Guest contributors run the gamut, but they all pretty much rock.
Guest Contributor Cal
If the Weinstein sex abuse allegations have proven one thing, it is that projection of guilt is rampant among the American left. Not only among the Hollywood elite but journalists and left-wing politicians. That is not to suggest that the right does not project guilt. I am looking at you Tim Murphy, you piece of garbage.
However, Americans should have seen the warning signs of the left’s indifference to sexual harassment and abuse. For nearly a century, Hollywood has used sex as a tool of power and access. During the Academy Awards, a standing ovation was given to convicted yet unpunished rapist Roman Polanski. Furthermore, the left continues to hail serial predator President Bill Clinton as one its most popular presidents.
This month has been a huge unveiling of left-wing hypocrisy, many of whom chided Fox News for Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly. Hollywood, Vice, Vox, and even the California’s State Capital have not been spared from what appears to be a pervasive culture of rapey “feminists.” However, I am not optimistic things will permanently change for the better.
The left continues to claim they are the champion of women’s rights. Some have claimed Republicans are to blame for Harvey Weinstein. Journalists and editors have been fired from news outlets due to their behavior, but nothing has been announced on how to prevent future sexual harassment.
Even the opinion article which shined a light on the abuses in California’s Capital does not name names. Its signatories claim they want to change the system, yet do nothing to root out known abusers. One signator claims there is a sitting state legislator who assaulted her but she does not want to name that vile individual. That is how Weinstein was outed for his abuses, people talked, yet no one seems to follow that brave example. My cynical side believes they will not name abusers for fear of hurting the Democrat brand and fear of never working in the lucrative world of California politics.
California’s Legislature is like Hollywood. They claim they want to do something, but refuse to give details, and later they will take a victory lap. Wash, rinse, repeat. There will probably be a temporary spike and then sudden drop in sexual harassment and assault claims. Mostly due to the fact predators will go into hiding until public interest has fallen.
By 2018, Hollywood elites will pat themselves on the back for ridding themselves of Harvey Weinstein and rooting out this monster. California Legislators will congratulate themselves on updating policies and laws to stop abuse, but both institutions will still be rotten.
Until the next Weinstein-esque controversy, the left will continue to project and claim that it is the right who are the oppressors and abusers of women because we dare oppose the killing of the unborn. They will continue to claim people like Vice President Mike Pence are dangerous men who promote “rape culture” and “toxic masculinity,” because he refuses to meet women alone. All the while ignoring their own or even suffering in silence for fear of losing their jobs.
Guest Contributor Jeff
It is a day every year that I take time to honor my twins with a lighting of a candle at 7 p.m. I remember them always in my head, but for this day, I light two candles for my remembrance of my boys and a candle for all others who have lost.
As a father, a first-time father at that, the loss was hard and compacted nearly daily after the fact as well. Everyone knew we were expecting a child; most knew it was twins. When we would encounter friends or family, the condolences were given freely, mostly to the twin’s mother. One out of every ten encounters would give me a pat on the shoulder, a hug, or a simple “I’m sorry.” All those times were great, but not the same. I thought maybe it was my circle, but quickly found out it was happening to other fathers as well.
As a result, we clam up, we become numb to things, and we just grow to accept that we are only there physically. To this end, when I finally was able to open up about the experience, I began sharing this freely, especially every year on their birth (and death) day. Sometimes that male gene or brain causes us not to be as open as we should, so seeing others open up about it can help, because there are a lot of us out there that could use some attention and comfort (even if we are highly reluctant to ask for it). The number in this awful club grows every year.
A staggering number of pregnancy and infant loss occurs each year. Approximately 24,000 pregnancies result in stillbirth, about the same amount die within the first year, and about 2,000 pass away due to SIDS. (1)
The loss of life is never an easy thing, especially with ones so small, so beautiful, and so helpless. It haunts your dreams, your thoughts, and impacts you in ways that you will never fully understand. My twins died nearly 11 years ago, it still hurts and affects me, even with prior knowledge that their birth at 25 weeks with them having TTTS (2), that one, though likely both, would die. You are not prepared for it when it happens.
But stepping outside of my circle of pain, I am reminded of the pain that those around us felt as well. The NICU doctors, nurses, and staff become all too familiar with loss. Then there are the friends and family members that have to deal with the hole their friend, brother, sister, mother or father now are experiencing. Many within that circle find it difficult to express ‘proper’ feelings toward the parents. (The use of ‘proper’ here is a word of convenience.)
There are groups out there that attempt to help with those who have suffered loss, with most doing great work in assisting individuals with coping and finding ways to keep to going. Not every location has resources for face-to-face therapy, so sometimes turning to online communities can help.
It is a subject that we all have troubles approaching with ease and comfort, which I am thankful for, as it is not a frequent event as it once was. So tonight, if you know someone that has lost a child, whether during pregnancy or as an infant, give them a quick message of support, light a candle for them and others at 7 p.m., and hug your child a little extra hard tonight.
1. CDC Stats via https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/stillbirth/facts.html
2. TTTS: Twin-to-Twin Syndrome (For more information go to https://www.tttsfoundation.org)
It seems all anyone can talk about lately is Harvey Weinstein. Social media has been positively glutted with coverage of the fallen movie titan! This is for numerous reasons. One is that he possessed such an entrenched position that he seemed untouchable. (Ahem.) Another is that he is a figurehead of Hollywood, that social stratum that loves to tell us how to conduct our own lives. To see that industry revealed as being far more guilty of its own accusations leads to this coverage.
One of the many pathetic explanations made for his decades of satyriasis is that this is emblematic of one of our society’s supposed problems – “toxic masculinity.” Feminists and media have hurled this charge like birdseed at a wedding, and the laughable aspect is their entreaties come off like those of the anti-gun lobby; the louder they rage the more evident it becomes they do not know their subject. A feminist hectoring men on how they need to conduct themselves holds all the import of an atheist lecturing on the nuance of the Gospels.
As a testosterone-infected male, allow me to say: Harvey Weinstein is hardly the paragon of masculinity. He’s as masculine as a plush panda toy with a vulgarity-laden voice box. He represents my gender no more than a jodhpur-adorned shepherd in the Alps, a guano farmer in French Polynesia, or a hipster in a drum circle at Burning Man. They are male all, but none is the figurehead of masculinity. Telling me Weinstein represents me in any fashion is to expose your ignorance of manhood like Harvey did with his expansive genital-shielding belly.
My favorite reaction to the decades-long sex scandal was the call for men to stand up and halt these aggressive actions on behalf of women. Oh really?!?! Funny, since feminists and the media have spent the past generation attempting to tamp down this very behavior. Men who cherish and protect women have been cast in the role of the enemy. Holding a door open for a lady has been called demeaning. Any chivalrous or traditional act is regarded as casting the female in a subservient role. Treat women as equals, and don’t pay them preferential attention, has been the lesson plan.
It has been a lesson I have long ignored. Showing a lady deferential treatment is not an aggressive social statement. Holding open doors, carrying their parcels, and aiding in ways that are helpful or polite is not the result of a sexual caste system. It is the pinnacle of positive human interaction. I gladly take items from the top shelf, and I still buy drinks for unknown women with whom I have no intention of speaking further. It is the fertilizer that nourishes humanity. I revere women, and if my actions generate an aggressive response that is more on the recipient than on me.
What the feminists and reactionaries this week calling for my intervention fail to understand; I already do look out for the ladies’ well being. That poisonous tendency I have to treat females with elevated respect means I will also step in when they are treated lowly. I have known a number of abuse victims, and I react viscerally each time. I have had altercations as a result of seeing mistreatment in my periphery. Even this week, while messaging a friend, she revealed enduring bouts of similar abuse, and I found I was practically typing with a fist.
Yet here are the intersectionalists, who have spent time demonizing my charitable acts, now commanding that I change course and take action.
PRE-WEINSTEIN: Don’t you dare treat women like damsels!
POST-WEINSTEIN: When are men going to come to the rescue?!
This would all be so very confusing, were men the type to listen to the lectures in the first place. There is a stark reality in this interaction of the sexes involving feminists. They view males as a toxic entity and thus feel the need to dictate changes and policy upon our lives, and yet if I followed every one of their dictums and commands, in the end, I’d become a neutered hamster. And they would STILL resent me, just based on my plumbing alone.
This is where the feminist agenda becomes worthy of a laugh-track. They hate men so much that they want nothing to do with us and thus have no clue what makes us operate. The result? They attribute Weinstein with alpha-male qualities. His Hitchcockian silhouette, the ever-present hapless 3-day partial beard, and his diesel engine-with-a-thrown-rod demeanor all represent a person who has largely given up on himself. His only saving grace was his professional power base, and he cloaked himself in it entirely (save for when he opened it for French Actresses in Cannes).
Weinstein is that guy in the cigar bar who relies solely on his career and net worth to exude masculinity. Too larded to actually engage in activities, when he sees other men doing things he starts braying about how he could buy all their objects in cash if he desired. Look at how Harvey acted when he was ultimately caught. He blamed his actions on his upbringing in the 60s, and on the nature of his industry. Then he kited off to Europe to evade the law and seek treatment, blaming “sex addiction.”
Utter horseshit. I have a bourbon addiction; that doesn’t mean I force myself into other people’s liquor cabinets and guzzle their Knob Creek against their will. The deflections and excuses are the acts of an impotent character. A real man would fess up, would face his accountability, and take action to repair the damage he caused, and then handle his own business.
Weinstein has acted like a privileged lout, and once exposed, he scurried with his tail tucked. Nothing about this lecher has approached manliness. To hold him up as an example while blaming my gender is an abject contradiction. It is also yet another reason not to listen to those making the accusation.
Guest Contributor @ProperOpinion
A few nights ago I drove out to a dark parking lot to help my nephew with a car he couldn’t start. Now, I’m a jerk, so I mainly enjoyed laughing at his understanding of how an engine works. Imagine a Rube Goldberg device powered by Flintstone animals. Fine, I’m a jerk, but I’m not a dumb jerk, so I realized between laughs that this kid knows nothing because he was never taught anything. I don’t know everything, but I know that first 20 percent that covers 80 percent of the issues. The Pareto Principle of engine repair. So, I started with the battery…
This episode came to mind just now while reading more about the Weinsteins of the world. How does this happen? And it made me think of a talk I should maybe have with my nephew about helping protect the women in his life. It’ll go something like this:
See them to the door
Let’s start with the easiest of easy. There are places criminals like to strike because it’s convenient. These are called doors. It only takes a second to follow a woman through her door and then she’s alone and off the street. It used to be a rule that you’d take a date or a female friend to her door or at least wait on the street until she’s safely inside until you left for the evening. It should become a rule again.
This doesn’t just apply to houses or apartment buildings. It also goes for parking lots and garages. If you see a woman going to her car take a second or two and see if there are any sketchy creepers lurking around. Doing so takes a second. Not doing so should keep you up a few minutes that night.
Leave no woman behind
You know what’s annoying? When our friends get tipsy and won’t stop talking to some rando at the bar or party. You know what you can’t do? You can’t leave them. You wait and sit through a couple minutes of too loud conversation about God knows what and you ask how they’re getting home. And you don’t leave until you know. Now, we’re all adults, and we all know that sometimes they’re going to go home together. So you do the psychopath once over and if the guy passes that, you introduce yourself and you find out their name and talk enough so there is little doubt in their mind that you know who they are and that they are leaving together. Guess what? Sometimes that girl might even get annoyed with this. Who cares. Worry about that tomorrow if they still remember.
Deal with not knowing what to say; it’s a man’s curse, so get used to it.
Okay, young man, this one is harder. You’re going to have a female friend come home from a date or an evening out one night and she’s going to be crying. Yes, a crying woman. The tears are terrifying but it’s mainly because you’re afraid you will have no idea what to say. The bad news is that you might never know what to say. The other bad news is this is no excuse, so suck it up. Sometimes you’re going to hear some extremely disgusting things that will make you so enraged you feel like you’re going to burst because your adrenalin has nowhere to go. Such is life. You still have to do it. No one said being a man is easy, and it’s seldom because of all the bears we’re fighting. Be there for them and be ready to do something if necessary.
Don’t think sometimes
This isn’t legal advice but that’s okay because I’m not a lawyer. Sometimes you’re going to see things that simply require action. Maybe it’s hearing what that crying friend just told you. Maybe it’s a woman being jerked hard on the arm on the street. We live in an age when you’re told a lot of things about what a man should and shouldn’t do. In these instances, a good rule is: don’t think. If you feel like you need to take action to protect someone, then do it and worry about the consequences later. Maybe you’re afraid of things getting physical because you’ve never been in a fight. Well, for one, you’re already winning even if you’re losing teeth because you’re the one getting beat in that scenario and not the woman. For another, even the most one-sided fights aren’t that bad at all when you consider the alternative, which is thinking about what you didn’t do from that moment forward. Scars are much easier to look at in the mirror.
And… that’s it. That’s the bare minimum of what to know and do.
Regular Contributor Raymond
California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law that reduces penalties and sentencing for those who are HIV Positive and knowingly engage in activities that put others at risk of infection. Those include engaging in sexual activity with someone and donating at local blood banks.
There is fear and disdain from those who vehemently oppose this rollback who believe this could cause another nationwide HIV epidemic. There’s excitement from those who are in favor of this law, who believe this effectively ends the stigmatizing of those with HIV/AIDS and those who are at high risk of being infected.
I’m in that high-risk category. I don’t donate blood or organs. I am regularly tested. I take Truvada as a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for the prevention of HIV. And I had to overcome a lot of my own prejudices, ignorances, and even hypocrisy to ask my doctor about PrEP. I will be the first to admit I still have a lot to learn about HIV/AIDS and how the blood and organ donation process works.
But based on what I do know, a rollback on some situations that are deemed HIV criminalization should not be an issue. There are thousands who are HIV Positive and still have absolutely no idea they have become infected. They are either asymptomatic once they are infected or they pass off symptoms of new HIV infection as a cold/flu, lethargy, or something that (to them) seems more plausible. Because, as we’ve heard so many times, “It could never happen to me.” Decriminalizing HIV crimes in these cases protects those who are not deemed a threat to the medical community and keeps from punishing those who are ignorant of their status.
Also, most everyone these days are thoroughly tested once they walk through the door of any medical clinic or emergency room, blood donation banks thoroughly test blood before using it for transfusions. Most state/local governments have a database collected of those folks who are diagnosed with any sexually transmitted disease or chronic bloodborne illness (HIV/Hep C). And while there is a window between someone being HIV negative and HIV positive where the antibodies may not show up in the most sophisticated of testing for weeks or months, checks and balances still exist and should continue to exist. But, as previously mentioned, donations are also taken from the “It could never happen to me” population, that may or may not be at high risk, have never had an HIV test, and may also be in that newly infected category too.
For what it is worth, I don’t have an issue with not being able to donate my blood or organs. Half of it is due to needle phobia and the other half has to do with the fact that if taking myself (and others who are HIV-, healthy, on PrEP, but still engage in what is deemed high-risk behavior) out of the bank means peace of mind for others and for the medical community, then I’m perfectly okay with that. The medical community’s standards will never have a bearing on my personhood. And there are millions of other virile, healthy Americans out there that can and should donate. Let’s just hope they’re all telling the truth about their sexual activities, needled drug usage, and are aware of their status.
I previously mentioned that there are some cases of HIV criminalization where either the accused did not know they had HIV or or had low risk/no risk activities, that were grounds under the law for criminalization. But I am not completely sure the answer is to completely decriminalize HIV transmission.
The normalization of stealthing (the act of removing a condom and or ejaculation without a partner’s consent) is a valid concern for many of those who are sexually active and for those in the health community who have to deal with new cases of HIV transmission, pregnancy, and other STDs as a result. There is legitimate concern to be had, particularly when there are many groups who use HIV transmission as a weapon or as a rite of passage to unsuspecting individuals. There is a known subculture of individuals (known as bugchasers) whosearousal for sexual activity partly stems from passing HIV along to others, even those who are completely trusting and have not been disclosed the person’s positive status.
All of that being said, Governor Brown, who signed decriminalizing HIV transmissions into law, is the same one who signed a mandatory vaccinations bill to protect the health and safety of all individuals. I find it to be a contradiction that Governor Brown and other California lawmakers believe that mandatory vaccinations are important to the medical community, yet also believe the mandatory disclosure of one’s health status to his/her sexual partner or at a blood bank is not at all a concern for the medical community
At the end of the day, I do believe that we, as responsible, mature adults, should be in charge of our own health and know our own risks before engaging in any sexual or drug-related activities. It’s one of the many reasons I use PrEP as a tool in my personal health and safety. Sexual activity with random strangers, introducing vetted (and unvetted) different partners into your monogamous relationships, condomless sex, and sharing needles are all things our parents, the medical community, and our consciences have warned us about since we realized what our erections were capable of. And I honestly don’t think the government has any business regulating our decisions or protecting us from our own actions, regardless of how foolish and stupid those decisions appear to be. My position isn’t an attempt to normalize HIV; the fact is that it already exists among the people in our normal lives from those who are vocal about their status, those who live in silence with or without treatment, and in those who have no idea.
By attempting to shield its undetectable HIV population and those who live in fear of being tested, liberal California lawmakers hearts are somewhat in the right place. The science for those who are on a daily drug regimen and are untransmittable is there and they should not be jailed or deemed as a threat. But what some fail to grasp is that the complete decriminalization of HIV transmission (speaking specifically of those who are involved in a subculture of stealthing and bugging unconsenting conquests) sets the stage for an epic Us vs. Them culture war that will do way more damage to the HIV/AIDS community, those at high risk, and allies than any defunding of drug regimens/research, Michael Weinstein slut-shaming or Pat Robertson quotes from his 700 Club chair.