Tuesday, January 17, 2017

DNA laws make the innocent automatic suspects in crimes they didn't commit

Imagine you are falsely arrested for a rape you didn't commit. After a terrible ordeal, you are released and cleared of any wrongdoing. Now imagine if, after that, every time an alleged rape involving a stranger occurs in your locale, you are told to come down to the police station to stand in a police lineup as a possible suspect--even though the police have no evidence whatsoever tying you to the crime.

Sounds like the stuff of third-world dictatorships, doesn't it? So how is that different from what 32 states do with your DNA samples? They allow police to take DNA samples from people as soon as they are arrested on felony charges to be entered into a national database. Even if you are cleared of wrongdoing, unless you take action to expunge it, that information remains in the database.

Well, that's different you say. And, you are right--it is different because it's less intrusive. The police lineup example would require you to show up at the police station whenever a rape occurs and take part in a heart-pounding ordeal that could cause you to be arrested on the spot.

In contrast, you wouldn't even know if they are using your DNA information to tie you to some other crime.

Maybe it's better if you knew. "Once your DNA is the FBI’s database, you’re included in a genetic line-up every time police are looking for a suspect in a crime. And depending on the state that you live in, close family members, whose genetic information is similar to yours and so could be matched through yours, could also be implicated in a search. . . . 'If your DNA is in the database, you’re more likely to be implicated correctly or falsely in a crime,' says ACLU attorney Michael Risher." See here.

True, a police lineup is different because because witness identification is not reliable. But don't fool yourself into thinking that DNA testing is fool-proof.  Read this article--it will send a chill up your spine.

The courts say that taking your DNA sample upon arrest is constitutional. And, yes, in nearly all the states, the accused can expunge their DNA information from databases--but the way this is done varies from state-to-state. In some, it's as simple as sending a letter. But others require a court hearing. It's fair to surmise that most people accused of crimes will not have their DNA information expunged.

Most people would say that no one should worry about having their DNA information included in a national database. First, it helps police catch criminals. (If that were the only concern, we wouldn't bother with the Fourth Amendment--nearly every protection against unlawful search and seizure hinders the police from catching some criminals.) Second, if you're innocent, what do you have to worry about? After all, on television programs, DNA evidence is infallible.  (Again, read that article linked above--it may cause you to rethink some of your favorite programs.)

This isn't an issue many people care about. We've written about it previously (see here), but it's not a topic most people can get excited about. As with so many of the issues affecting the wrongly accused, it only becomes important when you or a loved one experiences it. Let's hope that never happens.

Monday, January 16, 2017

#DearBetsy: Kangaroo courts won’t solve campus sexual assault problem

Read it here.

Betsy DeVos's support for due process is a "red flag" that she's a rape apologist

The feminist hostility to due process for college men accused of sexual assault is on full display. Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee for secretary of education, and her husband, donated $10,000 to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), the nonpartisan organization that defends free speech and due process on college campuses. That isn't sitting well with with the usual suspects, who say it's a "red flag" suggesting she doesn't care about college rape victims. See here and here and here.

And this is how far we've come. Supporting fair processes that insure the accused receives notice of the claims against him and a fair opportunity to defend against them is now a "red flag." Concern for fairness for the accused means having no concern for rape victims. It's all-or-nothing. A nominee for a cabinet position can't possibly be concerned about fairness for both accusers and the men accused. If she cares about the latter, she must be a misogynist and a rape apologist even if she also happens to care about the former. This perfectly mirrors the climate on American college campuses, where the only people who bother to speak out about sexual assault think that due process for men accused of sexual assault is "bullshit." Even mentioning the need for due process in this context sends the far left into a state of apoplexy. If you need more proof, just scroll through some of our posts from the past several years, here.

They bemoan that our politics has become polarized, and they long for the day when a Republican would "reach across the aisle" and find common ground with Democrats. Yet they are happy to imply that donating to FIRE is an act of evil. It is difficult to imagine how serious and constructive dialogue is even possible with these people.

Let's dispel some "fake news" circulated by the purveyors of the belief that concern for due process is tantamount to rape apology. Their principal defense of the current chaos on campus, including the Department of Education's mandate that schools use a "preponderance of the evidence" standard (the lowest of all possible standards), is that this is the standard used in civil cases alleging discrimination under other civil rights laws.

This argument is laughable to anyone who practices civil law, and it is astounding to me that news outlets parrot their argument as if it has legitimacy. In civil cases, the defendant is afforded all manner of evidentiary protections that colleges routinely deny young men accused of sex offenses. If the Dept. of Education would mandate that colleges adopt the evidentiary protections mandated for defendants in civil trials, most of us would be fine with it--it would, in fact, be an improvement over anything most colleges have ever done. But the procedures utilized in college kangaroo sex tribunals cannot be compared to the procedures used civil courts where, generally, only money damages are sought and the preponderance of the evidence standard is employed.

In civil cases, defendants are allowed to be fully represented by counsel at every stage of the proceeding.

Their counsel are permitted to make arguments for them and to vigorously depose prior to trial, and to vigorously cross-examine during trial, the accuser and any other pertinent witnesses. In college sex tribunals, counsel for the accused can rarely do more than sit there--if that.

Aside from depositions, defendants in civil litigation are also permitted to engage in all manner of discovery, including proffering requests for admissions, requests for production of documents, and interrogatories. And if the plaintiff fails to respond to proper discovery requests, s/he is sanctioned by the court, up to and including dismissal of his or her case and requiring him or her to pay the other side's attorney's fees. Nothing remotely similar is allowed in most college sex proceedings.

Hearsay evidence generally is excluded, as is evidence whose probative value is outweighed by its prejudicial effect on the other party. In college sex proceedings, the adjudicators do not have a clue what constitutes hearsay, much less how to assess whether evidence is too prejudicial for admission.

Trial and appellate judges are lawyers bound by centuries of common law precedent. In college sex proceedings, there are no constraints in the decision-making process, and we've seen many examples of decision-making unmoored from any semblance of rationality or fairness.

The college kangaroo sex proceeding has no relation to the orderly administration of justice in civil court--none.

Monday, January 9, 2017

This blog comes back full time on Monday . . . in the meantime, a word about the loonies

The left doesn't know how to debate or to make their case. They'd rather belch snark.

Someone tried to give the left some good advice today. “This Meryl Streep speech is why Trump won. And if people in Hollywood don’t start recognizing why and how — you will help him get reelected." See here.

Exactly right. Yet today they are bragging about how Streep "eviscerated" Trump, and they really believe it. They are blissfully ignorant that their tactics aren't just ineffective but downright hurtful to their cause.

I wonder, did they happen to notice that Streep took a shot at football? Her insult about mixed martial arts was bad enough--but football? Seriously, how out-of-step with middle America is this woman, or her fawning devotees sitting there in their gowns and tuxedos?

The left will never learn. They fact is, they aren't out to convince anyone of anything, they are content to sit around their safe spaces and stew about their election loss with like-minded loonies. But, hey, that's a great business model Hollywood has--demonize your customers. Louis B. Mayer is spinning around in his grave.

Can you say "Whig Party"? The dopes on the left ought to to to Wikipedia and learn what happened to it. They're halfway there.

As a public service to the left, I reference this helpful post.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The left's hate culture is responsible for the Facebook torture

This is what happens when the people who dominate the public discourse openly manifest hatred and contempt for our duly elected president-elect and, by extension, his supporters (they routinely call Trump supporters "fascists"--and can you say "basket of deplorables"?). They assume that anyone who even voted for Trump buys into every loopy thing he says or writes.

The enlightened, open-minded left--and let's be honest, have we ever seen activists so ill-informed about the issues?--has declared that Trump won't be their president. They say they will resist and obstruct and impeach him. They have no intention of giving him a fair chance--none--they want to destroy his presidency. Why? Because, they insist, he's incompetent and a bad person who hates anyone who isn't a white male.

Let's not kid ourselves that it's Trump they hate. To this day, most of them still hate Ronald Reagan, even after he won the Cold War without firing a shot. They hated the Bushes, John McCain, and Mitt Romney. The fact is, they don't like anyone they consider to be a traditional American--because they've convinced themselves that traditional Americans are racists, sexists, xenophobes, and homophobes even though they aren't. Their hate is irrational. It could aptly be called childish if it weren't downright pathological. Now, finally, they'll have a Republican president with well-known character flaws, which means they don't even have to hide their hate anymore.

And the Facebook torture incident is what happens. The culture of hate they've manufactured has given license to the sociopaths among us to act out. We can be certain we'll see more of this sort of thing.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Trump has won--it's time to ignore the left's temper tantrums

New York Times
I have never seen so many people "afraid" as I've seen these past six weeks. Imaginary fear is at epidemic levels--and it's reached a tipping point on our college campuses, where mass temper tantrums are led by smug humanities professors whose raison d'etre is to convince gullible teenagers that their parents are racists and sexists.

I can only imagine how "afraid" the political left would be if we had elected a real conservative, like Ted Cruz, who is actually intent on drastically cutting government--we haven't had a real conservative since Ronald Reagan. Based on their reaction this time, my guess is that the left would be holding mass suicide rallies if Cruz were elected.

The electoral college has chosen Donald Trump as our next president, and it's time to ignore the chronically angry left and its mass hysteria--the left needs to grow up if it wants to sit at the adult table and have a say in things now. They can continue blogging among themselves--preaching to their angry choir--and they can keep telling themselves everyone else is an idiot and only they know what's right. Or they can engage in civil discourse with the rest of us--based on silly things like facts and evidence.

Hillary Clinton didn't lose for any of the reasons Hillary Clinton says she lost. Hillary Clinton lost because her fealty to group identity politics made her tone-deaf to the concerns of working-class voters, the people living pay check-to-pay check.

Clinton ran as successor to Barack Obama, whose lone signature accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act, is "the craziest thing in the world" because of its exploding premiums and reduced coverage--according to no less an authority than Bill Clinton, the man Mrs. Clinton said would be “in charge of revitalizing the economy” in her administration. But Hillary didn't listen to Bill.  Just before the election, when Hillary was bellyaching that the FBI director's decision to reopen the investigation into her email scandal was hurting her campaign, Bill went into a rage and threw his cell phone in the river. He screamed that her campaign was in trouble because it was ignoring millions of working-class voters.

You'd have thought that election night would have been a wake-up call for the left, but it wasn't. When the votes were counted, they started to blame everything and everyone for the debacle except themselves--they blamed FBI director James Comey (forgetting that the FBI only got involved after the attorney general's secret tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton); imaginary "white-lash" (more like the backlash of working people--who are tired of their moral superiors telling them that their economic woes pale in comparison to questions like, which bathroom are kids in North Carolina allowed to use?); supposed rigged voting in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan (they spent millions on recounts--in Pennsylvania, a federal judge said the recount "borders on the irrational," and in Wisconsin, the recount resulted in Trump gaining 131 votes); "fake news" (not a single Trump voter was swayed by it, whatever it means--but a lot of Clinton voters were swayed by the mainstream media openly rooting for Clinton); the Russians (who exposed hateful things the Clinton team said about middle America and the fact that the media was in cahoots with Clinton); and the fact that Trump is only president-elect based on a fluke of history--Hillary won the popular vote (which would mean something if she were running for president of California). Their last-ditch, multi-million dollar effort to stage a coup with the electoral college resulted in Trump losing two votes--and Clinton losing four.

Here's all you need to know: their candidate waltzed into a town hall event in West Virginia, of all places, and bragged, "We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business"--and they blame other people for their loss? Seriously?

But the Trump voters who are a little wary of Trump--and there are a lot of them--are convinced they made the right decision after seeing the left's collective, hysterical hissy fit these past six weeks. As but one example, we have to wonder if anyone will ever again agree to serve as an elector to the electoral college after what electors were put through this year. Electors around the country were badgered, harassed, and bombarded with demands that they block Donald Trump's election--we're not talking about a few communications, but tens of thousands for each elector, telling them to vote against Trump. A Harvard University group backed by constitutional law Prof. Lawrence Lessig offered free legal aid to electors who change their vote. A young Michigan elector has received multiple death threats--someone threatened to put a bullet in the back of his mouth. Arizona electors reported getting death threats. Electors had to have police protection.

The left's next step? Disrupt the inauguration, of course.

So let's be clear: the Democrats lost because the smug, sanctimonious, morally superior PC warriors on the left ignored and belittled the real-world concerns of working class Americans, pretended those real-world concerns were masks for racism and sexism, ginned up Islamophobia where it scarcely existed, gleefully tarnished cops as inherently racist even when there was no evidence for it, trampled freedom of speech and due process on campus in fealty to group identity politics, and sought to shut down debate with name-calling and by reducing anyone who doesn't share their worldview to grotesque caricature.  These are people who deal in stereotypes, not issues--few have any idea what Trump's positions are on the issues.

The good news: the chattering classes in the mainstream media and the pollsters have all been dealt a serious, perhaps fatal blow by this election--everyone now knows they can't be trusted. They, and the chronically angry left, need to be ignored and trivialized until they realize they don't have a monopoly on truth. And they can thank themselves for their current predicament.

Monday, December 19, 2016

A new call to make it much, much easier to convict the wrongly accused of rape

Two specialists in ethics have penned a horrifying piece that calls for the abolition of the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard of evidence in sexual assault cases. They insist that a preponderance of the evidence standard is sufficient.

You see, it's sometimes difficult to tell if sexual assault occurs because it "is often physically indistinguishable from consensual sex." Most rational people think this is a sound basis for insisting on processes that insure the innocent are not convicted of crimes they did not commit. Not Christopher Wareham and James Vosis. They acknowledge that the harms to the falsely accused can be "severe." They seem think the harms of a false acquittal are worse, so they are willing to allow some innocent men to suffer for the purported greater good.  They want to see the standard of proof drastically reduced to "preponderance of the evidence" in sexual assault cases. Their plan literally would invite convictions even where jurors have a reasonable doubt as to guilt. Jurors would be told to convict if there is only a 50.00001 percent likelihood of guilt.

This proposal is morally grotesque on every level, and it flips on its head a long-settled principle of law famously expressed by the celebrated English jurist William Blackstone: it is "better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer." (Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1765.)

In fact, the debate about whether it is just to punish the innocent in order to insure that the guilty are punished has been long-settled in civilized societies: it is not just. Even the Book of Genesis recounts that when God was deciding what to do about the evil in Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham put this question to him: "Are you really going to sweep away the innocent with the guilty?" After repeated probing by Abraham, God made it clear he would not destroy the guilty if it meant destroying the innocent with them.

In modern times, "Blackstone's formulation," or as it is sometimes called "The Blackstone ratio," has been imprinted on the DNA of American jurisprudence. Our Supreme Court has underscored that it is one of the pillars of our jurisprudence. Justice William O. Douglas, a liberal icon for much of the 20th Century, stated: "It is better, so the Fourth Amendment teaches, that the guilty sometimes go free than that citizens be subject to easy arrest." Henry v. United States, 361 U.S. 98, 104, 80 S. Ct. 168, 172 (1959). Justice Harlan once wrote: "I view the requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal case as bottomed on a fundamental value determination of our society that it is far worse to convict an innocent man than to let a guilty man go free." In re Winship, 397 U.S. 358, 90 S. Ct. 1068, 25 L. Ed. 2d 368 (1970)(Harlan, J. concurring).

Is the pain of a rape survivor in seeing his or her rapist go free in any sense comparable to the injustice inflicted when the state deprives an innocent person of his liberty? With all due apologies to the earnest Messrs. Wareham and Vosis, the question scarcely survives its statement. "Terrible as it is for a victim to see a rapist escape punishment, it is far, far worse for an innocent person to be convicted of a sex crime." Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case, S. Taylor, K.C. Johnson (2007).

Take, for example, Dwayne Dail, who was convicted of a rape he did not commit as a teenager and spent the next 18 years in prison. While in prison Mr. Dail was repeatedly and brutally victimized by the same crime he was wrongly convicted of. His life was shattered. Can anyone seriously assert that the pain of the rape victim in Mr. Dail's case was in any sense lessened by having this innocent man destroyed?

Rape victims whose misidentifications of their perpetrators lead to wrongful convictions often develop deep psychological trauma when they learn what they've done. Actual rape victims have no interest in punishing the innocent--none whatsoever--and they are often among the most vocal critics of false rape accusers because they know that every rape lie diminishes the integrity of every legitimate rape claim.

While an individual is capable of doing terrible things to another individual, including rape, the state should never fall to the level of a criminal and encourage jurors to risk doing terrible things to innocent men and boys.

Imagine, for a moment, the cavalcade of horror stories about wrongful convictions that would crop up in the news every day if this were the rule. The innumerable injustices soon would undermine public confidence in the way rape claims are prosecuted. Aside from the blatant, horrifying, unacceptable wrongs to the falsely accused, such a standard would do no favors for rape victims. When juries believe that the system invites the innocent to be punished, they are all the more wary about punishing even those who deserve to be punished.

Dictators throughout history have justified the ruthless imprisonment, torture, and murder of the innocent to insure that the "guilty" (who always happen to be their enemies) are vanquished. It is a monstrously barbaric--and, singularly unAmerican--practice.  The reason Blackstone's formulation retains its validity is self-evident. It is the very hallmark of a civilized society.

The sexual grievance industry has used our college campuses as laboratories to see if they can get away with branding men "rapists" using the preponderance standard. They got away with it there, now they want to formalize and institutionalize hostility to the wrongly accused in criminal courts. We knew this was coming. Will society allow them to get away with it? We don't know--but thus far, they've gotten pretty much everything they've asked for.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

College is mocked for equating psychological coercion with rape

The idiocy behind colleges punishing for "sexual coercion" is obvious to every serious person interested in silly things like justice and fairness. We demonstrated its stupidity several years ago here. Read what we wrote--you need to understand that we're not talking about real coercion, we're talking about so-called psychological coercion where a horny college guy nags for sex and the "victim" decides, of her own free will, to make him happy by having sex. There are few policies as repulsive or unjust as branding that guy a rapist.

The celebrated Prof. Volokh has taken aim at Clark University's inane sexual coercion definition here--and Clark University then made it clear it no longer follows that policy. See here.

Hopefully this will start a trend.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Off-topic: The Democrats' refusal to acknowledge why they lost is 'horrifying'

October 19, 2016 Presidential debate
CHRIS WALLACE: But, sir, there is a tradition in this country—in fact, one of the prides of this country—is the peaceful transition of power and that no matter how hard-fought a campaign is, that at the end of the campaign that the loser concedes to the winner. Not saying that you're necessarily going to be the loser or the winner, but that the loser concedes to the winner and that the country comes together in part for the good of the country. Are you saying you're not prepared now to commit to that principle?
TRUMP: What I'm saying is that I will tell you at the time. I'll keep you in suspense. OK?
CLINTON: Well, Chris, let me respond to that, because that's horrifying. You know, every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims whatever it is, is rigged against him.
Never in American history has a major candidate been attacked by the mainstream media with the frequency or ferocity as Donald Trump was. Week after week during the campaign, the chattering classes tried to destroy him with one awful allegation after the next. Time after time, people assumed Trump would not survive the latest attack.

But they couldn't destroy him. Trump surprised everyone by winning the election. After Clinton conceded by calling Trump (but she didn't show her own tearful supporters the courtesy of addressing them that night), people very angry about the outcome took to the streets, looted, and loudly proclaimed Trump was "not my president." Clinton and Obama didn't bother to stop them. These were protests against the American electoral process itself--the freest and fairest process ever devised.

Then they claimed the election was rigged by FBI director James Comey.

Then, they claimed Trump won by sounding "dog whistles" for racists (one CNN commentator called Trump's victory "whitelash") and sexists--echoes of Clinton's monumental "basket of deplorables" gaffe that actually might have cost her the election. One Washington Post writer said that "angry white males" were just feigning concern about the economy and voted for Trump because of the loss of their vaunted male privilege.

Then, Clinton supposedly "reluctantly" went along with Jill Stein's harebrained recount scheme--over "hacked" elections in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, even though Stein had no valid argument and no chance of winning the election. Yet somehow Stein was able to raise millions of dollars to challenge the election. (By the way, in Pennsylvania yesterday, the judge said Stein's position "borders on the irrational," and in Wisconsin, the waste-of-time recount resulted in Trump gaining 131 votes.)

Then, they claimed it was "fake news" that lost the election (do they mean "fake news" like . . . when they repeatedly told us Clinton was rolling toward a landslide victory? Or "If you like your doctor, you can keep him"? Or "Hands up, don't shoot"? Or that the stock market will crash if Trump wins--then the after the election, when the market plunged for a few hours, Nobel Prize leftist Paul Krugman predicted the market would "never" recover? That kind of fake news? We haven't even mentioned the imaginary viral Benghazi YouTube video or the imaginary sniper fire in Bosnia.)

Then they hit upon the epiphany that the Wikileaks emails emanated from the Russians (something widely believed for months before the election)--and that the Russians rigged the election for Trump. What they don't mention is that the released emails from Clinton team members revealed hateful comments about middle America and showed the Clinton campaign in cahoots with the mainstream media to beat Trump--proving what Trump has been saying for over a year.

They also blame the electoral college, and tout the fact that Clinton "won" the popular vote--which would mean something if Clinton had been running for President of California. Trump conceded California by not campaigning there (wherever he campaigned, he did well) because he knew he could not win its electoral votes even if he did a lot better than he did. Our electoral system is set up to respect both the will of the people and the sovereignty of the states by mandating that a state gets a specific number of electoral votes regardless of whether the winning candidate has a lopsided or a razor-close victory. The electoral college has never been an issue--until now.

On and on they go. They blame everyone and everything but themselves--which means they have learned nothing.

The Democrats lost because the smug, sanctimonious, morally superior PC warriors on the left ignored and belittled the real-world concerns of working class Americans, pretended those real-world concerns were masks for racism and sexism, ginned up Islamophobia where it scarcely existed, gleefully tarnished cops as inherently racist even when there was no evidence for it, trampled freedom of speech and due process on campus in fealty to group identity politics, and sought to shut down debate with name-calling and by reducing anyone who doesn't share their worldview to grotesque caricature.

Here's all you need to know: their candidate waltzed into a town hall event in West Virginia, of all places, and bragged, ”We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business"--and they want to blame the FBI, anonymous bloggers who make up "fake news," and the Russians for their loss? Seriously? 

The fact that a reality show billionaire who jets around in a $100 million Boeing 757 seems more in tune with working class Americans than the candidate of the party of  Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy ought to be a wake-up call for them. By all indications it hasn't been, so they can expect to keep losing until they ditch the attitude that they have a monopoly on truth and that most of the the people who live between New York and Los Angeles are racists, sexists, or boobs.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Off-topic: Evidence shows that the Russians were INVITED to meddle in the election--by the man who wanted to be president

No, I'm not talking about Trump and the 2016 election. I'm talking about 1983, when Ted Kennedy--who hoped to be president--asked the Russians for help to undermine then-President Ronald Reagan. Read about it here.

Never heard about it? I'm not surprised. Ted Kennedy was among the most powerful and popular Democrats of the past 50 years.

NPR publishes guide to spotting fake news--NPR should apply it to its own reporting about sexual assault

NPR, which  happily recites the fake news that one-in-five college women are sexually assaulted (and there is overwhelming evidence that this stat is fake news--see, e.g.here, here, here, here, here, here, and here) has just published a handy guide on how to spot . . . fake news. And, no, I'm not making this up.

NPR should follow its own guidelines, but, of course, when it comes to sexual assault, it doesn't--because any assertion intended to prove "rape culture" is automatically worthy of unconditional acceptance.

A few of NPR's guides for spotting fake news expose the utter folly in accepting the one-in-five stat:
Is the story so outrageous you can't believe it? Maybe you shouldn't. Respect the voice inside you that says, "What?"
Hmm. Let's see. The one-in-five stat means that even the safest, most secure college campuses are the most dangerous places in the world for one class of our citizens--young women. The fact that this is not just outrageous but obviously false hasn't even sounded warning bells with the purveyors of "rape culture." They just keep on reporting it.
Is the story so outrageous you do believe it? That's also a warning sign. Many stories play on your existing beliefs. If the story perfectly confirms your worst suspicions, look for more information.
Hmm. Let's see. The one-in-five stat means that even the safest, most secure college campuses are the most dangerous places in the world for one class of our citizens--young women. That's so outrageous, why would anyone make it up? It also means that college men, as a class, are rapists-in-waiting--a factoid that merely confirms our worst stereotypes about toxic masculinity and "rape culture." 
Did the writer engage with anyone who disagrees? Did they call a senator whose legislation bugs them? Did they try to grasp what the president-elect was doing, or merely repeat one of his more outrageous statements? If it's a broadcast interview, was the guest presented with genuine opposing views and challenged to answer? Those who wrestle with opposing arguments do you a service and often improve their own arguments.
The one-in-five stat is routinely parroted without challenge, as if any contrary position is not just erroneous but hate speech. Apparently, the only fake news deserving of challenge is that which doesn't advance a far left narrative.
Broaden your palate. Make a point to check sites that do not agree with your politics. You may discover stories that are wrong — but you'll know what other people are consuming, which will sharpen your own thinking.
When it comes to the made-up college rape epidemic, the only time the sexual grievance industry checks opposing views is to demonize anyone who dares to speak up for due process and keeping an open mind about accusations of college rape.
Are you told, "Trust me"? Don't. It's the post-trust era! Expect everyone to show where their facts come from, link to underlying articles, and demonstrate that they've argued honestly. . . . .
The exception: anything that spews from the mouths of sexual grievance-mongers.
Be open to the idea that some falsehoods are sincerely held. In spite of all the warnings here, some inaccurate news stories grow out of haste or misinformation rather than pure cynicism. (But they're still false.)
Nuff said. The one-in-five is a embraced with cult-like devotion--not just by sexual grievance-mongers, but by so-called mainstream media outlets like NPR.

The one-in-five stat is not fact-based reporting, it's advocacy to raise awareness about college rape. Raising awareness about problems is usually a good thing. The problem with this particular advocacy is that it's used not just to raise awareness but as a sword to curtail the due process rights of college men--too many simply don't get fair hearings. This isn't just my opinion, it's the opinion of a hell of a lot of liberal law professors and others concerned that the pendulum has swung too far. It is literally fake news that hurts one class of our citizens, sometimes egregiously, and outlets like NPR aren't concerned about it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ashe Schow has moved

Among the most astute voices exposing political correctness run amok, Ashe Schow, has moved--you can find her here and here

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Trump likely to roll back the witch hunt on college men

Chances are, Trump will roll back the Obama administration's federally sanctioned witch hunt against college men: See here:





Although we fear it will be much more difficult to end the hysteria that Obama, Biden, and their minions in the Department of Education have fomented, rolling back the Dept. of Education's April 4, 2011 "Dear Colleague" letter is a critical first step.

The "Dear Colleague" letter, and its enforcement by the Department of Education, have manifested unprecedented hostility for the rights of men on campus.

Sadly, too many college men aren't aware there's a witch hunt on campus--and that they are the witches--until they are wrongly accused. If you are not familiar with the "Dear Colleague" letter, you've likely never read our blog--we've written about it extensively since the spring of 2011: http://falserapesociety.blogspot.com/search?q=Dear+Colleague&updated-max=2014-01-15T10:28:00-05:00&max-results=20&start=30&by-date=true  And as you can imagine, we've come under attack from persons who are less than informed, to put it charitably, for standing up for due process--e.g., see here: http://falserapesociety.blogspot.com/2013/12/penn-students-attack-this-blog-with.html

The goal of the "Dear Colleague" letter is to make it easier for colleges to expel and suspend young men charged with sexual misconduct. The decision makers behind this letter didn't bother to consider that it also made it easier to punish the innocent for offenses they didn't commit--the innocent were not a concern to President Obama or Vice President Biden.

The most famous feature of the "Dear Colleague" letter is its mandate that colleges lower the standard of proof in disciplinary proceedings about sexual misconduct to a mere "preponderance of the evidence." (In other words, a disciplinary hearing committee might have a reasonable doubt about the accused's student's guilt, but if it believes the evidence tilts ever so slightly in favor of the accuser, it must find the accused guilty.)

Although it is couched in gender-neutral terms, the overriding purpose of the letter is to remedy sexual violence against women--it was expressly adopted to protect women.

Among the letter's other mandates, at pages 15-16, is one that allows schools to, in effect, punish the accused on the basis of an accusation:
Title IX requires a school to take steps to protect the complainant as necessary, including taking interim steps before the final outcome of the investigation. The school should undertake these steps promptly once it has notice of a sexual harassment or violence allegation. . . . .  When taking steps to separate the complainant and alleged perpetrator, a school should minimize the burden on the complainant, and thus should not, as a matter of course, remove complainants from classes or housing while allowing alleged perpetrators to remain.
Not only does the "Dear Colleague" letter make it easier to punish young men accused of sex offenses, both the guilty and the innocent, this "interim steps" measure initiates the punishment process from the moment of the accusation.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Clinton lost because the left wasn't interested in debate but in name calling and reducing opponents to caricature

If Hillary Clinton's followers wonder why their candidate lost, they need to meditate on the following. Clinton lost because a lot of people on the fence--the folks in that vast, mushy gray center that drifts both left and right depending on the issue and that decides every election--resented, rebelled, and refused to march in lockstep to the preachy, sanctimonious, self-important, morally superior PC warriors on the left who aren't interested in debating issues but who seek to shut down debate with name-calling and by reducing everyone who doesn't share their worldview to grotesque caricature.

But don't listen to me--political satirist "Jonathan Pie" (Tom Walker) says it better than I ever could: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLG9g7BcjKs (WARNING: LANGUAGE IN THE VIDEO IS ROUGH)

Monday, November 14, 2016

To the college men protesting Trump's election: thank those fighting for your rights, and grow up

The Clinton campaign was so overconfident they would win the election, they planned to launch fireworks over the Hudson River on election night. When they cancelled the fireworks the weekend before the election, a lot of people suspected their internal polling showed they were in trouble.

Then, after the election, the media naturally looked for incidents of Trump supporters beating up minorities despite the absence of any evidence such misconduct was remotely likely. The media ran with hoaxes because that's all they had--hey, why let the facts get in the way of a good radical left narrative?

Then, when the markets plunged in the hours after the election, leftist economist Paul Krugman--a Nobel Prize winner, mind you--wrote that "a terrible thing"--Trump's election--"has just happened” and added something that might haunt him the rest of his life: "If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.” The markets recovered in a few hours, then went soaring. So much for the Nobel Prize.

A good friend reported that last Wednesday, pre-schoolers at a major university child care center were crying in fear over the outcome of the election--my friend said their parents were guilty of child abuse, terrorizing their own children with tales of the great orange boogeyman.

In days gone by, the newly elected president was afforded a "honeymoon period" to put his agenda in place before being subjected to severe criticism. President Obama's honeymoon period arguably never ended, but for all other presidents, this usually lasts several months. President-elect Trump's "honeymoon period" lasted several minutes after his election--it ended months before he even took office. Angry young leftists across America--especially on college campuses--took the streets, blocked roads, and even rioted. They weren't protesting Trump as much as our democratic system itself--they just don't like the outcome of this election and do not respect the will of the electorate.

Virtually none of the young protesters have any understanding of the issues in this election beyond the talking points of far left media outlets that trade in blatant bias, grotesque exaggeration, and outright lies. And, yes, that includes mainstream television networks and major U.S. dailies--Wikileaks proved what we've long suspected--some of the biggest names in news were in cahoots with the Democratic National Committee to defeat Trump. The delicate snowflakes on campus are happy to parrot the mantras of their moral superiors on the left and reduce Donald Trump and his supporters to vile caricature.

Trump doesn't want to curtail immigration but he wants to stop illegal immigration--so he must hate Mexicans, blacks, and the LGBTQ community. His supporters, too.  Trump made a comments about women 17 years ago--so he and his supporters must be misogynists who are not just "deplorables" but irredeemable--unlike, say, convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jama and former domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, who get plenty of respect on the left. Trump borrowed a line from a Clinton supporter that Obama wasn't born in America and ran with it? He and his supporters must hate blacks because . . . Obama is black. (Trump also claimed that conservative Sen. Ted Cruz was not eligible to run for President because he was born in Canada--Trump and his supporters must hate Canadians, too.)

College students traditionally align themselves with the Democratic Party because most have at least a vague sense of their own vulnerabilities--most know that their college degree doesn't give them the skills to be in high demand for good paying jobs, so they gravitate to the party that brands itself the friend of the downtrodden. I completely understand.

But this generation is different--sure, there are exceptions, but for too many, it's not enough to wear buttons and go to the polls, then bemoan the outcome of the election. No, no. This is the generation of entitlement--coddled from birth in households where seldom was heard a discouraging word. When the evil Donald Trump was elected, they did what they've been programmed to do--they had a collective meltdown and threw the biggest temper tantrum of the 21st Century.

This is the result "safe spaces," of inventing microaggressions to punish traditional masculinity, of suspending fraternities when a few of their members have the audacity to dress up like Mexicans and Indians on Halloween, of criminalizing the game of tag, of being driven around all weekend to participate in sports where they don't keep score and everybody gets a trophy for showing up. This is the result of a culture where hard work is eschewed and "increasingly sophisticated video games are luring young men away from the workforce."

Most reprehensible of all are the young college males who have taken to the streets. A lot of concerned adults have have gone to bat for these fools over the past several years as the Democratic Party has manifested greater and greater hostility to their rights.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, educate yourself--see e.g., here. Do these ball-less wonders even know this is going on? Of course not. They're too busy practicing their groupthink to notice. Last Friday, conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh lamented: "It's a shame what liberalism has done to Millennial-aged men, way too many of them. They've demasculated them. They have neutered them in just incredible ways. That's the only way to describe this. . . . to listen to them talk, they have become full-fledged, walking robots of the indoctrination that they've had." Harsh, but at least close to the truth.

For the few readers pissed off by what I've written--yes, yes, I know there are other important issues aside from due process on campus--and, yes, I'm concerned about some of Trump's stances. For example, on the single issue most important to Trump, trade, Trump is closer to Bernie Sanders than Obama or the Ted Cruz wing of the Republican Party. (Are you aware that Obama gave up trying to get TPP passed in the wake of Trump's election?) In case you can't remember as far back as August, Bernie was the candidate of choice of young men on campus.

The generation of entitlement is transforming us into the culture of entitlement. The corrupt media is happy to lend a hand. The reaction to Donald Trump's election on college campuses across America is worse than over-the-top, it's worse than childish, its worse than uninformed. It's a sign of a culture in free-fall. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Jessica Valenti: Donald Trump won millions of votes because he bragged about sexually assaulting women

Jessica Valenti, writing for The Guardian, declared that Donald Trump admitted to sexually assaulting women "and [won] millions of votes because, not in spite, of it."

Read that again: Trump was elected because he sexually assaults women. The fact that there is not a shred of evidence to support this unhinged epiphany is of no import.

This means that if Bill Cosby decides to run in 2012, he ought to be a shoe-in to win.

Valenti goes on: ". . . this shameful election result was backlash, pure and simple – a reaction to women’s growing rights, racial progress and a cultural shift that no longer centers straight white men. They were votes based on fear, bigotry and ugliness."

That's right, Jessica. As is true with every outcome that people like you don't like, Trump's election was a backlash of straight white men who are afraid of losing their vaunted positions of power. There's no other plausible explanation for why a disreputable Democrat lost to a brash outsider in 2016.

It couldn't possibly be what even Michael Moore--an ardent Trump opponent who believes Trump is a charlatan--said: "I know a lot of people . . . that are planning to vote for Trump and they don't necessarily like him that much, and they don't necessarily agree with him. They're . . . actually pretty decent people." Trump has been "saying the things to people who are hurting, and that's why every beaten-down, nameless, forgotten working stiff who used to be part of what was called the middle class loves Trump. He is the human molotov cocktail that they've been waiting for. The human hand grande that they can legally throw into the system that stole their lives from them. . . . . Trump's election is going to be the biggest 'fuck you' ever recorded in human history and it will feel good."

Nah, that couldn't be it. It had to be that white men wanted a rapist in the White House, and they wanted to hold onto their exalted place in society. There's no other plausible explanation.

I mean, never mind that the signature achievement of the current Democratic administration--Obamacare--has turned out to be a mess. It was sold to the American people on promises ("if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor," etc.) that turned out to be false, to put it charitably. Worse, health care premiums have skyrocketed to the point that even Bill Clinton—the man Mrs. Clinton said would be “in charge of revitalizing the economy” in her administration--just days before the election branded it "the craziest thing in the world." Some families have been forced to shell out $2,000 a month for insurance that comes with a whopping $13,000 deductible. An architect of Obamacare, Jonathan Gruber, famously admitted in a moment of smug candor that the promises were deceitful—because “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage” in this instance.

But, you're right, Jessica. That couldn't be it. Trump won the election because he's a rapist, and because white men wanted to hang onto their power. It had nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that Hillary Clinton has been the consummate Washington insider for 25 years--and it's obvious to anyone with half a brain that she would change nothing if elected. How do we know? Because she has no accomplishments to show for all her time in D.C. One of her most fervent supporters, Sen. Diane Feinstein, couldn't name a signature accomplishment of Clinton's while she was in the U.S. Senate. The State Department's own spokeswoman couldn't name one tangible achievement of Clinton's as Secretary of State. Clinton herself had difficulty mounting a coherent response to a question about her accomplishments when Diane Sawyer asked her about them in 2014. Carly Fiorina has actually done things--but feminists like Valenti didn't want her, they insisted on Hillary.

But, hey, Hillary's lack of accomplishments couldn't possibly be the reason she wasn't elected--Hillary deserved to win because Jessica Valenti's six-year-old daughter wanted to see a woman in the White House. Those evil white men stomped on the little girl's dreams and elected Trump instead--and all because he's a rapist, and because white men are evil.

Valenti has a history of being unhinged when it comes to gender issues. She believes that rape is normal for even decent men: "Rape is part of our culture; it's normalized to the point where men who are otherwise decent guys will rape and not even think that it's wrong. And that's what terrifies me." Along those lines, Valenti tweeted agreement with Socialist Michael Laxer's epiphany that "all men" are responsible for the bad things that happen to women. Laxer clucked: "There are no 'good guys,'" and that men, as a class, "are responsible."

Given her world-view about men, it's little wonder that Valenti has suggested America follow the lead of Sweden, where "some activists and legal experts . . . want to change the law there so that the burden of proof is on the accused; the alleged rapist would have to show that he got consent, instead of the victim having to prove that she didn’t give it.” In other words, the act of lovemaking that has gone on around the world countless times a day since the beginning of time would be presumptively rape any time a woman cries rape -- guilty until proven innocent.

And remember when Valenti weighed in on the ancient debate about whether Woody Allen raped a woman? She implied that "we know" Woody Allen is guilty of rape because other women -- who have no relevance whatsoever to the facts of Woody's Allen's case or the parties involved -- have been abused by other men. A fortiori, this woman was abused by Woody Allen. The irrationality, the childishness, the sheer stupidity is jaw-dropping.

And we can't forget that Valenti mocked the efforts of the mothers who started FACE, the organization that seeks to raise awareness about the injustices faced by presumptively innocent college students accused of sexual misconduct.

Donald Trump is about to become your president, Jessica--your daughter's, too. He didn't win because he's a rapist, and you need to stop filling little girls' heads with nonsense. They might grow up to be like you.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

It is good that Clinton lost last night--even if college men don't know it

The smarmy, arrogant, self-satisfied left that loathes and detests traditional America, and that loathes and detests Donald Trump and his followers even more, are having a difficult time today accepting what happened last night. See here. They are insisting that Trump is "not my president," even though he most certainly will be. These were the people purportedly concerned that Donald Trump wouldn't accept what they thought would be his inevitable defeat.

The motivating impulse of our moral superiors on the far left and their amoral enablers in the mainstream news media is the feeling that anyone who is not a white, heterosexual male is a victim of white, heterosexual male sexism and racism. They happily attribute any outcome they don't like to it, and they happily reduce Middle America that embraces traditional American values--including masculinity and Christianity--to vile caricature. They assume Middle America hates people who do not look like them for no reason other than the fact that they do not look like them. If this sounds irrational bordering on pathology, then you are catching on. Yet, our outgoing president harbors the mindset that Middle America clings to its guns and religion, and a now-vanquished Democratic Party presidential nominee who chortled about a "basket of deplorables" to the delight of her smug and self-satisfied devotees. The fact is, this is how most of the misguided souls on the far left think.

On college campuses--where students once worried about things like an unjust war in Southeast Asia but whose chief concern today is that a frat brother will don an "offensive" Halloween costume that includes a sombrero--last night's election was a "triggering" event.

At Columbia, professors are delaying midterms because of the despair over Trump's "threatening" election--"the elections results have left people feeling triggered, anxious, and unwell.” See here. The poor students at that vaunted institution greeted Trump's election with "shock, disgust, and sadness" and they responded the best way they know how: “Fuck Donald Trump,” they screamed. See here.

At Brown, the tearful and shaken students knew why Trump won: “It reflects a kind of discomfort that people have with women being in positions of power.” See here.

At Cornell, the students are "aghast." See here.

At Harvard, 87% percent of the privileged elite students were for Clinton--only 6% were for Trump. See here. Last night, the cream-of-the-crop of our young people "freaked out," according to the Harvard student newspaper.

At Penn, students greeted their alumni's victory with "dismay" and "sadness." See here.

So why is it good for college men that Trump won last night even if they don't know it?

The current administration has manifested an unprecedented hostility to due process for college men accused of sexual assault. We've written literally hundreds of posts about it since April 2011 when the the Department of Education issued its infamous "Dear Colleague" letter. For a long time, it was difficult to fathom that any administration could be worse on these issues, but we had every reason to believe that a Hillary Clinton administration would have been worse.

Hillary Clinton unequivocally expressed her hostility to college men accused of sexual assault: "I think that when someone makes the claim, they come forward, they should be believed . . . ."  She also said this: ". . . in our country and on every college campus . . . any woman who reports an assault should be heard and believed . . . ."  In a major address on the issue, she told survivors of sexual assault the following: "You have the right to be heard, You have the right to be believed. And we're with you as you go forward." Clinton made it clear she believes that men accused of sexual assault should be presumed guilty until they are proven innocent: ". . . everybody should be believed at first until they are disbelieved based on evidence.” Clinton made that statement with a grin on her face, and the line drew applause.

Clinton has stated that the issue of college sexual assault is "deeply important" to her. She buys into the one-in-five canard. She has called campus sexual assault an epidemic, has pledged to "build on the progress" the Obama administration has made, and has made clear she wants a national conversation about it--as if the issue has been ignored until now. She plans to take the Obama administration's work to the next level: "The Obama administration has begun to shine a spotlight. I just want to make it a very broad and bright spotlight . . . ." She wants to "end" campus rape by broadening the war on sexual assault. She proudly admits that when she says this, she is "playing the gender card"  and "that's exactly where I want to be."

Clinton hired Zerlina Maxwell  to work for her. Maxwell has written this: “Ultimately, the costs of wrongly disbelieving a survivor far outweigh the costs of calling someone a rapist.” Maxwell said that false accusations "can be undone by an investigation that clears the accused, especially if it is done quickly."

As Secretary of State, Clinton made one of the most heinous false rape claims imaginable. In 2011, Clinton was trying to justify regime change in Libya–a goal not authorized by either the U.S. Congress or the UN. "Clinton told the press that Gaddafi was passing out Viagra to his troops so they could go out and rape dissidents en masse, and that the troops were indeed engaging in mass rapes." The problem? Amnesty International later reported "that there was absolutely no factual support for these accusations. As Amnesty International reported, 'Not only have we not met any victims, but we have not even met any persons who have met victims.'”

It is ironic that Hillary Clinton has not always exhibited fidelity to the decidedly unAmerican principles she now espouses. Much has been written about Mrs. Clinton's two-facedness on this issue--she did not automatically believe her husband’s sexual assault accusers, and, in fact, she actively worked to destroy their credibility. We won't repeat those arguments as they could fill a book.

Mrs. Clinton is, sadly, a product of the modern Democratic Party, which foments division by playing a nasty game of group identity politics that trumps fidelity to due process.

It is good that they lost last night--even if college men don't know it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Clinton unfairly maligned regarding her defense of a man accused of rape

Hillary Clinton once defended an accused rapist when she was a public defender. Clinton eventually had him plead to a lesser offense.

Throughout this campaign, pro-Trump supporters have been saying that the accused was, in fact, a rapist, that Clinton knew he was a rapist, and that Clinton laughed about the "rapist's" twelve-year-old alleged victim.

Clinton is being unfairly maligned.

First, the suggestion that a criminal defendant is not worthy of a defense just because he was accused of rape is repulsive. Sometimes--more often than most people would like to think--men and boys accused of rape are innocent. If you need examples, spend a few weeks rummaging through this blog. You can start here and here.

Second, Clinton later gave an interview where she said: "Of course he claimed he didn’t. All this stuff. He took a lie detector test. I had him take a polygraph, which he passed, which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs. [laughs]" See here: http://www.factcheck.org/2016/06/clintons-1975-rape-case/

Clinton wasn't laughing at the alleged victim. Nor was she suggesting that the man was not entitled to a defense.

Third, the man pled to a lesser offense, something that happens all too often even when the man happens to be innocent. See here. I have no idea if this particular defendant was innocent, but plea bargains are scarcely iron-clad barometers of the truth. It would be helpful if we stopped buying into this notion that the man had to be guilty just because he was charged.

We are stranded in a political culture where, when it comes to college men accused of rape, hostility to due process is the norm. It is unfortunate that some on the right feel the need to score points any way they can--even by suggesting it was somehow wrong to defend a man accused of rape and by assuming that the accused had to be guilty merely because he was accused.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Off-topic: Americans are stupid

No one should complain about the outcome of this election, whatever it might be. Americans don’t deserve a good president because they don’t demand one.

Mrs. Clinton and her news media allies (pretty much the entire mainstream media) are only interested in talking about Donald Trump’s idiocy du jour. For his part, Donald Trump is primarily interested in attacking leaders of his own party who aren’t supporting him. The rest of the GOP and its media outlet, Fox News, are more interested in catching Clinton in lies about old emails or maybe even hoping she faints again.

The American people are even worse. We just witnessed the most dramatic presidential debate in history--and the most talked-about thing is what? A guy in a red sweater who asked a question that wasn’t important.

So what's so important that we should be discussing, you ask?

For one thing, Americans ought to be talking about Obamacare. Barack Obama considers it his signature accomplishment, and Mrs. Clinton is running as an Obama acolyte. Obama sold it to Americans with his Pajama Boy ad campaign and promises that it would “reduce the costs of most Americans” and that “no matter what you’ve heard, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor . . . .” In fact, Obama made those claims repeatedly.

The Pajama Boy campaign turned out to be a dud—akin to trying to peddle New Coke (younger readers may not know--in the mid-1980s, Coke changed the formula of its iconic drink--it didn’t last). And the promises turned out to be wrong, to put it charitably. An architect of Obamacare, Jonathan Gruber, later admitted in a moment of arrogant candor that the promises were deceitful—because “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage” in this instance. Health care premiums have skyrocketed to the point that Bill Clinton—the man Mrs. Clinton said would be “in charge of revitalizing the economy” in her administration--last week said this: "So you've got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have health care and then the people who are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half. It's the craziest thing in the world."

At this week’s debate, a questioner asked: “Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, it is not affordable. Premiums have gone up. Deductibles have gone up. Copays have gone up. Prescriptions have gone up. And the coverage has gone down. What will you do to bring the cost down and make coverage better?” Even Mrs. Clinton agreed with the questioner. “. . . I agree with you. Premiums have gotten too high. Copays, deductibles, prescription drug costs . . . .” And: “. . . we've got to get costs down. We've got to provide additional help to small businesses so that they can afford to provide health insurance.”

The most important accomplishment of the Obama administration is a mess, and you'd think this would be the principal issue in this campaign. So why aren’t we holding both candidates’ feet to the fire and insisting that they lay out detailed plans about how they’re going to fix Obamacare, or replace it?

Because we're too busy talking about a guy in a red sweater.

And . . . maybe we’re stupid?