Friday Reads: You might be BernieBro if …

20150822_USD006_0It’s the Friday before Mardi Gras and it’s way too cold and way too early this year! The only good news I can pass on about this is the decided lack of AirBnB/BnB tourists invading my hood.  I’ve actually started to wonder if the alternative rental leeches have finally saturated the market here because the vacancies are giving me some much needed peace and quiet.

It also means that I don’t have to dread going out for groceries and wondering if the one little spot in front of the kathouse will be taken over by a stationwagon on steroids (e.g. SUV) usually with a Texas license plate. My street is still a bit of a cab stand atm. Taxi cab alarms going off at all hours are enough for me to go all Clint Eastwood on some one. However, the cabbies aren’t happy about the UberDudes here so they’ve filed a suit and I’m taking some mercy on them.

More than two dozen cab drivers will make a plea before a New Orleans judge Friday (Feb. 5) to block UberX drivers from picking up passengers, a decision that could have an impact on the big Mardi Gras weekend and beyond.

The cabbies filed a lawsuit Jan. 26 in Orleans Civil District Court against 10 drivers for UberX — the ride-hailing app’s lower-cost service — who cabbies say are violating state law by taking fares without having a commercial or chauffeur driver’s license, which amounts to unfair competition.

“The majority of UberX drivers do not possess the proper license required by law and … the requirement to hold such a license is not being enforced by the City of New Orleans against UberX drivers,” the lawsuit says.

Taxicab drivers are routinely checked for the appropriate permits and service owners can lose their city operator’s license for violating the requirements, which include background checks, drug testing, and installing cameras inside their cars.

Orleans Civil District Judge Piper Griffin will hold a hearing Friday at 10 .m. on the taxicab drivers’ request for a preliminary injunction keeping their competitors from picking up passengers.

I really can’t blame any one who files suit against these “sharing economies” companies frankly because they completely ignore local health and safety laws.  They ignore zoning laws, noise ordinances, and all kinds of things.  I understand the need for a side hustle but why do something that hurts other folks’ livelihoods while giving a piece of your action to a third party parasite?  I’m still waiting for the city to come down harder on short term rentals.  I guess we’ll have to see what Jazz Fest and French Quarter Fest vacancies look like around here.  I am ground zero for all this damn stuff and it’s nothing but a nuisance.

So, all of us that have been Hillary supporters for some time can tell tales of hair-raising misogyny on line and else where.  The press is finally beginning to notice that not all of Bernie Sanders supporters are nice folks.  I actually heard Chris Matthews ask John Heilemann if there was anything to it and Heilemann said yes.   The national press secretary for Hillary Clinton Brian Fallon discussed the Bernie Bros at a Bloomberg Politics Breakfast this week.  Any Hillary supporter active on social media has experienced a Bernie Bro Bash and Dash.  Fallon asked the Sanders Campaign to rein in the angst and testosterone of their supporters and to watch the candidate for signs of Bro Creep.

Brian Fallon, national press secretary for the Hillary Clinton campaign, spoke at a Bloomberg Politics breakfast in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Thursday. He addressed social media attacks against Hillary Clinton by the “Bernie Bros,” saying that Senator Bernie Sanders’ shouldn’t let the “crudeness” of some of his supporters seep into his own criticism of Clinton. On the issue of whether some of Sanders’ attacks are sexist, Fallon said, “he knows what he’s doing when he does these little hip checks.”

BernieBro sexism is not imaginary.  It’s also not all about the guys who say they’ve never done anything like that.  It’s about how every woman spends every day fighting off something related to some guys’s issue with women and his own hyped-up idea of masculinity.

But the live controversy over the alleged bros’ existence and activities didn’t begin until months later, after many women began to notice that when they criticized Sanders online or praised Hillary Clinton, male Sanders supporters would reliably turn up in swarms to tell them they were wrong. And that this swarming occasionally escalated further, intomisogynistic abuse that was upsetting or even frightening for them.

Several women, including some who were themselves Sanders supporters, pointed this out online. A greater number noticed that they’d had the same experience, sighed, and resignedly added “Bernie Sanders” to the category of things women tweet about at their own peril, along with “feminism,” “guns,” “Muslims,” “pop culture,” and “probably everything else.”

The Sanders campaign, to its credit, took swift and sensible steps to try to improve its followers’ behavior. And there is absolutely no reason to believe that this slice of online abusers represents the views of either Sanders or the bulk of his supporters, who have better things to do than fight on social media. But some prominent Sanders supporters perceived the complaints about Bernie Bros as a threat to the Vermont democratic socialist’s candidacy, and decided that they needed to set the record straight.

And so, predictably, the “Not All Men” portion of the debate followed. Contributions ranged from measured but only marginally relevant to the issue of abuse (actually, the real divide between Sanders and Clinton supporters isn’t gender but age) to bonkers (Glenn Greenwald going Full Greenwald, claiming that the entire Bernie Bro narrative was a “concoction” by “pro-Clinton journalists,” a “cheap campaign tactic masquerading as journalism and social activism”).

But those efforts weren’t just an unnecessary fight against a perceived media-industry-wide campaign to discredit Bernie Sanders that didn’t actually exist. They were actively counterproductive. The women who complained about their treatment were talking about their own lives, and how the insults and harassment had affected them. And so the debunkers, intentionally or not, sent the message that the really important thing here was not women’s experiences but rather how they might affect a man.

The most maddening thing about this phenomenon is the mansplaining on sexism. It’s a bit like being told by Bill Cosby that you’re being passed out on a roofie makes for better orgasms and has nothing to do with rape.

Some look at these demographic breakdowns and say that Sanders supporters aren’t representative of the diversity of the Democratic base. Others say that many Sanders supporters are motivated, whether they realize it or not, by sexist bias against Clinton. This second critique was expressed perhaps best by a viral “ALL CAPS” critique (worth reading in full) of the “Bernie Bro” phenomenon by Pajiba’s Courtney Enlow.

And, of course, because there are actually women who do support Sanders, the term has come full circle; Sanders supporters sometimes use the term “Bernie Bro” ironically to mock the idea that there aren’t women in their ranks.

But while such responses from Sanders supporters are often straw men, they’re right that the critique is off base.

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What people really mean when they talk about “Bernie Bros”

Often, though, when supporters of Clinton or critics of Sanders complain about “Bernie Bros,” they’re not actually talking about Sanders supporters as a whole. They’re talking about a specific subset of Sanders supporters who are particularly active on social media (especially Twitter) and can be particularly aggressive in defending their candidate.

Complaints about the behavior of Sanders supporters on Twitter are by no means new. Here’s how Roderick Morrow, who started the joke hashtag #BernieSoBlack, put it to me in August:

there’s all these people who, I don’t know, they’re just sitting around searching his name on Twitter or something, they just come and get in your mentions and start harassing you, they start saying the same things over and over to you.

There are names for these tactics, many of which are associated with the ongoing online-movement-cum-dumpster-fire known as Gamergate. There’s “sea lioning” — trawling tweets from people they don’t actually know to start demanding answers and debate. There’s “mansplaining” — being condescendingly pedantic to people who may very well know what you’re telling them. There’s “dogpiling” — a disproportionate (and sometimes coordinated) group response to an individual comment. And, of course, there are actual threats.

Tiger Beatdown’s Sady Doyle articulated it this way:

I am now the subject of blog posts labeling me “the most extreme opponent of the Bernie Army” (yes, it’s an army now) and various gross-out pictures of pig testicles. There have been, I’d estimate, a little over 100 messages on Twitter today alone – give or take a paltry few interactions about things I actually wrote at some point.

This — the trope of the mansplain-y, harass-y Sanders supporter who gets all up in the mentions of anyone insufficiently praiseful — is the definition of “Bernie Bro” that journalists tend to use when writing about the phenomenon.

But, the deal is that Bernie does mansplain and play into sexist tropes. One of the very things that irks women of a certain age is remembering how all the early movements in the 1960s and 1970s were their own brand of raging patriarchal malarkey.

In the week leading up to the Iowa caucus, the internet was abuzz with a Bernie Sanders/Hillary Clinton meme that highlighted the pair’s ideological differences. Although the poster-like graphic was mocked up to look official—from the patriotic blue background to the tagline, “Be informed. Compare them on the issues that matter”—it employed decidedly non-political matters (e.g., wolves, sleeping, caves, jetskis, Pokémon) to demonstrate their opposing viewpoints. The obvious goal was to play up Sanders’ perceived complexity and contrast it with Clinton’s supposed #basic nature, in order to illustrate why the former was a better, hipper candidate.

Translated to internet humor: Compared to Sanders, Clinton isn’t as evolved in her tastes and approaches. And so graphics popped up which imagined what the candidates might say about Olive Garden (Sanders: “Only when I’m high.” Clinton: “An authentic Italian restaurant for the whole family”) or lizards (Sanders: “[covered in lizards] ‘Hell yeah! I love these little guys!’” Clinton: “No”). The meme’s absurdity wasn’t quite as successful (or humorous) once it ventured into pop culture territory, however: Clinton was portrayed as being oblivious to the nuances of “Star Wars,” anime and “Harry Potter,” as well as a philistine when it comes to jazz (“It’s not Christmas until I put on Kenny G’s Christmas album”), Iggy Azalea, industrial music(“Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, the list could go on”), Radiohead (“I love ‘Creep’”) and the Grateful Dead (“I like ‘Touch of Grey’”).

Radiohead and the Dead have zero to do with the election or candidate platforms, which of course is the point—it’s all speculative humor meant for social media virality and a Facebook chuckle or two. Still, the meme’s subtext has uncomfortable parallels to the authenticity wars that continue to rage in rock circles, the idea that certain acts and genres are more real because they don’t employ an army of songwriters or laptops. It’s also reminiscent of the indie-vs.-mainstream music dichotomy of the ’80s and ’90s—when the idea of “selling out” and going overground was often anathema—and the negative perceptions around the concept of a “casual fan”: Liking only the big single or a band’s surface output is often considered hopelessly uncool.

These jabs at Clinton’s imagined sonic preferences reinforce the tired idea that the tastes of non-cis-male cultural consumers—from teenagers on through boomers and beyond—are something to be mocked and disrespected. It’s seen in the way the term “fangirl” has become a term of derision directed at supporters of any band with an adolescent fanbase—everyone from My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy to One Direction and 5 Seconds Of Summer—or the way having the musical taste of a “soccer mom” is worthy of an eyeroll. Women of all ages have their favorite artists or genres mansplained to them online every day, when they’re not having their expert opinions or reviews viewed with condescension.

Younger people may want to take a look at the Bernie Sanders “rape fantasy” writing to see just exactly how bad it could be back there trying to be groovy with the primordial DudeBro.  It may have been a way to look at gender roles but it was definitely a look steeped in white male privilege.  Even in revolutions, women’s positions are described as “being prone” and cooking dinner.  The Sanders campaign is making an effort to reel the Bros in but mostly what I’ve seen is dudes mansplaining to me that I’m taking them all wrong.

On Reddit, Sanders’s digital director, Héctor Sigala, told Sanders’s digital army to join the fight against the Bros. The campaign speaks very frankly with its digital cadre, whose volunteer efforts are a huge part of Sanders’s current success and whose political and grassroots sophistication is the envy of most of the candidates running for president this cycle.

Sigala’s message: The Bros are making it tougher for Bernie and they need to stop.

“We love our supporters and we know we wouldn’t be here without you all, but it does add a layer of complexity when we have to track what you all do during some moments when we are shaping our messaging,” he wrote. “Above all: just know you represent our movement and be respectful with those who disagree with you.”

Walsh said she senses the Sanders campaign is aware of what is going on, and urged the campaign to step up its efforts to push back.

“I think they are getting concerned that they have this set of keyboard warriors who revel in insulting women, not just Hillary,” she told BuzzFeed News. “I think they just have to get that message out more aggressively. I don’t blame Sen. Sanders personally, at all. But it is disturbing to see such a misogynist strain in the male left. It’s not a new thing, but it’s tough to experience.”

Even men have been targeted by the Bernie Bros.mansplainers-of-FB-feature

I myself have written a few pieces about the Vermont senator, varying in perspective. And I’ve found that even coverage that tips toward the positive garners a torrent of strongly worded reader responses, from “Your article is misleading” to “Has Hillary offered you a job in the White House press corps?” (That’s not how the press corps works, if anyone was wondering.) In fact, I receive exponentially more criticism when I write about Sanders than any other candidate. And I’ve essentially called Ted Cruz a sociopath, and straight-up called Donald Trump a fascist.
These interactions have been more irritating than anything else—though I’ve significantly worn out Twitter’s mute function. I don’t feel especially threatened by Bernie Bros, and any large-scale negative attention directed toward my inbox typically lasts a few hours at most.

The women writers who dare question or criticize Sanders have it much worse. A subset of Sanders’s supporters have been known to orchestrate campaigns of relentless, misogynistic harassment against them. The phenomenon is so widespread that Cosmopolitan’s Prachi Gupta put together a comprehensive roundup of the women who’ve been targeted—one of whom, Sarah Jeong, a writer for Vice, temporarily locked her Twitter account to stanch the flow of vitriol.
Funnily enough, Jeong actually considers herself a Sanders supporter. And this highlights a significant inconsistency at the root of the Bernie Bro problem.
A number of vocal Sanders supporters prefer to deny the existence of Bernie Bros altogether. The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald, for example, considers the meme a “blatant, manipulative scam” attributed to “Clinton media operatives” who are “campaigning for their candidate under the guise of journalism and social-issue activism.” Others dismiss the Bernie Bros moniker because there’s nothing traditionally “bro-y” about Sanders’s overall support base. But the most common talking point trotted out is also the most nonsensical: Sanders supporters aren’t all men, ipso facto, the Bernie Bro is a myth.
But pointing to the existence of women supporters is hardly a sufficient refutation of misogyny within political movements. Who else enjoys a significant female support base? A slew of anti-choice politicians across America.

CaE8WcvUcAAj8GtBB wrote about this last month before the narrative took hold in the broader media.   We’ve all noticed the condescending, superior tone that comes along with being raptured by the Sanders Campaign.

So, it’s getting worse out there and I’m already ready to hit some one.  The right wing and Republicans are back in full metal jacket misogyny. It’s been bad. JJ and BB have documented some of it already.  Here’s a good round up from Amanda Marcotte with my favorite explanation of the Morning Joke discussion on Hillary Shouting.

And on Wednesday, the pundits on “Morning Joe” on MSNBC could not get over the audacity of a woman raising her voice at a noisy rally, like she was a politician or something. “There is something unrelaxed about the way she is communicating,” Bob Woodward complained, all aflutter that a lady is raising her voice above a soft, man-soothing whisper.

Cokie Roberts jumped in, pointing out, “These are rallies, though, and it’s hard to do that at a rally.”

“I’m sorry to dwell on the tone issue,” Bob Woodward, said, before bravely charging ahead, “but there is something here, where Hillary Clinton suggests that she’s almost not comfortable with herself.” Women who are comfortable with themselves, you see, speak in low tones so as not to be heard. To communicate true self-acceptance, a proper lady will not speak at all. He’s just concerned and trying to help, you see.

As writes like Ann Friedman and Amanda Hess, as well as the folks at “The American Life” have shown, policing women’s voices is a time-honored way to make it clear to women the only way they’ll be accepted is if they refrain from talking at all. This is a game Clinton cannot win. If she took this oh-so-concerned advice and started talking in a whisper, she’d immediately be accused of not presenting herself as an authoritative figure. You get to be a bitch or a bimbo, and the promised middle ground between the two is an illusion.

And yes, that’s the media that Sanders calls the establishment supporting the Clinton Machine and the Bernie Bros say are friendly to Hillary.

Yup, 2016 is going to be a bumpy ride.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 

 

 

 

 


Thursday Reads: Irrational Hatred and the Exhaustion it Creates

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Good Afternoon!!

I’ve been struggling all morning over writing this post. I knew that if Hillary ran for president again we would face unprecedented sexism and misogyny from the media and from many people who claim to be Democrats. But I never imagined it would be this bad. It was bad in 2008, but in 2016 the CDS is magnified beyond belief.

Since I was a child I have had a difficult time understanding why people hate those who are different from themselves. It was around 1956 when I noticed the prejudice that black people have to deal with. I just couldn’t make sense of it. I was 8 years old.

Later I followed the Civil Rights Movement closely and again I was mystified by the hatred of Americans for their fellow Americans. I could empathize and feel rage at the injustice perpetrated against African Americans, but of course I couldn’t really comprehend what it felt like to be the targets of so much ugly, vicious hatred.

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As someone who has dreamed her whole life that women might finally achieve equality, and who believes that electing a woman president would go a long way toward making that dream a reality, I am beginning to truly understand how it feels to be hated and reviled by the culture I live in. It is exhausting.

It requires superhuman strength and courage just to get up every day and keep trusting my inner voice no matter what other people say and do, and internally trying to counter the ugly attacks on the first woman to have a real chance to win the Democratic nomination and perhaps to become the first woman President of the United States.

The only thing that gives me the strength to keep believing is the the example set by Hillary Clinton. I don’t know how she does it, but I think she has the courage and the competence to keep fighting for us all the way to the White House.

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Last night in the CNN Democratic Town Hall, I saw a woman who is comfortable with herself, who believes in her ability to pull this off, and who has truly found her voice as a candidate. I have never seen a better performance by Hillary Clinton in any debate or forum. She was magnificent.

But don’t expect the media to report that. They’re busy praising Bernie Sanders, the man who answered every question by returning to his boring stump speech far outshone the woman who following him (why does Bernie always get to go first, by the way?) according to the largely white male Washington press corps.

You know what? I don’t care. Hillary is speaking to the voters and I think enough of them will hear what she is saying.

Last night Bernie got mostly softball questions from Anderson Cooper and the audience. Hillary got mostly tough questions, and she rose to the occasion. She never whined or complained. She was humble and she listened carefully to what she was asked.

Bernie on the other hand did his usual nodding and waving–he doesn’t seem to listen to the questions at all. He makes up his mind what the question is while the person asking it is still talking. Hillary doesn’t do that. She actually cares about the person who is talking to her. It’s amazing that so many people can keep right on hating her even after they watch her be so open, so willing to listen, to learn, to get better as a person and a candidate. But that’s what hate is about–hence the cliche “blind hatred.”

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Just for today I’m going to leave aside the many media arguments for why Hillary Clinton just isn’t good enough and why she can never be good enough in their minds. There’s another debate tonight, and I need to psych myself up; because I am determined to watch it no matter how exhausting it is to see the irrational hatred my candidate has to face.

#ImWithHer

First, a couple of positive moments from last night:

From a mostly negative article by Eric Bradner at CNN, a wonderful quote from Hillary Clinton after she was asked for the umpteenth time why younger voters like Bernie Sanders so much and why they are rejecting her (although I see so many young women and men on line and on TV who do like her):

“I’m impressed with them, and I’m going to do everything I can to reach out and explain why good ideas on paper are important, but you’ve got to be able to translate that into action,” Clinton said.

“Here’s what I want young people to know: They don’t have to be for me. I’m going to be for them,” she added.

Could Bernie Sanders have been that humble and non-defensive? Not from what I’ve seen so far.

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From Maxwell Tani at Business Insider, here’s another sincere and humble moment from Hillary last night.

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton delivered a deeply personal answer to a question about how she stays self-confident while being conscious of her ego and staying humble.

Responding to a question from a rabbi at a CNN town-hall event, Clinton seemed to allude to damaging past public scandals, saying she kept a parable from the Bible in mind during tough situations.

“It’s not anything I’ve ever talked about this much publicly. Everybody knows that I’ve lived a very public life for the last 25 years. So I’ve had to be in public dealing with some very difficult issues,” Clinton said.

She continued: “I read that parable and there was a line in it that became just a lifeline for me. It basically is, ‘Practice the discipline of gratitude.’ Be grateful for your limitations, know that you have to reach out to have more people be with you to support you advise you. Listen to your critics, answer the questions, but at the end, be grateful.”

I thought that was straight from the heart. But it will be minimized and then brushed aside by the haters.

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In Michael Moore’s Casual Chauvinism, Michael Tomasky writes about the endorsement of Bernie Sanders by the liberal icon. In a letter, Moore lists a series of historical “firsts” in the history of presidential campaigns. The first Catholic, JFK. The first president from the deep South, Carter. The first divorced man, Ronald Reagan, and so on up till the first black president, Obama.

But Moore never mentions women at all. He doesn’t think the first woman president would be important. No. He’s thrilled by the idea of the first socialist president–ignoring the fact that Sanders would also be the first Jewish president if elected. Sanders clearly agrees with him.

Tomasky:

Here’s what’s weird and gobsmacking about this endorsement. In a letter that is almost entirely about historical firsts—it goes on to discuss how “they” used to say we’d never have gay marriage and other changes—Moore doesn’t even take one sentence to acknowledge that Clinton’s elevation to the presidency would represent an important first.

I mean, picture yourself sitting down to write that. You’re a person of the left. You are writing specifically about the first Catholic president, the first black president, the first this, the first that. You want people to believe that if those things could happen, then a “democratic socialist” could win too. Fine, if that’s your view, that’s your view.

But it’s also the case the other candidate winning would make history in a way that is at least as historically important from a politically left point of view—I would say more so, but okay, that’s a subjective judgment—and it’s not even worth a sentence? I wouldn’t expect Moore to back Clinton or even say anything particularly nice about her. But he can’t even acknowledge to female readers that this great progressive sees that having a woman president would be on its own terms a salutary thing?

I obviously have no idea whether Moore contemplated such a sentence and rejected it or it just never occurred to him. Either way, it tells us something. To a lot of men, even men of the left, the woman-president thing just isn’t important.

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Please read this magnificent essay by Melissa McEwan at Blue Nation Review: I Am a Hillary Clinton Supporter Who Has Not Always Been One.

I am a Hillary Clinton supporter who has not always been one. She was not my first choice in 2008.

But it was during that campaign I started documenting, as part of my coverage of US politics in a feminist space, the instances of misogyny being used against her by both the right and the left, amassing a “Hillary Sexism Watch” that contained more than 100 entries by the time she withdrew from the primary. And it was hardly a comprehensive record.

I have spent an enormous amount of time with Hillary Clinton, although I have never spoken to her. I have read transcripts of her speeches, her policy proposals, her State Department emails. I have watched countless hours of interviews, debates, addresses, testimony before Congress. I have scrolled though thousands of wire photos, spoken to people who have worked with and for her, read her autobiography, listened to her fans and her critics.

And what I have discovered is a person whom I like very much.

Not a perfect person. Not even a perfect candidate. I am not distressed by people who have legitimate criticisms of Hillary Clinton and some of the policies she has advocated; I share those criticisms.

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Is any person or candidate perfect?

What is distressing to me is that I see little evidence of that person in the public narratives about Hillary Clinton. Not everyone has the time nor the desire to deep-dive into documents the way that I have. If I hadn’t had a professional reason to do so, I may not have done it myself.

I may have—and did, before I was obliged otherwise—relied on what I learned about Hillary Clinton from the media.

Which, as it turns out, is deeply corrupted by pervasive misogyny.

The subtle misogyny of double-standards that mean she can’t win (even when she does), and the overt misogyny of turning her into a monster, a gross caricature of a ruthlessly ambitious villain who will stop at nothing in her voracious quest for ever more power.

Please go read the rest. I only wish I could quote the whole thing.

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Emily Crockett at Vox: This awful Morning Joe clip shows how not to talk about Hillary Clinton.

MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Wednesday featured a tone-deaf discussion of Hillary Clinton’s tone, which you can watch in full here.

“She shouts,” journalist Bob Woodward said of Clinton. “There is something unrelaxed about the way she is communicating, and I think that just jumps off the television screen.”

That kicked off an eight-minute, slow-motion train wreck of a conversation that used Clinton’s alleged problems with volume to support arguments about how voters find her untrustworthy — and even to suggest that Clinton doesn’t know or trust herself as a person.

“I’m sorry to dwell on the tone issue,” Woodward said later, “but there is something here where Hillary Clinton suggests that she’s almost not comfortable with herself, and, you know, self-acceptance is something that you communicate on television.”

Host Joe Scarborough compared Clinton unfavorably to 1980s conservative icons Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, both of whom were apparently self-confident enough to keep the noise down.

“Has nobody told her that the microphone works?” Scarborough said. “Because she always keeps it up here.” The “genius” of Reagan, Scarborough said while dropping into a deep baritone for emphasis, is that Reagan “kept it down low.”

The panel also included Cokie Roberts talking about how people think Hillary Clinton is untrustworthy and dishonest. Gee I wonder where they got that idea, Cokie?

I’m running out of space already. I’ll put some more links in the comment thread. We’ll have a live blog tonight for the MSNBC Democratic Debate.

 


Friday Reads

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Where Y’at?

Today is one of those perfect New Orleans Winter days!  It’s sunny and 68 degrees F.  It’s brisk enough for a walk in a sweater which is just how I like it.  It’s a great day for checking out the local Mardi Gras decorations prior to the descent of the Ugly Tourist.  It’s always so glittery until the day it all goes down. Then, it’s mostly drunk people and disappointment.

Speaking of drunk people and disappointment, the Iowa caucuses are Monday night which supposedly signals the end of the silly season.  I guess we’ll see about that. I’m still struck by the similarities between the Trump and Sanders campaigns.  Perhaps it’s the nature of so-called “outsider” campaigns.  You know me, I still wonder how a long term Senator and a Trust fund Baby Billionaire can be outsiders.  It just seems that mostly what we’re getting is attacks on the press and disassociation of policies with reality and intersectionality.

Bernie Sanders and WAPO are going back and forth today about the paper’s criticism of his campaign and policy suggestions.  Jonathan Capehart–speaking on Hard Ball last night–said that the voice of the editorial page on this was Chris Cillizza so that’s who probably wrote this response today.    I actually find myself agreeing with him.  Sanders ideas simply are lofty goals. They do not add up when actually put to the pencil which is the kind of thing that I’ve spent my 35 years of adult life having to do for huge corporations, for the Fed Atlanta, and for primary research.  The term used at WAPO was “half-baked”.

Sanders suggests they are too “bold” for the staid WAPO.  Today, WAPO characterizes them as over-promising.

What concerns us is not that Mr. Sanders’s program to tackle these issues is “radical,” as he put it, but that it is not very well thought out. We are far from the only ones, for example, to point out that his health-care plan rests on unbelievable assumptions about how much he could slash health-care costs without affecting the care ordinary Americans receive. “Their savings numbers are — well, politely said — simply wrong,” Emory University health-care expert Kenneth E. Thorpe told Vox. Mr. Thorpe, who is not hostile to single-payer systems of the type Mr. Sanders favors and has even advanced single-payer plans of his own, released an analysis Wednesday finding that Mr. Sanders’s proposal would cost $1 trillion more than the candidate estimated. That is not over a 10-year budget window. That is every year.

Mr. Sanders’s response to concerns over health-care costs was that other countries, such as Canada and France, spend much less than the United States per person on health care. That is true, but the question is how, specifically, he would make the model work here. The countries he praises ration care in ways that federal health programs in the United States, such as Medicare, do not. While there may be a fair case for a single-payer health-care system, Mr. Sanders does not make it. Instead, he promises comprehensive benefits without seriously discussing the inevitable trade-offs. That is not just bold; it is half-baked.

Health-care policy is only one place where Mr. Sanders makes solving the country’s difficult problems seem easy and obvious when reality is messier. He would use higher taxes on Wall Street and the rich to fund vast new programs, such as free college for all, but has no plausible plan for plugging looming deficits as the population ages. His solution to the complex international crises the United States must manage is to hand them off to others — though there is no such cavalry. This might not distinguish him much from other politicians. And that is part of the point: His campaign isn’t so much based on a new vision as on that old tactic known as overpromising.

Mardi Gras decorations on a Bourbon Street balcony, French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana USA

Mardi Gras decorations on a Bourbon Street balcony, French Quarter

This is one thing that I’ve really noticed from all the outsider campaigns this year which definitely have some political steam.  Trump promises a wall across our Southern Border paid for by the Mexican Government.  This project would cost tens of billions of dollars. 

“I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words,” Trump said in his presidential announcement speech.

The jingoistic Rubio and Cruz promise to level ISIS and hundreds and thousands of their innocent victims right along with them.  The rhetoric in this campaign is so over the top that I find myself wondering if so many candidates have overpromised on so many things in one presidential primary before.  It’s really odd because I actually found Jeb Bush’s attempts to bring the Republicans back to reality last night at the debates both sad and heartening.  No one seemed to care much about Jeb’s pronouncements except the few folks with a firm grip on political and scientific reality.  But even then, we continue to get treated to crap like the question-ability of global warming and the call to defund Planned Parenthood which provides so many health care services to so many people that it’s essentially a call for mass slaughter of one’s own citizens.

We continue to see absolute phony promises and little desire on the part of electorate to wake the fuck up. They cannot complain about being sorely disappointed in their elected officials when the elected officials they fall in love with spout absolute crap and nonsense.  The numbers are relevant.  The analysis is by Albert Hunt for Bloomberg so it comes with a be forewarned from me.

The overpromising may be more egregious than ever in the 2016 presidential race. Yet taxes were glossed over in the debate of Republican candidates last week.

Donald Trump says that his tax plan, which has huge reductions in rates and on the amount paid on investment income, focuses on working folks and sticking it to billionaires such as himself. A recentanalysis by the Tax Policy Center showed just the opposite. The Trump plan would cost the Treasury $9.5 trillion over the first decade, and almost $25 trillion over 20 years. The tax cuts would principally benefit the wealthy, almost 40 percent would be for the top 1 percent. The superrich — the top one-tenth of 1 percent — would get an average annual tax cut of $1.3 million.

By comparison, the lowest, or poorest quintile, would get an average tax cut of $130, or 1/1000th of what the wealthiest receive. In percentage terms, the top 1 percent gets a 7 percent cut, the poorest taxpayers a 1 percent reduction.)

The center also analyzed Jeb Bush’s proposal, which would cost less: $6.8 trillion in a decade. The distributional effects would be almost the same, the center found, with upper-income taxpayers receiving much of the benefit. The wealthiest 1 percent would get an average annual tax deduction of $167,325.

The center plans to examine the plans of Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz next week. Although some of the specific proposals are different, the bottom lines are expected to be similar.

Both the Bush and Trump tax plans would “improve incentives to work, save, and invest,” the center stated, while noting that these gains could be partly offset by increases in the national debt.

Also, while both these Republican plans would remove any limits on exemptions for charitable contributions, the Tax Policy Center projected that the steep reduction in rates would reduce the incentive to give to charities.

Conservatives complain that the center is associated with the left-leaning Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute. But the analysts include Republicans, and the team reached out to the campaigns and Republican economists for input. The conservativeTax Foundation, while projecting smaller revenue losses, concurs that the distribution of the cuts heavily tilts to the wealthy.

The center has also said that the liberal Democrat Bernie Sanders significantly exaggerates the revenue that would be brought in by his financial transaction tax. The Vermont senator hasn’t produced a comprehensive tax plan that would pay for the enormous expansions of social programs he proposes: universal health care coverage, free tuition at public institutions and huge infrastructure projects. He advocates further tax increases on the wealthy, but some hikes for the middle class seem inevitable under his plan.

Hillary Clinton, seeking to stem a surge by Sanders in the Democratic nomination race, rushed out a proposal last week that would impose a levy on annual income of more than $5 million. Her spending proposals are more modest than those of Sanders, as is her tax plan. But she has vowed not to increase taxes on anyone making $250,000 or less, a promise that some Democratic economists say is unrealistic.

I suppose no politician ever really lost an election by overpromising, but sometimes you just have to wonder how gullible the American populace really is.  However, these are the same folks that send money to Pat Robertson and think that Rick Warren speaks for an actual and very angry Sky Fairy.

Some of us made it through the Republican Debate last night that had the notable absence of Donald Trump who is perhaps the beacon of over-promising, under-delivering, and covering it up with bravado. 02416428a205cbf7bfe68bad0e35d35d

Here comes Donald Trump, again, and again, and again, touting his prowess at dealmaking. There goes Donald Trump, again, and again, and again, touting his prowess at dealmaking. Gliding into February’s Republican presidential primaries atop a flotilla of polls, Trump has made “deals” the litmus test of his candidacy.

“If I’m president,” he announced at the most recent GOP debate, “there won’t be stupid deals anymore.”

But a well-documented and widely reported trail of bad deals litters Trump’s career as a real estate developer and gambling mogul. (Disclosure: I wrote a book about the Republican candidate,“TrumpNation,” for which he sued me in 2006 because, among other things, it questioned the size of his fortune; the suit was laterdismissed.)

Fueled by a slew of bank loans in the late 1980s, Trump absorbed an airline, a football team, a landmark hotel, a bunch of casinos, a yacht, and other nifty stuff — almost all of which he eventually lost because he couldn’t juggle the debt payments.

He overcame those setbacks, but the man who emerged from that mess wasn’t really a dealmaker anymore. Kept afloat by his wealthy father’s funds and his own gifts for self-promotion, Trump became a reality TV star, golf course developer and human shingle who licensed his name on everything from real estate and vodka to mattresses and underwear.

Through Trump’s rise, fall and rebirth, there was one major real estate project that he tried to keep. The tale of what happened to that property should be of interest to anyone looking for insight into how Trump might perform as president. It was a deal of genuine magnitude and would have put him atop the New York real estate market. And he screwed it up.

I’d like to say that gullibility is symptomatic to the new, disintegrating Republican Party but it’s alive and well in the Sanders campaign too. However, it does look like the Sanders campaign will burn out.  There’s some indication that what will happen in 2016 will be a burn out of the Republican Party itself.  Frankly, I’ve been expecting this ever since the evangelicals stormed the country club back in the 1980s. Donald Trump may be the straw meeting the camel’s back.  Read this interview with Rick Perlstein who has documented modern conservatism for a number of years.

Are you surprised that things seem to be turning up Trump?

I had a very interesting experience this summer. I remember exactly when it was. It was when I was reading an article by [Evan] Osnos in the New Yorker about Trump. He happened to be covering the white nationalist movement, basically neo-Nazis. Coincidentally, it was right when Donald Trump burst onto the scene, and he wrote about how these guys were embracing Trump, as they never had embraced any Republican candidate before. The feeling I got was that this was the first time in a very long time that I’ve read anything about the Republican Party that I couldn’t assimilate into my normal categories. That was a very uncanny and uncomfortable feeling for me. I realized that I had to go back to the drawing board and rethink what was going on. This is something that’s very new, very strange, and very hard to assimilate into what we thought we knew about how the Republican Party worked.

How has it changed your opinion of how the Republican Party works?

Well, of course, the whole of my intellectual project, which I have been working on for a good, solid 15 years now, has been the rise of a conservative infrastructure that has taken over the Republican Party and turned it into a vehicle for conservative policy. If there’s one thing that I thought I knew, it is that basically the ideas and the institutions that were born through the Goldwater movement were a backbone of this conservative takeover of the Republican Party. Donald Trump is perhaps most interesting in his lack of connections to that entire world. The first sign that something very different was happening was when he basically rejected Fox News, threw them over the side, and had no interest in kowtowing to them.

That has been amazing to behold.

By the same token, things I’ve been tracing about conservatism and the conservative takeover of the Republican Party as a backlash against the forces of liberalism—and anger at perceived liberal elites and all of the racial entailments of that—are part of the Trump phenomenon, too. So, how these things mix together and how they produce the phenomenon we’re seeing now is something that’s been very humbling for me.

Do you think the things that Trump has been exploiting have always been exploitable, or do you think that some conditions, either in the Republican Party or the country at large, have changed and made Trump possible?

That’s a good question. I think that people who base their political appeal on stirring up the latent anger of, let’s just say, for shorthand’s sake, what Richard Nixon called the “silent majority,” know that they’re riding a tiger. Whether it was Richard Nixon very explicitly, when he was charting his political comeback after the 1960 loss, rejecting the John Birch Society. Or whether it was Ronald Reagan in 1978 refusing to align himself with something called the Briggs Initiative in California, which was basically an initiative to ban gay people from teaching, at a time when gays were being attacked in the streets. Or whether it was George W. Bush saying that Islam is a religion of peace and going to a mosque the week after 9/11. These Republican leaders have always resisted the urge to go full demagogue. I think they understood that if they did so, it would have very scary consequences. There was always this boundary of responsibility, the kind of thing enforced by William F. Buckley when he was alive.

I think that Donald Trump is the first front-runner in the Republican Party to throw that kind of caution to the wind. As demagogic as so much of the conservative movement has been in the United States, and full of outrageous examples of demagoguery, there’s always been this kind of saving remnant, or fear of stirring up the full measure of anger that exists.

Mardi-Gras-bead-tree-deedeeflower-22452394-500-375Again, I will say that a good number of both Trump and Sanders supporters are angry white men and they love all these promises because the lack of talk on intersectionality is taken as a return to their predominance in one way or another.  The separating feature appears to be age.  They seem to bask in white male privilege and view the idea of any one else achieving equality with them as a lose on their score cards.   Melissa at Shakesville has some very astute analysis here about Sanders which explains to me why so many young, white, scared males are attracted to Sanders’ vision.

I will never forget having to see a female president start her campaign event by addressing misogyny, intended as a “compliment.”

I will never not understand that Hillary Clinton is not allowed to forget her womanhood for a moment, even if she wanted to, while she is running for president, and what it means that Bernie Sanders’ primary line of attack against her depends on treating her womanhood like it doesn’t matter.

This, of course, is indicative of Sanders’ entire campaign, where gender, or any identity, isn’t what’s important; the issues are. And no wonder: If Sanders actually embraced an intersectional approach that detailed how marginalized people are disproportionately and differently affected by economic, social, and political injustice, it might become abundantly clear how absurd it is to continually suggest that a woman is representative of the establishment.

And oh how absurd it is, truly, when one takes a long gaze at the uninterrogated misogyny that is being lobbed at Clinton, even by ostensible progressives. (That link shared with Erica’s permission.) If gender really didn’t matter, then it wouldn’t matter to Clinton’s opponents, either.

But it does. Clinton’s womanhood matters. Her clothes matter. Her hair matters. Her voice matters. Her tone matters. Her likeability matters. Her emotions matter. Her “murderous cackle” matters.

The thing about “the establishment” is that it’s impervious to such demeanment.

It sets the rules by which Hillary Clinton is judged ever wanting, by virtue of metrics that are inextricably tied to womanhood.

There is a person in this Democratic primary who can be visibly angry, who can shout, who can use any tone and show any emotion, who can show up to campaign events looking like they just rolled out of bed after a bender. Who can coast by on the double-standard defined and enforced by the establishment.

It is not Hillary Clinton.

All the things I am admonished to admire about Bernie Sanders, that he is passionate, that he is unpolished, that he is impolitic, that he doesn’t give a fuck, are things that the very establishment he allegedly wants to dismantle do not afford his female competitor.

i-QXR9Mdx-MHow is this different from all the things that Trump has said about Megyn Kelly which increases his viability in the eyes of so many pundits and voters alike?  Yes.  Just like we’ve had to defend Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann from slut slamming and misogyny, we have to defend Megyn Kelly.  Republican Rednecks and Democratic DudeBros both swim in the same shark tank and spout the same sexist nonsense.

Early Thursday morning, Trump followed up with a new line of attack,retweeting a pair of images from a photoshoot Kelly did for GQ magazine and the message: “And this is the bimbo that’s asking presidential questions?” The images were captioned: “Criticizes Trump for objectifying women. Poses like this in GQ magazine.”

We also were treated, last night, to Rand Paul mansplaining that Hillary Clinton can’t be a feminist icon because Monica Lewinsky and because Bill’s still her husband.

So, tell me, how are these campaigns essentially any different when you’ve got most of them promising things that they can never deliver and acting like there’s no such thing as sexism or institutional racism outside of making the right minimal  gestures and that every one will benefit the same from their beneficence? How many people are going to get fooled by this again?  And which campaigns acknowledge that the US is in fact full of a women, children, and men of many creeds and colors?  Oddly enough, it’s the two big “establishment” candidates that speak to inclusion and to varying degrees, intersectionality.

Frankly, I have one thing to say.  This country does not need any more Great White Fathers in Washington. The majority of us have been the White Man’s burden and chattel for too long.  Campaigns and politicians like these two need to be stopped now.  They’re establishment wolves in anti-establishment sheep’s clothing.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today? 


Lazy Saturday Reads: Trump May Have Bitten off More than He Can Chew

so-sometimes-we-bite-off-more-than-we-can-chew-literally-our-eyes-can-be-a-little-too-big-for-our-tummies

Good Morning!

In the past week or two Donald Trump has begun directing his crude and crass public attacks at Hillary Clinton rather than his Republican rivals for the presidential nomination.

Trump claimed that it was “disgusting” that Hillary went to the ladies room during a break the last Democratic debate. He said that Obama “schlonged” Hillary in the 2008 presidential primaries. He announced that it was “fair game” for him to use Bill Clinton’s infidelities in the 1990s against Hillary. Will it work?

From the NYT: Poll Show Attacks on Bill Clinton May Only Help Hillary Clinton.

Survey data from the Pew Research Center show’s [sic] Mrs. Clinton’s favorability rating jumping to 63 percent in August of 1998, four months before Mr. Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives. In December of that year, as controversy about their marriage continued to swirl, her popularity climbed higher, reaching 66 percent.

“In contrast to her husband, Hillary Clinton continues to draw high marks from the public,” Pew found at the time. “Two-thirds of Americans say they admire Hillary Clinton’s decision to stand by her husband and nearly as many have a favorable opinion of the first lady.”

Figures from Gallup also showed Mrs. Clinton’s favorability rating rising as accounts of Mr. Clinton cheating dominated headlines. That rating, which was at 39 percent in 1992, remained high through 1999 before leveling off. It hovered from 40 percent to 50 percent in the 2000s and topped 60 percent again when she joined President Obama’s cabinet.

Shawn J. Parry-Giles, a communications professor at the University of Maryland, explained in her 2014 book about the role of gender in American politics that Mrs. Clinton was seen as more sympathetic and authentic as she endured the fallout from her husband’s affair.

“As she showed a clear sense of marital fortitude by staying with her cheating husband, her poll numbers would rise,” Ms. Parry-Giles wrote. “As the scorned and sad woman attracting sympathy from others, Clinton would more closely resemble the traditional ideals of authentic womanhood.”

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Paul Waldman at The Week: Bill Clinton’s sexual history is fair game for Donald Trump. But it’s bad politics.

…since Hillary Clinton often mentions her husband’s presidency as an example of the kind of successful approach she would bring, that presidency — warts and all — is certainly relevant. But if Republicans want to re-litigate the Monica Lewinsky matter, they probably shouldn’t hope that things will turn out differently this time. You may recall that they were unable to remove Clinton from the presidency, and two years after being impeached he left office with approval ratings in the high 60s. In the end, the public decided that though his private behavior was deplorable, they were happy with the job he was doing as president. They also concluded that a bunch of prurient Republicans had become positively obsessed with Clinton’s sexual life and dragged the country through a needless impeachment crisis.

It’s fair game to talk about all that again (which, I must point out, members of the media would absolutely love to do). What’s much harder to figure out is why Bill Clinton’s behavior provides a reason to vote against his wife. That’s the substance of the question, which still awaits an explanation.

Donald-Trump_3372655k
Obviously for Trump and the dudebro media, a wife is simply an appendage, not a person in her own right.

One might even ask what relevance Donald Trump’s obvious sexism has for the presidency. Unlike with some of the other large groups he has alienated, it’s less clear what the connection would be between Trump’s sexism and his actual policy positions. Yes, he finds women’s bodily functions “disgusting,” in the word he repeatedly uses (see here or here), and has a history of dumping his wives when they hit their 40s so he can get himself a younger model. But his positions on issues of particular concern to women are little different from those of most Republicans, even those who are perfectly polite and respectful to everyone (you can argue that things like opposing abortion rights are inherently sexist, but that doesn’t tell us anything about Trump specifically).

But it would be “fair game” now, right? Please go read the rest of the piece at the link. It’s good.

donaldtrumpfreedomfest428

Mary Sanchez at the Chicago Tribune: Donald Trump should think twice about taking on Bill Clinton.

Donald Trump might be picking the wrong schoolyard fight. His modus operandi is to  bully. And it’s proved to be an ideal strategy for tying his Republican rivals in knots. But now he’s trying it on someone whose powers of political legerdemain are legendary: Bill Clinton.

The 69-year-old former president is wilier than Trump could ever dream of being. This is the man who hung the 1995-1996 government shutdown around the neck of his chief political adversary, House Speaker Newt Gingrich. A formidable huckster in his own right, Gingrich was the It Boy of conservatism and the leader of an ascendant “Republican Revolution,” but after losing his budget showdown with Clinton, his career went into permanent eclipse.

Gingrich’s oafish understudies then mounted an ill-advised impeachment campaign against Clinton, which only burnished the president’s credentials as a victim of partisan fanaticism.

Trump, by contrast, is a cad whose vulgarity and brutishness are given cover by the fact that those very qualities are cheered by a large portion of the Republican base. He’s making the P.T. Barnum bet on the Republican electorate, and so far it’s paying off.

In recent days, Trump has pounced on Hillary Clinton’s husband, in particular his record of cheating, as a new stratagem to upend her campaign. On Twitter, he asserted: “If Hillary thinks she can unleash her husband, with his terrible record of women abuse, while playing the women’s card on me, she’s wrong!”

But this only underscores another difference between Bill Clinton and Donald Trump: The former president’s record on so-called women’s issues is stellar. He appointed the first women to become U.S. attorney general and secretary of state, added Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the U.S. Supreme Court and signed the Violence Against Women Act, along with other measures that benefited women.

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Most recently Trump has been claiming that Hillary is “weak” and “low energy” and that she “lacks .”

From the Washington Post:

For as long as Hillary Clinton has been in the public eye, she has answered questions — and sometimes volunteered information — about how much and how hard she works to get it all done.

Few, even her political enemies, have questioned her work ethic or staying power — until Donald Trump.

“She’ll do a couple of minutes in Iowa, meaning a short period of time. And then she goes home,” the GOP presidential front-runner said in Davenport, Iowa, a few weeks ago, as his attention turned to those areas. “You don’t see her for five or six days. She goes home, goes to sleep. I’m telling you. She doesn’t have the strength. She doesn’t have the stamina.”

Ever since — and increasingly in recent days — the magnate has lobbed a barrage of insults at Clinton from onstage at his campaign rallies, on television and online. The former secretary of state is “low-energy,” Trump says. She lacks stamina. She’s physically weak.

The attacks — often coded, always personal — seem to be aimed at raising questions in voters’ minds about a factor that has long been whispered in some GOP circles: how Clinton’s age could affect her ability to serve.

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Trump is older than Clinton, but I guess he thinks he’s not affected by aging. Or maybe he thinks only women are?

“I think that my words represent toughness and strength. Hillary’s not strong. Hillary’s weak, frankly. She’s got no stamina; she’s got nothing,” the billionaire said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “She couldn’t even get back on the stage last night.”

Her energy level, he has said, should disqualify her from the presidency. “Hillary is a person who doesn’t have the strength or the stamina, in my opinion, to be president,” Trump told ABC’s “This Week.” “She doesn’t have strength or stamina. She’s not a strong enough person to be president.”

Trump, who often takes credit for saddling former Florida governor Jeb Bush (R) with a “low-energy” label, has lately used the same line on Clinton.

“She’s even lower-energy than Jeb Bush,” he told a South Carolina crowd on Wednesday.

Trump has looked tired by the end of every GOP debate. I’d love to see him sit through 11 hours of hostile questioning at a Congressional hearing as Hillary did not too long ago. Who know what’s in Trump’s fevered brain, but I think these are all sexist attacks designed to make people believe a woman couldn’t handle the presidency. I don’t think this line of attack is going to work for Trump either.

A few more reactions to Trump’s attacks on Hillary and Bill Clinton:

Joe Conason at The National Memo: Below Par: Donald Trump’s Ardent Courtship Of Bill And Hillary Clinton.

Janelle Ross at the WaPo: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and how sexism is now partisan.

Lanny Davis at The Hill: Thank you, Mr. Trump — keep attacking the Clintons.

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What do you think? What stories are you following today?


Tuesday Reads: Fascist Misogynist Trump Spews Sexism; Media Misses the Point as Usual

Boston Common at Twilight

Boston Common at Twilight

Good Afternoon!!

I was going to post repulsive pictures of Donald Trump, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Instead I decided to illustrate this post with paintings of Boston by Frederick Childe Hassam. I hope you like them and that they’ll help to ameliorate the horror of what I have to write about.

Last night Trump unleashed a sickening misogynist attack on Hillary, and many in the media are treating it like politics as usual if a little more vulgar than we’re used to. Here’s what Trump said (NBC News):

“Even her race to Obama, she was gonna beat Obama,” the GOP frontrunner told a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “I don’t know who would be worse, I don’t know. How does it get worse? But she was gonna beat — she was favored to win — and she got schlonged. She lost.”

Trump also made crude references to Clinton’s bathroom break during Saturday’s Democratic debate, describing it as “disgusting.”

“What happened to her?” Trump wondered. “I’m watching the debate, and she disappeared.” He then solved his own riddle: “I know where she went. It’s disgusting. I don’t want to talk about it. No, it’s too disgusting. Don’t say it, it’s disgusting. We want to be very straight up, OK?”

It wasn’t the first time Trump used the term “schlonged.” In 2011, while discussing the race for New York’s 26th District, Trump characterized the loss suffered by Republican Jane Corwin as “not only” a loss but an instance of getting “schlonged by a Democrat.”

Naturally the candidate in question was a woman.

A Rainy Day in Boston 1885

A Rainy Day in Boston 1885

Only a few media outlets described Trump’s language as misogynist, and when they did it was often when they quoted the Clinton campaign. Some writers even called Trump’s attack smart politics. However the New York Daily News did describe the attack as demeaning to women.

Donald Trump’s attack on women reached a new level Monday night, as the GOP front-runner used a vulgar term to insult Hillary Clinton and even remarked on her bathroom habits.

They also noted that Trump attacked Caroline Kennedy–in a way that was clearly sexist.

He also took aim at Caroline Kennedy, who he said was “too nice” to be the U.S. Ambassador to Japan and couldn’t keep up with the country’s “brutal, brilliant” diplomats and negotiators.

Acorn Street Boston

Acorn Street Boston

USA Today decided to focus on Trump’s use of a “Yiddish vulgarity.”

In New York, there’s a bit of Yiddish all around you. This is the after-effect of a stream ofEastern European Jews moving into the city at the turn of the last century, bringing their native tongue with them.

Your bagel gets a schmeer of cream cheese, the trip to Brooklyn is a schlep and the jerk on a bicycle who almost runs you over at the crosswalk is a schmuck.

But there is the problem. Shmuck is actually an obscene term for male genitalia. I have been yelled at for using that term in mixed company (mixed meaning Yiddish and non-Yiddish speakers.)

Donald Trump waded into this dangerous cultural territory Monday night at a rally Grand Rapids, saying Hillary Clinton got “schlonged” in her 2008 presidential campaign against Barack Obama. Here’s CNN’s coverage of the event. This has set off a bunch of politicalkvetching about whether Trump was being offensive.

Schlong means the same thing as schmuck, but I have never heard either one used as a verb. The Washington Post has a good linguistic analysis. You certainly would not say someone was “schmucked.” There are a whole bunch of other useful Yiddish words for fornication, if that is the verb you are attempting to describe, but we are not going to use them here because, well, they are rude.

Author Paul Singer said that Trump’s

timing was excellent. Starting Thursday in New York is the first ever “Yiddish New York” festival, including lectures, language workshops and dance and musical performances. There are even clarinet classes for budding Klezmermusicians — Klezemer, also known as “Jewish Jazz,” is one of the most joyful forms of music you will ever hear.

Across the Common on a Winter Evening

Across the Common on a Winter Evening

So Trump’s repulsive behavior provided Singer with an opportunity to promote the festival. Isn’t that convenient? No mention of the obvious sexism of Trump’s remarks.

Zachary Goldfarb at the Washington Post: Trump played a clever trick when he called Clinton’s bathroom visit ‘disgusting.’ For Goldfarb, Trump’s commenter were just “polarizing.”

On Monday night, Donald Trump made his latest polarizing comment, saying it was “too disgusting” to talk about Hillary Clinton’s use of the bathroom during the last Democratic debate and that she had got “schlonged” by Barack Obama when she lost to him in the 2008 Democratic primary.

Trump was surely talking off-the-cuff in his usual style — and the comments were criticized as offensive and sexist — but it was another example of his mastery in exploiting the psychological biases of conservatives who see much to dislike in today’s society and express support for Trump in the polls.

In fact,a growing massof academic research has shown that conservatives have a particular revulsion to “disgusting” images. In this line of thinking, Trump’s decision to describe Clinton, one of the most disliked people by conservatives, as a “disgusting” figure would have been an especially powerful way to rile up his supporters.

The research — still debated — suggests that psychological and even biological traits divide people politically, both in the United States and abroad. These are attributes that may help explain why Trump has been so popular among a segment of the electorate, confounding political and media elites.

Some of the recent research has been most pronounced evaluating the differing responses of conservatives and liberals to “disgusting” or “negative” images. Several studies have shown that conservatives are far more likely to have strong reactions to these images or situations than moderates or liberals are. Researchers have also suggested that conservatives are more likely to respond negatively to threats orbe prone to believe conspiracies, perhaps helping explain why Trump’s calls to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States or build a wall at the southern border have resonated with many voters.

Copley Square Boston

Copley Square Boston

You can read more intellectualizing at the link if you’re in the mood for it. I’m not. Those studies would be interesting in another context, but today I think it’s incumbent on decent people to stand up and condemn Trump for the damage he is doing to the presidential race and to our country in the eyes of the world.

Here is the Clinton campaign’s Twitter response from CNN:

Hillary Clinton has one reaction to Donald Trump’s use of a vulgar term directed toward her: Rise above.

“We are not responding to Trump but everyone who understands the humiliation this degrading language inflicts on all women should. #imwithher,” Clinton Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri tweeted on Tuesday.

One more link to last night’s reaction from Jenna Johnson at the Washington Post:

This isn’t the first time Trump has attacked Clinton using phrases that some of her supporters have labeled as sexist. In recent weeks, he has repeatedly commented on her pantsuits, said she lacks the “stamina” and “strength” needed for the presidency, and accused her of sleeping too much. Clinton is 68, and Trump is 69.

This latest attack seems to be in response to a comment Clinton made about Trump during the Saturday night debate: She said that the Islamic State terrorist group has used video of Trump’s controversial comments on Muslims to recruit new members, a claim that has drawn questions and skepticism from fact-checkers. Trump has demanded an apology, which Clinton has refused to give.

“She’s terrible,” Trump said during the rally. He then impersonated Clinton’s comments at the debate, using a rather snotty voice: “Donald Trump is on video, and ISIS is using him on the video to recruit.”

“And it turned out to be a lie — she’s a liar!” Trump said to roaring cheers. “And the last person she wants to run against is me.”

Johnson points out that Trump attacked two other women, Caroline Kennedy and Angela Merkel.

Trump also said that Caroline Kennedy is too “nice” to be the ambassador to Japan and is no match for their “brutal, brilliant” negotiators.  And he questioned why Time picked German Chancellor Angela Merkel as its “Person of the Year” instead of him.

“They gave it to a woman who has not done the right thing for Germany,” Trump said, as the crowd booed Merkel. “Nice woman. I like her, I like her. I better like her — I may have to deal with her. Look, hey, Putin likes me, I want her to like me, too.”

Johnson also describes Trump’s attacks on reporters. If you watch the video, you’ll see that he even implies he’d like to kill some of them.

“I hate some of these people, but I would never kill them,” Trump said of the journalists who cover him. “I would never kill them. I would never kill them… I would never kill them, but I do hate them. And some of them are such lying, disgusting people.”

Maybe that will light a fire under some of the dudebro reporters.

What stories are you following today?


Sunday Reads: Girl Gangs Rise Up! Now.

0d5214dc2778ac3cc50501ed6841c90eBecause this sexism shit has got to stop.

This story of sexism from Great Britain’s soccer elite is an example of how professional women are treated with an utter lack of respect.

We see it with Hillary. We see it with journalists who have the audacity to ask questions of presidential candidates.

Check this out:

Manager shows sexism is alive and well in soccer

To say that sexism exists in soccer is like saying that leaves grow on trees. The average female player’s salary in the United States is about $15,000 per year, while the average for men is $155,000. Considering that women’s sports generally have a smaller audience, that gap can make sense. But given the numbers from July 5, it’s harder to make that case. And unfortunately, the inequalities don’t stop at salaries.

d0bdbb65ed76e0ff1dfe2b268d9e2dd8Consider the unfolding dispute between José Mourinho, manager of the Chelsea club, one of the top teams in Britain’s Premier League, and Eva Carneiro, Chelsea’s first-team doctor and assistant medical director.

The dispute stems from an Aug. 8 match between Chelsea and Swansea. With two minutes to play, Swansea captain Ashley Williams crashed into Eden Hazard, Chelsea’s forward. The referee called a foul on Williams and immediately beckoned for the medical team – which included Carneiro and Jon Fearn, the first-team physiotherapist – to enter the pitch and treat Hazard. Unsurprisingly, Fearn dashed onto the field, Carneiro hot on his heels. What was surprising was the reaction of Mourinho, who leapt forward angrily, shouting obscenities and gesturing wildly at his medical staff.

It had been a difficult game. The score was locked 2-2, and there were only 10 players left on Chelsea’s side of the field, since the goalkeeper had been sent off. The moment Fearn and Carneiro stepped on the pitch, the rules dictated that Hazard would have to be taken off.

Mourinho later defended his outburst, stating that the medical team had acted incof3dca90a7aecf48b0195da986779446drrectly in entering the pitch and leaving the team with nine men. “Without a doubt, if you are involved in the game, you have to understand the game,” he said, calling his medical staff “impulsive and naïve.”

In fact, Carneiro has been a part of Chelsea’s first team for four years. Also, with 90 seconds left in the game, and Chelsea poised for a free kick that Hazard was unlikely to have a large role in, Mourinho’s anger was both misplaced and inappropriate. Nevertheless, Carneiro has since been banned from matches or training sessions, as well as entering the team’s hotel.
It turns out, however, that she does understand the game. The Premier League Doctors’ Group released a statement declaring that “a refusal to run onto the pitch would have breached the duty of care required of the medical team to their patient.” Carneiro was beckoned onto the field by the referee. Her response was appropriate, and her punishment does not correspond with the performance of her duties. So the question is, why was she punished?a7292556fc24dc524e8d4d23b0e1125f

Carneiro – one of three women on Chelsea’s 13-person medical and fitness staff – is a prime example of what happens when a woman gains a position of power usually reserved for men. Last year, on the sidelines during matches, she faced obscene chants from fans. It seems her gender controls her career. Type her name into YouTube, and the first clip is titled “Eva Carneiro Hot Chelsea Doctor.” It’s just a video of her doing her job.

Considering that Carneiro was only performing her duties in the match against Swansea, Mourinho’s overreaction – especially his claims that she is naïve and ill-informed when he himself didn’t know the rules – clearly demonstrates that some people in authority in the world of soccer are not prepared to treat women equally. It’s bad enough that so few women can attain positions in the sport, but this rash and unfounded demotion indicates that Mourinho does not consider her valuable, despite a positive injury record and years of service to the team.

e109e156f7ab2ccd0aede146eb4ed36eMourinho has never apologized for his actions, and even with the League doctors supporting Carneiro…no official action, fines or sanctions were taken against Mourinho.  Even though there is an actual rule against the sort of conduct Mourinho exhibited toward Carneiro.

BBC Sport – Jose Mourinho: Chelsea boss will not face action over criticism

Rule 7 of the Premier League’s Code of Conduct for managers states: “A manager shall not make public any unfair criticism of any match official or any other manager or any player, official or employee of his or another club.”

But the Premier League says it is a:

The Premier League said it considers the situation to be a “club matter”.

My god, it is like some kind of domestic dispute. WTF?

So what did the asshole say to Carneiro?

b1b6f4e7f2930015ec7cf898fb25a6b2Eva Carneiro row: Jose Mourinho’s tantrum shows sexism in football – Telegraph

Dr Carneiro was lambasted by Jose Mourinho for running on to the pitch to treat player Eden Hazard during stoppage time of the club’s 2-2 draw against Swansea City.

Never mind that she was doing what she gets paid for. Never mind that she wasseemingly summoned on to the pitch twice by the referee Michael Oliver and that physio Jon Fearn went on to the field alongside her.

Cue major Mourinho tantrum on the sidelines.

After the match on Saturday, the Chelsea manager explained:

“I wasn’t happy with my medical staff because even if you are a medical doctor or secretary on the bench, you have to understand the game.”

5058d95a566dddc0c117fd1f9fad7774“If you go to the pitch to assist a player, then you must be sure that a player has a serious problem. I was sure that Eden didn’t have a serious problem. He had a knock and was very tired.

“My medical department left me with eight fit outfield players in a counter attack after a set piece and we were worried we didn’t have enough players left.”

 

 

Take key note about the dig….regarding whether you are a medical doctor or a secretary…you have to understand the game.

And Carneiro, 41 who was born in Gibraltar, posted a message on Facebook:

“I would like to thank the general public for their overwhelming support. Really very much appreciated.”

Eva Carneiro Facebook  Photo: Facebook

How depressing, that one of the women at the forefront of football in this country feels she has to thank the public for encouraging her to simply do her job.

Women firefighters douse flames during the Pearl Harbor attack.

Women firefighters douse flames during the Pearl Harbor attack.

The sexism is strong with Mourinho….

Chelsea fans are upset, criticising Mourinho for ‘blaming anyone but himself’. While others are accusing
him of sexism, following an earlier incident this month where he ranted at the wife of Real Madrid manager Rafael Benítez, saying she should ‘occupy herself’ by ‘taking care of her husband’s diet’.

Now this is where that crack about understanding the game comes into play:

There are also those asking that we leave Carneiro’s gender out of the equation – but I’m afraid that’s impossible.

3cf22050b095bba4c051ca7014486efeBy saying that she doesn’t “understand the game”, Mourinho has made this all about her gender. The insidious narrative he’s perpetrating is that, as a woman, Carneiro couldn’t possibly grasp the complexities of football. It’s the old, sexist joke about women not getting the offside rule, on a massive scale.

Such comments, coming from a highly respected football manager, are dangerous. They give fans the impression that it’s OK to make Carneiro’s sex an issue. That maybe they were right to treat her differently. That she really in an outsider.

He has sanctioned their sexism, as the below tweets (just a sample of the comments Carneiro receives on social media) show. And one can’t help but speculate that Carneiro might agree.

Eva Carneiro row Jose Mourinho s tantrum shows sexism in football Telegraph

Seriously, I bet there are more disgusting tweets out there and you can be sure she gets horrible sexist shit yelled to her at the games as well. (Go to that link, middle of page, and see the sexist abuse Carneiro received from fans as she took to the field.)

fbbe9b45e2054d20b8d0fec2ed2912f9Last year, at an FA sports medicine conference in Sweden, the Chelsea doctor made a rare public speech:

“Women want to be leaders, we just put them off as we go along,” she told the audience.

“In every programme I’ve watched in my life, the female doctor is either hyper-sexualised or she’s not present. This needs to change. Women are discouraged at a young age.

“As a male you can aspire to having a successful professional life and a fulfilling personal life. Women are told that if they want to have both, at best it’s going to be difficult and at worse it’s going to be a disaster. Ninety percent of the mail I receive is from young women wanting to perform the same role. We need to tell them it’s possible and that their presence will improve results.”

Carneiro doesn’t need special treatment. She has, to my knowledge, never asked for it.

U.S. 1st Womens Liberation March, 5th Ave, New York City, 1971

U.S. 1st Womens Liberation March, 5th Ave, New York City, 1971

But nor does she need a boss who tells her how to do her job, when she’s already playing by the rules – those set by football’s overwhelmingly male governing bodies (that Mourinho admitted he knew Hazard wasn’t properly injured only highlights where the grey area really lies here).

For this talented doctor to be demoted, simply for performing her job as asked, shows the sexism that flows through the veins of the beautiful game.

And I, for one, am calling foul.

Oh, yeah…and what is more disgusting is the reports that Mourinho called the doctor a slut. Which, I have looked and have been unable to find the original transcript for btw:

d8135616dcd14c8000dfc1ac8c7f23e3Mourinho insulted Eva Carneiro by calling her a “slut” – MARCA.com (English version)

According to Sky Sports,José Mourinhoinsulted theChelseaclub doctor,Eva Carneiro, labelling her a “slut” during their row in thePremier League openerlast weekend.

Sky Sports have published a transcription of the exchange, which took place in Portuguese and includes two insults directed towards Carneiro by Mourinho. In addition to yelling “slut” in her direction, the Chelsea boss calls for the medic to stop offering Hazard treatment whilst waving his arms theatrically and shouting,“stop, for f*ck’s sake”.

Not only do these reports indicate a massive lack of respect on Mourinho’s part, but what must not be neglected is the fact that Carneiro had no option but to enter the field of play after having been waved on by the referee.

e8bb069b3bca091ab1cf67ad3605c79dIn the aftermath of this incident, Mourinho has been heavily criticised by the English footballing world and this saga could very well impact on his relationship with the club owner,Roman Abramovich.

Just for shits and giggles: Roman Abramovich – Forbes
Anyway, more on that here:

Eva Carneiro a ‘SLUT’: Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho RANT REVEALED | CaughtOffside

Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro responds to Jose Mourinho criticism with subtle message – Telegraph

1d27b34cb2b5e8fa316e337de4e76dd4Who is Eva Carneiro? All you need to know about Chelsea’s club doctor – Mirror Online

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho avoids punishment for Eva Carneiro comments

Eva Carneiro: Video emerges showing full extent of Jose Mourinho’s angry tirade against Chelsea doctor and physio Jon Fearn – Premier League – Football – The Independent

Other very interesting articles about this story, read them in full:

Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro: the key questions answered | Football | The Guardian

You need to shout for Eva Carneiro and every silenced sports woman – Telegraph

This next article talks about the ethics involved in the demotion and mistreatment of Carneiro. My question is, but….would the situation have turned out different if Carneiro was a man? I don’t know.

The case of Chelsea’s Eva Carneiro shows how hard it is to be a sport doctor – Telegraph

(Yes, there is another link dump ahead…but please take a look at these stories, they are important.)

12 Historical Women Who Gave No F*cks

“FEMINISM AT WORK,” Pays Tribute To Pioneers Who Moved Women’s History Forward

Periods make you good at bowling?

Seriously…take a look at that video.

b6a45863f30e28e5abce447d0ee1e7aaTatiana Maslany on Facing Sexism in Hollywood — Vulture

When we are all allowed to fail like white men: Here’s a practical model to solve Hollywood’s diversity problems – Salon.com

Women in Film, Arclight launch new film series – Hollywood Reporter

Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show – Home News – UK – The Independent

Female Bikers Use Instagram to Connect and Inspire Each Other

88c50ae3684f2690994bf06d39a9f9edRemember that awful dude who video taped telling his wife she was pregnant, only to have a video a week later saying she suffered a miscarriage?

Sam Rader who told wife she was pregnant revealed as Ashley Madison user | Metro News

Addicting Info – Anti-Gay Evangelist Christian Vlogger Caught With Ashley Madison Account, Says God Forgives Him (VIDEO)

Abortion and the myth of ‘protecting’ women – LA Times

Here’s What An Unsafe Abortion Environment Does To Women’s Health

SD lawmakers will hand anti-abortion bill to high court

How False Narratives of Margaret Sanger Are Being Used to Shame Black Women

The Definition of ‘Fuckboy’ Is Not What Bad Trend Pieces Are Telling You

What Beauty Means To Black Women In Different Countries

b086fb791563e66fad76c00b73580cd6

Mystery of Mona Lisa’s smile ‘solved’ as experts say Da Vinci used the same illusion years before – News – Art – The Independent

aa265b6d9af31dd1fef4436ae35134a1Now this next link is for the story, but check out the sexism in the comments:

The Princes in the Tower: Will the ultimate cold case finally be solved after more than 500 years? – Home News – UK – The Independent

School Board Member to Female Colleague: ‘The Only Thing You Know is Laying on Your Back’

What Do You Do When Your Lady Friends Say Sexist Things?

Dispatches: Saudi Women Registering to Vote is a Start | Human Rights Watch

Ranger School Grads Join Long History of Warrior Women

FOX News Co-Host Explains Why Women Shouldn’t Be in Combat | Styleite

c8fe4170f30abbffdd0da163c4618cd5

 

 

Hillary Battles the GOP Hate Machine | | Observer

416180b19c284f7c679b52b7a3f99be1Undercover Anti-Abortion Video Showed Images of Stillborn  — Not Aborted — Fetus

Simplest Ever Explanation of Hillary’s Emails – In a Tweetstorm — #HillaryMen

Clinton Campaign Alerted To Undercover Conservative Sting | Crooks and Liars

Judge in StemExpress case refuses to renew injunction against release of videos, citing First Amendment – The Washington Post

Did James O’Keefe Send His Goons To Smear The Hillary Clinton Campaign? | News Corpse

Girl Reporters Should Shut Up and Not Ask Important Men “Hard Kwestionz” | hecatedemeter

This next link is a pay per view, but if you subscribe it looks good: Kadner: ‘Horrific’ toll of unsolved Robbins rape cases – Daily Southtown

Female Employee Told to Lose 20 Pounds Because She’s a “Distraction to Males” | Styleite

703763ba94a24b653e1f6fe7a04ce974I’m Tired of Being Kind to Creepy Men in Order to Stay Safe | Alternet

Read this next link with the story about being nice to asshole men in mind.

Dear Men, Women Don’t Owe You An Explanation For Rejection

Man gives attention to a woman. Woman expresses her lack of desire for said attention. Man immediately turns hostile.

Unfortunately, it’s a dynamic as old as time — or at the very least, as old as Internet chat rooms. And anyone looking at BuzzFeed staff writer Grace Spelman’s Twitter feed on Monday saw said dynamic play out as Spelman tweeted her unsolicited, increasingly hostilecorrespondence with former “MuggleCast” host Ben Schoen.

Schoen initially tweeted at Spelman on August 5 after finding her Twitter feed funny. She “favorited” at least one of his tweets, but didn’t respond. He then sent her a lengthy Facebook message (see below), calling her a “special soul,” to which she responded kindly, but informed him that she had a boyfriend. She then blocked him on both Twitter and Facebook.

 

©Nini Poppins “Not virgins, not whores, just women”Yeah, take a look at that post, and see why it makes sense…a victim is trying to be nice to the attacker so that the violence does not get even more out of control…there are so many abused women who fit that mode. That assholes don’t see this, and will use it against the woman…saying her behavior asked for it. Bullshit!

Anyway, this is a shitload of links I know, hope you take your time and read them.

What is going on in your part of the world today?

 

 

 


Thursday Reads: Elite Boarding School Rape Culture

St. Paul's School in Concord, NH

St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH

Good Morning!!

I’ve been following the rape trial that is going on right now in New Hampshire. The testimony of the alleged victim of a rape at St. Paul’s School suggests that this exclusive private boarding school has an educational environment suffused with sexism, misogyny, and rape culture. We’ve all heard about the many colleges and universities where rape has been ignored and minimized. Is rape culture also widespread in secondary schools around the country? Probably, but at St. Paul’s the acceptance of sexual assault is apparently quite explicit.

I’m not sure how to frame this, so I’m going to begin with some early stories about the trial and go from there.

Associated Press: Rape case points to sordid tradition at elite prep school.

Aerial view of St. Paul's School

Aerial view of St. Paul’s School

St. Paul’s School boasts a glittering roster of alumni that includes senators, congressmen, a Nobel laureate and the current secretary of state. The elite prep school also allegedly has a sordid tradition of sexual conquest where graduating boys try to take the virginity of younger girls before getting their diplomas.

Details of a practice authorities say was called the “Senior Salute” were spelled out in stark terms by a former prefect at the New Hampshire school who is charged with raping a 15-year-old girl on the roof of a campus building in May 2014.

Owen Labrie, now 19, has pleaded not guilty to several felonies. When his trial begins Monday, prosecutors are expected to call current and former students to testify about the sexual culture at one of the country’s most selective boarding schools.

Labrie, of Tunbridge, Vermont, talked openly about the tradition when he was interviewed by Concord police. On a campus where upperclassmen studiously avoid their younger peers in most settings, Labrie told a detective some students “take great pride” in having sex with older students before they leave school.

Labrie also told the detective of a contest where boys compete to “score” with the most girls, keeping a running tally written in indelible marker on a wall behind washing machines. The school kept painting over the scoreboard so it eventually was moved online. He acknowledged to the detective he was “trying to be number one,” the detective wrote.

The New Chapel at St. Paul's School

The New Chapel at St. Paul’s School

The school administrators were well aware of this “tradition” and, according to one counselor, were “trying to educate students against ‘sexual scoring.'”

Excuse me? That sounds pretty weak. What happened to actually banning a practice and explicitly policing the behavior at time time it “traditionally” takes place?

Labrie was an outstanding student who had been accepted to Harvard until the rape accusations surfaced. Harvard now says he’s no longer listed as a student.

Labrie’s defense attorney is well-known and expensive Boston lawyer J.W. Carney, who also defended notorious gangster Whitey Bulger.

Some background on St. Paul’s School:

Founded in 1856, St. Paul’s is an Episcopal school nestled on 2,000 pastoral acres on the outskirts of downtown Concord, New Hampshire’s capital. It enrolls about 530 students and admitted girls for the first time in 1971. Tuition, room and board currently clocks in at $53,810.

The school belongs to the Eight Schools Association, a sort of Ivy League for prep schools that includes Choate Rosemary Hall and Hotchkiss in Connecticut, Phillips Academy Andover, Deerfield Academy and Northfield Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts, The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey and Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire.

Secretary of State John Kerry graduated from St. Paul’s in 1962, alongside former FBI Director Robert Mueller. Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau is an alum as are 13 U.S. ambassadors, three Pulitzer Prize winners, two World Series of Poker winners, actor Judd Nelson and sons of the Astor and Kennedy families, according to the school’s website.

The school also has a robust international presence: 17 percent of the 2014-15 class came from 25 countries and notable alums include Bernard Makihara, the former CEO of the Mitsubishi  Corporation, and Edmund Maurice Burke Roche, a conservative member of the British Parliament and the maternal grandfather of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Owen Labrie's mugshot

Owen Labrie’s mugshot

Labrie told police that he didn’t have sex with the alleged victim. Instead, he claims “in a moment of restraint” and “divine inspiration” he decided not to have intercourse with the 15-year-old girl even though she was “eager” to do so. He also explained that the girl lied because “it’s a “great source of pride for younger students” to have sex with seniors.

WTF?! Then why would she go through the nightmare of a trial in she knows she’ll be humiliated and shamed?

The Boston Globe: Prosecutor: St. Paul’s rape suspect talked about ‘slaying’ girls as part of hookup contest.

Prosecutors say Labrie arranged for a tryst with the girl at St. Paul’s School in a secluded machine room in a school building, prosecutors say he took it further than she wanted it to go.

took the stand late Tuesday afternoon, answering questions about her upbringing and how she ended up at St. Paul’s, where she enrolled as a freshman in 2013.

Today, the girl is testifying about what led to that night in the machine room. She initially rebuffed his message, thinking it was a form letter he sent to lots of girls.

Owen Labrie had been making a list of girls to hook up with months before a 15-year-old accused him of sexually assaulting her at their elite New England prep school, but her name was the only one written in capital letters, a prosecutor said Tuesday….

There was a game above it all: a storied hookup contest among the school’s upperclassmen called the “Senior Salute.” Labrie and his friends talked about “slaying” girls, with April and May referred to as SLAYpril and SLAY, Deputy Merrimack County Attorney Catherine J. Ruffle said.

“This case is about Owen Labrie sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl,” Ruffle said in her opening statement. “It’s about how he thought about this for months.

Prosecutor Catherine Ruffle delivers her opening arguments against Owen Labrie to the jury in the Merrimack County Superior Court, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, in Concord, N.H.(AP Photo/Jim Cole, Pool)

Prosecutor Catherine Ruffle delivers her opening arguments against Owen Labrie to the jury in the Merrimack County Superior Court, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, in Concord, N.H.(AP Photo/Jim Cole, Pool)

The girl testified on Tuesday and Wednesday and she was reportedly very emotional, describing her confusion, fear, and lack of control over what happened; but she also described how she felt responsible for what happened and, tried to soothe Labrie’s feelings. She didn’t want to cause an uproar, because her older sister was graduating from the school two days later and she (the victim) didn’t want to make it all about her.

NBC News: St. Paul’s School Rape Trial: Accuser Tells Court ‘I Felt Like I Couldn’t Say No.’

A 16-year-old girl who says she was raped at a prestigious New Hampshire prep school returned to the witness stand on Wednesday, recounting a secret date with an older boy that turned suddenly aggressive.

The girl described her confusion as he groped her in secluded room of a campus building at St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire in May 2014. “I felt like I was frozen,” she said through tears as she described the accused, Owen Labrie, kissing and biting her and trying to pull down her underwear.

As the groping continued, she said, “I felt like I had no control. I felt like I couldn’t say no.”

A little later, the girl said, she did say no. But as the alleged attack continued, she said she tried to zone out, looking at the ceiling and trying to ignore the pain. That continued through what she described as unwanted sexual intercourse, she said.

“I didn’t want to believe that this was happening to me,” the girl said under questioning from Deputy Merrimack County Attorney Catherine Ruffle.

Recent St. Paul's School graduate Owen Labrie, right, stands with one of his lawyers, J.W. Carney, as jurors view the school grounds, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, Pool)

Recent St. Paul’s School graduate Owen Labrie, right, stands with one of his lawyers, J.W. Carney, as jurors view the school grounds, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, Pool)

More from the Manchester Union Leader: 

The girl, who was 15 at the time, said Labrie, then 18, sent her what she considered to be a “senior salute,” an invitation from a senior to a girl in the lower classes for a meeting that could result in as little as a kiss or as much as sexual intercourse….

The young girl Labrie was pursuing said she knew of the tradition because her older sister was also a senior at St. Paul’s in 2014.

So her first reaction was to refuse, but Labrie sent an envoy, a friend of the girl, to plead his case and she succumbed to the flattery and agreed to meet him.

Part of the reason for agreeing was his claim to have keys to one of the buildings whose roof was off limits to students. She liked the idea of being able to see a view not available to most students.

She said she expected there would be kissing involved “but that’s all.”

But she was wrong.

She said he took her to the building rooftop, but then back inside the unlighted mechanical room.  There he started by kissing her, then, despite her efforts to stop him, he removed her bra and pants and sexually assaulted her.

She said at one point he laughed and said: “You are such a tease.”

When it was over, she said, “I couldn’t believe what had just happened to me.”

The girl said when Labrie was finished with her he left her  get dressed and go back to her dorm, where she met up with her girlfriends and told them what happened.

Deputy Merrimack County Attorney Catherine Ruffle had the girl read copies of email and Facebook messages between Labrie and herself, messages that were projected on a large screen for jurors.

The girl explained that her friends dictated the messages she sent to Labrie about him using protection.

St. Paul's School

St. Paul’s School

The text messages the girl sent to Labrie are the center of the defense case that she “was a “willing participant” in the sex. I’ll get to that in a minute. First a few more details on the assault from MSNBC:

“I felt like I was frozen,” the accuser said.

“I felt so scared,” she added. “I had no idea what was going on. I had never been put in a situation like that.”

Her second day on the witness stand, the girl continued recounting the events that led to the alleged assault….

The girl said that she and Labrie stood briefly on the roof, and that later, inside an industrial area. She said that the two began kissing and removed some clothing when Labrie became too aggressive, biting her chest and forcing himself on her.

The girl grew emotional as she recounted the intimate details of the encounter, responding to questions from the prosecutor as her family looked on from reserved seating, and telling the court that she didn’t kick or scream as the encounter went on.

“In that moment, I wasn’t strong enough,” the girl said.

She later told the court she said ‘no’ three times. “I don’t know how I could have made it more clear,” she said.

Owen Labrie's defense attorney Jaw W. Carney, left, gives his opening arguments as prosecutor Catherine Ruffle, lower right and Judge Larry Smukler listen Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, in Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord, N.H. Labrie is charged with raping a 15-year-old freshman at St. Paul's School on May 30, 2014, as part of a tradition known as the "Senior Salute" days before he graduated. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

Owen Labrie’s defense attorney Jaw W. Carney, left, gives his opening arguments Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, in Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

The cross examination began yesterday and continues today. As I said above, the biggest problem for the prosecution is that this young girl was very focused on not making a scene or being “bitchy.” She was seemingly very concerned about upsetting Labrie or generally calling attention to herself. From the MNSNBC article cited above:

Still, the girl was pressed by prosecutor Catherine Ruffle, the Deputy Merrimack County Attorney, about an email exchange she had with Labrie after the incident, in which Labrie described her as “an angel.”

Reading from copies of the messages displayed on a courtroom projector, the girl told the court that she replied: “You’re quite an angel yourself, but would you mind keeping the events of this evening to yourself for now?”

Asked why she had called Labrie an angel, the girl said she was trying not to upset him.

“It was almost like I was sticking to the script that he was offering,” she said of his email. “I thought it would be rude otherwise to ignore it, or it would cause him to approach me again if I ignored it. I was afraid of him coming after me again.”

In subsequent messages over Facebook, the girl told the court, she asked Labrie if he wore a condom and he assured her he had, and inquired if she was taking birth control medication.

Owen Labrie in court

Owen Labrie in court

Just one last article, from The Boston Globe: Why was the prep school girl so nice to the man she says raped her?

To the defense attorneys of Owen Labrie, the now-19-year-old man accused of raping the girl last year on the campus of their prestigious New England prep school, the message and others like it are obvious evidence that she was not raped, that she was a willing participant in what happened in that dark room. Why else would she chat and giggle and seemingly flirt in some cases if what happened was rape and not a consensual encounter between two teens?

The explanation of the girl, now 16 and on the witness stand in a Concord, New Hampshire courtroom: She didn’t want to offend him. She was trying to be polite. She didn’t want to be “bitchy,” or a “withering little girl.”

And so her chats replying to him in cutesy French phrases, lamenting the loss of her favorite earring, calling him a good guy, paint a blurry picture of how she really felt after what she now calls a rape.

Personally, I can relate to what this girl says. She was only 15 and says she was a virgin.

Part of the reason why she agreed to Labrie’s emailed invitation for a “Senior Salute” on May 30, 2014 in the first place was out of fear she was too rude when she initially rebuffed him.

“I felt bad I’d sent such an attacking response back,” said the girl, who Boston.com is not naming. “I thought that I was rude and that I was wrong and I had been wrong about everything.”

The girl knew the reason Labrie sent her a flowery email asking to spend time with her. Senior Salute was well known on campus as an attempt to hook up with as many people as possible before graduation. Prosecutors said Labrie and his friends made it a game, competing to see how many girls they could “slay” before they left school.

During the assault itself, she said, she was still thinking about him and his feelings. Right after telling him that no, she didn’t want his face between her legs, and pulling his face away, she laughed.

“I wanted to be easygoing,” she said. “I wanted to not cause a conflict. I didn’t want to come off as bitchy or … I didn’t want to cause any trouble.”

Wincing, walking back to her dorm, she told no one. She wouldn’t even tell her best friend, whom she sat with immediately after the encounter, what really happened. She didn’t want to burden her with her issues.

As she saw her sister graduate, and took her exams, she kept quiet. Her family wasn’t on campus to worry about her and her problems, they were there to celebrate her sister.

Read the rest at the link, if you can. I’ve already quoted too much.

So . . . What do you think? As always, this is an open thread.