Sign the Petition for Trans Rights

It infuriates me that we have to have discussions like this in the 21st Century. It outrages me that we have to beg people to give folks their basic human rights. Why haven’t we reached the point where it’s obvious to even the dimmest and most backward among us that it’s not okay to deny people jobs, relationships, safety and their lives simply because they’re transsexual?

Oh. Right. Bronze Age religious bullshit and the general population’s total inability to consider the humanity of people different from them.

We need to give society a push in the right direction.

First, read Natalie’s piece on the Canadian bill that would give trans folks a chance a regular, decent lives.

Then go sign the petition to make it happen.

We can make a difference. We must.

Rising Up

I’m making an exception to my “no links to HuffPo because they are a repository for woo and wackaloonery that should not be rewarded” because this is important:

Jesse Kornbluth: The Police Riot at Berkeley: If They’ll Beat a Poet Laureate, Will They Kill a Student?

Go read it in its entirety before coming back here. Yes, even if you despise HuffPo as much as I do.

Nicole sent me that link, saying it made her feel sick to her stomach, and all but begging me to blog it. I haven’t said much about the Occupy movement, because there’s not much I feel I can say. I watch the raids roll across my Twitter feed, and I read some posts, and all I can think is that it’s happened before. People who say this isn’t our country, this land of riot cops and pepper spray and brutality, are really saying they don’t want it to be.

This is why the 99% are rising up. And this is what the 1% do when the unwashed masses rebel. They try to crush the resistance.

The thing they never seem to realize is, they’re helping more than hurting.

Every veteran at the protests who ends up in the hospital because of police violence; every raid by riot cops and SWAT teams clearing protesters peacefully engaged in petitioning their government for a redress of grievances; every attempt to keep the media from witnessing these First Amendment violations and state violence; every time passers-by get swept up and attacked by cops for the crime of walking too close to the protests; every time the state responds to its citizens with tear gas and rubber bullets and batons, breaking bones and bruising ribs and brutalizing; every time they do these things, they are furthering the cause. They are demonstrating the truth of what the Occupy Wall Street movement is saying. They are making the apathetic and unaware finally care about what’s happening to this country. They are making us angry. They are making us determined. They are uniting us, lighting a fire under us, giving us power.

This has happened before. Remember what they did to the civil rights movement, and the kids protesting Vietnam. This is nothing new.

But state violence didn’t work then. It won’t work now.

If they’d taken the bread-and-circuses route, treated the OWS folks with at least superficial respect, made some empty promises and some cosmetic changes, they could have murdered the movement at birth. But they chose to dismiss the people’s concerns, ridicule and then attack them. They chose to enrage rather than engage.

They’ll have to live with the consequences.

People can only be pushed so far. They can’t be milked for absolutely everything they’re worth without kicking over the can and taking over the farm. The oligarchs and their lackeys think they can raise tuition 81% to pay for lavish bonuses and other inane crap, and then attack the protesting students and teachers, without consequence, but they are wrong.

They can expect people to stay quiet when pushed so far, when physical injury is added to financial injury, but this is because they live in a fantasy world they created. The real world is coming for them. And it doesn’t care about water cannons and sound cannons and other tools of the police state trade. Not anymore. There’s not enough down, and too much up. The oligarchs made the mistake of creating a huge mass of people with nothing left to lose, and showing the rest of us that they’re coming for us next.

This Is What Revolution Looks Like.

And it is brutal, and ugly, but it leads to a finer world.

Because this land of oligarchs and raids and brutality, corruption and despair, isn’t the country we want. And we will take it in a new direction.

The more they try to stop us, the easier it becomes.

We are rising up. We will not be put down.

Is There a Word for a First World Nation Becoming a Third World Country?

Even when I was a kid, I knew I was lucky. I had a middle-class family in a prosperous country. Sally Fields used to come on the teevee soliciting funds for all those poor, starving kids in other countries where families were lucky if they had a bit of cloth to throw over a stick for a house, and I’d be quite grateful my country wasn’t like that. Poorest kids I knew still had roofs over their heads and got a few good meals a week. And we knew America was the greatest country on earth. Almost everybody wanted to be like us.

I used to feel sorry for those folks who lived in countries that weren’t number one in everything.

Rome used to be great, too, the greatest on earth, and it fell. When I learned about it, I couldn’t imagine it. What would it have been like, to live in a nation that was sliding down to oblivion? Weren’t the people sad, maybe even despairing? Did they know? Did they realize what was happening to them? I didn’t think it would happen to America, not very soon anyway, but I knew it could happen, and I just hoped it wouldn’t happen in my lifetime. I loved my country. I wanted the best for it. Selfish reasons, too: I’d never wanted to live in a decayed civilization, amongst the ruins of greatness, without a chance to become anything amazing. It’s really hard to write works of enduring literature when you haven’t got any paper and everybody in your country’s so poor they couldn’t afford to buy your book even if you managed to write it.

Those were my silly childish thoughts. Then I grew up, and for a little while, in the heyday of the ’90s, it looked like America, despite some occasional stumbles, didn’t really have to worry about falling from its perch. We were great, and we’d continue being great. We could certainly be greater. I’d learned about homelessness and grinding poverty, and some of our cities were falling apart, and the Republicans were getting awfully weird, and we spent a fuck of a lot of money on the military while screwing the poor and the public schools, but still. We weren’t doing all that badly.

Then it got worse. And worse. We voted a jackass into office (never mind Florida, it never should’ve been so close anyway). Terrorists slipped through our defenses, and the jackass and his merry band of fuckwits used that as carte blanche to invade the wrong damned country and basically bomb all the brown people they could. They turned this from a nation of laws that didn’t always live up to its rhetoric but at least acted ashamed when it didn’t into a nation that proudly tortured people. And the middle class melted away, and the infrastructure crumbled, and even crazier fuckwits started getting bold enough to dazzle a bunch of flaming morons into voting for them, and here we are today, rubbing shoulders with third-world nationhood.

Seriously. We are.

Take air travel: The United States, the report notes, now has the worst air-traffic congestion on the planet, with one-quarter of flights arriving more than 15 minutes late. One reason is that U.S. air-traffic control still relies on 1950s-era ground radar technology, even as the rest of the world has been shifting to satellite tracking (the FAA has begun the transition to a satellite-based system, though it’s moving slowly and future funding is a big question). According to recent World Economic Forum rankings, even Malaysia and Panama now boast better air infrastructure.

For fuck’s sake.

And check out what came across my Twitter feed only yesterday: we are the only industrialized nation to have a World Heritage Site we can’t be bothered to preserve. Every other country on the list has probably got a plausible excuse: tiny and poor, tiny and war-torn, tiny and trying too hard to deal with extreme natural disasters and religious fuckery and trying to build themselves up to a reasonable standard of living to be much fussed with things like World Heritage Sites. What’s our excuse? We have Republicans who think preserving things like the Everglades takes too much money out of super-rich pockets. We still have gobs and oodles of money, more than enough to pay for things like preserving priceless treasures and repairing that aged infrastructure and ensuring people get an education and health care and have decent jobs, but we’ve elected absolute idiots and let them give all the money to a disgustingly bloated military and greedy asshats who sit on millions and billions of dollars and scream like two year-olds denied a toy when someone tries to extract so much as a penny from their tight fists for the common good.

We’re 37th in the world in health care, or at least we were in 2000 – I shudder to think where we are now, after eight years of Bush and before our inadequate but good-as-we’re-gonna-get-at-this-point new health care law fully kicks in. Square between Costa Rica and Slovenia, we are. Best in the world? Which world? Certainly not the second world – maybe best in the third world, I think we can comfortably claim that, but we’d best not get too comfortable with that idea, because Cuba’s only two rungs below us on that particular ladder.

Oh, and here’s a nifty little fact: the United States of America gets its ass kicked in income equality by the likes of Iran and Nigeria. Oh, yes, we are so great and glorious, we are kicking Haiti’s ass! Eat it, the exactly two developed nations who do worse than we do! USA! USA!

And while we slide down into the scrap-heap of has-been empires, we’ve got Republicans running around beating their chests and screaming we’re the absolute best at everything there ever was. Best at what, exactly? Burning ignorance? Failed leadership? Shitting on science after sending men to the moon? Yeah. Sure. I’ll grant you that. We’re certainly top contenders in those categories.

What pisses me off is that I know we’re better than this. Yes, this country is full of willfully ignorant fucktards intent on launching us back into the dark ages, but we used to keep them on the hopeless fringes of our political system. We didn’t give them the power and authority they needed to run this country into the ground. We made a mistake. And we’re going to have to rectify that, remove the dangerous halfwits from office and never ever let them have power again, if we don’t want to end up on the bottom of the heap.

I don’t want to live in a former first world country, people. Neither do you. And neither does that greedy little shithead on Wall Street, but he could give a rat’s ass considering he’s got the money to move. So it’s up to us.

America deserves better. We’re gonna have to vote smarter and work harder to ensure she climbs back towards the top. And then, once we’ve stopped falling down, we’ve got to help the rest of the world up.

We were a beacon once. We can be that again.

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Bard?

It may seem bizarre that in the land infamous for a dry sense of humor, satire is banned. But politicians in both Great Britain and Ireland, it appears, are terrified of people like Jon Stewart. So terrified, in fact, that they’ve come up with inane rules meant to prevent the carpets in their halls of power from being trampled upon by the muddy boots of comedians.

In Britain, you’ve got Rule Four:

Guidelines on the use of the pictures are less prescriptive. They do specify that no extracts from Parliamentary proceedings may be used in comedy shows or other light entertainment such as political satire. But broadcasters are allowed to include Parliamentary items in magazine programmes containing musical or humourous features, provided the reports are kept separate.

And in Ireland, ye olde fine print in the Rules of Coverage:

Please note that use of Webcasts and broadcasts of the Houses and Parliamentary Committees must be in accordance with the Standing Orders of both Houses and the Rules of Coverage of the Joint Committee on Broadcasting and Parliamentary Information, in particular: “… that recordings or extracts of the proceedings shall not be used in programmes of light entertainment, political satire, party political broadcasts or in any form of advertising or publicity, other than in the form of news and current affairs programme trailers…”.

And these are the rules that kept the Daily Show off the air, for fear that a wee bit o’ satire could bring the whole House down. You can read the whole sad saga via Graham Linehan. And then you can watch the dread content right here.

Why yes, yes, I am laughing my arse off. Whyever do you ask?

Thing is, it makes a certain sort of sense, based on history. The whole thing reminded me of a bit I’d read on Irish bards many years ago. It set me galloping through my books looking for the relevant bit, and I found it in The Celts by Gerhard Herm:

When they [the filids and the bairds] rose to tell the old stories, to report on heroes still living, the warriors would hang on to their every word, like actors waiting to learn whether they had performed well or not. Adverse or favourable criticism from such a source could alone set the seal on, or ruin, a reputation; woe betide the prince who failed to reward a singer properly. One who did prove to be tight-fisted had a poisonous quatrain directed at him: “I know him/He’ll give no horse for a poem;/He’ll give you what his kind allows,/Cows.” This kind of thing struck home, and noblemen tried to be generous, to reward good singers, with at least a horse.

I should say so.

So it appears that instead of buying the bards off, these days politicians are attempting to outlaw their more dangerous practices. Knowing that those whom the bards would destroy, they first make ridiculous, they’re trying to legislate dignity. The problem with this is, America has freedom of the press, and the world has the internet. This means that the bard’s tale can cross oceans at the speed of light. And when these pathetic little rules cause Great Britain’s weekly dose of satire to go missing, curiosity gets piqued, and then you end up with articles in the New Statesman. Nothing a comedian could do to politicians is quite as bad as what they do to themselves.

We are quite amused.

[And yes, I know, this week's been rather light on the geology. I assure you, that unhappy state of affairs shall not obtain for long. For one thing, I've been doing research to ensure that my next post on the Skykomish is not merely a gallery of rocks with captions saying, "Ooo, pretty!" Not that there's anything necessarily wrong with that, but I like giving you added value. Additionally, I've been working on the research for a series of posts on various consequences of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet that I believe will meet with your approval (with especial thanks to Evelyn Mervine, who slipped me a copy of a very delicious paper on drumlins). And, last (but only because I've saved the best for), my intrepid companion and I are headed up to Deception Pass this weekend. Three days of wandering about amidst some extremely delicious geology. You will have such pictures, my darlings. So do not despair: the drought will end, and geology shall be thine. Possibly sans cats, but I'll see what I can do about gratuitous felid insertion.]

Call to Action

My darlings, please take one minute and go sign Bernie Sanders’s letter to President Obama:

So, today, I am asking the American people that, if you believe deficit reduction should be about shared sacrifice; if you believe the wealthiest people in our country and the largest corporations should be asked to pay their fair share as part of deficit reduction; if you believe that, at a time when military spending has almost tripled since 1997, that we begin to take a hard look at our defense budget; and if you believe the middle-class and working families have already sacrificed enough, I urge you to make sure that the President hears your voice–and he needs to hear it now.

I would urge the American people to go to my Web site, sanders.senate.gov, and sign a letter to the President letting him know that enough is enough…

It’s important.

Here’s the full text:

Dear Mr. President,

This is a pivotal moment in the history of our country. Decisions are being made about the national budget that will impact the lives of virtually every American for decades to come. As we address the issue of deficit reduction we must not ignore the painful economic reality of today – which is that the wealthiest people in our country and the largest corporations are doing phenomenally well while the middle class is collapsing and poverty is increasing.  In fact, the United States today has, by far, the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of any major country on earth.

Everyone understands that over the long-term we have got to reduce the deficit – a deficit that was caused mainly by Wall Street greed, tax breaks for the rich, two wars, and a prescription drug program written by the drug and insurance companies. It is absolutely imperative, however, that as we go forward with deficit reduction we completely reject the Republican approach that demands savage cuts in desperately-needed programs for working families, the elderly, the sick, our children and the poor, while not asking the wealthiest among us to contribute one penny.  

Mr. President, please listen to the overwhelming majority of the American people who believe that deficit reduction must be about shared sacrifice. The wealthiest Americans and the most profitable corporations in this country must pay their fair share.  At least 50 percent of any deficit reduction package must come from revenue raised by ending tax breaks for the wealthy and eliminating tax loopholes that benefit large, profitable corporations and Wall Street financial institutions.  A sensible deficit reduction package must also include significant cuts to unnecessary and wasteful Pentagon spending.

Please do not yield to outrageous Republican demands that would greatly increase suffering for the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society.  Now is the time to stand with the tens of millions of Americans who are struggling to survive economically, not with the millionaires and billionaires who have never had it so good.    

Respectfully,


Sen. Bernie Sanders;
and Co-signers

Let’s ensure his co-signers number in the millions.  Be heard.

(via Pharyngula)

Taking it Personally

The party of “life” strikes again:

House File 1467, which ought to be called “Shoot First,” will be heard in the House Public Safety Committee this Thursday. It would allow the killing of anyone who enters another’s yard, even when the person is unarmed and posing no threat; and it would allow the killing of anyone in a public place who seems threatening — again, even if the person is unarmed, and even if walking or driving away is a safe option. 

This is how cheap the Republicans in Minnesota think life is.  This is how little they value it.  What this bill would mean is that no one, anywhere, is safe at any time.

Think about what kind of society that is.

Back when I worked at a bookstore in the Phoenix metro area, a woman came into the store.  She needed a book on grief.  Could I recommend any?

I was too young to know what grief is, not even twenty.  I’d only suffered a few losses: my grandmother died of breast cancer when I was seven, my grandfather of complications from diabetes a few years later, my uncle the same way when I was fourteen.  But they lived half a continent away.  I’d felt pain, briefly, but their loss hadn’t been a constant hole.  What did I know about grief and mourning?  Nothing.  I took her over to the proper section, tried to make a few recommendations based on what other people had bought, rang up her purchases.

That’s when she told me why.

She’d had a son.  A little younger than me, just a teenager, on his way home one evening.  He took a shortcut through a neighbor’s yard.  He knew the neighbor, didn’t think it would be a big deal, nothing he hadn’t done before.  But that night, the neighbor picked up a gun.  Went to the door.  Didn’t bother with a warning, didn’t bother to identify, just shot.

Her son died.  The neighbor faced no consequences.  The kid had been on someone else’s property, after all, and it didn’t matter to the fine people of Arizona that he was a kid who hadn’t done a single threatening thing.  I believe there was a trial, but the jury wouldn’t convict.

And if the Republicans in Minnesota had their way, there wouldn’t even be that much.

What do you say to a woman whose son had been murdered, shot down by someone they knew, and who had been denied justice by a jury of their peers?  What will you say to the people who will lose loved ones, because their “crime” was stepping on the wrong bit of property or maybe looking too closely at some trigger-happy shit at the local park?  What will you say when the person who pulled the trigger walks away without facing a single instant of jail time for taking a human life?

But that’s not all:

Also buried in this bill is a loosening of concealed-carry permit laws to recognize all other state’s pistol permits in Minnesota, even states with lax background checks that issue permits valid for life. It also makes it harder for local law enforcement to prevent prohibited purchasers from getting permits to buy guns, and limits law enforcement’s ability to confiscate weapons in domestic violence situations. 

So that means guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.  And guns in the hands of abusers.

Basically, what the Republicans are saying is, if the police get called out on a domestic, they can’t take the guns away from the very upset, demonstrably violent person who might then decide to reassert his (or, less probably, her) dominance by taking one of those non-confiscated weapons and putting a bullet or few through the head of the person they’ve been busy abusing.  According to the Republicans, this is right and good and how things are supposed to be.

Am I taking it personally, despite the fact I don’t live in Minnesota?  You betcha.  Not only are there people in Minnesota I quite like and would prefer to see survive, but Republican insanity has a distressing tendency to spread to other states.  It’s like measles, or smallpox, and there appears to be no vaccine.  There are plenty of people in the great state of Washington who think living in the Wild West is an ideal, not a problem.

So, Minnesotans, make sure your reps know you don’t agree that life is so fucking cheap.  And as for the rest of us, we’d best be on our guard.

We’d better be taking it personally.

World Coming Down

I’d meant to get the next Oregon Geology post up, but instead have spent the past several days watching in bemusement, sometimes in horror, as the world changes.

In Wisconsin, the Cons in control have rather overplayed their hand.  I’m proud of the Dems there who left the state to deny a quorum, and incredibly proud of the tens of thousands of citizens who continue to protest.  It’s not just about the unions, either – if you read that noxious budget, you’ll find plenty of gems like Walker & the Cons’ plans to sell off the state one piece at a time to corporations.  Keep this in mind as you watch Cons in other states rush to follow suit.  If you were one of those who fell for the “where are the jobs?” schtick, I hope you feel a proper fool just now.  The Cons are never about the jobs.  They’re about theocracy and oligarchy, and they’re about breaking the backs of the common folk.

Unfortunately for them, they’ve chosen this moment in time to step on ordinary people.  It might have gone more smoothly for them if, at this very moment, the entire Middle East hadn’t flared up, with citizens pouring into the streets to topple dictator after dictator, no matter the personal cost.  After Egypt, ordinary folk aren’t quite as willing to abide quietly under the heels of their masters.  I hate to tell the Cons this, but as complacent and submissive, as easily distracted by shiny things, as Americans can be, I don’t think this is a good time to be trampling all over women, workers, science, and – well, everybody except for their corporate masters and religious right ringleaders.  Libyans are still out there demanding regime change after getting slaughtered.  Something tells me Americans might be a little more willing to risk a bit of inconvenience to prevent the GOP from decimating the country, considering nothing they do to us could be quite as bad.  We’d be fools just to meekly accept their shit.

What I’m saying is: have your sleeping bags ready and sign-making materials to hand, my fellow Americans, because the time is coming soon when we, like our mates in Wisconsin, may find it necessary to camp out at capitols in order to make our wishes clear.  Surely we can manage that much. 

What’s happening in Libya is horrific.  The government there has turned its weapons of war on its own people.  I’m hoping the UN and the US government will get off their asses and put a stop to it, because there are people getting blown to bits out there.  I clicked on a link to a photo today and saw the results of a despot desperate to stay in power: bodies cut in half.  Do not click this link if you can’t stand the sight of blood, because the people in this photo were butchered.  I almost wish I hadn’t seen it.  But you know what?  I needed to.  It gave me perspective on many things.  It showed me the violence our country hasn’t even attempted to stop, and it told me just how fantastically brave these people are, that they’d risk this to demonstrate for their freedom.  It showed me how much freedom is worth.  And it showed me that we’ve got a ways to go before it gets this bad here, but more importantly, that we need to ensure it never does.

Those folks in the Middle East going out right now to put an end to too many years of autocrats and dictators, those folks who are finding the power of peaceful protest, who are taking their destinies in their hands not with terrorism, but with courage, are so incredible.  I don’t know what future they’ll build, but at least they’ve got the strength to build it for themselves.  I hope all of them succeed.  I’m in awe of them.

So there’s the political world, all shaken up and in places toppling over, sometimes inspiring and sometimes horrific.  But that’s not the only news that’s crossed my Twitter feed and left me reeling.  There’s also Christchurch, New Zealand, which got hit nearly dead-on with an earthquake.  Buildings are down, people dead, and it’s a reminder that we are not as much in control of the world as we might like to believe.  Two earthquakes there in less than twelve months – and likely aftershocks to come.  I know they’re strong folk and that they’ll manage to rebuild, but I feel for them.  It’s not easy, living at a plate boundary.  Days like this are tragic.

Really does seem like the world’s coming down.  I just hope a better one rises up.

GOP Priorities: Redefining Rape

Right, then, ladies.  The Cons in Congress, together with a handful of despicable Dems, have decided we must have rape babiesObserve:

Under this new bill, the only rape survivors who would be able to receive funding [for abortion] would be those who were able to prove that their rapes involved “force.” If your rapist drugged you, intoxicated you, or raped you while you were unconscious, you don’t get coverage. If your rapist used coercion, you don’t get coverage. If this is a case of statutory rape — that is, if you are a thirteen-year-old child, raped by someone outside of your family — you don’t get coverage. If you’re an incest survivor over the age of eighteen — if, say, years of abuse only culminated in a pregnancy after your nineteenth birthday — you just don’t get coverage. And if you live in a state that doesn’t distinguish “forcible rape” from “rape,” you might not qualify, meaning that no matter what the circumstances of your assault were, well, sorry: You might not get coverage.

I cannot begin to describe how angry these fucktards make me.  They won’t understand, anyway.  Men can get raped, true – but they can never be impregnated by their attacker.  They don’t have to face that particular hell.  And the chances of them being raped in the first place is so vanishingly small that they can’t imagine the fear and the trauma women live with.

I would like to explain it to them.  I’d like to sit down in a room with all 173 co-sponsors and describe to them in minute detail everything that happened the morning I woke to a rapist at my door.  You know, it’s been nearly twenty years, and I still get sick to my stomach, my hands still sweat and shake, thinking about it.  And I’m one of the lucky ones.  I wasn’t physically scarred for life.  I didn’t end up pregnant.

If I had, and if an abortion had been denied to me because I didn’t fight hard enough, scream loud enough, risk my life adequately enough to satisfy the Cons in Congress, I can promise you something: I would’ve ended up killing myself if I couldn’t abort that baby.  They can’t understand, will obviously never understand, why many women wouldn’t be able to face carrying their attacker’s spawn to term.  Let me just put it this way: there are worse things than getting raped.  One of them is being denied any chance to regain some control over your own body afterward.  One of them is being forced to put your body through the further trauma of pregnancy and childbirth against your will.  And at that time, in the aftermath of the worst morning of my life, I wouldn’t have had the mental strength to deal with it.  It was hard enough putting the shattered pieces back together without a swelling belly and constant reminders of the horror I’d gone through.

But they don’t care about a woman’s welfare.  Obviously not.  They have some fantasy about rape, which makes them just as despicable as the men who rape.  They think there’s some kind of honor to be fought for, that a woman should do everything in her power to guard her virtue rather than survive, and if she doesn’t, then she’s a slut who deserves everything she gets.

I wish I could take them back in time.  I wish I could turn what’s in my mind into a film, so I could walk them through the event.  I’d like to see their faces when they’re faced with the reality of sexual violence.  I’d like them to have to walk in my mind.  And I’d like to pause every so often, and ask, “Did I fight enough here?  How about here?  Was that rape forcible enough, or was it too gentle to qualify as the kind of rape where a woman is granted an abortion?”

I’d like them to have to experience every emotion with me, both during the attack and in the months and years afterward.  I’d like them to know just what it is to have control and integrity ripped away from you.  I’d like them to walk that fine line, knowing that if you fight too hard, you’re going to get yourself killed.  I’d like them to be there in my mind, the moment I realized I didn’t have the physical strength to fight my attacker off, and that no one could hear me scream.  I’d like them to share that instant where panic and gut instinct turned into a cold calculation, where I decided it would be a better idea to live.

Do they think I made the wrong choice, choosing survival over a fight to the death?  Do they think that making the choice to survive means signing away your right to your remaining bodily integrity?  And would they still believe that were they forced to live it with me?

They believe abortion is murder, and yet each and every one of them, should you ask, would likely tell you that killing someone in self-defense is justifiable.  Let me try to explain something to them: getting rid of a clump of cells isn’t murder, but let’s play on their field a moment.  That clump of cells that could become a human being someday is an intruder.  It broke in, it wasn’t invited, and it’s stealing from me.  It could kill me.  It’s certainly going to hurt me, both mentally and physically.  So if you believe some homicides are justified, why do you think it’s not justifiable to kill that intruder?

They need to walk in my mind.  They need to watch the months it took, feel the force of will it took, to regain function again, to not hide in the house anymore, to learn how to cope with a terrible new reality.  I dropped out of school, because I wasn’t capable of normal function for quite some time.  It took years before I could trust people again.  I still have bad moments.  But I’m nearly a whole human again.  I don’t think I would’ve gotten there if I knew I’d been forced to bear my rapist’s baby.  And I don’t have words strong enough to describe the visceral reaction I have to the idea.  That would have given me a lifelong connection to my rapist.  That would have been a level of trauma beyond my imagination.  I know my mind well enough to know that bearing a rape baby at the age of 18 would have broken it.

Is that the price I’m supposed to pay for being attacked?  According to the Cons in Congress, it is.  It’s my fault, you see.  I should’ve fought hard enough to keep from being impregnated or died in the attempt.  Nothing else will do.  They care more for a clump of cells than they do for a living, breathing, thinking and suffering woman.

But I don’t think they’ve thought this through, and that’s why I’d like them to experience what I did.  Because then, you see, they could imagine what it would be like if that had been their wife, or their daughter, or some other woman they may actually care about.  They may have to look at her a bit differently, and wonder if it’s worth destroying her in order to force her to grow a clump of cells fertilized by a rapist.  They might have to ask themselves if they’d really want her rape to be so forcible that it could kill her before they’d allow her the choice of aborting that clump of cells before she gets traumatized all over again.

Because, you see, what the Cons in Congress are saying to women is that if we don’t fight, if we don’t drive our rapist to really hurt us, then we’d better be prepared to have a rape baby.  If we’re strong enough and wise enough and lucky enough to survive, we’re to be punished.  We’re to have control and bodily integrity ripped away from us once more.  And if we want to avoid that second traumatization, we’d best escalate the situation.  There’s only one way to respond to rape in their world: fight.  Even though fighting could get us seriously hurt or killed.

That’s why, when I sit down in a room to describe what I went through in excruciating detail, I’d also want Robert K. Ressler, John Douglas, and Ann W. Burgess there.  Two of them are former FBI profilers, the other a forensic nurse.  They wrote a book called Sexual Homicide: Patterns and Motives.  They understand fully that a one-size-fits-all rape strategy would end in more seriously wounded and murdered women.  Let me direct your attention to the chapter for victims, wherein survival strategies are discussed:

When the amount of rage and aggression obviously exceed what is necessary to force compliance, a violent confrontative response on the part of the victim will ge
nerally increase the violence in the assault and place the victim at increased risk for serious physical injury.  Gratuitous violence on the part of the rapist places the victim in dangerous, volatile, and unpredictable situations.  For that reason, we recommend that the first response to violence not be violent.  If direct dialogue does not begin to neutralize the attacker (reduce the intensity of the aggression), then the victim will have no recourse but to employ any means available to object.  The offender believes that he is entitled to sex under any condition, and hence has a callous indifference to the comfort or welfare of the victim.  Both verbal resistance and nonconfrontative resistance strategies are appropriate.  Once it has been demonstrated that the rapist will likely use whatever force neccesary to gain victim compliance, confrontative physical resistance would be unwise unless the victim is confident that it will work.

[snip]

If the attacker responds to victim physical confrontation with increased anger and/or violence, the victim should cease physical resistance.  If he responds by immediately ceasing his aggressive/violent behavior and is willing to engage the victim in conversation, he is also likely to be an exploitative rapist and the victim should use verbal strategies.

[snip]

For the displaced-anger rapist, the victim is a substitute for and a symbol of the hated person(s) in his life.  The primary motive is to hurt and injure the victim.  Aggression may span a wide range from verbal abuse to brutal assault.  Continued physical confrontation, unless the victim is reasonably certain she will be able to incapacitate the attacker, may only justify the need to “punish” the victim and thus escalate the violence.

This is what the Cons in Congress want.  They want us, when confronted with a rapist, to have only one choice: escalate the violence.  Because, you see, if it wasn’t violent enough, it wasn’t a rape, and hence we are not victims who deserve the right and the funds to decide what to do with our bodies afterward, we’re hussies who are supposed to live with the consequences of our “decision.”  They want to teach little girls that they must fight to the death rather than do everything in their power to come out of a horrible situation reasonably whole, with a chance at a fairly normal life after.

They want us to ignore the sound survival strategies formulated by two FBI agents and a forensic nurse after years of study of violent offenders, because some of those strategies will lead to a not-so-forcible rape, which means the woman obviously didn’t try hard enough to defend her virtue.

You know that I find most everything Cons believe and advocate for these days to be either stupid or despicable.  I make no secret of that opinion.  But some of their ideas are more odious than others.  This is one.  When they advocate disgusting legislation such as this, they become victimizers themselves, no less than the original rapist.

So, after I’ve had a chance to take them on a walk through my mind, I have one final question for them: How does it feel to join a rapist in victimizing a woman? 

If you find this all as disgusting as I do, take action.  And use the #dearjohn hashtag on Twitter to let John Boehner and all know what you think of them.

It’s Not That Easy Addendum

Saw this at Digby’s after I’d written the previous post:

All over TV today, I’m hearing the gasbags fret about the fact that Obama hasn’t brought up gun control. It’s a good question, but they know the answer to it very well: the Democrats have given up that issue, the only problem is that the Republicans refuse to accept their surrender. They have nothing more to say about it.

I’m more curious about why they aren’t all over this:

Gov. Jan Brewer’s plan to roll back state Medicaid coverage would leave thousands of Arizona’s most mentally fragile without health care. 

An estimated 5,200 people diagnosed with a serious mental illness and thousands more who qualify for other behavioral-health services would be among 280,000 childless adults losing health-care coverage under the governor’s plan.

But, Jan sez, she’ll allocate $10 mil or so to cover psych meds.  Well, that’s nice, Jan.  Too bad you’re cutting out all the other services that go along with the meds.  You don’t seem to realize that it’s not just a matter of chucking pills down people’s throats.  Meds have to be prescribed, they have to be monitored, they have to be adjusted, they stop working and have to be changed, above all they have to be taken.  Funny thing about mental illness, paranoid people often won’t swallow the pills you hand them.

Without intensive monitoring, without counseling appointments, and without a support system that will help these poor ill people get well enough to achieve some level of function, you might as well be hosing them down with homeopathy for all the good it will do.

Just like with transplants, Jan Brewer doesn’t get it.  Jan Brewer doesn’t care.  That’s the takeaway lesson here, people: do not get sick in Arizona, because Jan Brewer doesn’t care if you suffer and die.  She and her merry band of fucktards do not believe the great state of Arizona needs to waste its money on you.

Suzanne left a comment on the last installment I want to make sure all of you see:

very well said dana. in the past, i’ve had to try to navigate the california mental health system for family and friends in addition to my experiences on the pd.

even before the draconian cuts that have happened in ca, the cops had to determine that the person was (1) a danger to themselves (suicidal); or (2) a danger to others (homicidal); or (3) gravely disabled (ie dementia/alzheimer) in order to place an involuntary 72 hour psychiatric hold. the patient would then be transported by ambulance to the county contracted mental health facility where the docs would either agree or disagree.

more times than i can recount, if ya didn’t have good insurance, that 72 hour hold was ignored the patient would be discharged early — many times later that same day.

it is heartbreaking what is happening to our safety net in the country.

its not that easy — and it is being made harder and harder each and every day.

And that was in California, which according to some was a socialist paradise.

If you want to see what the Republican ideal of health care is, watch Arizona.  And consider carefully whether that’s what you want for this country the next time you go to the ballot box.