Monday, May 2, 2016



I decided to organize this month’s absurdities around the theme of women’s rights, which have come under frequent attack during the current GOP presidential campaign season. Lest you think we’ve made notable progress on women’s rights, take a look at the following:

1. New Hampshire Republican Representatives Josh Moore and Al Baldasaro. Moore and Baldasaro support a bill in the state legislature that would make it a misdemeanor for women to purposely expose their nipples publicly without regard to whether it might offend or alarm someone. Noting that it had only male sponsors, Democratic representative Amanda Bouldin, strongly condemned the bill, which brought crude comments from Moore and Baldasaro on Facebook.
Moore, a co-sponsor of the bill, wrote that women who want to expose their breasts should have no problem with a man’s inclination to stare at it and “grab it.”
Baldasaro chimed in to disparage Bouldin’s appearance:
“No disrespect, but your nipple would be the last one I would want to see… “You want to turn our family beach’s (sic) into a pervert show?”
Public outrage forced Moore to withdraw his name from the bill, but Baldasaro was not to be deterred. He accused Bouldin of trying to quash free speech, saying:
“We have a constitution… It’s there for a reason, and I’ll never be silent.”
No comment necessary.

2. Donald Trump. When you say you want abortion to be illegal, does that mean you think women and doctors should be made into criminals?” That’s a question most opponents of abortion really don’t want to answer, but not The Donald, who said he would make it a crime for women to control their bodies. Trump, who only recently adopted his anti-abortion stance, told Chris Mathews:
“There has to be some form of punishment,” Trump said. “For the woman?” Matthews asked. “Yeah,” Trump said, nodding.
Trump said the punishment would “have to be determined.”
Punishment to be determined? Fines? Prison time? Time in the stocks to be erected in the town square under a Trump presidency?
It’s easy to say oh, it’s Donald Trump, he doesn’t really mean it, he’s just posturing for the Republican base. But that’s the thing: He’s saying this for a reason. And he’s saying something other Republicans believe more sincerely than he does, even if they know better than to admit it publicly. So this should be the beginning of this particular discussion. What does Ted Cruz think? What about John Kasich, running as a moderate but with a long record of attacks on reproductive rights? For that matter, what does every “pro-life” Republican Senate candidate think about this issue? Voters deserve to know.
3. Missouri State Representative Rick Brattin. Women in Missouri could soon have to get permission from their sexual partners in order to get an abortion, if state Rep. Brattin gets his way. Brattin has filed a bill saying that "no abortion shall be performed or induced unless and until the father of the unborn child provides written, notarized consent to the abortion." Asked about an exception for rape or incest, Brattin fell back on a classic:
"Just like any rape, you have to report it, and you have to prove it," Brattin tells Mother Jones. "So you couldn't just go and say, 'Oh yeah, I was raped,' and get an abortion. It has to be a legitimate rape."
Beg pardon? Did he just say ... ? Oh, don't worry, he assures us he's no Todd Akin:
"I'm just saying if there was a legitimate rape, you're going to make a police report, just as if you were robbed," Brattin says. "That's just common sense." Under his bill, he adds, "you have to take steps to show that you were raped…And I'd think you'd be able to prove that."
The bill contains no provision establishing standards for claiming the rape or incest exceptions. It also doesn't state any specific penalties for violating the law nor say whether a penalty would be imposed on the woman seeking the abortion or the abortion provider.
Oh, well then. He's not saying, like Akin, that it's impossible for rape to lead to pregnancy, he's just saying that if it does, you'd better have evidence your friendly local police officer accepts as proof. Common sense, he says, because it's not like the way rape victims are treated is any kind of barrier to reporting. And Brattin's explanation for why it makes sense to exclude abuse victims from the rape or incest exception does not build confidence in the sensitivity he's likely to exhibit in setting up the specifics of how women can invoke the rape or incest exceptions. In abuse cases, "What does that have to do with the child's life? Just because it was an abusive relationship, does that mean the child should die?"
Hey, Mr. Patriarchy, abusive relationships often involve rape. Abuse often intensifies during pregnancy. You're really saying a woman should be forced into a choice between asking her abuser for his signature giving away control over her body or being locked into a long-term relationship as parents of a child? Never mind. Of course he's saying that! Because of course a fetus is more important to this asshole than the health and safety of a woman is, let alone a woman's right to control her own body. How do these turds get elected?
4. Ted Cruz. I read today about a court case in which Republican and now-presidential candidate, Ted Cruz, then the Texas solicitor general, ferociously defended the state's law barring the sale of dildos.
The brief insisted that Texas in order to protect "public morals" had "police-power interests" in "discouraging prurient interests in sexual gratification, combating the commercial sale of sex, and protecting minors." There was a "government" interest, it maintained, in "discouraging...autonomous sex." The brief compared the use of sex toys with "hiring a willing prostitute or engaging in consensual bigamy," and it equated advertising these products with the commercial promotion of prostitution. In perhaps the most noticeable line of the brief, Cruz’ office declared:
"There is no substantive-due-process right to stimulate one's genitals for non-medical purposes unrelated to procreation or outside of an interpersonal relationship."
Cruz lost, with a federal appeals court opining that the state had no legal business telling people what they could and couldn't do in their own bedrooms. Cruz's absurd stance that using a dildo was like hiring a prostitute is typical of the contempt for women’s rights that spews from his misogynist mouth. In earlier political eras such a comment would have morphed into a “dildogate” scandal; not today, however, such fascistic comments are run of the mill among the extreme right.
And the winner is:

This was a tough one, but it has to go to Missouri State Representative Rick Brattin. Notarized consent?


  1. Wow, Brattin is a piece of work! It seems like the far right has become completely untethered from reality with regard to reproductive rights. His proposal sounds dangerously like dreaded "Sharia Law"
    What's next, public stoning if you get an abortion? I guess I shouldn't give them any ideas!

  2. Brattin is a good choice, but at least he seems to be lovin' some fetus. No, my vote goes to Cruz (or more correctly, the legislature that passed the No Dildos law in the first place). The idea is so silly and his defense so whacky, they have elevated boneheadism to an art form. If using a dildo is like hiring a prostitute, what must he think about jerking off? Oh, I forgot, male behavior is no doubt off limits those Texas turkeys. Besides, they surely deny ever doing it.


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