SDB Evening News Reads for 110311: Occupy, Personhood and Pearls of Cruelty

Good Evening…

I have some disturbing news for you…I am not going to sugar coat it.  So think of this as fair warning, the first couple links will upset you.

Anyone with kids knows how much the little boogers can get on your nerves…when they are in that “rebellious” period in their lives. I will admit, there are times when my kids turn the screw by instigating me with their behavior, that I feel like pulling a Homer Simpson…

Reminds me of when they were toddlers, and I would pat their bottoms in some sort of “pat” style of discipline, to which they would respond, “That did not hurt!” and run off giggling in delight. But some people do take the idea of “discipline to the extreme, and use it as an excuse for cruelty and complete violence against a child.

That said, here is a post from RH Reality Check, as you can see from the articles note at the start of the piece…it is horrible and upsetting. It is written by a mother who was a former practitioner and follower of Michael Pearl’s brand of child abuse… Corpses Don’t Rebel: Former Quiverfull Mom Reacts to Death of Hana Williams by “Biblical Chastisement” via Corporal Punishment | RH Reality Check

Please note: This article was written by No Longer Quivering member “ExPearlSwine” who understandably wishes to share her heartbreaking story anonymously.

Trigger Warning: This article contains graphic descriptions of infant and child abuse.

The death toll from parents following Michael and Debi Pearl’s teachings continues to mount. Another child is has been “biblically chastened” to death via corporal punishment, and Michael Pearl is defending his teachings in the mainstream media while promoting his new book.

CNN’s Gary Tuchman and Anderson Cooper both reported on the death of 13-year-old Hana Williams,whose adoptive parents Larry and Carri Williams subjected her to beatings and neglect while following the teachings of the Pearls.

Michael Pearl constantly defends himself with two arguments.

First, the presence of his book, To Train Up a Child, and the presence of his other teaching materials on “biblical chastisement,” in the homes of homicidal parents, is purely circumstantial. It makes no more sense, Pearl argues, to blame To Train Up a Child for discipline-turned-abusive-turned-murderous than to blame Alcoholics Anonymous brochures in the home for deaths due to drunk driving, or weight-loss materials in the home for obesity. As Anderson Cooper pointed out, this defense is illogical. AA literature says not to drink, especially while driving. Pearl literature emphasizes inflicting physical pain on children in order to break their wills and achieve total obedience to parents. In the Cooper interview, Pearl talks about physically chastising to “get the child’s attention.” What if your child still isn’t paying attention?

Pearl’s second argument comes up every time his teachings are linked to children beaten to death: kids end up abused and killed because parents, despite owning copies of his teachings and trying to follow them, aren’t really following his teachings. They are missing the joy part, the reconciliation part, the praying part, the loving part, or whatever. They discipline in anger instead of in love.

Take a bit of time and read the entire article…this little bit from the 911 call that Carri Williams made when the abuse she and her husband Larry inflicted on their daughter which had finally killed the little girl should give you a taste of the mindset these practitioners of “biblical chastisement.”

The death toll from parents following Michael and Debi Pearl’s teachings continues to mount.

The 911 call that Carri Williams made to the police dispatcher says it all:

Operator: What’s the emergency?

Carri Williams: Um, I think my daughter just killed herself.

Operator:  Why do you say that?

Carri Williams: Um, she’s really rebellious, and she’s been outside refusing to come in, and she’s been throwing herself all around, and then she collapsed.”

What’s wrong with Hana? “Um, she’s really rebellious.” She won’t do what we say.

No, she’s not, she’s dead. She can’t rebel any more. And you’re blaming her, saying she did it to herself.

Chilling, especially when the article is written by a woman who has realized the horror she imposed on her children by disciplining them to “biblical” proportions.

There was a series of reports on BBC in August that touches on the hight numbers of child abuse in the US. No, discipline is not the “excuse” for all the violence…but there is a group of people whose actions do tend to promote child abuse and neglect. (Can you guess who that may be?) I’ll give you a hint…it involves the word, PLUB. Here is the first few paragraphs, be sure to read it all because it summarizes some of the points that Boston Boomer has made regarding child abuse.  BBC News – Michael Petit: Why child abuse is so acute in the US

Why is the problem of violence against children so much more acute in the US than anywhere else in the industrialised world, asks Michael Petit, President of Every Child Matters.

Over the past 10 years, more than 20,000 American children are believed to have been killed in their own homes by family members. That is nearly four times the number of US soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The child maltreatment death rate in the US is triple Canada’s and 11 times that of Italy. Millions of children are reported as abused and neglected every year. Why is that?

More on this investigative report here: BBC News – America’s child death shame

Okay, let’s move on…to something that has contributed to America’s problem of child abuse…The insane war against women and their rights to a planned parenthood…Vote no on bullshit — Feministe

On Tuesday, November 8, the people of Mississippi vote on Initiative 26–the “personhood amendment”–which declares that personhood begins at the moment of fertilization. It’s just as ridiculous as it sounds and has no basis in science or law–just in conservative morality and controlling women. So, y’know, same ol’.

Initiative 26 adds just 35 words to the constitution of Mississippi:

SECTION 33. Person defined. As used in this Article III of the state constitution, “The term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.”

Proponents would have you believe that those 35 words will have minimal impact on women in the state of Mississippi, outside of outlawing abortion (which is huge enough in its own right). Every fact sheet or FAQ you get from groups like Yes on 26 has the same list of things that the amendment won’t do: won’t outlaw birth control, won’t cost the state money, won’t prosecute women for miscarriages. And from an entirely literal reading, that’s actually true. The amendment doesn’t say anything outside of those 35 words. In fact, the danger of Initiative 26 lies in what the amendment doesn’t say: the exceptions and restrictions it doesn’t guarantee. Thirty-five 35 words can do a huge amount of damage, and pretending it can’t means a lot of misleading, equivocating, and flat-out lying for groups like Yes on 26.

So here are a few things that will clear up the whole thing for you…first off, it does abolish abortion, that is plain and obvious. But the other things it can be used for in the war against women are as follows:

Yes, the bill can be used to outlaw the birth control pill. The vast majority of the medical community agrees that the Pill works by providing hormones that tell the body not to ovulate–when sperm is introduced into the uterus, there’s nothing for it to fertilize, so there’s no embryo. On the very off chance an egg slips through, though, the hormones also have thickened the cervical mucus so the sperm can’t get to the egg. And on the very off-off chance that supersperm does get through, it can’t penetrate the egg. It has been suggested that the Pill also might thin the lining of the uterus such that said unlikely zygote wouldn’t be able to implant. The medical community has seen no evidence that this third mechanism actually takes place, but they’re obliged to include it in information about the Pill just because the possibility exists. So if your bill identifies personhood as beginning at the moment of fertilization, then yes, it will outlaw any medication that could possibly prevent implantation of an zygote, even if it that doesn’t actually happen.

Yes, the bill can be used to prosecute women who miscarry. Identifying an embryo as a person places the pregnant woman in the role of guardian. As with a woman who gives a toddler alcohol, takes it bungee jumping, or drives it around without a baby seat, a pregnant woman who drinks, engages in vigorous physical activity, or drives without a seatbelt would be guilty of neglect and child endangerment if those activities negatively affected the embryo. And this isn’t theoretical–women already have been prosecuted for their miscarriages.

That bit about the miscarriages hits home, I am one of many who has experienced the loss…and if this bill passes, women in Mississippi can be charged for something beyond their control.

Yes, the bill can be detrimental to women’s health. Outside of simply preventing women and their doctors from freely making the health decisions that are right for them, Initiative 26 places the fetus-person on equal legal standing with the mother. Women whose pregnancies endanger their health–ectopic pregnancies, preeclampsia, and so many other complications that kill hundreds of women in the U.S. every year–would have to weight their lives against the lives of their fetuses. The bill does not specify that doctors will be allowed to terminate pregnancies for health reasons–it includes no exception for the life of the mother…

This is yet another outcome from Initiative 26 that is personal to me, I suffered from an ectopic pregnancy, which was not discovered until the second trimester. The “person” embedded itself just inside the opening of the fallopian tube that connects to my uterus. So everything was going along like normal until week 15…a week later I was in recovery after having the pregnancy removed. It was a boy, and I was told all was progressing perfectly, it was just in the wrong place. I share my story here to illustrate a point, had this law been enacted at the time…would I be here today writing for this blog? I don’t know…probably not…because the life of the fetus would have outweighed my own life.  My doctor would have terminated a pregnancy and may have been charged with accessory to murder…the murderer being me!  Makes one realize how horrible the consequences this law can bring about.

The article also points out that healthcare cost will rise.

The cost of malpractice insurance for OB/GYNs is so high that many doctors choose to leave the field, or not to go into the field at all, for fear of losing their livelihood over a “bad baby.” Initiative 26 would turn every doctor into an OB/GYN, and every procedure on a pregnant woman would be a potential malpractice suit. If women are lucky, their doctors will only raise prices to cover the increased premiums. If they’re unlucky, the doctors will bail entirely for a state where they can afford–and are allowed–to practice medicine. This is great news for a state consistently ranked 50th in the nation for health care and 49th for physicians per capita.

Take a look at the rest of that article on Feministe…it is very good…and talks more about the things this Personhood Amendment could bring about…the ridiculous things…the absurd things.

Just a couple more things, and I will be quick about them…since this post is running long.

Oh, You Mean That “Random Person” Sitting Right Next To Me? | Right Wing Watch

Just yesterday, the Washington Post noted the bizarre stranglehold that Grover Norquist and his anti-tax zealotry has over Republicans in Congress.

Today, during his weekly press conference, House Speaker John Boehner was asked by NBC’s Luke Russert what he thought about Norquist’s influence on Republicans, to which Boehner responded with a bizarre dismissal:

BOEHNER: Our focus here is on jobs. We’re doing everything I can to get our economy going, to get people back to work. It’s not often I’m asked about some random person.

RUSSERT: To your conference, is Grover Norquist a random person?

BOEHNER: Listen, our focus is on creating jobs, not talking about somebody’s personality.

Ummm …really? Because the last time we checked, it was rather uncommon for “some random person” to be seated right next to high-ranking GOP leaders like John Boehner.

And finally, a bit on the Occupy Movement…

New York Post Declares: It’s Time To Throw Occupy Wall Street ‘Bums’ Out | Mediaite

No funny puns on the cover of today’s New York Post. Not even any sexy hookers for no apparent reason. Just a simple message, written in simple size 1,000,000,000 font, declaring that it’s time to say “ENOUGH!” to those darn Occupy Wall Street Protesters.

Damn, they are getting really pissed off at the 99% aren’t they.

And a little MoJo post about South Parks version of the 1%…South Park on Occupy Wall Street | Mother Jones

It was only a matter of time: South Park has something to say about Occupy Wall Street. On Wednesday night, Trey Parker and Matt Stone‘s Comedy Central series ran an episode titled “1%” that drew some topical humor and mild-to-moderate jabs from the ongoing #OWS protests sweeping the country.

The analogs are blatant: During a schoolwide President’s Challenge exam, the corpulent, Jew-baiting Eric Cartman tanks the fitness test. Because the student body’s evaluation is based on an average, Cartman’s performance severely slashes the score of the rest of the students, thus condemning everyone to gym class during recess. Cartman is unanimously dubbed the “1 percent” who is dragging down the other “99 percent.” Students unite to “fight the system” that’s rigged against them, while Cartman grumbles and loudly plays the victim.

The article then discusses the anticipation of the Right Wing Conservative Nut Jobs who looked forward to a “OWS” bashing from Parker and Stone.  They may have not realized…it didn’t turn out as they had hoped.

However, “1%” simply doesn’t try to demolish #OWS in the way that Republican viewers would have wanted. Sadly for Erick Erickson, the 1 percent are depicted as the whiners, paranoid excuse-makers, and irrational Obama-blamers, not the 99. “I know how this works,” says Cartman after the other students had begun to gently criticize him. “You’re the 99 percent ganging up on the 1 percent…Jesus Christ! The 99 percent is totally ganging up on me!”

Later, as he whimpers to his beloved stuffed animal collection, his inanimate friends “tell” him that “It’s not your fault, Eric. How can they blame you for what is clearly President Obama’s fault?” (Because Obama supposedly invented “that stupid presidential fitness test.”) The next day, Cartman accuses children casually eating lunch of “occupying the cafeteria” and screams at them, “you think it’s wrong to be pissed off at a black president, so you’re all just pissed off at me! Well, go ahead, have your little rally to figure out how to stick it to the 1 percent. See what it gets you!”

The episode also targets police overreaction, the rabid media coverage of #OWS, and the panic over “class warfare.”

But those who were looking for any obvious pro- or anti-#OWS sentiment must’ve felt the same way lefty Simpsons viewers felt when they saw the decidedly apolitical episode on George H.W. Bush. “1%” stays true to South Park‘s patented formula: don’t ever commit the sin of taking politics too seriously, and just mine the big issues for crude silliness. For example, when Butters takes a half-hour bathroom break from what the mass media has labelled #OccupyRedRobin, a reporter announces that #OccupyRestroom is now in full swing.

The article ends with the conclusion that whatever your interpretation of the point the creators of South Park are making with their shows, it is key to understand one thing:

In the end, petty debates over the animated show’s “true” political colors obscure the obvious point that the South Park team are in it to get the provocative, crude, and often contrarian laugh. For them, taking a political stand is at most a fleeting consideration.

Well, I think it was hilarious…and like some of their other shows on the “Margaritaville” Bank Bailouts and the trilogy of the Adventures of Coon and Friends…they touch on the truth of the matter…in a gross and funny way. And that is awesome!

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21 Comments on “SDB Evening News Reads for 110311: Occupy, Personhood and Pearls of Cruelty”

  1. Minkoff Minx says:

    Sorry this post is a bit off in terms of format…the pictures are not cooperating!

  2. bostonboomer says:

    “AA literature says not to drink, especially while driving.”

    Huh? I’m not sure who said this, but whoever did should just leave AA out of their arguments, becuase they know nothing about the organization. I speak as a long-time sober alcoholic.

    • bostonboomer says:

      That said, I’m totally against any kind of physical discipline of children. Hitting is wrong, period. Not only that, it’s doesn’t work. Just ask the expert on behavior modification, B.F. Skinner. Well, he’s dead, but all his research showed that positive reinforcement works best in changing behavior, and punishment is extremely difficult to administer correctly and doesn’t work particularly well.

      • Thursday's Child says:

        What about a mother who always said flogging scenes in movies, such as Ben Hur, made her so sick she couldn’t look at them, but occasionally beat her own daughter with a leather strap?

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      I took it as Andersen Cooper made that connection…but now that you bring it to my attention…I don’t know who said that.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    I don’t see how this amendment won’t cost Mississippi millions to enforce. Won’t they have to investigate every miscarriage, every stillbirth? And if they really want to claim it’s murder if a zygote doesn’t attach to the uterine wall, they’ll have to prosecute Mother Nature. A huge proportion of fertized eggs never implant–likely more than 50%. Won’t they have to test the water in every woman’s toilet before she flushes?

    Sorry if I grossed anyone out.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Nope, you are right BB, the fingers of this amendment are far reaching…and that includes women’s toilets. It is unbelievable!

    • madamab says:

      Wow, this reminds me of that play I wrote where “miscarriage investigators” actually tried to enforce a similar law in Georgia. Suffice it to say, it did not go well for them.

      http://thewiddershins2.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/msi-georgia-a-play-in-one-almost-true-act/

      Minx, I hope you know I’m not making light of what happened to you. I can’t imagine the pain and horror that you must have gone through, and I have friends who had more than one. I’m just mocking the absurdity of the concept that a fertilized egg is a person. It is a POTENTIAL person. That is not the same thing in any way, shape or form.

      By contrast, the woman who is carrying the fertilized egg is, in fact, a person. But somehow the idea that life trumps potential life doesn’t seem to scan with the religiously insane.

  4. ralphb says:

    South Park’s 1% episode was hilarious. I posted a link to the full episode, free today, in the earlier thread.

  5. Minkoff Minx says:

    This is funny: The Maddow Blog – Attention: Pigeons

    Earlier this week, a bronze statue of Ronald Reagan was unveiled at the Reagan Airport in Washington D.C. The Gipper is nine feet tall, plenty big, but is it big enough to adequately honor this metaphorical giant of modern conservativism? It made me wonder, when it comes to turning our icons into icons , does size matter?

    Take a look at the height of some of the statues…I like the peanut myself…

  6. Stephanie says:

    I keep seeing “PLUB.” What is it? Thanks. Sorry for being ignorant, clueless, whatever, but I come here everyday and have no idea what it means. Thanks again.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Stephanie, PLUB is an acronym that stands for Pro Life Until Birth….meaning that once the “Former Fetus” makes its official emergence outside of the womb, i.e.birth…those PLUBs with fetus fetishes could care less about them…as seen in their hatred of programs that would help children in need, like important assistance as WIC/SNAP, low income child medicaid insurance, head-start, education…I guess you can see what I am talking about.

      Thank you for commenting, glad you are here!

      • Stephanie says:

        Thanks so much for the explanation. I had a feeling it was something I agreed with (LOL!)

        • Minkoff Minx says:

          I should amend that definition a bit…after thinking about it, the phrase “viable fetus” needs to be included in the definition.

          PLUB is an acronym that stands for Pro Life Until Birth….meaning that once the viable fetus makes its official emergence outside of the womb, i.e. birth, hereafter known as “Former Fetus” …those PLUBs with fetus fetishes could care less about them…as seen in their hatred of programs that would help children in need, like important assistance as WIC/SNAP, low income child medicaid insurance, head-start, education, etc.

          *changes are in italics…and again Stephanie I am so glad you commented. ;)