Tag Archives: Paul Ryan

Could We Stop Punishing Rape Victims?

So, I know I’ve been talking a lot about rape lately… but has anyone else noticed that rape has been appearing a lot in national conversation? It’s weird. I understand it in the context of the slut walks and other protests, where women are attempting to shine a light on fallacious yet pervasive thoughts pertaining to sex, sexuality and consent… but it’s been appearing more and more in the political world, too. Conservatives on a federal and state level are moving more and more often to try and redefine rape or somehow contextualize  and categorize it instead of simply saying “Rape is wrong and illegal.”

I mean, we all should know that most social conservatives are very much anti-abortion. Speaker of the House John Boehner, for example, recently made the statement that he wanted to try to make abortion a “relic of the past.” Don’t be confused. He’s not supporting putting money into science initiatives that might research the safe and healthy removal and maturation of a fetus from a woman unwilling to continue with a pregnancy. No, he just wants to ban all abortions, except rape and incest, which anyone with any knowledge of human history, or even just American history pre-Roe v. Wade, should be able to at least guess means abortions will carry on, just more dangerously.

But now we’ve got rape entering into the abortion equation. It was thought that social conservatives were willing to swallow the “let a rape victim have an abortion” pill because, well, it’s sort of like letting someone that got stabbed go to the doctor and be healed. I know that’s a crude comparison and people will cry out about human lives being involved in abortion, but rape is a crime and pregnancy brought about through rape is an aftereffect, like bleeding out after being stabbed is an aftereffect of the crime of being stabbed. Again, not a perfect analogy, but you maybe see my point. You’d think we’d want to, as a society, not force people to suffer unwillingly with the aftereffects of criminal actions taken against them.

Except now there’s Representative Paul Ryan trying to make certain abortions in cases of rape illegal, which I’ve mentioned before. To be more accurate, he’s signed on to co-sponsor the Sanctity of Human Life Act, which would give states the right to ban all abortions. Which I feel like contradicts something that just had an anniversary… some Supreme Court case… I could be wrong, though. Anyway, the act would also allow rapists to sue women that attempt to abort the rape pregnancy if their state makes it illegal and she goes to another state where it’s okay.

But that’s not all! Ryan isn’t the only one throwing his hat into the “force women to keep pregnancies they were given in an act of crime” ring. No, now New Mexico is tossing its hat in there. New Mexico legislation has introduced a bill that would imprison any doctor and woman that go through with a rape abortion for up to three years. What’s their reasoning? It’s tampering with evidence.

At which point my head hits my desk.

I’m not certain, but I’m sure there’s a way to get DNA even from an aborted fetus that could help with that evidence thing. And with other Republicans trying to burden rape victims with the need to prove the rape was “forcible,” again trying to categorize rapes as though one were better than the other, we can see a pretty regrettable trend starting up.

Starting up… I say that as if this hasn’t been going on for years. It has. But it seems to be very frighteningly kicking into a much higher gear. And that needs to stop.

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Can Politicians Just Shut Up About Rape For A Second?

Politicians, with a particularly large percentage of them coming from the Republican party, have been having a bit of a word vomit problem lately when it comes to the subject of rape. You probably remember Representative Todd Akin discussing the differences of legitimate and illegitimate rapes, which sort of kicked off the parade of GOP politicians being unable to shut up about rape. Then you had Richard Mourdock talking about rape babies being a gift from God or some such… Both went on to lost their elections. But the GOP realized the whole rape thing was a bad idea to talk about and decided to stay quiet.

Ha, just kidding. No, not only did they not stay quiet, but Georgia Representative Phil Gingrey decided not just to bring rape back up, but to specifically bring up Akin’s comments. And then to attempt to defend them by saying Akin was partly right.

Now, I understand what Akin and Gingrey are trying to suggest… Gingrey flat says it.

“[…] and what he meant by legitimate rape was just look, someone can say I was raped: a scared-to-death 15-year-old that becomes impregnated by her boyfriend and then has to tell her parents, that’s pretty tough and might on some occasion say, ‘Hey, I was raped.’ That’s what he meant when he said legitimate rape versus non-legitimate rape.”

But here’s the problem: Discussing rape in those terms is ridiculous and makes it seem like it’s a common occurrence. It might be somewhat common, but you know what’s even more common? Rape. Gingrey and Akin want to talk about not wanting to punish non-rapists, but they remain silent on how to improve punishment on actual rapists. Not to mention, I’m pretty sure their medical defenses are a load of crap. Gingrey says adrenaline can hinder the possibility of pregnancy, suggesting that rape is the primary type of sex adrenaline is secreted during… which is stupid, because he defends it by talking about couples consensually trying to procreate having too much adrenaline, thus entirely nullifying his point.

The discussion of “legitimate” rape is toxic on every level. It makes the subject turn to “Is the victim lying or not?” Now, I know we have an innocent until proven guilty system, so it’s up to the accuser to prove things, but rape is such a very iffy subject in court when it comes to evidence, and we’ve got a culture that loves to pin rape on the person that was raped. What we should do is make punishments for both rape and lying about being raped intensely severe. Make it so people aren’t as willing to falsify a rape claim, which has happened from time to time, as well as maybe deter rape and make any accusations of rape that much more serious, as the accuser is putting themselves on the line. Seriously, that’s the only type of political discussion that should be had. Treat rape as a terrible crime. Don’t attempt to justify or categorize. Even members of the GOP are saying that. Kellyanne Conway, a Republican pollster, and Kevin Madden, a Mitt Romney campaign adviser, have basically both said that GOP politicians need to shut up about rape.

Of course, that’s not going to happen. Not when “moral crusaders” like Representative Paul Ryan are going to try to pass bills allowing rapists to sue the women they’ve raped. And make many forms of in vitro fertilization illegal… for some reason.

Yeah… the day the GOP decides to stop being morally reprehensible while claiming to be the moral representatives in government may be the day the world ends.

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Depression Is A Serious, Dangerous Thing

With another GOP congressperson saying another insulting and idiotic thing about rape (and a second one saying stupid stuff about the dangers of pregnancy), and Paul Ryan dedicating his and Mitt Romney’s term in office to fighting to remove rights for gay people, you’d think I could talk about a ton of stuff tonight.

And I could. Really, there’s quite a lot to talk about. Unfortunately, this is yet another night where I haven’t exactly given myself much time to do any of that chit chatting or yelling about sexist, heterocentric, backwards policies from a political party that needs a swift kick in the head and a hard reboot on understanding what should matter in this country.

Instead, I’m going to briefly talk about something else that should matter to people: Depression. It is, in fact, a serious medical condition. I’m not talking about feeling sad because someone broke up with you or something, though I suppose that could trigger it, but actual, medically labeled depression.

It’s possible that I have it in a unipolar sense. I’m not sure. I don’t drink, which helps me stave off my worst bouts, and so far the most self-destructive thing I’ve let myself physically do is eat poorly and perhaps refuse to socialize. …actually, thinking about it, I might be socializing more, so scratch that. Anyway, while I’ve had a long, two year period of down days, very rarely uplifted by anything good, I’ve been fortunate enough to never suffer severe bouts of depression. Maybe I could benefit from medicine, but I’m just not going to bother with that. I, personally, want to solve this on my own because I don’t think I have a chemical imbalance, just a psychological dislike for myself and my life as it stands.

That said, I repeat that depression is serious business. And it’s something friends should look out for. Truly. If you have a friend that you think is depressed, and I mean depressed and not just temporarily mopey, you need to reach out to them. Don’t turn them away. Don’t dismiss their feelings, even if you’ve heard it a billion times before. That won’t help. Encourage them to see a doctor, but also just encourage them. Be there for them in good times and bad, because that’s what a true friend does. And when a friend is depressed, they could really use someone, something to help stave off the imagery of suicide that envelopes many of their idle hours.

I’m going to leave you with a link to a Tumblr post written by comedian Rob Delaney, a man who has actually suffered through alcoholism and depression. You can read about his struggles with depression here. It’s worth the read.

Depression can be life threatening. But it can be survived. And, personally, I think friends are a great first step.

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The Failed Math Of The Romney/Ryan Budget

Now, fair warning before I get started: I’ve not seen this budget that these two have worked out. As far as I can tell, almost no one has. See, the two of them are nearly adamant in refusing to actually tell anyone how their budget would work. In an interview with Fox News, Paul Ryan nearly said that he didn’t have the time to give Chris Wallace the numbers and said, “It would take me too long to go through all of the math.”

Which might be true. It’s an interview. But maybe Ryan and Mitt Romney could supply some of those numbers, considering Ryan is claiming that the budget is “revenue neutral.” Which, from my understanding, means that their budget plan won’t earn America any money, but it will certainly stop America from losing money.

That means, numbers wise, that they have to cut $1.1 trillion (the current deficit, as I recall) from the current budget, or add it to the government’s income. Generally speaking, the government’s income comes from taxes. So, the solution is to cut spending and to raise taxes.

Now, Romney’s been having a bit of a problem on the road of telling anyone what he’s going to actually do in any specifics whatsoever. He’s said, specifically, he’ll cut funding to PBS and NPR. Okay. That’s specific. He’s said he’d slash funding to education. …a bit less specific, but alright. He’s said he’ll close tax loopholes… though, apparently, we have to wait until he’s elected to find out which ones.

“The Daily Show,” my go to source for a collection of clips of candidates and others saying things that don’t seem to add up with one another, had a rather excellent segment on Romney’s odd mathematics, or lack thereof.

See, it’s hard to find the specifics of what Romney wants to give up. We could look at Ryan’s budget, but Romney has said, very firmly, that his budget is different. Things changed. So it wouldn’t really do us much good. There are, however, some specifics on Romney’s website here. With the numbers provided there, it tallies up to a total of:

$219.6 billion slashed from the deficit. With a potential extra $100 billion from “empowering states to innovate.”

That’s a chunk, but it’s not deficit eliminating chunk. So, is he going to do something else?

Well, apparently, Romney is going to cut taxes across the board by 20 percent, and then he’s going to restore the defense budget to pre-Obama spending and increase it by building a lot more boats and three subs a year.

…which is where things start to get wonky for me. See, the way I understand it, if taxes, the federal government’s biggest revenue, go down, then the deficit goes up. For taxes to lower, things have to be slashed en mass to get the deficit lowered. But Romney wants to increase defense spending. All of this seems to almost eliminate the (let’s say) $319.6 billion cut from the budget.

“But it takes time! You can’t eliminate a deficit this big in one night!”

I find that argument intensely ironic, as that’s what supporters of President Barack Obama have been saying for a while now. And he still had to drive through the storm for a couple years before coming out on the other side. Romney would be starting his presidency, if elected, with unemployment rates lower than Obama started with and a stronger stock market than Obama started with. It’d seem that the sluggish removal of the deficit would have almost no excuse.

“If you lower taxes, the economy improves!”

Now, this gets into big economic theories I’m not personally familiar with. However, using logic, I can determine a few things. First, that likely isn’t true as a rule. If lower taxes improved the economy, then why tax at all? There is likely a point after which to lower taxes any more would be detrimental. Second, I feel like if that were a fact, the economy would have been doing nothing but improving since Ronald Reagan. In fact, it should have seen a strong hey day during Bush’s presidency. And it was strong for a while. Then it crashed. Which reminds me of the 1920s in America. The economy was going swell… and then it shattered. Could it be that there were not enough regulations and policies were passed that saw brief economic booms traded in for lengthy depressions?

But whether the economy improves or not isn’t what I’m discussing. I’m talking the federal budget. Simple as that. An improved economy would help, certainly, as it would potentially increase tax revenue, but I don’t think the economy will improve that much during a Romney presidency. It would be slow. Which sounds like his recovery plan.

And that’s the thing. Romney’s specific slashes and changes to the budget (which are, in my opinion, quite irresponsible) would move the deficit down some, while our debt continued to increase. Then he’d put policies in place he thinks will improve the economy (and let’s hope it won’t crash it), which would slowly move the deficit down some more. And if no one touches anything, maybe, in 10, 15, 20 years, the deficit will be gone. Tada!

But that’s not enough. There need to be some harsh realities. Taxes need to be raised. Loopholes need to be closed, particularly for corporations that get to keep their money overseas for free. We need to make it more expensive for companies to give their jobs to other countries, and make sure no corporation goes without paying taxes. The defense budget needs trimming, as does the rest of the budget. If you eliminate charitable donations tax deductions, close off tax deductions and loopholes that tend to only apply to the extremely wealthy and the big corporations, and bring corporations and companies back to the US with their jobs, you might start seeing a flow of money both in the economy and in the government’s pocketbook. THAT is what needs to happen.

Dunno if Romney will do that or not.

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Sing, Sang, Sung – “Walk On The Ocean” By Toad The Wet Sprocket

I still don’t have anything to say, really. Today was the third day in my long weekend. I did chores. I watched more “Doctor Who.” I found myself annoyed with the whole Martha Jones being in love with the Doctor thing. I found myself more annoyed with the Christmas special “Voyage of the Damned.” But I can always talk about that later.

Frankly, there hasn’t been much going on politically other than the three headlining RNC speeches (Paul Ryan, Clint Eastwood and Mitt Romney) being kind of awful. And I don’t feel like talking about them. Not right now at least. Maybe after the DNC gets a chance to be a comparison.

You ever have days like that? Not writer’s block, necessarily… just days when you don’t feel like it? Days of lethargy, I suppose?

Anyway. I give you another song. It’s an old one (Like, the 1990s. Practically ancient.), and apparently not terribly well known/popular? At the very least, there’s not terribly many Youtube videos of it. In fact, I think I’ve only ever found the one that includes a video, and it’s missing the first second or so of the song. And looks to be recorded on VHS. Badly. Fortunately, since then, someone’s added an album version.

Ah, well. Beggars, choosers and something about horse steak and all that.

I’m putting this song up just because. It’s one I always wanted to do a capella… most of my a capella group laughed at the idea. Well, the guy in charge did, so, the majority of people that mattered. Plus, I don’t know how to arrange music. I’m sure I could, if I just took the time to try… but it’s not in my bailiwick, for sure. So, no a capella version I’ve ever heard thus far. Even though I think it would sound great. But maybe this is a song everyone hated but me? You tell me.

“Walk On the Ocean” – Toad the Wet Sprocket

We spotted the ocean at the head of the trail
Where are we going, so far away
And somebody told me that this is the place
Where everything’s better, everything’s safe

Walk on the ocean
Step on the stones
Flesh becomes water
Wood becomes bone

And half and hour later we packed up our things
We said we’d send letters and all those little things
And they knew we were lying but they smiled just the same
It seemed they’d already forgotten we’d came

Walk on the ocean
Step on the stones
Flesh becomes water
Wood becomes bone

Walk on the ocean
Step on the stones
Flesh becomes water
Wood becomes bone

 

Now we’re back at the homestead
Where the air makes you choke
And people don’t know you
And trust is a joke
We don’t even have pictures
Just memories to hold
That grow sweeter each season
As we slowly grow old

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The Daily Show Has Nailed It This Week

Dunno if you heard, but this week was the week of the Republican National Convention. Four days (Or, well, three and a tad days.) of GOP fanfare and froufrou. All to say, “Yes. We’re definitely picking Mitt Romney. Unless there’s someone else. Someone? Anyone? No? …Okay, Romney it is.”

The entire convention was filled with a lot of bashing of President Barack Obama, bad jokes, a couple racist dudes (well, two that got caught and thankfully thrown out), a lot of stretched truths, half truths and, well, lies… I guess it’s just your typical politics? Well, typical politics plus Clint Eastwood arguing with an empty chair. Best tweet in response: This is a perfect representation of the campaign: an old white man arguing with an imaginary Barack Obama.

Anyway, we’ll see how Obama responds during the DNC. He has a chance to really rip into the missteps of the RNC speeches and lay out his policy plans, something that didn’t really happen at the RNC. And having seen Romney’s performances in debates… Well.

During the whole RNC event, though (which I never watched… I didn’t hate myself that much), “The Daily Show” was filming in Tampa, Fla., where the RNC was held. And they had some pretty amazing, spot on criticisms of the event and the Republican Party. I’m hoping they do similar for the DNC… but I don’t know if their stuff will be as good as it was in Tampa.

Night one, a look at the political imagery of a natural disaster, Hurricane Isaac versus GOP.

Night two, a criticism of the theme of the night, “We Built It,” and how it’s based on a misquote.

Night three, fact checking GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s address to the RNC.

And night four, a Leonard Nimoy-narrated spoof of the Romney biographical short film. It’s pretty fantastic.

But in my mind, the best clip, the most politically poignant and, coincidentally, frightening segment that “The Daily Show” did is this one, where Samantha Bee talks to RNC attendees about Romney’s right to choose whether a woman has a right to choose abortion or not.

You might be able to guess where that one heads. Funny… but mostly upsetting.

Anyway. I didn’t watch the convention, as I said. I did read some of the speeches, and some of the fact checks on those speeches… But I’m not really in the mood to rant and rail politics. I’ve done too much of that as of late. And I ate a lot and want to go hibernate for a while. Hopefully, “The Daily Show” will tide you over. I’m going back to watch more “Once Upon a Time.” …I really like that show.

Which reminds me! TV starts back up this month! Excited!

Okay, now hibernation.

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God, Nature, Government – The Rights Of Man

So, in case you haven’t heard, there’s this thing that happened.

The Olympics!

But other than that, GOP presidential nominee (not quite technically official) Mitt Romney announced his vice presidential candidate as Paul Ryan, the young, bright hero of the Tea Party movement, the Republican Congressman from Wisconsin. He is perhaps best known for crafting a budget proposal that many of the Republican party tout as serving the ideals of truly conservative economics, and many of the Democratic party tout it as an uncaring pile of trash that throws money and the rich and abandons the poor.

Heck, what do I know. I haven’t read the budget. I mean, others have, and say not so flattering things… but not me. It could be amazing.

Doubt it, but it’s possible.

I don’t feel like talking about Ryan and what his being picked as VP nominee means, though. Instead, I want to spend a brief amount of time on something he said during his speech at the announcement.

Ryan, during the speech, said “Our rights come from nature and God, not from government.”

It’s an interesting sentiment, to be sure. Not remotely original of course, but interesting. Particularly for someone in government, someone who has voted on things many people consider as “rights.”

I, of course, commented on the article, in that way I can’t help but do. “And, of course, Ryan will be there to tell us what nature and God said when they’re strangely quiet about certain rights.”

This slightly snide comment set off, predictably, a bit of an explosion of discussion. Which is good. I kind of meant it to. One response I got said:

“And, if our Rights don’t come from God and Nature, then where do they come from? Government? If they come from Government, then Government can take them away whenever it pleases.”

It’s an interesting discussion. In the Declaration of Independence, there is some obvious sentiment toward rights being granted by a creator. Unalienable rights, the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Which, of course, seems to insinuate the possibility of alienable rights.

So. If there are unalienable rights, granted by God or nature, who determines them? Thomas Jefferson borrowed heavily from the philosophies of John Locke when talking of unalienable rights. But is Locke, or Jefferson, the ultimate arbiter of what’s unalienable?

Eleanor Roosevelt, in the 1940s (I do believe) was one of the writers of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In that declaration are many rights people have yet to see in many countries. How did they determine those things were rights?

It’s true, though, that if government is the only arbiter of the rights of man, then one necessarily can’t argue that one has rights outside those granted you by government. There would be no idea of “human rights.” But how do we determine what constitutes human rights? And who gets to say whether they are such or not?

Ryan, for example, has voted against several GLBT-related laws that many in the GLBT community consider rights. That, and his stances on women’s rights. Insofar as, he is very much against birth control and abortion. I’m pretty sure he voted to ban a lot of contraceptives or birth control forms at some point.

It will be interesting to see if any discussion on Ryan’s (and potentially Romney’s) interpretation on rights comes up. If so, they’ll both have some explaining to do.

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Funny Video – Troy Shaves His Face

Okay. So, Mitt Romney picked Paul Ryan as his vice presidential nominee. I could have a lot to say about this… and I bet I do. But not today. For today was the first reading and workshop of my play, “Camp Gethsemane.” Despite merely being there to listen and discuss, it took a lot out of me. I was pretty much nervous as hell for some reason, not that I noticed until afterward. I have a lot to consider, a lot to work on. The play ran at 2:15 pretty much on the dot. That’s two hours and 15 minutes.

A bit to cut out indeed. Definitely some things to think about.

Hopefully, I’ll have a shortened version by November. A version more closely able to be produced. It’d be great to have that happen. November is the first month a former professor of mine will be able to read it, so I plan to have it done then.

Anyway… it took a lot out of me. And my newest roommate moved in today. And we all started talking about “Marble Hornets” and the Slender-man character.

I’ve been hearing a lot about Slender-man. I don’t exactly know what that’s all about. Or, well, didn’t. My roommates have been trying to explain it to me. Apparently it’s creepy stuff. Fun thing is, I’m actually friends with the director/editor of Marble Hornets, Troy Wagner. He was an acting partner of mine in my Stage Movement class at the University of Alabama. And I always just assumed Marble Hornets was a comedy group.

See, Troy posted a video to his wall on Facebook. And it’s hilarious. Apparently, Marble Hornets is not usually humorous. It’s apparently scary. Slender-man is apparently scary as heck. We’re watching the Slender-man things now. It’s… interesting, for sure. I’m sure in the right environment, with the right attention paid, I’d be pooping my pants.

But! To the hilarious movie! It’s called “Troy Shaves His Face.” It’s all about the laughs. Laughs are necessary sometimes.

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