After months of verbal assault against Planned Parenthood and against women more broadly, Republican Christianists have gotten what they were asking for—bloodshed.
On November 27, a mass shooting left three dead and nine wounded at a Planned Parenthood clinic just miles from the headquarters of the Religious Right flagship, Focus on the Family. Was the shooting exactly what conservative Christian presidential candidates and members of congress wanted? Maybe, maybe not. But it is what they asked for. Republican members of the Religious Right incited violence as predictably as if they had issued a call for Christian abortion foes to take up arms. Inciting violence this way is called stochastic terrorism:
“Stochastic terrorism is the use of mass communications to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable. In short, remote-control murder by lone wolf.”
In an incident of stochastic terrorism, the person who pulls the trigger gets the blame. He—I use the male pronoun deliberately because the triggerman is almost always male—may go to jail or even be killed during his act of violence. Meanwhile, the person or persons who have triggered the triggerman, in other words, the actual stochastic terrorists, often go free, protected by plausible deniability. The formula is perversely brilliant:
- A public figure with access to the airwaves or pulpit demonizes a person or group of persons.
- With repetition, the targeted person or group is gradually dehumanized, depicted as loathsome and dangerous—arousing a combustible combination of fear and moral disgust.
- Violent images and metaphors, jokes about violence, analogies to past “purges” against reviled groups, use of righteous religious language—all of these typically stop just short of an explicit call to arms.
- When violence erupts, the public figures who have incited the violence condemn it—claiming no one could possibly have foreseen the “tragedy.”
Stochastic terrorism is not a fringe concept. It is a terrorist modality that has been described at length by analysts. It produces terrorism patterns that should be known to any member of Congress or any presidential candidate who has ever thought deeply about national or domestic security issues, which one might hope, is all of them.
We can be confident that from the time of the standoff, communications teams for Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum and others were scrambling to figure out the nuances of plausible deniability—weighing how best to distance themselves from the violence that killed a police officer and two others without making their protestations of surprised dismay sound as hollow as they actually are—without actually denouncing the disgust and dehumanization of women who have abortions and those who provide them. In fact, since the slaughter, several have doubled down on victim blaming and anti-Planned Parenthood rhetoric.
For months, Republican presidential candidates and conservative Christian members of Congress have been following this script for political gain. Elected Republicans in the states have sought to intimidate women and providers by demanding the release (and even publication) of identifying information and addresses—essentially a target list for perpetrators. They know exactly what they are doing. Since abortion was legalized in the United States, providers and clinics have been the target of 41 bombings and 173 arson attacks. Since the 1990’s, eleven providers, clinic staff or defenders have been murdered, including the three in Colorado:
- March 10, 1993: Dr. David Gunn of Pensacola, Florida was shot and killed after being depicted in “Wanted Posters” by Operation Rescue.
- July 29, 1994: Dr. John Britton and a clinic escort, James Barrett, were both shot to death outside another Florida clinic, which has been bombed twice including in 2012.
- December 30, 1994: Two receptionists, Shannon Lowney and Lee Ann Nichols, were shot and killed in Brookline, Massachusetts by an abortion foe who had previously attempted murder in Virginia.
- January 29, 1998: Robert Sanderson, a security guard at an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, died when the clinic was bombed.
- October 23, 1998: Dr. Barnett Slepian was killed at his home in Amherst, New York, by a shooter with a high-powered rifle.
- May 31, 2009: Dr. George Tiller, who provided late term abortions, was shot and killed in the lobby of his church, where he was serving as an usher.
- November 27, 2015: Two civilians and a police officer died during a five hour siege in which a “lone wolf” assaulted patients and providers at a Planned Parenthood Clinic in Colorado Springs.
Since David Daleiden launched his baby parts hoax aimed at triggering the yuck factor and fueling outrage among gullible abortion foes, and since Republicans in high places decided that assaulting Cecile Richards (and all of the women she represents) was good electoral fodder, Planned Parenthood clinics in Washington and California have been set on fire. Righteous Christian abortion foes have made death threats against providers and clinics across the country. By November 27, law enforcement had documented nine serious criminal incidents or attempts. Now, finally, we have a mass shooting by a deranged sounding shooter who muttered something about “no more baby parts.”
The triggerman is in custody. But the real perpetrators likely will continue to have access to pulpits, radio stations, town halls, and television, where they will express carefully crafted dismay about the carnage, hoping we all won’t notice that the hands clutching the podium are covered in blood.
Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light and Deas and Other Imaginings, and the founder of www.WisdomCommons.org. Her articles about religion, reproductive health, and the role of women in society have been featured at sites including AlterNet, Salon, the Huffington Post, Grist, and Jezebel. Subscribe at ValerieTarico.com.
Thanks for introducing me to the term, “stochastic terrorism.” This perfectly describes what we’re witnessing.
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This is nonsense, and the premise that this was even an attack on Planned Parenthood has been dismissed.
And for the record, a Christian opposes the bloodshed. Ever notice how bloody an abortion is?
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Couldn’t resist, could you. So close to sounding credible–well, except for the lack of evidence. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/planned-parenthood-shooting-suspect-made-comment-about-no-more-baby-n470706
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Mark, just wondering if you think your saying it makes it true?
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A first trimester medical abortion is indeed “bloody” – not because of dismembered fetuses, but rather, because it is a very heavy induced menstruation, expelling the uterine contents. Open heart surgery and C-section are also quite bloody surgeries. For that matter, hemorrhage is a common and sometimes fatal complication of childbirth. I suspect it is not really the “bloodiness” of the procedure that is being opposed here. Rather, this is just another attempt to equate abortion with murder.
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Yes, that’s exactly what they are attempting to do. Unfortunately that works with ignorant, emotional people. These are the same people who once turned their sickness upon black people through lynchings – 3500 blacks lynched between 1882 and 1968, including women and children. No one was ever charged with murder for participating in a lynch mob. Same perps, different target.
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Mark, you evidently have never read the BuyBull, it is the most violent, hate filled, misogynistic book ever written, Lots of bloodshed in that book and approved by an imaginary creation of mens minds to control those with even less education. And if your God does exist, his entire being is washed in the blood of billions and billions of innocents.
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who dismissed the premise? On what evidence can you dismiss the theory?
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Do you know how bloody giving birth is. Don’t give a tiny damn do you. Pro forced birthers are the post misogynistic MEN i have ever known.
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“This is nonsense, and the premise that this was even an attack on Planned Parenthood has been dismissed.”
By whom, the terrorists who provoked him?
“No more baby parts,’ suspect in attack at Colo. Planned Parenthood clinic told official”
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It seems to me as though the LAST thing anyone opposed to abortion would do is advocate policies that would INCREASE the number of abortions. That’s exactly what defunding Planned Parenthood would do; in fact, defunding Planned Parenthood would INCREASE the number of abortions performed in the U.S. by around 810,000. The reason is quite simple: Providing full information about birth control, rather than a lot of nonsensical religious mumbojumbo, results in fewer unplanned pregnancies and (surprise!) fewer abortions. Just in case you hadn’t noticed, that is one of Planned Parenthood’s PRIMARY functions.
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Premise that the murders were “even an attack on Planned Parenthood had been dismissed.”
Only by you and other domestic terrorist deniers of reality.
BTW, ever notice how bloody a murder or maiming by AK 47 is?
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If they’re so bloody and horrible, why does your god explicitly endorse using abortion as a test to see if a wife has been faithful to her husband?
Numbers 5:11-31 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers+5%3A11-31&version=NRSV
TL;DR: If the husband suspects his wife of cheating, force her to go to the priest, who will brew a cursed potion. Force her to drink the potion, and if the fetus aborts, she is guilty of adultery.
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Someone who calls themselves “warriorhawkwolf” might think that labels are more important than thinking about stuff. Or maybe it’s just an aggressive animal totem? Either way, I dislike using magic words when addressing the real world.
You aren’t a woman and don’t know the first thing about being pregnant you idiot ! First you want to say cancel Obama care and complain about people on welfare! Tell me Mr Savior of all fetuses…..what’s it going to be you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Who is going to pay for the upbringing of this fetus you are forcing women to bear. You don’t have a dog in this fight! Until you grow a uterus STAY OUT OF IT!
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Actually 95% or more of abortions are pretty much blood free; so that’s one untruth you are propagating. The bloody ones are the ones carried out at a later stage either because of fetal damage and a need to save the life of the mother or because ridiculous religiously inspired laws have delayed the procedure. Mind you there is one other situation when the procedure is bloody and that is when a woman is forced to use a backstreet abortionist because of hidebound theocrats; people similar to yourself.
You also ignore the fact that most abortions and miscarriages are natural, requiring no intervention from a human. If you believe in God then that makes God the greatest abortion provider of all. Do you think such a deity is worth worshiping?
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“, and the premise that this was even an attack on Planned Parenthood has been dismissed.”
in what universe, you freaking imbecile?
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Sorry but its a lie to say this wasn’t an attack on PP. It absolutely was and the killer publicly confirmed this. Quit lying and trying to justify and dismiss terrorism and murder, which is exactly what this was….. all about abortion. What’s laughable, Eyes how these allegedly pro life people have no problem with murdering actually human beings, but if the fetus is harm oh my god, Katie bar the door. These pro-life nuts have far less regard for actual human life than the life of an unborn fetus… which is crazy and cuckoo for cocoa puffs
Hey Mark, a good American would not lie and mislead, like you have. Americans as a people believe in something called ‘personal integrity’, yet you lie and mislead us. What force drives you to exercise the loss of your integrity? Is it your gods versus our Constitution?
Reblogged this on Adventures and Musings of an Arch Druidess.
Thank you for making this clear by following the lies of lone wolf accomplices. A lone wolf is just an independently owned franchise.
Yes because the “lone wolf” gets his orders from the pack.
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Reblogged this on My Blog.
Well said Valerie. We should ask that the moderators of the next Republican debate broach this very subject of inciting terrorism to win attention and stir up nutcases. Put them on the spot and demand that they stop doing it. Thanks for your insight.
Demand that they “stop doing it?”
That’s much like expecting that someday they’ll stop being so simple-minded or obtuse or bigoted or racist or misinformed or ill-informed or willfully ignorant.
Let’s face it, it’s simply impossible for them to stop any of that. It’s who they are; bell-ringers, gravity centers for the hordes of other simple-minded, obtuse, bigoted, racist, misinformed, ill-informed and willfully ignorant Foxified people out there roaming the streets w/o a straight jacket looking for validation of their misinformed, confused, angry, twisted, pathetic, hockus-pokus worldview.
It’s the “base” of the current Rethuglican Party! That’s who these buffoons depend on to get most of their votes. The Donald, et. al. are out there actively courting the support of the most simple-minded among us. They’re trollin’ for them every day with every opportunity they get! They’re experts at it.
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True, sad, really scary and well said.
The important truth to your writing is the use of the term ‘christianist’, which I have been using for a couple of years. They are dominionists, those who use their gods as authority to lie, hate, murder and war, all to achieve dominion over others, with the intent to overcome separation of church and state and establish a theocracy. Their end goal is to convert all others, which is inseparable from the intents of another radical religionists those Muslim groups which lie, hate murder and commit war.
For my efforts I am lied to, and prevented from writing my opinion, all on sites using a so-called comment modulation site called ‘Disqus’. I discovered Disqus by accident, I noticed my comments being censored and manipulated on such a site, maybe Crooks and Liars, which is infected with Disqus. Since then I have been censored on Daily Kos, Facebook, Crooks and Liars, many more. Note that all of these sites are so-called ‘liberal’ sites, yet they are corrupted.
In addition to propagandizing these sites, one may look at any site using Disqus as a Trojan Horse, that is, the hosting site is corrupted not only with an entity that proselytizes and propagandizes the host site, but it occupies the host site so that during time of crisis can manipulate the host site so as to provide misleading information. This coming presidential election is extremely vital to Democrats and Republicans, but for republicans the outcome is drastic, that all their efforts at stealing our democracy must produce, else they are over. I expect there will be a christianist insurrection, enhanced by the takeover of the ‘liberal’ sites now infected by Discus.
Please use this as a warning, avoid any site using Disqus, and never donate to any site that uses Disqus. Beware.
Also, please become familiar with the work of Mikey Weinstein founder of the MRFF. Please visit this site to learn about the invaluable work Mikey does to halt the spread of the christianist infection in the military. Mikey is an American hero, find out why, and find out why his is a valuable lessen in understanding the efforts of the christianists.
Thank you for you efforts.
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Plenty of fine conversation happens via Disqus on various atheist/secular/humanist blogs on Patheos. Methinks your brush is too broad.
I also believed that Disqus was censoring me, but then I found out that this didn’t happen on other computers, or when using Chrome instead of Firefox. Eventually I reinstalled a clean version of Firefox and now I can post using Disqus. It was, however, EXTREMELY frustrating and made me very paranoid. It had to do with having more than one Disqus identity.
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Funny that, the only censorship I have seen commenting on C&L, Raw Story, Alternet and Wonkette is of trolls, spam merchants and objectionable posters advocating extremism.
Personally I have nearly 4500 comments in my Disqus feed, many extremely sarcastic or snarky Recently there was one overly extended argument which was deleted in it’s entirety because we were just rehashing old points and off topic.
This set of comments about the Colorado shooting
And this extended exchange with a hater of refugees
At my website here, I sometimes decline to post a comment when the commenter has basically written an article of their own. That, and comments that are simply empty ad hominims directed at me or someone else.
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Outstanding and spot on, Ms. Terico. Shared.
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Thank you Valerie! We showed up today to provide abortion services. You showed up to take a stand with your words against our foes!! Thank you for shouting out on behalf of abortion care providers and our patients. #standwithabortioncareproviders
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Absent any known connection of this shooter to Christianity, Republicans, Planned Parenthood, or a specific ideology regarding abortion, this sort of speculation is irresponsible, at best. It is no different from those who jump to label every act of terrorism as connected to Islam. Until we have good reason to attribute a specific connection, doing so serves only to demonize and polarize, and is itself an example of the dynamics of stochastic terrorism.
Does his “no more baby parts statement” plus giving out anti-Obama literature, plus having a cross hanging on his wall count?
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Why are there more horses asses than there are horses I often wonder when reading comments from the religiously virused apologists? Slant “trolls.”
They would have to admit culpability first, NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN! I believe that each individual is responsible for the choices that they make. Unfortunately there are so many damaged people that are susceptible to suggestions and propagands that feed their fear.
Lets talk about good ol pro forced birther boy Justin Carl Moose. “Self-Described ‘Christian Counterpart To Osama Bin Laden’ Arrested In Plot To Bomb Abortion Clinic”
I suspect that if a statute were based on this “stochastic terrorism” formulation and was actually used against the Imam of a Mosque connected to the perpetrators of an act of islamist terrorism, it would dampen the enthusiasm we see here toward the abolition of First Amendment protections.
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Brilliant analysis / brilliant article
“Extremist Christianists want to kill you. Moderate Christianists want an extremist Christian to kill you.”
“When Fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” Sinclair Lewis
Thank you, Valerie, for another wonderfully on target sentiment.
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Sinclair Lewis had it right and so do you.
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I must disagree. That kind of hateful stereotyping is *exactly* what brings us here in the first place. It doesn’t matter if you choose to vilify all Muslims, or all gays, or all Christians, or all Atheists, or all gynecologists … or whatever group isn’t in line with your world view. When you say millions of people are so evil they want to kill you, you set the scene for violence. That’s especially unethical when the statement is demonstrably false. I think what’s really true is all of us have to watch our speech, most especially when discussing subjects we’re passionate about. We live in a click-bait, excitement-word culture when what we really need is calm, rational conversations.
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I never said all of any group wants to kill anybody. I did say that Christian Right Wing politicians systematically have been inviting/inciting violence. Just like Bin Laden. Just like Glen Beck. In fact, another term for it is “Becking.”
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I should have been more clear – I wasn’t objecting to your editorial which made a point from the title on that we’re discussing a sub-set of Christians. (Christianists, as you aptly put it.) I was objecting to the quote which claims all moderate Christians are hoping the extremists will murder everyone who isn’t Christian. It’s like saying “All Muslims are members terrorists or at least they cheer when terrorists kill in Allah’s name.” Both sentiments are inflammatory and untrue – exactly the type of careless hate speech it’s best to avoid.
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Posted to Facebook
Thank you Valerie! Wonderful article although terrifying and disgusting subject matter. Hopefully it might sink it to a few of the lesser of the less informed! ;)
Well written Valerie! Its all rather simple: Teach from the pulpit that “abortion is murder of the innocent” and eventually there will be people who believe it and act on it. Everyone who preaches this message shares the guilt. There’s really no sane way they can backpedal and qualify “Ok, its not THAT kind of murder.”
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After reading of the attack in the newspaper, (and just now upon checking email for the day)
I immediately assumed that it is exactly as you titled your post. And I see that a bunch of folks are staying way closer in touch with their digital screens that I am. :-)))
Apparently some right wing media outlets are trying to say it was a bank robbery gone awry. ???
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Reblogged this on pankeahomtfy.
I’d like to offer a suggestion, copied from a recent comment I made on another post:
PLEASE stop calling them ‘abortion providers’. 1) they are reproductive care providers, or health care providers. To use that label only puts forth the innuendo that all they do is abortion, when that is a small fraction of the services they provide. 2) This is the rhetoric of the extreme radical reich. To use their word is ceding ground in this fight from neutral territory to hostile territory before the fight begins. Don’t let them frame this issue: It’s Healthcare! In the end, liberals see this as an issue of freedom and health care, whereas conservatives are playing a game of theocratic overreach. The overreach begins with allowing them to falsley frame the issue.
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Hear! Hear! HEAR!!! I was looking for that expression yesterday.
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Perhaps a far worse mischaracterization is the use of the term “pro-life”. Witness the following:
In 2011, the House of Representatives passed the ‘let women die bill” allowing a doctor to refuse a woman a life saving abortion.
In 2012, the Arizona Legislature passed a bill outlawing abortion at 20 weeks, even to save the life of the mother.
In 2012, Savita Halappanavar, an Indian woman, died in Ireland after being refused a lifesaving abortion.
In the U.S., denying anyone a lifesaving medical procedure is considered manslaughter. I would go further, and say that it’s MURDER, condoned and even encouraged by the “pro-life” people!
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Thanks for your editorial. You will see why I agree that your thoughts on the matter are on target. I’d like to share my comment from the Facebook post that lead me here
“Two of my friends were murdered for being gay. There is no doubt that was the motive. The two murderers were very clear. People then (and now) claim public hate speech against gays had nothing to do with it – but it did. The murderers attended a cult-like extremist church with ties to white supremacist groups. The preachers there claimed their sermons had nothing to do with the murders – but they did.
Speech is powerful. It’s how we move ideas from one human mind to another. If you encourage hate and fear, you can’t absolve yourself of all responsibility if someone takes you seriously and moves on to action based on those loaded emotions.
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Speech is indeed powerful. How can people like politicians, preachers and ad-men draw their salary on the basis that speech is powerful, that speech drives belief and action, and then deny responsibility when people act on the ideas they themselves promote?
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I like to believe people want to be good. They don’t want to cause harm. If they become passionate about an issue and their rhetoric leads to violence, they feel remorse. I forget that isn’t universally true.
It’s possible when notable politicians and fanatics incite violence with an overuse of excitement words, they just don’t care as long as the news reports spell their names right. Some, I suppose, disassociate “just words” with real actions but as you point out, people who use speech professionally know darn well the two are linked. I’m afraid psychopaths may account for some it because they don’t care one bit who or what gets trampled, as long as they get what they want.
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Reblogged this on Nan's Notebook and commented:
Valerie points out the predictability of this entire scenario.
You can be as adamantly “pro-life” as you care to be but the fact remains that abortions are still going to happen. My paternal grandmother died from a botched abortion getting rid of baby number 11. She had had enough. Of course, this was around 1930. Sadly, I never got to meet her.
It’s pretty obvious that blood shed of the living isn’t worth a damn. Saving the unborn is far more important to these assholes. Republicans seem to be interested only in right to life of the unborn. Once among the living they don’t care. Cuts to food stamps to feed hungry children, barring affordable health care, protecting women’s health, ignoring the homeless families hit hard by economic downturn – yes this is the right wing mantra. But kill those trying to protect – yes, that’s a good target.
To Valerie @ 1050 pm Nov 28. Well of course! it was just attentive thieves, after those hundreds of thousands of $ the abortionists are getting from selling fetal tissue. Gosh, why didn’t I think of that? Here I’d been thinking there was some community value in medical research to boot !
Keep it up Valerie; you’re among our last best hopes!
PSA: Only 3% of shooters are mentally ill. 97% are male. We’re tired of being your scapegoats.
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“After months of verbal assault against Planned Parenthood and against women more broadly, Republican Christianists have gotten what they were asking for—bloodshed.”
This is irresponsible rhetoric. Please name any recognized leader of the Republican party that countenances violence against anyone. Please name any recognized leader in Christianity that countenances violence against anyone.
The alleged perpetrator of this awful event most likely is mentally ill. He does not identify with the Republican Party. Heck, he doesn’t identify with the male gender.
You undermine any credibility you have as a professional psychologist by making such false and unsubstantiated claims. Perhaps you should ask yourself why you do so.
Did you actually read the article? Republican leaders don’t have to call directly for violence. That’s the whole point. Calling people murderers over and over, saying that they kill babies for profit, holding hours of senate hearings on trumped up charges with language implying capital crimes, putting provider faces on wanted posters, introducing legislation that makes the home addresses of clinic staff available on the web . . . . Even mentally ill people are able to put two and two together sometimes. It’s rather surprising that you can’t.
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So it is your contention that is their intent?
My best guess is that they knew what they were doing. At best they were indifferent to this predictable outcome. At worst, they intended it. Either way, they were trying to make abortion providers and women fear it, which is exactly how terrorism functions. How else does one explain, for example, GOP attempts to create public directories of those who work at repro clinics?
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Valerie is right on. The vitriolic rhetoric of Republican candidates inflames people who are vulnerable, disenfranchised and zealous. As to name one Republican leader:
“Taking its anti-gay sentiment to a new level, The Family Leader was a sponsor of a conference earlier this month — at which Cruz, Huckabee and then-candidate Bobby Jindal spoke — whose organizer, Kevin Swanson, called for the death penalty for gay people and warned that God would judge America for liking the Harry Potter series too much. (The group later clarified that it does not support violence against gay people but declined to denounce Swanson.)”
If you are a candidate and you speak someplace where that kind of rhetoric is heard, you are as guilty as the fascists who condone this kind of outrage if you do not speak up. They did not speak up.
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It seems that weasel words are the order of the day. You first claim that Dear is an “alleged perpetrator” this is false. There is no allegation involved, he was arrested during the commission of his crime so any trial will examine allegations that he is culpable, not whether he actually committed the crime.
Next you add that he is “most likely is mentally ill” upon no evidence except your own assumptions which, as you are not a mental health professional, are worthless. There is another problem with your analysis – the mentally ill are no more likely to commit murder than anyone else – unless you class all people who kill as mentally deranged. If you do this last then you are calling all troops and all (US) police “mentally ill.”
Next you ask to name “… name any recognized leader of the Republican party that countenances violence against anyone.” This is all too easy, even limiting ourselves to violence against Planned Parenthood. Ted Cruz countenances such violence because he has sought endorsement from the speakers of hate who call for such violence. The Same applies to Mike Huckabee and Carly Fiorina. In any event please read Valerie Tarico’s article and what she says regarding stochastic terrorism.
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Your comments are so full of radical logical fallacies I have to laugh.
All perpetrators are “alleged” by legal definition at the onset of any investigation. It’s a legal definition, not a claim that he isn’t the killer. Duh.
Then you equate an obviously deranged psychopath to our police and military and throw in that the “mentally ill” are no more likely to kill than anyone else. Wow. We’re not talking about all forms of mental illness here. He didn’t mean this guy has an eating disorder or gambling addiction—but by all accounts he’s a pretty bizarre dude. You sure like to connect a lot of dots that shouldn’t be connected.
It may be argued that leaders such as Cruz are complicit in some way by their associations with someone who knows someone who espouses hateful rhetoric; however, that is entirely different from saying they “countenance such violence” especially when they publicly condemn it. My point from the beginning was that Ms. Tarico’s post simply fits in with her obviously routine all-out assault on Christianity and lacks any sort of qualifiers such as…”some” Christianist Republicans or “may have” contributed and goes directly into THEY DELIBERATELY INSTIGATED THIS. Opinions are like assholes and everybody has one – but there is no evidence to support this claim and it is my belief when you take such extreme positions, it only serves to polarize rather than enlighten and you end up looking more like your opponent than a force for education and change.
But that’s just me.
Well, you accuse me of “radical logical fallacies” but do not explain what those are or how they differ from actual logical fallacies.
I did not “equate” I drew a parallel and in any event there is little to stop deranged psychopaths joining American Police forces. The testing of applicants is incompetent and US police insist that their rookies not be particularly intelligent. Such errors ensures racists, borderline psychotics and ignoramuses abound.
Mental illness is mental illness, it is a derangement of rational thought. This means that the wilder reaches of US religion fit nicely into the definition of mental illness – as you so competently demonstrate
“there is little to stop deranged psychopaths joining American Police forces. The testing of applicants is incompetent and US police insist that their rookies not be particularly intelligent. Such errors ensures racists, borderline psychotics and ignoramuses abound.”
While it is clear that the police, like any other large group, has its share of bad eggs, what evidence do you have to support this statement, not just for any one police force but for every single police force in every municipality in the country? Sounds like bigotry to me.
This is the same thing that happened when Gabriel Giffords was shot and all those people died in Tucson (where I live). Sarah Palin scrambled to say that the fact the she televised a map of Democratic candidates with gunsights over their names, had nothing to do with what happened. Gabby’s opponent, Jesse Kelly, oftened had shooting matches at his rallies. I went to several of the forums and the oppositions was uniformly vile in their behaviors, shouting down anyone who didn’t agree with them and walking in to the various gatherings with semi-automatic weapons. There was an atmosphere of intimidation. To me these people are no different than the brown shirts who supported Hitler.
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Very well written post but what do we who support abortion rights do next? Seems like those who violently oppose women’s reproductive rights are winning the battle. We have to push back, rally around Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers and demand that our politicians condemn anti-reproductive rights rhetoric.
Sadly, our side has been too silent and apathetic in the face of Christianists who have successfully demonized abortion providers. Dear acted in a manner that we will see again and again if there is no push back against this shameful demonization. There should be a price to pay for those who encouraged the distribution of that hoax video. They have blood on their hands.
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Thank you for yet another well considered article
This YouTube video should have been part of the Stochastic terrorism description that you linked to in this piece. It would have been helpful to actually see it in played-out in real-life as we read your words.
I guess “Thou shall not kill” is just a suggested guideline and not an actual commandment. How Christian of you all. Reminds me of why I don’t buy into the “Christian Agenda” too much backbiting and two-faced actions.
Mar, except that “we all” did not commit murder. It’s a fine line. If you throw around hate speech cloaked in the veil of religion, yes, the concept of a passive-aggressive brand of terrorism applies to it. But that shoe fits more than one foot. If people turn right around and use aggressive hate speech against *all* Christians in return, they’re applying the same verbal technique by demonizing and dehumanizing millions of people without justification. No one is immune to generating hate speech. No one can assume because they intend no harm, their hate speech does no harm.
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Thank you for this.
Thanks for a great piece. As I was reading and Googling, I had the good luck to check out G2geek on dailykos, who claims to have originated the concept of stochastic terrorism.
One point that I found useful, on the comment string of the second link, is that the motives of the likes of Glenn Beck and such are not incitement of terrorism but profit. G2geek replies that recklessness can and should be considered for culpability in such cases, because after each of these incidents, the right wing doesn’t stop its defamations, which is what a reasonable person would do when confronted with the fruits of their words.
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The two links that you provided were excellent additions to this conversation. The second was particularly good. Thanks.
G2geek’s discussion of Glenn Beck, one of the many jackasses on John Birch TV who turns my intestines into pure acid every time I see or hear the a-hole, leads me to really wonder how some of the skeptics among us can still respect Penn Jillette for his decision to pretend to have a rational conversation with the numb-skull. Personally, I have not been able to forgive him for this act of mindless stupidity.
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Great links, Rev! I enjoy your “witty” input.
you are welcome, Rev. I just love seeing the notion of plausible deniability dissolve in a puddle of intestinal acids, myself. by any means necessary!
Oops, credited the “Rev” for those links. Thanks – good read,, slyypper.
No worries, Sha’Tara. Also, I am not 100% sure that VT didn’t cite G2geek directly in her piece, I would have to reread.
I’m not particularly religious but your own rhetoric belies your own bigotry Ms. Tarico. When you start with a headline of “Christianist Republicans Systematically Incited Colorado Clinic Assault,” you’re already on thin ice.
Unlike the balanced, nuanced and entirely accurate critiques of religion and religious fervor such as Sam Harris, you take an approach of hyperbole that is not supported by fact. Perhaps you don’t know what “systematic incitement” actually means.
While I don’t agree with the Christian right on many things and feel their criticism of Planned Parenthood should be more measured and stick only to the facts, what you’re doing is no different. I suspect all bets are off in this time when the Western Left is so anxious to make the Christian right the world’s biggest boogeyman rather than radical Islam.
I agree that Sam Harris is a lucid, even brilliant thinker and writer, but I’ll stand by this analysis. For more context, check out the book “Living in the Crosshairs: Untold Stories of Anti-Abortion Terrorism.” http://www.livinginthecrosshairs.com/
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You are attempting to connect dots on a grand scale that should not be assigned anything more than a loose affiliation – and that has nothing to do with the real problem of anti-abortion violence.
Again, I defer to your unfounded accusation that “Christianist Republicans Systematically Incited Colorado Clinic Assault.” This has zero basis in fact. The definition of “systematic” means with intent, because it involves a system, method, or plan: a delineated course of action to achieve a specific goal. Unless you can demonstrate a widespread intent for murder (not individual by one guy living in a shed in the mountains), your accusations are without merit.
But as I look at your archive I can see there seems to be an all-out assault, not on organized religion but on Christianity. This flies in the face of logic and reason. While all faiths have shown and in some cases continue to show bad behavior, a desperate need to focus on the one belies an agenda. This deflection is not only unproductive, it undermines the efforts of Muslim reformers, for example, who need help in focusing on their efforts to countermand the thousands of radical Islamists slaughtering their own kind in the interest of establishing a caliphate under Sharia Law. While the activities of any Christian extremists who engage in violence certainly needs to be addressed, it should be done in proportion to the scale of the problem. If I were an uninformed observer using you as a source, I might gather than extremists Christians are the biggest, if not the only problem we face. They are not.
mrtapeguy, You are mistaken. Again, I watched this happen when my gay friends were murdered. Fundamentalist Christians who spent hours on the web each week preaching that gays were an abomination in the eyes of the Lord instantly distanced themselves from responsibility – and they were wrong. Similarly, the Christians who use words like “murder” when they talk about abortion and “murderers” when they talk about Planned Parenthood cannot say they played no part. The ones who call themselves “pro-life,” as thought their opponents are “pro-death” cannot say they are totally innocent of inciting violence. Language has power and the deliberately inflammatory way it is used by the anti-choice group is not accidental. I read one too many Twitters yesterday from that same crowd, crowing that “Of course it was tragic but think of all the wee babes that were saved” for me to buy for one second they don’t hope for violence. (I would like it if folks would remember, though, that most Christians do none of those things. It is incorrect to say that all Christians want violence just as metapeguy is incorrect to say none of them want it, or that there is no organization driving it.)
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Couple of points. First and obvious, you’re an Islamophobe, so that detracts a high percentage from your claims to be concerned about any sort of bias. Second, what you hate/fear about Islam is no worse that what your Christian religion did in the very recent past and in many cases still does. Christians still kill and burn witches. Christians proudly serve in the armed forces to go and kill “unbelievers”. Go back to the slaughter of indigenous peoples world-wide in the name of Christ; Christian slave traders decimating the best humanity Africa possessed. Do you know the history of the Christian crusades; of the bloodshed in the first conquest of Jerusalem, the indiscriminate slaughter of Islamic men, women, children? Third, Valerie’s article is about one issue, not about solving the problems of the entire planet. By not addressing the topic your comment is but a transparently cheap attempt at weakening her argument.
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“First and obvious, you’re an Islamophobe, so that detracts a high percentage from your claims to be concerned about any sort of bias.”
Providing salient analysis of what reformers within Islam are saying about their own faith does not make one an Islamophobe. But that’s exactly the kind of Western liberal attack they say is undermining their efforts. If you would be so kind, please read this and tell me what is “Islamophobic” or factually incorrect.
“Second, what you hate/fear about Islam is no worse that what your Christian religion did in the very recent past and in many cases still does.”
I am not a Christian.
“Christians still kill and burn witches. Christians proudly serve in the armed forces to go and kill “unbelievers”.
Specific examples of widespread activity?
“Go back to the slaughter of indigenous peoples world-wide in the name of Christ; Christian slave traders decimating the best humanity Africa possessed.”
Again, recent activity and more importantly, what verses in the New Testament advocate this type of behavior?
“Do you know the history of the Christian crusades; of the bloodshed in the first conquest of Jerusalem, the indiscriminate slaughter of Islamic men, women, children?”
Yes, and apparently you don’t. While I don’t endorse the Crusades, they began as a response to Muslim colonial aggression. This is indisputable fact. You need to study a little harder.
“Third, Valerie’s article is about one issue, not about solving the problems of the entire planet. By not addressing the topic your comment is but a transparently cheap attempt at weakening her argument.”
How have I not addressed the topic? Perhaps you should read again. There is no mention of the entire planet or Islam in my first comment – only addressing her claims. Her argument is weak because it has zero basis in fact and that is not to say that some of the GOP’s comments weren’t wrong or possibly inciteful.
Besides, Valerie’s entire archive is about one issue. Some people are just that way. If they need to hate on Christianity, that’s what they do. I tend to be a little more balanced in my criticism.
I’ll rest my case with my original statements. I don’t do bombast. Thanks for taking the time to reply and you’ll get no more from me.
So…you actually DO do bombast (you started by calling me an Islamophobe) and when presented with facts that countermand your unfounded accusations, you simply stand pat and then run away.
Well played. Buh bye!
First of all, I never said they should be able to say they played no part – in fact, what I said is that I disagreed with their exaggerations. No, they are not “totally innocent.”
Nor did I say “none of them want it” – I’m sure there are a few loons who do. Again, it is not comparable to a worldwide movement slaughtering thousands. You must also remember, as I said below, that abortion being terminating a life is an accurate assessment from a medical and scientific perspective and the vast majority are not done out of medical necessity. The debate has been reframed to be exclusively about women’s health and body parts to obfuscate the debate we should really be having and the more we do that as a society, the more the polarized reaction. One could argue that because there are so many proponents of unfettered abortion with zero regard for any rights for the unborn, the extreme reaction from fringe pro-lifers should have been expected.
But we won’t go there, will we?
I do appreciate the civil exchange!
Harris has flashes of brilliance, so does Chomsky and Dawkins, so did Hitchens and (in a very limited field) did Ben Carson; but only one of these could provide suitable guidance on morality and ethics. Like all people who are thought of as heroes Harris has his flaws, in particular the one where he cannot admit errors and his over generalisation in respect of certain groups. This is not necessarily his fault, like Dawkins he is the product of his class and society and, very like Dawkins, has been unable to overcome this.
Considering someone a hero can be good, but forgetting they are or were flawed humans and worshiping them is most definitely bad
I was born and raised in the southern baptist wife beating convention, and went to home school.
This is what I know all the christian men in my family wants.
1) Women to not be able to deny their husbands sex, ever!
2) Women who get raped by their husbands not to be able to divorce him. The christian men I know are pissed that if a men rapes his wife it is called rape.
3) Women who get beat by their husbands not to be able to divorce him.
Yes, the christian men I know think divorce should not be allowed to women who are being beat and raped by their husbands. And the wife should be blamed for rape and beatings for not being submissive enough.
5) Women to be condemned for going to collage, working, and using birth control.
6) Force raped 9 year old little girls to breed with their rapist, this is christian man porn in my pro life family.
7) There to be no stigma against men for marrying fourteen year old girls, and the girl drop out of school and start having babies.
8) Girls who don’t get married at eighteen to be publicly condemned.
The christian men I know are so jealous of the Taliban they cant contain themselves.
This doesn’t hurt men like it hurts women, little girls, and raped little girls. So obviously spoilt misogynistic men are going to mock, belittle, and dismiss it.
My christian father told me that rape was not that big of a deal. I was sexually abused the first ten years of my life by a bible loving, bible quoting, church going southern baptist christian man, who quoted the bible as why everything was wrong with me as a little girl and why everything was right with him as a man.
My christian father had every bit the hatred for two year old little girls that he did for 35 year old grown women.
Well, that’s very common isn’t it? I’m sorry for your experience and glad you got out – but please don’t act as if this represents more than a tiny fraction of the population…unless you’re going to act as if Westboro is as well, or perhaps the Mormon poligamy community.
@ Graig Berlin
You did not even let your selfish mind linger on anything I wrote. You read something negative about your people and went to work trying to belittle and dismiss it.
I am not surprised, conservative, republican, christian, pro forced birther men never listen to what sexually abused little girls and women have to say, what they think or how they feel. Selfish, heartless, conservative, christian, pro lifer men are here to tell us what to think, and what to repeat.
“spoilt misogynistic men are going to mock, belittle, and dismiss it.”
No! It is not a tiny fraction of the population. Doug Wilson, Doug Phillips, Jim Bob and Josh Duggar, Michael Pearl, James Dobson, Bill Gothard, Paige Patterson, Matt Chandler, CJ Mahaney, Mark Dricoll, John Piper, Michael Farris tip of hyper misogynistic christian conservative the iceberg.
I have much family in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi. They all love guns, love war, love christianity, are hard core repubicans, ultra conservative. They love Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh, and Fox News, they hate abortion, hate abused women, hate raped little girls, and hate affordable health care. They think Westboro are nut jobs.
I have had two nineteen year old christian boys tell me girls who get raped need to get over it, it is easy to get over. I have had three pro life men tell me a grown woman consenting to sex outside of marriage is every bit as abhorrent as a man raping a child.
Ether you are lying or you are uninformed about American christianity.
Please before you respond try to think about what I said before you write your misogynistic, selfish, conservative, smart aleck, christian man, post.
So you think that criticism of Planned Parenthood should “stick only to the facts”? OK; let’s go there.
1. Planned Parenthood tells a woman that her reproductive choices are her own.
2. Planned Parenthood provides rape counseling to MEN AS WELL AS WOMEN, referring them to trained professionals when necessary.
3. Planned Parenthood provides birth control information to poor women free or at low cost, thus reducing the rate of unintended pregnancy and REDUCING THE NUMBER OF ABORTIONS.
4. Planned Parenthood provides prenatal and postnatal medical care to low-income women, reducing the rate of miscarriage as well infant mortality rate of its clients, and SAVING THOUSANDS OF LIVES in the process.
5. Planned Parenthood provides a LEGAL MEDICAL PROCEDURE to its clients who choose that option.
You were saying?
There is no criticism in your reply Lowell – but perhaps you’re one of those guys who thinks every industry is either inherently benevolent or inherently evil. Guess what? Usually not the case.
I have no major issues with Planned Parenthood but the facts are what they are, and aside from your selective interpretation, the fact is that abortion is PP’s most profitable endeavor. Though only 3% of their procedures it makes up 15% of revenue, meaning it subsidized the others. Of concern to many is their involvement in the political process, where they donate millions exclusively to pro-choice Democrats every year, regardless of other issues. They have put themselves in a position to be scrutinized by not completely separating their abortion operation from other services and yes, the constant drumbeat that a fetus is not human and get out of my vagina doesn’t lend to their credibility either.
But I’m sure Planned Parenthood is just as perfect as ethanol subsidies and all the other roses and unicorns in the world…because while the military industrial complex destroys lives for money, no one would ever do abortions for money, right?
Well Valerie Tarico does not require defending from nonsensical word salads such as your comment. However you do need to be called to account.
Saying that Sam Harris offers “…balanced, nuanced and entirely accurate critiques of religion and religious fervor … shows that you have never read Sam Harris with any understanding of his snide carping and logical inconsistencies. Please do yourself a favour and read his ridiculous defense of the relative morality of the al Shifr bombing and 9/11 made to Noam Chomsky; every person who was not a Harris supporter saw that he had no understanding of either ethics or morality and lacked even the self awareness to see he had lost the argument.
Harris is occasionally brilliant, as Dr Tarico is careful to point out, but he is far from balanced, has little nuance, and misrepresents people, religions and philosophies. My personal opinion is that he is a second rate mind with a following of juvenile hero worshipers. In effect he is the atheist equivalent of William Lane Craig.
Well, it appears that lots of people here feel the need to describe what I say as “word salad” simply because they disagree. What exactly did I say that was “nonsensical?” You disagree so it makes no sense? #UhOkay
I have read some of the exchange between Chomsky and Harris. While I am a firm opponent of our longstanding foreign interventionist policy, I absolutely do not agree with Chomsky that bombing Al Shifr was the moral equivalent of 9/11 and if you do, I’m wondering about how salient you are. It’s typical Chomsky but I do not believe our sometimes well-intentioned but often misguided foreign policy is the same as deliberate acts of terror against only civilians for no other purpose. Yes, there are different levels of wrong but hey, you and Chomsky, Bill Ayers, Louis Farrakhan and many others would get along fine. Well played.
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Thank you for the article and introducing me to the term ‘stochastic terrorism’. I didn’t know there was a label for this particular kind of social machine. Direct language helps so much when trying to talk to others about difficult topics. You just made the world a smarter place.
Reblogged this on Sacrificial Tomato.
Question for mrtapeguy,
If you are convinced that the hateful rhetoric that GOP presidential candidates have been using to define abortion and those who perform abortions has no influence on people like Robert Louis Dear then you must likewise presume that the vicious hatred used by Islamic extremists towards Americans and Westerners has no motivational effect on those who carry out attacks like we’ve recently seen in Paris. Is this a correct assumption and if not, why not?
No, it is not. I never said any such thing. The media carries exaggerations espoused by some in the GOP and it may indeed have some influence. There are also a few pastors out there with fiery rhetoric – I never said otherwise.
To equate that to the amount radical Islamists with large numbers of followers, literally moving armies and slaughtering thousands is silly.
You also have to remember that believing abortion is terminating a life is an accurate assessment from a medical and scientific perspective. When that life means something is subject to debate – but there is no such equivalency in radical Islam. People are slaughtered as a matter of course for not being Muslim ENOUGH.
It is only the lack of theocracy that prevents the same scenario playing out in the U.S. I’ve debated religious freedom with enough Dominionist Christians to know our Constitution is the only thing holding them back. Without the 1st Amendment, this place would be a nightmare of violent oppression, just like Iraq. No group of humans is exempt from fanaticism and the U.S. does have a small but strong and determined number of Christian fundamentalists who want us to live under their interpretation of Biblical law, whatever that may be.
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“. . . and the U.S. does have a small but strong and determined number of Christian fundamentalists who want us to live under their interpretation of Biblical law, whatever that may be.” Agreed, cyndik, and that does not bode well for women or their rights.
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My point is that when you have someone who is a devout believer of something and becomes agitated by the way they perceive others disrespecting that belief, they are not automatically inclined to go out and kill those who they perceive disrespect their views. Unless of course they listen often enough to fiery rhetoric from some mouthpiece on the internet. Then they may be pushed beyond a point that could only have been precipitated by such fiery rhetoric.
There are Muslims who are not part of the terrorist sect among that belief system who have become indoctrinated into it by a constant barrage of vilification of Westerners, especially when it is accommodated by the very real atrocities occurring on a regular basis from carpet bombings, misguided missal and drone attacks in regions of the world where Muslims dominate the population
I’m not going to sit here and debate the moral issues about abortion with someone who is locked into the singular position that all abortions are wrong. I can effect the same frustration by talking to the wall in my living room.
I never said all abortions are wrong. If you aren’t capable of discussing the issues without bringing up straw man arguments, I needn’t waste my time with you either. Perhaps you should work on your reading comprehension and respond to what I actually state instead of your inaccurate extrapolated version of it.
Yes mrtapeguy, let’s pretend its my reading comprehension that’s flawed here. That’ll clear up things nicely for you.
For the record I never said I needn’t waste my time with you. So whose reading comprehension skills are lacking sir?
“I’m not going to sit here and debate the moral issues about abortion with someone who is locked into the singular position that all abortions are wrong. I can effect the same frustration by talking to the wall in my living room.”
So you believe that talking to the wall in your living room is a good use of your time? I’m confused.
Oh I see mrtapeguy, you get to decipher what my words mean but when someone else suggest the meaning of your words you’re ready to assert “I never said …”
Behavior indicative of a sociopath my friend. Is it painful carrying that log around in your eye?
“So you believe that talking to the wall in your living room is a good use of your time? I’m confused.”
No doubt you are my friend. Try just a little bit harder and maybe you’ll get the gist of my comments
So now I’m a sociopath? Of course – the personal insult, last bastion of someone who has no facts to support his arguments. I said nothing indicating what you claim. You said very specific things and then try to deny it.
I get the gist of your comments. I have degrees in liberal arts and radio-TV-film and I’ve written thousands of articles and the last thing I need is a lecture on the English language. You posed a straw man argument (your second) and said arguing with someone who thinks abortion is always wrong is akin to talking to your wall – so that would generally mean a waste of time and something you wouldn’t want to do. Are you seriously going to claim that I’m not understanding what you said? Why don’t you mansplain it to me since I’m obviously not astute enough to get your point.
I concede that I in fact did stepp into a big pile of crap in contesting your views on abortion. I let me emotions on the subject get the better advantage of reasoned thought. My sincere apologies.
But watch yourself in the future ;-)
Fair enough, much appreciated. Civil discourse (somewhat lacking with the other commenters here) is essential. Much grass. Longer reply to your earlier comment coming hereto forthwith, etc.
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I’m going to say something that is difficult to prove, but seems obvious to me. After 40+ years of “pro-life” propaganda, 70% of Americans believe that abortion should be available in some cases, and a majority believes that abortion should be available in all cases. Furthermore, these numbers have held steady over the past few years.
Accordingly, it seems as though the only way that the “pro-life” movement can accomplish its goal is through terrorism.
It does seem like that.
Support for gay marriage has increased at an unprecedented rate in the last 20 years, while opinions toward abortion have largely remained the same.
And yes, the pro-life movement is a dismal failure in terms of finding effective ways to reduce abortion – opposing sex education and subsidized birth control, most notably.
However, the obvious disdain for ANY judgment about abortion maybe not being the best possible option does not reflect well on our culture IMHO.
Judging by the comments to “Christianist Republicans… etc.” and not being American, thus on uncertain ground here, I am surprised that there is no mention in these comments of your Anti Defamation League as regards genuine efforts to curb, and bring under legal constraints all aspects of hate literature, hate mongering public speaking and of course the resultant hate crimes. If looking for concentrated effort to deal with this crisis, wouldn’t the ADL be what you’d want to be associating and interacting with?
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Many arguments seem cogent when important facts are omitted. :)
First and foremost, up to 17 weeks, even Islamists don’t interfere with a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy.
Second, one need only look at Kenya to get an idea of what Christianists have in mind. Christianists were hugely influential in passing “death to gays” legislation there. Of course, if you believe that Christianists wouldn’t do the same thing here if given the chance, you have a right to your opinion. I’ve also got a fantastic deal on some swampland for you. :)
What facts are omitted? Please be specific.
What do Islamists have to do with abortion?
I don’t have a problem with calling out the far-right “Christianists” you refer to in Kenya. It’s clear they’ve exported their bigotry where they can get away with it. Would they do the same thing here? Sure – but the point is, they can’t and the reason why they can’t is that they are a tiny minority of wackos, as opposed to some Muslim countries where women are subjugated and gays and apostates are killed as a matter of course.
But of course, some people have to maintain that the quantity – and quality – of each segment is equivalent. Alrighty then.
You said “What facts are omitted? Please be specific.”
OK. Let me use an unrelated example, the Bhopal disaster. Hundreds of people were killed or blinded when a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, india leaked copious quantities of Methyl Isocyanate. Union Carbide built the plant in Bhopal primarily to evade OSHA regulation in the U.S. UC KNEW that the plant was unsafe. They KNEW that, sooner or later, something like this would happen. The fact that they didn’t know exactly when, or how, doesn’t change the fact that KNEW IT WOULD. They as are guilty of killing or maiming these people as if they’d actually done it themselves!
Ditto with the “pro-life people”. Valerie mentioned the most egregious cases; in fact, there have been over 7000 (yes, you read that right, 7000) attacks on abortion clinics. The “pro-life” people KNOW that, given their repeated protests and their inflammatory rhetoric, SOONER OR LATER A VIOLENT ATTACK WILL HAPPEN. The fact that they don’t know which nutcase will perform the attack, or when, or how, doesn’t change the fact that they KNOW IT WILL HAPPEN. Given that, THEY ARE 100% RESPONSIBLE!
You said, “What do Islamists have to do with abortion?”, but then, strangely enough, you referred to “some Muslim countries where women are subjugated”. My, oh my; you can’t connect the dots? OK, let me connect them for you. :) Outlawing abortion IS the subjugation of women. As misogynistic and sexist as the Islamists are, they clearly are BETTER THAN THE CHRISTIANISTS with regard to a woman’s reproductive rights!
You refer to US Christianists as a “tiny minority of wackos”. You seem to be unaware that this “tiny minority of wackos” controls the Republican Party! The participants in the Republican clown shows — er– debates clearly kowtow to them!
You also greatly overestimate the number of Islamists. They also are a tiny minority, but they have all the guns. Under threat of death, they get lots of “recruits”.
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Minor correction about Bhopal – Deaths were at least 3,700 with a upper estimates ranging from 16,000 to 25,000. Injuries (temporary, long term and permanent) were clocked at over half a million
Well written, compelling. This IS a coordinated and systematic attack on abortion and abortion providers. ALL the major (oligarch-controlled, including Rupert Murdoch and that Saudi anti-EVERYTHING, Sharia-law-or-we-kill-you-for-Allah asshat) media have stirred the pot; after all TERROR SELLS NEWSPAPERS – and blogs, and Faux Propaganda.
But AS USUAL, the government will NOT try to stem the hate, the “Justice” depatment will blame the “lone gunman” rather than the “pseudo-Christian terrorist” that in fact did the killings.
It is VITAL to the oligarchy, that demands endless religious war profiteering, that we consider ONLY Muslims as terrorists, ALL ELSE are just deranged individuals, whether or not they were sponsored by the GOP, NRA or the Westboro Bastard “Church.”
Just always remember – if you follow the teachings of Jesus, you will treat others with respect and dignity, not scorn and humiliation. You do NOT kill others for failing to accept YOUR “Jesus” into their heart and soul. If you follow the distortions of “Republican Jesus,” you will always be one step away from jihadis, all you need do is change ONE name and there no longer is a way to distinguish. Allah? Jesus? Both manufactured from thin air, both part of the Big Lie, and both 2000 years out of date.
IF YOU WANT TO KILL, KILL RELIGION… Nothing else will stop the endless rounds of murder to placate imaginary “gods.”
So you believe in following the teachings of Jesus who did not exist?
The “teachings of Jesus” refers to a hotch-potch of Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Mesopotamian philosophy with a leavening of Judean morality and temple law. so for the sake of brevity it is perfectly allowable.
Oh, I see. So in school you didn’t recognize any teachers you liked – you just praised the material? Or did the teacher not exist at all?
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Dear mrtapeguy, our entire education is a simplification; it tells us Edison invented the light bulb, Watt invented the steam engine, the Judeans invented monotheism and many, many more. Prior research, prior art and plain theft are ignored in the service of telling a story – much like the Gospels.
People cite Sherlock Holmes as a paragon of investigative technique but, like Jesus, he was a fiction. This fiction did not stop people writing to him and asking for his help well into the 1980s. You still have newspaper articles saying Holmes was based upon a real man but he was not; Conan Doyle took ideas from Dr Bell, Edgar Allen Poe, Émile Gaboriau, Dickens, Wilkie Collins, William E. Burton and Voltaire.
Like Jesus, claiming that Holmes was, or was based on, a real person is a euhemerism of a legend. Examining the story of Jesus closely is like searching for Keyser Soze “and like that – poof – he was gone.
Reblogged this on alteregoliz.
I caught this as a reblog over at Nans Notebook, commented there. Followed another link here. All I can say is this is a brilliant analysis of what has been going on for years. Great writeup.
Religion is poison, pure and simple.
I don’t know what happened to my post but a few words went missing. Should have went something like “commente there, followed another link here.” And “analysis of what’s been going on for years.”
I don’t know if WP got me, or if my brain to typing fingers signal got confuzzled. :)
Re: Your Planned Parenthood comment.
You made several comments regarding Planned Parenthood that border on the absurd. Had I anticipated this response, I would have warned you that you’re conversing with an Economist. :)
You said “There is no criticism in your reply Lowell.” A critic of Planned Parenthood stated that any criticism of PP should be based on facts, and I provided them.
Then you said “abortion is PP’s most profitable endeavor. Though only 3% of their procedures it makes up 15% of revenue, meaning it subsidized the others.”
Where on earth did you get that information? (Fox News?) Perhaps you should have checked Planned Parenthood’s financial statements; they’re publicly available online. :) Of PP’s 176,617,285 in total revenue (overwhelmingly from donations), 3,705,591, or 2.1%, came from all types of service fees. PP had expenses of 148,198,672. Needless to say, claiming that they made a profit on anything is ludicrous! (You may have noticed that PP’s revenue exceeded its expenses. This isn’t unusual for nonprofits; they keep that money to cover “lean years”.)
Also, you seem to be unaware that the IRS rules governing 501(c)(3) nonprofits are very strict. I know; I used to be the Treasurer for one!
I’ll certainly concede that, with the large increase in the number of people my age :), the Health Care field is potentially lucrative. However, no one in his/her right mind that was in the field “for the money” would provide services to poor people. The numbers that I presented above clearly confirm that. :)
You seem to have a problem with the fact that PP has a “super pac”, which is completely funded by outside donations to it. With the Koch brothers and others trying to buy our democracy, I certainly hope so!
Then you said, “They have put themselves in a position to be scrutinized by not completely separating their abortion operation from other services.” Are you serious? Since Federal money can’t be used for abortions, they have to!
I must tell you that I get really annoyed when someone plays “verbal gymnastics” with the “human life” issue. Sperm cells are human life; the egg released by a woman every month is human life; human cancer cells are human life. Clearly, no reasonable man or woman would assign “personhood” to any of these. Yet, for some strange reason, and despite scientific evidence either nonexistent or to the contrary, the “pro-lifers” have arbitrarily and capriciously decided that “personhood” begins at conception, and, even worse, takes precedence over a living, breathing woman! You don’t think that women should be p.o.’d about that? Get serious!
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Regardless of your field you need to stick with the facts – and your statements are simply biased.
If you are an “economist” (whatever that means) you might understand that non-profits are quite capable of making a profit; they simply aren’t taxed on it. There is nothing stopping a non-profit from earning more than they spend. To claim otherwise is simply uninformed and then, you admit it yourself that they can. Just because it isn’t taxed doesn’t mean they are profitable. Who said something about verbal gymnastics? Perhaps you should consult a CPA or for that matter, do a little googling before making such statements.
Then, the Fox News canard. SO predictable. The new liberal version of Godwin’s Law. I don’t pull stuff out of my ass – I’ve written numerous articles on the issue and I always have sources. Some sources say the numbers are skewed lower because of bundling with other services but regardless, by their own admission, 23% of their revenue is from non-governmental health services. Most estimates I’ve seen put abortion at 15-20%. Do you prefer the term “lucrative” to profitable?
I also use to be treasurer of a 501(c)(3) and a 501(c)6. i am well aware of how they work.
I didn’t mention a super pac. They’ve been oozing campaign money for years. I guess you’re one of those guys who doesn’t mind if the system is bought so long as it isn’t by someone you hate.
“Sperm cells are human life; the egg released by a woman every month is human life; human cancer cells are human life. Clearly, no reasonable man or woman would assign “personhood” to any of these. Yet, for some strange reason, and despite scientific evidence either nonexistent or to the contrary, the “pro-lifers” have arbitrarily and capriciously decided that “personhood” begins at conception, and, even worse, takes precedence over a living, breathing woman! You don’t think that women should be p.o.’d about that? Get serious!”
Wow, I thought the GOP was anti-science but you believe sperm cells, eggs and cancer cells are human life. Uh…no. They don’t ever become a human being. They don’t even have their own distinct DNA. A fertilized egg does.
Once that happens, the debate then becomes “the tadpole is not a frog.” Hell, I think we should be able to abort until they’re 18 but conception is, by definition a creation of a new organism…with its own distinctive DNA. Since neither you nor any else knows when the unborn (just fetal tissue to you I suppose) become conscious or sentient or get their “soul,” perhaps we should err on the side of caution. Balderdash, they say – get out of my vagina!
I have never advocated, nor am I now, that Roe v. Wade should be overturned but the fact is that too many would like to act as if the unborn are some sort of abhorrent thing that has to be dealt with. The verbal gymnastics lie with pro-choice crowd involves making this exclusively about their vaginas and uteruses and how all the racist old white misogynist bastards need to get out of their bizness. It is not wrong for someone, including a man, to believe that the wanton number of abortions we have, the vast majority of which are not for medical necessity, is not the best way of dealing with our sexual activity.
This is not a black-and-white issue. I do not agree with anyone who believes the rights of the unborn from the moment of conception trump the rights of a woman; however, the idea that a fetus is nothing more than an expendable clump of cells completely disposable at the whim of the mother I also find to be morally abhorrent…but as you and other commenters here have said, there is a lot of verbal gymnastics and word salad going around to make sure that we never acknowledge that once conception occurs, barring miscarriage or other termination by natural causes, the fertilized egg grows into a human being. There is no question that we are interrupting the natural life cycle – so please call it what it is and just own it.
Since you asked: The word economist is close economics, which is the science of money. An economist is a person who practices that science.
But in this case, no one needs an advanced degree to understand how a non-profit organization operates. Planned Parenthood is doing nothing unethical and does comply with the requirements for a non-profit. Federal funding does not go to abortions – only the type of health care which strives to prevent them.
I can dismiss everything you had to say about the nature of abortion with this: I don’t care what you think about it. I have my own conclusions and as a free adult, I must be allowed to guide my own life in accordance with them, just as you must be free to make health decisions for yourself that fit you.
It seems to me you keep trying to minimize the intent and importance of the anti-choice lobby’s hate speech but you shouldn’t. This is how good folks wind up standing up next to some very shady characters, if they’re not careful. You hear them give anti-abortion arguments you can identify with and feel kinship. But keep your ears open. Some of those folks are interested in way more than the morality of abortion – their goals have to do with forced conformity, with violence, and the desire to replace democracy with theocracy. There are more of them than you think and they don’t necessarily overtly state their theocratic agenda. I don’t believe you’d approve of their goals, at all, if you saw the Big Picture they think is desirable.
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You are correct in that I don’t agree with the goals of Christians on the far right. Religion has no place in politics and their anti-gay agenda I find abhorrent. However, I don’t share your antiseptic views about abortion and that has zero to do with religion, faith or theology. Barring a natural miscarriage, if you don’t abort, you get a kid – end of story.
“Planned Parenthood is doing nothing unethical and does comply with the requirements for a non-profit. Federal funding does not go to abortions – only the type of health care which strives to prevent them.”
There have been numerous testimonies and books written by former employees and in fact, clinic managers who disagree with you. Many of them contend that PP makes no effort whatsoever to recommend, much less encourage adoption or keeping your child. They argue that women are encouraged and given the fast track to abortion because that is the most lucrative service they offer. Is this always the case? I don’t think so. Is it NEVER the case? I don’t think that either. Too many people have made that accusation from within for it to be totally bogus.
The idea that PP is 100% benevolent is a little naive regardless. It’s a very large organization that is heavily involved in the political process and they make money tax-free which they are allowed to spend as they wish. I guess if that all goes to pro-choice Democrats, that’s cool – but it is what it is. Do you think everything that happens at every nonprofit is completely benign? Churches are non-profits and all pastors and employees are squeaky-clean wonderful people right?
“I can dismiss everything you had to say about the nature of abortion with this: I don’t care what you think about it. I have my own conclusions and as a free adult, I must be allowed to guide my own life in accordance with them, just as you must be free to make health decisions for yourself that fit you.”
My guess is you’re happy to limit the freedoms of others in regard to your pet peeves but think everyone should stay out of this issue. Again, when one can acknowledge there is a legitimate debate about when life matters and it’s not ONLY about a woman’s body, perspective changes. At some point, preferably before a fully developed infant pops out, some believe there should be acknowledgment that the individual rights of the unborn intersect the rights of the mother. As I said earlier, too many in this debate believe that time is never.
“My guess is you’re happy to limit the freedoms of others in regard to your pet peeves but think everyone should stay out of this issue…”
You’d be wrong. If one citizen’s action causes harm to another citizen’s person or property, or the odds of it causing harm are very high, I expect our law to address it. Otherwise, this nation is supposed to operate on an exchange of considered ideas between adults. If I have a pet peeve, I’ll let you know about it and I’ll let you know what I think you should do. I’m bossy like that. But it’s up to you to decide – I don’t go running to the government to make you do as I say.
” It is not wrong for someone, including a man, to believe that the wanton number of abortions we have, the vast majority of which are not for medical necessity, is not the best way of dealing with our sexual activity.”
I do not believe that you are not a forced birther man, and a christian man. You talk just like my forced birther father and the forced birther christian man that sexually terrorized me as a little girl.
My father told me as a little girl that the pain I gave my teenage mother when she gave birth to me pleasured him. I learned from my conservative christian republican father and rapist that forced birth is a misogynist favorite wrath on women and little girls.
As my sexually sadistic pro forced birther christian father sat on his ass knowing he would never have to suffer through the agony and sickness of pregnancy and child birth. He sure did root that women and little girls did.
What you believe is irrelevant. Just because I don’t believe that abortion is always the best course does not make me a Christian or a “forced birther man.” I’m sorry for whatever trauma you experienced as a child but that doesn’t give you free pass on spewing bile.
It sounds as if the only thing you gathered from the unfortunate lessons of your experiences (if they are accurate) is to hate anyone who doesn’t support your misandristic views 100%. Sad.
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I of course condemn the actions of murderers. However, I worry that the distinctions that you are starting to introduce begin to seriously infringe upon the concept of free speech, As the law stands, it is legal (the morality is of course debatable) to say anything that stops short of directly inciting violence. As you stated in your article “all of these typically stop just short of an explicit call to arms.” For instance, if we were during the civil war times, and I had said that I believe that god will strike down all slaveholders, that all people who owned black slaves were horribly immoral people, and that if bad things happened to them, that they deserved it. That is similar to what a whole lot of my ancestors would have actually been talking during the civil war, when they lived in bleeding Kansas, the center of some of the bloodiest conflict over slavery. Under your new definition, anyone who said that would be a terrorist. This is a false distinction. Actually, violence is to be condemned, but you are allowed to hold any moral beleifs you wish to hold, even if those moral beleifs are deplorable. The first amendment protects us all equally – whether you be Malcolm X or the KKK, whether you be an abortion doctor or an abortion crusader, whether you be pro-war or pro-peace. The first amendment is an essential component of what makes our country great, and unfortunately, it means that you must share public space with people who hold views that are sometimes downright evil. It is not illegal to hold evil views. It is illegal to act upon them. We CANNOT criminalize speech.
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Well said but it’s grayer than that, I think. The views? Fine. But the expression? That’s more debatable. There is a point when inflammatory speech incites violence – and is often tacitly meant to. Valerie’s essay does a good job examining that. Isn’t the real question “How explicit does the call to violence have to be before it falls under the legal definition of inciting violence?”
Yes, I think that is precisely the question, and it is a difficult one.
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Then I would say the line lies in presenting facts. For instance, the anti-choice lobbyists love to call doctors and women who have abortions “murderers.” That is a lie. They will tell you they believe it to be so but the law’s definition of a murderer says otherwise. Whether the fanatics believe murder is the right word or not, they certainly know that at the most basic level, murder is bad and society benefits when murderers are not allowed to run free. Calling folks murderers is a call for action against them. What else could it be? I understand the concerns about any limit of speech but slander has long been excluded from free speech protections, for good reason.
Well put. That is the important distinction that is lacking in this piece. We should be able to condemn the actions of those we don’t agree with without being accused of inciting violence. If there is evidence that there actually was specific, methodical incitement, that is a different animal.
Hi. Please don’t talk to abuse survivors like that. They often have PTSD and discussions on this topic can trigger it. Their experience of Christianity has been nothing like you imagine Christianity to be. Many Christians think they exaggerate because they have *no idea* this facet of religion exists but I’m sorry to say I’ve heard too much testimony on the subject to doubt their trauma. You be nice, please, and understand where their anger comes from.
I am not addressing abuse survivors. I am addressing the issue of free speech vs. deliberate incitement.
“@ Graig Berlin”
If you’re going to dig around to find my name, you might try spelling it correctly.
“You did not even let your selfish mind linger on anything I wrote. You read something negative about your people and went to work trying to belittle and dismiss it.”
Personal insults are the last bastion of someone who has no facts to support them. Who are “my people?”
“I am not surprised, conservative, republican, christian, pro forced birther men never listen to what sexually abused little girls and women have to say, what they think or how they feel. Selfish, heartless, conservative, christian, pro lifer men are here to tell us what to think, and what to repeat.”
I am not a conservative, republican, christian, or pro forced birther. I am hearing what you say; unfortunately because you immediately launched into false accusations about who I am, your credibility is severely limited. Your attack-dog rhetoric doesn’t help.
“spoilt misogynistic men are going to mock, belittle, and dismiss it.”
If you’re going to find fault with others mocking, belittling and dismissing, you might want to examine your own words.
“No! It is not a tiny fraction of the population. Doug Wilson, Doug Phillips, Jim Bob and Josh Duggar, Michael Pearl, James Dobson, Bill Gothard, Paige Patterson, Matt Chandler, CJ Mahaney, Mark Dricoll, John Piper, Michael Farris tip of hyper misogynistic christian conservative the iceberg.”
“They are an unfortunate but vocal tiny minority. I do not support their words or actions, so you can’t stop equating my nuanced views to theirs unless you’re simply incapable of understanding this is not a black-and-white issue.”
“I have much family in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi. They all love guns, love war, love christianity, are hard core repubicans, ultra conservative. They love Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh, and Fox News, they hate abortion, hate abused women, hate raped little girls, and hate affordable health care. They think Westboro are nut jobs.”
I find it hard to believe that every single person in your family feels that way. My guess is that you’re a lunatic who prefers hyperbole to facts. And I don’t share any of those views by the way, although I’m not a big fan of abortion and agree Westboro is nuts – HORRORS!
“I have had two nineteen year old christian boys tell me girls who get raped need to get over it, it is easy to get over. I have had three pro life men tell me a grown woman consenting to sex outside of marriage is every bit as abhorrent as a man raping a child.”
They would be wrong.
“Ether you are lying or you are uninformed about American christianity.”
The fact that you don’t even spell most proper nouns with an uppercase letter indicates you’re coming from a biased and negative perspective. I have personally experienced persecution at the hands of Christians, some of which you might not even be able to imagine. I am no fan of Christianity but I evaluate people individually rather than painting with the broad brush of bigotry you use. The vast majority of Christians I know are good people and incidentally, Judaism teaches that any person of good character is a person of God, regardless of faith. That is a tenet you might wish to examine in lieu of your hatred.
“Please before you respond try to think about what I said before you write your misogynistic, selfish, conservative, smart aleck, christian man, post.”
Physician, heal thyself. Haters gonna hate. Congratulations.
Might I suggest that you use a bit more diplomacy with ‘survivor’ – it’s quite obvious to anyone reading that she is coming from a place of hurt. Unless, of course, you OWN some of the brush she’s painting you with.
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I think I have been far more diplomatic with her than she has been with me. I am very empathetic and sympathetic to those coming from a place of hurt. I’ve been there myself. I don’t launch unfounded personal attacks on someone I disagree with because my hurt and anger clouds my reason.
“I think I have been far more diplomatic with her than she has been with me.”
Maybe you should turn the other cheek. I read somewhere that is good advice.
Perhaps. I often do – but this is an online conversation, not a personal encounter. I think now is as good a time as any but I also don’t care to be an enabler. When someone is nasty for no reason, I tend to call them on it. My work is done here and I appreciate the feedback.
Maybe. The person giving the advice didn’t qualify it. He just said it was the right thing to do. They are trying to tell you they have been literally tortured and with religion as the justification for it. It is exactly the type nightmare scenario you so deplore when it happens in a theocracy like Iraq. Maybe taking that into account, you might judge your pride to be less important than their pain, and treat them with kindness they haven’t seen much of from men proclaiming themselves to be Christian?
Look, I’d like to give you the benefit of the doubt but you need to understand that when you launch into unfounded personal attacks on someone, you’re aren’t going to engender a lot of sympathy. It doesn’t matter to me whether you believe me or not. You don’t know me at all and I share little in common with the people you mention. Your claim that I talk like them is your own very suspect assessment and frankly, it’s ridiculous for you to assume such things.
This is not a black-and-white issue and it’s no surprise to me on any given day to listen to either a radical leftist or a right-wing nutjob demonize anyone who takes a more nuanced view. It’s unfortunate you have to be one of them but par for the course. Before you demonize others you might want to consider your own words. You started with insults and never looked back.
Victims can become the biggest abusers so I hope that’s not what’s happening here.
To Dr Tarico could you loose the editorialising troll, please – yeah, OK that could mean myself as well …
I was going to respond to mrtapeguy, but you did it as well as I could have. (Perhaps I should have followed Sha’Tara’s example and ignored him.:))
Why anyone would have a problem with an organization whose work reduces the number of abortions is beyond me!
I agree with you completely; the “bottom line” is that a woman has every right to make a reproductive decision for herself. Unfortunately, the anti-choicers have managed to convince some of the (preposterous!) notion that a fertilized egg is a “baby” at the moment of conception, and, far more alarmingly, that the fetus takes precedence over the life of a living, breathing woman. (Regardless of the justification, that is indeed the “bottom line” of the anti-choicers!)
What’s really bizarre is that, for anyone who objects to abortion, the “best possible outcome” is to make abortion safe, legal, and rare. For some strange reason, the anti-choicers have a problem with that!
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“(Perhaps I should have followed Sha’Tara’s example and ignored him.:))”
Perhaps you should have Lowell – it would have been better than constantly pouring out straw men and acting as if “oh my gosh, how can anyone find fault with x??”
“Why anyone would have a problem with an organization whose work reduces the number of abortions is beyond me!”
Most organizations are not 100% benevolent (as the left would have you believe about PP) or 100% evil ) as the right would. There are a number of issues with PP and abortion advocates simply don’t care to expend the intellectual honesty to address them. The same is true of the right in regard to the good work that PP does. You only see it one way – I get it.
“I agree with you completely; the “bottom line” is that a woman has every right to make a reproductive decision for herself. Unfortunately, the anti-choicers have managed to convince some of the (preposterous!) notion that a fertilized egg is a “baby” at the moment of conception, and, far more alarmingly, that the fetus takes precedence over the life of a living, breathing woman. (Regardless of the justification, that is indeed the “bottom line” of the anti-choicers!)”
I am not an anti-choicer; however, while a fertilized egg is not a baby (nor has anyone claimed it is), it is a human-in-progress which you have arbitrarily decided is eligible for termination at the host’s discretion. It is a medical and scientific fact that conception, by definition, is the creation of a NEW organism, not just a seed you’ve planted. No one credible believes “the fetus takes precedence over the life of a living, breathing woman.” What they believe is that a woman who is not in danger should not choose abortion.
“What’s really bizarre is that, for anyone who objects to abortion, the “best possible outcome” is to make abortion safe, legal, and rare. For some strange reason, the anti-choicers have a problem with that!”
On this we agree – as I have written about at length, anti-choicers are complicit in the problem because the only attempt to solve the problem with a sledgehammer instead of promoting birth control and sex education, which I fully support. But you surely must understand as well that if you don’t really care if fetuses are aborted, you’re not exactly working to help reduce them either.
There are alternatives to the “abortion on demand for any reason” mentality of many on the left who want NO restrictions and the anti-choicers you refer to. Neither side is helping the problem.
@mrtapeguy – “What they believe is that a woman who is not in danger should not choose abortion.” In other words, those women should do as someone ELSE chooses for them. Is that what you are saying?
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Carmen, that’s a silly question. If a guy robs a bank, I would prefer that he not rob the bank. I guess in your world, that’s making a choice for him. Yes, I would prefer he make a different choice, so sue me.
Now I’m assuming you don’t like unnecessary wars because they kill people, right? And maybe against the death penalty? And save the whales and animal rights? Me too. So perhaps you can take off the ideological blinders for a moment and just imagine for a moment that you yourself believed that an abortion is the willful termination of a human life. That would bother you, wouldn’t it? So yes, these people would prefer a choice other than abortion – as would I, although I am not interested in changing the law to force them to do so. I understand their sentiment if not their methods or non-solutions. The first step to reconciling issues such as this is trying to understand where sincere people of goodwill are coming from and I see NONE of that in this entire blog nor in any of the comments.
Perhaps if we viewed ALL life as more sacred and chose of our own accord to not use abortion to correct our mistakes as a matter of course, the issue would be less contentious. I fully understand and agree that a woman is the final arbiter of this issue; that doesn’t mean everyone has to either agree with her decision or not endeavor to change our culture where we don’t take such things for granted. I predict there will come a time in history when perhaps having children won’t be so easy and we may have a different perspective on how easily we went about terminating millions of our own offspring.
Here’s the thing, mrtapeguy. All the high-sounding rhetoric in the world – and I’ve read many justifications for forced-birthing – doesn’t cut it when it comes right down to basics. I asked you a question – if you don’t think WOMEN should decide for themselves what to do with their own bodies, then you believe that everyone else should. Very simple.
I DON’T. Nor will I EVER.
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Carmen, I’ve never stated nor advocated that I think anyone should be able to tell a woman (or anyone else) what to do with his/her own body. The problem with this line of reasoning is again, conception is BY DEFINITION the creation of a new organism. It is NO LONGER an issue of SOLELY a woman’s body. What about this scientific and medical fact do you not understand? I guess if you keep repeating the same lie over and over again, you and others will keep believing it.
Instead of your constant attempts to make this debate ONLY about the mother, the debate SHOULD be about when the rights of the mother and the rights of the unborn intersect, which for people like you is apparently never. A fetus has its own DNA and we do not KNOW when it becomes conscious or sentient and one would hope that as a society we would err on the side of caution. But 8 million abortions a year and I’m glad you’re happy that a woman and her body reign supreme with no regrets. Why don’t you just admit abortion is what it is? I guess that wouldn’t be antiseptic enough for you.
You said “…conception is BY DEFINITION the creation of a new organism. It is NO LONGER an issue of SOLELY a woman’s body.”
That’s the part about choice you can’t grasp. Use all-caps all you want but the moment that personhood occurs will still be opinion, not scientific fact. And because it’s opinion, not fact, you will never have the right to misuse the government to force everyone to act like your call on it is the last word.
That’s why this conversation frustrates you, and why you frustrate others when you won’t let it go. You can’t understand why we won’t acknowledge your opinion as The Truth while we can’t understand why you won’t admit you are not God and cannot definitively say when personhood happens.
I’ve hit this wall over and over again with fundamentalists of all flavors. They are only comfortable living in a black-and-white world, with questions answered in absolutes. They tend to come up with bad solutions to moral problems because in reality, life is not comforting and the answers to morality questions are complicated and full of gray areas.
Please, be content that you are sure how you would choose and how you would act. In a country built to nurture individual liberty, that’s all a person can ask for. Do not presume to take away other people’s freedom of choice, no matter how sure you are that ten stem cells in a uterus equal a citizen of the United States.
“That’s the part about choice you can’t grasp. Use all-caps all you want but the moment that personhood occurs will still be opinion, not scientific fact. And because it’s opinion, not fact, you will never have the right to misuse the government to force everyone to act like your call on it is the last word.”
All-caps is for emphasis. Would you prefer italics?
I never mentioned personhood. I mentioned a new organism. Why do you keep trying to reframe what I’m saying? A new organism is scientific fact. We do not know when that organism becomes sentient, conscious or has a “soul.” What we do know is that if you don’t terminate it, one of two things happens:
a) it dies of natural causes
b) you get a baby
I have not stated when personhood should begin; however in order to sanitize what abortion is, advocates have decided that they are willing to take the risk of when personhood might begin and simply leave it entirely up to the mother’s discretion. Do you seriously dispute this? Much as the NeoCon right accepts collateral damage in their ongoing interventionist wars and death-penalty proponents have always looked past that some convicted criminals might be wrongfully put to death, you simply make an arbitrary decision based on what? The DNA of a fetus is programmed from the moment of conception.
“That’s why this conversation frustrates you, and why you frustrate others when you won’t let it go. You can’t understand why we won’t acknowledge your opinion as The Truth while we can’t understand why you won’t admit you are not God and cannot definitively say when personhood happens.”
I am not frustrated. Discussing the issues is what I do and often in situations such as this where no one agrees with me. It’s very enlightening, especially to hear so many try to reframe scientific and medical facts as my opinion, rather than simply acknowledging that they are willing to accept the “collateral damage” of abortion, which would be a more intellectually honest position. I guess when the new organisms aren’t fully formed and not visible to the naked eye it makes it easier to assume they’re not human enough to justify a little more consideration. I sense that perhaps your frustration in that you can’t let go of your ideology and accept that this is the course you’ve chosen and just own it.
“I’ve hit this wall over and over again with fundamentalists of all flavors. They are only comfortable living in a black-and-white world, with questions answered in absolutes. They tend to come up with bad solutions to moral problems because in reality, life is not comforting and the answers to morality questions are complicated and full of gray areas.”
I am neither a fundamentalist nor do I live in a black-and-white world. That is the world that many abortion advocates and opponents live in. I’m sorry you are not able to perceive a more nuanced view. I know many people who find abortion abhorrent but do not believe the government can make that decision, so it’s not all that unusual a position to take, except for laying out the reasoning.
“Please, be content that you are sure how you would choose and how you would act. In a country built to nurture individual liberty, that’s all a person can ask for. Do not presume to take away other people’s freedom of choice, no matter how sure you are that ten stem cells in a uterus equal a citizen of the United States.”
I have not suggested doing any such thing, although I do believe there can be reasonable limits to all rights. Do you?
Our entire system of law is based on the idea of deterring or punishing harm to a citizen’s person or property. You want so very badly for a fetus to be considered a citizen you forget that is not everyone’s opinion. (And yes, personhood *is* a matter of opinion, not fact.) Your desire to control everyone’s health decisions based on your personal opinion is inappropriate in a free society. It would be perfectly in alignment with a theocracy, though. I don’t want to live in one of those.
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” It would be perfectly in alignment with a theocracy, though. I don’t want to live in one of those.” Obviously, mrtapeguy would be very comfortable in one of those.
And again, Carmen, when you have no facts to support your argument you have to start engaging in insults. On what basis would you believe that I would be comfortable in a theocracy? Because I have a scientifically and medically accurate understanding of abortion and don’t whitewash it does not equate to the desire to live in a theocracy. That’s aside from the fact that you don’t even know what my religious views are. But please, proceed with making all sorts of hyperbolic unfounded accusations. It’s very common on this threat and a good indication that many here are so terrified of “Christianists” that they can’t acknowledge facts for fear it might acknowledge some on the right have a point about anything and then they’ll take over the country and make you all into slaves.
If you could try to deal only with the things I’ve actually said and stop extrapolating and speculation and accusing…that would be great.
The straw man arguments from the people on this thread are beyond amazing. I’ve never mentioned forced birthing once and don’t support it, never mentioned I believe a fetus should be a citizen, ad nauseum. Then you claim I want to control everyone’s health decisions. What would you do if you had to refer ONLY to those things I’ve actually stated? Or do you think you simply know what I really want. Freedom means that people get to do things I don’t necessarily agree with. I’ll bet that doesn’t work for you in a number of areas such as gun control – but that’s just a hunch.
You talk about what is opinion and what is fact and frame that with the straw man of fetus citizenship. The FACT is that conception is BY DEFINITION the creation of a new organism with distinct DNA. So please stop claiming what my opinion is. I never said that every fetus should be a citizen. What I will continue to point out is the intellectually bereft argument that this is ONLY…ONLY…about a woman’s body and blah blah blah. Perhaps if fewer people viewed abortion as a convenience that’s no big deal to fix our mistakes, they would be more cautious on the front end. You know what they say – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
You would outlaw some or all abortions, if you could, therefore you do support forced birthing. You don’t care what the woman thinks – your opinion should override her call on it. So that argument is not a strawman.
You do insist that a fetus cannot be destroyed because that would kill a person. Therefore, pointing out your arguments do depend on viewing a fetus as a citizen is not a strawman argument.
Either you don’t really understand what a strawman is or you don’t understand the implications of your own points on the issue.
“You would outlaw some or all abortions, if you could, therefore you do support forced birthing. You don’t care what the woman thinks – your opinion should override her call on it. So that argument is not a strawman.”
So you are fine with late-term abortions? NO restrictions whatsoever? Because no civil society I’m aware of allows any abortion for any reason at any time, although there are certainly people who believe in that. Do you?
“You do insist that a fetus cannot be destroyed because that would kill a person. Therefore, pointing out your arguments do depend on viewing a fetus as a citizen is not a strawman argument.”
I never said any such thing. I stated the definition of conception. We find all sorts of reasons to kill people – why should this be any different?
“Either you don’t really understand what a strawman is or you don’t understand the implications of your own points on the issue.”
I understand perfectly. You simply wish to exaggerate what my beliefs are because a more nuanced view isn’t something you can demonize as easily.
“I stated the definition of conception.” But you assume we all agree personhood begins at conception. We do not, nor is there any scientific definition of when personhood begins. Frank Herbert in Dune proposed not even all born people are really humans – being human requires maturity and self-control not everyone attains. I don’t agree with that but he made a good case for it.
You cannot decide for everyone that personhood begins at conception and expect the government to make us all comply with your conclusion.
I cannot fathom why you keep claiming I said that personhood begins at conception when the term or concept of “personhood” was introduced by you and solely you. For the third time, i have never said any such thing. Why do you keep claiming that i did??
Personhood keeps coming up because when a clump of reproducing cells becomes a human person is the heart of the question. Your insistence that a woman should not be allowed to abort a five-week-old fertilized egg only makes sense if everyone agrees that fertilized egg is a person with the same rights the adult woman, even to the extent of overriding her own concerns about her well-being and her health.
No one is pro-abortion but a whole lot of people believe that while it’s tragic to have to end the potential birth of a human, a five-week-old fertilized egg is not yet a human person – it is a part of the woman’s body and it’s her call how to handle it.
You see the potential for a human as the same as an actual human, but that is highly debatable.
“Your insistence that a woman should not be allowed to abort a five-week-old fertilized egg only makes sense if everyone agrees that fertilized egg is a person with the same rights the adult woman, even to the extent of overriding her own concerns about her well-being and her health.”
I have not insisted anything. I am wondering why you insist on claiming I have said things I have not. I have never stated any specific restrictions that I support.
“No one is pro-abortion but a whole lot of people believe that while it’s tragic to have to end the potential birth of a human, a five-week-old fertilized egg is not yet a human person – it is a part of the woman’s body and it’s her call how to handle it.”
Scientifically, it is not a part of the woman’s body. It is inside the woman’s body, dependent on the mother’s body and attached to the woman’s body but a separate and distinct organism. That is not to say the woman’s body is of no concern, so please don’t make the claim that’s what I’m saying…I can hear it already.
“You see the potential for a human as the same as an actual human, but that is highly debatable.”
I did not say that specifically but I do think we need to address that a human-in-progress is expendable. An infant is also not the same as a toddler or an adolescent or an adult. What is the arbitrary disctinction?
At least you agree that it is debatable – I see many who have decided of their own volition that a fetus is simply expendable just because they think so. I guess if it’s not visible to the naked eye and not a fully-formed human that’s already out of the womb, we tend to be less sensitive.
“…it is attached to the woman’s body but a separate and distinct organism.”
You keep saying that is scientific fact, not an opinion. You are mistaken.
You are incorrect. A fetus has its own DNA. It is not “the mother.” When does a part of the woman’s body have distinct DNA?
This is simply obfuscating the truth in order to sanitize what’s going on. In addition to different genetic code, an embryo/fetus can have a different blood type, different gender, different race, etc. and there are many other reasons why this makes no sense unless you simply need to believe it. To continue to claim it’s simply a part of the mother is not a credible position to take.
And here’s the thing: refuting the biologically false slogan that the unborn is part of a woman’s body and that she therefore has the right to dispose of it (and the claim that one is free morally to do whatever they wish with their own body is not universally accepted either, btw – drugs, suicide, etc). in no way diminishes the role of the mother or the mother-child relationship.
It looks like I underestimated the toll from Bhopal by quite a bit. Thanks for pointing this out.
Great article. Hope you don’t mind it being passed around. Everyone interested in fighting terrorism should read this.
How do we fight Christianist Republicans who continue (even after the Colorado shootings) to demonize Planned Parenthood? Nothing changes for them even when everyone can see the fruits of their rhetoric. Our side is going to have to really push back on the lies or the Christianists will win.
Just so you know, Valerie, I’ve seen your article linked (since yesterday) on blogs in the U.S.A., Canada, and South Africa. (and those are just of the ones I regularly peruse)
Like I say, keep talking! :)
Thank you for letting me know!
WOW! Sixteen new Comments on this particular Original Valerie Post, just Today, 12/01, up to now (approx. 12:30 pm). May I assume that all of us, besides attempting to be as amazingly knowledgeable as Valerie- a rare capability I think- are also devoting a big share of our energies to one or more relevant Activist projects? (OK, maybe it’s a mite presumptions for me to have said that, since I’m not physically capable now of more than “sitting down” activist work, and I’m still finding my way with that even.) Many of the “AwayPoint” Comments I see do add to my understanding of issues. Many others seem predominantly “venting.” Opening and reading 50 to 100 comments- I Don’t have that much energy. Some of our energies need also to be spent, for example, upon our own self awareness, to better understand how others experience us. To understand better how to discuss issues with folks of opposite viewpoints. To listen to opposing views openly, rather than the “debate,” win-lose mode. My attempts, and experience, in a couple of current “hard core” cases: “Most of you pissed off Liberals- they just scream and yell. You know something? You’re a little bit different. I can listen to you. And I pick up some things.”
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Good article. It’s also good to call this what it is: Christian terrorism.
I’ve stayed on the side lines for a bit, just reading. Wondering, since some of the commenters mention “activism” if my query about joining forces with the Anti Defamation League was out of turn, or if the stove was on too hot for any to notice my earlier query. Is the ADL a possibility in positively addressing the question of stochastic terrorism (thanks Valerie for introducing it here – and when I want to remind myself of what it means I just say to myself “Hitler” and all the pieces fall into place) or is the ADL in some way persona non grata here? Now I’m really curious. Thanks, anyone…
I think the ADL wrestles with this balance point. Jews are keenly aware (as are Rwandans) of how a culture of dehumanization and incitement can explode into violent action.
I routinely delete comments that are simply ad hominims. The reason that I haven’t deleted Mrtapeguy’s comments, despite disagreeing with him on a host of issues, is that none of his comments that i have seen have degenerated to that level.
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And kudos to you for allowing civil debate, although you do seem to allow ad hominems against me. LOL – no worries. I’m a big boy and I can take it. We never learn anything from talking only to people we always agree with.
I’m just wondering why you choose to stick around mrtapeguy. You really don’t think you are going to have a grand impact on anyone do you? You may not be a sociopath but your persistence and somewhat superior attitude here is indicative of troll-like behavior.
“I’m just wondering why you choose to stick around mrtapeguy. You really don’t think you are going to have a grand impact on anyone do you? You may not be a sociopath but your persistence and somewhat superior attitude here is indicative of troll-like behavior.”
To hear more constructive comments such as this? Do you really want to know? I doubt it but I’ll tell you anyway.
I write professionally and as a few people in history have noted, we never learn anything by talking only to people we always agree with. So this is educational and entertaining, even though everyone, including you, has felt the need to insult me personally. Par for the course, really.
“So this is educational and entertaining,”
So tell us, how are you being educated and entertained?
Again, I’m not sure that you really care to know rather than just being contradictory. But I’ve already stated why and apparently you chose to disregard it. Perhaps you prefer to live in an echo chamber.
Oh my, we’re getting testy now. I was being genuine but if you want to hold onto your negative perception of me, fine.
Let’s try this. Can you provide a link or links to the many articles you say you’ve written. That would help me get a better feel for what you are trying to educate yourself about here.
If you are being sincere, my apologies. Sometimes tone is hard to sense online.
Thanks for asking. You will find my archives here:
Independent Voter Network
Feel free to comment or you can see a compilation along with some other nonpartisan articles at:
To mrtapeguy :
I stipulate that when a sperm and an egg unite, a new set of DNA is formed (that seemed to be what you were looking for so doggedly). However, it is not yet a child, despite how much you would like it to be. There is only one person who has the ultimate responsibility for that set of DNA. That person has the moral responsibility to determine if that set of DNA should progress to become a human being. Mothers know best when that DNA should become a child. It is not for anyone else to decide. That is a moral and legal reality.
That being said….
The issue on this thread is whether a person’s speech can be considered inflammatory enough to be considered “inciting violence,” particularly if they have a tv or radio microphone to magnify the reach of that speech. In my opinion, I have felt personally that the right’s recent viciousness has fallen into the “inciting” realm. They have lied and misinformed intentionally to inflame passions. The results have been heartbreaking, but their intention may not be what you think.
I think the right’s reason for going after Planned Parenthood so intensely is the same reason they went after ACORN and destroyed it a few years back – they want to win. Win at all costs. They know they can bring their base out to vote when there is a good juicy hunk of indignation or fear to chew on.
Unfortunately, the fact is that a vet, a police officer, and a mother are dead, and several more are injured, therefore permanently changed. It could be the law of unintended consequences, but I am inclined to think that is not the case here. Because of their “win at all costs” rhetoric, I now believe that the conservative politicians are either 1) intentionally fanning the flames because they are people who are pathologically used to getting their way at all times and being allowed to say whatever they want without having to suffer any consequences (cough, Trump, Fiorina); or 2) they are so incompetently dumb that they don’t know what they are doing.
Either scenario means they are not ready to be President of the Unted States.
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“I stipulate that when a sperm and an egg unite, a new set of DNA is formed (that seemed to be what you were looking for so doggedly). However, it is not yet a child, despite how much you would like it to be.”
I never said it was. I said that it becomes one.
“There is only one person who has the ultimate responsibility for that set of DNA. That person has the moral responsibility to determine if that set of DNA should progress to become a human being. Mothers know best when that DNA should become a child. It is not for anyone else to decide. That is a moral and legal reality.”
Before we had the ability to safely terminate a pregnancy, it was assumed that a birth was the natural course of things, whether you believe in God, nature or whatever. Since figuring out how to abort, the pregnancy is now treated at times as some sort of disease or questionable situation. yes, legally this is reality – but are all abortions moral and if not, what do we do? There are so many immoral things that involve bodily harm to another we don’t tolerate…in fact, we don’t tolerate any of them. The unborn simply don’t have a say. If they did, what would we assume they WOULD say?.
If mrtapeguy hasn’t crossed the line, he’s come pretty close, as in “It’s very common on this threat and a good indication that many here are so terrified of “Christianists” that they can’t acknowledge facts for fear it might acknowledge some on the right have a point about anything and then they’ll take over the country and make you all into slaves.” or “The straw man arguments from the people on this thread are beyond amazing.”
He’s also made numerous bigoted (Islamophobic) comments.
No matter; I learned pretty quickly that it’s pointless to argue with someone who thinks that his own opinions are “scientifically accurate” and everyone else’s are “intellectually bereft”. :)
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This definitely needed to be said
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Well hey – score one for the “good guys!”
“If mrtapeguy hasn’t crossed the line, he’s come pretty close.”
“He’s also made numerous bigoted (Islamophobic) comments.”
Please name one.
“No matter; I learned pretty quickly that it’s pointless to argue with someone who thinks that his own opinions are “scientifically accurate” and everyone else’s are “intellectually bereft”. :)”
Especially when the facts I cite ARE scientifically accurate and those others I specifically say are intellectually bereft actually are. But I’d love for you to point out anything I’ve said that is not scientifically accurate and back up your claims with facts. I know that’s not your style but you might try some on-the-job training.
You said: “I’d love for you to point out anything I’ve said that is not scientifically accurate”
Here’s an example: You say conception begins when a sperm fertilizes an egg. Yes, that is a scientific fact. No one disputes it. However, you then leap to the assumption what was conceived is immediately a person who must be protected as though it is a citizen. *That* is not science and you can’t see why your opinion about an abstract concept like personhood isn’t the same as biological fact like conception. Others see the conception as having resulted in a clump of reproducing cells sustained by a woman’s body and until it becomes acquires personhood, it is her right to decide how to deal with her situation. It has the potential to become a person but it has not done so yet.
The State generally says that personhood happens after three months which is why abortions after that time are usually only legal in case of grave medical need, but even The State is just doing its best to have a wise opinion on the matter. No one really knows, and that includes you.
“Here’s an example: You say conception begins when a sperm fertilizes an egg. Yes, that is a scientific fact. No one disputes it. However, you then leap to the assumption what was conceived is immediately a person who must be protected as though it is a citizen.”
I never said any such thing. WTF?
“The State generally says that personhood happens after three months which is why abortions after that time are usually only legal in case of grave medical need, but even The State is just doing its best to have a wise opinion on the matter. No one really knows, and that includes you.”
And many people are opposed to that. Why should the state get to decide at three months? It’s a woman’s body, right?
You said: “Why should the state get to decide at three months? It’s a woman’s body, right?”
Yes, it is. And when anti-choicers – especially male anti-choicers – argue with passion that a woman should not be allowed to make such a personal and important decision for herself, they always let some rather ugly blind spots show.
For instance, they don’t seem to know that women die in childbirth. Healthy woman, healthy fetus, good care, good labor facilities – still, sometimes we die. Anti-choicers never bring it up because if they did, it would have to sound something like: “Yes, I want the law to force you into a situation that may kill you without allowing you or your doctor to have a part in the decision. You mad?”
Yes. That does make me mad. A lot of other women resent that idea, too. You should think about why.
“And when anti-choicers – especially male anti-choicers – argue with passion that a woman should not be allowed to make such a personal and important decision for herself, they always let some rather ugly blind spots show.”
Without getting into the ideologues who don’t favor abortion under any circumstances, the issue is again, not just about what a woman should decide for herself. It is also about where the rights of the unborn intersect. I know of no one personally who doesn’t favor the mother’s right when there is a question of her health. The issue is when it’s a matter of convenience and essentially retroactive birth control. This is an important distinction. Yes, there are those who may have too little empathy for a woman’s hardship in bearing a child. However, it is also true that as a society we are far too careless.
“For instance, they don’t seem to know that women die in childbirth. Healthy woman, healthy fetus, good care, good labor facilities – still, sometimes we die. Anti-choicers never bring it up because if they did, it would have to sound something like: “Yes, I want the law to force you into a situation that may kill you without allowing you or your doctor to have a part in the decision. You mad?””
I understand the concerns and I don’t believe they are without merit; however, the U.S. maternal death rate as of 2013 was about 18.5 deaths per 100,000 live births or about .0185%. Certainly significant if you’re one of them and merits consideration in coming to a reasonable set of guidelines but admittedly not a large risk.
So you have weighed the average health risks and decided I don’t need to worry about it and still should be forbidden make my own choice in the matter. I need you and the government to give me guidelines. Thank you. Thank you so much. That’s a load off my mind. It hurts so much when I have to think for myself.
Again, I never said you don’t need to worry. I said it merits consideration in coming to a reasonable set of guidelines. But what you are saying is that there shouldn’t be any guidelines and therefore, you must favor unfettered abortion with no restrictions for any reason at any time. You and Dr. Gosnell have a lot in common, along with the Chinese and parents in India who don’t want daughters.
So it’s OK if I worry but you will still decide for me. Criminy. You honestly have no idea how incredibly, insultingly patronizing you’re being, do you?
Here’s the deal: I am capable of making the correct moral and medical decisions for myself without *any* input from you or the government. I will consult with my physician to discuss medicine. I will consult with my family, friends, and clergy for assistance in moral dilemmas, if I feel the need. I am an adult. I can and will make my own decisions. Take your well-meant but unwanted and inappropriate attention away from my womb and direct it somewhere constructive, like feeding people in need once they’ve reached this world. Thank you. Have a nice day.
I have no interest in your womb. The issue is not about your womb, as much as you try to redirect it to your womb, your vagina, your uterus, ad nauseum. The interest is the unborn and where common decency and the rights of the unborn intersect those of the mother. I’m sorry you can’t fathom that this is not a black-and-white issue or one that is solely about individual rights.
I get it that you want no rules. MOST people don’t feel that is a reasonable position to take. That’s even most in the pro-choice camp are against late-term abortions. If you think they’re acceptable, that is your opinion. If you think no one else should be able to set any reasonable guidelines as to when is too late for an legal abortion without good cause, that is also your opinion…but it is not a mainstream point of view, sorry.
I have no interest in overturning Roe v. Wade but like you, I am interested in education. The difference between you and me is you simply want all women to be left alone to do whatever they want without any kind of scrutiny or objective assessment as to whether the act is just. My purpose is for people to realize this isn’t like excising a mole in the hope that they will make an effort to demonstrate they value the gift of being able to reproduce and exercise greater care.
I’m sorry that frustrates you but that’s the way I feel.
You said: “The issue is not about your womb, as much as you try to redirect it to your womb…”
Oh, dear. There is a reason wombs are relevant to the discussion. How do I put this… When a woman becomes pregnant, the fertilized ovum attaches to the lining of her uterus. For the duration of her pregnancy, that’s where it’s going to be.
Seriously – you anti-choicers think about the woman involved so little you can’t even understand why her concerns have bearing on the debate.
I’ve said before, I don’t care how you feel. If I am pregnant, it is a matter for me to deal with and none of your business, and most certainly none of the government’s business.
I fail to understand why you absolutists are incapable of anything but black and white thinking. If you can find one place here where I’ve stated I’m anti-choice, I’ll give you a dollar. In fact, I’ve repeatedly stated I would never try to get Roe repealed and mentioned that many people are personally pro-life but support choice. What part of that do you refuse to acknowledge?
“Oh, dear. There is a reason wombs are relevant to the discussion. How do I put this… When a woman becomes pregnant, the fertilized ovum attaches to the lining of her uterus. For the duration of her pregnancy, that’s where it’s going to be.”
My point is that no one cares what you do with your body. What people may care about is what happens to the unborn. Do you not understand this either? Abortion advocates such as yourself keep wanting this to ONLY be about your womb, vagina, uterus. Never once have I said that it is ONLY about the unborn nor have I said that it has nothing to do with your womb. I have repeatedly stated that the debate should be about when a woman’s rights intersect with those of the unborn. I get it that for you, it’s NEVER. That is your opinion and one that I don’t agree with and that doesn’t mean any of the things you have construed it to mean, sorry.
I also get it that you don’t care what anyone else thinks. Well good for you – I guess you’re above reproach but if this were such an overwhelmingly one-sided slamdunk of an issue, we wouldn’t be so polarized about it…and I am not exactly a wingnut. Zealots such as yourself simply aren’t willing to focus on the positive of what I say which happens to not include outlawing abortion – but there’s no partial credit in your world. Oh well!
“What people may care about is what happens to the unborn…” Unfortunately for your argument, the “unborn” happen to be in a woman’s womb and directly affect her, making her personal decision on the matter none of your business. At all.
Of course I understand that you have come to a decision about the nature of life. I don’t agree with it and neither do many other women. A shame you had to fall into the inflammatory and completely untrue “pro-abortion” trap. *That* is the type of hate speech that Valerie’s talking about. You know damn well (or should) that no one is pro-abortion and disagreeing with your particular take on the issue does not make them so. Cheap of you to use it and only a tiny step away from the extremists who slander doctors by calling them “murderers.” If you can’t win an argument on its own merits, telling lies isn’t going to help you, so don’t bother.
“Unfortunately for your argument, the “unborn” happen to be in a woman’s womb and directly affect her, making her personal decision on the matter none of your business. At all.”
Since I’m not advocating legislation, what is your point? No one is allowed to have an opinion on whether any abortion for any reason is OK? Where life and death are concerned, people generally have opinions and without someone to countermand yours, we would obviously have zero guidelines other than “whatever the mother decides.”
“Of course I understand that you have come to a decision about the nature of life. I don’t agree with it and neither do many other women.”
You have no idea what my opinion about the nature of life is other than it’s different from yours. I said we should err on the side of caution. You don’t agree, I get it.
” A shame you had to fall into the inflammatory and completely untrue “pro-abortion” trap. *That* is the type of hate speech that Valerie’s talking about. You know damn well (or should) that no one is pro-abortion and disagreeing with your particular take on the issue does not make them so. Cheap of you to use it and only a tiny step away from the extremists who slander doctors by calling them “murderers.” If you can’t win an argument on its own merits, telling lies isn’t going to help you, so don’t bother.”
I never used the pro-abortion “trap.” Again, I’d appreciate it if you could stick to the things I actually say rather than what you want to claim i say.
As far as anyone being pro-abortion, in theory if you can believe that some people are PRO WAR (like Dick Cheney and the military industrial complex) then I think it’s possible that there are people who are in fact, pro-abortion. I didn’t use that term, YOU did, nor am I saying that you are. So again, please pull back from your exaggerated claims about what I’ve said.
“…But what you are saying is that there shouldn’t be any guidelines.”
You are mistaken. I said I don’t need your guidelines and I don’t need guidelines from government. I said I would set my own guidelines. And I will, too.
I live on the East Coast of Canada and go to bed early. When I got up this morning, there were many comments on this thread; I read through them and went to work. I tried to comment from there, but my iPad shuts down if the threads are too long. So I just want to say thank you for responding to mrtapeguy. You did an excellent job against his vitriol and ill-informed opinion.
Mrtapeguy – I am a High School English teacher and I just wanted to pass along a few points. I’m sure that my suggestions will fall on deaf ears, as it’s fairly obvious that you have no desire to take any kind of instruction from anyone else – I’m sure you’re quite secure in the knowledge that you know it all. In future, you might want to stick to the topic of the post. Personal insults, words such as “Duh”, referring to women’s vaginas, and acronyms such as ‘WTF’ are not acceptable if you’re trying to have a reasonable conversation with someone. Also, I tell my students that if you really want to engage your audience, it’s best to stick with things you know. You cannot know what it’s like to be a woman, you’ll never have to go through the agonizing decision of terminating a pregnancy, and you have no idea what it means to have your autonomy compromised by men who think they know much better than you do. (and who take the moral high road because they imagine they are speaking for the unborn)
Valerie has been very gracious to let you have your say. Now please climb down from your soapbox.
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I didn’t mind because though I think he’s very wrong on wanting to restrict choice, I also think he means well. It’s much worse talking to the hard core zealots who vandalize clinics and shriek hate speech over the internet with the intent to incite violence – and the zealots have really been out and about more than usual these last few days.
Speaking of shrieking, raging zealots, you might be interested in something I just saw on one of my FB buddies’ sites; a young fellow named Jef (from Texas) – he’s a writer and a strong supporter of women’s rights.
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Might I respectfully disagree with you. I’ll provide an unrelated example. Many moons ago :), when I was a college student there was a white supremacist demonstration nearby. The Black students in my class were understandably upset about it. I let them know that I was in full agreement, but that it wasn’t the raving lunatics that they had to worry about; it was the ones who express their bigotry as “family values”, or some other seemingly innocuous virtue. This story clearly doesn’t provide an exact match to what we’re seeing here, but I trust that you see my point.
LOL…well, thanks…I think. I think you are misinterpreting my “desire” to restrict choice, although I’ll admit I am not personally comfortable with ZERO rules for abortion. If you’re asking me to endorse allowing late-term abortions without medical cause, I’m sorry I can’t do that.
I’m sure my online persona conveys some things you will assume about me and that’s fine. My views are far less absolute than the ones attacking me here and they are based on fact only, not what anyone thinks should be this or that. I can source anything I state and I’m not steeped in the ideology of either “Christianists” or “choice” zealots. If you can’t see that, I’m sorry. I stand by my positions and offered for anyone to challenge them but I’m not convinced and unlike you, I do this as a matter of course. You stand there and watch people hurl insults at me and tell me I can’t do math or this or that and yet, you see fit to lecture only ME. Why is that? You claim that I am engaging in vitriol when Valerie herself has let me know that I have maintained greater decorum than many of the people here on this post and yes, she deserves much credit for allowing contrary opinion that I’m quite sure you would rather suppress.
“I am a High School English teacher and I just wanted to pass along a few points. I’m sure that my suggestions will fall on deaf ears, as it’s fairly obvious that you have no desire to take any kind of instruction from anyone else – I’m sure you’re quite secure in the knowledge that you know it all. ”
Ummm…no, I don’t know it all and I’m sorry if it sounds as if I think I do. Do not others on this thread you happen to agree with stand firm in their beliefs? I am addressing one narrow topic on which I’ve done a great deal of research. My guess is you would look at me more favorably if you agreed with me, as you ignore the personal attacks against me from others.
” In future, you might want to stick to the topic of the post. Personal insults, words such as “Duh”, referring to women’s vaginas, and acronyms such as ‘WTF’ are not acceptable if you’re trying to have a reasonable conversation with someone. ”
Thanks. I have a degree in the Liberal Arts Honors program from UT Austin as well as radio-tv-film and I’ve written theses, scripts and hundreds of published articles, so while I appreciate the advice, I don’t speak in threads the same way I do in published work or business correspondence. Again, you focus on a little snark from me rather than the personal attacks launched on me by others that are very accusatory, personal and insulting. Are you going to lecture them on how to garner more favor? I doubt it, so frankly, I’m not going to lay awake at night worrying about your opinion when you seem to have a double standard for those you agree with and those you don’t.
“Also, I tell my students that if you really want to engage your audience, it’s best to stick with things you know. You cannot know what it’s like to be a woman, you’ll never have to go through the agonizing decision of terminating a pregnancy, and you have no idea what it means to have your autonomy compromised by men who think they know much better than you do. (and who take the moral high road because they imagine they are speaking for the unborn).”
I may not be a woman but I am a father and both of my kids were conceived only through a lot of infertility treatment. Maybe I’m colored by the wanton disregard for something I had to work very hard to have. I am familiar with the topic and I am not insensitive to women’s rights as all. If you were paying attention, you would see that I have never once said that abortion should be illegal or restricted or suggested any legislative specifics at all. I have only spoken about what my opinion of abortion on demand for any reason whatsoever means to me personally as well as the science of what conception means. Anything else you have inferred is just that – inferred.
“Valerie has been very gracious to let you have your say. Now please climb down from your soapbox.”
Yes she has. We’re all entitled to our opinions and I don’t see others here as having less of a soapbox than mine and in fact, they’re more fervently dedicated to one side. But soapboxes are OK when you agree with them, aren’t they?
“You are mistaken. I said I don’t need your guidelines and I don’t need guidelines from government. I said I would set my own guidelines. And I will, too.”
So in other words, there should be no restrictions whatsoever on abortion. This is not a mainstream viewpoint. Even in Europe most countries are at 12 weeks and in the USA, abortion advocates are not OK with 20, even with exceptions for health of the mother, etc.
You don’t want anyone having any say on what you decide to do with “your body,” which isn’t just your body. We disagree and I’m not someone who is the anti-choicer you claim. If it makes you feel better to portray me as some sort of religious wingnut, feel free…but you’re clearly needing to portray anyone who doesn’t agree with your desire for unlimited unrestricted license to abort anytime for any reason based on your feelings and nothing else as an extremist.
“So in other words, there should be no restrictions whatsoever on abortion…”
Not what I said. Try again.
“I don’t need your guidelines and I don’t need guidelines from government.”
You don’t want any laws and you don’t want anyone else interjecting their opinion. Therefore one would conclude that the only guidelines you wish are your own. That’s essentially what you’ve stated repeatedly with such statements as “I said I don’t need your guidelines and I don’t need guidelines from government. I said I would set my own guidelines.”
Under what utopian society do we live in which all things are legal? Even suicide isn’t. Your own guidelines don’t wash on how fast you can drive your car, what kind of gun you can own or a number of other issues…but perhaps we should change guidelines to laws and then you can admit that you want no laws whatsoever restricting abortion in any way because you will decide what is right, as will every other woman in America when it comes to deciding who gets to be born and who doesn’t.
“Therefore one would conclude that the only guidelines you wish are your own.”
There. You had it for a minute. What you miss is that having personal ethics and morals is not at all the same as having no ethics or morals. You seem to think they must be imposed by authority. Not so. Really, they only need to be imposed if it’s required we all must comply with your opinions on the matter.
As for the economics? Folks have been over that with you repeatedly. You are incorrect and there’s just not anything more to be said.
“There. You had it for a minute. What you miss is that having personal ethics and morals is not at all the same as having no ethics or morals. You seem to think they must be imposed by authority. Not so. Really, they only need to be imposed if it’s required we all must comply with your opinions on the matter.”
So we should rely on personal ethics and morals in all matters or only the ones you approve of? You seem to want your view of a fetus to be the only one that matters. You seem to feel that if a woman wants to terminate her unborn child at 8 months because that is her barometer, that should be OK.
There are many laws we don’t all agree on. A civil society comes to some reasonable compromises. The idea that there should be no laws whatsoever restricting abortions such as late-term, for example, is simply not a mainstream view and has little relation except in general principle to say, not wanting restrictions on abortifacients that prevent an embryo from attaching to the uterine wall. Are you simply afraid if you “give ’em an inch” you might lose the entire battle?
“As for the economics? Folks have been over that with you repeatedly. You are incorrect and there’s just not anything more to be said.”
What economics are you referring to? I’m not aware of any economic discussion except Lowell’s ridiculous rant and personal attack.
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I stopped responding to mrtapeguy when he demonstrated to me that he:
Can’t read a financial statement (Accounting 101)
Can’t calculate profit and loss (8th grade math)
Can’t do percentages (6th grade math)
Doesn’t know what a not for profit organization is (Accounting 101)
Claims to have knowledge of accounting, but doesn’t know what Economics is (Economics is required for Accounting majors)
And I learned that from just one of his posts. :)
Needless to say, I decided to stop wasting time (and antacid :)) “conversing” with him.
I see it this way. I want to persuade anti-choicers to reconsider their position. Or some of them. OK, just one of them would be nice. I realize this is much like wanting unicorns to take care of my lollypop garden but I have to believe it is possible for reasoned discussion to sway a person’s opinion – after all, Valarie’s essay is all about how powerful words can be.
If I am ever successful changing someone’s mind, I’ll let you know. Of all the points I have ever tried to communicate in countless discussions of the subject, I have found the danger to a woman’s life during childbirth to be the one issue that sometimes makes opponents pause for thought. It doesn’t phase others for a moment but that’s because for the most extreme, women are perpetual children who must be controlled in all adult matters. The odds of me getting through to someone with that world view are so low even I won’t tilt at that windmill.
So it’s not pointless, I think, even it doesn’t seem to be immediately productive. You can never tell what fruit my grow when you plant a healthy seed. Maybe even lollypops.
Wow, a whole list of ad hominems. Now Lowell, you’re simply lying to cover up your own ignorance. You again are making absurd and unsubstantiated claims that have zero basis in what I’ve said. What exactly is your “economic” and “accounting” experience? Give me a break.
“I stopped responding to mrtapeguy when he demonstrated to me that he:
Can’t read a financial statement (Accounting 101)”
I have demonstrated no such thing and can, in fact read one. What you have demonstrated is you’re unwilling to admit you’re wrong. Anyone with a clue knows that being a non-profit relates to taxpayer status, not whether it can earn more money than it spends. Are you obfuscating because you’re too embarrassed to own up to your error or do you simply have no understanding of non-profits beyond semantic games?
“Can’t calculate profit and loss (8th grade math)”
On what basis? I’ve run several small businesses for 30 years and I understand exactly what profit is. It’s revenue in excess of your expenses or in the case of loss, a deficit. So again, you’re simply making shit up. Why?
“Can’t do percentages (6th grade math)”
Again, on what basis? Sorry bud but I placed out of a year of college calculus but more importantly, I’m honest and don’t feel the need to engage in silly personal attacks, particularly that are pulled out of thin air.
“Doesn’t know what a not for profit organization is (Accounting 101)”
Really? What is the definition? ‘A nonprofit uses its surplus revenues to further achieve its purpose or mission, rather than distributing its surplus income to the organization’s shareholders.”
You claimed that a nonprofit has no profit. That is only true in what the excess revenue is called, which is what I’ve said all along. It has profit, it simply isn’t called profit because it’s not distributed to shareholders. That’s exactly what i said and my point was that abortion is the most profitable – and offered you the alternate term “lucrative” procedure they do, which is undeniable fact and you simply can’t admit that’s correct because you have to “prove” me wrong. #FAIL
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Greetings all –
I’d like to request no further comments in response to this article as it seems that the comment thread has become a frustrating set of counter arguments and attack more than a constructive discussion.
There’s a good academic case supporting Valerie, in the Vridar blog.
got a link?
I am curious how anyone feels about incidents such as this:
Well of course this is bad Craig. Anyone who talks like that needs to be removed from public office and chastised by their peers. But how often does this happen with people on the left? Is this the only incident you could drum up, because it’s nearly 5 years old.
Well, we could start with Bill Ayres but honestly, I don’t keep score.
People with leanings one way or the other don’t like to admit that their side has it’s share of loons. I tend to disagree. They aren’t all violent, obviously, but they stay a lot of stupid things. I find the right to be more batshit crazy and the left to be more deliberately methodically derisive. But that’s just me.
Here’s a little collection of nonpartisan jollies for you:
For someone who doesn’t keep score that’s a pretty impressive montage of nutballs
How many people can you find Craig with liberal leanings who have engaged in violence that could conceivably have been linked to rhetoric they have heard from radio and TV personalities, online bloggers, church pulpits or religious websites or political leaders at any level?
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There was an intelligent and supportive discussion on this article on Vridar.
Support for Valerie from Vridar
Wow. Back to this one after awhile. In place of most of this kind of arguing, I think we all should be spending more of time cultivating our own “self” awareness; assessing how open we are to possible value in others’ viewpoints; thinking hard about how to successfully communicate with folks of differing viewpoints; and generally more carefully vetting the accuracy and the span and efficacy of our own data and opinion sources. More like Valerie, from whom we learn, from wherever we sit.
You’d have a point if there were really any debate about the abortion issue. There isn’t. Like climate science and evolution, there’s an overwhelming consensus among the medical/scientific community; furthermore, this consensus has existed for over 200 years!
For some reason, when the “discussion” was going on,I didn’t think about one obvious additional example of stochastic terrorism: the shooting of Gabby Giffords. Right wing groups followed essentially the same strategy as the “pro-lifers”, displaying ads with guns and/or targets against Democratic candidates for political office, with the result that Giffords was shot and several others were killed or wounded. There is one big difference, however: when these groups realized the consequences of their actions, they stopped!
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