Fuck Donald Trump

I haven’t posted too much about Donald Trump, because he’s such an obviously terrible person and yet, at times, he has polled close to Hillary Clinton. Now that we’re getting somewhat close to the election I thought I would put up all the reasons to vote against him. Since almost all of this has been reported repeatedly, I’m not going to put in many links but might add them later.

  1. Let’s start with sexism/misogyny since that’s the latest thing that has exploded. In how many ways does this come up?
    1. He brags that he can sexually assault women without consequence.
    2. He brags that he was able to peak in to look at women nude at the Miss USA pageant since he ran it.
    3. It’s so well known that he cares only about a woman’s appearance that managers at his businesses make sure that he mostly only interacts with the prettiest women so he doesn’t fire them.
    4. He’s disgusted by perfectly natural aspects of women’s body (bloods coming out of her wherever).
    5. He freely leers at women.
    6. He freely insults women’s appearance who either don’t come up to his beauty standards or say anything bad about him.
    7. He has tried to fire women who either don’t sleep with him or get pregnant.
  2. He’s incredibly racist:
    1. He discriminated against blacks in his housing complexes.
    2. He started the race by saying Mexicans are racist.
    3. He has said a judge couldn’t rule fairly against him because he is of Mexican descent.
    4. He seems to think all blacks live in slums.
    5. He was one of the most prominent people behind the conspiracy about President Obama’s birth certificate.
    6. He still believes in the case against the Central Park 5 even after evidence has proved they were innocent.
    7. He has a habit of retweeting material from white supremacists.
  3. He is biased against Muslims:
    1. He claims they celebrated after 9/11 when they didn’t.
    2. He has said that all Muslims should be kept from entering the US.
    3. He has complained about a Gold Star family because they were Muslim.
  4. He was a bad businessman:
    1. He was basically broke in the mid-1990s because he had overpaid for Trump Airlines, many buildings, and casinos. He only got out of it by help from his father and the fact that he owed so much money he was able to convince his creditors to forgo much of what he owed.
    2. He routinely doesn’t pay people for work they have done for him.
    3. He has bought into numerous scams, the largest being Trump University.
    4. Almost all of the businesses that he has started have failed.
    5. The one thing he’s good at is publicity and selling himself.
  5. He lies all the time:
    1. A group that looked at his speeches found he lies about once every 3.5 minutes.
    2. He doesn’t care if people knows he’s lying–he will lie when there’s concrete evidence that contradicts what he says.
  6. His foreign policy is a complete mess even when it’s coherent enough to judge:
    1. He has said that numerous countries should build nuclear weapons.
    2. He thinks we shouldn’t automatically back countries in NATO.
    3. He thinks we should torture which is against international law.
    4. He thinks we should kill the families of terrorists which is against international law.
    5. He praises people like Putin and Saddam Hussein.
    6. He has intimated that he would fire at groups that irk him–Iranian boats that get too close to US ships, Russian airplanes that buzz US airplanes–seemingly not caring that this might cause wars.
  7. He doesn’t seem to have many serious proposals and the ones that he does would be terrible:
    1. He’s going to build a wall without saying how, even though, in places, this is almost physically impossible.
    2. He’s going to cut taxes so much it will make the current deficit tiny even though he’s going to cut numerous programs that help the poor and middle-class.
    3. He will get rid of Obamacare with nothing to replace it.
    4. He wants to outlaw abortion and has, at least once, said that the woman should be punished.
    5. Economists say his economic plans would drive the US into recession.
  8. He has autocratic tendencies:
    1. He has a habit of praising dictators.
    2. When he makes a claim he says that he will do something.
    3. He wants to make it easier to sue the press.
    4. He thinks the old NY City policy of stop and frisk should be expanded even though it was not shown to be effective and was declared unconstitutional.
  9. He has said he would put Hillary Clinton in jail even though she has been cleared of the charges he wants to put her in jail.

This is a list off the top of my head, I’m sure there are many more reasons so I might add to the list later.

Conservatives and women

Via here, we get this:

The finding comes from a report, appearing in the September issue of the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, that the maternal mortality rate in the United States increased between 2000 and 2014, even while the rest of the world succeeded in reducing its rate. Excluding California, where maternal mortality declined, and Texas, where it surged, the estimated number of maternal deaths per 100,000 births rose to 23.8 in 2014 from 18.8 in 2000 – or about 27%.

But the report singled out Texas for special concern, saying the doubling of mortality rates in a two-year period was hard to explain “in the absence of war, natural disaster, or severe economic upheaval”.

From 2000 to the end of 2010, Texas’s estimated maternal mortality rate hovered between 17.7 and 18.6 per 100,000 births. But after 2010, that rate had leaped to 33 deaths per 100,000, and in 2014 it was 35.8. Between 2010 and 2014, more than 600 women died for reasons related to their pregnancies.

No other state saw a comparable increase.

In the wake of the report, reproductive health advocates are blaming the increase on Republican-led budget cuts that decimated the ranks of Texas’s reproductive healthcare clinics. In 2011, just as the spike began, the Texas state legislature cut $73.6m from the state’s family planning budget of $111.5m. The two-thirds cut forced more than 80 family planning clinics to shut down across the state. The remaining clinics managed to provide services – such as low-cost or free birth control, cancer screenings and well-woman exams – to only half as many women as before.

The report is here and its interpretation is much more circumspect:

The Texas data are puzzling in that they show a modest increase in maternal mortality from 2000 to 2010 (slope 0.12) followed by a doubling within a 2year period in the reported maternal mortality rate. In 2006, Texas revised its death certificate, including the addition of the U.S. standard pregnancy question, and also implemented an electronic death certificate. However, the 2006 changes did not appreciably affect the maternal mortality trend after adjustment, and the doubling in the rate occurred in 2011–2012. Texas cause-of-death data, like with data for most states, are coded at the National Center for Health Statistics, and this doubling in the rate was not found for other states. Communications with vital statistics personnel in Texas and at the National Center for Health Statistics did not identify any data processing or coding changes that would account for this rapid increase. There were some changes in the  provision of women’s health services in Texas from 2011 to 2015, including the closing of several women’s health clinics. Still, in the absence of war, natural disaster, or severe economic upheaval, the doubling of a mortality rate within a 2-year period in a state with almost 400,000 annual births seems unlikely. A future study will examine Texas data by race–ethnicity and detailed causes of death to better understand this unusual finding.

The study is actually much more scathing in regards to something much more basic:

It is an international embarrassment that the United States, since 2007, has not been able to provide a national maternal mortality rate to international data repositories such as those run by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.22 This inability reflects the chronic underfunding over the past two decades of state and national vital statistics systems. Indeed, it was primarily a lack of funds that led to delays (of more than a decade in many states) in the adoption of the 2003 revised birth and death certificates. This delay created the complex data comparability problem addressed in this study. The lack of publication of U.S. maternal mortality data since 2007 has also meant that these data have received a lesser degree of scrutiny and quality control when compared with published vital statistics measures such as infant mortality. For example, had the National Center for Health Statistics and the Texas vital statistics office both been publishing annual maternal mortality rates, the unusual findings from Texas for 2011–2014 would certainly have been investigated much sooner and in greater detail. Accurate measurement of maternal mortality is an essential first step in prevention efforts, because it can identify at-risk populations and measure the progress of prevention programs.

The study notes the same thing as the WHO does here, the US is one of the few countries in the world where the mortality rate for pregnant women is going up and it has one of the highest in the developed world (for example it is double that of Canada). That’s pathetic.

 

Supreme court says no to Texas abortion restrictions

The Supreme Court has struck down abortion restrictions in Texas:

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down Texas abortion restrictions that have been widely duplicated in other states, a resounding win for abortion rights advocates in the court’s most important consideration of the controversial issue in 25 years.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy joined the court’s liberals in the 5 to 3 decision, which said Texas’s arguments that the clinic restrictions were to protect women’s health were cover for making it more difficult to obtain an abortion.

The challenged Texas provisions required doctors who perform abortions at clinics to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and said that clinics must meet hospital-like standards of surgical centers.

Similar restrictions have been passed in other states, and officials say they protect patients. But the court’s majority sided with abortion providers and medical associations who said the rules are unnecessary and so expensive or hard to satisfy that they force clinics to close.

“The decision erodes states’ lawmaking authority to safeguard the health and safety of women and subjects more innocent life to being lost,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said in a statement. “Texas’ goal is to protect innocent life, while ensuring the highest health and safety standards for women.”

The Post has an article that looks at that last statement:

A key study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology estimated that the risk of a woman dying after childbirth was 10 times greater than after an abortion. The study estimated that between 1998 and 2005, one woman died in childbirth for every 11,000 babies born. That compares with one in 167,000 women who died of abortion complications. Doctors who perform abortions say the most common complications are not bladder issues or problems with reproductive organs — as some abortion opponents like to emphasize — but mild infection that can be easily treated.

So if Texas makes more women continue their pregnancy more women will die. Even if they just delay the abortion more women will die.

Let’s throw in some data (scroll down to tables 7 or 8):

Among the 38 areas that reported gestational age at the time of abortion for 2012 (Table 7), two-thirds (65.8%) of abortions were performed by ≤8 weeks’ gestation, and 91.4% were performed at ≤13 weeks’ gestation.

and according to here:

The risk of death associated with abortion increases with the length of pregnancy, from 0.3 for every 100,000 abortions at or before eight weeks to 6.7 per 100,000 at 18 weeks or later.

A first-trimester abortion is one of the safest medical procedures and carries minimal risk—less than 0.05%—of major complications that might need hospital care.

The Supreme Court easily figured out that these laws were not about the safety of women and all about restricting abortion.

Another reason to support abortions

Jezebel has the story of a woman who got an abortion at 32 weeks:

I got pregnant on our first try, last July. We were really excited about it. Everything seemed to be fine at first, and then we found out at 10 weeks that there was no heartbeat. That was September 2015, and I had a D&C.

It was around 16 weeks, I think, when we got the scan that looked like his feet were turned in—like club feet. Our doctor said he was OK, that we’d just keep watching it. Then, also around that time, we found out that I had a weird umbilical cord, or velamentous cord insertion. Normally, an umbilical cord is implanted in the center of a placenta; mine was way on the edge. That affects blood flow, affects how blood and nutrients get to the baby, so they put me on rest. And, unrelated, I was also bleeding—these huge bleeds that looked like I was having a heavy period.

Basically, there’s a certain protein that exists inside the fetus, and a tiny bit is supposed to get into the mother’s blood, but very little. I had four times the median of what’s normal.

So they immediately thought about muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, things like that. They rushed me in, did a full scan, measured everything. And they couldn’t find anything. He looked fine. My doctor said all we could do is keep checking.

This baby was unviable, basically. That’s what they say. They say that the baby is “incompatible with life.”

So, she and her husband went through a very bad year. Of course, this being the US, things still weren’t easy:

There are a few doctors in the country—four of them, you interviewed one of them—who will do this. But my doctor had previously referred patients to Dr. Hern, who’s in Boulder. He’s this 78-year-old man who’s been doing this for decades, who developed a lot of the abortion procedures that we know to be the most safe. He’s had 37,000 patients and he’s never lost anyone. And he’s a zealot, but he has to be. There are websites dedicated to offering money to kill him; his practice has four layers of bulletproof glass. They’ve been shot at. He was there during the Roe v. Wade decision. He’s been through it all. And the only other peer he had at his level was Dr. Tiller, who was killed in 2009.

It ended up that she had to fly to Colorado and then fly back because she had brain surgery two years before and could not go through a regular childbirth (since the fetus was so far along, she had to still go through with the ‘birth’). So the politics took a bad situation and made it worse.  And if conservatives had their way it would be even worse. Oh and that whole abortionists do it for the money?

Inside, it feels very much like the ‘70s. There’s wood paneling, wicker furniture, a super-old sonogram machine. They don’t have a lot. The clinic is clean, but it’s old. They try to stretch the money as much as they can. I made friends with a nurse who was from Brooklyn, and she told me that the reason that the procedure is so expensive is because, first, their insurance is so crazy high, and second, the whole staff—the nurses, the front desk—is paid really well because they’re risking their lives to be there.

Rape and consequences

Let’s look at 2 cases of rape. The first involves Worcester Polytechnic Institute:

The college made the arguments in response to a civil suit filed last year in Worcester Superior Court on behalf of the victim. The woman’s suit alleges the college failed to provide a safe environment for students.

The rape occurred in April 2012 at the condominium building in San Juan where Doe, who was a third-year student completing a two-month research project, and other students lived. Part of the building was leased for student housing, and WPI required Doe to live there.

The security guard, William Rodriguez, was convicted by a unanimous jury in the state court of Puerto Rico and is serving a 20-year sentence, according to court documents.

Rodriguez was previously a state police officer in Puerto Rico but was suspended in 2011 after he was convicted of selling bullets to an undercover agent, documents show.

The civil suit alleges that WPI failed to ensure or require proper background checks for security guards. WPI contracted with a local company, Sea Breeze Inc., for the apartments, but there were no terms in the lease relating to security guards, the lawsuit said.

In the court documents, the college said it is not seeking to blame the woman for being raped but challenged her claim that school officials were negligent in their protection of students.

The attorneys asked Doe whether her parents had taught her “don’t take candy from strangers” or how to protect herself from sexual assault. In describing the night, Doe said she expected a security guard to protect, not attack, her.

One of the attorneys then asked: “So it was okay to, despite that fact that you felt it was weird and you were surprised that he got into the elevator with you, you felt it was okay to go to the roof, a dark secluded roof with a man you know nothing about, whose name you don’t even know, and you felt that was not risky behavior? Do you understand my question?’’

“Yeah. No, I don’t think it’s risky behavior is my answer,’’ Doe said.

“Okay. Would you agree with me that if you had not gone to the roof with Mr. Rodriguez this incident wouldn’t have occurred?’’ the attorney asked.

“I can’t speculate that,” she answered.

I really don’t understand this. The college says it is not seeking to blame the victim and then … blames the victim. It sounds like the lawyer for the college is trying to argue that the college isn’t responsible since they subcontracted out to the local company which means it doesn’t matter if she was partially at fault (by the way, this is a case where it should be obvious she’s not at fault), so why are they trying to argue it was partially her fault?

In the second case we get a lovely man:

The two bikers skidded to a stop on “Scary Path.” True to its nickname among Stanford students, the dirt trail on the edge of campus was home to something sinister in the early hours of Jan. 18, 2015.

The bikers were on their way to a frat party. They halted, however, at the sight of a man lying on top of a half-naked woman.

Normally, the bikers might have been amused to catch sight of fellow students having sex. But this was different.

The man, tall and slim and athletic, was thrusting atop the woman.

The woman wasn’t moving. At all.

“Is everything okay?” Lars Peter Jonsson, a Swedish graduate student, shouted.

When the man turned around, Jonsson could see the woman’s genitals were exposed.

“She didn’t react to my call,” Jonsson testified Friday in a Palo Alto, Calif., courtroom, according to the San Jose Mercury News. “I said, ‘What the f— are you doing? She’s unconscious.’”

The man tried to run away, but Jonsson and his friend caught him and pinned him to the ground until police came and made an arrest.

So, this guy, Brock Turner, was caught raping a woman who was unconscious red-handed. If he had plead guilty and showed remorse, maybe he would would have gotten a light sentence but he decided to go to trial. Let’s look at the victim’s letter:

I thought there’s no way this is going to trial; there were witnesses, there was dirt in my body, he ran but was caught. He’s going to settle, formally apologize, and we will both move on. Instead, I was told he hired a powerful attorney, expert witnesses, private investigators who were going to try and find details about my personal life to use against me, find loopholes in my story to invalidate me and my sister, in order to show that this sexual assault was in fact a misunderstanding. That he was going to go to any length to convince the world he had simply been confused.

Here’s part of Brock Turner’s statement before the sentencing and the victim’s counter:

You said, you are in the process of establishing a program for high school and college students in which you speak about your experience to “speak out against the college campus drinking culture and the sexual promiscuity that goes along with that.”

Campus drinking culture. That’s what we’re speaking out against? You think that’s what I’ve spent the past year fighting for? Not awareness about campus sexual assault, or rape, or learning to recognize consent. Campus drinking culture. Down with Jack Daniels. Down with Skyy Vodka. If you want talk to people about drinking go to an AA meeting. You realize, having a drinking problem is different than drinking and then forcefully trying to have sex with someone? Show men how to respect women, not how to drink less.

What made this even worse is Turner had supporting statements:

“I don’t think it’s fair to base the fate of the next 10+ years of his life on the decision of a girl who doesn’t remember anything but the amount she drank to press charges against him. I am not blaming her directly for this, because that isn’t right,” she wrote to Judge Persky. “But where do we draw the line and stop worrying about being politically correct every second of the day and see that rape on campuses isn’t always because people are rapists.”

Wow, that’s some stupid there–calling rape rape is not being politically correct, it’s stating the obvious and a person who rapes someone is by definition a rapist.

And the father (we should give him some slack, but really):

These verdicts have broken and shattered him and our family in so many ways. His life will never be the one that he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve.  That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 years of life. The fact that he now has to register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life forever alters where he can live, visit, work, and how he will be able to interact with people and organizations. What I know as his father is that incarceration is not the appropriate punishment for Brock. He has no prior criminal history and has never been violent to anyone including his actions on the night of Jan 17th 2015. Brock can do so many positive things as a contributor to society and is totally committed to educating other college age students about the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity.

And the judge:

According to the judge: “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him. I think he will not be a danger to others.”

And:

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky said he weighed Turner’s character, lack of criminal history and remorsefulness in determining to bypass the heavier penalty of six years in state prison requested by prosecutors.

With good behavior, Turner, 20, is expected to serve three months in county jail. He will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and complete a sex offender management program.

Gee, 3 months for rape, the perks of the privileged.

 

Let’s propose something obviously unconstitutional

You go Oklahoma:

The Oklahoma Legislature on Thursday passed a bill that would effectively ban abortions by subjecting doctors who perform them to felony charges and revoking their medical licenses — the first legislation of its kind.

The bill would strip doctors who perform abortions of their medical licenses unless the procedure was necessary to save a woman’s life. The felony provision does not include that exception.

Given that the Supreme Court has ruled that abortion is a Constitutional right, this law is going nowhere. I do love the fact that a doctor can go to jail for performing an abortion even to save the woman’s life, religious conservatives are so compassionate.

One thing you might want to know:

Thursday’s vote in the Senate comes as the Oklahoma Legislature nears a May 27 deadline for adjournment and is still grappling with a $1.3 billion budget hole that could lead to deep cuts to public schools, health care and the state’s overcrowded prison system.

So they pass this bill which will probably cost the state millions:

In an open letter on Thursday, the Center for Reproductive Rights, a legal group based in New York, urged Ms. Fallin to veto what it said was a “blatantly unconstitutional measure.”

Noting that it has sued Oklahoma eight times in the last six years, blocking lesser restrictions like the state’s effort to ban the second-trimester surgical method, the center said that “this bill will almost certainly lead to expensive court challenges that the State of Oklahoma simply cannot defend in light of longstanding Supreme Court precedent.”

Of course, Oklahoma doesn’t really care about schools–at least not as much as oil profits:

After intense lobbying, Oklahoma’s oilmen scored a victory two years ago. State lawmakers voted to keep in place some of the lowest taxes on oil and gas production in the United States – a break worth $470 million in fiscal year 2015 alone.

The state’s schools haven’t been so fortunate. In Newcastle, 23 miles from the capital of Oklahoma City, John Cerny recently learned that the school attended by his five-year-old granddaughter, Adelynn, will open just four days a week next year. The Bridge Creek school district will slash spending because of a projected $1.3 billion state budget shortfall next year.

Shale regions are hurting across the country. Since 2014, the U.S. energy industry has shed more than 100,000 jobs. But during the drilling spree of 2008 to 2014, oil-rich states like North Dakota and Texas saw a sharp rise in oil-and-gas tax revenue and salted away a chunk of it for education. Over the same period, Oklahoma’s oil and gas production tax revenue slid 32 percent, in spite of soaring oil prices and a doubling of oil output.

Oklahoma’s education spending per pupil fell by 24 percent between 2008 and 2016, the biggest drop in the country, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington D.C. group that tracks budget and tax issues on behalf of low-income people.

There’s this saying that conservatives only care about a fetus until it’s born. I always thought this was hyperbole, but it seems it’s true for Oklahoma conservatives.

Tipping

Hmm, I missed this article about tipping when it came out. It’s not a pretty picture:

The restaurant industry is the second largest and fastest growing industry, and yet the Department of Labor reports every year that seven of the 10 lowest paying jobs are restaurant jobs. And, in fact, of those seven lowest paying jobs in America, four are tipped occupations. So even including tips, restaurant workers make up four of the ten lowest paying jobs in America.

But even in places like New York and D.C., seventy percent of tipped workers are actually women, largely working at casual restaurants, like Applebees, IHOP , and Olive Garden, earning a median wage of $9 an hour when you include tips. These people suffer three times the poverty rate of the rest of the U.S. workforce, use food stamps at double the rate, and, the worst part, suffer from the absolute worst sexual harassment of any industry in the United States.

Well, the law has always said from the very beginning that the employer has to make up the difference between the lower tipped-minimum wage and the regular tipped minimum wage, but the U.S. Department of Labor reports an 84 percent violation rate in regards to employers actually ensuring that they make up that difference.

There is still a $4 per hour wage gap between what white workers and workers of color make in the restaurant industry, and it’s because workers of color are relegated to lower level positions. In fine dining, they work as buses and runners, instead of as server and bartenders. They also work in lower level segments, at places like Olive Garden instead of at places like Capital Grille. They work in places where you make less money.

For our most recent report, which came out in 2014, we asked hundreds of restaurant workers to answer this question: ‘Have you experienced sexual behavior in the restaurant industry that is scary or unwanted?’ And 90 percent of workers, both male and female, said yes.

More broadly, the data show that the restaurant industry has the highest rate of sexual harassment of any industry in the United States. It’s actually five times the rate of all other industries. Seven percent of American women work in restaurants, but thirty percent of sexual harassment complaints from women come from the restaurant industry. It’s the single largest source of sexual harassment complaints of any industry in the United States.

What’s ironic is that the idea of tipping in the US came out of Europe and then there was a movement in the US to get rid of tipping in the mid 1800s which spread to Europe. The movement mostly succeeded in Europe but not in the US, which is why tipping is far less common in Europe.

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