Liberal Dan Radio 10/22/2014: Louisiana Elections

On the October 22nd, 2014 episode of Liberal Dan Radio I will be discussing the ballot in Louisiana, various congressional races, the Senatorial election, and the Constitutional amendments.

I will also go into the Louisiana Fraternal Order of Police endorsement of Bill Cassidy and why it is unAmerican.

Those issues, headlines, tweet of the week, and more talk from the left that’s right on Liberal Dan Radip: 8pm Central on Blog Talk Radio.

How the CA “Yes Means Yes” law gets it wrong

I want to start off by being clear. “Yes Means Yes” is the standard that all people should use when having sex with other people. “No Means No” is antiquated and puts the responsibility on the victim to say no instead of putting the responsibility on all parties involved who want to have sex to make sure that all other parties involved also want to have sex. No means no implies that the absence of a no means consent is given. That is horrific. That allows for people like Cee Lo to say that unconscious people cannot be raped. Yes means yes implies that in the absence of a clear yes, it is rape.

So why do I have problems with the law? Well there are several issues.

1) Sex does not always simply involve two people. 

This is the wording from the law:

An affirmative consent standard in the determination of whether consent was given by both parties to sexual activity

Both parties implies only two. So the law is not specific enough to handle cases handled on college campuses. This is a relatively minor issue but it is one that was missed in the drafting of the law. It also shows that the people writing the law were ignoring reality because the idea that college sex is limited to only two people at a given time is frankly a silly one.

2) Rape happens on more places than just colleges.

Rape can happen anywhere, and by anyone. It can take place in high school. It can take place in the workplace. It can take place at your house. It can take place in a friends house. It can take place in a car. It can take place on a date. It can take place in a back alley (those are rarer than some might have you believe). So why draft a law setting a “Yes Means Yes” standard but only having that standard apply to colleges? That just doesn’t make any sense to me at all. A “Yes Means Yes” standard should be universal and apply to everyone, not just on colleges.

3) Government is abdicating its responsibility of punishing rapists.

This law is not setting forth any standards to be used by law enforcement or the courts to adapt an affirmative consent standard universally across the state of California. Instead it is pushing its responsibility to investigate and punish rapists onto college disciplinary boards. I doubt that all California colleges who are covered by this law are up to the task of determining the guilt or innocence of an individual. Are these panels made up of, or at least headed up by, judges who are adept at determining if someone committed an act of sexual violence? I do not have faith in that idea at all.

Parts of the law do contain requirements like protecting the anonymity of the accuser and other such measures that the university should be required to take in order to make the environment as safe as possible for victims after they come forward. I take no issue with this at all. However, since it is the job of government to punish rapists, it should not be passing that job off to college administrations. Do you want some community college board determining if you committed an act of violence against another? I sure would not.

4) The burden of proof is too low. 

In setting the standards in this law, California has set:

A policy that the standard used in determining whether the elements of the complaint against the accused have been demonstrated is the preponderance of the evidence.

Since government is abdicating its responsibility it is also taking away a measure of due process from the accused. California is basically saying “hey, we do not do a good enough of a job punishing people who rape, so lets get our numbers up by making colleges do our work for us and while we are at it lets make it easier for them to punish people accused of crimes than it is for us”. Proving beyond reasonable doubt is a GOOD standard to have in criminal cases. It puts the burden on the state to prove that a crime has taken place  It makes it less likely for a mistake to have been made. Just like the mistake that was made with Caleb Warner.

5) This is just about money.

The law requires universities to do all this to get state funding. The punishment for noncompliance is no state money. Each section starts with:

In order to receive state funds…

An issue as serious as rape shouldn’t be tied to if a school gets money or not.

Rape on college is a big deal and a big problem. We do need to look at all the ways that we can educate people that rape will not be tolerated, on how to best step in to help others who might become a victim, and how to best deal with rape charges when they do come forward. To me, the governmental abdication of responsibility and a lowered burden of proof is not the way to accomplish these goals.

Liberal Dan Radio 10/1/2014: Attacking Victims and #yesmeansyes vs #MRA

On the October 1, 2014 episode of Liberal Dan Radio:

It has been revealed that in Louisiana a person who has been raped will be forced to pay for services received as part of a rape kit because many of the public hospitals have been privatized. I will discuss why this is wrong and why people shouldn’t be surprised Louisiana is doing this.

A pair of teachers have been charged with Carnal Knowledge of a Juvenile after a football game. The teachers work for Destrehan High School and had sex with the male 4 days before his 17th birthday. Certain conservatives, especially so called “Men’s RIghts Advocates” are up in arms about the double standard. I will go over why their fears are often unfounded and why they fight the people they need to be working with to end double standards.

Finally, California passed a “Yes Means Yes” law that places certain requirements on universities. Men’s rights groups are also up in arms about this law as well. I will explain why they are so very wrong in their criticisms of the law and where the criticisms should take place.

Those issues, headlines, words of redneck wisdom, tweet of the week and more on Liberal Dan Radio: Talk From The Left, That’s Right.

Liberal Dan Radio 09/17/2014: More Stephen VanderGast than you can handle

Ok, maybe not. But this week on Liberal Dan Radio I discuss several issues including the NFL situation, what should a poor person be able to own and not be judged for it, and more.

And as always headlines, tweet of the week, and more this week on Liberal Dan Radio: Talk From The Left, That’s Right.

Liberal Dan Radio 9/10/2014: Ray Rice, Edwin Edwards, and Special Guest Joanna Schroeder

On the September 10, 2014 episode of Liberal Dan Radio:

I will discuss the endorsement of unrepentant convicted felon Edwin Edwards for the 6th congressional district of Louisiana by the Louisiana Democratic Party. Previously I had stated my reasons for opposing his candidacy and what might happen if the state party went ahead and supported him anyway.

I will also have on the show previous guest Joanna Schroeder from the Good Men Project. We will discuss a variety of issues from the controversial nail polish and Cee Lo greens comments to the Ray Rice firing by the NFL.

Those issue, headlines, tweet of the week and more tonight at a special time, 9pm Central, on BlogTalkRadio.

A few comments on the Louisiana Democratic Party endorsement of Edwin Edwards

The Louisiana Democratic Party has endorsed unrepentant convicted felon Edwin Edwards for Louisiana’s 6th congressional district. The seat is an open seat with no incumbent because the current office holder is Bill Cassidy, one of the Republican challengers to Democratic incumbent Senator Mary Landrieu.

First, read this post about why I oppose the Edwin Edwards candidacy.  Now that the Louisiana Democratic party has endorsed him I have been getting grief from some fellow progressives about my refusal to jump aboard the Edwin Edwards bandwagon.

Some suggest that I oppose allowing felons back into society. That is false. I supported Malik Rahim for Congress when he ran against Bill Jefferson and Joseph Cao. He was a convicted felon but unlike Edwards, Rahim spent his post prison time helping others instead of helping himself.

And let’s just ignore for a second the fact that it is just wrong to support Edwards because of his criminal background that should not be trusted. Let’s ignore that supporting his candidacy is the ultimate “the ends justifies the means” statement. Let’s look at this from a purely political standpoint. Senator Landrieu is facing a difficult reelection campaign. All of her elections have been close, but this one is going to be the closest yet. Does she really need to have the baggage of an Edwin Edwards candidacy being used against her? I can imagine the Bill Cassidy or Col. Rob Maness ads now. “Look at Mary Landrieu, she is supported by Democrats. These same Democrats support convicted felon Edwin Edwards”. Democrats nationwide are struggling to keep hold of the Senate. Even if Edwards can pull off a win in this election, is one additional seat in the house worth losing the Senate? I don’t think so.

I lived in Maryland when the Edwards/Duke election took place. And had I been living in Louisiana and had I been of voting age I would have absolutely voted for Edwards against Duke. That time voting for the crook is important. This time there is no Duke. This time rejecting the crook is important. That election embarrassed Louisiana nationwide. And it wasn’t just because we had a Klansman running. It was also because that opponent of the Klansman was using the phrase “vote for the crook” to try and win. This will be another embarrassment to both Louisiana and Democrats. I wonder how many other Republicans will be able to leverage Democratic support for Edwards into political points. Look, it may very well be the case that Edwards could win and that his win would have no negative impact on anyone else running. But in this election I fear that we cannot take that risk. And I fear that the endorsement of Edwards by the Louisiana Democratic Party could very well be the nail in the coffin of the Landrieu campaign.

But now the second is over, and we should not ignore the fact that regardless of his ability to win that we should be rejecting the Edwards candidacy. The ends do not justify the means. Edwin Edwards to this day insists that he did no wrong. He is delusional. He is greedy. He is selfish. He needs to go away. At the end of the day I have two children. I have to be able to look them in the eye and set a good example for them. I cannot do so while supporting Edwards and I cannot support a party that endorses corruption like the Louisiana Democratic Party just did.

When I first heard of the possibility of an Edwards campaign I said that if the Louisiana Democratic Party endorses Edwards that I would cut my ties with the party. I intend to follow through on that promise. I can fight for progressive causes without waiving the banner of the Democratic party. Other states have benefited with a progressive third party pushing for progressive issue. I will still likely vote for and support progressive candidates despite their party affiliation. I will vote for Cedric Richmond and Mary Landrieu. But I refuse to do so as a member of a party that holds on to past corruption instead of building to the future. If it would be possible to be a registered Democrat nationally while rejecting the state party I would do so. But there seems to be no way to do that.

 

Update: I found out that you can change your voter registration online. If you do leave the party, tweet @LaDemos and make sure to use the hashtag #ILeftLADemos

Using Gender Neutral Language When Discussing Domestic Violence

There is a lot of discussion going on about the firing of Ray Rice after a new video was released showing the situation where he assaulted his then fiance in an elevator. Many people will debate how the NFL dropped the ball in this case. What I want to write about is how people are discussing the issue of domestic violence and why I wish people would move towards non gender specific discussions when having a discussion about domestic violence.

Just now, as I watch ESPN, one of the sportscasters said “Somebody who hits a woman like that belongs in jail”. That is true. However, wouldn’t it be better to say “Someone who hits another person like that belongs in jail”? Had Ray Rice punched a man in that way, would that mean he doesn’t belong in jail? If Michael Sam punched his partner in that way, wouldn’t he also deserve jail time?

I have heard others say “it is never ok to hit a woman”. Is that true? If a woman comes at you with a knife, isn’t it ok to defend yourself? But even if you wanted to reword it that it is never ok to initially hit a woman, that still ignores many other times where it is not ok to hit someone. We should be wording it “It is never ok for one person to strike another except for in self defense”.

And all I am talking about here is how we should be discussing violence towards others. It is a fact that a majority of domestic violence cases in the United States are perpetrated against women. It is also a fact that a significant number of domestic violence cases in the United States are perpetrated against men. We should be focusing on how we can prevent such violence. We should recognize that violence against women is 3/5 of all domestic violence. But when saying the times it is ok to hit people and to not hit people, we should include all people that you should not hit and not just one set.

Victimizing victims with child support

An Arizona man, Nick Olivas, was sexually violated by a 20 year old woman when he was only 15 years old, by the nature of the fact that no child under 16 can legally consent to sex of any kind under Arizona law. No charges were pressed at the time. Olivas said he was uncomfortable with the situation at the time. However, he was unaware that he could go to the police and that the sexual act was a crime.

The rape produced a child. Now that the statute of limitations has run out and she can no longer be charged with the crime of rape (despite the fact that we all know that it was a rape that occurred) she sought child support from her victim. She was successful. Not only was she awarded child support in the future, he was assessed charges  for past child support that he “should have” paid plus a 10% penalty for those past due child support payments that he knew nothing about. Apparently it is the responsibility of rape victims to know when their rapists give birth and to support the children that they did not legally consent to creating.

I have no problem with the idea that the simple act of a male consenting to sexual relations with a woman causes him to be financially responsible for any child that results. But this is not what we are talking about here. This is rape. This person could not consent to the sex that was had and it is a travesty of justice to seek monetary payments against him. Defense of the law will typically come in the form of “it is not the fault of the child” that the child was born. Not only does this miss the point, since we can find other ways to support kids born from these situation, these arguments sound horribly similar to the arguments made against abortion rights in the case of rape.

Men’s rights advocates, who are usually wrong on many issues, will come out against these support laws as being wrong. They are right to oppose them but they do so for the wrong reasons. They will likely blame feminism for their existence. In fact one twitter user, who may or may not be an MRA (but sounds like one) states that this was the result of feminism.

I disagree. In reality laws like this are caused by the patriarchy and if feminism is successful in dismantling the patriarchy these laws will go away. Here are my reasons why the patriarchy is to blame for such laws.

The Patriarchy supports the idea that women are caretakers and men are the bread winners. Many of the flaws in our system that MRA will blame feminism for are because of archaic social views that a child should be raised by a woman and should be financially supported by men. Eliminating the gender pay gap, breaking up archaic gender roles, and embracing that both parents have equal roles in raising a child will go a long way in fixing the perception that women should be the ones who get custody and support payments. Once this happens, the laws can be changed to reflect our new social norms.

The Patriarchy supports the idea that men are pursuers and women are to be pursued. You have heard the arguments before. That teen boys who get to “score” with “older babes” are “lucky”. Regardless of what age of consent laws say, male victims who are incapable of consenting to sex under the law are scoffed at when people suggest that they have been victimized. These male victims must have wanted it, according to the tropes, and that must make it ok (or at least “better” than when an older male sleeps with a female who is legally incapable of consenting to sex). By keeping the idea that men pursue and women are pursued we not only retain the idea that women are possessions, but we also deny men the ability to say that they are victims. It contributes to why Olivas never initially contacted the police.

Eliminate the patriarchy and you help solve the problems that exist in this case. Eliminate feminism, and these problems continue as nobody is left to fight the actual root causes of those problems.