically at the intersection of abortion rights and rape survival?

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago is apparently doing a mea culpa after attempting to shame Illinois’s pro-choice Governor:

“I deeply regret that,” George said Sunday afternoon, en route to Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago, where he was scheduled to present awards to parishioners for their dedication to ministries. “A rape victim demands all the respect and sympathy that anybody can give.”

Sorry, what exactly is going on? What did Governor Quinn do to get the Cardinal all torqued off at him in the first place?

George, leader of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Chicago, and the five other bishops who oversee the church in Illinois released the statement Wednesday criticizing Quinn, a Catholic, for his plans to present an award Nov. 17 at the annual luncheon for the Personal PAC. The statement said Quinn had “gone beyond a political alignment with those supporting the legal right to kill children in their mothers’ wombs to rewarding those deemed most successful in this terrible work.”

So, first of all, Cardinal George is annoyed at Governor Quinn for being pro-choice; that much has been going on for a while. We’ll be having none of this “thinking for yourself” or “forming your own opinions on controversial issues” as long as you call yourself a Catholic; that independent-thinking nonsense is for those who we know are going to Hell anyway. The new development was that the Governor was presenting an award at a luncheon for Personal PAC, which is dedicated to electing pro-choice candidates to office in Illinois. Hence, the woman-erasing language of “supporting the legal right to kill children in their mothers’ wombs” when the Cardinal decided this was a step too far.

With me so far? Good.

This is where it gets tricky:

Quinn defended his decision to honor Goodman, whom he described as “a strong advocate of helping rape victims all over our state and the country.”

And that is when the Cardinal suddenly started backpedaling like a cyclist who missed his turn:

“I am not sure what we would have done,” he said. “If we had known this, that it was in fact an award to a rape victim, I think our own conversation would have been very different.”

I think what happened is that Personal PAC is hosting the luncheon, but the award isn’t really for supporting pro-choice candidates, it’s in honor of Jennie Goodman’s advocacy on behalf of rape victims, and Cardinal George didn’t want to be seen beating his fists on the floor over an award going to a woman who’s known as a defender of rape victims. It’s bad PR, you know.

Although, this is where Cardinal George’s language gets even creepier. Governor Quinn makes it about her advocacy in helping rape victims. Cardinal George makes it sound more like she deserves their respect simply for being a rape victim. It has nothing to do with anything she’s done and everything to do with what someone else has done to her.

Come to think of it, that actually tracks really well with womb-control logic. It’s all about taking away the woman’s agency. Her body does not belong to her. If she doesn’t get a say in whether to give birth, then there’s no reason why she should decide to have sex. It’s ultimately the same idea.