Duggars, law, true crime

Josh Duggar gets sentenced to 12-13 years in Texas…

Today is going to be a busy day for my blog. Besides this post about Josh Duggar’s fate, I also have a new book review to write. I was thinking of combining my posts, but decided that I don’t want my book review to be commingled with the absolute ickiness of Josh Duggar’s crimes against children. So here’s a quick post on my thoughts regarding Josh Duggar’s punishment, since I know a handful of people out there actually seem to care about my opinions. 😉

Bill and I were in the middle of dinner when the sentencing for Josh Duggar was announced. The prosecution had demanded a full twenty year sentence for Josh, who was convicted of downloading horrific images of child sexual abuse. Josh’s defense team had asked for five years. Judge Timothy L. Brooks seemed to take the middle road, ultimately sentencing Josh to 151 months (12 years and seven months) in federal prison, either in Seagoville, Texas, or Texarkana, Texas. Judge Brooks seemed to prefer Seagoville, since there is a sex offender treatment program there. It’s my understanding that Josh would not be required to attend the sex offender treatment program, but would be strongly encouraged to do so.

Josh will probably have to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he can be considered for release. When he is eventually released, he will be on supervised probation for twenty years. He will not be allowed to have any unsupervised contact with children, including his own. He will not be allowed access to a computer with Internet access, nor is he allowed to view any pornography. Judge Brooks vacated one of the charges against Josh– the charge of possession of child pornography, which was the lesser of the two charges against him. However, the charge was dismissed without prejudice, so he could conceivably be charged again for that crime. Additionally, Josh has to pay a roughly $50,000 fine.

Attending the court session yesterday was Josh’s long suffering wife, Anna, who wore a subdued navy blue dress and a face mask. After he was sentenced, Josh signed “I love you” to Anna. Josh’s father, Jim Bob, was also there, also masked, but apparently doing a lot of smirking. Sister Joy Anna Forsyth was there, sitting on the prosecution’s side of the courtroom, with her brother, Jason. I read that she got up and left the room, apparently upset, when Josh’s conduct toward her when she was a child was discussed. That must have been horrible for her.

Josh, Anna, and Jim Bob appeared to be stoic as the sentence was announced. Josh was even described to be in “good spirits” before the sentence was handed down; he was described as wearing a grey suit and having a beard, but less hair on his head. Anna was described as “blonder”, and some people in the Duggar Family News group were speculating that she might be pregnant again. Personally, I think it’s more likely that she’s still got baby weight from her most recent pregnancy, and perhaps has gained some weight from stress eating. I hope she isn’t pregnant again. It’s possible, I guess… but I think it’s unlikely.

Brother-in-law Derick Dillard was not at the sentencing hearing, although he did attend the trial. Derick did tweet yesterday…

Not surprisingly, Derick uses the Bible to send a message to Josh.

A lot of people don’t think Josh’s sentence is long enough. Personally, I am not surprised that he got 151 months. That’s about what I predicted he would get. I came to my conclusion, in part, because this is technically his “first offense”, even though we all know it’s not really his first offense. I’m sure the judge was careful to make sure to do everything according to normal standards, so that there would be less reason for appeals or complaints about unfair treatment.

While I firmly believe that his attraction to illegal pornography is going to be a lifelong issue for Josh, and I think he will eventually reoffend, it’s unrealistic to expect him to get a super harsh sentence from the start. Yes, he’s gross, but he’s not the grossest… and the reason we know so much about him is because he was a reality TV star. He was a reality TV star because his parents are greedy fame whores. As nasty as Josh is, there was a time when he was innocent. His parents failed him spectacularly. However, as much as they’ve failed Josh, they have also failed the rest of their children… especially the sisters who were among Josh’s first victims.

I don’t understand how any decent parents with a scintilla of sense would keep having babies when there’s a known sexual predator in the family. And yet, beyond 2002, when Josh’s proclivities were exposed, Jim Bob and Michelle kept having babies. They encouraged him to marry very young, and Anna became the recipient of his attentions, while they continued making babies who were probably victimized by Josh, too. I don’t know what is the best thing for parents to do in a tough situation like this– but I do know that adding more children to the mix was not the right thing to do.

In any case, Josh will soon be headed to Texas, where he’ll have some time to think about what he’s done. Some people are hoping he has access to the general population… or they have access to him. I don’t wish for prison justice. It’s not anyone else’s place to visit retribution against Josh Duggar. He should do his time safely. He will be in a low security facility, though. Both Texarkana and Seagoville are low security prisons, which means that as bad as prison is, it won’t be as bad as it could be. Violence is typically pretty low at low security prisons. If Josh is able to stay out of trouble, he’ll probably be okay. Of course, the tabloid newspaper, The Sun, describes the prison as “hellish”. But there are certainly worse places Josh could be going, and possibly could go, if he doesn’t do his time like a model prisoner.

It may turn out to be a relief for Josh to leave the Washington County Jail in Arkansas, where he’s been since December, when he was convicted. I have heard that prison is much better than jail is, if only because prisoners are freer to move around, and there’s more to do. Jails are intended to be temporary, so there usually isn’t much for prisoners. They are locked down a lot more. At prison, Josh can get a job and maybe further his education. And his children might have a fighting chance of growing up with less chance of abuse, although given that they are probably going to be taken care of by Jim Bob, it’s definitely not an ideal situation.

Josh’s attorneys will appeal the sentence. I doubt it will go anywhere, but one never knows. For now, I suppose we can await the news that he’s been transferred to whichever facility he goes to in Texas. I suspect the drive down there will be pretty horrible. But twelve years isn’t so long. Twelve years ago, I lived in Georgia, and this blog was in its infancy on Blogger. Those years have gone by in a blur. So, while I wouldn’t want to do twelve years in prison… or twelve hours, this isn’t so bad for Josh. But he better watch himself. And in case anyone is wondering, yes… I think he will get in trouble again. I will be very surprised if Josh doesn’t end up back in prison at some point, after he’s released. We’ll see what happens.

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law, mental health, politicians, politics, racism, Texas, true crime

Enough pro-life platitudes! Texas Has Its Priorities Completely Screwed Up!

Early this morning, I woke up to the horrible news about Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. It’s another school shooting, this time perpetrated by a lonely, bullied, obviously mentally ill young man named Salvador Rolando Ramos. Days after his 18th birthday, Mr. Ramos legally purchased the weapons he would use to shoot and critically wound his grandmother, and then go on a shooting rampage at the elementary school. Mr. Ramos, who wore body armor and carried a rifle during his deadly rampage, was fatally shot, apparently by police.

At this writing, at least nineteen children were murdered, along with two adults. Both adults who died were teachers; one was Irma Garcia, a teacher with 23 years of experience at Robb Elementary, while the other, Eva Mireles, had taught for 17 years, and had a daughter in college. Many other people have been physically injured, and will forevermore carry the emotional and physical scars from yesterday’s shooting spree. The rest of us– the decent ones, anyway, are injured by yet another senseless school shooting in a country that professes to be “the land of the free”. And this time, the shooting happened in a state that professes to be so “pro-life” that many of its citizens will do almost anything to force women to stay pregnant.

The “right to life” crew, many of whom are men, claim that a developing fetus’s right to be born is more important than anything. The claim that abortion is cruel and inhumane. But at least a developing embryo is completely unaware of its being aborted. Children sitting in classrooms– some of whom were probably conceived with help from modern scientific reproductive methods– were no doubt absolutely terrified when Ramos opened fire on them. For those kids, Texas Republicans offer “thoughts and prayers”, and ridiculous suggestions about arming teachers and “good guys with guns”.

I am technically a Texas resident, although I haven’t lived there since 2014. Every year, when I cast an absentee ballot with my votes, the ballot goes to Texas, which is where Bill and I happened to be living when he finished his service with the Army. I didn’t hate Texas when I left there. I thought it was too hot, and there were way too many religious wingnuts. I didn’t like the extremely right wing politics of people in Texas, nor did I enjoy all the gun toting wackos I saw in downtown San Antonio. But I kind of respected Texas’s free-spirited culture. I enjoyed most of the people I met there, the music, the food, and having temporary access to members of my family, and Bill’s mom and aunt. When we left in 2014, I thought maybe we could move back at some point. Now I know that I don’t want to live there again. In fact, I’m not sure I really want to live in the United States again.

In the almost eight years since we left Texas, I have come to really dislike a lot of things about it. I despise the politics of Governor Greg Abbott and his relentless attack on women, as he also champions gun lovers. I can’t wait to cast a vote against Mr. Abbott. I don’t really care too much about who runs against him, either, which is a pretty terrible place to be. I would like to care about and even like the politics of the people who run for public office. But lately, the people who are running are so incredibly lacking in sense that I find myself voting AGAINST people, instead of for them.

According to the Washington Post, Salvador Ramos was severely bullied by his peers for having a strong lisp and a stutter. He had friends when he was younger, but then started doing self-destructive things, like cutting up his face with a knife “for fun”. Still, his friends said he was a very nice kid– shy, but nice. He’d be bullied for being different, but he had a few friends who stuck by him. Things seemed to go really downhill for Ramos when he shared a picture of himself wearing black eyeliner. For that, he was bullied by his peers and called a derogatory term for a homosexual male. Then, one of the friends who would try to stand up for Ramos, left the area when his mother’s job was transferred. At that point, Ramos began to dress all in black, grow out his hair, and wear military style boots. He quit going to school. At night, he and a friend would drive around and shoot at people with BB guns. He’d also egg people’s cars. He told one new friend that he wanted to join the Marines so he could “kill people”. The new friend became an ex friend after that.

Ramos’s mother eventually tried to kick him out of their home, and Ramos posted about it on Instagram. The incident showed Ramos calling his mom a “bitch”, as police intervened to break up the fight.

Ramos had a wish list of automatic weapons he wanted. A few days ago, he posted a picture of himself with a couple of rifles. There were some people who tried to help him, in spite of his odd proclivity for guns, but Ramos’s home life was terrible. According to a neighbor, Ramos’s mother used drugs. He eventually moved in with his grandmother, who owned the house where Ramos lived with his mom. A few days ago, the neighbor saw the grandmother, who mentioned that she was in the process of evicting Ramos’s mother, because she was abusing drugs.

I read all of this stuff, and I wonder how much help Ramos got from people who could do something for him. Did he ever speak to counselors? Was he encouraged to address his mental health and educational issues? At this point, I don’t know. I don’t want to blame educators, because I know they’ve got enough to deal with every day. And while it would be easy to blame people who bullied Ramos at school, being bullied is not a reason for someone to go on a shooting spree. I wonder what life situations led to Salvador Ramos’ fatal decisions yesterday.

I think these kinds of stress related meltdowns will only get worse, as guns are promoted as a solution to ending violence and maintaining “freedom”, and desperate women are being compelled to be pregnant when they aren’t ready to have babies. How many troubled women will be forced to give birth, thanks to the idiotic bans on abortions? I believe that people like Salvador Ramos evolve because they have very fucked up home lives, and not enough is done to help them make things better. There are too many children being born into situations where there’s substance abuse, sexual abuse, violence, racism, and poverty.

I haven’t even touched on the horrific gun fueled rampage that happened at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York on May 14th. That incident, which occurred at the hands of Peyton S. Gendron, a disgruntled 18 year old racist White guy with a gun, resulted in the premature deaths of ten people and the wounding of three. Eleven of Gendron’s victims were Black. Gendron survived his rampage, and is now in protective custody and on suicide watch. If the police hadn’t stopped him when they had, Gendron says that he would have shot more people. He’d had plans to visit churches and an elementary school. As awful as Gendron’s attack was, at least his victims were all adults. But that doesn’t make it much better, does it?

I’m so tired of violent, thuggish, Republican bullies with guns and big mouths. I’m so angry at people who champion narcissistic cretins like Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and the usual gang of idiots in the Republican National Committee. No, I don’t think Democrats are perfect, by any stretch. I don’t like extreme left wing politics, snooty attitudes, and lack of common sense some Democrats have. But at least Democrats have something to offer besides thoughts, prayers, more guns, and restrictions on abortion. This news just makes me sick… and it makes me feel an odd mixture of relief that, for now, I live outside of my country, and guilt, that I’m so far away, watching from a distance as the United States I’ve always known turns into a weird dystopia.

It’s hard to believe that a lot of us were looking forward to today, as Josh Duggar finds out his fate. I was also looking forward to finding out more about Tariq Witherspoon, the man who ran over and killed my friend, Matt, last year. He supposed to go to court in New York today. Those were two cases of callous, lawless men facing their crimes. But I sit here and think of how many people have died in the last two years… from COVID-19, cancer, murder, manslaughter and recklessness, and suicide. And we want to bring more babies into this mess? When we don’t even have enough formula to feed them? We can’t offer citizens decent, affordable healthcare, housing, or an infrastructure that doesn’t collapse as the climate becomes less hospitable to humans! Why in the hell would we want more innocent babies born into this hellish reality on Earth?

In a matter of days, Bill’s third grandson will be born. He will join his four year old brother and two year old sister. I worry about those kids, who are going to be growing up in a country that continues to grow more troubled by the year. I know how much their parents love them, and have wanted them to come into the world. I only hope that by the time they’re ready for school, more has been done to repair the serious issues that are causing little kids like them to die when all they’re trying to do is go to school, attend church, shop for food, or just be children, exploring the world.

I’m so glad I never had children. This world is completely fucked. Below is an “oldie but goodie” Facebook post that was making the rounds six years ago, and is sadly still very relevant.

Yeah. I am for shutting down the gun stores.
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law, modern problems, politics, true crime

Do I even want to go “home” again?

The featured photo was taken on May 18, 2014, when Bill and I took a last Space A Hop to Germany, ahead of his military retirement. At the time, we didn’t know we’d be coming back to live in Germany just weeks later. We’re still here… and we no longer really want to go back “home” again. It definitely gives me some empathy and a unique perspective toward people who flee other countries for the United States…

Today is the one year anniversary of the death of an old Peace Corps friend of mine. I wrote about Matt last year, a few days after I found out about how he was senselessly killed by a reckless driver in Brooklyn, New York. Matt Jensen was a very special person. He had dedicated his life to teaching English as a foreign language, and students of all ages benefited from his natural acumen in the classroom. Matt was born to teach, and he had loads of charisma and a wonderful sense of humor. Although we hadn’t spoken or seen each other in many years, I was genuinely heartbroken when I heard about his sudden death last year. It just seemed so incredibly unfair.

For months, I watched the news to see if anyone would ever be arrested in connection with Matt’s death. Finally, in February, just as I was about to give up on justice, I was inspired to do one last search of the news. Sure enough, that very day, I found out that the police had taken a suspect into custody. I wrote another post about how I felt about that. I didn’t expect a lot of people to get it, since it was one of my more “creative” efforts… but to me, the post I wrote about Matt’s killer’s arrest set to the Police’s 1983 album, Synchronicity, made a lot of sense. When I knew him, Matt bore a resemblance to Sting.

I’m still watching for updates on the case involving Tariq Witherspoon, the 30 year old New York Emergency Medical Technician who is being held responsible for mowing down Matt with a borrowed black Rolls Royce last year. Every time I think about how Matt died, it seems more absurd to me. This was a man who served in the Peace Corps twice. He had devoted his life to helping people, especially those who wanted to learn English and improve their lives. To think that he was taken out by an over-the-top status symbol driven by a man who supposedly devoted his life’s work to saving other people’s lives! It’s completely ridiculous.

Every day, there are more news articles about how absolutely insane the United States has become in recent years. From the relentless attack on women’s rights, to the senseless gun violence at schools, churches, and supermarkets, to the abhorrent racism on every common street corner, I’ve become a lot less impressed with my homeland. Last night, I was reading a sickening story about a nine year old White boy who brought a whip to his Black neighbor’s house. He was captured with a Ring camera, whip in hand, visibly seething with rage as he banged on the neighbors’ door, demanding that their daughter come out. Why? Because they’d had an altercation at school, and he wanted to “finish” it with a fucking whip! Below is a video of the incident, along with follow up footage of the Black girl’s parents confronting the whip wielder’s father. Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised that the boy’s father came to the door with a gun in his hand. I can see where this kid’s rage comes from; his father is clearly a toxic and dangerous person.

What the HELL is wrong with people?

What is especially sad to me is that this is a nine year old child. He probably has no idea about slavery in America, and how enslaved Black people were whipped, beaten, raped, and murdered so that rich White people could get richer. I hate to think that this child, at just nine years old, has this much hatred for others. I see how angry and violent he already is at age nine. What will he be like at 19? I hope he gets some competent help from a therapist before he winds up arrested on felony charges, as his dad was after he fired a weapon at the Black couple who confronted him about the whip and the damage the boy allegedly did to their car.

Amid stories like the one above, there are so many angry people in the United States. I read another story this morning about how Spain is considering allowing women paid time off when they suffer severe period symptoms. I think the idea is very progressive and humane. While my own periods have mainly just been annoying and inconvenient, I know women who literally get sick every month when they have their periods. I have known women whose cramps were so bad that it hurt to walk, and they spent days vomiting.

What a contrast this policy is, especially in a country as Catholic as Spain is, to the anti-women legislation being considered in the United States right now. I grew up believing that the United States was the epitome of a “free country”. But if the Republicans have their way, abortion will be outlawed, and women could find themselves at risk of being arrested when they have miscarriages. That seems extreme, but consider that Lizelle Herrera, a woman in Texas who miscarried, was actually arrested recently and accused of “murdering” her unborn child. Thankfully, good sense eventually prevailed, and she was released after what was surely a very stressful and horrifying ordeal at the Starr County Jail. I hope the American Civil Liberties Union helps her sue the fuck out of the people who reported her to the authorities and arrested her. What is especially scary about Herrera’s case is that she had gone to a hospital for help, and wound up being accused of “death of an individual by self-induced abortion”. If we don’t do something about the right wing anti-abortion zealots, this is a fate that could affect a lot of women. And it may lead to miscarrying people not getting medical help when they really need it, for fear of being arrested and charged with murder.

Mama Doctor Jones spells it out for all of us. Outlawing abortion in the United States will result in a lot of morbidity and mortality.

Naturally, the comment section for the article about Spain’s proposed legislation included many awful comments from American males, who have NO idea what it’s like to have periods, be pregnant, or deal with the aftermath of childbearing. Having lived in Europe for almost eight years, I’ve admired the family and community focused laws here. No, it’s not perfect, and people here pay a lot of taxes, which I know would not be popular in the United States. But Europeans recognize that children need their parents. Women who have babies in Germany get a very generous paid maternity leave before and after their pregnancies, as well as other benefits. Fathers are also granted time off to bond with their babies.

In the United States, we have people screaming about fetal rights, yet denying citizens the means to give babies and children a healthy start in life. When someone points out this discrepancy, they are sure to receive a snarky, unempathetic reply, usually from a Republican male, who obviously cares more about money than fellow human beings. This is what one typically tone deaf man– a man who claims he’s a doctor, no less— had to say about Spain’s proposed legislation:

Great. How do you prove that you have severe period symptoms compared to moderate ? How can you control for abuse of taking time off and differentiate between authentic cases and fictitious ones?

This was what a woman said in response to the “doctor”, who doesn’t have much regard for women:

Wait, you claim to be a physician? It seems horrible that this would be your level of compassion for a patient. There have been days out of every month for the past 40 YEARS when the pain was so severe I was vomiting and in tears. I spent the time with a heating pad or in a hot bath, trying my best to even prepare a meal for my family or perform the most basic tasks. This began when I was 12 years old. I was never diagnosed with any specific problem, and often told (mostly by male doctors) that it was just like that for some women and to “push through.” How does one prove such a thing?

Lots of people took on this supposed “doctor of misogyny”, as he continually mansplained why this law could be problematic. According to him, there are a lot of women in Spain who are just waiting to game the system and take off work when their period pain doesn’t warrant it (in his opinion, anyway).

I also saw a comment from a man who probably votes for pro-life candidates, but harangued a woman who pointed out how misogynistic the United States is. He told her to “get a new job” and exercise “personal responsibility”. When she came back and told him she was a member of a union and got decent benefits (for the United States, that is), the guy told her to “stop crying”. In his mind, she already had hers and needed to STFU. He couldn’t see why she’d want to advocate for others, who aren’t as fortunate. Does this man have women in his life? Does he care about them? Based on his comments, I’d guess not.

The pervasive self-centeredness and selfishness in the United States is just awful. It really doesn’t make me want to go home, even though I know I’m going to have to at some point. We have some unfinished business that needs to be handled. But do I want to move back there permanently? I have to be honest. I don’t think I want to. The United States has changed noticeably since the Trump years. I think Trump’s presidency has awakened and emboldened some of the worst people in our society. It will be years before the United States is back on track. It hurts to see how awful it is from afar.

Meanwhile, here in my little Hessian village, people are community minded and focused on doing things for the environment. Our local Facebook group shared a new “bee feeding vending machine” that is available now. Someone repurposed an old gumball machine so that it sells “bee bombs”– bee friendly flower seeds that can be planted in gardens to provide bees with fuel. Here in Germany, it’s illegal to kill bees. The government has wisely realized that without bees, we’d have no food. Similar legislation and efforts to save bees in the United States would probably garner nothing but derision from the clueless.

Well, I know it’s inevitable that we’ll go home at some point. Does it mean we’ll stay there for good? More and more, I’m thinking that maybe we won’t. My Italian friend, Vittorio, was right when he told me some years ago that America has a “weird-o-rama” culture. He was spot on. I didn’t see it when I was in the thick of it, but after years in Europe, it’s as plain as day. And it’s truly heartbreaking.

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Biden, ethics, healthcare, law, obits

Texas and Maryland… diametrically opposed on the issue of abortion…

It’s Monday morning, and it’s already been an interesting day. First, I woke up to some sad news. My cousin’s beautiful wife, Chris, passed away. I knew she had been sick, and last year, there were updates on Facebook about her cancer journey. As I don’t live in the United States and am not that close to most of my family members, I didn’t know that her health had declined. Her daughter posted a beautiful message… and in just a few days, that same daughter will be getting married. She wrote that her mother will have the “best” seat at the wedding. I’m sure that brings her some comfort during this sad time.

My cousin and his family are mostly conservative Christians. I’m pretty certain that they are pro-life, when it comes to the abortion debate. It always fascinates when I think about how we share family, but turn out so differently. I used to be more conservative than I am now, but I have always felt the decision to be pregnant is a personal one. I have never been pregnant, but if I ever did get pregnant, I doubt I would choose to have an abortion. But I can’t say that I never would, because I can think of a lot of reasons why someone would make that choice– reasons that are no one else’s business.

In my case, I would probably choose abortion if I got raped, or if I had some kind of medical issue that made being pregnant especially dangerous. I would also consider abortion if the developing fetus had a condition that would make being born painful or cruel. And, having worked in maternal and child health, and having briefly done work with people who weren’t ready to be parents, I can see why abortion might be a wise choice for some. But… I can also see why some people are against abortion, and why some would not consider it under any circumstances. I just think this should be a personal and private choice. Fortunately, I am now at the end of my fertile time… not quite menopausal, but Aunt Flow is visiting a lot less often these days. It’s been nice not to have her around so often.

I am relieved that Mr. Biden’s Supreme Court Justice pick, Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson, has been confirmed to the Supreme Court and will be taking Justice Stephen Breyer’s place this summer, when he retires. I know the liberals are still a minority in the Supreme Court, but at least there’s one more vote that might make protecting women’s health more likely. I believe that abortion is women’s healthcare– especially when her mental or physical health is at stake due to pregnancy.

Within the last twelve hours, I read a couple of interesting news stories about abortion in two states. Yesterday, Gocha Allen Ramirez, the district attorney in Starr County, Texas, declined to prosecute 26 year old Lizelle Herrera, a woman who had been charged with murder over a self-induced abortion. Ms. Herrera was released from jail on a $500,000 bond, having spent three days locked up after it was discovered that she had performed an abortion on herself. Although Texas has some of the most restrictive and, frankly, brutal anti-abortion laws in the country, state law is very clear that pregnant people who get abortions cannot be criminally prosecuted. Instead, abortion providers are prosecuted. Texas also passed a law last September that allows private citizens to bring lawsuits against anyone who aids someone in getting an abortion. Texas physicians are also forbidden from giving abortion-inducing medication to any pregnant person who is more than seven weeks along.

I suppose one could argue that Ms. Herrera was an “abortion provider”, having given herself an abortion. But, as a pregnant person, she also couldn’t be prosecuted. I’m sure some of the backwards, women-hating lawmakers in Texas will do what they can to fix this oversight. They’d rather put young people like Lizelle Herrera in prison for practicing self-determination, instead of helping them avoid unintended pregnancies. They’d rather waste time and money in court over denying women the right to make decisions for their own healthcare and family planning than make having and raising children more affordable and feasible. The mind boggles.

Now Maryland, on the other hand, is showing a lot more compassion and common sense regarding the abortion issue. In that state, lawmakers have just passed a new law that, from July 1, allows nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and trained physician assistants to perform abortions. It will also require most insurance providers in the state to cover the cost of an abortion, at no cost to the resident, and directs the state to invest $3.5 million a year into abortion-care training. It should be noted that Maryland’s Republican governor, Larry Hogan, vetoed this bill. However, Mr. Hogan’s veto was overruled by the House of Delegates, with a vote of 90 to 46. The State Senate voted 29 to 15 in favor of the new law.

I noticed a lot of people were reacting to this news. One woman wrote an angry comment about how this was a “vile” law. She was asked by many other people how many babies she’s adopted. Answer? None, of course. But she still thinks she should get to have an opinion about other people’s reproductive choices. Many folks, like me, think this is very good news. Others are angry about it. In the article I linked, there was this quote from Laura Bogley, the director of legislation for Maryland Right to Life, an anti-abortion organization:

“This is an example of what happens when you have a partisan monopoly in a state legislature.” She added, “The monopoly breeds extremism.”

Extremism? Has Ms. Bogley noticed Trump’s picks for the Supreme Court? Does she not see how Trump tried to stack the court with conservatives so that Roe v. Wade, which has been the law of the land since 1973, could be overturned? Does Ms. Bogley not understand that sometimes women get abortions for heartbreaking, tragic, health related reasons that should remain private and personal? It’s not always heartless, careless, “slutty” women who are seeking abortions. In fact, I would venture to guess that the vast majority who seek abortions do not fit that stereotype.

I might be more willing to support the pro-life viewpoint if we had better access to affordable birth control, healthcare, and childcare in the United States. But, the fact remains, that quality childcare remains extremely expensive and difficult to access for many people. And even if a person doesn’t have children, it’s very expensive to pay for healthcare, especially if one doesn’t have health insurance. Health insurance is also very expensive for many people. Even though former President Obama pushed through the Affordable Healthcare Act (aka Obamacare), a lot of people remain uninsured. This is a problem that is going to take some time to fix… and it’s going to require cooperation from our esteemed elected officials. Sadly, too many of them are focused on blocking and foiling each other’s efforts to get laws passed or overturned, than they are in making life easier and more humane for everyone.

Still… I am surprised that Maryland is now among 15 states that is making abortion more accessible, instead of trying to ban it. I would much rather people avoid unintended pregnancies whenever possible, but when a situation comes up that threatens a person’s health– mental or physical– I think they should have the right to determine whether or not they wish to be pregnant. And making that decision should be entirely up to the person who has to live with the physical, mental, and emotional aftermath of being pregnant.

Maybe when we’re done with our Germany stint, Bill and I should think about moving to Maryland. It sounds like they’re heading in a good direction. I’ll be glad to give up my Texas driver’s license, either way. That state has gone straight to Crazy Town.

As for my cousin and his daughters, I wish them so much peace after their tremendous loss. Chris was a wonderful woman, and I know she was much beloved by many people. I know she was a woman of great Christian faith, so I suspect she’s in Heaven with her sister-in-law, my cousin Karen, who died in 2020, and my Aunt Jeanne and Uncle Bob, who have been with the angels for awhile now. I’m sure there’s plenty of room at the table for Chris at the Heavenly party.

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condescending twatbags, controversies, politicians, politics

“Just lie back and enjoy it…”

Today’s post is going to be about a potentially disturbing subject. Reader discretion is strongly advised… (as it is every day, but today it’s even more advised than usual… 😉 )

Yesterday, as I was writing about how I think Americans need to grow up about their gas habits, I happened to run across a horrifying news article about Michigan GOP candidate Robert Regan and his misogynistic views. I was absolutely repulsed by what he said on a Facebook livestream. I don’t understand how and why people who are running for public office are allowed to say such vile, despicable things and still have a hope in Hell of being elected.

“For the love of God, don’t vote for my dad!”

Before yesterday, I had never heard of Robert Regan. The only place I’ve ever been to in Michigan is the airport in Detroit. I do have some friends from Michigan, but that’s not where we met, and most of them don’t live there anymore. So there’s no reason I should be personally interested in Michigan’s local politics. Except lately, I have noticed a lot of incredibly disgusting comments by Michigan GOP politicians, like Garrett Soldano, who has said he thinks abortion should be outlawed because of the potential that a developing fetus might someday be President of the United States. I was grossed out enough by Soldano’s anti-woman attitude… but now, Robert Regan has him soundly beat!

Mr. Regan, who hopes to represent Michigan’s District 74 in the state legislature, was participating in a discussion sponsored by the Rescue Michigan Coalition, a conservative group who support Donald Trump, and his idiotic insistence and baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election victory was “stolen” from him. I don’t understand how certain groups of people can’t fathom why people didn’t want Trump to stay in office. Many Americans think Trump is a disgrace, and for very good reason. But we still have people like those in the Rescue Michigan Coalition who wholeheartedly believe that Trump should be president. The mind boggles.

On Sunday night, Regan was involved in this Facebook livestream, which also included a woman named Amber Harris, a Republican strategist. Ms. Harris said that it’s now too late to challenge the results of the 2020 election. She thinks it’s time for Republicans to give up on their “Stop the Steal” nonsense and focus on future election battles. To that, Mr. Regan, who has three daughters, said Harris’s attitude is like what “I tell my daughters, ‘Well, if rape is inevitable, you should just lie back and enjoy it.’ ”

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!!!!!

Unfortunately, Regan isn’t the only Republican who has made such a shockingly misogynistic comment about rape. Yesterday, I included a meme in my post that listed some of the awful, ignorant, and downright stupid things Republicans have said about sexual assault. What is especially sad to me is that not everyone who made these comments were men.

As I was reading the article in the Washington Post to Bill last night, I asked him what it’s like for a man to have sex. As a woman, I have no idea. I can only expect that men don’t find most sexual encounters to be painful, since they aren’t usually on the receiving end. At least they aren’t usually when they are having consensual heterosexual sex. Bill said that sex is never physically painful for him. However, he knows that sex is often painful for me. It’s not painful when I’m physically ready to receive him. But even though I love Bill with all my heart, I have to be physically ready for sex before I can actually enjoy it. I don’t know about other women, but I’m very sensitive. Sex can be difficult for me, even with the man I love.

I have never been raped, but I can only imagine, based on my own experiences, that being raped would be extremely painful for most women. Imagine being terrified, brutalized, and completely repulsed by a sexual partner who is insisting on having their way with you. Rape is a violent act. It causes pain on multiple levels. It’s not something that people enjoy. It’s the worst kind of physical assault.

I cannot believe that Robert Regan, father of three daughters, has actually told them that if rape is inevitable, they should just “lie back and enjoy it.” What the hell is wrong with this man?

To her credit, Ms. Harris, who was also reportedly shocked and horrified by Mr. Regan’s comments, said “I’ve got advice to give to your daughters: Don’t do that. Fight all the time.”

Mr. Regan’s daughters do not support their father’s vile viewpoints. In June 2020, Stephanie Regan urged voters not to elect her father. In a tweet that went viral, Ms. Regan wrote “If you’re in Michigan and 18+ pls for the love of god do not vote for my dad for state rep. Tell everyone.” In subsequent tweets, she wrote “I don’t feel safe rn [sic] sharing further information regarding his beliefs, but please look him up and just read for yourself.”

Mr. Regan responded to his daughter’s comments with a statement on Facebook, pictured below.

I feel so sorry for Regan’s daughters.

Later, he was contacted by The Hill for a comment about his daughter’s comments. Regan said:

“A lot of students when they go off to these liberal university campuses, like the University of Colorado, the University of Texas and Austin — and she went to the University of Colorado in Boulder — and you know, they just kind of get sucked into this Marxist, communist ideology and she and I just don’t see eye to eye when it comes to the whole socialism, communism, Marxist philosophy,”

and then, when he was asked what he thought would prompt his daughter to make those comments about him, Regan continued:

“her big thing has to do with the systemic racism that’s going on in the country.”

“She’s a big believer in that,” he continued, while adding, “The only place where I really see systemic racism would be the abortion clinic cause they seem to target the African American community.” 

“I don’t buy into this whole systemic racism thing at all,” he later said. 

“I’m not saying there’s not hurdles to overcome. We all have hurdles to overcome. You know, as a quote-unquote rich, white, Christian male, people look at me a certain way. And it’s not always good. So, everybody has obstacles to overcome,” he also said, while adding he thinks [former] President Trump has “done more for the black community than any president we’ve had in the last 20 years.”

Wow…

On Monday of this week, after his controversial “rapey” comments were made public, Regan told Bridge Michigan, a news outlet, “sometimes” his words “aren’t as smooth and polished as the politicians are because I’m not a politician.” He says he’s “working on it.” He continued, “The only reason the left trolls attack you is because they know you’re directly over the target, dropping direct hits on an issue. If you’re not scoring hits, they leave you alone.” And specifically about his comments on lying back and enjoying rape, he said he only meant that “nothing is inevitable.”

Regan later tried to put his comment in perspective, repeating it with more context, which made it sound only slightly less offensive. He said:

“We’re sick and tired of the establishment telling us, ‘you just have to sit there and take it. Just lie there and enjoy it,'” Regan said. “This is the way this is going to be. And I used the example: ‘That would be like if I told my three daughters that rape’s inevitable and you should just lie back and enjoy it.'”

“That’s not what we do. Even in the face of very difficult odds, you go after it. That is what our founding fathers did,” he added.  

Right… and our “founding fathers” were slave owners who “wanted to be free…”

Regular readers might know that I am against allowing people into positions of power who have no respect for other people’s bodies. There are a lot of reasons why I am so against Donald Trump, but one of the main reasons is that he doesn’t have any respect for women. Trump has been credibly accused by multiple women of everything from lewd comments and inappropriate groping to actual sexual assault and rape. I don’t think rapists and sexual assaulters should be in power. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that people who can’t keep their hands to themselves are not allowed to make and execute laws that affect everyone. Sexual deviants should not have political power. Is it too much to ask to keep rapey people out of the government? Especially the White House? I don’t think so.

I didn’t like Bill Clinton for the same reason I don’t like Trump. However, even though I don’t like Clinton for his yucky philandering dalliances, I do think he was at least a competent president. He’s also a hell of a lot smarter and more compassionate than Trump is.

Regan isn’t the only politician to make a comment to the effect that women should just “lie back and enjoy rape”. Back in 1990, a man named Clayton Williams ran for governor of Texas. On a rainy day in March 1990, reporters had gathered at Mr. Williams’ ranch and were “getting restless”. Williams chose to make light of the bad weather situation by comparing it to rape. He said, “If it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.” Jeez. I guess some people have learned nothing in the past 32 years.

A few months ago, a similar comment about “enjoying rape” when it’s “inevitable” was made in India. According to the article I linked:

“There is a saying that when rape is inevitable, lie down and enjoy it. That is exactly the position which you are in,” KR Ramesh Kumar, the former Speaker of the Karnataka Assembly said on Thursday, drawing guffaws from the members including his successor Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri.

And:

The Speaker questioned how the session can be conducted if time was allotted to everyone. Then, in a note of resignation, Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri added: “Whatever you decide – I will say yes. What I am thinking is that let us enjoy the situation. I can’t control or regulate the system. My concern is about the business of the house, it has also to be covered”.

Obviously, this attitude about rape isn’t just an issue in America. However, I do notice it’s always men who say these things. When men make these kinds of revolting comments, they show that they are terrible people, and probably worse lovers, who are only focused on themselves and have no empathy for women. They clearly haven’t even considered the physiology of a woman, nor do they care if she’s enjoying herself. It doesn’t occur to them that rape isn’t pleasant at all. It’s a criminal act of violence. It’s physically painful and horrifying. It hurts. And hearing people who wish to be in power so cavalierly throw out comments like “I tell my daughters, ‘Well, if rape is inevitable, you should just lie back and enjoy it.’ ” In no way is that ever an appropriate thing for anyone to say, let alone a person who is running for office.

Robert Regan should be deeply ashamed of himself. I hope the people of Michigan take his comments into account when they cast their votes.

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