cruelty

An Annoying Sort of Friend

Scott Walker ... the best friend your vagina doesn't want and never asked for.

This is a mystery … we hope:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said Monday that he’d be willing to sign a 20-week abortion ban without exceptions for rape or incest, adding that women were mostly concerned about those issues “in the initial months” of pregnancy, television station WKOW reported.

“I mean, I think for most people who are concerned about that, it’s in the initial months where they’re most concerned about it,” Walker said of pregnancies caused by rape and incest.

“In this case, again, it’s an unborn life, it’s an unborn child and that’s why we feel strongly about it,” Walker said. “I’m prepared to sign it either way that they send it to us.”

(Garcia)

We are possibly witnessing a spaghetti-meet-wall moment in conservative politics as the various factions of social conservatism dealing with sex and gender undergo what seems a complete meltdown. Mr. Walker is emblematic. The Cowardly Clown decided to come out swinging on this issue, going on conservative radio to explain that using force of law to put things in women’s vaginas was “just a cool thing out there”. And for whatever reason, he wants this fight; he went back to the same radio program to push his case. It was a particularly dishonest sleight, at that, suggesting the law “doesn’t designate which type” of ultrasound, but transvaginal is the standard medical procedure. Additionally, as Steve Benen explained, “no one’s opposed to ultrasounds in general, but plenty of people are opposed to state-mandated, medically unnecessary procedures imposed by right-wing politicians who choose to interfere with the doctor-patient relationship as part of a larger culture war”.

Remember that the purpose of this is to subject women to an unnecessary medical procedure, the standard method involving vaginal penetration by a foreign object, under force of law and with the intention of persuasion.

Yet Mr. Walker is not finished finding ways to molest women for the sake of his own moral satisfaction.

(more…)

Full Color Hatred

Detail of cartoon by Lalo Alcaraz, via Daily Kos, 1 April 2015.“Governor Pence swears [Senate Enrolled Act 101] was not created to allow religious conservatives to discriminate against gays. Trouble is, this bill’s most fervent backers are notorious homophobic anti-gay activists. Sheer coincidence! State sanctioned discrimination needs to stay in the 1950s, where it belongs.”

Lalo Alcaraz

Ouch.

Certes, Indiana will resent so pointed a hit, but those who might protest the basic notion of such a comparison would find themselves enlightened by certain wisdom offered nearly forty-five years ago:

Huey P. Newton, co-founder of the Black Panthers.Whatever your personal opinions and your insecurities about homosexuality and the various liberation movements among homosexuals and women (and I speak of the homosexuals and women as oppressed groups), we should try to unite with them in a revolutionary fashion. I say “whatever your insecurities are” because as we very well know, sometimes our first instinct is to want to hit a homosexual in the mouth, and want a woman to be quiet. We want to hit a homosexual in the mouth because we are afraid that we might be homosexual; and we want to hit the women or shut her up because we are afraid that she might castrate us, or take the nuts that we might not have to start with.

We must gain security in ourselves and therefore have respect and feelings for all oppressed people. We must not use the racist attitude that the White racists use against our people because they are Black and poor. Many times the poorest White person is the most racist because he is afraid that he might lose something, or discover something that he does not have. So you’re some kind of a threat to him. This kind of psychology is in operation when we view oppressed people and we are angry with them because of their particular kind of behavior, or their particular kind of deviation from the established norm.

Remember, we have not established a revolutionary value system; we are only in the process of establishing it. I do not remember our ever constituting any value that said that a revolutionary must say offensive things towards homosexuals, or that a revolutionary should make sure that women do not speak out about their own particular kind of oppression. As a matter of fact, it is just the opposite: we say that we recognize the women’s right to be free. We have not said much about the homosexual at all, but we must relate to the homosexual movement because it is a real thing. And I know through reading, and through my life experience and observations that homosexuals are not given freedom and liberty by anyone in the society. They might be the most oppresed people in the society.

And what made them homosexual? Perhaps it’s a phenomenon that I don’t understand entirely. Some people say that it is the decadence of capitalism. I don’t know if that is the case; I rather doubt it. But whatever the case is, we know that homosexuality is a fact that exists, and we must understand it in its purest form: that is, a person should have the freedom to use his body in whatever way he wants.

That is not endorsing things in homosexuality that we wouldn’t view as revolutionary. But there is nothing to say that a homosexual cannot also be a revolutionary. And maybe I’m now injecting some of my prejudice by saying that “even a homosexual can be a revolutionary.” Quite the contrary, maybe a homosexual could be the most revolutionary.

Huey Newton

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Alcaraz, Lalo. “Indiana, coloreds not served”. Daily Kos Comics. 1 April 2015.

Newton, Huey. “The Women’s Liberation and Gay Liberation Movements”. 15 August 2015.

The Shadow over Indiana

22 FEBRUARY 2015: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence appears on 'FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace'.  Guest host John Roberts interviewed Mr. Pence regarding various issues, including his status as a 2016 'dark horse' for the GOP presidential nomination, and the Hoosier State's 'religious freedom' bill empowering discrimination, which Pence signed into law in late March.  (Image credit: FOX News)

“Indiana businesses can now discriminate against gay people because of the ACA’s contraception policy?”

Steve Benen

Perhaps it seems an odd question, but there is a reason, after all:

The Republican governor, and possible presidential candidate, published a Wall Street Journal op-ed overnight in which Pence outlined his plan to address businesses that exploit his new law to discriminate against gay consumers: “If I saw a restaurant owner refuse to serve a gay couple, I wouldn’t eat there anymore.”msnbc

As Rachel joked on the show last night, “So, if you were worried that gay people might be refused service by a business in Indiana now, don’t worry. That could never happen because the state has decided to wield the grave threat of depriving businesses of Mike Pence’s personal patronage.”

In the same piece, the Hoosier State governor suggested this whole mess can be traced back to Obamacare.

Many states have enacted [Religious Freedom Restoration Acts] of their own … but Indiana never passed such a law. Then in 2010 came the Affordable Care Act, which renewed concerns about government infringement on deeply held religious beliefs. Hobby Lobby and the University of Notre Dame both filed lawsuits challenging provisions that required the institutions to offer certain types of insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.

Last year the Supreme Court upheld religious liberty in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, based on the federal RFRA. With the Supreme Court’s ruling, the need for a RFRA at the state level became more important, as the federal law does not apply to states. To ensure that religious liberty is fully protected under Indiana law, this year the General Assembly enshrined these principles in Indiana law. I fully supported that action.

Hmm. Indiana businesses can now discriminate against gay people because of the ACA’s contraception policy?

This apparently wasn’t persuasive, either, leading Pence to announce this morning his support for a legislative “fix.”

The question persists: How did Pence not see this coming?

(more…)

Bloodlust, in Jesus’ Name

Detail of 'Corpus Hypercubus', by Salvador Dali, 1954.

Because cruelty and stupidity are American virtues:

It doesn’t matter that a California lawyer’s outrageous Sodomite Suppression Act ballot initiative proposes executing gays with “bullets to the head,” or that it’s unconstitutional and could never become law. California Attorney General Kamala Harris is forced to allow the measure to circulate for signatures, legal experts said.

The initiative, which mandates 10 years in prison and permanent expulsion from California for anyone who advocates gay rights to minors, stands no chance of collecting 365,000 valid signatures it needs to appear on next year’s ballot. But because its backer, Matt McLaughlin, paid the $200 filing fee by the February deadline, Harris is bound by law to prepare a title and summary of the initiative by May so that its sponsor can begin collecting signatures, legal experts told the San Francisco Chronicle.

(O’Connor)

And remember, this is all in Jesus’ name

Okay, I suppose that part isn’t surprising.

But if you want to know why so many of our neighbors are ending in self-destruction, well, I guess we can call it God’s love.

The only real question, I suppose, is what sort of person would be willing to stand with such a brutal, vicious farce.

____________________

O’Connor, Lydia. “California Forced To Allow Signatures For Appalling ‘Shoot The Gays’ Ballot Initiative”. The Huffington Post. 23 March 2015.

Your Daily Powerup

Detail of 'Mary Death' by Matt Tarpley, 24 February 2015.

What really should be seared into memory is also blurred by the fact that it is a fairly powerful experience for most people, and with an addictive drug at that.

Still, though: Good times, good times.

Oh, hey, a phrase that will mean nothing to anyone else … well, unless you happen to be one of about four people who were there.

“Hey, Ken! Can I have some more maple syrup, please?”

Cruelty in brown glass.

Never mind. Separate subject.

Ah, youth!

Then again, Matt Tarpley’s high-fuel remembrance of yestersometime―and, oh, my, is that Nimbus?―is about the only answer we can offer. The bit about maple syrup? Yeah, you kind of had to be there. It’ll have to wait for another time.

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Tarpley, Matt. “Kick Start the Day”. Mary Death. 24 February 2015.

The Headline

The weird thing about feelgood headlines is that they often require us to feel good about someone else’s suffering. To wit, Washington Post wants us to know that “The Islamic State is failing at being a state”.

It used to be that when we taught young Americans to read, the critical thinking skills required to distill such information for oneself was intended to be part of the instruction. Perhaps it is arguable that people need the news so distilled these days, but nothing about such a notion should be comforting.

Still, though, it is a grim picture Liz Sly paints for WaPo:

Map showing approximate extent of Daa'ish authority in Iraq and Syria; via Washington Post, 25 December 2014.The Islamic State’s vaunted exercise in state-building appears to be crumbling as living conditions deteriorate across the territories under its control, exposing the shortcomings of a group that devotes most of its energies to fighting battles and enforcing strict rules.

Services are collapsing, prices are soaring, and medicines are scarce in towns and cities across the “caliphate” proclaimed in Iraq and Syria by the Islamic State, residents say, belying the group’s boasts that it is delivering a model form of governance for Muslims.

Slick Islamic State videos depicting functioning government offices and the distribution of aid do not match the reality of growing deprivation and disorganized, erratic leadership, the residents say. A trumpeted Islamic State currency has not materialized, nor have the passports the group promised. Schools barely function, doctors are few, and disease is on the rise.

In the Iraqi city of Mosul, the water has become undrinkable because supplies of chlorine have dried up, said a journalist living there, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect his safety. Hepatitis is spreading, and flour is becoming scarce, he said. “Life in the city is nearly dead, and it is as though we are living in a giant prison,” he said.

Basic Freudianism prescribes the idea that many enter certain professions, or undertake particular endeavors, as a way of sublimating otherwise unacceptable influences. Some doctors, by that outlook, become surgeons simply because they like to cut; and while this seems an utterly simplistic notion we might also try it as a springboard, because it is also clear that there exists a societal question about doctors who “play god”, which would probably be a more common sublimation than the need to slice and dice one’s fellow human being. The boxer? That part is obvious; by basic Freudianism many pugilists just like being in fights, and this is one acceptable way to spend one’s life doing just that. The police officer? Indeed, Americans are grappling with related questions in recent months, but comparatively what is happening in the Middle East is a naked, exponential caricature of any question we might ask about our own governance.

(more…)

A Reminder: Funerals Are for the Living

Transgender pride

“I am disgusted. A great and dear friend’s mom went to the funeral today. It was not closed casket. They cut her hair, suit on. How can they bury her as Geoff when she legally changed her name. So very sad. Jen you will be missed and people who know you know that you are at peace.”

Stacy Dee Hudson

Sometimes it bears reminding that funerals are rituals performed for the sake of the living.

James Nichols reports:

In a depressing reminder of the times in which we live and how far we still have to go to reach equality for everyone in the LGBT community, a Twin Falls, Idaho, transgender woman was presented as male in an open-casket funeral service this week.

Jennifer Gable, 32, reportedly died suddenly of a brain aneurysm while working at Wells Fargo Bank on Oct. 9. At her funeral, Gable, who legally changed her name in 2007, was reportedly not referred to as Jennifer once.

Additionally, the late Gable’s family cut her hair short and presented her wearing a suit and her obituary reportedly skipped the decade of her life she spent transitioning to live authentically as Jennifer.

There is no question, even from afar, that the proposition of refusing one’s own child’s identity in order to present them after death as something and someone other than who they really were is cruel beyond measure. It is selfish and hateful and ultimately stupid.

But it is also, such as things are, what funerals are for.

Not hatred and stupid, selfish cruelty per se, but the dead are either with God and thus otherwise preoccupied, suffering eternal punishment and thus otherwise preoccupied, or simply dead in a fucking box in the ground, in which case how their families abuse them at the memorial service just flat doesn’t matter to them.

Funerals and memorials are for the living.

That Jennifer Gable’s family apparently chose to celebrate their own desperate hatred? That is what it is. Call it what you want. But it is what they chose to celebrate, and such rituals and ceremonies are not for the dead. They are for the living.

In which case the best advice is to simply remember your friends for who they were, so that at least someone in this world still loves them.

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Nichols, James. “Jennifer Gable, Transgender Woman, Presented As Man At Her Funeral”. The Huffington Post. 24 November 2014.

Trump-tacular?

Donald Trump.

Is it cruel?

You know, you can see the disaster coming, yet the village idiot just keeps dancing toward destruction. It’s illegal to actually grab him by the lapels and shake him until he comprehends the monumental idiocy he is attempting to commit, so, you know, sometimes you just let things happen because, well, the only other alternative is to look away.

Donald Trump is teasing his 2016 presidential run again.

“We’ll see what happens,” Trump said at a press conference during a fundraiser for Iowa Congressman Steve King on Saturday. “We’ll see what’s going to happen, first of all, in the next month because that’s going to be very interesting.”

† † †

Back in July 2013, Trump told the National Review that he was “looking” to run because the country was being “stupidly and foolishly led.” He added that his business and economic reputation could help the United States take on China and put the U.S. back on top. Trump also told Reuters, in January, that running for president is something he “would certainly look at” because he is “unhappy with the way things are going in America.”

So, right. Is it cruel? Is it cruel to actually want to witness such a debacle? Much like last year’s suggestion that Ted Nugent might run for president, it is easy enough to consider prayer: Please, please, please, be there a God in Heaven, let this happen. Please?

It’s not like such campaigns would be without highlights. Watching Chuck Todd try to equivocate until his brain rebels and tries to crawl out his ear would certainly be an unfortunate spectacle, like the time in junior high when two kids from the special education classroom got into a fight in the hallway and everyone just stood around, watching, because, well, yeah, you just had to see it, you know?

But that is also where the question of cruelty arises. It was not enough for some classmates to simply watch the spectacle; they felt some need to labor and set a kid up for embarrassment. And such craven greed is, indeed, a chilling sight unto weary eyes.

Still, though, after watching the media pander to John McCain in 2008—he’s just a bit grumpy for an old man without his morning coffee, and who cares if this icon of foreign policy has no idea who our military is actually fighting against? it just shows how smart he is!—or scramble to keep Mitt Romney in the 2012 race by simply playing stenographer to whatever his campaign wanted to say, watching any number of otherwise respected and respectable journalists destroy themselves trying to throw Donald Trump (or the Nuge, at that) enough bones to keep the race close would be a better end than those reporters and halfwit commentators deserve.

Really, the only downside to a Trump candidacy would be if he actually won, which in turn would still serve a useful purpose in establishing that American society has officially gone “post-society”, and then the everyday working folks who have believed in this American Dream can rest assured that they no longer need to put the effort into a job they have already resigned.

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Taibi, Catherine. “Donald Trump Is STILL Saying He Might Run For President In 2016”. The Huffington Post. 20 October 2014.

Hendrix, Steve. “Shooting from the hip: Ted Nugent rocks politics”. The Washington Post. 2 July 2013.

Palmetto Cruelty, or, Traditional Virtues in South Carolina

Seal of South Carolina (detail)

So, this happened today:

The South Carolina Supreme Court is ordering state probate courts not to issue same-sex marriage licenses until a federal judge decides whether the state constitution’s ban on the unions is legal.

(Jeffrey Collins)

This is actually quite an interesting development. After all, as we learned yesterday:

A South Carolina court has accepted a same-sex couple’s application for a marriage license despite the state’s constitutional ban against the practice and the attorney general’s pledge to defend it.

(Associated Press)

The brief summary: The Supreme Court rejects appeals against marriage equality, with several states having lost their fedral court bids to uphold marriage bans. South Carolina accordingly begins issuing marriage licenses. South Carolina filed a motion in the state Supreme Court five minutes before the close of business, asking the Court to quash the licenses before the twenty-four hour waiting period required of all marriage licenses expired. The state Supreme Court accepted the motion and quashed licenses already issued.

It is true that the decision by the Charleston County Probate Court to begin issuing marriage licenses included the hinge of state Supreme Court approval, but here’s the thing about the court’s rationale: The state Supreme Court wants to wait for a federal ruling in another case, one that was put on hold by the SCOTUS decision to refuse the appeals. That case is an Article IV claim; the marriage ban will be struck.

In the end, this is just a deliberate delaying tactic in South Carolina, a wailing, gnashing effort to fend off the inevitable for the sake of simple human cruelty.

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Collins, Jeffrey. “South Carolina Supreme Court Halts Same-Sex Marriage Licenses”. The Huffington Post. 9 October 2014.

Associated Press. “South Carolina Supreme Court Halts Same-Sex Marriage Licenses”. The Huffington Post. 8 October 2014.

Smith, Bruce. “SC high court asked to halt gay marriage licenses”. The State. 8 October 2014.