Akin’s gaffe is part of broader pattern

August 27, 2012


Rep. Todd Akin’s fame — more accurately, his infamy — now reaches all the way to the Congo.

There, Eve Ensler, the award-winning American author of “The Vagina Monologues” and herself a survivor of rape, wrote an open letter castigating last week’s suggestion by the Republican congressman that when a woman is a victim of “legitimate rape,” her body has means of preventing pregnancy. As it happens, Ensler is in the Congo working to help some of the thousands of women raped in the fighting there. She called Akin’s words “ignorant.”

Nor is hers the only voice of international opprobrium. Criticism of the Missouri lawmaker has rung from such far points as London (“shamefully inaccurate”), Belfast (“profoundly offensive”) and Paris (“medieval”). A writer in Australia dubbed Akin a “boofhead” — apparently, not a compliment. All this, plus domestic denunciation, including sharp criticisms from his own party.

Akin, make no mistake, richly earned every ounce of contempt that now rains upon his head. What he told KTVI-TV, the Fox affiliate in. St. Louis, manages to combine repulsiveness (“Legitimate rape?’’ As opposed, one supposes, to the rapes where “she brought it on herself?”) and remarkable ignorance (Does he really think the uterus is equipped with a force field?) into one appallingly malodorous ball of stupid. Naturally, given his grasp of biology, Akin sits on the House Science Committee.

Yes, you read right. You can’t make this stuff up.

Still, this is not about one congressman’s need for sensitivity training and remedial science. Akin is hardly unique, after all. To the contrary, he is just the latest vivid example of conservatism’s unrelenting hostility toward women’s reproductive rights — as in a Texas judge who just upheld the state’s ban on Planned Parenthood. Indeed, even as this controversy was simmering, the GOP unveiled a proposed platform plank calling for a constitutional amendment that would ban abortion with no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. It’s a plank Akin himself could have written.

But he is emblematic of more than hard-core opposition to abortion. In him, one also senses the juvenile discomfort with which some male conservatives are afflicted at the merest suggestion of female sexuality. Think then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, piously covering the breasts of the “Spirit of Justice” statue at the Department of Justice. Think then-Rep. Tom Coburn decrying the “full frontal nudity” of a movie broadcast on television — the movie being “Schindler’s List,” the nudes being doomed European Jews. Think Republicans banning Rep. Lisa Brown from the Michigan statehouse for using the word “vagina” — as opposed, perhaps, to “lady parts,” “third base” or “tunnel of love.” Think Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a slut because she has, presumably, on occasion had sex.

It’s the kind of behavior one associates with a locker room full of adolescent boys, waiting for their faces to clear up and their voices to change. But these are men. Worse, they are men who are judged competent to make, interpret or influence laws impacting the most intimate decisions a woman can make.

Including, for example, whether she must have a probe stuck up her “lady parts” before being allowed to terminate a pregnancy.

The temptation is to view Akin’s gaffe in isolation. But there is a pattern here. In his antipathy to abortion and his childish grasp of reproductive science, Akin personifies much of the GOP, increasingly an extremist sect from which moderation has been banished.

He has said he just “misspoke,” but that is disingenuous, as is, frankly, much of the criticism from within his party. Their problem and his is not that he misspoke.

It’s that he spoke all too clearly.

— Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald. He chats with readers from noon to 1 p.m. CDT each Wednesdat on www.MiamiHerald.com.


observant 5 years, 8 months ago

No right wing whines yet about Pitts being racist Sure will be flooding in as soon as nuts finish getting their morning talking points from Fox.

jaywalker 5 years, 8 months ago

If you'd like to prove some examples of my posting the same drivel every day, that'd be great. Otherwise, go play w/ your toys. I recall little to no interaction w/ you whatsoever, Fret, nor any post of yours that's said anything deeper than the troll snipe's observant exhibits.

beatrice 5 years, 8 months ago

Yes, because YOUR opinion of things is soooo much more valuable.

jaywalker 5 years, 8 months ago

Never said my opinions were, but at least they're actually opinions and not the same regurgitated, pointless, crap-stirring snipes.

Kendall Simmons 5 years, 8 months ago

Uh..."Do everyone a favor and find something new to say" certainly sounds like a "regurgitated, pointless, crap-stirring snipe" to me. Do you truly not see that?

jaywalker 5 years, 8 months ago

It's certainly not regurgitated, though it's probably pointless considering who it's directed at. Don't know you, obviously you're not familiar w/ observant.

beatrice 5 years, 8 months ago

"Do everyone a favor and find something new to say."

That is pointless regardless to whom it is directed.

Now, tell me to seek help. It will make you feel better.

jaywalker 5 years, 8 months ago

Hilarious. Fretster, acorn, and river. Don't even know you.

somebodynew 5 years, 8 months ago

A Pitts' column I can agree with. This is the big part of the problem with Akin. There are soooo many more that feel exactly like him, if not worse. They are just smart enough not to "misspeak" to a media member. But they will pass all the laws they can - just look at the Ks. Legislature. And it doesn't matter if the laws are actually constitutional, they will spend big bucks trying to defend them.

The only reason Akin is being shunned by his party is he actually SPOKE to the media about what he (and others) actually believe.

jafs 5 years, 8 months ago

The president is not "in charge" of the American economy.

That's a very simplistic, and inaccurate, way to look at it.

Crazy_Larry 5 years, 8 months ago

"That's a very simplistic, and inaccurate, way to look at it." Like something an eighth grader would say?

jaywalker 5 years, 8 months ago

Can't disagree with a word of the column. Incredibly sad, unbelievably true. I find it hard to believe all these legislators, in this day and age, can still hold such antiquated notions over these subjects (women, reproduction, nudity, etc.). I suspect some (I hope many) don't actually believe some of the spittle they spiel, but are only pandering to their base and/or party, because to do otherwise would signal the death knell to their political career. However, if that actually were the case I don't think that would be a better state of affairs, but rather sadder still that they'd actively stunt their own values, abandon their own principles.

Whatever the case, WAKE UP!

mom_of_three 5 years, 8 months ago

I am related to a few republican men and they can't believe what Akin said and they DON"T agree with him either.
They don't quite want Claire McCaskill to win, but they don't want Akin to run or win and think he doesn't have a snowballs chance.

And Pitts is right. You can tell from the legislation that many Republican men agree with him, including one or two running for higher office.

headdoctor 5 years, 8 months ago

I seems the Republican men you know didn't get the memo. They are not welcome in the Republican party at either State or Federal level.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 8 months ago

If median incomes had been declining all through my administration, I'd certainly have all my Oompa Loompas talking about everything except the economy. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303822204577468750027784434.html

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 8 months ago

Akin just said what many in the tea party GOP believe, including Paul Ryan, who sponsored legislation to recognize "forcible rape" as distinct from just rape.

The GOP platform also has a no exceptions anti-abortion position.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

I take that to mean that Romney will be regularly telling his audiences that the Republican platform is crap, and he'll totally disregard it if elected, right? To do otherwise would be dishonest, right?

voevoda 5 years, 8 months ago

There was a time that Romney was pro-choice, in favor of allowing women to make reproductive decisions without being required to get permission from a male-dominated governmental body. Now he has changed his mind about this. Why should we believe that he won't actually go as far as his running mate's position, which is very close to Todd Akin's?

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 8 months ago

Akin isn't the only one. He's just the one who got "caught".
Akin sponsored legislation with the GOP's own "golden boy", Paul Ryan, that would have changed the legal language from rape to "forcible" rape. Is there any other kind? That bill would have also given the IRS powers to force women to prove that they were raped.
Ron Paul spoke about "honest" rape. Is there such a thing as "dishonest" rape?
Indiana Representative Eric Turner called the rape/incest exception a "huge loophole" and insisted that women would actually lie about being raped to obtain an abortion.
Senator Chuck Winder: "I would hope that when a woman goes in to a physician with a rape issue, that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage or was it truly caused by a rape. I assume that's part of the counseling that goes on.”
These statements are just the tip of the iceberg and they all point to one thing; the inherent belief by the men of the GOP that women, as a gender, lie, especially about their sexuality, whether they are 13 or 73. It really is a teenage boys locker room.
Using the conservative estimates of the government's own CDC, 2% of women that are raped each year become pregnant. This translates to an actual number of about 24,000 women each year. Even this number is artificially low, as the CDC also estimates that 52% of rapes each year go unreported. Spread that over 50 states and this means that hundreds..HUNDREDS..of women in Kansas, alone, are becoming pregnant through rape.
And there is inherent danger even in reporting it. 31 states in this country allow rapists to sue for custody or visitation rights and allow them to block women from aborting or giving up for adoption the products of their assaults. Women are actually bargaining away their right to a criminal trial in exchange for the freedom of severance of parental rights. And by the way, this includes Kansas.

voevoda 5 years, 8 months ago

cait, you're right about Ron Paul's attitude; see this excerpt from his 1983 publication where he advocated a Constitutional amendment banning abortion in all cases:

"The truth is that pregnancy after rape is very rare. A rape victim would be expected to arrive in an emergency room or a police station immediately after the act. If she did, a pregnancy could be prevented. One study of 3,500 cases of rape taken over a period of ten years revealed no cases of pregnancy. I personally never heard of a rape victim getting pregnant in the twenty years I have trained for and practiced medicine."

He also says in this work that women never need abortions to preserve their lives and health, because "pregnancy is natural."

Ron Paul is trained as a physician, so surely he knows better. It's ideology trumping fact.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

That's the problem with Ron Paul. For every good idea he has, for every admirable trait he exhibits, he betrays it threefold with absolutely frightening claptrap such as this.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

"Akin personifies much of the GOP, increasingly an extremist sect from which moderation has been banished."

Sadly, that pretty well sums it up. And even worse, respect for facts of any kind, especially of the scientific variety, has also been banished. In its place is a petty and mean-spirited ideology that makes up all of the "facts" it needs as it goes along.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

Aw, gee, jaywalker, I'm trying really hard to be warm and cuddly and loving just like you and Jesus, but it's just so hard.

Please have patience, and someday you'll be really proud of me!!!!

Kendall Simmons 5 years, 8 months ago

And this sounds like crap-stirring sniping, too.

purplesage 5 years, 8 months ago

Once in a while, Leonard Pitts writes a brilliant, sensitive column. This isn't one of those times. Pitts is the ideologue and Planned Parenthood and abortion are his causes. Of course Rep. Akin misspoke, poorly communicated. Let's not make more out of this than there is. No rape is legitimate. The traumatic nature of the crime can equate to no conception. But conception, and therefore innocent human life can result.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

"Of course Rep. Akin misspoke, poorly communicated."

No, he didn't "misspeak." He stated his true, idiotic views quite clearly, and people like you who support such stupidity are just upset that they've been exposed for what they are.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 8 months ago

I'm sure Akin did "misspeak". What he said pointed out what a great number of other GOP legislators think and feel and it's not something they particularly want a spotlight shone upon and it's got them worried, irritated and annoyed. No one is making "more out of this than there is". On the contrary, there's a whole lot more here than you want to admit.

Kendall Simmons 5 years, 8 months ago

Except that Akin didn't just "misspeak'. It wasn't just a one- or two-word gaffe. He gave us a whole explanation about how the female body worked in cases of 'legitimate' rape.

It wasn't just a case of poorly communicating. I mean, had he only used the word "legitimate", it could have been acknowledged as a "misspeak". But he EXPLAINED about how all this works.

That is not "misspoke". That is not* "poorly communicated". That is being down- right wrong. And he initially tried to slough it off as "I misspoke". He had to actually re-apologize to acknowledge what he'd done.

As far as "innocent human life" goes. Hate to have to tell you this...but once you're born, you STILL get to be an innocent human life.

And people like you do NOT get to rape anyone a second time. You do NOT get to choose a breathing innocent human life over a mass of undifferentiated cells. Over a zygote with no central nervous system.

Even the Bible repeatedly refers to when that 'innocent human life' truly becomes alive...and it certainly isn't at the moment of conception.

rbwaa 5 years, 8 months ago

What I find even more appalling is the number of women who believe this same crap.

headdoctor 5 years, 8 months ago

What the Republican party may find more appalling is when several of the Bible thumping women say yes dear at home and then go to the polls and stuff it down their Republican throats. For the most part I believe the women can and will stick together on this issue. Very few women are going to go along with forcing their self or another woman especially a young girl to carry a baby from incest or rape to term so they can be reminded every minute of every day what happened.

headdoctor 5 years, 8 months ago

I know Todd Akin’s comment has caught a lot of attention but what he said is what the Republicans actually want to stand by. Has anyone looked at the suggested Republican platform cooked up by their committee. It is just waiting for approval at the convention. The Republicans wont have to be concerned with Akin's remark. They just want to eliminate abortion in all circumstances. I wonder how well that will go over when it is their wife or daughter that is raped. I bet they will figure out then what legitimate rape is.

fiddleback 5 years, 8 months ago

I just enjoy all the coded language for blame that comes from the right. They've made no secret of placing total blame for poverty on the poor themselves; it's no surprise that they have the same attitude towards women and pregnancy. To review Akin's would-be logic, “Illegitimate” = the woman's muscles weren’t “shutting it down”= she enjoyed it= she’s a whore = she deserves any consequences, including bearing a child. Thus, it's an ingenious way of blaming the woman, and like blaming the poor for poverty, absolves men in power of offering any sympathy or assistance...

It’s just too bad for his slightly more tactful fellow sociopaths that one little dunce’s slip of tongue suddenly makes it so obvious to everyone how they actually think.

Kind of like the Chick-fil-A guy—his millions to Focus on the Family and the infamous pray-the-gay-away group Exodus Int’l did the real talking a long time ago. But he makes one little comment in an obscure interview, and suddenly everyone finally understands that he's intolerant of homosexuals.

These poor schmucks are clearly blindsided by the locomotive of sound-bite culture, and it’s frankly hilarious to watch their hapless fumbling in the aftermath. Kind of like they've lost multiple limbs in the collision, yet the fatal extent of the damage isn't yet clear to them. "'Tis but a scratch!!"

Katara 5 years, 8 months ago

You know, the Chik-Fil-A guy also donates to the American Family Association.

"Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association on Monday insisted that Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) was right to claim women could not become pregnant from “legitimate rape.”

“What Todd Akin is talking about is when you’ve got a real, genuine rape. A case of forcible rape, a case of assault, where a woman has been violated against her will through the use of physical force where it is physically traumatic for her,” Fischer said on his radio program.

“Under those circumstances, the woman’s body — because of the trauma that has been inflicted on her — it may interfere with the normal function processes of her body that lead to conception and pregnancy.”

Fischer said the trauma from rape interfered with normal physiological processes that occur during conception, which “may make it impossible for her, or difficult in that particular circumstance, to conceive a child.”"


fiddleback 5 years, 8 months ago

Good point-- Fischer really finds a way to make that gaffe his own, using "real, genuine" to practically make it sound like organic food..."none of them artificial ingredients; this here's 100% gen-ew-wine rape. The real McCoy, y'all...straight from our home to yours!"

But all this pseudo-medical parsing is clearly intended to imply the woman's complicity and therefore culpability when she becomes pregnant. So badly do they want to coerce a continued pregnancy, it becomes an irresistible way of shaming and blaming the mother, not to mention totally insulting her alleged lack of consent. The mixture of misogyny and ignorance is absolutely stupifying. To use another Monty Python reference, "Why do witches burn?...Because they're made of wood?... Does wood sink in water? No! It floats!--throw her into the pond!!


headdoctor 5 years, 8 months ago

What could turn out to be twisted political humor may be watching Romney straddle, back pedal, and turn a few back flips to please the voters he needs to win. Especially since a large chunk of the suggested party platform is something Romney in the past has been against. If he doesn't follow the platform he will lose his basic supporters and if he does he will lose several others. Either way he will lose a lot of the female vote and I am sure he knows the history of how many women have voted in recent elections. The number of Black women voters was up and with their platform the Hispanic women may join in.

If nothing else. Ryan and Palin have something in common. There will be several voters who don't want Ryan that close to the Oval Office if something were to happen to Romney.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 8 months ago

Before too many knickers get permanently twisted, the term "forcible rape" is used as a contrast to "statutory rape". There are two types of rapes according to general legal usage. (from a source)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

But that distinction has absolutely nothing to do with the use of the term by hysterical misogynists such as Akins.

Kendall Simmons 5 years, 8 months ago

Actually, "forcible" rape is not used that way. (You might want to check with your "source" again.)

It's used to distinguish between people who are raped after trying to escape/who fight back...and people who, for whatever reason, do not. Got zero to do with how old someone is.

Speaking of forcible rape, I had a friend back in the early 70s who was raped at knife point by a total stranger in a parking garage in the middle of the afternoon. The police even took photos of her neck where she'd been cut.

The rapist got caught. Went to trial. And the jury found him NOT guilty! Wanna know why? Because she didn't try to escape!! Therefore the jury decided it wasn't actually FORCIBLE rape...and that was the only kind of "legitimate" rape there was in their minds.

I do not want to go back to those days. And neither should anyone else.

(As an aside, according to the FBI, only 3% of rape claims are false.)

jaywalker 5 years, 8 months ago

Your story sounds like complete b.s. and your 3% claim is false.

jaywalker 5 years, 8 months ago

Yup. Because I say so. Interesting you have no problem taking the stated stat w/out challenge.

paulveer 5 years, 8 months ago

I did not give my opinions of Acorn's post. I questioned the value of your claim that his comments are b.s. and outright false, without any supporting evidence or even cogent argument. Without that, you are presenting as fact something that is, as written above, nothing more than your personal opinion.

jaywalker 5 years, 8 months ago

I'm aware you didn't give opinions of Acorn's post. That was my point. He threw out the initial stat, yet that's ok w/ you sans "supporting evidence." ? Swell. Without that, Acorn is presenting as fact something that is, as written above, nothing more than b.s. It took one search phrase to uncover the rebuttal below for Doug and the 3% garbage.
As to the story, completely my opinion. Hence, "sounds like."

Ken Lassman 5 years, 8 months ago

Jay, read for yourself--looks like it's true. The largest study, published in 2005, was based on 2,643 sexual assault cases and found 3% of false reports.

Kelly. L., Lovett, J., Regan, L. (2005). "A gap or a chasm? Attrition in reported rape cases". Home Office Research Study 293. London: Home Office.

Lonsway, Kimberley A.; Aschambault, Joanne; Lisak, David (2009). "False Reports: Moving Beyond the Issue to Successfully Investigate and Prosecute Non-Stranger Sexual Assault". The Voice 3 (1): 1–11.

Cybulska, B. (July 2007). "Sexual assault: key issues". J R Soc Med 100 (7): 321–4. doi:10.1258/jrsm.100.7.321. PMC 1905867. PMID 17606752.

Next time rely more on what's between your ears instead of what something "sounds like."

jaywalker 5 years, 8 months ago

Doug, it's my opinion the STORY "sounds" like b.s; the 3% stat is.

"In 1994, Dr. Eugene J. Kanin of Purdue University investigated the incidences of false rape allegations made to the police in one small urban community between 1978 and 1987. He states that unlike those in many larger jurisdictions, this police department had the resources to "seriously record and pursue to closure all rape complaints, regardless of their merits." He further states each investigation "always involves a serious offer to polygraph the complainants and the suspects" and "the complainant must admit that no rape had occurred. She is the sole agent who can say that the rape charge is false." The number of false rape allegations in the studied period was 45; this was 41% of the 109 total complaints filed in this period. The researchers verified, whenever possible, for all of the complainants who recanted their allegations, that their new account of the events matched the accused's version of events." Kanin, Eugene J., "False Rape Allegations", Archives of Sexual Behavior

"in the journal Violence Against Women, based on a review of every single rape allegation made to a US university police department — the study does not disclose which school — over a ten year period. The result: 5.9 percent false allegations." http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/false-rape-allegations-are-rare/

"Twenty-seven percent (27%) of these complainants admitted they had fabricated their accusation just before taking the polygraph or right after they failed the test. (It should be noted that whenever there was any doubt, the unresolved case was re-classified as a "proven" rape.) Combining this 27% with the initial 212 "disproved" cases, it was determined that approximately 45% of the total rape allegations were false." http://www.theforensicexaminer.com/archive/spring09/15/

Ken Lassman 5 years, 8 months ago

Congratulations for poking around and trying to get beyond what it "sounds like" to you! To me and some others, opinions are nice, but the idea of a comment forum is to actually educate each other so real dialogues are possible, based on some form of objectivity that is beyond than who yells the loudest or shoots back the cleverest insults. So thanks for participating in a better way.

Regarding your quoted studies: The Kanin report has been widely discredited as being methodologically unsound in all kinds of ways, resulting in way higher percentages of false allegations than more rigorous studies, and if you look at the articles I provided, you'll get more specific critiques. The Forensic Examiner article you reference that claims 27% immediately hedges that conclusion from the 1985 study by McDowell by saying that the study was "sparse in numbers and ha(s) notable limitations."

The middle study from the journal Violence against Women, concluding that there is 5.9% false allegations, is certainly within the realm of credibility in methodologically sound studies. The Kimberly Lonsway study that I referenced above was a meta-study that looked at the methodologies of the wide range of studies in this field and concluded that the credible range of false allegations ranged from 2-8%. Here's a link to that study: http://www.ndaa.org/pdf/the_voice_vol_3_no_1_2009.pdf

Conclusion? It's a tough area to pin down with certainty, but 3% is within the range of what the credible research indicates is happening, as is anything between 2-8%.

jaywalker 5 years, 8 months ago

"Congratulations for poking around and trying to get beyond what it "sounds like" to you!"

Read this slowly, I hate repeating myself, and this is the second time: the story acorn related is what "sounds" false to me; that is my opinion. And I'd already "poked" around regarding the 3% claim before I posted and called it b.s. And please spare me the lecture in the future.

The Kanin study has been panned, just like any study w/ a polarizing subject. But to pretend it came up with higher percentages because of faulty methodology is ridiculous. It was a 9 yr. study where the police had the time and personnel to actually investigate each case to closing, AND the only false allegations that were counted were one's where the complainant actually admitted that the claim was false. ONLY a confession of making a false complaint contributed to the percentage! How can "unsound methodology" be asserted then?

There's no doubt that a specific number is impossible to pin down, but every study I've looked at has been higher than 3%.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 8 months ago

Wow. I'll repeat myself equally slowly: I'm not interested in your opinion of a factual statement. I would much rather have you or anyone else actually do a little extra work and come up with some semi credible information that either backs up or repudiates the information, since your opinion is just that: opinion. And 2 of the 3 studies, including Kanin, sure look like they were cherry picked on the high side of the stats. That's why I took the time to quote from the meta-study that looked at the methodology of studies, including Kanin's and concluded that the most rigorous studies ended up with a range of 2-8% of false reporting. So if every study you looked at had higher than 3% then you didn't look at the studies I provided references for, in one case, provided to you twice.They are the ones who discounted Kanin's methodologies and conclusions, and I trust their conclusions over your shoot from the hip defense of Kanin's methodology.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 8 months ago

Akins spoke the truth about what many R's believe and it's in their platform. That's why they are mad at him. Fortunately the candidates tend to ignore them.

headdoctor 5 years, 8 months ago

Thank you snap for your feeble attempt at vocabulary and semantics lessons. If a pregnancy occurs and all abortion is outlawed it doesn't matter how you label it. Forcible, statutory, unlawful carnal knowledge, rape, illegal coercion, etc.

Nothing unusual here. Just another worthless post by snap.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 8 months ago

Considering how the usual suspects are twisting the English language to fit their own agenda, a correction was needed. Sorry if that offends your delicate senses.

headdoctor 5 years, 8 months ago

No delicate senses to offend. I just have an extreme allergy to BS and I suffer fools very little.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

All you did was demonstrate your own ignorance. But at least you're proud of that ignorance-- that has to be worth something, right?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

Ooh, lookie, rc77 is attempting to change the subject-- again.

fiddleback 5 years, 8 months ago

They'll probably be at the Dem convention too... While we're skipping around to totally unrelated subjects, care to explain the insinuations of your avatar picture?

paulveer 5 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, but that clown face fits the words regularly written by it. Rather repulsive, really.

fiddleback 5 years, 8 months ago

I was guessing a white minstrel act, but whatever. Last I checked, Obama's just a bit blander than the Joker. Assigning arch-villain potency to politicians is not only passe, it telegraphs a binary and over-simplified worldview. You'll have a hard enough time persuading anybody to take you seriously; that garrish boogie man certainly isn't helping.

voevoda 5 years, 8 months ago

The politician most influenced by Saul Alinsky isn't Obama. It's Newt Gingrich.

headdoctor 5 years, 8 months ago

I am sure there is a porch for you to set on waiting for your Government check. It is only a few days away unless yours comes the second week of the month.

headdoctor 5 years, 8 months ago

You must be like rc77. You must be bored and waiting for your check to arrive also.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

Ooh, those evil clinics with black teenage girls in their sites.

What the black community really needs is more teenage mothers and babies with no fathers, dontcha think?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

By god, that cinches it. I'm voting for RyanRomney who really care about daycare for all.

fiddleback 5 years, 8 months ago

At least Bill's okay with you aborting the pregnancy. Has the swelling gone down?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

For Gotland, everything is about race-- as in his belief that he belongs to the supreme one.

jonas_opines 5 years, 8 months ago

As soon as Gotland became involved, of course.

Chris Golledge 5 years, 8 months ago

It really comes down to when you think human life begins. All this about rape and incest is just a way to twist the logic. It is like they are saying, life begins at conception, but not if we find the method of conception immoral, and then you have to get all twisted trying to define the morality around rape, and whether it is somehow a real rape or not. If you believe that the moment two gametes (sperm and egg) come together to form a zygote, that that single cell is a full human being deserving of every protection the law can give it, then it really doesn't matter how the two gametes came into contact.

However, for me, that is a bit of a stretch to think that a bundle of DNA wrapped in a cell wall qualifies as a human being. The big difference between that and a skin cell is a little bit of chemistry, a very little bit. Somewhere between conception and birth it gets fuzzy, but that is the status quo with Roe vs Wade. Might as well leave well enough alone.

If you want a broader context in which to put this argument, put it in the context that the Republican party has been taken over by the religious right who would be all too happy to use the government to impose their beliefs on the rest of us.

fiddleback 5 years, 8 months ago

"It is like they are saying, life begins at conception, but not if we find the method of conception immoral, and then you have to get all twisted trying to define the morality around rape, and whether it is somehow a real rape or not. If you believe...that that single cell is a full human being deserving of every protection the law can give it, then it really doesn't matter how the two gametes came into contact ...However, for me, that is a bit of a stretch to think that a bundle of DNA wrapped in a cell wall qualifies as a human being. "

The answer to why some pro-lifers make contorted exceptions for "immoral conception" is precisely because of the impractical nature of pro-life absolutism that you defined immediately afterward. A part of them knows that it's totally impractical and unreasonable to require a woman to carry a fetus resulting from rape, incest, or one that endangers her life, and yet they'll still avow the oversimplified dictum of sanctity upon conception. They are trying to adapt an impractical absolute to real-life complexities, but just end up with cognitive dissonance whether they realize it or not.

verity 5 years, 8 months ago

I posted this article link on another thread, but I think it's just as appropriate here.


Scientific research into the way we think explains the reasons decent people wind up supporting horrific policies.

jafs 5 years, 8 months ago

It's interesting - I wish they'd explain why conservatives tend to strengthen their beliefs when presented with contradictory evidence - doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but you can see it on here quite a bit.

verity 5 years, 8 months ago

A few thoughts on your question/statement.

On one hand, I think we're falling into a trap by generalizing about either conservatives or liberals or any other large group or in some cases even putting people into those groups. The current court case on the Amish is a case in point. This break-off group, which is certainly not following Amish/Mennonite/Anabaptist traditions in terms of non-violence, is demanding that they be allowed to violently force their will on others who criticized them, and if I read it correctly, are not even part of their break-off group. Unfortunately, this is bringing unwanted and negative attention to those who only wish to go on living in peace. Of course, it's also bringing out the darker side of what happens to people who don't/can't/won't conform. Amishism, for lack of a better word, is not monolithic.

As far as resistance to facts, my father could accept reasonable disagreement on something he held to be true because no one had challenged that belief before and even change his belief, but when my mother---or anyone---got in his face and proclaimed that he was wrong about something, heaven and hell would not be moved, even when it was patently obvious that he was being completely irrational. I think that sort of thing happens often on these boards.

By definition being conservative means opposed or slow to change. There can be fear of change itself, but also fear of what letting go of a belief does to the structure of your life. If one belief isn't true, then what about the others? If you're not used to doing so, thinking and deciding for yourself, rather than following the accepted line of your group, is a very scary thing. It can also put you out there very much by yourself. If your membership in a group is what identifies you, then you have lost your identity. I can personally speak to this, but I had the benefit of not being much of a joiner in the first place and of wanting to reject the identity I felt had been forced on me. But that final break with a belief system which I could no longer believe in left me feeling for a time like all the foundations had been knocked out from under me.

I feel, and this seems to be supported by some research, that some of the difference between those who will accept fact and change their minds and those who won't is genetic.

So my short answer would be: fear, stubbornness and genetics.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

"There can be fear of change itself, but also fear of what letting go of a belief does to the structure of your life. If one belief isn't true, then what about the others? "

Very true-- which is why what's called conservatism these days is often really just a form of narcissism.

jafs 5 years, 8 months ago

I mentioned conservatives because your link stated that conservatives will often strengthen their beliefs in the face of contradictory evidence, which seems quite odd.

It also stated that liberals don't do that, although they may retain a weakened version of their beliefs.

Certainly, presenting "conservatives" on these boards with contradictory evidence and facts doesn't seem to change their views at all, which is disturbing to me.

I'd like everybody to start with facts, and form views and opinions afterwards, personally.

verity 5 years, 8 months ago

Yes, we have to work with the terms we have and make certain generalizations or we spend all our time issuing exceptions. I thought the article fiddleback linked to spoke to that issue very well.

"I'd like everybody to start with facts, and form views and opinions afterwards, personally." That's the problem with authority---as in an ideology---people start with the answer and work back to the question. The answer is preordained and the facts are made to fit it. And perhaps that is the answer to your question.

fiddleback 5 years, 8 months ago

verity and jafs, you might look at this article about Constructive Developmental Theory: http://developmentalobserver.blog.com/2010/06/09/an-overview-of-constructive-developmental-theory-cdt/#subject-object

A conservative mind, by definition, will have a very hard time reaching this realm:

"The Self-Transforming Mind is the highest level of consciousness in Kegan’s model. The Self-Transforming Mind is able to take a step back from the act of self-authoring and hold it as object. From this point of view, one is able to regard multiple ideologies simultaneously and compare them, being wary of any single one. Driving questions would include, “What am I missing?”, “How can my outlook be more inclusive?” As Susanne Cook-Greuter likes to say, such a person tends to move away from “either/or” thinking towards thinking that is more “both/and”. This mindset is problem-seeking. This multi-frame perspective is able to hold the contradictions between competing belief systems and is therefore subject to the dialectic between systems of thought. Underlying this perpetual quest is an acceptance of the incompletion of wholeness.

Because of its interdependent meaning-making, the underlying structure of the Self-Transforming Mind can be thought of as operating at the level of a system of systems. Fears of this order of mind would be having a sense of complacency regarding ones own identity or the sense that one has finally “learned it all”.

Less than 1% of the adult population is at this level of development."

msezdsit 5 years, 8 months ago

As I have previously posted, the republican party is upset because Akins was blatantly truth full. What the party has become, with the help of their propaganda arm, Fox, is to put on a face of fluff to hide their real agenda and Akins violated this effort. Just like ryans budget joke which is anything but a budget. It doesn't fix any of the problems related to the budget but does foster along the ideological right wing backwards thinking that Akins let slip out. I mean , come on, his medicare won't affect anyone for 10 years so just take nap and don't worry. Lull you to sleep with their delayed reaction and then reality, no more medicare. This, disguised as " saving medicare". The pubs have used this same tactic with abortion. Slowly nibble away at abortion with small bites of laws and complications until one day they have eliminated it. Just like id laws for fraud where there is no fraud. As ignorant and backwards as Akins is, he managed to come out with the real "no spin zone." These people need to be stopped before they turn this country into a third world ran by people that look like akins.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 8 months ago

This is obviously what Todd Akins thinks. There was no attempt to give a different explanation. Akins said what he believes. Why should he apologize? I would rather know his position up front.

There are other politicians who hold the same views. How can we trust them as candidates and potential representatives if they hide what they really think? What do Romney and Ryan really think? Were their reactions a cover?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

"What do Romney and Ryan really think? Were their reactions a cover?"

They have several committees and focus groups working on that. They'll let us know sometime in December (assuming they win the election.)

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 8 months ago

And now Akin has come out saying that breast milk will "cure" homosexuality in gay men. Will the stupid never end? http://dailycurrant.com/2012/08/26/todd-akin-claims-breastmilk-cures-homosexuality/

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

Stupid is right. And what's truly sick is that the party faithful will still vote for this idiot. (right, snap?)

Katara 5 years, 8 months ago

"The Global Satirical Newspaper of Record"

Katara 5 years, 8 months ago

This site is hilarious!

"Today the U.S. state of Arizona continued its bizarre assault on women's reproductive health by passing into law a ban on women menstruating before they are "properly married".

The bill - known as SB 11235 - will make menstruation a crime punishible by up to 1 year in prison unless done with a permit signed by the woman's husband.

The goal of the new law is to reduce out-of -wedlock births and cut down on what one Republican male lawmaker deemed "harlotry"." http://dailycurrant.com/2012/06/04/arizona-bans-extramarital-menstruation/

JHOK32 5 years, 8 months ago

I can't believe that in 2012 we're really even having a major political party even attempting to have governmental control over what a woman can or cannot do with her own body! They are advocating to throw women's rights back 100 years. Next they'll be trying to enact laws that dictate that men automatically get the kids in the event of a divorce like they did 100 years ago, and next it will be making it illegal for women to have the right to vote. Women of America you better wake up & open your eyes about what these nuts are wanting to do! And who pray tell are going to support these tens of thousands of babies that the GOP are forcing to be born? The very party that's slashing all funding for anything that even resembles some form of welfare program - these are the holier than thou people that our society is going to entrust with the hundreds of thousands of dollars that it costs to raise each of these babies to adulthood? - Yeah right!

msezdsit 5 years, 8 months ago

This just in, new polls show that todd "claude" akins has an 80% to 20 % approval rating over incumbent Claire (bear) McCaskill in Columbia Missouri. Experts say that only in Columbia could an " animal" believed to have escaped from a nearby zoo hold such a commanding lead. Authorities are in the process of combing the Tampa area to try to determine how many such animals may be on the loose. Police warn these creatures have been diagnosed with "cc" and are extremely dangerous. Do not, i repeat, Do not try to attempt to communicate with these creatures if you think you have one in your vicinity.

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