Thursday Reads

 

Good Morning!!

It was 3 degrees in my town when I woke up, and the high today will be 10 degrees with a wind chill up to 27 below 0. The previous record for the Boston area was 18 degrees in 1924. I’m not budging outside until the temperature gets up to at least 20 degrees.

In the news, the ugly old dotard is golfing again, so I thought we might have some peace for a few hours, but he found time to send out an idiotic tweet.

The moron doesn’t know that the new editor of Vanity Fair is Radhika Jones. Anna Wintour is the editor of Vogue. Daughter Ivanka probably knows that, but the moron was on the golf course and couldn’t ask her.

Meanwhile Vanity Fair is still dealing with the aftermath of their millennial editors’ insulting advice to Hillary Clinton, who was just voted the most admired woman for the 16th year in a row.

So many young “journalists” can’t seem to wrap their heads around the fact that Hillary got nearly 3 million more votes than the dotard or that she has stated clearly that she is not going to run for political office again.

Up in Minnesota, where it’s much colder than it is here, people don’t want Al Franken to resign.

Public Policy Polling: Minnesotans Don’t Think Franken Should Resign; Franken Remains Popular, Especially With Women.

-50% of voters think he should not resign, to only 42% who think he should go through with his planned resignation. There is little appetite from Democratic voters at the state level for Franken to go, with 71% opposing his departure. A majority of independents- 52%- as well think he should not resign, with just 41% favoring his exit.

-Franken remains well above average in popularity for a Senator, with 53% of voters approving of the job he’s doing to 42% who disapprove. PPP rarely finds Senators with majority approval in their home states. Franken’s continued popularity is being driven especially by women. 57% of them like the job he’s doing to 37% who don’t. By contrast Donald Trump stands at 40/58 with women in the state.

-Minnesotans don’t like how the process with Franken’s resignation has played out. 60% think the Senate Ethics Committee should have completed its investigation (including 79% of Democrats and 61% of independents) before any decision was made about Franken’s future, while only 35% think he should resign immediately. Beyond that 76% of Minnesota voters think their voices should have been more important in determining whether Franken stayed in the Senate or not, to only 12% who think that should have been determined more by his fellow Senators in Washington.

I said awhile back that I thought the rush equate the past inappropriate behavior of men like Franken would lead to a backlash against women that will hurt the cause of fighting sexual harassment and sexual assault. I still believe that. I want to share two articles on the subject that I read yesterday. I don’t agree with everything in them, but I think they are making important points.

Feminist psychologist Carol Tavris writes at The Skeptic: I, Too, Am Thinking About Me, Too.

Our whole country is living in a constant state of hyper-dissonance: “my political candidate/my most admired actor/a brilliant artist/my dear friend has been accused of sexual abuses and misconduct; how do I cope with this information? Do I support him/see his movies/enjoy his art/keep the friendship or must I repudiate him entirely?” Living with dissonance and complexity is not easy, but surely skeptics, of all people, must try. We hear a story that outrages us and, just like true believers and justice warriors of any kind, we’re off and running, and once we are off and running we don’t want to hear quibbles, caveats, doubts, complexities. Thus, when the Guardian (Dec. 17, 2017) reported Matt Damon’s remarks that there was “a difference between patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation. Both of those behaviours need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated,” Minnie Driver blasted him: it’s not for men to make distinctions; “there is no hierarchy of abuse”; men should just shut up for once. “If good men like Matt Damon are thinking like that then we’re in a lot of fucking trouble,” she said. “We need good intelligent men to say this is all bad across the board, condemn it all and start again.”

No hierarchy of abuse? Really? That is one of the universal symptoms of revolutionary zealotry: go for broke, ignore gradations of villainy, who cares if some innocents are thrown over the side, we are furious and we want everything at once. No wonder those of us in the boring older generation, who have lived through cycles of anger and protest, are so annoying. “Wait!” we keep saying. “Be careful! Remember the stupidity of ‘zero tolerance’ programs in schools, where a kid who brings a pocket knife for show-and- tell, or a 6-year-old boy who kisses a 6-year-old girl, got expelled?” We have also learned that while there is a time and place for revolutionary zealotry, the hardest challenge comes next, because change will not be accomplished without allies.

While many celebrate the courage of the accusers who are coming forth to tell their stories, let’s keep in mind that in today’s climate it also requires courage to raise dissonance-producing dissent.

Tavris refers to a piece by Claire Berlinski at The National Interest: The Warlock Hunt. Berlinski argues that “The #MeToo moment has now morphed into a moral panic that poses as much danger to women as it does to men.” I hope you’ll read the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt:

Among us, it seems, lives a class of men who call to mind Caligula and Elagabalus not only in their depravity, but in their grotesque sense of impunity. Our debauched emperors, whether enthroned in Hollywood, media front offices, or the halls of Congress, truly imagined their victims had no choice but to shut up, take it, and stay silent forever. Many of these men are so physically disgusting, too—the thought of them forcing themselves on young women fills me with heaving disgust. Enough already. Check out the latest news about satellite media tour here.

All true; yet something is troubling me. Recently I saw a friend—a man—pilloried on Facebook for asking if #metoo is going too far. “No,” said his female interlocutors. “Women have endured far too many years of harassment, humiliation, and injustice. We’ll tell you when it’s gone too far.” But I’m part of that “we,” and I say it is going too far. Mass hysteria has set in. It has become a classic moral panic, one that is ultimately as dangerous to women as to men.

If you are reading this, it means I have found an outlet that has not just fired an editor for sexual harassment. This article circulated from publication to publication, like old-fashioned samizdat, and was rejected repeatedly with a sotto voce, “Don’t tell anyone. I agree with you. But no.” Friends have urged me not to publish it under my own name, vividly describing the mob that will tear me from limb to limb and leave the dingoes to pick over my flesh. It says something, doesn’t it, that I’ve been more hesitant to speak about this than I’ve been of getting on the wrong side of the mafia, al-Qaeda, or the Kremlin?

But speak I must. It now takes only one accusation to destroy a man’s life. Just one for him to be tried and sentenced in the court of public opinion, overnight costing him his livelihood and social respectability. We are on a frenzied extrajudicial warlock hunt that does not pause to parse the difference between rape and stupidity. The punishment for sexual harassment is so grave that clearly this crime—like any other serious crime—requires an unambiguous definition. We have nothing of the sort.

Again, I want to emphasize that I disagree with some of Berlinski’s arguments; nevertheless, her article is worth reading. As I said before, I’m afraid the “Me Too” movement is going to end up backfiring on women.

In political news, Roy Moore refuses to go away. David Wiegel reports: Roy Moore asks Alabama court for a new Senate election.

Roy Moore, the Republican nominee who lost Alabama’s closely watched Senate race this month, has filed a last-minute legal complaint alleging “election fraud” and asking the state not to confirm the victory of Democrat Doug Jones.

In the complaint filed in state court, Moore’s campaign argues that Alabama “will suffer irreparable harm if the election results are certified without preserving and investigating all the evidence of potential fraud.” It cites rumors of election fraud that have already been investigated and refuted by the Alabama secretary of state, argues that high Democratic turnout in key areas was statistically unlikely, and reports that Moore himself has taken a polygraph test — an attempt to disprove allegations that he made unwanted sexual advances on teenagers when he was in his 30s.

Moore’s lawyers filed the complaint at 10:33 p.m. Wednesday night and announced it to reporters less than two hours later. At 1 p.m. Thursday, Alabama’s election officials — all Republicans — are scheduled to certify the election. Early Thursday morning, they gave no indication that they would delay that process. In Washington, leaders of both parties expect Jones to take his oath of office when the Senate returns next month.

This is the man the dotard insisted on supporting in the Alabama special Senate election.

Last night, we learned that Trump and his gang plan to paint Michael Flynn as a liar if he testifies that Trump or his gang “engaged in wrongdoing.”  A liar calling another liar a liar doesn’t sound like a very convincing defense. Plus the dotard swore again and again that Flynn was a fine man who was treated unfairly.

New York Magazine: If Flynn Is Just a Liar, Why Did Trump Keep Defending Him?

As we’ve seen with Paul Manafort and George Papadopoulos, Trump’s default position is to downplay his relationship with any former associates who happen to be indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team. However, it’s harder to distance yourself from a former top White House official who memorably led a “lock her up” chant on the first night of your nominating convention.

The leniency of Flynn’s plea agreement suggests that he’s promised Mueller’s team valuable information, so Trump’s team has come up with another strategy. The Washington Postreports: “President Trump’s legal team plans to cast former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn as a liar seeking to protect himself if he accuses the president or his senior aides of any wrongdoing, according to three people familiar with the strategy.” As one person working on the plan put it, “He’s said it himself: He’s a liar.”

Who are you going to believe, an admitted liar or the president of the United States? sounds like a logical defense until you plug in what we know about this particular president, and his relationship with the liar in question. Aside from the hypocrisy of Trump attacking anyone for misstating the truth, the plan revives questions about why the president went out of his way to defend Flynn, even after he fired him for lying.

In the days after Trump asked for Flynn’s resignation, he said he had to go because he misled Vice-President Mike Pence about his conversations with then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition. However, Trump argued that by making those calls Flynn was just “doing his job,” and stressed that he still considered him a man of fine character.

That’s all I’ve got for you today. I know there’s lots more news, but I’m ignoring it for the moment. What stories are you following?

 


47 Comments on “Thursday Reads”

  1. Joanelle says:

    Thanks for this B.B., lots to think about here.
    We’re visiting our younger son and his family in New Hampshire, it was 0 degrees when we woke up this morning in Bedford!

  2. Joanelle says:

    Yikes, I’m in moderation, honest I didn’t say anything bad

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    It is 4 degrees here in Springfield! And I have to go out. It will take forever to heat the car – that is if it starts – but I have to get to the pharmacy and the bank! Oy!

    I hate Trump so much. I loathe his lying, hypocritical face. What a lazy, ignorant, incompetent.

    All that comes out of the WH are lies, lies, lies. Tragic. Maybe he will get hit in the head by a golf ball. It could happen.

    I think it is warmer in Alaska and this cold weather is expected to last well into next week. Yikes!

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Politico: Why They Mattered. Remembering 30 politicos who died in 2017.

    https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/12/28/why-they-mattered-2017-obituaries-216193?lo=ap_c1

  5. bostonboomer says:

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  6. bostonboomer says:

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  7. Enheduanna says:

    BB – hope you are toasty and warm inside. ATL will only hit 45 today but we have plenty of sunshine.

    Thanks for the link to the Carol Tavris article. I just hope the Me Too movement will change the behavior of would-be predators.

    • NW Luna says:

      I agree. #MeToo is for women’s solidarity and social awareness. Unfortunately it’s been co-opted. There will always be some women like Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Anne Coulter.

      I like Sally Albright’s “Listen to Women” phrase. Yes, listen, and have an unbiased investigation. There is a continuum of behavior. An arm round the waist and a squeeze may be too familiar, but it’s not the same as far more violent sexual assaults on women (or on children). And that’s regardless of the political party.

    • Fannie says:

      That was a damn good article, reminded me of the thoughts that I tried to express regarding gang rape, and reaching out for someone boobs. Going from one extreme to the other, Salem Witch Hunts, to Warlock Hunts.

  8. quixote says:

    Y’all should be living in SoCal. 73F here with a balmy breeze. I may head to the beach.

    /*ducks to avoid all the flying rotten fruit*/

    • NW Luna says:

      Nah, the fruit’s too frozen to be rotten there, I’d imagine..

      Here in Seattle our gigantic /s 3″ of snow has melted. I may head to the beach on Puget Sound and hunt for sea glass now that we’re back to mid-40s with light rain. There’s a flood watch for some rivers due to the freezing level rising so lots of recent snow in the mountains is melting off into the rivers.

  9. NW Luna says:

    Americans are dying younger than people in other rich nations

    We spend thousands of dollars more per capita on health care than any other country in the world, but in return we live shorter lives than people in most other rich nations.

    While the care itself is generally quite good (it ought to be, for the price we’re paying), access to it remains spotty: The United States is the only OECD country without some sort of universal health-care coverage, and as a result millions of Americans have no form of health insurance. The recent repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate will cause that number to swell by millions more in the coming decade.

    Violence is also taking a toll on our life expectancy. While our homicide rate has been steadily falling since the early 1990s, Americans are still more likely to be murdered than people in nearly any other rich nations. A 2016 study found that “US homicide rates were 7.0 times higher than in other high-income countries, driven by a gun homicide rate that was 25.2 times higher.” Easy access to guns is the big factor there.

  10. NW Luna says:

    The moron doesn’t know that the new editor of Vanity Fair is Radhika Jones. Anna Wintour is the editor of Vogue.

    Someone pointed out that Trump’s memory is so bad we should worry he will pick a war with the wrong country just because he can’t remember.

  11. NW Luna says:

    I feel like spitting on Trump (if I could spit that far) for his “respect” for our troops. Oh, and Hillary was supposed to be such a warmonger. No surprise, the media are for the most part ignoring that Trump is sending our troops to war.

    Thread:

  12. NW Luna says:

    Justice.

    • Enheduanna says:

      omgosh I had completely forgotten about the lawyer with the delightfully impossible Dickensian name Evan Greebel!!!!! {howling here}

  13. bostonboomer says:

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    • RonStill4Hills says:

      I always thought that she and Maury Amsterdam wee the best part of the Dick Van Dyke show.

      No disrespect to DVD and MTM.

  14. NW Luna says:

  15. Minkoff Minx says:

    I want to post this here and see if you all get the same reaction.

    Atlanta will not be having a women’s march this year.

    I think it is a bad decision.

    This is their explanation.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I don’t see any links, JJ.

    • Enheduanna says:

      I did a quick search and I’m not seeing anything. There were 60,000 people there last January and John Lewis always participates. I’d expect even more this year.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Here is the quote from the post, via the Georgia Alliance for Social Justice Facebook Page:

      We are receiving feedback from some members of the community who are disappointed in our decision to not host a march in January. We hear you, and would like to respond as to why we, and the leaders of the national Women’s March organization have made this collective decision. Here is a short, (but not exhaustive) list of why we are NOT coordinating an anniversary march:
      1) We have already marched many times this year and have brought significant local and national awareness to very important social justice issues.
      2) Marching has had very limited specific impact on voter turnout/engagement.
      3) Marching does not connect people with comprehensive information on issues to drive awareness into action.
      4) Marching does not allow people to interact directly with elected officials and candidates.
      5) Marching does not significantly increase voter registration. Our needs today are different from a year ago. Voter turnout in 2018 is critical to changing the direction of local, regional, and national politics.
      6) Massive marches costs tens of thousands of dollars. Dollars that could be spent on strategies to impact social change.
      7) Massive marches requires hundreds of volunteers and thousands of hours of people power. Energy that could be used to canvass and impact social change.

      And now we’re going to be frank and ask you to lean in:
      •The majority of those vocally demanding a march have not signed up to volunteer within this organization all year. We continue to welcome you to join us on one of our work groups.
      • The majority of those vocally demanding a march have not financially supported this organization all year. We need your financial support to be successful and invite you to contribute.
      • The majority of those demanding a march are centering on their own feelings and desire for a ‘feel good’ event. A feel good event does not further our mission.
      • The planned event is intentionally taking place in an under resourced neighborhood. That neighborhood is overwhelmingly low income and 90% African American. A community that will economically benefit by the event as we hire local businesses. The majority of those desiring a march are privileged white women. Is it appropriate to bring throngs of people with police escort to a community that doesn’t feel safe with the police?
      We 100% support marching as a form of civil disobedience. As a means to demonstrate community strength and raise awareness on important societal issues. We did that in January. This January it’s time to do the work.
      Is it worth it to fracture a movement over an event? Or is it time to fully invest in impactful strategies to #GrabEmByTheMidterms?
      In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lead what may have been the most impactful march in our nation’s history. That singular event galvanized the nation and created sustained impact. What he didn’t do was try to commemorate that event every year. He dug in with the community and did the work to create the change.
      We are inspired by Dr. King and the Civil Rights leaders of the past and we desire to take this organization from march to a movement leading to sustained political and social justice change. The leaders of GAFSJ are truly honored to see all of the enthusiasm and the impact that this has had on your lives. But it is time for us to pivot, and create an epic movement that will lead to making Georgia the epicenter of the NEW PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT that we all envision. We hope that you will join us in achieving that vision. We look forward to launching this movement with you at the kickoff event for Power To The Polls Georgia.
      In Solidarity,
      The GAFSJ Board of Directors and Leadership Team

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        I think it is a mistake.

        • NW Luna says:

          Sure is. The symbolism of many millions marching sends a message that we are serious — shows that women and our allies are a force to be reckoned with come November 2018 and November 2010.

        • Enheduanna says:

          I have to admit a great deal of ignorance about this. I just checked the Power to the Polls event:

          http://www.useventer.com/events/5183992/power-to-the-polls-ga

          I can see a lot of validity to their reasoning actually. I do absolutely “get” the privileged white women thing they are talking about – having lived in that element my entire adult life. Marches are fine but this seems a little more about concrete strategy maybe?

          Shareblue has an encouraging article today about the resistance and its impact:

          https://shareblue.com/the-resistance-owned-2017-here-are-the-wins-to-prove-it/

        • quixote says:

          I think it’s a mistake, too. There’s a difference between marching and their first two issues. (“They’re not volunteering.” “They’re not donating.”) Yes, it’s a feel-good event. That’s what motivates people, you doofi.

          Their whole tone sounds rather, “Do what I tell you or go away.” That’s appropriate in the military, not in a social movement.

          And then, on an it’s-just-me note, I have to vent how goddamn-sick-and-tired I am of all the easy misogyny of shitting on those “white women.” Subtext: “self-centered, clueless, frivolous frills.”

          White women are not the source of all the egotism in the world. The point about bringing in police where they’re not wanted is a good one. The point about using money for your own priorities is also fair. You can make those points without slagging off the very women who are providing great huge heaps of support to the resistance.

  16. RonStill4Hills says:

    I have thought since day one that #MeToo was an unfortunate choice as the name for this “reckoning” because “Me-Tooism” already exists as a perjorative term and as a ready made excuse to dismiss legitimate grievances as “bandwagonism” .

    Me-Tooism – 1. the adopting of policies, methods, products, etc., similar or identical to those of a peer, rival, or competitor. 2. the practice of making a product, offering a service, etc., that attempts to duplicate one that is established. Origin of me-tooism.

    Bandwagonism – The tendency to jump on the bandwagon, i.e. to join a craze or trend, sometimes for profit.

    I wish that something like #ImAsMadAsHellAndImNotGonnaTakeItAnymore or #ImAbout2KickSomebodyInTheBalls had been chosen.

    At least then we clearly communicate “Ignore me at you own peril motherfracker!”

    • Enheduanna says:

      I vote for #ImAbout2KickSomebody…..LOL

    • NW Luna says:

      Agree. It seems uncomfortably close to the “whataboutism,” where the “whatabout” refers to the someone with a petty issue. For example, when discussing how racism hurts POC and then a Trumpist whines about white people being stared at in a majority Black neighborhood.

      While the “MeToo” does bring attention to the pervasiveness of men who are sexual predators, it at least lacks the guilty-until-proven-innocent aspect of the “Believe Women” slogan. Some women are brainwashed enough to vote for Moore or Trump.

      • RonStill4Hills says:

        I agree. #BelieveProof. That is actual justice.

        As a black guy I know better than to “Believe Blacky.”

        Are you crazy? I have known too many of my people to give anyone a blank check.

        My sister the activist was on a panel a few weeks ago and was asked “When were you first called the N-Word?”

        “She answered, “In anger? Never. That just isn’t my experience. I have never had a person of another race use that epithet own me. Funny that you assumed that I would have though.”

        I am proud of her that she didn’t feel pressure to invent or exaggerate something to fit in.

        Racism deniers might seize on something like that to insinuate that racism isn’t real, but truth and integrity matter. More to some than to others though.

        That is why “knee-jerk” responses to racially sensitive subjects and situations is harmful. Full context always matters. There are degrees and everybody knows it. Blind unthinking zero-tolerance is brat behavior. Adults judge, but soberly and hopefully with all the facts, mitigating or aggravating.

        Yes, I am thinking of Al Franken. Still dismayed that he is the one out on his a$$.

        • NW Luna says:

          Thanks for the story about your sister.

          Telling point that some of those senators calling for Franken’s resignation later regretted their reactions. Acting on knee-jerk emotions is rarely a good idea in politics or other areas.