Posts Tagged ‘2012’

Boy Scouts of America earns merit badge for intolerance by Gregory Allen

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013
After two years of (hopefully) considerate and serious thinking, the Boy Scouts of America have decided to preserve intolerant policies that discriminate against children and LGBT Americans.
The Boy Scouts of America claims, “The committee included a diversity of perspectives and opinions.” The statement contains further statements which contradict the actual policies historically held and currently in place.
The decision and its explanation, as provided by the Scouts website, evades the use of language that would accurately describe the behavior and ideology they are preaching; behavior that is unacceptable in civilized communities.
According to the Scouts, “the executive committee of the BSA National Executive Board released the following statement: “Scouting believes that good people can personally disagree on this topic and still work together to achieve the life-changing benefits to youth through Scouting.”
Yet this suggested cooperation seems incompatible with the organization’s choice to, as writes for Huffington post, “continue to exclude gay scouts and gay and lesbian scout leaders.” They claim to wish to “work together” but refuse to compromise.
The message directly implies that there are differences among children, and that people who are heterosexual are directly better or superior to others – completely removing the honor from the values of the Scouts mission, as they see it: “The Boy Scouts of America provides the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training, which helps young people be “Prepared. For Life.™”
Ironically, the Scouts decision to exclude children and others simply because they have private and personal differences mirrors the mindset of children or adolescents who employ similar social-popularity stratification, confused by those who are different – these are behaviors lacking factual or mature consideration.
If the Boy Scouts of America were genuinely concerned with leading by example, they would pursue moral and intellectual decisions rather than following an immoral perspective simply because it is popular amongst its members.
As Signorile explains, “The BSA’s argument is that the majority of its members believe in such discrimination, therefore it must continue to discriminate.”
If they are preparing American youth for life, the Boy Scouts of America are not encouraging an open-minded or tolerant perspective, but rather preaching and pandering hatred and ignorance.

Victim Blaming pairs well with Celebrity Pardoning (UPDATED) by Gregory Allen

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013
Several blatant and public statements have been made in the fashion of victim-blaming in regards to victims of sexual assault. One case, regarding recent Stanley Cup winning defenseman Drew Doughty, has drawn attention, as well as Comedy Central’s Daniel Tosh’s remarks on rape. Both cases also bring attention to the deliberate attempt to pardon members of popular culture who have considerable celebrity.
Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty is under investigation for an accused sexual assault. The woman accusing Doughty or rape filed her claim on March 1, 2012 (the same day of supposed incident). Supporters and fans of Doughty have spoken publicly on MSNBC’s website and through other sources claiming the accusation was made to garner attention as Doughty recently won the league’s championship. The Kings, however did not win the Stanley Cup until June 11, 2012.
The response is a definitive style of victim-blaming, and makes little sense logically or sympathetically. The opponents of Doughty’s accuser have made comments on discussion posts and through online sources, many times accompanied by similar supporters. Their identity remains anonymous, and presents the “pack-mentality” that often enables victim-blaming. Face-to-face with a victim, and without peer support, the claims likely remain unspoken.

The case Doughty is now involved in also highlights victim-blaming and adverse pressure unfairly placed on the accuser. The woman accusing Doughty of rape was urged by police to contact Doughty via telephone after making the claim; and this may be perceived as intimidation to deter the witness from pressing charges. Also, according to the L.A. Times, police reported the woman was “less than cooperative,” or in reality – acting exactly in the manner someone suffering from a severe trauma would behave.
Regarding Daniel Tosh of Comedy Central, the comedian presented a joke in a comedy club claiming rape jokes are never lacking in humor or appeal. A woman in the audience refuted the bit aloud, and was allegedly greet by Tosh with this reply, “‘Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her…'” Tosh was quick to offer an evasive apology, but has made little effort to take responsibility for behavior performed in front of the crowd at the Laugh Factory. 
Tosh apparently pandered to the comedy club crowd and received supporting laughter, further exacerbating the situation, and encouraging the remarks made by the comedian. Tosh is now also moving quickly to remove further rape jokes from reaching the public, and perhaps supporting the behavior he has been accused of. The owner of the Laugh Factory has also attempted to deny the event took place (not that the Laugh Factory’s reputation as the graveyard of comedic careers is capable of reversal).
Tosh’s example more clearly highlights the anonymous-crowd mentality behind victim-blaming, as supporters were able to heckle an individual speaking out against a very poor display of judgement and childish behavior. In fact, another woman, Karen Elson, openly criticizing Daniel Tosh has recieved similar online treatment, with one anonymous person claiming via Twitter, “@KarenElson_ Needs to be raped, she might lighten up after getting some for once.”
Similar to the first woman criticizing Tosh, Elson has stated, “”Daniel Tosh didn’t get the memo that [rape] never was and never will be funny.”
Both instances contain unmistakable instances of victim-blaming, first in the manner of anonymously slandering a possible victim with police appealing to a victims aversion to suggest culpability; and second in the style of supporting a public figure undermining the serious nature of rape and sexual assault.
Both imply that victims deserve the trauma and assault they face, whilst denying the responsibility for making these claims by remaining anonymous and disguised in the shadow of a crowd. This aversion to sympathizing with the victim also emerges easily as those doubting and blaming the victim are motivated to protect the celebrity’s whose behavior they adopt.
UPDATE:
According to the Huffington Post, “Prosecutors have declined to file a date-rape charge against Los Angeles Kings star Drew Doughty, citing insufficient evidence.”
Linda Deutsch who wrote the article, explains “The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office issued a report Wednesday concluding there was not enough evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.”
American judicial ideologies insist persons are innocent until proven guilty, but our notion of “beyond a reasonable doubt” seems to have changed into “direct eye-witness experience” or a standard completely favoring personal impression over logical guidance.

If you disagree with a law…go around it! (UPDATED) by Gregory Allen

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

A new state law in Mississippi has created more obstacles for women seeking constitutionally promised health rights. Women seeking abortions may now be forced to drive to another state to obtain the health procedure, or as opponents desire, deliver the unwanted pregnancy for lack of medical access.

Not surprisingly, according to NYDailyNews.com, Mississipi has the highest teen birth rates. Amanda Peterson Beadle explains for Thinkprogress.org, that Mississippi does not require sex-education in school, “Mississippi does not require sex education in schools, but when it is taught, abstinence-only education is the state standard.”

Mississippi may not have an objective or well-informed perspective on sex-education or reproductive rights, but this does not give its citizens claim to deny the rights of others, simply because they disagree with the premise or procedure. As a means of circumnavigating Roe V. Wade, conservative states are seeking obstacles to make access to abortion more difficult for women.

The new law, taking effect around July 2, now requires those who perform abortions to be certified in credentials difficult to obtain and exercise.  In doing so, many clinics, included the single remaining abortion clinic in Mississippi, may be forced to close.

As Emily Wagster Pettus describes for the Huffington Post, “The law requires anyone performing abortions at the state’s only clinic to be an OB-GYN with privileges to admit patients to a local hospital. Such privileges can be difficult to obtain, and the clinic contends the mandate is designed to put it out of business.”

The mentality personified by the new law is childish, selfish, and designed only to prevent others from accessing health care certain individuals disagree with for privately-held beliefs. If displayed in another form, the ideology would be soundly criticized.

For example, fundamentalist Darwinian enthusiasts might oppose heart, lung, or kidney transplants because this disobeys and breaks with the conventions of evolution. This cruel perspective would not be legislated, however, because of the negative effects and grossly intrusive results it would have on persons seeking to obtain a healthy lifestyle in a manner they personally select.

Mississippi is not alone in seeking these restrictive laws, or exercising the ideology of finding a way to eliminate freedoms regardless of their constitutionality. The behavior is soundly absurd, and this terminology is not used for dramatic effect; imagine the chaos and cruelty that would result from a society where citizens would only have to follow the laws they chose to?

Updated:

MSNBC recently reported that Judge Daniel P. Jordan III, has delayed implementation of the law, although it is still unclear how long this delay will last.

From msnbc.com and news services:

Supporters of the new law have stated their motivation is not to end abortion, but to protect the health of women, and that the new bill is “designed to protect patients.”

Opponents of the bill claim this is only a “thinly veiled attempt to ban the procedure in Mississippi.”

“In his July 1 ruling to temporarily block the law, Judge Jordan wrote that the plaintiffs, the state’s sole abortion clinic, “have offered evidence — including quotes from significant legislative and executive officers — that the Act’s purpose is to eliminate abortions in Mississippi. They likewise submitted evidence that no safety or health concerns motivated its passage. This evidence has not yet been rebutted.””

Snickers may satisfy, their marketing does not By Gregory Allen

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Just thinking…

If your ads frequently feature aggressive and hostile men — only sedated back to sanity by chocolate bars — maybe depicting a man wearing boxing gloves in the bedroom alongside the slogan “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” paired with a half naked woman with her back turned isn’t in good taste.

Reminder from the LGBT Community: Sharing By Gregory Allen

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013
In recent weeks, efforts have been stagnant passing legislation to recognize gay marriage, prevent bullying of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) students in schools and on college campuses, while derogatory slurs and statements have been used by media figures to slander their opponents, rather than focus on issues that affect more than themselves.
A minority of the American public seems devoutly opposed to sharing equality with those who have different sexual orientations and identities, while the majority of Americans have grown silent and indifferent.
Despite being denied rights that others enjoy free for unfounded and oddly superstitious beliefs; the LGBT community has not deprived society of their talents, and have shared many unique and exceptional accomplishments with the world, proving they are an integral part of society, even if they are not always recognized as such.

 

Many would deny rights to others while still enjoying the literature, musical, artistic, scientific and cultural innovations of gay and bisexual men and women and transgender individuals.
While many examples of social and cultural accomplishments can be described, one such feat has been utilized by many: the computer.
Widely recognized as one of the “fathers” of the computer; British mathematician Alan Turing was persecuted for being gay, and his mistreatment ended only when he committed suicide.
Despite helping pioneer the computer, as well as being a crucial member of “Ultra”, a secret British contingent that helped crack the German Enigma codes and facilitate a speedier end to the Second World War; Alan’s greatest and most memorable trait in the eyes of his peers was his sexual orientation.
Turing was charged and convicted of homosexuality; private homosexuality being a crime in England until 1967. While homosexuality is an imaginary crime – like witchcraft – the punishment he would have received was very real.
Rather than endure punishments he had not earned, prison or chemical castration, Turing committed suicide. His past accomplishments were forgotten by those who judged him, he was denied recognition of who he was; and instead condemned only for what he was.
Turing spent many years of his life fighting for and bettering a society that would never accept him. But this did not impede him from creating and pioneering technology many use today. While his “crime” harmed no one, his brilliance has and will always affect many.
A social reminder is necessary to those who would deny the rights of others; sharing.
LGBT artists, musicians, writers, scientists, and others have developed society and American culture despite equal recognition, in spite of hate crimes, and have defied fierce intolerance to do so. Sadly, anyone identifying or recognizing themselves as anything but heterosexual do so at some risk.
If LGBT individuals are not considered equal to participate openly in society, and are legislated as inferior to their heterosexual counterparts, then their technology, art, their talents and endeavors should not be taken advantage of either.
If you oppose equality for others of different sexual orientations, at least recognize the hypocrisy of using your computer to alienate or persecute others on Twitter or Facebook, simply for bearing a different identity.
There are many choices we can make, and those choices should only affect the consenting individuals who decide to pursue and experience them. One choice: we can choose to give up the gifts the LGBT community has provided.
Or we can choose to start sharing and support equality for everyone; because while many have shown courage in the face of opposition to share their talents and gifts, not all will make this choice, and exceptional gains in all aspects and fields of society will be lost.

Disrespecting Women will not Encourage People to Respect Animals By Gregory Allen

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

In this, one of PETA’s latest ads, they have chosen to exploit the topic of sexual violence and and abusive relationships to draw attention to an unrelated cause.

Adding humor and sexual appeal to violence shouldn’t appeal to men (or women), and the people it does appeal to don’t care about the rights of other humans, and therefore likely don’t care about animals rights either.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/m0vQOnHW0Kc[/youtube]

Disrespecting women will not encourage people to respect animals. Its hypocritical and insensitive. Find a better way to make people care about the rights of others, including animals. And do it without creating more victims.

Do Religious Freedoms Include Right to Persecute? By Gregory Allen

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013
No. They don’t.
A debate has erupted between the Obama Administration and religious organizations, mostly Catholics. One group is trying to provide contraception to women and preserve their health rights; the other is trying to take them away.
Catholics and others are enraged over a new law which would require employer health insurance plans to cover birth control without copay. This will provide millions of women with access to birth control and the means to protect their health and control their own reproductive functions.
After compromising, the law exempts hospitals and charities with religious objections from providing services they are opposed to, instead the insurance companies will reach out to women and offer contraceptive services. Religious groups and organizations will not have to provide these services directly.
Obama compromised with religious groups. Reasonable. But Catholics were still not satisfied. Because women still have rights. Unreasonable.
Catholics and religious opponents have claimed this is an attack on their religious freedoms and their conscience. But this isn’t an attack on religious beliefs or conscience. Religious beliefs are moderated by our conscience, because very few people follow EVERY mandate of their faith.
Slavery is defended adamantly by St. Paul in the New Testament. The Old Testament encourages assaulting your children. The Qur’an advises killing people of other faiths because it is divinely ordained. But these religious beliefs are not considered freedoms, and are outlawed in the United States because of their negative effects on others.
The Qur’an also preaches that a woman is worth only half as much as a man. The Old Testament commands that women are property, to be regarded with the same value as cattle. These beliefs should also be confronted, because while we know slavery, child abuse, and murder are wrong, misogyny is not regarded with the same serious attention.
In reality, this is an attack on women’s rights, not religious freedoms. 98% of catholic women use birth control. But women aren’t demanding their own rights to be taken from them, religious men are, and this persecution is being disguised as religious “freedom.”
In the theme of the American constitution and the Bill of Rights; your rights end where another’s begin.
American citizens have the right to bear arms, but not the freedom to use them indiscriminately on others. Americans have the right to free speech, but not the freedom to force others to listen to what they have to say.
Religious groups have the right to believe women are only worth half as much as men, but they do not have the freedom to negatively influence the lives of others because of their own beliefs.
One cannot act without restraint or consideration of others just because they declare its part of their religion. Religious freedoms, like all individual freedoms have limits; when they begin to affect others.
Our world already bears the scars of religious freedoms without limits: the Shoah, the Crusades, the Inquisition, Witch-hunt’s. Seriously? Witches?
Religious men who lack confidence are threatened by independent women who control their own sexuality. The notion of “evil” women with powers beyond men’s control appeared during the Witch Trials, yet still seems difficult for religious men to overcome.
Maybe a dose of reason can cure this irrational fear of witches, but reason isn’t mandated by Obama’s new coverage plan.
Women have rights to their own bodies, just as men do over their own. And women who control their own sexuality and exercise it freely are not witches. Witches aren’t real.

Gay Marriage Debate Moves Closer to Supreme Court By Gregory Allen

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013
The U.N. Declaration of human rights, states, in article 16:
 (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
It is disappointing to note that the United States still discriminates on the basis of religious claims, so long as religious groups are the persecutors, and not those being oppressed.
But a ruling made this week in California could move the nationwide debate of marriage equality closer to the Supreme Court, and a ruling that might favorably affect the lives of many Americans currently denied basic human rights.
A federal appeals court announced this week that the California, voter-approved law, Proposition 8, serves no purpose other than to discriminate and makes the lives of same-sex couples lesser than opposite-sex relationships.
Proposition 8 barely passed, securing only 52% of the vote.
Judge Stephen Reinhardt delivered the majority opinion, stating, “Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.”
While the United States still lags behind most other industrialized nations in terms of equality, it is promising to consider that a new step forward toward equality may be made in the near future, one that could negatively affect the lives of no one, and positively grant equality to many who have been denied basic, unalienable rights.

Everyone is Pro Life, see for Yourself By Gregory Allen

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013
One of the most controversial topics of debate in the United States is abortion. There appear to be two clear sides to this argument, Pro Choice and Pro Life. But this is a myth, and a relatively easy misunderstanding to make. As it turns out, everyone is Pro Life. Just observe Pro Life supporters.
Mitt Romney is Pro Life (this election), and supports life, so long as your definition of life doesn’t include people who are impoverished or unemployed. He also supports military action against foreign countries, simply for their development of technology the country he would like to be President of stockpiles.
Rick Santorum, another presidential hopeful in running for the Republican nomination, is a well recognized Pro Life advocate. He adamantly opposes abortion. And also affordable medicine.
Recently Santorum remarked of affordable, government regulated drug prices, “People have no problem going out and buying an iPad for $900. But paying $200 for a drug they have a problem with — that keeps you alive. Why? Because you’ve been conditioned in thinking health care is something you should get and not have to pay for.”
That’s right. Because the first image that comes to mind when one thinks of ill patients struggling to pay for treatment, is the caricature of someone holding an iPad in one hand and a pile of cash in the other.
But Santorum clarified his response, “But the bottom line is, we have companies with the incentive to make those drugs. And if they don’t have the incentive to make those drugs, your son won’t be alive and lots of other people in this country won’t be alive. We either believe in markets or we don’t.”
That’s right. Motivated by his Christian faith, he observed what Jesus would do, and that of course is always the most cost-effective and monetarily motivated decision. But let’s not forget Faith isn’t free either; Santorum is Catholic, and Jesus supports tithings. How else would he pay for that stylish attire and those fancy last dinner’s he throws?
The Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization has garnered attention recently for their decision to stop funding cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood clinics. That’s only 97% of what Planned Parenthood does; cancer screenings and contraception and health services for men and women.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg addressed the situation before pledging to donate $250,000 of his own money to Planned Parenthood.
“Politics have no place in health care,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “Breast cancer screening saves lives and hundreds of thousands of women rely on Planned Parenthood for access to care. We should be helping women access that care, not placing barriers in their way.”
Mayor Bloomberg and others are struggling with the notion of how one could be Pro Life, but anti-cancer screenings. Simple: they support life, and fighting cancer, so long as it remains undetected and unknown to them. Santorum isn’t concerned with treating diseases, because he doesn’t suffer from them.
The perspective is simple. Pro Life – just not other lives. Cancer? Not my problem. Poverty? Ditto. With these standards, to care for your own life seems the only prerequisite for adopting a Pro Life bumper sticker and permanently grumpy expression. Everyone is Pro Life, but not everyone is Pro Sharing Life.