If you’ve ever been to a lefty protest of almost any kind, you’ll see what I did there in the headline. For some reason, certain people believe that getting together and chanting “Hey hey, ho ho, [insert topic of protest here] has got to go” is a magical incantation that stops badness from happening, or at the very least “sends a clear message” that someone is pissed. Of course, chanting and sending clear messages don’t actually do any good. All they do is allow the protesters to feel and appear important. Virtue signalling, I think they call it. But it does make a clever blog headline.
Know what else doesn’t do any good? Invoking the oh-so-hip-and-trendy “rape culture” canard about which I’ve written before. It’s the 21st century equivalent of Mama Cass’s sandwich or the 2000 Florida recount. To quote C.H. Spurgeon, a lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on. (No, that wasn’t Mark Twain.) And once it’s out there, it just won’t die.
Most recently, the ubiquitous “rape culture” topic showed up in my inbox in the form of a column by Catholic nun Christine Schenk in the latest issue of National Catholic Reporter. I don’t know if Sr. Christine wrote the headline (“Rape Culture: Of Donald and Don Giovanni“) but she definitely wrote the column, in which she calls Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to task for being a pig. She concedes that Trump has never been accused by anyone of being a rapist, but that doesn’t stop her from concluding that we live in a society that “breeds too many Don Giovannis” (Don Giovanni and Donald Trump, get it?)
That got me wondering just how many Don Gionvannis (i.e., rapists) St. Christine thinks there are running around, and if that number is “too many,” what an acceptable number would be. Let’s presume that she, like everyone else (except, presumably, rapists themselves) considers one to be too many. What are the real numbers? Let’s ask the FBI, which addresses rape and other crimes in an annual report. The last complete report covers 2014, and it offers this summary (emphasis mine):
- There were an estimated 1,165,383 violent crimes (murder and non-negligent homicides, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults) reported by law enforcement.
- Aggravated assaults accounted for 63.6 percent of the violent crimes reported, while robberies accounted for 28.0 percent, rape 7.2 percent, and murders 1.2 percent.
- There were an estimated 8,277,829 property crimes (burglaries, larceny-thefts, and motor vehicle thefts) reported by law enforcement…
- Larceny-theft accounted for 70.8 percent of all property crimes reported, burglary for 20.9 percent, and motor vehicle theft for 8.3 percent
Let’s note first that there were seven times more non-violent property crimes reported in 2014 than there were all violent crimes put together. Even within the violent crime category, there were almost four times as many robberies (i.e., theft with a violent component) as rapes. If we add robberies to the non-violent property crimes, that means that all property crimes outnumbered rapes 99-1.
None of that means we don’t have a problem with rape. There were only 1/6 as many murders as there were rapes, but no sane person would contend that homicide isn’t a scourge that needs to be fought. Nor do mere numbers tell the story. A victim of violent crime suffers far more than a victim of property crime, with sexually-based crimes being particularly damaging not only physically but emotionally as well. Comparing the two straight up is like comparing a case of the sniffles to cancer: “You have a brain tumor? That’s nothing — I had to deal with FOUR COLDS last winter alone!” Yet that’s what Sr. Christine does when she places Trump’s rude and crude words and behavior alongside a literary example of actual sexual assault. It’s also what many other Trump opponents do when they equate him to a rapist, even as they defend another well-known politician—former president Bill Clinton—who has been accused multiple times of actual rape (“rape-rape,” as Whoopi Goldberg might call it).
Nor does it do any good to overstate one particular issue for what are often transparently political purposes. There was a time, barely a generation ago, when you’d think medical science was standing idly by while women were being decimated by breast cancer even as men enjoyed virtual freedom from any analogous disease. Contrary to the popular perception, prostate cancer was not only more prevalent and more deadly, but was vastly under-funded in research circles compared to breast cancer. You would never have know that because men weren’t having candlelight vigils across the country to accuse doctors and pharmaceutical companies of blatant sexism for failing to find a cure for prostate cancer.
There are certain issues—rape being one of them—that are serious enough without lying about their prevalence or using them as political bludgeons against people we don’t like who never did anything remotely close.
Geez, I leave you people alone for not even five months, and all hell breaks loose. Clearly my presence is needed. Not to mention my commentary about it all.
For those who don’t know anything about Vladimir Putin, let me clue you in: He’s an old Soviet KGB guy who masturbates to a picture of Stalin. OK, I don’t actually know about that last part, though I wouldn’t be surprised. I do know that he is philosophically much closer to most leaders of the former Soviet Union—save Gorbachev—than any Russian leader since the collapse of the old communist empire.
Thus, no one should be surprised that he has invaded what in his dreams is still called the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Sure, he insists that it isn’t really an invasion, just the action of unaffiliated rebels, because he is counting on the rest of the world not noticing that those rebels are all wearing Russian military uniforms and driving Russian military vehicles and packing Russian military-issue heat. Indeed, the only thing that should surprise anyone is that it took him this long. Make no mistake, Vlad has designs on Ukraine—and several other nations.
Take your pick on which name to use. You say to-may-to, I say to-mah-to. In fact, you can call it Al Qaeda or Hezbollah or Black September for all I care. It’s yet another Islamic terrorist group with an odd affinity for killing people who don’t toe their religious/political line. Remember after the September 11 attacks, when George W. Bush and assorted celebrities tied themselves in knots to assure Muslims that we weren’t at war against Islam? It turns out that Islam, or at least a segment of it that enjoys a disturbing amount of support from Muslims around the world, was at war against us, and still is. ISIS has vowed to destroy the United States and fly their flag over the White House. All I can say to that is, over my dead body, and I mean that literally.
One aspect of the news coverage that bothers me is all the attention given to the beheadings of two American journalists. Not that those weren’t awful, but ISIS has been doing this for months, and many of their victims have been Christians, particularly children. I’ve seen a fair amount of coverage in the alternative media and a few conservative news sites, but the mainstream media has been more lax—until their own were the targets.
If media outlets give disproportionate coverage to journalists killed by terrorists, they also give disproportionate coverage to black men killed by police. Again, it isn’t that such cases shouldn’t be investigated; I’ve seen and heard enough about over-zealous cops on power trips to appreciate the possibility that the shooting of an unarmed civilian is indeed unwarranted. And in the interest of full disclosure, I was one of the people who jumped on the bandwagon denouncing the shooting death of Michael Brown in Missouri. But as is the case so often, it turns out that initial reports—and my initial reaction—might not have been entirely accurate.
I consider heavy-handedness by law enforcement to be a significant threat to liberty. At the same time, it isn’t heavy-handed for an officer who believes he or she is in danger to exercise self-defense, which is the right of civilians as well. Let’s just say that I am no longer convinced that the Ferguson officer didn’t have a legitimate reason to feel threatened. Besides, if the killing of an unarmed black man by a white police officer is by definition a big news story, then the killing of an unarmed white man by a black police officer (yes, it happens more than you would think) should be as well. That there is disparate treatment says more about the racist attitudes of the media and many observers than about alleged racism by police.
It isn’t a new idea, but the neo-feminist insistence of societal misogyny so pervasive as to indicate the widespread cultural acceptance of rape is getting a lot more attention lately. It’s bullshit. Seriously, if encouraging women to take simple steps to keep themselves safe is sexist—and the reasoning (I use the term loosely) goes that men shouldn’t rape, so women shouldn’t have to protect themselves from it, and suggesting they do is akin to blaming the victim—then it isn’t just rape that our society supposedly accepts.
I have a home security system because my house was broken into a couple of years ago and I don’t want it to happen again. But really, it wasn’t my fault that I was robbed; I should be able to feel secure in my own home. So what if I refused, as a protest against “theft culture,” even to lock my doors and windows? Or what if I failed to safeguard my personal information—social security number, online passwords, credit card numbers, and the like—as a protest against identity thieves and a statement of empowerment? I would be out of my mind, that’s what. Because in the real world in which I live, there are those who break into houses, steal people’s identities, and yes, even rape women. I can stomp my feet and bitch about it, or I can be a grown-up and protect myself against it.
And having thus vented, I feel better now. I’ll be back soon with more of the insightful opinions you have come to expect from me and have, no doubt, missed terribly.
Among the major differences between Democrats and Republicans is that when Democrats are in the majority, they consider it a public endorsement of whatever they want to do, whereas when they’re in the minority, they suddenly stop caring about election results. Another difference is that when in the minority, Republicans stick around like nettles and Democrats take their marbles and go home out of state.
This new trend is the topic of a Washington Post article entitled, “Democratic legislators embracing tactic to gain leverage: Fleeing.” Usually running away if you don’t get your way is called quitting, but apparently if you’re a Democratic legislator, it’s a “tactic.” I’ll be sure to write that down.
Also noted is this tidbit, which in some Orwellian parallel universe might be considered logic, from Indiana state Rep. Kreg Battles:
I will say as a minority member I don’t expect to run the show. But I do expect my voice to get heard, and this is a way that we can demand that we’re not locked out of the process.
Note to Rep. Battles: If you want your “voice to get heard” and avoid being “locked out of the process,” a more effective tactic would be to, you know, not remove yourself from the process. Instead, show up to work, participate in debate on the floor of the legislature, and then vote. It’s really quite simple. That’s the only way your voice counts.
So to all you whining AWOL Dems out there, it’s time to cut the toddler tantrum crap and do your jobs.
A Pennsylvania abortionist and several of his employees have been charged with murder in the deaths of a woman and seven babies. An abortionist killing babies? I’ve never heard of such a thing.
A doctor who gave abortions to minorities, immigrants and poor women in a “house of horrors” clinic was charged with eight counts of murder in the deaths of a patient and seven babies who were born alive and then killed with scissors, prosecutors said Wednesday.
He gave them abortions? Well, isn’t that magnanimous of him, giving away much-needed legal medical service to poor women for free.
Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 69, made millions of dollars over 30 years, performing as many illegal, late-term abortions as he could, prosecutors said.
Oops. Maybe not. But at least he provided safe procedures, and hey, everyone makes a mistake once in a while. That’s why abortion is careful regulated by the government, whose primary concern is the women’s health.
State regulators ignored complaints about him and failed to inspect his clinic since 1993, but no charges were warranted against them given time limits and existing law, District Attorney Seth Williams said.
OK, so someone was asleep at the wheel. But Gosnell was still doing something the women needed. No woman wants to have an abortion, but sometimes there is no other option. And it isn’t like these are real babies who can live outside their mothers. The correct word for them is “fetuses.”
Gosnell “induced labor, forced the live birth of viable babies in the sixth, seventh, eighth month of pregnancy and then killed those babies by cutting into the back of the neck with scissors and severing their spinal cord,” Williams said.
Wait a minute, isn’t that called intact dilation and extraction? So Gosnell terminated the fetuses after they were fully removed from the women instead of before. That’s just a change of scenery, really. There’s nothing magical about the birth canal. Why are we persecuting a doctor engaged in such a noble profession? Clearly, he must care a great deal about women to have chosen this line of work.
Gosnell has been named in at least 46 malpractice suits, including one over the death of a 22-year-old mother who died of sepsis and a perforated uterus in 2000. Many others also involve perforated uteruses. Gosnell sometimes sewed up the injury without telling women their uteruses had been perforated, prosecutors said.
Well, he isn’t the most careful doctor in the world. But don’t forget that he is serving disadvantaged women, mostly poor minority women, and I’m sure he cares a great deal about giving minorities equal access to health care services.
Some women came from across the mid-Atlantic for the illegal late-term abortions, authorities said. White women from the suburbs were ushered into a separate, slightly cleaner area because Gosnell believed they were more likely to file complaints, Williams said.
Oh, please. This is obviously just an opportunity for the anti-woman crackpots on the far right to demonize abortion doctors and the women who rely on them. It’s abortion providers who truly care about women, not the evil mean people who want to deny women a choice. Besides, abortion defenders detest the very rare instances when a bad doctor hurts women. Just listen to their vociferous and heartfelt protests over the “house of horrors” that was Dr. Gosnell’s facility:
The hoopla has died down, but back in the early days of the Obama administration, the tax problems of many of the President’s appointees were all over the news. Perhaps the most troubling example was Timothy Geithner, nominee for Secretary of the Treasury, who, despite the new President’s confidence in his ability to oversee the federal department that includes the Internal Revenue Service, had a less-than-stellar past where paying Uncle Sam was concerned.
(January 14, 2009) Timothy Geithner didn’t pay Social Security and Medicare taxes for several years while he worked for the International Monetary Fund, and he employed an immigrant housekeeper who briefly lacked proper work papers.
Those issues, and a series of other tax matters, scuttled a tentatively scheduled confirmation hearing Tuesday for Mr. Geithner as Treasury secretary, Senate Finance Committee aides said…
In 2006, the IRS audited Mr. Geithner’s 2003 and 2004 taxes and concluded he owed taxes and interest totaling $17,230, according to documents released by the Senate Finance Committee. The IRS waived the related penalties.
During the vetting of Mr. Geithner late last year, the Obama transition team discovered the nominee had failed to pay the same taxes for 2001 and 2002. “Upon learning of this error on Nov. 21, 2008, Mr. Geithner immediately submitted payment for tax that would have been due in those years, plus interest,” a transition aide said. The sum totaled $25,970.
That’s right, Geithner was audited and told he owed the taxes back in 2006, but he didn’t pay up until late 2008, after he knew he was going to be nominated for a cabinet position. And did you get the part about the penalty waiver? Try getting a similar deal from the feds if you’re not a well-connected big shot.
A few creative bloggers decided that if the new President himself wouldn’t stand up for what’s right and ditch his tax-evading nominee, then they would find other ways to punish him. One idea was to use the presence of Geithner’s signature on every Federal Reserve Note minted during his tenure as an opportunity to remind everyone about the caliber of people in charge of passing judgment on the rest of us. How? By buying a rubber stamp that says, “TAX CHEAT,” and stamping it over Geithner’s signature on every bill you can find. I, for one, thought that was a fabulous idea.
After the idea had made the blog circuit for a while, Glenn Reynolds published a warning by blogger Beldar advising that such a stunt might not exactly be legal under chapter 18, section 333 of the U.S. Code, which states:
Whoever mutilates, cuts, defaces, disfigures, or perforates, or unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, or Federal Reserve bank, or the Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt unfit to be reissued, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.
As an slightly related aside, I am a long-time user of Where’s George? (and, when in Canada, its counterpart Where’s Willy?). Where’s George? is a nifty website that lets people enter and track bills they receive and then put back into circulation. When entering a bill in the database, the user also marks the bill with the web site address so that others who receive it, being curious about what the site is, might in turn enter it and add to its travel history. Whenever someone re-enters a bill, everyone who entered it before gets a notification and can see where it has gone. It’s great fun; my bills have been re-entered by people in 21 states, the District of Columbia, and Mexico. Money gets around.
Since I already periodically mark and enter my bills into the Where’s George? database, I realized it would be easy for me to take note of which ones were issued under Geithner and mark them accordingly, and that marking would in turn travel all over the country. So, Beldar’s legal warning notwithstanding, I have begun adding my own hand-written protest to bills I see with Geithner’s signature. Here’s an example of a bill with both Where’s George? and “tax cheat” marks:
And here’s a close-up of the Geithner protest:
Notice that, unlike what is shown on the TaxCheatStamps.com web site, I have taken care to not write over the signature or any other part of the bill, leaving it fully fit “to be reissued.” I have also obscured the serial numbers on the image so no one can print it and make me an accomplice before the fact to counterfeiting. If the Secret Service decides to come after me anyway, well then, I guess I’ll just have to become the test case for the legality of this rather mild form of civil disobedience.
Remember candidate Barack Obama’s “hope and change” mantra? Unemployment was almost 6% under Bush, so we needed change. The deficit was a billion dollars, so we needed change. The Pentagon’s Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell policy was unjust, so we needed change. We were losing the war in Afghanistan, so we needed change. Suspected terrorists were being held at the U.S. military prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, without charge or trial, so we needed change.
And change is what we got, the worst kind. Unemployment has doubled. The deficit has increased by a factor of 100. The Obama Justice Department is defending DADT in federal court. We’re going to pull out of Afghanistan next year and ensure that we will lose. Suspected terrorists are still being held at Gitmo, but now they’re being tried, acquitted, and sent back into detention.
That’s what has happened in at least one case, the trial of Ahmed Ghailani, charged in connection with bombing two of our embassies in Africa back during the Clinton Administration. The Obami felt military tribunals didn’t sufficiently respect detainees’ right, so they pushed instead for a trial in civilian criminal court, where Ghailani was acquitted on all but one of the hundreds of charges against him.
But don’t worry about Ghailani serving a short sentence and then getting out to resume wreaking havoc on American interests. The Obama administration will simply detain Ghailani until they decide we’re no longer at war with al Qaida. That might be a long time, much longer than whatever sentence the civilian court imposes for the one count of conspiracy on which he was convicted.
Let’s look at that again. The evil, amoral Bush administration was wrong to hold terrorism suspects as enemy combatants without trial. So the messianic Obama administration swooped in to…hold terrorism suspects as enemy combatants despite the result of a trial.
“Change” is a concept embraced by people who prefered not to think, instead mindlessly following the candidate who was the best at reading his lines from a teleprompter. “Change” is like “natural”: it can mean many things, not all of them good. As my young son pointed out many years ago, arsenic is natural, rattlesnake venom is natural, gamma rays are natural. Increasing unemployment and spiraling deficits are change, but like snake venom, we can do without them.
Do you supposed the suckers who didn’t bother to ask what kind of change Obama was talking about have learned their lesson? Neither do I. They were foolish and gullible before, and they’re still foolish and gullible. It’s their nature. That’s why it’s up to the rest of us to do the thinking and not be afraid to say, loudly and often, We told you so.
It Took Four Years, but Pelosi Finally Got Around to Starting on That “Most Ethical Congress Ever” Thing She Promised
And the unlucky recipient of a guilty verdict is Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY). It couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy.
Among the transgressions attributed to the ethically-challenged Congress member are illegal use of multiple rent-controlled apartments for political use, evading taxes and foregoing interest payments on a Caribbean villa, and using Congressional letterhead for personal and political purposes.
Poor Charlie had complained that the Ethics Committee hadn’t given him enough time to examine the evidence, prepare a defense, and raise money to pay his lawyers. And speaking of paying his lawyers, he couldn’t resist yet another ethics lapse doing that, either:
Rangel cannot accept free legal advice under the House gift ban, but has already used nearly $300,000 from his national leadership PAC to cover attorneys’ fees, which is also a violation of House rules.
Only in New York City (and maybe Chicago) can someone so transparently corrupt be re-elected by a 4-1 margin just a couple of weeks before his trial on multiple ethics violations. New York voters really are a unique kind of stupid, aren’t they?
It used to be that feminism (or “women’s liberation,” as it was called when I was a child) was a movement for fairness. The goal was to bring women’s rights into line with those taken for granted by men, to replace male privilege not with female privilege but with equality. It was such a simple idea that the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution stated it in a mere 24 words, not one of which mentioned women: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”
Most feminists I know still embrace a commitment to equality. But one column I read recently rejects the very foundation of feminism. In an online column from Britain’s Spectator magazine, Melanie McDonagh, who appears to be at best an occasional contributor, takes on the issue of DNA testing to establish a child’s paternity — and voices the perplexing opinion that such testing is bad for women.
It’s a wise child, they say, that knows its own father. Nowadays, however, wisdom is hardly required; DNA tests can do the job with scientific certainty…
Now, a cotton-wool swab with a bit of saliva, plus a small fee, less than £200, can settle the matter. At a stroke, the one thing that women had going for them has been taken away, the one respect in which they had the last laugh over their husbands and lovers. DNA tests are an anti-feminist appliance of science, a change in the balance of power between the sexes that we’ve hardly come to terms with. And that holds true even though many women have the economic potential to provide for their children themselves.
[ . . . ]
[T]he old situation, in which women presented men with a child, and the man either did the decent thing and offered support, or made a run for it, allowed women a certain leeway… Uncertainty allows mothers to select for their children the father who would be best for them.
But in making paternity conditional on a test rather than the say-so of the mother, it has removed from women a powerful instrument of choice.
Huh? Here is a woman (one who holds an extreme minority view, I would hope) who argues that it is in women’s best interests to allow them the choice to pretend and deceive, in order to select, retroactively, the best fathers for their children. That it is “anti-feminist” to have them live in the real world, encumbered as it is by reality. McDonagh’s idea of feminism isn’t women getting what they deserve, but women getting what they want, simply because they’re women.
It’s an argument one might expect from a toddler who is too immature to understand that it isn’t all about him or her, or from a teenager too selfish to acknowledge that adulthood isn’t just about rights but also responsibilities. It certainly isn’t fair to men. But neither is it fair to women. It reinforces and legitimizes stereotypical images of women using their feminine wiles to trap men into taking care of them.
Is this what passes for feminism in the 21st century? I believe not. I hope not. I prefer to think that McDonagh is simply a user, like so many other women and men who are intellectually and morally stunted. Perhaps she is a narcissist. In any case, let’s not allow her and those like her to be the ones who define feminism down. Let’s not go back to the bad old days when notions of gender superiority were not only accepted but required.
Via Ann Althouse, I see the New York Times ran an article yesterday about chemical attacks against girls’ schools in Afghanistan, a topic I was just discussing Sunday with my cousin, Lt. Col. Jonathan L., just back from Kabul. Jon has two daughters, both in the lower elementary grades, who don’t have to worry about Neaderthals trying to keep them out of school. If such a thing were happening here, presumably we would want the feds to protect them and guarantee their safe attendance, like National Guard troops did in the south during the earliest days of school integration. I’d like to ask some of the people who think we should leave Afghanistan why American girls are more deserving of education than Afghani girls. The answer, I suspect, is simple xenophobia. One aging hippie actually once said to me years ago in reference to the controversy over education of females in Afghanistan, “We can’t impose our culture on them. Our ways aren’t their ways.” So much for universal human rights.
My roommate asked a fireman “What happened?” He answered “It was a bomb.” That answer was shocking. How could it have been a bomb? You mean someone did this on purpose? How can that be? the peace movement isn’t about bombs, it’s about peace?!
[ . . . ]
The anti-war movement was a sham; a cover for violent anarchists. It wasn’t actually anti-war; it was mostly anti-draft, and nothing more. It was over-indulged white males who didn’t want to be conscripted. It would never have happened if there hadn’t been a draft.
Bottom line: even today, most “peace activists” aren’t working for peace at all. A few are, like my friends Scott and Claire who run the Catholic Worker house in Worcester, Massachusetts; they try very hard to be consistent in their beliefs and to practice what they preach. But from what I can tell, most other anti-war protesters, though they don’t generally engage in physical violence like that perpetrated by Vietnam protesters of their parents’ or grandparents’ generation, are really just anti-U.S.-involvement-in-wars. Or, as Glenn Reynolds puts it, “They’re not anti-war; they’re just on the other side.”