This s going to be a rather short post. Last Saturday, BostonBoomer wrote about the New York Times and its seemingly endless need to write completely unhinged things about Hillary Clinton. We’ve also written about MoDo before and her strange fixation on the former Secretary of State and presidential candidate. Peter Daou and Tom Watson have completely dissected MoDo’s screeds in a must-read blog post. I want to make sure y’all read it. Daou traces the memes and name calling back to Karl Rove and has a rather complete list of misogynist adjectives frequently assigned to Hillary.
• OVER AMBITIOUS
• WILL DO ANYTHING TO WIN
• OLD/OUT OF TOUCH
Just about any woman with grit, ambition, and a talent for assertiveness has worn those labels at one time or another. Why on earth is Maureen Dowd and the NYT allowing Karl Rove to control their narratives on the former Secretary of State? I’m always first in line to attribute the nonsense to the Dudebro culture where all white men with coveted college educations believe that only they can be the masters of the universe. See what you think.
In The Great American Brainwash: Half a Billion Dollars to Turn the Public against Hillary, Peter explains how these memes work and where they originate:
From a revealing report on Karl Rove’s Crossroads:
“An expensive and sophisticated effort is underway to test and refine the most potent lines of attack against Mrs. Clinton, and, ultimately, to persuade Americans that she does not deserve their votes. Republican groups are eager to begin building a powerful case against the woman they believe will be the Democratic nominee, and to infuse the public consciousness with those messages. The effort to vilify Mrs. Clinton could ultimately cost several hundred million dollars, given the variety and volume of political organizations involved.”
Crossroads’ goal is to indoctrinate the public with anti-Hillary narratives, to insert carefully tested negative memes into the public debate.
Voters need to understand that what they think they know about Hillary is often the result of sophisticated propaganda techniques, where tightly-crafted talking points are focus-grouped and deployed by shadowy GOP groups then magnified by the mainstream media and pundits.
This is the subtext to Maureen Dowd’s new, vicious attack against Hillary. Dowd’s words are chosen meticulously: they fit perfectly into the narratives and frames that have been developed for over two decades to smear Hillary. Each of these terms is taken from Dowd’s new op-ed – many are verbatim matches with our compendium of anti-Hillary memes:
“Acting all innocent, disingenuous, egregious transgressions, militant fans, craving a championship, surreptitious, wanting to win at all costs, calculating, history of subterfuge, crafty, sketchy value system, seamy, Faustian bargain, sheen of inevitability, robotic, queenly attitude, suspicious mind-set, unsavory.”
Delivering such excessive negativity in one piece is not opinion writing. It is not journalism. It is a personal vendetta aided and abetted by the New York Times, with the intention of spreading potent sexist frames crafted by conservative opposition researchers.
Dowd’s history of Hillary-bashing is notable:
Dowd has written more than 200 columns on Hillary, most of them negative. A detailed analysis by Oliver Willis and Hannah Groch-Begley published last summer found that “Dowd has repeatedly accused Clinton of being an enemy to or betraying feminism (35 columns, 18 percent of those studied), power-hungry (51 columns, 26 percent), unlikable (9 columns, 5 percent), or phony (34 columns, 17 percent). She’s also attacked the Clintons as a couple in 43 columns (22 percent), many of which included Dowd’s ham-handed attempts at psychoanalysis.”
The abuse continues. Just this past April, Dowd wrote that Hillary is a “granny” who “can’t figure out how to campaign as a woman” after she “scrubbed out the femininity, vulnerability, and heart” required to do so during her 2008 presidential run. Claiming Hillary is now trying to shift her image after she “saw the foolishness of acting like a masculine woman,” Dowd asserted that the candidate “always overcorrects,” and is now “basking in estrogen.” Dowd concluded, saying hopefully Hillary will “teach her Republican rivals…that bitch is still the new black” instead.
At #HillaryMen, we’ve dubbed this endless invective directed at Hillary in the media the “wall of words” and we’ve argued that it is the single biggest obstacle on her path to becoming America’s first woman president. Although Dowd is the master of anti-Hillary memes, she is hardly alone.
With that in mind, I have a lot of respect for the role Senator Bernie Sanders has played in the U.S. Senate even though he’s never been very influential or effective in getting any thing passed. He at least is one notable voice from a point of view we rarely get to hear in this country. I also admire that–unlike Donald Trump or Ralph Nader–Sanders has said he would never run as an independent to try to unrail any other Democratic nominee. However, the same group of dudebros from 2008 have been popping up trolling women supporters of Hillary. There still seems to be an incredible discomfort among white male elites with the idea of a woman in charge.
On my side of the aisle, it’s all about Bernie. Well, Bernie vs. Hillary. And that’s where the rub is getting… rubbier.
I like Bernie; I’ve always liked Bernie. I’ve shared his memes and quotes over the years, I’ve appreciated his unvarnished views on issues of the economy and fiscal equity, and I believe he’s a passionate, powerful idealist who has a lot to say that bears hearing. I’m thrilled he’s running; I think he’s energized many on the left who’ve felt Hillary wasn’t left enough but didn’t have another candidate to support. He makes the Democratic ticket a true race, one that’s vibrant and competitive, and that’s a good thing.
The rub is in the way too many of his supporters are comporting themselves in their effort to promote the cause. I don’t mind the enthusiastic postings about big crowds, electrifying speeches, or hope-inducing polls. The ideas he’s touting, the kind of government he’s visualizing, the core principals of his platform are all admirable, and it’s easy to see why people are excited. That’s how it should go in campaigns, certainly at this point in the process. I don’t even mind the countless invitations I’ve received to join this “Bernie group” on Facebook, or come to that Bernie event in Hollywood. Invite away; I’m a big girl and I have no problem being gracious in my responses.
But lately I’m seeing too many threads on the topic turn into sadly-typical spitting contests, with those supporting Bernie flinging epithets at Hillary supporters, breathlessly listing all her purported transgressions and foibles, denigrating her accomplishments, insulting her personal decisions, and acting as though anyone who supports her is an idiot who doesn’t grasp the folly of their ways. I’ve had Bernie supporters get snarly with me, bait me to answer questions about why I might support Hillary, push me to defend her record, explain her business decisions, even parse her choice to stay with her husband. As a woman I find it appalling, but frankly, many of those most zealous on this topic are women… Hillary has always had the capacity to trip the wire with some on that side of the gender aisle!
My moment came when I posted this and said wtf was he thinking on Facebook. In 1972, I was a kid in high school working as a volunteer in the origination of what’s now one of the most successful rape crisis lines and centers in the country. I was like all of 16 and I can tell you that rape is a woman’s nightmare and one likely to happen. It’s not a damned fantasy. Well, this was evidently a satire piece but hell, the immodest proposal of eating Irish Children was good satire because it was such an over the top unlikely scenario. Being raped or held down against your will by men is something most of us will experience and by that time I’d been held down by upperclassmen and yelled at for not being humble like Jesus. I just considered myself fortunate to not get the rape part of it but I have many many friends that have. So, my question is what was he thinking then and what has he said now. (RAPE TRIGGER FOR THAT LINK)
So, one of the responses I got was from a friend of a friend “Looks like the Hillary supporters are dredging for straws to grasp.”. Uh, we’ve got no straws to grasp. Being a self-proclaimed socialist in today’s USA is about all it takes to sink a candidate outside of a few states. I’m fine with him being in the race. It’ll make for interesting debates.
I also “like” being mansplained about a piece being a critique of entrenched gender roles. My response was as follows.
No one thinks it’s his own sexual preferences nor was the critique of gender roles lost on me. It’s the idea of using a rape fantasy for a woman that’s appalling period. But the dudebros back then were as misogynist as they are today. I just want to read something explaining what on earth he was thinking back then. When you write satire you assign outrageous scenarios but you don’t make ever woman’s nightmare–and a likely one at that–a fantasy. I don’t think this will impact any election. It’s just appalling no matter when it was written and no matter by who
You can read more on the Bernie Swoon and the way the press is encouraging him to Hillary bash by reading this example at The Atlantic. They should debate and establish contrasts but there’s no need for anyone to be combative.
I just absolutely hate to think that we’re going to have to go through another one of these political seasons where we get dick-thwapped just because a woman wants to be president. I especially don’t want to hear a rehash of all that Rove crap coming from the New York Times. We’re going to be treated to the Republican Primary Debates shortly. I hope they just stuck to trashing each other. Otherwise, it’s going to be a long, stressful, misogynistic political season.
The original MoDO screed is here at today’s NYT where she compare’s Clinton to Tom Brady and says they have an attitude of “win at all costs” with a history of “subterfuge.” She even quotes a Wall Street Journal article. Wow, the NYT really needs to reassess their relationship with her if that’s the stuff she reads and cites.
Anyway, you can consider this an open thread. I slept late today and took a huge long nap this afternoon. I’m exhausted.
It has been a hell of a time of late.
I still can’t get over how creepy the dynamic of some families can be when it comes to anything resembling emotional connections….or even regular contact. Creepy is not right, disturbing is actually more like it.
Anyway. Here are some funnies to get you through the night.
This is an open thread.
Religion-based bullies are always the worst of the worst when it comes to meanness because they have that extra self-righteousness about them that infers they can never be wrong even when everything they say and do pretty much violates every tenant you’ve ever come to understand about their religion. This behavior is as old as religions themselves. I mean, who really are better bullies than any of the gods? The Greek gods excelled at it. The Abrahamic god not only has corned the market but has followers that basically travel from land to land and culture to culture just to act out on hapless indigenous people.
My first real experience happened in high school in the choir room when two upper class boys decided I needed a lesson in the humility they believe was shown by Jesus. Of course this was just old fashioned misogyny which is really one of the oldest tricks in the bullying books written by those following the entire Iron Age myth of the Abrahamic god. Believe me, I was traumatized by being held down for a period of time and shouted at on the choir risers about basically being an uppity woman who really needs to understand what jeebus wants her to do. Women aren’t allowed to be too talented, too smart, too pretty, and not passive enough. I’ve really just started talking about this craziness around 40 odd years after the fact. I had no idea what to make of it or do about it as a teenage girl who had to deal with these guys daily.
When any one asks me what one thing I would eliminate in the world if I could I answer quite quickly. It would be religion.
My second experience was, of course, my lesson in what neighbors are really about when I ran for office as a pro-choice Republican. Nothing, believe me nothing stands up to what fetus festishists can do. Lying and bullying are rituals for them. The day I started getting messages on the answering machine telling me where my small children had been and what abortion “procedure” they’d perform on them was the day I decided I wanted to leave that state and NEVER go back. I’d stack the lot of these Fetus Fetishists up against ISIS. They’re actually worse because most of them have the benefit of an education, a job, and life in a first world country. We are resplendent in religious bullies these days. From Bibi Netanyahu, to Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum and just about every dude in the Government of Saudi Arabia. I could probably just spend a post of thousands of words listing them all.
So, I’m going to start with a story out of Alabama where a prisoner has been basically bullied into carrying a pregnancy to term. It starts out with the State seeking to end the parental rights of the pregnant woman. These multiple attempts confusing fried chicken with scrambled eggs always concern me.
The state of Alabama is petitioning a court to strip a pregnant prisoner of parental rights in order to prevent her from obtaining an abortion.
Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly said Wednesday the woman won’t have legal standing to seek an abortion if a court takes away her parental rights.
The woman has already asked a federal judge to order the county to let her have an abortion. A ruling is expected Friday. Her lawyer says any decision by a federal judge would trump any decision by the court in Lauderdale County.
The head of the Alabama State Bar Association’s family law section calls the state’s request “absurd.”
The woman has now dropped her bid to get an abortion. I have no doubt that she was coerced into serving as an incubator.
An Alabama prisoner who went to federal court seeking an abortion filed a court document Wednesday saying she’d changed her mind and wanted to give birth, after the state had sought to prevent her from undergoing the procedure.
The sworn statement, filed on behalf of a woman identified only as Jane Doe, didn’t say whether the state’s action resulted in the change of heart. In the document, the woman said she made the decision on her own without any “undue influence, duress, or threat of harm.”
“After much consideration and counsel, I … have decided that I no longer desire to pursue an abortion procedure and intend to carry the unborn child to full term and birth,” she said in the statement.
The document was filed by Maurice McCaney, an attorney appointed to represent the woman in juvenile court, where the state had petitioned court authorities to strip the pregnant prisoner of parental rights in order to prevent her from obtaining an abortion.
McCaney didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment. Neither did Randall Marshall, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who represented the woman in the federal lawsuit seeking an abortion.
The Lauderdale County prisoner had originally filed a federal lawsuit last week against a local sheriff, seeking a court order that would clear the way for an abortion. A federal judge had said he would rule by Friday on her request.
In the meantime, the state had sought to terminate her parental rights over the unborn child.
Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly recently said the prisoner in question would be stripped of her legal standing to seek an abortion if the court took away her parental rights. Connolly said via email that he filed the request on the state’s behalf.
The woman, who filed suit July 20 against Sheriff Rick Singleton, said in the earlier court documents that she was unable to obtain an abortion before going to jail, and denying her one violates her constitutional rights. Court papers do not say why the woman is in custody or provide any personal information about her, but Connolly said she is an adult. A court-appointed attorney was named to act as guardian for the fetus.
The woman, who is in her first trimester of pregnancy, had at the time urged a federal judge to order the county to let her leave jail to have an abortion that she planned to pay for privately. Her ACLU attorney, Marshall, had said a federal court ruling in favor of the woman would trump an attempt by the state to stop her from having the procedure.
This amounts to forced servitude. But of course, who argued more briskly for the rights of southerners to own slaves but the same group of religious fanatics. These are the same yahoos that are threatening to shut down the government–yet again–over funding of Planned Parenthood. The basis is the highly deceptive video put out showing the process of fetal tissue donation has triggered the outrage in the ignorant again. The worst outcry is, of course, the old dudes who are insisting the gawd told them to run for President of the world’s oldest secular democracy.
Calling next week’s Senate roll call to defund Planned Parenthood a “legislative show vote,” GOP firebrand Ted Cruz said Republicans should do everything they can to eliminate federal money for the group — even if it means a government shutdown fight this fall.
He’s not alone. On Wednesday afternoon, 18 House Republicans told leadership that they “cannot and will not support any funding resolution … that contains any funding for Planned Parenthood.” Meanwhile, GOP social conservatives like Sens. James Lankford of Oklahoma and Jeff Sessions of Alabama said they’d consider supporting an effort to attach a spending rider that would eliminate Planned Parenthood’s $528 million in annual government funding to must-pass spending legislation this fall.
It’s a potentially ominous sign for GOP leaders desperate to avoid another shutdown debacle. While Cruz may be radioactive in the Senate GOP conference after calling his leader a liar, his analysis of next week’s vote has merit: With Democrats vowing to block the measure, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) won’t be able to get the 60 votes he needs to advance the bill next week, a result that likely won’t satisfy a conservative base itching for confrontation over abortion.
In a Wednesday interview, Cruz said the GOP should go as hard as it can to block funding for Planned Parenthood, including the same strategy he tried to use to defund Obamacare in 2013: force the issue by blocking funding in a government spending bill that must pass by Sept. 30.
Asked whether he would support such a maneuver again, Cruz replied: “I would support any and all legislative efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. We do not need a legislative show-vote.”
On the other side of the Capitol, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) said dozens of House Republicans will back his effort to oppose any spending bill — whether a continuing resolution stopgap or longer-term funding package — that includes any money for Planned Parenthood.
“This is one of those line-in-the-sand type of issues,” Mulvaney said Wednesday. “Every time we say we don’t want to spend money on something, the answer is it will provoke a shutdown.”
The most recent attacks in this decades-long campaign represent a new low.
These extremists created a fake business, made apparently misleadingcorporate filings and then used false government identifications to gain access to Planned Parenthood’s medical and research staff with the agenda of secretly filming without consent — then heavily edited the footage to make false and absurd assertions about our standards and services. They spent three years doing everything they could — not to uncover wrongdoing, but rather to create it. They failed.
While predictably these videos do not show anything illegal on Planned Parenthood’s part, medical and scientific conversations can be upsetting to hear, and I immediately apologized for the tone that was used, which did not reflect the compassion that people have come to know and expect from Planned Parenthood.
While our opponents have been working to create scandal and panic where none exists, doctors and nurses at Planned Parenthood health centers have continued to provide care to thousands of women, men and young people every day — contraception, cancer screenings, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and safe and legal abortion.
Control of women is central to the dictums of oppressive religions and a way of justifying violence and violations of women’s autonomy and humanity. Patriarchal religions–throwbacks to the Iron Age–still support some of the worst inhumane practices imaginable all over the world. The United States is no exception.
Last month, 13-year-old Izabel Laxamana put on a sports bra and some leggings, took a picture, and sent it to a boy at school. Soon, administrators at Tacoma, Washington’s Giaudrone Middle School, where Izzy was poised to finish her seventh-grade year, heard about the picture. Izzy’s parents were called. As Tacoma police would later report to the News Tribune, the Laxamanas expressed concern that their daughter had been sending selfies of any kind. They had warned her against using social media. If she disobeyed, they had told her, they’d cut off her hair.
Back at home, Izzy’s father, Jeff, made good on the threat. On May 27, he cut her hair to her shoulders, leaving just one long strand untouched. Then, he started filming. His camera panned from Izzy’s downcast face to the heap of glossy black strands at her feet. “The consequences of getting messed up. Man, you lost all that beautiful hair,” her father said. “Was it worth it?”
“No,” Izzy replied softly.
The next morning at school, staff members helped weave Izzy’s hair into a French braid in an attempt to hide the damage. But a new humiliating social media artifact—her father’s video—was now being passed from phone to phone. School administrators heard about that, too. This time, they called child protective services. School counselors were dispatched to aid Izzy. The next day, just before school let out, Izzy wrote eight notes on her iPod to family and friends, passed the device to a friend, headed to a bridge over the highway that separated the school from the mall, and jumped. She died in the hospital the next day.
Women and children are still subjected to laws and legal treatment that assign them chattel status. This happens with the explicit consent of many religions and religious. Granted, not all religious people and their practice of beliefs fall under this purview. But, when one of two governing parties falls under the sway of a cult, it’s women and children who pay the price. Think about this again. The State of Alabama argued that their right to crawl inside the body of a woman in the first trimester of a pregnancy and run around a constitutional right happened just this month. The Republicans in Congress have been on a jihad against what stands as the sole provider of women’s health services in many states. They’re not defunding abortions. They did that with the Hyde amendment. What they want to defund is access cancer screenings, birth control and basic health care.
I can’t even start in on the impact this nonsense has had on every GLBT American whose lives are riddled with religious bullying continually.
Here’s an example today from Israel that’s pretty vile. Six people were stabbed by an Orthodox Jewish man during a gay pride parade.
A homosexual-hating Orthodox Jew stabbed six marchers Thursday at Jerusalem’s annual gay pride parade before he was wrestled to the ground.
Yishai Schlissel, who had recently been released from prison for stabbing several people at a gay pride parade in 2005, attacked without warning as the marchers were going through the Jewish side of the divided city, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.
Dressed in a dark suit, Schlissel stabbed several people in the back as cheers turned to screams and blood spattered on the street.
“I saw an ultra-Orthodox youth stabbing everyone in his way,” witness Shai Aviyor told Israel’s Channel 2 television. “We heard people screaming, everyone ran for cover, and there were bloodied people on the ground.”
While medics rushed in to take care of the wounded, police officers on horseback corralled the bearded suspect before he could do more harm, Samri said.
That’s the problem. Every day I read yet another instance where some one insists their pet superstition should rule the rest of us AND there’s an entire major political party just willing to let them have at the rest of us in this country. One of the strangest things I always here when people start Muslim bashing is the question of where are the “moderate” Muslims? Why aren’t they condemning these radicals? Well, the same could be said of the moderates practicing any religion. Standing up to the folks who use religious beliefs to bully and hurt other people is as much the duty of a believer as it is to the victims of those believers.
The State of Alabama probably won its case by letting this woman known that her life was theirs one way or another so she might as well give up her constitutional rights and act like a good little sperm vessel.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
It’s been a horrible few weeks and I’m in for some things that are interesting and will feed my brain for a change. For example, That’s a beautiful piece of opalized wood providing those rainbow colors and it’s selling for around $7000 if you’ve just gotta have it.
I’m not sure you’ve read how the excavations at Jamestown have been going recently but they’ve found some interesting graves. (Yeah, you know me and my thing for old graves.) They’ve discovered four bodies and one very odd box.
When his friends buried Capt. Gabriel Archer here about 1609, they dug his grave inside a church, lowered his coffin into the ground and placed a sealed silver box on the lid.
This English outpost was then a desperate place. The “starving time,” they called it. Scores had died of hunger and disease. Survivors were walking skeletons, besieged by Indians, and reduced to eating snakes, dogs and one another.
On Tuesday, more than 400 years after the mysterious box was buried, Jamestown Rediscovery and the Smithsonian Institution announced that archaeologists have found it, as well as the graves of Archer and three other VIPs.
“It’s the most remarkable archaeology discovery of recent years,” said James Horn, president of Jamestown Rediscovery, which made the find. “It’s a huge deal.”
So, my brother-in-law is retiring on his next birthday and my sister has a great gift idea. She’s getting him a Kindle and asking us to tell her what book we’d like to load up there for him. I’m torn between 1Q84 by Haruki Marukami, A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy O’Toole, and Fooled by Randomness by Nassem Nicholas Taleb. I had to ask what others are offering up too. Doctor Daughter and Doctor Son-in-Law wanted all the Game of Thrones books. Youngest Daughter chose Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. The book that was offered up the most times was The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. So, now I’ve decided I have to read those last two. What book would you offer up for a newly retired guy with a lot of time on his hands?
On the morning of Aug. 14, many people in Seattle woke up excited to catch the regatta’s final event live on CBS. Those listeners had a vested interest in the race. The United States team, a crew from the University of Washington, came very close to missing the trip to Berlin. Immediately following the Huskies’ victory in the Olympic trials, the team was informed by the U.S. Olympic Committee that it needed to come up with $5,000 to pay its way to Berlin. Seeing an opening, Henry Penn Burke—chairman of the Olympic Rowing Committee and a University of Pennsylvania alum—offered to send his beloved Quakers in place of the Huskies. The sports editors of Seattle’s top two newspapers, outraged on behalf of the local heroes, enlisted newsboys to solicit donations while hawking papers. With American Legion posts and Chambers of Commerce throughout the state chipping in, enough money was collected in three days to send the team to Berlin. As a consequence of the funding drive, remembered Gordon Adam, who rowed in the three-seat, “people in the city felt that they were stockholders in the operation.”
The Washington crew had been rowing together for less than five months prior to the Olympics. Coach Al Ulbrickson had originally named a different group of rowers as the varsity at the start of the college season. The second boat, made up of strong but inexperienced oarsmen, knew they rowed faster than the first string and was angered by the slight. After the varsity shoved off the dock for their first practice, the angry eight carried their boat to the water silently. “We were standing about a little bit after we put the oars in the oarlock,” Moch explained to me the year before he died. “Somebody said, ‘You know this thing is going to fly.’ ”
The teammates soon devised a mantra. Quietly, they would repeat the letters L-G-B. When asked the meaning, they would explain it stood for “Let’s get better.” What it really meant was “Let’s go to Berlin.”
You can read more about the rowing team and the 1936 Olympics which is best known for Jessie Owens’ amazing performance.
Hillary Clinton vowed to take away big oil’s subsidies and use the money for clean energy while campaigning in Iowa.
During a speech in Des Moines, Iowa, Clinton laid out her vision for combating climate change by encouraging clean energy technology.
In the process, she dropped a bomb on the Koch brothers:
We will make America the world’s clean energy superpower.
We will develop and deploy the clean energy technologies of the future. Transform our grid to give Americans more control over the energy they produce and consume. And yes, I will defend President Obama’s Clean Power Plant—Clean Power Plan against attacks from Republicans and their corporate backers.
We’ll launch a Clean Energy Challenge that supports and partners with states, cities, and rural communities that are ready to lead on clean energy.
We’ll stop the giveaways to big oil companies and extend, instead, tax incentives for clean energy, while making them more cost-effective for both taxpayers and producers.
We’ll support—and improve—the Renewable Fuel Standard that has been such a success for Iowa and much of rural America.
Fans of the well-loved comic strip Bloom County are celebrating this morning, after cartoonist Berkeley Breathed issued the first panels of his satirical strip in decades.
Breathed won a Pulitzer Prize for his work on Bloom County back in 1987; two years later, he quit producing it. On Sunday, he posted a photo of himself to Facebook in which he sat in front of a computer screen with an empty cartoon template titledBloom County 2015.
“A return after 25 years. Feels like going home,” he wrote.
And on Monday, one of Breathed’s central characters, Opus, awoke from his long slumber with a question:
“That was some nap!! How long was I out, Milo?”
Breathed released the new strip via Facebook. The most popular comment on his post seems to sum up many fans’ response: “And suddenly the world is back in alignment. Thank you Sir.”
Yes. Thank you Sir. I’ll have another.
So, this is a totally open thread because I’m probably having another challenging day while you’re reading this. What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
This blog is just barely limping along. JJ is dealing with family issues, Dak is trying to help a friend who is in fear of her life from an abusive husband, and I’m dealing with urgent dental problems. And would you believe I still have itching on my arms and neck? It doesn’t make it easier that the news is filled with just plain horrible, awful, disgusting stuff these days. So here’s a really disgusting open thread.
Yesterday it was Bill Cosby the serial rapist. Today it’s Donald Trump and marital rape. You’ve probably already read or at least heard about the article by Tim Mak and Brandy Zadrozny at The Daily Beast yesterday about the time Ivana Trump accused her husband Donald of raping her.
Ivana Trump’s assertion of “rape” came in a deposition—part of the early ’90s divorce case between the Trumps, and revealed in the 1993 book Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump.
The book, by former Texas Monthly and Newsweek reporter Harry Hurt III, described a harrowing scene. After a painful scalp reduction surgery to remove a bald spot, Donald Trump confronted his then-wife, who had previously used the same plastic surgeon.
“Your fucking doctor has ruined me!” Trump cried.
What followed was a “violent assault,” according to Lost Tycoon. Donald held back Ivana’s arms and began to pull out fistfuls of hair from her scalp, as if to mirror the pain he felt from his own operation. He tore off her clothes and unzipped his pants.
“Then he jams his penis inside her for the first time in more than sixteen months. Ivana is terrified… It is a violent assault,” Hurt writes. “According to versions she repeats to some of her closest confidantes, ‘he raped me.’”
Ivana ran to another room, locked herself in and cried all night. The next day Trump asked her coldly about her torn out hair, “Does it hurt?”
When the Daily Beast writers contacted Trump’s “special counsel” Michael Cohen, he was outraged and threatening.
Michael Cohen, special counsel at The Trump Organization, defended his boss, saying, “You’re talking about the frontrunner for the GOP, presidential candidate, as well as a private individual who never raped anybody. And, of course, understand that by the very definition, you can’t rape your spouse.”
“It is true,” Cohen added. “You cannot rape your spouse. And there’s very clear case law.”
Obviously, that is false. New York state criminalized marital rape in 1984, before the incident described in the Ivana’s deposition. Marital rape is now a crime in all 50 states. Cohen then threatened the writers.
“I will make sure that you and I meet one day while we’re in the courthouse. And I will take you for every penny you still don’t have. And I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know,” Cohen said. “So I’m warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting. You understand me?”
“You write a story that has Mr. Trump’s name in it, with the word ‘rape,’ and I’m going to mess your life up… for as long as you’re on this frickin’ planet… you’re going to have judgments against you, so much money, you’ll never know how to get out from underneath it,” he added.
Of course Ivana is now denying that what happened was rape, but from the description she gave a the time it certainly was a violent sexual assault in which she was held down and raped. Of course Ivan was forced to sign an agreement that prevents her from ever saying anything negative about her ex-husband or their marriage, so she can’t really be honest about what she thinks of the incident anyway.
There’s much more to the story. Go read the whole sorry thing at The Daily Beast if you haven’t already.
This is what the Republican Party has done to this country. This repulsive buffoon Donald Trump is leading the race for the GOP presidential nomination, and the rest of the clown car aren’t much better.
In a response to the Daily Beast Story, the Trump campaign told Business Insider:
A representative for Trump, who is now a front-runner in many polls of the Republican primary, provided a statement to Business Insider that said the incident was “old news and it never happened.” The person also said Ivana Trump made up the “rape” allegation as part of an effort to “exploit” Trump during their divorce proceedings in the early ’90s.
“This is an event that has been widely reported on in the past — it is old news and it never happened,” the Trump representative said. “It is a standard lawyer technique, which was used to exploit more money from Mr. Trump especially since he had an ironclad prenuptial agreement.”
Today Trump lawyer Michael Cohen tried–and failed–to clean up the mess he made yesterday.
From The Huffington Post: Donald Trump’s Lawyer Apologizes For ‘Inarticulate Comment’ About Spousal Rape.
“As an attorney, husband and father there are many injustices that offend me but nothing more than charges of rape or racism,” Cohen said in a statement to CNN. “They hit me at my core. Rarely am I surprised by the press, but the gall of this particular reporter to make such a reprehensible and false allegation against Mr. Trump truly stunned me. In my moment of shock and anger, I made an inarticulate comment — which I do not believe — and which I apologize for entirely.”
Cohen had some choice words for The Daily Beast, saying he planned to “come after” the publication.
“So I’m warning you, tread very f—ing lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be f—ing disgusting. You understand me?” Cohen said, according to CNN.
OK, so now you’re threatening reporters for doing their job. Ever hear of the first amendment? But I guess this is how things are handled in Trump World. I don’t think it will work much longer in the world of politics. At least I hope not.
And for the record, from Think Progress: Memo To Donald Trump: Here’s What The Law Actually Says About Raping Your Spouse.
Cohen’s claim that sex between spouses cannot legally be rape was once true, although it is rooted in a definition of marriage that our society abandoned decades ago. Under the English common law, which still shapes much of American law, a woman became little more than her husband’s property when she said “I do” at the altar. As Sir William Blackstone wrote in a widely cited explanation of the common law rule of marriage, “[t]he very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband; under whose wing, protection and cover, she performs everything.”
Under this traditional definition of marriage, a wife’s financial identity was subsumed into her husband’s. Though she could retain title over real estate, such land was managed and controlled by her husband. The husband actually gained legal ownership of his wife’s remaining property.
Significantly, the common law also held wives to be sexually subservient to their husbands. A husband “cannot be guilty of a rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife,” Sir Matthew Hale wrote in a 1736 treatise on the common law. “[B]y their mutual matrimonial consent and contract the wife hath given herself up in this kind unto her husband,” Hale added, and this consent was something “she cannot retract.”
This vision of the wife as a kind of sexual property continued until surprisingly recently in the United States. The 1962 draft of the Model Penal Code, a proposed set of criminal laws drafted by legal scholars seeking to encourage uniform laws throughout the states, provided that the crime of rape could only occur when a “male . . . has sexual intercourse with a female not his wife.” Nebraska, the first state to abolish the marital rape exemption, did not do so until 1976.
After Nebraska took this step, however, the remaining states followed fairly quickly. In 1993, North Carolina became the last state to repeal the old rule holding that a husband could not rape their wife.
So . . . what do you think? Again, this is an open thread.
New York Magazine’s latest cover features 35 women who say they were drugged and sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby. At the moment the link to the “13-page photo essay” is unavailable–apparently the site has crashed.
From The Guardian: Bill Cosby accusers detail trauma and betrayal in magazine.
Thirty-five women who have accused Bill Cosby of raping them have spoken out in an explosive photo essay for New York magazine. More than 40 women have so far accused the comedian of sexual assault, but the cover story represents a sea change in how the comedian’s alleged victims have been publicly perceived.
“Listen, he was America’s favorite dad,” saidBarbara Bowman, who says she was raped as a 17-year-old actress. She made her case public in 2004, when testifying on behalf of Andrea Constand, who said she was also one of Cosby’s victims.
“I went into this thinking he was going to be my dad,” Bowman told the magazine. “To wake up half-dressed and raped by the man that said he was going to love me like a father? That’s pretty sick.
“It was hard for America to digest when this came out. And a lot of backlash and a lot denial and a lot of anger.”
Inside Higher Ed reports: Spelman Discontinues Cosby Professorship.
Spelman College announced Friday that it is discontinuing an endowed professorship named for Bill Cosby and his wife. “The William and Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby Endowed Professorship at Spelman College has been discontinued and related funds have been returned to the Clara Elizabeth Jackson Carter Foundation,” said a statement from the college. A spokeswoman declined to comment further. Bill and Camille Cosby are major donors to Spelman and an academic building is named for Camille Cosby. The Clara Elizabeth Jackson Carter Foundation was created by Bill Cosby to provide grants to historically black colleges.
The hardest thing for many people to understand about this is the way Camille Cosby has stood by her husband through the many years it has taken for this entire ugly business to play out. Was she simply in denial? Was she reluctant to give up the money and fame that came with being the wife of a powerful man? We may never know, but she was apparently an active force in her husband’s defense.
From the July 12 New York Post: Bill Cosby’s wife says accusers ‘consented’ to drugs and sex.
Bill Cosby’s wife knows her husband is a serial philanderer, but believes his scores of accusers consented to drugs and sex, two confidants of the couple say.
Last week’s revelation that Cosby admitted during a deposition that he intended to ply women with Quaaludes before bedding them barely fazed Camille Cosby, the insiders told The Post.
“Camille still doesn’t believe that Bill provided drugs and had sex with women without their consent,” said a source employed by the Cosby family. “She’s well aware of his cheating, but she doesn’t believe that her husband is a rapist.”
Mrs. Cosby is “a proud, dignified but stubborn woman. You can say that she’s standing by her husband, but really, the more people stand against him, the more she perceives it as an affront to her and all that she’s done to make him a star,” said another source who’s done business with the Cosbys and remains close to them.
Camille Cosby, 71, who is also her 78-year-old husband’s business manager, demanded last week at a crisis meeting with advisers that their lawyers and p.r. specialists “get back out in front of this,” the business source said.
“I created him, I knew what I was getting and we’ll fix this,” she told the gathering at a meeting at the couple’s Shelburne Falls, Mass., home Tuesday night.
There’s more disgusting stuff at the link. According to the Post’s sources, Camille was also angered that longtime Cosby defenders have been changing their positions in light of recent revelations.
At Refinery 29, Kelsey Miller argues that women like Dottie Sandusky (wife of convicted child rapist Jerry Sandusky) and Camille Cosby can be simultaneoursly enablers and victims.
It is easy and tempting to make assumptions about Camille Cosby. “That poor woman,” some say. “That idiot,” say others. And, to some, she is “that monster.” Pity or vilification are the textbook responses to spouses in these cases. Watching and waiting for Camille’s next move, I’m reminded of last year’s TODAYinterview with Dottie Sandusky (wife of Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who in 2012 was found guilty of sexually abusing 10 boys)….
Last week, The New York Post shared a widely reported story that Camille (also her husband’s business manager) had held a crisis meeting with Bill’s team to discuss damage control. “I created him. I knew what I was getting, and we’ll fix this,” she was quoted by a source as having said. It was also alleged that she referred to the “infidelities” as an embarrassment she’d long since reconciled herself with, and emphasized them as just that — affairs, and not assaults.
Of course, reports like this should be taken with a hefty handful of salt, but it’s worth noting that Camille’s supposed remarks are certainly in keeping with Cosby’s own in the deposition. Both reveal the kind of psychological gymnastics that allow someone to leap over the evidence at hand — to find acceptable, ordinary dalliances where many would see something much more sinister….
To believe that Camille Cosby is an evil, calculating accomplice to the crimes her husband’s been accused of would be to ignore the possibility that she’s just another victim of those same alleged crimes.
Conversely, to believe that Dottie Sandusky is merely a naive grandma would be to ignore the magnificent power of deliberate denial. We know nothing of the internal lives of these women, nor can we speak to the dynamic of their marriages. Is it likely they knew of their husbands’ actions? Certainly. It is just as likely that they were subject to manipulation and abuse themselves.
The point being: One does not cancel out the other. It’s a cognitive dissonance that neither mainstream media nor its consumers can seem to resolve. We want clear answers and archetypes, and instead we’re stuck with real people, none of whom are entirely good or entirely monstrous.
I suppose Miller has a point, but it’s difficult for me to have much sympathy with either of these enabling wives. Each of these women appear to have actively covered up their husbands’ criminal behavior and allowed these men to damage the lives of so many young men and women.
Also in the news . . .
CBS Local 11: History Of Racial Tension Where Bland Died.
Waller County was named for Edwin Waller, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico in 1836, who four years later became the first elected mayor of Austin. Whites make up 44 percent of the 47,000 residents, Hispanics 29 percent and blacks 25 percent.
First settled in the early 1820s, the area became home to slave-labor cotton plantations. Hempstead was incorporated in 1858 thanks to a railroad terminus.
The plantations were dismantled with the end of the Civil War in 1865. Three years later, historical records report a race riot, followed by unrest in the 1880s, when a White Man’s Party was established to blunt active black political participation in the county where blacks outnumbered whites.
That’s when violence blamed on the Ku Klux Klan and other extremist groups gave it the “Six Shooter” sobriquet.
More recently, voter intimidation and voting-rights complaints have arisen from students at Prairie View A&M University, a college established in 1876 specifically to train black teachers.
The complaints led to a federal lawsuit. The district attorney at the time, in 2004, reached a settlement and apologized. But the issue resurfaced only two years later and again in 2008, when additional early voting sites in the county were established only after federal pressure.
“There’s a lot of prejudice going on,” said Eugene Hood, citing a history of police harassment as he cut hair at Chad’s Barber Shop on University Drive, just south of where Bland was arrested outside the main entrance to the university.
Marie Armstrong of Dallas, a Prairie View senior, remembers being pulled over and ticketed for a broken brake light and being forced to go court. She wished police would exercise some judgment.
More at the link.
A courageous woman who killed a man who was beating and trying to strangle her may have rid the world of a dangerous serial killer. David Lohr at Huffington Post: Neal Falls, Man Killed By Escort, Had Cache Of Weapons And List Of Prostitutes, Police Say.
Neal Falls, the man shot to death by a prostitute after he attacked her on Saturday, had a cache of weapons and a list of online escorts inside his vehicle, police said Wednesday.
The items, as well as statements the woman said Falls made to her, led police to suspect he may have been involved in other unsolved crimes.
“He had a machete, shovel, two axes, a bunch of knives, a double-headed ax, a bulletproof vest, numerous sets of handcuffs, as well as the firearm used to kill him,” Lt. Steve Cooper of the Charleston, West Virginia, police department, told The Huffington Post.
Police also found a list containing the names of an unspecified number of women inside the man’s vehicle.
More details from a previous report by Lohr:
The man…was shot and killed in Charleston, West Virginia, on Saturday, according to WCHS-TV. The incident reportedly occurred after he met a female escort through Backpage.com, an online classified ad portal that is often used by men seeking prostitutes.
“The details that we’re able to release right now are that there was a struggle … that the man had beaten and strangled the woman and gotten her onto the ground, laid the gun down as he was dragging her back through the house, and she was able to pick the gun up and fire over her shoulder blindly, and the bullet did strike the man, killing him,” Charleston Police Lt. Steve Cooper told the Charleston Gazette on Saturday.
Police in nearby Chillicothe, OH, are looking into the possibility that Falls could be responsible for the disappearances of 6 Ohio women.
“We are in communication with Charleston regarding that situation,” Bud Lytle, a spokesman and crime prevention officer for the Chillicothe Police Department, told The Huffington Post. “Obviously, it’s not a great distance from us and it involved a prostitute and an individual known to pick up prostitutes.”
Falls, who was originally from Oregon, is also be investigated by authorities in Nevada, according to Lohr: Neal Falls Investigation Expands To Las Vegas-Area Dismemberments: EXCLUSIVE
“We received information that caused a conversation to take place between us and law enforcement in Henderson, Nevada,” Lt. Steve Cooper of the Charleston, West Virginia, police department, told The Huffington Post on Thursday.
Cooper said he couldn’t discuss specific cases Nevada authorities are now looking into because the investigation “is ongoing and we don’t want to risk comprising [sic] it.”
The FBI also is investigating, a law enforcement source told The Huffington Post on Friday. A spokesman didn’t immediately answer a request for comment.
Falls was answering an online ad for an escort, police said, when he showed up to a Charleston, West Virginia, home.
The woman, who wants only to be known as “Heather,” answered the door.
She said Falls, armed with a gun, asked her: “live or die?” Then he started choking her.
“When he strangled me, I grabbed my rake, and when he laid the gun down to get the rake out of my hands, I shot him,” Heather said. “I grabbed the gun and shot behind me.”
Heather ran out of the house and flagged down a neighbor, who called 911. The neighbor said she “had to defend herself,” and she had “cuts and stuff all over her.” ….
Police are not charging Heather for the shooting, which they say was in self-defense. “I knew he was there to kill me,” Heather said.
See a video of Heather describing her ordeal at WCHS ABC Local 8.
This turned into a post about crime, but–as I have written previously–for me rape and sexual assault are political issues. Crimes against women and children are often ignored and covered up in our society, with the media as enabler.
Just take a look at Dakinikat’s post from yesterday. She points out that the media are largely ignoring the fact that Louisiana mass shooter John Russell Houser specifically targeted women who were watching a movie created by a feminist.
So, let me address the mainstream media and police confusion about Houser’s “choices” of victim. These are the same groups of people that rarely address the daily violence against and murder of women by the men in their lives. This is from a blog that tracks and monitors male misogyny called “We Hunted the Mammoth”. The author is David Futrelle.
Police in Lafayette, Louisiana are evidently struggling to understand why the outspokenly misogynistic, racist and anti-Semitic John Russell “Rusty” Houser murdered two women and wounded 9 other moviegoers at a showing of “Trainwreck,” a film written by and starring Amy Schumer, a feminist comedian with a Jewish father, known for joking frankly about sex.
Please check out Dak’s post if you haven’t read it yet.
What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a nice Monday.