Tagged: bob mccoskrie’s boner

Why the religious right should not have any credibility in discussions of morality

Quiz time!  Out of the following quotes, which do you think was uttered by Bob McCoskrie, upstanding pillar of the community, in a recent press release?

*

“Putting aside the general atmosphere which must be counter productive to raising healthy, well-balanced children, one must consider the “role models” such children will be influenced by. “

*

“Street prostitution also continues to plague communities highlighted by retailers and families … being affected by the activities of prostitution, including half-naked prostitutes, used condoms, propositioning of family members, intimidation, noise and nuisance, and a general reduced sense of safety.”

*

“It is time the government looked at the social reasons underpinning why these young people end up as prostitutes. Clearly broken and dysfunctional families are a root cause. Until we have a government willing to enact family-friendly legislation, the problem will continue to get worse.”

*

“Same sex ‘couples’ are already breaching the bounds of what is morally acceptable by choosing such lifestyles. Adults consenting to such relationships is one thing; to raise children in such an environment is morally irresponsible.”

*

“Nature dictates that a man and a woman are required for procreation. This limitation shows that a child’s best interests are served by it having a mother and a father. The two most loving women in the world simply cannot provide a daddy – and vice versa.”

*

Confused?  Was it all of them?  None of them?  Did I just make this up in some twisted “try to write like a judgemental shithead” thought experiment?

The answer:  Quote number two comes from this press release, and quote number five from this one.  100% pure Bob-boner.

Quotes number one, number three, and number four were from Graham Capill, the former leader of the Christian Heritage Party, who in 2005 was sentenced to nine years in prison for sexual crimes against children as young as 8.

I am categorically not accusing Bob McCoskrie of any crime.

I am categorically saying we shouldn’t give a fuck what religious extremists have to say about society.  Their entire movement, and its assumption that a “return” to Good Wholesome Judeo-Christian Values will save our society, is in no position to pass judgement on anyone.

[Daily Blog reposts] Family First: let the children go hungry

This post was originally published at The Daily Blog on 2 May 2013.

Lest you think this is some hilarious send-up, let me stick a link to the original press release right here at the front so all may marvel at it.

Yep, that’s Bob McCoskrie, who cannot jump up quickly enough when parents’ rights to whack children are threatened, actually arguing that we shouldn’t have food-in-schools programmes because … well, I’ll let the man speak for himself:

The danger is that we could be simply rewarding bad parenting.

Yep.  The danger is that, by ensuring children from low-decile neighbourhoods get a piece of fucking toast in the morning, we’re just encouraging their parents to … Bob?

there is a welfare system in New Zealand. Every home has a source of income. The important question is – what is the money being spent on, and is that appropriate?

That’s right, rip off the welfare system.  The generous, generous welfare system.  But hey now, he’s not heartless or anything.

Where there is genuine financial need – and there are sure to be genuine cases out there – WINZ should play a role

You can always spot the people who really understand poverty and need by the way they just have to make it explicit that they are totally sure there are real cases of poverty out there.  I mean, he’s never seen a really poor person, but they, like, must be out there.

This is the man, and his little marching band, who claim ownership of the moral/ethical/social high ground in New Zealand politics.  This is the group which screams bloody murder at letting loving same-sex couples raise children together, which wants to remove any hint of sex education from our schools, which campaigns tirelessly to restrict our already-onerous abortion access.

A group which pays God knows how much money to David Farrar to conduct rigged polls to generate endless Chicken Little the-moral-sky-is-falling headlines.

But when we’re talking about children going hungry, what’s Family First/McCoskrie’s first concern?  That we’re not regulating, monitoring and punishing poor parents harshly enough.

If anyone can actually point me to a single instance where Family First NZ has given the tiniest of fucks about structural causes of poverty, inequal wealth distribution, the failure of social welfare to keep up with inflation and increases in the price of living, do drop a link in the comments.

I’d prefer a unicorn, personally, but one can’t get too fussy when given an opportunity to see an imaginary creature.

Family First have to twist the truth because they are an extremist religious minority

It’s been nearly six months since our last visit to the alternate universe occupied by Family First-commissioned Curia polls.  Do you think they’ve learned not to be lying shitbags yets?

What the poll actually asked:

Do you agree with the statement,

“There was no need for Parliament to change the definition of marriage to allow same-sex couples to marry, as civil unions were sufficient for same sex couples.”

44% agreed, “half” disagreed.

What Family First thinks this means:

the country still remains deeply divided on the issue [of same-sex marriage]

… So that’s a “no” on the shitbag question.

What this poll actually means:

Some people thought civil unions for same-sex couples was legally equivalent to state-recognised marriages – a belief no doubt helped by organisations like Family First which consistently lie about the clear legal differences between marriage and civil unions – legal differences which they themselves mention in relation to their second question, “do you think children need to have a 50/50 penis-vagina split in their parents’ pants to be normal?”

What this poll also actually means:

David Farrar is an unethical douche who would, if he had any integrity as a pollster, either reject Family First’s questions or clearly state that he disagrees with their manipulation of the facts.

Next time on How Not to Poll With Curia And Family First:  

Overwhelming numbers of Kiwis think food is a good thing to have as part of your daily diet!  And when we replaced the phrase “definitions of marriage inaccurately described as Biblical” with “puppies” you may be surprised how many people agree with our bigoted point of view!

Why do antichoicers have to lie about parental notification?

[Trigger warning:  youth suicide]

In another of his copy-paste jobs (because he just won’t learn) Bob McCoskrie quotes the following:

Much to the dismay of ardent feminists, many states already have on the books so-called parental involvement laws, decrees which require a girl to notify a parent, guardian, or other approved adult or family member before she can obtain an abortion.

A new study by Joseph Sabia and Daniel Rees, researchers from San Diego State University and the University of Colorado, Denver, gives further evidence in support of such laws. States that have parental notification laws, they find, also see a drop in the suicide rate of girls ages 15 through 17.

What’s wrong with this “analysis”?

If your first guess was “anyone who uses the phrase “ardent feminist” isn’t exactly unbiased”, you get a foetus-shaped cookie covered in blood-sprinkles.

Now, here’s a link to the actual article, because Bob’s penis doesn’t deserve pageviews.  What jumps out at you from that?  Is it this bit at the end?

This article has been republished with permission from The Family in America, a publication of The Howard Center. The Howard Center is a MercatorNet partner site.

Have another foetus-shaped cookie with a red-licorice umbilical.

But who is “The Howard Center”?  If the URL of “profam.org” doesn’t give enough of a hint, here’s what they say about themselves:

Introducing The World Congress of Families

We affirm that the natural human family is established by the Creator and essential to good society.

The “Natural” Family and Society

The natural family is the fundamental social unit, inscribed in human nature, and centered on the voluntary union of a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage. The natural family is defined by marriage, procreation and, in some cultures, adoption. Free, secure and stable families that welcome children are necessary for healthy society. The society that abandons the natural family as the norm is destined for chaos and suffering.

Oh!  They’re extremist Christians!  Who would have thought?

And the actual study they’re citing?  Why, that’s here.  It’s okay, Bob, we already knew that the concept of linking to primary sources so people can make up their own minds is alien to you.

I am no stats nerd, and I welcome any who are to provide their own commentary on the math.  But here’s the thing:

Poisson estimates indicate that the adoption of a parental involvement law is associated with an 11%–21% decrease in the number of 15- through 17-year-old females who commit suicide. … we conclude that these estimates likely reflect a causal relationship, but note that its magnitude appears to be modest: for an average-sized state, an 11% decrease in the number of 15- through 17-year-old females who commit suicide translates into 0.79 fewer suicides per year, while a 21% decrease translates into 1.50 fewer suicides per year; ordinary least squares estimates confirm that only a small portion of the within-state variation in suicides among U.S. minors can be attributed to parental involvement laws.

Sure, the fundies have a good point when they say that every teen suicide prevented is a good thing (presuming it’s prevented because the teen in question chooses not to, and not because they’re locked in a basement by controlling parents).  But we’re still talking about one less suicide a year.  Not exactly a slam-dunk of a finding, that.

And without wanting to disparage the entire science of statistics, it still bugs me to see these kind of numbers with no context.  We just don’t know why there’s a causal connection – though the study has a suggestion:

This pattern of results suggests that the adoption of a parental involvement law results in an immediate reduction in suicides, but that after the first year its impact wanes. This may be because the enactment of the laws typically comes amidst press coverage alerting minors and their parents to the new law, but dissipates as public attention to the law diminishes

Right, so for a blip in time, teenagers are more leery of sex, or feel more able to insist on contraception, because the idea of having to tell their parents they’re knocked up is front of mind.  After that … yeah, nah.  Doesn’t seem like much of a compelling case for the religious lobby’s assertion that

it seems reasonable to suggest that if parental notification laws do indeed act as a deterrent upon risky sexual behaviors, such laws save many more girls from severe psychological distress, even if that distress does not end ultimately in the ending of life.

Um, just a thought:  maybe wait until you’ve got an actual study linking parental notification laws with “risky” sexual behaviours before you start jumping to conclusions.

And finally:

Levine … found that the adoption of a parental involvement law was associated with a 15%–20% reduction in the abortion rate of 15- through 17-year-olds, and a 4%–9% reduction in their pregnancy rate.

Which means that one seemingly incontrovertible effect of parental notification laws is more teenagers having babies.  Choice.

So there we go.  Bob McCoskrie is still stealing other people’s content with paltry attribution and no value-add commentary, and can’t even be honest enough to present the real findings of the study or acknowledge his sources are religiously biased.

~

Bonus fail, from the article McCoskrie thieved:

“Under the law,” reports the Chicago Tribune, “a parent or a guardian would have to be notified at least 48 hours before an abortion was performed on a minor except in cases of a medical emergency, sexual abuse, neglect or physical abuse.”

Um, Chicago Tribune?  If a minor’s pregnant, it’s a case of sexual abuse.  That’s the point of having a legal definition of “minor”, douchebags.

~

In the interests of even-handedness, here’s a disclaimer:  I’m prochoice as all fuck.  You might have gathered.

Family First and Dr Miriam Grossman are still lying about sex ed

Well, another lethal blow to my ego:  no one in the mainstream media reads my blog.

That’s the only reason I can think for them breathlessly covering a “report” from Family First – who, let’s all remember, were de-registered as a charity, in part because all their “research” is baseless propaganda – which dishonestly covers much the same ground I did nearly a year ago.

That is, the dark, seedy underbelly of New Zealand’s sex ed websites.

If only I’d published my post as a “critical review” under the banner of some vocal, extremist Christians, then the mainstream media might have taken me seriously published my opinions as though they were fact.

Anyway, you should totally go check out my original post, if only because there are balloon animals fucking each other in it.

Hat tip to Kevin HagueFrank and Gay NZ for fighting the good fight on this one.  As Kevin says,

Our problem in New Zealand is not that the resources produced by great organisations like Family Planning and Rainbow Youth are wrong. It is that we know what works but have failed to ensure that every school uses a sexuality education approach consistent with these criteria.

And one of the obstacles in our way is extreme conservatives trying to force a ludicrous Mad-Men-if-you’ve-never-actually-watched-Mad-Men style of morality on us.

#voteWTF – Wednesday 19 June, 8:30pm, TV3

On this coming Wednesday’s episode of The Vote – our monthly break from the awfulness that I hear is 3rd Degree – a very angry-making important moot is to be discussed:

Our kids – The problem’s not poverty, it’s parenting. Do you agree?

I first heard of this on Twitter, was informed of this, and the fact that one of the “debaters” is to be Bob McCoskrie, on Twitter.  Then I visited the webpage for the show and found out who the rest of the debaters are.  On the side of “shitting on poor people”:

  • Bob McCoskrie
  • Hannah Tamaki
  • Christine Rankin

On the side of “acknowledging that poverty is a thing”

  • Celia Lashlie
  • Dr Russell Wills
  • Hone Harawira

Oh my god.  This is going to be a fucking trainwreck punctuated with occasional moments of beautiful Hone smackdown.  This totally calls for live-tweeting.

If you’re not already hanging on my every word on the Twitterz, you can follow #voteWTF.  I cannot promise lulz.  Only capslock.

(And if my usual Twitter account gets blocked for excessive tweeting, catch me on my jail account.)

If you want to do some homework before the debate, I recommend r0b’s Poverty Watch posts at The Standard.

Top 10 best things about Family First’s deregistration notice

Family First have helpfully posted online the full text of the letter and decisions informing Bob McCoskrie of his deregistration as a charity.  I’m not sure why he thought this would be a good idea – maybe he just copy-pastes things on autopilot these days – but we should all be thankful for the lulz.

Note:  IANAL.  The following is based on my own reading of the linked document and I am happy to be corrected in matters of fact.

10.  One of the precedent cases cited by the Charities Commission is Draco. (properly In re Draco Foundation (NZ) Charitable Trust HC WN CIV 2010-485-1275)

This makes sentences like “Draco also approved comments in the guidelines published by the Charities Commission” just really funny in a post-Harry Potter age.

9.  Copy-pasta strikes again!

“But, but we educate people!”  Family First cried, and indeed, educational purposes are a fantastic ground for charitable status.  Unfortunately – and this one gets three numbers all to itself because it’s so awesome – the Charities Registration Board doesn’t think much of the “education” offered by their website:

… the Board considers that, viewed holistically, the Trust’s publications to its website are predominantly opinion pieces intended to promote the Trust’s point of view on controversial social issues.  The Board considers that this description is apt for the news items and media releases.

8.  Your book reports suck

Research!  Family First does research, right?  Wrong:

Thirdly, the Board considers that the research papers commissioned by the Trust do not advance an educational purpose and do constitute propaganda

The papers do not represent original research.  With the exception of The Value of Family … the reports (i) do not … provide a balanced and rigorous analysis of the empirical evidence for conclusions reported; and (ii) do contain emotive language and calls to action, and engagement with alternative points of view that is fairly polemical.

7.  Whatever you paid Curia, it was too much

Specifically, the Board considers that the Trust’s activities in commissioning polls do not advance research but rather canvas support for political outcomes advocated by the Trust

Ooops!  Who’d’a thunk it?

6.  If Family First actually gave a fuck about real families, they’d have done better.

A big issue in the consideration of whether an organisation counts as charitable, when it’s saying political things, is the self-evident public good as a matter of law.  The example they use is that saying you promote peace through disarmament doesn’t count, because disarmament-for-disarmament’s-sake isn’t really a matter of law.  Promoting peace through eliminating weapons of mass destruction does count because WMDs are obviously something our law recognises as bad, mmkay.

Unfortunately for Family First:

In particular, the Board rejects the submission that the Trust’s point of view accords with New Zealand’s international and domestic law recognising the rights of the child and support for families.  Neither New Zealand’s international law obligations nor New Zealand’s domestic law favour “the natural family” over other forms of family

Yep.  Promoting one narrow-minded view of the family doesn’t align with our domestic and international laws.  Maybe if Family First actually bothered to advocate on behalf of all families they’d have done better.

5.  That’s just, like, your opinion, maaaaaaaaan

Family First have copy-pasted an “affirmation” from the “World Congress of [limited definitions of] Families” to describe their views.  The whole point of calling it an “affirmation”, of course, is that saying “I affirm the sky is green” sounds a lot more forceful and definitive than “I believe the sky is green.”

Unfortunately,

The Board considers that the Trust’s perspective on family can be fairly described as an opinion on what is best for families and civil society.

The Board also considers that the Trust’s perspective on family is one that is controversial in the relevant sense, i.e. that its benefit to the public is not self-evident as a matter of law.

4.  You must be deregistered for the greater good of all charities

After summing up how Family First doesn’t meet the requirements of a charitable organisation:

Accordingly, the Board considers that it is in the public interest to remove the Trust from the register as this will maintain public trust and confidence in the charitable sector.

Yep.  I know, I know, it’s just formulaic legalese, but by Satan and all his little wizards I love the idea that the public of New Zealand will have less faith in / respect for charitable organisations if Family First remains one.

3.  Three strikes and you’re out

This is not simply a matter of Family First forgetting to do some paperwork.  They have been deregistered for failing all three tests the Board has put to them:

  • Their purpose is to promote a point of view
  • They aren’t promoting religion nor education
  • They are trying to “procure governmental actions”, i.e. make policy changes, in line with their views

Not even a couple of sausage sizzles for the orphans could have saved them.

2.  The fact that Family First deliberately avoids mentioning the fundamentalist Judeo-Christian basis of their beliefs is part of their undoing.  

Because while it looks way better to J Public to pretend that you’re just defending “tradition” instead of “extremist teachings which conflict with pretty much everything Jesus had to say about anything”, unfortunately when you’re trying to avoid paying taxes by claiming you’re a religious outfit, it kinda damages your case to never have mentioned religion anywhere in your many many websites.

1.  Bob McCoskrie apparently has no idea how much he’s undermined himself by publishing this document.

Seriously.  Anyone with high-school graduate literacy can read the entire thing, and – barring the technical legal jargon – understand absolutely why Family First was deregistered.  Because they don’t promote education.  Because they’re a political lobby group without even a smattering of charitable deeds to their name.  Because their views are not actually as mainstream as they constantly insist they are.

Thanks, Bob.

Boromir - this is a gift!

 

Well, I got that one wrong: Family First charity edition

I’m sure you can all imagine my glee at the news that Family Fist has been threatened with de-registration as a charity.

The thing is, I totally called this the other way, when I was assessing Right To Forced Pregnancy’s threats against Women’s Health Action and Family Planning, to lobby to get them de-registered on the grounds of being political advocacy groups, not charities.

Mea culpa, chaps.

Because I was chiefly focused on whether political advocacy in of itself was a reason for de-registering, I didn’t actually look at what constitutes “charitable purposes”.  Because while you can do some political lobbying if it’s aligned with your charitable works, you still have to have sufficient charitable purposes in the first place.

These are outlined on the Charity Commission’s website, and – just so we’re clear that attacking women- and reproductive-focused organisations is still pointless – includes:

  • promoting public health (such as providing education, counselling, and rehabilitation services)

Unfortunately, “getting Bob McCoskrie’s name in the paper a lot” doesn’t seem to fall under any of the actual categories of charitable purposes.  Boo fucking hoo.

Related reading:  The Little Pakeha; r0b at The Standard

And ye shall know them by their repetitiveness

Lew has a great post up at Kiwipolitico about Recognising your enemy, following the passage of marriage equality in NZ.  He quotes Kevin Hague MP’s third reading speech, which I shall in turn borrow (this is what we liberals call “giving credit”, Mr McCoskrie):

Over the years I have campaigned hard for the right of our communities to not be outsiders any more, to assume a full place in New Zealand society. With every new reform, the same group uses the same strategy, raising fears of terrible consequences which always fail to materialise.

In the case of marriage equality and queer rights in general, the same strategy usually boils down to “scaremonger about some slippery slope” – the Marry My Dog strategy (Stephen Franks) or the Mormons Will Marry All Your Daughters strategy (McCoskrie).

But exactly the same principle applies to a subject near and dear to my heart: reproductive rights.  Because it’s exactly the same.  The same old enemies with the same old arguments threatening the same old downfall of society.

And as Lew’s post suggests, recognising our enemy and his (invariably, inevitably his) strategy is a very important step to take.  Add to that, I think exposing that strategy is an important point – saying to people “look, there’s Colin Craig, last time he was in the news he said you’d get locked up for giving your kid a dirty look, and he was completely off the mark on that one, wasn’t he?” and demonstrating again and again that, on pretty much every progressive battlefront, we are up against opportunistic lying scumbags who can’t handle anyone making different life choices to them.

So today, I want to highlight the enemy in the reproductive rights struggle – and the queer rights struggle.  Because this is about Right to Zygote Life’s press release on the passage of marriage equality.  Same enemy, people.

What they tried to hide during the marriage equality debate was the essential fundamentalist Christian bigotry behind their arguments.  Note all the talk about “traditional values”, and “history”, and “culture”, and very little about the Bible or Jesus (who incidentally had fuck-all to say on the subject).

In this increasingly secular, open-minded society, it is imperative for the fundies to distance themselves from the religious prejudice which is the foundation of everything they say and do.

But sometimes they slip up.

So here it is:  RTL’s response to marriage equality, a topic somewhat outside their usual purview.  In a single press release they manage to mention God no fewer than eight times in a total of 406 words (counting capitalised masculine pronouns, God is 2.5% of the release).  They explicitly state that sex should only be for procreation, they give a shout-out to the Culture of Death (still, sadly, not a thrash metal band), they still aren’t over people taking the Pill.

The twist is that, having failed on multiple occasions to make us all believe that hurricanes, earthquakes and drought are God’s punishment for our sins, they’ve now decided that homosexuality itself is the divine judgement upon us.  Which is a little circular, but we are dealing with people who also haven’t caught up with in vitro fertilisation.

The widespread acceptance of homosexuality could be God’s punishment on society. The challenge for society is a renewed commitment to marriage as instituted by God. We have sown the wind we are now reaping the whirlwind.

I look forward to high-fiving the first gay porn producer who manages to work “Reap my whirlwind” into a script.

But I’m getting a little off-topic.  The point is this:  you and I ranty liberal bloggy types already knew full well that opposition to every progressive development of the last 50 years has come from an increasingly irrelevant, diminishing branch of extremist Christianity.  In the next battle, let’s shout it from the rooftops.

Bob McCoskrie: content thieving for great justice

As highlighted by Coley Tangerina – whose post on polyamory was lifted wholesale from The Daily Blog and reproduced with paltry attribution (a summary of TDB bloggers which doesn’t name her, and a link to the original post all the way at the bottom) – Bob McCoskrie, moral crusader, is a big ol’ content thief.

Now, if I wanted to write a post about how polyamory is the next (scary!!!) step in the marriage equality campaign, and I wanted to cite Coley’s post, I might write something like:

As Coley has argued:

[quote from Coley’s post]

And I think this is right on / silly / terrifying / a sign of the end times etc.

But not Bob.  No, Bob is far too busy to actually outline his own arguments or anything, he’s just going to copy-paste someone else’s hard-wrought words and assume that his sheep-like fanbase will be able to connect the OMG!!!! POLYGAMY!!! dots for themselves.

I mean, it’s exactly what he’s done in the first two parts of this series of posts.  And he doesn’t even have comments enabled, from what I can tell, so it’s clearly not a case of “giving” his audience the opportunity to discuss the topic in a safe not-filled-with-scary-liberals space.

The sum total of his contribution to the discussion is to rewrite the headline to “Of course polygamy is next” and include a screenshot from Big Love, because despite Coley’s original post being quite obviously about a broad definition of polyamory, Bob and his buddies have to instantly jump to Mormon polygyny so the scare tactics work better.

In fact, of the last 20 posts on McCoskrie’s “blog”, seventeen are simply other people’s work reproduced in full with links to the original stapled on the end and Bob’s “thoughts” summarised by the headline.  (The best ones are the screenshots of articles on news sites like the BBC … perhaps so it’s harder for them to detect the content theft?)

Two are Family First media releases, which would be kind of like me making a blog post entirely in the third person.  Queen of Thorns, total babe, described this type of blogging as “doing it wrong.”

QoT went on to ask, “Can anyone explain to me why this man has any credibility at all?”