From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/24/richard-mourdock-rape-remarks-romney
Mitt Romney’s campaign has refused to withdraw his support from Richard Mourdock, the Republican Senate candidate in Indiana who claimed that pregnancies from rape are “something that God intended to happen”.
In a press conference on Wednesday morning, Mourdock, stood by his comments, apologising only for people misinterpreting them.
He said: “I said life is precious. I believe life is precious. I believe rape is a brutal act. It is something that I abhor. That anyone could come away with any meaning other than what I just said is regrettable, and for that I apologize. The apology – as I said before, roll this tape back – is if anybody misinterpreted what I said.”
He added: “I absolutely abhor violence. I abhor sexual violence. I abhor rape. And I’m confident God abhors it.”
Amid pressure for their presidential candidate to publicly distance himself from Mourdock, the Romney campaign said that while he disagrees with Mourdock on when abortion should be allowed, he would not withdraw his support.
Romney’s press secretary Andrea Saul told journalists on the campaign plane that Romney “disagrees with Richard Mourdock, and Mr Mourdock’s comments do not reflect Governor Romney’s views”, Buzzfeed reported.
Saul added: “We disagree on the policy regarding exceptions for rape and incest but still support him.”
Both Mourdock and Romney’s campaign said that an advert Romney recorded endorsing Mourdock’s Senate bid would not be pulled.
Continue reading at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/24/richard-mourdock-rape-remarks-romney
Amherst is supposed to be a liberal institution. The mistreatment of a rape survivor shows just how pervasive rape culture is.
By Natasha Lennard
October 19, 2012
A former Amherst student detailed her experience of on-campus rape and the college’s abysmal treatment of the situation, in a searing and painful essay . The piece in The Amherst Student by Angie Epifano, who left the college because of her experience, has focused a national spotlight on the elite liberal university’s treatment of rape and rape culture, raising questions about the treatment of sexual assault, victims and perpetrators on campuses around the country.
In her piece prefaced with a trigger warning, Epifano writes about the trauma following her rape by a college acquaintance:
Some nights I can still hear the sounds of his roommates on the other side of the door, unknowingly talking and joking as I was held down; it is far from a pleasant wakeup call.
I had always fancied myself a strong, no-nonsense woman, whose intense independence was cultivated by seventeen harrowing years of emotional abuse in my backwoods home. May 25th temporarily shattered that self-image and left me feeling like the broken victim that I had never wanted to be.
Everything I had believed myself to be was gone in 30 minutes.
In an attempt to push the incident from her mind, Epifano explains that she did not report the assault immediately but only came forward to the school’s sexual assault counselor after she had to countenance her rapist in a fundraising project and was thrown into severe emotional turmoil. Epifano’s account of her treatment by the school’s counseling service is as disturbing as any part of her harrowing story.
In short I was told: No you can’t change dorms, there are too many students right now. Pressing charges would be useless, he’s about to graduate, there’s not much we can do. Are you SURE it was rape? It might have just been a bad hookup…You should forgive and forget.
How are you supposed to forget the worst night of your life?… I was continuously told that I had to forgive him, that I was crazy for being scared on campus, and that there was nothing that could be done. They told me: We can report your rape as a statistic, you know for records, but I don’t recommend that you go through a disciplinary hearing. It would be you, a faculty advisor of your choice, him, and a faculty advisor of his choice in a room where you would be trying to prove that he raped you. You have no physical evidence, it wouldn’t get you very far to do this.
Remember there is no god. God is a fraud, a lie used by the powerful to control the masses and perpetuate male supremacy.
From The Washington Blade: http://www.washingtonblade.com/2012/10/18/bullied-md-trans-student-suspended-after-fight/
By Steve Charing
on October 18, 2012
A 15-year-old transgender student at Patapsco Senior High School identified as Dee was suspended following a fight with another student, according to school officials.
The attack occurred on Oct. 11 at the Dundalk-area school. Dee was allegedly assaulted and had her hair pulled by a female student. She fought back, and during the altercation, the attacker allegedly called Dee a “tranny faggot.”
Fighting is a Category I offense in the Baltimore County Public Schools Code of Conduct, and suspension is one of the disciplinary options for the offense. Both students were immediately suspended in compliance with the policy.
The dispute stemmed from a drink-throwing incident in the cafeteria the day before in which, according to a source, Dee was defending a gay friend from ridicule.
Dee identified as a gay male named David while attending Golden Ring Middle School where he had been bullied constantly for being gay. During the summer before ninth grade, Dee came out as transgender, according to a county social worker.
From The New Civil Rights Movement: http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/six-more-sociology-phds-call-for-retraction-of-regnerus-anti-gay-study/news/2012/10/23/50968
by Scott Rose
on October 23, 2012
Reposted with Permission
A hoax study on gay parenting funded by the NOM-linked Witherspoon Institute and marked by deliberate deception and fraud is currently being used as an anti-equality weapon in the courts and in the 2012 elections.
The anti-gay hoax was carried out by Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin.
Witherspoon and Regnerus continue deliberately lying to the public about the study, alleging that none of Regnerus’s funding agency representatives participated in designing or conducting the study.
In truth, Witherspoon Program Director Brad Wilcox recruited Regnerus to do the work, was involved in getting him a $55,000 planning grant, and then collaborated with him on the booby-trapped study design before Witherspoon approved Regnerus for full study funding, which reached a known minimum of $785,000.
Even as Regnerus and Witherspoon continue lying by saying that Regnerus is independent of his anti-gay-rights funders, Regnerus is scheduled to promote the hoax side-by-side with his funders on November 3 in a clear, anti-gay-rights context at Princeton.
Although the American Medical Association and the President of the American Sociological Association have put their names to documents calling Regnerus’s methodology scientifically unsound, the sleazy, NOM-linked characters who commissioned the hoax continue to push it as though it were scientifically valid.
Previously on this site, Dr. Andrew Perrin has delivered a devastating science-based take-down of the Regnerus hoax. Moreover, Dr. Michael Schwartz as well as Dr. Lori Holyfield have called for the Regnerus submission to be retracted from publication.
Here, six additional Sociology Ph.D.s call for the Regnerus article to be retracted from publication, and a further three express their dismay over the Regnerus scandal:
1) Gary J. Gates, Ph.D. is Williams Distinguished Scholar at the Williams Institute of the UCLA School of Law:
“My position is clear. The fact that two of the three peer reviewers of the Regnerus paper were paid consultants undermines the review process to the point that I do not believe the academy should consider this paper to have undergone legitimate peer review. Elsevier should take steps to either formally retract the paper or subject it to an unbiased peer review process.”
2) Heidi Levitt, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston:
“I think it is appropriate to call for retraction. I have signed a letter of protest to that effect which outlines the reasons for retraction.”
3) Saskia Sassen, Ph.D. is Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University, and Co-Chair of the Columbia University Committee on Global Thought:
“I was one of the signers of the original letter and have throughout supported this effort. I find this unacceptable; the Regnerus study should be retracted from publication.”
4) Wendy Simonds, Ph.D. is Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Sociology at the University of Georgia:
“I am not at all surprised by this whole situation, given Regnerus’s previous book on teen sexuality. In that book, he and his co-author present without criticism “research” of others in support of the notion that women who have unprotected sex (with the same partner of course) are less likely to be depressed than women who don’t *because* of the semen in their vaginas (imagine the pharmacological possibilities!!) as well as “research” in support of the notion that women regret abortions. Meanwhile, they also “show” that the more sexual partners young women have, the worse off they are in terms of mental health — while of course the same is not true of young men (then can handle being sluts mentally).”
“I support the retraction of Regnerus’s article, because the review process was not truly blind. Consultants and/or funders on projects should not serve as reviewers of papers that emerge from the projects in which they have been involved. Additionally, Regnerus’s “data” on gay and lesbian parents are unrepresentative of gay and lesbian parents, and, in my view, are presented so as to advance a homophobic agenda.”
5) Eric Anderson, Ph.D. is Professor of Sociology at the University of Winchester in the United Kingdom:
Dr. Anderson previously has described the Regnerus study as anti-gay propaganda, explaining that that is the only term he can think of to describe a study analysis and discussion that is designed to denigrate gay people outside the boundaries of empirical evidence. Asked if he is calling for the Regnerus paper to be retracted from publication, Dr. Anderson said: “Oh God yes. This research was not sociology as science; it was instead a coup d’état against gay parenting.”
6) Amy C. Wilkins, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado:
In an e-mail response, Dr. Wilkins wrote: “I HAVE followed this case and am outraged about it.” and “Thanks for your persistence with this.”
7) Lisa Brush, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at the University of Pittsburgh:
In an e-mail message, Dr. Brush wrote: “I have followed with considerable appreciation your lengthy and detailed posts on this issue, and have registered my dismay with the Regnerus article.” and “Thank you for your work on this issue.”
8) Sir William Timothy Gowers, British mathematician, is a Royal Society Research Professor at the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics at Cambridge University. He is the leader of a boycott against Regnerus’s publisher, Elsevier.
Gowers has said: ”a piece of blatant anti-gay propaganda has been published in the otherwise respectable journal Social Science Research. The research was, it appears, indirectly funded by anti-gay campaigners and is now being gleefully used to help Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. The refereeing process seems to have been accelerated as well. Most importantly, the paper is bunkum and shouldn’t have been accepted: its conclusion (that children do worse if they have gay parents) is not remotely justified by the data used. So who publishes the journal Social Science Research and is not interested in investigating whether proper academic standards have been upheld? I surely don’t need to spell it out.”
“I am calling for the Regnerus article to be retracted from publication.”
New York City-based novelist and freelance writer Scott Rose’s LGBT-interest by-line has appeared on Advocate.com, PoliticusUSA.com, The New York Blade, Queerty.com, Girlfriends and in numerous additional venues. Among his other interests are the arts, boating and yachting, wine and food, travel, poker and dogs. His “Mr. David Cooper’s Happy Suicide” is about a New York City advertising executive assigned to a condom account.
From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/23/pussy-riot-russia-harshest-prisons
The Guardian, Tuesday 23 October 2012
Russian prisoners’ lexicon is colourful and full of historical references. Soon, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, the two members of the rock band Pussy Riot who are still imprisoned, will discover the inside of a “Stolypin wagon”, a special windowless railway carriage, divided internally into a series of iron-barred cells. These carriages, named after the Tsarist prime minister who introduced them in 1906, have been used for over a century to transport prisoners to penal colonies, many in the remote geographical margins.
This week Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were told they will serve the rest of their two-year terms at women’s prison camps in Perm, Siberia, and Mordovia respectively. The band called them “the harshest camps of all the possible choices”.
Like most convicted prisoners in Russia, they will not be within easy reach of their families. The majority of women convicted in Moscow courts are taken to correctional colonies located between 200km and 500km from the capital. The south-west corner of Mordovia, one of the constituent ethnic republics of the Russian Federation, is 400km away and I visited its three women’s correctional colonies on a research trip in 2007-8.
Journeys to prison in Russia can follow meandering routes criss-crossing Russia as convicted prisoners – men, women, juveniles – are collected from remand and transit prisons over a wide area. It is for good reason that prisoners refer to the transportation as the estafeta, or relay-race.
To all intents and purpose, prisoners disappear into a black hole during transportation, re-emerging only when they arrive at their destination colony. One girl we interviewed in L’govo, a juvenile colony south of Moscow, described how it had taken three months to transport her from Ukhta in the remote European north, during which time she was out of contact with anyone on the outside. Her parents learned of her whereabouts only two weeks after she had arrived in L’govo.
Continue reading at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/23/pussy-riot-russia-harshest-prisons
By John Bonnar
October 22, 2012
Pro-choice groups came to Old City Hall in Toronto on Saturday to condemn unequal access to reproductive services across the country.
In Prince Edward Island, women still have no access to abortion. And women living in New Brunswick are forced to pay for their clinic abortions.
“The Conservative government refuses to implement the Canada Health Act to stop these inequities,” said Michelle Robidoux, a spokesperson for the Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics.
“And Conservative members of Parliament continue to introduce anti-abortion private members’ motions while taking away health care for refugees.”
Saturday’s rally in Toronto was part of a Pan Canadian Day of Action that saw similar protests held in other Canadian cities to demand reproductive health care for all, including refugees.
Women realize that, once again, they’ve reached a critical point in their quest for reproductive justice and the right to control their own bodies.
Last week in Ontario, three Conservative MPP’s sponsored a news conference to stop public funding of abortions.
Lokan reinforced Landau’s key argument, that the Catholic minority held a different societal role in 1867 than it does today.
“The suggestion I made is that it may be open to the Supreme Court to consider whether, in the modern context, in the multicultural context, it’s really more of an unwarranted privilege rather than a necessary protection,” Lokan says.
That has not been argued “squarely” at the Supreme Court level, he adds. “In the CCLA’s view, the logic for the original constitutional bargain has changed.”
If the case moves forward, Lokan says he anticipates that other intervenors will likely come forward to include submissions outlining their experience with Catholic schools. This could include gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans students and teachers who have experienced discrimination.
“If the court considers those relevant, they will be listened to,” he says.
Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, director of the equality program for the CCLA, has been a key supporter of Ontario students fighting for gay-straight alliances in Catholic schools over the past two years.
She says the court has been asked to examine a very interesting legal question.
“When can you ask the court to examine an issue it has already considered? Are the legal issues new or just variations on issues that have been raised before? When is it legitimate to say to the court that, yes, you decided on this years ago, but the time has come to reconsider?”
From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/22/opinion/krugman-the-secret-of-our-non-success.html
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: October 21, 2012
The U.S. economy finally seems to be recovering in earnest, with housing on the rebound and job creation outpacing growth in the working-age population. But the news is good, not great — it will still take years to restore full employment — and it has been a very long time coming. Why has the slump been so protracted?
The answer — backed by overwhelming evidence — is that this is what normally happens after a severe financial crisis. But Mitt Romney’s economic team rejects that evidence. And this denialism bodes ill for policy if Mr. Romney wins next month.
About the evidence: The most famous study is by Harvard’s Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, who looked at past financial crises and found that such crises are typically followed by years of high unemployment and weak growth. Later work by economists at the International Monetary Fund and elsewhere confirmed this analysis: crises that followed a sharp run-up in private-sector debt, from the U.S. Panic of 1893 to the Swedish banking crisis of the early 1990s, cast long shadows over the economy’s future. There was no reason to believe that this time would be different.
This isn’t an after-the-fact rationalization. The Reinhart-Rogoff “aftermath” paper was released almost four years ago. And a number of other economists, including, well, me, issued similar warnings. In early 2008 I was already pointing out the distinction between recessions like 1973-5 or 1981-2, brought on by high interest rates, and “postmodern” recessions brought on by private-sector overreach. And I suggested that the recession we were then entering would be followed by a prolonged “jobless recovery” that would feel like a continuing recession.
Why is recovery from a financial crisis slow? Financial crises are preceded by credit bubbles; when those bubbles burst, many families and/or companies are left with high levels of debt, which force them to slash their spending. This slashed spending, in turn, depresses the economy as a whole.
Continue reading at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/22/opinion/krugman-the-secret-of-our-non-success.html
by Robin Marty,
October 22, 2012
With just over two weeks before election day, airwaves in every state are filled with attack ads pitting Republicans against Democrats, and challengers versus incumbents, as each politician scrambles for every last advantage before the final vote is cast. In the 4th congressional district in Tennessee, this shouldn’t have been a last minute push. Republican Congressman Scott DesJarlais was on firm footing before a transcript was released revealing he had urged a woman with whom he’d had an affair to get an abortion when they thought she was pregnant. DesJarlais said she was never actually pregnant, and that he was attempting to scare her into admitting as much, but for a conservative who publicly presents himself as adamantly pro-life, it has provided an opening to Democrats both in the state and out.
Democratic national special interest groups are now pouring money into an ad campaign targeting DesJarlias and what some see as his obvious hypocrisy on the issue of abortion. The House Majority super PAC, committed to trying to regain Democratic control of the House, is spending $100,000 in commercials calling DesJarlais’s ethics into question. According to Knoxnews.com:
The 30-second spot begins with a narrator saying, “Trust and faith. As a doctor, Scott DesJarlais earned his patients’ trust.” The ad then cuts to media coverage of DesJarlais having a conversation — in 2000, as related in a transcript the congressman does not dispute — with a woman he met as a patient and urged to get an abortion.
The Democratic PAC isn’t the only one getting involved, either. Huffington Post reports that actress Ashely Judd has sent out a fundraising email on behalf of DesJarlais’s opponent, Eric Stewart, urging financial support for the final days of the campaign.
“For as far back as I remember, politicians have gotten a bad reputation for saying one thing and doing another. And, this past week Congressman Scott Desjarlais proved why,” Judd said in the email, referring to news of a transcribed recording of DesJarlais pushing the woman to get an abortion.
By Dr Brian Moench
Monday, 22 October 2012
Mitt Romney’s religious hypocrisy and lack of moral scruples are most tellingly exemplified by his personal involvement in Bain Capital’s work for big tobacco – which included hooking millions of Russians on the drug that is anathema to Mormons.
America likes tough guys. In the minds of America’s so-called “low-information voters” – and the low-information-delivering media – Mitt Romney won the first presidential debate because he was the alpha male aggressor, the person who used the most dramatic hand gestures, emitted the highest number of words per minute and simply acted like he was in charge. Romney even bullied the hapless moderator, Jim Lehrer, perhaps channeling his high school days when he humiliated a handicapped teacher and bullied and assaulted gay students. Romney got away with it in high school, and he’s getting away with it again – though the second debate held a different fate for him.
Evidently, the actual content of what Romney said was irrelevant. It’s like debate watchers were voting as they would have for American Idol. The lyrics of the song didn’t matter; it was only the performance that counted. Brazen departures from reality, the truth, facts and common sense combined with constant self-contradictions and breathtaking flip-flopping are no longer a liability, but in fact, have become the very qualities that apparently make many people believe he is suddenly “presidential.”
If polls are to be believed, in less than 90 minutes, the press and the public forgave Romney his notorious 47 percent comments, his personification of Wall Street greed, foreign bank accounts, tax dodging, plutocratic tax plan, outsourcing American jobs to Chinese sweat shops, eagerness to suppress women’s reproductive rights, brutal anti-immigration policies, comical contortions differentiating Obamacare from Romneycare, foreign policy blunders, outrageous military budget, incomprehensible federal deficit arithmetic, and his mocking of global warming. No longer did any of that matter. He looks good in a suit, and his “performance” was captivating, so the lyrics of the song were irrelevant.
I and many others have written about Romney’s long history ofshameless dishonesty. But new information has emerged about Romney and Bain’s intimate involvement in, and profiteering from, Big Tobacco, which is shocking even to me and which should remove all doubt about how empty a suit is Mitt Romney.
To understand the latest and worst chapter in Romney hypocrisy, one must first appreciate how abhorrent smoking is to Mormons. As a person who grew up immersed in the Mormon culture, served a Mormon mission just like Romney did and held a significant supervisory position during my Mormon mission, I know well what Mormons think of smoking. While Mormons put a premium on “clean living” and exemplary “moral” behavior, in the eyes of Mormons, nothing distinguishes them more from non-Mormons than their unique prohibition on smoking. It is considered not just a health proscription, but also a moral imperative. Smoking would disqualify one from entering into one of the Mormon sacred temples, for example.
Continue reading at: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/12219-mormon-mitt-in-bed-with-big-tobacco
From Waging Non-Violence: http://wagingnonviolence.org/2012/10/how-to-create-a-multi-level-movement-for-climate-justice/
by George Lakey
October 23, 2012
The more we hear calls for the urgency of climate justice like that of Bill McKibben’s July Rolling Stone article, the more we confront a strategic dilemma: Where shall we put our energy, on the local or national level?
The U.S. presidential campaign going on now is a daily reminder of the vacuum on the national stage. The candidates think it wise to downplay climate change as an issue even though the actions (and non-actions) of the person in the Oval Office have large consequences. Obama, for example, has reportedly saved 70 Appalachian mountains from mountaintop removal coal mining — earning ferocious hatred from Big Coal as a result. But he doesn’t see the pragmatism in talking about it.
The national vacuum cries out for attention. We who prioritize local action, however, are wary. Many of us have encountered smoke-and-mirrors tactics at a national level that fail to build the mass base needed for major impact.
The easy answer is to say, “Both national and local levels need attention.” It’s much harder, however, to solve the practical problems of strategy and structure that make local and national levels work well together, and it’s too late in the game for each of us simply to do our bit and hope that it all adds up. We need to go beyond addition to multiplication. We need a synergistic outcome from local and national work — and international as well, but that’s another column.
The good news is that activists in the past have faced the need for such synergy, and one solution they invented might work for us. But first we need a bit of historical context really to recognize what they accomplished.
From boycotts and sit-ins to a national movement
By Patrick Crouch
23 Oct 2012
I moved to Detroit almost 10 years ago, largely because I was interested in learning more about the city’s burgeoning community gardens. At the time, little media interest was being paid to Detroit or its urban agriculture movement, and it certainly was not a place folks were looking to for the future of city gardening.
Not long after my arrival, my sister hit me with a sucker punch of a question: “Don’t you ever worry that your work in community gardening is contributing to gentrification?”
I vehemently denied her charges, but in the back of my mind I had already been turning over the question, and feared that she might be right. Over the years, her question has stuck with me, and it seems especially pressing now, as development in Detroit is ramping up. Proposals for a light rail system, construction of a high-end grocery store, and the rehabbing of luxury lofts all have folks wondering where this will lead. Some see it as Detroit’s rebound, others worry that rents will begin to skyrocket and the working class will be driven out.
Looking at the Detroit landscape, there is still so much empty land, and so many vacant buildings, it can often be difficult to imagine gentrification even happening. I’ve met people who say “a little gentrification would be a good thing for Detroit.”
There are things that can and need to change about the city, but change in a neighborhood is often organic — one group of people finds themselves in better economic situations and moves on. Gentrification is systematic; it involves the displacement of people against their will. City governments use economic incentives to attract higher-income people and the businesses that cater to them. Rents and property taxes go up, and those who have historically lived in a community have no choice but to move elsewhere.