YouTube Video: Lawrence Krauss, Jeffrey Epstein, and Firing Your Heroes into the Sun

Yup, losing heroes is nothing new to me personally. Everybody has flaws of course, but Lawrence Krauss, Richard Dawkins and many other “Skeptics” and “Rationalists” have really quickly sailed past the “Cape of Flawed Human” through the “Straits of Doubling Down” right into the “Sea of Shitlords” where they finally found their stable and comfortable niche.

What really gets me about the Epstein case specifically – and Rebecca alludes to it in the video, although probably coincidentally – is the sheer arrogance. He had a private jet, he could travel wherever and whenever he wanted for his sexcapades, so he could travel to countries with a lower age of consent. It would still be shitty behavior, but he would avoid doing something blatantly illegal (if he also avoided forcible rape that is). But, as is typical for such rich privileged assholes, he just did what he did in the USA and he was sure he will get away with it because he is rich.

That is the part that makes me angry.

The part that makes me sad is that he did get away with it. Even if he goes to prison now, it is too late and even a life sentence will be thus too short.

Abstinence Only. Again.

Attribution: PittNews/CC.

Attribution: PittNews/CC.

Several years ago, David Wiley, a professor of health education at Texas State University, was discussing human papillomavirus in one of his classes. The virus, known as HPV, is the most common sexually-transmitted disease. Often it is harmless and infected individuals aren’t even aware they have it. But it can also cause cancer, including of the cervix.

Wiley was discussing all of this with his students — the different types of HPV, the connection between HPV and cervical cancer, and its prevalence; “you know, just an intro, lower-level course,” he recently recalled — when a male student raised his hand with an earnest question: What was his risk of contracting cervical cancer?

“And I don’t know what’s sadder,” Wiley told The Intercept, “that he asked that question or that really nobody in the classroom even laughed because they didn’t know either.”

[…]

The federal government began funding so-called Abstinence-Only Until Marriage programs in 1981 as a way to encourage “chastity” and “self-discipline.” Since then, the feds have poured more than $2 billion into this strategy — commonly known as “ab-only” — without any proven positive effects, like delaying sexual activity or avoiding unintended pregnancy. In recent years, that funding had been in decline, in part because research — and practical experiences like Wiley’s — shows that the programs do not work. But in an ironic twist, they’re now making a comeback. Trump, an alleged serial adulterer who has bragged about sexually assaulting women and has been accused of such behavior close to two dozen times, has asked that abstinence funding be increased. And in the budget deal he signed last month, he got his wish, enough to bring total spending on abstinence up to $100 million for 2018.

[…]

Under Obama, funding for ab-only programs decreased as new emphasis was placed on using science to develop evidence-based sexuality and reproductive education strategies. But the Trump administration is trying to reverse course. Along with the return to Bush-era funding levels to push the ab-only message, Trump has appointed anti-abortion, anti-birth control, and pro-ab-only advocates to positions within the Department of Health and Human Services and has yanked funding for a successful evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention strategy.

[…]

Among the biggest proponents of ab-only programs — and their rebranding — is Valerie Huber, a Trump appointee to HHS. Huber started her career promoting ab-only programs in her son’s school before moving on to manage the ab-only program at the Ohio Department of Health. She became the president of the National Abstinence Education Association in 2007. (The advocacy organization has also rebranded itself. It’s now known as Ascend.) Huber acknowledges that the term “sexual-risk avoidance” was taken from public health, but insists it was appropriately chosen. “I bristle at the terminology ‘abstinence only,’ because our programs are so holistic,” she told Focus on the Family’s magazine “Citizen,” and address “a whole battery of different topics that surround a young person’s decision whether to have sex or not.”

This is, of course, exceedingly bad news. If you’re a parent who prefers their child to be prepared and safe, best to tackle comprehensive sex-ed at home, or an outside of school class. This will affect some states much more than others, so it’s important to find out just what the sex-ed in your child’s school is like. Ab-only also cuts out all queer students, and teaches girls that being assaulted or raped is their fault, emphasising dress and behaviour.

The Intercept has an in-depth article about this mess, recommended reading.  As the Tiny Tyrant has a vested interest in giving the lunatic evangelicals whatever they want, and they want a whole lot, you might want to have a click over to Religious Dispatches to read about Project Blitz. That’s enough to scare anyone silly.

The Zeta Male.

To be manly masculine man! The text reads: Though she was a tiger lady, our hero didn't have to fire a shot to floor her. After one look at his Mr. Leggs slacks, she was ready to have him walk all over her. That noble styling sure soothes the savage heart! If you'd like your own doll-to-doll carpeting, hunt up a pare of these he-man Mr. Leggs slacks. Such as our new automatic wash wear blend of 65% "Dacron" and 35% rayon - incomparably wrinkle-resistant. About $12.95 at plush-carpeted stores.

To be manly masculine man! The text reads: Though she was a tiger lady, our hero didn’t have to fire a shot to floor her. After one look at his Mr. Leggs slacks, she was ready to have him walk all over her. That noble styling sure soothes the savage heart! If you’d like your own doll-to-doll carpeting, hunt up a pare of these he-man Mr. Leggs slacks. Such as our new automatic wash wear blend of 65% “Dacron” and 35% rayon – incomparably wrinkle-resistant. About $12.95 at plush-carpeted stores.

Yesterday, when I was reading the wailing over the war on christmas at Townhall, another post caught my eye – “The Rise of the Zeta Male.” I’ll admit, I’m not good at keeping up with all the different categorizations of male these days, and I hadn’t heard of this one. I’m rather sorry I know about it now. A lot of it is the standard insulting the hell out of any man who isn’t of the approved Manly Masculine Man™ type, because of course, finding ways to compare men to that most awful of beings – women, is a sign that you’re a Manly Masculine Man™, one who can bully properly! So, a good deal of this nonsense will be at least somewhat familiar, because the repertoire of the Manly Masculine Man™ is on the limited side.

There’s a possibility our species will, in the not-too-distant future, be wiped out. Not by a meteor, but by simply no longer reproducing. Sterility won’t be the culprit, it will be the rise of the zeta males. … there is a new, disturbing option emerging that may, and maybe should, mean the end of all human reproduction: the zeta male.

[…]

So, what is a zeta male? They aren’t just “woke” feminists, thought they are certainly that. They are biological men for whom a urinal holds no meaning, they always sit.

My partner sits. So what? It’s relaxing and clean. That you think, Mr. Hunter, that standing splay-legged with a penis in your hand is somehow uber-manly, well…

More than that, they are exemplified by a recent op-ed in the Harvard Crimson, the student newspaper of America’s most over-priced college.

The piece, entitled, “The Harvard Community is Responsible for Sexual Assault,” is a progressive diary entry on the fall of western civilization.

The headline is typical leftist pap – blaming everyone for the actions of a few so as to alleviate personal guilt. But the source of the personal guilt in this case is the issue and the evidence.

Oh, so wrong. This is not about placing blame on everyone. It is about seeing how, societally, we enable and reinforce attitudes and behaviours which cause harm to people.

[…]

So what was this horrible offense; this sexist, sexual assault enabling action he took? He acted like a normal guy, quite possibly for the first and only time in his life.

How? I’ll let him explain:

“During Orientation Week in August of 2016, I was out late drinking in Harvard Square with two classmates. The topic switched to the women in our class. Over the drunken hum of the bar’s collective conversation, one guy proposed the ‘hottest’ girls in our class. The other did the same. They both then asked me to rank the girls in our cohort in the order I wanted to get with. My alarmed heart bolted blood to my cheeks. I crossed my arms, unable to speak. ‘Are we making you uncomfortable?’ one asked me. I cannot remember my exact response. But it was not: ‘Yes. Objectifying women, even though it seems harmless to you, demeans them and creates an environment that makes sexual assault more likely.’ Instead, I uncrossed my arms, I shook my head, and yes, I discussed which girls were hot.”

We no longer have a need for The Onion, real life has become a parody of itself.

All they were basically doing is talking about the women they find attractive, something every normal, healthy, heterosexual man since communication was invented has been doing, but now it’s just one step down from Harvey Weinstein. Maybe only a half-step.

This is as insane as it is hilarious, a eunuch’s love letter to a lonely future.

Crispy Christ, you’re an idiot, Mr. Hunter. A willful one. No, those young men were not talking about women they find attractive – they were ranking them, which is quite different than saying something like “wow, that’s a nice looking group of women!” or “Sally is really pretty.” When you turn around and rank people in order of who you would fuck first, that’s not harmless talk. That’s objectifying people into sex aids. It’s demeaning. It’s a way of encouraging young men to never consider women as actual human beings.

The zeta continued, “At the time, it was easy for me to discard my act of cowardice as inconsequential. The desire to be included made the risk of speaking up too great. During many similar ‘inconsequential’ comments at the pub and locker rooms throughout my life, I know I’ve taken the easy way out.”

I didn’t realize competitive knitting had locker rooms.

Amazing that you think your lame comment about knitting makes you a Manly Masculine Man™,  Mr. Hunter. I’ll take a man who is unafraid of thinking any day, like the young man at Harvard. He is absolutely right. Given how important the homosocial sphere is to men, the only way to make true change is for men to have the courage to speak up, and that does take much courage, given the sheer assholism of all you Manly Masculine Men™. You assholes are so damn insecure, it’s pitiful. On the other hand, the young man from Harvard, he’s not only capable of thinking, he displays empathy, and he is secure enough in his own self to own up to making a mistake, and how this all too common mistake makes our society a worse place. Not just for women, Mr. Hunter. This insistence of Manly Man Masculinity™ stuffs all men into tiny, claustrophobic coffins, where they are not allowed to simply be people. That’s not healthy. That’s not good.

The confession of this student (a graduate student, no less) is a prime example of what happens when you accept as moral arbiters people who insist gender is a social construct and a person can switch from one to the other at will.

:Near-fatal eyeroll: Gender is a social construct, just like “masculine” and “feminine” are social constructs. Different societies throughout history provide many examples. This is not about “switching gender at will” you flaming dumbfuck. I am so tired of hearing that. Transgender people and non-binary people are not the result of a sudden whim.

Men finding women attractive, and vice versa, is why we’re all here.

No it isn’t. Evolution is why we’re all here. And yes, like all animals, some of us breed. Golly, how revolutionary.

Talking about it, and everything else, with friends, even in crude terms, is perfectly normal human behavior. But now it’s pre-rape and needs to be confessed.

Yes, talking about women as objects to be demeaned is all too common. That needs to change, which thankfully, more and more men are realizing. No one said it’s “pre-rape”, it’s simply bad behaviour which causes harm throughout a person’s lifetime. If you don’t see others as human beings, then helping yourself to them doesn’t seem like a big deal. That’s why sexual harassment is so standard and widespread, because you have a fucktonne of men who think they are entitled to any body they find attractive. They don’t give one tiny shit about the person they are assaulting. It’s a toxic way of thinking, one which insecure men hang on to with a death grip, because they fear a loss of power – the power to objectify, the power to demean, the power to humiliate.

Hopefully, Mr. Hunter, you and the rest of the Manly Masculine Men™ will find themselves increasingly isolated, sitting in your lonely corner, while the rest of us get on with lives outside of your categorical coffins.

You can read the full toxic stew here.

Fairy Tales: Little Red Riding-Hood.

The illustrations to The Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault, 1922, by Harry Clarke. Click for full size.

I’ve included the moral of this one because Perrault had written Little Red Riding-Hood as a warning to readers about men who were trying to prey on young girls who were walking through the forest:

The Moral

From this short story easy we discern
What conduct all young people ought to learn.
But above all, young, growing misses fair,
Whose orient rosy blooms begin t’appear:
Who, beauties in the fragrant spring of age,
With pretty airs young hearts are apt t’engage.
Ill do they listen to all sorts of tongues,
Since some inchant and lure like Syrens’ songs.
No wonder therefore ’tis, if over-power’d,
So many of them has the Wolf devour’d.
The Wolf, I say, for Wolves too sure there are
Of every sort, and every character.
Some of them mild and gentle-humour’d be,
Of noise and gall, and rancour wholly free;
Who tame, familiar, full of complaisance
Ogle and leer, languish, cajole and glance;
With luring tongues, and language wond’rous sweet,
Follow young ladies as they walk the street,
Ev’n to their very houses, nay, bedside,
And, artful, tho’ their true designs they hide;
Yet ah! these simpering Wolves! Who does not see
Most dangerous of Wolves indeed they be?

Note: Although this particular book was published in 1922, Perrault first published his fairy tales in 1697.

A Double Demon Day.

We’ll go with minor demons today, because Wiles & Wallnau don’t deserve anyone grander. To the left is Ukobach: a demon of an inferior order. He is shown with a flaming or red body, large eyes and ears and often a pan full of coals or a hot poker. He is said to be the inventor of fireworks and the art of frying foods. He is charged by Belzebuth to maintain the “oil in the infernal boilers”, which is made of the blood of the damned, “forged in the west where the sun sets”. To the right is Xaphan: a fallen angel, rebelled with Lucifer, a demon of the 2nd order. He is said to have an inventive mind and came up with the idea to set fire to heaven before he and the other fallen were cast out. He has a bellows as an emblem, but must fan the flames of the abyss with his mouth and hands.

It’s rather interesting that heaven was considered to be flammable. Okay, on with today’s dose of ineffable nonsense. We start with Rick Wiles, who has figured out who is at fault for all those powerful men who sexually assault and harass.

“The left has viciously waged a war against Christianity in America for over 50 years,” he said. “You, the left, you demanded that children not read the Bible in schools. You demanded that nobody in public schools pray to Jesus Christ. You, the left, you demanded the removal of the Christian cross and Ten Commandments from public buildings and town squares and city parks. You, the left, you demanded a godless secular society, void of biblical morality.”

50 years ago is 1967. At that time, I was stuck in catholic school. There was no end of fucking praying, having to go to mass, and of course, having to go to confession three bloody times a week. Christianity in general was still going strong at that time, in spite of no verbal mandatory prayer in public schools. I couldn’t wait to get into a public school. When the time came, there was fight, because it was expected I’d go to Mater Dei HS, but I managed to make my way into a happily public school. I can honestly say that removing mandatory prayer from schools was a great thing. Personal religious beliefs don’t belong in an institution where the aim is to educate. It’s easier having a talk with a stone than it is getting through to you idiotic asses that students can still pray. They can pray all day long, just not out loud. When I was in my public HS, there were student bible studies and the like; they weren’t stopped or stomped on. Crosses and monuments to the 10 commandments don’t need to be in every public building, town square, and city park. FFS, it’s not like people pay attention to them, or bother to obey them much, and that includes christians. You assholes break those things every damn day, and you don’t care about that at all. What you do care about is being able to force all that crap on everyone else. If I want to see that nonsense, I’ll go to a church.

We’re living in a godless, secular society? Where? I’d like to go there. Being void of biblical ‘morality’ is good thing. A very good thing. Have you read that mess? It’s an instruction manual on how to be the very best psychopath you can be. I’ll pass, I have much higher morals than the bible.

Using the news media, the entertainment industry, academia and the internet, Wiles said, the left has “systematically indoctrinated tens of millions of children and teens and young adults to embrace atheism or Eastern religions.”

Goodness me, people using their brains! Yeah, there’s a horror. Choice is not a bad thing. Education is not a bad thing. Being able to communicate easily with people from all over the world can open a person’s mind in wonderful ways. That’s good too. You only ascribe it all to evil because it’s a matter of you losing control.

“You arrogantly mocked on television God-fearing Christians, the Holy Bible and morality,” Wiles said. “You demanded a godless society. Well, you got it. All these allegations of sexual misconduct are the byproduct of your godless society.

Well, there’s so much material to mock. No, we don’t have a godless society, and you damn well know it. But you christians, you can’t manage to breathe without complaining. Sexual assault and harassment are not the byproduct of a godless society (the one we don’t have). You can take a very good look at societies which are truly secular, and they don’t have anywhere near the level of problems we have here in Ustates. Now, it’s beyond fucking wrong to pretend that in the 1950s and 1960s and on that men just didn’t do this sort of thing. They did. There was plenty of harassment, sexual assault, and rape. People had little recourse back then, and that sort of thing was in the “don’t talk about it” category. It’s taken a long time for people to be able to speak out. That does not mean this behaviour is brand new.

When it comes to sexual assault and harassment, there’s been one hell of a lot of christians behind it. Most of the people who did such thing would describe themselves a good, upstanding christians. People still do that sort of shit – Roy Moore. There’s no one who will stand and defend the very worst of behaviour like a white, christian man. Personally, I don’t give a shit about what religion an abuser may or may not embrace; that should not be a focus. Behaviour should be the focus. A great many priests are abusive. Christians get caught with their pants down every other day. Obviously, that biblical morality isn’t so great.

You ripped out of America’s heart her affections for God and His Holy Bible. Why are you now indignant that people are acting like godless heathens?”

America is not a person. To my 60 year old eyes, people are acting like “good christians”. I’ve always been indignant when it comes to sexual abuse. Again, this isn’t new at all. Been going on since forever. What has changed is that people now have the tools to come out about abuse, and they have support in doing so. That still does not make it easy in any way, shape or form. People who come out with sexual abuse are often hounded and harassed, they receive death threats, and much of that shit comes from “good christians”. You have no high horse, Mr. Wiles. Nor do you have a cross, so get yourself down.

Honestly, reading such shit makes me feel the need to take a shower. Moving on to Lance Wallnau, below the fold…

[Read more…]

The Prophetic Order of the United States.

Right Wing Watch has an in-depth breakdown of the Religious Reich which now has a great deal of control over uStates government. It’s in sections:

  1. Introduction
  2. Who Are These People?
  3. Trump and the Prophets: Made For The Era of Social Media?
  4. Overlapping Networks
  5. God’s Own Party?
  6. POTUS Trump and the Prophetic Order of the United States

I’m just going to have a few bits here…

Brody and Lamb’s book, “The Faith of Donald J. Trump: A Spiritual Biography” is scheduled for publication in January 2018, but it won’t be the first. It will face competition from “God and Trump” by Stephen Strang, who heads the Pentecostal media empire Charisma. During the campaign, Strang gave a media megaphone to Trump-boosting prophets like Wallnau. Strang’s book, which promises to explore “what is God doing, now not only in Donald Trump’s life, but also in the life of the nation,” is scheduled for release in November.

Meanwhile, POTUS Shield leaders continue to personally assure Trump that God Himself put Trump in power, something Amedia told attendees at the March POTUS Shield gathering that Trump understands:

I said to the man’s own face, ‘If you didn’t see God got you elected, with all the mistakes you made, and how you should have lost this election 50 times, then you will never see God.’ And he said, ‘I know it was God.’

[…]

For many Religious Right leaders, support for Trump is transactional: Trump promised them the Supreme Court, attacks on legal abortion and Planned Parenthood, and legal changes to make conservative Christians more politically powerful. But POTUS Shield members believe that something even greater than the Supreme Court is at stake: the future of the church and the reign of God on earth. They give Trump assurance that he’s on a divine path, and they give their followers a sense of playing an important role on the world stage, warring with the devil to take political and culture power away from liberals and secularists and establish the kingdom of God in the United States and around the world.

If you’re inclined to laugh, or shrug, don’t. Instead, think. This is terror. This is terrorism. This is a regime of sweeping oppression waiting in the wings, trying to take the main stage. This has been at work for many a year now, and this is the one and only chance they have, and they know it. I see in my own referrers here, how many people search for things like “Trump tackles elite satanic pedophiles” and the “prophecies” of this, that, and the other self-styled prophets. The Religious Reich has the perfect puppet, and Donny does not dare dismiss them, or spurn their desires, they are about the only thing keeping his arse firmly in the white house.

If there should be a face to atheism, to humanism, to the benefits of a secular society, it should be centered here, in direct and open opposition to these people who, in their pettiness and need to subjugate others, are climbing to ultimate power.

You can read the whole thing at Right Wing Watch, recommended.

Bråvalla Canceled, No Men To Take Its Place.

The camping site of the Bråvalla festival. Photograph: Tt News Agency/Reuters.

A Swedish Music Festival is taking to heart the Michelle Obama mantra of “when they go low, we go high” with a gendered twist. A few days have passed since the organizers of Sweden’s four-day Bravalla festival announced their cancellation of next year’s event after news broke that four rapes and 23 reports of sexual assault happened at this year’s iteration of the fest. “Certain men … apparently cannot behave,” said organizers in a report. “It’s a shame.”

[…]

Rather than go without a music festival next year, Swedish radio host Emma Knyckare tweeted that she wanted to see “a really cool festival where only non-men are welcome” that would go “until ALL men have learned how to behave.” Now, she’s making that dream a reality. She has since written on Instagram that a “man-free” festival will take place next summer. “In the coming days I’ll bring together a solid group of talented organisers and project leaders to form the festival organisers,” she told BBC. “Then you’ll hear from everyone again when it’s time to move forward.”

The “man free” festival idea follows the Womyn’s Musical Festival that was regularly held in Michigan for nearly four decades. That festival was a haven for lesbians and queer women, but ultimately shuttered after protests against its trans-exclusive policy. The Swedish festival hasn’t announced specifics in regards to how transgender communities will integrate into the man ban, but we’d expect them to be a bit more flexible.

Well, here’s hoping that transphobia doesn’t dominate the man-free festival, and I hope it’s a success.

The Guardian has the story on Bråvalla, Out has the story on the replacement.

Sunday Facepalm.

Robert Oscar Lopez truly hates Sylvia Plath and The Bell Jar. It’s symptomatic of every wrong thing in the world! Mr. Lopez has a rather stunningly long screed revolving around Plath, one which would take a very long time to fisk completely, so I’ll focus on some choice parts here and there, but the whole rancid rant is worth looking at, if you’re looking for a heap of rotten reasoning to start out your day, or round off your evening. One thing I’m not going to focus on, so I’ll give a quick mention here – Mr. Lopez just can’t resist bringing up Ms. Plath’s suicide, done while her children were in the house. “That evil slut, endangering babies!” Mr. Lopez brings that up every moment he can, a reminder that Ms. Plath’s life truly was worthless, but she’s gonna burn in hell for committing the sin of self murder. Naturally, while running down Ms. Plath’s book, Mr. Lopez not so slyly inserts an a plug, here, there, and everywhere, for his book, with the charming title of  “Wackos Thugs & Perverts: Clintonian Decadence in Academia”.  A bit of advice, Mr. Lopez – learn about commas. I’ll assume you didn’t have an editor who might have pointed out the benefit of such learning.

Okay, where to start? Hmmmm.

Next comes dysfunction, as people start basing their life decisions on their confused notions: for example, they decide to spend their twenties not on courtship but on working long hours and trying to publish bad novels, because their muddled judgment has told them life will be totally happy if they never get married or start a family (and if they change their mind in, say, their fifties, anybody can start a family with egg donors, surrogate wombs, and sperm donors.) Because of such poor judgment, they do self-defeating things like hang all their hopes for self-worth on getting a literary agent. They look for emotional closeness from co-workers and a shrink who charges $200 an hour to do what a husband would have done for free: nod, listen, and say, “yes, you’re so right.” (The difference is that a husband will also provide some good old-fashioned lovemaking—and babies!)

You give yourself away, Mr. Lopez. This isn’t about young people being twisted about by academia; it’s about women. Women who don’t do the right thing by eschewing education, allowing themselves to be married off at a young age, and burying themselves under the weight of their uterus. So, all the young men automatically get a pass in your twisted view? How about all the young men who aspire to be authors, and work on writing rather than courting? How about all the young men who decide babies aren’t for them? I guess everything is okay if you have a penis, right? After all, in your black and white world, the only thing required to fix up a wayward penis is a good woman, yeah?

As for a husband being as good or better than a therapist, I get the idea you have rose coloured telescopes glued to your eyes. Many marriages are good, but many more or not. Marriage is not a panacea, nor is it for everyone.

Next comes anxiety, as people immersed in this blurry world of nonsensical values find their waking hours plagued with stress, doubt, uneasiness, worry, fear, and of course blind rage. Having mismanaged and sabotaged the most important relationships around them, they cling foolishly to people who hate them. They spurn people who would love them. As they realize that they’ve made bad decisions, they start racking themselves and doubling down, excoriating themselves for not doing enough of the confused decision-making that got them there in the first place. “Maybe I shouldn’t have broken down and put up a profile on OKCupid! Maybe I just need to sign up for more writing workshops run by arrogant lechers who tell long-winded stories about how they got their novel published in 1982! Maybe I should try harder to be like Diane Chambers in Cheers.”

Umm, quick question, Mr. Lopez – what decade is this? I ask because I’m not so sure you’ve made it into the current century with the rest of us. As much as it would suit your purpose, relationships do not fit neatly into a little box, same size for everyone. It’s not up to you to say that all these relationships are automagically good, and all those are automagically bad. For all your bloviating over what you seem to think comprises academia, you could have done with a bit more of it in your life, Mr. Lopez, your writing leaves much to be desired. Your writing skills are on par with mine, which is in no way a compliment.

Finally arrives ignorance, the all-encompassing state in which this tragic process culminates and to which, like the Via Appia pointing to Rome, all of the bad thinking leads. Confusion has made knowledge unattainable, while dysfunction has made it impossible for the victim of this rhythm to discipline their lives for true study and actual learning. In a crippling state of anxiety, the mind is unable to focus. The ultimate result is the lack of any perspective and inability to gain it. Life becomes nothing but outbursts, reactions to provocations, obsessions, and increasingly violent ideations. Ignorance is not bliss. It is deadly.

Oh gods, your writing, painful it is. A lack of perspective is a common trait of being young. When you’re young, you live very much in the present. Generally speaking, we naked apes aren’t great at the whole long-term thinking/planning business. Experiences eventually pile up, allowing for perspective and introspection, you just have to give people a bit of time. It all works out. As for ignorance, well, ignorance is often innocent and correctable. Smug, willful ignorance, yes, that’s dangerous, and ugly, like the shined up shit you’re peddling, Mr. Lopez.

Never forget that Sylvia Plath, after writing about the tragically disoriented and suicidal Esther Greenwood, stuck her head in a gas oven and endangered the lives of her small children.

Yes, yes. Your obsession with Ms. Plath is bit off, y’know. What about all the generations of young people since Ms. Plath? Nothing to say about them? All the kids who got their education and made their way through life, many of them authors, many of them raising kids of their own? The silence is deafening.

To liberals, despite all their trucks with ideologically driven Black Panthers and ACTUP and pink pussy hats, Sylvia Plath epitomizes what they stand for: embittered observations about how annoying the world is, total inability to suggest anything better, sarcasm, whining, mental illness, self-absorbed neurosis, and suicidal politics with zero regard for what they do to children. The proliferation of talk therapy options, psychotropic drugs, and self-help books (including a boom in Christian sects structured around “healing” and “pastoral care for the whole person”) seems to have had no impact on the main problem facing the American left: They are profoundly spoiled, unhappy, and destructive.

I don’t have any problems suggesting better, Mr. Lopez, and neither do most of the people I know. America does not comprise the world, and there are many fine examples in the world of people getting it right. We often point out these real world examples, only to have people like yourself scream “commie socialists!” and run away. I’ll take a guess on the ‘suicidal politics’ business – that’s about women having bodily autonomy, right? A very simple phrase takes care of that one, Mr. Lopez: what I do in regard to my health is none of your fucking business, full stop.

There are countless reasons to express alarm about the left of today. My book’s title was intentionally provocative: Wackos Thugs & Perverts, to encapsulate the trivium of nihilistic tendencies that predominate in academia. You have wackos peddling wildly implausible theories about the world as if they are unquestionably smart. You have thugs on all levels, from the party racketeers who move trillions of dollars in tax-free holdings and student loans for worthless degrees, to the angry youths shattering windows and tweeting vile insults at people in the name of causes they barely understand. And at last you have the perverts who have declared war on every form of bodily dignity, striving to force their pornographic imagination into every nook and cranny of society.

Oh yes, there are whackos peddling wildly implausible theories, like Alex Jones, Lance Wallnau, Dave Daubenmire, all of Fox News, and so on. You’ve gotten your directions a bit mixed up there. Oh yes, there are thugs, monied criminals fucking everyone over for the sake of their pockets. There’s one sitting in the white house right now. At the moment, Mr. Lopez, hate crimes are spiking, and they aren’t being committed by those on the left side of life. Tweeting “vile insults” is bad? Perhaps you can manage to shut Trump the fuck up. It’s not those interested in social justice and human rights who constantly have their noses stuck in everyone else’s crotches, Mr. Lopez. That would be christians and conservatives. Perhaps if you managed to come up for air now and then, you’d see that those crotches are attached to actual human beings who deserve all human rights.

But there is room for compassion if we understand that the left is defined not by its politics but rather by its mental illness. They live in bell jars that they cannot understand or trace back to any clear person to blame. Thus they find wild monsters hidden behind everything that provokes them. They think Donald Trump wants to rape them and Mike Pence want to electrocute them to make them heterosexual. They think Vladimir Putin caused Hillary Clinton to lose an election. They think the Koch Brothers plot to sell them into slavery and Steve Scalise is a white supremacist.

Oh for fuck’s sake. You’re going to float away on that cloud of smug arrogance, Mr. Lopez. I don’t think Trump wants to rape me. Trump has a clear history of sexual assault, and has been accused of rape. Trump has admitted to committing sexual assault, and you think that should be ignored. Nice. Pence is a believer is corrective ‘therapy’ when it comes to gay people. That’s some very nasty shit right there. Perhaps you should learn about it. Maybe you’d be happy living in a theocracy, Mr. Lopez, I wouldn’t. It’s more than obvious by now that yes, there was interference in the election, there’s evidence to that effect. Of course, idiots such as yourself don’t care for evidence, do they? I think everyone would be better off if the Koch brothers simply went off and played with their money and left politics alone. A good many politicians are white supremacists, and quite open about it, look at Steve King, defender of all white supremacy.

This just goes on and on, and I’m stopping here. If you want to read the whole mess, here you go.

The Abortion Conundrum.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., flanked by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., left, and Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, speaks at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 6, 2017. CREDIT: AP/J. Scott Applewhite.

The rethugs have painted themselves into a corner in their effort to deny healthcare to American citizens. They want anti-abortion language and rule in the Fuck You Bill, but if they include it, that might just derail their evil scheme. If they don’t include it, the theocrats will be upset and oppose it. Oh, a villain’s work is never done. Interestingly, they’ve managed to place themselves in a position of being foiled no matter the direction. I’d like to think this is good news, as far as killing off this sinister legislation, but I’m sure it won’t stop them for long.

The Senate parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, who interprets Senate rules, told Republicans that a provision that stops people from using refundable tax credits for private insurance covering abortion may not be allowed, according to the Hill.

Republicans decided to push this legislation through using budget reconciliation, so they wouldn’t need any Democratic votes, but anti-abortion language does not fall under budgetary changes. This means they would be in violation of the Byrd Rule, which says that a bill’s language can’t be more about policy matters than how much money is being spent.

But if Republicans fail to include the language, influential anti-choice groups will oppose the repeal-and-replace bill they’ve worked months on and spent the majority of the Obama administration vowing to pass. Anti-choice groups, such as the Susan B Anthony List and Family Research Council, have pressured Senators to include prohibitions on abortion coverage and funding of Planned Parenthood in the health care bill, or they will oppose it. Some Republican Senate leaders similarly say that the bill can’t stray too far from the caucus’ stance on abortion, according to Politico.

[…]

David Christensen, vice president of government affairs at Family Research Council, a far-right conservative group, told the Hill, “If the Byrd Rule were to be an obstacle to ensuring the GOP replacement plan in the Senate does not subsidize abortion, that’s something that would be a serious problem for us and the pro-life community.”

Orrin Hatch said he believed that a bill without anti-choice language could possibly doom the bill. Republicans are looking for workarounds that could allow them to restrict abortion coverage and still make it through budget reconciliation.

Think Progress has the full story.

The War On Autonomy.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer.

It seems I never come to the end of people who weakly defend the Tiny Tyrant because Pence. “He would be worse!” I am very tired of hearing that. No, he would not be worse. We’ve had theocrats in office before, remember George faith-based initiatives and abstinence only Bush Jr.? He was a born-again christian theocrat. So yes, Pence would be a theocrat, and while Trump cannot be accurately described as such, he’s acting as  theocrat, so what fucking difference does that make? None. At least Pence would be less likely to let the nukes fly. Although, that said, Pence is up to his pasty neck in the Russia business, too.

Women have been repeatedly targeted in the Fuck You Care Plan, and Trump is happily enabling the ‘moral objection’ shit, along with making some very dangerous moves in regard to abortion. Trump also didn’t waste anytime in removing guidelines and protection for transgender people, including children, and wiped out many protections in place for all LGBT peoples. Trump is more than happy to give the Religious Reich whatever they want, and in return, they will do whatever they think is necessary to keep his abundant arse in power.

The Trump administration is poised to roll back access to birth control by severely weakening Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate —  and, at the same time, dangerously weakening the distinction between “religious” objections and “moral” objections to reproductive health care.

During the Obama years, the birth control wars largely focused on the tension between people seeking contraceptive coverage and religious employers who object to birth control in some form or another. Both Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Zubik v. Burwell, the two contraception cases heard by the Supreme Court in the last several years, involved employers who objected to providing birth control coverage on religious grounds.

Yet a handful of hardliners — the March for Life, the Alliance Defending Freedom, Justice Samuel Alito — have tried to blur the line between religious objectors and moral objectors. While cases like Hobby Lobby and Zubik involved claims that people with religious objections to the law often have the right not to follow it, the hardliners would extend this right of defiance to people who raise moral objections not rooted in religious belief.

That’s a major shift that would seriously undermine the efficacy of the law as a whole. And, in a document leaked to Vox’s Dylan Scott and Sarah Kliff, the Trump administration appears to embrace this shift. Under the rule described in this document, employers who do not want to provide birth control coverage to their employees will be permitted to do so so long as they claim that doing so would violate their “moral convictions.”

Think Progress has the full, in-depth story.

On May 31, 2009, Scott Roeder killed Dr. George Tiller, a late-term abortion provider, in Wichita, Kansas. By all accounts, Roeder waited in the pews of Tiller’s church, and then following service, he walked into the church foyer and shot him directly in the forehead. Roeder, who was staunchly anti-abortion, committed murder because of Tiller’s national prominence as an abortion provider. Now, eight years later, the country is recreating and expanding the same environment of extremist views that allowed for Tiller’s murder.

Since Trump came into office, his administration and the Republican-majority Congress have been on a mission to impede the rights of people — especially women, girls, and their providers — from accessing constitutionally protected health care services. Earlier this month, the House passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) of 2017 which Trump vehemently supported. The AHCA disproportionately targets women: domestic abuse, rape, pregnancy, C-section, and maternity care can all be considered preexisting conditions. Less than two weeks later, Trump expanded the Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule (GGR), a death wish for women around the world seeking abortion services. The GGR, newly named “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance,” says that foreign aid can go only to organizations abroad that “neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning.” The rule could affect up to $9 billion in funding that is also used to combat health concerns like HIV/AIDS, Zika, and more.

Trump, an accused sexual assault perpetrator, has always promoted violence and hatred against women, including being able to access safe and legal abortions without criminal prosecution. During his candidacy, Trump said that women who seek abortions should be subject to “some form of punishment” if the procedure was banned in the United States. Trump eventually changed his mind (his fourth position on abortion in just three days) and claimed that only “the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman.” Nonetheless, this position still leaves abortion providers on the hook for performing a medical procedure that should be decided on by only a doctor and their patient. This kind of rhetoric would only embolden people like Roeder.

Allowing extreme policies against reproductive rights will increase the numbers of unintended pregnancies, which will increase the number of unsafe abortions. If pregnant peoples’ rights to immediate services are curtailed, this will undoubtedly cause a delay in options. As a delay continues, so does the potential for an unwanted pregnancy which could cause seeking a late-term abortion — the same abortions performed by the late Tiller. That, in turn, allows people — who are like Roeder — to effectuate their extremist views on those seeking healthcare services, including but not limited to abortion and family planning options.

Think Progress has the full, in-depth story.

Today marks the beginning of Pride Month. The Regime, however, is not celebrating. They aren’t even mentioning it, no. Instead, it’s all about:

Yep. You can read all about it here.

Spite Your Face.

CN: misogyny, violence, rape. Have a care before continuing.

Rachel Maclean:

13 May – 26 November 2017
Chiesa di Santa Caterina, Fondamenta Santa Caterina, 30121, Cannaregio
Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 6pm, free entry (also open Monday 15 May)

Rachel Maclean is representing Scotland at the 57th International Art Exhibition, the Venice Biennale, with major new film commission Spite Your Face – a modern-day, dark Venetian fairytale presented as a large-scale portrait projection at the altar of a deconsecrated church.

Rachel Maclean, Spite Your Face, 2017, digital video (still). Courtesy the artist. Commissioned by Alchemy Film & Arts in partnership with Talbot Rice Gallery and the University of Edinburgh on behalf of Scotland + Venice.

In Venice’s Chiesa di Santa Caterina, I am sitting in a pew, looking up to where the altar would normally be, watching the distinct yet unfamiliar movements of a gigantic nose being masturbated. A blue, gloved hand runs up and down its glittering gold length, and its owner, a cartoonish young perfume-purveying influencer named Pic, groans with pleasure. “I intended it to be shocking,” says Scottish artist Rachel Maclean, of her contribution to Scotland’s presence in Venice during the Biennale, a 35-minute, looping film with no beginning or end, that follows Pic on a morality tale that pits his conscience against his greed.

[…]

It would be hard not to see the political significance of the piece, in a world where outright lies appear to be de rigeur for anyone in the public eye. “I was disturbed by the ways in which lies had been used in the Trump campaign and the Brexit campaign, in a lazy sense, to substantiate a political narrative or an idea,” Maclean says. “I started writing the script in December last year and it was a scary time…” One narrative that stands out from the film is the idea of a transformation of fortune, a rags-to-riches redemption (or riches-to-rags, depending on which order you watch the film in), that sees a destitute young boy wind up as shill for a perfume brand called “Untruth.” This creates a fake corporate illusion, in comparison to the magic “Truth” one given to him by his fairy godmother.

“I’ve always been interested in perfume because it seems absurd,” says Maclean. “Really, it’s just a bottle of smelly liquid but it’s packaged in this way that not only makes the object into something more valuable, but it also suggests that you spraying it onto yourself transforms you into something more powerful and alluring.” This idea of a transformative solution to society’s problems critiques these myths that we are told about social mobility: lean in, pull yourself up by the bootstraps, it’s the American Dream. “I was interested in the compassionless aspect of it. The narrative suggests, if you work hard enough and if you dream it, you can do it. It’s a convenient way to gloss over the lack of social mobility in our society,” adds Maclean.

Another uncomfortable moment comes right after the unforgettable nose-onanism, where Pic’s guardian angel joins him in the sexual act. Pic becomes enraged at a perceived insult and ends up brutally raping this maternal figure. It’s uncomfortable, in fact, almost unbearable to watch, even though it’s still, absurdly, carried out by the character’s nose, lengthened from all those lies. “I’ve been disturbed by the rise in visible misogyny,” Maclean says, when asked about this scene. “There’s a level of immunity to it—where we’re just not affected by it. I wanted the rape scene to feel palpably violent and difficult to watch, so that it’s able to break through the surface of that a little bit.”

Rachel Maclean, Spite Your Face, 2017, digital video (still). Courtesy the artist. Commissioned by Alchemy Film & Arts in partnership with Talbot Rice Gallery and the University of Edinburgh on behalf of Scotland + Venice.

The Creators Project has the full story, and more photos. There’s also more at Scotland and Venice.  I have no doubt this is both and impressive and disturbing work; not one I would find easy to sit through, but I would like to see it all the same.

Facebook’s Internal Rulebook.

Facebook’s policy on threats of violence. A tick means something can stay on the site; a cross means it should be deleted. Photograph: Guardian.

The Guardian has an in-depth look at the ongoing problems of Facebook.  If you’re on FB, you’re no doubt already familiar with all these problems and inconsistencies, but you might want to still take the time to do the reading, it’s very interesting, to say the least. As I remarked on this post, the big problem with FB is that they are well aware of the fact that no matter how much people get upset, they won’t kill their account and walk.

As for the above graphic, one of many, “To snap a bitch’s neck, make sure to apply all your pressure to the middle of the throat.” is allowed because it’s not considered to be a credible threat, too generic. Given the sheer amount of women murdered every single. damn. day., I have a whole lot of problems with that, to say the least. Someone, somewhere, will appreciate that information, and put it to use. All I have here is WTF FB?

I had been considering going back to FB, for an Affinity feed, but have been very hesitant to do so. This made up my mind. No. My personal principles won’t stand for it.

*Ob. Disclaimer: Yes, I know most of the effing world is on FB, and that’s fine. I’m making a judgment call for myself, no one else.

Full story at The Guardian.