Monday, February 29, 2016

Clinton Fact Check: Honduras

I have a serious problem with a semicompulsive habit that wastes tons of my time almost every day and seemingly only serves to annoy me. The problem? I cannot scroll past an inflammatory claim about Hillary Clinton without fact-checking it.

Why Hillary Clinton in particular? Because of the long-standing (misogynist) tendency to demonize her in the media. Because I'm an American with a vested interest in accurate information about my electoral candidates. Because I'm leaning towards voting for Clinton, and many of these claims are so drastically negative that they might change my mind, if they were true.

Which, almost uniformly, they are not.

For months now my only reaction to discovering these falsehoods was to sigh, deepen my distrust of the media (esp those who publish inflammatory claims about Clinton), and scroll on. Sometimes I might leave a Facebook comment to correct those claims, but more often I remained silent, fearing pushback.

I am going to start challenging those claims more publicly, right here on my blog. Not just because there are people who do value accurate information about US presidential candidates, but also because I'm already doing this fact-checking work for myself. Might as well share it! 

So! Welcome to my new blog series: Clinton Fact Check.

Today's inflammatory claim:

Headline reading "Do Feminists Support Coups? Honduran Women on Hillary Clinton," written by Heather Gies, published by

The article focuses heavily on quotes which claim that the US in general, and Secretary Clinton in particular, supported the Honduran coup. It even refers specifically to it as "the US-backed 2009 coup".

The thing is, the US publicly condemned the Honduran coup.

Don't believe me? Click on this link. Or maybe this one. Here's an official statement. Here's a longer official statement (long enough that you'll have to Ctrl-F and search for the word "coup" to find the relevant bit).

But that doesn't address their particular beef with Clinton. In fact, the article itself doesn't discuss the specifics of Clinton's supposed support of the coup. (It does quote Clinton as supporting the subsequent election, which may be worth critique but is not the same thing as supporting the coup.) I had to dig further.

My first step was looking at other articles from the teleSUR website. I wanted to hear the reasons behind this claim straight from the source, if possible. I found this article, originally titled Hillary Clinton's Foreign Policy Hypocrisy in Honduras, which is also extremely thin on actual evidence. You can click and read for yourself, but let me summarize Clinton's coup-related sins in bullet points for the lazy:
  • She didn't personally like Zelaya (the deposed former Honduran president)
  • When condemning the coup she called it a "crisis" and a "forced exile" rather than a coup d’├ętat
  • She supported the subsequent Honduran election

Notice that none of those things is equivalent to actually supporting the coup. However, within that article there is a link which reads, "E-mails Show Hillary Clinton Implicated in Honduras Coup". Okay, let's dig further.

There are two emails that supposedly implicate Clinton, discussed most coherently in this article by The Intercept. I went deeper than that and actually looked up those two emails.

In the first email, written months after the coup, Secretary Clinton asked whether some PR guy could put her in touch with interim president Micheletti. This does not read to me like support of the coup which put Micheletti in charge; it reads to me like the US's chief diplomat doing, like, basic diplomacy shit.

The second email, written the day of the post-coup Honduran election, wasn't written by Clinton, it was written to her. And it was about the election, again, not the dang coup.

Now for some actual facts: Clinton did not support the deposition of former president Zelaya. Rather, she actually advocated for Zelaya's reinstatement. I have found no evidence to support the claim that Clinton did anything but oppose the coup. The most that can be said is that Clinton did not oppose the coup strongly enough, which is not the same thing as actually supporting it.


Monday, February 22, 2016

The Return of Bad Science Journalism

That title is somewhat misleading, because bad science journalism never really went away! I just stopped writing about it. So the title should read, "The return of Muse writing about bad science journalism" but that's more complicated and wouldn't generate as many clicks, so I took the cheap and easy route and simplified things.

Speaking of misleading titles...

Screencap of a news headline that reads "Blow Jobs Are Good for a Woman's Health and Help Fight Depression"

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Signal Boost

Greta Christina is raising funds for a really awesome sounding erotic novel that I am REALLY EXCITED ABOUT. Click here and check it out. Like, right now. Do it. Go!

I spend so much time in the fanfiction world, I forget that writing erotica is something that people do for a living, where there are WHOLE BOOKS written by ACCOMPLISHED, SKILLED WRITERS with PAID EDITORS. Ahem. Plus this giant spoonful of awesome that is part of Greta Christina's writing philosophy:
I hate erotica that's, "plot, sex scene, plot, sex scene." I don't see these as separate. Erotica is much hotter when you get a sense of what the sex feels like -- not just what's happening physically, but the emotions, the sensations, how this sex is going to change the characters' lives.
 And for $100 she'll include the Kill Your Darlings draft, so amateurs like me can see how it's done?