Michelle Duggar, who lives in Arkansas with her (very) large family, narrated a robocall that went out to Fayetteville households earlier this week, asking residents to protest an anti-discrimination ordinance going before the Fayetteville City Council on Tuesday.
In the call, Duggar claims that an ordinance pertaining to housing, employment, and public accommodation discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender would allow “males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls.”
According to the Fayetteville Flyer, which first published audio of the call, the ordinance in question is intended to strengthen protections for LGBT and transgender residents of the town, creating a new position on the city staff dedicated to handling discrimination complaints pertaining to housing, employment, and public accommodation.
The Josh Duggar scandal has been covered by multiple media outlets. Most people have been quick to point out the hypocrisy of Duggar, who served as the executive director of an organization that regularly links homosexuality and pedophilia, when he in fact sexually assaulted many underage girls. Unsurprisingly, the Christian news sites are coming to his defense, some even drawing parallels between Duggar and the story from the Bible where Jesus saved a woman accused of committing adultery.
Right now, the same people who conflate equal marriage with bestiality are jumping to Duggar’s defense, calling what he did a “mistake” and commending him for asking for forgiveness and getting “help.” One blogger went as far as to suggest that most teenagers commit sexual assaults against children. In response to a tweet saying “I don’t know what world you’re living in but ‘most teenagers’ don’t molest little girls,” Steven Crowder at Western Journalism said,
The thing is, you guys, they do. By 17-years-old, 48% of teenagers have had sex. One out of every three teenage girls gets pregnant before the age of 20. And it doesn’t count as consent just because you’re both under 18. Twenty-six and a half percent of 15-19-year-old girls are giving birth to kids - and those are just the ones that aren’t having abortions. And 17% of those births are to unwed mothers who already have at least one other child!
The US military has a problem with sexual violence. That’s the conclusion of the Universal Periodic Review Panel, a UN panel that aims to address the human rights records of the 193 UN member states. This is the second time that the panel has scrutinized the United States; the first was in 2010, when the list of concerns included detention in Guantanamo Bay, torture, the death penalty, and access to health care. Its latest report came out Monday morning, and there was a surprising addition to the predictable laundry list of US human rights violations.
In one of 12 final recommendations, the UN Council urged the US military “to prevent sexual violence in the military and ensure effective prosecution of offenders and redress for victims.” Other recommendations included stopping the militarization of police forces, closing Guantanamo Bay, ending the death penalty, and stopping NSA surveillance of citizens.
For years US lawmakers and activists have complained about sexual assault in the military, but this is the first time the United Nations has addressed the issue.
At this point, it has become common knowledge the Josh Duggar, the oldest of the Clan’s children, had molested 5 younger girls, 4 of them his siblings. From news reports, it has become clear that the 4 abused within the family where the youngest daughters at the time, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, and Joy-Anna.
However, while this is awful in its own right, I am further disturbed by the links the family has that lead to similar issues.
The most obvious one is the police officer who came by, who had been expressly contacted by church elders to talk to Josh. Joseph T. Hutchens was arrested in 2007 for Child Porn Charges. He was released on parole, but was caught again in 2010, and was sentenced to 60 years in prison, with a possibility of Parole in 2020. It should also be noted that the former officer never followed up, and never reported this to higher-ups in the department. In fact, they would not learn about this until Hutchens was arrested in 2007, after the statute of limitations expired, which prevented any action.
But, the man that the Duggar’s rely on ideologically (or, at least one of them., Bill Gothard, was himself forced out of his ministry last year, as a result of allegations of sexual abuse by at least 34 women, including a teenager who was just 16 when the event occurred. I should note that I have not seen that he was prosecuted, which is just a bit disturbing. He is also the man that “counseled ” Josh after what Josh did as well.
As a final punchline, Michelle Duggar received an award from the Quiverfull movement found in 2013. Within a year, he would confess to cheating on his wife. In addition, the woman he was having an affair with has called him heavily abusive.
It’s hard to underestimate the importance of Phillips in the small world of extreme fundamentalists. His father is one of the most critical founding fathers of the Christian right movement generally, and Doug extended his work by largely building this culture of the far Christian right as we know it, especially if you watch 19 Kids & Counting. The Duggar family are friends and acolytes of Phillips, and Vision Forum, in turn, has used Michelle Duggar in their efforts to demonize contraception, including giving her an award for “Mother of the Year” for having so many children.
On Tuesday, it was revealed that there may be more to this entire scandal than the typical minister-caught-cheating story. The woman with whom Phillips confessed to an “inappropriate” relationship, named Lourdes Torres-Manteufel, filed suit in Bexar County, Texas, accusing the powerful Christian right leader of pushing her into a multi-year abusive relationship that allegedly featured frequent sexual assault. While the complaint never mentions sexual intercourse, it does claim that he repeatedly groped and masturbated on her while she protested. The plaintiff alleges she was basically moved into Phillips’ house with his wife and children, taken on many family vacations, and given work as a caretaker for the family, all while secretly being bullied into sexual encounters without consent. She even claims that Phillips told her that they would marry soon, as he believed that his wife was about to die.
I do believe there is a major child sexual abuse problem among the Quiverfull crowd, and think there should be a major investigation into this, It seems the more you pull at this story, some other atrocity comes out. Most disturbing is how the church knew about it, but attempted to keep it out of the police’s hands. When they did go to one, they went to one willing to not follow up, and inform others.
And for all our talking about Josh, what about the poor girls? As evident from the picture below, women are not treated as fulling functioning humans, but as cattle.
This makes me very upset. Because women can be just as powerful, smart, and awesome as men. The Muslim Women I know are all geniuses, and tend to out-perform their male peers. And I wouldn’t have made it this far, if not for the care and protectiveness of women I have had as friends in trying to get me to be more competent socially, and shielding me from bullying that often occurred at because of people, predominantly males, picking on me for various deficiencies I have had through my life. Girls and women need to thrive, and persue their dreams, and these Taliban-like pieces of rabid, rotten flesh are, to be pretty close to the definition of absolute evil.
This has however, softened my view of Colorado Springs. Because I never met any nuts like this there.
The names Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Freddie Grayhave become well-known because their recent deaths at the hands of local police sparked protests, elicited media attention, and continue to inspire policy debates.
But the organizations and activists behind #SayHerName point out that during this time, far less attention has been paid to women who have been killed by law enforcement.
Warning: One possibly NSFW photo at the Vox link.
Four of Six Homeschooled Brothers Plead Guilty to Molesting Their Sister While ‘anti-School’ Parents Did Nothing
Four homeschooled brothers pleaded guilty Thursday to molesting their younger sister from the time she was 4 years old until she was almost 15 - and their parents and two other brothers still face charges related to the case.
The oldest brother confessed in December 2012 to molesting the girl after becoming a born-again Christian, and a pastor from the Baptist church in Wake Forest, North Carolina, contacted authorities the following day.
“He confided in his pastor and his pastor told him that was wrong and not the way normal families are,” said Perquimans County Sheriff Eric Tilley.
Eric Jackson, then 25, told authorities that he and all five of his brothers had sexually abused their younger sister for a decade, and authorities say their parents knew but did nothing to stop the abuse.
An elder at Hope Baptist Church, which Jackson and another brother attended, compared the pattern of abuse to other “horrible” sins such as adultery and homosexuality.
Published on May 21, 2015
democracynow.org - New cellphone video sheds light on Freddie Gray’s fatal journey in a Baltimore police van. The footage obtained by The Baltimore Sun shows Gray lying motionless as several police officers shackle his ankles and load him into the vehicle. It appears to contradict earlier police claims that Gray was “irate” and “combative.” One of the officers, Lt. Brian Rice, reportedly threatened to use his Taser on the eyewitness who was filming. We are joined by Matt Taibbi, whose latest article for Rolling Stone is “Why Baltimore Blew Up.” He writes, “Instead of using the incident to talk about a campaign of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of illegal searches and arrests across decades of discriminatory policing policies, the debate revolved around whether or not the teenagers who set fire to two West Baltimore CVS stores after Gray’s death were “thugs,” or merely wrongheaded criminals.”
Matt Taibbi: World’s Largest Banks Admit to Massive Global Financial Crimes, but Escape Jail (Again)
In an interview with Democracy Now!, Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi spoke about the recent news surrounding the five major banks - Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS - who pled guilty to rigging the price of foreign currencies and interest rates. Their fines amount up to more than $5 billion. “They were monkeying around with the prices of every currency on Earth,” Taibbi told Amy Goodman. “So, if you can imagine that anybody who has money, which basically includes anybody who’s breathing on the planet, all of those people were affected by this activity. So if you have dollars in your pocket, they were monkeying around with the prices of dollars versus euros, so you might have had more or less money fractionally, depending on all of this manipulation, every single day.”
Below is an interview with Taibbi, followed by a transcript:
NEW YORK (AP) — A woman who admitted to shoving a Hindu man off a New York City subway platform to his death in an attack motivated by religious animus has been sentenced to 24 years in prison.
Erika Menendez was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to manslaughter for killing Sunando Sen in December 2012 in Queens.
According to the complaint, the 33-year-old Queens woman was seen talking to herself and pacing back and forth on a No. 7 train platform.
As the train entered the station, the complaint says Menendez approached Sen from behind and shoved him onto the tracks. Sen was struck by the train and died of multiple blunt force trauma.
There’s a major scandal that hit the news the other day and the repercussions bug me to no end. That’s because the issue hits so close to my heart. I know so many people who have been touched by cancer and then I hear that the FTC has shut down four “charities” because they were not using money donated for charitable purposes. We’re not talking chump change either. We’re talking nearly $200 million.
In reality, officials say, millions of dollars raised by four “sham charities” lined the pockets of the groups’ founders and their family members, paying for cars, luxury cruises, and all-expense paid trips to Disney World for charity board members.
The 148-page fraud lawsuit accuses the charities of ripping off donors nationwide to the tune of $187 million from 2008 to 2012 in a scheme one federal official called “egregious” and “appalling.”
The charities — Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services, Children’s Cancer Fund of America and the Breast Cancer Society — were incorporated nonprofit organizations with tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service, according to a lawsuit naming the charities and their top executives as defendants.
According to the FTC, the charities engaged in deceptive fundraising by mail and phone in the name of cancer patients, billing themselves as legitimate charities that helped provide direct relief to suffering patients.
That’s money that isn’t going to research.
That’s not money going to patient services.
That’s not money going to patient treatments.
That’s money lining the pockets of executives and groups whose sole purpose is to churn and raise donations while pocketing nearly all of what they raise as a self-fulfilling enterprise. Most of the $187 million went to pay for professional fundraisers who took as much as 90 cents on each dollar raised. What was left after that went to pay for salaries of the administrators of those charities; less than 3% of the donations went to the charitable purpose. For instance, in 2012, the Children’s Cancer Fund spent $45,000 on cash assistance to kids with cancer while paying Perkins $231,672.
Criminal charges aren’t part of this at the present because the FTC doesn’t have the power to bring criminal charges, but state prosecutors do. We’re talking about fraud on a massive scale. You’d think that the government would be clawing back a bunch of that money, but you’d be mistaken:
In addition to the bans imposed on charity work by the settling individual defendants and the dissolution of two corporations, CCFOA and BCS, the proposed final order against CCFOA and Rose Perkins imposes a judgment of $30,079,821, the amount consumers donated between 2008 and 2012. The judgment against CCFOA will be partially satisfied via liquidation of its assets; the judgment against Perkins will be suspended based upon her inability to pay.
The proposed final orders against BCS and Reynolds II impose a $65,564,360 judgment, the amount consumers donated between 2008 and 2012. The BCS order provides an option, subject to court approval, for spinning off its Hope Supply Warehouses program to a legitimate, qualified charity. BCS’s remaining assets will be liquidated and used to partially satisfy the judgment. The judgment against Reynolds II will be suspended when he pays $75,000.
The proposed final order against Effler will impose a judgment of $41,152,231, the amount consumers donated to CSS between 2008 and 2012. The judgment will be suspended upon payment of $60,000. The full judgment amounts against the individuals will become due immediately if they are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.
The money is as good as gone, which is why the states should pursue criminal charges to address this egregious misconduct.
And this is the tip of the iceberg.
The IRS and FTC are overwhelmed by nonprofits (and remember back when the IRS was under fire for trying to figure out whether nonprofits were engaging in political activities that would have disqualified them from getting the nonprofit status; that issue is still looming with the GOP hoping to get scalps from IRS officials who tried to crack down on bogus nonprofits).
What we need is a more effective way of dealing with these nonprofits, which are almost exclusively set up as IRC 501(c)(3) nonprofits. We need Congress to revamp these provisions to require that a minimum percentage of revenue raised must go to the charitable purpose intended. I’d suggest 85%, but 75% might be more reasonable (given that top performing charities will hit 80%, but most fall way short of that), and that if the charity doesn’t achieve an average of those minimum goals over a period of several consecutive filing periods, then the charity will lose its nonprofit status, be disbanded, and the operators will be prohibited from operating another charity for a period of say five years.
Charities are required to make periodic filings with the IRS (Form 990) so we get to see what the revenues and disbursements are. It would be relatively simply to identify those charities that are failing to meet these minimums, and are otherwise using the charity and goodwill of others to line their own pockets or engage in lavish lifestyles while those hoping to do good by their charity are duped into thinking that the money is going to the charitable purpose but in reality is doing no such thing.
But I also know that Congress isn’t going to mess around with fixing the nonprofit law or require that charities provide the bulk of their donations to the charitable purpose. Rather, they’ll allow the status quo to continue, allowing telemarketers to pocket vast sums collecting fundraising for other groups, and skimming every transaction in the process. They aren’t going to require minimum spending on the charitable purpose, and they’re not going to police the nonprofits in any significant fashion, even though this kind of behavior is far more common than you’d think.
That’s where you and I come in. We can do something about this - by choosing to donate to only those charities that deliver on their charitable goals. We can look to places like Charity Watch and Charity Navigator to see whether a given charity is following through and minimizing overhead and outreach to maximize donations to the charitable purpose.
Where that isn’t possible, we need state prosecutors to go after charities and crack down on those who are using the nonprofit status as a grift.